Monday, August 26, 2013

Tips to Declutter

As we come to a close for the "Project Declutter" series, I wanted to share some decluttering and organization tips. This weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop by Eileen Roth, the author of Organizing for Dummies.  She had some good pointers to help everyone get started on the road to a clutter-free home.  We discussed that the causes of clutter can be receiving items, buying more stuff, and saving items for later use.  I have learned that anytime you get your mail, dump the junk mail right away.  Then the remaining items that are bills or things you want to keep you can put in a file.  When it comes to saving items, ask yourself, "Have I used this in the last year?  If not, then I need to sell it or donate the item."  If you would like to declutter your closet, here is an awesome idea:  Turn all the hangers in your closet backwards.  Whenever you wear something, turn the hanger the right way.  At the end of the year, all the hangers turning the wrong way should be donated.  I love this idea to simplify your closet in a fun way, and to take tabs on items you wear or don't wear.

Do you make multiple trips to different rooms throughout each day?  Have a distributing box where you put items, and then when you pass a room you can easily put those items away.  You can also save it for the end of the evening and put everything away at once.   It saves the frustration and time you are going back and forth throughout the day just picking up and distributing stuff. 

Time Management Tips:

1. Chunk

Give yourself a reasonable space to work with.  If cleaning and organizing is not your forte and you get easily overwhelmed just pick one area.  For example, if looking at the entire dresser that has hoards of piles overwhelms you, then pick a 12x12 section to work on.

2.  Time Limit

Use a timer to limit your cleaning. If you only want to take 5 minutes to clean then use that time wisely!  You will probably get more stuff down in that 5 minutes than an hour of unplanned time.

3.  Pretend Move

Why is it that when you are paying a mover that we are gunho about packing up the boxes in a timely manner?  Pretend you are moving and need to declutter in preparation of the move.  This does not have to be a one week challenge. Even doing one room per a month is a good goal!

4.  Delegate

Have the family involved with the cleaning process.  They contribute to the mess too, so they can also help with getting the house looking presentable.  If the entire family gets involved, the sense of accomplishment can be felt by everyone. Plus, it takes all of the responsibility off yourself.

5.  Accountability

Have a friend or someone you trust to help keep you accountable.  Have them email or call you and ask, "How's the decluttering coming?"  It is not recommended to have your spouse or parent be your accountability person because it's easier to cave in and get away with it.  Choose someone you know that will encourage, and that you want to impress (you'll most likely want to clean so you can give them a good report).

If you missed the other posts in the "Project Declutter" series, here they are:
Project Declutter Intro

Declutter Your Mind

Have you found some useful tips to help with organizing or keeping the house clutter-free? Feel free to share below.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Yummi Pouch {Review}

Our family is trying to find ways to cut down costs when it comes to snacking.  Our 2 year old son loves to eat anything that comes in pouches. Most of the premade pouches at the grocery store start to add up every week. Yummi Pouch is an affordable and fun way to snack. This mama loves the versatile, vibrant colors of the Yummi Pouch Brights!  They are great to keep messes to a minimum and easy when on-the-go.  

Yummi Pouches can hold smoothies, applesauce, yogurt, or any other snack. These are better than the store-bought pouches because they are bigger--holding up to 6 ounces of goodies!  Which is fantastic for my always hungry toddler! 

 My son enjoyed the smoothie I made for him.  Yummi Pouches are easy to fill up with the wide zipper opening.  You can reseal them, and save for later too!  Little Man did not finish his smoothie so I put it in the freezer for a later time.

After enjoying some of the smoothie from the Yummi Pouch, Little Man was really curious and started blowing air through the spout.  Again, this mama is thankful for a mess-free snack time.  

 Yummi Pouches have information on the back that includes a spot for the date and contents. This feature is great to use with a dry-erase marker.  After each use, they can be cleaned with a bottle brush or easily thrown in the dishwasher.   

For $14.99 you get 4 Yummi Pouch Brights.  You can check out the different options at the  
Yummi Pouch Store.  I was not compensated for writing this review, but the company sent me a pack of Yummi Pouch Brights.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Follow the company for updates and information:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Change a Mind about Mental Illness: Bipolar

Did you know: 
1 out of 6 people have a mental illness.  
That could be your brother, mother, a friend, someone you pass on the street.

Something has been tugging on my heartstrings that I would like to shed some light on.  As I was having a conversation with some friends, someone made the comment, "I think my ex-husband is bipolar, and I'm sure some of my kids are too. They are crazy!"  This may not sound like an end of the world comment, but it took me aback.  Growing up with family members and friends who suffer from the ups and downs of dealing with bipolar makes me extra sensitive towards this topic.  Bipolar is considered a mental illness where an individual can be happy one moment and the next be completely down. Sometimes there are days or weeks where they may have a manic high (very positive, full of energy, might even tend to be more of a risk taker during this time) or a manic low (major depression).  There is not a week that goes by where I don't hear such comments from friends and strangers using the term "bipolar". Most of the time it is in a negative way... "Oh man, they must be bipolar!  You are sooo bipolar!", etc. Sometimes it's in a joking matter.  Non the less, we need to be careful what comes out of our mouth.  You never know if someone is around and it offends them.  It is rather hurtful and ignorant.  Our society has started to realize that saying such things as "What a retard! You are so retarded!" can be taken as politically incorrect and insensitive.  The same needs to go with using the word "bipolar". Everyone needs to understand that such phrases should be deemed as inappropriate and insensitive as well. 

During my 27 years of life so far, there was a huge phase growing up when "everyone is ADD or ADHD". There was a negative association attached to being ADD or ADHD.  Nowadays, I feel that the diagnosis of being bipolar has taken over society.  That's the new term doctors like to throw out there every chance they get. It's a very real mental illness.... a mental issue that affects many peoples lives and many have to manage it by taking medication.  It is a tough thing to live with day in and day out.  I had family members end up in the hospital because they were on the verge of committing suicide when they were having a major low.  It is not an easy thing to deal with. It just does not help that our society makes them out to look like fools and crazy people. They are not.  If anything, they have to work extra hard to maintain stability in their lives.  I am so proud of how far my friends and family have come while battling this mental illness. 

My biggest pet peeve pertaining to this subject is how the media portrays it.  Many of the cases people hear about on the news or through movies and tv are the absolute far end of the spectrum cases.  I remember a few years back when Britney Spears shaved her head and bashed in car windows.  A lot of people instantly went to the idea that she's got to be bipolar.  Maybe she is, maybe she's not.  All I can say is that that was an EXTREME episode.  My friends and family that struggle with being bipolar have never done anything like that.  I have seen them happy one moment and then completely depressed the next, sometimes when they are manic high they might go on a shopping spree or be highly energetic, etc.  It is nothing to the extreme that the media portrays.  Our society has a rigid view on what bipolar is all about, and has given it a negative connotation.  Based on what I have learned about it over the years, I vaguely remember hearing that there are multiple levels of bipolar.  So don't just assume that because someone is deemed bipolar that they are psycho and crazy. 

It was touching to hear actress, Glenn Close, share her personal experience pertaining to bipolar.  Her sister is bipolar and they teamed up to change minds about mental illness.  Glenn Close and her sister recently spoke in a commercial about this topic. It is very touching:


Monday, August 19, 2013

Declutter your Mind

Why is it that on the days when life is more hectic then I cannot find anything in my house?  Running late, misplacing everything, and I don't seem to have anything under control.  It can be an endless cycle when your house is cluttered and it starts affecting your every day life.  Coco Chanel said it best: "An interior is the natural projection of the soul."  I truly believe that the way my house is presented 24/7 reflects what is going on in my personal life.  It shows what is truly going on in my mind and soul.  For a long time now the house has remained cluttered. There are stacks and piles everywhere, clothes scattered all over the dresser, and there are still boxes that have not been unpacked since we moved in 3 years ago.  I am a self-proclaimed "Pack Rat". I save everything! That is also where my frame of mind has been. My own life feels out of control and hopeless, sometimes just like the mess within my house.

So here's to focusing on making a few changes!  Focus on ONE area you can work on TODAY.  The other day I organized my kitchen counters, and could finally walk in without feeling a pit in my stomach.  It was a like a breath of fresh air to see it so clean and organized.  This experience has shown me just how important it is to keep the outside organized, which makes it possible to focus on the inner peace that comes from an organized home.

"When your whole house is organized and running smoothly, you will reap the benefits: You will be saving time, You will be on time, You will be more creative, You will be less wasteful, and You will be more productive and happy." -Me to the Power of We

Next week we will be focusing on "Tips to Declutter" during our Project Declutter series!  I will be attending a workshop about organizing, and will be sharing info I learned from that also.  Hope to see you back!  Check the first part of this series: Project Declutter Intro


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Creating a "Life List"

When fear and doubt come into play they can deter you from living a life of purpose.  We all want to listen and do what our heart desires, but sometimes there is that "enemy" getting in the way--YOU.  It is easy to start doubting yourself and start questioning why you want to do this, how difficult this will be to accomplish, or the amount of patience or money this will entail.  I know because there have been many times when I gave up on a dream in an instant.  It was easier to give up than to follow through, conquer my fear or doubt, and to pursue something that might take a little energy from my part. 

 "Do you know what fear fears?  Paper."- Jon Acuff

Author and blogger, Jon Acuff, shared a wonderful way to tackle fear.  We are going to create a "life list".  This is a list to focus on your dreams, goals, and hopes.  Using this format can encourage you to take it a step further without becoming overwhelmed.  It can fight off your fears and doubts, if only you write them down. Consider the reality of your dreams and how you will get from point A to point B.  Writing down what you tend to avoid because of fear will nip it in the butt. You cannot move on and conquer your fear without doing something about it!  So get that paper out, and start creating your own life list. 

My Life List

1.  I want to conquer my phobia of storms

{Reality}  The anxiety is more than I can handle

{Questions}  Why am I fearful of storms?  What's the worst that can happen?  What are some steps and ways of overcoming this fear?

2.  I want to go back to work

{Reality}  I'm not sure what I want to do, and I have a child that I cannot leave by himself

{Questions}  Should I try teaching again or go a different route?  What are the pros/cons of daycare vs. homecare?  Can my son get into preschool next year?

3.  I want to spend more quality time with my husband

{Reality}  We don't have money to spend on date nights, and when we stay home we tend to do our own individual thing.

{Questions}  What are some ways to spice things up?  What are some things we would want to talk about/do together?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Reasons to Journal

My first journal started when I was in first grade (yes, you heard that right).  It was a Hello Kitty journal that even included a lock and key.  The journal entries back then were very simple: "Dear Diary, My friend is so mean. She is not my friend anymore."  And then the next day, we were skipping along and best friends again. Oh the joys of childhood! As I become older, my journals speak from the soul and holds my innermost thoughts.  It is a window to my soul. The pages tell my story. 

What is your life story?

*Here's a few reasons to journal:

1.  Make Sense of Pain
Writing about traumatic experiences helps to release the power that is hurting you.

2.  Take Control of Your Life
Let your worries be written in your journal instead of letting the thoughts plague your mind all day.

3.  Stay Focused and Motivated
A journal can help you plan your goals and stay on track. Write down your goals, and journal about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences through the process.  It will help you stay motivated.

4.  Use Your Journal to Practice Positive Thinking
Focus on at least one thing you are grateful for each day.  Practicing positive thinking and writing it down.  It will encourage you when days aren't so peachy.

5.  Make Scribbling a Happy Habit
Jotting quick thoughts in a journal by bullet pointing can be quick for daily entries. 

Journal Prompt:  Sum up your life in only 7 words. Feel free to share it below.

Mine would say : "All I want is to be loved."

*Inspired from

Monday, August 12, 2013

Project Declutter

It has been a running joke in my house that I am one stack away from being on the show "Hoarders".   Maybe I am not that bad, but at least I have a trail in my garage to get from point A to point B.  Even though the house is messy, I know EXACTLY where everything is--it's an organized disaster.

If you are anything like me, some days you just walk by the clutter without a glance. Somehow it has become part of the fixture or has made a "home" in that spot for good. Other days when walking by the clutter it can become quite the annoyance. The clutter has somehow taken over the entire house and thinking about it can be plain overwhelming.  Some days it sounds wonderful to have a bulldozer just demolish the house so we can start new and fresh-- I wish!

To reverse the clutter and gain back control of my own house, I wanted to do a "Project Declutter" series.  Over the next few weeks, the blog will be covering different aspects of decluttering your home and your life.  It doesn't have to be overwhelming and a difficult feat as most people imagine. 

Join us through the "Project Declutter" series as we share tips to overcome clutter, ways to change our bad habits, and enjoy seeing a glimpse into my real life mess.


What are some ways you declutter and stay on top of it? 


Friday, August 2, 2013

Waking Up to a Better You!

Every day I want to wake up with a positive outlook on life.  Who doesn't want to wake up in a great mood, and start the day off right? 

Today was different than other mornings. Today I woke up motivated, with a sense of gratefulness, and feeling like today will turn out just fine.  It doesn't matter what external things are happening in my life around me--today I will focus on the positives and leave the negative thinking behind!

The other day I came across a news segment from Your Life A to Z that featured "How to Wake Up Motivated Every Day".  Dr. Alison Arnold gave some helpful tips to get the day started off right.  She recommends starting this the night before, and writing down what you want to focus on the next morning:

1.  Write down how you want to feel in the morning (ie: joy, patience, happiness, courage, etc)

2.  Write down 3 things you would like to accomplish the next day. 

Dr. Ali recommends coming up with goals that are realistic.  If you already know you will not exercise or have no motivation to do so, then do not put that as one of your goals.  You want to focus on things you can actually accomplish. Set yourself up for success!

3.  Then the next morning, read your list and write down a few things you are grateful for.  Starting the morning off with thoughts of gratefulness gets your day started off on the right foot.

4.  Make sure to review your list throughout the day to help keep you on track.

“Nothing external is stopping you from living the life you were born to live. Liberation is an inside job. Stuck in a job, relationship, or self defeating pattern? Afraid to break out of a comfort zone? You’re lying to yourself. Step out of fear and into your greatness.” -Dr. Alison Arnold

What are your thoughts about trying this out?  Let me know how it works for you. Would love to hear comments about how you try to stay positive throughout the day, and live a better you!