The Life Changing Magic of Organizing Closets

posted on: Sunday, August 30, 2015

If you read this title you probably either got a thrill of excitement, "Oh yes I love organizing! She cares about that stuff!" or you thought, "Oh S**t, she cares about stuff like that?! Goodbye blog!"

Let's be clear, I do not hate or love organizing. I love being home that feels clean and energizing and represents who you want to be. That is this spirit of a post like this :)

This spring my mother sent me a copy of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It's well-written, easy to read and super doable! It teaches you to look at the items you live with as pieces of your happiness, or your constant stress.

I found out how to personally use the author's info on my closets, the ubiquitous catch-alls and "just shut the door, no one will see" areas of our lives. If you're hiding crap in closets, prepare for inner stress that is oh-so real.

There aren't before pictures here which I know is a little lame, but just imagine a nasty full closet of cleaning supplies, office supplies and everything else. I also bought nothing to help me organize. I already had the organization helpers that you'll see in my phone pics here, I just repurposed them! Though in the end, I did buy a little old shower curtain as a reward after two Saturdays spent doing this project;)

Disclaimer: something that made this great was having the help of a little gray cat. More on her soon!
I put WillaCat to work sorting binders...and wooden figurines.
First up, the office closet!
This guy is from our office area, and has been used for everything from wedding clothes to camera gear and odds and ends that have no home on my desk. I used a clothes hanging device that let me stow the bulkier pieces like a few odd books and my camera gear. I also sorted through an entire recycling bin's worth of paper that was in here!
I used a bookshelf to house the baskets and books. 

All my craft items are in the blue bins, and I like to save cardboard boxes for shipping.

Making space in the closet also made a space for things I really need that were taking up so much space on my floating shelf. Now I only keep over my desk for what inspires me.
Cleaned-off shelf! Life changing, lol.
Second, the hall cleaning closet.
This is a simple shoe holder attached to the door. I got all the cleaning supplies off the shelves that we desperately needed for sheets and towels, and popped them right into to this thing! Yes, there are some un-sustainable cleaners in there, but we inherited those. Someday it will be full of Method and homemade good things.

Last and perhaps the most annoying, the bathroom vanity drawer. In our small bathroom, this drawer belongs to me. I just have more stuff than Cody that I need in the morning. It was swimming in bobby pins and crud  I never used including a too-big makeup bag. Now both bags contain exactly what I need to get ready quick.

I hope this inspires you to take some action on some home projects that have been bugging you. Just git'r'done!

Oh, and here's a peak at our sweet shower curtain that was my reward. It lets so much light in!

Peeping out of the toilet basket is Squeaky Green, a book by Method on all things environmentally friendly for cleaning your home.

Mexican chocolate berry oatmeal muffins

posted on: Saturday, August 22, 2015

I cook easy meals. My prerequisites are: simple food, whole food. Here, there is no cooking anything takes more than 10 minutes of prep. No chopping things into tiny pieces, or using a flame thrower to glaze stuff.

And on this sunny morning I woke up wanting something baked for my slow Saturday breakfast. For a hot minute I considered walking down to the tiny neighborhood grocery for a can of cinnamon rolls (whaa?) but decided I would use my hands, whatever ingredients I had, and create my own oven-made experiment.

The muffin army that easily conquered the canned cinnamon rolls.
Grab your leftover summer berries, the last of your butter, look for some kind of chocolate powder (I used some Mexican hot chocolate mix) whatever milk you have and prepare to create the easiest muffins that were ever eaten, that I have just made up vaguely inspired by this recipe.


// Preheat oven to 400 F.

// Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl
  • 1 1/4 cups of flour
    • I used 1 cup white and a quarter cup wheat
  • 1/4 cup sugar or honey
  • 1/3 cup Mexican hot chocolate mix or cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup oats

// Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk of any kind (I used almond)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
// Pour the mixed wet ingredients into the mixed dry ingredients and fold until all is moist.
  • Stir in berries (I used raspberries and blueberries)

// Prep a 12 count muffin pan with coconut oil. I used a brush to paint the muffin cups.

// Using a 1/4 cup, glump the muffin mix into pan

// Bake 15 minutes

// Poke muffins with toothpick, if it's clean they're ready!

// These are not too sweet. Eat with honey and butter. And coffee.


A six-month review of life, nine months in

posted on: Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I meant to publish this on May 8th since that was actually our six-month landmark in our trek through the wilderness of marriage. But life called me elsewhere, so I am posting it now.

We have a couple of elderly neighbors who've been married for decades - we'll call them the F's.
Mr. F likes to tell us that, "the key to success is consistency of purpose." Usually he's talking about our young careers, but I think it also describes what it takes to stay married.

Nine months in, there is of course still a lot to conquer. We're cautiously groping around financially  and reaching out into uncharted waters career-wise, while figuring out what having faith in the promise we've made each other looks and feels like.

But right now is also an AMAZING ride. It's just the two of us, free as we'll ever be.

We're creating a loving home built on trust and shared experiences with the purpose of growing together until we're even older than Mr. and Mrs. F next door. My Instagram account is pretty good at tracking it.

This post is a two-part look into what we've found out about life since taking the plunge last November.

Part I
Roses(good) and Thorns(ouch)

  • Regular hikes in the woods near our home
  • Co-mowing our postage stamp-sized lawn with a teeny push mower
  • Just finding joy in the small stuff (like mowing)
  • Double dates with new friends/couples
  • We haven't had the opportunity to travel much beyond the city, and have embraced our Hobbit side to cope. Second breakfast anyone?
  • Cody often has engagements in the evening and I have been working some weekends, so it's hard to nail down times to purposefully do something, like camp!

at Home
  • Creating and sticking to real meal plans based on whole foods that we both seem to like eating (this saves money and you don't waste anything)
  • I love it when Cody can come grocery shopping with me, anything is a date :)
  • Somehow we both end up cleaning the kitchen every night with a record on 
  • Reading books out loud before bed, right now it's The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  • Both of us have a history of exploding our belongings in our personal space. Now that we share a  home, we have to make an effort to keep it neat. Even if it's not a natural trait we have.

staying Spiritual
  • We've been going through the devotional, Jesus Calling most mornings. I got it over the holidays and it's been the perfect balm whenever we're anxious, and has helped establish a stronger connection to what we believe in through routine
  • Writing verses and quotes we find inspirational on the white board in the kitchen.
  • It's been hard sticking with a church because we can't seem to find one that fits us yet. 

Our mini-vacation to KY for a great friend's wedding last month

Part II
One of my best friends was with us in early May for a few weeks before leaving to travel the world, and quizzed us on how we've faired these first six months. (Thanks for transcribing H!) P.S. Cody's answers are SO much better.


Q: What's been your favorite thing about being married?

A: Constant love & companionship with my best friend.  Who sometimes does the dishes.
C: How much more real everything is.  When you're dating, there's always this "what if" hanging in the back of your mind, but when you're married, the what if disappears, and there's a greater sense of security to move forward in your lives together.

Q: What's the hardest thing about being married that you didn't expect?

A: You get very busy with life in general, and just remembering to slow down, "date" and make time to have fun outside of the house.
C: Everything is more real.  My best friend told me that when you date someone, it's like taking a journey by car.  When when you're married, it's like taking a journey by foot.  When you're driving, everything passes by, you can see the beautiful landscapes, but you can't actually stop and smell the flowers.  And you can drive through a storm in just a few seconds.  But when you're on foot, you get drenched to the bone and it feels like you'll never get out of it.  

Q: What have you come to admire about your own parents' marriage now that you're married yourselves?

A: I appreciate my parent's marriage.  Their ability to still laugh at each other and with each other after 30+ years.  It's taught me to be quick to laugh.  Life's brick walls and obstacles can get you down really quickly.  And to be quick to forgive.  And to not retaliate even if I want to.
C: I've always admired the relationship my parents have because no matter how tough the situation may be at work or at home or with kids or with family, they still take time with each other, and in the simplest ways, rejuvenate their relationship.  

Q: What specific piece of marriage advice have you come to cherish most?  And who gave it to you?

A: My dad.  He said "Have a short memory.  Especially if you have a short fuse."
C: The house trumpet player at the Elephant Room in Austin, TX on the night of my bachelor party: Do one nice thing for your wife each week.  Even if she doesn't notice.

A: Is there anything you just HAVE to add?

C: Marriage is the best decision I ever made.
A: *smirks* You say that all the time.  It's not a revelation you just stumbled upon.
C: I'm counting it as one of my many blessings.

I think we're settling in pretty well :)

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