I know all of my posts have been about organizing and saving money. Some people out there may already be organized, but I'm sure I have something new in my bag of tricks for you to use. If you're a pack rat, ask yourself this, "How much is the stuff you're storing from the past keeping you from enjoying life in the present?"
Most pack rats have sentimental "ties" to their piles, but if these piles end up having things getting buried underneath, how sentimental can they be? If you're like my husband and a "rainy day" pack rat, you save because "you never know when you're going to need it." In this case, ask yourself what would be the cost to replace it and how long have you been holding onto it. If it's been over a year, chances are you're just taking up space.
Organization is NOT about re-organizing the stuff you've accumulated. Organization is purging every space to get rid of the junk that's literally not bringing you joy or comfort, and keeping those things that do or that are necessary.
When organizing any space (and I suggest starting with the most clutter-free room or closet), take out each individual item and ask yourself:
1.) Does this benefit my life or the life of others in my home? 2.) Is this item a necessity? 3.) Have myself or others used or worn this item in the last 6 months? 4.) If you answered "no" to any of the above questions, then ask yourself if this item is something you absolutely cannot part with because it would cause you physical or emotional pain.
Still have that thing?
Here's a cheap way to organize the small stuff:
Clear shoe boxes are one dollar apiece. It doesn't matter where you live ... chances are you have a dollar store, discount food store, or Wal-Mart close by. You can find these clear boxes.
The lovely thing about them is ... TA DA ... they're clear. You can see the contents inside. I also label my boxes using a cheap label maker, but this isn't necessary. You can write in permanent marker on the part facing the outside of the closet.
Some boxes I have contain:
- kid's craft/school supplies - power kids (for the computer and electronic gadgets ... I use garbage bag twist ties to keep the cords neat) -- this one is a lifesaver - my own craft supplies (needles, buttons, extra thread; the small stuff) - toiletry items for trips (I actually send away for free samples of anything you can think of -- from deodorant to shampoo -- they all come in the perfect sizes for trips)
Some boxes my children contain: - crayons - Legos - fabric swatches (my daughter likes to sew) - make up
You get the picture. I don't recommend these for shoes because they take up a bit too much space and are inconvenient for that purpoose plus frequently worn shoes need to breathe. Plus, how many shoes does a gal or guy really need?
If you want to dress them up, buy a glue gun for $1.99 at most craft and discount stores, pick out a fabric you like cut just a bit bigger than the box, make hospital corners at all four corners, and glue on the inside to adhese the fabric to the box. This also works perfectly if want to store video games and CD's although the cover will not fit tightly on top, but don't despair, you can use the cover as a "rest" for your mop, a mat for the outside of the catbox, etc.
So, get going and get organized. I guarantee by starting with just one closet, you'll turn the tide, feel a sense of empowerment, and may even have a bit of an organization bug of your own.
(P.S. Please, let me know if there's anything in your life you'd like to organize or feel you're spending too much on and I'll feature it in a post along with some solutions.)
One of my biggest time and money saving tips is to make one meal into two meals ... usually two totally different meals. I think the concept is so basic that it eludes people or perhaps it sounds like too much work, but this couldn't be further from the truth.
Let me explain. Is it harder to make two pounds of meatballs instead of one? Then one day you have spaghetti and meatballs and the other goes to meatball parmasen subs. A pot of chili one day, chili dogs the next. Chicken and vegetables one day becames "garbage bread" (a process where leftovers with a binder of cheese is stuffed into a raw, risen loaf of bread then baked). Or put the cubed up chicken with vegetables in gravy and pour over biscuits or pour it into a ready-bake pie crust instead, top with another, and voila, you now have chicken pot pie.
Two meals with the same ingredients that taste completely different. My own family usually loves the second time around better.
If anyone would like any recipes, please, let me know.
So, experiment, be bold, and may you never throw out leftovers again!
One of my admitted fortes is organization/thriftiness. I was born into a chaotic and cluttered home, but was also born with the ability to clean it all up, put it in its proper place, and do it cheaply.
I've decided to start sharing some of my money-saving tips and tricks in my blog. It's time for that annual spring cleaning, after all, so hopefully these posts will help someone clean up their home and their life. A motto I fully believe in is, "a cluttered home equals a chaotic life."
Believe me, the money-saving and organizational tips are painless. If you've never organized or tried to be thrifty in the past, it may seem like work at first, but I guarantee your life will run more smoothly and economically when you're done.
So, without further ado, I bring you ... Ammonia. Well, I'm not bringing it to you, but bear with me.
Ammonia is cheap. Less than a buck for a big bottle at discount stores. Let me stress this again, less than a dollar. I have tested ammonia on many things and I know for sure of what I write.
First off, please, do not believe the hype. Ammonia is a safe cleaner. Ammonia is only unsafe when people mix it with other household cleaners ... like bleach. Do not mix ammonia with other chemicals unless you are a scientist with a degree in chemistry. Then proceed at your own risk. For the rest of us, ammonia and water is all you need.
Ammonia is the perfect:
* Pre-treater for your laundry: Yes, I said it, pre-treater. Unlike bleach or expensive store bought pre-treaters, which can stain/lighten fabric, ammonia will NOT change or bleach your colors. It's safe even to use on khaki. Anyone who is a khaki fan (like myself) knows even one cap full of bleach will turn it orange or spot it. Ammonia works on your toughest stains, including grass. Yes, that's right, grass. I have a spray bottle with a half/half mixture of ammonia and water. Spray it on the stain and use a stiff brush (either a hard toothbrush or denture brush -- both of which can be purchased at dollar stores) to brush it in. Rinse and repeat. Usually, this is not a lengthy process. Ammonia even works on set-in stains. Dab it on full strength with a Q-tip and use the above method.
* Window cleaner: Take that same spray bottle you're using for laundry and use it on your windows. What's the "secret" streak-free ingredient in Windex? You guessed it -- ammonia. (Windex chemists mixed in a fragrance and blue dye to dazzle consumers, but hey, it worked.) Newspapers are still by far, the best way to get streak free windows. Crazy, but true.
* Rug cleaner and/or rug spot/pre-treater: Remember that spray bottle? You guessed it. Before you shampoo carpets, spray the carpet and let sit while you prepare your machine. Shampoo as normally. No, it will not discolor your carpet. That's the genius of it. I found ammonia so effective, I now use it and not carpet cleaner in my machine's cleaner reserve tank. No machine? Spray on and scrub carpet by hand. Ammonia works better than any carpet cleaner I've tried. If you have a set-in stain, ammonia will work on that as well. Either use the diluted spray bottle or drizzle on full strength. Then put a clean white rag over it and step on it until all of the stain is pulled up. For stubborn stains, also drizzle a bit of boiling water over it then step on it again and again, using the clean white rag until it is up.
* Floor cleaner, bathroom cleaner, toilet cleaner, tile cleaner ... you get the point. That cabinet full of cleaners you're buying to make your life easier? You know, the new and improved stuff, the streak free stuff, the expensive stuff ... most of it can be replaced with plain old ammonia. I still keep bleach and Murphy's Oil soap/Pledge (specifically for wood) on hand. I treat myself to disposable anti-bacterial wipes as well, but that's about it.
So, happy cleaning and let me know if you've made the switch. =)
My lovely daughter recently turned 13. I'm kind of against showing pictures of kids online or I'd post one to prove that she honestly is beautiful. Thin, long hair, amazing teen model features, but more importantly, she's a straight A honor student who has one of the best personalities I know. She's the only person on the planet who can make me laugh so hard it hurts my stomach at times. And we're close, perhaps a little too close for a mother and daughter. Sometimes I even slip and introduce her as my sister. Not because I want to be young, but because that's how it feels.
Deep down though, I'm a mom through and through. I worry like mad about her. I trust her, yet the world is a crazy place. A crazy soul-sucking pit at times.
As a teen, I was a wild child. Sex, drugs, rock 'n roll. If I had two hours "out on the town," I wanted to fill them up with as many abominations as possible. I loved and respected my mother, I did talk to her about my life, but I left out a LOT of the detail. If any of it had to do with sex, I just skipped it all together.
So I can't help, but sit here and wonder about my own child. My daughter is becoming seriously popular and finding her niche in the world. She at times is quiet and seems a little distant. She has never had a serious relationship or date because she's still shy and believes in keeping it cool.
Still, I can't help, but think of the worst things that could possibly be happening behind the scenes. I'm afraid of friends trying to offer her new experiences and her agreeing. I call her cell phone a little too much.
Is this over the top? Just too much? Will I drive her away or keep her close? Should I just get it over with and lock her up now? =)
I received a rather creepy monkey e-mail from a man online who believes we have a special friendship based on him e-mailing me and me ignoring him. It was so disturbing, I sent it to Mrs. T. From there we created our own Monkey E-mail and frankly, it's a bit addicting.
So, this is my gift to you dear bloggers. Discover the fun of creepy monkeys you can dress up, make speak, to creep out your own special friends: http://www.careerbuilder.com/monk-e-mail/
My daughter's favorite channel on television is Animal Planet. I always forget what number it is on the dial, so she says, "Oh, keep going, there's another music channel coming ... right there," and there's Animal Planet in full ... cough ... glory. You'd think I was the teenager searching for White Stripes videos and she's the parent trying to give me some culture, but no ... reverse that.
Tonight was no exception except I actually learned some pretty awe-inspiring factoids.
Factoid #1: The Whiptail Lizard. It's the ONLY animal (okay, it's a reptile, but play along) that doesn't need a male to procreate. In fact, the Whiptail Lizard female population actually got together and killed off all the males. ALL of them. They're gone. Extinctamundo. Turns out, they didn't need them to make babies anymore. All the female lizard needs to do is "fake" a sex act with another lizard by doing this rather strange slightly cheap porn back humping routine and blammo ... out pops some babies. And the really cool part? (for those who really don't find lizard humping all that cool) All the babies are clones of the female pumping them out. (for lack of a better phrase)
So, I'm thinking, "This is incredible. This is amazing! It's the Amazons come to life. No men. No battle of the sexes. Just a bunch of sassy sister reptiles getting it on ... ahem ... getting ALONG with each other." Although I admit, the fake sex act itself caused my son to groan, my daughter to wince, and will be the star of my own nightmares tonight.
Let us move on to ...
Factoid #2: Human chromosomes. (skip this if you are not a science nerd or don't need the review) Females are XX. Men are Xy. Apparently, the "y" in the male chromosome has been shrinking for years. Now it only carries about 78 genes and scientists are predicting in another 125,000 years, yep, you guessed it ... the male race will be gone along with its puny 'y' chromosome.
This has me thinking and oddly enough, I'll admit it, hopeful. Sure, I won't be around in 125,00 years, but hey, I may just reincarnate to see it. Who am I kidding? I'll definitely be back to see it.
I just bet Angelina Jolie is happy this great event isn't taking place now. Let's be truthful, there'd be a whole lot of women bombarding that poor woman with the old "but I CAN'T fake fertilize my eggs unless we have a pretend back humping sex act ... I'm not making that up ... you KNOW it's true" line. All right, once again, who am I kidding? I'd be the first one to try it on her.
Well, I thought this was very interesting. Interesting enough to blog about it anyhow.