My Clutter Journal/Journey, Videos

Video: Children Helping Declutter Kitchen

Abby and Abram helped declutter our upper kitchen cabinets and places I couldn't easily access. I thought a video would be a nice change of pace.



Life Unstaged, Messy Home Survival Strategies, My Clutter Journal/Journey, Real Messes--Caught On Camera!

Reality-based Decluttering

Sometimes…I just gotta break all the rules. Sometimes…I gotta declutter big time and fast! Sometimes…I just gotta let go and purge my life without the fine-tooth comb hanging over my shoulder and the experts whispering advice in my ear.

And I gotta say…

When I let go and do it this way, I get rid of SO MUCH, SO FAST!

I know this isn't the perfect way to declutter.

There probably won't be a book written about how to do it this way because it's not in 10 easy steps and there is no way this guarantees that all the clutter will be gone when you're finished.


I've done this three times in my married life, and each time I did it I was thrilled with how much clutter left my house in such a short amount of time!

So here's my pictures and how I did it.

First of all, in order to see how much clutter and how fast this was, you'll need to see this picture.

This beautifully, properly decluttered, dining room was posted on June 27th, the day after finishing it:


And these pictures of all my junk that I've quickly culled from around the house was taken this morning. It's July 5th today.




And did I mention, I'm not done yet?

So, I bet you're wondering how in the world I got so much stuff decluttered all in one short amount of time.

First of all, my life as I hold it all “together”, comes to a crashing hault!


My children watch guilt-inducing amounts of television! And run around in their pjs, and my toddler has a clean diaper but peanut butter under his finger nails, and the baby has way more attention from my eleven year old daughter than me.

Can I watch another episode of Transformers? Yeah.

Can I play on Mindcraft for an extra 30 minutes? Sure.

What you want for lunch, Honey? A piece of cheese, lunch meat and a chocolate donut…with apple juice. Why not.

Dinner variety is more akin to Whataburger one night, Taco Bell the next, and Church's chicken for lunch than it is a real plan.

Cleaning up the house comes down to 15 minutes of gathering trash that has grown a pair of legs and the ability to reproduce, loading the dishwasher, and making sure there's nothing souring in the washing machine because the house looks like this…



During the school year (this time “the mood” struck during summer break), history is watching a documentary on George Washington when we're studying Medieval history (yeah, I'm aware how far off plan that is, but I just don't care 'cause I'm tossing a literal ton of junk).

And my hair looks like I just spilled some olive oil on top and tried hiding it by brushing it through with a wet brush and slicking it back in a pony-tail.



During all of this routine breakdown that is “secretly” going on behind closed dining room blinds, there's a whole lot of work going on behind the scenes.

And honey, there ain't no rules I'm following.

I'm grabbing old boxes, my best laundry basket, the broken Rubbermaid, and whatever else I find while I'm passing by that's remotely in the shape of a box. No labels, no plan.

I've got a roll of masking tape and a marker (the easiest one to find) in one hand and a glass of iced tea in the other. Every item I'm removing gets slapped with a quick price just in case I end up with enough for a garage sale. I'm not about to have the energy to price all that stuff later.

A mental bulls eye is on every place I know has a plathora of excess.

I dive in big time and don't think about it much at all. The heavy decisions are for later. The detail decisions aren't happening today. I'm pulling out that toy box that the kids haven't touched in months, but I skip the other four sitting right beside it. I pull clothes right off the hanger straight into a bag that I know are never worn without stopping to try anything on.

I ask Josh to pull down one box after another so I can see what's inside. Some get taped back up and restored to their place, but 20 boxes seem to loose more than half their weight as I shuffle the little amounts of stuff I can't decide on back, combining the stuff that's left. Instant weight loss, both mentally and physically.

I dive into the closets where I know there are bags of clutter already waiting to be delivered to a thrift store.

I send Abram to go grab the skates that are two sizes too small, and get that rocking chair arm that's in the media room floor while you're at it.

I bend down and snatch several books from a stack under the side table that I never read and add a price in green permanent marker.

As I think of places, I hit them. I check. I unlid and relid tubs that sit in various corners.

And when I'm exhausted, I crash in front of the tv and catch up on some much needed baby snuggle time, since I've only stopped to nurse and change diapers.

I'm likely still in my pjs at 2pm and still up zoning in front of Netflix or Facebook at 2am…but it's all worth it.

Are you in the mood to de-junk your life?

Forget the rules while you have the momentum…and just do it. It's not pretty, it's not routine, it's probably going to be exhausting…and it's definitely chaotic. But it's a thrill!

The only rules:

Kids must be safe and fed…and hugged when they're upset.

Diapers must be changed when they're wet.

That's it.

Happy Decluttering!


Decluttering, Favorite Spaces/Places, My Clutter Journal/Journey, Organizing

My New Dining Room!


So, it started like this…

Yeah, it's quite the mess! I use this room a lot for looking through stuff and deciding what to do with it. Remember the big paper purge?

Anyway, so Stefanie and I are starting at our doors and working our way around our houses, starting at the front door, possibly skipping our kitchens until everything else is decluttered (we haven't actually decided yet), and creating a place for everything. It's major purge time. I'm hoping to get rid of TONS of stuff and have a garage sale.

I usually don't wait for a garage sale.

Soooooo…this room is going to once again be messy with all the stuff I'm holding aside for the sale. But, at least I know that it'll all be gone and back to serenity by the end of Summer. If I don't have a garage sale by then, I'm donating everything I've bagged and tagged!

Back to the nice, new dining room.

Cleared the space to the right of the door.

And put the palm there. On the other side of the window, I put my antique serving cart. I've been saving it to use for a long time.

And Josh made me this clothes pin board. That took care of some things that I loved but they were adding to the clutter in my home. The chunky frame-LOVE-but didn't have a place for, the scraps of material from our breakfast room chair re-covering, the antique clothes pins that we had been hanging onto, and all those Christmas family photos I never know what to do with.



Then, I cleared out the hutch of all the excess glassware. It was a mess! I found out Stefanie has a real eye for detailed arrangement! And she told me she is clueless when it comes to decorating–NOT. These shelves were re-arranged with her ideas and it ended up looking beautiful!

It was her idea to have all the milk glass on one shelf and to arrange the pitchers as collections with their matching glasses. Why didn't I think of that?

I'm not quite sure I want to keep the picture in there, now that I see it in the picture. It just doesn't go with the glass collection. What do y'all think?


In the opposite corner, to the right of the hutch, I found the perfect place for my little school desk and the old painting of Pasadena, Texas. I've heard the matching one is in the Pasadena museum. I don't know if that's true but I love it all the same. Mrs. Myrtle painted a tremendous amount and I own several in her collection that were left with the old house. I feel so blessed that they let me keep the ones family didn't select when they sold the house. I've based a lot of my decorating around them because I love them so much!

This particular one was left in the garage and I cleaned some coffee splatters off of it. Someday it will have a frame like the others. But for now, at least it has a nice place to live.


And the sewing table had to be moved to make room for THIS…

I'm SSOOOOOOO excited to finally have a piano! It was Josh's Mamaw's old piano. EEEEeeeeeeek!

So, I put the sewing table in the dining room, and I think it fits nicely.


That little gold-leaf tree was my grandma's. It was the one thing I asked for when she died. It brings back so many memories of her. I used to think it was the most beautiful decoration and would touch the leaves while I talked with Grandma. I need a picture of her and Papa there. That would be nice.

And for the curious, the big antique suitcase holds Bubzy's wood train and tracks that he plays with nearly every day.

What do you think?



Daily Discipline Check-ins

Poodle Skirts and TuTus: Please Welcome Stefanie!

It is my honor to introduce y'all to Stefanie…my new partner in crime S.H.E.-dom (ya know, home-making freedom through the Side-tracked Home Executive system).

One year in the system, this summer to next–that's our commitment.


Stefanie was actually my second choice, even though she's an amazing person. It's just that the book says to find a partner that's as messy as you are, and well…I think my first choice lost her phone again. Stefanie isn't quite the big mess person that I am.

She keeps her kitchen clean.

She is supreme at catching her kids making messes and actually makes them pick up after themselves.

You don't trip over things walking through her house!

But…I was pleasantly surprised. She did actually have messes! Like genuine clutter. Lagitament disorganization.

Like it wouldn't be a lop-sided team!! Yay!

When she showed me beyond the visible…which she is way better at then me, I found out a little about our strengths and weaknesses. She gave me really helpful advice on keeping a cleaned up kitchen and teaching the kids to pick up after themselves. I helped her figure out where to start dejunking a drawer and how to begin the process of dealing with other peoples clutter in a respectful way.

I think we're going to make a great team!


Oh, and what was the poodle skirt part of the title?

When Stefanie and I were chatting while we tidied up, I said, “Who needs a treadmill when you have a poodle skirt” my goofy way of saying who needs excercize equipment when you're cleaning house like a woman in the 50s would've been expected to do. Then she came back with that phone snapshot (used with permission) and said, “or a tutu!”

We both laughed like school girls at a slumber party.


Daily Discipline Check-ins

Just About Ready!


Putting together my Sidetracked Home Executive system is taking longer than I thought, but it's almost finished. Yeah, I said almost. However, I'm now ready to get started!!
Doesn't it look pretty?
The cards aren't in their places for a reason. You're not supposed to actually start in on any weekly, monthly, and so on cards until after you've made your way completely around the house purging and putting things in their rightful places. So that's what I'm going to work on–1 hour a day decluttering.
Here are the cards I'll be working on until then. I know it's not a great picture, but basically it's quiet time, dressed and ready, make my bed, laundry, dishes and basic kitchen clean up, and the habit I'm learning called Pick It Up Don't Pass It Up. The other card is to remind me to blog. Not that I have to remember. I'll probably be posting one or two updates per week until I get through the house…most likely those pictures of big bags of junk I'm going to sell at a garage sale. Ya know the ones. The I-can't-believe-that-much-stuff-came-out-of-that-little-place kind of pictures.
I'm going to start to the right of my door and literally follow the wall, skipping the kitchen and making my way back to the door–just like they suggest in the book. Then, do the kitchen, then upstairs, and then the garage. At least, that's the plan. 1 full hour a day until it's done, no matter how long it takes.
Josh got me another two of Peggy and Pam's books as part of a gift for our anniversary! I love them! I'm already half way through “Get Your Act Together”. You can really tell they were written in the 80s, but they're still very good if you can get past references to things like old tv shows and jargon we don't use anymore.

There are some habits I'm trying to learn…I'll write those out soon. But the ones I'm focusing on are…

  1. Shower, dress, hair, and make-up before anything else (of course in my world, if the baby's awake he gets nursed and changed first thing…than I can “begin” my day.)
  2. Finish what you start before starting something new
  3. Pick it up, don't pass it up (then put it away)

And, if I can remember to get a picture tomorrow, I have someone to introduce y'all to! But, I'll leave y'all in suspense for the moment.




Daily Discipline Check-ins

SHE’s Checkin’ in: Abram Works on Our Van

Abram helped Josh work on our van earlier today. I barely made it out there to take pictures with the baby napping on me the majority of the time. They had already put most of it back together.


So, my S.H.E. System I've been working on is working great! But it's totally wiping me out!! By the time I'm ready to blog my eye-lids are getting heavy.

Here's a little morning sample of cards.

Abby was super excited when she read one of the cards and it said “set table”. She snatched that one right up. Not all of them were that popular.

My house is looking awe-some (in sing song voice).

Here's a couple more pics from this week…since I haven't been that good about keeping up on blogging.


Now I just have to figure out how to have an awesomely tidy house and blog. Hmmm.



Daily Discipline Check-ins

SHE’s Check-in In: Timing Chores


We were totally rockin chores today! We timed everything and it felt like a big game of “see how long this one takes”. The house looks awe-some!!

What we accomplished today:

  • Changed Timmy's clothes
  • Picked up the entire house since it's still tidy from Abram's party
  • Straightened Timmy's Crib Bedding
  • Dressed and ready–me, Abby, and Abram
  • Fixed Bubzy's breakfast and juice
  • Dirty Clothes in hampers
  • Empty Kitchen Trash cans
  • Fix Lunch
  • Marinate Chicken for tonight
  • Empty Dishwasher
  • Sort/Wash/Dry My Clothes
  • Abby's Bed Made
  • Abram's Bed Made
  • Scour Kitchen Sink
  • Polish Kitchen faucet
  • Abram Showered (evening since Abby takes one in the morning-avoiding traffic jams)
  • Clean all four bathroom sinks
  • Clean all three toilets (the upstairs one was McYucky!)
  • Swept and damp mopped kitchen floor
  • Set the table
  • Grill

Cool beaners!

Still have a few cards to go after dinner, but Wow! I got tons done today.