Monday, April 30, 2018

The Weekend - Last Soccer Game & Church Picnic

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It was another great weekend in our neck of the woods, especially weather-wise.  Friday, Jacob had Field Day at school and he got out at noon, so I picked him up early, we busted Olivia out of school right before naptime (she was very excited about that), and then we all went to eat at Chipotle for lunch per Jacob’s request. 

After that it was a hair cut for Jacob, and then I asked the kids if they wanted to go get some ice cream.  They counter-offered with donuts which was a little random for an afternoon treat, but upon arriving at Krispy Kreme I was reminded that they were selling the Lemon Glazed Donuts for one week only and I perked right up at that idea.  As a matter of fact, I ended up grabbing a dozen so we could all have some for breakfast the next morning.

Once the kids had reached their sugar high, it was time to burn it all off at the play ground.  The weather was in the mid-seventies, sunny, and there was hardly any humidity, so we could have easily stayed out there all day.  After an hour or so it was time to go so we could head to the grocery store, but I knew my mom was off because my mom and dad were getting new countertops, so we decided to stop by and surprise them for a quick afternoon visit.  Well, when we arrived, both of my brothers, my uncle, and my nephew were all there hanging out so we ended up crashing the party and staying for the rest of the afternoon so we could play with my nephew.  No grocery shopping got done, but that’s the beauty of not working anymore.  It can always wait another day!  :o)

I knew B was heading home around 4:30, so we left around the same time, too, and he met us at home with pizza because it was a pizza and beer on the back porch kinda evening!  

After dinner, we moseyed on in the house to watch the Lego Ninjago Movie, and then after the kids were in the bed, I was ecstatic because B and I watched this:

You GUYSSSS, SO GOOD!!!!  I have to say, my expectations were through the roof because everyone has sung its praises so highly, so I was really, really worried that I was going to be disappointed with it, but nope.  SO.  GOOD.  I promptly downloaded the soundtrack the next day and I’ve been listening to it ever since!  If you haven’t seen it yet – RUN!!  And go ahead and buy it… don’t waste your money renting it because you’re just going to end up buying it anyway.  ;o)

Saturday morning we devoured the rest of our donuts… and can someone please tell the people at Krispy Kreme to please keep the Lemon Glaze Donuts around for good?!  They were so delicious!  I would definitely make those my new go-to if they were a permanent fixture.

Jacob had his last soccer game of the season at 10:30 Saturday morning so all of his grandparents attended and so did my brother and Tucker.  Unfortunately Jacob was coming down with a cold and he wasn’t feeling well, so he asked to sit out the last 20 minutes of the game.  I was so heartbroken for him.  :o(  He had played really hard during the first half, and then the first ten minutes of the second half I could tell his heart just wasn’t in it, so it was probably for the best.  The team ended up winning 4-3 so that was, at least, a good way to finish the season!

We celebrated the end of the season with lunch at Zaxby’s per Jacob’s request (as his soccer party isn’t until Thursday) and then we spent the afternoon in the back yard.  The weather was glorious again so I grabbed the book I’m reading, plopped down on one of our chairs, and soaked up the sun (safely with my 15 SPF – LOL).  My skin finally got a little bit of color, so I was feeling good for the rest of the day!  What is it about having sun-kissed skin that just makes you feel so darn good?!

We went to our usual 5:30 PM mass and then our church was having its annual stewardship picnic, so we attended that afterward.  They had Mexican and hot dogs catered, there was a DJ, Cornhole boards, ice cream, piñatas for the kids, and some other activities set up.  We all brought chairs and portable tables and set up our little “tailgate” area on the school football field and spent the evening hanging out with friends and family.  Momma made a batch of margs and we sipped on those and played Cornhole all evening while the kids all played together.  We shut it down a little after nine and then it was home for a quick episode of The Crown before calling it a night.

Sunday morning I was up bright and early to go grocery shopping since I had shirked my duties on Friday, and then I headed home to start getting everything prepared for Sunday dinner.  My Momma’s kitchen was in disarray all weekend since they had new countertops installed, so I volunteered to have everyone over to our house.  Sunday morning I went ahead and prepped the meat – pulled pork in the slow cooker, and I also made the dessert ahead of time as well – Hershey Pie. 

The rest of the morning was spent prepping for the week ahead while Jacob got a jump start on homework for the week and Olivia colored, and I got my to do lists done for Monday – Friday this week.  I don’t have a lot of obligations this week, and I’m feeling pretty ambitious, so my lists are quite long!

We went to my MIL and step-FIL’s for Sunday lunch as we always do, and then we played in the back yard and took a walk down by the lake behind their house.  My mother-in-law is planting her garden this week so this was the last time that the kids will be able to dig in the dirt for a while. 

Sunday evening the usual crew minus my uncle and his girlfriend headed to our house for BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, and my Momma’s famous mac ‘n’ cheese.  The weather was yet again picture-perfect, so it was a dinner outside kind of evening.  We turned on the twinkle lights, cranked up the summer tunes, and spent the evening on the back porch with the family.  The boys played ball and Frisbee while the ladies sat around and chatted, and it was, as always, the perfect ending to another great weekend.  Life is pretty good these days!

Quick side note, I got asked twice if the kids were twins this weekend.  Haha.  It seems to be happening more and more frequently these days!

Now here’s to getting everything done on our to-do lists today!  Cheers, y’all!

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*Linking up with B Loved Boston for Weekending and HoHo Runs for Weekly Wrap.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Five on Friday - Decluttering Update (Home Office)

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through or make a purchase.

Another busy week in the books!  It seems like these last few weeks I’ve been so busy doing real-life stuff that I haven’t had as much time to work on my decluttering.  I have come a very long way, though, and as promised, I’m sharing some updates on my progress so far.

My goal for the year is to get every single inch of our entire house decluttered, and I’m a little more than halfway done!  My MIL and I are having a yard sale in June and I’m hoping to make a decent amount of money since we have so. much. stuff.  Everything that doesn’t sell will go to our church’s outreach center. 

I’ve also been thinking of selling some of the kids’ and my old clothes online because they are in excellent shape, but I’m having trouble deciding how to sell them.  Here on the blog?  On Instagram?  On one of those resale websites?  Anybody have any thoughts on selling clothes online?  Which is the easiest and most lucrative option?  And if I decided to start a separate Instagram account to sell some of our old clothes would anyone be interested in following along to see what we have to offer?  I just can’t decide what to do…

Anyway, enough chatter!  Here’s the decluttering update!  Today’s post is all about my home office…

O N E – Closet

This room was by far my largest undertaking because it not only holds my day-to-day office stuff, but it also holds my entire life’s worth of keepsakes.  I know I’ve mentioned this here before, but I am a very sentimental person and I have a very hard time of letting go of things.  My parents were the same way, so they held on to tons of stuff from my childhood and then gifted me with all of the boxes when we moved in our current house, so I had ridiculous amounts of old stuff.  I started with an office closet that looked like this:

And today it looks like this:

Huge difference, right?!

Every single box in that closet held old keepsakes – clothes, dolls, school papers, art work, trinkets, and tons of other different mementos. 

Well friends, I went box by box, paper by paper, item by item and decided whether or not to keep each item.  I ended up filling our four-foot tall recycling bin twice! 

My old school papers were housed in three large boxes and I whittled them down to just one file box.  Everything has been organized into hanging folders by grade, and everything else (awards, school pictures, report cards) are organized in hanging folders at the back of the box.  You can read more about my method here. 

As a teenager, I worked at the movie theater for three years, and I accumulated lots of mementos from movies, and all of those were stored in one medium box and about 15 poster tubes.  I cleaned the box out and whittled it down to all fit in an old shoebox which now fits inside one of my larger keepsake boxes.  The posters are all gone (even though I haven’t decided whether to trash them or try to sell them yet).

I had six small boxes just dedicated to mementos from weddings that I was in and I had saved the bouquets, invitations, favors, and other items from them.  Well, I cleaned all of those out.  Everything is gone except for the invitations (which are now filed in my keepsake box… I’ll have to share that on the blog here soon) and the bouquets.  I wasn’t sure what to do with the bouquets at first, but I decided to display them on my bookshelves because they make me happy.  Three of the bouquets were made of artificial flowers, so those are on display in gold wire baskets, and the three bouquets that were made of real flowers are stored in pretty blush boxes, also on my bookshelves.

I had an entire box dedicated to greeting cards that I had received throughout my whole life, and I went through and whittled those down to just a few of my faves from each year.  Those are now filed in my keepsake box as well.

And finally, I had one HUGE box and four other medium boxes of old toys/trinkets/mementos and I whittled all of that down to just fit in three of the medium boxes.  One box is for childhood mementos (birth – 5th grade), one box is for teenage mementos (junior high – college), and one box is for adulthood (after college).  The adulthood box is pretty much empty so there is plenty of room for the future.  :o) 

I also had some keepsake boxes for Jacob and Olivia in there, and I cleaned those out and put those in their own closets to free up the space in mine.  Both of their closets are fairly empty, so it was no problem to move them in there.

I also had three small boxes full of old school notes that my girlfriends and I used to pass in class.  I chunked most of those, but I did save a few that were really funny.  And I had six small boxes full of other old random school mementos.  I pretty much got rid of all of that stuff altogether.  Every single one of those boxes are now gone.  Craziness!

Now my closet is more than half empty and I actually have room to put stuff in there other than keepsakes.  All that’s left is as follows:

  1. Four medium boxes (on the left) – three of those are my keepsake boxes for things and one is a box of my very favorite outfits that the kids wore when they were babies.  I saved those to have them turned into a quilt one day, so once I get someone to do the quilt, that box will be gone.
  2. Three file boxes (on the right) – two of those are my keepsake boxes for papers and one is my school papers box.  The two on the top are empty and will eventually be stored somewhere else.
  3. One large box (on the floor in the middle) – this holds gifts that I buy to keep on hand in case we need something in a pinch.  That tiny gold box is my cards box because I also keep greeting cards on hand in case we need them.
  4. One medium box (on top of the gift box) – this holds gifts that I have bought for the kids for holidays/birthdays… I always store them in there so they are out of the kids’ sight.  That box is empty most of the time, but it’s nice to have a place dedicated to hiding gifts for the kids.  ;o)
  5. Everything on the shelf of the closet is stuff I use for the blog – photography equipment on the left, props in the middle, and a few spare office supplies up top.
So basically I went from having that entire closet stuffed full of keepsakes (literally floor to ceiling) to only having three medium boxes and two file boxes for keepsakes. 


T W O – Bookshelves

My bookshelves were also stocked with loads and loads of old stuff – CDs, old home videos, DVDs, VHS tapes, music tapes (I mean!), and albums upon albums of old pictures.  I cleaned them off, grabbed a few new bins for organizing, and voila!    

Here's the before:

And here's the after:

I know there is still a lot of stuff on the shelves, but all of that stuff gets used or makes me happy, and they also look way less cluttered in person, if that makes sense!

For the last few years, I digitized all of my old pictures and videos (more on that here and here), so it was no longer necessary to have the originals lying around anymore.  By tossing all of these old photo albums and DVDs I freed up four whole shelves!

All of the old VHS and music tapes were tossed.

I also had a massive CD collection which was stored on my bookshelves as well.  All of them are ripped/being ripped to my computer and I’m getting rid of 400+ of them!  I did save a few for sentimental reasons, but the majority are gone and I gained back five shelves in the process!

A few other things that were tossed from the bookshelves – several picture frames that no longer suited my décor, around 20 books that I know I’ll never read again, and a few trinkets that I no longer needed/enjoyed. 

T H R E E – Other Drawers & Boxes

I am a crafter/writer/artist and I used to be a scrapbooker so I have lots of stuff.  Pens, paper, paint, ribbon, stickers, fabric, stationary… my office is basically a craft room so I have lots of drawers.  Well, every single drawer and box in the entire room was cleaned out and reorganized for maximum functionality and I got rid of loads of stuff!

These are all after pictures:

It has been so nice to be able to find what I need right away and not have to dig out 500 other things to get to what I need!

F O U R – File Cabinet

When we first moved in to our house back in 2009 I took an old file cabinet from work that was no longer needed (with permission, of course), and we put it in my office to store all of our paper files.  Well now that everything has pretty much gone digital, I decided that I needed to clean out the files and get rid of most of it. 

I went from this huge, clunky, ugly, metal thing (that I decorated with contact paper):

To this nice, small, wood file cabinet that takes up half the space the other one did! 

Cleaning out the file cabinet was probably the most annoying of the things in my office, because every single drawer was filled to the brim with stuff.  The top drawer was for “People,” the middle drawer was for “Bills,” and the bottom drawer was for “Keepsakes.”  EEK.

The “People” drawer housed a section for each family member with folders for medical papers, insurance info, credit reports, old report cards, and just a bunch of other junk.  This was also where I stored all of our kids’ old school papers and artwork.  Well, every single folder got cleaned out, most of the stuff went to the shred bin, and then everything that was left was reorganized.  The kids’ old school papers got put in special file boxes (see the post here) and I only kept one folder for each member of the family for important medical info. 

The “Bills” drawer was almost completely tossed.  I barely saved anything because everything is online now.

The “Keepsakes” drawer was also decluttered – a lot of stuff went in the trash or recycling and then the rest was organized into file boxes (the ones on the right of the floor in my closet). 

The new smaller file cabinet is half empty.  The top drawer just holds a few files with paperwork for our vehicles, our home building/purchasing process, medical bills for each family member, and any other documents that we didn’t feel comfortable trashing, and then the bottom drawer holds all of our old taxes (can’t get rid of those!) and the user manuals for some of the electronics/things in our house that we couldn’t find online.  It no longer holds keepsakes at all.

It is now so much easier for me to keep up with the paper in our house because instead of filing most of it, I just toss it in the recycling bin!  This has lightened my load tremendously and it has also made my office look more spacious because I don’t have that clunky old ugly cabinet anymore!

F I V E – Wall Hangings

Prior to my decluttering journey, every inch of every wall in my office was covered with photos/artwork/other wall hangings, but I removed lots of them to give my walls some breathing room as well.

I took down the cross hanging to the left of my computer and I moved it to one of the shelves on my gallery wall.  I took down two framed prints above my printer, three art pieces to the left of my closet, three art pieces to the left of my window, the art piece over my door, and eventually I’m going to remove the giant floor to ceiling bulletin board (that I never did anything with) behind my door. 



I also did away with my collage wall above my file cabinet because it just looked sloppy and I replaced it with a travel gallery



I still have more things on the walls than the average person, but over all, there is a whole lot less than there used to be, and everything that’s hanging is something that I cherish.

Whew.  What a job this has been!!  And sorry for not getting to the rest of the house yet… the office kicked my butt so this post was already long enough!  Recaps for the other rooms are soon to come!  Or you can always follow along with me on Instagram Stories in real-time!

And before I go, a few more piles of unwanted stuff that went to the recycling/trash can/yard sale pile… because I’ve accomplished so much, y’all!

Happy Friday!

*Linking up with A Liz Adventures and Carolina Charm for Five on Friday, A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites,  September Farm and The Farmer's Wife for Oh Hey, Friday, Meet @ the Barre for Friday Favorites, and Cup of Tea for High Five for Friday.