Wednesday, December 30, 2015

5 steps to live a simple and organized lifestyle in 2016



1)  Re-evaluate - How was 2015 for you?  Did you make goals or try to change your routine, but failed? What do you think caused you to fail?  Many times we learn more when we fail than if we succeed.  Think about how you will change the way you approach 2016.  Obviously you are reading this blog because you want to change your lifestyle.  Think about what needs to change, your eating/exercise habits, finding a way to keep a clean home with a busy schedule, or getting the house in a more manageable and organized state.  Re-evaluate your life in its current state, think of changes you want to make in 2016 and how you want to go about making the changes.  Take time to research using social media, pinterest and blogs like Clean Life, Happy Life to help you get ideas and tips.  Start the year off with one or two goals.  As you succeed in your initial goals you can add additional goals.

2)  Make a Plan -  Write down your goal(s), give yourself a realistic deadline, make notes as to what needs to be done and breakdown each item in a timeline.  Calendar items to be done and keep the plan in an area you'll see it and can be reminded often.  By writing your plans/goals out and dissecting into smaller task it will all seem more attainable, you'll know exactly what is expected of you and by when.  This year we are implementing our POP concept.  Each task, each day, each week we are going to Plan Organize and Prep (POP).   We feel this is a great way to get all your thoughts on paper, organized and completed in a quick and orderly fashion.

3) Simplify - More then likely you are holding onto items you don't need.  Do you really need 4 spatulas? Are you still holding on to clothes that don't fit?  Are you and/or you family involved in too many extra activities?  Having to many items surrounding you may leave you feeling stressed, overwhelmed and unable to think clearly.  By living a simplified life you will have less items to clean, will be easier to get organized, have more free time and you'll feel calm and comfortable in your life.
Go through your home* and look at each item (*Don't think this will be done in a day, schedule yourself a room or two a day).  As you go through each item, ask yourself, "Do I really need this?  Did I use this item in 2015?"  If you answer no, well then it goes!  There may be items that are harder to let go, you know you haven't used them in a while, maybe they hold sentimental value. Put the 'hard to let go' items in a marked box and keep in a closet.  If you find you need the item, you'll still be able to access it and then you'll know you should keep it.  After 3-6 months, any items left in the box can go.   During this process you may come across items that seem to large to tackle right away, like a box full of loose photos.  Put those items neatly aside and add them to your 'plan list'  and either schedule time to take care of those items, or mark with a symbol so you know that on a rainy day you can look back at the list and address those items then.
A great way to simplify your closet is to reverse all of your hangers.  As you wear things, hang them back up the normal way.  After 3 months, go through the items still hanging in reverse, unless it is a seasonal item, special occasion, or has sentimental value.....it goes!   
Remember, most only wear about 20-30% of what they own.  Its good to have seasonal basics.  Try to purchase items that will easily transition with other items/seasons.  Have fun with accessories to change the look of an outfit, cardigans and scarfs can easily turn an evening outfit into work attire.  If you find it hard to let go of items because they still have tags or expensive, look into consignment shops, ebay, have a swap party with some friends or have a garage sale.  Even if you only get a few dollars for each item, its can be a great way to feel a little better about letting go.
Use this flowchart to help you decide if it should stay or go



4)  Organize - Keeping your life/home organized will help you find things when you need them, save you money and you may even find yourself with extra time on your hands.  Usually the kitchen, countertops where mail/bills get tossed, closets and kids toys are the most unorganized, start there.  Make a plan (remember step 2?), maybe start with researching ideas on pinterest (our boards), evaluate your space and get rid of all items you no longer need, group like items, measure the space and shop for organization items like baskets, shelving and containers, lastly, make labels for all items (check out our pantry before/after).  Labels may sound silly to some, but I will be the first to tell you, it really does help to have guidance to where things belong.  If you have young children, use photos on the labels.   
As your home becomes organized you need to make sure you keep it up.  Schedule (more in #5) yourself time to clear off counters, make sure mail/bills don't start piling up.  As you put items away, do a quick check to make sure items are staying organized in their designated areas.
Another great way to organize your home and family is creating a command center.  This area will serve as an organized space for backpacks/purses, keys, mail and family schedule/calendar.  Find an area near your entry/mudroom door or kitchen.  Each family member will have a place to set down their items as they first walk in, instead of just throwing on countertop or floor.  Its a great place to keep the family's schedule/calendar and they can all see what the plan is for the day and week.
NOTE: If you find something is not working for you and your family, don't be afraid to change it!  There are many ideas out there, you may need to tweak an idea to fit your families lifestyle.

5) Schedule - Last, but certainly not least, get yourself on a schedule!  This is by far the most important step! Having a schedule will keep you on task, less likely to stray from your goals and easily keep up all your hard work done in steps 1-4.  By keeping a weekly schedule/calendar you'll know exactly what you are doing, where you need to be and what you need to accomplish for that day.  
Many times were so busy and we say, "I wish I had just one free hour to sit and read a book."   
Well, schedule it and it will happen!!  
When it comes to your cleaning routine, try to spread the tasks out throughout the week.  Scheduled yourself a few minutes in the morning to wipe counters down, pick up items on the floor or put a load of laundry in.  In the afternoon/evening tackle a room or two.  Whatever you decide, write the schedule down and try to keep it the same every week.  
Use our weekly POP calendar to help you plan your week.


POP!


It's a new year, perfect time to get a new routine.


This year Clean Life, Happy Life is going to POP!  We are introducing our 3-step POP concept: Plan, Organize, Prep. Every day, every event, every task think POP.  First you'll plan the details,  think about what needs to be done, how do you want to tackle the task. Then organize yourself on paper, dissect the tasks and write down the order you'll need to do things and a timeline.  And lastly, prep anything that can be done ahead of time.
Example: packing my child's lunch for school.  First I plan what I am going to make for lunches for the week, and make sure I have all the items.  Then I organize my thoughts on a piece of paper, writing them down on note pad and hang on the fridge to reference later in the week, I also organize the items I'll need for the week, making sure everything is in a place and easily accessible.  Lastly, I prep.  Every night I bring out the items the lunch will be packed in, make sure ice packs are in freezer and pre-make any items that I can.  By doing these steps each morning everything goes smoothly and I am not spending more then 5 minutes putting together the last minute items and packing it up.  Need ideas for lunches, check out our lunch blog here.
Every Sunday we suggest taking the time to plan out your week, organize your to-do list, and prep items before the busy week starts.  Use our POP Weekly FREE printable to help you.  The weekly calendar will help you plan out meals, get your home clean by doing a lit bit each day throughout the week, get a little exercise in, and help you keep up with your to-do list.  


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Elf on the Shelf Honorary Toothfairy

My daughter recently lost her second tooth.  Since our Elf on the Shelf "Sparkle Cakes" was visiting, I thought it would be entertaining to incorporate him into the fun =)  She absolutely loved it!  In fact, when she woke up at 5am to find her Elf with $5, she was so excited that she ran into our room to show us and was not able to go back to sleep......it was a two cup of coffee morning for mommy and daddy :-\



Below you'll find a template for you to use for your honorary tooth fairy.  Print and cut out each item.  You can use text tool to write in your elf's name, or hand write it in.  

If your family hasn't named your tooth fairy, there are a bunch of fun name generators out there on the internet. 




Thursday, October 8, 2015

Join the Teal Pumpkin Project!

Have you heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project?  If not, just type into google and you'll see story after story of young children that face heartbreak every year because they can't enjoy trick-or-treating like many of their friends/siblings, and its all because the 'treats' passed out by the handful could make them very sick.

The main purpose of the Teal Pumpkin Project is to raise awareness of food allergies and promote non-food/candy treats during Halloween.  1 in 13 children in the US suffer from a food allergy.   Allergies go beyond the common peanut, you also have eggs, milk, soy, other tree nuts, wheat and food dyes.  A great way to accommodate children with allergies is to have a separate bowl of items like glow stick bracelets, bubbles, pencils, coloring books, spider rings or vampire teeth (just to name a few, check out our pinterest for more ideas) and you will guarantee every kid will leave your house with a SMILE! 

I am a huge fan of the Teal Pumpkin Project, even if my family has little to no food allergies. Although I allow my child to eat candy (and I sneak a few pieces myself) I try to keep consumption to a minimum.  I always dread the huge pile of candy that my child collects, and the candy we have left over!  I love when a neighbor hands out loose change or small toys, and its such a good break up of the never ending pile of mini snickers candy.

Head over the Teal Pumpkin Project website to sign the pledge. https://www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project/pledge#.VhaBiCs7iec 

Hey, and while you're getting the paint and brushes out, why not give your teal pumpkin a little extra pizzazz!!!  Look at these 8 stunning teal pumpkins we found.....

 More information about the Teal Pumpkin Project and ideas of non-food treats go to:
Free Downloads (signs, stickers and stencils)
Here are the links to all pumpkin ideas
 
 
  




Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fall into an organized closet


The season is changing; days are getting shorter and nights are getting colder.  Time to hang up the short summer dresses and pull out the leather boots and chunky sweaters!

The change from summer to fall is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the changing of wardrobe and do a little CLOSET CLEANING!!  Your memory should be fresh as to what you did wear the past 3 months, making it easy to immediately toss unworn items.  It also could help to pick up a fashion magazine or hit Polyvore to brush up on the current fashions too.  This will help you say good-bye to those items that are "so last season"  Our Step-by-Step guide will help you declutter the closet and get ready for Fall, with minimum frustration.

Before you get started you will want to think about where the discarded items will go.  I believe its best to have 3 labeled bins: Trash, Donate, Sell

Sometimes its hard for us get rid of items because we feel we are loosing money or they hold sentimental value.  Well, no one said you had to throw it away!!  Have a garage sale, sell newer items online, look into consignment shops in your area (some will give you cash or store credit up front) or take the tax break and donate to local shelter/thrift store.  For the sentimental items, consider making something useful out of it, maybe a throw pillow, small doll for child or frame the item in a shadow box.  You could also pass it down to a sibling or friend that you think would get good use out of the item.

Ok, lets get started......

First you will want to go through the Spring/Summer attire: 
  1. Quickly go through all spring/summer items and discard items you know you do not want to keep.  Maybe its stained, torn, doesn't fit, out of fashion; whatever the reason, this will give you quick gratification of progress (even if it's only 2 items).  Place items in appropriate bins.
  2. Pick out the following essentials you want to keep for next year: 3 pairs of shorts (white/khaki, print and pop of color), 1 black/blue tank (solid or striped), 1 white fitted shirt (preferably with boat/'v' neck), 1 pop of color shirt (tank or fitted t-shirt), 1 pair of white jeans/capri, 1 Maxi dress, 2 dresses (one cotton and one flirty), 2 bathing suits, 2 pairs of sandals.   Set these items aside for now.
  3. What are you left with??  Use the flowchart (below) for each item to see if it will stay or go.  Place all "go" items in appropriate bins.
  4. Neatly put all items back into the closet or pack in air tight containers.  If placing in closet, place the out of season items towards the back, you'll want your Fall items up front and easy to access.  If packing and storing summer items, I would recommend keeping a good 'transitional' outfit in your closet if weather were to warm up unexpectedly.

After you have cleared out the Spring/Summer, now work through your Fall Attire:
  1. Quickly go through all items and discard items you know you do not want to keep.  Place in appropriate bins.
  2. Choose the essentials that are in for this season:  2 pairs of denim jeans (skinny is on its way out, flare is back in for 2015), 2 pairs of colored jeans/pants (black, plum, olive are popular this year), 2 pairs of slacks (if you do not require office attire you can substitute leggings), 2 dresses/skirts, 3 lightweight long, half or quarter sleeve shirts (flannel, white and denim recommended), 2 Blouses, 2 sweaters, 1pair of boots (ankle or calf) and 1 pair of ballet flats/loafers.
  3. What are you left with??  Use the flowchart (below) to see what items will stay or go.  Place all "go" items in appropriate bins.
  4. Neatly put all items back into the closet and arrange items by type and color. 




Optional Step: 
Feel like you didn't clean out enough?  Flip your hangers =)   Take all you hanging clothes and reverse the direction of your hangers.   As you take items out of your closet to wear, hang them back up the regular way.   By the end of 4 weeks evaluate all items that are still hung in reverse.   Works with stacked items too.   Fold and pile as usual, place a book or flat item on top to use as a maker.  As you take items to wear, replace items on top of the pile maker.  At the end of 4 weeks evaluate all items that are stacked under the marker.




Here is the Printable/Pinable Photo for "Fall into an Organized Closet"

Friday, September 4, 2015

3-Day Quick Clean

Summer is almost over, and the much anticipated Labor Day weekend is about to start. 
Having a 3-day weekend is a great way to take advantage of the extra time off work to get the house back in shape.  Its been about 6 months since spring cleaning, so things are probably in need of a little sprucing up.  Here is a quick 3-day weekend clean up guide.  Trust us, this list will leave you plenty of time to still enjoy the Labor Day BBQs and soak up the last sun rays of summer!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tips to packing fun & easy school lunches

Kids love a homemade school lunch, especially when they are fun, colorful and include a note/prize!!  So many times as a busy parent we tend to lean on pre-made food items, anything quick, pre-packaged, grab-and-go items.  Unfortunately, we all know these items tend to lack on health and nutrition, and can be costly.  Here are some great ideas and tips to help even the busiest parents pack amazing, fun, healthy school lunches.
Lunches don't have to be difficult.  My child would totally be fine with a ham sandwich everyday.  While I do pack a lot of sandwiches, I have fun mixing up sides, creating some fun plays on her favorites and providing her healthy alternatives.
There are so many fun and colorful lunch containers and accessories available these days, its easy to get carried away.  You can easily spend a pretty penny on Bento boxes and accessories.  There are plenty of low cost options too!  My best advice is keep in mind, these items will be REUSABLE!  Although some items might tip the scale at $10 or more, I can guarantee you will get YEARS of use, and its great for the environment =)


1) Fun, timeless, sturdy lunch box & ice packs -  Average $8 -  Last year I did add another 2 lunch boxes to the mix, deeply discounted after school started.  My favorite is Target's Circo Lunch Bags, with side drink pocket, perfect fit for plastic divided containers (#2 on the list)

2)  Divided lunch containers - Average $15 (set of 3 or 4) - Can be found on Amazon and/or grocery stores - try to get leak proof. 

3) Reusable napkins - Average $5 (usually set of 4) - Great place to look would be discounted home stores, like TJMaxx or Tuesday Morning.

4)  Small condiment containers - Average $2 (set of 4 or more) - Perfect for salad dressing, dipping sauces and other condiments. I found a great set at my local Dollar General.  Sometimes you'll find them hanging randomly in the cereal or snack aisle at the grocery store.

5) Plastic flatware - 18 pc set for $1.99 at IKEA!!  

6) Reusable snack bags - Average $10 - I have seen a huge variety, ranging in prices.  The ones pictured are Bumkins (found on amazon) and I love them, easy to wash and still look new after a year of use.  Also, don't be afraid to wash and reuse plastic baggies!

7)  Fun Accessories -  Wide Price Range -  You can find fun, seasonal, decorative picks at the dollar stores, craft stores and grocery store (cake aisle).  My daughter LOVES personal notes.  Get a pack of stickers, card stock/sticky notes and fun color markers from $1 store, and write/decorate a note every day.  There are also great FREE printable lunch notes you can download from internet.  I even went a step further and laminated, using self seal laminate sheets found at craft store.

8) Silicone cups - Average $8 (set of 12 -24)- fun way to add color and divide foods -  a huge variety in color, shape and sizes.  They come in such large quantities, team up with another mommy friend and each ordered a different set then swap shapes and colors. 

9) Hot/Cold containers - Average $7 - Great way to pack before/after school snacks or send items that need to stay really cold or hot.  We live in Florida, so not many 'soup' days here, but my daughter loves pasta dishes kept warm.   The containers with ice packs (found at Marshall's $4.99) are great to pack snacks or side dishes.   My daughter loves school pizza day, so I let her order one slice (a la carte) and then pack a salad or veggies and dip.

10)  My daughters all time favorite - silicone pops - Average $9 - Amazon has a great selection of colors/designs and quantities.  You can pack dry items, like trail mix, but my daughter loves when I make smoothie pops.  I make a large smoothie during the weekend, fill up the molds (don't top off, leave room to close and expansion) and freeze.   She says they are still frozen in middle when she eats at noon. 

Here is a quick shot of of how I keep all the items organized with bins found at Dollar Tree

Mornings are a big rush for us.  We usually wake up at 6:45 A.M., make and eat breakfast, clean-up, dress, pack lunches and backpacks and get out the door within an hour.  How do I do it?  Easy answer - PREP and ORGANIZATION!

Ever night my daughter and I pick from our lunch list (<-----attached for your printing pleasure), then lay out containers, nonperishable items (bread, chips, fruit snacks), pre-make any items that won't get soggy or spoil quickly and have a solid idea of what needs to be made in the morning.  By prepping the night before, I usually only need 5-10 minutes to finish lunches, pack and place in backpack.

Pre-make homemade items, weeks or months ahead.  You can find so many great homemade, HEALTHY, kid friendly recipes online.  I love items that I can sneak in whole grains, fruits, veggies, and reduce/substitute sugar without anyone noticing. Many of our favorites are muffins, breads, smoothie pops, cookies and no-bake granola bars.  All these items keep very well in freezer.  I can grab the night before to defrost in the refrigerator overnight, if needed, or grab and pack in the morning.

Other great morning time savers.....have the kids pre-pick breakfast.  Again, any items that can be prepped the night before, do so.  Clothes is a huge one!  My child wears a uniform, which saves me plenty of argument, but still, I lay out her outfit so as soon as she is finished with her morning routine she can dress herself.

Plenty of Inspiration can be found at:

Pinterest
http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/school-lunches/
http://www.familyfreshmeals.com/category/lunch-box-ideas

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summer Reading Goal

We're just a week into summer and I'm already falling out of our daily routine.   Last night I realized my daughter hasn't picked up a book to read on her own all week!!  She is just starting to read, so I don't want to loose momentum during the summer.  I wanted something I could hang on the side of the fridge as a reminder and keep her engaged in reading while out of school, so I created a summer reading goal chart.  If I can get her to read two books (again, a beginner so her books are small) a week, I feel we would be going into the next school year strong.

Below is the Summer Reading chart for you to print.  I left the number of books to fill a square and goal blank for you to fill-in.  Our chart is 2 books to fill a square and overall goal is 20.  Her special surprise will be a snowcone/pool party with a few of her friends.
ENJOY!






Thursday, May 28, 2015

Before and After week 4

I'm so sorry it has taken me so long to post this update.  Between end of school for my daughter,  a tough week at work and preparing some exciting new projects for the blog, time has just flown by!

After wrapping up the 4th week of cleaning/decluttering I'm in a good place.  I am so happy with the progress, and have seen a huge improvement in the function of the household, as well as how easy it has been to keep a clean house.   Although it isn't perfect, it is a huge improvement.  Plenty more projects, improvements and organizing still to go, but I am comfortable knowing this is a slow but steady progression and I'm keeping with the "not perfect, but good enough for now," this keeps me from spending too much time in one area. 

My biggest challenge and accomplishment were the closets.  Two closets in particular had gotten OUT OF CONTROL!!  My master closet, and my daughters closet.

My daughters closet was a mix of toys, books, everyday clothes and dress-up clothes.  The closet is equipment with the general contractor grade wire shelf, so I had previously added shoe storage, extra hanging space and a book shelf.  My first step was clearing out the unneeded.  The local shelter was pleased to get boxes full of baby books, shoes, clothes, and toys.  Once I declutter, then I tackled the organizing.  I moved the bookshelf, which I was unsure about, but has proven to work well.  I grouped clothes by type and length and hung her play clothes in a reachable area.  I had some left over baskets from my kitchen organization which I used to store her play-doh and sewing machine, both have lots of little parts and not toys I like her using without supervision so the top of the closet is a perfect place.


When starting my master closet I went in not having high expectations.  I knew how hard it would be for me to get rid of things.  I tend to hoard clothes, the usual downfalls like, I may fit into this again one day,  its cute I just haven't had anywhere to wear this too yet or the I haven't bought the right shirt to go with the slacks.   I was able to get rid of more then I thought, including two handbags, which is HUGE for me. As I went through the clothes I pitched all broken hangers, donated wire hangers to dry-cleaner and began sorting clothes by type and length.  As with any picture, I'm not sure it really catches the progress that was actually made.  The closet is less cluttered, I feel like I can access everything and my morning have been much more enjoyable.
BEFORE


MID CLEAN OUT  (I wish I would have snapped a picture of the pile of extra hangers)


AFTER 
(I didn't thin the heard as much as I would of liked, but working on it every day.  
If I try something on and don't like it, I toss it)




HUGE NEWS: I had stroke of luck this week....I won a ClosetMaid Sweepstake!!!  This week I worked with one of their professional designers and we came up with a closet system for my guest bedroom/craft closet.  This closet has been a nightmare since the day we moved in, and I'm so excited to get it back under control.  It isn't a room we use often, so it sort of became a catch all for extra items I couldn't find a permanent home for.  Below is the before picture before I organized in week 4. Stay tuned for the after......

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Week 4, final week!!

It's week 4, the final week!!!

Excited to hit the closets tonight.  I have a feeling we'll have a very generous clothing donation for our local shelter.

Here's this weeks cleaning schedule....

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Pantry Before & After

Progress report from Week 2:  Behind Closed doors.

My biggest challenge last week was the pantry.  I'm not sure how it happened, but my pantry got out of control!!  Every so often I would go through and straighten things up, remove empty boxes and throw out expired items, but it was never organized.  I had attempted to organize some of the smaller items in the gray 31 bags you see on center bottom shelf.  I was never happy with the bags, they didn't have much support, I always felt they looked sloppy, and the high sides didn't allow for easy access.  

I found so many great pantry before and after posts and inspiration on pinterest, and most of them used baskets they found at $1 store.   Unfortunately, my $1 store only carried bright colored baskets, and it wasn't a look I wanted.  Luckily, right next to the $1 store was a Big Lots, so I popped in there to see what I could find.  I was very impressed with the selection they had, and quality.  Although I was paying a little more then $1 per basket, it was well worth it.  I found these great white baskets, with solid fronts where I could apply a label.  Small baskets were only $1.50, Medium were $1.80 and large was $2.65



As reported in my Week 1: Kitchen, were I blogged about my fridge organization, the $1 store did have some great smaller white baskets, so I used a few of those to keep smaller items grouped together.

So, when it came time to address the pantry I had to set up a game plan.  What did I want the pantry to look like?  Do I take everything out, or work 1 shelf at a time?  Did everything in the pantry belong there, where else could I store items?  

I decided to work one shelf at a time, and start from the top and work my way down.  I had a few 31 bags that I use often, but not daily, that I decided could be better stored somewhere else.  I moved my entertainment/party supplies to the top shelf. 

As I worked my way through the pantry I decided I wanted to group items by categories; breakfast, baking, can goods, pastas, breads & crackers, condiments & sauces, paper plates & napkins and then have treats, snacks and drinks lower where my daughter could reach.  

I also have some aprons that were originally just hanging from shelving.  I used over-sized decorative thumb tacks in the left corner area.  It was an odd spaced and not able to put shelves, but the space between shelves is enough for me to put my arm through and grab aprons off the back wall.   

I then made labels on my computer, using powerpoint and printed on full sheet label that I already had in the office, cut them out, and placed on my baskets.

I am very pleased with the arrangement and functionality of the pantry.  


And here is a little sneak peak of the bathroom organziation that also went on in week 2....

This is how my husband starts his morning everyday.  YIKES!!  How can he even find anything??  Most of these items are not part of his everyday reitual, but are essential to him having conveniently located in his top drawer of vanity.   So on a shopping trip to TJ Maxx, I found these great fabric covered drawer organizers, for only $6.  They came in a bunch of different sizes and confirgurations, so I grab up a few to use in our bathroom.  We already have a blue tommy bahama bath theme, so I thought these would add a little extra pop of the blue color in an unexpected place =)  
My husband isn't the best with change, but he's loving the organization.  And I'm happy to report the "after" picture was taken a week later, so he's keeping up with change as well!


Monday, May 4, 2015

Failure is NOT an option!!

My purpose to starting this blog was to document my experiences while transforming my home and lifestyle.  I was hoping to post success story after success story, but today my friends I post my first FAIL. 

I was just too busy this weekend; well that's the excuse I made for myself.  Between play dates, a night out with friends (maybe a little to late) and everyday house chores, I failed to successfully complete week 2.  If I am being honest with myself, I had the time, I could have delegated better.  I let an excuse stop me from succeeding. 

As hard as I am on myself, I'm actually happy I failed.   This is real life, a real blog.  My failure will not only help myself, but it will help this blog and help you. 

Lesson learned.....we need a planned break.  I am revising the 4 week cleaning schedule to include a free day.  I feel this will allow the average busy, hard working person the down time they so much deserve (and not feel guilty).  A break allows us to relax and recharge our batteries.  Besides, who wants to scrub floors on a FRIDAY!?!

Today is a new day, and I'm throwing all excuses out the window.  I am back at it and ready to tackle week 3.  I plan on making up my missed cleaning from week 2 this week as well.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Progress Report from Week 1

Well, we have come to the end of the first of four weeks to a clean and organized home.  Working on the kitchen this week was a challenge but so rewarding.  I find my self just standing in the middle of the kitchen admiring my work =)  It has brought me such happiness to have clutter free counter tops and cabinets.  The real challenge will be to keep it up.

Here are a few pictures to showoff my work.....

Clean and organized fridge =)  My plan was to group items, especially in the door.  Dressings, condiments and sauces all have their special place.  I added handled baskets, found at Big Lots for $2 each, to group smaller items and keep them contained and easily accessible.
My bottom drawer was always a mess!  I was constantly buying cheese because I never knew what I had in my fridge.  I found these great smaller baskets at the Dollar store.  The long rectangular came 2 to a package and the square were 3 to a package.  So for $2 I now have control over the "junk" drawer of the fridge =)


My cabinets are actually still a work in progress.   I did remove all the items and wipe down surfaces, I'm now just trying to find the best place for everything.  Although I did remove a lot of items that I no longer needed, I still feel like I need to remove more, or come up with a better storage solution.  So this week I will be out to find some organization racks/containers, especially for my serving platters and pots/pans.

My Cup cabinet came out great, and it really has made life a lot easier.  It use to be any time my daughter would want a drink I'd open the cabinet and an avalanche of cups, lids and straws would come tumbling out.  LOL.  Again, using the 3 for $1 baskets I found at the dollar store, I was able to get control of the lids and another rectangle basket for straws.  

<-----BEFORE                                       AFTER------->




When we first moved into our home, about 2 years ago, it was difficult to figure what items should go in what cabinet.  Over the years I always felt my items weren't in the most efficient places, but didn't have to time to move items around. While doing my 4 week challenge I took the time to think how my kitchen could run more efficient.  So, I took the time to relocate a lot of items.  I had two cabinets on each side of my oven/stove that contained cooking and baking supplies, but also a lot of items that were not related, like flower vases and kids lunch boxes.
I now have ONE cabinet dedicated to cooking supplies.  I moved some shelves to fit everything perfect.  My favorite part is my cook books are neat and easily accessible.  I had forgotten all about my cookbooks because they were shoved high up on a shelf that I couldn't even reach.  I look forward to using them again!!

<-----BEFORE                                       AFTER------->






Yesterday we started week 2: behind closed doors.  Sunday's task was to tackle the pantry and boy, what a job that was!!  Here's a little sneak peek.  I underestimated all of the organization items I would need, so I'll be out at the store to pick a few more items.
                         YIKES------>


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Week 1 - Day 2 & 3 - Declutter and Clean



Cleaning and Decluttering

I can see the progress already and I couldn't be happier.  My kitchen is so clean and uncluttered, and I'm only half way through the week!  I'm even seeing a change in my attitude.  Just look at the before and after shots!!!

I had so many non essential items on my counter tops.  Mail, baskets of Easter candy, decorative items with no purpose, and a plant that wasn't doing too well.   Most of the mail was junk and could be immediately tossed,  I found a good place in the pantry for the Easter candy to go, I removed the decorations and placed aside for now, and tossed the half dead plant.  Add a little elbow grease and now I have a clean surface with only every day items in view.  

The space feels clean, but a bit bare (especially by the coffee pot) for my taste.  My husband asked if we were moving, LOL!  I'm going to keep to the cleaning schedule for now, but plan in the near future to decorate with accessories that go well in the space, not overpower an area and if possible, serve a function as well.

My cleaning adventures continue this week and I couldn't be more excited.  Last night I cleaned appliances and found myself with more time, so I started on Thursday/Friday duties. 

I did a little shopping on my lunch break earlier this week and found some great organizing materials for a great value.  Can't wait to share, and would love for you to share your adventures with me as well =)   Email me at cleanlifehappylife@gmail.com.

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I just want to remind all those who are reading my post and thinking, "Must be nice, I wish I had the time."  If I can do this, you can too!!!   By organizing the daily duties, I am spending just an hour or two each night on those delegated tasks.  I am a busy mom that holds a full-time job.  When I get home at 5:15, I still have homework time with my daughter, try to get a 30-minute walk/jog around the neighborhood, dinner on the table, followed by clean-up, baths and then bedtime story.  Some sacrifices are being made and I'm being creative as to the timing I complete tasks.   For example, I plan dinner around cleaning.  Monday was meatloaf that I pre-made Sunday night. I knew it will take at least an hour to bake, so as soon as it goes in the oven I started the tasks for the day.