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what I cleaned up in just one week

I know I will probably get interrupted before I even finish this sentence. I usually do when I try to do anything I feel like is obedience or destiny approaching.

Well, that was something. I'm still here an no one else is.

I have some small dreams. They are huge to me, but there are 20 year olds out there crushing it without training and without fear.

I want to start a youtube series - kind of - that covers the whatevers of being a creative, a wife, a mom, a female, a gallery creative director, a DIY hacker, a slow reader, a slightly dyslexic (interruption: OK THAT was funny. I had to type that dyslexic SO many times before my letters were in order. LOL). Seriously...

When I write, I'm kind of a different person. My dry snarky, very tender, somewhat afraid person surfaces.

But wouldn't every viewer God sends my way want to see they are not alone?

Would my husband even be able to edit it? Would it look too 80-90's?

Would you want to watch a cleaning, mom hacks, repurposing, inspiration hunting, painting, DIY, and talk from the heart kind of random thing? I think I'll start on Instagram and see how it goes.

If it ends up being just me and the crickets out by the campfire, I'll take it as a sign.

Let me know what you think?

HOWEVER, in honor of procrastination toward that dream, I got in one of those January "I can't take it anymore" moods. So I started clearing out all the stuff that is NOT part of that dream. In the past two weeks, armed with youtube organizing videos playing in the background, here's what I did so far. (I'll link my favorite videos so far at the bottom.)

I also read some really good books on tidying. You'll see them in the next photo. Study the photo on the pile an see if you can figure out why I laughed outloud the night before I said, "THAT'S IT! I'm claiming my life back!"

PROJECT#1: My bedside table

I went from here:

(Irony on a table!)

To here:


Cost: $0

I'm itching to replace the one knob on the cupboard. I've never liked it. I touch it every day. Why am I waiting? Hmmm.

PROJECT#2: Snoopy's closet

There's a hidden closet that I share with the Coffee Bar manager, Alli and others. Every time I open it, customers laugh in surprise. I began saying, "Yeah, it's like Snoopy's doghouse. You never see inside, but stuff keeps coming out of it."

Snoopy was an Enneagram 4. I'm sure of it.

The Challenge: On my side, there's a huge heating duct that we're not supposed to put anything on, but "we" -meaning not me and not Alli- did keep doing. We were closed last week for some flooring work downstairs so Rich and I had the luxury of being able to haul out all of my stuff onto the dining tables and work with a blank slate.

Last week, in prep, I had taken 4 tubs of music given to me and sorted it all into just one bin! It's categorized and easy to pull from. I also totally emptied out my chest of drawers that hold my small display items, office supplies, etc. It's a small thing of beauty.

***pic of music

As I dove into these things I'd put off, I realized that huge amounts of emotional weight were being lifted off my stressed areas - the parts of my body where I carry things.

Then we measured and planned.

HACK: If you have Goodnotes on your ipad, take a pic of the area you are measuring. Insert it onto a fresh page. Then write the measurements right onto the pic. You can share it to your handyman as a pdf or whatever and save SO much time having to sketch it out or make notations.

I'm kicking myself. I seem to work up my courage and then just dive in! I keep forgetting the before shots! But here's the closet empty.

Rich took scrap wood from his shop and went to work. No one sees it so it didn't need to be finished out or sanded, etc. We had fun reminiscing. There's an old puppet stage, a table top from a play we produced called The Missing Piece, the 2x4's I salvaged from the haul away pile when we got our house re-roofed, melamine from when we built out our pantry, palette board wood and who knows what else.

NOW, I have organized storage. I didn't even go to the Dollar Tree or use a label maker. I just wrote on white paper and used clear packing tape because this is just for me and no one will see it. My point is that it doesn't have to be perfect to be good. Maybe I'll update to some clear storage bins someday, but this cost absolutely zero dollars and gave me priceless piece of mind and nothing is on the floor!!! I need to tidy up still, but it's a work in progress. Like me.

(Yes, I fixed the crooked label.)

Cost: $0

PROJECT#2: The wine closet

This is another shared closet. We had already built out some shelving for the wine last year, but I was still frustrated by a couple of things of mine that I felt were in everyone's way.

The Challenge: The paper roll was over my head and would unravel if I didn't tape it each time. My lunchbox never had a place to land. My drill, which I use constantly, had no place that I could just reach and grab it. My hangers from sold ARTwear had no place to land.

Again, there's no good "before" shot because yours truly didn't think I'd ever get up the courage to blog it, but here I am blogging it! So I'll just celebrate the baby steps!

What we did:

Moved the paper roll to the door that covers Snoopy's Closet.

Now it's lower. It's right be the table where I frame and wrap art and I did a poor girls brake system until I can find a dowel. I just stick it in the end and it prevents the paper from rolling on it's own. Game changer. Again, it's behind a closed door so "whatever works" is good.

Then, with the wine closet door now available, I hung all my tools there.

Having freed up the wall space where the tools were before, we installed more shelves made from scrap wood. I now have a place for my lunchbox, my art pencil box and things that couldn't get stored in Snoopy's Closet because of the temperature extremes in there.

We put another shallow sketch book rack under the old one. Game changer!

We put a tiny little shelve over the sink which left landing space beside the paint sink. Hallelujah!

And the aisle way now has nothing hanging out to grab our legs! And honestly, these are "ugly" shelves. Of COURSE, it would be prettier and more photogenic to buy or at least paint and edge these storage heroes - if that's where I chose to spend my money. I'd far rather spend it on art supplies.

PROJECT#4: My pantry at home.

It snowed! We couldn't get back to The Loft where I had intended to deep clean the floors, but I was still on a roll so I decided to deep clean my pantry!

I got up and even put make up on as if I were going to video. LOL.

I do sometimes laugh at these girls who clean in nice clothes. Really? I would have ruined that outfit in five minutes. But I get it. I don't do it. I clean in my junky clothes. But I get it.

I LOVE my pantry. I have to cook from scratch. A story for another day. But suffice it to say this was one of the best things we did when designing this home. It has always been fairly organized, but with every season of life change, it helps me to reorganize for the way I have to live in my new season. Our children are grown and launched so their backpack drawers became storage for food storage containers and my now accessible GF flour collection. And the children's plastic dishes were given to children. Any processed food that contained sugar is gone. There's a spot for my 98 year sweet Mama's medicine box.

I chose to put all the non food items in one section. All the food items in the middle and the other miscellaneous items like vitamins and less used items like pasta (we don't eat as much grain now) in the third. I only cook for 3 people instead of 5 or 6 now, so it's just different.

Apparently, I had not deep cleaned since 2020 since I found lots of expired items buried in the back from then. I'm not beating myself up. That's the year my dad died and we were all still in Covid restrictions. I'm just now crawling out from under my rock as a healed person after processing so much loss and trauma during the last 5 years.

So this was very therapeutic! I even took a quick video in the thought of putting it on Instagram, but it's already old news. But still. It was a start.

The one thing I learned from all the professionals. Completely clear out the space you are organizing. Clean it. And look at it with fresh eyes. Define it by categories and then just do it.

The two pics don't look that much different, unless you're me. Everything is reachable, clean and makes sense for us.

PROJECT#5: My secretary drawer

The Challenge: Because I left the top down for years and resigned to let all the shrapnel fall there, this drawer was never accessible. Then one day recently, I decided not to leave it open any more. This was great. Until the easily reached things like scissors, pens, tape etc. became something I couldn't just grab with one hand. But with the top closed, the drawer was now easily accessible.

Again, it was a wild hair moment and I just did, so just imagine the standard junk drawer where you might throw old gift cards, letters, old pairs of glasses, etc.

Here it is now and I'm loving it.

Cost: $0

PROJECT#6: My health

The Challenge: I have needed to back up and assess where my body is. My joints were hurting and I was getting headaches. So I decided to work with Laura Conley, a registered nutritional therapist who happens to also work at Camano Commons. She was completely on board with me taking one baby step at a time.

First we got me on the right supplements. I was just buying off the shelf and throwing things at the symptoms. She went after the causes.

Started being able to sleep better.

Then I decided to fast coffee. Y'all. I work over a cafe/latte/bakery! And I get a latte free!

I fasted to pray over my church and what God is doing. But my headaches are gone for the most part so... noted. I'm now totally enjoying bone broth and steamed almond milk or raw milk with dutch processed cocoa sprinkled on top.

Now I'm doing a 5 week nutrition course taught by Laura which has a detox factor... y'all pray! Deep cleaning the pantry was in part motivated to toss out all the offenders to my health. Done and ready.

Yesterday, Rich and I went for a complete heart and blood test health screening. My HDL's are high but so are my LDL's. That's normal for me. But I am just 2 pounds over the healthy weight range so I need to follow through on that.

But see, here's the deal. I have only recently begun to separate shame from eating. So I'm not going to set a deadline or even a weigh. I'm hoping to eat well and let my body decide how much to weigh.

I'm hoping to exercise more and get strong enough to ride bikes and hike and walk around Europe.

At the bottom I'm also linking my favorite easy does it exercises for when "I just don't want to but do it anyway."

PROJECT #7: Heart and mind

Tim, the pastor of our church, preached from Luke 9 last week. He talked about the baggage we carry. The stuff we hang on to "just in case God decides not to care for us and we're on our own." (lie) Or the bitterness we carry in our refusal to forgive someone thinking we can punish them. But that only punishes me. They are usually walking away clueless they even hurt me. But what I heard the Lord whisper is that I was hanging onto a backpack of "rights." The Lord is so patient. I was happy to join in those who stood to release baggage and leave it on the tarmac, so to speak.

I surrendered my right to be liked.

When you view blogging or social media posting, you realize this is no small thing. I have been shy to write because I don't want to be rejected.

But about a month ago I was praying about whether to ever blog or post again. "Lord, I feel like I want to write, to post, to share. But if I'm honest, I do it to be accepted. And then I start to compare myself to younger, prettier, better... So, what do YOU think?"

His soft answer blew me away. "What if you wrote from a place where you know you already ARE accepted? How would that change things?"

I smiled. It would change EVERYthing. Everything I write. Everything I post. Everything I video. Perfection doesn't get a vote. Icons don't define me one way or the other. I can paint what I see and if someone likes it, we can share the joy. If not, then I can love them anyway because I am already loved by the one who IS Love.

Baby girl, just you crawl on up into your Papa's heavenly lap today and let Him hug you. You are ready to be you, now.



Chair exercises that are fun: Metro Silver Sneaker

Lucy Wyndham-Read 

Love her!  LOTS of variety to choose from.  7 min.  15 min. 30 etc.  Walk inside or virtual walks in Europe.

DIY, organizing and cleaning:


CLEAN MY SPACE (Her stuff actually works!)

Bargain Bethany (organize)

Liz Fenwick (DIY/organize)

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