Sunday, May 24

Project Downsize | Closet Cleanout

cleanoutclutter

So I'll be honest. The "before" photos I took of our, uh, situation with clutter are more embarrassing to me than my before photos from my weight loss journey. But, just like with my weight loss journey, I've decided to share them just to inspire and show you that we are all a bit out of sorts sometimes, and we can make choices to get back on track and move closer to those goals ever day!

So here's our spare room as it was 3 days ago. I know. I knnooooowwwwww. It's the weirdest room that we aren't quite sure what to do with (any interior designers out there have suggestions?) because it's only got walls on two sides and it has to have enough space to walk through to get to all the bedrooms on that side of the house. So it has turned into a catch all/play room. I'm not a huge fan, but whatever. Mid century architecture design baffles me. Anyway...

Inspired by the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying UpI decided to tackle our clothes situation as my 2nd task in Project Downsize. In the book, the author suggests tidying up by genre instead of by room. I'm not sure why I've never thought of that before but it's so genius, right? How many times have I tried to clean up a room only to get so flustered by all the various types of things in it (books, clothes, toys, papers... ahh) that I can't make any progress since progress would require me to go get all the other books, clothes, toys, papers, etc. to be able to organize everything enough to clean up.

So I chose clothes. It was an easy choice since they were mostly all piled up on our spare sofa from a recent laundry surge. I, quite literally, dumped all the laundry onto the floor (we cleaned it first, don't panic) and then filled up garbage bag after garbage bag with clothes that were faded, torn, old, too big, or outgrown. Then I went into our son's room and emptied every dresser drawer and the entire closet. Then I went into our master bedroom and emptied out every drawer and the closet (shoes included!)

It definitely looked worse before it looked better. There was a moment when I was standing in a 6 inch square of clear floor surveying the mountains of clothes, towels, sheets, shoes, and random accessories and questioning my belief that this was a wise move. But as soon as I started and realized that our "donate" pile was quickly stacking up to be bigger than our "keep" I felt a weight lift!

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As you can we ended up with an entire CAR FULL of stuff for the donation center. It feels like a great start! Already our closets and dressers are nicely organized and pared down. We loaded up the whole car to take to the nearest donation center. I'm happy to pass these things on. Hopefully they bring someone else some joy and comfort! Next up.... baby toy purge! Send reinforcements!

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PAST PROJECT DOWNSIZE POSTS





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Friday, May 22

Project Downsize | Clear The Desktop

getorganized_beckarobinson Not sure if you saw my last blog post, inspired by the bright, clean, airy beach house we staying in for our staycation, but I came home INSPIRED to clean things up! To downsize. To simplify and brighten. I'm not going to lie, it's been hard for me to not just go into full project mode and tear our entire house apart. I'm forcing myself to not be impulsive and to take it 1 step at a time. First things first, getting back to the organization systems I already have at my disposal like my incredible daily planner. And purchasing this book that literally every person I've talked to about this topic has recommended to me. (That photo of the book is from my friend Metal and Honey, my copy isn't actually here yet. COME ON AMAZON!)

I've got some BIG plans for this project (of course) and as I've been starting I'm realizing this is going to take way more time than I originally though.

Here's what's on my project list so far... 
➳ Go though all our clothes and donate everything that doesn't fit/that we haven't work in 6+ months
➳ Go through our son's clothes and donate everything he's grown out of (saving a few special pieces)
➳ Undertake a Great Toy Purge and donate everything he's outgrown or lost interest in
➳ Throw away all the toys that are broken or have too many missing pieces to use
➳ Clear out all the shelves in our various bookshelves and donate books/trinkets that are just collecting dust
➳ Clear out our pantry and donate all the non-perishables that we don't eat or don't want
➳ Clean out all our cupboards and donate all the kitchen goods we don't use/don't need
➳ Clean out the garage. Enough said.
➳ Clean out the shed. (This one is terrifying because I'm fairly sure a mouse family lives in there)
➳ Sell the furniture and decorations we no longer enjoy and replace them.
➳ Repaint the living room and den in brighter, fresh colors. Add mirrors to bounce light around.
➳ Clear my computer desktop

AHHHHHH! See what I'm saying? This project is supposed to usher in less stress but thinking about it has me a bit overwhelmed. I want to just take like 4 days and lock myself in the house and get it all done. But that's not real life. So we are starting small. We've begun sorting through the clothes and toys but that is going to take some time. To keep my sanity I'm working my way UP starting with the smalled projects moving up to the biggest. The "snowball" method (like what Dave Ramsey is always talking about!) if you will.

But in the spirit of starting small, here's what I've done so far in PROJECT DOWNSIZE...
➳ Picked up all the toys (and pieces of toys) throughout the house
➳ Had our house cleaned from top to bottom (can't tell you how much clean floors help!)
➳ Set out to clear up the desktop of my laptop!

I am a creative, so I tend to sacrifice organization or neatness for the sake of inspiration. Here is what my desktop frequently looks like. This mess is from putting together a few training calls and keynote presentations as well as working on some recognition graphics for my team and taking screenshots of things to track receipts and stuff but then never organizing them....

desktoporganization_before

This is not a calm work environment. And my desktop is my work environment! It is where I run my entire 6 figure business from! It's my legit office. I realized I really NEED to keep the desktop, the first thing that greats my eyes when I start my work hours, clear and clean.

CLEAR THE DESKTOP || Total project time: 10 minutes
To start, I deleted all the bits and pieces of graphics I had finished using. Then, any important ones that I wanted to keep, I renamed and put them in their respective folders. Then I consolidated the folders and moved ones that I don't need to have immediate access to, to other places where they are safe and organized but visually out of the way. Organizational folders went in the upper left, out of the way of my eyes but where I have easy access to drag and drop things into them. Then I updated the names of my "work" folders and put them all in the lower right where I can see them quickly and access them easily. BOOM! I feel better now, do you? ;)

desktoporganization_after

Try it yourself and see if it makes you feel better too! Baby steps right? If you're joining me in Project Downsize let me know in the comments below! I'd love to follow your progress too! xo.
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Sunday, May 17

BLESS THIS UNMESS // Project Downsize (Round 2)


A few years back I did a whole post about what I was calling "Project Downsize". It was legit, I made graphics and everything. I rallied people who might want to do it alongside me. We were all excited. And while my intentions were definitely pure my will was not as strong as I needed it to be. Ha!

I got through a few closets and cabinets. We definitely put a dent in the situation but we did not fully downsize. Now here I am staying at a brand new Beach house. It's white and clean with cabinets not overflowing and perfectly organized laundry shelves. (Because no one really lives here, I know that but still...) And I'm so inspired to go back to our completely overflowing home and clear shit out!

look at this beautiful, clutter-free space I'm in right now! I want this in my own home!

Our house is to the point where we feel slightly claustrophobic at all times. Do you know the feeling? And as we were thinking about it and talking about it we realized that so much of our clutter is rooted in fear. Stay with me here...

> Fear that we might not have enough money to buy new pillows later so just keep those old ones in the closet somewhere just in case... 
> Fear that we won't be able to buy new candleholders next time we host a dinner party so just keep those old, waxy ones in the cabinet just in case... 
> Fear that we might one day have another child and not be able to afford baby things again so KEEP ALL THE BABY THINGS just in case... 

Do you see what I'm saying? This fear that we have to hold on to all these THINGS to protect our future selves who might not be able to take care of themselves. Maybe that thought pattern has some merit (Surely we've all heard a grandma somewhere quote the old adage... "Waste not, want not") but that mentality is not okay to me. Those pillows have chocolate milk stains from our toddler. Those candlesticks are covered in wax and aren't even pretty. Those toys are missing pieces.

I've never been a super materialistic person. Mostly just because I've never been able to afford to. But I have spent many trips to Target and Ikea dropping hundreds of dollars on things I don't need because they are cute. And having cute things in your house is fun. And decorating is fun. And shopping for no good reason is fun. But then that new stuff becomes old stuff and it gets dusty and your toddler breaks it or stains it and you shove it in a closet somewhere or it sits out on a table or shelf just cluttering things up for no reason other than you spent money on it and you feel compelled to keep it. I recently learned the average American has 300,000 things! What? We have 3 people living in our house! That's the potential for 900,000 things. Nearly a million things? I can tell you we probably aren't using more than a few hundred at any given time in our lives.

I just spent 2 hours folding laundry that doesn't even fit any of us anymore! Why do I still have it? Why am I even washing it? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? Why was I spending my days in fear of losing stuff or not being able to buy stuff or working overtime just to maintain all this STUFF? Gah...

So over the next few months we're going to be going on a PURGE. I have no idea if we'll try to sell stuff, or just donate it. (Probably a little of both until we run out of steam and just start giving everything left away!) At this point I just want it gone and out. I want to feel like I can breathe again. Why hold onto all this stuff in piles and boxes that we never even look at or use? Will it be an undertaking? Yes probably. Will it be a little painful? Possibly but that's okay. Will it force us to really think about NEED and what it is that we need in our lives? Most definitely!

I am so blessed by my career as a coach and the financial stability it has brought into our lives. It's time to send off this poverty mentality with a kiss and a wave and tell it it's never welcome back here again. We have learned healthier financial habits while we'e also learned healthy living habits. And after all, this is my year of POSSIBILITY so I need to create some space for whatever might be coming our way, figuratively and actually.
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Sunday, May 10

Let's Celebrate The Spirit of Motherhood


Here's to them all!
The ones that grew babies,
adopted babies, cared for babies, fostered babies.
The ones who loved babies and lost babies.

The ones who are mothers in their hearts as they wait for babies.
The ones who mother their friends and families and say, "text me when you get home!" and wait up till their phones chime melodies of safekeeping.

The ones who work tirelessly on behalf of the motherless.
The ones who advocate for the children.
The ones who make hard decisions and love till it aches and give everything they have to another soul.

The warrior women. The mama bears. The nurturers. The she-wolves.
The gentle souls. The sweet sense of HOME made tangible.

This weekend is about celebrating the spirit of motherhood in all it's manifestations!
Love and celebration to the ladies out there!
You fiery, passionate, sensitive, beautiful creatures, you!
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Monday, May 4

Oh The Places You'll Go...

It has nice symmetry really. And anyone that has been waiting to eat dinner till I get that perfect shot of my plate, adjusting the fork and napkin and cup and whatever else happens to be unfortunately placed haphazardly in my frame until it's juusssssst right knows that I love some good symmetry.

So when I opened the door to my yoga room (oh gosh you guys, we are so behind. I have a yoga room in our house now! I can't wait to give you a proper tour soon! It's so zen.) and saw a duffle bag in the middle of the floor I squealed with delight. I knew what it was before I even unzipped the bag!


Last year for Mother's Day my husband got me my first paddleboard. My baby. My beloved. (The board, not my husband.  Kidding! Not really.)  My Boga Yoga board that helped me rediscover my love for Florida and sunshine and water and bikinis. I have spent the last year adventuring around the Central Florida waterways on it falling in love with everything about it. EXCEPT....

That my Boga board is B I G. 11 feet long and solid like a rock. I can drive it to and fro but take it with us on an airplane? Not gonna happen. I have been dying to be able to paddleboard when we travel but there was just no way to make it happen with my big Boga. At least, no way were were willing or capable to take on.

So when I saw the duffle bag I knew. He got me another board for this year's Mother's Day! OH THE SYMMETRY! My heart. But this time a slightly smaller board (just over 9.5 feet) and inflatable. I know what you're thinking, "How on earth is an inflatable paddleboard a thing? Isn't it like standing on a pool raft?" NOPE! This baby is legit. When it's fully inflated it feels just as solid as a hard board. And while it's not as stable as my Boga since it's smaller all around, I was able to take it out for an inaugural ride and get through a few sun salutations and head stands without falling in the water.

(Which was great since there were two waterfront restaurants worth of diners watching me try out my board and that would have been so embarrassing.)



I can't wait to take both boards on our vacation next week to the northeast coast of Florida. And then who knows where my inflatable board will go with me! I've got visions of touring around in an Icelandic spring, in Glacier National Park, in Lake Powell surrounded by plateaus so high they look like they touch heaven. Maybe I'll take it on the cruise next year and paddle around Jamaica. Maybe it will come with me to California this fall? Oh the places we can go!

Where would you go if you could pack up and head to any body of water you wanted? 


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Not Much, What's Up With You?


Just popping in to say HELLO! I've survived quite possibly the busiest month of the last 5 years and I'm happy to say that I'm still alive! I've had so many ideas for what I want to do with this blog but no time to implement any of them so now that things are settling down I thought I'd stop in and say hello and give an update of what's been going on and what's to come!

So for the last 4 months I've been thinking about the direction I want to take the blog in. I teeter back and forth over going full lifestyle blog and then get overwhelmed because the bar has definitely been raised in the lifestyle blog department since I started blogging 10-ish years ago (good Lord!) and I'm not sure I've got the chops to keep up!

Then I think about making this just a source for info. But yawn. How boring is that right? I mean, I share the most of my life on Instagram but I can't really flush out my thoughts there like I can here which is what I love about blogging in general (hence this stream of consciousness post, sorry blog snobs!) so I can't completely abandon that.

So what to do? What to do? I've learned so much this last year and grown so much personally. I feel like I've really been able to let go of a lot of the bullshit I held onto as I built my photography business and built my various past blogs. So with my newfound wisdom (ha!) I have decided to let this blog be what it is. To not try to force it into any sort of special definition or try to push it to be anything it's not. I'd love to say I have the energy to keep it up like a magazine with features and DIY's and photoshoot but right now I just don't have the time for that. Or maybe I do, but it's just not a priority. And I have no desire to use it as an information dumping ground just so that google can index it. That's so not me.

What is me? Well, I'm glad you asked. I'm learning more and more that when I strive to keep up with the joneses, I just water down my own ideas and message. Or worse, run myself ragged trying to out-do everyone else. No fun. I'm not working this hard to build an empire so that I can run myself into the ground in the comparison game. Nope nope nope.

So, I really hope that you'll bookmark me and come back over the upcoming weeks. I'll be using the blog to share the ups and downs, the ins and outs of not only my life transformation over the last two years (and whatever comes in the upcoming ones) but also to show you what I've learned, how I make it work, and take you on this journey with me.

So if you have ever wondered what it's like to be a self employed creative. To juggle wife/mom/entrepreneur/and artist... you're in the right place. You'll find babbles, mystic-infused mental dumps, and probably a lot of photos from my iPhone, let's just be honest.

I can't wait to get you caught up and share as I go. This is shaping up to be one of the most exciting years I've had and I want to bring you along for the fun! Thanks for stopping by! Come back again soon. xo.
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