Boo to all of you!  Pardon my impromptu bloggy break last week, but I was tackling a few of my own scary bits of business, but I got the wheels back on the bus and should be back on track.

Here we are at the end of another month and at the beginning of the busiest, most stressful and most joyous time of the year.  For most of us, there is nothing normal about the next two months and I hope to make it a little bit less hectic.

During this month of October, I challenged you (and myself) to tackle some of the things that scare you the most…the stumbling blocks in your way to being able to DO MORE living.  November will be all about giving thanks for the blessing in our lives and letting go of the piddly, trivial issues that rob us of the gratitude and joy that makes this season so important.

Be safe tonight as you take you ghosts and goblins…or spies and baseball players, out for some fun.

See you Wednesday!

DO NOT Go forth and simplify today…have FUN!!


If you are a people pleaser like me, saying  “no” doesn’t come easy.   Bring a dish to Sunday supper?  Sure.  Sit on a school committee?  Ok.  Be the homeroom mom?  Add it to the list.  A lunch date with a friend?  Yum!  Drive the sports carpool?  Whew….Alrighty.

At first glance, these things appear worth while.  We all want to support our church and our children and all the activities they bring with them, but I am willing to bet that your calendar has gotten over booked more than once over the last few years.

One of the main things that makes Out of the Crayon Box different from the other organizational methods and websites out there is the emphasis on balance.  Sure, OOTCB is full of tips and tricks and encouragement for keeping an organized, clean home, but it goes a step beyond most of the other programs I’ve looked into.

One might have a pristine, sparkling neat home, but the daily schedule is crammed with busy-ness.  Wonderful things, to be sure, but a packed calendar with the most righteous of things creates an imbalance.  Someone or something inevitably gets pushed by the wayside.

By embracing the DO MORE idea, one can actually do more.  It’s ok…more than ok…to say no to a few things.  Don’t turn into a hermit, but take a hard look at your schedule and see what you can clear off to bring more balance into it.  Take an inventory of your family priorities and do what is important and joyful.

Our busy times ebb and flow.  When you see the calendar getting all marked up, take a deep breath.  Declutter the activities.  Organize them so they are easy to see and keep track of.  Maintain the calendar on at least a weekly basis so it doesn’t get away from you.  Observe the goings on of you household…are you busy for busy sake or doing things that really mean something.  REFRAIN…don’t be afraid to say “no” (and I would add that if you are the one asking, give the person you are asking permission to say “no”).  Finally, sit back and enjoy the time you free up through the balance you have achieved!

Go Forth and Simplfy…you schedule, that is!


So….yeah. Halloween is approaching and here at OOTCB, we decided to go with it and make the theme of the blogs all about overcoming fear. Genius, I know! I’ve talked a little bit about the fears that hold us back from living the life we are meant to lead and how our homes often reflect that fear. I’ve talked about the scary tasks I’ve taken on and how to keep them from being so scary in the future. But today, my friends, I want to talk about perhaps the scariest things of all.

Are you ready?

I awoke this morning and in the midst of the morning fog, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I saw the horror. At first I thought it wasn’t real. After all I hadn’t put in my contacts and if you know me, you know I am BLIND with out them. I quickly put my contacts in and took a second look….and I jumped back. Well almost. I certainly did say “Ew!” out loud and shrink back a bit. It was….It was…

The switch plate for the light!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

Ok, so I’m being a bit dramatic, but seriously people, I don’t ever pay attention to the switch plates around my house. Do you? I just flip the lights on at off with out even a sideways look. But today, the one in the master bath caught my eye. The grime, the finger prints, the blech of it all!!! Then I went into the bathroom my daughter uses. It is also the bathroom my husband uses as he goes back and forth while working in his cars in the garage….the plate was disgusting. A little grease mixed with a little tempra paint mixed with dirt covered it.

Thankfully, all it took was 30 seconds with a cleaning wipe at each switch plate took care of the situation, I may or may not have had to use my fingernail to scratch off a couple of stubborn spots.

This is something that will go straight to the top of my cleaning chart for each room in the house. I can’t believe such an obvious spot has been so negleted for so long.

No more…no more.

Have a great day!!! Go Forth and Simplify!

As much as I enjoy writing this blog and as much as I am learning and applying the OOTCB techniques in my own life, I long for the miracle organization method that keeps my house clean and organized for good.   Once and for all.  Unfortunately keeping house is an on going, never-ending thing.  If I took a poll, I bet I wouldn’t be alone in this wish.  What I am learning is that embracing the rhythm and routine of DO MORE makes it be much less overwhelming and usually very satisfying.

As I OBSERVE the way our house gets clean and then cluttered again, it is the paper that winds its way into our house that commands a great deal of time and attention…specifically the art work created by one, very prolific 7-year-old.

That girl can draw and draw and draw and draw!!!  I am glad it is a passion of hers, but she will make a few lines on a page and discard it in a bit lumpy pile.  Very little of it is worthy of keeping.  They are mostly simple sketches…many of them obviously drawings she felt she “messed up” on.  But a few are real gems and worthy of keeping if only to be a sweet reminder someday of what a 7-year-old thought a princess or a pair of BFF’s looked like.

It’s hard to have her help me sort through all the papers of her own art work.  She thinks it is all worth keeping.  She worked hard on them, after all!  What we do is sit down and decide, before we sort, how many pictures we should keep for her portfolio.  I have a special drawer in her art station for the keepers and we recycle the rest.  The keepers will get scanned into the computer and the originals recycled as well, but long after the importance has worn off (pg. 57 OOTCB)  Knowing the pictures are stored and safe make it easy for her to let go of the physical pages.  There are several pieces of work from her art classes in school and summer camps that get special attention on the walls of our house.  We all have enjoyed watching her progression as an artist and because she is so prolific, we have plenty to share.

Let the scanner be your best friend…it’s not just for the bills.

Now…Go Forth and Simplify!



Mopping the floor.  There I said it.  Whip me.  Beat me.  Throw me to the wolves, but please don’t make me mop the floors.

In the book, Out of the Crayon Box (get your copy here http://www.outofthecrayonbox.com/Shop_.html), sweeping and mopping the floor is the last step in the Top Down cleaning  and the Tornado cleaning approach.  Tackling the floors last allows the them to collect all the muck and dust and debris from all the other cleaning that’s going on.  It makes total sense, but it is the task that I hate the most.

When my sister and I were kids, I would always dust fold the laundry and she would always do the floors.  A fine arrangement if you ask me.  Unfortunately she doesn’t live with me anymore. Boo!!

Now that my daughter is getting old enough to help out and learn the OOTCB ways of home maintenance I am grooming her to embrace the floor cleaning.  So far, so good.  Tomorrow I will bust out the squirt bottle of floor cleaner and the mop and let her go to town!

What chore gives you the heebie-jeebies?  Maybe we can do a chore swap…I’ll come do any number of chores for you if you come clean my floor for me!  Sounds like a good deal to me :)’

Go Forth and Simplify!