Thursday, July 29, 2010

When things that should suck don't!

When I am working through an area... I tend to follow a little pattern.

1) Everything gets knocked off flat surfaces
2) Cleaner sprayed everywhere and wiped down
3) Obvious trash is thrown out, sell stuff goes into a box for the garage, and other stuff gets put away.
4) Vacuum up all the little pieces that are on the floor now because of #1.

That is until my vacuum decides to bite the dust.

And as I sat there on the floor undoing the 19th screw to figure out why the motor was making that awful noise... I realized that this is silly. Why would I want my dusty gross vacuum to barely work... especially when it is what keeps all that Arizona dust controlled. It sucks up all the dog hair from those 2 Labradors. It keeps my kiddos ground up cereal from attracting ants. I depend on that thing!

And so on days that things that should suck just don't... they end up in the sale pile!

To Sell:
401. Vacuum... (and I know I just said it was broken... but it really just makes a noise like it's gonna launch itself to outerspace... it still Hoovers.) :oP

I am underway with 2 more posts... with before and after pictures... of the entryway of my home and my master bathroom! And we are only 3 followers away from 100!! I can't wait!!

Stay tuned for progress pics.... and check out our Flickr group to see what others are doing... and don't forget to add your own pics!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

2 Down... 5 to go!

Wow... time flies when you are having fun... and we all know that getting rid of these dust bunnies and bags of STUFF is fun!

Please tell me I am not the only one who is getting more of a bounce in their step when they open a newly organized cabinet and feel accomplished!

I have been on my little quest for organization for 8 weeks... 2 months... just about 60 days. And we have a little more than 5 months left to go! And I am just over 1/4 of the way to my goal... I am pretty sure I can do it if I put my tail in high gear!!

Socks are finally finished! I am not kidding you that I folded over 50 pairs! I trashed over 50 assorted socks (holes, super stretched, stained, and no more mates). And I felt so good to finally get that over with!

This week I am going to tackle the master bathroom... Oh.My.Gosh is that a wreck... I am pretty embarrassed about that one and I have been transparent with almost all the messes around here... but I am determined to get to my goal of 2010 in 2010... and my bathroom might be the key... hehe...

I am really hoping we can get to 100 followers before August 1st when I do our next giveaway... so please don't forget to tell your friends about your personal goals to declutter and simplify! You *need* their support to be successful... trust me!

And seriously... thanks again for being a part of my journey... I couldn't do it without you! You make me keep going even when I think it's not worth it! :o)

For the trash:
149-198. Socks

For the sale pile:
395-400. Clothes my son outgrew.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Brick Walls

No... I don't have any gorgeous brick walls in my house... I am talking about brick in the kinds that I keep running into with my little endeavor.

Take my desk...

Boy did that place need some help. I grabbed my normal tools: a trash bag and a big box. And then I got started.

But I think I need some help.

You see... after 2 hours of working on this desk... everything went from my desk to the trash or the box.... or my dining room table because I felt like I still needed it. And then back onto the desk for a 2nd sort... and then back to the counter... and then back to the desk.

So yeah... in 2 hours... I was here...

Still not done. I don't have any filing cabinets which I think would help with the paper items... but I am trying to figure out if I really need those things... both the cabinets and the papers. It's also getting harder to part with things... at least here... because I feel like I need this stuff... :sigh:

For the Trash:
139-148. Another bag of trash... :sigh: Where does this stuff come from?!?

For the Sale Pile:
382. Wire file thingie
383-385. Three pink table cloths
386-387. Two bags of party favor bags.
388. Tower of post-it notes
389. Calculator
390. Decorative notebook (unused)
391. Cute little tin
392. Pack of kitchen cleaning rags... they weren't that great to me... so they are gone.
393-394. Two picture frames (plastic... not my style.)

To take to the new office (YEP... I am a working Mom now!) I happened to uncover a few gems that are made for cubicle living... so those are leaving the house... and headed to a new home. I am counting them... as they were clutter in my home... but will be useful outside of it! :o)

To "A Better Place":
1. Wire file thingie (yep... I had 2 of these on the desk before.)
2. Cubicle hanging basket thing... has those sharp tacks on the back for hanging on a cubicle wall.
3. Pack of cubicle paper hanger things. (Why don't these wonderful little clips not have a cool name??)

So... here is where I need your help... what do you use to conquer your papers and desk area??

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

I am so sorry I have been MIA... I promise, I am still around... just have been super busy! I have lots of updates to post... and will do that as soon as I can!

But I know you all want to know who the lucky winner is of our O.C.D. Experience Giveaway is!

and.... that lucky winner is!

Sooo Cupcake Monkey!! Contact me so I can get you in touch with Justin Klosky of O.C.D Experience and get your free consultation!!

And everyone else... I plan on doing 1 giveaway each month... so get ready for August!! And that means only 5 more months to tackle our YAWYK areas!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Living with the Best

I know that a lot of my posts have been about getting rid of the things that are cluttering up your life. It's very likely that if you are taking this challenge that you are emptying out junk drawers that have been left alone for too long... or weeding out expired items from your pantry... and getting rid of clothes that the kids outgrew.

But there is another part of this challenge that I don't want to be overlooked... it's the Living with the Best You Have!

For most of us... just the nature of getting rid of the excess... the broken, outgrown, tattered and worn... we will have the Best left over.

But some of us need to remember to replace.

Yep... you might have to bring something new in to replace something you got rid of. But don't worry! I won't make you add a number to your tally.

Sometimes, we go through our belongings and realize that something just isn't cutting it (let's just say some old, torn stained potholders... or maybe a cracked waterhose). Neither of those exhibits the BEST in your life, right? So we purge... they end up out of your home... and you move on to the next area... right??

Wrong. Here is where those items need to end up on a replacement list. You will need to get a new hose... maybe in your favorite color to make watering chores more fun! And you can get your super crafty girlfriend to whip you up a set of potholders that matches your personality... and make you smile when you pull that casserole those cookies out of the oven. :o)

I am a firm believer that although the plain out there is just as functional... the items that are personalized to you get more wear... that's why you wear your favorite shirt a million times while the other half dozen stay right where you left them... there is just something about it.

Now, I don't want you to clutter back up your home... 2011's challenge isn't going to be to find 2011 items to keep! But please make sure you are still living with the best you have... and not in a state of *need*.

Ok... basically what I am saying is Replace with a Purpose.. and give that item a place to live as soon as it comes home. If you can't find a place for it... it likely a) means it didn't need replacing (good thing you kept the receipt!) or b) that you aren't done decluttering!

Have a great weekend! More before/afters coming on Monday!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Your Stories: Jenifer!

I love reading your stories on your blogs about your declutter journeys. It makes me so happy to know that so many of us are in this together!

I "met" Jenifer last week when she told me about Josie, a sweet little lady from the Philippines that changed the way that Jenifer viewed her life... her "stuff".

It's such a beautiful story... I can't do the retelling justice... so sneak on over and give her some love! I hope this story tugs at your heart and makes you think the way that it did for me.

When Toys Take Over

I am sure it comes as no surprise... just from the short month you have all had to start getting to know me... that there would be toys everywhere at my house.

Yep. Everywhere.

Even when I think that a zone is toy free, one will pop up. Like the glow stick in my bed last night. The bucket in my shower. The set of plastic golf clubs in the master bathroom (no doubt hidden from brother vs brother warfare). The pink plastic boat in my lawn out back. The cars in my purse.

The list can go... and go.... and go.

And we all know the road to hell is paved with good intentions... and that's why I am stuck here. Because once upon a time, I bought this shelf and buckets from Ikea to fill with toys... out of sight.... but in the family room because I didn't want my baby playing in a room out of my clear view.

And because I bought some plastic totes for sorting toys for garage sale about 6 months ago... only to end up filling them with inventory for my party business. And then no toys ever got sorted. Nothing ever sold. Nothing ever gone.

But everyone knows that toys have a funny way of reproducing on their own and growing and taking over. Because I didn't buy those toys... right?? What was I thinking??

So I was reading Courtney's blog as she is taking the YAWYK Challenge, and she talked about tackling cleaning at naptime, which was exactly what I did. Except I waited until the boys were both in bed for the night and I was waiting up for my hubs who was on his way home from a roadtrip... I had a while.

I pulled out a big pink rubbermaid tote and started going through one bin at a time. I trashed everything that was broken (beyond repair), sorted the toys into like items, and put all toys that had been outgrown or replaced along the way into the bin. My son had a birthday last weekend, too, so all of the cardboard puzzles were put into the sell bin while the wooden puzzles stayed. Books that had been eaten (by kids) or balls that had been destroyed (by dogs) also headed to the garbage.

After a 2 hour cleaning party at that shelf... an overflowing tote was moved to the garage and 7 less than full bins were slid back into place!

And you want to know what really made this all worth it? Two days later, the boys still haven't realized a single thing is gone.

To Trash:
125-130. Books that were destroyed.
131-136. Balls that were destroyed.
137. Random flashcards that were scattered everywhere
138. 1/2 bag of trash

To Sell:
301-380: (YES! 80!!) Toys... everything from a ball popper to the little McDs "Prizes".
381: Playmat for baby

Now, I need to figure out some more organization to make this even easier for little guys... :o)

I have also decided not to do the happy meals anymore... #1, the prize is a peice of crap that my son doens't even remember 2 days later, and #2, it's sooo much cheaper to just buy the hamburger and chocolate milk for each of my kids and a small fry for them to share.

Alright... I need to go get ready for the weekend... by finishing up those socks! OH! And we are over 1/4 of the way there... and believe me... I feel it! :o)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


If you've ever tried to conquer clutter before, you have undoubtedly heard of FlyLady. She talks a lot about how a lot of us with clutter suffer from C.H.A.O.S... or Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome.

I think that for most of us... even when the clutter starts getting manageable, there is that room or closet or sliding door or makeshift curtain that hides our CHAOS.... it's not something we have an issue with... it's out of sight, out of mind... but when a guest starts heading in that direction, sirens sound, red lights flash and you RUN to keep them away.

Please don't make me feel like I am alone here! ;o)

This was my alarm central... the one place in my house that no matter what, I just can't hide the truth.

Looking down the hall from my boys rooms.
Once upon a time... this stuff all hid in our "extra room"... not that it was beautiful. It was packed.
 And then we decided to have another baby and that room was emptied to make room for Ryan's Big Boy Room. We don't have any more rooms. No spare closets. And I hate putting stuff in the garage (HELLO!?! There are bugs out there!!) so we just piled it all in the hallway.

Because you know that makes much more sense.

It's quite obvious the obsessive cleaning nesting phase passed me by in pregnancy.

But today was the day that the hallway was tackled!! And it's allll nice and clean.

Even the puppy was happy with my progress!

And he only looks tiny and cute and fluffy... that is 94 lbs of lab...and he's still a puppy... :o)

Ok... for the YAWYK countdown:

For the Trash:
54-110. Assorted .mark make-up, lotions and other beauty products that had expired. (Dang it! This is what happens when you forget where things are and can't use them before they aren't usable anymore!)
111-120. Full bag of trash
121. Broken lid for a 20g plastic tote... that seems to have disappeared.
122. Bags for comforter sets... but the comforters aren't around either.
123. Empty diaper box.
124. A handful of pacifiers that were scattered in there.

To Sell:
213-272. Assorted baby clothes (will likely be donated)...
273. Scanner
274-282. Assorted books that are duplicates of ones we already have.
283. Plastic hanging file tote
284-300. Assorted baby toys.

Picking up speed now!

OH... I don't know if you've seen, but up at the top there is a link for you to post pics of your areas that you are tackling! I'd love to see your progress if you don't have a blog to post!

Tackle your CHAOS... and do it in time for the weekend so you can actually have people over!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Socks & Undies!

Ok... here is a little mini challenge for you! You can TOTALLY do this by the end of the week!

Besides... I double dog dare you!

Now you have to do it!

Attack that Sock & Undies drawer.

Ok, so I'll be completely honest. I was going to post a picture here and tell you about my S&U drawer... but frankly... nobody needs to see that. I have a strange mix of everything in that drawer... covering me from a size 6 (Wooohooo!) to a 42w preggo... and everything in between.

And even more embarrassing, I am 90% sure that over half that stuff was purchased before I was married... or likely even dating my husband... which was 10 years ago. :sigh:

So, I took my drawers of... er... um... drawers and dumped them on the bed.

Ok. Another no brainer bit of honesty.... there is not "donate" or "sell" coming out of your undie drawer... I know you know this... but just in case.

Anything that has shot elastic, holes, or is not comfortable... it's out! If you haven't worn it in the past year (or up to 2 years for anything "special occasion") it's gone, too.

If your socks are stretched beyond a nice snug fit, or if the left and right don't *really* match... give them up, too.

What you are left with should be what you truly wear, in great shape... and if there are some obvious needs now, you know exactly what you need to buy to fill in those gaps!

I am still knee deep in socks... so I'll post later what my final numbers were for the YAWYK tally!

Any suggestions from you for keeping your socks and undies organized??

Monday, July 12, 2010

Our First Giveaway!! O.C.D Experience!

Hey Everyone! I have a Super Special Announcement!!

I have been so blessed to meet Justin Klosky of O.C.D. Experience and I really want you to meet him, too!

Justin is a professional organizer that truly believes that everyone should be able to establish and maintain an organized lifestyle. He's worked with the rich and famous, and you may even recognize him from his Soaps days!

And get this... Justin wants to help YOU out! Yes... YOU!

See... here's how it works. I was talking to Justin and he was telling me that he'd love to be a part of a special YAWYKer's Journey to Simplicity... and I jumped at the offer for a giveaway!

The Winner will receive a One Hour Phone or Video Conference with Justin Klosky!

You will be able to discuss any clutter project you want to tackle and he will take you step by step and help you find ways to do it! Justin will show you how to add functionality back into your life and answer any questions you have on how to secure and maintain an organized space and mindset!

And who wouldn't want that??

You can enter this giveaway up to 8 times!!

1) Become a fan of O.C.D. Experience on Facebook!
2) Become a fan of You Are What You Keep on Facebook!
3) Visit and let me know one of Justin's suggestions that is helping you on your journey! Here's a tip.... check out his Tip Bank!!
4) Become a follower of YAWYK here!
5) Post about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook or Twitter! (Or all 3 for 3 entries!)
6) Leave Justin some love on his O.C.D. Facebook page!

For each entry, just do one of the above, then come back here and post that you did it!  And don't forget a link for all those blog posts, Facebook updates and Tweets!

On July 22nd, I'll use a Random Number Generator to select a winner... because that's my birthday and I thought you deserved a little present! :o)

Let the games begin!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tip Time: Future Kiddos!

Since my camera is on a little break and I have a few minutes downtime, I just wanted to put out a few little tips!

A couple people have asked about storing things for Baby #2. Here are my thoughts... and do with them what you will... ultimately, this is your challenge! Do what is right for you!

- Baby clothes: They seem to get mystery stains after staying in storage for extended amounts of time. Items that were freshly washed, folded and put into plastic totes in the garage are opened up to have breastmilk/formula stains down the front and have yellowed. Yes, often a quick wash in Tide will brighten those babies up... but sometimes, it just won't. So, look through things NOW! Anything stained, torn, stretched, or faded won't look any better on Baby #2. Just pack it up now!

I will add, however, that if money is tight and you REALLY want to hold on to things... pick the best that you have to save. Then, take advantage of a program like, which allows you just pay shipping for clothing for kids! Yes, the items are gently used, but this is a great way to donate items that you have on hand to others! And it's lots of fun... email me for an invite to receive a free month of Pro Membership!

- Gear, Furniture, "Big Stuff": ABSOLUTELY SAVE! Especially if it's in good condition! I cleaned all the toys for my exersaucer, put them into a giant ziplock storage bag and put them all together on a shelf in the garage. It saved me $79 when it came time to use it for Baby #2. However, he hated it and I never really used it. But you know what... it didn't really matter because those big items rarely lose value over short periods of time! You can still get great value at a garage sale, Craigslist, or your local kids consignment shop!

Be sure that everything is in good condition BEFORE you store it! It makes it worlds easier to pull out things that are ready to use!

-Bottles, Pacifiers, Teethers, etc: Don't bother saving these unless you use expensive or glass bottles. If you really want to save them, be sure to trash all the nipples, pacifiers and rubber/silicone teethers and replace those for safety's sake!

-Diapers: ANY UNOPENED DIAPERS!! Save Them!!! Opened ones, however, creep me out when saving. I worry about bugs and other germs. I would rather donate those to a mom in need of them now. But that's just me. :o)

Do you have any pointers for anyone saving items for future kiddos?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Kids Rooms!

Let me just say before I get started that I am so excited to have you all with me on this little journey to Simplicity! I am loving reading your comments, visiting your blogs and seeing the changes you are all making! You are all awesome! Please stick around... you make me feel special. :o)

But back to those kiddos.... I don't know what it is about kids rooms that makes them like virtual flypaper... everything comes by gets stuck and hangs around for a while.

In my defense... the baby doesn't play with all those toys... they stay in my older son's room. But one day, the baby was crying in his crib and my son told me he would make him stop and I let him try... and it meant that two buckets of toys ended up in the crib and then on the floor of the nursery.

Maybe I was better off telling you all that the baby plays with those toys.

Anyway... we were expecting company this weekend. And it was my understanding at the time that they were staying at out house. We don't have a guest room, but we do have an air mattress which meant that Ryan's room needed an overhaul so they could sleep in there. And I also needed to move the toddler bed back to the Corbin's nursery so that Ryan had somewhere to sleep.

And I also know that the toddler bed was moved out to the "sell pile"... but we had a few set backs once it went out.

Well... my plan of attack was the Big Pile method... I pushed everything in the room into one big pile in the middle. I didn't decide what was trash or whatever... just pushed!

Then the easiest way to master the pile was to just plow through. I used the buckets and boxes to sort quickly: clothes, toys, trash and sell. I was done with both boys rooms(including vacuuming) in 30 minutes!

Not a lot made it to the sell pile this time...

212. Rocking Horse. The batteries are dead and nobody plays with it anyway.

43-52. One full bag!

But look how much of a difference it makes when things are in their places!
Oh! And if you have little ones, don't forget to display their books so that they can see the part that they most recognize... the cover! Whenever I put books on the shelf with just the spines showing, they always end up thrown on the floor when Ryan is looking for his favorite one.

But look how happy he looks now!

Tell me about your creative kids room storage and organization solutions!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Keeping the Peace

I was so excited yesterday to get some feedback from you all on the Landing Zone! I promise to keep more pictures and ideas coming... lots of fun things in the works!

This one comment is being featured today!

"Oh sweet relief!!! That must feel soooo goood! I have a very similar spot - it's our kitchen island (well peninsula really). Problem is... it's my husbands stuff. After you clean it - how do you keep it that way??? I'd like to cover the counter in plastic wrap so nobody uses it!!!"

What a great question! I will tell you all this right now: I am a beginner Just.Like.You! I don't have any magic up my sleeve... and God no... I don't have a very well trained husband (or children for that matter)!

But... I am liking loving my kitchen looking like this:
And I am refusing to let anyone wreck it anytime soon.

Case in point... last night my husband fed the dogs. Then placed the feed cups on the counter. A mere 12 inches from there resting spot... which would be inside a cupboard. Out of sight. Off my clean counters. 

And when we went to bed, I said, "Don't forget to put the dogs cups in the cabinet." 

His response: "Why?"

It's not that he was being vindictive... with secret plans to sabbotage my organization and quest for a clean and clutterfree house. It's that he thought maybe the cats were knocking them over... or maybe something bad happened (other than me getting irritated). He is a beginner, too!

For a long time, we played this game with ourselves called "Who really cares where I leave it". The rules are that there aren't any rules. You just leave things where you want. If they get lost, broken or worse as a result of your placement.... you simply replace it! No harm. No foul. 

But now, we are changing the rules. This have a place. And for me... it's either "AWAY" or "The YAWYK Challenge!".  

The best advice I can give you is to keep on keeping on. Don't give up when your hubs, your kiddos, or even YOU (it will happen) try to get in your way! Stress the importance of having a clean and organized home. It is a breeding ground for stress-free happiness! Don't you want that???

I thought so. 

Let us know what you are doing to help set the new standard at your house! 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Landing Zone

Every home needs a place that you can walk in, drop off your keys and phone and then settle in. For us, that is right inside the kitchen...

... I don't have a true before picture... but trust me... this was 3/4 of the way done... 

 Yes... that whole box of stuff down on the floor and inside that trash bag was ON the counter. I guess it became a landing zone for much more than just what was in our pockets. Oops!

I tackled this spot using the Secret Weapon I told you about... and here is where I ended up!

Much easier for us to access our chargers. Our keys go right in the front of that charging station (there is a little bowl area) and change goes into the "ToSeeMickey" Jar. :o)

And booooy did we add to the YAWYK count!

To Sell:
183. Canon camera. Flash doesn't work, but other than that, it's perfect!
184. Ipod nano
185. Angel figurine
186-195. Box full of Italian Charm Bracelet charms! (There are over 50 charms in here... but I am only counting it as 10 items)
196. Dell Axim handheld (don't need it anymore since I have my new Droid)
197. Old Cell phone
198. Ceramic airplane
199-201. Assorted balls
202-205. Assorted phone chargers.
206. Bag full of coin wrappers
207-209. Mason jars
210-211. Bluetooth headsets

To Trash:
33-42: One Full Bag of Trash!

Don't forget to shred all those bills/medical statements/too revealing documents!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Secret Weapon: Box

This weekend has been really busy... and I have a confession... my garage sale didn't happen.

I am pretty bummed about it, but things just got super busy super fast. Not that this is a good excuse. It's actually a good window into what normally happens to me. I plan something out and then end up without any time or energy to carry through. However, this time my time is limited and the clock is still ticking away down to Thrift Time.

I tackled a few areas this week (my car and more laundry room) but I'll add those numbers later.

I did want to give you a suggestion on how to conquer some trouble areas in a very effective way... and in no time at all!

1) Find a trouble zone (mine is the little bar counter in our kitchen)
2) Grab a good sized box (hello, Kirkland Wipes box) and a trash bag
3) Take EVERYTHING out of the area and place it into either the box or the trash bag. That's right... every items fate is decided immediately. Is it broken, ruined, worthless? Trash it. Is it necessary, needed, wanted (even possibly)? Box. See... easy peasy!
4. Grab your favorite cleaner and wipe down the area. Dust, wipe, scrub... whatever is necessary.
5. Now... Separate the stuff in the box into items you use and items you might use sometime. The items you use, clean them up and put them in their new home, on purpose. Make the space the way you want it to stay.
6. Take the remaining items and either tape up the box or put them into another container. Close it up and put it out of sight. After a few months of not needing those items, donate them or trash them... but DON'T pull it out and resort! You've already proven you don't really need anything in there!

Any tips you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them!