Category Archives: New to Blogging

Week 1 in the bag!

This week’s de-clutter challenge for me was the pantry.  I got rid of 2 huge garbage bags of expired food and stuff we will never eat.  I even made room for my Kitchen Aid mixer and juicer, so they could come off of the kitchen counters.  You can actually see the floor of the pantry now!!!

Before

Jennifer Lanier Asbell's photo.

After

Jennifer Lanier Asbell's photo.

Next I started on kitchen cabinets.  I am getting rid of my china, since a) I never use it, b) it was from my previous marriage, c) I don’t really even like it anymore, and d) it is taking up too much cabinet space!!!  I have 3 upper cabinets still to go, but that’s a jump on this weekend.

I’ve read a few other blogs on clutter and organizing and I think one of the trending themes is gifts.  I feel guilty if I give away something that was a gift, especially if it was from someone close to me.  I’m trying to get over this and wrote a FaceBook status about this very subject at the beginning of the year.  Here it is:

Dear Friends and Family, As we approach the end of 2013, it’s time to reflect on what I want to accomplish in 2014.  BK (Before Kevin), I accumulated a lot of “stuff”.  I think I was trying to fill the hole in my life with this “stuff” that I didn’t necessarily need.  I now find that all of these “things” are keeping me bogged down and it’s time to purge.  So my new year’s resolution is to spend 2014 paring down to a normal amount of things.  If you see me getting rid of something that you have given me, please don’t be offended.  Your gesture was received with all of the love that was intended.  And I don’t need any of these things to remind me of you – my loved ones.  And in the future, I would much rather have experiences with you than any trinkets or tokens of your friendship.  PS.  Yes, my infamous shoe and purse collection is going on sale.  So, if there are any that you had your eye on, please let me know before they go to eBay or consignment.  I will be keeping a few special ones, but will let go of the majority very soon. 
Hopefully this will help me continue to purge without guilt.  How do you handle getting rid of gifts that you no longer need or want? I would love to hear your feedback.

Teaching the value of money

I am a relatively new step mom to a 16 year old boy.  He lives with us full time.  He sees his mom about once a month and on school breaks, but they live 5 hours away.  So it’s a lot of driving to make that happen.  He’s a pretty good kid.  Respectful, smart, funny.  But he doesn’t have a clue about money.  He isn’t very social, so he doesn’t go out with friends a lot.  He is more comfortable around adults than kids his own age.  (Likely the result of being around his dad and all of his dad’s friends all the time.) I’ve been trying to figure out how to get him to understand money, budgeting, etc. and we were discussing it over dinner Friday night with some friends.  They don’t have kids, but she told us what her parents did for her and I am so excited to start this with him.  Her parents gave her a checking account and a fairly large allowance.  But she was required to pay for EVERYTHING out of this money. Lunch, clothes, football games, etc.

Saturday morning, I got out my computer and my mint.com account and started trying to figure out what we were spending that could be handed over.  School lunch, cell phone, gym membership (just for him, I don’t go…) meals out, the snack food that we buy just for him, cases of gatorade, haircuts, etc.  I was blown away with how much this costs.  And this is before we start paying for car insurance!  So we have broached this subject with him.  I gave him a spreadsheet with all of the things I can think of that we buy specifically for him.  He is supposed to make a budget and come back with how much money he thinks he needs.  We will come up with a reasonable amount and open a checking account for him.  He will get deposits every two weeks when I get paid.  That way he can set up time to pay bills, save for certain things, etc.  We will monitor his accounts to make sure he is making wise choices, but if he runs out of money for school lunch, then he will go without.  Or if he doesn’t have any money for snack foods, he will go without (you can tell the boy eats a lot…)

The hardest part in sticking to this plan is going to be keeping my hubby from buying him things.  And making sure we separate his things when shopping for groceries, etc.  I’m not sure how he is going to react to this new responsibility/freedom, but we will see. I will post updates about his progress and our tenacity.

Jen

Pondering “stuff”

I am enjoying a (finally) sunny weekend, so haven’t done a lot of work on my de-clutter mission. But I’ve spent a little time thinking about how to break this down into smaller tasks. I’ve read a couple of other blogs on organization and I actually cleaned out the fridge. (step 1)

A little background… In my many years of being single, I acquired a lot of things. Retail Therapy was my middle name. I have a pretty large house for one person, so it wasn’t an issue if I filled it up with 3 different sets of martini glasses. But now, I am married and have a sixteen year old step son (full time). They moved in about 2 years ago, but the house still pretty much feels like MY house. I want them to feel at home here. And I want them to take ownership and pride in the house. Neither of them are naturally neat, but I think that it could be better if they have more of an influence on the home. This is going to be really hard for me, because I like a lot of my “stuff”. But I know that I don’t really need it and it is just taking up space. Getting to a place where we are organized and everything has a place will make life much easier for me and make it easier to enlist their help (when I can be specific about where things go, etc.)

Kitchen and Pantry first…
I want to get to a place where I have nothing on my counters that isn’t used daily. I want the cabinets to have room for the items in them. I want the pantry to be organized so I can quickly determine what is missing (what goes on the grocery list). I want to make a place for SS to put his snacks, etc. since we are about to start giving him more responsibility with money and purchases. (more about that later). I want a place where I can hide my few items that I want, for when I want them. (Hubby doesn’t understand that just because I didn’t eat all the cookies when I got them, doesn’t mean I don’t want – no NEED – one at a certain time.)

I think the Pantry has to go first. That way I can make room for some of the countertop stuff. I cleaned it out a couple of years ago, and added shelf covers (hate the wire shelving!) But I think the time has come again for a complete unload-and-reload-only-what-is-used type of clean out. So that will be next weekend’s mission.

Kitchen – a couple of weeks ago I cleaned the oven. SS had turned it on to cook pizza rolls, or some other snack food, and when he opened the oven door, so much smoke came out that the alarm went off. When I was single, I rarely cooked at home. So the oven didn’t get much use. But now, we cook at home most nights. So the oven needed to be cleaned pretty badly. Whew! Scratch that off the list! But this mission isn’t necessarily about cleaning. It’s about decluttering. Still have lots of cabinets that need a thorough purge. I know I have china (from a previous marriage) that I want to get rid of. I also have lots of duplicates of things like vases, platters, etc. This is going to be the hardest one for me. Getting rid of things that have sentimental value has always been tough for me. But I am determined.

The Butler’s Pantry will be next. I may need to enlist some help on this one. We keep the wine and liquor in this area. So we will probably need to throw some sort of alcohol-heavy party to use up all the extras in here. Hubby drinks mainly vodka or bourbon. I drink mainly Chardonnay. So why do we need 18 different types of liquor? Sure, it’s fun to be the neighbor that everyone calls when they need just a bit of blackberry brandy, but really?? I could use that space so much better. So I guess a shot party is needed! Anyone with a lot of great drink recipes?

Ok… so for a schedule:
Week of March 1
Pantry

Week of March 8
Kitchen cabinets

Week of March 15
Butler’s pantry

I will try to take before and after pics to share. Wish me luck! (I’m going to need an escape after this!)

Jen

Just getting started

My new year’s resolution this year was to de-clutter my life.  It is going pretty well.  I started with my Shoe and Purse closet (yes, I am one of THOSE people who has a closet just for my purses and shoes.)  I have a large pile of things to get rid of and have started eBaying some of them.  I’ve netted around $600 so far, but still have lots to sell, donate or just plain get rid of.

I need some additional accountability to keep motivated.  My good friend Kelli, who knows me very well, knows this and has issued a de-clutter challenge.  (Thanks KP!) I have decided to start a blog to help keep me accountable and hopefully inspire others to stay motivated in their goals.

So, here’s what I’m going to do.  There are three main areas in our home that need attention:

1. Kitchen/Pantry

2. Office (especially now that I share it with my husband)

3. Master bedroom (see #2)

The original challenge KP sent was for 91 days.  I have a very busy May coming up, plus we have a neighborhood garage sale at the end of April.  So I am revising this to a 60 day challenge for these three areas.  I’m going to take a few days to break down the tasks, so the full challenge will start March 1st.

Stay tuned for updates on my progress!