Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 22 - MORE THAN HALF WAY!

My awesome steam mop that doesn't work anymore!

So geez, it's been a while!  I think the hardest part about this challenge is writing the blog.  haha  Anyways, it keeps me on my toes.  I was getting so frustrated that I haven't had a lot of time lately to do much and to write everything out that I've been doing.  Meanwhile, Day 15 went by and I haven't posted anything of true significance in over a week!  So we're at day 22 - I now have 14 bags that left my house, a mop (pictured above) that I count as a bag, two tubs of clothes that went home to my Mom in her large storage closet, and app. 3 tubs and 2 bags full of clothes/toys/etc for the yard sale that I hope to have on April 16 to mark the end of my 40 days!  So if I tally all of that together I have 22 bags!  Wow!  I literally just counted that out while writing this!  How cool is that?!  I have several other things I have been working on also in my bedroom, which is just taking a while, b/c it's a lot of little stuff that requires some time looking through and soul-searching.  Here are some pics of what I've been working on:

What the top of my dresser looked like (still working on it)

We haven't used this to put diapers and baby stuff in, but other junk.

A box full of hair items and a basket of belts

Hair clips that have balloons and my name printed on them (totally cool if I was 3yr. old) and a dance leg warmer that I held onto to remind myself of what I used to be!

This stuff was found in a cute bag pictured below, cat toys (we haven't had a cat in 2 years), toilet covers (what good are they in a bag in my room), a pair of contacts, and yet another tampon.  All of these things belong somewhere other than a bag stored away under my lamp in my room.

My bag and basket completely empty now!

A cute little bag I came across that I was going to throw out and decided to use it to put our stray socks in.

So this is just some of the stuff I've been working on, slowly and quietly, and I'll show you the end results when I am completely finished!  I'll be away for a few days again, so you won't hear from me for a bit, but when I come back I hope to announce the winner to the nail polish give-away and have some more pics to show you of my bedroom and my progress.  In the meantime, I hope some of these pics give some of you more inspiration for something else to work on in your house. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Catching Up!

I had a really busy weekend, so I have a lot to catch up on starting first thing tomorrow!  I'm going to have to do several bags so stay tuned!  In the meantime, click on the "Who Wants To Win Nail Polish" post and enter yourself in the random drawing to win some new nail polish to swap out the old!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Who wants to win Nail Polish?

Ladies (or some men I guess), I'm feeling generous today! Take the poll (right beside this post) about nail polish, and then leave me a comment under this post with your name and your favorite brand of nail polish. When the poll ends in one week, I will pick a winner at random to win a little bag of new nail polish (trying to do things to help some of you get rid of the old).  Good Luck!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 15 - 400 Cotton Balls

Today I took a break from the clothes and toys and started on one of the bathrooms upstairs.  I threw out old nail polish, makeup, lotions, perfumes, contact cases, and cleaning products that were old and close to empty.  I came across a really old electric razor (must have been atleast 10 years ago that I bought it) that brought me down memory lane.  I hate shaving because I have sensitive skin so I was soooo hoping that that electric razor would work, but it didn't do the job then, so I'm not sure why I was holding onto it unless I thought it would one day magically work again. 

I also found some other things that needed a different place, like laundry spray and hand wipes.  I came across 4 bags of cotton balls, 100 count in each bag!  I guess I thought I'd use those when I had the time to paint my nails each week, which is a completely hilarious notion.  I pretty much paint my nails now when I am going to a wedding or am a part of something special.  So at the most my nails have seen color 6 times this past year.  Even as I'm writing this I'm thinking to myself that I could've thrown out more nail polish, as I don't need the 20 different shades that I still saved under the sink.  By the way, when does nail polish, sunscreen, and lotion expire? 



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Days 13 & 14: BOOM! There it iiiz!

What I've been working on these last few days:

Yard Sale Pile (there's more in storage)

Our clean living room, without so many toys!

So I'm finding out that life doesn't slow down around you when you are trying to do some good, such as the 40 bags.  I'm finding it harder and harder to take "time out" each day to go through things and organize, especially with all of the things happening around me.  Our router for the internet stopped working so we needed to try a new router, which my husband was able to get working yesterday!  Today though - today was bizarre - as some of you may have read on my facebook status.  If you are not one of those people, let me fill you in...

This morning as my family, including my mom, were all gathered around the kitchen/dining room eating breakfast together, a loud BOOM came out of nowhere and literally made our chandelier swing so violently I could've sworn a minor earthquake passed through, or at the least a lightening bolt hit our roof!  Immediately I shook those ideas out of my head b/c they didn't make sense since I live in PA and we weren't even having rain at the time.  I looked in every room and every closet and found nothing.  I looked outside at our roof and nothing was found there either.  People suggested it could be something electrical or the HVAC unit, but my neighbor checked those things out and everything seems normal.  So someone thought it a possible dead animal that the heat had forced through the duct onto the electrical box above the chandelier but that doesn't explain how loud the BOOM was!  Someone else thinks it could be a cracking joint, but what am I going to do about that?  So anyways, this pretty much consumed my mind ALL DAY!  I couldn't shake it out of my head, and trust me, if it happened to you, you wouldn't be able to either!  I soooo wanted to find a reason for it, and will have to go to sleep tonight still wondering and worrying what is going on under my bed. 

I also don't feel well today, a bit under the weather with a runny nose and sinus pressure.  So, I didn't do much today, but I still managed to start to clean out my kids closet, oh and vacuum.  Does a vacuum bag count as a bag?  It should in my case b/c of the amount of dog fur there is in that bag!  LOL  Wish I could bag up all of the dog fur and send that away forever like the other stuff!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Days 10-12: Bad Connection, More Toys, Goodbye Bags!

So I swear I'm not slacking off on my duties to do a bag a day!  Our modem/router or something has been acting up for the last few days, and as I write I am on an unsecured network connection that only has a poor connection or none at all.  Until we get that all figured out you may not hear from me as much.  Luckily I can go on my husband's phone to retrieve emails and facebook stuff, but I can't write on the blog and post pics.  It should all be figured out within the next few days.  Until then, know that I am religiously working on filling up more bags and tubs with my children's toys!  I will take pics soon and post them when I can!  We've managed to clear out a lot of toys from our living room, which is our main floor living space, and I've been working now on clearing out more toys from my kids' bedroom.  Again a lot of the toys and such are being stored up in our loft for a yard sale that I'm hoping to have before the 40 days are up. 

On a good note, tomorrow marks our day that Purple Heart is supposed to show up to take our 8 large bags full of clothes and other miscellaneous items!  I can't wait to get them out of my house!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 9 - Sunshine & Toys

First let me just start by saying, WOW today was such a nice day outside!  If you're anything like me, you've been feeling cooped up all winter long, have had a handful of colds and other virus's spread throughout the family, and felt like every little thing that went wrong would make you snap!   So, I was soooo ready to get out in the healthy sunshine and feel those rays radiate through my skin and see my children go crazy at the playground instead of inside my living room!

Not only was it a fabulous day because of the warmth and sunshine but also because I finished another bag.  Not just any bag, but a tub.  Not just any tub, but one that is filled with some of my kids toys!  This is quite an accomplishment at my house, since we have toys of every shape and size in every room of our house that I have not been able to tear my kids away from.  This tub will be going in my "garage sale" pile up in my loft.  It is the start to a long next couple of days trying to get rid of more toys so that most toys are all in one room in my house, rather than spread out all over the place.  My plan is to have my house look like I can invite people in if a friend knocks on my door, which at this point is a laugh!  hahahahahaha

With winter comes lots of coldness, darkness, bad weather, and lots more toys to occupy my crazy kids!  I'm ready to say goodbye to winter.  Bring on the warmth, the light, the fantastic weather, the playgrounds, and the get-togethers!  Say hello to sunshine and goodbye to the toys!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 8 - My Anxiety Bag

Well today was another one of those days when I had to run the kids around and as soon as my husband got home I had to go to an interview for a second job.  After the interview, there was grocery shopping.  So, by the time I got home everyone else had already had dinner and it was going on my youngest's bedtime!  It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the days go by!  So... it got me thinking, the whole idea of getting rid of 40 bags in 40 days is to get rid of "stuff" and the clutter in your life.  This doesn't have to only pertain to material things within your home.  Today I took a step forward to finally find another little job to help our family feel more stable about our finances.  There has been so much "clutter" in my head and in my life that has kept me from taking that step until now.  So, today I claim my messy bag as my own personal messy life.  Some of you may find this to be a bit extreme, but today I felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders for just taking that leap of faith and going for that first interview that I haven't had in over 4 years!  Our family budget often consumes my mind and makes me worry and get stressed, and this jump towards finding another job has already made me feel a bit less cluttered.  So today's bag - some of my anxiety is being thrown out the door!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Days 6 & 7

Unfortunately I did not get a chance yesterday to do any bags as I had my two children all day and night by myself and we had quite a few crazy incidences as well.  I'm sure if you're a parent, you know how hectic it can get even in your own home.  I figured since I did the 7 bags the day before, that I didn't need to stress about this particular day so much.  In Day 5, most of the clothes in the bags for Purple Heart all came from tubs up in our loft that I was holding onto for some reason or another.  Today is another day where I don't get a lot of time b/c I go to work in a few hours and don't come home until 10:30pm.  My mother is here this morning though, so I hope to atleast go through my closet real quick before I have to run, and maybe get another bag filled to add to our Purple Heart pile.  They can't come to pick up our bags until Tuesday anyways, so we have time to keep adding bags to that pile.  Meanwhile, my hallway will be real attractive for a week, but hey, as long as it's going to a cause and after they are gone my house will look less cluttered!

I had about 20 minutes to spare while JD was napping and my mom was playing with Ethan, so I bagged some more winter sweaters that I had in my closet that I didn't wear once this winter, a pair of sneakers and slippers (I'm curious, does anyone wear slippers?), and some scarves & gloves (Curious again: Does anyone else get atleast one scarf each year for Christmas or another winter holiday that you celebrate?).  So I feel like I did my part today.  I'm going to ask my husband to contribute to the bag when he gets home from work today while my mom is still available to watch the kids.  By the way, does it count as a bag if I packed away clothes in tubs and gave them to my mom to store at her house? 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 5 - 7 Bags!

6 BAGS FOR PURPLE HEART

1 BAG OF TRASH

So as I wrote on Day 4, I worked on going through a lot of clothes!  As of right now, and I'm not finished, I have 6 bags to go to Purple Heart.  Most are full of clothes and some have old towels, purses, and shoes in them as well.  Believe it or not, most of the bags are full of MY stuff!  I got rid of a few of the kids clothes, but I save most of their clothes in tubs for my baby nephew.  My husband didn't even get a chance to look through his clothes yet!  Right now my hallway is lined with huge plastic bags ready to go to Purple Heart, but I don't want to call them until we're totally finished with the bags!  I had just one bag of trash, full of items that were not worthy of passing on.  I also started a section in my loft with items that would be good for a yard sale.  I'm hoping that before the 40 days are up, I can tackle having a yard sale to get rid of some more things!  I'm starting to think that getting rid of 40 bags of stuff is a lot easier than I thought!  Now I just want these bags out of my house, so tomorrow I'll work some more on bags for Purple Heart so I don't need to call them twice to come pick up my "stuff".  I'm just wondering where I'm going to find room for more bags!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 4 - Purple Heart

So most Sundays when everyone else is sleeping in, resting and doing family things, I am working.  It's not that I'm complaining, after all I only go to work twice a week and can stay home with my kids the rest of the time.  But Sundays I get up bright and early at 5:30am and head out for an hour long drive at 6:30am.  I don't usually get home until around 3pm.  When I do get home, I'm exhausted and my kids want mommy time.  So on Sundays, as you follow along with me, you will notice a pattern of "resting" a bit more than normal.  I wasn't up to tackling anything major today.  There was a lot of laundry to do, so while I did a few loads, I went through my dresser drawers and started pulling out clothes that I haven't worn in over a year.  I have so much clothes: Large clothes for the beginning of my pregnancy and after birth, maternity clothes, nursing clothes, the clothes I wore before I got pregnant the second time, and now the clothes I haven't fit into in several years.  I literally have clothes for sizes 5-14 in all different drawers, piles, tubs, etc.  So, I thought it was about time to let go of some things.  If you're anything like me, you wear the same outfits each week, and the rest of your clothes gets overlooked.  So why is it always so difficult to say goodbye to those other items?  Long story short, I have a few bags full right now for Purple Heart, but there's still a lot left for me to do.  So, tomorrow I will continue and count all of the bags together when I'm all done!  I'm hoping to get my husband involved with this challenge as well.  We'll see what's "in the bag" for tomorrow!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 3 - The Deck

I wasn't home much today so I wasn't about to tackle anything too drastic.  I decided to work on cleaning the deck since it was a nice day.  It had just recently rained so there were a lot of leaves and sticks I wanted to clean up anyways.  Again, we have no garage, so we have the kids ride-ons covered up with tarp, a grill, a play slide, our table and chairs, a sandbox, and a storage box out on our deck.  I wish I could clear some of that, but knew that the kids use all of these things.  I did take a look in our little storage box (it's not pictured here) and found some old bubbles and toys to blow bubbles with that are useless b/c they never work right.  I also came across one of those plastic baby/toddler pools that was taking up virtually the whole box.  To all parents reading this: Never buy those plastic pools that fold up!  We used it once all last summer and it was such a hassle to fill up and empty and put away!  I still think the old little hard ones that we had when we were kids are the best!  Easier to empty and clean!  I also got rid of the old rug that we had placed right in front of the sliding doors leading to the deck b/c it's beyond cleaning to make it look good. 

The other bag contained my husband's washer game that he made a few years back to bring to Phillies and Eagles games.  It actually got used often for parties that we had.  Unfortunately it was left out in the rain too long and the wood rotted.  So my husband decided he couldn't part with it at the time and thought he would be able to clean it up (anyone else have a husband like this?), but continued to leave it outside all winter on our deck.  I was shocked when I suggested throwing them away and he agreed!  I think he finally realized that making new ones would be easier than trying to salvage these old moldy ones.  Again, it could just be that he knows I'll be blogging about it, but whatever the reason, they officially made its way to the trash bag! 
Day 3 - 2 bags, all "washered" up - What's on deck for Day 4?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 2 "The Everything" Closet

DAY 2

So here I am with Day #2, and as I was trying to figure out what to fill my second bag with, I realized that there is another very small space in my house that I forgot about.  It's not a room, but a closet.  It's the front door closet in fact, and I always wondered why on earth would someone build a house with such a small coat closet?  Let me explain why this closet is so messy.  There's no other closet in the whole first level of my house.  There's cabinets in the kitchen of course, and just recently we got a pantry closet that we could attach to our kitchen cabinets, but nowhere else can we throw our shoes, mops, brooms, coats, outdoor stuff, garden utensils, etc.  We live in a townhouse so we don't have a garage.  So, this closet becomes our "throw everything into" closet and it's just too small for that.  My goal is to be able to make enough space in the closet to have a standing rolling tub/bin for my 3 year old son's toys that he can play with when my 1 year old takes his naps.  Things such as car/train tracks and larger puzzles that my youngest always gets into and tears apart.  I also want to be able to fit a bin with shoes in there.  Right now we have a basket outside of the closet around the corner with our shoes.  I'm already realizing that we have way too many coats between the 4 of us, most of which have been hanging in that closet for years.  I wear the same 2 coats, a heavy one when it's really cold and a lighter one when it's not.  I have to let go of some things today.  Hopefully the picture of my closet makes some of you feel better about yours, and you too can attempt this with me.


11:30pm (2 Bags)
So it took me a lot longer to clean this closet b/c I had to come up with ways to organize some things.  I actually went out to Walmart and bought a basket to hold my son's helmets, balls, etc.  I also bought a 2 drawer organizer to hold the miscellaneous garden stuff, ropes, plug extensions, etc on the bottom drawer, and left the top drawer empty so I can fill it with some of my 3 year old's toys, as I explained earlier.  I have 1 large trash bag filled with a few coats and sweatshirts that we never wore that will go to Purple Heart and 1 large trash bag filled with "junk" such as a ripped up kite, silly looking garden things, some broken games, and stuff like that.  I really didn't run into anything that sentimental, other than a HCA sweatshirt that reminded me of where I taught music to such great students before I became a mom and it took my husband a bit to let go of his "snowboard" coat that was 2 sizes too big for him and that he probably would never wear even if he did go skiing (which he hasn't done since we've been married, mostly b/c I don't like to ski).  I also have another bag filled with items that I thought we could save for a garage sale in the near future.

There was a lot of "stuff" that I couldn't get rid of, but that belonged somewhere else, like our storage room or other closets upstairs.  Our bowling balls took up half of the floor but we haven't used them in two years, which does make me a little sad b/c my husband and I used to love bowling together.  So those and several swimming/beach items we decided should be stored away in our storage room.  There were also several sweatshirts and sweaters that really belong in our bedroom closet.  Overall I'm satisfied with the closet and think I did everything I could do to make it look more organized.  I could even fit my diaper bag on top, which I've never had a spot for before.  I am a little disappointed that I couldn't fit our shoes anywhere.  Right now I still have them in a basket, on top of the 2 drawer organizer, which atleast keeps them hidden from visitors and should keep my littlest from pulling shoes out all day.  I will have to come up with a better solution in the long run though for our shoes.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

DAY 1

Today I decided to start out small so as not to get myself feeling defeated already.  So to start out small I will be starting in the smallest room in my house, the half bathroom.  I have taken a few pictures so you can see what I will be working on today.  Understand that it will take me all day to do one bag from this bathroom b/c I have 2 kids that need my undivided attention.  In the meantime, I wanted to share with you what I hope to accomplish by tonight.  We have a basket hanging over the sink that has "stuff" in it that I'm sure is really attractive for visitors.  After all, who doesn't like seeing someone else's hair in a comb/brush?  There's a cabinet over the sink that has expired medicine and more "stuff" that we never touch.  Who else has a hundred empty contact cases?  The cabinets under the sink are not organized at all.  Even on the sink we have more than what we should have sitting on it.  I mean how many candles does one need for one little bathroom?  Also, what's the deal with having a toilet paper roll attachment in our wall, but we are using a standing toilet paper roll holder instead?  We just haven't found the time to fix the wall one that always seems to fall apart.  But it should be one or the other, right?  Also, when you are looking for your kids shoes that seemed to disappear, be sure to check your bathroom!  Apparently it makes sense to them to take their shoes off there since that's also where their pee and poo go!  Anyways, it doesn't seem like a lot, which is the idea for the first day.  My advice, start out small today, and feel like you did something great!  I'll return to let you know how it all went down (no pun intended).


6:30pm - Day 1 Mission Accomplished!  I was able to clean out under my sink so that I could fit the kids stool in there, make the hanging basket only hold a few lotions and perfume, and the cabinet only contain necessary items like bandaids, boo-boo juice, and ointments.  I got rid of most of the candles on top of the sink and I made my husband finally fix the toilet paper roll holder on the wall!  Some of the interesting things I encountered along the way that are pictured above: Sun Tanning Oil expired in 2008, expired (REALLY OLD) Excedrin, Dramamine, nasal spray, and medicated eye drops, Glade odor thingy that we could never find refills for, a few contact cases, a candle I never used that doesn't smell like anything, little battery tea lights that don't work, sponge numbers that I suppose I held onto in case I wanted to do a paint project with the kids, cardboard tampons (I have never worn those so I'm not sure where they came from), and last but not least a pregnancy test stick that expires in April, and I'm pretty certain I won't be needing that.  Needless to say, I threw all of those items away and then some, as you can see in my #1 bag. 

While clearing out this clutter today, I was reminded of some things about myself.  I for one barely ever used that tanning oil b/c, let's face it, I am a red-headed pale woman who can't tan, but held onto it most likely as a way to escape that thought.  I held onto the sponge numbers b/c I have high goals to be a creative mother.  As for the pregnancy stick - it reminded me of the other one that came in the same box, and how shocked I was almost 2 years ago to find out I was pregnant with my second.  I guess I held onto the other one, just in case, with no knowledge of how difficult it is with two!  I am also so glad that I started this blog b/c it's the only way I was able to convince my husband to finally fix something!  While I threw all this "stuff" away, I also took the time to scrub the walls, floors, etc. which hadn't been done in a while.  I feel more than accomplished with my Day 1.  Now if only I could get the rain to stop coming in through my window sill....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

40 Bags in 40 Days

Today I decided to take an idea I first found on a friend's facebook posting and blog about it.  This is my first blog ever so I sincerely apologize if it's horrible.  Anyways, the idea is based on the 40 days of Lent, and how as Christians we are asked to "give up something" for those 40 days. 
Here's the link: http://www.faithandfamilylive.com/blog/40_bags_in_40_days/

The idea here is to give up "stuff" by way of filling up 40 bags in 40 days.  "Stuff" isn't just trash, but things we have laying around that we don't use or don't need.  It's the clothes in your closet that you haven't worn in 3 years but can't say good bye to.  It's books you've read but are in your bookcase collecting dust.  It's your kids toys that have taken over your whole house.  It's the bottles of wine or Jack Daniels that you've drank and saved just b/c they look cool.  It's the nice china you have displayed that's taking up half of your dining room.  It's the numerous candles you have laying around that you never light.  It's the baskets full of lotions, perfumes, make-up that you don't use.  It's the papers/magazines you have piled yeah high.  It's the storage room that you keep putting things into but never taking anything out of.  The list goes on and on and on. 

This idea came to me at such a prime time in my life, as I have two little boys, a dog, and a townhome in which I can't seem to fit anything.  I am a stay-at-home mom, and every day I get stressed about the "mess" in my house.  I began to realize that it's not just the kids mess, but also the way we clutter our lives with frivilous things.  So, I'm taking the challenge, on Ash Wednesday as it is, to complete 40 bags in 40 days.  My hope is that this exercise will help me see things more clearly in my personal life as well, and get the clutter out of not only my house, but also my heart.  I will be blogging almost every day about what I filled my bag with each day and how easy or difficult it was to do.  I may take pictures from time to time too.  I figure even if no one reads this, it atleast keeps me going. 

I'm really excited about this, and I hope that some of you decide to take the challenge as well.  Read my blogs to help you along the way and offer your own advice and bag stories. We can get rid of the "stuff" that's been ruling our lives!  My Day 1 starts tomorrow.