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Monthly Recap – March

Whew! March was jam packed! I feel very accomplished and I’m proud to say that I got a lot done, but I’m looking forward to a less busy month. 🙂 Once again, I’m linking up with The Lady Okie and her Project 12 posts. Find how my March panned out below:

30 for 30 Progress: As I mentioned in my previous Monthly Recaps, SpringNightthere are a few items on my 30 for 30 List that I will be working on throughout the year. I made headway on a few projects this month and I’m excited to see more of my list completed! I made progress on making our office more functional (#3), I got my 401k paperwork finally taken care of (#16), I finally got a cleaning schedule nailed down (#22), and we got Pepper enrolled in training (#21)! I also started a Spoonflower Shop and entered my first contest. Even though I didn’t win, it was fun to design something based around a challenge and to be part of a creative community again. I also had two sales during the month of March! I’m hoping to add more designs to my shop in the future.
150316-MM-Day16My biggest 30 for 30 List accomplishment this month was tackling the 31 Day Purge Project from A Bowl Full of Lemons. I adapted the Spending Freeze idea from Living Well, Spending Less and incorporated it into our March project, creating my own March Makeover. It was a challenge, but it feels so good to have a decluttered and organized home! It was also really eye-opening to see how we could get through a month without having to spend money on everything. It allowed us to focus on saving and helped us stay on the same page financially! You can find out how the project went by clicking here and looking up the hashtag #MarchMakeover15PO on Instagram.

Books Read: I am so behind, it’s not even funny! No reading was done in the midst of all the productivity…

Fitness: As of this post, I’ve lost 8 pounds since I started my fitness plan in February! (YAY!) I am starting to see a noticeable difference in how my clothes fit and what I see in the mirror, plus I have more energy. It’s not as noticeable to others at this point, but it’s encouraging to see a difference. I created a separate page to track my progress here.
FitbitI also got a Fitbit! It’s been motivating to try and get all of my steps in, to track my quality of sleep, and to see that just by being more active in the day, I’m burning calories! And before you think that this Fitbit was going outside of our Spending Freeze, I was able to get a very good deal, we discussed it, and we decided it would be a good purchase!
My Fitbit syncs with both MyFitnessPal and GymPact. I’ve mentioned MyFitnessPal before in previous fitness posts, but I’ve started using GymPact which is an app that lets you earn money for working out and logging your food. I mentioned GymPact in my most recent fitness update. You can link the app with your other fitness apps and devices and set goals for yourself. When you complete or meet your goals (your pact) for the week, you earn cash that can be transferred to your PayPal account. If you miss a workout or don’t complete your pact, you have to pay. Needless to say, that’s pretty motivating to stay on track. I’ve been using it for about 3 weeks and have earned nearly $5. I know that’s not much, but it’s better than nothing and better than paying $5 for a missed workout!

Travel: No trips this month. 😦

Watched: Ever since Friends came on Netflix in January, we’ve been watching it non-stop. We finally finished the series! It was bittersweet, but it was fun and I have a feeling it will be another show for us, like the Office, that we just watch over and over again…
150325-MM-Day25We also had a movie night at home as a family and enjoyed watching Mockingjay. Jonathan and I both agree that it’s the best movie in the series so far. We were in suspense the whole time we watched it in theaters and it was just as enjoyable at home, along with all the behind the scenes footage.
My sister and I are huge fans of Pretty Little Liars, so when the season finale aired this month, we were glued to the TV. While I know a lot of PLL fans were disappointed with the season finale (no spoilers here), personally I thought that it was one of if not the best episode of the show to date! There were answers but also so many more questions and I can’t wait to see how they answer them in the upcoming season! Any other PLL fans out there?

Listened: I discovered two excellent podcasts this month! The Accidental Creative is really good and though provoking for professional creatives. But it’s also applicable to others in cop orate careers. My favorite episode for the month was “The Power of a Morning Ritual.” I was encouraged to establish a more consistent morning routine and hopefully I’ll be able to implement one soon.
The other podcast is great for when you need a laugh… Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids is hilarious! Based out of Canada, they hold open mic nights and encourage adults to bring their diaries, journals, letters, etc. from when they were kids. Some of the entries are adorable, most are really funny, some are deeper than they originally appear. Overall, it’s always a fun listen.

Family Moments: We survived a few little earthquakes (one big one that jolted both Pepper and I) and our first tornado of the season. We were only in the tornado warning zone, but it still makes me a bit anxious, so I was thankful that hubby was home at the time. Pepper slept through the entire thing…
We got Pepper enrolled in training this month! So far, she’s the only one in her class due to a schedule mix up, but she’s learning and catching on. She loves going to “school” as we like to call it and gets so excited when we drive up to the building. We’re working on loose leash walking, sit, wait, leave it, etc. The loose leash walking is the most challenging, but I’m glad we’re seeing a little progress there. It gives me some hope that in addition to being the sweet puppy she is, she can be an obedient puppy too. 😉

This Made My Day: I finished up my first sketchbook for the year! If you follow me on Instagram, you can see me post a daily sketch and since we’re almost 100 days into the year, I ran out of paper in my first sketchbook and had to start a new one! It’s been really neat to go back through and look at the sketches I made at the start of the year. I can’t wait to look through all of them at the end of the year and see how my style and technique has progressed!

Monthly Moral: With the March Makeover, I learned a lot about “stuff” and how much of it we don’t really need. I found so many things that were just that, “things” and were taking up space both physically and mentally. I had to work on letting go of things that I no longer needed and really didn’t serve a purpose anymore. I was reminded of how much of a sentimental pack rat I am. But once I started seeing the extra space that was starting to be created and realizing what I actually used, I was able to let go a lot easier and feel like I could breathe! I think I’m going to have to purge clutter periodically from our home and from my life.
I also realized that we can live on less. I went grocery and general shopping once. That’s ONE Target trip for the month! But we made it and we weren’t deprived or in desperate need for anything, plus we were able to save the extra money we would have spent frivolously. I don’t think we should try to live in a Spending Freeze all the time, but it honestly doesn’t hurt to do it every once in a while.

I’m excited to see what April has in store! How was your March?

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March Makeover – Week 4 & the Final Progress Recap!

Since the last week and a half of March got a bit crazy, I decided to combine the Week 4 Progress Recap and the last few days of the March Makeover together into one final recap. I’ll be honest, this last stretch of the Makeover was a challenge because we had a few extra things going on, so my days felt overly full. But it finally feels so good to have a purged and organized home! I’m glad to have done this project, however I’m thankful to have a little more time in my day now… #feelingaccomplished

So let’s see how the last week panned out:

3/22: Sell or donate your extra stuff // Purge bedding and linens
Since we’re hoping to have a garage sale next month, I didn’t sell or donate anything yet.
I was so glad to go through all of our linens and towels! Our towels weren’t too crazy, but all of our sheets, blankets, and other linens were all over the place and mostly in big plastic storage tubs under our window in our bedroom. They’d been sitting there since we had moved into our house over a year ago because I hadn’t found a place for them… So, I did a little reorganizing and used a hamper that I had bought a few months before from Hobby Lobby during a sale to store all of our blankets. I moved all of our sheets into our bench at the end of our bed and was able to put the remaining linens in our linen closet in the hall. I love that everything has a place and we don’t look like we’re still unpacking in our bedroom. Plus, it’s nice to have more walking space on my side of the bed…

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3/23: Purge and organize wrapping paper and stationery
I have a confession, I’m one of those people that keeps all of the tissue paper I receive during Christmas, birthdays, and any other gift giving ordeal. But then, I tend to buy more wrapping supplies because I both forget about the saved tissue paper and I like to create a cohesive wrapping look when I’m giving a gift. Therefore, I have a ton of wrapping supplies! So, I went through all of them, since they’d been stashed in my office closet and there was no way to make heads or tails of them if I needed to put together a gift for someone in a pinch. I went through everything and organized all the tissue paper, all the gift bags, all the gift tags and embellishments, along with ribbons, bows, boxes, you name it, I’ve probably got it! I got everything all sorted into neat bins and boxes. I decided to store all of my gift bags in a crate and use hanging folders to divide them into categories (Christmas, birthday, wedding, etc.…) so that they would be easier to find. I used another storage box with hanging folders to organize all of my tissue paper. The lid of this storage box has space for gift tags, embellishments, and few other gift wrapping essentials. I stacked it all neatly back in my closet, but I’m hoping to find some shelving that can fit in that spot so I can access it a little easier. But at least for now, it won’t all tumble out!

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3/24: Enjoy some free activities with the family // Purge and organize pet stuff
On day 24, I worked on organizing all of Pepper’s stuff. We store most of her things in our back bonus room by the back door. We have a small shelf that’s pretty much just filled with her food, treats, toys, collars, meds, etc. After going through everything, I had been hoping to be able to fit everything all neatly in just the little shelf, but unfortunately, the shelf was too little, even after I’d tossed out chewed up toys, empty treat boxes, and other things that needed to go. But most of it fits in the shelf and now it’s not all jumbled up various in a bins that you have to dig through. We used a bin in the living room to store her toys, since the living room is the main room she likes to play in, plus keeping everything in a bin on the floor makes it easy clean up for me and easy access for her. She decided to “help” me clean up the living room after I’d put up her toys…by taking them all out again. *sigh*
Our other task for the day was to enjoy a “free” family activity together. Though we didn’t go out and do anything overly active, we did enjoy some relaxing family time on the couch and finished up the last season of Friends. It was so nice to just chill out and enjoy time together. Now we need suggestions on another show to binge watch on Netflix! 🙂

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3/25: Have a “free” date night // Purge mudroom/laundry room
My laundry room is pretty small, so this project didn’t take too long… I mostly just needed to clear out some cluttery hangers and tidy up a few areas. I’m hoping to eventually add in a shelf over my dryer so that I have a little more storage space. So this task was pretty simple!
That night, we enjoyed a free date night at home by eating some leftover pizza, popping some popcorn, and watching the Mockingjay movie.

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3/26: Purge e-mail subscriptions Purge nightstands
Ok, this day was just too busy to start on purging my email subscriptions, so I opted for a more doable task. I swapped these two days since time got away from me. My husband’s nightstand is pretty much always neat and tidy, because that’s just how he is. I, on the other hand, seem to somehow collect all these random things that just turn into a huge pile on my side of the bed… Amongst all the random stuff, I ended up finding most of my missing hair ties, eight (yes, 8!) lotions, a stack of books, four pens, and a pair of winter gloves! Needless to say, I didn’t need all of that to be by my side at night, so I paired down everything and now it all is neat and tidy. Far more relaxing and calming, no longer cluttered and chaotic. *ahhh*

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3/27: Purge DVDs
This was a pretty easy day! I only ended up tossing out one movie and one TV series. I did a massive purge of all of our movies and TV seasons last year because we thought we were going to have a garage sale that ended up falling through. We donated all of the movies and TV shows that we didn’t want any more, so there really wasn’t anything else to get rid of. We still have quite a few DVDs and BluRays, but we really enjoy the ones we held onto. We love movies in this house!

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3/28: Week 4 Progress Recap // Purge nightstands Purge email subscriptions
So this was a doozy! This post, I actually posted to Instagram before I finished. I had to break this task up into two days and I was just purging subscriptions, I’ll have to organize and migrate my emails later… Between the five email addresses I use (yes, five…I need to fix that) I had so many email subscription lists I’d gotten on. I would wake up to about 30-40 emails on average everyday and get even more throughout the day. After I finished up this project (the following day, because it just took too long to do in one day), I noticed my email inbox was receiving less than half of what it had been getting before. Now I just get emails that I actually want to read.

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3/29: Re-assess budget // Purge junk drawer
This day’s task was to purge the junk drawer. Our junk drawer resides in our kitchen and tends to become a catch all over time. Since I’ve been organizing other parts of the house with all of the other daily projects, I was able to relocate a few items that I’d been keeping in the junk drawer. That helped free up a little space in the drawer, so nothing got buried and now we can find those random necessary items easily.
I actually didn’t re-assess our budget on this day, since I knew we would be discussing our budget later on on our planning date.

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3/30: Planning date for April and discuss upcoming goals, events, or projects
// Purge under the kitchen sink
Our planning date actually ended up happening on April 1st, since that was the first day that we were both free to go out and talk through everything.
The purge project for the day was to go through everything that was under the kitchen sink. As I mentioned on Instagram, this is probably one of my least favorite places in our house. The lack of practical storage space and the visit of a mouse within our first year of living in our home made me want to only open up the cabinet door when I absolutely need to. I just try to avoid this space as much as I can (I just don’t like it). But since I needed to organize this area, I rolled up my sleeves and tackled it. I was able to toss out some old dried out cleaners and make some space in the one bin that I keep under there for cleaners and sponges. Now it makes it easier to find what I need quickly. 🙂

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3/31 & 4/1: Celebrate date! // Purge garage
I’m telling you, this last week of this project, just kept hitting some snags! On the LAST DAY of the purge, we ended up running into weather issues. I had to clean up the garage, but it was a hot humid day during the day and then it turned into “a dark and stormy night,” literally! We had hail and strong winds coming in all over the state, plus I ended up having an intense migraine. So this task ended up having to be pushed to the next day (no fooling *wink).
The next day, we had better weather. Thankfully, since we’ve only been in this house for almost two years, we really haven’t accumulated too much stuff yet, which is how we want to keep it! Our goal is to keep our garage clear enough to easily fit both of our cars inside. I was able to rearrange a few boxes and put up some stuff that had been sitting out, so now we can walk around a little easier and it’s less cluttered.
We didn’t end up doing an exclusively celebratory date, but we did do our planning date today while enjoying some coffee. 😉

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And now it’s FINALLY done! I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to have an organized and de-cluttered home! I have such a sense of accomplishment. I had hoped to stick to all 31 days of this project and even though it got a little rough toward the end, I’m glad I finished it out. I think it would be good to do this kind of thing every so often, since life happens and stuff gets stuffed all over the house. Overall, it’s been a really good learning experience.

And now, it’s time to relax a little! 🙂

March Makeover – Week 3 Progress Recap!

We made it halfway through March! This was another busy and productive week. Even though this week, most of these projects didn’t get done or posted on Instagram before midnight each night, the perfectionist in me is learning to give myself grace and not beat myself up about it. To be honest, my day doesn’t end at midnight…but it also doesn’t start until about lunchtime. 🙂 #LEOlife #paralleluniverse  So here’s how the week panned out:

3/15: Downsize clothing and put away for seasonal storage if necessary // Purge purses and handbags
I had already gone through my clothing and somewhat downsized it and organized it, so the seasonal storage wasn’t really necessary this go round. So, I focused on going through all of my purses and handbags. I ended up having about seven to give away and the rest I was able to organize and store neatly in my closet. I didn’t take a picture of how they really looked in my closet beforehand, but let’s just say all of my purses now are up off the floor and easily accessible. I’m working on a “What’s In My Bag?” post coming soon, so stay tuned!

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3/16: Get crafty and make something useful (instead of buying home decor, make it!) // Purge board games and candles
This was quite the fragrant day! I discovered that all together, I had 71 candles stashed around my house. SEVENTY-ONE! I had apparently been collecting a stockpile from all my Bath & Body Works sales shopping… I was able to whittle my collection down and sort out the half burned and never burned candles. I tossed out the used up candles (except for one or two, which you’ll see why further down in the post) and now can easily store all of my candles to use. I think I’ll need to put myself on a candle spending freeze at least until I can get through most of these… *Goes and lights a candle 😉
I also went through all of our board games, puzzles, and playing cards. I had forgotten how many fun group games we had! We’re going to have to schedule some game nights with some friends soon. 🙂

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3/17: Finish useful craft project // Purge desk
Since I’ve been slowly working on our home office, thankfully this day wasn’t too bad. I was able to get our desk cleared off, organized, and clean for hubby to use while he studies or for when I do any paperwork.
I also finished up the useful home decor project I had started the day before. I made a cleaning chart to use throughout the week. Using a photo frame that I already had, I wrote the daily and weekly cleaning tasks on some blank stationery and framed it. I use an Expo marker to mark off tasks for each day and can wipe them off to use over and over. I hung it our hallway so it’s not just out where everyone can see, but still where I’ll see it everyday as I do stuff around the house!

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3/18: Recycle by finding new uses for old things // Purge bills
This task took a while, but it’s FINALLY done! All of my filing is finally finished! This is a big deal for me, because I’ve been trying to get through our combined files since we got married (four years ago), but with our busy schedules and when I worked outside the home, I wasn’t able to get it all done. It feels so nice to be able to find paperwork whenever we need it. I know, I sound like a nerd, but there’s just something about having things in order that let’s me be able to relax and have peace of mind – especially around tax season!
I found a new use for some of those old used up candles I went through earlier in the week! I cleaned out the wax and took off the labels to use the glass canister for a cotton pad storage solution in our bathroom. At first I wasn’t sure how to best clean the wax out, but after a little research, I followed Ingrid Nilsen‘s method. You can check out her video here. Her channel is pretty upbeat and fun to watch too, if you every need a bright and cheery pick me up for the day! I’m thinking I may need to make some makeup brush holders like she made in her video sometime…
P.S. Mahogany Teakwood candles from Bath & Body Works are probably the best candle scent in the world, in my opinion! Jonathan thinks they smell like the mall…but that’s fine with me! 😉

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3/19: Purge nail polish
Thursday’s task was to go through all my nail polish… Now, for a person who only consistently wears nail polish on her toes, I don’t know how I ended up with this much nail polish! Looks like I need to start giving myself a manicure every now and then. I was able to weed out a few colors that just weren’t my style, but I still ended up with quite a few colors. I store all of my polishes in a drawer, since that’s the most convenient place for me, so a while back I had come up with the idea to use a q-tip to paint the tops of all my polishes the color that was in the bottle so I could see colors easier without having to go through every single shade to find the one I was looking for… I have a few stragglers that I need to do this to, but overall, it’s been a very helpful little trick.
What’s your favorite nail color for spring?

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3/20: Purge spices
Did you know spices expire? Apparently I didn’t… I went through all of my spices and found several had to be tossed because they had expired or lost their taste. After a little research, I learned that on average, ground spices only last about 3-4 years, of course it ultimately depends on the spice and whether it’s ground or whole. I was able to pair down quite a few spices and figure out what I really use and need to replace. I also had been storing my spices on two separate sides of my kitchen, so with a little rearranging, I was able to get all of my spices in a more convenient area for when I’m cooking. Now I just need to go through my recipes and spice things up a bit… 😉 Here’s a handy link for how long kitchen spices typically last

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3/21: Week 3 Progress Recap // Purge tupperware
Tada! We’ve reached today’s task. Today was pretty easy, I didn’t need to throw anything out and just had to rearrange a few things. I honestly don’t use plasticware all that much, since I rarely cook large meals that require leftovers. Plus, I personally don’t like leftovers, I know, I’m weird. But for the times that we do end up with leftovers or need to bring a dish to a family or holiday function, I love these Lock & Lock plasticware pieces! My husband’s sweet grandmother has been helping me build a nice collection of these sturdy containers and they are the best I’ve ever used!

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All in all, this was a pretty productive week, but not too overwhelming. My house is feeling cleaner and I feel like I’m able to find things a lot easier. I’m being reminded of how blessed we are and despite our spending freeze, I’m finding that there’s not much that we truly need to buy. I’m hoping we can keep up this momentum of living on less, both financially and with all of our “stuff.”

How was your week?
Random question for this week:
What is your favorite flower to plant in your front yard and why? I’m wanting to gather ideas… 😉

March Makeover – Week 2 Progress Recap!

Week 2 down and another busy week! I love how my house is shaping up and getting more organized. If you follow my Instagram, you’ve already seen everything that got done with week, but let’s break it down:

3/8: Create a spring cleaning plan // Purge cleaning products
I wrote up a daily and weekly cleaning plan and have been trying to stick to it everyday. So far, I’ve been able to do the weekly plan, but the daily tasks are a challenge to build into a habit right now. I’ll still keep working on it. Ideally, if I can do the daily and weekly tasks, my house should stay clean and I’ll be able to work in spring cleaning all year round. By the way, since it’s not pictured, the daily tasks I wrote up are: wash dishes, wipe down counters, tidy rooms, make bed, and sort/file mail.
I went through all of our cleaning products and I shouldn’t have to buy any cleaning supplies for about 4-6 months! Seriously, I have plenty of Windex! I was able to get it all wrangled despite a 4.0 earthquake coming through in the middle of my organizing. No joke! Oklahoma’s got it all, we have been having earthquakes for the last few years. Pepper is still getting used to the rumbling, so when it came through, we both jolted and she jumped in my lap and would not move for a while…

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3/9: Spring cleaning day // Purge shoes
I started implementing the cleaning day, since it should keep our house spring cleaned year round with daily application.
Since it was my hubby’s day off, we both went through our shoes. His shoe purge was much faster than mine…He only had one pair of shoes he didn’t want or war anymore. 😉 I was able to go through all my shoes and together, hubby and I were able to donate 13 pairs of shoes. I now have my shoes fitting all neatly in my shoe rack and not all piled up. Now I’ll just need to restrain myself from buying new shoes. I love shoes!

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3/10: Clean and organize bonus rooms (we don’t currently have kids,
so we have bonus rooms) // Purge/clean out cars
Thankfully our bonus rooms were already pretty organized and cleaned up. We organized our dining/bonus room when we painted it. Hubby’s man cave is his space, so I decided to leave it alone. He has his all of his stuff in his room where he can find it and the way he likes it.
So I focused my energy on my car! I wish I had been able to take it through a car wash too, but I decided since we were on a spending freeze, I’d wait for rain to come later in the forecast. I cleaned out all the extra stuff and trash in my car. Now my glove boxes are actually helpful instead of a scary place to open up and try to find something. I vacuumed the carpets, wiped down everything, and even broke out the glass cleaner to clean off Pepper’s window art in the back seat. 😉 It feels like a new car!

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3/11: Organize master bedroom closets // Purge master closets
It was still our weekend with hubby being off work, so we went through both of our master closets. He started on his closet before I did, so I missed the “before” picture. But, between the two of us, we were able to clear out a good sized stack of clothes to donate. I mentioned my hanger method on Instagram. Basically, I hang all of my clothes on hangers backwards at the beginning of a season or after a big clear out. As I wear clothes throughout the season, I hang up the clothes on hanger facing the normal way. Then, after a few months when I’m ready to go through my clothes again, I can tell what I’ve wore and what I haven’t. This makes it easy to decide what I need to maybe toss out or if I should try it on to see if still fits, etc.

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3/12: Organize bathrooms // Purge bathroom cabinets
We have two bathrooms in our house, but the master bathroom cabinets took the longest. In our guest bathroom, we use the cabinet mostly for storage, so it was pretty easy. I went through our master bathroom and went through all of our products and got them organized. I still have plenty of hair products even after throwing out old half empty ones that needed to go. I’m realizing that I have a beauty product buying problem. I have plenty to go through and will need to learn to use up what I have before buying more. Wish me luck, it’s going to be hard! …Maybe I need to put myself on a beauty spending freeze in the future?

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3/13: Purge medicine cabinets
This task was pretty simple, since a while back, I had already purchased some little office organizing drawers to keep medications and first aid supplies in. I mostly went through all of our medicines and tossed the expired ones. I put like things together and got everything back in the cabinet in an orderly fashion. Now we can find what we need when someone’s under the weather!

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3/14: Week 2 Progress Recap // Purge books
Tada! Week two is now done! Today, I purged our books, which was not as hard as I thought it would be, but I still had to resist the urge to begin cataloging all of our books and creating my own version of a Dewey decimal system… I love our books and I feel like when you get rid of a book, you get rid of a friend sometimes. But decided to I step back and try to think with each book I picked up, a) Have I read this and was it good? b) Would I read it again or do I want to read it? Is it useful for future reference? c) I don’t want to read this and I don’t see a future use for it… That kind of thinking helped pull things into perspective a little better. After going through all of our books, I put them into general categories. Now, we have two boxes full of books we can give away!

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So this week was a success, thankfully! How did your week go?

March Makeover – Week 1 Progress Recap!

Sorry for the late post, but today was bananas… Holy wow! One week down. This week was quick and full, but mostly full! It’s been amazing to see the progress this week. I’m really liking the idea of tackling the huge task of decluttering and organizing my house in bite size daily tasks. I’ve been posting a daily picture of my progress throughout the week on my Instagram. Feel free to follow me if you want to see daily updates. I’m using the hashtag #MarchMakeover15PO on all my posts, if you want to find them quickly. Here’s how this week went:

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3/1: Create a Spending Freeze plan for ourselves and define essentials // Purge magazines and catalogs
We discussed our spending needs for this month and wrote down what spending was allowed and what was necessary. It’s been a little bit of a challenge to remember that we’re not spending extra money this month since I like to shop here and there, but it’s also been nice in a way, because I don’t have to worry that we might be spending too much money. I’ve also been staying too busy to go shopping!
Purging my magazines was an eye opening day for me. I didn’t realize that I’ve had 357 magazines stacked around my house for the last few years… I paired down my stacks to only reference magazines (I’m a graphic designer and kept the design magazines that had good articles, inspiration, and tutorials) and the ones I’d like to read from the last six months. But, I threw away 188 POUNDS of magazines and catalogs!

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3/2: Organize pantry and begin brainstorming meals // Purge pantry
I was pleasantly surprised that we threw away less expired food than I thought we would. We’ve actually been eating up what we buy pretty well without having too much left over to expire. But at least now everything is organized, we can find what we’re looking for easily and we know what we have on hand for meals.

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3/3: Begin meal planning based on food in stock // Purge fridge
This task was similar to the pantry. We hardly threw out any food thankfully! It was nice to take the time to deep clean our fridge and put everything back in a more organized way. I didn’t break down a meal plan for the whole month, but just for this week. I know that I will need to make a grocery trip next week, so I’m going to finish the meal planning after our groceries are restocked.

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150304-MM-Day4b3/4: Eat “out” at home by creating a favorite restaurant style meal at home // Purge freezer
Just like the pantry and fridge, our freezer was in great shape too! Yay! We ate “out” at home this week and I recreated a delicious pizza that we had while visiting family last year in Denver. When we were in Denver, we found this nice pizzeria that makes coal-fire pizzas. It was a gorgeous day with beautiful weather and every time I make this pizza, I remember going to Colorado and enjoying the relaxing weather! I don’t remember the name of the pizza we ordered from Marco’s Coal-Fire Pizzeria, but I call it Pesto Pizza… Here’s my recipe:

Pesto Pizza
1 can of Pilsbury pizza dough
1/4 cup of pre-made pesto sauce (depending on how much you like pesto, you really just need enough to cover the crust)
1 cup of shredded mozzarella (or fresh mozzarella works too)
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of Italian seasoning
Crushed black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp of Pine nuts (I used slivered almonds, since I didn’t have pine nuts)
1/2-1 cup of grilled chicken strips or cubes (I used pre-cooked frozen grilled chicken)
8-10 Roma or cherry tomatoes
Parmesan cheese

Spray pizza pan with cooking spray and roll out dough. Follow the cooking instructions on the can of dough.
While dough is pre-cooking, peel garlic cloves and chop them into thin slices.
Cut tomatoes into halves.
Once dough is pre-cooked, spread pesto sauce onto crust.
Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over sauce.
Add Italian seasoning, pepper, and chopped garlic over cheese.
Add chicken and finish cooking until the crust is slightly browned and the chicken is fully cooked.
When the pizza is done cooking, add fresh tomato slices and parmesan cheese to taste before serving.
Slice, serve, and enjoy! 🙂

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3/5: Purge dresser drawers
This project took a lot longer than I planned. Our drawers were so stuffed that we couldn’t close them easily, plus I would have to fish out socks that had fallen back behind the bottom drawers… But I went through everything and threw out a lot of stuff that was too old, falling apart, or too small and now everything fits in the dresser! We can close the drawers all the way and they’re not so full that stuff will fall down into the back and get lost. It feel so nice to open the drawer and see everything all folded and neat!

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3/6: Organize home office // Purge crafting/office supplies
Realistically, I knew that organizing the home office was not going to be completed in one day. I’ve been working on our home office for the last two months, but it IS coming along and with the remaining office related tasks on this month’s makeover project, the office should be fully organized and functional by the end of this whole project! I was able to go through all of our office supplies and crafting supplies and get those wrangled into an orderly fashion. Plus, I discovered that I have somehow  ended up with three staplers… 🙂

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3/7: Week 1 Progress Recap // Purge makeup
Ok! This one was rough. Today was just too busy and I just felt like I was running out of time all day to get this one done, so I didn’t do as well on this one that I thought I would. But, even though I had to keep stopping and starting on this project all day, I finished going through all my makeup and threw out a lot of old and expired makeup and got my makeup drawer organized. Let’s just say, I don’t need to buy foundation or eyeshadow for a while!
And now you’re reading this update! 🙂

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"You have HOW MUCH makeup, mom?"

“You have HOW MUCH makeup, mom?”

Here’s to Week 2 and to continued momentum!
How was your week? Do you have any spring cleaning or organizing tips or tricks?

March Makeover | The Master Plan

Ok, buckle your seat belt, March is going to be a busy month! I decided I wanted to tackle #6 (31 Day Purge Project from A Bowl Full of Lemons) and #22 (Create a cleaning schedule and stick to it) on my 30 for 30 List this month and give our home a makeover. Now, I’m not planning on redecorating or buying tons of stuff to fill up our house, quite the opposite, actually. Think of this makeover as a detox and getting a head start on spring cleaning. In addition to wanting to downsize on the amount of “stuff” we have in our home, I’m also wanting to streamline our budget and cut down on our spending, so I decided to incorporate a spending freeze plan, based on the No-Spend Challenge from Living Well, Spending Less, into my 31 Day Purge Project. I know, it sounds like a tall order, but I plan on taking March one day at a time and it should be a productive month! I think it will also be good opportunity to simplify our life and practice contentment with what we have.

So, here’s my plan: Every day, I’m going to tackle one task from the 31 Day Purge Project and one task from the No-Spend Challenge when applicable. I’m also going to create a daily cleaning routine and test it out with our weekly schedule to make sure it fits our routine. I’ll post the final cleaning routine once I have it all ironed out (puns…I can’t resist sometimes).

You can read the full project details for both the 31 Day Purge Project and the No-Spend Challenge in the links provided, but I will give you a quick breakdown of how I plan on implementing them this month. Basically, the purge project is like a complete house decluttering. By tackling small sections of your home, you go through everything and decide what to keep, give away, throw away, sell, or donate. With the No-Spend Challenge, the goal is to not spend any money on anything other than your monthly bills, pre-planned spending (birthday gifts, medical appointments, and other planned events), essentials, with essentials meaning only the necessities. I feel like we’ve already been trying to do this somewhat so that we can begin saving aggressively, but I’m excited to see if we can save even more. I’m not planning on using the entire No-Spend Challenge, but I’ll be incorporating the items that best fit our lifestyle. I modified the schedule for both of these original plans to fit my schedule this month and have tried to keep similar tasks on the same day.

I will be posting a recap of how the week went and the progress that was made. I’ve created a schedule that I plan on following below. I’ll be posting a photo everyday on my Instagram to show the tasks I completed and using the hashtag #MarchMakeover15PO. If you want to follow along, I’d love to see your progress on Instagram and we can encourage each other. Don’t feel like you have to take on the full project if you don’t want to, just do what fits your goals, even if it’s just a day here or there. You might be surprised at what a few minutes of decluttering can do for your day! Feel free to substitute a task for something that suits your home better (for example, you may not have three dozen half used candles scattered around your home to purge like I do…eek!). Wish me luck and if you choose to follow along, you can do it!

March Makeover Overview

3/1: Create a Spending Freeze plan for ourselves and define essentials
// Purge magazines and catalogs

3/2: Organize pantry and begin brainstorming meals // Purge pantry

3/3: Begin meal planning based on food in stock // Purge fridge

3/4: Eat “out” at home by creating a favorite restaurant style meal at home // Purge freezer

3/5: Purge dresser drawers

3/6: Organize home office // Purge crafting/office supplies

3/7: Week 1 Progress Recap // Purge makeup

3/8: Create a spring cleaning plan // Purge cleaning products

3/9: Spring cleaning day // Purge shoes

3/10: Clean and organize bonus rooms (we don’t currently have kids,
so we have bonus rooms) // Purge/clean out cars

3/11: Organize master bedroom closets // Purge master closets

3/12: Organize bathrooms // Purge bathroom cabinets

3/13: Purge medicine cabinets

3/14: Week 2 Progress Recap // Purge books

3/15: Downsize clothing and put away for seasonal storage if necessary
// Purge purses and handbags

3/16: Get crafty and make something useful (instead of buying home decor, make it!)
// Purge board games and candles

3/17: Finish useful craft project // Purge desk

3/18: Recycle by finding new uses for old things // Purge bills

3/19: Purge nail polish

3/20: Purge spices

3/21: Week 3 Progress Recap // Purge tupperware

3/22: Sell or donate your extra stuff // Purge bedding and linens

3/23: Purge and organize wrapping paper and stationery

3/24: Enjoy some free activities with the family // Purge and organize pet stuff

3/25: Have a “free” date night // Purge mudroom/laundry room

3/26: Purge e-mail subscriptions

3/27: Purge DVDs

3/28: Week 4 Progress Recap // Purge nightstands

3/29: Re-assess budget // Purge junk drawer

3/30: Planning date for April and discuss upcoming goals, events, or projects
// Purge under the kitchen sink

3/31: Celebrate date! // Purge garage

What day are you most excited to do or see completed?