I recently read It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh. He is skilled at using counseling to help people approach their clutter. He uses a mix of psychology and organizational skills to help people unbury themselves from their stuff.
Here are seven of my favorite quotes from the book:
Clutter sucks life away. It leaves you depressed, overwhelmed, lacking motivation, and unable to breath.
Clarity, perspective, focus, and a sense of openness all come with a clutter-free space.
The single most important factor in deciding what you should having in your home is now clear: Does this item enhance and advance the vision I have for the life I want or does it impede that vision?
When the purpose of a room is lost, clutter inevitably follows.
If you have room for a prized handbag collection, you must justify it by empyting your purse every night - the way men empty their back pockets - to keep your purse contents spare and easily transferable.
Create clear zones for like items...Everything having a proper place.
One challenge is always constant: toy management...If you manage toys well, you will teach your child so much more than how to play.
Have you read It's All Too Much? What was your favorite part of the book?
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Saturday, February 28, 2009
I recently read It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh. He is skilled at using counseling to help people approach their clutter. He uses a mix of psychology and organizational skills to help people unbury themselves from their stuff.
Friday, February 27, 2009
After visiting Tikatok, I think I would have loved the idea of this site as a kid. Tikatok allows kids to transform their own creative stories into published books. I have to admit, I have not tried their product but I cannot wait until my daughter publishes her first book. Each book is about $20 and requires that you register with their site.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
This post is part of the Blue Days List Series, please check out previous posts.
Snacks are yummy to eat at work or as a special treat. They can give you a quick energy boost or satisfy a craving. They can be a reward for completing an especially challenging task or further your procrastination.
Here are my 10 favorite snacks:
1. Ice Cream - I love all ice cream! When it comes to ice cream, I always have room for more. My friend's grandma says, "Even after a huge meal, ice cream fills in the cracks."
2. Cake - I guess this would make my #1 favorite snack ice cream cake. When it comes to cake, I'm not picky. I like German chocolate, plain 'ole chocolate, vanilla, white...I'll eat it all.
3. Red Vines - This is my movie theater snack. I typically eat a box of red vines every time I go to the movies.
4. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - These are my favorite snack candies. I like the full-sized cups and the minis.
5. Dark Chocolate See's Candy - See's Candy is scrumptious, and my favorite is the dark chocolate candy with the gooey centers.
6. Strawberries - Actually, make that chocolate covered strawberries. I cannot keep strawberries in my house. I will literally eat them all until they are gone!
7. Cereal (with soy milk) - For some reason, cereal seems like a natural snack food to me. My favorites are Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch (which I cannot keep in the house).
8. Starbuck's Mocha Frappucino - There are all kinds of tasty treats at Starbucks, but my favorite is the original mocha frappucino.
9. Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano Cookies - I'm eating these as I type, and I just decided to add them to my list!
10. Quesadillas - I had to add one non-dessert item to my list. In a pinch, I can always count on having tortillas and cheese in the refrigerator.
Do you see a theme? Maybe this should have been a list of my favorite desserts!
What are your favorite snacks?
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
This Tuesday's Top Pick is Green Mom Finds. Check this site out for items that will move you towards eco-fabulous living. Two of my favorite products featured on this site are the Tumbleweed Composter and the children's book Planet Earth Gets Well.
There is another mystery item that I cannot feature here because I bought twelve of them as my Signature Gift this year!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Do you ever put on a shirt or pair of pants, and then end up changing into another outfit later in the day? Do you wash your first outfit or put it back in your closet? I keep this hamper next to my bed to catch all my clothes that are too clean to be laundered and too dirty to be returned to the closet.
When I come home from work, I like to change into casual clothes. These clothes used to end up of the floor or draped over a chair until the next day or whenever I decided to wear them again. This super simple solution provides a place for these after-work clothes as well as a place to keep my pajamas during the day.
Friday, February 20, 2009
I was introduced to the Flip Video Camcorder over the holidays. My cousin received one for Christmas, and I was totally intrigued. This tiny gadget is actually a digital video camera that holds up to 60 minutes of footage. It conveniently plugs into your USB port and requires no memory cards or tapes. It also comes with FlipShare software to help you organize your videos, publish them online, or share them via email. Visit their website and see how the skin is also totally designable!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I am excited to announce the launch of CentralCoastParent.org! You may have noticed that my posts have been a little short lately. This is because I have been developing a new blog to serve my local community. It is a culmination of my three loves - my love of the Central Coast, my love of parenting, and my love of writing.
I will be dividing my energy between Just Plain Joy and Central Coast Parent, so I hope you will follow me over to my new site. Central Coast Parent is a resource for parents living in San Luis Obispo County. Come on over and subscribe today!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
This post is part of a series of Blue Day Lists, please check out previous posts.
1. Father of the Bride. I never realized how much I internalized this movie until I started planning my own wedding. I probably watched it for the first time when I was thirteen, but I think even back then I secretly knew I wanted to get married at my parents' house.
2. Sliding Doors. This movie never became extremely popular, but it is in my top three! The story takes place in London and stars Gwyneth Paltrow. Gwyneth's character plays out two parallel storylines - one when she catches the subway home after being fired and finds her boyfriend having an affair and the other when she misses the subway and continues her life unknowingly. Whenever I think of this movie, I can't help but wonder which events in life are destined and which are merely circumstance?
3. The Shawshank Redemption. This movie fascinates me. I think it was the first time I confronted the "reality" of someone innocent being found guilty (which happens in our country all too often). And, it is just a great film! Since this list is part of my Blue Day Series, I tried to limit the number of dramas included here. However, drama is one of my favorite genres so a few of my other favorites are Green Mile, The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby, Hotel Rwanda, and Walk the Line.
5. Coyote Ugly. I love this movie mostly for the soundtrack. It is a total chick-flick about a girl who moves to New York to find fame, and instead she ends up being a bartender at a bar run by crazy hot chicks. Totally believable, right? Another favorite soundtrack from a total chick-flick I love is Charlie's Angels.
6. 50 First Dates. This movie combines three things I love - Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, and Hawaii. Adam Sandler's character falls in love with Drew Barrymore's character, but the only problem is that she has temporary memory loss and starts each day with no memory of recent events. The psychologist in me knows this is not exactly how our memory works, but it makes for a cute story.
7. Blood Diamond. I watched this movie a year after my husband and I had picked out my second-hand diamond engagement ring, and I was glad that I at least decided against a brand new diamond. This is not a feel-good movie for watching on a "blue day," but it is a reminder that the luxuries we enjoy in our country comes at a price to others in other countries.
8. Ocean's Eleven. I love a well-planned heist, especially when it involves two total heart-throbs! Of course, there is now an Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen, but this was the first time George Clooney and Brad Pitt joined forces to create a totally thrilling and head-turning action-packed adventure flick.
9. Die Hard. This has turned into an oldie but goodie. A classic 80's movie, this was one of the original terrorist plots before terrorism was truly a threat. I probably had my first crush on Bruce Willis at ten-years old!
10. Mystic Pizza. Julia Roberts is one of my favorite actresses. I loved her in Pelican Brief, Pretty Woman, Sleeping with the Enemy, Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve, The Mexican, and Mona Lisa Smile. But, I think I love Mystic Pizza so much because I grew up in a small town and felt I could relate to the characters (even though, like most movies it is really nothing like real life).
What are your favorite movies?
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Simple Marriage is authored by a blogger who is also a columnist on Simple Mom (one of my favorite blogs). Even if you are not married, there are some excellent articles that apply to anyone in a relationship. I enjoyed this simple list called The Things I Love About Marriage. He also has some excellent guest posts by some of my favorite bloggers, including How to Make More Time for Your Spouse or Family by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits.
Monday, February 16, 2009
I am not sure exactly when I made the switch from dairy to soy, but I can say for sure that I am not going back. I enjoy soy milk in cereal, coffee, smoothies, and on its own. There are many different brands of soy milk that I enjoy, but my favorite is Silk. Silk does an excellent job of using organic (non-genetically modified) and locally grown soy beans. Benefits of soy include a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, enhanced bone health, a reduced risk of certain cancers (including prostate cancer), and decreased menopausal symptoms.
Do you drink soy milk?
Sunday, February 15, 2009
I have featured the Klean Kanteen as a Super Simple Solution in a previous post, and it is back again! This time, I am sharing a trick that will reduce your dirty dishes! Before I started using the Klean Kanteen as my daily drinking glass, I went through one or two glasses a day. After a few days, the sink was full of dirty glasses. By giving up juice (which is packed with calories) and sticking to water and using my Klean Kanteen all the time, I no longer have any glasses to wash.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Happy Valentine's Day! I realized as I was writing this post that I have not been on many dates lately. I hope this inspires you as it inspired me to schedule more one-on-one time.
If you are still looking for frugal date ideas for Valentine's Day, here are a few to get you started...
2. Cook dinner together. Whether you choose gourmet food or basic pasta, cooking together can be fun. To extend the activity, begin by browsing through your cookbooks, picking a tasty new recipe, and grocery shopping together.
3. Play a game. There are lots of fun games for couples - checkers, chess, Connect Four, Uno, Scrabble. There are even more four-player games - my favorite is Cranium. Invite another couple over and double the fun! If board games are too antiquated, there is always PlayStation and Wii.
4. Stay "in" for cocktails. My husband and I used to go out for drinks on occasion, but it is definitely not a frugal date. Save your dollars and purchase the ingredients for one or two fun cocktails. Then, turn on some jazz and create a romantic setting at home to enjoy your cocktails.
5. Get hooked on a t.v. series. You may not be able to convince your date to watch Sex and the City or Sopranos (my two personal favorites) but there are many entertaining t.v. series, such as 24, House, Lost, and Bones.
6. Find free music, concerts, and fairs. Many hotels and coffee shops have free music or entertainment. Check your local newspaper or publications for upcoming events that are free to the public.
7. Volunteer. This may sound like an odd date, but there are plenty of volunteer activities - serve a meal to the homeless, clean the beach, walk dogs at the animal shelter, or read to senior citizens. Volunteering together is a great way to spend time with your sweetheart and make a difference!
photo by yotung
What frugal date ideas do you have?
Friday, February 13, 2009
Keep your eyes out for LendAround - a new web tool that allows people to lend out the stuff they are no longer using (starting with DVDs). The site is currently in beta testing mode and has a waiting list for new members, but hopefully soon will be opening up to more users.
After you register, you make a list of stuff you own (namely, DVDs) and stuff you would like to borrow. Then, list the friends and contacts you trust, and LendAround sends them an email notification. You control who you allow to view your list. Once you are approved, you can browse through your friends' DVD collection from your own home.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Join me on Twitter!
Just Plain Joy is now on Twitter! If you have not created a Twitter account, click here to join. For those of you who are joining us from Twitter, let me tell you more about Just Plain Joy and who I am.
My name is Joy and I live in a small community in California where I attempt to live a plain & simple lifestyle. I am a wife and a new mom. I recently completed my Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Organizations. This is a blog about simple [clutter-free, debt-free, organized, green] living.
If you are new here, please check out my most useful posts.
This blog covers everything from:
* simple parenting
* green products
* recycling clutter
* staying out of debt
* how to avoid overspending
These are just a few popular posts on simple living. I hope you will stay awhile and look around the site. If you like what you see, please subscribe to Just Plain Joy by email for regular updates!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I recently attended my first Naked Lady Party (aka clothing exchange), and it was awesome! I ran into an old friend from high school a few months ago, and she showed up at my front door the other day with an invitation to a Naked Lady Party. The invitation read, "Bring the jewelry, clothes, and shoes you no longer wear. Find a new Valentine's Day outfit!"
I have not been to a girl's night out party since my daughter was born, and I was looking forward to it all week. I dug through my donation box and did a quick sweep of my closet the night before the party. I came up with a pink flower dress from my college graduation, a brand new (with tags) full-length red dress (that I have never had an occasion to wear in the past five years), a red purse, a pair of clunky Simple shoes, and a few tops.
When I arrived, my friend had labeled parts of the room for "tops," "sweaters," "dresses," "bags," "shoes," and "pants." There was a beautiful spread of cheese, crackers, sangria, and sparkling lemonade. It didn't take long for ladies to start filing in with their bags of stuff and spreading it out. Pretty soon we were all trying on clothes, laughing, and making comments about how crazy we women could be.
As it turned out, I knew no one else beside my friend the hostess. I met lots of interesting women. We talked about work, running, new restaurants in town, and mutual friends. Some of us exchanged phone numbers and email addresses. It was a great way to meet new people, try on some fun clothes, and get a few "new" pieces for my wardrobe. My friend suggested we make the Naked Lady Party a semi-annual tradition, and we all agreed that was a great idea.
Have you ever attended a Naked Lady Party?
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Blogtations is the first humorous blog I have chosen as a top pick. The blog features funny, thought-provoking, inspirational, but mostly funny quotes from other blogs. It's also a good place to find new blogs. Here is one of my favorite quotes from Stop Screaming I'm Driving, which I found on Blogtations, "Good thing I never got one of those talking scales from the Sharper Image catalog...Because if I did, mine would be saying, "Girlfriend, what? Did you think you could make a batch of triple layer cookie bars for the kids over the weekend, eat half the pan, and NOT gain a pound?" Hope you enjoy the site as much as I did!
Monday, February 9, 2009
I have been in love with Smartwool socks for a few years now. I ask for them every Christmas, and I now I have a nice collection of light-weight and heavy-weight pairs in various colors. They are not itchy, like you might imagine a wool sock would be. In fact, they are luxuriously soft. And, wool does a better job at wicking moisture than cotton. I vow never to wear cotton socks again!
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
During No Spend Month last year, I realized that making "green" choices often costs more. Organic and healthy food tends to cost more than generic brands. Organic and hemp clothing is more expensive than mass-produced discount clothing. It is a daily struggle to choose between green products and cheap deals. Here are seven green and frugal choices that are easy to make:
2. Shop at farmer's markets. Even though organic food tends to cost more in stores, it is usually cheaper at farmer's markets. Find out when and where your local farmers sell their produce, and you can save money while eating healthier.
3. Use cloth grocery bags. Many stores offer discounts for bringing your own grocery bags. Keep your cloth bags in your car so they will always be ready for a shopping trip.
4. Conserve energy. Unplug appliances, turn down the heat, and lower the temperature on your water heater. These simple steps will save you money and save energy.
5. Downsize your car. There are more affordable and efficient hybrids on the market these days, and some models do not even require downsizing. If you are not ready to swich cars, when it comes to driving there are many green and frugal options. You can reduce your load by taking out unnecessary items, check your tire pressure, reduce your mileage, and regularly maintain your vehicle.
6. Downsize your house. A smaller house requires less heat, less maintenance, less property tax, and overall less energy. This means more free time and more money in savings.
7. Downsize your lifestyle. Are you starting to see a theme? Downsizing saves environmental and financial resources. To downsize your lifestyle, cook more meals at home, use fewer paper products (or switch to environmentally friendly brands like Seventh Generation), use more public transportation, visit the library more than the bookstore, and bring your own mug to the coffee shop.
And one more frugal and green choice - recycle your clutter. I covered this pretty thoroughly in a previous post, but basically there are several ways to recycle your clutter and make a little income.
These are just a few ways to be green and frugal. What ideas do you have?
Photo by WildMouse
Friday, February 6, 2009
I love the idea of keeping a baby book or a beautiful scrapbook for my daughter, but I am deterred by the amount of paper and clutter that they create. This is why I was intrigued by Keepaboo - a Web service which enables parents to create an online baby book. You can record, preserve and share baby's "firsts" with friends and family by uploading photos, recording milestones, creating growth charts, and entering captions or quotes. Soon the company will offer book printing.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
This time of year requires some extra precautions. Germs are making their way around offices, grocery stores, and more. I just recovered from a stomach bug that has been going around, and I hope to avoid any more sicknesses for awhile.
Here are 10 ways I plan to protect myself:
1. Reduce exposure to the elements. Being outdoors in a dry environment can weaken your immune system. Other elements such as wind and cold can also wear you down.
2. Drink water. Water helps prevent dry skin, acne, sinus pressure, headaches, and more! Your body needs water as nourishment and to remove waste.
3. Take a daily vitamin. A daily vitamin can supplement your diet during the winter months when you may not be eating as many fresh fruits and vegetables, and it is a quick and easy way to reduce your risk of a number of ailments.
4. Carry tissues. There is nothing worse than being around a sick person who is sneezing their germs on you. Be prepared to offer a tissue. And, if find yourself getting sneezy you will want to have a tissue handy.
5. Limit shower length. Longer showers can dry out your skin. Dry skin has a decreased capacity to heal and is more vulnerable to infection and irritants because of the tiny crack that let invaders in.
6. Apply moisturizer. Dry weather and indoor heating create special moisturizing needs for our skin. Apply moisturizer as needed throughout the day and after you shower.
7. Bundle up and dress in layers. If you work in an office or go in and out of stores, you can appreciate why it is important to dress in layers. And, this time of year the temperature can vary greatly throughout the day.
8. Change the furnace filter. We changed our filter at the end of fall, and it was disgusting! Changing your filter regularly will cut down on the amount of dusting you have to do, as well as reduce your exposure to allergens.
9. Use a humidifier. A humidifier adds moisture to a room, and prevents dry nose, throat and skin. Many viruses that cause sickness can only thrive in a low humidity environment.
10. Wash your hands! This is the best way to stop germs from spreading. Think about all the things you touch every day, end of story.
photo by RobertsNL
Check out this recent post at The WellGrounded Life to find out if your diet is winterized.
How do you protect yourself in winter?
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
This post is part of a series on Blue Day Lists from the Blue Day Journal.
It is hard to choose a "favorite" joke so here are three cute jokes about parenting from ahajokes.com.
#1 A man and his wife were making their first doctor visit, the wife being pregnant with their first child. After everything checked out, the doctor took a small stamp and stamped the wife's stomach with indelible ink. The couple was curious about what the stamp was for, so when they got home, the husband got out his magnifying glass to try to see what it was. In very tiny letters, the stamp said, "When you can read this, come back and see me."
#2 There was this little kid who had a bad habit of sucking his thumb. His mother finally told him that if he didn't stop sucking his thumb, he'd get fat. Two weeks later, his mother had her friends over for a game of bridge. The boy points to an obviously pregnant woman and says, "Ah, ha! I know what you've been doing!"
#3 With four daughters and one son always dashing to school activities and part-time jobs, our schedule was hectic. To add to this, we kept running out of household supplies. I instructed them all to let me know when they used the last of any item by writing it down on a note pad on the refrigerator. As a reminder, I wrote at the top: "IF WE ARE OUT OF IT, WRITE IT DOWN." When I checked the pad a few days later, to my delight I found the following message:"MOM, YOU MAY BE A BIT OLD-FASHIONED, BUT YOU ARE NOT 'OUT OF IT."'
What is your favorite joke?
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Today's Top Pick is List it, plan it, do it from Berrie Sweet Picks. It was difficult to find just one post to feature from this sassy blog because she features lots of interesting, useful, and fun products. The author, a 30-year-old first-time-mom, and her daughter "Buttercup," test these products and share their reviews with a dash of humor! I picked this post because it led to this year's first Friday's Fun Find.
Today she is giving away a Boon highchair! Hop on over and enter her contest!
*The posts I select won't always be recent because I like to dig through a blogger's archives to find some of their greatest blog entries.
What was your favorite blog this week?
Monday, February 2, 2009
If it is possible to fall in love with a pen, then this is the one I want to marry. The newest addition to the Sharpie family is the pen that won't bleed through paper. I literally covet this pen in meetings, and I have started carrying extra free pens for when people ask to borrow one. However, I have found it is a little too bold for my check register. Otherwise, I use this pen for everything!