Category Archives: Home & Garden

Week 3: 40 in 40

Spring tulips to inspire spring cleaning

This was a tough week for me in regards to sticking with my pledge to declutter one area per day.

Click on the links below for previous progress reports:

Week 1
Week 2

Day 15: On Wednesday we left Florida to fly back to NJ. Cleaning up the house before we left consisted of putting a few dishes away while Max emptied out a the cabinets. While I put away clean towels he unrolled the toilet paper. Oh, the joys of one-year-olds…

Day 16: It was the same story on Thursday in reverse. I unpacked our bag, he unpacked the laundry hamper. I sorted through the mail. He ransacked the office bookshelves. I’m not complaining and believe me, I love my little darling to pieces. But extra organizing after he went to sleep? It was enough to get the day-to-day tasks done.

Day 17: On Friday we grocery shopped and prepped for the pancakes and pajamas play date we hosted on Saturday morning. Not one specific area got organized, but there were plenty of trips up and down the stairs putting things away.

Day 18: Saturday– party hosting, muffin making and baby guests be darned, I had to pick a small area to declutter. The guest room dresser was a holding ground for random papers and other homeless items. Most of it went in the trash or a donation bag.

Day 19: Sunday– A real purge through a barely-touched tote of middle school pictures, old assignments and other mementos. Goodbye photos of people I haven’t spoken to in 20 years, adios high school memorabilia and au revoir sweet 16 statue. I’m holding on to the memories, not the items. I am keeping my yearbooks, though. They don’t take up much space and I enjoy looking through them every once in a while. I also kept any cards and letters that were heartfelt and handwritten.

Day 20: Monday– Sunday’s photo purge inspired last night’s cleanout of another box of photos that’s been camped out behind the family room couch for a few months. I tossed doubles, dark photos and all the extras that didn’t make it into the album. Remember the days of printing out every single picture? No need to keep the B-List. I’m five years behind in organizing albums. I’m trying to remember the order in which the pictures were taken.

Day 21: Tuesday– Not sure what today will bring… Suggestions?

What’s your favorite tip for staying organized? How about for keeping little ones busy?

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Filed under Happiness, Home & Garden

Week 2: 40 in 40

I’ve slowed down a little on the decluttering, but I’m still at it little by little. We’re at our home in Florida this week.


Newly organized toys and books

Day 8: Wednesday

Goodbye dry cleaning bags and assorted trash (stashed in the closet from our November wedding).

Day 9: Thursday

Farewell bachelorette gift bags and leftover game cards. Definitely a time to hold on to the memory, not the items!

Day 10: Friday

We have tons of hand-me-down toys. I sorted through and pulled out the broken ones, plus the ones that are choking hazards. I bought really cute baskets at the Dollar Tree. Max loves to dump out the toys and throw them back in.

Day 11: Saturday

The yard: bags of leaves, extra siding and other various bits of clutter.

Day 12: Sunday

It’s not decluttering per se, but I took care of a small pile of stained clothes I’ve been avoiding for months. I soaked them in OxiClean for a few hours, washed and hung them to dry (is there a more natural alternative to fight stains?).

Day 13: Monday

I sorted through a stack of random papers and receipts. It doesn’t seem like much, but that stuff really adds up around our house.

Day 14: Tuesday

Today I plan to clean up the kitchen pantry. It’s full of wedding decorations, toys and art supplies.


Baskets for Max

What’s the hardest part of decluttering? What’s the best part?


Filed under Home & Garden

Progress Report: 40 in 40

Today marks the seventh day of blogger Ann Marie’s 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge. I have diligently kept up with decluttering at least one drawer or area per day. Here’s a synopsis of my progress so far along with a few Instagram pics.

Day 1: Wednesday

M got in the decluttering spirit with me and we tackled the garage. I think we put out 10 bags of paper and cardboard for recycling. We also found a few totes of stuff we forgot existed. I convinced him to get rid of the Christmas ornaments that haven’t made it on the tree in the last few years but the collection of Budweiser mugs is here to stay (in a box in the garage). I was elated to find a stack of skinny jeans that were tucked away prepregnancy and now fit.

Giving ebay’s new service a try

Day 2: Thursday

We use our formal dining room as a craft room since we always eat at the kitchen table. On Thursday I tackled the desk drawers that were home to hardened clay, outgrown coloring books and dried up markers. The total: one bag of garbage and one bag of donation stuff.

Day 3: Friday

The laundry room and the coat closet were both stuffed full of items that belong in other places. I got my workout going up and down the stairs putting things away. But oh, the satisfaction at the end!

Day 4: Saturday

The jewelry box. I don’t spend a lot of money on jewelry and I usually buy a pair of earrings or a bracelet while traveling. This means I own a lot of shell, rock and bright-colored accessories that don’t really match my lifestyle anymore. I had fun buying them. I contributed to the local economies and met cool people. But when I do wear jewelry I always reach for the same few things that seem to go with everything. So good-bye to the really cool earrings that match nothing I own. I hope your new owner loves you and wears you often.

The earring drawer BEFORE

The earring drawer AFTER

Organized bangles

Day 5 & 6: Sunday-Monday

My gay bestie and NYC stylist came for a visit. He ruthlessly told me which clothes to keep and which to sell or donate. The total from the closet: one bag of sold clothes to Buffalo Exchange and three bags of clothes and accessories to donate to monsoon victims in the Philippines (via my baby-sitter).

Day 7: Tuesday

Still working on the closet and today it was the undergarment drawers. Goodbye old ratty items that should have been tossed long ago.

Ask yourself one simple question when choosing whether to keep something: “If I lost it by mistake, would I really care – or even be glad?” (Cassie T, found in the comment section of this blog post)

Are you decluttering? What’s the best part? What’s hard to let go?


Filed under Home & Garden

Books for a Cause

Last month I posted about getting rid of books. A few days later I got a notice in the mail from Big Brothers Big Sisters asking for…drum roll please…book donations (along with other items like clothing and kitchen appliances). And to make things as easy as possible they will actually pick up donations right from your doorstep. The link above allows you to reserve a pick-up day. Simply click on the place where the items will be and they won’t even knock on your door. How easy is that?

I read somewhere (in the comments of a blog that I can’t remember) the suggestion of scheduling a pick-up every so often as a deadline for clearing out clutter. That’s an idea!

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40 Bags in 40 Days

Happy first day of Lent! It was three years ago that I decided to dip my foot in the pool of vegetarianism for 40 days. While I did go back to eating seafood, my life was still changed in a significant way. This morning I came across Ann Marie’s 40 Bags in 40 Days decluttering challenge. What a perfect way to shed excess baggage and lighten up. Click the link for details, planning and printables. I plan to post pics on Instagram and update here once a week. I would love to have you join me!


Filed under Home & Garden

Decluttering: Books


I have a love affair with books. But lately I’ve started to feel overwhelmed by stuff so I’ve decided to get rid of the ones I haven’t read in a few years. My tastes have changed and if I really need to read them again I can check them out at the library. I tried a yard sale last summer, but our house is pretty remote so we didn’t have too many shoppers. After six months of hoarding them in a box in the garage, plus an unsuccessful Craig’s List attempt, I’ve decided to try the online route. I used this link to enter ISBN numbers. I was surprised to find that out of 40-ish books, four were accepted from Powell’s for a grand total of $7.75, which will be deposited in my Paypal account. Powell’s pays shipping via an emailed label. The rest will be donated. It’s a little painful giving away practically new books that I paid retail for, but hopefully I can find a good cause. And remember this lesson when I want to purchase a new book in the future…


Filed under Happiness, Home & Garden

More Like Home


Beverage board in the backyard

I completely forgot to take pictures at our summer party. Too bad because there were quite a few adorable babies…all of them boys. There must be something in the water. I’m glad to report that Max and I are happily making friends in town and I’m even starting my own mommy and me yoga group at my place next month. I also started a Facebook page for like-minded South Jersey moms which led to a coffee decaf tea date last week with two new friends. After a year of living here it’s starting to feel more like home, but maybe that’s because I’ve started putting in the effort to find/make a community. Turns out there are other hippy-ish moms around here. I just have to find them because they’re busy hanging their cloth diapers in the sun to dry.

Before the party

Was there a time you put yourself out there?

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Earth Baby

There are so many ways to celebrate this beautiful day dedicated to mother earth. How about examining the small things we do and finding ways to reduce our impact?

Before baby Max was born I read all about cloth diapers. They’re adorable, eco-friendly and cheaper in the long run but I haven’t made the switch yet. The moms I know suggested waiting until baby is two months old because newborns are so tiny the fit can be hard, plus they go more often than older babies. The jump to cloth is expensive at first as the diapers are a bit of an investment, but they pay for themselves after a few short months. Here are a few links that give all the essential tidbits for cloth diapering:

How to prep cloth diapers

Why cloth diapers

Which brands

What’s a wet bag?

If I use cloth diapers it only makes sense to use cloth wipes. My mom made me a bunch when she came to visit. I haven’t switched all the way, but they are very useful for little messes as well as in place of a  wash cloth in the tub.


The start of our project, click here for how to make them (it’s so easy!)

As for what I am doing now…trying not to buy stuff I don’t need. I didn’t go crazy with the baby registry and I tried to find larger items on Craig’s List and in local consignment shops. I also bought gently used maternity clothes. Coincidently what’s good for the earth tends to be good for my budget!

There are so many little decisions we make that can really have an impact on taking care of our planet. Click below to read last year’s posts about Earth Day:

Our Splendid Planet

Saturday Morning Sanskrit: Asteya

Small Changes

What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day? Will you make any changes in your life?

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Filed under Baby, Home & Garden

Mason Jar Madness

My latest obsession is the mason jar. It brings to mind a warm barefoot summer afternoon and reminds me of the days when life was simple (I don’t know exactly when this simple life existed or who enjoyed it, but a girl can dream). There’s just something about a mason jar that screams whispers uncomplicated and easy as pie.

Iced tea last summer in Montana

Last night I was browsing through Ikea (on a romantic Valentine’s Day date with M picking out closet designs for our new place) when I spotted these SLOM jars, which come in various sizes and shapes:

They’re perfect for storing pasta, grains and nuts. I plan to snap up a bunch as soon as we’re moved in.

Homemade spicy chai

A few inspiring mason jars from the blogging world:

Homemade body butter (I made this recipe with rose and lavender essential oils. It was my first go at homemade lotion and it smells amazing, however it’s greasier than store-bought stuff and takes time to soak into my skin. I’m still adjusting, but the jar sure looks cute.)

I mentioned this adorable herb garden before, but that’s because I really LOVE it!

A do-it-yourself light at one of my favorite websites

Organizing a craft room

48 Homemade Gifts in a Jar…cupcakes in a jar sound amazing!

10 things to do with them, including spray painting for a modern take

What are you obsessed with these days? Have you made any crafts lately? What do you think of mason jars?


Filed under Home & Garden

Home on the River

Just for fun I’m sharing some pics from our new home project (we bought a house in Jersey last October…hoping to be in by Christmas. But as anyone who’s ever taken on anything to do with construction or remodeling knows, these things tend to drag on a bit longer than expected). We hope to move in by the end of this month…

The project’s start

Outhouse included

Fall’s view

The kitchen area

From the back

Today’s view

Men hard at work

 I am anxiously patiently awaiting the day I can move out of M’s bachelor pad and get to work decorating (the fun part in my eyes).

What are you patiently waiting for?



Filed under Around town: South Jersey, Home & Garden