Are you living in what Marla Scilly, aka The Fly Lady, calls CHAOS? (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). Well then, join the club there are thousands, perhaps even millions of us!

I have struggled with organization in almost every area of my life for, well, my entire life. By starting this blog I hope to encourage others that they too can get and stay organized!

While it will probably embarrass my children for me to air the dirty laundry here, in full color photos, if it helps just one person along their own journey to getting organized and staying that way, it will have been worth it!

Friday, August 19, 2011


Have arrived in Italy and all is well; trying to catch up my posts. I will probably put all the details over on my Art Blog if you want to get the details!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Packing For Italy!

Well, packing for my vacation to Italy. Whenever I'm getting ready for a long trip I  make a list of every single thing I can think of that I might need. Then I begin gathering the things up and checking them.

I used to make long trips to sell things at events. For those I actually had two lists. Everything personal that I needed including my menu and food lists and then another one of all the things I would need for my booth. As I collected the items up I would make a check mark next to them. Then after I actually packed them into the van or trailer I drew a line threw them. That way I knew if the things had actually made it into the vehicle or not.

As I collect things on my list I make another list of things I need to buy. After I come home from shopping and actually pack them, I cross them off my first list.  My mother traveled so much and stayed in various places when my dad was in the hospitals with his cancer and heart problems she made a printed list on her computer of all her personal items that they needed, especially their medications. Then she could revise it and print it out when she needed it.

I probably won't need the little suitcase in the picture as it looks like everything is going to fit into the big one. I'm just hoping I won't be over weight when I get to the airport as that is very costly.

Mom has an organizer like this and it is very handy when you are traveling, to have your make up and toiletries all together in one place. However, do not put it into your carry on luggage. They have very specific rules about bottles and tubes of creams and liquids in your carry on. It should be fine in your checked baggage, but the rules are always changing so it is a good idea to check with your airline before hand.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

More Hard Rock Labor

Well this week I have worked hard to finish off the four bags of cement I bought, because I really didn't want to bring them in the house and don't have any dry storage outdoors at the moment. So early and late I have worked on the stone retaining walls in the creek bottom. I've finally mixed up the last batch of cement before I go on vacation and now I can concentrate on other things, like decluttering and housekeeping!

When I come home from vacation I will continue on the wall work. I need to bring the wall above the culvert up about 12 inches above the road bed. Then I will continue the wall at that height for a distance up the creek bottom to prevent wash outs. In the area just to the right of the wall in the picture I will put in an overflow area to direct any water to the other side of the crossing and down into the creek in the event that the water ever tops the walls.  When my son first proposed the scheme I don't think he realized how high maintenance these culverts would be. We will have to clean out the debris from in front of them every time there are heavy rains, to keep things moving.

In the meantime I am becoming more and more excited about building my own house of stone. But I think I will begin with something smaller, like a chicken coop combined with a green house. Lots of ideas rolling around in my head! I've written an article about owner built alternative homes, which you can read here.

I just love looking at stone walls of all sorts, here is a closeup of mine.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Decluttering in the Kitchen, again!

Well, I had this counter cleaned off awhile back, but as you can see the clutter has crept up and accumulated again.

So I just set my timer for 15 minutes and look what happened!

I even had time to go dump and rinse the compost bucket and water the worm bed while I was there. Mmmm, thinking I should probably tackle that window space soon!

My compost bucket is my old milk pail, from when I kept dairy goats when I lived in Texas. (mmm about 25 years ago!) Beat up and dented it's still going strong, being made of stainless steel. But if I needed to buy one I would probably look for one like this.

If you have a big family though, you might need to get a bigger one.

I don't go for the filters and bags things myself, I mean, whats the point? Although I can understand if you live where you can recycle your food waste through your garbage collection system and you don't have a garden, they'd be great. However, even if you live in a really small space, like an apartment you can keep a worm box and compost your food scraps. See my Edible Garden Blog for more ideas for gardening.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Declutter the Desk

So how is your desk looking today? Here's mine. Actually it's not in bad shape because a couple of months ago I really worked hard to get the big piles of stuff off of it. But this past week it's been accumulating a lot of bits and pieces so I thought it would be a good idea to spend 15 minutes on it today and it least get the work surface cleared off.

It actually only took 10 minutes to get to this stage. After that I reset my timer for 15 minutes and worked on paying some bills and catching up my check book and YNAB. (You Need A Budget)

I have a hard time keeping my desk at home tidy. I don't have a pencil draw to stash things in and haven't yet found really convenient desk top items for keeping all the small bits organized.

Since things get so dusty I like things to be covered but most containers with lids are inconvenient. What I'm really thinking about is something like these stack able drawers. I could put dividers or open containers in the drawers to hold paperclips and the like. I could use a drawer to hold my hole punch and stapler. Gosh I can think of a lot of things I could put in drawers like these to help corral all the stuff on my desk.

Then again I'm thinking about buying a small parts bin like this one to organize paper clips, rubberbands, thumb tacks and all those other little bitty things. They come in different sizes, with a variety of drawer sizes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hard Rock Labor

I have not been doing so much in the house the last few days. I have been concentrating on getting this wall done before I go on vacation, or at least as much as I can.

Besides this time I bought 4 bags of portland cement, not realizing how much farther each bag would go, compared to ready mix. I still have 2 1/3 bags sitting in the car, so trying to get them used up ASAP.

This is about where I left off last night. I have to get the wall built up abound and above the culverts so that flash floods will not wash them out.

And this is where I left off this morning. I got up really early and mixed a batch of cement and laid wall with the thunder grumbling. The storm never materialized, for which I'm thankful. While curing cement should be kept damp, it shouldn't get rained on.

The culverts are about 24 inches across, to give you an idea of size. To protect the crossing I'll have to bring the wall up above it. I might not get that far this week, but whatever I get done will help.

When I come home from vacation the weather should be cooler so I'll be able to get more done. Right now I can only work early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

I rather enjoy playing in cement and building walls. I have been building stone walls since I was about 10 years old, usually without mortar, just to help hold back the dirt in places. I used to just mix cement in a wheelbarrow but for this job borrowed an electric mixer, it's a bit cranky but getting the job done.

Working on this project has renewed my desire for a stone house. I love the looks of solid stone buildings and have been really thinking about how to go about such a project. I'm also researching passive solar design for a house that would heat and cool itself, just think, no utility bills!