How is my Purge Year Going??

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I sheepishly didn’t check in during March because I wasn’t doing so hot in any of the categories, but now that I’m back on the wagon here is my purge check in.

-Purge my house: This has been going REALLY well.  I started off by recycling 4 bags full of plastic grocery sacks.  I had them stuffed in a bunch of different drawers around the house and decided I would only be allowed to keep Target bags (because they are the best) and it’s my goal to use reusable sacks at all other stores.  I have been on a huge selling things kick.  I made about $80 in consignment and I’ve made probably $125 (or more) in selling items through a local facebook group.  It’s become somewhat of a hobby and it’s the best kind of hobby because I’m de-cluttering AND making money.  I still need to really work on my kitchen so I need to make that a goal this month.

-Purge Pounds: Thanks to Lent (no sweets) and the stomach flu I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight!  Woot woot!!!!  While I’d like to say all my clothes fit perfectly again, I’ll just say my pants are buttonable.  I’d still like to lose 20 pounds from here and so this is where the real work begins.  I’ve been really thinking about getting into a Piyo accountability group, but the more Andrew and I talk about it the more we are leaning towards a gym membership.  Since I work during naps I don’t know when I would fit in a workout during the day and a gym membership would give me childcare every day that I wanted to go!  With Andrew’s crazy travel schedule I could use an hour to myself everyday.  I’ve heard of mom’s going to the gym just to get a shower and get ready, if you are a mother this doesn’t really sound that crazy, Andrew thought it sounded insane!  So we’ll see, I’d like to see at least 2 pounds gone this month.

-Purge Debt:  Thanks to Lent (gave up frivolous spending), selling stuff, and our tax return we were able to pay off one ENTIRE loan this month!!  We are just going to keep chipping away as much as possible and hope to pay at least one more loan off completely by the end of the year which would mean we would be down to ONE student loan, our 0% car loan, and our mortgage. Which feels more manageable to me!

Definitely been a month of feeling lighter all the way around.  For those of you following along and purging your house, pounds and debt, KEEP IT UP!!  It is so tempting to sell stuff and buy something I want so I can SEE something tangible for the money, but someday when we are debt free I’m sure that feeling will be so worth it!

February Fresh Start

Click on image for original source

Click on image for original source

It’s February first!!! This means it’s time for a fresh start if you fell off the resolution wagon, or it’s time for a giant pat yourself on the back if you are still going strong.  You made it through the first month.

I thought I’d set out a few goals for my purging and then give you an update mid-month to try my best to stay on track.

House Purge: Purge my kitchen drawers.  We have a bank of 3 lower cabinets that have become our catch all.  I must go through them, purge and organize them and then mentally assign purposes to each.

Pound Purge:  I didn’t make my 31 mile goal in January because my knees have been really hurting this week and I wanted to give them a few days to recover.  I’m ready to get back at it tomorrow and I plan to do 28 miles as well as 90 minutes of Hula Hooping this month (it’s a sport hula hoop and yes I look absolutely ridiculous doing it) I’d like to purge 2 pounds.

Debt Purge: I’m hoping to apply at least an extra $100 to our debt payment this month.  I’m working really little as I’m still in transition with two.  I’m hoping to up my hours from 5 a week to 7.

I’ve heard from several people the blog has been inspiring them to purge their homes, keep up the good work!!!!

 

How’s It Going?

Leslie Sansone

We are now halfway through the month of January and some of you have probably already fallen off the wagon.  It’s never too late to make a fresh start.  That’s the beauty of a 24 hour day.  Each sunrise brings with it a clean slate.  So you blew your diet today?  There is a new day coming tomorrow, so do better tomorrow.  So often I hear people say, “I’ll start next week.”  Why wait?  Start today.

Something I decided this month was to set a monthly benchmark.  I finally realized one of my biggest problems with diet and exercise.  I set myself up for failure every time I start.  I say,” I’m going to workout X amount of days per week,” and then when I miss the mark I don’t really have motivation to keep going.  This month I decided to try a new approach.  I started doing my favorite exercise videos again.  It’s called Walk Away the Pounds by Leslie Sansone.  You can choose different length aerobic walks, any where from a quick 5 minute to a 5 mile.  I decided this month I was going to do 31 miles.  So the easy way to do that would be a mile a day, but this way if I missed a day I could just make it up another day.  So far this month I’ve only missed two days and already done one make up mile.  I really want to join a PiYo group this year and make a big change to my life and my body.  If I’m going to spend the money on this I want to make sure I will actually spend the time doing it so this is my test month to decide if I can really make the commitment.

My plan is to do a check in every month to keep myself accountable.  We’ll see how that goes, life looks REALLY different now than it did when we started this little blog 6 years ago.  While I’d like to blog everyday that’s just completely not practical for my life!

House Purge: This month I went through all the totes of clothes for Vaughn and gave them to my mom to take to consignment.  I got rid of the clothes that Vaughn has outgrown that I am not totally attached to.  We are definitely on the fence as to whether or not we will birth more babies so I don’t want to store tons of clothes that we may never use.  I’d rather get the money now and buy clothes for Ellery as she needs them.  I once read a piece of advice from The Fly Lady (an organizing guru) and she recommended not holding on to any baby clothes and selling your baby’s clothes after each child.  Her logic is, it takes up tons of space and baby clothes that are stored for long periods of time typically come out with stains on them.  So while I don’t totally agree with getting rid of everything every time it did make me not so paranoid to really purge the infant clothes down to a minimum.  I also got rid of 6 scarves, 10 necklaces and a couple of articles of clothing that have been too small for me for pretty much forever.  Last night I purged our linen closet, could not believe how much TRASH was in there!  This has felt so therapeutic.  I’m realizing how overwhelmed I’ve been feeling by having extra stuff in my house.

Purge Debt:  This month because I have not been working much lately we are only able to pay our minimums, but the little boy I watch started coming back this month so I’m confident we can stack some cash on one of our loans next month.  Goodness this accountability could be really good for me.  It’s killing me to write that we didn’t do anything on this for the month.  (We budget using the money from the previous month so even though it’s only mid-month I know we won’t be paying extra on the debts).

Purge Pounds: Down 5 pounds so far!  While I’d like it to go WAY faster, I’m happy that the number is going down.  All I’ve done is give up candy, fried food and done my “mile a day.”

Purge Paperwork:  This one is probably going to begin some time in March or April.  My focus is to get our house totally purged down, and then tackle the paperwork.

It’s never too late to resolve to change, start today!!

A Purge Year

If you know me personally you might be thinking, “what do you have to purge?”  I like to think I live a minimal lifestyle, that I bring very little in and have no problems getting rid of stuff.  Truth is, even I have a lot of stuff in my house that I could get rid of.  Last year was a year of MORE, which seems funny since this is a purge year, but it wasn’t a year of more stuff.  I can’t say I did a fantastic job with all of my goals, but we did add one more baby to the family so I’ll call it a win for the year!  Here are some specific areas I plan to purge this year:

-Purge my house:  I want all of the things in my house to have a use, or feasibly have a use sometime down the road.  For example; I am not going to get rid of Ellery’s old clothes because sometime in the future Vaughn can probably use them.

-Purge debt:  We had a goal this last year to pay off our most expensive monthly debt payment and we did that in December!!  Receiving that letter felt really good.  The goal this year is to pay off all of our education debt besides one low interest student loan, our zero percent car loan, and our mortgage.  It’s going to take discipline and sacrifice, but it is definitely feasible with some effort.

-Purge some pounds: This is an every year goal, but since having a baby 2 months ago it has become an extreme necessity.  I have about 12 pounds to go to get to my pre-baby weight and hopefully fit back into my old pants…I’m getting super tired of my maternity pants!

-Purge Paperwork: This will most definitely be the biggest challenge, but the boxes of papers around my house is the most annoying thing I have going on here and I absolutely must file, recycle or shred everything in this house.

And because I now have two kids I’m going to keep it that simple.  Hopefully your 2015 is off to a good start!!

 

Pinterest Purge

Ok I might be crazy! A Pinterest purge, what? But every few months while Andrew and I are watching television I purge and reorganize my pin boards. This may or may not be necessary for you, it kind of depends on how you use Pinterest. Here is how I use Pinterest: I have 21 public boards. Besides a couple random ones like random likes and my cute animals boards, they are mostly functional and I use many of them often. I have a board for sweets, one for food, one for vegetarian meals. I have several home boards, a style board, DIY, a hair board, Christmas ideas and a party board. But two boards that I find to be super important are my DO board and my Need OK Want board.

DO: what good are pins if you aren’t going to do them? This board is where I put all the tasks I want to do in the foreseeable future. My hope is that I can soon choose one item a week and get them done.

My Need OK Want board is basically a running gift ideas board. Do you ever get asked what you want for a birthday or Christmas and you can’t think of anything? This is my remedy for that. The hubs knows about in and he relays the information. I try to keep this one updated so I am not “asking” for things that I don’t really want.

And then I keep a board for all of you (and a little bit for me). My Did It board is a catalog of all the pins I’ve tried and usually I put a tip or a comment about how it was. This replaced my pinned it did it posts.

Pinterest is one of the best tools I have to stay organized so just as you would organize your office or desk I find it necessary to organize your boards. Go through and purge anything that isn’t you anymore. I find that since I started pinning my style has changed a bit so I go in and get rid of things I would ‘t wear. If I tried a recipe and didn’t like it or if it is something I know I should NEVER eat, it gets the boot. If I posted something I thought was cute, but know I will not look at again I delete it. Then I go through the boards and make sure they are pinned onto the correct board, I still have some work to do on my baby board and littles board,but all the others I have looked through each pin and made sure it is categorized correctly. This may sound like a lot of work, but if you use Pinterest to stay organized I find an hour every few months to be super helpful to utilize Pinterest to it’s fullest potential.

How are you doing minimizing your life in 2013?

Let’s Be Honest

You don’t wear everything in your closet. Even I don’t wear everything in my closet and I’m a freak about purging every season. I had to get really honest with myself as I packed up my closet last week. Everything I wear on a consistent rotation will fit into a suitcase, no joke. Part of this is because I have a nursing body so some of my tops just don’t fit right now, partly it’s the season, and partly it’s because while I’m under where I was weight wise when I got pregnant my hips and belly don’t lie, I had a baby. Shoes, do you have trouble getting rid of shoes? I do, I am not a big shoe person, but once I find a pair I like I have a terrible time getting rid of them, I know some of mine are not really in style anymore, but they are in good shape so they get to sit in my closet, it’s time to part ways. I kept about 7 t-shirts and 4 pairs of workout pants in there and packed the rest away months ago, I haven’t missed them one single time. Moving puts a lot in perspective. I have a garage full of boxes and I have only missed two items in the last month or two, why oh why do we hold on to so much? It’s time people, get honest with yourself, clear out those closets, cupboards and garage. Have a garage sale, list on e-bay or Craigslist, or just donate it!! It is probably complicating your life much more than you realize! How is your minimization going? If you are just joining me, check out the other ways we’ve been minimizing our year HERE! And this is my closet right now and surprisingly I’m kind of enjoying it!

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Save Your Money

We can’t minimize our spending in all areas of our life, our house is eating our savings account. Of course everything falls apart when you are selling your home and you must leave the house in tip top shape. This morning I’ll be paying a drywaller AND a plumber, exactly how I like to spend money. So when I realized it is stinking hot here and my baby needed a lightweight sleep sack I was on the quest to find one for cheap, like less than $10. No such luck, the cheapest i could find was $20, so I got inventive. I got a package of Aden and Anais swaddle blankets for my shower and one of them was getting really pilly so I cut it up and made a sleep sack. I grabbed some Velcro from my stash and some double fold bias tape and 30 minutes later I had a sleep sack for my sweetie and my bank account loves me. I used the heavy weight sleep sack that I already had as a rough pattern and because I have never sewn a zipper and didn’t have one on hand I just used Velcro on the shoulders. It does not look perfect, but it’ll work, here is how it turned out. Save that $20 and make your own.

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Pantry

I realize my situation is a little different than most when it comes to minimizing my pantry and refrigerator. I intend to take almost nothing from these things in May when we move, but I still think people could stand to get rid of a lot in these areas. I went through my pantry a couple weeks ago and threw away everything that was expired that wouldn’t be good expired. Obviously some things last way past the expiration date. Then I went through everything that I feasibly would not be using anytime soon and gave them to a friend. I had a brown grocery sack full of stuff that I just don’t use, some I got from my brother’s move, others from grocery store meal deals where you buy one thing and get 4 other items free. For example, we don’t drink koolaid, but it came free so I took it and passed it along. Then I started going through our refrigerator. We used up all the ketchup packets, honey mustard, BBQ sauce and salad dressings that we’d been stashing from restaurants and now we are eating through all of our dressings before buying more even though some of them aren’t my favorite. Waste not want not right? I’ve started tackling the freezer as well. We finished off our gigantic bag of stir fry veggies a couple weeks ago and we’ll be drinking smoothies for a few weeks before our move to use up all the frozen berries and bananas. I’m trying to plan all our meals around getting rid of what we already have and buying as little as possible. Really this would be a great way to stick to your grocery budget every month if you did this the last week of the month. I think a couple weeks ago I only had to spend like $20 to make dinner for the week because I was using our stuff up. I hope to keep this practice up even when we aren’t moving so I can keep our budget down and our pantry purged. Happy minimizing!

Baby Clothes

From the very beginning we basically decided to not spend money on Ellery unless we absolutely had to. For the most part we haven’t bought anything except the absolute necessities like wipes and food (more on that in another post, we make it from scratch and it’s so easy!) I have bought a handful of things for her to wear to fill in the size gaps, either hugely discounted, second hand or a special dress for a holiday. We have been hugely blessed with friends and family letting us borrow items or gifting us hand me downs. I would say 60% of Ellery’s clothes are used and the others are gifts from family and friends. Your baby DOES NOT CARE what they wear, Ellery’s #1 goal with clothes is comfort. So far this year I haven’t purchased anything for Ellery besides a few necessities that I purchased with her Christmas money from Nana like washcloths and socks. We’ll see how long I can keep this going, I think I have enough clothes to last her until her 1st birthday in July, then her clothes supply seriously diminishes.

I was fortunate to watch a friend with 3 kids raise her little ones. Her little girl wore the same outfit every Monday when i was there, and that’s when I realized you only really need about 10 outfits, 14 at the most, per size. Mostly comfy clothes and two to three cute outfits for church or outings. I have a tiny bin for each age of clothing and if it doesn’t fit in that bin it gets donated to someone else to enjoy. So far the bins are newborn, 0-3, 3, & 3-6, then I have one unisex bin for foodies, swaddles and anything a boy could wear like white tees. I put the clothes in the bin that the clothes fit like, not the size on the tag. For example carters 3 month pants are tiny so they are in the 0-3 bin, not the 3. As the sizes increase the bin size will too, but I’m hoping the tiny bins work through the first year, I like uniformity. For footie pajamas I have 4 or 5 for each size and have her wear them at least two nights in a row unless they are dirty. Not sure if that’s gross, but I wear my pajamas more than once, and she doesn’t really sweat.

I do understand that kids do need clothes and lots of other things like strollers, bathtubs, etc. If you live in the Champaign-Urbana area I think All Things Kids is awesome. There is also a great place by the Walmart in Savoy and Frogs and Fairies in Urbana, I have also had great luck on the 50 cent rack at Transitions in Lincoln Square Mall. Then of course One Week Boutique is supposed to be awesome, I however have never been around for that.

This post is to encourage you to not only minimize the amount of clothes you have for your kiddos, but also minimize your spending. Next time you are tempted to buy your kid that really cute outfit and you think, does she/he really need this? The answer is likely no, but they probably will someday need to go to college, it’s never too early to start saving!!

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And when you are clearing out your closets, if you find yourself getting ready to donate size 12-24 month girl clothes we are accepting donations! *wink*

Minimize Pictures

I have been putting this off for years. If you are anything like me I had pictures in boxes and bags in different rooms and I had ALOT of pictures that needed to be thrown away. For Christmas I asked for this organizing photo box.And then as I got into the organizing I realized I had too many pictures so I ordered this box for just my high school pictures. I then stored all the film, negatives and CDs in a small amazon box that will soon be upgraded to a Rubbermaid.

Here is how I decided what to keep.

– If I had doubles of pictures and had the film, negatives, or picture CD I threw away the double.
– If I had a bunch of pictures from the same event with the same people and some of the pictures were unflattering of either me or someone in the picture (I.e. eyes closed, weird smile, etc.) I threw it out.
– If a picture was blurry it got the boot.
– Ex boyfriend pictures. If it was a memory then I kept it, if it was just a posed type picture it went in the trash.

It took me almost two weeks to complete this project, but from here on out it should be very easy to keep this up. As you can tell from the picture of my couch I have a very tolerant husband!

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