Category Archives: Home and Hospitality

A Roll of the Dice: Decluttering, Cleaning, Organizing, and Decorating the Lessaris Estate

 

Clutter and disorganization do not care about your income, your home’s square footage, or how many people/pets live in your home.  I live in a single-family home with my husband, no children at home and no pets.  Well, except for our fish…
Roll of the dice fish
Our home has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a full finished basement, in all over 3500 square feet of space, plus porches and decks – and it is full of clutter and disorganization!
Roll of the dice front to back
Confession time (shared from my Facebook page) –
this is just the tip of the iceberg!
Roll the dice confession
This post is not written because I have it all figured out, but because I really do not have it figured out!  I am a List Lady, and I find it much easier and more likely to get done if I write it out step by step to be sure I have thoughtfully considered everything to be done. My hope is that this process helps you too.
I also do not intend to do this Every. Single. Day.  That would become stressful, physically fatiguing, and mentally strenuous.  I will implement my plan every few days, and each step in each room may take a few days to accomplish.  If you are exhausted, then you will give up too quickly, and your other daily tasks would suffer as well.
My plan to conquer the chaos begins with an overview of what I call
The Clockwise Process.”
No before pictures for today since, not only would that be overwhelming to me, it would be scary for you!  Read through the process for an idea of where we are going on this adventure, using my own home and my own needs as a starting point.
So fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride…
a goal without a plan is just a wish
Make a list of every area in your home.  Be specific and be thorough.  I have numbered my areas and rooms because, in order to defy my anxiety and distress at deciding just where to begin, I will be rolling the dice to choose the room.  Obviously (or not so obviously), I will be limiting the first several rooms to the first several on the list.
Or I could just use my dodecahedron dice…
Roll of the dice jar
+=+=+=+
Areas to declutter, clean, organize, and decorate (my home)
  1. Entryway
  2. Office
  3. Front hallway
  4. Sleepover suite
  5. Sleepover suite closet
  6. Studio
  7. Common bath
  8. Master bedroom
  9. Master closet
  10. Master bath
  11. Living room
  12. Dining room
  13. Liquor cabinet
  14. Kitchen
  15. Laundry
  16. Back hallway
  17. Back hallway closet
  18. Guest bedroom
  19. Guest bedroom closet
  20. Guest bath
  21. Stairwell
  22. Rec room
  23. Storage room
  24. Front yard
  25. Front porches
  26. Deck/fire pit
  27. Back yard
  28. Side yards
  29. Vehicle
{Note: If the room where you are working has a closet, treat it as a separate area. Do not try to include it in the clockwise process.  Perform the clockwise process on it as a room.  (Personal exception: My studio closet must be treated as part of the studio due to its function as a part of the room.) Notice that I have also included my vehicle in this list.  Sometimes I feel like I live in my Kia Soul!}
time pic
Step one for each space is decluttering.  I really cannot clean and organize, and I won’t decorate, until the area is decluttered, because stuff gets in the way!  Isn’t that just life?  My focus is on one room at a time, one step at a time, so after decluttering I can move on to the other three aspects of making my home beautiful.
The Clockwise Process for De-Cluttering
You will need these supplies, plus possibly a friend, music, and maybe a glass or two of your favorite wine:
            Timer (not on your smart phone – too distracting)
            4 baskets/bags/boxes, labeled as:
Other rooms
Other homes
Donate
Trash
Work fifteen minutes at a time, then take a five minute break.  You can adjust these times as you need, but I suggest stick to some kind of time limit.  Go clockwise from your left hand as you stand in the doorway facing the room.  Decide if the first immediate item at your left hand is where it belongs. Use the baskets as follows:
  1. Items that go to other rooms simply go into the designated basket. Don’t try to put away each item as you come across it, or you may get distracted from the task at hand.  This basket can be sorted when the current room is decluttered.
  2. Items that go to other homes also go into its designated basket. These may be things you have borrowed and should return, or things you purchased for someone else (unless the time has not come to gift it – in this case, it should go into the “other rooms” basket so it can be placed into an assigned storage spot until the appropriate time).
  3. Items for donation should be in good condition – no breakage, no holes or tears, no stains. If you would not wear it or use it “as is” then do not donate it.  These items go into the trash bag.
Suggested donation sites:
FreeCycle
Goodwill
Salvation Army
AmVets
local charities and resource centers
  1. Items for trash go into the trash bag, the trash bag gets tied up, and the trash bag gets out of your house. No tosser’s remorse allowed!
=+=+=+=
Now for the roll of the dice.  And the winner is…
Roll of the dice die
THE DINING ROOM!
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13 Ways to Better Your Days

camp is my happy place

I almost always come home from summer camp a different person than I was when I left.  I am not sure if it is the change of scenery, the change in schedule, or the change in my mental mood.  Whatever it is, I am changed, at least for a while.

I will let you in on a secret – I was privately worried that I would not make it all the way through camp without having to retreat from the retreat.  With my medical issues, life is hard to predict from day to day.  Surprisingly to me, I not only survived the entire week of camp, but I thrived!  I only had to take four pain pills, and two of those were during the same day.  I struggled a little, but way less than I thought I would.  Maybe it was combination of adrenaline and the power of God…

124 (2)

Rabbit Trail  For insight on health and wellness

            Now why did I get through the week without major issues when I can barely get through a week at home without major issues?  Who knows?  I do know that I am willing to try making some changes that at least seemed to work during my camp week.  Will it help?  Who knows?  The least I can do is try it out for a while and see.

In adapting my church camp lifestyle to my home lifestyle, I thought of these thirteen areas that I handled differently at camp.

  1. Schedule

I had a fairly strict schedule at camp, and duties that had to happen at certain times.  I didn’t have just any old time that I could veg out playing a word game on my iPad or peruse Pinterest for hours.  I had places to be and jobs to do and people to see.

  1. Study

The first part of each day was devoted to Bible study and prayer for about twenty minutes.  This did come after a shower and getting dressed; otherwise, it was top priority.  Getting with God first thing in the morning – is there any more positive way to begin a new day?

Bible study

  1. Diet: Meals and Snacks

I ate.  I ate more.  I ate better.  This eating habit was an important part of the daily schedule.  Breakfast at 8, lunch at 11:45, snack at 3:15, dinner at 4:45 (that was a little tough), and another snack at 8. I paid attention to what I was eating and added what I needed to add (i.e., extra protein or iron, again due to my health issues).  Today, I didn’t eat anything until after I took a bath, which I didn’t do until 1:15.  An entire morning wasted away…

  1. Work

From 9:30 to 11:45, I taught lessons and led the campers in making a project each day.  At home, I equate this to my writing and my online income.  It doesn’t contribute much to our bank account, but it does contribute a little money and a lot of accomplishment.

  1. Service

Missions time was in a morning time slot, but we addressed it throughout the day.  At home, my main mission and service is to my husband, my home, and our house guests.  Housekeeping, community concerns, and my extended family and friends are my focus of ministry and service.

  1. Medications

This should be a no-brainer.  The problem is that sometimes, I can be a no-brainer.  If I forget to take my meds, I have difficulties and if I have difficulties, I forget to take my meds.  Since my medication are important to my health, I need to be sure I take them at the appropriate times.  At camp, I had my camp nurse that helped me remember to take them.  She never had to remind me; just seeing her hanging out would remind me.  I plan to figure out some trigger that will have the same effect here at home.

  1. Exercise

I did not have an exercise plan in place when I went to camp.  Just being at church camp tends to be an exercise in itself.  Walking, doing the motions to worship songs, just hanging out with faculty and campers gets me much more exercise than I am accustomed to getting.  Incorporating a walk and maybe a worship song or two into my day will go a long way.

  1. Nature

I am often saying or typing “Get out and play out.”  There are some very good books written on the topic of the nature deficit of modern children.  I tend to forget that adults need time in nature too!  Even if it is as simple as sitting out on my deck enjoying the outdoors, I need some nature in my life.  So do you.

Drake and Gertrude

  1. Friends

I was surrounded by friends this entire week.  At home, I tend to sequester myself inside my own four walls.  It’s not that I don’t like people.  I just don’t go out of my way to be where the people are. (Cue “The Little Mermaid”)  Everyone needs that human connection, including those of us who consider ourselves introverts or ambiverts.

faculty foosball

  1. Delegation of Duties

            Help!  I need somebody!  Help!  Not just anybody!

            Trying to do it all by myself is exhausting.  Doing this with my health is even more exhausting.  The past few years, I have started delegating more and dropping duties less.  At camp, I had others lead two nights of group games, others led campfire, others led meal time prayers, and others led all kinds of things.  This helped me then and it can help me at home.  Instead of leaving things undone because I cannot do it all, I will ask for help when I need or want it.

  1. Rest Time

            Naptime!!!

I will nap here

            A rest and relaxation time was built into the camp schedule after lunch.  I tended not to get much rest at this time because of other duties.  Instead, during the campers’ swimming time that followed, I was able to get an hour of rest, sometimes even sleep.  Recharging my battery is very important.  How can I help others if my own battery is running dead?

  1. Me Time: Creativity

“We were created by a Creator to be creative” was our camp theme this year.  During the day, I was able to get my camera out and practice using it.  I was able to doodle in my notepad.  I was able to write out thoughts.  I was allowing God to speak to me through my gift of creativity.

  1. Greater Good

I think the most important part of the camp week was that I was focused on the greater good.  I was there to serve, to lead, to show by example, to experience God and help others to experience God.  Sometimes, I feel my life has no focus, but that never happens at camp.  Maybe my camp mindset is one I should carry year-round.

camp confession 200

 

These Three Things

a goal without a plan is just a wish

I have the wool pulled over the eyes of so many friends and acquaintances.  Many of them think I am such an organized person.  If only they knew…

Oops!  I guess now they do.

I do seem fairly organized, and this appearance is because I make use of many, many tricks to help me remember what I need to do, when I need to do it, what I need to do it, with whom I am doing it, and where it all is done.  I am most definitely a List Lady, and that helps tremendously.

I also employ a tactic that I call These Three Things.  Each evening as a part of my routine, I write down three things to be accomplished the next day.  I usually try to make sure they are not the ordinary and everyday tasks I do anyway, such as making the bed or fixing supper, although these can be perfectly acceptable for someone just getting started or if you know you will have a rough or difficult day ahead.

These are my These Three Things lists from four separate days.

These three things

Sometimes the items on my list are easy, such as a reminder of a meeting or a class that is not part of my usual schedule.  Sometimes, it is a more involved task, such as when I planned to rearrange my basement playroom/rec room.  That spanned several days and was rather intensive in both the planning and implementing stages.  That brings me to a very important point I want to make:

If you do not accomplish all three tasks, you have not failed!

Use this list as a tool, not as handcuffs.  Circumstances happen.  You can see that purging and putting away my shoes is on three out of the four samples above.  Sometimes it is because I didn’t get it done.  Sometimes (probably most of the time), it is a recurring situation.  Sometimes, it is because the task is something I know that I can easily get done.

*****************

I leave you with wise words from Winnie-the-Pooh.

organizing

17 Easter Basket Fillers That Are Not Food!

Let’s face it.  Children today have waaaaay more sugar in their daily diets than is healthy. Here are some non-food fun items to replace the candy:

  1. Books.  Can you ever have too many books?  (Rhetorical question: of course, the answer is no.) Story of Jesus
  2. Sticker books.
  3. Bubbles.  I found these carrot-shaped bubble necklaces at Dollar Tree®.  Carrot bubbles
  4. Frisbees.
  5. Play-Doh®.  I found these at Target®.  Play Doh
  6. Jewelry
  7. Bouncy balls are always fun, whatever the size, shape, color, special characteristics.  These light up and bounce in crazy directions, from Dollar Tree®.  bouncy balls
  8. Kites.
  9. Silly putty or silly slime.  I found these at Target®.  silly slime
  10. Jump ropes.
  11. Small action figures from favorite cartoons or movies.  Paw Patrol is a favorite with my littles, from Dollar Tree®.  Paw patrol
  12. Socks.  I give socks whenever I can since they seem to frequently run away.  Put them in a fun Easter egg!  These socks and egg are from Dollar Tree®.  Easter egg socks
  13. Stuffed animals.  Stuffed bunny
  14. Fancy pencils, pens, or markers.
  15. Crayons can be found in different shapes, and are great when paired with a coloring book.
  16. Chalk.  In egg shapes, obviously.  Chalk
  17. Sunglasses, for the bright sunny spring days ahead.

 

Many, if not all, of these items can be found at dollar stores and in dollar bins, including the baskets.  Considering I have nine+ baskets to create, I need all of the help and ideas I can get!

Easter baskets

What do you put in your Easter baskets?

Top Treasure Hunting Tips

Goodwill Outlet

Goodwill Outlet Stores are like an Adventure Land to me.  I never know what fantastic finds I will discover!

Here are a few of my trophies from my last shopping trip.  Total cost?  $42.09!

drying rack

toys

globe armillary

guitar and wine carrier

ice cream churn

 

TIPS FOR YOUR TREASURE HUNT

  1. Take and wear gloves. Gardening gloves, work gloves, vinyl gloves – any type that are durable and comfortable for you to wear are best.  Winter gloves (knit or crochet), thin fabric gloves, or thin latex and or plastic gloves are not recommended since they will tear easily or allow “stuff” to get through to your skin.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes. This is not a quick in and quick out shopping trip.  It is more of an adventure or safari.  You will spend a lot of time on your feet.  Wear shoes with adequate support and cushioning that do not have open toes (safety).
  3. Wear comfortable clothes. Again, this is not an instant gratification stop-and-shop.  Be sure that your outfit is one that you don’t mind getting dirty.  Also, be sure that you have a front pocket in which to keep your cash/cards, phone, car keys, and so on.  DO NOT leave your purse in a cart!  Better yet, don’t take your purse in the store at all.
  4. Be aware of your cart and your surroundings. I have had a fantastic find taken away by someone that shopped out of my cart!  You will encounter very kind and well-mannered people, and you will encounter others that will snatch your treasure right out from under your nose, right out of your hand, or right out of your cart.
  5. Take a friend. Almost everything is more fun when you have a companion.  If you know each other’s favorite things, specific “on the prowl” items, or needs for work/play, you tend to find more great stuff!
  6. If you know there is a possibility of purchasing a large item, like a chair or table, arrange to drive a vehicle large enough to transport the item home. The store will not hold items for you until you can return with appropriate transportation.
  7. Have fun! This is the most important tip of all.  If it isn’t fun for you, don’t do it.  A proper mindset is invaluable for this type of shopping.  Treat it as a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt.  Some days you could come away with absolutely nothing.  Other days, you have a massive haul of goodies.  Either way, do it for the adventure and not for the shopping list.
  8. *BONUS* When you do discover a fabulous find, share photos with your friends!

THE BEST PART

receipt

I have some favorite finds that go into my cart immediately!  These include: wooden blocks or wooden toys in almost any condition; globes; clocks; doilies and lace pieces; balls (solid or inflated – it is too much trouble trying to find out if a ball is just flat or has a puncture); Fisher-Price Little People; wooden train track parts; baby dolls in good condition (cleanable); picture frames; craft supplies; stuffed animals in decent condition (I can sew and don’t mind mending); Matchbox/Hotwheels vehicles: and baskets in good condition.

I urge you to give Goodwill Outlet shopping a try.  If you don’t like it, you don’t have to go back.  But if you do like it, you will be hooked!

TMI? Top Ten Toilet Tips

toilet tips

  1. Make extra rolls of toilet tissue available and easy to find in every bathroom. No one, especially a guest in your home, wants to let everyone know when they are in need of this commodity.
  2. Have flushable wipes handy, also. A number two clean-up is sometimes not so effortless, especially for the elderly, the ill or disabled, or the young ones.
  3. Supply an air freshener of some sort. A candle and matches are not necessarily the safest offering.  Friends swear by a product called Poo~Pourri.
  4. Keep small supplies of sanitary necessities nearby for your lady friends. Some brands of these products carry variety packs with different sizes to cover most needs.
  5. Place a pack of disposal baggies near the sanitary supplies. This will help cut down on “accidental” flushes down the toilet of said items, thereby cutting down on plumber’s visits.
  6. Locate a small lined wastebasket within reach of the throne. See previous item.
  7. Establish a location for a plunger near each toilet. See item one.
  8. Invest in a self-closing toilet seat and lid set. No more smashed fingers and other “extremities” for the little ones, and no more jarred nerves from the slamming of the lid.
  9. In addition, change to a high-rise toilet, especially in the master bath. White toilets never really go out of fashion and rarely wear out from use.  Our bodies, on the other hand, do age and sometimes become difficult to manage.  Take care of your future self by preparing now.
  10. Make the bathroom a pleasant place to pass time, among other things. On average, by the time one is eighty years old, we have spent nearly three years using the facilities, not including showering and hand-washing.  There is no reason it cannot be beautiful!

*Bathroom Bonus*

King George V

Rethinking Thankfulness

For the past few years, I have noticed a trend of people posting thankfulness posts on Facebook in November.  One thing is named each of the thirty days in November for which the writer is thankful, from having a good job to living in a warm home to enjoying the company of many friends.  I have nothing against this practice.  In fact, I am delighted that so many take the time to count their blessings, even if it is mostly just for the month and is usually seen as a challenge instead of an act of true gratefulness.

I propose a twist to this practice.  What if each of us still express our appreciation for our blessings in a more tangible way?  As my friend Kevin states, “Faith on your fanny is useless.  It’s faith with feet that matters!”  How about professing our gratitude with action in addition to our words?

Are you wondering how this could work?

What can I do

How about:

I am thankful for the home I live in and the comforts it contains.

Express your thankfulness by preparing some “Blessing Bags” to distribute to someone who doesn’t have a home with or without its comforts.

I am thankful for my place of employment, a great supervisor, and wonderful co-workers.

Show your co-workers and your supervisor recognition by bringing in some baked goods or other treats to share during breaks.

I am thankful for my children and family.

Help out a single parent by offering a baby break while he or she gets a little “Me time.”  Sometimes just a trip to the grocery store without littles means so much!

I am thankful for food on my table, in my cabinets, and refrigerator, and the ability to get more whenever I need or want.

Volunteer in a soup kitchen or a hot meal line.  Remember, these places and people can use volunteers year round, not just at the holidays.

I am thankful that my children get to participate in various programs, such as soccer, dance, music, basketball, and so on and son (and so on)…

These programs can always use support, in helping to teach or coach, in providing snacks or meals, in monetary support (besides fees), and in word-of-mouth advertising and appreciative words of praise.  Talk to program to see how you can help out.

I am thankful that my children or grandchildren have toys to play with.

Sort through the children’s toys and donate some that are in excellent shape with a distribution center for the less fortunate.  Some locations here in Indiana are found at Indy With Kids .  A personal favorite of mine is located in Lawrence County and is called Santa Joe

I am thankful for my health, whether it is fabulous or fatigued.

Monetary donations are always appreciated by many health organizations, but there are other ways to help.  Volunteer, participate in a fundraiser, spread the word about the services provided – sometimes it takes no money to make a big donation toward a worthy cause!

blessings

These are just a few ideas to get you kick-started on your own campaign of thankfulness!  Share your own ideas in the comments below.  I am thankful for my readers!