5 Reasons You Still Have Clutter

Organizing the home, Uncategorized

We all have our reasons for holding on to things we know we should let go of. People are complicated, and you could probably list a million different reasons why you’re struggling to keep it together. There isn’t a one size fits all answer to purging and organizing, but we can try to figure it out together.

Today the goal is to discover if one or more of the reasons I’m going to list is holding you back from having an organized space that doesn’t piss you off. So if you hear yourself saying:

“I feel like all I do is clean!”

“I turn around for five seconds and the kids just destroy everything!”

“I Just need to get organized and then things will be easier…”

Realize it’s not just you. Tons of people, especially parents, feel overwhelmed by their home. Pinterest and the konmarie worshippers don’t help either. Seems like everyone has their shit together except you.

They don’t, seriously. Stop.

All people really need to succeed is support, maybe a blueprint, and a bit of a reality check. So let’s take a look at the top five reasons why I see people fail at their purge.

1.Waste: throwing things away feels wasteful.

Your kid “had” to have it. That mini pie maker was the coolest thing you’ve ever seen. Yet, here we are a few weeks or months down the line, and all it’s doing is collecting dust. Still, you can’t bring yourself to get rid it. You only used it once and it’s still in great condition. I get it, you work hard for your money, and the things you buy become a physical manifestation of that hard work, but at the end of the day, it’s still just crap.

Suggestion: if you know it’s not being used. Let. It. Go. Donate what you can to someone in need. Use this opportunity to teach your kids about giving. Find ways to make what you had useful again by giving it a new home. I’m not talking tomorrow or next week either. I’m talking right now. You can easily schedule a donation pickup online. You can sell it in the Facebook market place and put the money towards your bucket list. Start easy. Toss things with missing or broken pieces. You’re not going to find that piece. You’re not going to fix that part, and even if you did, will it actually be used?? Free yourself from picking up 50 million toys they’re going to take out, touch for two seconds, and then move on from. Only keep things your child is truly interested in, and don’t keep multiple variations. No kid needs five types of blocks. Don’t let the stuff you own own you. Furthermore, be mindful with future purchases. Do you really need it, or do you just want it?

2. Sentimental Value: you just can’t let go.

I fell into the sentimental value trap once. Ok, that’s bullshit, way more than once, but as a mom I’ve let go of the idea of perfection. Last year I had an entire Rubbermaid container filled to the brim of my son’s artwork, awards, you name it, it was there. I hadn’t realized I had collected so much. A few pictures here, a few awards there, multiply that by six years of school and I had hundreds of papers in this bucket. Sentimental items are extremely hard to let go of, especially if you were especially close to the person and they passed, it’s your kid and they’re amazing (aren’t they all?), or maybe it’s the opposite and it’s from an ex partner you haven’t quite let go of yet. Whatever the reason, the value of the relationship doesn’t increase from the amount of stuff you save from them.

Suggestion: for my situation, I picked my favorite pieces of art and his most exciting school work (why my mom is my hero? Uh, hell yeah, that stayed), I scanned it, and then threw it away (gasp!). I set a limit of five pieces of artwork to frame so I’d at least have a few originals, but everything else got uploaded into a photo album I can browse every once in a while. For items that are from people that have passed, I suggest really thinking hard about whether or not it reminds you of your relationship. I have a beaded necklace I wear as a bracelet from someone I sincerely loved who passed. It’s a small way to carry her with me everyday. My partner carries a picture in his wallet. I know it’s hard. Keep things that hold true value to you and the relationship you shared, don’t keep everything just because it was theirs.

As far as the ex stuff goes? Burn it. Actually don’t, I don’t want to be liable, but seriously throw that shit away.

3. Obligation: so and so bought it…

I hear this one a lot. Well, my mother/grandmother/brother/whoever bought it for me/the kids, so suddenly you feel obligated to keep something you don’t find value in, or doesn’t fit your lifestyle. You are worried they’ll be upset, or ask about it the next time they visit.

Suggestion: say it with me “I am under no obligation to keep things I do not want or need. I am a grown ass person and I have every right to get rid of things I don’t want in my home”. Now keep saying it till you believe it, because it’s true. I have a rule against toys that make noise, need excessive batteries, any clothing with characters, and most plastic toys. I tell my family this every year they ask what to get the kids. I make gift list. I’m not forcing anyone’s hand. They’re grown folk and they have the right to get them whatever they would like, and I have the right to get rid of. It’s the same thing every year, and yet somehow they keep getting them crap. Guess how long it lasts in my house? “But Danielle, what if they ask about it?” And? If you set a standard people can either respect your wishes, or set themselves up for failure. I understand how buying your 1yo granddaughter training underwear, or your 11yo grandson a book can feel like a shitty gift, but remember, you know your family. You know what you/they need/want. If they can’t understand that, that’s their problem, not yours.

4. Permission: You’re not sure if you can get rid of it.

I know it sounds weird, but it’s really common. Sometimes it can feel like it’s not your place to get rid of something. You’re not sure if you can throw away your taxes, or that old checkbook. Maybe it was a hand me down, or you borrowed it…ten years ago. Maybe you just need a reminder that you’re an adult and it’s ok. Whatever the reason, a lack of explicit permission is holding you back.

Suggestion: this goes back to number three and your new mantra. Hand me downs are yours, family heirlooms can be given to a family member that will appreciate it, the internet can show you the way to a shredding company, and if you borrowed it ten years ago, well, that’s a dick move, but chances are they’ve long forgotten about it or gave up on getting it back. If you really need permission, I’m giving it to you.

5. Overwhelm: you don’t know where the hell to start

Sometimes, it just feels like too much. The kids. The job. Coming home to cook and clean, maybe you’re doing it alone. You turn around and it’s a mess, and the weight of it all is just too damn much. You want to get it all in order, but by the end of the day you’re too damn tired, and last week you cleaned like three cabinets and it looks just as shitty as it did before.

Suggestion: the only thing I agreed with in the konmarie method was the way she suggested purging. Don’t do it one room at a time, don’t tackle things 30 minutes at a time, tackle them by category. It’s easier to throw things away when you see just how much you have of paper, clothing, or whatever. So go for it, and don’t rush it. Give yourself a month or two. Grab every single piece of paper in your house. Every magazine. Every receipt. Every piece of mail. Toss it on the floor of your living room, and suddenly it’ll become really clear why it’s so easy for your house to become a mess. The next week move on to the next category. If this doesn’t fit, find a method that will, just remember, storage is not organization. Organization does not mean clean.

So tell me, did any of these reasons ring true to you? What other reasons could be holding you back? Do you think you’re ready to move on to the next step?

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Deep Clean Sundays

Organizing the home

deep cleaning

Sunday is the day I reset myself to prepare for the week ahead. While some use their Sunday to rest, which I’m totally cool with, you do you boo, I need to know how my week is going to look so I don’t feel overwhelmed. With the holidays coming it’s especially important to me to have things go as smoothly as possible. For the next two months it’s nonstop events, one after another. Between school events, Halloween, Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, 11yo’s birthday, Christmas, vacations, cookie exchanges, my yearly new year house purge… well, you get the picture. I just need to keep my shit together as much as possible.

The first Sunday of the month is food prep/grocery shopping day and the other three are dedicated solely to deep cleaning. Do I clean with the kids? Short answer. Hell no. Trying to accomplish anything with the kids is hard enough and takes twice as long, but I’ve come to terms with my anal tendencies and let them relax as long as they are out of my hair. That feeling of resentment when your family isn’t helping you the way you wish they would, or is totally derailing your day? Yeah, I don’t get that. I let that ‘ish go a long time ago and have been nothing but better for it. That’s not to say that I clean all on my own all the time. During the week everyone is expected to help maintain the cleanliness of the house and has a rotating list of tasks to accomplish.

Our number one reason for everyone cleaning is: You live here too.

 

So let’s get into it already.

 

Deep clean checklist:

  1. Do a walk through of your house (preferably the night before when you’re alone, or have a moment of peace) and write down all of the areas you’d like deep clean.
  2. Break each area down into a series of mini task. Example: Bathroom: wipe down counters, scrub toilet, clean out medicine cabinet, change curtain,  etc.
  3. Set a timeline for each task. Example: Bathroom 1-2 pm: toilet 15 minutes, wipe down surfaces 15 minutes, scrub tub 20 minutes, sweep and mop 10 minutes. Why the timeline you ask? Well, the biggest reason people fail is that they underestimate how much time it’s actually going to take them to finish a specific task. When you break down your task and set a time you can set a realistic timeline for yourself.
  4. USE A TIMER. I can not stress this enough. Especially if this is your first deep clean. I know it’s not going to take me 15 minutes to scrub the toilet, but having a set amount of time keeps me focused and ready to move on to the next task. Stop the timer once you finish your task and write down how long it actually took you. This way, when you schedule your next deep clean you’ll know how long each room will take you.
  5. Once the timer rings, actually stop. If you didn’t finish the task just move on. If I’m doing dishes and don’t finish all of them in the allotted 30 minutes I don’t push myself to keep going. I know I’m going to be washing dishes again after dinner, so if it’s only a handful I just leave them for later. I know what you’re thinking, it seems counterproductive and half-assed. You’re not aiming for perfection, you’re aiming for accomplished, and you can always come back to it, but if you waste all your energy on one task you’re never going to finish. Which brings us to our most important tip.
  6. Take breaks every 45/60 minutes. The human body can only take so much, and unless you’re a cleaning machine robot (in which case you need to live with me), it’s easy to lose motivation or feel completely spent. Take small breaks and do things in sprints rather than trying to accomplish everything in one go. You are allowed breaks, hell, I treat myself to a piece of my kid’s Halloween candy when I finish a big task or an entire room. Appreciate what you’ve done.
  7. Give yourself credit. Even if you don’t finish the entire list, recognize that you did accomplish something. You wouldn’t slash your other three tires if you got a flat, so don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t get through your entire list. There are more Sundays ahead, and I promise you, that dirt isn’t going anywhere.

 

Bonus tips:

Cleaning hacks using dollar store products

Printable cleaning checklists (this is what we use during the week)

25 printables to organize everything

Need more help? Consider joining our fb group

How to decrease your grocery bill: A step by step guide.

Budgeting

 

When I was young, I was growing up in a house with three other siblings. My mother’s biggest complaint was always, “I buy groceries and you guys just eat them!”. While we can tease her about it now, as a mother with two kids of my own, one a toddler and the other a preteen, I understand what she meant.

Kids always seem to be hungry all the time. My 11yo I get, but even my 18mo eats like she has an insatiable black hole living in the pit of her stomach. Every time I turned around I was buying more food, and wasting even more when the thing they liked last week suddenly sat there with no one touching it. It wasnt until I started implementing a system into my grocery shopping that I started to see relief from such a high grocery bill, and now I only spend between $100-300 for an entire month worth of groceries. I only go one time, and there is always plenty of food.

This post will break down my process step by step, and hopefully you can see a decrease in your grocery bill as well.

Before we begin I want you to ask yourself a few questions.

Do you know what’s in your home, food wise, right now?

Are you utilizing your dollar stores?

Do you know the best place to get the best deals?

Do you know how to utilize your fridge, especially the crisper drawers, to it’s best capability?

What kind of lifestyle do you want your family to have?

Answering these questions will help you see where you could use a bit of support. People often over look places like the dollar store (it’s actually where I get most of my organic food!), don’t inventory their food, or realize their fruits will last longer in one of their crisper drawers than on the counter. Oh you think all crisper drawers are created equally? Sorry hun, it’s not true, and just tossing anything into whichever drawer could actually be one of the reasons your food goes bad so quickly!

The settings from low to high are to open and close a window in the drawer. If you don’t have an adjustable knob your drawers may be preset to Low and High humidities. Low humidity is windows open, high windows closed. Low humidity is for fruits and veggies that release ethenoyl. By opening the door you’re allowing the gasses to escape preventing them from rotting. High humidity should be used for things that wilt like lettuce to keep the moisture in. Strawberries should stay in the high humidity drawer too.

I’ve created a handy list so you know what goes where.

So let’s get started!

Step one:

Start by taking an inventory of what you already have in your home. Fridge, freezer, spice drawer, cabinets, everything. This is the most tedious part, but don’t skip it because it’s where most of your money is hiding.

How many times have you bought something because you couldn’t remember if you had it or not, only to come home to two of them? Maybe you had intentions to make something, but you decided not to and used some of the ingredients for something else. Now you have random ingredients just sitting there. A lot of money could be going to waste on things you might not know you already own. You can write it down by hand, or you can use the app “list ease” to scan the barcodes of your food items and upload it to an inventory list. All you have to do is manually input the actual number. Now that you know what you have it’s time to actually use them.

Step two:

After you’ve taken inventory, you can use the site Super Cook to find recipes that use the ingredients you already have available. I like this site, because it saves a lot of time. Instead of just searching for recipes, you input your ingredients and it gives you a list of recipes you can make now, and recipes that you’re only missing one or two things to.

Step three:

Now that you know what you have, and what recipes you can make, sit down and read your flyers for the week. I use the “flipp” app to see what is on sale at all of my local grocers, and “clip” items at a great price so I remember to pick them up. Try to pick a menu based off what is on sale for recipes that are only missing a few items.

I also go shopping early in the morning when they are marking down expensive things like meat. I immediately freeze and seperate all of my meat, so there are no worries about it going bad.

Based off of what you have, and what is on sale, create a two week menu. Focus on recipes you can freeze or can be frozen after cooking. The point of the menu is to create dinners that are similar to ease off of your budget without feeling like you’re making the same thing over and over.

For example, if chicken is on sale, get it while it is cheap and maybe do a coconut curry chicken, Puerto Rican chicken stew, and maybe a garlic brown sugar chicken. Three recipes based off of the same base ingredient, extremely cheap to make when you buy the meat on sale in a family pack, and all of them are freezer friendly and simple enough that the ingredients are probably on your inventory. Plus they all go with rice which is cheap.

Sidebar, half our menu is vegan. If i can substitute the meat in a recipe like orange chicken for cauliflower I will. After you have your menu….

Step four:

Make your list, separate it by department (produce, frozen, dairy, etc) Again, seems tedious, but if you know where everything is you’ll be less likely to wander, and will be able to follow your list with ease. Double check to make sure that there aren’t ingredients on your list that aren’t already in your inventory.

Use flipp to see if there are coupons you can use, or even better, download the grocery store’s app. More and more of them are offering in store coupons as well as manufacturer coupons. I’m not a big coupon person since grocery shopping is a big once a month venture, and honestly I’m too lazy to make more work for myself than I already have, but it’s easy to get coupons this way.

You can use the same menu for the second half of the month, but this time it’ll be cheaper if you already bought say, a bag of brown sugar or whatever, those ingredients won’t be used quickly, so just start from the beginning of your menu and you’ll have to buy even fewer ingredients.

Bonus tips:

For extra ingredients that I have multiple of that I know I’m not going to use quickly, I’ll turn them into something I know I’m going to use. For example, I realized I had 3 jars of chilli powder. Not only a waste, but I don’t know why I kept buying it since I don’t use chilli powder often. Instead of letting it go bad, I downsized my seasoning drawer by making a huge jar of chilli seasoning mix (like the little packets). I found a recipe off Pinterest and then just adjusted it to my taste. Now I don’t have to buy those packets, and I know all the seasonings I had will be used.

Depending on how adventurous you are with cooking from scratch, I like to buy staples in bulk. Flour, rice, eggs, dry beans, pasta, etc are items that are flexible. Rice is cheap and goes with pretty much anything. Flour can be used to make so much, from ravioli, to bread, for soups, to stir fry. It’s also a good idea to buy things your family eats a lot of whenever it’s on sale. My kid pretty much only eats pasta and like three other foods, so if we get home late, or I’m just too tired, I always have pasta and sauce on hand to make dinner quickly.

I hope this helped you understand how is it can be to save on your grocery bill. It may seem daunting, but stick to it and you’ll see immediate results.

So what do you think? Are you going to try my method? What tricks do you use to decrease your grocery budget?

Here are a list of Pinterest boards I’ve made focusing on freezer friendly, from scratch, or budget friendly meals. I’ve also included my menu for the month. :
https://pin.it/yfsabws37cmbvs
https://pin.it/pujjn7k5zdsdya
https://pin.it/kvdpnfmgwoap5r
https://pin.it/ajezknlhigbj7s
https://pin.it/uns6p5mkff2xrz
Bonus Budget cleaning and home hacks:
https://pin.it/53kqdrbb4py5a6