Decluttered and Determined to Keep it That Way: My Dresser

A few weeks ago (umm.. make that six?) I set out to “De-Clutter” five area of my home.  It was a challenge, actually, posed by one of my most favorite bloggers, Sarah from A Beach Cottage.

I accepted the “de-clutter” challenge and long story short, I feel short of my goal.  I got like 3-ish of the five areas completed.

Well, this is me hopping right back into the challenge and seeing things through to completion.

Are ya with me?

Mr. Gibbs and my bedroom was on the list, let’s start there, shall we?

First up, my dresser.  She’s a big one, that one, isn’t she?  Yep, but I don’t have much of a closet, so the majority of my clothing must fit in here.

I am not sure what overcame me with the quatrefoil mirror.  I suppose staring at Kate’s over at Centsational Girl every week didn’t influence my decision in purchasing it.

I decided to start this project because I was faced with this.  A laundry basket FULL? OVERFLOWING?  with clothes needing a home.

But ya see they will not all fit in there.  And that is why I need to purge.  That and the fact that I have quite a few clothes that are not flattering.  And when I wear them I feel uncomfortable.  Yeah, I am done with unflattering, uncomfortable clothes.

Alright, let’s start tearing apart those drawers, shall we?

See you later bras that don’t fit and socks that quit!

 And those bathing suits?  Seriously, polka dots on my large rear.. no.  What was I thinking?  I am quite sure I wore this once.  Why was I holding onto this?

And so the story continued.  For the better part of an hour I sorted and purged and asked myself hard questions.  Like:

Why am I holding onto this? 

I think I found the answer from one of my favorite author/bloggers Gretchen Rubin.  Gretchen is the author of the book, “The Happiness Project” and the blog by the same name.  I actually read her book first, and now enjoy regular nuggets of wisdom from her blog.  Seriously, if you don’t know Gretchen, hop on over and get to know her.

One of the subjects that she tackles in the book and regularly on the blog is clutter and the impact it has on our feeling of well-being or happiness.

She recently posted a lovely video on this very subject: “I Can’t Get Rid of My Stuff”. Watch it.  If you are visiting Wilbur Road today because you too are in the process of cleaning up your home, making it more organized or de-cluttering I guarantee you will enjoy Gretchen’s post.

One of the gems in this post is the idea that we hold onto possessions because of the false sense of value we place on things.  Especially once they become ours.  This skirt was a perfect example.  Isn’t it cute?  It was not, however, flattering.  But I held onto it and wore it.  Armed with my newly found self-awareness, I tossed her right into the Goodwill box.

And several other items followed.  Like about a third of my wardrobe.

What did I learn from this exercise?

  • If I didn’t wear it, like ever, I tossed it.  No brainer.
  • If it doesn’t fit, I tossed it.  I probably looked like an idiot in it.
  • One does not need 8 pairs of running shorts.  Especially if you run sporadically.
  • My wardrobe should consist of clothes that make me feel good and look good.   If your feet are bare and you find yourself in downward facing dog, that is the only appropriate time to wear yoga pants in public.
  • Closing my dresser drawers is much easier when they are not crammed full.

Now I do not dread laundry day.   OK, not as much.  Because I actually have a place for all of my clothing now.  I know, brilliant.

This feeling is contagious.  Where to next?  The kitchen perhaps?

Thanks so much for hanging out with me ladies!

XO, Jay

Sharing this, and a few other bright ideas with these fine folks.

 

A Twist on the Happy Birthday e-card

My parents are retired, and they are enjoying themselves immensely.  I am so thankful to have youthful,  healthy parents, who are able to be out discovering the world together after a lifetime of hard work.  The amount of time they are home is increasingly sporadic.  Which is awesome for them.  But it is really hard to hit a moving target.  Therefore, it can be difficult to get a birthday card delivered to them in a time appropriate manner.

Thank goodness for the internet.

Instead of your traditional e-card, I simply whipped up a quick chalk-board message, chased the kiddos out to a pretty spot in the garden and snapped a few cute pics.

We emailed the picture to papa, where he can retrieve it from anywhere in the world he may be.


An Old School, DIY homegrown e-card!

Of course, the kiddos smiling faces were included on his pic.  The sentiment is sweet, but I am pretty sure seeing his happy, growing grandkids is what matters most to him.  :)

We love you, Papa!  You are an amazing grandfather!

Who are you gonna send some love to?  Do you have a clever take on the greeting card?  I would love to hear about it!

Much love,

Jay

 

 

Garden Planning on the Front Porch

One of the things I love about spring and summer is that my home opens up and becomes about 100 times larger.  I like creating little spaces for reading, chatting….drinking a cup of tea.

This morning, I dropped the kiddos off at school, grabbed my coffee, my seeds and a few seedlings and sat out on the front porch to just ponder the garden.  Unfortunately, it was really chilly, and I needed a blanket.  But I enjoyed seeing the house from a new perspective, one that I haven’t seen for some time.

These chairs will only hang out here for the next few months.  When it becomes a bit more dry they will head out to the patio for the duration of the summer, and this area will find a whole new purpose.

Until then, it will be my spring shelter from drizzle, take my coffee in the morning with a blanket hang out.

Do you look for different ways to reinvent your spaces?  What are you changing up for spring?

xo, Jay

Wilbur Road: Week in Review

Hi there.

Oh, have we had a week here on Wilbur Road, how ’bout you?

We have been pretty busy, so I thought I’d give you a little recap.  Here goes!

  • Got some left over chicken breast?  Me too, so I made my favorite Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich.
  • After 14 years of helping the Easter Bunny deliver Easter Baskets, I decided it was time to change it up a little: so I created  Easter Buckets.
  • I tackled a few organizing projects as well.  I overhauled our junk drawer and reclaimed our command center.
  • And my favorite, I spruced up our front porch a bit, giving it a definite spring vibe.  And there are vintage metal patio chairs involved.  Sweet.

 

There you have it.   Enjoy your weekend.  I hope it is exactly what you want it to be.  Productive?  Relaxing?  Full of Adventure?  Wonder-full.

See you back here next week for more fun!

Lots of Love,

Jay

Five Minute Curry Chicken Salad Sandwiches: Yum

I have been making this easy-peasy chicken salad from left over chicken  forever.  Chicken for dinner?  Then it is safe to say a chicken salad sandwich is in my near future.

It’s almost embarrassingly easy, and I am sure you have made a similar version yourself!  But it is delish so here goes.

Easy curry chicken salad part 1

Alrighty:

  1. Chop or shred your left over chicken into the size that suits you best.  I just kinda juilienned this chicken.
  2. Do the same for celery and apples.  This is what I had in my refrigerator.  You know what you like, put it in there.  Use what you have and what you like!  If I had currants and walnuts they would be going in here as well.  But I didn’t so they are not.  Next time.
  3. OK, this part is really up to you.  How “wet” do you like your salad?  I just kinda eyeball the amount of mayo I need to sufficiently coat the salad.  I don’t like a lot of moisture.
  4. But I do like curry.  So I added a generous amount here, like 2 rounded tablespoons to 3/4 cup of mayo.  YUMMO.  I used Madras curry powder.  
  5. Add vinegar.  Usually I use apple cider vinegar in this salad, but I had a bottle of rice vinegar (which is plenty sweet). Again, the amount you use is up to you.  I added enough to make consistency of salad dressing.  I like it  to be pourable.
  6. Mix all of your goodness together.  Gather your bread, and any other fixin’s you might like on your sandwich.  I had shredded carrots and lettuce, so yeah, they made it into the sandwich.

 

Hey, there’s my lunch!

I used Trader Joe’s whole wheat mini pita pockets here, but I have made this sandwich many times on croissants.  Um, yeah, really good.

I would love to hear about your favorite left-over,  go-to sandwich recipe.  Leave the link in the comments section,  I want to check ‘em out!

XO,

Jay

Easter Baskets? Easter Buckets for Teens and Tweens

Hippity Hoppity Easter’s on its Way!

Alright, so my kiddos may be getting a little old for the Easter bunny (14 and 10), but they will never be to old for gifts.  Truth be told, I really like giving them presents.   I had a lot of fun putting their “baskets” together this year.

First up, the “basket”.  I wanted to do something a little different this year.  When I saw these I saw major potential.   I plan to steal these from the children after Easter for a little organizing project.

These are big (6 gallon) buckets, purchased at Lowe’s.  They were around $16.00 each.  Yeah, totally expensive compared to a 2.99 basket at Rite Aid, but as I said, I have a plan for these after the children have emptied them of the sugary goodness within.

I filled the Easter Baskets … I mean Easter Buckets up about a third of the way with newspaper, then lined them with colorful tissue.  I use tissues because it is cheaper and less messy than Easter grass.  I learned that from my mother.  Thanks, mom.

And then I went about filling the Easter Baskets.. buckets!  This was actually the easy part, and the most fun.

I have a secret bin that I keep hidden from the kids, and in that bin I put little trinkets that I find throughout the year ON CLEARANCE.  I am a HUGE clearance shopper.  Most of the things in the Easter baskets were purchased at 70-90% off.  I start my hunt for bargains in the days just after most major holidays.  

What to give a 14-year-old boy for Easter?

  • spray paint (cammo colors) essential for modifying air-soft rifles.  If you have to ask, you can ignore this one.
  • gorilla “super” glue.  again with the modifying air-soft guns.
  • various duct tapes and cammo tapes.  He is 14, and all about rigging and building things.
  • Klutz book geared for teens, “The Encyclopedia of Immaturity”
  • a travel binder for DVDs/video games.
  • various chocolate covered Easter treats

What to give a 10-year-old girl for Easter?

  • lip gloss
  • a book by her favorite author
  • A colorful, fuzzy blanket
  • spring colored note cards, chalk and colorful pens
  • a cute Easter bracelet
  • various chocolate covered Easter treats.

If I was to guess-timate, I would say I spent $10 on each basket.  Of course, the buckets more than doubled the budget, but I do have plans for them. 

Here they are, filled, all dressed up and ready for the Easter Bunny to deliver them.

I whipped up a very simple little “flag” for each to personalize the buckets.  I simply printed out a little card in word (on card-stock) and glued it to a few layers of coordinating scrapbook paper.  Then the whole flag took a trip through my laminating machine.  Then I simply tied the whole shebang on with some ribbon.

I do hope they love them!  What am I a saying, it’s filled with candy!  They will love it.

Do you have a clever solution for teens and tweens for Easter?  I would love to hear about it!

xo,  Jay

Sharing this idea, and many more, with these fine folks.

DIY: Quick Vintage Metal Patio Chair Makeover

You first met these sweet chairs here, when I showed you the front porch all freshened up for Spring.

Yeah, there’s one.

I thought you might get a kick out of the “before” shot:

Yeah, pretty rusty and dirty.

I spent about a half an hour with the pressure washer, early in the day.  My goal was remove all of the chippy bits of paint and rust.  By late afternoon they were dry and warm enough to spray paint.

The paint I used was Rust-oleum, Painter’s Touch, Ultra Cover x 2.  The colors are leafy green and lemon yellow.

And there they are again.  All fresh and ready for warmer days on the front porch.

I blogged all about the front porch mini-makeover, spring freshening here.

Thanks for the look-see, friends!  Since you are here, why don’t you hang out for a bit and check out what we are up to here on Wilbur Road.  We are all about organizing, cleaning, freshening, and getting ready for a season of fun with friends right now!  I bet you are too!

xo Jay

sharing this, and many other ideas, with these fine folks.

Organize: Junk Drawer.. NO MORE!

Maybe I am ill, delusional, or just have a bit too much time on my hands this week.  But I was overcome, on a purging high from cleaning out the “command center”, and I moved right on over to the junk drawer.

Now, I apologize, because I did this without thinking about blogging.  I did not think, “heck this is gonna make a nice little entry in my web-log diary that is my little blog called “Wilbur Road”.   No.  I was overcome by the euphoria of order.  You know that feeling.  

So all I have to show you are the afters.

Trust me, it was just as messy as the messiest junk drawer X 1,000.  I am pretty sure you can picture it.

The first thing I did was put everything away, where it belonged.  Then I took a top of a box, scribbled “claim me or loose me” and put items that belonged to the children and Mr. Gibbs in the box.  They must have known I meant business, because in about an hour, everything was GONE.   Nice.  I am known for throwing things away at whim.

For the rest of the items that needed a home and did not have one, I came up with this little number:

Actually, my grandma gave this insert to me as a gift last summer and it has been in our garage ever since.  The perfect solution, right under my nose.  Thanks, grandma!  I love you!  I wish you had the internet so you could read my blog. :)

We need a place for tools in the house because we have a detached garage and I am too lazy to go outside to fetch a hammer to hang a picture.  This bucket now lives in the laundry room.

And for all of the building odds and ends that just did not seem to have a home, I created a simple solution: zip lock bags with card-stock labels.  I popped these little cuties right inside our building bucket.

So what does that leave us with?

 

As you can see, this is a really big drawer.  There was a LOT of junk in there. I can also see that I need to mop my floor. 

Now when I open this drawer, I am overcome by a sense of peace and order.  Yes, it is delightful.  ONLY items that we need regularly are here.  Extra keys, scissors, a hammer, tape measure, the stapler… you get the idea.

We will see how long it lasts!

But until then, when I walk by, I will lovingly open the drawer and marvel at my Junk Drawer… NO MORE!

Soon friends, soon,

xo Jay

 

Spring Time on the Front Porch: Welcome Home

With  temperatures warming up (slightly) I find myself sneaking outside more frequently.    There are so many projects that I want to tackle outside: planting the veggie garden, flower bed clean-up, and a major landscaping project.

But it is still a bit chilly, and each day we are graced with the slightest sprinkle which often times turns into a bit of a downpour.

So I decided to begin with the front porch.  It’s covered, you see.

Pretty simple, yeah?  That’s the way I am liking things right now.  Simple and easy, and not to fussy.  And in keeping with the theme for 2012: “Frugality is Very Hip on Wilbur Road”; this little ensemble cost me… $2.49.  That was for the sugar snap peas planted in the pot.

My favorite part of this project are the vintage metal chairs.  We received them this fall, after Mr. Gibbs’ grandma passed.  He has really found memories of his grandparents, sitting in these chairs, sipping ice tea in the heat of summer shaded by their “car-port”.

I spent some time over the weekend pressure-washing the rusty spots and giving them both a fresh new coat of paint.

I also pressure-washed the porch itself.  It was so clean and pretty it made me want to cry.   But living in the woods with kiddos and animals… well the clean as a whistle porch does not last long.

 

They were both originally green and yellow, which is really awesome, because I just so happened to have both colors on hand.  Mr. Gibbs’ gave the thumbs up on the colors, which were both different shades of yellow and green.

I have always loved these old metal chairs, and I am happy that my sweet husband will have this reminder of his grandparents, everyday, to welcome him home.

Other odds and ends about the porch:

I planted some sugar snap peas which everyone here LOVES.  I will plant a whole bunch in the garden, but I thought it would be nice to have some growing by the front door.  Instant snack.   They will grow up the little green bamboo stake, creating some nice height in this area.   That will happen around… June.

The bunting on the front door is made from scrap-book paper.  Cheap, fast and destined for the compost bin.

The Welcome Home chalkboard is a little something I whipped up to use up the last bits of a can of chalkboard paint.

Do you like chalkboards?  Yeah, me too.  Have you checked out my enormous one?  I blogged about it here.

There you have it, friends.  Quick, colorful, simple and … cheap resourceful.

Until next time!

XO, Jay

linking up at:

Southern Hospitality     today’s creative

 

Organize: Reclaiming the Command Center

About a year ago, I set out to organize this area of my kitchen and claim it as our “Command Center”.  Fantastic ideas were being shared all over the internet and on my favorite blogs.

A few things I did:

I created (my version) of a family binder, utilizing one of my very favorite organizing tools: clear plastic sleeves.  The binder still works wonderfully.  I regularly go through the binder and cull items that are no longer pertinent.

I glued a piece of sheet metal to the door to act as a magnetic bulletin board.  A great spot to post something that I want to keep my eye on; like school conference dates.  That is still working great.

But this cupboard quickly returned to a place to dump.  And I am just as guilty as the rest of the family.  I don’t like things on the counter.  “I’ll just stash it in here and deal with it later.” 

And here we are.

It is now “later” and I am more than ready to FINISH this project.  I wanted to make it functional and pretty.  And I did not want to spend a dime.  Not a cent.  You see that jar there with the change?  Yeah, that is where I want all of my extra dimes to go right now.  Because that little vacation is worth just as much to me as a well-organized home.  More, actually.

The first thing I did was get rid of things that did not belong in here.

I bet you didn’t know that E.T. and Joseph were good buds?  Yeah, they were hanging out in my kitchen cupboard together.  Bye, guys!

I also recycled many papers and extra calendars, put parts in their rightful place,  and donated many miss-matched magnets.

Then I set about creating storage to really keep us organized.  I found everything I needed from around the house.

A place for everything, and everything in its place!

I actually added a few things that I have wanted to do for a really long time, like the celebration calendar.   More on that later.

Here is the breakdown for you:

Here’s the low down:

1. Spare keys.  You know, garage keys, etc.

2. School lunch menu/ calendar.  I have a more comprehensive calendar of events in the family binder.

3.  My car and house keys.

4. Dry erase “Let’s Celebrate” Calendar.

I created this calendar in word, very simply.  I glued it to some pretty card-stock and ran it through my laminating machine.

At the beginning of each month, I will simply fill in the birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions of our loved ones for that month.

Last summer, my grandmother helped me create an awesome master list of birthdays and anniversaries for our entire family, including addresses!  This has helped me keep track of special dates and get cards in the mail in a timely manner.  The master list is in our family binder.

I really want to remember to “Send Love”. 

 

5.  Speaking of sending love, I organized a media box to house greeting cards.  I used card-stock and colorful sharpies to label each category.  Quick, easy and ORGANIZED.  Love it!

I put the stamps in the front.  I also stock up on cards when they go on sale.

6.  Cords.  OK, usually we just tossed cords onto the top shelf and hoped for the best.  I don’t know how many times we have all gone searching for a charger for our phones or iPods.  Now they MUST go in this basket.  Everyone has been told.  No excuses.

7.  Mr. Gibbs’ Treasures.  This basket?  I really love it.  It addresses so many issues and I hope it solves a few of them!  My dear sweet hubby (affectionately referred to as Mr. Gibbs) likes to a.) leave a trail of belongings on the counters, and b.) collect little scraps of paper.  What happens if I see a piece of stray paper on the counter?  Yeah, into the recycling  it goes.  Sorry, not my fault, it is the way I was raised.   Just like if you want to keep a coffee cup, you should hold onto it.  Because if you set it down on the counter, it is going to be put in the dishwasher.  That is where dirty dishes go. 

But I digress, this basket is for my dear sweet hubby to put ALL OF HIS TREASURES.  And I will not say a peep about the thousand scraps of paper in it.

To create the labels for the baskets, I typed up some simple labels in Word, glued them to some pretty paper and ran them through my laminating machine.  I punched a few holes in the label, drilled a few holes in the baskets, and tied them on.  Simple!

8. I also left a jar with glue and scissors for box tops.  I have been a lot better about saving box tops since we have a place to put them.

9.  Disney Fund Jar.  Pretty much the day after we returned from our first Disneyland vacation two years ago, I began saving for our next trip.  I decided I could go without a lot of things in order to save for bi-yearly trips to Disneyland.  We had so much fun.  And having a jar dedicated to all spare change and the occasional dollar bill makes saving easy.  I created the label in Word, glued it on some Mickey ears,  and taped it to the jar.

10.  Family Binders and Phone Books.  I won’t go into detail about our family binder.  There are SO MANY wonderful posts on the internet, and I used ideas from many of them.  Mine is simple and utilizes clear plastic sleeves to help me stay organized.

So there you have it!  Our freshly organized family “Command Center”.  I wanted to share in hopes that  you found a little something to inspire, as I am always inspired by other folks’ great ideas.

Now I can open this cupboard door and not feel overwhelmed by the clutter and chaos!

Happy Organizing everyone,

xo Jay

Sharing this idea (and many more) with these fine  folks.

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