The Art of Decluttering

One of the most impactful books I’ve read is ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing‘ which is a best selling book by Marie Kondo. Her philosophy is only keeping what brings you joy and she walks you through steps on how to simplify and declutter your life and living space.

This book was kind of perfect for me because I hate clutter, but usually have little areas around the house that seem constantly cluttered. I love the feeling of de-cluttering and getting rid of things that are broken, I don’t use, don’t wear or that have served their purpose, but at the same time I like keeping things like souvenirs that remind me of my childhood or places we’ve visited. I reread parts of her book when we were preparing to move and we donated at least 20 large bags. I couldn’t believe how much we accumulated in just the 4 years we lived in our previous rental. 

Some of her key points that helped us declutter were:

-Only keep the items that bring you joy. Don’t just look at things in a closet, pick them up and see how they make you feel.

-Donate items that have served their purpose, think about how someone may be looking for that item or it may be very useful for someone whereas it’s just been sitting in your house.

We were very motivated to declutter because we didn’t want to have to pack and move things we didn’t really need. When we moved to our current house, it was much easier to unpack and everything had a place, there was no room for a junk drawer, room, closet or bookshelf. It was a lot of work, but well worth it. 

Welcome home

It’s been one month since we moved into our forever home! We are really loving our little rambler in the canyon. It’s so quiet and peaceful, especially compared to our rental the last 4 years which had a major city road behind it. Now, instead of hearing a constant flow of traffic or motorcycles roaring up the hill at 3 am we hear birds, wind blowing through the huge pine and redwood trees surrounding our home or silence. We love the natural light and single story – no more stairs! This is our 10th home or apartment we’ve lived in together since getting married and we are so happy to finally find a city and home where we want to spend the rest of our days.

Our home was built in 1978 so there were some updates previously done (like new windows) but some things we’ve contracted out to do like removing popcorn ceilings! We also got new interior doors on half the house, new carpet, painted the insides of all the cabinets which were dark brown and this week we are getting our kitchen and bathroom cabinets refaced and they will be white! It’s amazing what a can of white paint can do, not only to brighten our kitchen but the previous all green bathroom, bold accent walls in colors I’d never choose, and a bedroom that was floor to ceiling covered with wall paper. Another thing we’ve really been excited about is getting our garage interior painted and epoxied (the floor). It feels like a much cleaner space than the previous gross floor and walls that were just dry wall. Here are some pictures of the house so far, including our half unpacked kitchen. We didn’t want to unpack everything since we knew the cabinets were going to be refinished so we’ve been half using stuff in boxes still. Lots of work has gone into this house to make it ours and lots to come!

a few before and afters and then just random pictures of our lovely little home:

 

Here’s our dark kitchen that will look so much brighter and modern hopefully by next week!

 

Father’s Day gift ideas

Father’s Day is this Sunday and here are a few ideas for affordable gifts:

Father's Day affordable gift ideas

If your dad, grandfather, husband, significant other, etc already has a lot of stuff, give them an experience! I’ve used groupon a few times (for things like house cleaning and hair cuts) but they also have travel deals and ‘things to do’ like skydiving, harbor cruises, etc. Lots of ideas that are local to your area and a fun way to try new things right where you live!

I’ve recently discovered Vimbly which has tons of activities, events, dining, tours, etc. based on your city. They have deals available in most every large city in the US. A few that interested me in LA were a zip line tour, paddle boarding lessons and a Latin eating tour of LA. There were so many activities that would make awesome gifts for Father’s Day!

I also love this waterproof dopp kit, beard oil and Stance socks. Stance has a ton of high quality patterned socks including professional sports teams.  I’ve already spoken my love of the Hydro Flask water bottle and I feel it’s a great gift for anyone since hydration is important and it’s super convenient to take anywhere since it doesn’t leak or collect condensation on the outside.

Hydro Flask // dopp kit// groupon // vimbly // beard oil // Stance socks

A dog’s life

If you know me, it’s no secret I love our corgi, Bruce. I’ve written about when we got Bruce in Virginia, our favorite dog products and ways to keep your living space clean with a dog. Since we got Bruce when he was just 6 weeks old, it was a lot of work house training, crate training, training not to chew, not to go in certain areas, etc but it’s definitely worth it and great preparation for kids, ha, ha! corgi bruce WISP broomcorgi bruce WISP broom

Bruce’s life consists of eating, sleeping a ton, hoping for us to throw his toys or give him bones, going on an evening walk and his favorite thing, ‘guarding’ the house – ha, ha! Corgi’s are small with a big bark and like to protect their home and family.

My favorite thing is how loyal dogs are and always want to cheer their owners up. Whenever we come home, it always makes us happy to be greeted by Bruce who is beyond excited to see us! Who wouldn’t want to come home and 100% of the time there is a cute dog eagerly waiting for them!?

Having a dog is also a great way to get in some exercise and move more! Dogs love to play and go on walks and we’ve loved our evening walks and occasional hikes with Bruce. They are great for our health and his health! I also love at night after the kids go to bed, Bruce will jump up on my lap while we relax for the night, usually by reading or catching up on our DVR or Netflix. He’s not only a great lap warmer in the winter but also very snuggly which I love! corgi bruce WISP broom

corgi bruce WISP broom

As I’ve mentioned before, corgis shed quite a bit, basically all year around! We love the FURminator deShedding Brush and now we have another awesome product that helps immensely with keeping our floors clean.. Like everyone, we’ve had a basic broom that does a mediocre job collecting crumbs, dirt, dust, pet hair, etc. Now enter the WISP broom. The broom head is angled and designed to collect and gather instead of sweep. It is great for cleaning under tables, cabinets, edges, etc. The bristles act more like a squeegee to trap the dust and debris. They are still soft and don’t scratch wood or tile floors.

Another thing I love is that the dustpan is designed to be used with your foot, which makes it much easier to put the debris into the dustpan. The dustpan also has ridges where you can scrape the bristles to remove any particles stuck in the bristles. It doesn’t take out 100% of the debris but definitely pulls out a lot and makes it easier to clean the broom bristles. Traditional broom bristles are much harder to clean unless you manually pull out the debris and hairs. With a dog and 2 little kids, the WISP broom is an awesome tool that doesn’t cost a hand and a leg (like the robotic vacuums I’ve previously posted about!) The classic WISP broom cost $29.95.

wisp broom pet hair

wisp broom pet hair

wisp broom brush pet hair

This post brought to you by WISP – thanks for helping us maintain a clean home! All opinions on this product review are obviously my own 🙂

Making a house a home: air freshener reviews

One thing that makes a house feel like a home is its smell. A few weeks ago I bought two room sprays at Bath and Body Works to try out. It seems like there’s always a sale or deal going on there ha, ha and these were 2 for $12. There were at least a dozen scents and I got pineapple and fresh linen. They both smell great and are super easy to use.bath and body works room spray review

Our front area (entry way, stairs, piano area, family room, TV area) is fairly large with vaulted ceilings so it needs a few sprays throughout the area. I also use this spray in our powder room (downstairs bathroom). It has a Scentsy but for some reason never smells very fragrant even though I’ve scrubbed it clean!

We have two Scentsys (fragrant wax warmer) that we like and I wish we could have one for every room and space because they make your house smell so good. We keep the larger one usually in the kitchen and the small one in the powder room. I love our Scentsy warmers and also that you can buy scented wax at lots of stores: grocery stores, Dollar Tree, drug stores, Michaels, etc. I also like that it’s not an open flame. It has a small lightbulb that warms the wax so it’s just like having a light on.

The scent of the room spray obviously isn’t as long lasting as a Scentsy or candle but it did have fast results and the scent lasts for a few hours even in the large areas. Would I buy it again? Maybe if there’s a sale ha! I liked the scents I chose and the large variety of choices.The sprays are great for short term and to freshen up a room.

bath and body works room spray review fresh linen pineapple

My favorite scent that I wish I could smell all day is Volcano from Anthropologie. I love the candle but wish it was available as wax for a Scentsy – anyone found one?! I haven’t tried the room spray version either since I wasn’t sure about the results for the price.

anthropologie volcano candle

What’s your favorite way to clean the house?

Like most women and especially fellow moms who don’t work outside the home, I would love a spotless home 24/7. With 2 kids and a dog, things can get messy if we don’t keep up the effort to keep the house relatively clean. A few years ago, I read a tip I really liked: keep your house in a condition as if guests were coming in 10 minutes.  How much could you tidy up in 10 minutes? If you think someone is going to be coming into your house, it’s easier to try and tidy things up, wipe down surfaces, and keep clutter to a minimum. While real life happens and it’s always more important to spend time with my kids versus clean, I’ve tried to stick to this advice. It’s helped us get in the habit of putting things in their place and cleaning as we go rather than letting things pile up and try and clean a lot later. This doesn’t mean that our house is clutter free but the mentality definitely helps.

My favorite chore is definitely vacuuming! It’s relaxing and nice to see instant results of a clean floor. We’ve never had a fancy vacuum but even a regular one has been sufficient. We recently upgraded our dust buster hand vacuum from one we had since we got married 10 years ago and it’s so nice with increased technology ha, ha. We got this Shark model that’s advertised especially for pet owners ($35).

shark hand vacuum for petsOur Texas home and current home we’re renting have all wooden and tiled floors and I’ve had my eye on robotic vacuums (like a knock off Roomba) – which would hopefully keep the floor cleaner in addition to vacuuming the area rugs we have. That being said, I guess my least favorite chore is sweeping. I feel like you always miss some debris. If we stay in Chino Hills for a while and are able to buy a home, I think we’d choose wood/laminate floors with some carpet in the bedrooms.

top cleaning tip

*our favorite dog products for cleaner home here

Bruce’s Best Pet Products (corgi edition)

Bruce has been part of out family now for 6 years! I still remember picking him up as a 6 week old puppy down on the farm in Virginia where his breeder lived. He was small enough to fit in a messenger bag. Dave grew up with a little dog and I always wanted one so Dave got Bruce as my birthday surprise!  I feel that owning a puppy and going through all the steps to train it is great preparation for becoming parents.  You learn to work together with your partner, house training, crate training, how to deal with different pet personalities, differences in ‘parenting’ styles, how to take care of an animal, scheduling (feeding, walking, etc) and the versatility you need as a parent when issues arrive with your pet like illness, chewing, social issues, etc. You go through a lot of trial and error with training pets, much of what happens when you are parents. Over the last six years, we’ve discovered some awesome dog products that are pretty essential to keeping the house clean and blatantly obvious that we have a dog.

bruces-best-pet-products welsh corgi

 

  1. FURminator – far and away my top pet item! This brush is designed to comb both the over and under coat of a dog. It’s pricier than regular brushes but 100 times more effective! Corgis shed quite a bit, especially during seasonal changes like winter to summer, and the furminator has been invaluable in reducing the amount of hairs that get shed in the house. It’s easy to use and doesn’t hurt the pet or cut the hairs. The metal brush pulls the hairs from both coats. We furminate Bruce maybe once a month depending on the season but corgis have so much fur, I feel like he could be furminated everyday sometimes! These brushes are sold for dogs and cats and different brushes depending on the size of your pet.
  2. Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover Spray – when house training a pet you’ll have accidents. This spray is great for eliminating odors and stains from carpet. We’ve found it to be very effective and have never had any stains on our carpets. It’s easy to use as well. After an accident (urine), soak up with a paper towel as much as you can, spray the Nature’s Miracle into the carpet and let it absorb. The carpet should be wet. Let the spray sit and absorb for approximately 20 minutes the blot it with a paper towel. The carpet won’t be completely dry and you can just let it air dry (no need for fans, etc).
  3. Lint Rollers in bulk (Scotch-Brite) – Lint rollers are pretty essential if you have a dog or cat breed that sheds. In addition to furminating Bruce and general cleaning the house, these lint rollers are great for couches, clothes, cars, blankets, etc. We like this brand because it does a good job  picking up stray hairs, is sold in bulk packages and the sheets are easy to tear.
  4. Harness Leash – for years we had a retractable leash because it was easy to use, hold and what we were used to since Bruce has a lot of energy when we go on walks. Our friend in Salt Lake, also a corgi owner, who used to dog sit Bruce suggested we get a harness leash so he doesn’t pull as much. Our current leash obviously isn’t as long as a retractable leash but he doesn’t pull at all when we leave the house to go on a walk.
  5. Food storage container – dog food can be pretty stinky and we love this container that we have to store his food. It has a lid that locks so prevent spilling if it ever tips and looks nice. The one we have isn’t specifically made for dog food (it’s basically a trash can with a locking lid).

corgi

Fiesta Friday: links I love and things to celebrate

things to celebrate happy weekend links

Does anyone have a robotic vacuum?! Our home in Texas and our current home in CA have all wood floors. I love the look and glad we didn’t inherit grungy carpet. I’m intrigued with the idea of a robot vacuum, it would make it much easier to clean crumbs and dog hair that I’m constantly sweeping up 🙂

I recently tried this fired grilled steak bowl for lunch and loved it! I usually don’t eat frozen food but received this one complimentary to review. It was quick and easy to make and tasted similar to the veggie burrito bowl I like from Chipotle. I loved that it had 20 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber! I can’t remember the exact cost but it was around $3-$4. The only con was that I was still hungry afterwards (although maybe this is a reflection of me and my eating habits rather than the meal ha!) I would definitely buy it again!

Agree with many of these 6 things I didn’t realize about having a baby