Home Organization

Prepping to Declutter

Happy Monday!  Everywhere you turn people are looking to declutter their home and their life.  Let’s be honest, we all have too much stuff.  Whether you are a confessed hoarder or just a gatherer – there is plenty of things we can let go of, right?  For some the process is easy.  My daughter used to say when I was in “de-clutter mode” – if you aren’t attached or a have a purpose, you are going.

I would love to say, I am the one who declutters and sells things.  Well, it used to be the case.  Set up at a local flea market, sell things dirt cheap and then donate the rest.  Unfortunately things have changed.  Flea markets are harder to come by and most people are looking on social media to do their shopping.  Now, it just is easier to donate things – to a local cause or to the church rummage sale.

The reality is many of us have a hard time letting go (of anything).   Have you ever thought about “prepping” to declutter?  Let’s face it, decluttering is hard. If it wasn’t we would have done it a long time ago, right?  

I found a great blog post by “Creating My Happiness” with some tips on preparing for our decluttering journey.  With my recent health struggles, I get overwhelmed easily by all the stuff in the house.  I would love minimalism but I am not sure it is for us, but I definitely wanted to get as close to clutter free as we can get.Mental Preparation
Yes, you need to mentally prepare to declutter.  You have to be ready to let go of stuff. I mean it is easy to say “we have way too much stuff” but when we actually have to declutter and toss, we have a hard time making it happen.  We develop attachments to our things, remembering where we got them or who gave them to us. Or are you a “just in case” person?  The one who keeps things around because someday you may need it.

On a sliding scale from 1 to 10, how much stuff do you have; with 1 being completely minimalist and 10 being Hoarders level clutter.  We are probably in the 5 or 6 range in our house.  If I honestly opened all of the drawers and closets.

Now, you know where you are in the scale – where would you like to be?  Be honest about it.    I mean if you are at an 8, you are not going to get to a 2 in just one round of decluttering.  Also, you need to consider if you would be happy living at a 2 with little stuff. For some, it is the stuff which brings them happiness more than it brings them stress.

What to have on hand
You are ready to go.  You have mentally prepared yourself and now you need to make sure you have the tools to help you be successful. Yes, there are tools to decluttering!

Garbage bags. I love the suggestion of having 2 different color trash bags. This way you can use one color for items you’re tossing, and the other for items you are donating. Kristen of We Are That Family. suggests the items we donate should be things we no longer need, but we would use ourselves if we did need them. Having worked the last rummage sale at church, we sale many things people should have just tossed in the trash or recycled like torn clothes, or broken toys.

Cleaning supplies. Yup, you are going to have to clean as you are clearing out stuff.  Dust bunnies have found a home.  Hairballs (the cat sheds like crazy!).  So, make sure you have a vacuum nearby, dusters, and cleaning spray. My new favorite all purpose cleaner is a vinegar/water mix because it gets rid of odors while it cleans.  I was amazed how well this simple solution cleans.

Your phone. No, it is not so you can check social media or get side tracked from you decluttering mission.  You can take pictures of items you want to get rid of, ask if anyone wants them, or sell them in a local tag sale group. The key is to put a time limit on how long you’ll hold on to these things though. Put them all in one spot (or box) so if they eon’t go, you can donate them.  You don’t want to clutter up another spot hanging on to things for others.

Having a moment of indecision?  Not sure what to do about something you have never worn or used given to you by a family member?  Call a friend, let them be your lifeline.  Use your phone so they can remind you, even though you get rid of the ugly sweater, you’re not getting rid of the love or memories of the person who gee it to you.

So who’s ready to declutter! What are your best tips for getting ready to declutter?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!



Travel Tips

Flying with Kids Can Be Fun

I feel like every post I see on Facebook is talking about travel plans – from Nationals/Worlds for cheering to graduations to just family vacations.  Although I love road trips, I do prefer flying when the price is right.

I remember Belinda‘s first trip on an airplane.  She was about 18 months old and we were headed to Florida.  It was a business trip. I was blessed that mom and Belinda got to travel with me.  I scheduled the flight for late at night thinking Belinda would sleep on the plane.  I didn’t want her to disturb the other passengers.  I figured she would be so tired when we got to the hotel, she would go back to sleep so we could all get a good night’s sleep.  WRONG!  She couldn’t wait to explore the airport so we walked around forever before getting on the plane.  She napped on the plane BUT by the time we got to the hotel at 1AM, she was ready to go.  I was not anticipating that she would notice all of the Disney signs on the way to the hotel and want to go right then! Lesson learned and I wish had some of these tips from a fellow blogger:

#1.  Avoid checking bags if you can.  I know that this sounds crazy but a carry-on make things so much easier when traveling with kids.  If they are walking, let them carry or roll their own little suitcase.  It is also a good way to save money if the airline offers free carry-on, plus one personal item.  Combing clothes together helps too since carry-ons can now be quite large.


#2. Check in online.  The more lines you can skip, the better it is. This may seem like a no-brainer but the truth is that many just figure it is easier to check in at the airport.  Some airlines use online check-in as a way to assign seats. The best way to get seats together is by checking in 24-hours prior to the flight ONLINE.

#3. Go direct. Changing flights is always a hassle – flight delays, weather, and then there is the sprint through the airport to catch a connecting flight. Throw kids in the mix, and you’re asking for trouble.

#4. Food is your friend.  I always pack enough snacks to feed a small army, whether we are flying or on a road trip.  Snacks will keep kids occupied and from getting cranky.  Yes, snacks are permitted on the plan so try: pretzels, goldfish, carrots, an apple, nutter butter crackers, or fruit snacks.

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#5. Bring your own carseat. Yes, it’s a pain. Yes, they’re bulky and heavy. We made this mistake and didn’t take one.  Add to that, not taking a stroller.  I figured we could just rent one!  I so wish that someone had of told me about the carseat trolley like this one.  It would have made life so much easier.


Now, you have packed for everyone else but be sure NOT to forget about yourself. Grab a book you have been wanting to dive into.  The crossword puzzle you never get to do.  Whatever it is, make sure you have something for yourself to do to pass the time.

Travel can be stressful, so go with the flow.  Remember flight attendants, pilots, and TSA staff are only doing their jobs. They don’t make the rules, delay, or cancel flights. All you can do is make the best of whatever situation arises, and set a good example for your kids.

Do you have any tips for flying with kids? Share in the comments.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

Simplify Your Life

before closet

I am so glad it is FRIDAY!  Who is ready for the weekend?  With the crazy weather at the Jersey Shore this past week, I have been pulling out some spring clothes and tossing aside my fall sweaters.  I love the warmer weather but I have to admit my closet is a mess.

The change of season brings out the desire to change my wardrobe.  I know “if you haven’t worn it in the last year, toss it or give it away”.  I have always been a jeans girl – my style never changes but I want to change it up a bit.

I found a great blog post called “How to Simplify Your Life by Simplifying Your Wardrobe”.  This shabby chic momma is ready to change her look.  I can’t tell you how many mornings I have stood at my closet trying to get ready for a networking meeting and said “I have nothing to wear”.  I am sure that I am not alone, right?

I love Resa‘s suggestion of a capsule wardrobe.  Don’t feel bad, I didn’t know what that was either so here goes:

A capsule wardrobe is a simplified wardrobe made of pieces that can easily be mixed, matched, and accessorized to be dressed up or down for any occasion.

FIRST step is to Declutter!  Grab each piece by hand and ask “does this bring me joy?” If it doesn’t, it’s time to let it go. Keep in mind that it’s hard to feel joy when something doesn’t fit quite right and brings a feeling of guilt or insecurity.  Get rid of the “what-ifs.” or “maybe I’ll need it later,” .  Let it go. Yes, I am humming the song from Frozen.  By letting go of the things, you are allowing yourself to simplify your life and surround yourself with things that spark joy.

Analyze and Assess what is left.  Figure out what the pieces have in common.  Chances are the pieces you have left are timeless classics that go beyond the trends and work for you right now.

Now for some fun. Figure out what kind of clothes you actually need based on your lifestyle.  As a home-based business owner, I would love a  mix of structure and casual style – a couple pairs of dark jeans you can dress up or down, interesting tees that you can layer with a good blazer, a couple nice blouses that you can dress down with jeans or dress up with a pencil skirt.  The next set of questions made to go “hmmm”.

Consider your aesthetic. Are you a more modern dresser? Girly? Bohemian? Edgy? Romantic? Figure out how you want to express yourself outwardly – clothes don’t have to be wholly utilitarian, after all! This all comes back to feeling joyful, so wear things that let you feel good.

Here is Resa’s recommended wardrobe framework:

  • 1 Bottom for Every 2.5 Tops
  • 4 Bottoms that Work for Most of Your Week – these should last you Monday through Friday in a pinch.
  • 2-3 Casual Bottoms that you love for weekends or play
  • 5-6 Casual Tops – These should be able to work under a jacket or on their own, with a scarf, with a cute necklace… These are your basics.
  • 2-3 Dressier Blouses – These should be ideal for date night, meetings, and office wear.
  • 1-2 Casual Sweaters – Make sure it’s something you can throw on for any situation and feel confident. Hoodies don’t count here (BOO!!)
  • 1-2 Accessory Jackets – A distressed denim jacket is always a good choice, and so are leather jackets.
  • 1 Blazer (minimum!) – This will upgrade almost any look, whether you’re going more casual or business

B4 & after closet copy

By picking pieces within a single color palette, you’re setting yourself up for certain success – nearly every top you have should go with every bottom. That’s the whole mixing & matching part. Keep in mind that this palette should be based on coordinated neutrals with pops of color, not the other way around!

I am ready to hit some thrift stores and make some changes without spending a lot of money.  What will you have in your capsule wardrobe?