Drawers Galore

I really hate drawers because they are so hard to organize unless you buy something to organize it. It doesn’t require a lot of time but there is a little bit of cost depending on which way you want to go with an organizer.

Thankfully in my current living space I do not have many drawers, either out of design or out of sheer lack of disgust. The majority of my drawers are in my bedroom are used for clothes. The only other drawers I have are in my kitchen and for the most part are fairly organized. One drawer has an organizer for silverware, another is just hot mitts/pads, and then the last two are sort of a mix of things. The one is filled with all those long boxes (aluminum foil, parchment paper, plastic wrap, Ziploc® baggies) and the other is sort of a disorganized mess of cooking utensils. And this I am fine with.

Recently I haven’t written much as much has been going on. Living arrangements fell through and I am still in my current place. I unpacked all of my belongings, which gave me a second chance to purge. This made me fill up one large box and one medium size box of things ranging from clothes to unnecessary utensils to jewelry.

I did a purge of the drawer in the kitchen that was a disorganized mess of cooking utensils and grabbed lids and tops and duplicates (which I still kept) and tossed into a small bin that is now occupying a cabinet. At least I know that if it isn’t in that drawer it is in the bin.

The fact that I have been able to get rid of so much is a humble blessing as I seem to collect so much. I even pulled the storage cabinet from the front hall closet out and put it in the kitchen to store the mixer, condiments, paper towels, etc. which freed up a lot of space in my cabinets and on my kitchen counters. I had previously filled my cabinets with pantry items and with mixers and baking sheets that I wasn’t able to store my pots and pans or even all my dishes in my cabinets.

Now my counters are cleared, my cabinets are not stuffed and my drawers are organized to the way I work.

Oh Where Art Thou?

Well I have been missing out on posting to my blog like I would like to. Between getting ready for the move, working long hours (even though I am salary and don’t get the benefit of overtime), sorting through our belongings on what can stay and what should go to the thrift store, and having my computer hidden on me (hubby thought he was being funny and helpful). I am finally back.

I have been working on paying down my debt even more and have scheduled small payments for my car (just a little more than halfway there for the payments), pay my phone bill, and found a real nice surprise that I didn’t have to pay my cable bill this month (hehe apparently I paid before the statement was posted and a little extra so I don’t have to pay as much the next month). I only have to pay for one more month of rent and then I will be officially moved into the new place. We didn’t find a house yet but we plan to continue to look, most of the places we looked at were not great. We did find a condo for rent that we are going to live in (super excited!!) one town over from where I am currently living. We still have to sign the lease, just waiting on hearing from the realtor. Then the hubby still has to figure out logistics for the movers for him and once he has that figured out I can figure out the logistics for planning movers (which I need to do in the next week… yikes!!!). This is especially a big issue to resolve as I have to travel for work the last week of June and the new place won’t be ready until mid-June so it is going to be a tight schedule.

I haven’t been able to put much into savings this month due to some unexpected bills and gifts (namely medical bills). I definitely haven’t been able to put anything into my IRA but my 401k is thriving… well barely. My 401k is taken out of my paycheck and since it has only been since December I have definitely not had much going toward it. Especially since I had lost my job in October and had to use my 401k to stay afloat with bills (and living expenses) until I started at my current job and since I had to take a one lump sum (to minimize taxes) I used the rest to get ahead on some bills too.

As long as there are no unexpected events that occur in the next 6 months I should have my car roughly 75% paid off and will be ahead of schedule to pay off the loan.

On top of that I have had my credit score go up more than 20 points. Which will help as we look for a house. My credit score hasn’t been the greatest the last year and namely because of my lateness on payments. I took out a credit card which didn’t help my score at first but it is helping now as I continue to make payments with it and pay it off. Another thing that doesn’t help is not having an account open more than 5 years but I am still young that this will be an issue for a while.

Cheap and Easy Upgrades

Want to spark up some of your current furniture and decor accessories? Here are some simple and cheap options to upgrade your space!

Bookshelf – Spark up a white bookshelf by painting the backs of a few shelves/cubbies in fun colors and scattering some funky accent pieces amidst the books.

Couch – Have a neutral colored couch? Want to add some color? Layer pillows and blankets that you have around or pick up from Goodwill. The key is to use different textures and keeping the colors bright.

Lamp – Upgrade a simple lamp by switching out the lamp shade or painting the lamp a new color.

Spring Cleaning To-Dos

Don’t know what to do for spring cleaning?

Here is a simple yet thorough list of to-dos for spring cleaning:

Wash windows – 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/2 cup warm water or you can go 50/50 with the solution; pour into a spray bottle; spray and wipe with a paper towel

Clean sliding door tracks and window tracks – probably not the first place you would think to clean, but it is fairly simple. Use a dry toothbrush to loosen debris, then using your vacuum hose to remove the loose debris and finish with a wet sponge.

Baseboards, Door Frames, and Walls – Wash them with a sponge and a squirt of dishwashing liquid mixed in a bucket of warm water.

Deep Clean Carpets – The best time to do this is on a clear, warm day. Either rent/buy a deep carpet cleaner or hire a professional to deep clean your carpets.

Clean Under Furniture & Appliances – Grab a partner and move the sofa so that you can vacuum the carpet.  Move chairs, kitchen appliances, etc. to clean underneath them.

Get Organized – Pick up and eliminate clutter in each room before you start cleaning. Equip yourself with a few designated containers when you are picking up in each room: a box for garage sale items, another for items to donate, and a garbage bag for items to toss. Put away the things you are keeping in their rightful places and rooms.

Make a Wardrobe Transition – Now that it is warm outside, have your winter clothes cleaned. Consider storing clothes at a dry cleaner if you don’t have enough space in your home. Put away gloves, winter clothing items, and boots so you’ll have plenty of space for spring clothing.

Freshen Bedrooms – Rotate and flip mattresses. Wash blankets and comforters, or take them to be cleaned. Wash mattress pads and bed skirts. Have pillows professionally cleaned, hang them outside in the fresh air, or freshen them with the air (no heat) cycle of your clothes dryer. Wash or dry-clean rugs.
Especially the closet.

Clean Your Bathrooms – You may scrub your bathroom every week, but now it is time to battle clutter and refresh old products. Go through your medicine cabinet(s) and safely discard any outdated products. Replace worn bath mats, shower curtains, and liners, or wash and dry shower curtains and liners.

Clear Your Kitchen – Take time to clear out your pantry, kitchen cabinets and drawers. Wipe them out and install fresh shelf paper. Store or donate equipment you don’t use, such as small appliances or cookware. Discard stale spices or dated items such as baking powder. Clean the fridge and the freezer. Vacuum the cooling coils under or behind the fridge.

Spring Cleaning 2013

Well it is that time of year again. When we switch from our winter wear to our spring wear and everything else that we need to take care of for the change of the season.

According to Blueprint, “100 Reasons to Get Rid of It,” 80% of what we own we never use and 1.4 million Americans suffer from clutter and chronic hoarding. Because of this we burn 55 minutes a day looking for things.

There are many other options rather than throwing things in the trash. Remember the old phrase? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Spring cleaning is the time to reduce the clutter, by either reusing for something else, recycling (such as donating or recycling).

Here are some steps to reduce:

  • 1-800-Got-Junk – Pay someone else to take out the (big, cumbersome) trash.
  • Public Storage – Lock it up in more than 2,100 locations around the USA
  • Salvation Army – Schedule a pick-up with your local Salvation Army
  • Earth911.org – Find local recycling and reuse programs for all kings of household items
  • 127sale.com – Set up shop at the World’s Long Yard Sale, August 2-5 along 450 miles of Highway 127 in southeast US
  • Have your own yard/garage sale on National Garage Sale Day, August 10
  • Swap-O-Rama-Rama – Attend a nationwide clothing exchanges and do-it-yourself alternation workshops
  • WildZipper.com – Watch as a pile of your favorite old t-Shirts are converted into a quilt

Here are some steps to reuse:

Cell Phone

  • Verizon Wireless – Put a refurbished phone (of any brand) into the hands of a domestic violence victim
  • Eco-cell.com – Or let its sale benefit an environmental charity
  • Care.org – Send a phone to the field staff of a poverty-fighting mission

All Technology

  • Rethink.eBay.com – work with charities to find homes for consumer electronics
  • YouthForTechnology.org – Put scanners, computers and cameras in the hands of deserving, impoverished kids around the world

Air Miles

  • Red Cross – For Red Cross staff and volunteers
  • HeroMiles.com – For deployed soldiers
  • Marrow.org – For transplant patients
  • ChildrensCancerAssociation.org – For terminally ill kids

Furniture & Appliances

  • ExcessAccess.org – Match your household items with a local non-profit’s wish list
  • Help1Up.org – Furnish homes for disaster victims
  • DressForSuccess.org – Give interview and work clothing to disadvantaged women
  • MakingMemories.org – Donate a wedding gown to benefit breast-cancer patients
  • OperationFairyDust.org – Send formal wear to teenage girls who need help getting to the prom
  • OneWarmCoat.org – A free coat to anyone who needs one

Other

  • SuitcasesForKids.org – Supply children in foster care with luggage
  • UniteForSight.org & GiveTheGiftofSight.org – Send eyewear to men and women in underdeveloped countries
  • Goodwill – Fund job training programs and social services
  • Freecycle.org – Post donations for charities (and regular folks) to claim
  • Habitat.org – Donate leftover building supplies to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores

Here are some steps to recycle:

  • Nikereuseashoe.com – Recycled footwear materials become sports and playground surfaces.
  • Patagonia.com – Donated Capilene base layers become polyester fibers for new Capilene garments.
  • Pangea organics’ packaging becomes an herb garden when planted in soil.
  • Cargo cosmetics’ PlantLove lipstick tubes come in plantable boxes that sprout wildflowers.
  • Pencilthings.com – Old newspapers become colored pencils.
  • Vivaterra.com – Rubber tires become sleek purses…
  • Passchal.com – …or rugged iPod covers.
  • Gaiam.com – Plastic soda bottles become durable hammocks.
  • Recycline.com – Yogurt containers become colorful plates, flatware, toothbrushes, and razors.

By cleaning up and getting rid of clutter it will make your life better. By getting rid of clutter you will reduce housework by 40%. Erase a $10K credit card debt (with an average interest rate) 65% faster – and pay 75% less total interest – when you pay double the typical minimum monthly payment. Around 23% of people pay late fees on bills they cannot find.

Because reducing clutter you can get something back.

  • When you return six (6) MAC cosmetics containers to any MAC store and receive a free lipstick.
  • Trade in an old iPod and receive a 10% discount on a new one.
  • CoinStar.com – Easily convert spare change into “real” money.
  • GiftCardBuyBack.com – Get cash for gift cards you’ll never use
  • PaperbackSwap.com – Trade the books you have for the ones you want
  • Peerflix.com – Trade the DVDs you’ve seen for the ones you haven’t
  • Spun.com – Clear off your CD shelves, and make money in the process
  • TitleTrader.com – Great entertainment exchange: books, music, movies and games, all swapped in one place

Get-It-Together Before the Holidays

The holidays are fast approaching and we have so much to do before we have to prepare for our family and friends to show up for the big Thanksgiving feast.

With just a few minutes a day you can accomplish so much in just a few days. Here are several things to help get you ready for the holidays and bring in the new year as fresh as can be.

  1. Throw out expired coupons
  2. Gather valid coupons and stash them in the glove compartment
  3. Download the pictures from your camera to your computer
  4. Check the stack of magazines and eliminate half
  5. Open your file cabinet and get rid of 5 old files (do this once a week and you should have space to keep filing things next year)
  6. Scan your sock drawer and put any one-offs in a basket. If their matches don’t show up after the next laundry day, toss them
  7. Sew on a button
  8. Clear off the top of the refrigerator
  9. Remove gum wrappers, receipts and ATM slips from your purse
  10. Scan your medicine cabinet and PROPERLY DISPOSE* of any expired prescription, sunscreen and vitamins
  11. Pick up 5 things and put them where they belong
  12. Test your smoke alarms (even better if you put a reminder in your calendar to do it on Daylight Savings Day (in both the spring and fall!))
  13. Write a thank-you note that you’ve been putting off

* DO NOT flush, toss in the trash, etc. so they do not affect the earth and our drinking water. Contact your local pharmacy or your doctor’s office and ask them how to properly dispose of the medication and vitamins