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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Breathing Room


I just looked out my window to see one of my dear friends pulling out of the driveway to take her second of 7 off to college..and her ONLY girl. Maggie. Beautiful girl child that has loved on my children and many others since the day that we met her. As I began to pray for them to have a safe, blessed, beautiful day, it hit me. Not like a brick, but like a soft pillow...gentle but noticeable. That’s going to be us in just 6 short years. Wow. We all know the day comes when you give your children wings and they fly. But to watch that car pull out this am, knowing and loving the people inside, moved me to a deeper thought of the day that it will be us. Immediately, The Lord said to me,”This is why you are doing what you are doing...this is why you are being intentional in the education of your girls...and this is why you are pouring into them each day, until you are often overcome with exhaustion....so that one day, when you may pull out of your driveway headed towards college and adulthood, they will be ready...ready with the full armour of ME, ready to face the world, make an impact in the Kingdom, and show the world who I am by the way that they live out their lives.” That was my word from Him this morning...

And that is why I haven’t written for Life~Uncluttered for an entire year. As a family, we were de~cluttering within. You see, last year, about this time, we stepped out in faith and took the road less traveled in our parts...a hybrid school of sorts...where the girls went to a Christ centered academy for 2 days, and homeschooled the other 3 days a week. It was something we were intrigued by, felt being led to try, so we went for it....and are we glad we did. For our family, it was spot on. God knew exactly what we needed and it was one of the best academic and familial years of our lives. I’ve talked before on this blog about the fact that being “organized” and “uncluttered” is about way more that paper stacks, junk drawers and attics. It’s about LIFE! Now don’t get me wrong, ya’ll know I love to tackle me some junk drawers and paper stacks...but if your very existance, your heart, your mind, your body, your time, are cluttered, no amount of purging, sorting and filing will be an adequate fix. So this past year, for us, has been just that...an attempt to slow it down, unclutter our hearts, minds and schedules...and a time to regroup and decide what to let into our lives. So as it is with physical clutter, what comes into our house or car or office must have a home, a place where you know that it lives. But even more essential to an uncluttered and restful life, anything that you “let in” to your heart, mind and schedule, must also have a home..there MUST be room for it...or it will look just like your worst junk drawer...you know the one that makes you cringe when you open it, worrying that something may jump out at you.

So as you all begin a new academic year, my prayer is, for those of us that seek physical order in our homes, that we may take some time to look inside and begin to unclutter there...and take a real good honest look at how and where we spend our time....As a family we found that once we uncluttered the schedule a bit, we had the breathing room to see the work that needed to be done on the inside...I pray the same for you. 

For those that have messaged that you missed the blog, my hope is to write more often...but only if there is “room”!

For He is not a God of confusion and disorder but of peace and order.
1 Corinthians 14:33

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer Garage Improvement!

Oh my! Summer is off to a great start....busy, but great! Just wanted to quickly post a few photos of a garage I just recently did...a garage inhabited by a busy family and that is often the gathering spot for neighborhood kids. You often will find their parents hanging in the driveway while kids play too......hence important to have balls, riding toys, folding chairs and the like all in arms reach!

We started by removing anything and everything that did not belong in the garage or that the family no longer used or needed. That included paint cans, extra car seats that are rarely used, and beach toys. My rule of thumb for a garage is, if an item is used only once or twice a year, and you usually don't need it in a moment's notice,  then the item does not belong in the garage....just makes sense to me...place it in the basement or attic storage. It is also important to get in the right mindset when purging..get real with yourself..is the item really used, and would you or your kids miss it?...many times the answer is "no". Another general rule I like to use is to have as little on the floor as possible...it helps to keep the floor clean and discourages clutter. One last thing we did in this garage that I loved was to buy a few clear tubs with lids to place on the set of shelves. In there, we placed soft totes and coolers that they may grab on their way to the pool or picnic. The tubs keep things neat and together, and because they are clear, the family can see the contents easily.



Lots of "stuff" piled on the shelves

Old paint cans and things on the floor..just needed a few hooks!




Love these mesh baskets that hold anything from balls to bubbles!

Riding toys have to be on the floor for the little ones...

All dad needed!
Hope you enjoyed the photos! I always love to add some fun...and usually chalk board paint is involved:) Happy Wednesday!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Does Your Med Closet Need A Check~Up?

 

I had a cough last week, and my husband brought me some Vicks Vapor Rub (how sweet) that expired in 2001! 10 years ago...Funny, though, that it still had that strong, oh so familiar smell. For the life of me I do not know how that got by me in February when I took the time to go thru all of our medicines. We were headed out of town and had a family member coming to stay with the kids...so I took an hour or so and gave the ole med closet some love! How is yours? Can you go right to a medicine the minute that you need it? You should be able to...Check out a few of theses...aren't they great?



Yours doesn't have to be as fancy as the ones above...I personally like mine pretty, but I like pretty. These will do...It works...it's labeled..It is organized....You don't have to spend an arm and a leg on baskets...but remember, you can often get great ones at the dollar store, Walmart or a discount store like Tuesday Morning...





Here are a few tips:
1. Set aside some time where little ones will not be able to get into medicines
2. Clean off a countertop or surface where you can work..give yourself some space
3. Remove all medicines from closet or drawers..don't forget to search the rest of the home
4. Go thru meds, purge those that are expired, leaking or not able to close properly
5. Sort the meds that are left
6. Make a note of the meds that you need to purchase to have a current, stocked closet
    Think cold, cough, daytime, night time, fever, pain, bandaids, antibiotic ointment, tummy aches, etc 
7. Make a note of how many "types" of bins or baskets that you need..
8. Dispose of Prescription and OTC medications properly..here is a link to help
9. Then the most fun...purchase number of containers needed ( i'd get 2 extra), label and organize! 
10. Try to always return medicines to their proper home..you'll be glad you did at 2a.m. when you're looking for Motrin for Johnny's fever!

Yep, you'll check out your med closet every time you walk by it for awhile...just like any other space you get organized and pretty-fied!
Hope this helps, Ya'll!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Sabbath Space

So, it's been awhile...funny this is called "life~uncluttered", cause I've been a little cluttered myself. My move a year ago coupled with all the work that we've had done to the house, and the fact that I piled on too many commitments, has made my blogging take back seat. Who knew I loved writing? And how I have missed it so. Maybe it is the subject matter that I really am passionate about...all that aside, I hope to be back more regularly, and have adjusted my self expectations to once a week writing...hope that's good for you....and hope I can meet my new goal.

If you are looking for concrete organizing ideas in this one, I apologize. Dare I say, though, that this topic is far more important than any bin, basket, hook or closet space.

I am nearing the end of an amazing bible study/book reading of the Resolution For Women, by Priscilla Shirer with some truly amazing women. A chapter that we just finished reading and discussing this week was titled "Sabbath Spaces". In a jist, it was about intentional time set aside for rest, rejuvenation, and time to reflect...but not only that. To my very pleasant surprise, she spoke of actual Sabbath "Space". I know, for myself and my family, that having an organized, clutter free home is something definitely of spiritual matter. Come on y'all, we all know that grace, patience, kindness and gentleness are NOT virtues we exude when we are knee high in stuff and clutter. To put it in my own words would be a mute point, because Priscilla Shirer did it so well.

She says "in order to protect ourselves from being controlled and enslaved by our chaos, we must become women who intentionally create "Sabbath Spaces"- margin in our lives (and homes) that are left purposefully clean and clear...failure to do so will only create more bondage".I, for one, desire to absolutely be free to live and love with NO bondage...and you?

She goes on to say that "as easy as it is for our calendars to be overrun with responsibilities, our own homes can also turn into pits of clutter and chaos, causing them to fell like less of a haven and more like a dungeon we want to get out of". I, for one, want my home to feel like a haven, a refuge from the nutty world out there...a place where my family and friends can come and relax. Shoot, I want it to be a place where I can relax...there's a good one...us? The ladies of the house? Relax? Well, I am here to say that if you will work to create the "Sabbath Space" in your home and schedules, you can do it too...

Work this week to look around. Where does your family spend the most time? That's where you may want to start. And start small if the task seems overwhelming. For gosh sakes, just having the kitchen table clear may be all you can do one day...or the garage cleaned out enough to park one car. Just begin to create a few Sabbath Spaces. You"ll get hooked....I promise.

Here are a few more thoughts to help you get started:

For a moment, put yourself in your husband's shoes ( if married). Many of these guys have stressful dog eat dog jobs out there. We need them to look forward to stepping through those doors where they can take a deep breath and just, be...
Same for the kids..school is stressful, chaotic at times and full of pressures...it's never too early to teach the kids the importance of their own lives and spaces to be less cluttered...their bedrooms should be a place of their own,.,their "Sabbath Space". You get the point.
Maybe you should start in the master bedroom...This is one of the first rooms I advise people to work on. This is a space I believe should be pretty, and special. Simply close your eyes and imagine the room you would like it to be and go for it...just because guests may not see it doesn't mean it shouldn't be free of junk and stuff. WE know it's there and it messes with us on the insides...just like loaded down drawers and basements...

I hope this has given you a glimpse of what it is that makes my passion for organizing and living simply so fierce. I know from personal experience and from working with people on projects, it changes you. On the insides. You have a choice. Clutter and chaos or simplicity and order. Or a mixture of the 2, which happens to the best of us at times:) next post, I promise, will have photos! Thanks for reading this far down..I know I was long winded.

~Jennifer

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Place For Our Jewels!


On the hunt for cute jewelry storage for my little girl's 10 year old room up-do...and found so many inspirational pictures..thought you all might enjoy!

This is actually made out of branches from the yard,
spray painted white. Glued into a painted wood block! Very eco-chic!


Beautiful...just super relaxing to look at!
Source
LOVE This one..personal fav for my own dresser..but need other colors!
Source



See how to do this!
You could use anything..chicken wire, twine, yarn..endless possibilities!

Easy DIY! Too cute! Source

Love this too! Especially for the sewers out there!
Source

I would probably paint this a fun color, but who can't find a chair at a garage sale? Wow!
Source




Hope everyone is having a great week~Jennifer







Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Yes, I am cluttered too..

I hate to admit it, but I will. My life is cluttered. There you have it. I am human. I am just like you. I have stacks of mail right now and what I guess will be hours of filing and sorting to do. Last week I forgot snacks for my daughter's basketball team, and realized, by a few comments and looks of disbelief from my friends, that they had the idea that I have it all figured out...the whole uncluttered, simple living, orderly home thing...nope..I just love the idea of it...the pursuit of it...


See, here is my mail clutter..i am willing to bet I need about 1/3 of this! Now ya'll know one of my dirty secrets! I don't always practice what I preach..usually around holidays:)


Come on, we all know that sick feeling in our stomachs when things are out of control, either in our home or in our schedules, or that "monkey on your back" feeling when you have drawers full of junk, basements full of things you'll never use, or attics splitting at the seams with boxes that you haven't opened in years..I seek simplicity and order because I loathe those feelings...I detest what clutter in my life does to my insides...then it, in turn, affects all relationships that are important to me...and usually the one that suffers the most is the one that I have with my heavenly Father!! the first thing that goes is my quiet time...and that is the one thing I need the most..time with Him! 

Whatever your belief, I feel sure you can relate..clutter just sucks the life right out of us!! We simply get so bogged down in it that we miss much of the joy that each day can bring. So there you have it..I don't have it down to a complete science as of yet, but I work steadily in my home, on my schedule and on my "insides", to keep things simple!!! 


Here are just a few things that I have found helpful on my journey to de~cluttering my life. Hope you enjoy and can use at least one!


1. Wake up 30 minutes before the chaos begins..have your quiet time, prayer, cup of coffee and then get moving!
2. Do not buy anything that you do not LOVE or NEED!..stop the thought process that you have to fill every nook and cranny of your home!
3. Create a Family Communication Center
4. Never leave dishes in the sink at night..if you awaken to clutter, your day is pretty much determined to be just that! (in my experience)
5. Make your bed! (And teach your kids to make theirs..how nice would it be for them to come home to a neat rom!)
6. Pray before you commit!..now I'm not saying here that I will pray before I commit to lunch with a friend..but before you commit to anything that may take your time and attention from your family.
7. Sort your mail every day..and be real with yourselves about coupons, catalogs..will you REALLY use them or will they end up in a drawer? Usually the latter!
8. Keep a bin somewhere handy that you can toss things in that no longer belong in your home..then you can sort at a later date..(ie:goodwill, give to friend, consign)
9. Put away laundry before beginning more..and if your children put their own away, help them learn to make it a priority!
10. CHALK BOARDS! Have them, use them!


I have many more..but we can start with these..Now off to sort my mail that got way out of hand over the last month...


Now take a listen to this...She speaks right to me!! De~cluttering is more than just organizing your linen closet and cleaning out the basement..it is about getting rid of all that junk INSIDE too! I hope this blesses you as it has me!



Happy Tuesday! Jennifer

Friday, January 6, 2012

Seize The Moment!

Don't you just hate when clutter costs you money? Man, I do..it drives me nuts..I went on a major shopping trip today. Came home and found that I bought some things that I already have..grrr..

I dropped everything and cleaned that bad boy out, the refrigerator, I mean..and his brother the freezer..looked at all expiration dates..toss..toss..toss..

A little wipe down here and there..and wham! I had a clean, clutter free fridge and freezer...sometimes you just can't plan these things..seize the moment when you are frustrated with something and you will purge with gusto as I did! 




Conservation Clutter, that would be..I guess..some things I tossed from the freezer that might have been edible, but, really, am I going to make homed dumplings anytime soon? Or frozen quail that my dear dad gave me a year ago? Don't think so..toss!

So it took me 45 minutes or so..like I had an extra with company coming for dinner? NOT! but now it's done and boy, do it feel good!

Same type of thing happened a few days ago..had been living without my "family communication center" ever since we moved into this house in April...missed it so and I recommend that all my clients have one..so, I got to work and made it happen! No time the the present..and I am so glad I did!! Here is a peak...will feature several on another blog another time..have a great weekend!



I love how it turned out:)



Jennifer