To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth- Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. Proverbs 1:2-6

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Questions I ask myself as I attempt to declutter. Again.

I am torn between three sides of myself when it comes to keeping things. One side is sentimental, one side is cheap, and one side is minimalistic.

The sentimental wants to keeping things that I don’t even like all that much just because someone gave it to me or it belonged to a loved one.

The cheap side wants to keep things just in case I need it later. We don’t exactly have tons of money laying around, so wouldn’t it be smart of me to keep ahold of all my kids’ baby clothes just in case we have another. Then if we do have another baby I won’t have to worry about buying new things and will be able to save us money, right?

The minimalistic side of me just wants to get rid of everything.

(Just some of the milk glass I inherited from my mom and grandmother)

Since I have some obvious conflict going on here I had to come up with some questions to ask myself when deciding whether to keep something or get rid of it. Most of these questions are pertaining to the types of things that get stored. Things that take up space in a box under my bed or in the closet. I have different questions I ask myself when I'm going through our clothes.

-Would I take it with me if I were moving abroad? Shipping stuff is expensive, so is this thing worth holding on to and spending money to ship somewhere? Moving abroad isn’t something that we are planning on doing any time in the near future, but this question helps flesh out just how important that thing is to me. If I’m not willing to ship it, then why am I storing it in my closet now?

-Would I want to pay to store it if I were moving abroad? If my goal in keeping it is to save money by not having to buy it later just in case I need it, then how am I really saving money if I am paying to store it? Even if it's not being kept in a commercial storage unit in town, if I have to consider getting a bigger place for us to live in just to fit all of our stuff then keeping it really is costing us a lot of extra money.

-Would I be sad if it burned in a house fire? I know a lot of my stuff would be missed, but if I won’t miss it, or be sad if it burned then why am I holding on to it?

-Can someone else use it right now? This is a big one for helping me get rid of my “what if I need it later” stuff. Why am I hoarding it when there is someone out there with a need for it right now? And along these lines, am I really trusting that God will provide for future needs if I’m holding on to all of this stuff for “just in case”?

-Will I use it within the next year? Sometimes I get hand-me-downs for the kids that don’t fit them yet, so I’ll need to store them for later use. In that case are these things that my kids will grow into in the next year? If so, we can keep it, if not then it goes to someone else with a need for it right now.

-Does it actually hold some sentimental value? I am a sentimental person and I like having things around me that have meaning to me, so I’m ok keeping things that really mean something. I don’t want to change who I am just because some blogger out there says I shouldn’t keep anything without a function. I like d├ęcor, but not from Walmart, I want it to have a story. So, for this question I evaluate things by how special it really is to me. I can’t keep everything that belonged to my grandmother, and she isn’t IN those things, so I should only keep those sentimental things that really and truly mean something to me.

-What will happen to it all when I die? I don’t want to leave my family with endless piles of junk to go through and likely just throw away. If I don’t like it, don’t use it, won’t use it in the next year, and no one else is going to want it then, really, WHY am I holding on to it? Why am I just storing it for it to be thrown away after I’ve died?

I have gone through my things before and let me tell you, it feels GOOD! It’s so relieving to look around and not see clutter! Seriously. Except, I’m not good at it and anyone that knows me well is probably going to give me the side eye just reading this. I am a packrat by nature so decluttering is HARD. And these questions are designed with me in mind. I know what to ask me to get me to try to see through my hoarding tendencies. These questions may not help you at all, so you’ll just have to come up with your own. ;)

And one more thing. Getting rid of stuff can really be hard sometimes, so I do allow myself to keep things I'm not sure of and reevaluate later. Next month, or next year I might be ready to let go of it. Allowing myself some grace here helps decluttering to not get too stressful for me. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Beginnings of my DIY Italian Phrasebook

I had an idea the other day to make myself a phrasebook to help me study Italian. I bought a cheap journal* (make sure it mostly lays flat when opened to the middle if you want to try this, I opened several before I found one that I liked the feel of) then came home home and looked it up to see if others have had the same idea. I did find a few websites that described how to make one and what to include, but I have yet to see ANY pictures, lame! So I took a few of mine for others of you out there, just in case you want to try.

The number one reason I wanted to do this is because physically writing things down helps me memorize them. Number two, I get to include full sections of things that would be absolutely ridiculous if they were found in a store bought phrasebook, like chicken keeping, gardening, baking, hiking, etc. I want to include my hobbies and things that specifically pertain to me so that I can go find videos on youtube, or blogs that are in Italian and on that subject and learn with what interests me.

First off, I found THIS, is gives a great simple overview of things to include and a way to organize it (that, if you are like me, you can ignore ;) ) but still, I now know the basics of the things I'll include in my book.Then I went HERE and found the list for useful phrases in Italian. This is actually the first section I did.

I got all my supplies together (isn't that the cutest coffee cup?) and worked my way right down the list on But first I should say that I know myself well enough to know that I always forget that I wanted to add something super important to the beginning so I left several pages blank.

Eventually I will put in a table of contents in the front, probably color coded with the corresponding color drawn on the edge of the pages of that section.

Well, that's it for now, it's a work in progress and I plan on putting things in as I learn them so it may never really be finished, but hopefully it's be a useful tool for me. I'll make more posts about it as it develops so eventually there will be a fuller picture of what it really is.

* I thought about just using a cheap, yet totally functional, composition notebook, but decided that a journal this size would fit well in my purse so I can study in my down time when we are out and about. Likewise, there are some tiny journals available if you want something that will fit in your pocket, but since they are so small you might need to use one whole notebook for every 2-3 sections that you'd have in a larger notebook, but that's totally fine and completely up to you! :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Sometimes I get so mad at gravity and round things. Like when you set an egg down on the counter and it rolls off and falls on the floor. Then I imagine what life would be like without gravity, with all my ingredients floating all around me, and I forgive gravity for breaking my egg.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Mountains are my happy place. Clean crisp air that begs for a sweater. Evergreen trees everywhere, shading the floor and dropping their needles. A noisy stream playing somewhere with the rocks and fallen branches. 

When I was pregnant and learning how to cope with the pain of labor soon to come, I was told to close my eyes, breathe deep, and imagine my happy place. It’s crazy how much that little exercise really does help to take your mind off of the pain. I still go to the mountains in my mind.