Family

Chores for kids ages 11-16

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Chores and age appropriateness.  It’s always a difficult struggle.  What can you kid do?  What should your kid do?  Why are his friends doing X,Y, Z and not your child?  Everyone is at a different spot.  Here are some ideas for chores you can start your child on between the ages of 11 and 16.

1. Do the laundry.  They can wash, sort, dry and fold.  Make sure to cover towels and bedding too.

2. Shop for groceries.  Making a list, checkout, take home and put away.

3.Iron clothing.

4. Do yard work. Can they start using the lawn mower? Hedge trimmer?

5. How about cooking?  Can they make one meal a week?

6. This is also a great time to start side jobs like babysitting and snow shoveling.

What other chores do you have for your older kids?

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5 Ways to Save Money

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Saving money is difficult.  So many things cost money.  School loans are at an all time high.  Paying for a mortgage, car, insurance and any medical costs could eat your savings up.  So how do you save money?  Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet that will land you instant savings. You have to build your savings step by step.  Learn where your money goes. Here are some quick ideas on how to keep your wallet fuller.

  1. Check you tax with holdings.  Are there any deductions you can take next year?
  2. Give up cable/satellite.  I just saw a story on local TV about people giving up their cable or satellite and returning to antenna! What’s better than free TV?
  3. 30 day no spend challenge. try not to spend unnecessarily. Just make sure you keep up with your bills and obligations.
  4. Get rid of a vice. Is it time to give up alcohol?  How about soda, sweets or smoking?
  5. Buy store brands. We all know about cereal, but store brands come in everything from shampoo to pasta to clothing.  Check them out and see if you like them.

Happy Shopping!

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10 Things to Declutter

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One of my monthly features is about the concept of decluttering.  I usually give 10 things to look at.  You don’t have to do all of the 10, but they are things to think about.  Life for me gets overwhelming.  These give me a reminder that I should check certain things.  I am trying to live a more minimal lifestyle. However, I am not a minimalist.  Far from it.  It’s a daily struggle.  While I’m not a pack rat, I do keep things.  I constantly am refining what I keep and what I donate or trash.  Here is my list for this month:

  1. Back to school clothes.  Try them on, donate what is too small or used.
  2. Summer clothes.  Get rid or donate what is worn out.  Don’t store stuff that is not going to be used.
  3. Summer toys or items.  Those empty bottle of sunblock can go.  Is your plastic pail missing it’s handle?  Recycle it.
  4. DVR.  Clean out your DVR shows.  Too many Law and Order reruns?  Can you get rid of them? What are you going to watch?  Clean up your shows.
  5. School Supplies.  Most of us have gone shopping for supplies already.  Check to see if your home or school needs a little extra.  Nothing is worse than trying to find a certain type of marker in the middle of winter because yours dried out.
  6. Fall Decor.  Getting out your Autumn decor in preparation for the leaves changing?  What can you toss.  What do you need?  Get rid of those old, dirty gel clings. Have your kids outgrown the Snoopy Halloween decorations?
  7. Chips/Pantry Items.  School is starting or has started for some of us.  Now is a great time to toss all your expired food, or unused and stale food.  Many stores will have sales to get rid of their excess back to school food packs.  Look for those deals.
  8. Plastic Bags.  I keep my plastic bags.  I use them when I scoop out the litter box.  Do you have a stash of these bags?  Do you use them?  If not, you may have to do a little clearing of this stash.  Many big box retailers now allow you to bring in your unused plastic bags to get them recycled.  Call your local Target or Walmart to see if they have these recycle bins in their store.
  9. Paper Bags.  This could have gone in number 8.   I keep it separate because I think of my paper bag stash as separate from the plastic one.  I keep those paper bags to use for garbage.  I keep the ones with the good handles for carrying things.  Sometimes you just have too many.  Let them go, or at least cull the herd.
  10. Pet Supplies.  We recently got kittens.  Yup, they are cute and they know it. They can also be a bit destructive.  I get rid of those things that they destroyed.  Are there toys that your dog or cat doesn’t like? Maybe a carrier that you no longer use?  Many rescue organizations are willing to take gently used or like new donations.  Check with your vets office too.  Mine always needs towels.  If your pet doesn’t like the stuffed alligator you got them let it go.  It’s not personal, although it is a cute alligator.

Well that’s it.  The ten for this month.  What have you decluttered?  Let me know in the comments.

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Things to Declutter

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Here are 5 things to declutter this month.  Why not 10 you say?  Normally I will do 10, but August is a busy month for everyone.  I usually do this post at the beginning of the month.  So here is the condensed version.

  1. Go through all your child’s papers from last year.
  2. Go through school supplies you already have.  Should any be tossed or replenished?
  3. Try on fall clothing.  What is too small, too worn?
  4. Check you tote bags and backpacks for signs of wear.  What can you get rid of?
  5. Go through all the items you have collect this summer.  What do you keep or get rid of?

There may only be five items but they do involve some work.  If you have children like I do, I think of the year in terms of the academic calendar and not the normal one.  So get ready to work!  If it’s any consolation, I have to collect bugs with my child for a Science class.  Ugh.

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10 Things to Clean Today

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There are so many things we forget to clean. Little things that sometimes get missed. Here is a little reminder to clean those easy to forget things.

  1. Wash those trash cans! Trash doesn’t always stay in the bag.  Things leak.  Every 4-6 months I give them a good soak, scrub if needed and rinse.  Keeps them from smelling.
  2. Clean your fake plants.  Yup, they need a good clean every now and then. Dust accumulates on the leaves and blooms.  Give them a good shake, use a blow dryer or a damp cloth to get them clean.
  3. Dust those hanging lights.  Dust and cobwebs are sometimes hard to find.  So give them a good clean every season.
  4. Clean the toothbrush holder.
  5. Ear buds and cellphone or charger.  When was the last time you cleaned your phone accessories?
  6. Reusable bags.  Can you wash them or wipe them out?  Sometimes things leak or get crushed in those bags.
  7. Dish rack.
  8. Clean off your bulletin board. School is about to start, you will need the space.
  9. Wash those backpacks and lunchboxes from last year.
  10. Clean those fall coats if you haven’t done so, and get them out of storage.

Happy Cleaning!

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10 Things to Clean This Month

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I’m a recovering neat freak. If you look around my house today you will see crap everywhere.  Stuff on the floor.  Stuff on the counters. Unmade beds. Nine years ago, this would have drove me crazy.  Now, to be honest, I just don’t care.  Well, I shouldn’t say that.  I do care. I just don’t care enough with all the stuff going on in my life right now.  Priorities right?  However, I still have time to clean those little pesky things that are easily forgotten.  They are usually quick and not part of your everyday cleaning routine.

So here are my 10 things you need to clean.  Do it right now!

1. Stove top Knobs.  I clean the oven, I clean the stove top, but sometimes the knobs themselves get missed.

2. The back splash in the kitchen.  Honesty, mine never looks dirty enough to clean.  However, upon closer inspection there are several tomato sauce splatters (spots) that needed attending to. So take a closer look everyone, there might be a few teeny, tiny items that need some love.

3. The tops of picture frames.  They are always dusty.

4. When was the last time you went through your sock drawer? Get rid of the socks that have seen better days.  Get rid of the ones that don’t have a mate.  Let it go.

5. Wipe out your makeup drawer or makeup case.  Have you ever cleaned it?

6. Wash your brushes too while your at it.

7. Replace your toothbrush.  Well, we are in the bathroom at the moment.

8. Have you wiped off your scale ever?

9. Clean your rings.  Is your engagement ring getting a little grimy?  Take it in to get clean and checked to give it a clean yourself.

10.  Floor lamps.  Give them a little dusting.  The bases and the shades always hold dust.

Happy Cleaning!

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10 Clutter Items to Toss

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Clutter, clutter everywhere.  We always read articles about reducing clutter.  We watch TV shows and listen to podcasts on it.  When it come time for us to do it we are paralyzed with fear. Will we need the item? We paid a lot for that.  Where should we start first?  All of these things run through our mind before we start.  This inner dialogue slows us down and prevents us from moving forward.  To help alleviate this backlog of crap I’ve written 10 things you can throw away today.

  1. Old magnets.  Do you really need 30 magnets to commemorate every road trip?  Clear that clutter by keeping only the ones you use or really like.
  2. Cleaning Supplies. How many buy 3 get one free sales have you shopped? Maybe it’s time to pare down and streamline.
  3. Recipe Books. Recipe books are wonderful. They do take up a lot of room.  How many recipes do you use from each book? In each recipe book, I have had maybe three or four recipes that I look up.  The rest I never use.  I finally got to the point where I photocopied all the recipes out of each book that I used.  What I was left with was a small stack of paper that I could store easily.
  4. Files. Everyone stores paperwork don’t they? How often have you gone through those files?  Sort through them now and toss what you are done with. Paperwork piles up.
  5. Old Spices. This is one area of the house where things pile up for me. I buy Dill for one recipe and never use it again. Spices do have an expiration date.  Check them out.
  6. Mugs.  All those novelty mugs need to go. Enough said.
  7. Condiment Packages. All those extra Chicken McNugget sauce packets or ketchup packages you have are garbage.
  8. Flat Pillows.  Have an old pillow that is flat?  One you constantly fold and scrunch to get comfortable. Get rid of them.  It’s okay to replace them or just let them go.
  9. Old Candles. How many half burned candles do you have lying around your house?  Unless you burn them on a regular basis get rid of them.  All those candle nubs?  Let them go.
  10. Pet Toys. Is your pet fickle?  Mine is.  I have bought her several different types of dog toys and all she wants to do is play with a stuffed duck.  She has gone through 25 stuffed ducks since we have had her.  I got rid of the rest of the toys.