Clutter, organizing you hear about it all the time. It seems so overwhelming doesn’t it? Where to start? Each month, I post five items for you to work on. Some of them may seem obvious, others obscure. The end result is to get it done and not be overwhelmed. Here they are:
1. Start with your mail. What can you do electronically? Can you cancel anything? Can you get off catalog mailing lists? Try to reduce what you are getting.
2. School papers. Do you really need your eight grade book report? Some term papers you may want to keep if they were really amazing, or you plan on continuing your education.
3. Family knickknacks. Your mother really wanted you to have your grandmother’s ceramic duck collection. Now you stuck with thirty ceramic ducks that clash with your Victorian decor. First know that it’s okay to get rid of them. If you associate the ducks so strongly with your grandmother keep under five favorites and either sell or donate the rest. No one wants you to display things you don’t like.
4. Email lists and applications you no longer use.
5. Souvenirs from vacations past. Do you really want that broken conch shell? Are you ever going to display that British flag? If not let it go. If you got a souvenir that is really amazing and you like it, keep it. Just try to display it. My husband and I for awhile got glass paperweights from different areas. Once we got enough we switched to something else. We still display those beautiful paperweights.
How was that? Not too painful I hope. Remember just do little bits at a time. You can do it.
Every month I post a short list of five things to clean. I’m not writing about washing your floor or making your bed. I’m talking about those little things, that you almost never clean. Things like your remote control, you phone and so on. I hope my list will make you say “Oh, that’s gross. I need to clean that!” Yeah, I know. I’m the sole blogger on this planet that wants you to exclaim “gross” over a suggestion from them. What can I say? I’m an odd duck. So here it is, happy cleaning!
1. lamp shades and bases: Rarely cleaned, cobwebs and dust abound. Give it a quick swish. Depending on the material what you use can be different. Choose the best cleaning option for you.
2. Windowsills: All that goop from rain and winter snow has accumulated in the sash. Clean it! I use bleach wipes. Quick and easy!
3. Filters in your air purifier: It’s allergy season. Anyone else suffering? I am. I rely on several air purifiers. When was the last time you cleaned them. Some can be simply wiped out, others need a new filter. Do it now! Give that machine a once over so it can work optimally.
4. Water Bottles: We all have those reusable mugs and bottles. You can run some of them through the dishwasher. You can also use an infant bottle brush to scrub the inside if you prefer to hand wash.
5. Banister and Slats: Ever washed your banister and the slats? You will be surprised at the amount of dirt and grime that comes up. If you have real wood don’t forget to treat it with special cleaning products.
How is this list? Do you have something you would like me to include in the next month’s post? Let me know in the comments below.
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.
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?
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.
- Check you tax with holdings. Are there any deductions you can take next year?
- 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?
- 30 day no spend challenge. try not to spend unnecessarily. Just make sure you keep up with your bills and obligations.
- Get rid of a vice. Is it time to give up alcohol? How about soda, sweets or smoking?
- 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.
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:
- Back to school clothes. Try them on, donate what is too small or used.
- Summer clothes. Get rid or donate what is worn out. Don’t store stuff that is not going to be used.
- Summer toys or items. Those empty bottle of sunblock can go. Is your plastic pail missing it’s handle? Recycle it.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Go through all your child’s papers from last year.
- Go through school supplies you already have. Should any be tossed or replenished?
- Try on fall clothing. What is too small, too worn?
- Check you tote bags and backpacks for signs of wear. What can you get rid of?
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Dust those hanging lights. Dust and cobwebs are sometimes hard to find. So give them a good clean every season.
- Clean the toothbrush holder.
- Ear buds and cellphone or charger. When was the last time you cleaned your phone accessories?
- Reusable bags. Can you wash them or wipe them out? Sometimes things leak or get crushed in those bags.
- Dish rack.
- Clean off your bulletin board. School is about to start, you will need the space.
- Wash those backpacks and lunchboxes from last year.
- Clean those fall coats if you haven’t done so, and get them out of storage.