Ready To Love Home Again!

   Your laundry room is where cleaning happens so why on earth is it always such a mess?! There is just something about when you walk into someone’s home and their laundry room is clean and smells wonderful that just makes you want to slap them and tell them they suck.  Well, that would be terribly rude of us, so instead we must decide… Do we make a million excuses why we long for that, yet never seem to care as much when it is time to clean it, or do we take it on and protect it like a our lives depend on it?!  How was that for a dramatic beginning?  I know, nice, right?

   Okay, but here is the real me.  I love my home being clean and when I have time, I love cleaning it, but there is something really weird that has happened to me over the years.  When my youngest daughter had leukemia, our home was insanely clean.  I was so freaked out about her coming into contact with germs that we maintained a hospital like sanitized environment for  a very long time.  When she hit remission, the doctor made a joke knowing how I had become, about not sterilizing the door knobs every day anymore.  Some weird switch in me said… Relaxed housework symbolizes everything is okay.  It sounds ridiculous and I have really struggled with the way my own mind glitched on me, but it is the honest truth.  That’s what we do here, remember? 🙂

   So, I allowed that mentality to grab hold and within a couple years, I was in big trouble. I had let my house go, I was taking on tons of projects and jobs that consumed my every moment, and I had decided to keep, EVERYTHING! Moving into town was the final straw. I was completely out of my element and depression was sinking in.  I didn’t even know it. One friend after another expressed concern about my changes and how they felt it was affecting me.  At first, I was totally pissed.  I was so mad that they knew all the things I had gone through and thought that I didn’t have control over my own life.  Really, what they were saying is that I was trying to be in control of my whole life!  Even in the areas I needed to surrender, and even in the areas that I needed to say “No”, I wasn’t.  I wasn’t even interested in hearing what they had to say.

  The seed was planted though and God began to work through my heart. Slowly but surely, I began to actually feel burdened by all that was happening and all that should have been happening, that wasn’t.  I came home from a large event for the organization I run here and I thought I had been robbed!  It sounds so funny but it was almost like I was seeing the disaster for the first time.  It was nuts!  That week, I spent the most time connecting with the friends who had expressed their concerns and let them know, YES!, I finally saw it.

   To make a long story just a little less long, I got rid of crap.  Every time I went to town, I took things to donation.  I made sure that no matter how much garbage we had, the trash can was always full.  It took a while, let me tell you! That year, we had more deaths and tragedies in our family than we had sustained in our lives entirely.  It was a very rough year. Just when I was finally getting a grip on surrendering, we got a notice that the owners of our home needed to sell. While it seemed like such a catastrophe considering that my husband and son were working three states away, one child had moved out and it was just me and the younger two girls left to do the packing and the moving.  I got rid of more stuff and finally said, “Enough! I can’t focus on this anymore.” I was so irritated with God that here I was… ‘getting IT’ and now this is thrown into the mix!  I was determined to do it on my own.  My husband didn’t like that idea.  He called our church.  I was sure no one would want to come move our family of 6, plus an organization, plus a home school, plus put up with my exhausted butt!

   They came… they loved on us, they moved our crap, they brought us lunch and went through a couple very difficult situations with me.  They came… God was there… I got ‘IT’ again.  I was doing good until I tried to be in control of my own surrender. I know… what a dork, right?  Yeah, I agree. 🙂

   Anyway, the point of this is that now, we are back in the country, (God made sure of that) and what was already in progress has continued in shorter spurts.  I donated 10+ more boxes of stuff while unpacking in our new home and I continue to get rid of things on a regular basis.  I have 2 boxes in my car right now and another box I am in the process of filling.  I wish I had thought to blog the process of going through our office area and bookshelf… it was invigorating!

   Now… I’m here… with you.  I have officially gotten rid of enough stuff that finally, I can start living again and organizing with pleasure and joy in my heart!  I, my dear… AM READY TO LOVE HOME AGAIN! 

So!  here goes!…

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Here is my laundry room BEFORE.

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Sorry the pictures are terrible from my phone… This is my bookshelf made into shoe rack and ‘organizer’ for quick grabs from outside.  This is the first thing people see when they walk in this door.

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This is our pantry in the same room.  The space is good but the organization is not.  Behind all those plastic bags are cloth grocery bags that I always forget to take to town on shopping day! 😦

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We eat mostly fresh or frozen foods unless I can it myself, which hasn’t happened for 3 years! I need to make room for that because we are building a garden this Spring, you and me. 🙂

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There were OVER 100 plastic bags in my pantry!  These puppies have GOT to go!  Right to the food pantry!  (Anytime you get overloaded on plastic or paper bags, donate them to your local food pantries.  They love them because they store well and hold a lot of food.)

THE TRANSFORMATION…

The reason it is so important to take everything out of the room is because it allows you to really understand how much stuff is in the room, it is SO much easier to clean the room thoroughly and it gives you a clean slate to work with.

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I have this insanely high shelf in the top of my pantry that goes up to the ceiling and allows for a lot of storage.  This is the perfect place to store these tall boxes of dessert mix!  We bake goodies to go with dessert that our Small Group serves at our local homeless shelter once a month. (If you really want to help your homeless community, serve often at a homeless shelter and really get to know them.  You might be surprised who learns more.)  See that space to the right?  That is going to have 20 boxes of brownie mix (The guys’ favorite) after Saturday.

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To save a lot of space in your pantry, after cereal gets down to 1/4 of a bag, roll it up and write the kind of cereal on it.  

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Drop them in, writing side facing the wall of the container, side by side.  You can identify the cereal without pulling them all out.  Keeps the cereal fresher too!

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Hot cereals stay fresher longer in plastic ware as well.  Cut the directions off the box and slide it down the side.  Refill and toss the box upon every purchase!

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Only 20 bags in that laundry bag converted grocery bag holder!  When it gets bulky, we will make another donation!  No more bags on the floor!

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I labeled the shelves because my family is great about unloading groceries… Now, they can actually put them where they belong because they have a well marked location!

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These recyclable grocery bags are going into my car! I shoved all the smalls into the big.

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Portable insulated bags, coolers and lunch packs now fit on the floor in the pantry!

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I actually had extra space even! And look! Nothing on the dryer!

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Shoe rack now is able to hold our dog grooming bucket and has a place for everyone to put there gloves after working outside!  On top is ready for coffee mugs to be set on while boots are going on!  This is the country, yes, we really require this.  I even put a yummy smelling candle on there that I lit and now has made that whole part of the house smell wonderful!

  My laundry room is small, but it is still part of my home. There were muddy boots coming off in that very room just an hour after I took these pictures.  But now, it is just a wipe and sweep away from being clean all over again and I can do it in about 2 minutes!  

   It’s about making your house work for your lifestyle, not adjusting your lifestyle to fit your house.  I had so much fun doing this and I loved knowing that I could share this with you guys to encourage you to start even if it’s small and learn how to make a small space work for you!  Hope you had fun reading!

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See you soon!

Angie

 

 

Pinterest, anyone?

So, I am upside down, turn around hooked on Pinterest!!!

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I don’t know if you have heard of this website yet, but it is absolutely amazing!  I have learned how to make my own laundry soap, use burner covers to build a turn table masterpiece and to style my hair and clothes in hundreds of styles!  You can learn how to do vertical gardening, closet organizing and how to cook a 10 course meal.  There are so many tips and ideas for organizing, that I’m surprised that we even have clutter in our midst!

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The problem is that while I have more information pouring into my brain, I am so obsessed with the website that I keep reading and getting new ideas and planning that nothing is getting done around my house!  I get so busy clicking and tapping, posting and pinning that all I am seeing in my brain is this grand dining room with a glorious table runner, donning tall elegant candles circled with silver garland swirling all around into a glorious display of cleanliness and effortless beauty!  Then, I get off the computer and see on my table, a coffee mug, and unfinished puzzle with a small pile of pieces set aside for the flute of the girl who is playing magical tunes that turn into fairy tale images. I see school books that wait for my grading (I home school), and a friendship bracelet waiting to be mailed of to one of my daughters friends… ~Sigh

I look into the kitchen and instead of the organized and freshly mopped version that was in my head just moments ago, with all those mugs hanging in a row and the fruit stacked wonderfully in that old style colander, I see dishes in the sink, a bread bag left open on the counter and a black banana on a barren fruit stand.  Not exactly what I had in my head.

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Feeling the burden of what could be and probably should be, created a little bit of depression in my heart.  Why had I spent all that time searching for ways to make my home beautiful and yet it still looks like I ran out the door on Thanksgiving afternoon! Why, why, why?

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I drooped my head and moped into my living room which just moments ago had delightful hand sewn cushions, perfectly tossed onto fluffy and splendidly upholstered furniture with a steaming cup of cappuccino along with my favorite book by it’s side on the shiny solid wood coffee table that I made out of my very own log, and instead saw a crooked rug and slip covers that I despise with a smudge from my coffee cup that I forgot to put a napkin under along with laundry overflowing on my chase lounge. Why, why, why?

It’s not due to a lack of my ability to imagine these rooms wonderful and welcoming, but instead the lack of real time and money to get it that way.  See, when I look at my wish list of things to do around this house, I know it is going to take me weeks and money I don’t have to ‘Git R Done’ and that is just so darn frustrating!

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So, I’ve come up with a plan. I am going to take out a small private loan and go through my Pinterest boards and starting from beginning to end just do it all! Oh, sorry, I was in Pinterest land again.  That’s not the real plan…

Actually, I have a real plan!

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I am asking all you Pinterest Pals of mine to join me if you would like because we are going to have a Pinterest Party!!!  Are you ready for this???  Here we go!

  1. With Pinterest plans already decided, pick the room/area you want to do first!  (This should be a room or area (maybe even a closet) that you can do in a matter of hours and have a noticeable result)  The room I chose was my Laundry Room because I have great storage above my washer and dryer but everything just always gets shoved in there so it looks and functions terrible! TAKE A BEFORE PICTURE!!!
  2. Take everything out of the cupboards, off the shelves and out of the closets and put it in another room on the floor to be sorted, cleaned and organized.
  3. Wipe down all flat surfaces, clean the light fixture, wash the walls as best as possible, and sweep, mop or vacuum the floors.
  4. While all of that is drying, bring your rag with you to wipe down anything that can be, in your pile of items from your room. As you are wiping everything down, start organizing all your items into these four piles.
  • Belongs in this room
  • Does not belong in this room
  • Donate
  • Garbage

Now is for the fun part!

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  1. First, bag up any garbage and take it immediately out to the trash.  
  2. Then bag/box up all the donation items and immediately take them out to your car.  (Don’t try to save things or you will end up putting them back into your home.)
  3. Put everything that doesn’t belong in that room into a box to be organized or put away later.
  4. Envision, the clean, organized room/area the way you want it.  Don’t loose focus!  Pull up the Pinterest page that applies to this room if needed. 
  5. Organize one area at a time and remember that if you can’t make all your stuff fit as you had hoped, consider getting rid of more!
  6. When you are finished, SMILE and TAKE YOUR AFTER PICTURE and say this to yourself… “I am not just a dreamer but also a doer. I am one step closer to living in an organized and clean home that not only is welcoming to guests but that I am safe and comfortable in.” 

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  You may even want to pray this prayer.  “Thank You, God, for giving me a home and many things that so many others don’t even dream of having! I know that you will always provide my needs and I promise not to be consumed any longer by my wants. Thank You for granting them to me and please help me to remember to always be grateful for everything You give. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

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Repeat these steps every day until you have gone through your whole house.  Remember not to neglect your finished rooms while working on your new rooms.  I suggest giving your bigger projects 2 or more days so you have time to avoid neglecting your daily chores.

I hope this blog has been helpful for you!  I will post my before and after pictures in my next blog!

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Happy Pinning!

Angie

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