Search Results for: label/Decorating

Decluttering Your Home

I’m not sure what I was planning to post today, probably DIY Day, but I’ve been swept up into decluttering my house. Perhaps it was being stuck in the house for 7 days straight while my son had swine flu, but I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with clutter. I know that part of being a mom of small kids means living with clutter, but honestly a lot of it is mine. I held onto a lot because I was going to sell it at our yard sale, but then the flu kept me from participating. I’ve decided to let go of the idea of earning some money and instead get rid of things through Freecycle and donating locally.

Then, this morning, I read Amy’s post at MomAdvice about Reducing Clutter and it really hit home. I really liked this statement she made:

A scaled existence is far more frugal than even those items that seemed to cost pennies.

Sometimes I need to be reminded that having less instead of chasing every deal is part of living well while being frugal. Thanks, Amy! With that in mind, here’s my plan for the rest of the week:

Monday–I cleaned up the yard, weeded, cleaned out the shed, did everything that had been put off for weeks as not a priority. What a difference! Now when you look out the window, you see pretty fall mums and our few Halloween decorations.

Tuesday–Since this is my home morning, I’m tackling the kids’ closets and drawers, switching out the summer shorts and short sleeves for fall and winter clothes. The girls were good sports this morning, trying on lots of shirts and pants to see what fit from last year plus the “new to us” items I picked up at consignment sales. I settled on a small number of outfits (less laundry that way!) and will donate the rest.Wednesday–With the girls at school, I can do something that requires a little more concentration: tackling the computers. I need to move my digital photos to one place (I use a program that sorts them by date and subject). We also have a laptop about to crash, so I’m backing up any essential files and deleting the rest. I will also get the actual desk cleaned up, file my receipts and do any other “paper” chores.

Thursday–I’m hoping to do a baking day with the girls since I volunteered to bring baked goods to a MOMS Club sale over the weekend (note to self–stop saying YES–you need less stress). Since I”ll be in the kitchen a lot, it’s a good time to sort through any cupboards or drawers that need a little organizing. They’re not bad, but if they need it, I’ll use my 3 Steps to Organizing Small Spaces.

Friday–This will be my morning to do any last-minute sorting (like the toys–while no kids are watching) and drop off the donation bags so I can enjoy a clutter-free house over the weekend. Yay!

What do you do to declutter your home, or how do you prevent it from happening in the first place?

Back to School Prep: Household Routines

I’m actually posting what Works for Me every day this week as I prepare my family to go Back-to-School. I’m sharing my routines–old and new–for cleaning, meal planning, paper organization, and more. Read how I’m using Meal Planning to make the next few weeks easier and how I keep my desk clean with a Household Binder. The one thing that worked for me last year and that I’ve missed most with the laziness of summer is my semi-clean house. I am a structure person who lives with three small children. It is a constant battle of wills.

My name is Gina, and I love to vacuum. Sick, but true.

Cleaning & Household Routines

One of the structures that was borne of having a 2-year-old and infant twins and continues to work well for me is my household cleaning routine. I keep myself on a loose schedule (meaning I can change things around depending on our schedule, illnesses, visitors, etc.). Here’s how I keep myself sane my house clean:

  • Home Morning: I choose one morning each week to stay home–no errands, no playdates, nothing. That’s the morning that I clean an entire floor; one week it’s the whole upstairs: bedrooms, vacuuming, bathrooms, etc.. The other week it’s the first floor: kitchen floor, fridge, microwave, living room, dining room. The kids help with some chores, like reorganizing the pantry or a closet, and then play while I clean.
  • Laundry: Laundry is one area where I’m not very flexible; it must get done, even if it keeps me up late into the evening. If I skip a laundry day, it piles up and overwhelms me. I pick two days of the week (it’s been Monday & Thursday for many months now) and don’t think about it the other days. It’s like meal planning; you don’t have to waste mental energy worrying about it because there’s a set day and plan in place.
  • Dishes/Kitchen: These must get done every day, especially when you cook (almost) every night. I try to practice the habit of cleaning-as-I-go, setting things to soak when done, cleaning counters and putting things away right after using them. Every little bit helps.

I have other household routines scheduled on my calendar to be sure they get done: once a month I back-up my computer files, two Fridays each month I download photos off my camera and organize them online, and I have two days a month where I review our bills and budget.

I’d like to incorporate some new routines once we start school, like a “baking day” once the weather cools down and I’m willing to turn on the oven. I really enjoyed baking snack muffins and dinner breads last year. I’d also like to set aside some time once or twice a month to work on DIY projects since I’ve been enjoying those so much.

How do you structure your household routines?
What is working for you, and what do you find challenging?
And if you’d like to out yourself as a neat freak too, I’d appreciate it.

Head over to Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family. There’s a huge Linky of great ideas from a lot of great blogs.

DIY Thursday: Mod Podge Dresser

If you’ve found me for the first time from Do-It-Yourself Day at A Soft Place to Land, welcome! I hope you’ll take a look around MoneywiseMoms. I’ve only recently started decorating my house; usually I’m talking about saving money when you shop online, cooking ahead, and FREE summer fun with kids. I’ve been in a real home improvement kick this summer, resulting in projects like this:My dresser re-do is finally done! I gave a progress report on in a few weeks ago, but you know I work slowly (it took me two years to finally paint that dining room buffet). I gave you a bunch of details in that progress report, but a lot of readers want a full tutorial to learn how to refinish yard sale furniture, so here’s the play-by-play:

Step 1: Purchase dresser for $20 at yard sale because it was solid wood, in good shape, and had “good lines” (to me, that meant it was girly for my 3-year-old twins). Tolerate husband’s eye rolling as he carries it from car into the dining room….where it sits for two months.

Step 2: Find inspiration, tips, and fabulous advice from Amy at Mod Podge Rocks. Learn about the different formulas of Mod Podge and what I’ll need to cover the drawer fronts with pretty paper. Take a deep breath and forge ahead…

Step 3: Take drawers and dresser outside to sand off shiny finish. I used a palm sander, a super-fun and great beginner tool.

Step 4: Prime drawers and dresser with primer leftover from basement painting two years ago. Still outside, this results in bugs and pollen stuck to the surface. Move the drawers down to the basement, and the base back into the dining room

Step 5: Let project sit for another few weeks…

Step 6: Choose off-white paint for base color, cheaping out and using a gallon I found in the basement storage left by the previous owners. Yes, I used wall paint. I don’t know the official “rules” about what paint to use on wood furniture; I was just going the shop-your-own-house route.

Step 7: Go to SIX stores looking for the right scrapbook paper to match lavender walls and cream dresser (that was my mistake–I should have picked white). Finally find perfect paper, spending all of $3.00. I bought the Mod Podge Hard Coat at Amazon for FREE with my Swagbucks.

Step 8: Cut and apply scrapbook paper to drawer fronts with Mod Podge. Amy suggested I spray the back of the paper with sealer, and the ones where I remembered to do that look a lot better. I brushed Mod Podge onto the drawer front, a little onto the paper, adhered the paper and pushed out the air bubbles with the fake credit card from my kids’ cash register. Ssh, they don’t know it’s gone.

Step 9: Seal the entire dresser, drawer fronts and all, with Hard Coat Mod Podge (I could have used polyurethane, but it requires good ventilation, and I was still working in my dining room).

Step 10: Buy new knobs at Home Depot. Balk that I paid $25 for the knobs when I only paid $20 for the dresser. Return the knobs. Buy cuter, better-shaped knobs at Ikea for $5.97.

Total cost for the made-over dresser? About $29, and it turned out great! Right now– instead of holding clothes–it’s holding bears, kitties, and other small animals, all tucked in for the night. Maybe it will graduate to clothing at some point.

A note–I would not recommend this as a beginner project. It had a ton of steps, took a long time (even without procrastinating), and parts were really frustrating. Even though I truly believe that “It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful,” this project really tried my patience and pushed my perfectionist buttons. Between the albatross of the buffet and the dresser in my dining room for months and months, I am vowing to do smaller DIY projects from here on out.

Look for more Mod Podge projects from me in the next few DIY Thursdays (they’ll be easy, beginner projects). For more DIY projects–from makeovers to crafts to recipes–go to A Soft Place to Land.