Monday, May 17, 2010

Thoughts on the book: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Part 3)

As I read the last chapter in the book I wanted to cry or scream. The author discusses her friend who is making a movie about climate change. Her friend asks the question: "How do we encourage people to keep their hope, but not their complacency?" The concern was that if they didn't present the problem as dire enough people wouldn't care, but if it was too dire people would feel doomed and be paralyzed. My heart screamed the answer, I imagine my mouth even said it, "God!!" God is the answer.

I firmly believe our planet is doomed to destruction someday. I kind of doubt that global warming has anything to do with it. But we live in a world warped by sin, and God has promised that he has prepared a better place for us. This gives us great hope! Still we have been charged to be stewards of God's creation. This gives us motivation to be responsible with what God has given us. God is the answer.

Though the author does not specify, she indicates she is likely an atheist, or at least agnostic. She speaks indirectly to this as she describes how they celebrate holidays. Also, throughout the book the author and her daughter (another secondary author) refer to how we evolved to use certain foods. As someone who has studied secular biology, and read a great deal regarding creation science, what the author usually refers to as evolution is actually what I would consider adaption or excellent evidence for intelligent design. Since much of her viewpoint is based in evolutionary science, it gives me pause as I read some of her other "scientific" theories. It is hard to trust what is built on a faulty foundation.

The saddest part of the whole book was her description of their Thanksgiving. At the end of the description of the mouth-watering foods, and their small cheat of importing cranberries, is this statement "... for here is a day off work just to praise Creation." As I read that I had mingled sensations of horror, and heartbreak. The Bible is clear. Praising creation instead of seeing the divine nature and eternal power of God in creation, is the reason the world is doomed to destruction. In one sense it was amazing to see the words of Romans 1, so clearly displayed in our modern world:

Romans 1:20-24
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their

But, these are real people. Barbara Kingsolver has a real soul and God loves her. It is heartbreaking that although she loves His creation so greatly, she is blinded to God's love and purpose. As I finished the book, I prayed. I prayed for the authors to be able to find the real source of hope, the real One to praise.

This is the main reason I can not recommend this book. If you have a firm understanding of your faith, if you have the inclination to read critically, it can be an excellent opportunity to develop an understanding of the devout environmentalist perspective. But if you do not know what you believe, or you just don't feel like working hard while reading, please don't read this book.

It can't help but wonder what this experiment would be like from a Biblical perspective. Maybe instead of the sad, but so true, Romans passage we could celebrate with the joyful truth of this:

Psalm 104

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul.
O LORD my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty...
13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
14 He makes
grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:
15 wine that gladdens the
heart of man,
oil to make his face shine,
and bread that sustains his heart...

Thoughts on the book: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (part 2) - The organic debate

One of the major issues I have with the book is the author's view of modern agricultural. I find her to be narrow minded in this area. Reading on the Internet, I have discovered that there is definitely an anti-ag movement out there. Unfortunately most of it is fueled by presenting the extremes of modern agricultural practice as the norm. The author obviously believes organic is the only way to go. The author's husband, is a secondary author in the book. He writes little boxes of "factual" information in many of the chapters. He makes what on the surface looks like a good argument for small organic farms being the best way to feed the world. And, if conditions were always stable, he might have a case. However he neglects to consider anomalies, such as blight and mass infestation. We rarely think of these nowadays, because modern farming practices (including those nasty "chemicals") have mostly eradicated them. However before modern farming practices those were real threats, and famine and food borne illness were common concerns.

Of course I come from my own bias. I am surrounded and even somewhat financially supported by those very corn and soybeans the book so demonizes. There is a lot of emphasis on the evils of all the corn and soybean based products in our food supply. I actually agree that as a society we overeat the corn and soybean food products available. But a lot of corn and soybeans go to products as replacement for petroleum. Decreasing our petroleum consumption is a major premise of the local eating movement. Of course a lot of corn also goes to livestock feed. The book gives the impression that this is a bad thing, that grass fed is the only way to go. But livestock have been part grain/part pasture fed for thousands of years. Feeding grain to chickens is not a recent phenomenon. And in many areas of the world (including the fertile Midwest) there is just not enough pasture to provide enough livestock a complete diet.

I also know plenty of non-organic livestock farmers. This is where I see the book as biased toward the extremes. The book gives the distinct impression that farms in the commercial food industry all keep their animals confined in small spaces standing in their own waste being fed only corn. I made it a point to drive by 2 near-by dairy farms yesterday. I saw something amazing, cows grazing in the pasture. The truth is all the farmers I know feed their livestock grain and put them to graze on pasture. I know there are some extreme mega farms where the cows live in bad conditions, but it isn't necessarily the standard. Even many large "confinement" operations pasture their cows. This is a great post about what a real confinement operation is like.

My point in all this is that where the author seems to have one view, that allows for only organic agriculture, I think we can use modern ag practices wisely and in moderation without sacrificing our health or ethics. Yes modern ag has it's problems. But, even though I appreciate much of the "real food" movement. I don't believe that real food must be all "organic". I think there is just as much biased anti-modern ag propaganda as pro-modern ag propaganda. As usual the truth is somewhere in the middle.

I still have one more post to go on this book. I know my "review" has been long. But that is why I would actually recommend this book to some. If you have the inclination and time to dissect it critically, it really makes you think. My last concern is my biggest heartbreak in reading this book, the one that left me sad at the be continued.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thoughts on the book: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (part 1)

I finished the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I can't say that I would recommend it to everyone. I would absolutely not recommend it to some. I would highly recommend it to some. It really depends on you desire and ability to read critically. In some places the book is inspiring, in some places it is flat out wrong. Sometimes it made me laugh, and sometimes I just felt so sad for the author and her family.

I'll start with the good stuff. I think living off of local/seasonal food is an excellent experiment. I also liked the information about how to eat more locally and more seasonally. The practical stuff inspired some ideas of how I could make positive changes in our diet and lifestyle. I am inspired to make better use of our garden produce. I am inspired to search for fresher, more flavorful basic foods so my "healthy" cooking actually tastes good. There are some good recipes in the book too. And I am determined to learn how to braid my onions and garlic like the author does.

The book is written as a memoir. I really liked this format. Instead of feeling preached at, I felt that she was sharing her life. And though she was at times passionate about her views, I didn't feel like she was saying: agree with me or else. Also because it was a memoir and story of their year, there were some funny parts, especially in the realm of chickens and turkeys. But, more importantly, for someone like myself, who disagrees with the author in many areas, I felt as though I gained some understanding of where she was coming from and why she feels that way.

Philosophy-wise I do have many disagreements with the author. But there were ideas I truly appreciated. The idea of taking time to prepare food, hit home to me. So often our culture values efficiency even when efficiency isn't truly needed. There is joy and renewal in work, whether it is in the exercise of hoeing the garden, the rhythmic contemplation with kneading bread, or the exhilarating creativity of cooking a meal. Rushing through each task just for the sake of moving on to another one is not fulfilling or necessarily profitable.

Also I agree with the basic premise that there are problems with the way our society eats in general. Obesity is definitely an issue. And foods that are not profitable for our body are out there. Ignorance of where our food comes from and how it is made does seem to be common. However I view the "whys" behind these problems differently. I find that the author places a lot of blame on the food industry, as if they are the ones in control of the situation. In the authors view, they are manipulative, they are greedy, but the consumer and even the farmer are often just the pawns of a powerful corporation.

I really think it is more of a matter of personal responsibility. While there are individuals in the food industry who are motivated by greed and power, they are responding to individual consumers often motivated by a mix of gluttony, laziness, pleasure-seeking, and lack of self-control. Which are sin issues for all of us. So I see many of the problems as a result of sin in our fallen world. The author who appears to be an atheist, or at least agnostic, obviously does not grapple with individual sin as a root of our cultural food issues. Also, viewing it as a sin issue I don't necessarily see it as a one-size fits all solution. Selling a beverage made from corn syrup and carbonated water is not necessarily a sin. Nor is it inherently sinful to consume such a beverage. But it can be, it is really a matter of the heart...

Sausage Asparagus Skillet - Yum!

I found a healthy recipe that actually worked! You can find the recipe for Sausage Asparagus Skillet here. The blog The Local Cook has a lot of other great seasonal "real food" recipes as well.

It is really easy and made with asparagus, and other ingredients I have on hand: sausage, potatoes, onions, and cheese. The one thing I did was add 3 small pats of butter after I put the asparagus in. It was a hit!

I enjoyed watching my 2 year old happily eat asparagus. She is not terribly picky, but I wasn't sure how she would do with it. Sprinkle a little cheese on it, cook it with some butter and sausage flavor and she gobbled it right down.

I even used mostly local ingredients. The potatoes were from the grocery store. But the sausage and asparagus were locally "grown". And the onions were from my garden.

Oh, another great thing about this recipe: one cutting board, one knife, one skillet, one spatula, one spoon - thats all the dishes to wash!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

30 boxes, 30 days Final Count!

I realize I never updated my April decluttering challenge. My final total was 54 boxes!

That total does not include the dresser, crib, and changing table I got rid of as well. I still have the old TV, and an old printer to get rid of. I know where to take those it is just a matter of arranging it.

I never did quite finish the back room. Though I got a lot out of it. The end of tax season kind of got in the way.

And, we are ready to redo the guestroom for the girls now, as soon as planting is over. I even have the before pics taken already!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I made bread. Real wheat bread. Now I have made many a quick bread in my time. And I have made "real" bread with experienced bread makers on occasion. But this time I made it all by myself. (Well I did have the eager assistance of my 2 y/o) I will confess that I used a no-knead recipe. I chose this recipe so I could work through the slightly daunting "rising and punching" part first. And then move on to the scarier tricky sounding "kneading" part.

The recipe made three loaves, which taste excellent and look great. It is a bit light though, not quite dense enough to use for a good sandwich. I am guessing that is where the kneading comes in. Since I managed the rising and punching so well I am looking forward to getting to the next level. Maybe I'll try some kneading tomorrow!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Looking Locally, Thinking Seasonally

I just started reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingslover (and her husband and daughter). So far I am finding the book fascinating. The books details the authors' family journey to almost entirely eat locally, and therefore eat seasonally for a complete year.

There are difficult parts in it for me. For one, there is an underlying tone of evolutionary theory that bothers on occasion. However it is slight and easy for me to "re-view" those references in light of the wonder of how God created us, and our natural surroundings. The other issue I have is a little harder to reconcile. As I am reading about how the industrial food complex has warped our view of food, my other half is out planting soybeans on our farm land to be sold to the very same industrial food complex. Much of what we earn comes from "modern" agriculture. And I don't think all modern agriculture practice is bad. But I will give the author credit, she is not railing in her book, and though I find some of her views disconcerting I can understand where she is coming from and don't feel brow beaten.

However the major theme of the book: sourcing our food locally and eating seasonally rings so true to me. It is interesting. I am surrounded by corn and soybean fields. Most belong to family farms, but most will also be sold to be processed into things that look nothing like corn and soybeans, or shipped out to far-away feedlots. Yet sustainable living and local food sourcing is also not uncommon among these same farmers. Sure our fields of corn go off to the industrial complex. But along the edge we grow pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes...

Many of the farm wives I know (including me) can and preserve. I can name several friends with small flocks of chickens. And almost all the dairy farmers I know drink there milk just "one step" away from the udder, even though they sell the rest to be homogenized and pasteurized. There is a farmer's market in town every Saturday in seasonable weather. But there is also a direct selling family garden about 2 miles due east of my home.

To be honest it would never occur to me to buy a cucumber or zucchini in February. Of course I am aware I will be trying to find some open car windows to sneak the surplus into in August. (OK, I have never actually done that, but I have been known to occasionally beg someone to take them.) Although I do it on occasion, I hate buying tomatoes in winter, rally they taste nothing like a "real" tomato. However, I don't think a lot about where the foods I don't produce abundantly come from. In many of those cases I have rarely eaten truly fresh versions, so maybe I don't notice the inferior quality.

Maybe because of the beginning of garden season, I have notice that this is a popular topic in the blog world recently. I know I can do better about local sourcing my food, without much effort. Some of my goals for this are:
  1. Looking into options for buying fresh milk.
  2. Arranging to buy fresh eggs.
  3. Building dark storage for our root crops.
  4. Trying to local source our poultry (we already local source our beef and pork)
  5. Visiting our farmer's market and nearby direct produce seller.

Of course my biggest challenge is still turning this food into meals that receive a good reception from my family. So my biggest goal of all is learning how to use all those local seasonal foods at dinner time.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mary, Mary, quite contrary...

How does my garden grow? The tomatoes, peppers, green beans, spinach, lettuce, carrots, onions, and radishes are all in nice rows. The hills; cucumbers, zucchini, and melons aren't in yet.

We have much of our home garden planted. Except for the sweet corn, we haven't started at the farm yet. The men are busy in the fields right now, so maybe next week we'll get to it. We planted the tomatoes and peppers yesterday morning, around 7am. It was so nice to be out in the quiet just the 2 of us, the girls were still sleeping. I took pictures. I am planning on updating my blog header as the garden grows. They are just little plants now surrounded by coffee cans for protection from our prarie winds.

There is a good aritcle on eating seasonally and locally on Keeper of the Home. It made me realize how blessed I am. For much of the year I don't have to source out my produce. All I need to do is walk into the back yard. I need to take better advantage of this blessing. Preparing to use the abundance produced by our fabulous black loam is one of my projects on my journey to "find natural". So if you have any great ideas for my garden produce let me know.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Now its a room you can view!

I love to just go and sit in there and soak it in. I have my spare room back...ahhhh... It still serves as guest room/office/baby's room. But it is no longer the "junk"room!!!

Here are some before and afters:

The corner:

The bed:

The closet:

  • This room has always been a particular difficulty. We do have a store room, but it is in a very basementy part of the basement. So, anything "nice" would get shoved in the guest room. Besides that, its multiple purposes make it difficult to keep it up. I have cleaned this room up before. Usually that meant filling the closet and drawers with all the extra stuff. Which meant digging through closets and drawers when I needed to find something, causing a big mess. This clean out has made a big difference. Note there is actually some open space in the closet. It used to be like playing tetris to get everything in there just right. Also, what you can't see is even better. There is actual space in the drawers and the cabinet. There is even 1 completely empty drawer!!!

  • I am so glad to get this cleaned out. We have big plans for this room. This summer I want to make it the girls room. Everything but the tall dresser, and some of the stuff in the closet will be moving to a much smaller room. Now it is all ready to go.

  • I am up to 46 boxes now. I have finished every room in the house except for the "back room" that very basementy place I referred to earlier. It is such a big job I broke it into 6 sections. I have been wanting to clean it out for years now. That will be a huge accomplishment. I was going to give myself the day off today. But the thought of getting the back room cleaned out is so exciting I am sure I'll be in there digging out. But a completely decluttered home would be a fabulous birthday gift!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Boxes # 14 through.....


After 9 days of my decluttering challenge I have dug out 32 boxes of stuff to get rid of. (I guess I should have started with a bigger box) I would double my goal to 60, but I know I still have 2 of my worst areas to go, so I think I will just keep counting and see if I can get to 100! That sounds daunting. But really I am a third of the way there in less than a third of the month.

It is amazing once you get started how you want to keep on going. The lightness I feel after getting rid of stuff is great motivation. And I have been learning and growing through this too. I have been jotting down some of my spiritual reflections as I go along. I think I will take time during May to develop some of those thoughts more deeply.

But this past week I have heard two messages that hit home more because of my decluttering challenge. First our pastor preached a great message on idolatry on Sunday. It really made me think about what my "stuff" represented. As I sorted through a lot of my nostalgia, I thought the each item I was holding onto. Was it tangible story to pass on to the next generation? Or was it my own personal little shrine to my past? The tangible stories can stay, the shrines need to go.

Second, the devotional speaker at my mom's group spoke about making time for an intimate relationship with God. (She was really good, and just happens to be my wonderful real life mom.) As I was cleaning out my hall closet I thought about all the time I waste, moving stuff around, searching for stuff, cleaning out stuff just because I have too much stuff. God is a jealous God. I think He wants that time back, for me to spend with Him and use for Him.

So now for some before and afters:

Here we have the girl's/guest's linen closets:

I had 7 sets of sheets for my guest room!! The only people who have used it in the last year are me and the screaming baby, and my sister-in-law. I plan to use the empty space for kids games when I unearth them in the family room. I pared down my scrapbooking supplies to one long tub. That is in my closet. Hopefully the sewing stuff will move there too. Then I can use that space for the heavy blankets I'll need to put away as the weather warms up.

And the hallway coat closet:

Yes we have a lot of coats. That happens to farmers. Since I promised myself I would not declutter anything personally belonging to the farmer, we still have a lot of coats, but not quite so many. The best thing was relocating those 3 drawer organizers. Now I frequently drool over these at the store. And here I had 2 on the top shelf of my coat closet. OK, why would someone put 3 drawer organizers on a top shelf. Well, we're tall, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. So I moved one down to a useful level. And I put things on the top shelf that I could reach and move easily without standing on a chair. The other 3 drawer organizer is sitting empty waiting for me to find the perfect spot. I think my closet is calling it's name.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A special comforter

I remember a very special day when I was a little girl. I don't remember exactly when it was, but I know it was a Sunday, and I think I was 3 or 4. I remember the sunlight shining through my windows. and I was lying on my bed with this comforter.

My brother burst into my room to tell me something great. He had learned in Sunday School that if you asked Jesus to forgive you and come into your heart, he would live in your heart and you would go to heaven. I was lying on my bed pondering what he said. I decided that I wanted Jesus to live in my heart too. So I prayed a simple prayer and became a Christian.

I didn't know the four spiritual laws or exactly how it all worked. But with the faith of a child I joined the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

I have kept that comforter all these years because it is part of my memory of that day. But I don't really need it. I will never forget that day. So I took this picture, praying that my little girls will one day have such a memory of their own. I bundled up the comforter and donated it to warm someone else who needs it. And I pray that they will find the warmth I have within, that comes from Jesus living in my heart.

(You can find other's pictures here)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Boxes 7-13

Spaces are deceptive. You really can't tell how much stuff they can hold until you start to clean it out. As I finished off the master bedroom I didn't think I would fill another box. But I decided to be thorough and clean out the small spaces that were left. I was amazed as I easily filled a box plus some. I think my husband might have a heart attack when he sees how much I have to go to the garbage. I really wouldn't have thought that we had that much to throw away.

We baked some cookies the other day, so I was staying in the kitchen as they went in and out of the oven. I decided to clean out a kitchen cabinet and do some needed reorganizing. I notice a simple solution to some kitchen issues that I have had. First I have mostly switched to glass storage containers. They have lovely navy blue or white lids that even coordinate with my kitchen. However the lids were constantly disappearing in a deep cabinet. Second little lamb has recently discovered that cabinets are fun, and the glass within reach seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. Third our plastic children's dishes were being stored in a shallow high cabinet, completely out of reach for babydoll to get her dishes out or put her clean dishes away. Such an easy solution. I put all the kids dishes in a tub and put them in the deep lower cabinet. I put the glass dishes in the upper cabinet w/ the lids all in one container. Now I have a "plastic" cabinet for little lamb, and babydoll has a new responsibility. Plus, I love being able to find my storage dishes and lids w/ ease. Here is the before (well mid-clean out) and after:

I mentioned spaces are deceptive. We have 2 narrow linen closets. I cleaned out the smallest one. I took out 4 boxes worth of stuff!!! I love my clean looking linen closet. In years past I would have looked at all the empty space and thought I should fill it up with other storage. But I am beginning to appreciate the peaceful calmness of empty space. Here is the before and after:

I can't wait until garbage day. I will feel so much lighter when much of the stuff is gone completely. My guestroom is starting to fill up w/ stuff for our momcycle day. I don't wish it was sooner though, because I still have plenty more stuff to clean out. I am looking forward to April 30th though. It will be so freeing!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Clothes Clean-out

That is my closet before.

This is the stuff I got rid of:

I am calling this 3 boxes. Though it might actually be more like 4 or 5. But getting to 6 boxes by day 2 seems like a good start. This isn't all from the closet. I have a few clothes in drawers as well. I cleaned out all those to. I now have some empty drawer space.

Bonus: I think I found a good place to store maternity clothes. We have a long deep cupboard in the bottom of our headboard. It isn't very accessible for regular use. But would be perfect for my maternity clothes stash. And that would free up a big tub, that is currently "pretending" it is a nightstand in my guestroom.

This time cleaning through my closet was a rewarding experience, because everything "fit"! By fit, I mean that I could get everything zippered, buttoned, snapped etc... Not that I would necessarily wear it that snug in public. But I am at my lowest weight in 3 yrs and still slowly losing.

I also have been wanting to put together a dress up box for the girls. I found lots of hats, a way too short for me -but pretty dress, a lab coat, and a pair of shoes to get a good start on the dress up box.

This is my closet after:

It still needs a little help. I don't really like those bins on top. I like being able to get to my clothes that way, but the bins are too tall, so either I combine my short and long stuff, or there is a lot of wasted space.

I have started a list of things I would like to buy. Since it is my birthday this month I usually get some birthday money. I can never decide what to spend it on. This clean-out is helping me to really think about what I want that would actually be useful.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Box #3

I needed something to do while the girls were playing in the backyard. So I pulled out my boxes of old pictures. Now I really enjoy scrapbooking. I have scrap books from 1992-July 2006. Then we switched to our digital camera, had children etc... I have now switched to digital scrapbooking (I'll go on about how wonderful it is some other time) I am working my way backwards now, I am up to date for 2010, and am almost done with 2009.

However throughout the years I got free double prints. Even though I have my lovely srapbooks of these memories, I saved all the doubles. I had 4 plastic shoe boxes filled with pictures. Now I have one.

Here is the shoeboxes and the box of pics to throw away:

Here is what I have left to save:

As a bonus, I now have 3 plastic shoeboxes to use for other storage needs.

Missionary Mementos

I found a great idea from this blog. I have lots of things with sentimental value. However in many cases it is not the object, but the story behind the object that is valuable. In order to simplify and remove clutter, Tanna from Complete Organizing Solutions suggests taking a picture and recording the stories of things with sentimental value. Then you can get rid of the stuff, but keep the memory.

So here is my first memory picture.

These three mementos traveled to me from three different continents, were given to me in three different states, by three different people, in three different years. What they have in common that they were from missionaries. We were blessed as children to have parents who welcomed missionaries into our home. Both my brother and I developed a strong love for missions. I'll take them in order:

1. The grass skirt and bag wall hanging is from Papua New Guinea. I received it in Rochester, NY about 26 years ago. Stuart Merriam was the missionary. But what was most exciting is that he brought tribal people with him when he visited our Church every few years. That year two Papua New Guineans stayed overnight in our home. One was a boy our age. We had so much fun playing with him, and he taught us how to use some native toys. They sold these little wall hanging to raise money for the mission.

2. The round fur is from Bolivia. I received it in 1987 in California, where I lived when I was in Jr. Hi. The missionaries were the Wymas. They were with Wycliffe Bible Translators. They came to our home for dinner when they were visiting our church. I still clearly remember their stories and our visit. They brought us the fur as a hostess gift. It is literally falling apart now. Pieces of fur fall off when you pick it up.

3. This little cat box is from Honduras. I received it here at my home in Illinois. It was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law when they worked at a mission school in Honduras.

While I have lost track of the missionaries who brought these (except for my brother of course). And these items don't take up space in my home anymore. The memories of the warmth and excitement accompanying them still keep a place in my heart.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

30 Boxes, 30 Days - Decluttering Challenge

I have been busy! Of course 2 little ones keeps you hopping. But the past several months I have been working on becoming more organized.

The idea that I would enjoy becoming organized may be a shock to my friends and family. One word that describes me well is "random". I like to say I have a tendency toward entropy. But I have made great strides and changes in the past 6 months. I have discovered a lot of tips and techniques to make my journey toward organization easier. And I really enjoy the added serenity in my home. I discovered that the first and most important thing is to cut the clutter!

April is a special month in our home. Not only do we have Easter, and 3 birthdays (including mine), we also have the end of tax season!!! As a bonus my mom's group is having "momcycle" on April 30th. Its basically a big free garage sale, where I can unload a lot of stuff. So it is a great time for a decluttering challenge. I want to get rid of 30 boxes of stuff in 30 days. Now this idea really isn't original to me. I need to acknowledge this blog, and thank her for the inspiration. I am even using some of her method. I made a calendar and divided my home into 25 areas. (I am giving myself Sundays and the Saturday after tax day off.) I assigned an area to each day taking into account busy days. Here is my calendar

I know it is hard to see, but today I assigned our bathroom. I thought it might be hard to fill a box. Our storage space in there is very limited. Boy was I surprised. I easily filled the box to almost overflowing. I amazed at the amount of junk I had under the sink. Now it looks so nice and neat. No before and after pics of the bathroom though. It is so tiny I could hardly take one. Besides who needs to see my organized toiletries. But here is Box # 1:

Seeing all those expired medicines etc... made me wonder what was lurking in the other bathroom. So I jumped ahead and did the guest/girl's bathroom too. Here is box # 2:

Tomorrow is going to be a major clothes clean out for me. A bit of an extra challenge since I am between sizes. I did this almost 2 years ago. It needs it again. But, hopefully it will be easier this time.

I'll let you know...