Everyone is Decluttering

Let's beat a dead horse, shall we?

I love to talk about decluttering. Truly, I think it is a means to a better life. When I'm freer from my responsibilities of managing stuff because we have less stuff, then I am freer to play, read, parent, cook...live life!

Like everyone and their sister, I have read (and thoroughly enjoyed) Marie Kondo's book. I've used the Kon Mari method, and I have gone through my house top to bottom. I love the message about keeping only the things that spark joy. Reading it was definitely a game changer in the decluttering department, and it has helped me to put the breaks on what we bring in.

I do disagree with the part of Marie Kondo's message that you can do one big tidy of a life time and never have to do it again. With kids, I just don't see how it's possible. There is always a steady influx of stuff coming in the door. Birthdays, Christmas, school, sports, etc all come with tons of paraphernalia.

To deal, I am continuing my tradition of a big declutter in Jaunary. I started this five years ago when Laurie was born, and every January since, I go through the whole house and declutter like a crazy person. Every year gets easier because I have become better at the process, but also, I don't keep or bring in as much junk as I used to. (I sat on the decision to buy a new blender for months!) I'm careful with the real estate of my closets and cupboards.

The beginning of this month I started my de-junking Kon Mari style. But a few weeks in, I needed a fresh angle and some extra motivation. Even for me, a lover of decluttering, it has been a struggle this year. I'm just not in the mood.

So after several bloggers posted about this course (and it was on sale for $5.99), Kickstart to Clutter Free, I jumped in and here is my progress.

The goal is to get rid of 500 things.

day 1 paper: 100

day 2 master bedroom: 12

day 3 kitchen counter: 1

day 4 home office: 7

day 5 pantry: 14

total so far, 134 things


I'm loving the results! Less is so much more.

What about you? Have you drunk the Kool-aid? Do you declutter? 


Avoiding Burnout in the Kitchen: Prepackaged Snacks

My life revolves around feeding people, and it is a full time job! Most of you are in the same situation.

Not pictured: nuts - any kind

For years, I've worked to wean us off processed snacks. They are expensive and most often less nutritious than homemade foods.

And truth be told, I genuinely prefer whole, real foods.

But to everything there is a season. And this is a season for some grab and go, prepackaged snacks.

Yes, a little pricey, but I call this my "hired help" in the kitchen. These snacks (and paper plates) are the reason I still have a soul.

I save my homemade food energy for dinners.


These pictured are some of the things I usually send in my kids' school lunches. I pass them out for breakfasts if we are in a hurry or if I had a bad night. I use them for walks, letting George eat in the stroller, keeping him from getting restless.

From after school snacks to a quick lunch for myself, these goodies are getting me through Caroline's babyhood and the adjustment to the school years. A couple of them actually are whole, real foods. And all are from Costco (of course).


What's your favorite prepackaged, no prep required snack?


My Capsule Wardrobe

For a long time (about three years), I have wanted to put together a capsule wardrobe. There are so many great blog posts out there about capsule wardrobes.....so if you're interested, pour yourself a cup of tea and dig in!

What is a capsule wardrobe, anyway?
How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe
The Daily Connoisseur : 10 Item Wardrobe Videos
Project 333: Dress with 33 items or less for 3 months
Why I Got Rid of My Wardrobe

If you don't already know, the idea of a capsule wardrobe is to create a small-ish wardrobe of mix and match pieces that you love and fit your lifestyle!

I believe, deep down in my soul, that a capsule wardrobe is the potential solution to the problems I have had with clothes over the past several years.

I have had an intense struggle with loving/liking my clothes and finding time to shop. Add to the mix, pregnancy, post-pregnancy, nursing, and getting older, and I have the perfect recipe for a clothing crisis! I know - first world probs.

But even more than these things is the issues with fashion industry itself. Styles change so quickly, and I have found that even items at a higher price point are not guaranteed to be well made. You don't always get what you pay for!

It has taken me years of "study" to recognize well-made clothes and to learn how to dress in a more timeless style that feels like me. I still feel very much in the process of learning.

(Also, I'm having trouble writing this post because I have too much to say on this topic, and my brain is stuck. Thank you, Caroline, for waking me up 3 times last night!)

Anyways, here is my capsule wardrobe. It includes shoes, 2 scarves, and 4 coats. My plan is to wear these 39 pieces for the months of January, February, and March. I will not shop (at all) until middle of March when I put together my spring wardrobe. Spring is my favorite season, so I'm real excited about my next capsule!

My plan is modeled after the well known blog, Unfancy. I binged read this blog in the early weeks of nursing Caroline.

My capsule does not include workout clothes or pajamas. Also, I think this is a rather large number of clothes, but with a nursing baby it's nice to have lots of back ups.


Yes, I have two pair of leopard heels and I wear them both!

Would you do this, create a capsule wardrobe? I love having an organized format to follow, and I find so much freedom in having limits! Also, the capsule forces creativity. There are combinations and outfits I would never put together without having limitations.


Staying Warm....My Favorite Winter Things

Sure I love to declutter, but I do love things that are useful and beautiful and make everyday life a tad more enjoyable. Here are a few of my favorite things I'm loving now that winter has FINALLY arrived after the warmest December of my life.

1. My dad gave each of my siblings and I a throw from the Company Store. It's smaller than a twin size comforter, and it is the perfect size blanket to curl up with and take a quick nap on a winter's afternoon. I also like using it in the mornings when I move from the bed to the sofa. I can finally quit trying to use my children's blankets. I have my very own!

2. My mom bought each of my children (except the baby) a pair of Hunter boots. {My parents are great gift givers.} Stephen, Laurie, and George muddy their boots up 6 out of 7 days a week. We have had tons of rain and our yard is a total mess. The boots are perfect for allowing them still go outside on the yuckiest days. I'm not typically stuck on name brands, but I will say that the Hunter's have been noticeably more durable than other rain boots we have owned.

3. Of course, coffee! I got a Starbucks gift card for Christmas, and I can't resist driving through and grabbing a coffee on my way to afternoon carpool. I like to order a short half caff coffee with cream AND an ice water. They have the best water.

This can't last forever because I don't do well with caffeine every afternoon. But for now, it's how I'm coping with the cold and back to school.

And I was doing so great with tea! Darn.

4. Caroline's teeny closet nursery is drafty and can get very chilly, so this ceramic heater has been so lovely for keeping my baby's room warm (but not too warm) while she sleeps. It has a thermostat, so it cuts off when the room reaches the set temperature.

What are your favorite winter things?!


What advice do you have regarding saving clothes for future children?

Yesterday, I posted about decluttering kids clothes. Can I get a whoop whoop?! How much fun is it to put away clean laundry in a tidy drawer that is not overflowing with too small, faded leggings and bathing suits?!

On yesterday's post a reader asked a great question, and I thought I would address it in post-form. What advice do you have regarding saving clothes for future children?

My straight forward answer is....define a space, whether it is a box or two boxes or three (your choice), and only keep what you can store in that space. I always kept one big box of boy clothes and one big box of girl clothes. If a box started to overflow, it was time to make a decision and take something out.

When you are putting away clothes for the "next" baby, shop your own stuff. Ask yourself "If I was having a baby boy/girl next week, what would I buy again?" This way, you are picking your favorites. Likely you got some gifts or hand-me-downs last time around that weren't exactly your taste or had an annoying collar or too many buttons. I think it is perfectly okay to want to love your baby's clothes, and even if you get rid of some things in good condition, that's okay!

If it's stained, throw it away. If it is a nicer, more expensive item, like an Easter dress, keep it. If it's not your style, give it away or sell it.

When they are little, they grow at lightening speed. Caroline didn't even get a chance to wear some of the specials that I had saved for her from Laurie. One- because she got a few new, darling gifts of her very own, and two- after having a baby there is pain and recovery and nursing and other stressors and I just didn't have time to play dress up!

This topic is highly subjective.


Decluttering - Children's Clothes

It's feels like it's all business around here after so much holiday revelry. But that is January for ya! I've spent the past couple of days taking care of the budget, bills, birthday party planning, well check up doctor appointments, and the house.

Over the weekend, I finally finished decluttering children's clothes. Here is my rule of thumb for managing kids' clothes these days - I only keep as much as I can store in their closets and dresser drawers. I used to have plastic storage containers as well, but now I've set the boundary to closets and drawers. This is plenty of storage space. It can be easily seen, and it is enough to have a stash for the future without hoarding.

I do keep one box of sentimental baby clothes. One medium sized box. Also, I find that I will hang on to something because it is sentimental, but then a few months or years out I can let go of it. Sometimes you just need some time before you can part with something.

If it is really special but not in good enough condition to keep or pass along, I will take a picture of it. Quite often, I actually shed a few tears. And though it seems really silly, I will kiss the thing goodbye. It's the end of an era. My babies are growing!

G's last year winter pj's....boo hoo

Such was the case with George's winter pj's last year....tears, a photo, a kiss. All the footies were tattered beyond repair.

I tell myself...I can't keep it all. I can't. And if it is good enough to wear, it is much better to pass it on to somebody who can use it. I love having a nephew nine months younger than George because I get to see hand-me-down clothes being put to good use!


Any tips for letting go of kids' clothing?
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