Friday, December 30, 2011

and the last little shelf...for today

Well my blogging friends, the Medicine Man trick didn't work so I had to sort through the clutter myself.
My goal here was to remove everything from this shelf, sort it and immediately put it in its place (even if it’s just the “dump” pile.) Unlike the cute little boxes which were more or less storing clutter, this shelf held things that actually have a home. In a rush, I’ve used this shelf as a “resting” place, but now it’s time to bring it back to order.

First, I pulled out the bamboo trays. These hold my business promotional papers. I sorted through what was still of use, recycled the out-of-date stuff, made a list of what I need to replace and made it all nice a neat again.
One of the trays held previous “demo” items I used to sell on my website. I put all of these in my “gift” cabinet downstairs. I no longer make these items and can use the demos as shower gifts later in the year.
The mumbo-jumbo on the shelf itself was a mix of knick knacks I’d moved off other shelves to make room for Christmas decorations. That was an easy fix once I took down the holiday stuff. There were also a few loose handmade cards. You know what I did? I took them all out, wrote a little note in each one and mailed them off! My friends will get a little treat and I’ve moved those cards of my way.

Whew! Several hours for one bookshelf of clutter. Now I know why I struggle so hard to keep my house clutter-free in the first place. Everything in my house has a place. Everything. From the salt and pepper shakers to the mop bucket to the remote controls. Of course, my self-imposed OCD sickness is really to blame!
As you can see, even my house gets clutter. It multiplies overnight sometimes. Hopefully today I’ve inspired you to tackle at least one area of your home that’s been tugging at you. Sometime fixin’ (another southern word) a small thing get’s the ball rolling - or at least clears that one little thing off your mind.

For a recap:

• You are never going to get caught up on reading that pile of magazines by your bed. You can’t possible store every single magazine you purchase. Pare down to the most recent issues, plus a couple of ones you just can’t live without (like Martha Stewart’s Christmas Issue), and recycle the rest.

• When you read through magazines in the New Year, tear out the pages of recipes and ideas you like. File them or make an “idea” book instead of keeping the entire issue.

• When sorting through junk drawers and boxes in the attic don’t just move the stuff around – get it out of your house. Even if it’s just one drawer, sort the contents into categories like “Donate,” “Give Away,” ‘Sell,” “Recycle” and “Toss.” Once the drawer (or box) is empty immediately take it out. Let your family know they have 24 hours to get what they want and then remove the boxes from the house.

• As you sort, schedule time in the next week to accomplish tasks that arise. For example: In your drawer is a ton of business cards your husband has collected for business leads. Schedule some time to file these in his rolodex, enter into his computer or whatever method he uses. In my clutter I had a few loose handmade cards. I went ahead and wrote notes to my friends just saying hello and mailed them. By scheduling the time with yourself or taking care of the task immediately – it’s more likely to get done and not revisited later in the year.

• Everything in your home should have “a place.” Every knick knack, every tube of toothpaste, every pair of scissors. By creating a place not only can you find it when you need it, but everyone can put it back too. If it doesn’t have a place, then it’ doesn’t need to been in your home. Perfect example is the set of beautiful butterfly plaques I found in my boxes today. I bought these 6 years ago at a craft fair. I have tried to find the perfect place to hang them, but they always end up back in a box somewhere. I finally realize that they just don’t have a place in my home. So – I’m packing them off to my sister-in-laws. Maybe she has place for them.

• By fixing just one small irritant, you can clear your mind. I have a picture in my stairway that will not stay straight. Every single time I pass it, I get irritated, even if it’s just for a slit second. Once, in a fit of irritation, I put a piece of double sided foam on the frame to hold it straight and – bam! No. More. Irritation. Seems silly, but I guarantee there are more than a couple of small things like this in your home that drain you, bit by silly little bit.

Now, I’m off to lie in bed the rest of the day with that Stephen King book I mentioned earlier. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get to that eBay research tote!

What did you accomplish today? What area did you clear of clutter? What little “irritant” did you remedy? Please do tell….

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Those little Polka Dot Boxes Sure Are Heavy.....

Continuing from earlier today....

Those cute little boxes weren't so cute when I opened them.

Two of the four were legit. One held make soap making molds and supplies and the other was full of old VHS tapes of my wedding. Since I don't use the molds any longer I am putting them in the "eBay sell" pile. I've been planning (for years) on converting the VHS tapes to disc, so I put them in my car to drop off at CVS later today. Now on to the two “not-so-cute” boxes. Here's what I found:
• Bag gallon Ziploc bag of old marbles

• Tons of old souvenir spoons my grandmother owned

• A jewelry box of my grandfather’s tie tacks, cuff links and badges

• A set of 12 vintage Petrified Wood Samples

• A box of old buttons

• TONS of vintage costume jewelry

• This old Smurf Cup from my childhood

• Several pieces of pottery from craft fair shopping

• A wire bird nest
• Beads from Saint Patrick’s Day
• Two miniature wooden roosters (my grandfather was a Poultry Scientist)• A square dancing coffee mug

• A 3 piece pottery butterfly wall set I’ve had for years and never found a place to hang

• A Mochica Medicine Man incense burner from Peru (WTH?)
 Quite a collection! Can you see now why it’s all been jammed into these boxes? What in the world do you do with these types of things? I know most are valuable so I can't just throw them into my yard sale pile. My original intention was to search eBay to see their value. Hhmmmmmm……

Okay – I’ve decide , after checking with my dad and brother to see what they want, to put all of these things in a Rubbermaid tote (so that I can utilize my cute boxes for something else,) and mark on next week’s calendar a date to do the actual research. I’m going to keep the box next to my desk so I have to look at it everyday. For my poor OCD soul, that equals pure torture - which means it’s quite possible I might end up doing this research later today –

By scheduling the time I am more likely to do the work instead of putting the box into the attic. That would just be replacing one cute box of stuff with a Rubbermaid box of stuff –right? I’ll let you know what, if any of it, turns up worth keeping. The rest of it just may mysteriously end up at the local junk shop for some other treasure hunter to find.

In summary, the goal is just to move the stuff out, not just around. Choose one drawer, tote, box to sort through and actually do something with the contents. Don’t just move it from the drawer, to a box ,to the attic. Put it in your car. Take it somewhere. Give it away NOW. If not, you are just wasting time going through the stuff just to have to go through it all again next New Year’s cleaning day!

Now, I’m off to that random shelf that’s left to organize….maybe I'll try rubbing the belly of that Mochica Medicine Man and see if a cleaning Geenie will pop out.

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January, while one of my most hated months for the weather (I hate to be cold) happens to be my most favorite month of the year otherwise. Why you ask? Because I am an organizing freak and what better time to clean and organize your stuff than after you start pulling down all that Christmas stuff?! Your house is a total mess anyway, might as well pull some more stuff out and sort through it too. What's an extra tote or two (or 12) anyway?! Just the thought of cleaning out my storage closet before I cram all those holiday totes back in makes me giddy - yes, I am nuts, but you already knew that.

I'm going to be re-booting my entire de-cluttering series, Simplifying Your Life, over the next few weeks. You can get a jump start by visiting my website if you are like me and ready to get to it!

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Yes, I'm Itchin'.....that's Southern Talk for.....

....I can't sit still and need to get up and do somethin'.....(another Southern word, meaning something)

So what's on the agenda for today? Usually I would start pulling all of my holiday decorations down but since I am having company on Monday - that will have to wait. So I'm itchin' to do something to get my New Year cleaning going......Where to start?
• I really need to deep clean my stairs with a toothbrush and toothpicks -you laugh? It's hard to get those corners and trim clean with out them. But I better wait. By the time I take out the totally dead tree there will be droppings everywhere and will have to start over. (The stairs could really use a fresh coat of paint too but that is on my Spring cleaning list.)

• My files need to be changed out for the New Year but I sure as crap don’t feel like tackling THAT today.

• I could re-organize my wrapping station.

• Or put up all my Christmas crafting supplies.

• Maybe just load up the recycle bins and carry them off……

• …….or maybe I’ll just climb back in bed with the new Stephen King book I just got.

Okay, guess I’ll just pick a smaller task and hope it gets me moving on to a larger one. Think I’ll start with this bookcase:

I need to weed out the magazines, go through those cute little polka dot boxes (Lord knows what is in them!)
and sort through that stack of horded clutter that I keeps me awake at night – I told you, I’m OCD – it’s a SICKNESS!!

I’m going to use my shelf to give you examples on how to complete your own project like this:

1. I love magazines. In my business (as a caterer/event planner – AND blogger,) I like to keep magazines for referencing recipes, table settings, blog ideas, etc. A couple of years ago I started a file for ideas. As I read through a magazine, I “corner” the pages of ideas I want to remember. If there are more than just a couple of pages corned, I keep the magazine. If there are just a couple, then I tear out (or photocopy) the pages and pass the magazine on to friends. After the files get full, I go through them again and place them in my recipe book, my catering idea book or this book that I am creating for referencing:
Today I need go back through my magazines. As you see by the picture, I am currently overflowing my limit (I try to keep only what will fit on the shelf.) First, I will pull the ones I know I want to keep – such as the holiday ones. Then I will keep the newest issues of the remaining ones. Any that I have left over after filling my shelf will need to be quickly flipped through. I’ll pull out what I’ve previously cornered for my file and send the rest off to be recycled or given away. If you are like me, this is painful, but totally necessary if I want to keep clutter away. If you have tons to go through, check out this chapter in my Simple Life Series to see how to conquer your growing pile of magazines.

What else is on my shelf? Oh yeah, the cute little polka dot boxes with “Lord knows what in them.” I better go look and then come back with a new post a little later.

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So guess what?

Cleaning up that one bookshelf worked - it kicked me in the rear and I completed all of the following tasks today:

-Organized and cleaned off two more bookshelves
- Filed all my "to-be-filed" papers - FOR THE YEAR
-Pulled everything our accountant needs for our personal returns
- Straightened all the drawers in both my desks
- Put all my husband's business payables in order for the accountant
- Put all my husband's business receivables in order by date - all of 2009!
- Washed all the windows (and window sills) in my sunroom - all 10 of them!

All this while my husband and 6 year old are throwing up all over their respective rooms from the stomach virus - What a day - I feel like doing something else.......

FYI - Here's a picture of the first bookshelf after clearing the clutter out.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why Worry? Wednesday - Packing Up Your Holiday Decor

AFTER Holiday but BEFORE New Years, TIPS
Our tree was so big that year, I had to CUT OFF the limbs to get it out of the house - WHAT A MESS!

Now that the holidays are over, don't just stuff your trimmings in a box or take your trash to the dump - THINK about how you can re-think the way you end this holiday season and how it carries over to next year. When you only have a couple of days off - it's easy to throw it all back in the box but DON'T! Read through the following tips to tweak your routine in order to start the year off right - and get yourself better prepare for next Christmas!

Use these simple steps as a starting point to a great new way of

 As you starting pulling down your tree and gathering your other holiday decor, designate one area to collect and put everything there. I use the dining room table. I pull all my empty storage bins, tissue paper for wrapping delicate ornaments and my camera to the room. I go from room to room, gathering all the things to store and take them to the table. I try to separate the items into "piles" that will be stored together or stored by what room they go in. Example: All Christmas balls go in one storage bin so they are placed together. Everything that I use in the kitchen (cookie cutters, hand towels, etc) goes in one bin, so next year, when I start my holiday cooking , I can pull this one bin out to use if I haven't put up my other decor yet.

 After I have been to each room and EVERYTHING is on the table (or surrounding floor!), I begin to pack. Each item is checked for damage and put in the "donate" pile if damaged or unwanted. Sometimes I go several years without using an item - when this happens I may keep it separate for a few years to see if I still want it. After a few years of not using it , I will offer it to my brother or it goes in the "donate" box. Last year my friends and I had a "Unloved Holiday Ornament Swap" where we exchanged good decorations with each other. I also make a list of what I may need for next year (lights, etc).

By carefully packing UP your items this year, it will make Unpacking them next year a breeze. I photo the inside of each bin and place the photo on the outside with a label. This helps me find items later.

TAKE STOCK NOW - not next December! Take a minute to make a mental list of what you need to restock for next year. Holiday wrapping supplies can be found at drastically reduced prices in January. Place gift wrap in tall kitchen trash cans that can be easily stored. Keep all your holiday wrapping supplies separated and stored with your holiday decorations. This keeps it from combining with your everyday wrap and handy when the holiday comes back around.

ORGANIZE your WRAP - Take loose rolls or scraps of ribbons and roll them around an empty paper towel cardboard roll. Use a paper towel stand to stack rolls of ribbons that have their own holders.

Use a clean small trash can to stack the long rolls of wrapping paper up. To keep rolls from unrolling and getting crushed, roll a rubber band around each roll, instead of taping the ends. This makes it easy to pull out what you need. Take a sturdy shoe box and fill it with everything you need to wrap - extra Scissors, multiple tape rolls, gifts tags, pens, etc. Any torn or unusable ribbon, save for kid's crafts in a clear tub. They can be used for homemade cards and crafts next year.

SORT your DECOR, as you put it away - Go through an examine each item before you store it. If it's broke, get rid of it. If it still holds sentimental value - then store it with other valuable items, NOT with your usable ornaments. Do you have tons of things you keep but don't use? Don't put it back in the closet. Collect these unwanted treasures in one box and donate them to a children's shelter for their use next year.

ORGANIZE your DECOR - Use everyday household items to retire your decor for the year. Egg crates can hold delicate ornaments. Tissue paper and gift bags from this year's gifts can be packed with holiday tins, towels, stuffed decor. Put all kitchen holiday utensils such as cookie cutters, snowman salt and pepper shakers and holiday paper plates all together and store OUT OF THE KITCHEN and with your decorations. You only use them once a year, keep them with the other holiday items. Keep all the same holiday items in clean, matching, PLASTIC tubs. Label the outside with a picture of the contents.

DONATE unwanted gifts - It's sounds terrible to "re-gift" but if you don't love it and it's only going to end up in the closet - move it out. Take it to the women's shelter. Donate to the military overseas. Give it to your mother - just move it from your house! This is YOUR year to de-clutter, don't start by keeping unwanted gifts.

Stay tuned for more tips.....For more of the Simple Life Series, visit The Kendal Companies

Friday, December 23, 2011

O Christmas Tree! Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

Part of the fun is going out and picking the right tree. After depleting the local tree farm from all their extra tall versions in recent years (see below for past trees), we had to revert to picking one from the local hardware store.

 Yes, gaudy I know. If you want a real laugh about Christmas trees and their gaudiness, my new friend, Becky, whose blog by-line reads "Because Not Everyone Can Be A Ballerina," posted  a hilarious recant of Christmas time from her childhood (including a vivid tale of silver tinsel that I cannot get out of my head.) Be warned if you click over to visit 1. She makes no apologies for her blunt behavour 2. You WILL laugh out loud and 3. You will be addicted to her blog.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kid's Craft Sock Snowman

A couple of years ago, I found what I THOUGHT was a great little craft idea for my kids. Boy was I wrong! It was a disaster! But, I have tweaked it since then and now I have a kid-friendly holiday project to share with you. These sock snowmen are great time-consumers! Need some time in the kitchen? Then put these supplies out and let them at it while you bake those holiday treats.

Supplies for 2 Snowmen:
A pair of baby socks (for the hats)
A pair of men’s long socks (the body)

A small bag of pebbles (look in the Mini -Railroad section of Hobby Lobby)

Pillow stuffing (in the fabric section of Hobby Lobby)
Colorful Ribbon – (for the scarf – be sure it is wide enough)

4 Rubber bands

12 Medium Buttons in one color

8 smaller buttons in another color (for the mouth)

2 Pom Balls

4 Googly Eyes

2 Hair pieces (Hobby Lobby has these)

2 Wooden Dowels

Hot Glue Gun

Use the photos as a guide. Start by placing about 4 inches of the pea gravel in the bottom of the socks. Place the dowel in the center of the rocks and surround with pillow fluff, filling the sock all the way to the heel area. Be sure to pack it tightly or it won’t stand up correctly. Try to create a flat bottom.

Tie a rubber band around the area of the heel to create the body. Take more rocks and fill the head. Tie with 2nd rubber band. Take the hair piece and glue it to the top of the head, then pull one of the baby socks over the hair to create the hat. Now you should have a “body” and “head.”

Use the wide ribbon to tie a scarf around the neck and cover the rubber band there. Glue 3 large buttons on the body. Take 4 smaller buttons and glue for the mouth, the pom for the nose and the gooly eyes. Hopefully you will have a great snowman like Grace’s!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Easy SNOWFLAKE Kid's Craft

Easy Pipecleaner SNOWFLAKES

Supplies Needed:
Various Colors and Sizes of Pipe Cleaners

Hot Glue Gun
String or Ribbon
Embellishments – I used charms from the Jewelry section of Hobby Lobby

Simple! Just lay the pipe cleaners with the centers touching and hot glue them together. (The original instructions read to bend and twist them together in the middle, but I found they tended to fall apart.) Next, tie the charms onto the ribbon PRIOR to gluing the ribbon to the center of the snowflake.


Make sure to cut the ribbon into varying lengths so when you hanging, they drape instead of hanging in a row. I also mix my colors to create different one.

 I hang these in our family room (which is really our sunroom/my office but everyone hangs out there!). I add my daughter's art work and silly snowman collection too! She thinks she has her own snowman/snowflake room - well, I guess she does!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Kids Craft - Traditional Gumball Tree

My brother and I made these when we were kids and I have continued the tradtion with my own children. Last year Grace did her first tree completely by herself! This is a great way to keep the kids occupied while you are busy in the kitchen. If you try this craft - send me a picture and I will post it here.

Gum Ball Trees!

Items You Need:
Toothpicks, broken in half
Bag of Gumballs - any color
One Styrofoam Cone (Found at Hobby Lobby $3)

Watch this slideshow  as Grace creates her tree!

Need A Little Family Time? Try this project...

Another family treasure I still have in my possession is this great handmade book that was given to me and my brother in 1978 – yes, that makes me OLD.

This wonderful book was handmade by a family friend. She took the front of past holiday cards and created an ABC book. Each page is a letter of the alphabet with a corresponding picture/word/definition. Check out her great work…

I have carried this book around with me and put it out every Christmas. I decided this year, that my daughter’s and I would make a new one. Let’s take a closer look to see what we will need:

A large, hardcover scrapbook

Stenciled Letters (we will use my new Circuit!, of course!)

Various holiday cards

A Magic Marker

I am very curious to see what words my children will chose or if they will just copy from my book. As soon as I can get them together in the same room to make this project – I will post it for you, but I wanted to give you plenty of time to make your own family’s book. Send me a post when it’s finished!

Monday, December 19, 2011

What happened to Kendal?!

I am constantly surprised by how many times I get asked the question..."What happened to your blog? Where did you go? I need some help!!" Truth is, just got busy. My business took off in the spring, then I took the summer off, then I was overflowed with business again in the fall and now, know how it is. Life is life. I promised myself that after the wedding season calmed down and before it picked up again, I would start writing again. Thing is, is that Life is still Life and I am still struggling to find time to write. So, I decided to re post all my blogs from the first year of my blog throughout January. You've read them all but most of us could use a refresher on the clutter course and why not actually TRY some of my recipes. I'll be in and out with new posts and working on fresh stuff for later in the winter. You can always get a head start by moving over to and catching up on all the beautiful weddings that have been keeping me away from you all.  If you've missed me, let me know! Leave me a comment...share my blog with others....give me a reason to really keep this resolution to keep my blog updated! Love you all and thanks for keeping me on my toes :)

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