It’s in the Bag

November 1st, 2012

It is important in life to have good friends.

For example, my friend works at a computer store.  When I was interested in getting a new computer I spoke with him several times about what I should be looking for in a computer.  He directed me to OpenOffice so I wouldn’t have to purchase expensive software.  When I wanted to buy Adobe Creative Suites he offered to pick it up for me because it was on sale at his store.  When I saw him to pick it up, the software box was in a bright blue pouch.  I thought the pouch was just what he had put the box in to remember to bring it to me.  But no!  The pouch was a free gift with purchase from the store.  It was then I learned that a true friend gives you the gift with purchase, most people would have kept it.  Now the pouch wasn’t just a pouch, it was a Baggu Daypack folded into it’s pocket.  My friend kind of blew it off.

“Yeah, it’s a free gift.  Most people have been turning them down but it’s free,” he said with a shrug of his shoulders.

“Thanks!,” I said and immediately unfolded the back reveling the backpack.  It was pretty exciting.

All of this to say two things: I have an awesome friend and I have become obsessed with Baggu bags.

I used the Daypack as a bag when I went to an art fair so that I wouldn’t have to carry my purchases in plastic bags.  Then I had the brilliant idea to share the love and I have purchased several Baggus to give as gifts this year for Christmas.  I added the original Baggu in Hot Pink to my collection.  I’ve been using it every time I go to the grocery.

Before my free gift, I had heard of Baggu before.  I had seen them at JCrew and in the Madewell catalog, but I didn’t think much about them.  I just thought it was a reusable bag like all the others only the Baggu cost $9.  After using a Baggu I have realized the the $9 is totally worth it!

What I like about Baggu is that there are different bag styles and so many colors.  The big seller for me is that when folded the bag is small and light and is very easy to throw in a handbag to have all the time.  All of my other reusable bags are tote bags and I always forgot to bring them anywhere.  The other exciting thing is that the bag is machine washable.  That was the other problem with reusable grocery bags, they were not easy to wash and carrying all of that food gets dirty.  Baggu also has amazing customer service.  Shortly after I placed an order I received a message saying one of the bags was out of stock.  The message then went on to say that the bag was in stock in their Brooklyn store and they would ship that item from the store with no additional shipping charges!  I also sent an email about another out of stock item and they responded very quickly.

What I don’t like about Baggu is a lot of the items on the site are out of stock.  It is a little frustrating when you see an item and you go to order it the next day and it’s no longer available.  I also had trouble with the online shopping cart.  You just click the “add to cart” button under the items image and a tool bar appears at the top of the screen showing you what is in your cart.  I think that part is fantastic, but when I clicked to remove things from the cart it always removed an item that I didn’t click.  I had to triple check that the correct items were in the cart.

Overall, I think the bags are fantastic.  I have made two Baggu orders since I received my gift with purchase Baggu.  I also bought some Baggus on sale at JCrew.  So go get yourself a Baggu – unless your on my Christmas list then you might already have one!  :)

 

This is my opinion of the Baggu product, I was not paid to give this review, I received my first Baggu as a free gift with purchase bu not from Baggu.  I just really love their products!

To-Do List Diet

August 27th, 2012

I’m not sure what category this cleaning out process fits into.  It definitely helps clean out the clutter but it also cleans out the mind.  Basically, it’s my to-do list.  I have a long one.  I have everyday lists, lists of projects for the house, lists of things to do before Labor Day, lists of things to do before Halloween, and a list of sewing and craft projects a mile long that has been accumulating since 2009.  Not all of these lists take up physical space beyond the paper that they are written on.  My sewing and craft projects waiting in the wings take up tons of space.  I think for every item on my list I have all of the supplies to complete the project.  Which is good on one hand, but when you have a 60+ (conservative estimate) to-do list that takes up a lot of space.

In the process of cleaning out the house, I hope to be able to take the time to clean out my to-do list.  So I can create the home I want with the projects I’ve been planning and create peace by accomplish the most important of the task and discarding the not-so-important ones.  Of course, this process involves creating more lists.  However, I intend on keeping the lists all in one notebook so they are easy to find.  I intend on updating the lists as importance changes.  I plan on keeping a master list of every thing but breaking it down into week size portions.  I have three sewing projects that are currently my top priorities.  Even higher priorities than cleaning right now.

1.  Finishing a baby quilt for my cousin’s Baby A (who happens to already be 3 months old!  That’s why it’s so important!)
2.  Sewing a crib skirt for my other cousin’s Baby L (who is 3 months old as well)
3.  Sewing a baby quilt for Baby L

Once these are finished I will allow myself to move on to other projects.  But until I am comfortable with the size of my to-do list I am refusing to add anything else to it!

Why Now?

August 24th, 2012

I feel the urge to explain why I have decided now that this needs to be dealt with.  And there are many reasons.

First, when preparing for the annual yard sale we waited until the last minute to get things together.  We didn’t start until two nights before the sale.  We worked maybe two hours or less each night and we took out a car load of items.  We brought in around $400.  That makes me want to get rid of more stuff!

Secondly, there’s too much.  Everyday it’s just overwhelming that we have too much stuff in our house.  We are two people living a 4 bedroom house and we have no empty rooms.  None.  Where will we put our future children?  Our master bedroom is better than it has been but we still have a tendency to put the laundry baskets with clean clothes in every corner.  The Lego room/office is in good shape and it serves the purpose of fulfilling Dusan’s hobby and being the place where he studies.  We have the sewing/guest room/where my clothes and accessories go that is completely stuffed.  As in right now a guest couldn’t stay in it.  The room just serves too many purposes.  Which it will have to continue doing but perhaps I can pare down the collection of things or create a better way of storing the items.  Our extra room is full of boxes that we need to go through and is a dropping zone.  And then we have a basement full of things.  And I have a horrible habit of just putting things down in the floor in front of the table when I come in and then leaving it for a while.

Third, it’s just out of control.

Fourth, this is not how Dusan and I want our house to be.  It’s not how we want to live.  Stuff is not the most important thing to us.  If we could stop bringing in useless stuff then we would save money that could go to our vacation fund.  Same goes for if we sell our useless stuff.  We just don’t need it all.

Lastly, I’m done being lazy about it.  It just needs to be done.  That’s all.  No more piles of things everywhere.  I need to let go so that the stuff isn’t controlling anymore.

That’s pretty much where we are at the moment.  I am putting this self challenge out there so that I will hold myself accountable.  I will keep updating about the progress and the new challenges we face while we put our house on a diet.

Books That Inspire

August 23rd, 2012

It’s All Too Much: An East Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff by Peter Walsh.  This a book written by a guy who was an organizer for the show Clean Sweep.  I have not read the entire book yet, I have finished the introduction.  I plan on reading the chapters right before I start those projects.  I am ready to clean what the book calls “lazy clutter” and do the “kick start” using the “F.A.S.T” way of cleaning.  I think that this book will be helpful.

Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life by Gail Blanke.  I have read half of this book haven’t read the second half yet.  The first half is about cleaning your physical space and the second half is about cleaning your emotional space.  The premise of this book is to go through your house and get rid of 50 things, the catch is that like items count as 1 thing.  So if you toss 150 magazines, that’s counts as one thing.  I head about this book first from Jess Lively.

Organize Now!: A Week-by-Week Guide to Simplify Your Space and Your Life by Jennifer Ford Berry.  I think that this book will be the most beneficial to this process.  After the introduction this book is broken down to weekly sections on how to get a hold of your things.  It breaks the processes down by task and room.  We are on week 5 of the 56 weeks provided.  Although some weeks don’t apply to our current life we will skip over those weeks and move on to another or take an extra week for a particularly difficult area.  Dusan and I work really well with lists so I think this way of looking at things will be key for us.

I’m sure that there are many other books that are great for organizing tips and ways to let go of material objects.  I purchased Throw Out Fifty Things a while ago because I liked the idea of the book.  I am borrowing the other two books from my mom, so that help my selection process.

Blogs That Inspire

August 22nd, 2012

These are three of my favorite blogs that I am keeping in mind as I attempt this goal.  I’m sure there are tons of other blogs that touch on these topics but these are the ones I read.

Jess Lively, jesslively.com (formerly makeundermylife.com), is a great source for inspiration for living intentionally.  I originally found her blog through her jewelry business but stuck around reading about how she “exfoliates” at least one item from home every week and gets rid of things every season.

Young House Love, younghouselove.com, is my favorite decor blog.  Their house is always presented as clean, organized, and peaceful (although they keep it real with some messy pictures every now and then).  They seem to have a handle on how not to have too much stuff and I would love if my house looked anything like theirs!

IHeart Organizing, http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/, is a blog about – you guess it – organizing.  I have been using her idea of a family binder and it has been working very well.  I wish just one of my rooms could be as organized!

A brief history (or a list of my excuses)

August 21st, 2012


When my husband and I got married he had a house and I had an apartment.  We had both been living on our own for a few years.  We had enough stuff to manage two households, including two Kitchen-Aid stand mixers in fire engine red.  Then the wedding presents came.  Normally, we just would have taken time to go through ever thing then and combine our belongings into one house.  But we don’t like to be normal. 

We sold his house and moved some things to his parents house in Iowa and some things to my apartment.  Then less than a month after we got married we moved to Toronto with a car full of belongings.  A good amount of my apartment had never been completely unpacked and then my grandma and her husband were a great help in offering to store our things in her basement.  They even offered to come and get the boxes and help pack up.  So they packed our boxes while my husband started his new job in Canada. 

Our stuff situation was this: an apartment with the necessities in Toronto, furniture, boxes, and childhood treasures in Iowa, childhood treasures and boxes of stuff we might need at my Mom’s in Kentucky, and then the rest of the furniture and random boxes hiding away in another part of Kentucky.  That’s too much stuff.  And when we finally moved back to Kentucky and all of the stuff was in our brand new house we didn’t go through everything all at once, and we still haven’t gone through everything.  And because we didn’t pack the boxes ourselves we got lots of surprises.  Like a box with CDs, wood putty, aspirin, a pair of underwear, and a left shoe.  It was overwhelming.  So we shoved everything in our basement after finding the things we really needed.

Another thing is that my husband and I are collectors.  Between the two of us we have a collection of Lego toys, rocks, dice, Halloween decorations, Christmas decorations, cookie jars, salt and pepper shakers, old toys, vintage knickknacks, jewelry, and shoes to name a few.  Not to mention the clothes and the fact that we love books have tons of them to show for that.

Dieting

August 20th, 2012

I am going on a twofold diet.  A diet of the regular eat healthier/exercise more variety.  But I am also putting my house on a diet.

Since being married I have gained weight and then I had hip surgery and gained 20lbs that year.  But I’ve also noticed that my house has gained a significant amount of weight as well.

Our house is filling up.  Space is not the problem however.  We have a four bedroom house, with a kitchen/dinning room, two living areas, two bathrooms, and a storage basement.  We don’t have a lot of closets but that shouldn’t matter at all.  The problem is that we can’t get a handle on our stuff.

We’ve attempted in the past 3 years that we’ve owned our house.  We sell things in a yard sale every year.  In fact this year we made almost $400!  But we are not letting go of enough.  My husband wants to live in a very clean, clutter free house.  I want to live in a very organized house.  All of our stuff gets in the way of both of those ideas.  We’ve made cleaning charts, organizational plans, and lists before and those worked for a while but we never just got rid of stuff.  It’s what we are going to have to do to make our house the way that we want it.

But it’s okay.  Because I have a plan now and we will get it all under control.  I have found some sources that I will be using as guides along with making stuff up as I go along.  I have been inspired by some blogs that I read and some books that I have which I will be sharing with you in another post.  I will also be writing about our journey to a clutter free(ish) lif

Danielle Steel Novels

August 2nd, 2012

When I was growing up I loved to read.  I guess that hasn’t really changed but I do read less frequently now.  But growing up I would read book after book and buying books is expensive.  So my Mom would take us to the library.  But I would quickly read through the books I checked out too.  I began borrowing books from my grandmother.  She has a huge bookshelf stacked with books and an over the door bookshelf filled with books.  I don’t know why I didn’t read all of them now that I think about it.  For some reason I grabbed from the same shelf every time.  The shelf full of Danielle Steel novels.

I read one right after the other.  It never took me very long to finish one.  I don’t even think I really understood most of what happened in the books because I was too young too – I was probably 9th grade or so.  I don’t remember many of the stories but I remember some of my favorites Silent Honor, Zoya, Granny Dan, The Gift, to name a few.  Last weekend at a birthday party at my grandmother’s house offered to give my cousins and me any of her books that we wanted.  I went into the basement to grab some of my favorite Danielle Steel’s but no one else wanted any so I ended up with her entire collection!  Some of which I had purchased to read and then given her to read.

I had three Kroger bags stuffed with books.  It made me wonder how many books I was missing to have all of them.  I printed out a book list from Danielle Steel’s website and began to organize my books by publication date and check off the ones that I had.  I got 60 books from my grandmother but there were a couple of duplicates.  I had 58 different titles from her.  Since then I have found four more books which brings the total to 62.  Danielle Steel has written 90 books or so, I’m actually missing quite a few (unless they are hidden somewhere else in my house because I remember reading some of them).

Now I’ve begun rereading them.  The books are a little formulaic in themes but they are entertaining, which is all that I need.  Also, it’s very impressive that her first book was published in 1978 and she has published 90.  That’s a lot of books every year (and they are best seller’s).

I am excited to read them again.  Less excited about trying to fit them on my over crowded bookshelf.  Oh, well!

Spicy

July 6th, 2012

Actual conversation with my Mom:

Me:  I made the best sandwich last night.

Mom:  Really?  What type was it.

Me:  It was wheat bread with turkey, pepperjack cheese, lettuce, banana peppers, and mayonaise.  It was sooo good and it was spicy!

Mom:  You like spicy.

Me:  Yeah, I do like spicy.

Mom:  (said in a deep voice) Like Christian Grey.

Me:  Food, mom.

Surprise Present

June 27th, 2012

On Tuesday night I walked into my house with my brand new J Crew purchase.  After I said hello to my husband he told me that he had gotten me a present.

“You didn’t have to get me a present!” I said – I had just bought 3 new shirts at J Crew.

“Yes, I did,” he replied and handed me this

“Yes, you did!” I exclaimed.

The new album is fantastic by the way!