My Own Packing Party

So y’all know (or most of you I should say), know I am a huge fan of The Minimalists. Their podcasts continue to inspire me to make room for the things that matter by getting rid of what doesn’t.

That being said, when Joshua and Ryan (The Minimalists) were downsizing their respective homes and getting rid of what no longer served them, they both did it in radically different ways. Joshua chose the decluttering method and it took him about 8 months to pare down his belongings to what was essential to him. Ryan on the other hand? He had a packing party.

What is a packing party, you ask? Basically you pack up everything you own, absolutely everything, into boxes. This includes your toothbrush, deodorant, coffee mug, your bath towel, etc… Everything goes into boxes. And then, you only unpack what you need. Only. What. You. Need.

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So yeah, that first day you’ll probably need that toothbrush, deodorant, towel, and clothes to wear to work. Maybe after you get home, you unpack a skillet and some cooking utensils and a plate and a fork. Whatever you NEED, you unpack. That’s it.

When Ryan did his packing party, he did it for 21 days. He only unpacked what he needed. And you know what? At the end of 21 days, 80% of his stuff was still in boxes. He said that he couldn’t even remember what was in those unopened boxes.

And you know what he did? He donated and/or sold what was in all those boxes that contained 80% of his stuff. Donated it. Sold it. Gone. Buh-bye.

I bring up this story of the packing party not just because I find value in it, but because it inspired me to do my own version of a packing party.

I am moving quite soon into a bigger apartment. I am currently living in 530 square feet with my husband, daughter, and cat and our accompanying accoutrements. We are a close family and living in a small space has been fine. Or rather, had been fine. We are moving into a slightly bigger apartment, just an extra 150 square feet or so, but this new apartment will have a bigger living room and a bigger bathroom which is really what we are looking for.

As I stated above, we are an extremely close family and enjoy spending time together. Some extra square feet in the living room actually gives us a bit of breathing room and gives my daughter more space to play. And a bigger bathroom, well, I don’t think I need to explain why that is a plus  🙂

But back to the packing party…

We are boxing up our belongings dutifully, but when we arrive at our new apartment, I will only be unpacking what is needed. Now although Ryan in his example boxed up absolutely everything, I am not boxing up my purse, or my child’s school lunch box, or anything like that. But the items that are being housed in cardboard boxes, are not just going to be immediately unloaded and dumped on the carpet to then scramble to find a home for. I want to be deliberate with what we have and what we actually use, and not just hold onto something because we always have.

I too, am going to give the experiment 21 days, as did Ryan, and whatever has not been unloaded by the 21st day, will be banished to either be donated or sold. I figure since we are moving, now is as good time as any to do this.

Are you guys interested in doing your own packing party as well? What do you think of it all? Let me know in the comments!  🙂

 

Find The Words To Help You Find Your Way

As most of you know, I am a huge bookworm. I am also a fan of quotes and the accompanying verbiage that motivates. Let’s face it: life is hard. We are all swimming in the same ocean trying to avoid the eventual tidal wave that comes our way and knocks us off our feet for awhile. Once that proverbial tidal wave recedes, we remember that we can swim, and we paddle out into the ocean once again.

If you happen to be in the midst of a tidal wave and you are looking for some help, here are some books that I think are awesome and may help you get the earth back under your feet  🙂

Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life by The Minimalists

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If your life is spinning out of control and you feel overwhelmed by the clutter in not just your life, but your mind, this book is for you. And don’t worry, it is not a book that tells you to get rid of everything you own and sleep on the floor! But it will help you sort out the values that you feel are important and make adjustments accordingly.

Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen

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If you are looking to get healthier, look no further than this book. For the record, I cannot do a handstand to save my life, nor does Rachel make you try to do one. This story gives voice to Rachel’s story about how yoga saved her from a life that was on a complete downward spiral. She shares simple yoga poses, meditation practices, and some super healthy recipes to get you going on your way!

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

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This book. I loooooved this book! For a complete review of my love of this tome, and why I think EVERYONE needs to read it, click here.

10% Happier by Dan Harris

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Amazing book. If anxiety is getting the best of you and you’ve heard about meditation and aren’t sure what exactly it’s all about, check out Dan’s book. He is a broadcaster for ABC who had a panic attack on national television and this is his story about how meditation helped him.

Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

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This book, just wow. Lysa writes about how broken we can feel and get as women and how we can overcome that. Although Lysa does have bible verses sprinkled throughout, please don’t let it deter you if that’s not your thing. This book will break open your heart and put it right back together again. In a good way 🙂

Everything That Remains by The Minimalists

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I know I have two books listed here by The Minimalists but this one is my absolute favorite! It basically chronicles how Joshua hit rock bottom in his life (his mom died and his marriage ended in the same month), and with the help of the concept of minimalism, he shed which didn’t matter in his life and began to focus on his relationships and what was actually important. In turn, his best friend Ryan saw how changed Joshua’s life was and embraced lifestyle changes of his own. Want to know how The Minimalists became The Minimalists? Read this book. Some life-changing stuff here that you can totally apply to your own life.

Are there any books that you have read that you feel have helped you overcame obstacles in your life? Let me know in the comments!  🙂

Currently: The Birthday Edition

Hey guys, Happy May! 🙂 High temperature weather has arrived with a gusto this week, as it has been super warm here in SoCal. I am sitting here in shorts as I type this, lol  🙂

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I finished “Better Than New” by Nicole Curtis, who has that show Rehab Addict where she restores old houses on HGTV and the DIY network. I have watched Nicole’s show for years and am a huge fan, so I couldn’t wait to read this book about all the behind-the-scene stuff regarding her show, and also just learning more about Nicole. If you are a fan of the show, definitely check out her book!

I have been watching a lot of playoff hockey. My team is the Anaheim Ducks and I am a huuuuuuge fan, and we are currently in the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. My cat sometimes doesn’t understand how important it is to watch these games as evidenced by his indifference at blocking the television set  🙂

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It is also my birthday on Friday! In case you are wondering how old I will be turning, I will give you a hint: Star Wars and Saturday Night Fever came out in movie theaters the year I was born  😉 I am totally fine with turning this particular age (if you aren’t living, you’re dying, as they say…), I am just not ready to write or type the number quite yet. I am still wrapping my head around the dichotomy of feeling one particular age in your head, but your chronological age is totally something different. You know what I mean?  🙂

Hope everyone has a great week!

And GO DUCKS!!!!

I Remember

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I remember this day… this day four years ago, like it was yesterday.

I remember being stuck at work in meeting after meeting.

I remember finally getting a break and checking my phone for messages.

I remember hearing a voicemail from my dad, not liking what I heard in his voice.

I remember calling him back and hearing him tell me the inevitable: my grandmother had died… and my whole world shifted.

I remember trying to keep my composure at work, but failing miserably.

I remember telling my co-worker, I had to leave because of an emergency. I gripped the steering wheel the entire way home, vaguely aware that the brake pedal had been applied, and I was now sitting in my garage.

I remember my husband, then fiancée, holding me as my body was racked with uncontrollable sobbing.

I remember the funeral, but not the days in between. It’s all a blur, still.

I remember how many people came to say good-bye and I was moved to tears again, by how many lives you touched Grandma, with your grace and quiet humility.

I remember trying to be strong for my dad.

I remember coming back home after the funeral and collapsing on the kitchen floor, because the tears would not subside.

They say time heals all wounds, but that is a lie. My wounds are still open, raw, and full of salt.

I remember all the time.

It’s been four years and all it takes is hearing a certain word or seeing your picture and I sob incoherently for minutes on end.

It still hurts and I don’t forget.

I remember you being an instrumental part of my childhood, the mother I didn’t have, the female figure to aspire to.

I remember you being one with your faith and instilling that faith into me.

I hate the fact that you never got to hold your great-granddaughter, but I know you see her. And see that her smile, is your smile.

I don’t forget, and on days like today and your birthday, the awareness that you are really gone, is even more heightened.

I miss you Grandma and I cry as I write this. You live on through my father, through me, and through my daughter.

I will always remember…

**Sidenote: I wrote this post originally on my old blog 5 years ago. It has now been 9 years since my grandma passed away and I still miss her more than ever. I love you, my sweet guardian angel

 

Currently

Hey guys! I feel like it has been forever since I blogged  🙂

Seriously though. I wanted to blog, I really did, but I caught the mother of all bad colds last week and it literally hurt my eyes to look at a computer screen. I was sick, my daughter was sick, and my husband was sick. Suffice to say, our Spring Break totally rocked! Ugh, really it was the worst. I haven’t been sick in years, so this really threw me for a loop.

My fur baby kept me company:

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Anywho, I am on the mend which I am thankful for. You do not realize how thankful you are to breathe through two nostrils, when then both are completely stuffed up  😉

Easter weekend was fun. We went on an Easter Egg hunt on Saturday. And on Sunday we went to church and had lunch at a restaurant courtesy of my wonderful dad.

This post is short and sweet. I just wanted to let y’all know I am alive and kicking 🙂

How was your Easter?

March in the Rearview

The month of March went by with a whoosh, right? Whew…  🙂

A quick look back:

What I enjoyed this month: Reading, obviously! But also trips to see my beloved ocean and coffee dates with friends  🙂

Huntington Beach is my favorite local beach and it makes me feel all the feelings when I am there!

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I read Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham which I looooved!! If you are a Gilmore Girls fan, than this book is for you! Lauren talks about her life and of course, behind the scenes stuff about the BEST SHOW EVER!!!

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I also drooled over read The Minimalist Baker’s cookbook Everyday Cooking. I want to eat everything in this book, especially her recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bread. Yup. You read that right  😉

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What I am absolutely over: Choices for White House appointments/jobs who have absolutely no qualifications for said job, but get said job anyway. I can’t even…

On the healthy living front: I did really well exercising this month until the last week of March. Ugh, so annoying. But the good thing is, is that I recognize that it has been a week since I worked up a sweat and I am getting back into my routine. Older = wiser, right?  😉

On the minimalism/decluttering front: If you remember, I mentioned that for the month of March I was going to declutter 3 separate areas of my home: the kitchen, electronic stuff (my computer), and the bathroom. Suffice to say, I accomplished my tasks! Guys, I actually have ONE EMPTY DRAWER in my kitchen!!!! *cue squealing* I love that one empty drawer. I refuse to let anything get in its recesses again!

I also unsubscribed from emails that I no longer want to receive, and blogs that I no longer want to read. Mission accomplished.

And as for the bathroom, icky nail polish, expired medication, and make-up that has probably seen better days, has all gone in the rubbish bin.

All in all, March was a very productive month and I am looking forward to getting some more things accomplished. I’ve got momentum, y’all!!!

By the way, all my pictures in this post are from my Instagram account. Come say hi!  🙂

How was the month of March for you? Did you get in any decluttering?

Living a Life That Is True To You

Along with several other words in today’s lexicon, the word “values” has sprung up in more conversations and blog posts over the past few months. “What are my values?” and “What do I value in life?” seem to be the springboards onto which fraught conversations are run.

Value can be what you esteem to be worth relative merit or importance; what you consider to be essential or important. What you won’t back down on.

But are you backing down? Are your values taking a back seat to the monotony of life or the frenzied clamor of life and its draining entities?

Are you living a life that is true to you?

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“I’ve started asking myself: What type of person do I want to be? How do I express my interests and values? Am I living a life that’s true to myself and not the life others expect of me? By spending more time dreaming about what I want for the future, I’ve started to form a better idea of who I want to be and where I want to go”. -Sarah Moss

I am utterly enamored of this quotation by Sarah Moss because it causes one to step back from the hustle and bustle of daily life and really examine what is adding value to our lives and what is not. It causes one to think about the things that they are doing and wondering introspectively if these things are being done for someone else because it is what is expected or are they being done because we want them to be?

You are never too old to re-imagine the direction of your life and decide that things aren’t going quite the way you expected. It is also okay to feel a certain way about things and not feel guilty about them.

For example, I value my time with my daughter as sacred. If something is going to impinge on that time with her, I say no to other requests of my time. My child is only young once; there will be a point where as she gets older, Mom is no longer “cool” and friends will become her end-all, be-all. Children grow so fast; before you know it, they are out of the house and on their way to college. So for me, my daughter and our quality time come first. I place a high value on that.

While not related per se, minimalism helps me in this capacity. If I had to spend my time constantly arranging, organizing, and taking care of all of our things, I would have less time to spend with my daughter. Instead of snuggling together and watching a Charlie Brown cartoon, or baking cookies together, I would be cleaning, organizing, and taking care of our stuff.

And that is just not okay with me.

My life is a simple one, because I have made it so. That is not to say that I don’t experience heartache or have difficulties that I continue to overcome, it means that I choose a simple life because it aligns with my values. I strive for a minimalist lifestyle because spending time with loved ones is important to me and spending time taking care of stuff, is not. A simpler life helps keep me on my way to having more fullness in my life.

I still have dreams that I can’t wait to bring to fruition. Approaching a new decade in my life has brought home to me so many things, and I still continue to learn and grow and remind myself to stay true to the essence of who I am.

Are you living a life that is true to you?

10 Random Facts Tag

This post originated, as least for me, with Reynolds Made and her post. Go check out hers!

So here are some random facts about the blogger behind Organic Butterfly, also known as yours truly  🙂

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1) I hated my name when I was a child. When we were in school and learning to write our names, everyone else with shorter names were always finished first (the Ann’s and Sara’s, I am looking at you) and here I am still on the letter “z”. And also, you want to fit in when you are younger and it was just super annoying to have my name. But now, I love my name!! ♥

2) I saw Aerosmith in concert when I was 17, which was a million years ago it seems like. It still holds up as one of the best concerts I have ever seen in my life. Seeing “Dream On” performed live, right in front of your eyes, is seriously something I will never forget.

3) I didn’t learn to swim until I was 11 years old. Why so long of a wait, I have no idea. I probably saw the movie Jaws one too many times, lol  🙂 But once I learned how to swim, you couldn’t keep me out of the water!!!

4) I worked in a home improvement store throughout college. To this day, whenever I have to go to one of those stores, I still feel like someone will ask me what aisle plumbing fixtures are on.

5) Still to this day, I love Nancy Drew books. They remind me of being a kid during summer vacations, and if I wasn’t outside playing till the sun went down, I was reading Nancy Drew.

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6) I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications but if I could go back and do it all over again, I would have majored in either English or History. Those two subjects are still to this day, my favorite reading topics and to be honest, jobs I have had haven’t cared what my degree was in; they just wanted a college graduate, so there’s that…

7) I have 3 tattoos. And I want more  🙂

8) I drink coffee like nobody’s business, but I also am a huge tea drinker. Everyday, people. Every. Day.

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9) Santa Barbara, California is one of my favorite places. It is so beautiful  🙂

10) I can make a meal out of chips and salsa. Hey, if there’s guacamole, that’s just added protein  🙂

So there you have it. Random tidbits about your truly. Let me know some fun things about you!

When Organizing Stops Working

The season of warmer weather is starting to beckon us fragile souls, in need of some Vitamin D and a yearning for shoes other than boots. With this need, also comes the need to clean, organize, declutter, and/or purge. I too, am minimizing parts of my space and have already rid our home of needless things.

But there is a difference between tackling a few spaces that have become unruly, and organizing the same things over and over.

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If you feel like a hamster in a hamster wheel, just spinning and spinning, and organizing and organizing and feeling like it is Groundhog Day and you are sorting out the same space/things over and over again, well maybe this quote might help you:

“If organizing your stuff worked, you’d be organized by now”. -Courtney Carver

Courtney dropped the mic, amiright?  🙂

But seriously, think about that sentence for a quick moment. If organizing your stuff worked, you would be organized by now. Wow. Is organizing all of your stuff working for you? Do you feel overwhelmed? Does the thought of going to the Container Store to purchase containers to hold your stuff, send you into the panic zone?

Well maybe, just maybe, there might be too much stuff for you to deal with. Maybe all that organizing and re-organizing is sending you a clear signal that minimizing might be in your future.

Speaking from experience, it is no fun to spend an entire weekend, every few months or so, organizing all the things. Having less frees up your space, but most importantly, it frees up your time! More time to do what you really want instead of cleaning out a garage full of items that you can’t even remember putting in there. More time in the day is something we would all love to have, right?

If you had less stuff to clean/keep track of/maintain, and you now had a windfall of time, time to do what you really wanted to do, what would you do? Take a painting class? Learn to bake? Finish that book that has been sitting on your nightstand? Finally getting around to planting a vegetable garden?

Are your things preventing you from living the life you really want to lead?

If you need help answering this question, no problem! We’ve all been there!  🙂 These books might help:

The More of Less by Joshua Becker

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

The Joy of Less by Francine Jay

Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life by The Minimalists

Don’t let the things you own, end up owning you! Live the life you really want to live

 

 

 

 

Minimizing in March

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Happy March friends! 🙂 Spring is on its way, can you feel it?

Although I am a person who is not a fan of clutter and excess stuff, sometimes life and its baggage creep into the living abode. Whether it is paperwork, a junk drawer that has long exceeded its usefulness, or countertops that are not being used ideally because there are ill-placed items on them, clutter has a way of making its presence known. Well I see you clutter and it is time for you to go!

I feel like March is the ideal month to do a bit of spring cleaning, don’t you? Want to join me in minimizing your living space these next few weeks? Okay! So here is what I am focusing on this month. It’ll be easy-peasy, lemon-squeazy!

Kitchen

Junk drawers are the worst, aren’t they? Ugh… A “catch-all” is one thing, but junk drawers have a way of spilling over to other drawers and pretty soon, you have several of them filled with sheer nonsense. So I am tackling these junk drawers along with my cooking utensil ones as well.

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Countertops are not for unopened mail with postmarks of over a week prior. It’s not for random pens and paper that somehow are not placed back where they should be. Keys have their place as do sunglasses. I am taking back my countertops!!!!!!

Electronic

Friends, how many emails do you get in your inbox a day? How many of them are for things you are no longer interested in? Yup, me too. Time to do a little unsubscribing. For example:

(*) Blogs you are no longer interested in. There are some mom blogs that I used to read back when my daughter was a toddler, you know around the 2 to 3 year age range. Well, these mom blogs no longer interest me and many of them are for families with several children whereas I only have one child, so they are just no longer applicable to my life.

(*) Advertising emails you inadvertently signed up for. I purchased a hat for my husband for Christmas which bears the logo of his favorite football team. Well since then, every day in my inbox are emails from this company letting me know all the glorious sales that they are constantly having. Um, no thanks…

Bathroom

I am going to do a thorough sorting of my medicine cabinet. Expired medicine has no business being there and make-up that is past its prime has got to go as well.

See how easy this is going to be? Three simple things to focus on that anybody can do and it doesn’t require giving up several weekends to do it  🙂

So let’s get started! Who’s with me?