Friday, July 24, 2015

Tidying Up: Days 11 and 12?

Very little tidying up these past two days. Why, you are wondering? Because....

We count down to all things important--Gotta love Hobby Lobby 

I did organize all of my gift wrap and gift bags. I forgot to take before and after pics though (I know you are crushed...ha ha!)  It was pretty ridiculous the amount of gift bags one teacher can accumulate in a career. Phew! Some had seen better days.

 Mostly though I spent time preparing for the beach.I will say since KONMARIng my clothes, it was SO easy to pack! Everything in my drawers bring me joy, so it made things so simple. I know it sounds cheesy! I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't experienced it.

I did get a special delivery today though that made my day. Some of you will recognize this box.

It was like Christmas in July! For those of you that don't recognize the logo, it is the amazing Erin Condren. Erin Condren is a Type A personality's dream website! It has life planners, teacher planers, etc. They are not the ordinary planners. They are colorful and creative and have interchangeable personalized covers.Also, they have coordinating stickers and markers--What more could a teacher want?!

I ordered my new teacher planner for the fall about a month ago when she offered 25% off. So excited! It looks black in the picture, but my planner is dark navy. Isn't that a great quote?

Inside the planner is colorful and has lines. Many plan books are just white spaces, but not this one. And of course I had to get the coordinating markers....duh?!

I ordered a matching notepad for the back of the planner. It has adhesive tape on the back of the pad so that it will attach to the planner.

I also ordered printed labels with categories of my choice.

I know I'm obsessed, but what better way to get a teacher psyched to go back to school than new school supplies? Works for kids right?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tidying Up: Ruh-Roh Day 10

So after yesterday's kitchen debacle, I decided to outsource my KONMARIng, and focus on the big brown dog. He was very enthused.

So we dumped all of his toys out. These were just the ones on the first floor of the house. Yes, the big brown dog is spoiled so he has a toy box on every level. When you don't have children, this is what you do.
 Then the big brown dog began to look for what brought him joy....ha ha! (If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell ya!)

 He has some favorites...
Chewed Up Buzzard
No Face Bear
Armless Camo Dog
All of which brought the big brown dog joy at some point, but perhaps needed to not be kept in his toy chest any longer.
 His favorite three though had to stay:
Catarona Extra, Killer Bite, and Mountain Drool
These three no longer squeak, labels are bare, and they have tears in the plastic, but he loves them to death.
Here is the end result:
Bottom Floor-Toys that won't damage
anything when thrown
Middle Floor-His Favs
Top Floor-Holiday Toys
Having a retriever in the house, he must always greet us with a toy in his mouth. It could be when we come home at night, when he comes down from one floor to another, at any point he must find a toy and present it to you. Not necessarily give it up, but at least show you he has it.  And what did he "give away"?
Can I play with my toys now?
Needless to say, he is now asleep on the couch, exhausted from his day of "tidying up"!

Bag Count:
Me: 7  plus 2 boxes of books and 1 small box of jewelry and 2 boxes of kitchen stuff.
My Guy: 2 bags
Trash Guy: 6 bags
Big Brown Dog: 1/2 a bag

Cooling off for a Wednesday Hodgepodge!

1. Is your home air conditioned? If it's not air conditioned, is that by choice? Did you grow up with air conditioning? If not how did you cope with the heat? Share about a time or place you remember as being too hot-the temperature kind of hot, lest anyone be confused.

It is air conditioned, and yes I did grow up with it. I do remember growing up in schools that were not. If the temperature hit 90 degrees by 10:00 am, we got out early.  The one time I remember being too hot, was when I think I was 7 years old and we went to Boston for a vacation. We stayed at the Copley Square Hotel. On the day in question, we had tickets to see the Red Sox play at Fenway Park, because that is how our family rolls---sporting events and vacations unite. My Dad said we could walk to Fenway; it was a short walk. Needless to say it was not a short walk, it was extremely hot, and when we got to Fenway Park, they ran out of ice. My Dad has yet to live this down.

2. What's something in your life right now that falls under the heading 'up in the air'?

Hmmm...let me think...our adoption? Still praying!

3. Your favorite light and airy dessert?

Lemon meringue pie. Hands down! This will be the next type of cupcakes I make as well. 

4. When did you last feel like you were 'floating on air'?

This whole year I feel like I have been "floating on air" career wise. I made a change to leave teaching fifth grade to become a STEM teacher in a Title I school. I now teach Prek-5 and love every minute of it! I feel like I am rejuvenated. I've been "floating on air" all year!

5. Airport, airmail, airtight, airhead...which have you most recently encountered? Explain.

Airhead, unfortunately it was me yesterday. I was such a ditz. I was tidying up my pantry and it was all done. I realized I forgot to put something in one of the bins, so instead of taking the bin off the shelf, I simply tried to lift the lid, and place the item in the bin. In return, I caused a chain reaction, which left me with a half of a container of cocoa powder pouring from the top of the pantry all the way to the bottom. Have you ever tried to clean up cocoa powder? Don't use a wet rag, go straight for the vacuum cleaner.

6.  Have you ever been to the Alps? If so where did you go? If not, is this a destination on your must-see list? If you were headed that direction this summer, which of the following would be your preferred activity...a gentle walk, a serious walk, a bike ride, a boat ride around one of the lakes, or summer snow skiing?

I have never been to the ALPS. If I was headed that way this summer a boat ride would be my choice.

7. What is one saying or phrase that was considered 'cool' when you were growing up?

Saying something was "bad" but meaning it was really good. That was very popular. At school, all my students are obsessed with "Bye Felicia." I must admit, I had to Google it to see what it meant! I felt so old.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

So I've been actively tidying up my house using the Konmari method from the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I'm starting to think this could be my "nesting" phase. You know, how pregnant women in their third trimester start to organize and clean right before they go into labor? Perhaps we will be getting a call soon to say we have been matched with a birth mother. I hope so!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tidying Up: Oh My Day 9!

The KONMARI method kicked my butt today! I started simple with shoes. It only took me about 30 minutes to go from 60 pairs to about 40 pairs. Let's be honest...we all know which shoes bring us joy. As of today, I had completed all of the categories under clothes as well as books. KONMARI has the next category as paper, however my guy and I wanted to do paper together, so I agreed to hold off. Boy do I wish I had done paper today.

The next category in the KONMARI method is something she calls, Komono. Komono refers to miscellaneous items. There are so many categories within Komono that you could pretty much start anywhere. So I decided to start in the kitchen. I have "organized" my pantry many times since we have been in our house, but today I focused on tidying up everything the KONMARI way. Oh my goodness!

Mug Cabinet Before
Mug Cabinet After
First of all, there was no way I was taking every kitchen item out of my cabinets and determining what brought me joy. I decided to tackle it in stages. I started with glasses and mugs.Our cabinets have become pretty cluttered in this area, which in turn means we have a lot more on our counters than we need. I was even texting my guy pictures of his mugs to tell me which ones bring him joy. (I think I might be obsessed.) For each of my cabinets I was able to change the shelf heights and store my mini blender and smoothie materials in one, and all of my Keurig items in the other. Huge difference on our counters!

Glasses Before
Glasses After
My guy and I have always disagreed on how we store our glasses, glasses up or glasses down. I'm  an up girl and he is a down guy (Mainly because this is how we were raised.) Once we started living together, I compromised and became a glasses down kind of girl. However, after KONMARIng our glasses, I couldn't believe how many of our nice Crate and Barrel glasses were chipped on the rim, which of course does not bring me joy. According to Good Housekeeping, "The rim of the glass is the most delicate part of the glass, and therefore should be stored up or it will chip." So from now on we are Team Glasses Up, at least for our glassware.

Then I proceeded to organize the rest of our upper cabinets. Our cabinets are so tall. It is a beautiful kitchen, but for 5'4" me, I can't reach anything in the upper cabinets (Lucky for me, my guy is 6'4", but he isn't always home when I am cooking). It is such a pain. When we moved in, we placed mixing bowls on the "No Reach" zone. Ugh! This has been awful. Every time I bake, I need help getting bowls and supplies down.

Tidying the  upper cabinets, quickly turned into the pantry, which quickly turned into the island. It was interesting that the books I organized over the weekend, I felt like now needed a space. The KONMARI method says you will just know as you go through the process where things "feel" like they want to be stored. I don't know if my books "felt" it or I felt it but I am in heaven with my new pantry organization! Two shelves strictly devoted to my baking! I didn't take a "before" picture of the pantry because I hadn't planned to tidy up in there, but it all just sort of fell that way.

The big brown dog was not excited at all to KONMARI today. He still earned two cabinets of his own though in the "No Reach" zone... for obvious reasons.

P.S. Does anyone know a good place to donate kitchen items?

Bag Count:
Me: 7  plus 2 boxes of books and 1 small box of jewelry and 2 boxes of kitchen stuff.
My Guy: 2 bags
Trash Guy: 6 bags

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tidying Up: Day 6, 7 & 8

Oh how I wanted to tell you how much progress I made this weekend. Unfortunately, I did not make much. Saturday after running errands and visiting family, I did tackle books. As a cupcake baker, I have an abundance of baking books. It was hard to decide which cookbooks to keep and which ones to let go. I know back to the whole, "Does it bring me joy?" thing. Also, I had saved a lot of travel guides and professional teaching books from my admin degree. Some books I saved, but most I am donating.I recycled a ton of magazines too. One benefit of online magazine subscriptions, no recycling needed!

The big brown dog found a book he liked too!
My guy did tidy up all of the bottoms in his closet, so he is slowly getting back on board. I even taught him how to fold his jeans and shorts to maximize room in his closet. No tidying tonight though because of the British Open. Shh! Don't tell him Zach Johnson won in a playoff.

Sunday was our day of rest, so no tidying yesterday. Today I tackled jewelry.I forgot that under the clothes section of the KONMARI method is shoes and jewelry. Shoes I plan on tidying tomorrow, but jewelry was pretty easy.

As a teacher, you are blessed with numerous beautiful trinkets from students over the years. It is very hard to part with some, because every student brought you joy, and recycling the jewelry they made or gave you is difficult. However, the number of loom band bracelets I have accumulated over the past two years was quite astonishing. I could probably wear a different one every day for a year and have no repeats!

So, I went by this method, if I could remember the student who gave it to me, I kept it. For example, one adorable sweet student H gave me my one and only cupcake necklace because he saw it in the gift shop at the airport and made his mom buy it for me because he knew I had to have it. It even came in its own cupcake shaped box. Still makes me smile every time I see it.

Also, my sweet pale pink bracelet from student A. She makes beautiful jewelry. She made me a special pink beaded bracelet with an apple and two books that dangle from it. Last, two elastic bracelets from student S. He made it with his mom. His explanation was the sweetest. "I included pink beads because you battled breast cancer and won. I included purple beads because you love the Ravens, and I included blue beads because it is my favorite color and that way you won't forget me." He was sooo right ; )

Donation Box

I still have a whole shelf of Tiffany jewelry. All tucked away neat in their little blue pouches. I love each and every piece. Does anyone else have a collection of Tiffany bracelets and necklaces that they no longer wear? I can't bring myself to donate them. Jewelry brings lots of joy, but goodness statement necklaces take up a lot of space!

Bag Count:
Me: Still 6, plus 2 boxes of books and 1 small box of jewelry.
My Guy: 2 bags
Trash Guy: Still 2

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tidying Up: Day 5

Well one week down and what progress I have made! Today I tackled socks, underwear, bras, and pajamas. I didn't start off so great since someone adorable kept stealing the socks off my bed. He is lucky he is so cute!

When you are reading Marie Kondo's book, there is a whole section on socks. I literally laughed out loud.

 Treat your socks and stockings with respect
Never ever ball up your socks
This should be a time for them to rest
Do you think they can get any rest balled up like that?

Who knew my socks were under so much pressure! I thought being a teacher was stressful, apparently the life of a sock is very tense. Ha! This was one part of the book where I thought she was off her rocker, but once again she proved me wrong. Not because I think my socks need to rest, but because her way of storing socks saved SO much space. I was actually able to fit my socks, bras, and underwear all in one drawer. 

The KONMARI way also says to place light colored items in the front of your drawer and darker colored items in the back. In your closet, it should be heavier items on the left and light items on the right. I have yet to organize my drawers by color, but that could be something I do later on-not an urgent task in this process.

My closet and my drawers are all organized now. Every piece of clothing I own, has a specific place, and I still have room in my closet, and a whole unused drawer in my dresser. What?! I KNOW! 

This weekend's agenda? Shoes, Books, and Papers, oh my!

Bag Count:
Me: Still 6
My Guy: Still 1
Trash Guy: Still 2 ( I jammed a little more into the one from yesterday. No one wants used socks, underwear, or bras donated...yuck!)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tidying Up: Day 4

So today was supposed to be socks and underwear. I switched it with tomorrow's task because I'm not equipped to organize those drawers with out smaller boxes to place the items in at the moment.  The KONMARI method does not want you to buy any storage organizers, but simply use shoe boxes or boxes you already have to help organize your belongings. Now as an addict of the Container Store and all things Bed Bath and Beyond, I was once again skeptical. But she proved me wrong again! I have organized my drawers so easily just using boxes. I did purchase one clear three compartment bin for $7.99 at TJ Maxx but I will explain that in a second.Sorry KONMARI gods!

Today I decided to tackle accessories: bags, purses, belts, scarves, and bathing suits. I definitely bit off more than I could chew. Today's joy took me over 2 hours! I am very pleased with the results.

On the top shelf I have my purses. I used my last Stitch Fix box to organize my clutches and smaller handbags. I will probably cover it later with cute wrapping paper to make it more appealing, but for right now it works.  I used one clear three slotted bin for slips, tights, and leggings. It fits right on my top shelf. I used to have these items in a drawer. It was chaotic and when I tried to find tights to wear I would inevitably have to pull out everything in the drawer to find them. I think it was $7.99 well spent.

My closet isn't big so I couldn't get everything in the picture, but on the left is all my fall and winter clothes, divided by my sorter in the middle(already owned this item), then on the right is my spring and summer clothes. I use my sorter in the center to lay my clothes out for the week when I'm working. I find it easier for me if I plan out Sunday night what I am going to wear because I am not a morning person. Some people would disagree with me because I usually am one of the first cars in the parking lot at work, but for the first hour I am up, I am not a functioning adult. The sorter worked well for me this past year, but I'm worried I might just start piling things in it. So I may just take it down and use it in our future nursery (still praying). 

Best thing about tidying up so far, the EXTRA space. I have a whole rack in my closet I am not using plus two more shelves at the top of the closet. The KONMARI method states that all of your belongings should be able to fit in the storage you already have, so we will see what next week brings. I may use my top racks for photos and memorabilia. Items that bring me joy that I don't need to see everyday. 

My next huge accomplishment today was tackling my scarves! I love wearing scarves, but ugh storing them is miserable. I bought a scarf organizer, but it only held 12 scarves. Needless to say, it wasn't working for me. I perused online for different ideas and saw one that used something I already owned...FROM COLLEGE! It works perfectly! I can still see every scarf and each one has its own space. How easy will it be to put a scarf away after I wear it? Brilliant!

The dog really likes my old organizer. I'm not going to donate it yet, because maybe it to will have a different purpose.
Total Bag Count:
Me = 6 bags
My Guy = 1 bag (He still promises to catch up)
Trash Guy = 2 bags

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge!!!

1.July 15th is National Give Something Away Day.  What can you give away? Will you?

Well since I have been actively participating in the Konmari method of tidying up, I will be giving away lots, so far 5 bags worth.  Haven't read the book yet? Check it out! 

2. Do you have a mantra? Please share with the class if you feel comfortable doing so.

I guess this is sort of my mantra, "If you believe it, you can achieve it."

3. Who does the grocery shopping in your house? How many times a week do you shop? Do you make a list or pray for inspiration in the produce aisle?

I make the grocery list for the most part. We have a chalkboard in our house that we add to when we finish something. there are days I go grocery store shopping blind. Those are very dangerous outings. there is something I enjoy immensely about going down each and every aisle. Drives my guy crazy! I usually go once a week. If I want my guy to go, then I head to Wegmans. He loves that place.

4. Is there a TV show you're embarrassed to say you watch? You're going to tell us what it is, right?

Say Yes to the Dress-all versions. I have been married now for over 6 years, but I love watching wedding dress shows. My guy constantly shakes his head. 

5. A recent article listed fifteen words we should eliminate from our (written) vocabulary in order to sound smarter-

that, went, honestly, absolutely, very, really, amazing, always, never, literally, just, maybe, stuff, things, and irregardless

Of the fifteen, which word is your most overused?

This one is easy. I actually have two-literally and just. I literally can't stop using them. I just have to all the time. See?

6. So apparently dying your hair gray (in your youth!) is a thing right now. It's called 'The Granny Hair' trend. Your thoughts?

Stupidest trend ever! I have seen some beautiful girls walking around and they look hideous with this hair. Why make yourself look elderly when you are 21?

7. A while back Buzz Feed asked members to share the most beautiful sentence they've read in a piece of literature. A hard thing to narrow down, at least for me, but let's try. What's one of the most beautiful sentences you've ever read in a piece of literature?

This was a hard one.
Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Alkaban- Quote by Albus Dumbledore

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I am obsessed with Cheryl's cookies. I love sending them as gifts. They are so fresh and have cute designs and yummy flavors. Their butter cream cookies are amazing. I hope my guy finally gets the hint and sends me some soon : )

Tidying Up: Day 3

Today I tackled dresses, suits, evening wear (not a lot of that going on here), and jackets/coats. Not as much in my pile in this area.
I think the the big brown dog is over this tidying up stuff every day. Just wait until we get to his toys ; )

It seems to be getting easier to decide what brings me joy and what doesn't. In fact , as I am sorting one category, I am noticing things in other categories that definitely don't bring me joy lying around the house. I am fighting the urge to dispose of those items because the KONMARI method says to stick to the category order. I noticed on Monday it took me 2 hours to tidy up my tops, but each day it is getting much quicker. Today and yesterday took less than an hour. This is progress.

After reading her whole book, there are still a few things that I feel she is a little wacky about in her ideas. The whole greeting your house thing when you arrive home, yeah I don't see myself talking to my house, but hey if it works for some people, great! I also don't agree with emptying my purse every night. I guess it would help my purse from getting cluttered. I am not someone that changes her purse every day to match my outfit. Perhaps in Japan they do, or if you have an abundance of money and purses you do, but for me, who locks her purse up in a teacher cabinet all day, not worth the effort.

My guy bailed last night on his joy. It is much easier for me to tidy up when I am not working right now (Ahh, the glamorous life of a teacher). We didn't get home until 8:30 last night, and he didn't have the energy to organize anything. He promises me he will tackle his categories another night. 

Bag Count:
Me: 5
My Guy: 1

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tidying Up: Day 2

So today the KONMARI method suggests moving to bottoms. Once again, I had a plethora.
Not as bad as tops. Look! You can see the big brown dog!

I actually found it harder to get rid of pants, than it was to get rid of tops. I was shocked! Most of my dress pants for teaching are from Ann Taylor Loft, aka teacher clothes mecca. Since battling cancer, my body did not quite bounce back the same way as before, and therefore, pants that used to fit me perfectly, pull in some areas and are looser in others. The pants are so nice, I just hated to part with them. You know, fully lined, cute patterns, etc. It seems the current pants I've bought at Loft, are not made with such care. I can't find a single pair that are lined anymore either.

Two bags and a happier me later, I was finished. I still can't get over how many pairs of jeans I owned. I also chose to store my jeans in a drawer for the first time ever. They all fit, and they all have their own space. No more storing them on the rack at the top of my closet with dividers between each stack. I mean how many times did they have to fall down before I could see it wasn't working. I also still can't get over that I still have all 4 seasons worth of clothes in my closet and drawers with room to spare. Tomorrow we will tackle dresses, suits, and coats.
I know, I still own 11 pairs, but some are boot cut, some are skinny, some are cropped, etc. And don't even get me started about the different colors and washes. 
On a side note, last night when my favorite guy got home, I convinced him to join me in this tidying adventure. We started with his tops, and let me tell you, I wish I had taken a picture, because his stack looked comparable to mine. I will never buy the guy another golf shirt as long as we live. I couldn't believe how many I pulled out of his closet. He just started a new job about two months ago, and is now required to wear a tie everyday. So that played a major decision into weather or not it brought him joy.

One thing we did come to blows on, were shirts that brought him joy, but definitely did not bring me joy. In fact some were over 10 years old, ripped and pilly (Is that a word?), but he still kept them. And don't even get me started on the t shirts that are so old and worn, I could hold them up and see through them. In the end, we came to a compromise, which actually worked well. We had a lot of laughs, and my guy is still stunned at how much space he has now. I couldn't get him to buy into the KONMARI folding methods, but he made HUGE progress.

Bag Count:
Me= 4
My Guy = 1

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tidying Up

Okay so I haven't posted in a REALLY long time. Like 2 years long time! I just haven't been inspired. I've been in a pretty blah period in my life. But recently I read a book and feel inspired again. I read the book:
I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical. I have a very Type A personality, at least at work I do. At home, I become like Type Z. Okay maybe not that extreme, but the need to be organized doesn't seem to be there at home as it does at work. So I decided to download the book to my Kindle and try it. As I read the beginning, I honestly laughed out loud as I was reading. "Ask yourself, Does this item bring you joy?" Seriously?! I should feel joy from say my toaster, my hairspray, or even my socks? I had to keep reading.

As I continued, I was surprised at her methods. To categorize items, and declutter in categories rather than rooms was an interesting concept. She suggests starting with clothes, then books, paper, misc, and then mementos and photos.
The author believes that there is an underlying issue which is keeping any one person from being organized. I know for me at school, I have everything under control. Therefore I can be organized at school without a problem. At home though, since we have been waiting in limbo with this adoption, I have no control. We are waiting to be matched. It has been so hard too, because we keep getting presented to birth mothers but no one has chosen us. It really is hard for us to keep being rejected. Lots of prayers and faith keep us moving along, but it doesn't help me to stay organized.

So I took the plunge! Day 1--Tops! So I took every top I own from sweaters, blouses, gym t shirts, etc. and placed them on my bed to begin the tidying process. Oh my goodness. I couldn't believe the number of tops I had on my bed. I'm embarrassed to show you.
Can you see my poor big brown dog? He is trying to find a spot on the bed.

Hi! My name is Wendy and I am a clothes hoarder. I love to shop, but I rarely get rid of things, OBVIOUSLY!I had all different sizes, spirit wear from every school I've ever taught at, as well as shirts from college including all of my sorority letters. And don't even get me started about the number of cardigans I own. Teacher wardrobe staple, right? Oh my! So I picked up the first top, and tried to decide if it brought me joy. I soon found out this was easier than I thought. The KONMARI way says you should never change your closet out for seasons. You should be able to fit all seasons worth of clothes in your closet at one time. Today I did just that! I got rid of two full trash bags and only had enough tops left to fill only half a rack in my closet.

The after picture doesn't really look like I made a dent, but I really did. I was shocked at how easy, and how good I feel right now. Tomorrow I will tackle bottoms.