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April 27, 2012

Organize a Ransom Box + Freebie Friday

I kept coming across the idea of a toy jail/toy ransom box for items the kids don’t put away and thinking, “I should totally do that.” It’s such a great idea! I just could never seem to find the time to do it. But last weekend was sort of a perfect storm. I had just reread Aby’s tip to create a toy jail and also saw a couple pins on Pinterest for toy ransom boxes. Plus, it was the kind of weekend where the kids were just making messes and walking away, leaving a trail of chaos in their wake. Tell me it isn’t just my kids who do this, OK?


“That’s it,” I silently declared. I marched downstairs, found a storage tub, and got to work. The things they’d already been asked to pick up and were still lying about? Into the ransom box they went. And now? They belong to me!



To get an item back, the girls have to draw a slip from the envelope. Each slip should take them 10 minutes or less to accomplish, but I made sure to point out that 10 minutes is way longer than it would take to simply put their things away when asked. I included jobs that always need doing around the house (clean the front door windows), funny things (sing a song about why you will never leave your things out again), and surprising things (get out of jail free).



Now, don’t tell my girls, but I actually feel a little excited for them to leave stuff out now. Just picture me drumming my fingertips together and laughing maniacally, because that’s basically how it makes me feel. But that’s way better than feeling so frustrated over their clutter, right? And then when they earn their things back, we are all happy.



Anyway, that is just one of the great ideas that Aby shares in her Organizing with Your Kids online workshop. Could you use more ideas and help like this? Well, lucky readers, you can use this coupon code TEAMUP2 to save 15% off on this workshop now through May 3 (may not be combined with other coupon codes / offers). Also, one extra lucky reader will be selected at random for a free spot in this workshop! Here’s how to enter this giveaway (up to three chances to win):

  1. Leave a comment below saying what you’d ask your child to do to get their belongings back.
  2. Tweet about this giveaway, then come back and leave another comment letting us know you did.
  3. Pin an image from this post on Pinterest, then leave another comment letting me know you did.

The giveaway ends on Monday, April 30, 2012, and the winner will be notified by email. Good luck!

Happy organizing!

Jens signature black

**Comments are now closed! Thanks so much for entering. :)**

Get Organized for the Summer: Create a Vision + Plan + Free Printables



This is the third post in our series on getting organized for the summer. To read the first two posts go here and here.

Create a Vision

My last post in our Get Organized for the Summer Series about “when are you at your best” left some of you a bit quiet. Have you given it some thought…just on your own? Does it feel a bit uncomfortable to ponder what you want? This can definitely be out of the norm for women—thinking of ourselves and allowing ourselves to put our needs first. But, it really is okay to want what’s best for yourself. In turn, you are better for everyone else. So I’d really like to encourage you to give it some thought—even if you do so privately. This insight will be really helpful as you move onto the next steps in planning for the summer.  


So what’s next you ask? Well, once you’ve given thought to when you are at your best, the next step in getting organized for the summer is to think about your vision. What do you want your summer to be like? Do you want a pre-planned, activity-packed summer with something fun and different to do each day? Or do you want to slow down and be spontaneous? Or is it important to you to be ultra-productive, and get some big projects checked off your to-do list? 


I’ve posed these questions as an either/or proposition. In other words, I asked “do you want this” or “do you want that?” This implies that you can’t have it all—that you can’t be spontaneous and slow down, and be ultra-productive and get big projects done. Certainly that would be tough to pull off in a single day, but it is possible to pull it off over the course of the summer. 



The key is to get clear about what you want for the summer, and then establish priorities. What is most important? That’s where your vision comes in. If you had a magic wand and could create the summer of your dreams—what would it be like? How would you spend your time? What would be on your to-do list? What would you strike from your to-do list either permanently or until fall? Think about what you loved about past summers and what hasn’t worked well in summer’s past. Then, get your kids and spouse in on this, too. You might be surprised at their answers about how an ideal summer looks.


Once you’ve given some thought to these questions, write a short sentence to describe your vision for the summer. The ideal statement will allow you to focus on what is most important to you this summer. It will act as your compass throughout the season. For example, if it’s important to slow down and have a spontaneous summer, your vision will serve to remind you not to over-schedule. Your summer vision can be as simple as a few words, or as elaborate as a few sentences. Simply try to encapsulate what it is that you (and your family members) want out of this time of year. 


Here are some ideas:

  • This summer I will slow down and create space for spontaneous fun. My project list can wait until fall.
  • Relax.
  • More fun. More done. (Hey that one sounds like a tag line I know. Notice that the fun comes first.)
  • When I am at my best, I have a better version of me to share with those I love.
  • Play.
  • EnJOY the delights of summer.


Are your creative juices flowing for your own summer vision? Don’t stress out over creating the perfect statement, simply come up with something that feels right and captures what you want the summer to be. Use lots of words if you need to, or just a couple if that gets the job done. 


Create a Plan

Step 1:  Record scheduled events + activities on your calendar.

Once you have your summer vision in mind, it’s time to create a plan. I like to start my summer planning by pulling out a fresh calendar and filling in what I know for sure. I start by recording the last day of school and the first day of school next year. Then, I take a look at camp schedules and start penciling things in.


For your plan, start by printing out a copy of our summer planning calendar via the links below and put them in your command central binder.







Then, fill in activities and events that you know for sure and things that must happen at a specific date or time. Do you have any vacations scheduled? Classes? Camps? Weekend getaways? Day trips? How about weddings or showers—do you have any of those coming up this summer? Graduations? Reunions? Other planned events like Barbeques? Fourth of July fireworks? Pencil those things onto your calendar...and then meet me back here next week for the final steps in our planning process. 


Next week as we continue on with the series, we’ll talk about adding in the unscheduled items to your plan—both fun stuff and to-do list stuff. I’ll also begin answering your summer organizing questions from the initial post. Woohoo!


Have a great weekend!


April 26, 2012

How to Ignite Your Creativity

For the past six years, the motto on my blog has been “Organizing & creativity go hand-in-hand. Organizing creates space for creativity & creativity makes organizing more fun!” I continue to find this to be true, in my own experience as well as with my clients. Every time I declutter and organize my creative supplies, I feel even more inspired and creative. My enthusiasm for creating simply ignites. 


If you’re feeling stifled by creative clutter, here are three simple ways to tap into the power of organizing and ignite your creativity:

1.  Declutter the easy stuff. So often our creative space becomes the dumping ground for all sorts of stuff—new project supplies, things that don’t have a home elsewhere, half-finished projects, etc. (Have you been there, too?) At best this clutter can leave you feeling uninspired, at worst overwhelmed. But there is a simple fix:  Clear out some easy clutter. 

Spend 15 minutes letting go of project supplies you no longer love. Put away your new tools and supplies and find homes for anything that doesn’t belong permanently in your space. In the process, you’ll rediscover supplies you love and eliminate some you don’t—a surefire way to get those creative juices flowing.


2. Find your organizing sweet spot. Do you work best in a space that is streamlined and completely clutter-free? Or are you more at home with your tools and supplies out in the open, where you can see them and easily access them? Everyone has a different sweet spot when it comes to organizing. The goal isn’t to get rid of everything, instead, the goal is to find that spot that is organized enough for you. It’s that place where your creative tools and supplies are easy to find, where you have enough stuff to inspire you, but not so much that you’re overwhelmed. When you find your sweet spot, creating is a joyful process. So find your sweet spot, and don’t worry for a minute if it looks different than anyone else’s. 



3. Use your creativity to make organizing more fun. Use craft supplies like paint, patterned paper and decoupage medium to create one-of-a-kind storage pieces that inspire your creativity. Or use your craft supplies to create colorful labels that add a pop of color to your space and make it easy to keep track of your tools and supplies. When you infuse your space with personal touches derived from your creativity, your space will inspire you even more.

Happy (creative) organizing!


P.S. I'm super excited to announce Organize Your Creative Space, my brand-new online workshop that shows you how to set up an organized and inspiring creative space that motivates you and supports your creative process. Regardless of where you create—in a shared space, dedicated space or temporary work area—this workshop will show you how to get organized, so you can enjoy your creative work even more. This workshop is now on early bird pricing—so grab your spot now! 

April 24, 2012

Get Organized for Summer: When are you at your best?


A big thank you to everyone who posted questions about getting organized for the summer! It was fun to read your questions and hear about your summer challenges. I’ll be answering some of the specific questions soon, but wanted to start the blog series with some general posts about getting organized for summer. These initial posts will be applicable to anyone with a summer schedule change or conflicting priorities during the summer. Which is a lot of us, I think! 


From reading your questions, and from my own personal experience working at home during the summer, one of the biggest challenges about summer is conflicting priorities. On the one hand, we want summer to be a carefree, spontaneous, open-schedule time of year similar to the summers of our childhood. But on the other hand, we have stuff to get done! Shouldn’t we put all that summer free-time to good use? Then you add in fun stuff you want to do like vacations, camps, and other things to keep the kids entertained, and suddenly it’s hard to know which end is up! 


So before we get too far into planning for the summer, the first step is to become clear about your own priorities. What do you want out of the summer? That’s what we’re going to be talking about first. Today, I’d like to ask you this question:


Quote-when are you at your best copy

Now you may be wondering what this has to do with getting organized for summer. And I think, quite a bit. See, if you’re a mom of kids who will be home for the summer, or if you’re in charge of keeping things running smoothly at your home and you want the summer to run smoothly, it’s really important that you are running smoothly. You set the tone for your whole family, so it’s a great idea to understand what makes you tick and to know when you are at your best.


Have you ever thought about that before—when are you at your best? I have. In fact, I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot lately. Some things have changed in my schedule over the past few months, and in the process, some of the things that help me feel my best and be at my best, have fallen by the wayside. And this can easily happen in the summer, too, without some forethought and planning.


So now is a great time for me to reconnect with what makes me tick. And I’d like to invite you to join me in the process. Simply start by answering the question:  When are you at your best? Then, jot down anything and everything that comes to mind. Here’s my list, in no particular order:


I am at my best when…

  • I am well rested.
  • I have something fun to look forward to.
  • I am working on an important or inspiring project or goal.
  • I am healthy.
  • I exercise at least three times per week.
  • I feel fit and feel good about my body. (This one is especially important for me in the summer, by the way.)
  • I feel good about what I’m wearing.  
  • I spend time outside.
  • I have some quiet time and alone time each and every day. 
  • I have space to think and let my mind wander.
  • My house is organized, clean and clutter-free.
  • I feel in control of my to-do list.
  • My to-do list has fun stuff on it! 
  • My family is healthy and happy.
  • I have time to spend with the people I love.
  • I am spending my time with fun, positive and supportive people. 


How about you? When are you at your best? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Or if you’d like to brainstorm this privately, simply capture your thoughts on a piece of paper. We’ll be using these thoughts soon for the next step in our summer planning process. So make sure to really give this some thought. And thanks so much for sharing your thoughts in the comments. I love hearing from you. 


Earth Day Giveaway Winner!


Thanks to everyone who participated in our Earth Day Giveaway, and congratulations to our winner, Anna!


She was selected at random with her comment, "Thank you for offering a give-away! During the spring & fall, my furry feline often presents me with little hairball "gifts." And usually she deposits them on my hard wood floors. The Clean+Green Wood & Tile for cats would be the perfect clean-up solution!" 


Anna, see your email for details on your prize! 


Happy Organizing!

Jens signature black

April 20, 2012

Earth Day Giveaway: Natural Cleaner for Pet Stains + Odors

It was only a matter of time. Joy, who most likely has a future as a prosecuting attorney, had some pretty solid arguments making her case for a puppy. Faith had begun to spend her free time with one of two different neighbors. Neither family has young children, but they have dogs! Then there was me, quietly and covertly on every few days, and coincidentally needing things from the pet supply store on adoption days. You can see how all of this was no match for my husband, right?


Don’t get me wrong, he loves dogs, too. But we already have two cats, one of which is geriatric, two active children, and two working parents. That’s a pretty full life, and what he really objected to was added complications and added messes. I get that. (As Chief Mess Cleaner, I totally get that!) So when he conceded and we adopted Chachi, I knew a good way to ensure harmony was to stay mindful of his concerns and try to reduce complications as much as possible. I mean, yes, this little guy is super handsome and adorable, but that only gets you so far!



One of the best things I did was to create a puppy-mess mini zone. In a small tote, I put in everything we needed for the unavoidable mistakes on the floor – absorbent rags, stain remover, paper towels and small trash bags. Let me tell you, that was a sanity saver in those first few weeks!


Clean+green New Carpet (2)When the folks at Clean+Green reached out to us to try their products, the timing was pretty good. Between that puppy and the geriatric cat… well, let’s just say I have a special interest in effective pet stain and odor removers! I’m also always super interested in natural products, so it intrigued me to hear these products are natural and safe for people, pets and the planet!


According to Clean+Green, their all-natural formula delivers instant results in a safe, non-toxic, eco-friendly solution. They use a patented formula that encapsulates and eliminates stain and odor on contact by naturally biodegrading the stain or odor source. They even have one formulated for skunk odor. Oh, please, let me never need that one!


I’ve been very impressed with the products they sent us to try, so I asked if we could give one to our readers in honor of Earth Day and they agreed! Would you like to try one of their products for yourself?


To enter win a free product from Clean+Green, visit their web site then leave us a comment telling us which product you’d like to receive if you’re the winner.  Post your comment by Monday, April 23, 2012 at 9 PM US CST. Winner will be selected at random and notified by email!


Happy Earth Day!

Jens signature black

**Comments are now closed! Thanks so much for entering. :)**

April 19, 2012

Organizing with Kids: Handling Hand-Me-Downs

“Do your kids get hand-me-downs from friends or family? If so, sort and purge right away. Keep only those items your child will use or wear.” ~Aby Garvey

That’s a snippet of advice that Aby offers in her Organizing with Your Kids online workshop. It sounds so simple, I know, but it’s one of those things that rocked my organizing world! I honestly had never even considered this. Purging clothes that might possibly be worn at some point in time by some member of my family? Preposterous!




Since my children were born, I have wrestled with large bags of hand-me-downs, storage tubs, and overstuffed closets and drawers. We are so fortunate to have such an overabundance of clothing, I know, particularly since most of it comes to us second-hand. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received an article of clothing for the girls, immediately disliked it or knew that neither daughter could/would wear it. Would I purge it? No. I would stuff it in with the other things…just in case.


Recently, I discovered why I do this. I was talking with my mom about her frustrations with a small clothes closet. She commented that she ought to just get rid of the majority of her clothes because she doesn’t wear them.


Then she said, “No, I’m kidding. Of course I wouldn’t do that.”


I said, “No? Why not?”


She thought for a moment before realizing she doesn’t actually know why. It simply feels wrong to her to get rid of perfectly good clothes. Maybe you’ve been there, too. I know I have. 


This simple conversation was such a light bulb moment for me! My holding on to hand-me-downs (and other things for that matter) is how I was raised! It makes so much sense when I think about it, too. My parents were born at the tail end of the Great Depression, and that experience shaped them. They would regularly wear clothing and shoes that didn’t fit, much less feel comfortable or reflect their personal style. They had large families, and clothing items were passed along, mended and repurposed until they literally became rags.


But my family is very fortunate, because those are not the circumstances we are living with.  Aby’s advice from the workshop, along with the understanding of why I’ve held on to clothes that we won’t wear, has had a terrific impact.


First, I have become more realistic about what will or will not be worn by the children, my husband, or even me!


Second, I have freed myself from the feeling that it’s wrong to get rid of good clothes. Instead, I’ve realized quite the opposite. Just because we won’t or can’t wear something doesn’t mean someone else won’t. I have always sought out other children to hand down to, participated in clothing swaps, and donated to charitable organizations.  But now, clothes that are really just clutter in our home move on to find a new happy home sooner rather than later.


Third, it’s great to create breathing room in the closets and drawers. I love the discovery that I didn’t actually need more storage in the kids’ rooms. I just needed less clothing clutter!


How about you? Do you have kids’ clothing clutter or clothing clutter of your own? Have you held onto things in the past, simply because it felt wrong to let them go? How do you feel about reconsidering this belief? We’d love to hear from you.


Happy Organizing,

Jens signature black

P.S. Now is a great time to purge clothes as you get ready for summer. Speaking of which, if you have questions about getting organized for your summer, there’s still time to post your question to Aby for this blog series!

April 16, 2012

Getting Organized for Summer


Summer is coming! We’ve definitely been talking about it here at work as this will be my first summer working at simplify 101. Between Aby and Jay’s two kids and my two kids, there are a lot of summer activities, plans and vacation schedules to figure out. But when my daughters’ friend happily told me there are 23 days of school left before summer vacation, I hyperventilated. OK, no, not really. But I definitely got that super-panicked feeling because I have a whole lot to figure out and not a lot of time left to do it in!


What I’d really like to do is sit Aby down and just ask her all my questions. After all, she’s done this dance of balancing her business and spending summer with the kids at home for years, so I know she’s got some wisdom to share!


What are you wondering about in terms of getting organized for the summer? If you could use some help figuring out how to structure your summer, now’s your chance to ask Aby. Whether it’s about organizing your summer schedule, making travel plans, identifying your summer priorities, keeping the kiddos occupied, or more, just post your questions in the comments below. Aby will try to answer as many as possible in upcoming blog posts! 


Happy Organizing!

Jens signature black

April 13, 2012

Organizing with Your Kids: A long term perspective pays off.

Right before we left for Michigan, my daughter got spring cleaning fever. She was in the mood to pitch things like she’s never been in the mood to pitch things before. Now, if you’ve taken any of my online workshops, worked with me one-on-one, or have been reading this blog for a while, then you know this:  this was a huge development. See, my girl loves to hang onto things. She loves her stuff — all of it — and really if she could, she would keep all of it. She’s a sentimental girl, who is attached to all sorts of things, even pajamas. I remember one decluttering session years ago where she did everything in her power to convince me a way too small pair of p.j.’s still fit her just fine, even though they were way, way too small. So when this girl is ready to let things go, this momma is happy to jump on board, regardless of what was already on my to-do list.


Donate-bin-copyright-simplify101My girl and I worked for hours in her room, clearing out all sorts of things…Barbies, baby dolls, Groovy Girls, and even dollar store treasures that were once completely off limits. We did put aside a few things for the keepsake box, but for the most part, things headed straight out the door. The next day was her first official day of spring break. She came down to my office where I was working and said “My room looks so empty.”


“Empty good or empty bad?” I asked. “Do you miss your stuff?” 


“No, I don’t miss my stuff. It looks so nice and clean. I don’t know why I held onto that stuff for so long.” She answered. 


And the Hallelujah chorus erupted!


Okay, that last part about the chorus didn’t really happen, at least not in my office, but it sure did in my head. This was a huge moment!  Seriously. Huge. In fact, for over seven years I had been planting the seeds for this moment to happen. For the past seven years my daughter and I have decluttered her room several times a year. The progress was slow but steady. She always let things go, but she’s also always held on tightly to things. And she has always pushed the limits of her room’s true storage capacity. 


Now I could have forced her to let more go over the years. But I’ve always maintained a long term focus, giving up a bit of order in her bedroom for the promise of giving her something greater—a sense of control and ownership in her surroundings. I believed that my role was to teach her how to let things go, and to make it safe to let things go, but also to make it safe to keep and honor the things that matter to her. 


At times this was uncomfortable for me. At times I felt like her room didn’t look like I thought other people would think her room should look. I am a professional organizer, after all, so shouldn’t her room be, well, perfect? While I didn’t believe that, I did struggle with what I thought others might think. But in the end, I let what I thought was best for my child, both in the short term and the long term prevail, as uncomfortable as that was. My goal was that she knew how to organize and let things go, and that her room was functional for her—that she could find her clothes and shoes, and do her homework—but if it was a bit more visually cluttered than my personal preference, I let that be okay.


Here’s the thing. When getting organized, you have to be ready to let things go. This holds true for adults and for kids. My girl woke up one day last week ready. So ready in fact that she kept going on her room all on her own. In the space she cleared out by getting rid of the things that no longer mattered to her (dolls, etc.), she stored her furry friends (stuffed animals) which really matter to her a lot. She let go of books and papers and trinkets and treasures…all on her own. Is it perfect? No. But is it darn good? Oh yes it is. All those years of working slowly, remaining patient, and putting her in the driver seat of her room…finally paid off.



So for all you moms out there with kiddos who cling tightly to their things, my advice is this:  know what your long term goals are for your kids. When it comes to decluttering and organizing, what do you want them to know how to do before they leave home? Then, maintain a long term perspective, and work move gradually in the direction of those goals. And know this, in time, you and your kiddos will get to where you want to be.


For more ideas on organizing with kids, check out these resources:

11 tips to conquer kids clutter

Organizing tips:  organizing with your kids  

Organizing with Your Kids: How do you persuade kids that it is worth being organized? 

Organizing with Your Kids: How to Get Kids to Let Go

Organizing with Your Kids:  How do you organize all the little things?

Related online workshop:

Organizing with Your Kids (on early bird sale through 4/19/12.)

Workshop Q&A blog post


Okay, Moms, I'd love to hear from you. When it comes to organizing with your kids, what's your biggest challenge? Thanks for sharing. :)


Happy organizing,


April 11, 2012

Declutter Your Keys

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my family and I went to Michigan last week to visit family. Part of our trip involved picking up a new-to-us car. (Hooray!) This means we have an old car to sell and it also means I have even more excess keys on my key chain.


I’ve been meaning to declutter my key chain for a while. I mean really, I have been lugging around the same keys for years, and some of them I don’t even recognize anymore. I think I have a key to my Mom’s condo…but which key is it? And really, do I need her key with me every single day when she lives 500 miles away? Uh, no. I sure don’t. 


Cluttered key chain-72

But there’s definitely some fear in decluttering keys, isn’t there? When you lose track of what a key is for, you fear the worst. As soon as you pitch a key, you’ll need it (even though you haven’t needed it for the past ten years.) And so…we continue to carry around extra keys everywhere we go. 


Now normally these excess keys aren’t really much of a problem, just random clutter and a bit of extra weight in my purse. But Monday night, all of that changed. These extra keys created a tremendous amount of chaos when I really, really, really needed to get my hands on the new car key quickly. See, my kids and I stopped by a quick mart to run in and get a bag of ice. My son wanted to stay in the car (he is 13, so I’m okay with that) but, of course, I wanted to lock him in and keep him safe. There were a bunch of people outside the quick mart, so I was really focused on making sure he was locked in the car and would be okay for our quick run inside. I was so focused on his safety, in fact, that I locked the car door, got out of the car, and proceeded to slam my thumb in the car door! 


And my thumb got stuck…in the locked car door.


Oh my gosh did this hurt! But somehow I stayed eerily calm on the outside (though inside I was totally freaking out!) All the while, with my thumb stuck in the door, I was fumbling around on my cluttered key chain trying to find the key to my new car! 


And then it got even more complicated. When we got the new car I got two keys—a big silver one (that I used the whole time we were in Michigan) and a factory-issued black key (that just so happens to look like the other two back car keys on my cluttered key chain, especially when my thumb was throbbing and stuck in a car door.) Earlier that morning, (as luck would have it) I gave the recognizable silver key to Jay, leaving me with the black one. With my finger stuck in the door I couldn’t figure out which was the right key. I kept dropping the key ring, picking it up and trying desperately to find the right key so I could free my thumb. I just kept saying to Kailea “Please help me. This really hurts.” 


I never did get my hands on the right key. Instead, Kailea realized that Collin (who was still safely locked inside the car but not understanding what was going on right outside the car window because I was so freakishly calm) could unlock the door for us. Of course, he had to undo his seat-belt and climb up to the front seat, but ultimately he freed me from the car door, thanks to Kailea’s quick thinking. Whew! 


You might say I'm now more motivated than ever to declutter my key chain. But what about those random keys that I know I will need tomorrow—just as soon as I let them go? Well, Jay had a great suggestion:  create a key incubator, a little jar to hold my all those questionable keys for a period of time until I’m sure I don’t need them. Brilliant idea! (Why didn’t I think of that…on say, Sunday?) 




So, if you’re carrying around key clutter, too, take this as a little nudge to lighten your load and declutter your key ring. Put any questionable keys in a little jar with a date to remind you when you established your key incubator. After a few months have passed and you haven’t needed any of the keys inside your incubator, you’ll feel much more comfortable letting them go. 


Keys you know for sure you want to keep, but don't need with you all the time, can go on a separate key ring that you keep at home. My Mom's key has a new home with other spare keys. 



The result is a simplified, decluttered key ring, with that all-important car key in an easy to find spot. 



When was the last time you decluttered your key chain? If it’s been a while, take action today. Create your own key incubator for those questionable keys, and then, let me know what you think. Do you have trouble getting rid of keys that you aren't quite sure about? (Or is it just me?) I'd love to hear from you. :)


Happy decluttering!


P.S. My thumb is doing much better. I have a really "pretty" black finger nail…but all in all it's doing okay. It definitely feels much better than it looks. 

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