Friday, February 28, 2020

Do You Capsule?

"Organizing is just well planned hording.  The best way to organize is to get rid of most of your stuff." 

Stay with me! I am not suggesting you get rid of all your stuff.  Really I am not.  But I am challenging you to think about what you have, why you have it, and what you really use or need.  Rearranging your hordes of stuff still leaves you with hordes of stuff.  Just in pretty containers!

Ya'll this move has really been an eye opener for me in several areas of our lives.  Moving is pretty easy for me.  I just move things from one room in a house to the same room in a different house.  Done!  But this time we did parts of the move on our own (the military has always moved us before) and saw a few areas that needed some attention.

Like clothes!  Yep, back on that merry-go-round.  Seems like one I keep revisiting.  Is it just me?

I moved all my clothes up here myself.  And I put them all back in my closet.  And then I had a heart to heart talk with myself and decided some things needed to be changed.  The lack of organization made my head spin.

I would certainly not call myself a hoarder when it comes to clothes, but let's just say I like them.  A lot.  I am also pretty fickle about my "style" and therefore often end up with a bunch of random pieces.  Thankfully, I have moved back to a place that has four seasons, though mild, and can go back to more of a capsule wardrobe.

Here's my plan-
  • 3 tubs of off season clothing (one for each of the three not currently being worn)

  • Current season hung in closet hung up

  • Church/dress clothes hung together (all seasons)

  • A few "completer" pieces that span the seasons left hanging

Yep that is it. Not rocket science.  well, deciding what season a few things went into were a bit harder than others, but luckily my oldest was here to help when I got the wild hair to get it together!

Here's what it is NOT-
An amazing curated 33 item wardrobe for each season-  While I love the Project 333 idea, I am not as much stuck on a number, as I am determined to have only what I need a love, and while I LOVE seeing pictures with all those coordinating colors and beautiful monochromatic color palettes, that is just not me.

Here is what it IS-
Suited to fit me.  And you should do the same.  Copying someone else's' capsule does not work.  Trust me on this one, I know.  You will end up with a closet of stuff that looks really cute on someone else.
Random number of items.  My winter and spring capsules are smaller than my fall and summer.  Who knows why.

Fewer things, but nicer items!  I am all for a fun graphic tee shirt or trendy item at a cheap price, but I want to focus more on quality items that will last for more than three months.

A few things will travel from one capsule to the other and probably never see the bins.  There are jeans I have I wear all year.  There are a few basic layering tees, short and long sleeve, that I wear all seasons.  They will just stay put once I turn to a new capsule.

A lesson in progress.  I am new to this area.  In reality, I have NO real idea of how the seasons will look.  I am tentatively planning on-

Dec/Jan/Feb= winter
June/July/Aug= summer
Sept/Oct/Nov= fall
But I may find I need to expand or shorten those once I get there.  We will see and that's ok!

This is also a time that I want to evaluate each piece as I bring it out for a new season.  If I love it and wear it, it stays.  Otherwise, off it goes.

A quick update on some of the ideas I was processing through about minimalist clothing  a few weeks ago

  • I am still committed to 20 in 20 where you only buy 20 articles of clothing in 2020.  I am up to 6, but they all have been carefully thought out pieces and filled holes in my closet.  Like two new sweaters because I am not in Phoenix anymore and it gets cold up here in the mountains.

  • Buying second hand.  Trying to stick to this mostly, but I have seen some sales that I think would be less expensive than buying used, so that I am pondering.  Maybe the point is not about the price but about being good stewards of things and "recycling."  Hmmmmm, thoughts on that anyone?

  • Project 333 Again, I am not following that down to the letter of the law, but it did remind me of why I love capsules and has some good general rules to follow.  It spurned me on to get it together!  Founder Courtney Carver has a new book coming out soon and I cannot wait to read it!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

A Room WIth a View...and other random thoughts

Ya'll, I can't get over this view from my living room window-

Or this one--

Or this one-

or even this one-

Praise the Lord for His masterpiece of creation!

Trying to soak it all in and concentrate on it because otherwise-

  • Moving is hard- on your body and your soul!

  • Moving creates chaos in your organized day.

  • Moving is lonely.

  • Moving means starting over, again.  Not a fan!

Oh, friends, it is easy to deceive yourself into thinking, I've got this, man!  Been there, done that and did just fine.

But it is also easy to forget that just out from the starting gate it is a challenging and lonely ride.

So while I am not sitting around feeling sorry for myself (mostly), I am reminded that I need to allow myself to feel sad after all the feelings of excitement.  It is all part of the journey.

Glad Jesus is part of the journey as well!


Friday, February 21, 2020

One and Done

We have been here in our new house for one week.  In some ways it feels like a lifetime and others, it seems like we just got here.  So much new to adjust to.

New stores.
New church.
New friends.
New schedule.
New views.

OK, so the new views are maybe the easiest thing to adjust to!  I find myself glancing out one of the many windows constantly.  It is a nice distraction for sure.


We are settled in! This move has been an absolute whirlwind.  Hard to believe that last Friday all of our earthly possessions were being delivered to this house and today, I am cooking breakfast and getting ready to do school with our youngest.  And the house is done! 

Before you get too excited, yes, there are still some boxes in the garage and in a spare room.  Those boxes contain all of our library stuff (books, Clarke's military things, etc) as well as school supplies and books that will not get opened until our final destination.  Don't worry, I am using that word lightly.  You don't have to tell me twice that the word FOREVER means nothing this side of heaven! ;)  But regardless, I do not see a need to unpack everything into a place we will not be in long. Relatively speaking.  The plan is to make an offer on land next week and start building a house.  That is the plan.  We will see.

Want a quick tour?  That is why you are here, right?

Thankfully, dear friends came up last week for the night and helped unpack so much!  We could not have done it without them!  Then my girls came up and rearranged three of the spaces and decorated!  It was such a HUGE blessing.  I hung a few more pictures yesterday and we are done!  It takes a village, ya'll!


Living room-

Eat in Kitchen-

Yes, there in a table in this space too, flanked by these two areas and some of our best views!

Dining room-

Sweet sunny spot for my plants!

Downstairs den-

Master bedroom-


Guest room #1-

Guest room #2-

Deck and views-

The boys' rooms are done, but they don't love me sharing, so I will respect that- for now! ;)

So that is it, give or take!  We are blessed by this rental and the space it has.  While it isn't ours, it does feel like home for now. 

Now, who is ready for a visit?


Monday, February 17, 2020

Minimalist Clothes

Before you get too excited, no, I am not a minimalist and yes, I have too many clothes.  I have in the past pared WAY down and even done a two season capsule, but somehow it tends to get away from me and once again I will find myself with too many things, half of which are not my favorites.

I do sway towards wanting to be a minimalist.  No, not the "get rid of everything you own and sit on the floor," but more the "surround yourself with only the things you love and use."

Shop purposeful.
Live purposeful. 

This latest move has shown me once again that random stuff is not what I want in my life.  When you have to pack and unpack everything you own every several years it makes you reconsider what is truly important to you.  This move has been no different, and I have been so thankful that 34 Weeks of Clean is not just something I write about, but something we live!

Honestly, if I went around with a bag and tried to gather up things I could throw out and not miss, the list would be small.

Except for clothes.  Yes, I may have fewer than many people, but I still have more than I need.

My issue is what to do about that.  I like to shop, so the first step is to stop shopping for a while.  In stores or online.  This means staying OUT of stores and OFF online clothing sites.  YOU may have more will power than I do, but sister, those places are bad news for me.

The other ideas I am still processing through look like this-

  • #20in2020dressing- Committing to buying only 20 clothing items in the year.  No judgement- from your side or mine.  This was recommended to me by some friends who are doing it and the idea is intriguing.  I am working through this idea.  You can see her plan at her blog!

  • Only buying second hand.  This is actually more of a challenge for me.  Full disclosure- I love Stitch Fix. I love shiny stores.  I already told you I love clothes!  But places like Poshmark and Thred Up (referral link!) sell things at a fraction of the cost and often in perfect condition or even tags on.  Since I know what sizes I wear in the brands I like, it will be easy for me to search for exactly what I need.  Notice the word need!
  • Back to basics!  I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe and have written about them in the past and I love the many pictures I see of them.  They speak to the organizational side of me.  Lately I have been following some friends in a group called Polished Plaid Fashion Challenge that helps you create a capsule and then use it to get dressed for about a month.  It works for me, takes the guess work out of my "what to wear" problem, and makes my mornings pretty thought free.  (Not to mention I LOVE the community these gals have created! Seriously, want to make some new friends and be encouraged and cheered on, join this group!  They will begin a new challenge in March.)  Since we are now living in a 4 season climate what I would like to do is create a 4 season capsules that I can rotate through. 

  • Project 333- This is where capsules rubber meets the road.  While I am not stuck on the magic number of living with 33 items (in total or in each season's capsule!) the principles she uses are solid and I am hoping to learn from those principles, taking what works, and tweaking what doesn't.  I am not an all neutral girl, but I do own a few too many floral tops.  Just saying! 
So yep, as I am unpacking this week, these are just a few of the MANY things running through my head.  Once I land on a plan, I will be sure to update you!  In the meantime, I would LOVE to hear how you manage your clothes.  Really!  Leave me a note.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Not Good At It!

So here's the thing- Good at it versus used to it.  There is a difference!

So no, I am not really good at moving.  I have learned a lot of tips along the way with each move and I keep tons of lists, but I am most certainly not good at it.  Case in point, last night I went to cook salmon patties (yes, I saved that out to use up), but realized I had already sent the spices and oil up to the rental.  Said rental is two hours away, mind you.  And I may not have kept out enough paper plates. And this morning I could not for the life of me remember where I put the dog treats! (ya'll pray this sweet dog makes this move.)

Used to it- why yes, I am.  The sound of paper crinkling and boxes being put together and 5 movers packing my life possessions is a very familiar sound.  Living out of a suitcase and packing cars late at night are a given.  The excitement of a new, clean start pushes me forward.

But goodbyes are still hard.
And leaving familiar is still hard.
And being uprooted is still hard.
And making new friends is still hard.
All all the little details are still hard.

Used to it- but certainly NOT good at it!


Monday, February 10, 2020

No-Spend January Results

Nope, I haven't forgotten about you and YES, we did finish our No-Spend January plan.  While I am currently hidden behind slowly filling moving boxes this morning, let me catch you up with how it went!

By not eating out but four times (our Sunday tradition) and using gift cards two of those times and aiming for under $10 the other two times (yes it can be done!) we saved $375.
  • Lesson learned- Find less expensive places to eat!  We had just as much fun with Little Caesars pizzas and Sam's Club hot dogs.  It should be about the people, not the food!  
  • Challenge- Lower the entertainment budget! Because we seldom eat out, and because there will be just four of us soon, we need to reconsider our entertainment budget and put that money to better use somewhere else!
By not buying clothes and by cutting the boys hair ourselves, we saved $65.00.
  • Lesson Learned- While this is not a significant dent in our budget, every little bit helps.
  • Challenge- I am trying to be purposeful this year about the buying of new clothes.  Currently we ALL have ALL we need.  But I am going to try to buy second hand (LOVE Thread Up and Poshmark!) for the rest of the year and see what happens!  I am also currently considering starting the Project 333 plan in a few weeks, so I will keep you posted on that.  Simplifying is calling my name, ya'll!  I love the challenge and I love making life easy.  I just want to love God and love people and stop being consumed by things that don't matter.
Household items were a bit trickier due to the move, BUT anything we bought was move related, not just random.  (Target, anyone!??)  We saved about $45 here.
  • Lesson Learned- DO NOT try to move in the same month you embark on no-spend January.
  • Challenge- Use up things before you buy more.  I know that stocking up is the rage, and sometimes it is a great way to save when you buy bulk, but let's face it- candles do not count!  I am on a mission to USE UP one thing before I grab another- no duplicates allowed.  Also, no buying of THINGS!  We have enough things.  My house does not need more.  As a matter of fact, some of those things are on their way out! I want to surround my family with just the things we love!
We came in at $100 under in our grocery budget as well.  While this was not in my original plan for saving, I did try to be very intentional with meal planning and buying on sale.  I assume our budget will go down after our move as well with two less people eating with us daily.
  • Lesson Learned- Meal planning is key!  Not only will it save your sanity, but it will save you money.
  • Challenge- Take advantage of freezer meals.  Three times now I have taken a freezer prep meal class called Citrus Pear to prepare 20 freezer meals.  It has been amazing and they do most of the prep work and ALL of the clean up for you.  But I know I can do it cheaper on my own and may even be able to talk my husband into helping.  We will see.  MyFreezEasy is a great place to start- the system Erin has is so simple and the software is super user friendly (no affiliate, just love her stuff!).
I can only speak for myself but I saved $150 in personal spending by not buying random things.  I did break the rules once by buying a few things for my girls' new apartment, but hey, that's what moms do, right?  Clarke and I both have an "allowance" that is for when random things come up.  Quick stop here, a little fee here, etc.  This money usually flies out the door faster than anything else, honestly.  It's a catch all.
  • Lesson Learned- Watch out for the catch all! After not using this money, I can't honestly tell you what I normally use it on!  Sad, but true.
  • Challenge- Use cash only for this category.  When you see the cash slowly disappear, you are more mindful on what you use it for!  Nickel-and-diming yourself to death is a real thing!
$735 total savings!  Wow.  I was taken back honestly.  That's a lot of money to save in one month.  For those of you who are paying off debt, that could be a significant payment to a credit card.  For those who long for a much needed vacation, that would be a great start!  For those who just need to live on less, I hope that is proof that you can cut your current budget with a little forethought and lots of determination.

Determination.  That is really all it takes.  It might be saying no to some things.  It might staying off Amazon and out of stores.  It might be shopping sales flyers and planning meals.  It might be reevaluating your budget.

Whatever it takes, you can do it.

Ask me how I know!


Thursday, February 6, 2020

Life without Girls

You know that saying, don't judge until you walk in someone's shoes?  Or, you never know what someone is facing unless you have been there?  Well, I feel like I am walking both of those things this week.

Life without my girls is...weird. 

Before you say anything let me explain something.

Yes, both girls went away for college.  Far away.  But when the first went away, I had the second one with me still.  By the time she left, the first had come back home so I had her around.  And since last May, they have both been home.  While they both have jobs and busy lives, I knew at least I could hug them or catch up at the end of the day.

They are now both living outside of my home together for the first time.  And people want to know how I am doing and how I feel.

It feels weird and I am not a fan.  There you have it.

I am, however, super thankful that they are together for now and that the Lord was gracious to allow us an overlapping of two weeks before the boys and I head out of town.  Because the girls are currently 15 minutes away, it has allowed us a sweet transition time of visits, shared meals, and church together.  But yes, it takes my breath away to think of daily life without them in and out of my door.  Letting go after 22 and 25 years with someone is hard.  We homeschooled so they were often with me 24/7.  We moved with the military frequently and we were often all we had.

I know so many of you have been there.  And it is not that I don't love and adore my boys, I do!  But boys are different.  Not bad, just different. They speak a language I often do not, and they love to pal around with dad.

I have a sweet friend whose daughter went away to college this year not too far from home, but far enough not to see on a weekly basis.  I knew it was a challenge for her to send her first to college (been there, done that) but I failed to see how hard it was to send her only DAUGHTER to college.  I regretfully just totally missed it. As I told her- sometimes it takes walking it before we really get it!

It makes me wonder what else I don't see.  Who else is hurt or lonely or struggling within my reach that I just don't even know about?  I pray that the Lord will open my eyes to those people that I may better understand their struggles and better minister to their hearts!  May we be the ones that "get it!"

And may I embrace this new season the Lord has for us with strength and grace- knowing His plan is good!

If you are going through a new season too, let me know how I can pray for you!  Really!


Monday, February 3, 2020

Moving Like a Pro

You can take a minute and laugh at the sarcasm of that title.  Go ahead... I am!  There is NO moving like a pro.  While this may be my 17th move in 27 years, we are NOT pros. Tired, yes. Pros, no.

On Thursday we closed on our house. On Friday and Saturday we, with the help of some amazing friends' of the girls, moved the girls into an apartment.  Other than hanging art and buying a few little things here and there, they are settled in.  Done!

Saturday night and Sunday, in between Super Bowl, we packed the truck and van for the boys to do a run to our new rental two hours north, where my husband is staying during the week.  I figured in an empty house, at least he could have an air mattress, kitchen stuff, and bathroom stuff.

This week I will pack another load for him to take up next weekend and then we will wait for the professionals to come on on the 10th to pack the rest of the house.  We should be at our rental by the 14th!  Happy Valentine's Day to us!

My head is spinning.  SO many details and moving parts.  SO many emotions.  And Clarke will not be here to help the week of the move.  But the Lord is faithful and has provided rest, and help and encouragement through many sweet friends.

Back to the pro part- while there are no perfect moves, there are things you can do to help make a move as smooth as possible.

  • Create a safe room.  Anything you do not want packers to mess with goes in there!  We often choose the master bath or large closet.  Suitcases we are living out of, current towels and bath stuff, files, any valuables, dog food, and even occasionally the dog!
  • Pack as simply as possible.  Think capsule wardrobe!  Because I sending most of my clothes ahead of time with my husband, I pulled a simple capsule to keep here and then to put in a small suitcase when I leave.  In the middle of a move, getting dressed in the morning should be as easy and thought free as possible.

  • Prepare simple meals move week!  This is where the crock pot becomes my best friend!  I have several meals frozen, thank you #Citruspear, for the boys and I.  Since fridges have to be emptied, look at what you have and plan around that.  Yes, sometimes those last meals are pretty creative, but at least it keeps waste to a minimum.  

  • Organize your house and move out things you do not need!  This is where 34 Weeks of Clean has blessed us greatly in the past few moves.  When things are already de-cluttered and organized you are one step ahead of the game.  Because we will be living somewhere while we build, I have separated some things like pictures and books that once packed, will be marked do not open, and will be stored until the final move.  While I want our rental to say welcome, there is just no need to bring everything out for a temporary stay!

  • Pack bedding and towels separately and keep them with you if at all possible!  We have found that once a bed is made, you just look at things differently.  Seriously!  As soon as beds are set up, we make them!  If nothing else is done by the end of the day, at least when you walk into your bedroom that first night, you have the comfort of a familiar bed waiting for you.

  • Enlist the help of friends! This looks different each time we move.  Sometimes it has been meals, sometimes packing help, and sometimes just emotional support.  Moving is exhausting, physically and emotionally, but having friends by your side can make all the difference.  We have dear friends who are coming up for a night the day our furniture is delivered to help with some light unpacking, but mostly just for the support.  I am so very thankful.  This is the first time we are leaving without our girls, and I know the emotions are coming.  (more on that in an upcoming post!)

  • Be prepared to change plans.  Things are fluid no matter how much planning you do and how much you hope those plans stick.  Be flexible, it will save your sanity.

Trust the Lord's plan!  This move is a harder one for us in several ways.  Sometimes hourly I have to remember that God has a better plan than I can ever imagine.  His ways are not ours and He is the one that directs our paths!  We choose to trust Him even in the uncertainty and even through the tears.  We are looking forward with anticipation to great things ahead for this family.