Tag Archives: cleaning

Swedish Death Cleaning At The Cabin

Whoa!…. That title sounds kinda scary, doesn’t it? Well, it shouldn’t as the Swedish concept of döstädning, “death cleaning”, or “one last sweep”, is actually something that can be quite wonderful. I know from some of my past experiences with decluttering that getting rid of stuff can make you feel so much better. You can even invite your friends and family to help and use this as a bonding experience.

Last summer we did a big decluttering session here and the house felt so much better afterward. Well, that feeling has since worn off as we’ve had Christmas and birthdays which brought in more clutter as well as the fact that other clutter has found its way in the house as well.

With 600 square feet and as many people as we have, things can get quite cluttered quite quickly. When my mom-mom died last year and we went to visit the family I saw that she had done some major decluttering herself. The house still looked the same in many ways but many things that we remembered had been gifted or removed by her before she died.

I can understand how important that decluttering can be for someone as many times we surround ourselves with so much stuff that we don’t even notice how cluttered things have become. Who will be responsible for taking care of the STUFF when we are gone? That’s not something that I want to leave for my kids to do.

I have read a little bit here and there about this Swedish Death Cleaning and there are a ton of books on Amazon about the Swedish Death Cleaning. There are also a ton of blog posts and articles about the subject that you can look into for more information.

This month, starting today, I plan to do our own version of the Swedish Death Cleaning here in our little cabin. Like I said before it is a very small home and with this many people, it gets cluttered very easily.

I’ve really tried to limit the number of things I personally bring into the house but I can’t always control the number of things that come in and our house has become a little bit uncomfortable with all of this clutter.

Not to mention that we have been extraordinarily busy with different things going on and some of the clutter has resulted just from ‘dumping’ things in places that they don’t belong. Much of our homeschool stuff was recently relocated to the shed where it was organized but we do have a good bit of school stuff still in the house as well as books… yeah, we have lots of books which I know will be one of my hardest areas.

There are a lot of strategies to get started with as some suggest going from top to bottom (attic to the basement) while others suggest going room by room, Some suggest starting with the larger items first and working your way down to the smaller more meaningful items for last. Some suggest doing it all at once while others suggest doing a little at a time. The main concept is to sort through your belonging and get rid of the unnecessary stuff.

This is also a good time to get your personal affairs in order and put them somewhere safe. Be sure to include items such as:

  • passwords
  • financial information
  • wills
  • insurance information
  • burial plans
  • other important information

The three most important questions to ask yourself while doing this cleaning are:

  • Will I ever need this again?
  • Will someone else need it?
  • Will anyone be happier if I save this?

When going through this process it would probably be best to have a couple of bins or piles for ‘Throwaway‘, ‘Keep‘, and/or ‘Donate‘. A good idea to keep in mind is that some of the sentimental items could possibly be regifted to a friend or family member who would really appreciate them.

Occasionally you will come across an item that you realize may cause problems between family members if it is ‘left’ for one and not the other. I have read that it is suggested to take care of it beforehand, maybe even selling it, to eliminate these kinds of issues after you pass.

Another thing that you should take care of would be personal and private items. If you have any of these that you can’t get rid of right now you should put them in a container and label it with something like:

Do Not Open

Personal and Private

Please dispose of IMMEDIATELY!

-or-

Throw Away Without Opening

Doing these things will not only help you with the clutter in your life but it will help your loved ones later on when the time comes for them to sort through the belongings you have left behind. This should give you a sense of peace knowing that your loved ones will have an easier time going through your stuff.

Remember that this is likely not to be a one time purge that will never need repeating but if you do regular mini sessions you can stay on top of it and not need to do a major purge later on. This can also be an emotional process so go at your own pace and get others to help whenever you can.

We’ve had another death in the family recently and we still need to go through the sheds full of belongings which is taking some time to get started on as this happened quite unexpectedly. I’m sure there will be a lot of emotions and choices to make when we do get around to doing it though.

We have a different reason for this major decluttering that we will be doing and it will not be as thorough as a traditional ‘death cleaning’ but it will be quite helpful for us in the near future. When it comes to my personal belongings I probably will go ahead a get rid of some things as I know I things that I’ve just held onto for no particular reason.

Have you tried the Swedish Death Cleaning Method? How did it help you?

Be sure to follow along with our blog for updates on how our decluttering is going.

** This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use.

 

Wishes To Reality Update

As you probably know from reading our latest posts we have been staying CRAZY BUSY in 2019 just like we did before. However even though our schedules have been busy I have been trying to work in some changes, a couple at a time, to help us turn those wishes into realities.

My first wish of having the kids to listen better seems to be going along fairly well. I have been making it a point to work more one on one with each of them as I can. I have also not had to speak to them as much because I’ve went over what I expect and given them a list of rewards for when the goals are met or some consequences if they aren’t met.

I had also noticed that I was yelling more… ok, I felt like I was yelling. People sometimes laugh when I apologize for yelling because my yelling doesn’t seem like yelling to them… anyways I was having to talk much louder than I preferred and I didn’t like that. Did you know that yelling makes it seem like you aren’t in control? Well that was definitely not the message I wanted to convey to this little army I have here!

I also know that yelling doesn’t fit into the overall picture of wanting to create a more loving and peaceful home. We have a small home so when one or two people start yelling it begins to sound a bit like a busy coffee shop in NYC!

Continue reading Wishes To Reality Update

A Fresh Start In The New Year Part 2

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So if you read my post yesterday you know that we had some unexpected work that had to get done around the house. What you didn’t get to see was the post holiday mess the rest of the house was still in… yep, I’m gonna show you some really messy pics of our cabin because LIFE is MESSY at times and we aren’t PERFECT so our place gets just as MESSY as everyone else’s house, and probably more at times.

One thing I know is that you can’t truly organize CLUTTER! Boy oh boy was it in abundance around earlier this week. I’m kinda embarrassed to show you all these pics but I really want to show everyone that you CAN change your LIFE one little step at a time. The important thing is to remember that the CHANGE must start somewhere and I know that LIFE can be so OVERWHELMING at times… these pics can prove that… but we can’t just sit around and wait for someone else to do something that we aren’t willing to do ourselves.

On the other hand I want everyone to know that our house has not looked this BAD in a long time. I know that HOARDING tendencies seem to run in one side of my family and that scares the crap out of me! Part Most of this was MESS was due to the post holiday chaos we had and the total LACK of ENERGY I had from not feeling well … but enough with the EXCUSES as I was determined to get past the PROCRASTINATION.

Over the weekend I had made a short To-Do List to work on and a couple of the first items to tackle were the kitchen and the bathroom. However the closet became number 1 priority when the kids demolished some of the shelving… you can read about that project HERE. Here’s the BEFORE of the kitchen:

You can see breakfast prep was ongoing when I took this and it was so hard to accomplish anything with the CLUTTER laying around. Mr. Joey wanted to help with breakfast so I did a quick tidy to make room and let him work on some Pancake Poppers for a quick breakfast.

We made one batch of blueberry and one batch of sausage… yum!

After breakfast I did a quick cleanup and had the kitchen back to a semi-normal state within 20-30 minutes… YAY!

Then I tackled the bathroom which took another 10-15 minutes. I could feel myself running out of steam really quickly though. I crossed off those two items and another as the kids had helped change sheets and tidy up the loft area as I cleaned in the kitchen and bathroom. Then I attempted to tackle the next area which was in the Main Room

This pic was actually from Thursday before I got to work on paying bills but honestly there wasn’t a whole lot of change from then to Sunday. I did start on it but got interrupted with something or another and that was pretty much the end of the cleaning for the day.

However on Monday I had a new PLAN OF ACTION. We needed to get started back to school work but I knew that there was no way I would keep anyone’s attention with all the stuff sitting around just begging to be discovered.

So I made an executive decision that for now our group studies will be completed Tuesday-Thursday. The kids can work on independent or one-one tasks on Mondays and Fridays. This change also included a temporary change in our Laundry and Cleaning Routines as the majority of those tasks will be completed on Mondays and Fridays as well. So far so good with this change and we’ve actually been able to accomplish quite a bit more in the cleaning and school areas.

Our first task of the day was to get this tree put away…

Most of the other decorations had already been packed into totes the week before so we just had to make room for the tree decor. Then everything was taken to the shed and neatly put away.

Then to get the table put back up. I put Joey to work on bagging up the random grocery bags around the house so we can reuse them.

I set to work on straightening up my bedroom… this is what it looks like after getting back from a dance. I usually have the little boys in here to change and the girls use the closet to get ready. This means I can’t get in there to put away anything so it ends up piled on my bed… sigh.

After a bit it looked much better except for the basket of laundry sitting there… but hey, at least it was clean laundry. I went ahead and checked the bedroom off the To-Do List as well, but as you will see in a bit that may have been a bit premature.

While I worked in the bedroom the kids cleaned up the floor where the tree had been. They also worked on organizing their school cubbies so we could have a fresh start for the next day. They also put away some of the items that had been cluttering the table. Things actually seemed to be getting MESSIER instead of cleaner!

They also worked on straightening up the TV area as there were dirty dishes, controllers, toys that needed put away.

We were on a roll and our next mission was to get rid of all the boxes sitting around. Most of these held Christmas gifts that needed homes. Now that we had straightened up most everything this would be an easier task to accomplish. But first Jacob thought everyone should have a quick snack of candy canes from the tree… lol.

Again things seemed to get MESSIER before they got better. This table became a sorting place for EVERYTHING. I opened a box, sorted out what needed to go where, and then we took care of EVERYTHING we had out at the moment before moving to the next box.

Here is another pile that had to get sorted as well.

It might have been a bit time saving to have sorted all the boxes at once but we had William helping out and he gets OVERWHELMED easily and then it gets a bit HARD for anyone else to get anything accomplished as you have to keep redirecting him.

I had received a ton of new school supplies from Santa… he knew just what I need, right? We also got lots of new books and William really wanted to read all of them. In the process I lost a book I had pulled off my bookshelf earlier in the day… my mistake, as I should’ve waited until we were finished with the clean up. You just might laugh, like Mr. Awesome did, when I show you the book I lost:

The Organized Homeschool Life

But anyway as I sorted the kids carried things and put them away but some items got piled on my bed… it appeared that my bed also had become a playground at some point in time. This time the MESS actually looks worse than it was.

Once most of the items had been sorted and carried to their new homes, or at least in the general area of their new home, Ms. Bella made some yummy PB&Js for the crew. As you can see everything was looking much better.

Even the bedroom looked pretty good…

As I was carrying things out to the shed I noticed something in the pond…

I had to call the kids out to take a closer peek… such a cute suprise!

I had a couple of more things to get organized and look at like this organizer I had gotten for Christmas:

And these new books that we got for our homeschool…

I’m so excited to start using these in the future!

We also got a few more books that everyone is excited to read like this one here:

Soft Rain

As I worked on setting up the organizer and putting away these items the girls wasted no time getting to work making some headbands, bracelets other items now that they had room to work at the table.

Then the UPS man brought my Grove package… another pleasant suprise!

I am really loving the Mrs. Meyers cleaners and have started to try out some of the other products which you can also get on AMAZON. Once I got all of these put away I worked on a little redecorating as everything looked so BARE.

I pulled some of the peacock decor out of my bedroom for now…

The gold peacock was something Mr. Awesome bought for me last year and that little pig was one I painted many, many years ago when my older kids will young.

I moved the flowes basket from the kitchen to this window. This is where my new napkin holder is sitting as well as the new globe that we got for Christmas.

It also lights up to show the constellations which is so NEAT!(I don’t know why but this made our homeschool seem so much more ‘official like’… lol)

In the kitchen I took down the cornice that was up there and put up this really cute tray I found with the after Christmas clearance at Walmart.

All in all we had a really good day and with the kids helping out as much as they did I didn’t get too overwhelmed nor did I completely wear myslef out as I have been doing a lot lately.

We didn’t do a deep cleaning or major reorganizing. We did find a HOME for EVERYTHING and we did PURGE some items as we went along. There are still things that need to be done but the HOUSE feels so much BETTER now and I’m not constantly looking for things… other than that book that hasn’t resurfaced yet.

That’s OK as the wonderful UPS man delivered me another copy today… so maybe if I find the old one I can BLESS someone else with it.

The biggest thing with all of this was to just get STARTED. Another big thing was to not get sidetracked with the fact that everything wasn’t being ‘cleaned properly’ or organized exactly the way I wanted it. If we had stopped to rearrange and/or clean every book shelf and cabinet along the way I would still be working on this project.

Now that we have everything situated we can get back to our regular cleaning tasks, even though we have changed the routine the tasks are still the same, and EVERYTHING will get clean in its own time. My main FOCUS was just to get a bit more organized as I couldn’t find anything over the past couple of weeks. Even though I lost my book and it still drives me a little batty wondering where it might have went its not that big of a deal in the BIG PICTURE.

We accomplished the GOAL that we set out to do and we can create a new PLAN OF ACTION for our next GOAL. For us this wasn’t a HUGE task to deal with as our house isn’t that BIG to start with. The MESS really did look worse than it was once we got started on it. If you have a bigger house then you might just need to FOCUS on ONE AREA at a time… not the whole house. If the task is still too BIG then focus on a smaller area at a time… break that elephant down into small pieces and work on them one at a time. A little progress is BETTER than doing NOTHING at all.

If you need a little motivation or encouragement then be sure to reach out to me via email or on Facebook in the Kirby’s Kabin Blog Group I’ve just started.

Have a great day and stay tuned for a look at our first couple of days with our new homeschool schedule!

Treat Yourself And Make Housework A Little Easier

**This post contains affiliate links to products we use.

I’m always so excited when I see my box from Grove Collaborators  come. This month was a small order as we are pretty well stocked up on supplies but I wanted to share with you what we did get:

Since we are in the midst of the Christmas season I thought it only fitting to get the Peppermint scented soaps. We got one Mrs. Meyers Hand Soap and two of the Mrs. Meyers Dish Soap. We really love both of these products and when we use the Walnut Scrubbers they make dishwashing a breeze.

The cleaners come in a wide variety of scents and I really enjoy trying out the different scents depending on the season.

Continue reading Treat Yourself And Make Housework A Little Easier

Is Cleaning Bad For Your Health?

**This post does contain affiliate links for products and companies that we use.

If you’ve been following along with my blog you know that I have been making changes around the house. These changes have not only been with the decluttering but also many personal changes and changes to benefit my family.

One of the biggest things I have been implementing is to bring in more natural cleaners and products into our home and getting rid of those toxin filled cleaners that so many of us use everyday. There have been so many studies and articles, like this one here, that talk about just how dangerous these cleaners are. One of these articles, click here to read, even compared daily exposure to cleaners to being as harmful as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day!

Wow! That’s so crazy but it makes me glad that I’ve been making some of the changes that I have. I know that when three of my kids first came into my life they were all on allergy, asthma, and/or ADHD medications. I had even been instructed, by the caseworker, of what to do in case of an asthma attack as well. I was scared to death as I’ve never had a child with asthma. Fortunately we never had any asthma attacks and  within the first year or two they were all off of their medications and now they don’t take any medications on a regular basis.

It seemed that many of their allergy/asthma problems had come from cleaning, or the lack of cleaning in their previous home, and the chemicals in the products that they were being exposed too when the cleaning did happen. 

I know the use of essential oils has really helped out a lot here in our home as well. I love my Simply Earth subscription and I am constantly looking up and researching new uses for them and new recipes to use for my family and around the house. I’ve probably mentioned oils to all of my friends and family and I know some of them have started dabbling in the oils as well.

Y’all also know how much I love my cleaning and hygiene products that I get from Grove Collaborators and The Honest Company but money has been a bit tight here lately as I’ve had some doctor bills to pay off. I haven’t had a lot of extra money coming in either as I really haven’t felt much like blogging or promoting anything. So when a friend of mine told me about a shopping club that offers a 30-50% discount on supplies, that I am already buying, I was interested. When I found out that this company had over 400 all natural products, including essential oils, that are made right here in the USA I was really interested and decided to check it out.

I’m sure that I’ll be sharing some of these products with you all soon as I’ve placed my first order just today. I placed an order for the ‘customer favorites’ so I can get a variety of different products to try. I’m excited to see how these compare to what I’ve been using. Being able to make a ‘one stop shop’ was so convenient as well and if I like these products this will save me money in the future too. The company has been in business for over 30 years and they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back. Can’t beat that. Not to mention that they also have several other ‘perks’ for preferred customers. (Right now, through June 30, 2018, I can help you sign up for only $1.00!)

Well, I’ve gotta go get some dinner started as the kids are starting to sound like ravenous T-Rexes and they are ready to eat just about anything in sight. I think we’ll be making some Oven Fried Chicken (not really healthy, I know), Vegetable Casserole, and maybe some ‘Smushed Taters‘ which is a new recipe I saw recently.

Hope you all are having a blessed day!

Living Room Kleaning Missions: Midweek Progress

This post does contain some affiliate links to products that we use in our own home. These links do not affect your cost in any way but may possibly provide a small kickback for my family.

So this week we have finally moved on to our Living Room which for us is the Main Room of this little cabin which also serves as the Dining Room, Home School Area, and temporarily holds a bunk bed set for now. A lot goes on in this room so just thinking about tackling it was a bit daunting. I broke it down into sections and decided to take it one wall/partial wall at a time.

The FlyLady missions for the week were to do a Hot Spot Drill, to get rid of anything that doesn’t belong in this area, do a detailed vacuuming session which includes the baseboards and under the furniture, a detailed dusting of pictures and decorative items, and then on Friday it was for a multi room mission to tackle Hot Spots in the Dining Room, Entrance, and Porch Areas. I planned to a do a more detailed cleaning but these would have been a good starting point if I was just doing my regular housecleaning.

Day 1

The first wall I worked on was the wall where the couch sits. We moved the couch away from the wall and the kids worked on gathering up their toys and such that had ended up underneath there. I took down all the pictures on this wall while the girls cleaned the lamps and end tables. (Right now we have a filing cabinet and a night stand as end tables because my regular tables don’t fit there.)

I did measure again to see if there was any way to get the end tables in here but not yet. Currently they are pushed together and being used as the coffee table while the coffee table is out in the storage area on the porch. I really do miss my coffee table as it has storage where we have always previously stored all of our board games. I will be so happy when we can finally get everything situated to bring it into this room. Small steps will make it happen.

Continue reading Living Room Kleaning Missions: Midweek Progress

Kitchen Kleaning Thursday Mission: Cabinet Organization

I am so happy with the progress we have made this week. The whole family has been chipping in with tasks, working together, and surprisingly enough fighting a lot less! Maybe we should have started this a while back.

We didn’t have very much left to do in the kitchen. It seems we have kind of found a rhythm and developed our own little process for tackling these areas. The biggest thing is to remember to break the big tasks down into smaller tasks. I’ve found that once we’ve completed a couple of smaller tasks it helps to motivate us to the next one. Continue reading Kitchen Kleaning Thursday Mission: Cabinet Organization

April’s Bathroom Mission

I know I’ve mentioned a couple of times about the bathroom decluttering I did last month so I figured I’d give you guys a peek of what I did.

I didn’t take before photos but here are a few of the afters… a big improvement! I’m glad I was able to get most of the cleaning supplies in the locked cabinet. (Yep, that’s my vacuum in the bathroom because I still haven’t found a better place for it and that’s my press on the table too!) I did add another shelf in this cabinet which helped out a lot! Continue reading April’s Bathroom Mission

Routines

I know, we’ve all heard about how important routines and schedules are. Some of us may have every minute of every hour planned out on a ‘perfect’ schedule while others would rather just have a  ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of routine. I’ve always been kind of in the middle while I can say that at different times of my life I have leaned more towards one side than the other.

How do we find a balance? Well, the answer is not the same for everyone, every family, or every situation. For instance, there are some children who thrive on strict routines and schedules and they don’t like change, I have one of those children. Then there are some families who are extremely busy with things, maybe a home business, and there is no way that they could guarantee that they would be home by 5:00 every day to eat dinner. Then we have work routines where sometimes there are deadlines and things that must be completed in a certain time frame.

I went through a period of time when I was really sick. I went from being a vibrant young wife and mother (who also held down a 40 hours + job) to almost being bedridden. I had a couple of different surgeries, followed by infections  and long recuperation periods. These illnesses triggered an autoimmune response in my body and I have been plagued by chronic pain ever since. I had been diagnosed with scoliosis, DDD, herniated discs, IBS, GRD, hiatal hernia, migraines, and fibromyalgia among a long list of things.

My doctors prescribed a cocktail of medications to help with the problems but those medications caused lots of side effects. I was extremely fatigued, developed seizures, and was constantly having various rashes and other conditions that couldn’t be explained.

During this time my housework really suffered. My house wasn’t a total mess but it did get pretty bad. The more I tried the worse it looked. This caused major problems between my spouse and I. I was trying to keep up with the inside of the house, the outside of house, the garden, the animals, and the kids. I was OVERWHELMED!

Then I found an index card system for housework. They also have a book called Sidetracked Home Executives which I never bought but maybe should have. I immediately jumped in and began to use the system. I tweaked it here and there to make it work for our family. I then developed a similar system for work and it made an amazing difference in my productivity levels.

Unfortunately my spouse wasn’t as thrilled with my new found method. I could never keep our home as ‘show place perfect’ as he felt I should. The marriage fell apart and I moved with my four kids to our current home. This is where I found FlyLady, who has been a life saver to so many people. (You may want to check out the site for yourself.) A lot of the routines I will list below follow along with her basic plans. I again tweaked them to work for our family.

My house is not ‘show place perfect’ nor will it ever be. My house is lived in and it shows. I do get a lot of compliments like, ‘I would never know that you had so many kids here.’.  I’m not quite sure what they expect my house to live in but I am pleased to surprise them.

The outside of my house is a bit of a mess and I am working on that. Many people have stopped as they thought I am running a daycare. I guess I kind of am in a way. Some of the mess is beyond my control as it doesn’t belong to me.

I really believe that everyone should be proud of what the Lord has blessed you with. Be content where He has put you and make the best of it. I pray that you will find some helpful tips and suggestions as you read through the links. (If a link isn’t working I probably haven’t been able to work that on it yet, but keep checking and I will get them up.) Please remember to use these as a guideline for setting up your own routines. If something isn’t working then change it and make it work for you. Don’t get discouraged!

Getting Routines Started 101

Morning Routines

Kids’ Morning Routine 

Daily School Routine

Afternoon Routines

Evening Routines

Weekly Routines

Monthly Routines

Yearly Routines

Laundry Routines

Yearly kids chores by age

Age appropriate chore charts

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