31 Days of Spending Zero– Day 2

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Day two of 31 Days Of Living Well And Spending Zero has us cleaning out our pantries and cupboards and inventorying our freezers. Makes sense! This month we’re going to use up what we have, but how can we use up what have if we don’t know what we have?

Since my husband is retiring from the Army next spring, I’ve been using more of our food storage so we have less to take with us when the time comes. This project was actually really easy!

 

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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And here’s my pantry inventory. Please don’t judge harshly!

 

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I put the inventory sheet into a page protector so I can easily wipe off stuff as we use it. Aaaannd, you can see that I did already!

 

 

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The Declutter Project

I’m not Catholic, but I love participating in Lent every year. In the past I’ve given up coffee (hard), caffeine (even harder), and decluttered forty bags of random stuff in forty days (not as hard, but way more rewarding).

Fast forward to now, I no longer drink coffee, I’m still a caffeine addict (I love you Red Bull, even though you are horrible for me!), aaaaaannnnd I still have loads of clutter. The Red Bull thing is sorting itself out since I’m on a 30-day no spend challenge (and what a challenge it is! I’ll blog about it some other time), and energy drinks are most decidedly NOT an essential item. So this year I’m focusing on the clutter again.

Recently I’ve read, and reread, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, which is not so much about “getting rid of stuff you don’t need” as it is “only keeping what you love.” She works by categories, not rooms or spaces. I’ve already gone through my clothes and my books, and when you gather up everything in your house that belongs in your current category, it’s overwhelming, if not a little horrifying. You don’t truly know how much you have until it’s all piled on your bed or in the middle of the kids’ playroom floor.

I’ll be honest, the next category on the KonMari method list is papers, and I’ve been procrastinating for a couple weeks on this. With Lent coming up, and my goal to complete another 40 bags in 40 days, I should be tackling those huge stacks and boxes soon. And until I get the courage to attack the paper, I’ll be working on the rest of the stuff in the house.

My secondary goal is to post 40 blog posts during that time. Ha ha! Wish me luck on that one!

What are you giving up/doing for Lent (which starts this coming Wednesday)? Let me know in the comment section!

I’m back, kind of? Maybe?

So I’ve been working on my fit project, which I tried to turn into a blog, but ended up doing a Facebook page instead.

Lately I’ve had a few things floating around in my head and I thought, “I should write a few blog posts about this stuff!”

So, I’m not going to promise amazing, informative content seven days a week, but I would like to make blogging a habit over the month of December. Until then, I’ll post a few things here sporadically, like the art projects and food crafts we have planned over the next couple weeks, with plenty of links back to the original source (I’m not *that* creative on my own!).

Upcoming Cleaning/Organizing Projects

Since deciding that going primal for me and gluten-free/casein-free/soy-free for the kids would be beneficial for our health, I realized step one would be cleaning out the pantry. If it’s not there, we can’t eat it. I started this project this morning, but decided to hold off until I could get a picture of the mess that is my pantry, plus I need to wait until the baby goes down for a nap.

Then I thought, why stop at the pantry? So I decided that I will clear out my desk, my dresser/closet, my kids’ rooms, and eventually my garage. And you, my lucky readers, get to see the progress! Ha ha! Actually, putting my goals on my blog help keep me accountable, so really, you all are helping me! Thank you! Oh, and this will help fulfill a couple of my 101/1001 goals (getting organized, owning less than I do now, and by selling off the excess, starting the emergency savings fund. Oh, and blogging about my projects, i should be able to complete the write a blog every day for 30 days goal. Much accomplishment all around!).

So here we are, a few days into the new year. I trust you’ve written out your goals? What steps are you taking to accomplish them?

Building My Routines Part Three

I try not to write on Sunday’s unless it’s something fast and fun. I like blogging, but I like hanging out with my husband and kids more 🙂

So last time I wrote about my routines up through picking up the big kids from school. And here is where I think my successful days start.

After school, my oldest does his homework right away and my five year old and two year old play while I feed the baby. My oldest is usually done by the time I finish feeding the baby and then I check his work.

Now here’s what I believe has been crucial to my routine building during the day, getting ready the night before. I can’t stress this enough. Fly Lady actually recommends this too, but I don’t go so far as to lay clothes out, unless I’m getting up REALLY early and don’t want to wake my husband. But I do have the big kids make their lunches either after school or after dinner, and I get my younger two’s lunches made and in the fridge and diaper bags restocked and by the door before I go to bed. If I’m foldomg laundry that night, I’ll set out clothes for the younger two at the changing area the night before, and this makes convincing my husband to get the younger two ready while I get dressed that much easier.

Also before bed, I make sure my sink is empty and run the dishwasher as needed, and do a quick pickup around my house. Seriously, stumbling in the dark at 2 a.m. to get the crying baby is much safer when your floor is at least clear of toys (and you parents know how painful Legos are when you’re barefooted!). Plus, waking up to a somewhat neat house puts me in a good mood at 6 a.m. when I reluctantly get out of bed to prepare breakfast for a very loud two year old. I keep telling myself that someday I will go to bed early enough that I can get up at 5, before the children, so I can get my computer stuff done and not cut into any time with my children or husband.

One more thing I do before I go to bed, is I write out my to-do list, the one to further my business on my Ipod (awesome note app is the best for this!) and any cleaning on the wihite board on my refrigerator (I also write out reminders to take my vitamins on this board). I recommend taking a look at Chalene Johnson’s 30 Day Challenge for more info on to-do lists.

My routine building, in a nutshell:

  • I do as much as I can the night before to make my morning easier
  • I started with a couple cleaning items, not going for a whole routine at once
  • I included my children in the process so that they learn responsibility and keep me accountable
  • I plan my day the night before (To-do list discussion in a future post)

Ok, so not so glamorous, pretty common sense, but it has been journey for me starting as a messy, barely an adult child living off frozen burritos to a somewhat neat, somewhat organized mom and business woman, and I am very much still learning and expanding my routines.

What is something you have been working on improving in your life?

Thanksgiving!

Since we don’t have family nearby, we stayed home and cooked our favorites. And now I’m boiling the turkey carcass for stock! I figure I am getting my money’s worth out of the turkey by not only eating the meat, but getting the flavor out of the remains. Plus, in making your own stock, you know what’s in it, or rather, what’s not (fillers, artificial flavors and preservatives, extra salt). It’s a win-win!

I Love Fabric Dye!

I am not a fan of faded denim, but my jeans fade long before I wear them out. I still wear them because it doesn’t make sense to throw out perfectly functioning clothing just because I don’t like the color. So I decided to grab a bottle of fabric dye.

I’m kicking myself for not taking a “before” picture, but you can see the “after” of a skirt I threw in the dye.

That skirt was an awesome thrift store find that I wear all the time, even now, two years after I bought it.

I admit I hoped the color would come out darker, but I didn’t follow directions exactly. The bottle said use one bottle for every two pounds of fabric, and I threw in a pair of my jeans, my skirt, one of older sons’ jeans, and my toddler’s shorts. I may wait a few weeks and dye again.

Since last night, I have been trying to figure out what else I can dye! It is such an easy way to refresh your wardrobe!