Sunday, October 26, 2014

31 Days to Less Clutter and More Peace: Decluttering and Organizing Games

Yesterday I decided to go through all of our games. We enjoy games, but last year I got rid of about half of them because they were taking up room and not actually being played. Ever.

This is what electronics has done to us.

Anyway, I store them in a hutch in the dining room. My current dining room is too small for me to get a good photo of the entire thing, but here is one I found from our last house.

I have always stored all of the board games/puzzles/card games in the cupboards of the hutch. It is practical, because we usually play them at the dining room table, and I didn't have enough dishes to bother storing in it.

However, it was stuffed to the gills. That's why I got rid of so many last year. Even with fewer games, they were still a little out of control and I was not a fan of where they were being stored. And, I may or may not have a dish problem in the kitchen now, so I was thinking that it might be a good idea to make some extra room in the hutch.

This is what it looked like:

Kind of a mess.

The girls have a hard time getting things back in the cupboard in an orderly manner. Also, many of the games are old and the boxes are breaking. If you look really carefully, you can probably also tell that in my less weeding out of the games, I actually did put a few dishes into the hutch. Which made it harder for the girls to get the games in and out.

I pulled all of the games out.

I found out that Monopoly was missing its board. I looked up in the playroom and anywhere else I thought it could possibly be. No dice, er, board. Hmm. Kind of a strange thing to go missing, but oh well, this is one game you definitely can't play sans board. Buh-bye Monopoly! (I hate that game anyway.)

I also decided to get rid of Cranium and a couple card games we never play.

I then put all the card games together (they are always in such disarray). We have a high boy in the dining room as well, and the top drawer used to hold all of our electronics chargers before we made our charging station. That top drawer has since morphed into a junk drawer, as drawers without a specific job are wont to do. So, I decided to give it the new and improved job of holding card games and a few of our other smaller games like Bananagrams, Pass the Pigs,  and Tenzi.

I sent the Twister game upstairs to the playroom where the kids' games should live. The rest of the games fit neatly into the far corner of the hutch.

So neatly, you don't even know they're there. I am not sure how practical this is, FYI. I will have to play with it once I clean out my kitchen cupboards and get some dishes moved over.

I found a few games that I think we should play today. We haven't been playing many games lately, and they are a nice Sunday afternoon activity.

Finally, I am still not sure what to do with the Ravensburger 1000-piece puzzle that was in there. We put it together this summer (that thing was on our dining room table FOREVER) and I doubt we will ever do it again. But I paid good money for it.

Would you just listen to me? I'm breaking all my own rules. Obviously, it's time to let someone else have the joy of putting that nice puzzle together. I will put it into the giveaway box just as soon as I hit publish on this post.

Do you have more games than you know what to do with? Today's assignment is to deal with that. You know the drill!

Where do you store your board games?

Find all of the posts in this 31 Day Challenge here: A Place for Everything: 31 Days to Less Clutter and More Peace.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

31 Days to Less Clutter and More Peace: Just 15 Minutes a Day

The most important decluttering principle I have learned this month is that it doesn't really take that long to declutter. I have been amazed at how many of the projects I have done this month took less than a half-hour to do.

It took me less than a half-hour to take this:

To this:

Friday, October 24, 2014

31 Days to Less Clutter and More Peace: Rules for Mail

Today is Day 24 of this crazy series, and I came very close to just bagging it. I've been very sick for the past several weeks, and many of my big decluttering projects simply did not come to fruition. I missed several days of work and lamented the fact that I could barely get out of bed, much less go up to the girls' rooms and deal with their junk.

And now my youngest daughter has come down with the same crud I've been fighting. Poor thing. Plus, we have a big Halloween party coming up tonight, and I just want to go to sleep and not write a post.

But then I realized that would be kind of like running a marathon and refusing to go further when you only have a mile left. I've come this far, and it's totally stupid to quit, so I'm not going to. But I can't promise you any earth shatteringly wonderful decluttering projects, because I simply haven't had a chance to do them.

So I thought that today I would update a couple of my past posts.

First, remember how I said I bought a plastic bag organizer for the kitchen? Well, it came the other day and I put it up next to the broom and I love it. Isn't it great?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

31 Days to Less Clutter and More Peace: Dealing with Hot Spots

Let's talk about hotspots. The surfaces in your home that ALWAYS seem to collect a bunch of papers and other random objects, no matter what you do. This will usually be a flat surface like a table or a counter--but it could be your closet floor, a couch, or the corner of your bedroom.

In my house, the living room radiators are my hottest hotspots. Everyone just sets everything down on them because they are so conveniently located. One is right next to the front door, and the other is right next to the stairway.

Ideally, I'd deal with them on a daily basis--and I do try. It often depends on my level of busyness that day, though. On the days that I work I am much less likely to clean up the radiator mess than I am on the days I don't work.

When my children are assigned the living room as their zone, cleaning off the radiators is part of that. Unfortunately, their usual M.O. is to take things off the radiators, walk into my office, and set them on the table in there. So, technically, the table in the office is the hottest hotspot in the entire house, I stand corrected.

And now you know that my children are very, very good at not actually putting anything away (remember how they stuff things in bags, too?).

So, I'm sure you can see all of my failings where my hotspots are concerned, and you don't actually need the very helpful list that I am about to write. But I need the very helpful list that I am about to write, so please indulge me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

31 Days to Less Clutter and More Peace: A Bag for Everything

Along with my shoe and hat and scarf problem, I have a big bag problem.

I can't help it. I love accessories. And I love bags.

I already got rid of a few purses when I decluttered my closet, but I hadn't yet addressed all of the BAGS hanging in my office.

I had a bag for church. Okay, so I had TWO bags for church. I used one of them while I was serving in a calling as Primary President (leader of the children's organization) and it was very full of lots of the kinds of things one would have while working with children at church.

Then I got released from that calling and instead of actually cleaning out the bag, I just abandoned it. I hung it up in my office and started using a different bag for church.

Okay, so back to my bag tally. I had two bags for church, one for work, one for the beach, one for the gym, one for vacations, and about three other empty bags. Those were just the ones hanging in my office.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How to Raise Kids that Like Vegetables

How to Raise Kids that Like Vegetables--five strategies that will help your children to change their perceptions of vegetables and actually enjoy eating them

The other day we got two stalks of Brussels sprouts in our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm share.

First of all, I never knew that Brussels sprouts came on stalks like that! I didn't think to snap a photo before we cooked them up and ate them, but if you didn't know it either you can click HERE to see a photo (and find what looks like a yummy recipe for them). I have never received Brussels sprouts straight off the farm before, and when I purchase them at the grocery store, they are usually frozen and most definitely not on a stalk anymore.

Second of all, The Maestro roasted them with olive oil and some spices and our children LOVED them. They all gobbled them up like candy.

Score one for Mom and Dad! Our children will eat Brussels sprouts!

Our children will happily eat most vegetables, actually. It is one of the very few things I feel we have done very well as parents. And when I say very few, I mean that I can only come up with maybe one other thing.


But my kids eat vegetables without a fuss. And maybe it isn't anything The Maestro and I did as parents, either, maybe we were just blessed with children that aren't overly picky.

Except....they are picky. Sophia has big issues with textures and Bria has a long list of foods that she doesn't like. In fact, getting Bria to like eating vegetables wasn't always easy--we had lots of tantrums about it when she was younger. Chloe is picky, too, but she has always preferred vegetables and fruit over sweets. She actually did come that way. Her pickiness is more like she hates soda and prefers water instead. I don't try to quash that kind of pickiness.

I've thought about the things The Maestro and I have done that have helped our children to learn to like vegetables, and I came up with the following five things. I recognize that some children are just more difficult in the food department, so your mileage may vary, but these things have worked well at our house.

1. Be a Good Example and Eat Your Vegetables Yourself.

31 Days to Less Clutter and More Peace: How to Declutter Your Schedule

I am probably the last person who has the right to tell anyone how to declutter their schedule. I run a blog titled Overstuffed because my own schedule is bursting at the seams. This over extending of myself is something I have struggled with for a very long time.

However, at the ripe old age of 40, I am starting to be better about this. My schedule is still overstuffed, but it could be so much worse. I'm finally growing up!

That isn't to say I'm perfect at this yet. Just better. The past two weekends, for instance, I spent a lot of time helping a college student make his Halloween costume as a favor. I didn't mind helping him, but it took a huge chunk out of my life that should have been used for other things. Like maybe making my own chidren's Halloween costumes, which have only sort of been started at this point. The problem is that I said yes to him back in August, thinking it wouldn't be a big deal. I should have been a bit more forward thinking and realized that October is always crazy for me. I barely manage to get my own children's costumes put together, and there is always a lot going on with my family and work commitments.

Which brings me to the number one way to declutter your schedule...

1. Learn to say No.