Archive for the ‘ Household Tips ’ Category

Declutter Challenge: 7 Items a Day, 6 Days a Week for 4 Weeks! (week 1)

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

I made it through my first week of the declutter challenge and actually survived!  Whohoo!  Okay, so that’s kind of dramatic, I know.  But it does feel like a rather big accomplishment.  And while there were parts of it that were hard, I’m excited because I also caught a glimpse of how freeing this whole thing of getting rid of stuff is!  I’m determined to stick it out and finish these next three weeks, although I’ll admit, about two days into this challenge I was second guessing myself and almost feeling panicky wondering how I was going to come up with 168 things to get rid of.

Before I show you all the things I got free of this week, I wanted to share a question that Meghan asked on my Facebook page about how I’m handling selling things.  She said:

So are you counting it if you’re “trying” to sell it or would you count it if it actually sold? This is what I’m torn on b/c if it doesn’t .. then it’s still cluttering somewhere.

And here’s a summary of my reply:

Good question! If I try to sell an item and it doesn’t sell then I’ll either give it to Goodwill or put it with my yard sale pile.  Several years ago we started designating a small corner in the basement as our “yard sale corner” and whenever we find something that we want to get rid of, if we think it is yard sale material we put it there. Then every summer we have a yard sale using that stuff. So I guess while some of my items might not technically leave the house now, they will eventually and they are designated to leave if that makes sense.

(You might be wondering why I’m decluttering now if we do this throughout the year. Well, it just feels like we still have too much stuff and I thought by being really intentional and looking throughout the house specifically for things instead of just waiting for it to hit me that, “Oh, we don’t really use this anymore!” we could become even more free of our stuff!)

All that to say, do what works for you! The goal is to declutter and so if you find something that works better for you, go for it!!

And now (insert drum roll), here’s what I purged our house of this week!

DAY 1:

* 7 baby food jars/container
* Starbucks jar

I kept the baby food jars/container thinking that I’d use them to put homemade baby food in.  But the fact of the matter is, I have never really needed to use baby food that much anyway with our other two children and so far our 8 mo. old is exclusively breast fed and so I’m guessing by the time she is actually interested in table food she’ll be able to just eat regular food that is mashed.  I posted them for free to a local online yard sale group because I knew several people had been looking for some a couple of months back.  But so far no one has wanted them so they’ll be going in the recycle container shortly.

The Starbucks jar?  I use them for my homemade salad dressing but this one was missing a lid.  Why was it still in my cupboard?  I have no idea.  One of those great mysteries!  Ha!

DAY 2:

* 2 pieces of fabric
* 3 books
* cookbook
* magnet

I posted the fabric to the online yard sale group, and the one piece sold for $4.50.  The other one is on our yard sale pile in the basement and if it doesn’t sell online, then I’ll try to sell it when we have our next yard sale.

The cookbook sold for $0.50 on the online yard sale!  It was the first thing that sold for me so even though it was just $0.50 I was pretty happy!  And I know I’ll be able to sell the books too.  There is a local book store that buys some kinds of books and the owner said she would take these.  I was going to drop them off this week but unfortunately she was away on vacation so I’m hoping maybe it will work for me to drop by next week.  I might even be able to find a few more to add to the collection!  I’ll keep you posted on what I make on them.

The magnet was annoyingly cluttering up the side of our fridge.  I have no idea why I didn’t just take it off and trash it earlier.  But it’s gone now and my fridge looks happier!

DAY 3:

* Digital Scales
* 2 Bread Pans
* Boyd’s Bear
* Pancaker Turner
* Shoes

I sold the digital sales for $5, the bread pans for $6 and the pancake turner for $1 on the online yard sale group.  I love making my own bread but I had 8 bread pans and only ever make 6 loaves at a time.

The Boyd’s Bear was given to me by a dear co-worker friend of mine when I left for college.  I often thought that I should get rid of it, but I’m kind of sentimental and it was tiny (only about 3 in. tall) and so I kept passing over it.  But I finally admitted that it had served it’s purpose and was no longer doing anything for me other than cluttering my space, so it hit the yard sale box too!

Those shoes?  Again, I have no idea why I didn’t chuck them earlier.  They were very worn and I haven’t used them in a couple of years.  I noticed them hiding in the back of my closet when I went to get another pair of shoes.

DAY 4:

* 2 boards
* OxiClean laundry booster
* boys vest
* 3 pairs of torn jeans

Those 2 boards came with a box of stuff that we got recently at a sale and I had initially thought they’d work great for a base for my homemade birthday cakes (covered with something obviously!).  But you know what?  If I need a base for a homemade birthday cake I’ll worry about that then.  I don’t really feel like storing these 2 things for a “what if” occasion.

The OxiClean went to the yard sale pile.  I got it free as part of a blogger promotion I think and I never really used it.  The boys vest was part of a batch of clothes that I got for my son at a yard sale and it didn’t fit him.  It’s on the yard sale pile too, although if I find more clothes to get rid of, I might try to sell them all on the online yard sale group.

I usually try to keep 2 pairs of not nice jeans for our 6 yr. old to wear.  You know for things like helping my husband with a house project such as painting or for when he plays football by himself outside (major grass stains).  Well, I was helping him get his jeans for school one morning and realized he had 5 pairs of not nice pants filling up his drawer, so I grabbed 3 of them and sent them to the trash.  And now his dresser drawer actually closes without trying to stuff the clothes in!

DAY 5:

* Doll house
* Text books
* Magnet clips
* Cloth bag

This was the best day of the whole week!  We bought that huge doll house early this summer at a yard sale.  I saw it and I think I was trying to relive my childhood or something because I was just sure that we needed it even though we live in a small house.  My husband bit his tongue and went along with it and truth is, the children did have fun playing with it for several weeks.  But after that, it just kind of sat there and cluttered up their bedroom.  And did I mention that it had a gazillion little pieces that got strewn everywhere too?  We had talked to the children about selling it and they were fine with it.  Friday, I was cleaning their room and yet again picking up the gazillion little pieces from the doll house and decided that I had had enough!  So I stopped sweeping and hauled the thing out to our front steps and within an hour or so I sold it for $5!

I sold the textbooks through Sell Back Your Book and got $14.72 for them!  I’ve used them before- their prices are fair and it’s super easy.  They provide you with a mailing label and even pay for your shipping if you use the USPS.

The magnet clips were something I no longer use and they went on the yard sale pile.  The cloth bag was tearing and wasn’t that nice to begin with so I just trashed it.

DAY 6:

I went through my laundry and cleaning supplies.  The spray bottle in the back was empty.  I had intended to make some more of my Homemade Bathroom Cleaner and put it in it so that I’d have a bottle downstairs and a bottle upstairs just to  make things easier.  But I decided to just leave it and stick with one bottle for now.  The Clorox 2 and Ammonia went to the yard sale pile.  The duster went to the trash and the other things were random packs of detergent and the like that I used up while doing laundry this week!

Total Money Made from Selling Stuff this Week: $36.72

So did you declutter this week? How did it go?  What was the most bizarre thing you got rid of?

It Worked For Me: Organization Inspiration
It Worked For Me: Organization Inspiration
It Worked For Me: Organization Inspiration

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Declutter Challenge: Rid Yourself of 7 Items a Day, 6 Days a Week for 4 Weeks!

Monday, October 6th, 2014

I wasn’t aware of how much of a “stuff” person I was until I married my wonderful husband almost 8 years ago.  My man is a minimalist and is of the mindset that less is more.  He’d much prefer only having a few things and needing to sometimes improvise as a result, than have to deal with the clutter of owning all sorts of things that we rarely, if ever use.

Over the years he’s been gradually rubbing off on me and I’m starting to realize that there really is something nice about not having so.much.stuff.  Still, when it comes right down to it, it’s amazingly hard for me to actually declutter!

For the last several weeks I’ve been thinking about tackling this thing of decluttering and have been trying to figure out the best method to do it.  Then over the weekend it occurred to me that maybe other people would enjoy reading about my experience too.  Obviously, this would also give me the added benefit of providing a kick-in-my-pants so to speak.  There’s nothing like accountability to motivate you!  And so I asked on my Facebook page if anyone would like to follow along as I worked at decluttering.  Wow, I had no idea that this was such a popular topic!  The answer was a resounding yes!  And so, there is no turning back now!  My house is going to get purged of the excess and hopefully our lives will be better as a result!

So, how am I going to do this Declutter Challenge?  Here are my rules.

1.  Get rid of 7 things a day, 6 days a week for 4 weeks.

Why 7 things?  Simply because I was trying to decide between 5 and 10 and decided to compromise and settle right in between the two.  Besides, 7 is the number of perfection so I figured that was a good sign!

Why spread it out over 4 weeks?  Well, my life is very busy right now and doing this in small chunks feels more manageable and will make it easier for me to succeed at actually getting it accomplished.

2.  Do one of the following with each of the 7 things.

  • Use it up (as in food items or cleaning supplies etc.)
  • Throw it out
  • Sell it
  • Find a new use for it
  • Donate it

I’m especially anxious to see how much money I might be able to make through this.  I really have no idea if I’ll even be able to make anything, but there is nothing like knowing I can make money on something to help motivate me to get rid of it!

3.   Do a blog post each Saturday showing you all what I got rid of each day that week and what I did with it. 

I’ll admit, this is going to probably end up being pretty humbling for me!  But I’m hoping that by seeing the things that I am purging and what I did with them, it will help encourage you do also consider diving in and work at decluttering too!

Do you find it hard to declutter?  What motivates you to get rid of things?  I’d love to hear about it!

Want to declutter your home too?  Join me in the challenge!  Each Saturday when I post about how my decluttering went that week I’ll give you a chance to chime in with your thoughts and what your experience was like too. 

You might enjoy…..

* ThredUp: $20 Off Your 1st Order = 4 Items of Kid’s Clothing for $6.42 Shipped!

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5 Tips to Make Kid’s Packed Lunches Easy and Fun

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Lunch Tips

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Del Monte. The opinions and text are all mine.

Back to school season is here and if you are like most parents, one of the things that you are not looking forward to is packing your kid’s lunch. Somehow it is just one of those jobs that can get boring and tedious pretty fast, not to mention the fact that a lot of kids can be hard to please when it comes to food!

Take heart! Here are 5 tips that will make packing your kid’s lunches easy and hopefully make them a hit at the same time.

1. Prep Ahead

The more prep work you do ahead of time, the easier your mornings will be. Mix up sandwich spreads, portion out bags of snacks and chop any veggies or fruit. Then all that you need to do in the morning is simply throw the sandwich together and grab your other items. And actually, if you want to make it really easy, you can even make the sandwiches the evening before too!

Want to be even more efficient? Prep a whole week’s worth of lunches at the beginning of the week!

2. Have a Designated Spot for Lunch Food

It makes things super easy if you can always find the items for your lunches at the same spot in the fridge and pantry. Designate a shelf as the lunch shelf or get a small basket and keep your lunch things in it. This not only makes sure someone doesn’t make a snack out of someone’s prepared lunch food, it also will save you time and hassle in the morning when you are rushing around trying to collect everything.

3. Allow Variety

Chances are your kids will be more excited about their lunch if it’s not the same old boring peanut butter and jelly sandwich every. single. day. Add some variety by switching the sandwich for a slice of pizza, a cheese quesadilla, hummus and crackers or even the occasional hot dog.

Prefer sticking with sandwiches every day? That’s fine! Just change things up and keep it interesting by making different kinds such as chicken salad, meat and cheese, tuna salad, egg salad or even cream cheese and banana. Of course you could easily sub a wrap for the bread some days too just for something fun and different!

4. Make it Easy to Eat

If your child is anything like mine, they have a hard time getting their food eaten in time. Packing easy-to-eat foods like sandwiches and wraps, cheese, carrots, trail mix, No Bake Energy Bites and Del Monte Fruit Burst Squeezers and Plastic Fruit Cups make it easy for them to get their lunch eaten.

5. Keep it Simple

Above all, keep it simple! Yes, you could spend extra time and make a sandwich that looks like an animal. And if you enjoy doing that kind of thing, go ahead and make them occasionally. But fancy looking sandwiches are totally not necessary to give your kids a healthy, delicious lunch. Chances are that you’ll stick with packing healthier lunches if you keep it simple and therefore easy to do.

Enjoy a little contest? From August 1 through September 1, share a photo of your kids’ favorite Del Monte snack- Fruit Burst Squeezers or Plastic Fruit Cups (Squeeze or Spoon?).

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Del Monte. The opinions and text are all mine. 

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Household Tip: Reheat Pancakes in Toaster

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

My children love pancakes and this simple tip has been so helpful.  I especially love it for those days when I’m super busy and suddenly realize it’s lunch time.  Just as I’m hitting panic mode and wondering what to feed my hungry crew, I’ll suddenly remember that I have pancakes in the freezer.  So I’ll whip them out and within a few minutes I can have warm, homemade lunch on the table ready to fill my hungry kids belly’s.  Kind of makes me feel like supermom or something!  And who doesn’t like to feel that?

Tip:
Make breakfast (or lunch!) a cinch by using your toaster to reheat leftover or frozen pancakes.  It’s as simple as popping them into the toaster and toasting them until they are warm and the sides are slightly crispy.  And that fast you have delicious hot pancakes to enjoy!

You can do this with leftover pancakes that you’ve kept refrigerated or with pancakes that you’ve frozen.  Either one works.  If you are making pancakes up to freeze and enjoy later I recommend storing them with a piece of wax paper between each pancake so that they don’t stick together.  Or, if you’d rather, you can flash freeze them first by laying them out on a cookie sheet in a single layer, putting them in the freezer until frozen solid and then put them in a Ziploc bag or container.  If you do it this way, you don’t need to put anything between the pancakes.

Why I recommend it:
1.  It’s frugal.  Making your own pancakes, freezing them and then reheating them in the toaster is much less expensive than buying frozen pancakes at the store.  Plus, if you can create a quick breakfast (or lunch) at home, you’ll be much less tempted to stop at McDonald’s to eat which will save you a lot!

2.  They taste good.  Toasting them gives them a nice crispy outside and doesn’t leave them soft and mushy like pancakes reheated in the microwave.

3.  It’s fast.  There’s no excuse not to have a filling, warm breakfast when you can get it ready in a minute or two.

4.  It creates less waste.  Instead of letting extra pancake batter spoil in the fridge thinking that one of these mornings you’ll use it, you can go ahead and make pancakes with it and then just enjoy them later on in the week.

5.  It saves time.  If you are going to be making pancakes already, why not take a little bit of extra time and double your batch and then have some for a quick meal later?  The bonus is that you’ll only have to do the work of mixing them up and washing those dishes once!

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Household Tip: Keep Plastic Wrap and Foil in Place for Frustration Free Rolling

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

Tip:  Punch in the push-in tabs on the ends of plastic wrap and aluminum foil boxes to secure the rolls in place and allow you to use the product without frustration!

Have you ever tried to cover something with plastic wrap, only to have the plastic roll keep trying to hop out of the box? Yeah, me too. Well, a couple of years ago I happened to notice that there are little punch-in tabs on the end of the box and when pushed in they sort of lock the roll in place and viola! No more plastic wrap  rolling out of the box! Turns out aluminum foil boxes have them too.

Makes me wonder what other simple little instructions I am missing that would make my life easier!

Please tell me I’m not that only one who didn’t know about these handy little tabs!

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