January 31, 2011

Let The Christmas Chaos End!!!

This past weekend I worked on organizing all my Christmas stuff as part of my efforts to declutter and organize my basement. Took quite a while, but it's looking so much better. I literally went through every single box, including every ornament, every decoration, every strand of lights, etc. and separated everything out so that like things were together instead of boxes all jumbled and intermingled. Now I am putting them all back neatly into organized and labeled boxes. This is the kind of project that every year you grumble and moan about and say "I really should get these better organized... Oh, I'll just do it next year..." Somehow that next year never comes, now does it?

I'm super excited to get this basement done. Will definitely be finished this week and I'll be posting before and after pictures no later than this weekend. Mind you, it's still an unfinished basement, so neither before nor after pictures will be gorgeous. But I'm going for organized here!!!

January 30, 2011

The Buddy System

Went to a good friend's house yesterday. We started a little tradition a year or two ago where we try to go to each other's house once a month (taking turns) and either do a house project or a craft/canning/baking project (or both!). Some months we do fun outside stuff like go to the flower and garden show or the flea market.

Yesterday I went to her house and we spent about 5-6 hours in the basement clearing out a TON of stuff. It looks SOOO much better. She designated a bunch of stuff for garbage and a bunch for a future yard sale. There's still a lot more to do, but we'll get to it in time.

It's so nice doing a project like this with a buddy who isn't judgemental. We've known each other since junior high and we promised when we started doing this that we wouldn't judge the state of each other's rooms or projects.

I had originally planned to have her help me with my home office, but ended up getting motivated to get that done on my own. Since I'm working on my basement right now, she'll likely be off the hook for that as well.

No worries though, I see a ton of painting in the not super distant future (like, literally, my entire house - every single room!!!), and I'm sure I'll be able to use her help with those projects!

There's always something to do around here!!!

Why not think about overcoming any potential embarrassment you have and asking a good friend if she would be willing to do something similar???? It's amazing how much you can get done with this focused effort.

January 27, 2011

Organized My Canning Supplies

I am working my way through my basement, following on the heels of my successful decluttering of my home office. I'm on a roll and I know I need to get as much done as I can while the mood is upon me!!!

This morning I organized my canning area. All the boxes of jars are neatly organized and I have created a kit for myself of the canning supplies I need in order to can a batch of jelly/jam. They are all in one tote so now I only need to grab the tote, a box of jars, and my canner.

Waa hoo!!!

Pictures will be coming when I post the dramatic reveal of the before and afters of the basement, probably in about two weeks. :)

January 16, 2011

What a Way To Start The Year! Before and After Pics of My Home Office Declutter

My home office used to be neatly organized, up until about three years ago. I don't know exactly what happened - it was a combation of events, but time just slipped away and before I knew it, my home office looked like a tornado had blown through and dumped several truckloads of paper and junk along the way. It has been weighing on me heavily (and weighing on my floor joists, I'm sure!), but it got so bad I just felt completely overwhelmed about where to even start.

Finally, I just took a deep breath and started in one corner, working my way around the room clockwise. I figured I would spend an hour a day on it for as long as it took until the room was back to where it should be. I was sure it would take about 30 hours, but I was surprised to discover it took about half the time I thought it would - only about 15 hours total. Now that's still a lot of time, but hey, that meant in two weeks I could conquer a project that had overwhelmed me for a few years. In fact, it only took me about a week because once I started and actually started seeing progress, I got really excited and would throw an extra hour or two in here and there.

I am so so thrilled to have completed this project. Wahoo!!! It's done!!! Here's the before and after shots to prove it! :)

I'm submitting this post for ThriftyDecorChick's February Before and After Party (my very first one!!!). :)

I'm also submitting it for Just A Girl's Feb. 3, 2011 Show and Share Day (also my first time!):

January 2, 2011

Squeezing all the life out of a lemon!

Here's a little tip for getting the full use out of a lemon... first, get in habit of zesting every lemon before you slice it. You can freeze or dehydrate the zest to store it. Then you juice the lemon. Did you know you can pop it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to warm it up, and then roll it beneath your palm on a table, to get a lot more juice out of it? Finally, after you have squeezed the juice out of it and you are left with the zestless, smushy sad looking remains, there is one more thing you can do with it. Throw it in a tupperware container with your other vegetable scraps (onion skins, carrot peels, celery ends and tips, old mushrooms, etc.) and use it to make a FABULOUS vegetable or other stock later when you have time (future blog posting, I promise).

Now THAT is squeezing all that you possibly can out of that lemon! :)