declutter http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10676/all en-US 10 Things in Your Basement You Should Throw Out Today http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-in-your-basement-you-should-throw-out-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-in-your-basement-you-should-throw-out-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college-men-moving-boxes-Dollarphotoclub_42085553.jpg" alt="young men moving boxes" title="young men moving boxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I hate to admit it, but I'm a basement hoarder.</p> <p>My subterranean lair is the slightly moldy home to any and every item that I cannot decide what to do with. If it weren't for the fact that our washer and dryer reside in the basement, there probably wouldn't even be room to walk down there. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-kitchen-you-should-throw-out-today">15 Things in Your Kitchen You Should Throw Out Today</a>)</p> <p>But for every item that actually should be stored in my basement, there are at least two others that are just taking up space. It's high time to clean house&hellip; literally! So if you're like me, here are 10 common basement items that you no longer need to hold onto (and the best way of getting rid of them).</p> <h2>1. Computer, Electronic, and Appliance Boxes</h2> <p>It's one of those completely irrational urges: to carefully preserve all of the packaging for any new electronic equipment you purchase. This might have made sense when you bought a desktop computer back in college and expected to move every nine months, but now it's just silly. Break down and recycle all those boxes. You can always get another box if you have to move. Recycling what you have will immediately clear up space in your basement and give you a sense of decluttering accomplishment.</p> <h2>2. Old Electronics</h2> <p>Speaking of technology of yore, how many of you have a VCR or a monitor the size of a sofa hanging out in your basement somewhere? (I actually still have a TV/VCR combo from my college days.) Often, we hang onto these items because we have no idea how to get rid of them. Enter <a href="http://www.earth911.com/">Earth911.com</a>. This website allows you to search for local recycling centers for everything from batteries to electronics.</p> <h2>3. Cables, Wires, and Chargers</h2> <p>Every device you buy comes with a new cable, wire, or charger. Take the time to go through your collection, match up the ones you actually need with the devices you use, and donate the rest to Goodwill or recycle them at <a href="http://www.bestbuy.com/site/global-promotions/recycling-electronics/pcmcat149900050025.c?id=pcmcat149900050025">Best Buy</a>.</p> <h2>4. Owner's Manuals</h2> <p>One of the perks of living in the age of the Internet is the fact that you can recycle all of those manuals you have been carefully saving. You can Google the problem you need to troubleshoot faster than you could find the necessary owner's manual in the pile, anyway.</p> <h2>5. Hazardous Materials</h2> <p>Basements tend to collect everything from half-empty cans of paint, to expired motor oil, to jugs of antifreeze, to expired batteries. Just like your old electronics, you may have held onto these because you don't know how to safely get rid of them. Earth911.com can help you determine where to take these items without harming yourself or the environment.</p> <h2>6. Unused Small Appliances</h2> <p>I'd wager you have a bread machine kicking around somewhere in your basement. Or maybe your mother-in-law gave everyone a crockpot one year for Christmas and yours has never seen the light of day. Nearly every basement has some sort of kitchen appliance that's been used once or twice and then stored. Drop off those George Foreman grills and Williams-Sonoma panini presses at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. You'll never miss them.</p> <h2>7. Exercise Equipment</h2> <p>When is the last time you used that home elliptical machine for anything other than drying sweaters? Or the skis you bought before you broke your leg in Aspen? If you have pieces of exercise equipment gathering dust in your basement, it's time to clear them out. No, you won't use them and you won't get your money's worth out of them. Believing that you will is just the&nbsp;<a href="http://moneyning.com/money-beliefs/how-loss-aversion-in-behavioral-economics-explains-your-irrational-money-choices/">loss aversion</a>&nbsp;talking, and you'll feel much better to let go of those false beliefs (and the accompanying guilt).</p> <p>When it comes to sports equipment, the options run the gamut from donating them to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army to selling them on Craigslist. It's also a great idea to check with your local YMCA, Boys &amp; Girls Clubs of America, or Special Olympics chapter to see if you can do even more good with your unused equipment. (Not to mention the tax write-off.)</p> <h2>8. Broken or Unused Christmas Decorations</h2> <p>It seems like most basements in America have at least one strand of non-working Christmas lights stored somewhere. You can send your lights to <a href="http://www.holidayleds.com">HolidayLeds</a> for recycling year-round, and receive a coupon good for 15% off LED Christmas lights on the site.</p> <p>If you have an artificial tree even Charlie Brown wouldn't put presents under, check your local drop-off recycling center (or Earth911.com) to find out if you can recycle it.</p> <p>For Christmas ornaments and bulbs that have seen better days, donate them or trash them. Don't assume that you'll make that lovely Pinterest mosaic from the broken pieces.</p> <h2>9. Baby Items</h2> <p>If you're not sure you are done having children, it can be tough to get rid of old baby items. But some baby gear expires (like car seats, for instance), and baby clothes, jumpers, strollers, and the like are generally going to be the worse for wear after spending years in your basement. Donate the usable items.</p> <p>As for those car seats, there are specific guidelines for disposing of them.</p> <p>Car seats generally expire within six years of purchase because the foam padding degrades over time. If your car seat is newer than six years old and has never been in an accident, you may be able to give it to another family, although you will likely have to pass it along to someone you know personally. Most parents are (understandably) leery of accepting a used car seat from a stranger.</p> <p>If you cannot donate your seat, you may be able to recycle it. There are <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/10/what-to-do-with-a-used-car-seat/index.htm">recycling centers in 11 states</a> that will accept used and expired car seats for recycling. Otherwise, you can dismantle the seat, remove the straps, and recycle the plastic and metal portions of the seat while trashing the rest. As a last resort, you can dispose of the seat in the trash, provided you have removed or cut the straps so the seat cannot be used again.</p> <h2>10. Games With Missing Pieces</h2> <p>Just because you <em>could</em> play Monopoly with a handwritten B&amp;O Railroad card doesn't mean you want to. It's time to just get rid of any games with missing pieces. It's likely that you will have to just trash/recycle these misfit toys, but it's always a good idea to post such games on <a href="https://www.freecycle.org/">Freecycle</a> to see if a local artist-type could use some random game pieces.</p> <p><em>What items are you still keeping in your basement that you have not gotten around to throwing out? What items do you plan to keep forever in your basement, no matter how much it will confuse future archeologists (and your current significant other)?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-in-your-basement-you-should-throw-out-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today">12 Things You Won&#039;t Ever Use Again and Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-in-your-office-you-can-throw-out-today">12 Things in Your Office You Can Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter">8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization basement clutter declutter hoarding Mon, 23 Feb 2015 12:00:08 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1302027 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-clothes-rack-Dollarphotoclub_75282538.jpg" alt="woman clothes rack" title="woman clothes rack" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Stop making excuses and clean up the clutter in your home! It'll make you feel better and make your living space look better as well! Ask yourself these questions and get rid of your items based on your answers. And when we say dispose of your clutter, we mean either <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Where-Sell-Used-Goods-28874509">sell it</a>, donate it, recycle it, give it away to friends and family, or throw it away.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/List-Things-Dispose-24575006">One a Day: Throw These 116 Things Away</a></p> <h2>1. Have I used this in the last year?</h2> <p>If your answer is no, it's time to toss.</p> <h2>2. If I were shopping right now, would I buy this?</h2> <p>If the current you wouldn't buy this item now, why would you even keep it?</p> <h2>3. Is the only thing that's keeping me from disposing this item that I don't want to waste money?</h2> <p>Think of it this way: You wasted money when you bought an item you don't use.</p> <h2>4. Am I holding on to this for sentimental value?</h2> <p>Be strict and keep only a few of those sentimental items in a small memorabilia box. Then take a photo of items you are throwing away so you can keep them forever.</p> <h2>5. Do I have a similar item that serves the same purpose?</h2> <p>If yes, then get rid of one of them.</p> <h2>6. Do I have a realistic plan to use this?</h2> <p>Remember, don't lie to yourself about how perfect an item would be for <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/Halloween">Halloween</a>. Make sure you have a concrete plan to use the item, and if you don't use it within the time frame you set for yourself to use it, then toss it.</p> <h2>7. Does it fit me or my living space?</h2> <p>You may love it, but do you have space for the item or does it even suit you now? Think hard on what to keep &mdash; your space is sacred.</p> <h2>8. Am I holding on to the broken item to fix in the future?</h2> <p>Fix it now, or if you don't get around to fixing in the next two weeks, then toss it.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> So much clutter is stuff that seems important, but really isn&#039;t. Give your things this quiz, and if they don&#039;t pass, it&#039;s time to let them go. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a style="border:none;" href="http://www.savvysugar.com"><img style="height:95px; width:300px" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/POPSUGARrgb.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Live-Frugally-24174070#photo-24174070">66 Tried-and-Tested Tips for a Frugal Life</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/fashion/Simple-Closet-Organizing-Tips-36488783#photo-36488783">11 Easy Organization Hacks for the Lazy Fashion Girl</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/moms/Ways-Simplify-Family-Life-36292022#photo-36292022">8 Ways to Simplify Your Family's Routine in 2015</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home">10 Super-Cool Ways to Add Hidden Storage to Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-denim-expert-reveals-why-you-only-need-3-pairs-of-jeans">A Denim Expert Reveals Why You Only Need 3 Pairs of Jeans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Organization clutter declutter organization storage Fri, 23 Jan 2015 16:00:14 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 1281603 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Things in Your Office You Can Throw Out Today http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-in-your-office-you-can-throw-out-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-things-in-your-office-you-can-throw-out-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-messy-office-Dollarphotoclub_72213856.jpg" alt="man messy office" title="man messy office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're like most people, your office is your second home. You probably spend way too much time there and, because of that, have way too much stuff there. If the new year has you inspired to make a fresh start, maybe the best place to begin is your office. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-closet-you-can-throw-out-today?ref=seealso">15 Things in Your Closet You Can Throw Out Today</a>)</p> <p>So grab a box (you know, the big empty ones near the copier) and start purging. Here are 12 things in your office that you can throw out today.</p> <h2>1. Old Resumes</h2> <p>If you have a hand in the hiring process where you work, then you know the steep ratio between qualified candidates and open positions. If your stack of resumes is 6-12 months old, toss them. Most applicants' availability, career goals, and contact information have likely changed.</p> <h2>2. Outdated Electronics</h2> <p>Unless your business is selling antiques, it's okay to toss that dot matrix printer. And while you're at it, explore other ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-your-old-electronics">get rid of old electronics</a>. Once that 12 pound laptop and broken fax machine are gone, potential new clients will be far less likely to think your 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass has a bag phone in it.</p> <h2>3. Dead Plants</h2> <p>What special kind of voodoo makes even the most robust plant wither within weeks of becoming part of our office décor? Do the fluorescent lights sap the life out of them? Are they allergic to business jargon? Do they revolt at the smell of burnt popcorn? Whatever the reason, if you can't revive them, toss them.</p> <h2>4. Fake Plants</h2> <p>The only thing worse than a dead plant, is a fake one that can't die. These faded dust-collectors add nothing to most office environments. Switch to the real, but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-hardest-to-kill-houseplants">hard-to-kill variety</a> or just embrace the dark power of your black thumb and go plant-less.</p> <h2>5. Gifts You Never Took Home</h2> <p>Rare is the employer that doesn't participate in some sort of white elephant or gag gift event during the holidays. While the parties can be a welcome diversion, after a few years, the gifts can leave our offices looking like a thrift store. Do a deep declutter one Friday afternoon and donate what you can to an actual thrift store.</p> <h2>6. Random Mugs</h2> <p>First, pat yourself on the back for using real mugs instead of disposable Styrofoam or paper. Then, take a critical look at just how many mismatched mugs you've collected. More than five? Ten? Donate the excess or pass them on to a co-worker who's still single-handedly keeping the polystyrene industry afloat.</p> <h2>7. Jackets, Sweaters, and Gym Clothes</h2> <p>The temperature in most offices varies wildly, prompting many to amass a small collection of light jackets and sweaters on the backs of their chairs. Take a few moments to scale back your growing second wardrobe. Oh, and while you're at it, clear out that small pile of gym clothes under your desk.</p> <h2>8. Tchotchkes</h2> <p>In our home offices and at work, tchotchkes multiply like dust bunnies and empty Starbucks' cups. While a few might be endearing, having too many tchotchkes implies that you need a desk full of totems to get through the day. Donate or take the excess home.</p> <h2>9. Boxes and Packing Material</h2> <p>It's hard to avoid the slow accumulation of boxes, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts in any office. If your business doesn't involve frequent shipping, <a href="https://www.freecycle.org/">freecycle</a> these items (someone's always moving) or take them home to use for holiday gift-shipping.</p> <h2>10. Out-of-Date Magazines</h2> <p>The price of magazines makes them difficult to toss even after they've been read from cover to cover. Consider donating them to a hospital's waiting room, a retirement home, or a school.</p> <h2>11. Old Receipts and Bills</h2> <p>Once your expense reports have cleared, why keep old receipts? And how long are you planning to hold on to that cell phone bill from last April? While it's always a good idea to leave a thorough paper trail for tax purposes, it's also entirely possible to get a call from Hoarders as an industrial-sized dumpster gets dropped on your front lawn.</p> <h2>12. Old Marketing Materials</h2> <p>The sheer volume of business brochures, leave-behinds from conferences, catalogs, and random business cards that the average professional accumulates in a year's time makes me think printing is where the real money is. Take a moment before you leave for the weekend (you do leave for the weekend, don't you?) to go through the stacks. Keep what you need and feed the rest to the recycling bin.</p> <p>Okay, maybe you can't purge all 12 categories of items in a single day. Conveniently, there are twelve months in the year if you decide to take the scenic route on your decluttering journey. Whatever way you do it, you'll be glad you did. And with a clutter-free workspace, you just may be inspired to redecorate and find inexpensive ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cheap-ways-to-make-your-office-look-awesome">make your office look awesome</a>. Remember, clearing out your office can help clear your mind, inspire new levels of productivity, and make Monday mornings feel slightly less daunting.</p> <p><em>Is your office filled with items that get in the way of your productivity? What's the strangest item you've seen in someone else's office?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-in-your-office-you-can-throw-out-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-home-office">10 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Home Office</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today">12 Things You Won&#039;t Ever Use Again and Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter">8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-in-your-basement-you-should-throw-out-today">10 Things in Your Basement You Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Organization clutter declutter Office productivity Wed, 14 Jan 2015 12:00:08 +0000 Kentin Waits 1278979 at http://www.wisebread.com The Military's Four-Step Plan to Keeping Your Place Clean http://www.wisebread.com/the-militarys-four-step-plan-to-keeping-your-place-clean <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-militarys-four-step-plan-to-keeping-your-place-clean" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-cleaning-countertop-Dollarphotoclub_45032082.jpg" alt="woman cleaning countertop" title="woman cleaning countertop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tight corners on the beds. Scrubbing floors with toothbrushes. Ruthless efficiency, glorious shine. The military knows how to clean. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners?ref=seealso">How to Clean Everything With Just 3 All Natural Cleaners</a>)</p> <p>In just four steps &mdash; each of which are ingrained in boot camp &mdash; you too can have an inspection-passing home, and spend less time keeping it that way.</p> <h2>Step One: Clean a Little Each Day</h2> <p>&quot;If you keep everything fairly clean throughout the week, you really only need to do a larger clean two or three times per month,&quot; says Paul DiCesare, a former staff sergeant in the US Air Force and now CEO of <a href="http://www.sharejockey.com">ShareJockey</a>. It may seem daunting to wipe down your shower after every use or wipe the bathroom countertop down every other day but by &quot;finding a routine that works for you and your household and sticking to it,&quot; DiCesare adds, &quot;it's a pretty easy process to master.&quot; Whether you wipe down the bathroom counters, sweep the kitchen floors, or straighten up the items laying around the family room, a little cleaning each day is going to help you out immensely.</p> <h2>Step Two: Create a Simple System for Cleaning</h2> <p>This process should involve &quot;simple, basic cleaning that gets the job done,&quot; according to Chief Warrant Officer 3, Robert Streit who is currently stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany with the U.S. Army. &quot;You can overclean,&quot; he says, and when you do, you can ruin finishes, waste cleaning material, or even &mdash; as he discovered &mdash; wear off the water sealer around a tub due to excessive scrubbing with a wire brush. Using a simple, effective system with the right cleaners will always save you time and energy over harsher chemicals used once a month.</p> <p>Create a plan that works for you. Make a list of items you will clean daily or after each use. Items on this list would include:</p> <ul> <li>wiping down the shower walls (to ward off soap scum and mildew);</li> <li>wiping out the kitchen sink after each use;</li> <li>picking up items laying around in the main rooms of the house;</li> <li>doing one load of laundry from washing machine to putting everything away into drawers.</li> </ul> <p>Also, make a list of items you will do weekly. For example, you could wipe down bathrooms on Mondays, vacuum the carpets on Tuesday, sweep the kitchen floor on Wednesday (maybe daily if you have a busy household) and dust the main rooms of the house on Thursday. Set a schedule that makes sense for you and stick with it each week. Officer Streit agrees,&quot;routines are key to cleaning. If you establish a routine, then it becomes natural.&quot; He adds that this routine can also help you notice when something is out of place or doesn't belong.</p> <h2>Step Three: Find a Home for Everything</h2> <p>Space is a premium in places like barracks and ships; everything in those places has a designated space and must be returned to that space when it is no longer needed. This same tactic should be used in your home. Every coat should have a hanger; every backpack, it's own hook. Each toy should have a place to be stored (whether it's in a basket in the living room or a shelf in your child's bedroom.)</p> <p>Items without a space of their own will cause clutter and disorganization, and the military has learned that clutter and disorganization do not allow things to run smoothly. Tracy Tluchowski, wife of a former Marine sergeant found out quickly that the military taught her husband how to organize. &quot;Every file has a name on it. Everything is where it is supposed to be.&quot;</p> <h2>Step Four: Keep Cleaning Tools Nearby</h2> <p>Having items within reach allows you to complete the job in less time. Sergeant DiCesare took this step and turned it into a business when he created ShareJockey, a cleaning company that focuses on cleaning as quickly as possible for people who are renting out their apartments, condos, and rooms in their homes on the website Airbnb. His employees wear a custom made military-style backpack with all the tools they need to clean a one bedroom, one bath apartment in under one hour.</p> <p>While we can't all have a backpack like that, we can keep a caddy or bin in each bathroom with cleaners for the sink, toilet, shower and mirrors. Under the kitchen sink there should be plenty of hand towels and washrags, as well as cleaners for the sink, stove, and stainless steel surfaces. The linen closet near your bedrooms should have dusting supplies, glass cleaner and if there's room, a vacuum cleaner. Having all these items nearby will give you less reason to skip cleaning and help you finish quicker.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your place ship-shape? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-militarys-four-step-plan-to-keeping-your-place-clean">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cleaning-rules-you-should-be-breaking">6 Cleaning Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter">8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Home cleaning declutter organization Tue, 09 Dec 2014 12:00:06 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1265914 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Things in Your Kitchen You Should Throw Out Today http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-kitchen-you-should-throw-out-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-things-in-your-kitchen-you-should-throw-out-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-cleaning-kitchen-460315379-small.jpg" alt="woman cleaning kitchen" title="woman cleaning kitchen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Kitchens can easily become cluttered with less-than-useful gadgets, tools, and food items, but it's important to keep your kitchen tidy and organized for the health of your family and for your sanity. Stop fighting rarely used kitchen items for counter space. Get rid of the following things and cook with newfound peace of mind. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today?ref=seealso">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Sponge</h2> <p>Your sponge is where kitchen germs live and thrive. The moist nooks and crannies are a perfect breeding ground, so switch your sponge out often. Even with a new sponge, microwave it daily in an inch of water for a minute to disinfect. You'll keep from spreading lots of germs all around your kitchen and will help keep your family healthier.</p> <h2>2. Meat Mallet</h2> <p>Tell the truth: how often do you use a meat mallet? Most people use one once in a blue moon, and a number of tools can take its place. Putting the meat between plastic wrap and using a heavy skillet is a good alternative. An unopened canned good and rolling pin are other options.</p> <h2>3. Old Plastic Storage Containers</h2> <p>Studies have shown that plastic food storage containers with recycle codes 3 or 7 and many made before 2010 may contain BPA, a harmful chemical that can leach into food. If you own some of these containers, toss them. You can often end up with bottoms and tops that don't match or missing pieces, so throw out or donate any without partners.</p> <h2>4. Panini Press</h2> <p>Make paninis on a daily basis? Then ignore this one. But for most of us, this common wedding registry pick isn't a necessity. You can easily imitate this kitchen gadget using a regular skillet and a heavy skillet or pan (a cast iron skillet works great) to press your sandwich on top.</p> <h2>5. Old Dried Spices</h2> <p>Spices can accumulate, get pushed to the back of the cabinet, and crowd your storage space. But spices don't last forever, and can lose a lot of their flavor after a year or two passes. According to McCormick, <a href="http://mccormick.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/11/related/1">ground spices last three to four years</a>, leafy herbs for one to two years, and whole spices for four years. Dried herbs and spices should smell and taste potent, and should be stored in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and heat (including your stove).</p> <h2>6. Bread Maker</h2> <p>Unless you are living the dream and making bread on a weekly basis, you probably don't need this clunky appliance. It's awkward to store and isn't required for making homemade bread. Flex those muscles and do a little kneading, get a dough attachment for your mixer or food processor, or try no-knead breads.</p> <h2>7. Jigger</h2> <p>Unless you're an amateur bartender, you don't need this awkward tool crowding your junk drawer. You can use regular measuring spoons, with two tablespoons equaling the small end of a jigger (one ounce) and &frac14; cup equaling the large end of a jigger (two ounces). Or you can just relax. You're at home &mdash; just eyeball it and enjoy.</p> <h2>8. Expired Canned Food</h2> <p>It may seem like canned food lasts forever, but they can actually go bad. Canned fruits and tomatoes last 18 months, while other items can last up to five years. Be sure to check your emergency kit and replace those, too.</p> <h2>9. Open Canned Food</h2> <p>Leftover canned foods are easy to store by just leaving them in the can and shoving them in the fridge, but the metal can leach into the food and create a metallic taste. This is especially common with acidic foods like fruit or tomatoes. Take the time to transfer your leftovers into a storage container and you'll be rewarded with better tasting food.</p> <h2>10. Toaster Oven</h2> <p>This appliance takes up a lot of valuable counter space without making up for it. If you're a frequent toaster, get a more compact and easily storable toaster. Everything else can be done in the oven, and if you only make toast now and again, you can do that in the oven, too.</p> <h2>11. Rice Cooker</h2> <p>Most people don't cook enough rice to make this large appliance worth the storage space. Although you can make <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/5-things-you-can-make-in-a-ric-111057">a few other things</a> with it, it's largely a unitasker. Rice can easily be made on the stovetop or even in the oven, so donating your rice maker is likely the right move.</p> <h2>12. Mandoline</h2> <p>This is another unitasker, and rarely used by most households. Most recipes don't require fruit or vegetables sliced paper thin, making a regular knife more than adequate. Most food processors also offer a mandoline attachment.</p> <h2>13. Pastry Bag</h2> <p>Unless you are making cakes and fancy desserts left and right (and if you are&hellip; can I come over?), you can easily create your own pastry bag with a plastic freezer bag. Just cut a hole in one of the bottom corners, attach the tip, spoon in your filling, and close the top. You can also use a cone of parchment paper wrapped closed and folded down at the top.</p> <h2>14. Electric Kettle</h2> <p>If you're a heavy tea drinker, then ignore this tip. Otherwise, a stovetop kettle doesn't take that much longer and doesn't take up space on your counter. Donate this one.</p> <h2>15. Leftovers</h2> <p>Leftovers always start with good intentions, but can often end up pushed to the back of your refrigerator. Periodically clean out your fridge, and get rid of leftovers that are more than a few days old. They can contain bacteria and cause illness, and simply aren't worth the risk. Always throw out food that has become moldy.</p> <p><em>What's cluttering up your kitchen?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laurel-randolph">Laurel Randolph</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-kitchen-you-should-throw-out-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today">12 Things You Won&#039;t Ever Use Again and Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-closet-you-can-throw-out-today">15 Things in Your Closet You Can Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization clutter declutter kitchen kitchen gadgets Mon, 03 Nov 2014 15:00:12 +0000 Laurel Randolph 1248293 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Save Cash by Purging Your Place of Plastics http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-cash-by-purging-your-place-of-plastics <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-save-cash-by-purging-your-place-of-plastics" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family-recycling-plastics-81266232-small.jpg" alt="recycling" title="recycling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've all heard a lot of bad stuff about plastics over the years. Anything from plastic bottles leaching BPA or <a href="http://www.care2.com/greenliving/which-plastics-are-safe.html">other hormone disrupting chemicals</a> into food and drink to the harm plastic bags have on the environment as they pile up in landfills and oceans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-for-trash-making-money-recycling?ref=seealso">Cash for Trash: Making Money Recycling</a>)</p> <p>If you've ever considered heading down a less plastic-y path &mdash; no matter the reason &mdash; start here with some sound tips for consuming less. It could even save you money.</p> <h2>1. Give Up Bottled Water</h2> <p>Not only is bottled water remarkably more expensive than the H2O you get from the tap, it comes in plastic bottles, creating a ton of waste you need to deal with after you sip. Instead, pick up a glass or metal water bottle that you can reuse again and again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bottled-or-tap-the-right-choice-for-water-may-surprise-you?ref=seealso">Bottled or Tap: The Right Choice Might Surprise You</a>)</p> <h2>2. Eat Whole Foods</h2> <p>Another way plastic makes a sneaky appearance into our homes is through the packaged foods we buy at the grocery store. Most whole foods (fruits, vegetables, meat) come with little or no packaging, so stock your cart with them. Otherwise, make condiments, breads, and other pantry goods from scratch whenever possible to save on both waste and money. Once you get the hang, it's not as difficult as it sounds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-grocery-items-you-should-make-at-home-and-5-to-buy?ref=seealso">35 Grocery Items You Should Make At Home</a>)</p> <h2>3. Bring Your Bag</h2> <p>While you're at it, always bring reusable bags to the grocery store or skip them entirely. I shop at Aldi, so if I forget my canvas bags, I get charged for new ones. Talk about incentive. So, I go around the aisles and pick up a few cardboard boxes to carry my food. If you do have quite a stash of plastic bags, recycle them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse?ref=seealso">21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse</a>)</p> <h2>4. Try Cloth</h2> <p>Whether it's for diapers or sandwich bags, there are options that can help steer you away from plastic. Try some of the many cloth alternatives to everyday plastic products we consume. Though buying these items in cloth is a bigger investment initially, you can use them for years to come and eventually break even (or save money). In the case of cloth diapers, you may even be able to resell ones in good condition and get back the bulk of your dollars.</p> <h2>5. Use Glass</h2> <p>In the kitchen, my favorite plastic alternative is glass. I have Ball jars of various shapes and sizes that I use in place of plastic baggies for freezing foods. Some tips:</p> <ul> <li>Let foods cool completely before freezing;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Leave 2-3 inches of headroom for soups and applesauce that might expand when frozen;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>And handle carefully to avoid breaking.</li> </ul> <p>Additionally, we have a shelving system for all our bulk foods that are stored in &mdash; you guessed it &mdash; Ball jars. Oh, and I also put my leftovers in them versus covering with plastic wrap.</p> <h2>6. Concoct Your Own Cleaning Products</h2> <p>If you make eco-friendly cleaners from scratch, you'll keep a load of plastic out of your home on bottles alone. My favorite all-purpose spray is just half a bottle of vinegar with half water and 10-20 drops of my favorite essential oils. You can even make your own laundry detergent for pennies on the dollar with water and castile soap &mdash; here are five <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes">simple detergent recipes</a> to get you started. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-other-green-cleaners-already-in-your-house?ref=seealso">8 Green Cleaners You Already Have in Your Home</a>)</p> <h2>7. Eat In</h2> <p>A ton of waste is created when we get foods to-go. Between plastic containers, utensils, and bags, it piles up, and fast. So, if you want to enjoy food out, take the time to have a sit-down meal. Better yet, save your cash and cook your meal at home or pack your lunch for work. Here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-packed-lunch-ideas-youll-want-to-steal-from-your-kids">some packable lunch recipes</a> to get you started. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tricks-to-keeping-your-kitchen-clean-while-you-cook?ref=seealso">10 Tricks to Keeping Your Kitchen Clean While You Cook</a>)</p> <h2>8. Examine Personal Care</h2> <p>Yes &mdash; most of those products and potions you use to clean and care for yourself are clad in plastic. They also contain some ingredients that are difficult to pronounce. You can try the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-shampoo-the-baking-soda-experiment">no-shampoo method</a> of washing your hair using baking soda and an apple cider vinegar rinse. I recently made my own <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2014/08/diy-natural-lotion-cubes.html">DIY lotion cubes</a> custom for my sensitive skin using shea butter, beeswax, and coconut oil. And <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2014/08/5-minute-homemade-deodorant-review.html">homemade deodorant</a> really works &mdash; trust me! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-hair-conditioners-you-can-make-at-home?ref=seealso">5 Hair Conditioners You Can Make At Home</a>)</p> <h2>9. Buy Less and Repair</h2> <p>Rather than immediately toss a broken plastic item and buy new, try to repair it. Or just buy fewer plastic things in general. Much of what we purchase isn't terribly essential anyway. If you do need to buy something, consider second-hand versus new. Check Craigslist, Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and more. You can save additional plastics from ending up in landfills this way (and keep some cash in your pocket).</p> <h2>10. Start Small</h2> <p>If you're committed to living with fewer plastics, you can become overwhelmed when you see how much of our lives is literally wrapped up in the stuff. So, pick a room or purpose and start from there. You may want to give the <a href="http://www.nationofchange.org/numbers-plastic-bottles-what-do-plastic-recycling-symbols-mean-1360168347">worst offenders</a> the boot first. Generally speaking, numbers 2, 4, and 5 are safest. Avoid the rest. Remember: Any move away is in the right direction for your health, your wallet, and your planet.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to use less plastic? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-cash-by-purging-your-place-of-plastics">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-your-old-electronics">How to Get Rid of Your Old Electronics</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-recycling">Make Money Recycling: Get Paid to Recycle by 15 Websites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-for-trash-making-money-recycling">Cash for Trash: Making Money Recycling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-cut-down-on-garbage-and-save-money-too">12 Ways to Cut Down on Garbage and Save Money Too!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-helpful-and-weird-uses-for-hair-and-excess-pet-fur">9 Helpful (and Weird) Uses for Hair and Excess Pet Fur</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living declutter extra income plastics recycling Mon, 13 Oct 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1233077 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Things You Won't Ever Use Again and Should Throw Out Today http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/recycle-computer-86512732-small.jpg" alt="recycle computer" title="recycle computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm a frugal person. I also love to upcycle. So how should you handle items in your home that you aren't using now, but are worried may come in handy someday? While it's a good idea to make a personal assessment of most every item in your home, there are some items you shouldn't waste your time considering. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out?ref=seealso">10 Useful Items You Should Never Throw Out</a>)</p> <p>Here is a list of 12 old things you can safely part with, minus the regret.</p> <h2>1. Outdated Clothing</h2> <p>Imagine my surprise when I saw some very 80's looking shirts hanging up at a local Target store; they brought me back to a time when I wore very similar items! The fact that clothing goes in cycles is not reason enough to keep them around, however. In addition to the fit being an issue (can you really wear the same clothes you did 30 years ago? Should you?), there are modern details that most vintage-inspired pieces depend on to be trendy. Your acid wash jeans, for example, may have too much of a &quot;mom fit&quot; to qualify for cutting edge today. Donate, sell, or toss.</p> <h2>2. Cables, Cords, and Wires for Old Electronics</h2> <p>I was just as surprised as you when the government made digital TV a thing, and people started buying up rabbit ears to get their local news. This was an anomaly, however, and most of the accessories you used for your television in the 90's are seriously defunct. Toss out that RF modulator and coaxial cable adapter. Even Goodwill won't want them.</p> <h2>3. Toys That Take Specialized &quot;Cartridges&quot;</h2> <p>Brands like Leapfrog and VTech are notorious for releasing the hot new toys each holiday, complete with a line of games and upgrades that only work with that year's new thing. Unless you have the complete collection with enough entertainment hours to keep someone happy for awhile, most kids don't want to try to round up the matching components for 2009's doorbuster deal.</p> <h2>4. Underwear or Lingerie That Might Fit Someday</h2> <p>Unless you recently had a baby and are certain you may squeeze back in within the next 10 months, ditch the dainties from a skinnier you and buy something that you feel comfy in. If you do, indeed, drop the pounds, you can celebrate with a nighty or briefs that reflect your new physique. Think of it as a celebration!</p> <h2>5. Old Makeup</h2> <p>Once opened, cosmetics last for less time than you think. Give it a toss if it's been longer than six months since you bought it. Sooner if it smells or is truly out of season.</p> <h2>6. Old Paint</h2> <p>It's possible to blend similar paints together for a cheap coverup for a single wall or outside shed. Most people don't aspire to do this, and if paint has been exposed to extremely hot or freezing temps, the paint won't be good anyway. Be sure to dispose of it according to the rules and regs for your area to avoid any hazardous consequences to the environment. This includes cans of spray paint and spray foam, which lose their propellant over time.</p> <h2>7. Old CRT Monitors and Televisions</h2> <p>These clunkers suck energy and take up precious desk space. Considering that a decent LED monitor can cost under $100, it's best to set these dinosaurs out on the curb.</p> <h2>8. Spices</h2> <p>Not sure when you'll ever use ground lemongrass? If you have opened spices that don't fit your cooking style, you might want to give them a sniff &mdash; and throw out the odorless ones. Dried spices that have been stored around your stove, and have been exposed to high temps, should be the first to go.</p> <h2>9. Textbooks</h2> <p>Professors can be prickly about letting college students use older editions of textbooks, especially for those which are updated often (like law books.) Skip the odds of getting misinformation &mdash; or a bad grade &mdash; and opt to borrow or rent the most revised edition.</p> <p>And if you've been keeping your college textbooks around since you graduated &mdash; why? If you haven't cracked them open again yet, you aren't going to.</p> <h2>10. Medicines</h2> <p>If your OTC meds don't have an expiration date, have been opened, and don't come with any memory of when you last used them, dispose of them responsibly. If they came with an Rx toss them as soon as your prescription expired.</p> <h2>11. Canned Goods</h2> <p>Follow the same rules for canned food as you would for meds. No date? Don't bother keeping it around.</p> <h2>12. Kitchen Appliance Piecemeal</h2> <p>That blender without a lid? Coffee machine that requires expensive pods you can't seem to find in the store anymore? Both are just taking up precious kitchen counter real estate and should be gotten rid of. If an appliance is missing vital parts, just scrap them; otherwise, your local used store can likely sell donations of a complete unit.</p> <p>Tossing stuff is hard, especially if you have fond memories of using it. If you don't remember the last time you put it to good use, or you really don't care for it much, anyway, you can add even more useless items to your &quot;toss it&quot; box!</p> <p><em>What are you keeping around that you know you should toss? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-in-your-office-you-can-throw-out-today">12 Things in Your Office You Can Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-in-your-basement-you-should-throw-out-today">10 Things in Your Basement You Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter">8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Organization clutter declutter donate trash upcycle Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:00:08 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1213030 at http://www.wisebread.com The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-recycling-494379053-small.jpg" alt="couple recycling" title="couple recycling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 2008 I downsized my personal belongings by 85% when I moved into Dinky Manor with Mr. Foxypants, my now husband.</p> <p>Initially, Mr. Foxypants and I agreed that we would both downsize our belongings by 50% in order to fit the acquisition of our two adult lives into a 1000 square foot house with terrible closet space.</p> <p>Downsizing by 50% was easy. I managed that in just a few weeks by creating a game called &quot;Do I like this object more than my boyfriend?&quot; Since I have OCD, I really wanted to avoid negatively impacting our relationship with my personal clutter issues. I never wanted to be in a position where we would argue about my stuff. Conflict avoidance is a huge motivator for me. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too?ref=seealso">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a>)</p> <p>However, I soon realized that 50% wasn't going to cut it. The 1937 layout of Dinky Manor wasn't designed for 21st Century life. Our house predates both television and refrigeration, so just arranging our major appliances in our tiny, period kitchen was challenging.</p> <p>Because I love a good challenge, I decided that I would downsize by 90%. After speedily ditching half my belongings, I thought, &quot;How hard could this be?&quot;</p> <p>Not that hard, but still hard enough that I actually didn't make my goal of downsizing by 90% because I couldn't bear to purge my enormous crafty crap stash of fabric and yarn. But I made it to 85% with the help of the 5 R's.</p> <h2>1. REFUSE (To Bring In More Stuff)</h2> <p>Curbing consumption is actually the first step in downsizing. I think of it as a diet for my home. To this end I try and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">get rid of 10 things a day</a>. I will not keep my house free of clutter and shrink my carbon footprint with a one-in-one-out policy. In order to cut my clutter I also:</p> <ul> <li>Refused to acquire new-to-me clothes, furniture, or house wares until I found a place for everything I already owned. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Refused to restock the pantry until I'd eaten through my current food stash. (This took two months).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Refused to bring single use items into my home. And by single use I mean items that generally are used only once like wrapping paper, plastic shopping bags, drinking straws, and little hotel shampoo bottles. In addition to being environmentally unsustainable, single use items were using up precious storage with their additional packaging. Most importantly, by using &quot;convenience&quot; items I was making mindless consumption a habit. Doing a periodic <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-cut-down-on-garbage-and-save-money-too">trash audit</a> helps me discover where I am over-consuming in my home.</li> </ul> <h3>Decluttering Is the Mother of Invention</h3> <p>The direct result of refusing to bring new things into my home was innovation. I was forced to find reusable replacements for all my convenience goods. This is actually easier than it sounds because single use items only rose to prominence in the last 30 years and I am old enough to remember when everyone drank from the drinking fountains or thermoses rather than disposable water bottles.</p> <p>If I couldn't think of a suitable reusable replacement, I called my mom and dad and asked what they used when they were growing up instead of Saran Wrap (a plastic shower cap) or a to-go coffee mug (a jar with a tight fitting lid). Every single use item has its reusable counter part. Often it took just a few moments of looking around the house to find a suitable reusable replacement &mdash; a practice that is actually way more convenient than driving to the store to buy consumables.</p> <h2>2. REDUCE (What You Already Own)</h2> <p>The ease that I was able to part with half my stuff taught me a very important lesson: If it's easy to part with, then it's not something I really need in my life. Clearly, I was massively over-consuming, a fact that was really difficult for me to admit to myself, as I have always prided myself as being a very careful, and efficient shopper. I rarely go shopping and when I do buy something, I try to buy used to conserve resources. Alas, all my anti-consumerist smugness had gone to waste; I might be a minimalist compared to my fellow Americans, but I was still collecting too much stuff.</p> <p>Speaking of too much stuff, my grandmother, an accomplished hoarder, referred to herself as a founding member of the SABLE club. SABLE stands for Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy, of course. How many books can I realistically read before I die? And, do I need to store them all in my house? Can I store my stash of future reads at the public library instead, or in my Audible queue? Is packing my books Tetris-like into the bookcase a good use of my short life?</p> <h3>Reduce Redundancies</h3> <p>One of the speediest ways I reduced my belongings was by seeking out and eliminating repetition. Between my boyfriend and I, we owned two lawnmowers, two toasters, four coffee makers, seven flashlights, and 29 pairs of scissors. I went room by room and distilled our belongings down to the best of each item, and we sold the runner-ups at a garage sale.</p> <h3>Increase Sharing</h3> <p>Another easy way to reduce clutter is by sharing. My brother-in-law Jonathan and I share a china pattern. He has place settings for 12 and I have place settings for eight (which is the maximum number of plates and cups that will fit into my kitchen cabinet). When I have a dinner party for more than eight people, I borrow Jonathan's dishes. When he needs spare pieces for an event, he borrows mine. I share a weed whacker and garden tools with my friend Laura and kitchen appliances with my neighbor Alexandra. What is the point of buying and storing items like ladders, luggage, or camping gear that get used only a few times a year, when I can save money and space by sharing these things with friends and neighbors? I'm not a doomsday prepper. There's no need for me to own my own everything.</p> <h3>Reduce Exposure to Advertising</h3> <p>Another thing I hate to admit about myself: I am super sensitive to advertising. While I am grateful to Pinterest, Etsy, and eBay for making my life easier and my wallet fatter, those sites are also incredibly triggering. Window-shopping on those sites fills me with desire for things I never knew existed and certainly don't need. Fashion magazines and blogs are equally <a href="http://www.myromanapartment.com/minimalist-purse-shopping-stupid-people-aka-accidental-coach-bag-collector/">crazy-making</a>. While in hardcore, downsizing, purge mode it is often necessary to take a sabbatical from media, social networks, and even people that encourage consumption.</p> <h3>Less Stuff = Less Stress</h3> <p>Reducing my belongings had an unforeseen benefit: It dramatically reduced my stress level. In addition to having 85% fewer things I had to curate, clean, and care for, it allowed me to stop looking at my everyday schedule as one, long To Do List. Every book in my house is something that needs to be read. The yarn needs to be knit into sweaters. The video games need to be played.</p> <h2>3. REUSE (Through Repair and Repurposing)</h2> <p>My great-grandfather was really good with money. He raised six kids on his earnings as a card shark. One of his favorite sayings was, &quot;Nothing is cheaper than the thing you already own.&quot; From an environmental standpoint, nothing is greener, either.</p> <p>As I write this I am wearing my new shorts. Last night they were my old jeans with holes in both knees. My new shorts will help me get through the disgusting heat of September in Los Angeles. I won't have to buy new shorts, nor will I have to buy new oven mitts for my kitchen, as the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans">leftover denim</a> from my old jeans will be sewn into hot pads. Also, I will save on electricity costs by wearing shorts to stay cool instead of turning on the air conditioning.</p> <p>Shopping in your own closet is one of the easiest ways of stretching your wardrobe budget. According to Ginny Snook Scott, the chief design officer of California Closets, the custom storage design firm, most women only wear 20% of their wardrobes. Before bringing anything new into the house I now ask myself, &quot;Do I already own something that I can use instead of this?&quot;</p> <h2>4. RECYCLE</h2> <p>Check with your local recycling plant to find out what is actually recyclable in your community. For example, mirrors and crystal are both made from glass. However, they are a different composition of glass than food jars and bottles, and cannot be recycled curbside in my city. Although single use plastic water bottles are recyclable in my area, the caps from the water bottles are not. Greasy cardboard food wrappers are not recyclable anywhere (although they can be composted).</p> <p>That said, a little research into your local recycling might result in some pleasant surprises. Many communities now have e-waste facilities that accept old appliances and computers. My e-waste depot also accepts old paint, pesticides, and other types of household chemicals. Nike collects old sports shoes of any brand that they turn into Grind Cover, a court surface for playgrounds. Most dry cleaners are happy to take returns of wire hangers. The Lions Club recycles old eyeglasses, with or without lenses.</p> <p><a href="http://www.earth911.com">Earth911</a> has a search application that helps users find recycling centers in their area for items like cell phones, batteries, CFLs, BBQ grills, and bicycles, too.</p> <h2>5. ROT (Compost Like a Champion)</h2> <p>While most people don't think about the trash they generate, garbage is the clutter that is forced onto other people. Composting is a great way to downsize your garbage clutter. Although there are tons of people who get all judge-y and micromanage-y about composting, composting is actually really easy. In fact, Mother Nature does all the heavy lifting. Banana peels, coffee grounds, cotton rags that have seen their last mess, cat hair, and paper and cardboard packaging that is too dirty to be recycled all gets broken down by microbes and worms in my backyard into nutrient-rich plant food, instead of languishing in the landfill. Even apartment dwellers without yards can compost their waste using an under-the-kitchen-sink worm bin. Let me just say from personal experience, that homemade worm poo compost is a great gift for all the gardeners in your life.</p> <p>People who do not have access to recycling in their community, can use composting as a way to keep paper waste out of the landfill. Before I had a yard with trees, the brown component of my compost consisted of pizza boxes, old phone books, and paper deli-wrap.</p> <p>By keeping paper food wrappers and food waste out of the kitchen garbage can, I can go over a month without having to empty the 13-gallon garbage can in my kitchen. (I can go on vacation without coming back to a house that smells like rotting food&mdash; bonus). Alas, even with my tiny garbage output, my garbage bill is the same as my neighbors that throw away everything. Even so, composting does help me save hundreds of dollars on my food and water costs.</p> <p>Organic compost costs $12 per bag at my local nursery, and fertilizer costs even more. My homemade compost works as an all-in-one soil amendment to make my clay soil more friable, as an organic fertilizer to feed both my crops and my decorative plants, and as water-saving mulch all over my yard. Just about every new home gardener has experienced the $20 home grown tomato &mdash; the start up costs of their garden exceed their actual grocery bill. Composting allows me to grow my homegrown produce, for much less than what I'd spend at the store for the same items.</p> <p>Finally, my <a href="http://www.myromanapartment.com/garden-hack-citrus-peel-starter-pot-seedlings/">garden hack</a> of using citrus peels as biodegradable seed starter pots has been pinned over 165K times and been featured on design blogs and magazines ranging from Ready Made to Apartment Therapy to Buzzfeed. Food-based garbage is my friend.</p> <p><em>Have you recently downsized your house? How did you do it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter">8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today">12 Things You Won&#039;t Ever Use Again and Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-in-your-basement-you-should-throw-out-today">10 Things in Your Basement You Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization clutter compost declutter organization recycle Tue, 02 Sep 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Max Wong 1199025 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Ways to Make Your Home Look Amazing for Under $100 http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-for-under-100 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-ways-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-for-under-100" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/painting-home-187648776-small.jpg" alt="painting home" title="painting home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Beautifying your home doesn't have to mean building a new wing or digging out for an infinity pool (and paying infinity dollars for it!). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing?ref=seealso">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Great</a>)</p> <p>In fact, here are 15 ways you can majorly upgrade your home for under $100.</p> <h2>1. Paint</h2> <p>A few gallons of paint will set you back far less than $100 and can make a huge impact, as long as you're willing to do the labor yourself. Sometimes a fresh color is all it takes to inspire you to rearrange furniture, hang some art, and in general change things around. Stripes or an ombre color scheme can perk up a boring room or revitalize a tired piece of furniture. For instant curb appeal outside, paint your front door or refresh your exterior trim.</p> <h2>2. Organize</h2> <p>Set yourself a budget of $100 and head for the Container Store or a home goods store and load up with baskets, shoe racks, desk organizers, or an inexpensive closet system. Getting all that clutter off the surfaces of your home and into dedicated organizational spaces can make your home look ten times bigger. And better.</p> <h2>3. Use Subway Tile</h2> <p>Tile has a reputation for being expensive, but the most trendy tile of this decade &mdash; basic white subway tile &mdash; is usually extremely affordable and can run for as little as $1-$2 a square foot. For $100, you can get enough subway tile to redo your kitchen or bathroom backsplash, or even to re-tile your shower surround if it's starting to look dated. Of course, you'll have to be willing to put in some sweat equity of your own (stripping off old tile and laying the new), but the results will be fresh, new, and clean.</p> <h2>4. Buy Plants</h2> <p>A large plant or tree in the ground, or in a planter box in front of your home can instantly upgrade the appeal of your house. Whatever climate zone you live in, you can find an attractive plant for about $100 &mdash; be it simple rosemary, succulents, an evergreen, or a Japanese maple tree. Or plant $100 worth of flowers, either in the ground or in planters, and your home will look instantly landscaped and beautiful.</p> <p>You can also bring the outside indoors by bringing in a striking indoor plant such as a trendy fiddle leaf fig tree (or for the less experienced gardener, a potted palm or money tree). Place a large green plant in the corner of the room to draw the eye and make the room appear larger.</p> <h2>5. Add Patterned Textiles</h2> <p>I'm kind of a fabric junkie, and I'm always picking up gorgeous patterned fabric at discount fabric outlets such as <a href="http://homefabricsonline.com/">Home Fabrics</a>. If you don't have a fabric store near you, you can often get great deals on fabric online on sites such as <a href="https://www.fabric.com/">Fabric.com</a>. I like the line of <a href="https://www.fabric.com/SearchResults2.aspx?SearchText=premier+prints&amp;CategoryID=1d5f47dc-9991-4088-93f3-26a376046a5e">Premier Prints</a> home decor fabrics that run for about $10 a yard or less. For that price, you can make a set of curtain panels, recover a bench or set of dining chair cushions, upholster a headboard, and in general use the pattern to bring extra oomph to your space (tutorials about such easy DIY projects abound on the Internet). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains?ref=seealso">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a>)</p> <h2>6. Install a Statement Light Fixture</h2> <p>While I love the budget-friendly line of <a href="http://www.shadesoflight.com/lighting/young-house-love-collection/">lighting by Young House Love</a> (all fixtures are under $100), in general a statement light fixture is going to run you far more than your $100 budget. But one great, creative solution is using <em>exterior</em> lighting, such as rustic metal lanterns, indoors. There is no danger in using an exterior light fixture indoors, and many of these rugged fixtures are very affordable. Hang a couple lanterns over an island or dining table, for example.</p> <h2>7. Plank a Wall</h2> <p>A really popular look these days is to cover an accent wall with reclaimed wood planks (check your local Craigslist for reclaimed lumber sources). Old wood can range in price, but for $100 you should be able to cover an alcove in old barn siding or plank the nook above your fireplace. With easy, straight cuts, this is a project suitable for even those new to DIY. Can't afford enough reclaimed lumber but want a wood-planked look? Try using laminate flooring right on your walls!</p> <h2>8. Upgrade Front Door Hardware</h2> <p>If your front door is still sporting early 90's brass hardware, consider updating it with a new hardware kit. While these kits, which include locks, knobs, and handles, range in price, you should be able to find something nice at the local hardware store for under $100. Your front door makes a big impression on visitors, so this is a sound investment.</p> <h2>9. Hang a Mirror</h2> <p>You can get large-scale mirrors for great prices at consignment stores, discount stores like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-stuff-at-homegoods">HomeGoods</a>, or IKEA. Hanging a mirror over a buffet, dresser, or console table is a great way to bring more light into a room and make it seem more spacious.</p> <h2>10. Stencil Something</h2> <p>Modern stencils are chic and fresh (say goodbye to the grapevine stencils of the 90's) and can be bought for well under $100. Check out the gorgeous designs by <a href="http://www.royaldesignstudio.com/collections/new-stencil-designs">Royal Design Studio</a>. Try stenciling a wall in a geometric or Moroccan trellis pattern (a bathroom wall is a great place to go bold). If a wall is too ambitious for you, even stenciling an accent piece such as a thrift store tray, box, or chair can add a bespoke flair to your home.</p> <h2>11. Frame Your Photos</h2> <p>Stop putting off printing all your digital pictures! For $100 you can easily get some large-scale photos printed at Costco and pick up a few IKEA frames. Hang pictures in a grouping for bigger impact (especially if you can't afford a huge frame or picture). Hanging photos makes your house seem homier, cozier, and more personal. Just be sure not to go to the opposite extreme of cluttering up every side table and shelf with mismatched frames.</p> <h2>12. Upgrade Lighting</h2> <p>Bad lighting can not only put you in a bad mood, but also make your home look dated and ugly. Invest in a couple of sculptural lamps and quality light bulbs that will cast a warm glow on your space, putting you in a happier state of mind and making everything in your home look better. Another great place to add lighting is under cabinets &mdash; just buy some stick-on LED lights and you'll have the look of expensive under-cabinet lighting for far less. It's all about the details, folks!</p> <h2>13. Coordinate Colors and Patterns</h2> <p>Matching sets make your home look more pulled together, whether it be matching towels in the guest bath, coordinating bedding in the bedroom, or coordinating (though not necessarily matching) accent pillows. Make a few things match for under $100, and you'll find your home looks less visually cluttered and more intentional.</p> <h2>14. Let the Light In</h2> <p>This is a tip home stagers use often &mdash; roll up the blinds, throw open the curtains, and let the sunshine illuminate your home. You can take it a little further by getting rid of dark drapes (perhaps replacing them with inexpensive light-colored ones), painting your walls a light color, and/or painting dark furniture white. A tip for curtains &mdash; hang rods high and wide above and to the sides of your windows. This will make your windows look taller and wider, and will prevent the curtains from blocking any light when pushed to the side.</p> <h2>15. Clean and Declutter</h2> <p>A clean and neat home looks more upscale and stylish than a cluttered and dingy home. So get yourself some good cleaning products and get to work! While you're at it, get rid of old knick-knacks, magazines, and other things that you don't need or use anymore. Edit your belongings &mdash; display only the best.</p> <p>Hiring someone to clean your house might seem like a luxury, but often a professional eye will catch dirt and dinginess that you've simply gotten used to. There are often deals on Groupon or LivingSocial for discounted cleaning services. Consider having someone come and make your home spic-and-span for around $100.</p> <p><em>Do you have any tips on making your home look great on a budget? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-for-under-100">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-5-hidden-costs-of-winter">How to Avoid These 5 Hidden Costs of Winter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-stuff-at-homegoods">How to Find the Best Stuff at HomeGoods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-amazing-diy-decorating-projects-that-are-easier-than-you-think">18 Amazing DIY Decorating Projects That Are Easier Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home declutter home decor home maintenance Mon, 11 Aug 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1179250 at http://www.wisebread.com Convert Your Crap Into Cash Without a Garage Sale http://www.wisebread.com/convert-your-crap-into-cash-without-a-garage-sale <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/convert-your-crap-into-cash-without-a-garage-sale" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl-clothes-176758449-small.jpg" alt="girl clothes" title="girl clothes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="151" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all have extra stuff lying around that we'd love to pawn off for cash &mdash; in theory. But let's face it. Organizing a garage sale can be sort of like planning a dinner party without the payoff of good friends, good conversation, and a couple of refreshing gin and tonics. All that sorting and polishing and sticker-tagging and sign-making &mdash; not to mention the time you'll spend trying to shoo the neighbor who wants to take home your kid's $500 barely used air hockey table for 20 bucks &mdash; and you might not even earn enough to cover your expenses for that bottle of upholstery cleaner. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/have-your-best-garage-sale-ever-by-following-these-9-retail-secrets?ref=seealso">Have Your Best Yard Sale Ever</a>)</p> <p>Fortunately, it's true what they say: One man's trash is another man's treasure. The trick to making this maxim work for you is finding the right platform that will put your well-cared-for Coach purse before the eyes of fashionistas who deeply value the absence of scratch marks on the leather strap.</p> <p>The Internet is a brilliant resource for reaching your best-bet buyers. So is your flesh-and-blood network of family and friends. Here's our guide to getting the biggest bang for your leftovers and unwanteds using the basics of target marketing. It's all about finding your niche.</p> <h2>1. Clothing</h2> <p>The founder of <a href="http://www.threadflip.com/">ThreadFlip</a> launched the up-and-coming online marketplace for second-hand garments and accessories two years ago after taking a peek at his wife's cluttered closet. What struck him was that most of the overflow was comprised of perfectly fashionable, cared-for pieces that she never even wears. When he asked his wife and other women why they hold on to clothing they know they'll never put on, they gave him the same answer: &quot;<a href="http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/17/site-to-be-seen-threadflip-com/?_php=true&amp;_type=blogs&amp;_r=0">It's too hard to do anything else with them</a>.</p> <p>Sites like eBay and Etsy work great, too, but ThreadFlip offers the added benefit of a niche audience. This is fashionistas selling to other fashionistas, so you're bound to rake in more cash for those peach-colored stilettos than if you were to try and hawk them on a generalized resale site. (Another excellent option for pre-owned luxury clothing and accessories is <a href="http://www.portero.com/">Portero</a>).</p> <p>When you sell on ThreadFlip, the site helps you lure in buyers by marketing your items with high resolution photos. (If you're clumsy with a camera, you can fork over a higher percentage of your earnings and the company will handle the photography for you.) Once you hook a buyer, an empty box arrives at your doorstep. Simply fill it with the items you've sold and call for a pickup. ThreadFlip will ship the box directly to the buyer, and for this the site takes a 20% cut of the sale.</p> <h2>2. Furniture</h2> <p>It's not easy &mdash; nor cheap nor in any way desirable &mdash; to sell a couch by mail. Sites that facilitate resale transactions with buyers right in your local community are your best bet for larger items, like furniture, swing sets, and pinball machines, that are too cumbersome for the postal service.</p> <p>While Craigslist is well-known, <a href="https://krrb.com/">Krrb</a> (pronounced &quot;curb&quot;) is a newer hyperlocal classifieds platform that's on the rise in popularity. The 75,000-member online consignment boutique caters to the bargain hunter with sophisticated taste. High-end furniture pieces go for anywhere <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/25/bargain-furniture-websites_n_5503904.html?ir=HuffPost+Home">between $800 and $10,000</a> depending on condition and style. Recent listings include a Victorian aquarium, 19th century furnishings, and a vintage mahogany sideboard. There's also <a href="https://krrb.com/posts/76154-2-wild-goat-taxidermy?rf=everywhere">a pair of taxidermy goats</a> that's going for $1,500.</p> <p>In most cases, the buyers on sites like Craigslist and Krrb are willing to come to you. And it's on them to hire a truck to transport the antique bed and night stands. All you have to do is hold out your hand. Ahh, how good it feels to have a fistful of cold, hard cash.</p> <h2>3. Electronics</h2> <p>Here's the good news: Amazon will buy your old electronics in exchange for money to spend on Amazon. And considering the breadth and depth of the Amazon marketplace, credit for this online shopping site is nearly as good as cash.</p> <p>It works like this: Check the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Electronics-Trade-In/b/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=2226766011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WVMW4DSEZF3VHV4Y">trade-in page</a> to see if your old cell phone or video game console is eligible for the gift-card program. (Books are also applicable.) Then package up your gadgets and send them off to Amazon. The company will even pay for the shipping. Once the company receives the items, your Amazon account will be credited in about two business days.</p> <p>Amazon doesn't have a monopoly on the electronics trade-in industry, although its service in this department is streamlined and immensely easy. Still, there are other options to explore. <a href="http://www.nextworth.com/">Nextworth</a> and <a href="http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=606138&amp;u=255320&amp;m=45652&amp;urllink=&amp;afftrack=">Gazelle</a> offer similar trade-in programs with an added benefit: They'll actually send you a check for your outdated iPad. On the downside, Nextworth can often take upwards of 10 days to reimburse you while Gazelle tends to lowball its offering price.</p> <h2>4. Valuables That Aren't Selling Online</h2> <p>There are certain items you won't want to part with unless you're getting what they're worth. Diamond earrings. The teak end-table. Those leather boots you bought on your honeymoon in Italy. You know they are high-value items, even if the bid amounts on your eBay auction suggest otherwise.</p> <p>Chances are that at least some of your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors share in your taste and would love to go on a shopping spree at your house. So why not let them? Simply price the items you want to sell and invite a group of people over to browse.</p> <p>Or, take a hint from the minimalist, world-traveling duo Warren and Betsy Talbot and host a <a href="http://www.marriedwithluggage.com/how-to-host-a-reverse-birthday-party/">Reverse Birthday Party</a>. The next time your birthday comes around, examine the stuff in your house and stick price tags on all those beautiful, loved items that you could only bear to part with for a fair price. Then invite over the friends and family members you know will appreciate just as you do that antique farmhouse spinning wheel or the cutesy Christmas china set and let 'em loose. In lieu of gifts, your guests will be doing you a favor by spending that gift money &mdash; and then some, if all goes to plan &mdash; on all that exquisite stuff you need to part with in order to declutter your life.</p> <p>Take whatever's left over to a brick-and-mortar consignment shop.</p> <p><em>How have you turned your old stuff into cash without bothering with a yard sale? Please share your secrets in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/convert-your-crap-into-cash-without-a-garage-sale">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-end-of-the-energizer-bunny-six-products-that-dont-need-batteries">The end of the Energizer bunny: SIX products that don&#039;t need batteries.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-dumbest-big-purchases-people-make">The 7 Dumbest Big Purchases People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unbearably-stupid-packaging">Dumbest packaging ever?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-your-junk">How to Get Rid of Your Junk</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Lifestyle Shopping consignment declutter garage sale selling used yard sale Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1160270 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Super-Cool Ways to Add Hidden Storage to Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/suitcase-78722630.jpg" alt="vintage suitcase" title="vintage suitcase" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes it can feel difficult to find good storage solutions around the house or apartment. Whether space comes at a premium where you live, you are looking to organize and conceal chaos, or you just want a sneaky place to hide important items, check out some clever hidden storage solutions that anyone can add to their abode. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-you-can-use-towel-rods-for-efficient-storage-and-display?ref=seealso">Efficient Storage With Towel Rods</a>)</p> <h2>1. Headboard Storage</h2> <p>Not only can a headboard be decorative, but it can also be multifunctional when you add in some inconspicuous storage. Check out <a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20228714/">Ikea's BRIMNES headboard</a> with discreet, shelved storage compartments. The top shelf even has holes for cables or cords, making it extra versatile to keep gadgets near. Or, for an even more concealed look, go for a <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/unique-hidden-s-113962">hidden fabric paneled headboard</a>, which could make for a good do-it-yourself project too.</p> <h2>2. Repurposed Table Storage</h2> <p>For a fairly easy DIY project that creates some cool, hidden storage, try <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2011/03/diy-project-ashleys-vintage-suitcase-coffee-table.html">repurposing a vintage suitcase</a> into a unique coffee table or conversation piece. Likewise, you can use a chest and add on some legs in a similar fashion to make a unique end table or nightstand that has plenty of storage inside. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-and-ingenious-ways-to-upgrade-your-furniture?ref=seealso">Cheap, Smart Ways to Upgrade Your Furniture</a>)</p> <h2>3. Storage Sofas</h2> <p>Beyond built-in cup holders and armrest compartments for remotes, storage sofas have come a long way. Nowadays, even the most attractive sofas and chaises have options for large, <a href="http://www.walmart.com/ip/Elita-Twin-Size-Sofa-Sleeper-with-Hidden-Storage-Beige/7801201">under-cushion storage compartments</a>, where you can cleverly stash blankets or other sizeable items from view.</p> <h2>4. Shoe Benches</h2> <p>A shoe bench is a great item for an entryway or mudroom, which provides ample hidden or open storage below the seat. If you like to build, try some straightforward <a href="http://ana-white.com/2010/04/plans-kids-country-bench.html?page=1">DIY shoe bench guides</a> to create your own. Or, you can just buy <a href="http://www.improvementscatalog.com/shoe-storage-bench/230409">pull out shoe benches</a>, which easily keep shoes organized and concealed.</p> <h2>5. Behind the Door Storage</h2> <p>For some great hidden storage, use the backs of doors. On the back of a laundry room or mudroom door, hang <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CRBY8NU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CRBY8NU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">shoe bags</a> to hold scarves, gloves, and hats. In a bathroom with little wall space, install <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MF0YCC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000MF0YCC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">towel racks</a> on the back of the door. On the back of a closet door, install hooks and rods to hold wrapping paper.</p> <p>And don't forget cabinet doors as well. In the kitchen, you can buy and install some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002ES1SRU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002ES1SRU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">small wire racks</a> or use adhesive hooks to hold things like spices, cleaning supplies, pans, and spatulas on the inside of cabinet doors. In the bathroom, try storing hairdryers and personal care items on the insides of vanity doors.</p> <h2>6. Storage Mirrors</h2> <p>Like a traditional medicine cabinet, you can find storage mirrors to work in other rooms besides the bathroom. You can purchase a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000X0BY2U/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000X0BY2U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">wall-mounted jewelry mirror</a> to use in a bedroom or closet to keep your jewelry and valuables organized and out of sight. Or, check out <a href="http://www.hayneedle.com/product/promanarisclassicmirrorstand.cfm">floor storage mirrors</a> with shelves in the back to give you clever storage options.</p> <h2>7. Under Washer and Dryer Storage</h2> <p>Why not use the space below your washer and dryer by putting the machines on storage risers? You can purchase <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10368321?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.homedepot.com%2Fp%2FLG-Electronics-Laundry-Pedestal-with-Storage-Drawer-in-White-WDP4W%2F202519826&amp;cjsku=202519826">laundry pedestals</a> with pull out drawers, which your machines sit upon. Check home store outlets and <a href="http://www.overstock.com">Overstock</a> for the cheaper models, or if you are really handy and want to save, you can <a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/laundry-room/diy-washer-pedestal/view-all">build your own laundry pedestals</a>. In addition to adding roomy, hidden storage, if you have a front-loading machine, the pedestal will save you from bending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-washing-machines?ref=seealso">5 Great Washing Machines</a>)</p> <h2>8. Concealing Curtains</h2> <p>You can easily purchase curtains, other window treatments, and slipcovers, or make your own coverings with your favorite fabric to hide storage spaces. Some great examples using curtains include turning a <a href="http://parentables.howstuffworks.com/slideshows/nesting/how-make-slipcover-bistro-table-and-use-it-hidden-storage/">bistro table into hidden home office storage</a>, masking contents on a shelf by <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/274298/fun-and-easy-decorating-ideas#202767">creating cabinet curtains</a>, making concealed <a href="http://www.houzz.com/photos/2093487/Jasper-Mountain-Retreat-contemporary-bathroom-edmonton">under-sink storage</a> out of an open bathroom vanity, and creating <a href="http://www.bhg.com/kitchen/remodeling/planning/quick-and-easy-kitchen-updates/#page=4">hidden storage under counters</a> and buffets in kitchens and dining rooms. To make it even easier, most of these concealing curtains can be hung using simple <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FB6N79E/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FB6N79E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">tension rods</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-unexpected-uses-for-tension-rods?ref=seealso">20 Unexpected Uses for Tension Rods</a>)</p> <h2>9. Under Bed Storage</h2> <p>Under bed storage is an easy solution for concealing items and using unused space. You can try purchasing <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000M39HQI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000M39HQI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">simple under bed storage solutions</a>, like rollout plastic bins, which are also great for under-the-couch storage if you have a sofa skirt to hide them. If your bed is too low, think about buying some cheap risers to create a little space underneath. Or, buy a <a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/bedroom/25205/">bed with built-in storage</a> compartments or drawers for some secret storage options.</p> <h2>10. Hard-Working Picture Frames</h2> <p>Make your regular picture frames do double-duty as décor and storage. For easy store-bought solutions, try purchasing <a href="http://www.walmart.com/ip/Southern-Enterprises-Wall-Mounted-Picture-Frame-Jewelry-Armoire-White/15915115">wall-mounted picture frame armoires</a>, which can be used to store jewelry or important documents. Another option is to buy front-opening shadow boxes for the plethora of kids' artwork that always gets made. Use the extra space inside these framed boxes to stack other pieces of art behind what's currently on display. Finally, for a nifty, hidden wall compartment, learn to <a href="http://www.lowes.com/cd_Hidden+Storage+Behind+Picture+Frame_1388520668661_">turn a medicine cabinet into a picture frame</a> with secret storage behind it.</p> <p><em>What other cool hidden storage ideas can you add to the list? Please hide your ideas in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-medeiros">Kelly Medeiros</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter">8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-genius-kitchen-storage-solutions">15 Genius Kitchen Storage Solutions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-genius-storage-ideas-for-your-bathroom">20 Genius Storage Ideas for Your Bathroom</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization declutter organization storage Thu, 10 Apr 2014 09:48:33 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1134928 at http://www.wisebread.com This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-477939773.jpg" alt="shelf" title="shelf" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've probably heard you should throw out stuff that hasn't been used in the past year. But if you are like me, you have regretted decisions to donate, sell, or trash the nonessential as you tried to aggressively declutter. Sadly, you may have learned this lesson too late. You can easily get rid of a saved item, but you can't readily reclaim one that's been given away. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/declutter-now-simple-rules-you-must-follow-to-stay-clutter-free?ref=seealso">Simple Rules for Decluttering</a>)</p> <p>To declutter but keep your stuff, defy conventional wisdom. Hang onto whatever your heart desires, bypassing those difficult, emotional decisions often linked to decluttering. Just be mindful about what you save and how you store your stash, using these tips.</p> <h2>1. Create Organizational Masterpieces From Castoffs</h2> <p>Beautify your home with vintage items that have storage capabilities. Consider fashionable yard-sale, thrift-shop, curbside, and consignment-store finds for organizing things before buying storage bins from big-box stores.</p> <p>For example, replace a table in an entryway with a <a href="http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2009/06/thrift-store-highboy-elegant-updo/">thrift-shop dresser</a> and store off-season clothing there. Place odds and ends, like buttons, paper clips, or pens and pencils, in a <a href="http://www.myfrugalhome.com/organizing-with-curb-finds/">collection of mason jars</a>.</p> <h2>2. Repurpose Rarely-Used Items as Storage or Decor</h2> <p>Imagine new ways to put mostly unused yet beloved items into service.</p> <p>For example, turn an <a href="http://ideas.thenest.com/decor-tricks/cleaning-organizing/slideshows/6-easy-organizing-tricks.aspx?page=3">old trunk or footlocker into a table</a> (and store keepsakes inside). Display collectibles on an old ladder or <a href="http://www.womansday.com/home/craft-ideas/pot-rack-ladder-craft-91104">hang pots</a> from one attached to your kitchen ceiling. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-common-kitchen-cast-offs-you-can-repurpose-into-cool-new-things?ref=seealso">Turn Kitchen Junk Into Cool New Things</a>)</p> <h2>3. Group and Elegantly Hide Like Items Together</h2> <p>If you consolidate like items, a couple of neat things often happen naturally.</p> <p>One, you will realize you have duplicates, triplicates, quadruplicates and feel fine about casting off the extras. Second, seeing all these things together (such as your cleaning supplies or electronic chargers) means you probably won't have to buy more of the same, preventing additional clutter.</p> <p>These items can then be <a href="http://www.elegantwoman.org/elegant-decorating.html">grouped and hidden elegantly</a> in a handmade basket or stylishly trimmed box instead of scattered randomly throughout your home.</p> <h2>4. Hide Stuff With Curtains</h2> <p>Discreetly placing things behind curtains is a great design option for those with lots of stuff but little storage space.</p> <p>For example, you might build floor-to-ceiling shelving and <a href="http://www.younghouselove.com/2008/02/over-our-heads/">cover with full-length curtains</a> to hide your cache of clothing, accessories, and personal supplies in your bedroom. Alternatively, conceal clutter in your home office by storing items on a shelf and covering with a <a href="http://homespunstyle.net/2011/10/17/hiding-clutter-with-curtains/">custom-made curtain</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains?ref=seealso">DIY Curtains</a>)</p> <h2>5. Use Vertical Space</h2> <p>Capitalize on the <a href="http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-decor/small-space-design/10-ways-to-use-your-vertical-space.htm#page=0">space above</a> most of your traditional furniture for a clean look with lots of storage capacity.</p> <p>For example, ditch small bookcases and save your tall ones. Consolidate the remaining bookcases into one room and stack your books on these shelves. The result is a library-style room that holds loads of stuff, yet appears uncluttered. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space?ref=seealso">How to Live Large in a Small Space</a>)</p> <p>Likewise, shed two-drawer file cabinets in favor of four- and five-drawer ones to hold financial, college-related, and medical documents. On top of these cabinets, store seasonal items.</p> <h2>6. Declutter All Rooms, Even Non-Messy Ones</h2> <p>Resist the desire to skip decluttering a tidy room.</p> <p>Well-kept rooms may harbor extra stuff that is easily scrapped. Sifting through and disposing of this clutter frees storage space. Even one or two extra drawers in your bathroom, for example, can be used to store small items that may be clogging up other rooms.</p> <h2>7. Toss Stuff You Truly Don't Need or Want Pronto</h2> <p>Get rid of stuff you are sure you don't need or want immediately. Don't wait until you finish decluttering the entire house. Carry unneeded and unwanted items to the Goodwill store, rescue mission, or other place that accepts your old things as quickly as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-rid-of-stuff-frugally?ref=seealso">10 Frugal Ways to Get Rid of Stuff</a>)</p> <p>The more you can remove from your home, the easier it is to organize the stuff you do love.</p> <h2>8. Store Things in Out-Of-The-Way Places</h2> <p>Collect storage bins and boxes as you declutter or acquire them after you've finished going through every section of your living space. Store rarely needed items that can withstand extremes of hot and cold in your attic or basement. Put stuff you occasionally need in specialty bins under beds, odd corners of utility rooms or garages, unused shelves of your closets, and other accessible places out of casual view.</p> <p>You don't have to become a minimalist to live in a clutter-free home. Get rid of what you no longer want; organize and display or store the rest.</p> <p><em>How do you declutter while keeping your favorite stuff? Please clutter up the comments thread with your secrets!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter">8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home">10 Super-Cool Ways to Add Hidden Storage to Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-lose-the-clutter-and-keep-the-memories">9 Ways to Lose the Clutter and Keep the Memories</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organize-a-room-for-10-with-no-extra-effort">Organize a Room for $10 with No Extra Effort</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization clutter declutter organization storage Wed, 09 Apr 2014 09:24:23 +0000 Julie Rains 1134760 at http://www.wisebread.com Declutter Now: Simple Rules You Must Follow to Stay Clutter Free http://www.wisebread.com/declutter-now-simple-rules-you-must-follow-to-stay-clutter-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/declutter-now-simple-rules-you-must-follow-to-stay-clutter-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kitchen-78774292.jpg" alt="organizing kitchen" title="organizing kitchen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's almost time for spring cleaning! If you're at all like me, the very prospect of trying to clean the entire house is overwhelming. But this year I was determined to get the job done &mdash; and I even did it early, because we just moved and I didn't want to take our extra stuff with us <em>or</em> have it build up right after we moved in. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-one-month-guide-to-spring-cleaning?ref=seealso">A One-Month Guide to Spring Cleaning</a>)</p> <p>As I've tried to determine the best ways to think about handling clutter and then to actually declutter, these are the best tips that I have found. I hope they work for you, too (and, please, if you have any that I've missed here, let me know!).</p> <h2>1. Plan Decluttering Into Your Schedule</h2> <p>Some people prefer to declutter in small stages (anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes a day), while others prefer to set aside an entire day or a weekend. Either way, make your plan and stick to it. Put decluttering into your schedule the same way you would put in a meeting or an appointment. That way, you're more likely to get it done. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/declutter-your-home-in-10-minutes?ref=seealso">A 10 Minute Declutter</a>)</p> <h2>2. Make Rules That Work for You</h2> <p>Nearly everyone who declutters has rules. A few say that everything they haven't used in a year has to go. Others say that they can't buy anything new without getting rid of at least one old thing. Whatever rules you choose, make sure they work for you. Just because something works for a friend or for someone you read online does NOT mean that it will help you.</p> <h2>3. Find Your Unique Motivator</h2> <p>Apparently, there are people out there who get excited about decluttering simply because they don't want to have more stuff. If that's you, then your motivation is built-in to who you are. The rest of us, though, have to find some greater motivation. Plan a garage sale, if the prospect of selling stuff excites you. Or, if you like to help others out, plan a donation day. On the other hand, maybe offer yourself a reward when you finish. This can be anything from a meal at your favorite restaurant to a massage or a get-together with a friend. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-frugal-ways-to-reward-yourself-right-now?ref=seealso">21 Frugal Ways to Reward Yourself</a>)</p> <h2>4. List Areas That Need Work</h2> <p>Decluttering can feel overwhelming, and it's easy to start in one area, then get distracted when you're taking an item somewhere else to put it away, and end up never finishing the first area. Even if you aren't a list person, it can help you to have a visual reminder of all the areas in your home that need decluttering. Then, whether you work your way through them in order or just do what comes naturally, you can check them off as they get cleared.</p> <h2>5. Don't Shop Until You Know What You Need</h2> <p>It's tempting to go to Home Depot or Target and buy a bunch of colorful bins in a bunch of different sizes, but the truth is that you don't know what you need until you've gone through your stuff, gotten rid of what you no longer want or need, and figured out where and how you want to store the rest. Besides, if you buy the bins first, they will just add to the clutter until you bother to use them.</p> <h2>6. Find a Place for Everything</h2> <p>A place for everything and everything in its place&hellip; it's an old adage because it's true. Every single thing that you plan to keep needs to have a place. Try to find a balance when it comes to the level of organization you choose, though. For instance, it's good to know which cupboard the frying pans go in, and even which shelf you want them on, but you probably don't need to have a specific order in which you stack them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today?ref=seealso">Easy Organizing Changes</a>)</p> <h2>7. Find a Logical Place for Everything</h2> <p>It's great to have a place for everything. In fact, it's fabulous. But if you'll never be able to find your stuff, or you'll have to search and search every single time you want something, the places where you're keeping things aren't working. You may have to use some trial and error here. What initially seems like a logical place for an object may not be the first place you think of looking for it later.</p> <h2>8. Find a Usable Place for Everything</h2> <p>In addition to putting things where you expect them to be, you'll also want to put them in places where you will actually go and get them to use them. For instance, it is logical and helpful for us to put my kids' art supplies in the basement. However, our basement is cold and we have found that, in the winter, we don't do art simply because we don't want to go down and get the supplies. If we want to use them, they need to move!</p> <h2>9. If It Doesn't Have a Place, Find One or Toss It</h2> <p>An item that doesn't have a place either isn't important enough for you to set something else aside to give it one, or it somehow doesn't belong with the other things you have. Either way, it is just going to sit around and contribute to cluttering things up again if you don't put it somewhere or get rid of it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today?ref=seealso">Things to Throw Out Today</a>)</p> <h2>10. Stop at &quot;Good Enough&quot;</h2> <p>Decluttering can take forever. I don't just mean that it can take a long time, but that you could literally organize <em>forever</em>, if you let yourself. Instead of devoting the rest of your life to a task that most of us find annoying, stop when you have achieved a level of organization that works for you. That means you need to think about function. In general, if you can find things when you need them and you don't have piles everywhere, you can probably consider yourself done.</p> <h2>11. Commit to a Work in Progress</h2> <p>This may seem to go against the point I made above. However, I'm not saying that you should continue to declutter and organize the same areas to an infinite level of detail. You will, though, need to continue removing clutter and organizing new items as things get moved or more things come into your home. This means going through your mail every day, helping your kids return toys and other items to their places, and more. Plan to spend <a href="http://zenhabits.net/18-five-minute-decluttering-tips-to-start-conquering-your-mess/">5-15 minutes every day</a> on clutter, in order to remain clutter free.</p> <h2>12. Use the Penicillin Method</h2> <p>Think about already decluttered spaces as being inoculated with Penicillin. This means that, once you have cleared clutter from an area, that area is clutter-free. No matter how bad the clutter may get in other places, that one remains clear. As you move through your home and continue to declutter, you will have more and more spaces that are clear. Eventually, your whole house will be inoculated.</p> <h2>13. Have a Designated Place for New Clutter</h2> <p>Choose a place in your home where you will put everything that doesn't have a home until you can find the time to give it one. This is where the mail goes when you bring it in, where birthday and Christmas gifts get stored until you decide where they go, where items that need to be re-filed or put back in their places get set until you can do that. This way, you will limit the areas of your home that gather clutter, and you will know where to go (and, at a glance, how much work you have to do) when it is time to declutter.</p> <h2>14. Use Baskets for Problem Items</h2> <p>Every night, my husband tosses his keys, wallet, keycard, and whatever else happens to be in his pockets . . . somewhere. Not only are they hard to find after that, but I hate the cluttery way this makes our kitchen/bathroom/bedroom/wherever look. To solve the problem, I put a small basket on a shelf by our door. Now, as soon as he gets home, he puts all of his pocket stuff in there. I don't have to look at it, and he can always find it. As my kids get older, they each have baskets in our main living area, too. This is where they put toys that they brought down from upstairs, snacks they want to finish later, etc.</p> <h2>15. Use Drawer Dividers</h2> <p>You know those things they make for silverware drawers, so you can separate your knives, forks, spoons, etc? Well, they make those for all sorts of drawers. They're great for organizing everything from your socks and underwear to all of the random stuff you keep in your nightstand. It can even help in your junk drawer, so you can actually find the things that you toss in there.</p> <h2>16. Find the Decluttering Philosophy That Works for You</h2> <p>There are a million different ways to think about clutter. Some love the philosophy at <a href="http://unclutterer.com">Unclutterer</a>. Others respond to the <a href="http://www.flylady.net/">Fly Lady</a>. The point is, there are lots of different ideas and methods online for dealing with clutter and, if you can find the one that works for you, you'll have a lot more success and motivation for decluttering than you might have otherwise.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite way to declutter?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/declutter-now-simple-rules-you-must-follow-to-stay-clutter-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-types-of-clutterers-which-one-are-you">The 4 Types of Clutterers: Which One Are You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/declutter-your-home-in-10-minutes">Declutter Your Home in 10 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-rid-of-stuff-frugally">10 Ways to Get Rid of Stuff Frugally</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization cleaning declutter quick cleaning Thu, 20 Feb 2014 11:36:20 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1126823 at http://www.wisebread.com Declutter Your Home in 10 Minutes http://www.wisebread.com/declutter-your-home-in-10-minutes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/declutter-your-home-in-10-minutes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cleaning-1390490-small.jpg" alt="woman cleaning" title="woman cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&#39;m sure I&#39;m not the only one around here who hates cleaning the house. Although I want to be tidy, I&#39;m naturally a &quot;cluttery&quot; person, and most of the time my home reflects that. When I tidy up, I tend to clean here or there with no real focus or method, which means that clutter gets managed but never fully cleaned up. After years of frustration at myself for being unable to be as organized as I want to be, I&#39;ve finally hit upon a method that works for me and my dislike of cleaning. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-your-house-in-one-day">How to Clean Your House in a Day</a>)</p> <p>Instead of feeling frustrated at all the cleaning and organizing I&#39;m facing, I&#39;ve resorted to short, concentrated bursts of activity that accomplish decluttering in small, manageable chunks. I call them &quot;10-minute declutters.&quot; The key is to give myself a limited, achievable goal, and to focus on completing the task at hand instead of stressing out about all the cleaning I can&#39;t get done.</p> <h2>The 10-Minute Declutter</h2> <p>If you have trouble keeping your home decluttered, and you tend to avoid organizing, you might be surprised how much you can accomplish if you just concentrate for 10 minutes. For example, in 10 minutes, I might set myself the task of sorting the pile of mail into separate piles for recycling, read later, and bills. Or I might go through my makeup drawer, throwing away all old makeup and sorting the remaining makeup by shape. I might challenge myself to pick up everything on the floor in one room, or to completely clean off the surface of the kitchen table or the kitchen counter. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <p>It is much easier to contemplate cleaning for 10 minutes rather than to face the seemingly impossible task of completely organizing the master bedroom, for example. Here are a few tips to make this 10-minute cleaning frenzy work for you.</p> <p><strong>1. Limit the Scope</strong></p> <p>Challenge yourself, yes, but be realistic about what you can accomplish in 10 minutes. You&#39;ll only be discouraged if you constantly can&#39;t complete the task. Focus either on one small area (a drawer, your wallet, one table) or one limited action (dusting the furniture in one room, picking up all the toys). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-organize-a-messy-closet">14 Ways to Organize a Closet</a>)</p> <p><strong>2. Enlist Help</strong></p> <p>One person can accomplish a lot in 10 minutes, but two or three people can do even more. And your spouse/kids/roommates are more likely to agree to clean for 10 minutes when they see that the task is limited in time and scope. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-good-roommate-relationship">How to Have a Good Roommate Relationship</a>)</p> <p>I recently saw the efficacy of this approach one night when, frustrated at the state of our family room, I told my husband, &quot;Let&#39;s pick up everything we can in 10 minutes. Ready, set, move your butt!&quot; Ten minutes later, stray coffee cups were in the sink, toys were picked up, books were shelved, and stinky socks were dumped into the washing machine. We both looked at our relatively clean family room and said, &quot;Wow.&quot; We even got a bit of exercise from our burst of decluttering energy!</p> <p><strong>3. Do Your Regular Chores</strong></p> <p>The 10-minute declutter can&#39;t take the place of your regular chores. You probably can&#39;t, for example, do all the dishes that have piled up over the week in 10 minutes. The goal of the 10-minute declutter is to make headway on organizing a mess that seems too big to tackle, by breaking it down into manageable chunks. Do one, or a few, 10-minute declutters every day in addition to your regular chores, and you&#39;ll feel like your home is actually getting cleaner, rather than merely maintaining the status quo. The 10-minute declutter can also help you out when things are getting messier than normal and you want to &quot;reset&quot; the balance, so to speak.</p> <p>If, like me, you have trouble disciplining yourself to tidy up around your home, the 10-minute declutter can be a useful tool in your cleaning arsenal. Make it a habit, and you&#39;ll be a little further on your way to the clean, organized, and peaceful home we all dream of.</p> <p><em>Do you use the 10-minute declutter, or a variation, to keep your place in order? What do you do?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/declutter-your-home-in-10-minutes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter">8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-militarys-four-step-plan-to-keeping-your-place-clean">The Military&#039;s Four-Step Plan to Keeping Your Place Clean</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization cleaning declutter organization Thu, 24 Oct 2013 14:21:07 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1041945 at http://www.wisebread.com How Minimalist Can You Really Be? http://www.wisebread.com/how-minimalist-can-you-really-be <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-minimalist-can-you-really-be" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-4847847-small_0.jpg" alt="minimalist" title="minimalist" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are people out there writing about minimalism who seem to own a passport, a laptop, a toothbrush, and not much else. But that level of absolute minimalism isn't exactly possible for most people. While many of the specifics of minimalism come down to matters of personal preference, there are certain limits that are hard to go past for the average person. (See also: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-simple-living-and-why-should-i-care">What is Simple Living and Why Should I Care?</a>)</p> <h2>Lifestlye Over Life Lived</h2> <p>Different lifestyles put their own constraints on how minimalistic you can easily be. Of course, no matter what other factors are at play, you can find ways to reduce your number of possessions further and to live even more simply &mdash; but it won't be easy. For most people, there's a point where eliminating even more from your life <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/confessions-of-a-minimalist-9-reasons-i-miss-my-stuff">just isn't enjoyable</a> and your pride in not having &quot;stuff&quot; isn't going to balance it out.</p> <h2>Unsustainable Minimalism</h2> <p>There are certain practitioners of minimalism who have built fairly expensive lifestyles around owning very little. They take the approach that if they can buy, rent, or otherwise access whatever they need, as they need it, and then get rid of that item in some fashion, they're still living a very minimalist lifestyle. Similarly, some people will spend more money on more versatile products that can see them through more parts of their lifestyle.</p> <p>These approaches to minimalism can be more expensive than one might expect. In her article, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.slate.com/articles/life/culturebox/2013/03/graham_hill_essay_in_the_new_york_times_is_minimalism_really_sustainable.html">Is Minimalism Really Sustainable,</a> Katy Waldman describes minimalism as too expensive to be sustainable &mdash; and this is the variety of minimalism she's discussing. For anyone hoping to take this approach to minimalism, it's very possible to find yourself reaching a point where you're living <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-food-changes-you-can-make-today">as simple a life as you can afford to</a>. But, overall, your savings account shouldn't be the deciding factor on where your minimalism stops.</p> <h2>Getting to Almost Zero</h2> <p>As I was getting ready for a recent cross-country move, I reached the point where I wanted <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-downsize-and-declutter">to get rid of everything I owned</a>. I didn't actually do that, but I did manage to get rid of everything I didn't have an emotional attachment to or that we didn't absolutely need. My laptop and the family photos made the move; a large percentage of my wardrobe did not. I took a &quot;give 'til it hurts&quot; approach: everything I didn't even have a twinge of pain over getting rid of went to a new home. Everything that looked like it would hurt to move myself and that I didn't have a good reason for keeping also went to a new home. It was, essentially, a minimalistic approach to becoming a minimalist.</p> <p>I keep finding more things that I know I won't worry about if I don't have, so I'm getting rid of more soon. I won't ever get down to just what I can carry in a knapsack, but I'll be as minimalistic as my own lifestyle allows for &mdash; and I won't be stressed out by the process. It seems better to focus on how minimalist I want to be, over how far I can take it if I push.</p> <p><em>Have you embraced the minimalist lifestyle? How far have you taken it? What are your limits?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-minimalist-can-you-really-be">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today">12 Things You Won&#039;t Ever Use Again and Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-cheaply-for-the-long-term">Living Cheaply for the Long Term</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cheap-ways-to-make-your-car-look-awesome">12 Cheap Ways to Make Your Car Look Awesome</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-savings-mistakes-even-smart-people-make">8 Savings Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living declutter living simply minimalism minmalist simple Fri, 07 Jun 2013 09:48:35 +0000 Thursday Bram 976545 at http://www.wisebread.com