My 5 Step Toy Purge Process!

I’ve learned over the years that less stuff = less mess… ESPECIALLY when it comes to toys! Whenever my house starts getting too messy, I know it’s time for a toy purge.

Side Note: I actually LOVE organizing things. I love reading books about it, practicing it in my own home, and I’ve even been hired by others to organize their stuff…so I think I know a few things by now;). Luckily my own little family gives me plenty of opportunities to organize and reorganize and really learn systems that work;)

I thought it would be fun to take you guys along on a recent toy purge I did and I’ll show you my easy 5 step process!

Step #1 – DUMP

Dump it ALL out!

I just dump all the toys out onto the living room floor. What a mess!

Step #2 – SORT

Sort everything into piles

I put everything into piles by category….wooden blocks, cars, dress ups, ponies, stuffed animals, trains, etc.

Step #3 – 50% RULE

Get rid of 50% of every thing!

This is the best part…it’s also the hardest! I go through each little pile and get rid of HALF of it. Here is an example with the toy cars…I got rid of the ones that were kind of junky and old. And look, we still have plenty of cars left! I go through every single pile and get rid of half of it: the mega blocks, stuffed animals, dolls, wooden blocks, little people, etc.

These are the questions I ask myself when I’m getting rid of stuff:

  1. Is it played with regularly?
  2. Does it spark creativity?
  3. Is it a long lasting/high quality/durable toy?
  4. Is it something I would like to keep for my gandkids?

If the answer is “no” to the above questions – it goes! (More about this at the end…)

I do have to note here that my husband LOVES collecting toys from thrift stores, particularly transformers and Chevron cars…so I don’t touch those two things. I let those slide for his sake;)


Put in bags and label

This part will look different for everyone. I already had a bunch of these bags, so that’s what I’ve been using for years and it works great for us (plus they were free!). But I bet clear plastic containers would work great too. I put all the sorted toys into the bags and I label them. Ahhh, it’s looking much better already!

Step #5 – PUT AWAY

put away
Put it away, nice and neat!

I store most of our toys in this bin and I keep it in the closet. The important thing here is to keep most of the toys in a closet or up high somewhere.

The idea is that the kids can have 1 or 2 bags out at a time, but not all the bags! This makes clean up way easier, and it keep the toys fresh and fun for the kids. If they have access to all their toys all the time, they get bored of them really easily. So this system works great because they rotate through the toys. (Plus I’ve noticed my kids are much more motivated to clean up if the mess is small, so it’s helpful for them to manage the mess better!)


Here’s what I do with the stuff we don’t want anymore:


I grab two bags and label them “donate” and “sell.” The toys that still look newish I put in the “sell” bag and we usually take it to Kid 2 Kid or Once Upon a Child and get a few bucks from selling it. The rest of the toys we donate to DI.

Ahhh, it feels so good to have it all cleaned up! (I didn’t have as much to get rid of this time around because I just did a huge toy purge a few months ago!)

How Do My Kids Handle It?

My kids hate getting rid of their toys…it’s like the end of the world to them! So I just do it sneakily and they almost never ever notice the missing toys. Or, sometimes they do notice and so I just tell them the truth: “We don’t have room in our house for all these toys so let’s get rid of some of these old ones so we can have room for some new ones.” And they are usually fine with that;).


If you have any great tips for keeping toys clean and organized let me know in the comments!



How I Get my QUESTIONS Answered During General Conference

gc1I thought I would hop on here really quickly and share how I get my questions answered during General Conference since it’s Conference weekend! YAY!

I used to take notes by writing the name of the speaker at the top of my page and then writing down my favorite things that they said during their talk. Then I came up with a different way to do it and it has worked SO MUCH BETTER! (For me, at least!)

Now I ponder and think about questions that I have before Conference starts. I usually have about 3-5 questions about life, purpose, motherhood, calling, strengthening testimony, etc.

Then I get out my notebook and I write my questions at the top of several sheets of paper, like this:

These are two of the questions that I have this year…I won’t share the others because they are too personal! But you get the point. 🙂

So as I’m listening to Conference, I listen for answers to my questions and then I write down all the answers I get underneath each question.

This WORKS! Some questions end up having a ton of answers/notes written underneath them, and some just have a few. But my questions get answered in some way.

I love Conference and I’m excited to listen this year and have my testimony strengthened. God hears your prayers and He will answer your questions if you put in the time and effort!

Happy Conference weekend!

The link to watch is here. 🙂


PS What do you guys do to get your questions answered? I’d love to hear!!




Did you know I collect quotes about the heart?? Well, now you do:). Life is really all about the heart so I’m always trying to learn as much as I can about how to change my heart. Here is a list of some of my favorite heart quotes…(FYI, I keep a running list under the “Heart Quotes” tab on my blog home page)…


“One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”

-Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

“I have had prayers answered. Those answers were most clear when what I wanted was silenced by an overpowering need to know what God wanted. It is then that the answer from a loving Heavenly Father can be spoken to the mind by the still, small voice and can be written on the heart.” -Henry B. Eyring

“…[God] wants to change more than just our behaviors. He wants to change our very natures. He wants to change our hearts.” –

“As we fill our hearts with the love of Christ, we will awaken with a renewed spiritual freshness and we will walk joyfully, confidently, awake, and alive in the light and glory of our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ.” –

“When a woman chooses to have Christ at the center of her own heart,… she brings the Lord into the core of her home and family.” -Anne C. Pingree

“My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven.” -Thomas S. Monson

“A man who works with his hands is a laborer. A man who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. A man who works with his hands, his head, and his heart is an artist.” ― Francis of Assisi

“…Spiritual experiences have less to do with what is happening around us and everything to do with what is happening in our hearts.” -Dean M. Davies



Do you have any favorite heart quotes? Please share them below!


Self Care – The 3 Breaks I Take Every Day

Sometimes you don’t know how important something is until you are pushed to your limits and you realize that you HAVE to do it or you won’t survive! Being pregnant and super sick, plus having two little kids to take care of, plus moving far away from family, and moving to a place where I was very alone (and had MICE!!!) pushed me to my limits! I had a rough time for quite a while trying to cope with all of that.


I eventually realized that I needed to start doing something different if I was going to get through all these trials and still be a happy person and a happy mom! I needed to take care of myself first so I could fill my well and be able to happily give to my family. So I started taking 3 breaks a day to keep myself recharged and happy (and sane, ha!).


Morning Break:

My first break is in the morning before the kids get up. I wake up early, pray, read scriptures, and exercise in peace and quiet. This is so important. It’s great if I can get an hour in the morning by myself, but even if it ends up only being 10 minutes, it still helps me a ton. I like to start the day my way instead of having the day start me:).


Quiet Time Break:

My next break is after lunch. Baby goes down for a nap,  the kids get to watch their one show for the day, and I get an hour to myself in peace and quiet. Sometimes I get work done on the computer, sometimes I read or work on a project, sometimes I listen to  a podcast while I fold laundry, and sometimes I just straight up waste time on Instagram;). I need that hour to rest and recharge for the rest of the day.


Evening Break:

After the kids go to bed, I take my last break. Sometimes my husband and I watch a movie, sometimes we go for a walk, or sometimes we just sit and talk. This is when we just rest and recoup from the crazy day.


I’ve noticed when I carve out the time for myself to just rest and be by myself it makes me soooo much happier. It recharges me, gives me the strength to keep going, and gives me much needed time to think and develop myself into the person I want to become instead of getting lost in just changing diapers and cleaning up cheerios all day:).


What do you do to take care of yourself?


My Daily Routine

Every so often my life changes a bit and I have to revamp my daily routines. I thought I would share my routine as of late. I heard once that your day should never start until it’s been finished on paper first. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my productivity just by writing this out. I’ve been following this routine since Spring and it’s been working well for me at this season of my life. And no, there is no perfect day, so this is just a guideline – my day never goes exactly on schedule like this!


Morning Routine

6:00am – Wake up – Prayer – gratitude + who can I help today?

Scriptures – 20-30 mins (connect with God)

Goal Review – quick glance at vision board, affirmations, dreams

6:45amExercise M W F / Shoulder Therapy T TH S (connect with husband)

7:15am – check phone for 5 minutes and put away + Quickly get ready for the day

7:20am – Get kids up for Family Scripture Study

7:40am – Breakfast (connect with kids) and morning chores (listen to conf. talk)

8:30am – Walk for 30 mins

9:30am-10:30amKid Activity Time (connect with kids)


Afternoon Routine

11:30am – Lunch + make dinner

12:30pm– Naps / Quiet Time / Me Time


4:00pmBooks and Blankets for 30 minutes (outside if good weather)

5:00pmClean Up before Daddy gets home

5:30pm – Dinner

6:00pm10min Kitchen Clean Up


Nighttime Routine

6:45pmRead to kids / Bedtime

7:15pm – Projects / Weeding (connect with husband)

8:00pm – Stop Drop & Roll (stop what you’re doing, drop your phone (turn off), roll into bed)

8:30pmRead for 30 mins

9:00pmLights outPrayer – Gratitude + What is one thing I did well today?

Body Relaxation + Quiet the mind



***A few of my favorite things: starting and ending the day thinking of things that I am grateful for. Also, ending the day thinking about one thing I did well during the day. That has boosted me up and helped me see that I am doing a few things right in life!***


A Simple Summer Schedule – for kids!

2017-06-25 19.14.16

We’ve been using this schedule for a couple of weeks now and we’ve loved it, so I thought I’d share it here. I was feeling kind of “off” at the beginning of the summer and I realized that I needed a fun little routine for my kiddos and I to make the summer fun and not let it go by and get wasted.

First off, I picked out somethings I wanted to focus on with my kids this summer: music, reading, service, outside time, play. Then I gave everything a day of the week. I kept it super simple. I drew it out on paper because none of my kids can read yet and drawing pictures makes it much more fun for them to understand. Yes, after I explained to them  what all my pictures were, they understood it, ha! #notanartist


Here’s our schedule:

Mondays – Music – We spend a little time singing primary songs around the piano, or I bring out the music bag and we play the instruments together. I keep it short so they enjoy it and don’t start to think it’s a punishment to sing!


Tuesdays – Books and Blankets Outside – I grab our picnic blanket and head outside to the shade with a bunch of books. Then we lay down on the blanket and read together.


Wednesday – Park Day – This is probably my kids’ favorite day of the week. We go to different parks around town and play.


Thursday – Service – We try to find someone to serve. Sometimes we bring cookies to someone (that’s what my picture is above if you can’t tell, ha ha!), or write a letter to someone, or something else that’s fairly simple.


Friday – Library – We go to the library and stock up with a HUGE bag of books!


Saturday – Adventure – Daddy’s home this day so we usually go to some fun stores around town, do something fun outside somewhere, or do something on our summer bucket list.



Every day they look at the chart and get excited about what we’re going to do…and their excitement actually makes me excited too:). I love these simple summer days with my kids.


Books & Blankets (The Power of Reading to Kids)


When my first kiddo was born, I used to read to him all the time. I loved it. He loved it. It was great. Then my next kiddo came and the reading time started to decline. By the time my third kid came, I was hardly reading to my kids at all. Truthfully, I was just trying to survive at that point! (Three kids is no joke!!)


Anyway, I kept having this feeling that I needed to start reading to my kids more often…that I would regret it later if I didn’t. I also came across this poem around the same time:


You may have tangible wealth untold;

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.

Richer than I you can never be –

I had a Mother who read to me.

-Stickland Gillilan

Whoa! That hit home big time. So I made it one of my goals this year to read to my kids more often. The goal is to read to them every night before bed (and holy cow, that really makes a difference in winding those kids down!). It definitely doesn’t happen every night, but most nights it does. I absolutely love it and they love it too. (I have to add here that I am so so lucky because I had a mother who read to me when I was little and I have fond memories of that and so do my siblings!)


A few ideas to help light the fire in you for reading:

  1. Read “new” books – aka new-to-you books. I recently realized that reading the same children’s books we have in our house was making me want to scratch my eyeballs out. Reading the same book 50 times over gets old fast. And some books are just too wordy for me (Dr. Seuss, I’m looking at you!). But, I realized that when I went to the library and checked out some “new” books, I actually got just as excited to read them as the kids did. So that’s my biggest tip, go get yourself some fresh new books! My favorite books have great pictures, few words, and good lessons. (Oh, and after you take them home, display them somewhere fun so the kids will see them and get excited to read them!)
Some “kindness” books we got from the library. They loved the “Enemy Pie” book!
  1. Books & Blankets! I came up with this on a whim a few months ago when we all needed some peace and quiet. I asked the kids to go get their favorite blanket and we laid them out on the living room floor. (I got a blanket out for myself too.) I had them grab a few of their favorite books and put them on their blankets. Then we all laid out on our separate blankets, I set a timer for 30 minutes, and we all blissfully read our books. It was lovely. (I should say, the older two read books and the baby went around and destroyed everything in sight, but other than that it was peaceful!) We do Books and Blankets anytime I think we all need a little break. It works wonders.


  1. Personal Reading Time – I set aside time each morning and evening (most days) to read a book (the old fashioned way…just a regular book made out of paper – no kindles or electronic reading here). I can’t tell you how much that has increased my happiness level. It helps me feel like I’m still learning and that my brain isn’t turning into jello! It’s fun to read recommendations from sources I trust, or it’s also fun to just walk through the library and find books on subjects I’m interesting in (currently cake decorating books!). I keep an ongoing list of all the books I’ve read and the ones I want to read next. I love it. Make sure your kids see you reading. Your example means more than anything else. If you want your kids to read, you need to be reading too:).
The books I’m currently reading…I might be just a bit obsessed with cakes right now! 😉

Here is a fantastic article from the BYU Magazine with some really great children’s books recommendations.


What do you do to make reading happen in your house?

How do you help your kids learn to love reading?

Any great book recommendations?

I’m all ears!