Speaking of Spring Cleaning – Let’s Make Some Money Decluttering!

Filed under :Cleaning, INSIDE the Home, Minimalism, Whole House Declutter Challenge

CLUTTER CLUTTER CLUTTER CLUTTER…..

Clutter = CHAOS.  The opposite of chaos is ORDER.  We want order.  I’ll be writing another post just about this topic very soon 🙂

For now — Let’s simplify – declutter – and put some money in your pocket!

Does you garage look anything like this?  Maybe you have a storage shed in the back yard or even you could be renting a unit monthly to store your STUFF.   Let’s get serious here, ok?  Let’s talk about STUFF.  Do we really need all of this STUFF that we’ve accumulated and have stored in every nook and cranny?  Or is this STUFF just creating CHAOS in our lives – STUFF to clean, work around, move, etc.  Let’s SIMPLIFY!

ORDER in our lives creates PEACE.  And in this day and age, we need all the help we can get simplifying our lives.  Life is just way to busy having to shuffle stuff around.  Well, in addition to helping to simplify our lifes, we can actually make some money selling all of this STUFF that we really don’t need!

What could you do with some extra cash?  Pay off some debt?  Purchase an item that you truly need?  Put some money in your savings or rainy day fund?  Just imagine – cleaning and decluttering and getting paid for it 🙂  Now that’s motivation!

Speaking of motivation – that’s what you’re going to need to get started – MOTIVATION.  Our motivation is two-fold:  MONEY and ORDER.  But let’s take a step back and plan our process.  Let’s get organized first and get our minds set straight so we can SUCCEED and get this project completed and money in our pockets.

So, where do we start?  We start with a plan.  We start with a goal.

Then we take that plan and break it apart into smaller, more defined tasks.

As an example, while our GOAL is to declutter our home and create order in our lives, sell things we don’t need, and make some cash, our tasks are going to be more simplified, easier, specific tasks that can be accomplished in a shorter period of time with smaller goals and targets.

Another part of our plan is determining HOW we are going to sell the items (or find them another home if they can’t be sold).  There are several ways and places we can sell items that make the job so much simpler.  There’s Ebay, Craigslist, as well as local Buy/Sell groups on Facebook.  For the items that we are not successful selling, we can recycle, donate or just throw away.

Now, how do we get started on the actual DECLUTTERING work.  Well, we’re going to break that apart into smaller tasks as well.  I suggest breaking the job down into smaller tasks that you can accomplish in 1 afternoon or 4 hours.  That may be a closet, a cabinet, etc.  Start with the smallest tasks first – this will help to get you started and committed when you can quickly see your progress and accomplishments.   When you get to rooms like the garage, just break the job into Area A, Area B, Area C, etc.  That may mean a corner, a wall, shelves, etc.

Plan how much of your time that you are going to dedicate to this project.  I suggest at least 2 to 3 “decluttering” tasks per week – definitely no more than 3.  Remember, each task should only take you 4 hours max to accomplish.  Then spend a couple of hours the next day listing the items for sale.

Now let’s talk about exactly what “decluttering” really means.  Let’s say your first task is to clean out a bedroom closet.  As you remove each item from the closet, you need to make a conscious decision about that item.  Have you actually used or worn that item in the last 3 months?  If it’s a clothing item from winter and you’re doing your declutter in summer, did you wear the item last winter?  If you didn’t – it needs to go.   If you have used or worn the item and you are going to keep it, then it will need to be placed back into the closet in an organized fashion.  THIS IS THE ORDER we are looking for.  As you’re going along decluttering, make sure you are also cleaning!

Next, let’s talk about the declutter pile that you’re going to be creating.  Let’s talk about our options:  sell, recycle, donate, throw away.  As you are creating your “declutter” pile, let’s go ahead and sort the items based on what your plans are for each item.  I suggest buying several plastic bins and labeling them accordingly.  Of course, for the items that you are going to throw away, use a garbage bag 🙂

As soon as possible, after cleaning out the bedroom closet (example we are using), make sure to take the garbage bag to the trash.  Whew!  What a relief!  You’ve already unloaded some of your chaos!  Our next step is to determine what items we will be donating to places like 2nd hand non-profit stores.  These non-profit corporation sell the items to make money to fund great causes in our communities.  When you donate, you’re helping other less fortunate individuals!    Now that’s a great sense of accomplishment!!!  Congratulations for doing something positive to help others 🙂

Next – what items do you have marked for recycling?  Let’s get those items to the proper location for recycling.  Now you’ve already accomplished clearing out a good bit of the items that have been cluttering up your life 🙂  Do you feel the weight being unloaded from your shoulders?  You should be feeling a great sense of accomplishment and ORDER.

Our last step is to determine what items we have segregated to sell.  Make a list of the items (an Excel spreadsheet works well for this task to keep you organized) – number them and either tape or safety pin a number to each item.  On your list, record a short description of the item and where you are going to list the item for sale along with your initial selling price.  Also enter the date that you list the item for sale and leave a column to enter the date that you sell and ship/deliver the item to the new owner.   Give yourself a set period of time to sell the item.  If the item doesn’t sell in that period of time, decide if you want to lower the price and relist the item.  I would only do this once – if it doesn’t sell at your initial price or your reduced price, it’s time to place it into the next recycle or donate stack and get rid of it.

As you’re trading your CLUTTER for DOLLARS, you are feeling better and better about this decluttering project!  No only are your simplifying your life, you’re gaining a few bucks in your pocket and making contributions to your community through donations and recycling.  That’s more motivation to keep moving forward with your DECLUTTERING project and your final GOAL.    Congratulations!

While this article is very simplified and not written in depth, it does give you the essential top level directions that you need to get started and keep you on track with your DECLUTTERING PROJECT.  I wish you all the success as I start the same project in my home 🙂


So Ready for Spring – So Is Your Checkbook! How To Save Money On Your Electric Bill This Spring!

Filed under :Cleaning, Energy, INSIDE the Home, Saving....

Spring sky and burgeon in snow

I am absolutely loving this warmer weather!  After being “cooped up” inside for most of the cold wind, it’s so nice to have some warm days and sunny skies.

In this post, I’m going to talk about using this great weather to save you some $$ on the power bill when it arrives next month.

So before we step outside, let’s look at some of the ways that this springtime weather and warmer temperatures can save you INSIDE your home.  First, open the windows!  Yes, bring the clean, warmer, and drier air inside your home.  First, turn off your A/C and heating unit.  I like to open a couple of windows, place fans in them and create a flow of fresh air through my home.   I do this by opening a few windows on one end of the house with fans blowing the air IN, then I open a few windows on the other end of the house, and use fans to pull the air to the outside.   Even if the air is a little cooler, its invigorating and encourages you to move around and even get some of that spring cleaning done.  It’s a great time to dust as well because you’ll help to remove the dust from your home via its exit through your windows.

If it’s warm enough outside, just keep your windows open for as long as you can to pull the fresh cool air in and save on your electric bill and air conditioning costs.  I’ve found that having a few windows open at night and a couple of fans pulling in the fresh, cool air will keep my home at a nice temperature for most of the following day.   Then it’s only a few hours (from about 2 PM till dusk) that my home begins to warm up before it starts cooling down again when the sun goes down.  I have saved a good bit of money in spring by doing this until the actual hot summertime finally arrives.

Now on to the outside…. I don’t know about you, but it’s so nice to be able to enjoy being in the yard again after a long winter.  I believe it’s good for the soul to move around, plant some flowers and vegetables and enjoy the sunshine.  It’s also a great time to plan activities in the back yard like cooking out or grilling out.  No need in running the stove or oven inside – be creative and plan a few meals that you can cook outside over a little campfire!  This is a great time to be able to wind down from a long, busy and stressful week as well.  There are several websites that you can search for camping or cooking outdoor type recipes that are easy to cook.  Of course, you can even use some of the branches and sticks that you’ve picked up that have broken and fallen over the winter.

 

One of the things I love the most is being able to hang my laundry outside again in the spring!  And saving money by not running the dryer is a good thing too.  You may have read in other posts on my blog about how I prepare my laundry to dry so that it is not stiff.  If not, here’s a quick explanation:  wash your laundry in the washing machine as you normally would, use vinegar in place of fabric softener in your little blue ball, and then toss your laundry in the dryer for a quick 10 minutes – just enough to heat the clothes up and soften them before hanging up to finish air drying.  Not only will your clothes and towels be soft when they have finished drying, but they will also be wrinkle free!

What are some of your best ideas for activities and saving money in the spring?  I’d love to hear from you!  Leave your comments below 🙂


Vinegar…Such An Amazing Liquid!

Filed under :Cleaning, INSIDE the Home, Kitchen, Laundry, Vinegar

I have been IN LOVE with VINEGAR for quite a while.  I have found so many uses for it around the house – everything from laundry to cleaning floors.   It’s amazing…. and I’d like to share the ways that I have found to use vinegar.

  • Vinegar is a wonderful deodorizer!  It does a great job at eliminating organic type odors very well — and this includes pet odors as well.  Just mix half vinegar to half water and use a spray bottle to apply a fine mist to couches, curtains or even the carpet.  It will be a little “vinegary” smelling for a while, but that will go away and you’ll have a fresh smelling room again.   If your pet (especially a cat) has soiled the carpet or floor, apply the vinegar/water mixture liberally.
  • I love using vinegar in my washing machine during the rinse cycle.  Not only does it deodorize the laundry, you wouldn’t believe how well it cleans out the soap residue.  I notice the most with towels and washrags – they are so much more absorbent and fluffy when I use vinegar in place of a fabric softener in the rinse cycle.
  • Don’t you just hate the way that the microwave “smells” sometimes?  I have your solution to not only taking the odor away, but also to making it a breeze to clean.  Just place a bowl of vinegar in the microwave and “cook” it.    The steam from the vinegar cooking will loosen all of the dried, cook-on foods that have splattered and make it easy just to wipe off.   And, your microwave will not have that nasty odor anymore 🙂
  • Vinegar makes a great window cleaner – just 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water in a spray bottle.   Spray the mixture on the window and wipe down with next paper or paper towels.   Vinegar is non-toxic too!
  • Not only is the laundry a good place to use vinegar in the rinse cycle, but also in your dishwasher!  It will keep your dishwasher fresh and clean — and, it will help to keep spots off of your dishes too.   Just fill the rinse aid dispenser on your dishwasher with full strength vinegar.
  • I love using vinegar to clean and disinfect the counter tops in my kitchen.  The 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water mixture kills germs on surfaces.
  • You can use vinegar to clean most hard-surface flooring – just mix a cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water and use this to damp mop your floors with.

I’d like to hear from others – how do you use vinegar around your home?


Homemade DISHWASHER DETERGENT! Really!

Filed under :Cleaning, Kitchen

How many of you have and regularly use your dishwasher?  I definitely do and for several reasons.

  • It saves me time versus washing by hand.
  • It saves me money – less water and detergent is used when you wash your dishes in the dishwasher (always run your dishwasher completely FULL)
  • My dishes are cleaner and sanitized – I always wash my dishes with the “sanitizer” on – this kills germs and keeps germs from spreading in my home.
  • It’s easy to clean the kitchen and place the few plates and other dishes into the dishwasher instead of leaving them in the sink – using my dishwasher helps to keep my kitchen cleaner looking!

My dishwasher gets a workout everyday it seems.  We go through alot of dishes around my house for some reason.  Well, that also means we can go through alot of dishwasher detergent.  So, I started doing a little research online to find recipes for homemade dishwasher detergent.  And I found one that is not only easy, it’s cheap and I had 2 out of the 3 ingredients (the Borax and the Washing Soda from the homemade laundry detergent that I make)!    The 3 ingredients are:

  • 1 cup of Borax
  • 1 cup of Washing Soda
  • 1 packet of KoolAid Lemonade (unsweetened)

Well, you can’t get any easier than that for ingredients can you?  And, it’s simple to make too!  Just mix everything together in your container (I am using a Ziplock plastic storage container).  Actually, I just put the ingredients in, put the lid on the container and shook it really well.

You only have to use 1 tablespoon of the homemade dishwasher detergent in each compartment.  Also, instead of purchasing the “rinse aid”, use plain white vinegar instead.  Just use your funnel and pour it in to the place that you would normally place the “JetDry”.

I think you will be pleased with the results of the homemade detergent.  I actually had a glass 1 cup Pyrex measuring cup that I thought had become severely etched.  I was almost to the point of throwing it away and buying a new one.  Well, after 1 wash with the homemade detergent, I noticed a huge difference in the measuring cup!  It was almost clear again…. then after the 2nd wash, the glass was completely clear.  I’m not really sure if it was the homemade detergent or the vinegar, but whatever it was, I’m going to keep using the homemade detergent and the white distilled vinegar for the rinse aid.  Something is working and I see no ready to change it!

I read where someone said that it wasn’t worth it to them to make homemade dishwasher detergent because they were only going to be saving maybe $10 per year.  Undoubtedly, they do not wash alot of dishes like I do LOL  But, because I already had the ingredients (except for the 20 cent packet of KoolAid which I picked up on my next grocery visit), making my dishwasher detergent saves me alot of time and money.  Plus, my dishes are coming out so much cleaner.  I couldn’t ask for more (well except for maybe someone to load the dirty dishes and unload the clean ones LOL!)