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Posts Tagged ‘declutter’

I am sure at some point in your life, you have read the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Whether it was required reading, or it was on purpose that you read this tale from the 1800’s, we have all heard of the novel or seen the film versions.

This post isn’t to wax poetic about the book.

I am here to tell you that this copy of Little Women which was gifted to me when I was in elementary school, has not been opened in almost 30 years.

Yes, you read that right. I received this book as a gift in 1986. I read it once. It is has been on one bookshelf of mine or another for almost 30 years.

There is so much wrong with this, I can’t even…

I know you are wondering, why hold onto a book that you never read? Great question.

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I remember getting this book and being excited to read it. I had heard about how good of a book this was and I couldn’t wait to crack open the first page. So I read Little Women and…

Sigh.

I did read it and I know I am probably in the minority on this, but I didn’t like it. I just didn’t get what all the fuss was about. Later in my schooling, I had to read it again for a class, and I was underwhelmed all over again.

But I still had this book. I held onto it thinking maybe one day I’ll like it. Maybe one day I’ll get what the fuss is about and fall in love with the stories of the March sisters. One day I am going to own all the books of classic American literature and this book will be a great addition to the collection.

I am sure you can guess, that never happened.

So that is how I still have my almost 30-year-old copy of Little Women. And I think about the money this book has cost me. All the times I have moved in my life, and all the times I have packed and unpacked this book and dutifully put it on a shelf. This book was part of any number of moving trucks, packed inside a cardboard box, taking up space.

I cannot believe I have carted around this book for all this time.

Well now the March sisters will be finding a new home with someone who loves their story and can truly appreciate the words of Ms. Alcott.

I am selling my copy.

Moral of the story is, if you have a book that you have been holding onto for any number of umpteen years, find a new home for it. I am speaking from experience here folks, if you haven’t read it recently, you are never going to read it.

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If any of you have kiddos out there, you know that you inevitably have quite a bit of toys underfoot. It’s not that you are out there at the store constantly purchasing toys or anything; it’s just that they somehow have made their way into your home and any parent can tell you, they have no idea how all these toys got there! 🙂

Well I am here to say, that no matter the origination of the toys, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on containers to house them all. If you just think outside of the box (or container), you can probably find some things around the home that can house the Legos!

Speaking of Legos…

My daughter loves her Legos and there are sooooo many small pieces. I had to find something sturdy to house them all when they weren’t in use. And then I saw on the counter, the container holding the animal crackers we had picked up from Costco.

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Yup, I think this will work…

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Boom! Perfect! And I didn’t have to spend any additional money actually purchasing some sort of container! It pays to shop your house 🙂

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And then I thought hey, this container would be perfect to house all her little figures she plays with. So in went My Little Pony, the Bubble Guppies, etc…

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Man, these containers work great

Now my daughter loves to color. She has quite a few coloring books. Hmmmm, what to do, what to do… And then I realized I had this box that I used to use to house tax stuff/receipts/etc… But that was not a very organized solution and it was messy and hard to ever find anything, so the box was now sitting empty. Perfect!

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Yup, that’ll work!

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And a case that I was using for odds and ends, I cleaned out and is now her pencil-case!

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What to do with an empty Folgers coffee can?

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Use it for blocks of course!

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Hey I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel here, but anything where I can save a bit of money, I am all for it!

Do you guys have any creative uses for stuff? It doesn’t have to be for toys 🙂

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I know most people wait until the end of the month to post whether or not they hit their monthly goal, but I was just too exited that I completed my crafty goodness!

My one goal this month was to make handmade Christmas cards and I am done, done, done!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I love my cards and I am thrilled to have finished this project before the end of the month! I didn’t want to still be working on them over the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend 🙂

Here's what I've completed so far!

On the inside of the card, I used my trusty stamp and ink pad which I already had in my scrapbooking bin. No money spent!

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Ta da!

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I loved making my homemade, all kinds of crafty goodness, Christmas cards 🙂

Hope all of you enjoy your week and have a lovely Thanksgiving!

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I have one goal for November, which is pretty good considering we are already a week in. 😉

My one goal this month is to…drum roll please…

Make handmade Christmas cards!!

So here’s the thing; we are a family that sends out Christmas cards. I know some people think it’s an outdated tradition or they send e-cards *shudder*, but I like Christmas cards. I like to send them out and I look forward to receiving them in the mail.

But I was also looking for ways to save some money on them as the holiday budget can get a little cuckoo if one is not careful. So I thought about it and I realized that I had everything I needed already to make the cards!

See, a few years ago, I had planned to make Christmas cards from scratch. I had purchased the blank cards and envelopes and already had some stuff in my scrapbooking bin to get ’em done. But I didn’t plan out a schedule to make them. I kept putting them off and putting them off and then it was too late; I had run out of time to make the cards and had to go to the store to purchase them.

But not this year! 🙂

I have already started on some cards and I have the whole month of November to get them done. Ambitious, crafty, and frugal all mixed into one!

Here's what I've completed so far!

Here’s what I’ve completed so far!

No extra money being spent, I free up some items in my scrapbooking bin, and my friends and family get some homemade crafty goodness from yours truly

So in between watching my sports teams play this month, I will be on the couch making Christmas cards.

Getting my craft on!

Getting my craft on!

The holiday will be here before ya know it! 🙂

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Hello All!

Hope your season of Summer is treating you well 🙂

Updates, updates, updates…

It’s been garage sale time in my neck of the woods. We’ve done pretty well with the garage sales that we have had. People have been very nice and the haggling hasn’t been too painful 😉 We have had a few garage sales simply because we keep finding more stuff to get rid of, and also, once it hits 12pm here, it is insanely hot, and you will literally burst into flames after it hits noon. So most people only have garage sales for just a few hours in the morning and then pack it up to do it another day.

Let's Go Crazy!

Let’s Go Crazy!

And to the individual who bought my Depeche Mode Violator CD, you are welcome!

I was watching HGTV the other day… who am I kidding? I watch that channel all the time! Anyways, it was some show where they were doing a remodel of a house they just bought and the designer said, “We turn crappy, into happy”. And I wrote it down, because I just thought that one phrase could apply to so many facets of life! Frown got you upside down? Turn crappy into happy!

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You know you want this to be your mantra for the week 🙂

Only a few more weeks till I am in my new home of Oregon! I can’t believe that soon my family and I will be on the road, ready to start this new chapter in our lives 🙂

How is everyone doing in July so far? Any fun things planned? 🙂

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November 30th is here folks! How’d you do with the Zero Waste Challenge? I did pretty good, if I do say so myself 🙂

So for a reminder, here is the amazeballs book that started the whole thing:

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“Minimalize that kitchen” was my mantra, and I stuck to it.

Cookbooks I’ve never, ever used? Gone!

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Chipped plastic containers, cracked plastic containers, old sippy cups, just bad plastic in general, gone!

Buh-bye plastic!

Buh-bye plastic!

Shot glasses we never used? Gone! Recipes torn out from magazines that I will never make? Gone!

Remember this hot mess of a drawer?

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Check it out yo! Isn’t it beautiful?

Neat and orderly!

Neat and orderly!

Seriously, I may have just stared at this organized perfection for longer than necessary, because I was that enthralled 🙂

Every single cabinet was completely emptied and ruthlessly mulled through to make sure nothing went back that wasn’t going to be for sure used.

I actually have shelves that have nothing on them!!!

I have cabinets now that are functional, drawers where I can easily find things, and no broken can openers!

November’s challenge was to minimalize that kitchen and I accomplished my goal!

How did you guys do? 🙂

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Can you believe we are already heading into another weekend in November?? Where is this month going? Anybody else soooo not ready yet for Thanksgiving? Our menu is sorta planned, but we are still tweaking it.

Some of my 49ers stuff!

Some of my 49ers stuff!

This: So, my husband and I have been selling some stuff on Craigslist and Ebay. I thought we had sold quite a bit of items before we moved this past spring, but sometimes it takes staring at the stuff you currently have long enough, to realize that it’s gotta go. The biggest item we have sold so far, is my daughter’s crib.*sniff sniff* It was time. Moms, you get this one 🙂

That: Still working on my Zero Waste Challenge for the month. Among the items we are tossing, are like a bunch of shot glasses. Who are we anyways? 21 year olds?? Um, no. I don’t need a shot glass from the Paris Hotel in Vegas. Again, why do we have this? It’s gone, gone, gone 🙂

The Other: Sports! Seriously, fall is the best time ever for sports. Between hockey (Go Ducks!) and football (Go 49ers!), this gal is in some sports heaven!

So, what’s going on with you guys? 😀

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Do you know what this is? Looks like a harmless manila folder. You’ve seen hundreds of ’em before, right?

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But this folder, this one right here, is scary because it’s filled with…

*cue Jaws music*

RECIPES I TORE OUT OF MAGAZINES THAT I WILL NEVER, EVER MAKE!!!

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Oh, the horror…

This stupid folder sat on my kitchen counter, mocking me. “Hey, you said you were going to make me a year ago? What’s the deal, lady?” “Whaddya mean you don’t have crushed cashews, sprigs of rosemary, and capers stocked in your pantry?”

Ugh…

And every time I saw the folder, I would feel guilty. Guilty about having the recipe in the first place, and then feeling guilty that all this time went by, and I still hadn’t made the freakin’ dish.

I’m over it.

Part of my Zero Waste Kitchen Challenge, is to completely overhaul my kitchen and only keep what I will use. And all of the recipes calling for 35 different fancy ingredients, or the recipes whose prep time starts at 2 hours… I’m done.

I will never make these recipes.

It feels oddly gratifying to give them up. I’m okay with not being the next Giada or anyone with the word “chef” in front of their name.

So au’ revoir folder stuffed with guilt-inducing recipes.

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It’s like we never met.

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So there is this absolutely fabulous book out there in the atmosphere called Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. For those that need visuals, here ya go:

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This book is amazeballs, seriously. I wish I could take credit for having discovered it first, or even written about it first, but that distinction I will leave with frugal rockstar Katy. Check out her posts on this topic; fantastic reading for sure!

Anywho, I decided to do my own challenge based on the chapters that Bea covers in her book. In the “Kitchen” section, she talks about going through her kitchen and getting rid of everything that she doesn’t use or has multiples of. If you haven’t used it, or don’t plan on using it, get rid of it!

For the record, I have 3, count ’em 3, can openers, one of which is broken. And I’m holding onto it because??????

I want a minimalist kitchen.

And I want it free of cracked plastic containers, chipped plates, melted spatulas, and unused sippy cups.

This drawer is ridiculous:

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Now Bea does go into great depth about not having any waste at all in the kitchen, and someday I hope to aspire to that goal. But she also says to do what you can, and that’s what I am going to do. Do what I can. I need to pare down my kitchen, and honestly melty plastic utensils and containers is just plain unhealthy.

Also? November is the perfect month to do this challenge because we are hosting Thanksgiving, and what better occasion to see if you really do use all the cooking utensils stuffed into random drawers?

Questions to ask yourself while paring down your kitchen according to Zero Waste Home:

  • Is it in working condition? Is it expired?
  • Do I use it regularly?
  • Is it a duplicate?
  • Does it put my family’s health in danger?
  • Do I keep it out of guilt?
  • Do I keep it because “everyone has one”? Is it too specialized? Does it truly save time, as promised? Could another item achieve the same task?
  • Is it worth my precious time cleaning?
  • Could I use this space for something else?
  • Is it reusable?

So who’s with me? November’s challenge is to minimalize that kitchen!

Cookbooks you will never use? Donate ’em! And so on and so forth…

I’m ready! Are you? 🙂

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Big things matter. But accomplishments come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes you have to celebrate the small ones.

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The teeny, tiny frugal things.

Such as…

(*) Finding a $5 coupon towards anything at Albertson’s. So my husband went to the store and picked up some milk and cereal and didn’t have to pay for it.

(*) Worrying about paying for a new winter jacket for my daughter, and finding one that fits in a bag of old clothes that we hadn’t yet gotten rid of.

(*) My daughter got invited to a birthday/costume party and luckily her costume that I bought her last year, I bought it a size bigger that she was (unbeknownst to myself). It fits perfectly this year, and I don’t have to shell out any extra money for a new costume!

(*) Utilizing our crock pot. My husband, who has an amazing ability to come up with his own recipes, has been throwing together dishes in the crock pot, and utilizing what we already have. And it is goooooooood! 🙂

(*) Using not as much detergent as recommended on the ginormous measuring cup that comes with it. You really don’t need that much!

(*) Dryer sheets: Cut ’em in half. Really, you don’t need the whole dryer sheet! Your clothes will be fine 🙂

They are teeny and tiny frugal things, but something is better than nothing!

What frugal things have you been up to? Share some tips!!

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