Clutter be gone!

Recently I have been trying to get organized and learn how to live with less clutter. I'm not a hoarder, nor am I a slob, but there are lots of corners and counters and piles of clutter in my house (and garage!)  (and computer hard drive!)  that 1)I'm used to SEEING and therefore don't acknowledge it and 2)have lots of homeless items where I don't know where to put them away, therefore they are "out".  And of course 3)  unfinished projects in varying stages of completion/design.

Found this blog today and now I'm inspired again to try and get to a state where I can "be" organized instead of "get" organized.  http://declutteryourhomes.blogspot.com/  I've only skimmed a few posts but this one totally hit home for me. This is the main reason I have such a hard time giving gifts... (and receiving them!)  because I want so badly for gifts to be useful and simplifying, rather than clutter/something new to take care of, learn to use, find a place for, dust, etc.

Here's the post in its entirety - a must read!

Gift Giving Shouldn’t Add Clutter/Junk To Our Homes!

Do you buy a gift just for the sake of giving a gift, because it is expected (or you think it is expected)? Several years ago I quit buying gifts just because someone was having a birthday or because it was Mother’s Day or Father’s Day! Don’t get me wrong…I love buying gifts for people! BUT…I realized that so many gifts add to people’s clutter! We all have faced the dilemma “I don’t like this, but it was a gift so I have to keep it”. I don’t feel that way anymore. I have been in many homes that are so cluttered and it is all things given to them by loved ones! I had a woman tell me one day “I bought this item because I liked it. After that everyone thought I wanted to collect things like that so I am constantly being given gifts. I don’t even like it anymore but I don’t know what to do!” Another woman told me “I like recipe books and so every birthday or holiday, my family buys me more. I have so many and I can NEVER use all the books I have!” I didn’t count but I bet this woman had over 100 recipe books!

Not only are we adding to clutter in people’s homes, but we are wasting our money! Have you ever thought about that? Every time you give a gift that adds to junk/clutter in someone’s home or life, you have WASTED your money!

This holiday season make a commitment to NOT do that! Be wise with your spending/giving. Put thought into your gift. ONLY GIVE A GIFT IF IT IS WANTED OR NEEDED.

Now that brings up another problem…children always think they want this or that. Don’t add to the children’s clutter either. If they do want new toys, help them make room for the new ones by going through and donating or throwing away some of the old ones. One toy out for every new one that is in.

So what should you do with Birthday’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc? Take your loved one to lunch, spend some time together. That is always so much better than a gift. Does this make you feel guilty? I announced to my sisters and parents what I would be doing. There were no objections. For my children (they are all grown), I give them money so they can buy what they will love. For Christmas I still give gifts but I have them complete a questionnaire so I know the things that are important to them.

Has this been a hard change for me? Sometimes. There are times I am in a store and I throw something in the cart because so and so will like it. Usually, I come to my senses and put it back, realizing that once again, I am falling into the clutter trap. Am I glad I made these changes? YES! Holidays and birthdays are so much less stressful and I know the gifts I give are loved and meaningful.

So my challenge to you is…change your gift giving habits! Make every penny you spend count and don’t add to other’s clutter!


April showers bring May HEAT

Another month has flown by.

We started out April sleeping through general conference... really need to grab that Ensign that just came and spend some time with it.  Nonnie and Papa came up to spend the weekend with us, so we moved our big TV downstairs so we could all fit on the new couch and watch... well, the TV is still downstairs — which I kind of like, kind of don't — and now it makes me more than EVER want to get our built-ins done! Anybody have a referral of a great cabinet guy for me?  (As if I could afford that right now) 
Easter was relatively low-key. By the time we had our own FHE about Easter, and I had done an Easter thing/lesson with the activity day girls, and we had ANOTHER FHE Easter lesson/egg hunt with all the Carter family, and then a neighborhood brunch/egg hunt, there was no way that the Easter bunny was coming to visit our house and bring a lot more stuff. All he left was marbles for the kids, and everybody was happy.
The next week was DADDY'S BIRTHDAY, which was fun. Birthday dinner with the in-laws included the biggest slab of prime rib I've ever seen on Nick's plate, wow. We went to Rustler's Roost by South Mountain, which is super full of ambiance and has a spectacular view and a live band and a slide for the kids. It was a fun place to take the kids.  We got up the next morning and went out for breakfast, Daddy went to his first-ever Lowe's workshop, we hit the library for an event... then basically went home and collapsed for the rest of the day. It was cold and windy and rainy and so nice.  Daddy finally went and got himself an Iphone, too.
J and I went to a sample Let's Play Music class the next week... I am SO excited about this program and the teacher, I think it will be just right for J come August. I wish I would have done this with the girls, they might have a better sense of rhythm if I had!  Alas, it was never in the cards when we lived in SoPho.
J and I have been hitting the gym 3-4 times a week, he doesn't mind the kids' room and I don't mind even if he watches TV in there for an hour since we don't have cable at home. I'm addicted to several of the classes and am loving the sweating and sore muscles, even though I haven't noticed any difference yet after 6 weeks... maybe because I'm also addicted to things like Nutella and trail mix. Oh, and QT Coke Zeros.  Having the TV downstairs means I'm not running at all anymore on the treadmill, which also needs to change.
Thanks to a couple of culture passes we hit the science center. Forgot how much I liked that place. Kids had a blast. Pictures forthcoming. I'm going to attempt to print pictures I took on my phone... I swear, if they turn out good enough I might consider getting rid of my big camera, since I NEVER use it anymore.
A has graduated to level 3 in gymnastics, which means I have to start paying for another hour per week. Sheesh. She's doing very well and is so flexible it's amazing... Both my girls are close to splits again, but haven't gotten there yet.  This gym hardly ever works on splits like our old gym did... weird. ??  
We are all signed up for 8 weeks of swim lessons, swim team, and synchro for this summer. Ugh. Need to find some great books to read to kill two hours at the pool every day!  I was surprised M even wanted to do swim team again, because last year at Stapley was no fun, so I'm happy she's trying again. We're at a different pool this summer.  A wanted nothing to do with swim team, so she's going to do synchro, which I'm sure she'll be much better at this year because she's been in gymnastics.  J did gymnastics for a while, but I decided it was a little expensive for playtime.
Idol... oh, who cares anymore. It's no fun to have to try and watch it live, since we don't have a DVR and it's not on hulu, but I'm not terribly upset if/when I miss it. I swear I'm going to boycott it in years to come if they make yet ANOTHER country singer win. Skylar? Smurfette?  Gag me.
More finds on Craigs' List:  a hall tree/coat rack thing for the laundry room, a new kitchen table and chairs, and a swing set!  Now I have three things to repaint:  our old kitchen table, so I can sell it, the coat rack, and a nightstand for M's room that I bought a year and a half ago. Yep.  Refinishing furniture scares me though! Who wants to help me/come do it for me?
Home improvement projects this month have included staining the new swing set and getting the pool ready.  We desperately need to start our big remodel job, but have to figure out how to win the lottery first. to afford it.
The kids spend hours outside every day playing on our the swing set. Definitely a good buy!
Next on the to-do list is to get our stinkin' upstairs A/C fixed. Called the repair guy last week and he supposedly "fixed" it, by repairing a small freon leak, but it's already not working again and our lines outside are frozen. Grrr.... I've been waiting all day for them today and conveniently they're not answering their phone.  In the meantime, we're all sleeping downstairs!
Also on the subject on unbearable summer heat... we're finally getting our sunscreens installed next week - - - HOORAY! I'm sure this will make a huge difference in the temperature of our home, not to mention how it's just going to make it look "finished" - which I've been waiting for since we painted the exterior!
Time to call the A/C people again, and for lunch. Peace out.