Digging out from Under the Clutter:
The Secret to Organization Revealed

It’s Spring and many folks are thinking about Spring Cleaning. I mentioned in my very first post that in my previous life [read: before becoming a SAHM to new baby] I spent over a decade helping folks with home organization. Ironically, I started my business as a Professional Organizer (way back in 1994) not because I was an organized person but because I was just the opposite and wanted to help others with something that had been my own struggle. Over the years of consulting, coaching, teaching and speaking on the topic my role evolved into what I referred to as a Life Simplification Strategist: meaning, organizing per se in my opinion was not really what it was all about—finding strategies for simplifying home and life was what people really needed and what I did. This is something I firmly believe in and incorporate into my daily life, though I no longer take on clients at this point. As I mentioned, I struggled with clutter and disorganization so it has been an ongoing effort to keep the focus and stay on top of things so that I can live my life with the order and organization I desire. There is absolutely a need for people to have strategies for simplifying various everyday aspects of life—both tangible and intangible. But one of the first things to realize is a super-secret special bit of knowledge that kick starts one’s ability to have organization in their home and life...I’m going to tell you what it is because I think everyone needs to know this, even though there are those who don’t want you to know. Ready for it? Here it is...get rid of half your crap! ;-) Seriously folks, we have too much stuff and many of us don’t even realize it. Most homes I’ve been to over the years were filled with approximately fifty percent (give or take) more stuff than they needed/used/wanted. Now there is some confusion these days when someone mentions “simplicity”. I am not necessarily talking about the voluntary simplicity movement here, I am talking about a level of personal simplicity that is something you can live with. For some folks that may be much less than others, it all depends. I only advocate simplifying things to the level you are comfortable with.

Clutter drives me crazy, as it does many of us. The trouble is we are living in an age and society that teaches us to have more, want more, and do more. It’s hard to combat this but when we don’t, we find ourselves unable to eat dinner at the table because it’s stacked with stuff, no where to put the groceries because the cabinets are already full, no place to prepare meals because the kitchen counters have papers and other junk covering it, embarrassed to have people over because all the surfaces are filled with clutter …the list goes on. Once we admit that there’s just too much it’s time to resolve to start eliminating and then putting those systems and strategies into play to deal with everyday tasks. That in a nutshell is heart of getting organized and simplified. But yes, it’s hard to do…hard to find the time, because well, we have lives!
It’s also hard to let go of the excuses:

“I paid good money for that!”
“I might need it someday”
“They don’t make ‘em like that anymore”

Yes, I’ve heard them all! One of my favorite excuses had to do with guilt. A lady at one of my seminars told the following story:

“Many years ago I took a sewing class and my project was to sew a sport coat for my husband. I went all out and bought the best material and spent a lot on this project. I really worked hard on this thing and was determined to make a wonderful sport coat. Well, the class eventually ended, the sport coat was still not done and sat unfinished in the hall closet. Life went on, months and then years went by and every time I opened the hall closet I felt guilt… guilt because my husband could have used that sport coat, guilt because I spent the money for the supplies, guilt because I took the class and never finished the project, and guilt because I just didn’t accomplish what I set out to do. I finally got tired of beating myself up over the whole thing and one morning I went to the closet to grab the coat, marched it out to the trash can and slammed the lid. I was finally free! And besides, I’d divorced that husband years ago anyway!”

This cracked me up! The things we do to ourselves! So, if we let go of the excuses, the guilt, and yes, about half the “stuff” we own we can focus on getting organized and simplifying our lives.
“Have in your home and life only things that provide necessary function, add true beauty, or bring genuine happiness. If something is more stressful than joyful, find a way to simplify it or eliminate it.”

Life is in the Details
“Mommy Dresses Me Funny”

I get a lot of flak in my family for being…well, being me. Being in a household with all males “the boys” often complain when I dress up the baby, especially on holidays. You see, I am pretty traditional in many ways; I believe in and enjoy dressing up, particularly when the occasion calls for it. One such occasion would be church (even though I realize now days most folks are ultra casual), and even more so when it’s Easter. So, yes, today the baby was wearing his adorable Easter outfit, a bubble romper with a peter pan collar and Easter bunnies in the smocking on the front.

Yesterday when we went to the egg hunt he was wearing another similarly styled Easter outfit.
By the way, both these outfits are actual boys outfits, purchased used (I may have a desire for the finer things but always try to save as much as possible) and worn previously by other darling little boys last Easter. The baby looked adorable, but as these outfits are pretty dressy, traditional and well, I guess you could say “foofy” and if you combine all that with a kid who’s dang cute (not that I have a bias or anything) we get lots of folks saying “What a cute little girl!” I’m sure my dear little baby boy is thinking “Umm, no, I’m a boy, but my mommy dresses me funny!” But you know what? I don’t care. Frankly, I like being different and while part of me wishes more folks cared to dress up (themselves & their kids) part of me feels like, hey, to each their own! One of the many fun things about being a mommy is enjoying things like dressing up your darling little baby in special outfits (yes, even boys!) and he’ll have the rest of his life to wear jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes!

So, I guess what I am really saying is that I am all about simple pleasures in life, and for me this is one them. Yes, there are far more important things in life than clothes, looking good, etc. But over the years I’ve come to learn that sometimes we focus so much of the big, dramatic things and become all consumed with them to the point that we miss the simple little pleasures in life—the things that turn everyday occasions into “special occasions”. Whether it’s a great cup of coffee, a nice glass of wine, an extra few minutes of snuggling before getting up in the morning, making your teenager laugh by being hilariously embarrassing or just being happy to see your baby look cute in his Easter outfit, these are the things that give added meaning and make life worthwhile.

Warning: Opinions Ahead

Now that I've been blogging awhile readers are likely to be forming certain opinions about me. So far, I can imagine things like:

"Too lazy to cook lentils!" "Clumsy enough to yank out own eyelashes" "Too wide for a thong" and other such amusing notions from recent posts. Oh, that's only the beginning! Of course with a fan base of three, I haven't been in too much danger of scrutiny yet. But, since it's naturally only a matter of time before Oprah and Ellen are asking to interview me I get a few more readers onboard it will inevitably begin. As I am on the verge of being plenty old enough to not care what anyone thinks forty *gasp* I imagine I'll be bolder in sharing my own opinions and various thoughts. Stay tuned.

You really can buy anything at the warehouse clubs!

So recently we we're at Sam's Club - the hubby's one aisle over looking for Alka Seltzer and I'm pushing the baby down the next aisle with other health & beauty items when I stumble across something that looks familiar from all the commercials: Enzyte the natural "male enhancement" stuff. Just as I see it the hubby walks up behind me and I jokingly say; "Look honey, they sell that male enhancement stuff here!" as I turn around to see his reaction I realize it's not the hubby but some other man! Yeah, gotta love those moments. When the hubby actually did come find me I had to tell him about my faux pas and of course I had him rolling with laughter over that one. Once again, my “I Love Lucy” qualities come out in oh-so-entertaining ways. I of course have to remind my hubby how “lucky” he is to be married to such a character. Somehow I’m not sure he quite sees it that way all the time. Hmmmm…..

So they make them afterall!

Today I went grocery shopping with the little one. I love Trader Joe’s…I find something new and exciting every time I go there. And by exciting I mean things like… cooked lentils! Something I recently looked for and thought did not exist. As a good source of protein I thought it would be a great food for the baby now that he’s mostly feeding himself table foods and we are getting away from baby foods. Yeah, I’ll admit it: spending time in the kitchen is not my favorite thing. I keep telling myself it’s because we have a small, hard-to-work-in kitchen, something I refer to as a “one butt kitchen”. Sadly, if mine happens to be the one butt then there’s even less room, but back to my original point. A few weeks ago when I was at my regular grocery store I asked if there was such a thing as cooked lentils—I mean, there’s cooked lima beans, pintos, garbanzos, etc, so why not lentils? There weren’t…and worse yet a nice lady who heard me ask the clerk and started extolling the virtues of lentils also told me where to find them in bags and let me know “it only takes water” to cook them. *sigh* if she only knew. Yeah, sometimes I’m that lazy. So, my grocery trip was a success, baby got a balloon and was quite happy, and I cleverly managed to put all my groceries on the lower part of the cart thus avoiding the inevitable reach, chew & throw maneuvers from the baby. The last time he did this he chewed through the cardboard on a box of crackers, nibbled on the end of some green onions and hurled limes directly at the produce guy. Good times. Good times.

They want me to do what?

Lately we’ve been experiencing trouble with our diaper pail. I wrote to the company telling them of our difficulties and have posted their response for your reading enjoyment:

Hello, I do apologize for the trouble. Below are instructions to assist with adjusting the rubber ring.

Please follow these steps correctly and take your time:

1.) Please take the two side knobs off and open the top drum. Take everything off that is blue expect for the ring.

2.) The top portion is called the “top drum”

3.) Open the top drum and work with one half of the product first.

4.) Flip it over so the top part is facing you.

5.) Notice the piston in the middle is surrounded by a hollow tube.

6.) Take the tube out of the blue ring and you can notice it is in the grove of the ring.

7.) Put the blue ring in your hand and peel it back. Place it under and over the rim of the diaper pail.

8.) Place the hollow tube in the groves of the ring on the inside of the diaper pail.

9.) Rotate it to secure the ring is in the groves. Test it to make sure it does not pop up on any side.

10.) Do the same thing for the other side.

11.) Then reassemble the diaper pails top drum and place it on the bottom pail.

Note: If you are still experiencing problems with the rotation of the top drum, please try the steps again.

Apparently they left out:
12) After swearing a little, give up repair attempt and go out and buy a new diaper pail!