Project Simplify {Week 4} Desk & Clothes

My desk is a never ending project.  I get it cleaned off one day and by the next, it’s a disaster area again.  Here’s a before picture:

and after:

I sell a lot of things on eBay, so I have packages under my desk and next to it.  But, at least most of them are now corralled into containers.

Last year I had my sister come over while I tried on a large portion of my clothes and she helped me decide which ones to get rid of.  The past two weeks I’ve been trying on the clothes again. I have a lot of work clothes that no longer fit me after I had my daughter, but I was hoping they’d fit some day soon.  Well, most of them still don’t fit, so I decided it was time to let them go.

I have been wanting to reorganize my closet so I could find things more easily. I finally decided to put like items together and then sort them by color.  So, tops would be together and within that section all the black tops would be together etc.  I have two closets (well my husband has one half of one and the other half of the second one has my wedding dress in it).

Here’s a before picture of the first closet: (nevermind all the junk on the floor.  That’s a project for another week!)

and after (the stuff on the far left is maternity and I didn’t want to mix it in with the rest of my clothes)

Before closet 2

After closet 2 (I put my warmer tops in this closet and categorized them by sweaters, sweatshirts, etc.  Oh, well the far right side has my t-shirts for wearing around the house).

The below  picture only shows some of what I’m getting rid of.  The other items were in the wash as I plan to list them on eBay.  I didn’t count the total number of items I’m getting rid of, but I did count 9 pairs of work pants.  Yikes!  Good thing I’m not in the working world any longer or I’d have to do some serious work clothes shopping!

I absolutely love my new method of organizing my clothes in the closet! The first wonderful moment was when I was looking for a top to wear with a pair of greenish capri’s my sister had given me.  I’m a bit fashion challenged and had no idea what to wear with them.  She said a dark solid shirt would do.  It was a hot day, so I knew I wanted to wear short sleeves.  I walked over to my newly beautifully arranged closet, saw that the only solid colored short sleeve shirts I have are black.  I  grabbed one in all of 5 seconds and that was that.  It was brilliant!  No more going through each item looking for that elusive top I want to wear.  And putting my clothes away is easier too because I have an empty hanger right where it goes.

Comparison

I just watched three sermons on comparing ourselves to others by Andy Stanley.  You can access all three parts using the link below.  At the very least, be sure to check out the first minute of each part where you can see a funny skit about comparison and trying to one up one another.

http://www.northpoint.org/messages/comparison-trap

Here are my favorite quotes from the sermons:

1) There’s no “win” in comparison.

2)  Whose does your heavenly Father compare you too?  (No one)

3) Have you ever noticed that we compare ourselves to other people’s “highlights” reel?

7: Media

I’m joining Marla for another read-a-long.  You can find all posts in this series here.

Media was one of the chapters I was dreading the most.  Because there is no question about it, I am addicted to my laptop and the internet.

I’ve made some progress over the past year.  I used to have my laptop on our kitchen table.  While my daughter was eating breakfast and lunch and even when my husband was home for dinner, I’d be looking at my laptop while eating.

I would bring up things I was reading about to discuss with my husband, but still, how disrespectful!  As I thought about how I’d feel if my husband entertained himself with something else while I was in the room with him, I decided to move my laptop permanently to my desk.  My husband is a gamer, but one thing I love about him is that as soon as I walk over to his desk, he takes off his headphones, and gives me his complete attention.

I haven’t been on facebook for 3 or so years now.  When I got married, I moved to a new city and had a hard time finding a job.  I didn’t know anyone here, so I spent a lot of time online.  Oh, and it was the first time I’d had unlimited internet access at home, so this was new (and exciting) territory for me.  After a few months, I realized I was spending lots of time on facebook, stalking people I never even talked to.  So, I decided to close my account.

And, I haven’t really missed it!  I found that a lot of people who I did keep in touch with on facebook, faded from my life altogether once I wasn’t on there anymore.  It seems emails or phone calls were too much work.

I definitely think there are wonderful benefits to the internet.  If my toddler has  symptoms that are bothersome to me, I can type them in and get an idea of what’s going on.  And if I need to take her to the ER, or it can wait til the morning or if it’s something that will pass on it’s own.

And it’s fun to show my toddler things on the computer.   Last Christmas we saw antlers on a car in a parking lot and my daughter loved them.  Whenever we’d drive somewhere she’d look for them on other cars.  We did see them a few more times, but not as often as she’d like.  So, from time to time I pull up a picture of a car with antlers on it for her to enjoy.

Just last week we were at the park and saw someone parachuting!  I tried to point the person out to her, but I’m not sure if she saw them or not.  I told her I’d show her a picture of what a parachuter looked like on the computer.

So, yes, of course the internet and computers in general have benefits.  But, I think we all know that they have downsides as well.  For example, ignoring our families so we can catch up on the latest online, neglecting real life friendships for online friendships, etc.

I haven’t given much thought to what a media fast will look like for me.  Quite frankly, I’m terrified at the thought of being computer less, or even cutting back my computer time.

I think once we are done with the read-a-long, I’ll go through the book again and ask God to show me what he’d have me do for each topic.

P.S. Thank you for praying for my sister and her family last week. They are still congested, but definitely getting better. Could I ask for prayer for my friend, Amy? Her husband was injured on the job a few weeks ago, then her grandpa died, now they’ve found that her Dad’s cancer has returned. She is expecting and has started a new job and is just overwhelmed and tired.  Thank you!

Project Simplify {Week 3} Closets

Hall closet before:

Sorry the picture is so dark.  This closet is in a really weird spot where there’s not much light and I can’t stand far enough back (there’s a wall in the way) to take a picture at a normal angle).

You can see the top of a package of toilet paper sitting on the floor.  It was originally  precariously stacked on top of the bags and fell right out when I opened the door!

See all those plastic bags?  They are full of empty toilet paper rolls.  I started collecting them when my nephew needed them for school.  The problem?  I never stopped!  I have a few friends that can use them for craft projects, but it had been a while since I’d given any away.  I found over 190 in my closet!! Fortunately, I found a few friends willing to take them all off my hands immediately.  Phew!

I also found a small dirt devil vacuum cleaner in the closet!  I’m sure it was my husbands before we were married, but how did I not know about it?  Or did I just forget about it?  I’m glad to know we have it.  There have been times that I’ve wished I had a hand-held vacuum.

There was a box with some small picture frames that we had used as centerpieces at our wedding reception.  I put them in a Ziploc bag instead and they take up MUCH less room now.

I also removed the unused hangers and put them in our clothes closet.

Closet after:

I’ve been working on my counters for some time now.  A while back I managed to find space in a cupboard for my Kitchen Aid mixer and our blender.  This has made the counters much more clear.  But, we always have a bunch of bags of fruit laying in one corner of the counter.

Before:

I decided to take them out of the bags and put them in a bowl.  I am so happy with the results!

After:

I’m working on organizing my clothes closet, but haven’t finished yet.  Maybe that’s what I’ll tackle next week.

Blueberry egg and cheese bagel

I love the site allrecipes.com because they have an ingredients tab where you can enter in whatever ingredients you have laying around and want a recipe that you can use them in.

A while back we had an overabundance of blueberry bagels and I was tired of eating them with cream cheese or toasted with butter.  That’s when I found this recipe by entering in blueberry bagels as an ingredient.

Blueberry Egg and Cheese Bagel Recipe

*I scrambled eggs in a pan on the stove top.  And I was eating pancakes at the same time and accidentally got some syrup on the bagel.  But, I think it tasted pretty good!  You could also add some hot sauce to your eggs for a little kick.

Ingredients

  • 1 blueberry bagel, split
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 slice American cheese

Directions

  1. Toast bagel to desired doneness. Spread with butter.
  2. Meanwhile, cook egg to desired doneness on a hotplate or in a microwave; salt and pepper to taste.
  3. To assemble, place the slice of American cheese onto the cut side of the bottom half of the bagel. Place the cooked egg on top of the cheese, and top with the remaining half of bagel.

7: Possessions

I’m joining Marla for another read-a-long.  You can find all posts in this series here.

This post was initially titled “7: The purge.”  I thought I was going to list all the things I’d gotten rid of in our house this weekend.

But, yesterday morning, I realized that something was wrong with my car.  My husband and I have our own cars and I’m a stay at home Mom.  My toddler and I usually get out of the house most days of the week.  We love to interact with strangers at the library and grocery stores.  I’m a couponer and we go to various stores each week.  We’ve also been driving to the park lately because my arm has been bothering me and I can’t fathom pushing my daughter in her stroller all the way to the park and back.

I was seriously bummed about my car having a problem and my attitude started getting really bad.  And then I got to thinking about couples who only have one car.  And what about people with no car???  (Like my parents).   How can I have a pity party for myself simply because my car is gonna need some work and it’s a bit inconvenient for me??  If I weren’t reading 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, it probably would not have even dawned on me that I need to just suck it up.

Over the weekend we drove 2 hours round trip and I am so thankful that the car was fine that entire time.  My husband plans to take my car in on Saturday.  I don’t have any  huge plans this week.  A friend is coming over for brunch, so I’m gonna make something that I already have ingredients for on hand (not sure what yet, but I have a few ideas in mind).  My Mom is visiting for a couple of days and I need to pick her up from the bus stop.  And I have a Dental appointment.   Nothing major that can’t be figured out.  In fact, my husband thinks it’s okay to drive the car short distances.  I’m terrified of doing more harm to the car and/or getting stranded.  But, really, this is not the end of the world.

Now a word about where I’m at with possessions.  I do feel like we have too much stuff.  Things we never use, duplicate items (we never use) etc.  But, my sweet Mom pointed out a while ago that we have nothing compared to others.   That made me feel better in the moment.  But really, I don’t want to compare what I have to what someone else has.  I want to only have things that we need or at least actually use.  I get so stressed out when I see clutter everywhere.  I love seeing empty space where something used to be.

I have been trying to declutter our house for probably a year now and it has been a very sloooow process!  Part of the reason it’s taking so long is because I have a lot of things I’d rather sell on eBay and make money off of (to support my Compassion child) versus just donating them.  There have been a few things I’ve listed on eBay repeatedly (and keep lowering the price) and haven’t gotten any takers.  So, I’m going to donate some of those items.

I’m hoping to do some more purging this week, especially since I’ll be homebound.  The Lord’s timing is always perfect, isn’t it?

P.S. Would you pray for my sister and her family?  They have a toddler and a newborn and have been sick and have just had one thing after another.  My sister is exhausted and just so worn out.  Thank you!

Project Simplify {Week 2} Pantry

I have organized and reorganized my pantry numerous times over the past couple of years.  I hate that it’s always an ongoing project!

Here’s a before picture taken earlier this week:

It’s nowhere near as bad as it’s been in the past.  But, I did have some stray items on random shelves that needed to be corralled.  And I came across a few snack items where multiple boxes had been opened, so I combined them into one box and got rid of some extra boxes.

I also rotated some things so that the items that needed to be used up first, were in the front.

The brown sticky notes list out what’s on each shelf and how many of each item I have.  That way if Cream of Mushroom soup and Cream of Chicken soup are on sale, I know at a glance how many cans of each I have on hand.

The stuff on the right is all hanging on a hook.  The only thing you can see is an old shirt of mine that my daughter uses as a smock when she paints.  Behind it are several reusable tote bags.  Someday I hope to add another hook to the door so I can distribute them better.

I found a bag full of free coffee samples that hasn’t been touched in 2 years.  Here were the contents:

Since we don’t drink coffee at home (or use Emergen-C), I sent everything to work with my husband.  He can put them in the break room where people who actually drink coffee can use them.

Here’s the after picture of the pantry:

I had hoped to organize some of my cabinets this week, too, but so far that hasn’t happened.