Apricot blossoms from my neighbors yard
March 22, 2012
Strawberry blossoms
April 25, 2012
Chamomile Flowers – April 25, 2012 Phlox – April 25, 2012
Sunflower – July 3, 2012 A moth we “hatched’
May 16, 2012
A Beautiful Sunset Yummy Peas

So, I wrote several years ago how I got a ton of tomatoes to bottle. I was big into canning and gardening that year. I haven’t as much of a desire to do it as much since then. This year, however, I’ve wanted to do more canning than the last few years. Unfortunately the same source that we had for tomatoes in the past plowed their fields earlier than expected. My friend and neighbor, Andrya, gave me several bags of tomatoes that she wasn’t going to be able to use before she left out of town for a few days.

I was excited that I had some tomatoes to put up! I was a little concerned I wouldn’t be able to get them done though since I had sprained my ankle a few days earlier. Thanks to the knowledge my Heavenly Father gave me and the prompting to use arnica gel and lavender oil for my ankle after spraining it, I’ve been walking better and was able to stand long enough to take care of the tomatoes Saturday afternoon, just before the second session of General Conference began. It took all afternoon to cook down after I ran the clean tomatoes through my Victorio Strainer and put it in the stock pot. {If you don’t have a victorio strainer for canning, I highly suggest you get one, especially an older model that is all metal!} Even though I only got 3.5 quarts of spaghetti sauce, it was worth it and really not that much work. The stove did most of it for me! Aren’t they beautiful?

Spaghetti Sauce Oct 2012
Spaghetti Sauce Oct 2012

Maybe you’ve read this post from almost a year ago.  I’m still working on organizing my home.  I often feel overwhelmed with the amount of stuff we own (and we really don’t store tons of excess stuff), as well as the fact that we have little resources right now in this moment to organize it the way I want to.  I’ve let it keep me from doing it to the extent that I would like to.  I’ve let a lack of faith that the resources can be given to me keep me from taking action.  Am I the only one?  I’m sure I’m not.

Last month for my book group (ERSA), we read one of the books Clutter’s Last Stand or For Packrats Only by Don Aslett.  Though I don’t have the extreme clutter and hoarding problems that some people do, I do still need to do purges throughout the year.  Every time I go through and purge a room or area of my home it is so freeing!  Doing it in my yard works the same way.  It truly is a never ending task, that I am okay doing.

Now, a useful tool for tips and helps for organizing is Pinterest.  (If you want an invite, let me know.)  My organization board is found here, and some of the things are more idealistic ideas versus something that will work in my own home.   I do love having lots of ideas and options though.

Here’s some of what I’ve been doing this last year, though it is not at all inclusive. And, by the way, my living room pictured above has been moved around some since the above picture was taken, but I had to post it anyway. lol

Spaces / Rooms
Living Room

  • Go through all of my bookshelves and organize them into categories – The kids’ books won’t be done this way, but the adult ones were.
  • Decide which toys to keep and which ones to give/throw away – Done
  • Move furniture around for more ease and access – Done
  • Organize the coat closet – Done
  • Put coats away downstairs until winter – To-do

Master Bedroom

  • Clear out my bedroom of unused items and reorganize my bookshelf – Done, several times.  This one needs constant vigilance!
  • Straighten up the computer desk and file papers – Done, again and again
  • Shred unwanted documents – Done.  It took several sessions of General Conference to shred the four garbage bags worth of paper we needed shredded.
  • Update my vision board – I do this when it’s needed, though now I want something cute for my wall and not just tape and pictures.
  • Reorganize our office supply cabinet – Done.  This requires upkeep too, though not as much now.
  • Categorize files in small filing cabinet and refile everything – Need to do still
  • Reorganize the CD’s on rack – Done…and then the 4yo messes it up again, so it’s still on the To-do list.
  • Move YW stuff to YW closet at church – Done long ago.
  • Reorganize binders for: Liberty Girls, Transition to Scholar Group, Personal Progress… – Done, and I even made labels for the spines!
  • Clean off dresser – Yeah, this one is never ending.  I clean it off, and hubby or I leave things on it with good intentions to put it away later.  Take note, it never gets put away until I can’t stand it any more.
  • Repaint bedroom – This one is waiting for resources/money.
  • Clean carpet – I just need to borrow my mom’s carpet cleaner.

School Room

  • Revamp job charts – I’ve changed this to make new ones, especially since I need to add my 4yo to the list now.
  • Go through all bookshelves and organize books into categories – Hahahaha, yeah, I think I need to give this one up for now.  They already are based on religious, youth classics, finances, etc… I think I’ll leave it at that for now.  Boy was I ambitious last year!
  • Do something with the VHS movies (yes we still have some!)–get rid of them?!? – I still need to do this.
  • Transfer home movies to DVD – I’ve taken my son’s birth video and transferred it to my computer using our computer TV tuner, but the audio is terrible and very quiet.  I’m hoping a VHS/DVD Recorder will work better.  Anyone want to lend me one?  :D
  • Clean out and update our homeschool “closet” in our school room – I’ve done this a couple of times.  It’s on the To-do list once more.
  • Clean out homeschool binders and get ready for a new year – Not needed yet, but soon.
  • Get rid of filing cabinet – To-do
  • Patch walls and paint – Again, waiting for resources/money.

Kitchen

  • Purge the unused cookbooks I have/will never use – To-do
  • Wipe down cabinets – To-do
  • Reorganize kitchen cabinets – Does doing one set count?
  • Update Recipe binder and add category tabs –  To-do
  • Print out recipes from blog to put in recipe binder – Done
  • Clean kitchen ceiling – Did this just last week!  My 10yo daughter asked me why I didn’t just use the Swiffer to do it after I cleaned a portion of it by hand.  She’s a genius I tell you!
  • Update phone list
  • Update Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching lists for fridge
  • Organize magnets and papers on fridge – Done, though this needs frequent upkeep
  • Clean off top of fridge – Done
  • Get rid of excess cups – To-do. Who knew we could have so many cups?

Laundry Room

  • Reorganize and get rid of excess things that have not been used – Done
  • Clean off appliances and laundry soap shelf – Done, again and again.  It’s staying organized better with my girls’ help.
  • Move file box materials to filing cabinet under the stairs – We decided not to do this one.  We’re getting rid of the filing cabinet.
  • Find space for sleeping bags – Done
  • Get rid of boxes that are no longer used/needed – Done
  • Get rid of excess picture frames that we are not using and will not use again – To-do

Children’s Bedrooms

  • Go through clothing for correct sizes, repairs needed, and season appropriateness – Done
  • Help children purge unused/unneeded toys, papers, crafts, etc… – Working on this one
  • Reorganize closets and shelves – Need to do this in one more bedroom

Bathrooms/Hallways

  • Reorganize closet in upstairs bathroom – Done, again and again.
  • Go through medicine box and get rid of expired/no longer useful medicines – Done
  • Get rid of small postal boxes from hallway closet – Done
  • Go through cleaning supplies and store extra in food storage room – Done

Food Storage Room

  • Organize shelves – Done, again and again (bi-weekly to be exact)
  • Rotate food – Done

Under Stairs

  • Find ways to utilize wheat storage as furniture or accessories (I can’t seem to make this not sound funny, but I know what it means. lol) – To-do
  • Create reading nook with shelf for books – To-do
  • Find light(s) that work under stairs – To-do, though I think I have my solution already.
  • Move Filing Cabinet to under the stairs and put materials from Laundry room file boxes into it – We’re getting rid of it instead.

Outside

  • Organize carport shed – We’re about half way done as of Saturday!
  • Create Patio for chairs and umbrella table – We’re about 1/3 of the way done with this one
  • Create a “Back to Eden” garden – This one will take a lot more time and resources.  I’m excited to see this one come to fruition!

Projects

Sewing and Projects

  • Sew ribbons on old towels for hanging in downstairs bathroom – To-do.  I’ve done about 1/3 of what I need to do.
  • Purge unneeded fabric – Done
  • Organize fabric to keep – To-do
  • Make cover for love sac – Not doing this one.
  • Create Plaque/Visual for our Family Mission Statement I’m working on for the School Room and Living Room – To-do, though we have gone through some family exercises to get ideas
  • Repair Lightning’s dresser – We got rid of it instead, moved my 10yo upstairs with my 7yo, let the 13yo have her own room which had an area in the closet to use as a dresser, and the two boys got the older girls’ dresser.

Calendar/Schedule

  • Schedule times to make our family’s two week supply of bread (consistency is needed) – To-do.  I’m still not as consistent as I’d like to be.
  • Merge my online calendar with my physical family calendar – This happens off and on.  It’s better than it used to be though.
  • Schedule time for teaching my daughter more cooking skills – The girls have been asking for it, so it’s happening more.
  • Create babysitting information class for my girls (and friends?) – Not sure if I will do this still
  • Set aside daily personal study time for myself – I’ve been taking more time for myself, particularly in the morning.  Nice!
  • Consistently make menus for every two weeks – I have been slacking on this one lately, despite the fact that I even have a book printed out in a binder to help me.  I go through phases of doing it and not.

What are you working on (big or small) to organize your home or make your systems work better?