MamaCreates

Behind the Scenes of One Mama's Life

2018 in 2018 – March Update

 

It’s time for an update on my progress to eliminate 2,018 items from my house this year – hence the title 2018 in 2018! It can be done!

I was able to do it last year, but then I was also moving so I had an additional incentive. But I also think that moving into a smaller house is another incentive to reduce what I keep here.

The ‘rules’ are simple:

  • Items can be trashed or recycled, donated, or sold.
  • Items that are part of a set count as one item: salt & pepper shaker set counts as one item; each book or magazine counts as one item.
  • “Long lost” items that are found and finally used up also count.

That’s it. Anything that permanantly leaves the house counts. After all, the goal is to de-clutter, reduce, and/or simplify.

While I haven’t sold anything yet this year, I do have plenty of things set aside for either ebay, facebook sale pages, or a yard sale or two.

I have been working on some organizing in the house and have found many things to trash or recycle. It’s really quite freeing to eliminate handfuls, or even piles of things I no longer need or use.

In January, I trashed/recycled 14 items.

In February, I trashed/recycled 19 items.

But in March, I got busy! I was able to trash/recycle 56 items! Not only that, I donated 57 books to a book drive at my daughter’s school!

As much as I love books – and it has always been a motto of mine that one can never have too many books – it was time to allow other children to enjoy some of the books my children enjoyed when they were younger. Now that they’re growing up, they need room for more young adult titles.

That brings my total items eliminated in March to 113! My most productive month yet!

For the first quarter of 2018 then, there are 146 items that no longer live at my house!

As great as that is though, it’s really not anywhere close to what I need to be doing. If you divide 2,018 by twelve months, the goal should be 169 items each month. Since I haven’t even done that in three months, I am seriously behind.

So re-working the plan…  If I subtract my 146 from 2,018, I have 1,872 more items to eliminate. Then if I divide that by the nine months remaining this year, I now need to focus on 208 items per month. That. Is. A. Lot.

It’s daunting!

I guess I need to be a bit more ruthless…

Hopefully, I’ll be back at the end of next month with some better news!

It’s not too late to get started; if you come across this post, you can start at any time. The goal is to simplify your life; any time is a good time to get started!

Just keep letting go!

50 Weeks til 50

I turned 49 about two weeks ago.

And it dawned on me that shortly, I’d have fifty weeks left until I turned fifty…

It took a while for that to sink in. Honestly, I thought my life would look a lot different at 50 than it looks right now. I realize that a lot can change – I hope some of it does – in fifty weeks, so I’m not giving up!

But this realization reminded me of a blog post I read several years ago about a woman who did something amazing for her birthday. She made the day about others instead of herself – 34 Random Acts of Kindness. I have wanted to do something like this ever since, but just never have.

But apparently, this is no longer a unique idea! When I went to search for the original article, I found several others, including:

I’m thrilled that this is no longer a new concept – I love that people are getting out of themselves and blessing others.

Birthdays have always been kinda difficult for me. There’s always at least a small pity party that I throw for myself; and that’s NOT the kind of party one really wants on their birthday!

So… since this is my 50th year, I’ve decided to celebrate people! My party and my gifts will last the entire year! But the party & gifts I’m talking about are going to be blessing others and the joy that these acts of kindness will bring to someone else.

Here’s what I’m proposing: each week from now until my 50th birthday, I will commit to intentionally seek out something to do for at least one other person. I will try to take pictures and post them here. That is not for glory or for pats on the back; it’s for holding myself accountable, and it’s for inspiration. The people in the above posts have inspired me to start this project; and if I can inspire someone else to do something similar, then the chain keeps growing.

And wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we were all just kind to each other?

Now when I was thinking about this project – 50 Weeks til 50 – I was wondering how I’d be able to afford to do this. I’m a single parent struggling to put two teenagers through Catholic High schools and plan for college tuition! But I realized that none of these Acts of Kindness need to be expensive. I can operate on the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Sweetheart) and do as much or as little as my situation allows. But I also want to stretch myself; I shouldn’t take the easy way out by always doing something free or cheap. Therefore, over the course of the year (or 50 weeks), I will aim for a variety of ideas and types of things. Because I want this to be duplicable; I want someone to read these posts and be able to replicate them if they desire.

Who will join me? Don’t worry if you find this post when I’m on week 17, just jump right in and get started. And if you do decide to participate in any way, you can tag me on twitter or IG (@mamacre8s) and use the hashtag #50WeeksTil50 – I’d love to see how you show kindness to others!

“Have courage and be kind” ~ from Cinderella

2017 in 2017

I keep this tab open in my browser.

I click on it every once in a while and promise to come back to write.

I even have several post ideas bouncing around in my head at any given moment.

 

Yet, it’s been over a year since I posted last. Though you might think it’s been longer, looking at my last post. Apparently, the last time wordpress updated, it deleted posts from the last three years! This is why you’re supposed to back things up. So I guess it’s good thing that there weren’t too many posts during those years to lose.

It’s been extremely busy and my children are no longer children (though they’ll always be my babies). LEGOFan and Diva, as I used to call them to protect their young identities, have become teenagers with social media accounts of their own. Their lives have become filled with activity; which means mine has too.

But busy can sometimes mean too much clutter; too many forgotten things. About six years ago, I was introduced to a concept called 2012 in 2012. You can read about my first foray into that here. I was not completely successful, but I did remove a lot of things from my home. And each year, I have attempted to do some conscious purging. Yet last year was different. We moved. We have finally – after five years – brought everything out of storage. With the kids growing up, there was much to purge.

 

Clothes were too small.

Toys were too young.

Things I saved no longer held meaning.

 

It began with packing everything to move from a 2,600 sq. ft. house (where things never got unpacked because we decided to move shortly after buying the house – I would not advise this!) to an 1,100 sq. ft. townhouse. The ‘stuff” needed to go. And much of it did.

I was able to sort through things and Let. It. Go. (cue ice princess song…)

I threw things away or recycled where I could. I donated a lot of clothing and toys that could finally be worn or played with again. And I sold several things.

In the end, I had not only met, but exceeded, my goal of purging 2,017 things in the year 2017. Before moving, I eliminated 1,055 items, though I didn’t save the breakdown. It was great not to have to move them! But after the move; and unpacking boxes I hadn’t opened in years, I trashed 352 items, I donated 1,135 items, and I sold 25 items. That’s 1,515 things gone after moving. Boy, do I wish I hadn’t moved them, but I am glad they’re gone now! That’s a total of 2,570 items gone from my house in one year’s time!

But there’s still more to do. So guess what? 2,018 in 2018 has begun! As I unpacked over the last few months I’ve designated a shelf for things I’d like to sell; and I’d like to focus on that this year. It never hurts to bring in a little extra cash to pay those bills!

I know that I don’t have a large following here on the blog, if anyone’s left at all! However, I’m hoping that this post will be seen eventually and that someone – several someones – will join me in this endeavor to rid our homes of clutter.

Clutter costs us time and money. It steals our space, and sometimes our joy. One of the last posts I wrote that’s left in my archives was one about a book called Clutter Free by Kathi Lipp. I really enjoyed reading the book and learned a lot from Kathi. I need to start putting it into practice again.

 

Who’s with me this year?

Clutter Free

I think I have always lived with clutter; I’ve never been accused of being a neat-freak!

Actually, I’ve always described it as an organized mess and most of the time I could still find what I was seeking. But recently my children and I were required to move into a very small space and clutter very quickly took its toll. It’s difficult to find places for things; and then equally difficult to find them again.

We are trying to find a new place to live; however, we must live in the allotted space until that new place is found. It is getting bad trying to make space for myself and two pre-teens, but Kathi Lipp has come to the rescue with her book Clutter Free and her 21 Day Challenge.

 

So I began today; and I invite you to join me on this journey. Will you? Will you take the challenge to be Clutter Free in 2015? You can start here: http://www.kathilipp.com/clutter-free-21-day-challenge

Here is some of what I’m working on…

 

Box ClutterGames & Crafts Clutter

 

The top image is of Box Clutter. Like I said, we are trying to move, so I am collecting boxes in anticipation. However, we don’t know when that’s going to happen, so the pile of boxes, bubble wrap, paper, air pockets, etc. continues to grow and take over the room.

The bottom image is that of games, craft supplies, bags of items I need when I take my Lilla Rose business to vendor events, etc. This is definitely a case of too much stuff and not enough space. It’s also a result of a bit of laziness on both me and Diva. Granted, given our current living situation, the containers lining the wall are necessary evils, but the clutter on top, around the bottom, hanging out, etc. is not necessary.

I decided to begin with the box clutter. I figured that once the boxes were sorted and organized; once the miscellany around the boxes is cleaned up, perhaps we can assign homes to some of the stuff in the other room (or at least begin to pack it in the boxes – ya know, the whole ‘kill two birds with one stone’ thing).

I was able to spend a little time on it this afternoon and it does look better. It’s not done yet, but things are more organized; and better yet? Some things are G-O-N-E!

Yep, gone. I assigned one of the boxes to be for those items I no longer want and can either sell or donate. I put some items in there, but I won’t count them until they actually leave the house. I also threw some things into the recycling bag. Those I counted and noted for later.

Wait. Why am I counting these things? Well, Kathi has challenged us to get rid of 2000 things over the course of the next year. Dare I attempt 2015 in 2015? I did this back in 2012 and was pretty successful at it. It can be challenging, but that’s what this process is all about, right?

And moving time is a perfect opportunity to start fresh. The only problem is that most of my ‘stuff’ is in storage and won’t be accessible until the move happens; but I will do my best with what I have. Too bad I didn’t count before I sent that bag off to ThredUp two weeks ago – but, wait, they will send me an itemized list, so maybe I will count that once I get that…

After one day’s work, I can sate that I eliminated (via the recycle bag) 28 items, plus a few crumpled up receipts that I didn’t count. Not bad.

Now… Who is going to join me? Who is going to take up Kathi’s challenge? Comment below and share your commitment to go Clutter Free. If you write up your own post about your participation, put your link in the comments and I’ll stop by.

C’Mon Ladies; We Can Do This!

 

* Disclaimer: If you make a purchase at Lilla Rose through my link, I will earn commission; if you sign up for ThredUp, I will earn clothing credit. As for Kathi’s book (Clutter Free), I received a free advance copy in order for my honest and willing participation (the link to amazon is an affiliate link).

 

Harmony Art Mom – Sketch Tuesday

Yes, I know it’s Wednesday… I have been watching Harmony Art Mom’s Sketch Tuesday program for a while now. I kept telling the kids we were going to start participating, but we never did. Until recently.

The idea is that each week Barb will post a simple idea for people to sketch. She collects the sketches and puts together a slideshow for everyone. It’s a great idea and a lot of fun. We dedicated a couple of sketch pads to Sketch Tuesday and began sketching. We’ve participated twice now and both Diva and LegoFan have enjoyed seeing their work in the slideshows.

The first time the topic was ‘something associated with the word athlete.’ Here’s what they did:

Diva drew four girls playing tennis.

LegoFan sketched Gold’s Gym.

This most recent week, we were to sketch ‘something that bends.’

LegoFan got creative and chose several things that bend.

Diva chose to sketch an arm.

Here’s a link to this week’s slide show. Check it out and join us – adults are welcome to sketch along with their children. Perhaps this summer I will pick up a sketch pad of my own and try a few.

Papertrey Ink 5th Anniversary Challenge #1

Papertrey Ink is kicking off its 5th Anniversary with an amazing challenge. Nichole has asked her design team to list their top five favorite products and their favorite post(s) of the last year. Then, she challenged us to take a look at them and pick one that inspired us to create something of our own.

I have been a stamper and paper-crafter for a while, but I haven’t really posted a lot about things I make. I’m not an expert and I don’t know a lot of techniques. I kinda get inspired by the celebrations at hand plus the daily emails of some of my favorite designers.

So today I looked at the inspiration posts and saw some great stuff – Nichole has some amazing ladies on her team! And while I liked many of them, one of them stood out as a post I had wanted to remember and do myself. The designer is Betsy Veldman and you can click HERE to see her original project. It’s basically a collage of sentiments, using various fonts and colors. I really liked the way they turned out!

With Valentine’s Day approaching I thought I would use this as an inspiration for a Love card. The card base is a 5×5 square made out of a deep red piece of cardstock; and the matting is a sheet of white paper with pink hearts (4.5×4.5).  Both papers are from Creative Memories. Next I took a piece of pink card stock and cut it into a 4×4 square. In the center, I stamped “It’s Your Day” from Think Big Sentiments #2 with an embossing pad and covered it with white embossing powder. Before I heat embossed the image, I scraped the letter ‘Y’ off the word your so that it became ‘our.’ Since the card was about ‘our love’ I thought it was more appropriate that way. However, it didn’t all come off like I had hoped. I will stamp over it later.

Then I used two pieces from the Love Birds set: a pair of doves and a trio of hearts. I stamped them with Versamark Dazzle Ink randomly over the entire square. In retrospect, I probably would have skipped this step. In the end, I think it turns out a little too over-crowded.

 

Then I added a couple of sentiments, similar to Betsy’s idea. I added “Love Birds” from the Love Birds set and “love you” from the Tag-Its #5 set. And my last stamp is a pair of hearts from the Tag-Its #4 set in the space where the ‘Y’ used to be. Then I attached all the pieces together with adhesive.

While I like the card in general, there are some things I would do differently – the versamark background and the pair of hearts in place of the ‘Y’ because they don’t give the polished look I wanted. Also, it would have been helpful if I hadn’t run out of my usual adhesive – it would look more professional if it was sealed all the way around. I am hoping to remedy that as soon as I can get to the store this week!

All-in-all it was nice to sit down and craft before the Super Bowl comes on tonight. I don’t really care about the outcome as I don’t really care about either team. However, I am Boston Red Sox fan, so perhaps I should cheer for the Pats, but they did beat my Ravens so…

2012 in 2012 – Weeks 1-3

The other day I was visiting At Home, At Work, At Play and this is what I saw (Catalina gave me permission to use her graphic – thanks!):

Catalina had started a quest to get rid of 2012 things in the year 2012. Here is that original post. I told her that I really liked this idea and was going to tackle this as a goal for myself and my family – although the family members in question are unknowingly participating. The problem is that when I do the math that comes out to almost 40 items per week! And I’m three weeks behind…
Now I have 41 items to get rid of each week. Sigh. I still think it’s a doable goal though. Between the four member of this family, we can purge enough to make this goal a realistic one. So, here I go:
Donations:
  • 2 pair of pants
  • 12 articles of kids’ clothing
  • 32 kids’ rubber stamps
  • 1 teddy bear
  • 1 tree topper
  • 26 small Christmas tree ornaments
  • 1 doll

Thrown Away:

  • 1 pair of tights

Sold:

  • 1 book
  • 1 collectable catalog
  • 1 fairy ornament

Totals

  • Donated:75 items
  • Trashed: 1 item
  • Sold: 3 items

Weeks 1-3 ~ 2012 – 79 = 1933

As of January 20th, 2012 I have removed 79 items from my home. The problem is I have no idea how many items made their way into my house. I suppose I should keep track of that too, but that may become too depressing. The idea is that we should get rid of more than we bring in, so that there is a net loss at the end of the year. However, I wouldn’t look at it as a loss…

It would be a gain of space. Less clutter means more open space in which to live and breathe.

It would be a gain of time. Less stuff means fewer things to clean, dust, and launder.

It would, in a way, be a gain of money. I would be spending less on cleaning, laundering supplies if I had fewer things. (Ok, maybe that one’s a stretch, but it feels good to put that in there.)

So, will anyone else join me on this journey? Let me know in the comments. If I get a couple of people, perhaps I can look into putting a linky-thing on here in the coming weeks so we can support each other in this endeavor. Who’s with me?

This post is linked to Titus 2sdays, Women Living Well, and  Raising Homemakers.

Masking Challenge

This is my first time posting a card that I have made, so I am a little nervous. I am posting this in response to Lolly Chops, who issued a masking challenge after her latest tutorial for Prima Marketing. In this tutorial, Lolly used a Prima mask to decorate her tussie mussie and she challenged those of us watching to make something using a mask.

Since I didn’t have the type of mask she used, I did some more traditional masking using a rubber stamp.

I stamped the center jar first. Then I stamped the same image onto a scrap piece of paper and cut it out…

I placed this mask over the center jar and then stamped the image on the right and on the left. You can actually see where I stamped them on the mask itself. The masking allows the viewer to see the jars as if the center jar was in front of the other two.

After the images were stamped, I colored  each jar in with copper ink. Using a ruler, I drew a rectangle around the image and then stamped my sentiment. This focal image was backed with colored card stock and then adhered to a white card base. The stamps and card stock are from Papertrey Ink – the jars are from their Asian Fusion set.

As this is my first time, please feel free to offer constructive advice on how I can improve on things in the future. Thanks for looking!

UPDATED to add: I won this challenge in a random drawing – thanks, Lolly!

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