Saturday, January 28, 2012

Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston





I am a reader.  I love books.  Many have changed my life.  Probably the one  at the top of the list is, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, by Karen Kingston.  I was in a book club years ago, and book club member, Barb Etzkorn, suggested we read it. I had just been dabbling in reading Feng Shui books and was intrigued.  

That book lit a fire under me unlike anything else and found that I couldn't read it before bed.  One night I had to leap out of bed and clean out my makeup drawer.  I got so energized I couldn't wait to clear my clutter.  So take caution if you read it yourself.

Sometimes I would read a section heading and get very defensive, for instance when it was regarding books.  Note aforementioned love of books.  I truly thought that I loved all my books, they were neatly on a shelf, so how could they possibly be clutter? 

She convinced me to consider my collection.  Were there any that no longer suited my tastes and values? Were they an accurate reflection of who I was now? The trouble with our things is often times we don't even look at them anymore.  They are just sitting there.  When we actually intentionally look at our stuff with questions in mind like, "do I love it? Is it useful?" we often find that the answers are, "no."  I went to my shelf and easily, without hesitation, removed several boxes worth.  I couldn't have been more surprised.  

Since then, I have continued to clear clutter from our home (we are never done) and have launched my own business to help others do the same.  That's one influential book. 

Lori Koppelman
Owner & Coach
breathingroomcoaching


Monday, January 23, 2012

Free for the taking

If you would like one of these collections, please post your plea in the comment section below. Winners will be sent the collection free of charge if they provide a short snippet of what they did with the collection on my next post.  Send this link to anyone you would like. If no one has any interest in these then it is due time they hit the thrift store shelves for the rest of the treasure seekers.


Vintage Target gift card collection
The first time I saw a holographic Target gift card I was hooked. Years of collecting only the coolest gift cards has created this gold mine of design brilliance.  Over 60 gift cards comes in this collection that contain a remote control car, digital camera, bath salts, bubble makers, night light, transformer and the list goes on.  My one warning is that once you are hooked, you may never just be happy with a standard Target gift card. Target never seems to disappoint and your collection is bound to grow.  Who knows, maybe you can fetch a small fortune on ebay?


Want 10 minutes of peace in a restaurant with a toddler?
This Happy Meal Halloween collection has interchangeable parts to make a variety of characters. In the front there are 5 finger puppets that can create an impromptu puppet play that I guarantee will thrill a six month old to a six year old.  They would be a great entertainment in the bathtub as well.


Parents Magazine binder full of holiday, party and gift ideas.
My number one magazine with my children was the Parent's magazine with all their homemade  creative ideas. As volumes of magazines piled up, I organized all my favorites into a binder by category. Want some ideas for valentines to bring to school? Do you know how to make homemade plaster rocks bearing hidden treasures? How about some good old-fashioned night game ideas?  From birthday parties to economical holiday gifts, this collection would be great for a day care, a preschool teacher, a grandparent or any mom who wants a resource of ideas.


Babysitters kit
When I was in my teens I was a very popular babysitter. I'd be booked for Friday and Saturday nights a month in advance and there would be a bidding war over who would get me to watch their kids on New Years. Want to know my trick? I brought along a babysitters bag of trinkets that I would let each child pick from if they behaved and listened to what I said.  Within the past eight years I collected the following bag of happy meal toys and treasures hoping one of my children would follow in my lucrative footsteps. This bag has never seen any babysitting job.  Who is the next babysitter superstar? 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Paying it forward with books



What does one do with books? 
Lots of books. 
Here are three ways our family got rid of over 100 books this weekend, and almost brought home two.


Basement vault of classics.
This weekend, one of my kids decided to donate ALL their books. 
Classics like Harry Potter to Steven King.  



With a shelf from Craigs list, the idea came to fruition.  
In the basement of a three story dorm, a contribution from one has been offered to many for years to come.




Small acts of kindness.
This mailbox structure recently appeared along a well traveled sidewalk near our house.  
The idea is to take a book and share a book. I’ve never seen anything like this before. It is called the Little Friends Library.



This is where one of our favorite children’s book David Wiesner’s “Tuesday”  story belonged. 
In a book where frogs fly in on lily pads and make an ordinary day extraordinary, it certainly deserved a spot in this shrine of knowledge. 




Hijacking Great works of art.
My next stop was to drop off a bag of craft and travel books to the library. 
Probably seven years ago I donated two really nice art history books. They were big and heavy and I never looked at them. 



When I visit the library I often check to see if they are still in their spot or if they found their way to the book fair. Something inside me always wondered if I could ever take them back. Today I am going to hijack them back, just to see if I can.  My plan was to check all the books out except one and see if I set off the alarm.  The tension began to build as I approached the doors with books. 

No alarm. Nothing. I left the library and dumped them back into the book slot. I don’t want the books back and they are not being held against their will...that’s all I needed to know.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The bundt pan that wouldn't leave

After successfully reducing the Christmas decorations from four boxes to three,  I opened the freezer and out dropped a bag of Rhodes dinner rolls. They were supposed to be baked in 2011 but that didn't happen, so I decided to make them immediately. Today. Carpe diem.


 When I reached for the bundt pan I found 2. Hmm. Do I need 2 bundt pans? Have I ever baked a rum cake? The pan was saved as I thought "I need to keep this for my kids, they will be needing cooking supplies in a year when they move out".  Back on the shelf it went with a gentle shove.


As I grabbed ingredients for the rolls I came to a sight I see every day. Every day I see a stack of jell-o cartons. Large boxes, small boxes, orange, cherry and black raspberry.

Was this the reason the second bundt pan was put on earth? I decided to make the jello as well.  Everything was going fine, boiling water, ice cold water, then it dawned on me my kids don't like
jell-o. They like jello jigglers. I scan the box for instructions for the jigglers. Now I am doing math on how much water I added and how many more boxes I need to add.


Solution: throw all the jello boxes into the mix and hope it eventually jiggles.



My care and concern for properly dissolving the initial orange box, was now becoming a desperate attempt to mix all the remaining boxes. It's a mess. In the fridge it goes. Two hours later....yuk.



The jello is ALL gone and the bundt pan has now become collateral damage in the donation pile.








Monday, January 2, 2012

3 simple filing solutions for a simple life

While evaluating what to toss and what to keep, the following ideas have helped me pave the way for things that are important to me.

1). Keep your favorite recipes at your fingertips.
Many years ago I developed this "flip system" for planning our meals.  Whenever there was a meal we liked, I laminated the recipe and added it to a photo ring with two punched holes.




Each week when planning the meals I would flip through them and find 5-6 favorites and shop for the necessary ingrediants. When I wanted to try a new recipe, I tucked it in one of the empty photo pages that came with the photo ring for the next week.  I read somewhere that most families do not eat more than 30 dishes, so this saved the guessing and also reminds me of a variety of options. This crepe recipe is amazing....start now.


2). Get RID of the file cabinet.

I've shared my office with a four drawer beige filing cabinet for over 15 years. The file cabinet is now a dinosaur for my filing solutions.  Instead of clipping Good Housekeeping perennial garden pictures and filling a manilla folder, I now have pintrest where you can "pin" your ideas on a virtual board and share ideas with others. Most medical forms are now digital and if they aren't, I scan what is important.  After a full day of tossing and recycling old electric bills I was left with only a handful of priceless homemade drawings from my kids.  I lugged the banging metal coffin of files up the stairs, through the garage and dropped it off at the thrift store.... I was empowered.


3). Create a birthday book for each of your kids.

Very seldom do any of my digital photos get printed.  When my kids were young I bought a 20 page blank hard bound journal for each child from a home schooling convention.  On the cover I had an metal plaque with their name and birthday engraved along with and a photo of their birth.



The only restriction was that you only got ONE page to post the photos for that year and talk about your birthday.The birthday child was the one doing the writing and selection of photos.  They are all precious and I love taking them out each year on their birthday.