Category Archives: around the house

farewell to our first place

photo (2)we are saying farewell to our sweet little condo where we’ve lived together for four years now. this bittersweet feeling of excitement and change inspired me to say goodbye to our condo through the following list of memories.
first dates, nearby bookstore, fast food at the coffee table, sleep overs, soccer games, pizza and beer, kitten adoption, couch moving, painting, proposing, planning, renovating, traveling, neighbors, smoking, not smoking, running, not running, making dinner, dropping pasta, fighting, dvr, green room, making up, pacing the hallway in five steps, honeymooning, new curtains, cleaning in 30 minutes, closed blinds, naptime, packing, window sills, cat perches, hugs, friends, jokes, closet attacks, lots of paint, more sofa moving, food throwing, parking, thanking, packing, moving

up close and personal

close photo

Our cat, affectionately known as The Alley Cat, climbed mischievously into my lap the other night and proceeded to invade my personal space – so to speak. That oddly enough made me think about our personal boundaries – those physical, emotional and intellectual.

Obviously, as this grand cat teaches us, physical boundaries are pretty simple to identify and define. The emotional can be quite tricky. These are impacted by who you are interacting with, in what environment and the sensitivity of the subject at hand. For the last one – not 100 percent sold on whether to call it intellectual, mental or something else – but if you surround yourself with different types of people personally and professionally – you likely will have no problem relating to what I mean about varied levels of intellect and how they can impact your communication and ability to get to know someone.

Just some random marbles for you to ponder – as I’ll continue to do as well. This idea of relationship building can get quite interesting when comparing methods and options between friends, family, colleagues and even clients.

Thanks for reading and feel free to share your thoughts as well! I’d love to build upon this post with your insight.



clutter no more!

Okay, folks. Joshua Becker is a genius in this article from ! After my husband found this list to live by – we have slowly but surely been making our way through our cozy (aka. fairly small) condo, making some easy adjustments that have resulted in a world of difference for our living space. We have by no means achieved minimalist status – but are thankful for these suggested routines and the sharing of the simply smart philosophy.

Original Article from

“15 Clutter Busting Routines For Any Family

Almost three years ago, my family and I decided to start living a minimalist life. Since then, we have tried to remove all of the possessions from our home that are not essential. In doing so, we have found new opportunity to spend our time, energy, and finances on the things that are most important to us.

Also, we became far more observant about how our things rob us of our precious freedom. We have learned that just like most families, no matter how hard we try to stop it, stuff inevitably continues to enter our home… nearly every single day. And so we work hard to remove any clutter that begins to accumulate in our home. Along the way, we have picked up (and try to practice) some helpful clutter busting routines.

Here are 15 Clutter Busting Routines that we have found particularly helpful in our home.

1. Place junk mail immediately into a recycling bin. Take note of the natural flow of mail into your home. Placing a recycling container prior to your “mail drop-off zone” can catch most of that junk mail before it even reaches your counter. And as an added bonus, you’ll begin to look through less of it too (think advertisements).

2. Store kitchen appliances out of sight. Toasters, can openers, coffee makers… they all take up space. And while it may not seem like much space by looking at them, the first time you prepare dinner on a counter without them present, you’ll quickly notice the difference. If you think it’s going to be a hassle putting them away every morning, don’t. It takes less than 6 seconds to put each appliance away… once you’ve found a home for it that is.

3. Remove 10 articles of clothing from your closet today. Go ahead. If you are typical, it’ll take you roughly 5 minutes to grab 10 articles of clothing that you no longer wear and throw them in a box. Your remaining clothes will fit better in your closet. Your closet will be able to breathe again. And if you write “Goodwill” on the box when you are done, you’ll feel better about yourself as soon as you drop it off. Most likely, you’ll find yourself inspired to do it again.

4. Fold clean clothes / Remove dirty clothes immediately. The way I handle clothes these days is one of the biggest clutter changes I have made in my life. Unfortunately, I used to be a “throw-them-on-the-floor” guy. But now I handle each one right when I take it off. Dirty clothes down the clothes chute. Clean clothes back to the hanger or drawer. That’s it. It’s really that simple. How do the dirty ones magically appear clean and folded in my closet you ask… I’m not sure. You’ll need to ask my wife.

5. Kids’ bedroom toys live in the closet. Not on the floor. Not on the dresser. But in the closet. And when the closet gets too full of toys, it’s time to make some room. Hint, it’s usually safe to remove the toys at the bottom of the pile.

6. Kids pick up their toys each evening. This has countless benefits: 1) It teaches responsibility. 2) It helps kids realize that more isn’t always better. 3) The home is clean for mom and dad when the kids are in bed. 4) It’s a clear indication that the day has come to an end. Gosh, you’d think with all these benefits it would be easier for us to get the kids to do it…

7. Fill your containers for the garbage man. Use every trash pick-up day as an excuse to fill your recycling containers and/or garbage cans. Grab a box of old junk from the attic… old toys from the toy room… old food from the pantry… old paperwork from the office. If once a week is too often, do this exercise every other week. You’ll get the hang of it. And may even begin to enjoy trash morning… okay, I won’t go that far.

8. Halve decorations. No seriously, I mean it. Grab a box and walk through your living room. Remove decorations from shelves, tables, and walls that aren’t absolutely beautiful or meaningful. You may like it better than you think. If not, you can always put them back. But I’d bet my wife’s old high school yearbooks that you won’t return all of them.

9. Wash dishes right away. Hand washing some dishes takes less time than putting them in the dishwasher. This applies to cups, breakfast bowls, dinner plates, and silverware. If hand washed right after eating, it takes hardly any time at all. If however, hand washing is just not an option for you, be sure to put used dished in the dishwasher right away. Nobody likes walking into a kitchen with dishes piled up in the sink or on the counter… and it’s even less fun eating in there.

10. Unmix and match cups, bowls, plates, and silverware. Uniformity makes for better stacking, storing, and accessing. If there is a souvenir cup or mug that is so important to you that you can’t live without it, that’s perfectly fine. Just don’t keep 5 of them. Mom, any chance you are reading this?

11. Keep your desk clear and clean. Drawers can adequately house most of the things needed to keep your desk functional. And a simple filing system should keep it clear of paper clutter. The next person who sits down to use the desk will thank you.

12. Store your media out of sight. Make a home for dvd’s, cd’s, video games, and remote controls. They don’t need to be in eyesight, you use them less than you think. And if you remove them from your eyesight… maybe you’ll use them even less.

13. Always leave room in your coat closet. There are two reasons why coats, shoes, and outerwear keep ending up scattered throughout your home rather than in your closet. The first reason is because your coat closet is so full, it’s a hassle to put things away and retrieve them quickly. Leave room on the floor, on the hangers, and on the shelves for used items to be quickly put away and retrieved. The second reason is because you have kids… but you’re on your own with that one.

14. Keep flat surfaces clear. Kitchen counters, bathroom counters, bedroom dressers, tabletops… After you clear them the first time, keeping them clean takes daily effort. Receipts, coins, and paper clutter just keep coming and coming… it’s just easier the second time around.

15. Finish a magazine or newspaper. Process or recycle immediately. If you’ve finished the paper product, process it and rid yourself of its clutter immediately. Good recipe in there? Put it in your recipe box and recycle the rest. Good article that your husband will enjoy? Clip it and recycle. Article that your friend will enjoy? Clip it, mail it, and recycle (or better yet, search for it online and send it that way). Coupon too good to pass up? Cut it out and recycle. Stacks of magazines and newspapers serve little purpose in life but to clutter a room.”

routine…the importance and the diffculty

many would agree that starting or getting into a routine is the most diffcult step, making a resolution is easy, sticking to it is another story.

take for example:
– a healthy diet (we aren’t talking a get thin quick scheme, but an actual life change in diet)
– an exercise plan (again, not to reach a goal and then stop, but a plan maintain strength, and health)
– a manageable way to complete daily tasks at work and at home
– (though listed last here and not always easy, this should always be priority) family and social time = mental health

i am proud to say that 2010 has thus far been a year in which this difficult start has finally clicked. i have been motivated to develop multiple routines and stay with them after seeing results. i strive to eat healthy meals and snacks (without killing myself or beating myself up if i slip once in a while), i have been successful in weight loss by balancing this healthy eating schedule with working out, in march, i achieved my goal of completing another race in the time i was reaching for (finally gathering the mental will to run a distance without stopping despite my former excuses of weak ankles and tough lungs), and i take pride in keeping an orderly home, on the norm – things are put away and though i dread sunday nights as the nights i must have everything prepared for the coming week including laundry, lunches, meal ideas for the week, and more – i feel accomplished when i have everything in order.

so, my question to other soon-to-be wives and eventually mothers (god willing) like me are, how do we balance all of these spheres of routine without getting exhausted? it has been approximately five months of consistent new juggling for me, and i can sometimes feel the tension of responsibilty to keep these “balls in the air” as they say for fear they will all drop and i will have to start from scratch again. if you must drop a ball, how do you choose which to drop? how does one with a nature such as mine avoid feeling like a failure for dropping any of them? i think a good point is made in observations of women my age setting an expectation of themselves to be successful in the workplaces, well liked, respected – as well as in the home, as a wife, mother, friend to other girlfriends dealing with similars wants and needs. what is the best way for us to support ourselves and each other

the older i get, the more i respect the generations before us who balanced more struggles than we can imagine (including war, the depression, lack of the technology and resources we have today). (there will likely be some elaboration on this at a later date)

thanks for “listening” and reading.

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