decluttering http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12558/all en-US Ease Into Minimalism With Some Simple Steps http://www.wisebread.com/ease-into-minimalism-with-some-simple-steps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ease-into-minimalism-with-some-simple-steps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_minimalist_room_000074541869.jpg" alt="Family easing into minimalism with simple steps" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>On a theoretical level, the minimalist life sounds like a fantasy. No excessive &quot;stuff&quot; that requires maintenance, cleaning, upgrades, or insurance. A beautiful home, a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-a-capsule-wardrobe-actually-save-you-money">capsule wardrobe</a>, and effortless travel thanks to your exquisitely packed (and tastefully matching) cabin-only baggage.</p> <p>Then a quick scan of home brings you abruptly back to Earth. If the &quot;crap basket&quot; was designed for anyone, it was my family. You know the one &mdash; it lives on the stairs, or a dresser, accumulating detritus until someone blinks and trashes the lot. But in my case, simply getting to the trashcan requires you to pick your way through discarded Lego bricks, turn a blind eye to the dumped homework pages curling in the sun, and ignore (or marvel at) the variety of clothing that has been shed on the porch.</p> <p>Minimalists we are not. But I can dream of better days, and start to practice a little now. And even if you're not in such a crisis &mdash; wouldn't it be great if you could slim down your stuff without missing it?</p> <h2>Change Your Mindset</h2> <p>Without stating the obvious, it's a lot easier to be minimalist if you have less stuff to start off with. If you live in a house with kids who love brightly colored plastic, and a techie-geek early adopter, then this can be a challenge.</p> <p>But changing your thinking about acquiring stuff is a start. After all, how much of the stuff that came into your home in the last six months still gives you pleasure, and how much is a burden?</p> <p>Often we buy for the buzz, but that wears off, and can even lead to negative feelings as the ongoing cost of maintaining or upgrading &quot;toys&quot; becomes apparent. Even with purchases, which do not require ongoing attention, their attraction fades as we become used to them. Whereas we tend to tell the story of a vacation or experience over and over, the story of &quot;how I bought my Jimmy Choos&quot; doesn't work so well, and soon even the slightly scuffed and last-season shoes lose their appeal. Amit Kumar, co-author of a <a href="http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2013/01/feel-happier-talk-about-experiences-not-things">study on happiness</a>, eloquently said:</p> <p>&quot;A once-cherished Walkman is now obsolete, but, as Humphrey Bogart once told Ingrid Bergman, &quot;We'll always have Paris.&quot;&quot;</p> <p>Switch your mindset about buying new things &mdash; and if you're up to it, go one step further. What if you cashed in your clutter and made the money work for you instead? Take a quick spin on eBay, and reinvest the cash you earn in a shared experience instead of an upgraded gadget.</p> <h2>Slow Down Your Purchase Process</h2> <p>If you find yourself moving at lightning speed when the urge to splurge hits, then before you know it, you're weighed down with new purchases. Help yourself by slowing down the decision-making process.</p> <p>Some things you really need. Most things you simply want &mdash; but many of us don't even register the difference. We are trained to feel like a new purchase should be ours because we deserve it. Advertising makes consumption normal, whether or not we actually need to buy more stuff, and at a subconscious level we come to expect certain things. Maybe it's buying a new winter coat every season, even though the last one barely saw the light of day. Perhaps you find yourself drawn by an inexorable force to the new iPhone, despite there being little to pick it apart from the one in your pocket. Once you're on it, it's hard to backpedal &mdash; after all, you work hard for this, should you not allow yourself a little treat?</p> <p>Force time to think about the things you buy. One useful thought exercise can be to ask whether you would like the immediate purchase as much if you compare it to the potential lifetime return the cash could bring you. So, if you assume a modest 5% interest rate if you invested the money in your pocket, you could have the $1,000 bag today, or you could have the $1,000 pay you $50 every year of your life (and still have the capital there if you ever did decide the handbag was a life or death necessity). And if all else fails, encase your cards in ice and you're forced to wait until they defrost before you go on a spree.</p> <h2>Try Before You Buy</h2> <p>When it comes to avoiding the temptation to accumulate more stuff, there is some very old school, tried and tested advice. Shop online (with a plan), and don't hang out in malls, and you are well on the way.</p> <p>But the rise of the sharing economy is good news for wannabe minimalists. There are some gadgets, or hardware items, that we need once in awhile that can seem essential to every household &mdash; but now you can also consider whether you can borrow or rent things before leaping into a purchase.</p> <p>If you're considering a purchase, renting can be a great way to &quot;try before you buy,&quot; and you can even make the most of your own seldom used stuff by renting it out for a profit rather than having it sitting about ruining your minimalist ambitions.</p> <h2>Don't Organize</h2> <p>This might seem like counterintuitive advice if you want to live a sleek and simple life, but the worst thing you can do is organize. Step away from the additional shelving, and dump stuff instead!</p> <p>The very thought of trashing those keepsakes might have put you into a tailspin. That's normal &mdash; we all have a little bit of the hoarder inside.</p> <p>To make this work, you need a friend to supervise so you don't cop out &mdash; and a steely resolve. But removing the need to build yet more flat pack storage units is its own reward. If sentimental keepsakes are your downfall, digitize what you can, and go about writing your personal story in a way that honors memories without bogging you down. Through the process, you will identify what is actually meaningful to you, and what you can let go.</p> <p>If you're nervous about throwing away vital paperwork, like tax documents, check out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-shred-or-not-to-shred-how-long-to-keep-your-tax-records">our guide on what to toss</a> &mdash; and get shredding. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-minimalist-can-you-really-be?ref=seealso">How Minimalist Can You Really Be?</a>)</p> <p>I have a long way to go before I can take any minimalist honors. For now, I will have to satisfy myself with having a clear path through the shoes, Wellington boots, skateboards, and soccer balls in the hallway. But I can dream, and with these small tweaks, I might just get there one day.</p> <p><em>What about you? Is your home organized minimalist chic, or crap magnet? Tell us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ease-into-minimalism-with-some-simple-steps">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/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve 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/how-minimalist-can-you-really-be">How Minimalist Can You Really Be?</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/get-your-home-cleaner-than-a-pro-can-and-save-big">Get Your Home Cleaner Than a Pro Can — And Save Big</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/save-some-cash-with-these-6-clever-cleaning-hacks">Save Some Cash With These 6 Clever Cleaning Hacks</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-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Home cleaning controlling temptation decluttering living simply minimalism organizing Fri, 27 May 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Claire Millard 1717322 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-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/home-4794309-small.jpg" alt="declutter" title="declutter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="169" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love to declutter. In fact, I love it so much that I seldom have a chance to accumulate enough for proper decluttering. In my mind, a really deep declutter is more than just about cleaning. It's an opportunity to change our lives and reorganize our world. If you need to change things up in your own life, consider a deep declutter. It can help you in lots of unexpected ways. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today" target="_blank">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Move on From the Past</h2> <p>Decluttering our homes can help us move on from the past &mdash; processing previous relationships, old jobs, and ideas that didn't work. While there's certainly nothing wrong with a bit of sentimentality, holding on to everything can sometimes hold us back.</p> <h2>2. Gain Good Karma</h2> <p>Most of our homes are filled with very useful things that we have no use for ourselves. Free up space by freeing up objects. Donate clothes, cookware, tools, and toys <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cleaning-out-for-a-cause-make-a-noncash-tax-deductible-donation" target="_blank">to charities for a tax write-off</a> and good karma points.</p> <h2>3. Clear Some Mental Space</h2> <p>It's difficult to feel at peace in a disordered environment. Too much stuff clutters our homes and muddies our minds. If you're in need of a mental or emotional reset, try a bit of declutter therapy.</p> <h2>4. Reorganize</h2> <p>Decluttering is the first step to getting organized. A deep declutter can set the stage for redefining spaces, establishing new habits, getting control of bill paying or budgeting, or setting up a home office.</p> <h2>5. Find What You Already Have</h2> <p>Do you know what's hiding in the back of your closets or the darkest recesses of your basement? Maybe there's a few things back there you could actually use. Avoid buying duplicates or triplicates by rediscovering what you already own.</p> <h2>6. Make Space to Pursue Hobbies</h2> <p>Decluttering our homes can create new space to pursue those hobbies we've put off for so long. Clear out an area in the garage for a woodworking shop, turn the attic into a craft studio, or remake a bedroom into a home office.</p> <h2>7. Make Some Extra Cash</h2> <p>Decluttering can be a cash cow if you're willing to sell on eBay, to a consignment shop, or at a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-mistakes-that-can-ruin-your-yard-sale" target="_blank">well-planned yard sale</a>. Somehow, cleaning closets doesn't seem so daunting when there's a few bucks to be made.</p> <h2>8. Save Money on Storage</h2> <p>Last August, I wrote about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-why-self-storage-is-a-really-bad-idea" target="_blank">why self-storage is a really bad idea</a>. A big part of the losing equation on storage is the cost. Emptying and eliminating the storage spaces that have become satellite homes for our stuff frees up money. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have a stuffed wallet than a stuffed storage locker.</p> <h2>9. Reignite Old Interests</h2> <p>Sometimes life gets in the way of our passions and hobbies. The process of decluttering can unearth interests we've tabled and projects we've long forgotten. Declutter with a sense of discovery and stay open to reenergizing those old pursuits.</p> <h2>10. Share Memories</h2> <p>Decluttering can uncover treasures to be passed on and shared with family. A couple of years ago my mom stumbled upon some old photos and silverware that belonged to a late relative. We sent these heirlooms to the relative's granddaughter who loved receiving them and will cherish them more than we ever could.</p> <h2>11. Reduce Your Footprint</h2> <p>When we know exactly what we have, we can skip unnecessary purchases. Likewise, owning less means there's less to store, less to clean, and less to maintain. Decluttering can help reduce our footprints (carbon and otherwise) and help us to live greener lives.</p> <h2>12. Turn a Bad Mood Good</h2> <p>To put it in not-quite-clinical terms, <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/room/ci_8060057" target="_blank">clutter is a downer</a>. Although it may take us awhile to work up the motivation, cleaning and purging our homes of clutter can recalibrate our mood and improve our outlook. Our personal spaces are important and taking the time to spruce things up is a wonderful way to honor ourselves.</p> <p>In a world where sometimes it feels like we have to beat back clutter with a stick, ridding our lives of unnecessary objects is practically therapeutic. The results can be wonderful and the high can be habit-forming. Now grab some boxes from the grocery store and start emptying the attic!</p> <p><em>What's the most surprising or valuable thing you've discovered while decluttering? What's your decluttering schedule or strategy?</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-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-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-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/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make 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/how-to-downsize-and-declutter">How to Downsize and 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/7-reasons-why-self-storage-is-a-really-bad-idea">7 Reasons Why Self-Storage Is a Really Bad Idea</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/ease-into-minimalism-with-some-simple-steps">Ease Into Minimalism With Some Simple Steps</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/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization Productivity decluttering easy organizing living simply Tue, 02 Jul 2013 10:20:56 +0000 Kentin Waits 980185 at http://www.wisebread.com Talking Trash: Is Your Messy Mind the Cause of Your Messy House? http://www.wisebread.com/talking-trash-is-your-messy-mind-the-cause-of-your-messy-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/talking-trash-is-your-messy-mind-the-cause-of-your-messy-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4797769197_30956ef636_z.jpg" alt="thinking" title="thinking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;ve been messy since birth. One of the constants in my life has been arguing with my mother over how to clean the house, any house, properly. My neatnik mother is one of those naturally tidy people. You know the type. She&rsquo;s so put-together that she looks like a flight attendant.</p> <p>&ldquo;A cluttered desk equals a cluttered mind,&rdquo; she&rsquo;d say, passing me the feather duster. &ldquo;If that&rsquo;s the case, &ldquo; I&rsquo;d shoot back, quoting Einstein, &ldquo;Then what does an empty desk signify?&rdquo; (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clutter-free-the-zero-accumulation-household">Clutter-Free:&nbsp;The Zero-Accumulation Household</a>)</p> <p>I mean, really. Does it even matter that I have a messy mind?</p> <p>I asked my friend <a href="http://www.aclearpath.net/top10.html">Dr. Regina Lark</a>, who chairs the Education Committee of the National Association of Professional Organizers, if there&rsquo;s any connection between a messy desk and a messy mind.</p> <p>&ldquo;Of course,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p>Fudge.</p> <p>I hate losing arguments to my mom.</p> <p>To quote Regina, &ldquo;There are people who are genetically messy because their brain is hardwired for non-linear thinking. They are very right brained and artistic. They are out there in the world. They are social. They&rsquo;d rather do anything other than file. So when these people come home, they get an idea for a project, and everything else just goes on the floor.&rdquo;</p> <p>Uh oh. As of this moment I count seven, SEVEN unfinished projects in my living room alone. On the floor. Of course.</p> <p>So, how do non-linear thinkers clear their internal and external space? For me, this means less about relieving the footprint of clutter and more about maintaining a level of organization that allows me to spend the maximum amount of time pursuing creative projects.</p> <p>I asked Regina how she would handle a client like me. &ldquo;We&rsquo;d develop a workaround for you. We&rsquo;d find a fix that would solve the mess but not make you feel like you are losing your creative edge. For example, I have clients who have piles of clothes cluttering their bedrooms because they hate hanging up their clothes. They argue that, &lsquo;the clothes are just going to come off the hangers anyway so why put them on the hangers to begin with?&rsquo; &nbsp;Since I&rsquo;m never going to convince the clients that hanging up their clothes isn&rsquo;t a total waste of their time, my attitude is, &lsquo;If you just can&rsquo;t stand putting your clothes on hangers, let&rsquo;s go get you some really awesome looking hooks.&rsquo; Take the sticking point &mdash; the hangers &mdash; out of the equation.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;Could clearing clutter really be this easy?</p> <p>The answer is yes. Unfortunately, clearing a messy desk is easier than clearing a messy mind, because of what Regina calls &ldquo;Head Trash.&rdquo;</p> <p>Head Trash is made of the negative messages that loop in our heads that make us feel bad about ourselves. &ldquo;My college degree is worthless.&rdquo; &ldquo;I have a bad marriage.&rdquo; &ldquo;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stick-to-an-exercise-plan">Why can&rsquo;t I go to the gym</a>?&rdquo; Head Trash is insidious because it gets fed all the time.</p> <p>In her new book &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0985766182/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0985766182&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=lx04-20">Psychic Debris, Crowded Closets: The Relationship between the Stuff in Your Head and What&rsquo;s Under Your Bed</a><i>,&quot; </i>Regina gives her readers some strategies on how to dump Head Trash and clean up the house at the same time.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Write Down&nbsp;Your Head Trash</h2> <p>To quote <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pogo_-_Earth_Day_1971_poster.jpg">Pogo</a>, &ldquo;We have met the enemy and he is us.&rdquo; To combat Head Trash, first you have to know what you&rsquo;re up against. Write down all the mean things you say to yourself. Every time you start trash talking yourself, start the conversation again with nicer dialogue.&nbsp;</p> <p>Even Regina falls victim to Head Trash. &ldquo;The other night I got out of the shower and caught myself worrying over some new line in my skin. Why is negativity the first thing? Why is the default position to put yourself down? Instead of continuing to stare at my new wrinkle, I told myself, &lsquo;Regina, nice shoulders!&rsquo; And then I walked away from the mirror.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Your life is a book. Repeating the narrative keeps you from getting out of that bad chapter in your life,&rdquo; counsels Regina. &ldquo;The storyline must move forward. When you find yourself listening to Head Trash say THE END out loud and start a new chapter. Turn the page.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <h2>Look at Your Clutter.&nbsp;How Does That Make You&nbsp;Feel?</h2> <p>After making a list of all your Head Trash, look at your space and look at how you talk about yourself in that regard. For example, after living with bed sheets tacked up over my windows for the last five years, I finally went out and bought drapes. These drapes have yet to be installed for a variety of reasons, all relating to my Head Trash. &ldquo;These might be too long. I don&rsquo;t want to have to hem them.&rdquo; &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t put them up until I install the window molding.&rdquo; &ldquo;I hope I like how these hang because returning them is going to be such a drag.&rdquo; After five years of searching for the perfect drapes, I still don&rsquo;t have confidence in my choice. I asked Regina how I should approach this kind of issue.</p> <p>&ldquo;You can make your space what you want to be,&rdquo; explains Regina. &ldquo;But decluttering your space can&rsquo;t be successful if you don&rsquo;t have clarity of what your space will look like when you are done. Create a vision board of your perfect space by either by cutting photos out of magazines or on Pinterist. My vision has great art. My vision does not have two crock pots.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Once you&rsquo;ve created your vision for your space, enlist some help in the decision making process and to declutter. If this were pleasurable, you would do it in one second. Ask a friend whose taste you admire, to help you pare down your closet to only the clothes that make you look and feel great about yourself.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Ironically, many people avoid decluttering because they are afraid that they are decluttering <i>incorrectly</i>. To make the experience go faster have a declutter party with wine and snacks. Explain that you can accept criticism from friends at the party if it&rsquo;s made with kindness. Take turns clearing each person&rsquo;s home.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <h2>Practice Living in the&nbsp;Present</h2> <p>Regina counsels her clients to bury their <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/trader-joes-vs-costco-whats-a-better-place-to-shop">Costco</a> cards. &ldquo;You don&rsquo;t live in the Adirondacks circa 1804. Yes, you may use the 12 cans of Ajax you bought in bulk to clean your house in the future, but in the present, they are just making your house messy.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;American consumer culture has done a great job brainwashing us into believing we need all this stuff. When I help people organize their stuff, I&rsquo;m really helping them ditch a lot of broken promises and shattered dreams. Exercise equipment, lotions, everything is really dusty. They buy it, they don&rsquo;t use it, and then the Head Trash kicks in. Then they go back out and buy more stuff that promises to make them feel better about themselves. It&rsquo;s a vicious cycle.&ldquo;</p> <h2>Make Connections With&nbsp;People, Not Things&nbsp;</h2> <p>I asked Regina if she thinks that clutter is a specifically American problem.</p> <p>&ldquo;Yes. America is the only nation where the pursuit of happiness is a right. The rhetoric of this country is hardwired into us, and is the foundation of the American Dream.&nbsp;While there are over one hundred international members of the National Organization of Organizers, and research shows that bad clutter is everywhere, in the United States we&rsquo;ve taken the language of democracy and we&rsquo;ve monetized it. Americans have 3.2% of the kids in the world, but buy 40% of the toys. Over the last fifty years, over the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/our-high-high-standard-of-living-1">top spending has become so culturally acceptable</a>, that the American Dream is no longer within grasp of many people. Adult children living with their parents was totally normal behavior up until this last generation. Now, people who must live with their parents for budgetary reasons feel like failures.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Is it surprising that prisons and storage facilities are both booming industries in the United States? We Americans, we&rsquo;re the best at putting stuff away&hellip;in the wrong place.&rdquo;</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/talking-trash-is-your-messy-mind-the-cause-of-your-messy-house">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/11-unusual-ways-to-sell-your-stuff">11 Unusual Ways to Sell Your Stuff</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-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make 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/7-reasons-why-self-storage-is-a-really-bad-idea">7 Reasons Why Self-Storage Is a Really Bad Idea</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-downsize-and-declutter">How to Downsize and 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/one-month-to-better-simpler-living-30-small-changes-to-make">One Month to Better, Simpler Living: 30 Small Changes to Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization Personal Development decluttering Mental Clutter simple living Wed, 27 Feb 2013 10:48:33 +0000 Max Wong 968067 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Things to Do Before the New Year http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-before-the-new-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-things-to-do-before-the-new-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4682447648_0178d6dc77_z.jpg" alt="couple with champagne" title="couple with champagne" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Before you know it another year will have passed and we&rsquo;ll be on to 2013. In anticipation of that eagerly awaited fresh start, I thought it pertinent to remind you of a few loose ends you might want to take care of so you can kick off January 1 with a clean slate. To help you stay on track, here are 25 things you should do before the New Year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-new-things-to-do-today">25 New Things to Do Today</a>)</p> <h3>1. Do a Deep Clean of Your Home</h3> <p>Many of us do a spring clean, but our homes could probably use concentrated TLC more than once a year. So you can tackle all the problems areas head on, I&rsquo;ve written this <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fall-cleaning-101-the-spic-and-span-basics-of-making-your-home-sparkle">check list on how to clean your home in the fall</a>.</p> <h3>2. Concentrate on Unfinished Projects</h3> <p>You know that project you were excited about for a couple days then pushed to wayside for any number of reasons? Revisit it and finish it so you can enjoy a sense of accomplishment and have peace of mind before the year ends.</p> <h3>3. Make Last-Minute Donations to Boost Your Tax Deductions</h3> <p>Round up anything you don&rsquo;t want anymore, and send it off to an organization that can put it to better use. Look under the bed and in the attic, rummage through the garage and basement, and pull things out of your closet that you no longer want or need, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cleaning-out-for-a-cause-make-a-noncash-tax-deductible-donation">giving them to a good cause</a> so you can write the donation off later.</p> <h3>4. Plan Meals Based on What&rsquo;s Already in Your Fridge and Pantry</h3> <p>Instead of going grocery shopping for the last month of the year, make a list of ingredients using what&rsquo;s already in your fridge and pantry and plan meals based on what you have. You&rsquo;ll save money and get rid of foods that will expire if you leave them in there too long.</p> <h3>5. Reconnect With a Friend With Whom You&rsquo;ve Lost Touch</h3> <p>Most of us are well-meaning people, but sometimes life gets in the way. If you&rsquo;ve lost touch with a friend or family member this year (or for a few years even), give them a call or send an e-mail to reestablish the connection.</p> <h3>6. Clean Out Your E-mail Inbox and Folders</h3> <p>Follow-up on unanswered e-mails, delete expired messages, and otherwise organize your e-mail and its folders to make life a little easier on yourself when it&rsquo;s time to get back to work.<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <h3>7. Get Your Receipts Together to Start Preparing Your Taxes</h3> <p>As soon as the New Year starts, I&rsquo;m ready to go to the tax guy. My taxes are usually filed by the end of February because of this proactive procedure. It&rsquo;s a huge burden lifted. Get busy now to save yourself a lot of stress later.</p> <h3>8. Schedule a Physical With Your Doctor &nbsp;</h3> <p>If it&rsquo;s been a while since your last checkup, get to the doctor to make sure all is well.</p> <h3>9. Go to the Dentist for a Checkup</h3> <p>I know, I know &ndash; nobody likes the dentist. But it&rsquo;s important to take care of your chompers on a regular basis. If you&rsquo;ve skipped a couple cleanings, get to the dentist as soon as possible.</p> <h3>10. Hit the After-Holiday Sales to Stock Up for Next Year <b><br /> </b></h3> <p>This is one of my favorite activities! After Christmas has gone for another year, hit up your favorite discount department store to stock up on wrapping paper, gift bags, and all manner of holiday paraphernalia at big savings.</p> <h3>11. Make Short-Term New Year&rsquo;s Goals</h3> <p>Notice I didn&rsquo;t call these &ldquo;resolutions.&rdquo; The reason for that is because resolutions are a waste of time because we think too big when making them. Instead, think about smaller, reasonably attainable goals to concentrate on in the new year. I promise you&rsquo;ll have more success in achieving them than those lofty goals you&rsquo;ve made in the past.&nbsp;</p> <h3>12. Host a Holiday Party to Spread the Good Cheer</h3> <p>Get everybody together for one last hurrah before getting back to the grind.</p> <h3>13. Cut the Clutter in Your Home by Selling Unwanted Items Online&nbsp;</h3> <p>This is never a bad idea, but it&rsquo;s very useful this time of year to help offset the cost of the holidays. Sells old books, DVDs, clothes, electronics, appliances &ndash; really anything that you think someone else could use &ndash; to earn a bit of extra income as the year comes to a close.</p> <h3>14. Update Your Resume Just in Case</h3> <p>You never know what can happen in the blink of an eye, so it&rsquo;s best to be ready. Update your resume and bio so you can start looking for a new job if you lose the one you have or so you can start the New Year hitting the ground running in the search for a better job.&nbsp;</p> <h3>15. Change the Oil in Your Vehicle</h3> <p>Every six months or 3,000 miles. If you&rsquo;re past due, get to the mechanic now.</p> <h3>16. Go on a Mini-Vacation</h3> <p>The holidays can take a toll on your sanity &mdash; I know that better than anyone. If you&rsquo;re at your wit&rsquo;s end, take a few days off by taking a mini-vacation in a nearby, inexpensive place where nobody knows your name.</p> <h3>17. Use Up About-to-Expire Daily Deal Coupons&nbsp;</h3> <p>I have more deals than I have time, so I plan to concentrate on using them up instead of spending more money before ringing in 2013.</p> <h3>18. Start a New Exercise Routine</h3> <p>A lot of people plan to start exercising Jan. 1 or shortly thereafter, but why not get a head start? Start your new exercise routine now so you&rsquo;re already in the thick of it when the new year begins.</p> <h3>19. Create a Monthly Meal Plan for January</h3> <p>I started doing this a few months ago, and it&rsquo;s been a blessing for my health and wallet. This December, sit down and create a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-eat-every-day-a-month-of-frugal-meals">monthly meal plan</a> &mdash; at least for dinner &mdash; so you know what you&rsquo;re eating every night of the week. It&rsquo;s really incredible how much healthier your eating habits become when your meals are on paper.</p> <h3>20. Complete Small Home-Improvement Projects</h3> <p>By small, I mean change burnt-out light bulbs, tossing out dead plants, washing the windows, etc. Ya know, those things you&rsquo;ve been meaning to do but keep putting off.</p> <h3>21. Update and Consolidate Your Contacts</h3> <p>There&rsquo;s no better time of year than holiday time to update your contacts &mdash; especially if you plan to send out cards or host a party. Your workload will be all the much easier than trying to do it in piece meal.</p> <h3>22. Revamp Your Budget to Save More Money&nbsp;</h3> <p>Sit down and evaluate your financial situation. If you spent too much this year or didn&rsquo;t save enough (not always one in the same, mind you), make a plan to cut out some expenses you can live without and implement strategies to save more money along the way.</p> <h3>23. Clean Up Your TiVo&nbsp;</h3> <p>My TiVo is clogged with all kinds of content I thought I wanted to watch, but really don&rsquo;t. If you&rsquo;re like me, get rid of the junk. Mid-season replacements are coming anyway &mdash; so you&rsquo;ll need the extra room.</p> <h3>24. Make Provisions for a Disaster or Other Emergency&nbsp;</h3> <p>Let Hurricane Sandy be a lesson to us all. Turns out we&rsquo;re not prepared for impending disaster. To make a terrible situation like that a little more bearable when it strikes, start stocking up on disaster supplies now so you&rsquo;re not left scrambling (or worse, up the proverbial creek without a paddle) when the &quot;ish&quot; hits the fan.</p> <h3>25. Count Your Loose Change, and Deposit It Into Your Savings</h3> <p>Have a jar of coins you&rsquo;ve been keeping all year long? Count it out, wrap it up, and deposit it into your savings account. You&rsquo;ll be surprised at how much is in there. Doesn&rsquo;t look like much, but it adds up quickly.</p> <p><em>Have any ideas to add to this list of things you should do before the New Year? Let me know in the comments below. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-before-the-new-year">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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</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/sock-it-to-me-15-uses-for-old-socks">Sock It to Me: 15 Uses for Old Socks</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-ways-to-have-a-frugal-friday">15 Ways to Have a Frugal Friday</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/lessons-in-frugality-from-the-walking-dead">Lessons in Frugality From &quot;The Walking Dead&quot;</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/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting General Tips Lifestyle acheiving goals decluttering New Year's Tue, 11 Dec 2012 11:00:33 +0000 Mikey Rox 955764 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Have a Perfect No-Spend Weekend! http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-perfect-no-spend-weekend <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-have-a-perfect-no-spend-weekend" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3935702554_5bd026824e_z.jpg" alt="community garden" title="community garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all want to be to make getting out of debt a bigger priority in our lives, but what do you do if you&rsquo;re not quite ready to make the full commitment (especially around the holidays) or if you&rsquo;re not quite sure you&rsquo;ll be able to handle it?</p> <p>The perfect solution is a No-Spend Weekend! You&rsquo;ll reap the benefits of cutting-back without the time commitment. After you get your feet wet with a No-Spend Weekend you just might be ready to try it for a year! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-a-spending-fast-in-16-easy-steps">How to do a Spending Fast in 16 (Easy!) Steps</a>)</p> <h3>1. Remember: Potlucks Are Your Friend!</h3> <p>There are a ton of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-potluck-parties-that-help-you-share-the-wealth">different potluck options</a>. Get creative and try breakfast, dessert, or appetizer potlucks. Recently I went to a pumpkin potluck, and everyone brought something around the pumpkin theme. It was a very clever idea! When everyone brings something the burden is lifted from one person, and you just might get to try some new foods!</p> <h3>2. Clear Out the Clutter</h3> <p>Go through everything in the closets, in the basement, under the beds, in the dressers.</p> <h3>3. Volunteer</h3> <p>Put a deposit in your karma bank, and help a person or organization in need.</p> <h3>4. Tap Into Your Library or Community for Free Events</h3> <p>Every city has <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">free events</a>; pick up a local paper and look online for listings.</p> <h3>5. Nap</h3> <p>Relax! A no-spend weekend is the perfect time to take that nap you keep dreaming about.</p> <h3>6. Wash All Your Linens</h3> <p>Nothing is better than clean sheets!</p> <h3>7. Have a Sleepover</h3> <p>Channel your childhood, grab your sleeping bags, and stay up late telling ghost stories.</p> <h3>8. Sign Up for a Free Week at a Gym</h3> <p>Get out of a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fitness-for-people-who-hate-exercise">work-out rut</a> quite like switching up your gym &mdash; even if it is just for a week (or a weekend)!</p> <h3>9. Try Out New Hairstyles</h3> <p>A whole new look for you could be as simple as parting your hair on the opposite side, slicking your hair back, conquering that fishtail braid, or simply pulling your hair up just a slightly higher ponytail.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite no-spend activities, and have you tried a no-spend weekend?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anna-newell-jones">Anna Newell Jones</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-perfect-no-spend-weekend">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/flashback-friday-143-fun-and-frugal-ways-to-spend-your-weekend">Flashback Friday: 143 Fun and Frugal Ways to Spend Your Weekend</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/30-free-ways-to-cheer-yourself-up">30 Free Ways to Cheer Yourself Up</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/11-unusual-ways-to-sell-your-stuff">11 Unusual Ways to Sell Your Stuff</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/5-financial-holidays-id-like-to-see">5 Financial Holidays I&#039;d Like to See</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/ease-into-minimalism-with-some-simple-steps">Ease Into Minimalism With Some Simple Steps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living decluttering free things to do weekend Fri, 07 Dec 2012 11:00:31 +0000 Anna Newell Jones 955762 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Cheap Ways to Update a Wardrobe You Hate http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-update-a-wardrobe-you-hate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-cheap-ways-to-update-a-wardrobe-you-hate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6962659942_41b1888027_z.jpg" alt="clothing swap" title="clothing swap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you hate your wardrobe, are sick of everything you own, and want to go shopping already, hold up! Here are eight cheap ways to update a wardrobe you hate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wardrobe-makeover-for-moms">10 Steps to Update Your Look on a Budget</a>)</p> <h3>1. Get Rid of Everything You Feel &ldquo;Meh&rdquo; About</h3> <p>Those pants that were a great deal but pinch your ankles in a slightly strange way &mdash; get them out of your closet, and stop feeling bad that you&rsquo;re not wearing them! You know that shirt that you bought from your favorite store that you <em>really want</em> to work but makes you look like you&rsquo;re built like a lumberjack? Yep, take it out of your closet too!&nbsp;</p> <p>You don&rsquo;t have to keep clothes just because you bought got a great deal on them. If in your gut you feel like, &ldquo;I really <em>should</em> be wearing that more...&rdquo; stop putting yourself through that agony, and let yourself get rid of it. It takes a lot of time to organize and maintain things; the less you have, the more time you give yourself.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re not quite ready to part with those pieces that you really want to work, put them in a storage container for a season or two, and then see how you feel about them when you see them again. Still not ready to part? Let them sit a little longer. It will get easier, and before long you&rsquo;ll be waving goodbye to those ill-fitting items that were such a good deal.</p> <p>Wearing things that you don&rsquo;t feel your best in is a sure way to get depressed about your wardrobe quickly. When you get rid of those &ldquo;meh&rdquo; clothes, then you&rsquo;ll be left with only the clothes that you <em>do</em> feel great in. Suddenly, your wardrobe in looking better and <a href="http://andthenwesaved.com/1-tip-for-having-style-on-the-cheap/">you&rsquo;re feeling better about yourself too</a>, and all without a single penny being spent!</p> <h3>2. Trade Clothes With Your Friends</h3> <p>You know that pile of clothes you created from the first tip? While those pants might pinch your ankles in the weirdest way, they could fit your friend perfectly. You can host a large-scale formal <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-potluck-parties-that-help-you-share-the-wealth">clothing swap</a> or just get some of your friends together one night and see who wants to trade what. This isn&rsquo;t just a tip for the ladies; guys can swap too! Bonus idea &mdash; have everyone bring a dessert so you don&rsquo;t have to foot the bill for the food.</p> <h3>3. Go to Buy-Sell-Trade Stores</h3> <p>If your friends don&rsquo;t want to trade clothes with you, then seek out your city&rsquo;s buy-sell-trade shops. I love Buffalo Exchange and <a href="http://ilovescout.com">Scout: Dry Goods and Trade</a>. If the store chooses to buy the items you bring in, they will give you either money (yay!) or store credit, and you can pick out something new-to-you that you truly like.</p> <p>Anything that you can&rsquo;t get rid of after the second or third trips, donate to the thrift store. Be sure to get a receipt so you can get a tax benefit at the end of the year.</p> <h3>4. Use Scarves</h3> <p>Before I was a frugal lady I used to hate this idea. I always thought, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not 70, okay?! I&rsquo;m not going to wear scarves!&rdquo;&nbsp;Turns out I was completely wrong.&nbsp;</p> <p>Scarves are easy to come by. They&rsquo;re available in a wide variety of patterns, colors, and textures; and they're crazy versatile. You can wrap them around your head, tie them to your bag, use them as a belt, and tie them around your neck. (You can check out more <a href="http://andthenwesaved.com/how-to-use-scarves-to-pump-up-your-style-on-the-cheap/">scarf styling ideas</a> on my website.)</p> <p>Scarves have a way of making things look just a little bit fancier. Three cheers for scarves!</p> <h3>5. Accessorize</h3> <p>You can find really <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/affordable-accessories-to-kickstart-your-style">cheap accessories</a> all over the place, and they can be used with a ton of different outfits to give your look a different vibe.</p> <h3>6. Re-Dye Your Clothes</h3> <p>Hit up the hobby store for a couple of packets of dye and bring new life to those old clothes. When clothes get faded from too many washes, it&rsquo;s easy to feel like they look wacky, worn-out, and old (and it&rsquo;s usually because they do!). You can re-dye your clothes the same color they originally were (I do this a lot with black cotton pants), or you can completely change the look of the item by experimenting and dyeing the item a new color (although you do have to be open-minded and ready for it to not turn out well, just in case).</p> <h3>7. Upcycle Your Clothes</h3> <p>This one might take a little practice, but check out some books from the library to get ideas about how to make the clothes you hate something you would love to wear again. Then pull out the sewing machine (or try one of these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/no-sew-ways-to-update-your-wardrobe">no-sew ways to update your wardrobe</a>), and let your inner fashion designer loose.</p> <h3>8. Enlist a Stylish Friend</h3> <p>Some people just have a knack for putting together great outfits. We all know at least one of these people! Ask them to check out your wardrobe and help you come up with some new combinations. Having a different set of eyes look at your closet and brainstorm new looks with you might just be all it takes to start feeling a lot better about your wardrobe.</p> <p><em>How do you cheaply change up your style when you&rsquo;re feeling bored with your wardrobe?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anna-newell-jones">Anna Newell Jones</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-update-a-wardrobe-you-hate">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/guys-upgrade-your-style-without-buying-new-clothes">Guys: Upgrade Your Style Without Buying New Clothes</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/frugal-ways-to-update-your-wardrobe-for-spring">Frugal Ways to Update Your Wardrobe for Spring</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-ways-to-update-your-winter-wardrobe-on-the-cheap">10 Ways to Update Your Winter Wardrobe on the Cheap</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-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</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-5-best-leather-cleaners">The 5 Best Leather Cleaners</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Style decluttering organizing your closet update wardrobe Thu, 11 Oct 2012 10:36:40 +0000 Anna Newell Jones 954987 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Boost Your Energy and Get More Done http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-boost-your-energy-and-get-more-done <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-boost-your-energy-and-get-more-done" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/leaping_couple.jpg" alt="Couple jumping" title="Couple jumping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're feeling sluggish and can't seem to get anything done, perhaps it's time to work on your internal store of energy. By reinvigorating yourself, you'll be able to get more things done and have an easier time completing tasks. Here are changes you can make in your lifestyle to increase your energy.</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Alternative-Treatments-Relaxation-18941471">RELATED:&nbsp;Alternative Treatments for Relaxation</a></p> <h2>Get Better Sleep</h2> <p>Sleep is key when it comes to fatigue. It's a time when your body rests and regenerates itself for yet another day. If you're having problems with sleep, get a physical to first see if there's something off with your body healthwise. Perhaps you aren't getting enough iron, or maybe there's a deeper health issue that needs to be rectified like thyroid problems. Start practicing good sleep habits like going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, making sure you're only exposed to dim lighting when it's close to bedtime, and experimenting to find your sleep sweet spot to make sure you're not sleeping too much or too little. Here are more suggestions on <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Tips-Fall-Asleep-22072102">how to improve your sleep</a>.</p> <h2>Move Around More</h2> <p>Even though it may seem like exercising will make you more tired, the truth is, engaging in physical activity will increase your energy. Set a regular schedule and try to work out at least three times a week. And if you're feeling like you're stuck in a slump at work, even a brisk 10-minute walk will energize you. Challenge yourself by taking the stairs and investing in a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/Omron-HJ-112-Digital-Pocket-Pedometer/dp/B0000U1OCI/ref=sr_1_2?s=sporting-goods&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1346176524&amp;sr=1-2">pedometer</a> ($22, originally $32) to motivate you. A pedometer is basically a gadget that measures how much you walk a day. The recommended amount of steps for an active lifestyle is <a target="_blank" href="http://www.3fatchicks.com/pedometer-facts-how-many-steps-to-lose-weight/">10,000 a day</a>.</p> <h2>Clean Your Home</h2> <p>Your home is a place for you to unwind and relax, so having a cluttered home can make you antsy. Gazing upon a mound of clothing instead of open, clean space is enough to make anyone stressed out. Having an untidy home is like facing a visible, never-ending to-do list all the time. Give yourself a break and start tackling the clutter in your home. If it seems overwhelming, start by resolving to dispose of one type of item a day. Here's <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/List-Things-Dispose-24575006">a list</a> to get you started.</p> <h2>Eat and Drink Right</h2> <p>You are what you eat, and what you ingest can definitely have a big impact on your energy. What you drink is also important; being dehydrated can make you feel fatigued. Drinking too much coffee can lead you to crash after the effect wears off. Too much sugar can also spike your blood sugar, which, although it can give you a boost of energy, will quickly drop and leave you feeling more tired than ever. Watch what you eat and what you drink. Drinking coffee or alcohol too close to bedtime can also affect your sleep.</p> <h2>Have Some &quot;Me&quot; Time</h2> <p>Take a moment to yourself to relax after a long day. It's important to manage your stress levels because stress can definitely sap your energy. Read a favorite book or watch a funny YouTube video to kick back and relax. Be sure to pick an activity that won't stress you out even further. For example, watching reality TV can possibly put someone in a more negative frame of mind.</p> <h2>Meditate</h2> <p>Pick up the fine art of meditation; it can work wonders for your brain and even help you bounce back better from stress. In fact, <a target="_blank" href="http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/01/24/brain-structure-changes-after-meditation/22859.html">scientists have found</a> that people who have trained in meditation have different brain activity than those who haven't trained. They respond better to situations that would cause us to lose emotional control.</p> <h2>Take a Break</h2> <p>Perhaps what you really need is a break from work. Go on a vacation to relieve your stress and renew your energy.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> If you&#039;re sleepy, sluggish, or feeling sapped, don&#039;t just sit there — try these tricks to get your energy back up. </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 alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/savvysugar-300-small.jpg" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>SavvySugar</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Taking-Breaks-Increase-Productivity-24324484">The Key to&nbsp;Doing More in&nbsp;Less Time</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Sleep-Affects-Productivity-24031442">How Sleep Affects Productivity</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Useful-Cleaning-Products-24479766">9 Cleaning&nbsp;Products That Will&nbsp;Change You&nbsp;Life</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/7-ways-to-boost-your-energy-and-get-more-done">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/7-times-youre-wasting-mental-energy-without-realizing-it">7 Times You&#039;re Wasting Mental Energy Without Realizing It</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/talking-trash-is-your-messy-mind-the-cause-of-your-messy-house">Talking Trash: Is Your Messy Mind the Cause of Your Messy House?</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/7-money-leaks-you-need-to-plug">7 Money Leaks You Need to Plug</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-benefits-of-being-a-morning-person">9 Benefits of Being a Morning Person</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/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development alert decluttering energy sleep well Mon, 03 Sep 2012 10:36:42 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 952467 at http://www.wisebread.com Silly Sounding, but Simple: Use Your Stuff http://www.wisebread.com/silly-sounding-but-simple-use-your-stuff <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/silly-sounding-but-simple-use-your-stuff" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5193853777_5cb1aaacf7_z.jpg" alt="woman and hairclip" title="woman and hairclip" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've written before about how <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/help-from-a-former-pack-rat-getting-rid-of-stuff">I'm a reformed (or, at least, reforming) pack rat</a>. Last month, when I was going through bins of old stuff at my parents' house, I rediscovered one of what I deem to be the sadder aspects of my particular pack-ratness &mdash; not using nice things.</p> <p>In high school, I liked the cartoon &quot;Sailor Moon.&quot; Around that time, I went on vacation with my family to Florida, and I was thrilled to find these awesome, straight-from-Japan Sailor Moon stickers at a toy store. So I bought 'em. I did a lot of letter writing at the time, and I used some of them on letters I mailed to friends.</p> <p>But the majority of those stickers? When I was home earlier this year, I found them in a bin in the basement. I had thought that they were so nice, so precious, that I had to save them for the perfect time.</p> <p>The reality is that usually, there isn't a perfect time to use things like this.</p> <p>It's a lesson I'm still trying to learn. If I get nice things &mdash; things that are high-quality, delicate, or that I just really enjoy &mdash; I want to make sure that they last, and that I enjoy them as much as I can. And I don't think that's a bad urge. Taking good care of items, using those items judiciously, and appreciating the things you have are all important parts of frugality. But there are times even recently when I've taken it too far &mdash; there was the truffle oil from Italy that sat on my shelf for so long, waiting for the right meal, that the rich truffle flavor faded; there was the amazing-looking dress I splurged on that sat in the back of my closet for six months because I feared that I'd spill food all over it (I'm clumsy, so this is not unfounded).</p> <p>I've been working on enjoying the things I have <em>now</em> &mdash; not &quot;soon,&quot; not when&nbsp;&quot;the time is right.&quot; I've been wearing that dress out on dinner dates. And while the truffle oil may be long gone, the fancy cocktail bitters I received as a gift?&nbsp;I'm always thrilled to mix a drink with them for guests at my apartment.</p> <p>It's something my mom has been working on as well. I credit her for much of my wonderful frugality, but this mindset is something I might have also picked up from her. She's told me before about the drawer of nice nightgowns she used to have and never wore. I called her while working on this post to ask her about why she didn't wear them. Her answer? &quot;Because they were too nice.&quot;</p> <p>But, while we were having that conversation, she also told me about how one of her recent basement-emptying jaunts revealed the box of lead crystal glasses my parents received as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alternative-wedding-registry-ideas">wedding gift</a>. She decided to put them into regular household rotation. &quot;I think that's something that's more of my generation,&quot; she said. &quot;You had one set of dishes for everyday, and one set of dishes for company. But it's just so silly [to keep them stored away]. What, are we not good enough for the nice glasses?&quot;</p> <p>Yup; it is silly to keep them stored away. Here's to enjoying and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gratitude-and-frugality">appreciating the things we have</a> &mdash; today.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/silly-sounding-but-simple-use-your-stuff">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-tyranny-of-stuff">The Tyranny of Stuff</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/how-to-sell-your-crap-a-book-review-and-tips">How to Sell Your Crap: A Book Review and Tips</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/sock-it-to-me-15-uses-for-old-socks">Sock It to Me: 15 Uses for Old Socks</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-do-before-the-new-year">25 Things to Do Before the New Year</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-wealthy-are-you-beyond-your-bank-account">How Wealthy Are You Beyond Your Bank Account?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle appreciation decluttering pay more for quality Fri, 31 Aug 2012 10:24:42 +0000 Meg Favreau 952497 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Unusual Ways to Sell Your Stuff http://www.wisebread.com/11-unusual-ways-to-sell-your-stuff <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-unusual-ways-to-sell-your-stuff" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/468137657_e89c3f167e_z.jpg" alt="car boot sale" title="car boot sale" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you want to purge your stuff? Are you decluttering, or perhaps even selling everything to prepare for a life of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less" target="_blank">full-time travel</a>? By all means use the more conventional routes to lighten your load; they are discussed in these two posts:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-all-your-crap">How to Get Rid of All Your Crap</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-crap-a-book-review-and-tips">How to Sell Your Crap: A Book Review and Tips</a></li> </ul> <p>But for the path less traveled, here are a few creative techniques to enhance your selling spree (and maybe even have some fun in the process). (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-successful-garage-sale">How to Have a Successful Garage Sale</a>)</p> <h2>1. Sell at Local Colleges</h2> <p>Students love a bargain, and they are good candidates for just about anything you're selling &mdash; especially at the beginning of the school year when students are moving in.</p> <p>You can post flyers around the school and create listings in the classified sections of college forums.</p> <h2>2. Cross-Selling</h2> <p>If you are selling locally, encourage your buyer to pick up the item at your place; once you get them in the door, they might want to buy other things. (This worked a charm for me when I was selling everything I owned.) Of course, be prudent about the circumstances around strangers coming into your home; by taking precautions like having a friend over if you're alone.</p> <h2>3. Have a Raffle</h2> <p>You can do all kinds of things with the raffle concept. You can raffle off individual items (usually of higher value), as well as &ldquo;kits&rdquo; or &ldquo;baskets&rdquo; of related items of a theme (for example &ldquo;kitchen&rdquo; or &ldquo;toys&rdquo;). And depending on what you're raffling off, you can visit local clubs or specialty groups to raffle off some of your related &ldquo;kits&rdquo; (for example your bike and accoutrements might be of interest to members of a local cycling club).</p> <h2>4. Living Estate Sale</h2> <p>If you want a safe hands-off approach to selling the lot, a living estate sale is for you. There are organizations popping up everywhere offering this service; people come to your home and catalog everything to market and auction items off. They deal with the buyers, collect payments, and arrange pick-ups.</p> <h2>5. Raid My Closet Party</h2> <p>Invite your friends (and friends of friends) over to do as the name invites!</p> <h2>6. Car Boot Sales</h2> <p>These are big in Europe, where people gather to sell their wares out of their cars (usually on a blanket or table beside the car). You pay a small fee for your slot, which often goes to the hosting school or church.</p> <h2>7. Virtual Garage Sale</h2> <p>I know somebody who created a website with pictures and prices of everything they were selling, then promoted the website locally with flyers etc, as well as online with social media. They also used the site as a referral point for eBay and Craigslist listings, thus giving buyers more information and employing cross-selling strategies.</p> <h2>8. Post on Specialty Forums</h2> <p>For specialty items like fishing gear and mountain biking gear, use the classified section of an online forum related to the item you're selling.</p> <h2>9. Have a Yard Sale Clearance</h2> <p>Hopefully you'll get professional &ldquo;garage salers&rdquo; in; spot 'em and ask them to make an offer for everything. Expect to pretty much give it away. But if you want your stuff gone, there might be a simple pleasure in just watching somebody take it all.</p> <h2>10. Facebook</h2> <p>You can use Facebook in a few ways to sell your stuff. I've had success with simply posting a status update with various items for sale.</p> <p>You can also find dedicated Facebook groups for selling by performing searches like &ldquo;Buy or Sell in [insert the name of your town]&rdquo;.</p> <h2>11. Smartphone Applications</h2> <p>There are some creative ways to sell your stuff using smartphone-based applications and groups. Here are a couple:</p> <p><strong>Poshmark</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.poshmark.com">Poshmark</a>&nbsp;hosts real-time themed selling parties which you &ldquo;attend&rdquo; on your iPhone. Create listings with your phone to fit the event's theme (such as designer handbags, bold accessories, skirts &amp; scarfs, etc). When your item sells, Poshmark handles the payment and sends you a pre-paid pre-addressed shipping label (to anywhere in the US). They'll deduct a 20% commission fee from your earnings for this service, and it's currently only available to iPhone users in the US.</p> <p><strong>Rumgr</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.rumgr.com">Rumgr</a> is a location-based marketplace that allows you to list your items from your smartphone and shows your posts to people living in your area.</p> <p><em>Do you have any weird ways to sell your stuff? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unusual-ways-to-sell-your-stuff">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/10-easiest-items-to-flip-for-cash">10 Easiest Items to &quot;Flip&quot; for Cash</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/flashback-friday-55-brilliant-ways-to-turn-your-junk-into-cash">Flashback Friday: 55 Brilliant Ways to Turn Your Junk Into Cash</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-ways-to-get-rid-of-stuff-frugally">10 Ways to Get Rid of Stuff Frugally</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-sell-your-crap-a-book-review-and-tips">How to Sell Your Crap: A Book Review and Tips</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/clear-out-that-clutter-15-places-to-sell-your-stuff">Clear Out That Clutter: 15 Places to Sell Your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Extra Income Organization decluttering sell your stuff yard sales Wed, 29 Aug 2012 10:36:42 +0000 Nora Dunn 952404 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Reasons Why Self-Storage Is a Really Bad Idea http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-why-self-storage-is-a-really-bad-idea <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-reasons-why-self-storage-is-a-really-bad-idea" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2270207802_1c16be06c0_z_0.jpg" alt="self storage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to The Self Storage Association, there are roughly 49,000 storage facilities in the U.S. alone. Self storage has consistently been the fastest growing area of the commercial real estate industry, representing $22 billion in annual U.S. revenues in 2011. But why? Why are Americans so willing to saddle themselves with material albatrosses that sap their monthly income? Have we become such a nomadic and unsettled people that our consumerism can only keep up with our lifestyles through acres of augmented storage? I&rsquo;ll leave that up to the social and cultural critics to decide.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re considering entering the fray and renting a storage unit, or if you&rsquo;re rethinking the value you get out of your current storage arrangement, let me offer a few arguments against these businesses that dot our landscape. Here are seven reasons why renting a self-storage unit is a bad idea. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-tyranny-of-stuff">The Tyranny of Stuff</a>)</p> <h3>1. Most Stored Objects Depreciate in Value</h3> <p>Unless you&rsquo;re storing gold or silver (an ill-advised move at most storage facilities), the objects you&rsquo;re housing are probably depreciating in value. Though I know some storage situations are unavoidable (i.e., a last minute move for a job, family emergency, divorce), the pay-off long-term just doesn&rsquo;t seem worth it when you consider the replacement cost of the stored items.</p> <h3>2. Extra Offsite Storage Promotes Acquisition</h3> <p>Having overflow storage options at the ready encourages needless acquisition. Often, storage units enable <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/help-from-a-former-pack-rat-getting-rid-of-stuff">hoarding tendencies</a> and prevent us from moving on from objects and the places and times in our lives that they represent.</p> <h3>3. Storage Fees Can Be a Financial Drain</h3> <p>This one is obvious, but still insidious. There&rsquo;s something overwhelming about having a storage unit full of stuff. We tend to ignore it, become exhausted at the thought of moving it, and avoid figuring out how to get rid of it. Inertia sets in and we (almost gladly) fork over the $65.00 or $75.00 a month to maintain the status quo. After a few years of paying our monthly dues, we&rsquo;ve spent enough to buy to good used car and have nothing to show for it besides the same old anxiety-producing pile of stuff.</p> <h3>4. Storage Facilities Often Lack Adequate Security</h3> <p>There doesn&rsquo;t appear to be any uniform approach to security measures across the self-storage industry. Some facilities are well-lit, some aren&rsquo;t; some have attendants on-site, some don&rsquo;t; some units have solid walls and metal doors, others are made of wire and plywood. For an industry that&rsquo;s basking in the riches of a society on the move, why is there no self-governance, no rating system, and no standardized security?</p> <h3>5. If You Can Store It for Years, You Can Live Without It</h3> <p>Professional organizers and decluttering experts sing the same refrain &mdash; if you haven&rsquo;t used it in six months or a year, you can live without it. The same logic applies to the objects we&rsquo;re warehousing in our storage units. If you can box it up and lock it up for years, do you really need it? If it&rsquo;s not used regularly, what&rsquo;s its real value?</p> <h3>6. Unpaid Storage Bills Equal Secured Debt</h3> <p>Many folks don&rsquo;t think about the contents of their unit as security against delinquent storage payments. But it only takes few episodes of &quot;Storage Wars&quot; to be set straight on that point. Unpaid storage fees are made up, in part, by auctioning off the contents of each unit. In many cases, the contents can be sold and renters are still liable for the remaining balance. If you&rsquo;re storing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maintaining-memories-how-to-save-old-photographs">family photos</a>, heirlooms, or other memorabilia, is it worth the risk to potentially have your items held captive or sold to the highest bidder?</p> <h3>7. Storage Services Are a Questionable Value</h3> <p>Considering the cost, the tendency for objects to depreciate in value while in storage, the inertia that off-site storage can lead to, and the lack of uniform security of facilities, I have a hard time seeing the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-self-storage-units-are-more-sad-museums-than-savvy-solutions">value in long-term storage services</a>. It begs the question &mdash; wouldn&rsquo;t our money be better spent processing and organizing the items we have and purging what&rsquo;s left over?</p> <p>I realize that self-storage can be like a huge convenience when life throws you a curve ball. But as an ongoing strategy for managing the &ldquo;stuff&rdquo; in our lives, it&rsquo;s a losing proposition. Maybe it&rsquo;s time to grab a few friends, throw the doors open, load up the trunk, and have a yard sale.</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/7-reasons-why-self-storage-is-a-really-bad-idea">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/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve 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/how-to-downsize-and-declutter">How to Downsize and 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/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/10-budget-design-ideas-for-a-kids-playroom">10 Budget Design Ideas for a Kids&#039; Playroom</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/5-ways-self-storage-units-are-more-sad-museums-than-savvy-solutions">5 Ways Self Storage Units Are More Sad Museums Than Savvy Solutions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization decluttering hoarding renting self storage Wed, 22 Aug 2012 10:24:40 +0000 Kentin Waits 952263 at http://www.wisebread.com Sock It to Me: 15 Uses for Old Socks http://www.wisebread.com/sock-it-to-me-15-uses-for-old-socks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sock-it-to-me-15-uses-for-old-socks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sock_puppet.jpg" alt="Woman with a sock puppet" title="Woman with a sock puppet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="146" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, so too will the dryer eat one of your socks. What can you do with the lonely leftover? Of course you can make a puppet &mdash; but if you&rsquo;re not nine years old, these ideas will suit you better. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-recycle-and-reuse-old-t-shirts">15 Ways to Recycle and Reuse Old T-shirts</a>)</p> <h3>1. Make a Potpourri Bundle</h3> <p>Want your undies to have the fresh scent of apples and cinnamon? Stuff an old sock with potpourri, tie up the end with a rubber band, and pop it into the drawer. You can put the potpourri-filled socks wherever you want. For instance, I have very smelly shoes because I rarely wear socks; the potpourri helps make my stinky sneaks a bit more bearable.</p> <h3>2. Wash Your Baby</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re all out of clean wash clothes, grab a single sock, slip it on your hand and wash your bundle of joy until he or she is squeaky clean.</p> <h3>3. Dust and Polish Furniture</h3> <p>Forget those expensive Swiffers; you&rsquo;ve got a whole drawer of makeshift dust rags at your disposal. Spray a bit of furniture polish on the sock, put it on your hand, and dust away.</p> <h3>4. Level a Table</h3> <p>Have a wobbly table? I hate that. To eliminate the shakes, cut off a few small pieces of an old sock and stuff them under the leg until the table is level.</p> <h3>5. Apply Heat to Sore Muscles</h3> <p>When you&rsquo;ve got a pain in your neck &mdash; or any other part of your body &mdash; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-weird-and-wonderful-ways-to-use-rice">fill a sock with dry beans or rice</a>, and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so to create an instant, no-cost heating pad.</p> <h3>6. Keep Game Pieces Together</h3> <p>It totally annoys me when I&rsquo;m ready to play a game and set it up just to discover that some of the pieces are missing, rendering the game unplayable. To make sure that happens never again, the next time you pack up the game, put the small pieces in a sock so they all stay together. This is an especially great idea if you have kids.</p> <h3>7. Soothe Skin Irritation</h3> <p>When I was about three years old, I got chicken pox. Just a few of them. When I was 14, I got chicken pox again. A lot of them. It was one of the worst experiences of my life because my family and I were away from home, staying in a hotel, to attend a wedding. To help calm the itching, my mom put oatmeal in a sock and told me to take a bath with it. Afterward, I had to put dry socks on my hands so I didn't scratch myself to death. I also had shingles at age 25 &mdash; basically adult chicken pox. My body seems to reaaally love that virus.</p> <h3>8. Create a Pet Toy</h3> <p>For a cat, fill it with catnap and decorate it to look like a mouse. For a dog, take a long sock and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-diy-dog-toys-you-can-make-for-pennies">stuff the sewn end with a tennis ball</a>, then play tug-of-war with your buddy.</p> <h3>9. Cover an Ice Pack</h3> <p>You shouldn&rsquo;t apply an ice pack directly to your skin because you could inadvertently get frostbite. Instead, stuff a plastic baggie with ice and pop it in a sock so you can have a buffer between you and the cold.</p> <h3>10. Polish Shoes</h3> <p>You can use all manner of old fabric to polish your shoes, and a sock is no exception. Dip, shine, stroll.&nbsp;</p> <h3>11. Protect Your Valuables When Moving</h3> <p>You wrap large breakable items in bubble wrap or newspaper, but what about those small items? Rather than wasting valuable supplies that you&rsquo;ll need for other items, put the small stuff in socks to keep them safe in transit.</p> <h3>12. Donate to Pet Charity</h3> <p>What use does your local ASPCA have for old socks? For starters, they can cut them up and make nice, soft beds for lonely, homeless animals. Helping those cuties out will make you feel fuzzy inside, I promise.</p> <h3>13. Slip on Golf Clubs</h3> <p>This isn&rsquo;t the most attractive way to protect your clubs, but if you&rsquo;re in a pinch an old sock will do the trick.</p> <h3>14. Avoid Paint Stains on Shoes</h3> <p>This is another thing that really burns my muffin. I always kick myself when I&rsquo;m painting and I get the paint someplace I don&rsquo;t want it. To keep the paint off your shoes &mdash; although you should be wearing your worst shoes for this anyway &ndash; slip an old sock over the shoe so it won&rsquo;t matter <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-learn-from-your-mistakes">if you make a mistake</a>.</p> <h3>15. Clean Dry Erase and Chalk Boards</h3> <p>I wish I had thought about this in college, because the eraser for my dry erase board disappeared quite often. If that happens to you, just find an old sock to clean the board. You can be sure that nobody will steal the sock. And if they do, you might want to keep an eye on that guy.</p> <p><em>Have other cool uses for old socks? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sock-it-to-me-15-uses-for-old-socks">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/fall-cleaning-101-the-spic-and-span-basics-of-making-your-home-sparkle">Fall Cleaning 101: The Spic-and-Span Basics of Making Your Home Sparkle</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-do-before-the-new-year">25 Things to Do Before the New Year</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-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</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/quickly-removing-scratches-from-cds-and-dvds">Quickly Remove Scratches From CDs and DVDs</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-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY General Tips Lifestyle decluttering reusing old clothes reusing socks Tue, 22 May 2012 10:24:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 929248 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Great Alternatives to Remodeling Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-alternatives-to-remodeling-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-great-alternatives-to-remodeling-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/3811108860_42c4477f0d_b.jpg" alt="woman and cat in living room" title="woman and cat in living room" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If your home feels a little &ldquo;blah,&rdquo; but a new kitchen or bath is not in the budget, try some of these less-involved solutions. They are all designed to freshen up your look or make your living space more usable.&nbsp;Plus, they cost less than a major remodel and are considerably less stressful as well! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-home-decorating-ideas-for-under-5">15 Home Decorating Ideas for Under $5</a>)</p> <h2>1. Try New Trim</h2> <p>One way to add a little &ldquo;oomph&rdquo; to a room or hallway is to hire a good trim carpenter to install a high-quality trim or crown molding. Douglas Breaker, CEO of <a href="http://www.homefinder.com/">HomeFinder.com</a>, swears by this small update that can really dress up a house. Since it comes in a variety of looks, you&rsquo;ll likely find the perfect option for your age and size of home.</p> <h2>2. Dress Up Doors</h2> <p>Douglas also vouches for the value of new exterior doors (both aesthetically and in regards to property worth). &ldquo;Exterior replacement projects, such as a new garage door and a new entry door, offer some of the best returns at resale,&rdquo; he advises. Most homeowners can recoup 70% or more of the cost of the project at resale, and even if you don&rsquo;t plan on selling, it can create a stunning transformation for your home&rsquo;s exterior.</p> <h2>3. Move Your Furniture</h2> <p>Instead of buying all new furnishings, consider maximizing space with the items you already have. Lauri Ward of <a href="http://www.redecorate.com/">Redecorate.com</a> suggests creating a &ldquo;u-shape&rdquo; with your furnishings, instead of an &ldquo;L-shape,&rdquo; to create a more comfortable conversation area. Other tips include making sure your furniture isn&rsquo;t blocking traffic patterns and avoiding having all your furniture against the walls (something people commonly do when trying to &ldquo;open&rdquo; a room up). Both mistakes can make rooms appear clunky or smaller than they really are.</p> <h2>4. Declutter Walls</h2> <p>Lauri also recommends that one wall in every room be left clear of artwork so that the eyes have a place to rest. You may also want to move artwork three inches lower than where it already hangs as well. &ldquo;Everyone <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-ways-to-display-your-art">hangs art</a> too high!&rdquo; she claims.</p> <h2>5. Update Cabinets</h2> <p>Cupboards and cabinetry take up a large amount of kitchen wall space, so it&rsquo;s important to do it right. Susan Serra, blogger at <a href="http://www.thekitchendesigner.org/">The Kitchen Designer</a>, reminds us that cabinet hardware is the &ldquo;jewelry&rdquo; of the kitchen, and she recommends replacing old knobs and handles with something stylish. She also advises home owners to remove one or two wall cabinets and replace them with open shelving; this can create a more spacious look for any size kitchen. Her best tip? &rdquo;For paintable/older cabinets, paint a few featured cabinets a different color (equal size wall cabinets on each side of the sink, for example).&rdquo;</p> <h2>6. Redo Lighting</h2> <p>Finally, there are several simple solutions to help correct and enhance the lighting in any room. The experts I spoke with came up with two that can be done right away, and both are more budget-friendly than a full room redo. Lauri Ward recommends pairs of lamps &mdash; never just one &mdash; for better illumination. She also explains that lighting directed downward and not at the ceiling can help your room avoid &ldquo;tiring and unattractive shadows.&rdquo; All of our experts liked the look of LED lighting under cabinets; this appearance can be achieved with DIY products that have the wiring done for you.</p> <p>While a full remodel will cost $10,00&ndash;$65,000, it isn&rsquo;t something that&rsquo;s feasible for many cash-strapped homeowners. By starting with even just one remodeling alternative from this list, you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-stage-your-home-in-a-buyers-market">give your home new life</a> &mdash; for a fraction of the cost.</p> <p><em>What have you done to perk up your home&rsquo;s look?</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/6-great-alternatives-to-remodeling-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-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/7-ways-to-remodel-your-bedroom-without-demolishing-a-thing">7 Ways to Remodel Your Bedroom (Without Demolishing a Thing)</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/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</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/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</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/10-budget-design-ideas-for-a-kids-playroom">10 Budget Design Ideas for a Kids&#039; Playroom</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/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home budget decorating decluttering home remodel Mon, 14 May 2012 10:24:16 +0000 Linsey Knerl 929016 at http://www.wisebread.com The Tyranny of Stuff http://www.wisebread.com/the-tyranny-of-stuff <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-tyranny-of-stuff" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/too_much_stuff.jpg" alt="Guy packing up stuff" title="Guy packing up stuff" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="149" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My holiday wish list last year was simple &mdash; I just wanted one pound of good coffee. For all the folks who were kind enough to ask, &ldquo;What would you like for Christmas?&rdquo; my answer was the same &mdash; a bag of good, dark, aromatic French roast coffee. Something fair trade and organic.</p> <p>I didn&rsquo;t want a new laptop (although I could use one); I didn&rsquo;t want an LCD TV (even though my current TV is the size of an old fridge). I didn&rsquo;t need new shoes, DVDs, an e-reader, a light-saber, a cross-over vehicle, a pillow filled with barley, or adult footie pajamas in a leopard print. Instead, I wanted something that I would use and use up. Something I could savor over the course of a month or two. Something I would not have to feed, water, dust, or maintain. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-will-never-make-you-organized">Stuff Will&nbsp;Never Make You Organized</a>)</p> <p>I have enough stuff, and the older I get, the more I realize that more stuff doesn&rsquo;t equal more happiness. I might even go so far as to suggest that stuff is outright tyrannical. First, I have to figure out where to put the stuff. I tend to live a fairly Spartan life, and I like it that way. I don&rsquo;t suffer random new objects well. New things enter my home only after a vetting process that rivals the Smithsonian&rsquo;s (minus the budget). Unless I&rsquo;ve planned for it and have already figured out where and how I&rsquo;ll use it, the latest object of my affection remains safely pixelated on the computer screen.</p> <p>Stuff also needs to be figured out, decoded, programmed, booted, rebooted, scrubbed for viruses, and defragmented. I love technology, but mixing the holidays with high-end electronics feels like mixing a bubble bath with three stray cats. Maybe next year.</p> <p>New stuff invariably makes some old stuff obsolete too. The obsolete stuff either needs to find a retirement spot in my house or be passed on to another family through a yard sale or charitable donation. How many of us can remember what our garage looked like before it became a cosmic way-station for half-dead consumer goods? How many 20 gallon bins does it take before we all collectively say &ldquo;enough&rdquo;?</p> <p>And stuff multiplies. It&rsquo;s never just one item that satiates the consumer palate any more. Stuff has peripherals, upgrades, add-ons, apps, and enhancements. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-advice-for-the-gadget-addicted">Electronics</a> breed like amorous rabbits on drunken holiday. For instance, most teenagers&rsquo; gaming systems look like control centers that should be able to manipulate the weather or redirect an orbiting satellite to finally locate D.B. Cooper and that missing 200 grand.</p> <p>More stuff, especially more complicated stuff, tends to require more expensive repairs. When you bring something new into your home, you&rsquo;re not only adopting that object, you&rsquo;re also agreeing to finance the repair, fix it yourself, or toss it out guilt-free when it finally does break (and it <em>always</em> breaks, eventually). Maybe I&rsquo;m too analytical, but I&rsquo;m suspicious of any object that can&rsquo;t be taken apart, explored, tinkered with and (hopefully) fixed when the occasion calls for it.</p> <p>In the end, more stuff is often the chain that binds us to ideas we&rsquo;d like to move beyond, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-small-town-move-that-ended-the-job-search-blues">places we&rsquo;d like to leave behind</a>, lives we&rsquo;d like to recreate, or chaos we&rsquo;d like escape. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, &ldquo;Objects are in the saddle and ride mankind,&rdquo; and I tend to agree with the old fella. I wonder how many readers would like to come out of the proverbial closet about loving their low-stuff holidays. How many would-be list-makers faced the perplexed expressions of friends and family as they defended their simple holiday requests last year? How was a holiday with less stuff ultimately more fulfilling?</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/the-tyranny-of-stuff">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/6-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master">6 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Money Master</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/sock-it-to-me-15-uses-for-old-socks">Sock It to Me: 15 Uses for Old Socks</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-do-before-the-new-year">25 Things to Do Before the New Year</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/5-reasons-to-change-traditional-holiday-gift-giving">5 Reasons to Change Traditional Holiday Gift-Giving</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-sell-your-crap-a-book-review-and-tips">How to Sell Your Crap: A Book Review and Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle alternative gifts decluttering living with less Thu, 12 Jan 2012 10:48:13 +0000 Kentin Waits 859676 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Productivity Hacks From a Work-at-Home Mom http://www.wisebread.com/10-productivity-hacks-from-a-work-at-home-mom <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-productivity-hacks-from-a-work-at-home-mom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/multitasking_child.jpg" alt="Baby with two phones" title="Baby with two phones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="149" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I work at home, part-time, as a (you guessed it!) freelance writer. So, I'm a writer. I'm also a mom. Of four kids. Under five years old. My youngest, in fact, is only a month old. While I can't share anything much about the experience of high fashion, expensive restaurants, or periods of silence lasting more than five minutes, I can share about getting maximum work done in minimal time slots. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-time-by-spending-time">10 Ways to Save Time by Spending Time</a>)</p> <h3>1. Plan for transitions.</h3> <p>Transitions will kill you &mdash; those moments when you're ending X activity and beginning Y event. I don't like them personally, but with four kids transitions are the moments of weakness. Everybody is in limbo a little bit, and it's when things get lost and shoes get thrown and there's great potential for us all to end up in a weeping pile of humanity by the back door. Not pretty.</p> <p>Plan for transitions by setting aside enough time for them, making them as systematic and routine as possible, and then getting through them (and, hence, on to the next thing) as quickly as possible. No, don't rush. Just keep things moving.</p> <h3>2. Resist the urge to control-freak on details.</h3> <p>You have to control-freak on some things, or nothing would ever get done. But details are a waste of your energy. Make sure, for example, the bed gets made, but don't waste time making sure the sheets are wrinkle-free and the throw pillows are stacked in an alternating color arrangement. You get me? This applies to everybody; make sure the article gets written, the project gets done, the budget gets made, the garage gets cleaned, whatever. But don't flip out about how those things get done.</p> <h3>3. Quit cleaning after every mess.</h3> <p>I'm all for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/household-cleaning-hacks-that-save-you-money">cleanliness</a>, but I'm also for accomplishment. Sometimes the two are enemies, because if you're taking time to clean after every single mess, big or small, you're creating a hundred transitions between work and clean-up when you could just focus on the work and then have one clean-up time at the end. Cleaning does need to happen, but it doesn't need to happen constantly.</p> <h3>4. Have a set time for cleaning and other routine physical chores.</h3> <p>If you have a designated time for the cleaning and other chores, you can relax and know that you'll be able to get to it at that time. This is true not just for work-from-home folks who get the privilege of doing laundry in between calling clients; this is also true for folks who work in offices or factories or shops. Do your important work and hold to a set time for filing papers, clearing your desk, straightening the shelves, wiping the display counters, putting away tools, etc.</p> <h3>5. Declutter everything.</h3> <p>Clutter &mdash; both physical and mental &mdash; is an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jettison-the-junk-why-clutter-clouds-your-mind-and-saps-your-energy">enemy of productivity</a>. Clutter will make your space seem dirty even when it isn't, which will make you want to clean instead of work, which will keep you distracted and give you lots of great reasons to procrastinate. Cut the clutter. Set up systems. Get storage containers. Get rid of stuff you don't need anymore. Label everything, and put things away where they belong.</p> <h3>6. Work in terms of daily goals.</h3> <p>It's good to have a schedule and a daily plan, but when you work from a schedule divided into 15-minute increments, you can get thrown off by one long-winded caller. Set a schedule if it makes you happy, but try to think and work in terms of your goals for the day. Figure out what they are first thing in the morning (or, better yet, last thing at night the day before). Get started on that most important goal and keep at it, coming back to it after every interruption, until you've accomplished it. Then move on.</p> <p>Interruptions will happen. Schedules will get completely ruined. But daily goals? You can remember them (without a planner), and you can keep coming back and plugging away no matter what happens in the meantime.</p> <h3>7. Do a weekly plan-and-divide.</h3> <p>Pick a time for a weekly planning session. I like Sunday night, for the obvious reason that it comes right before the beginning of a new week. Preferably do this when you're feeling motivated and fairly energetic. (An espresso does the trick for me...) Write down all the things you want to accomplish on Monday. Go ahead, be ambitious! Then stop. Don't make any more lists for Tuesday, Wednesday, and so on. Instead, divide Monday's list out into the whole week. You'll be looking, most likely, at a reasonable amount of stuff to do within a week, given all your other obligations, events, activities, and the invariable interruptions.</p> <h3>8. Start out with a vengeance.</h3> <p>Conquer the morning, and you have conquered the day. This doesn't mean you have to get up at 4 a.m., though I personally find I'm much more productive when I do get up early. But get up, get through your morning routine, and get started as soon as possible on the most important task for the day. You'll set the tone &mdash; energy begets energy, and progress begets progress. And you'll also get to your most-important-thing first, so if the rest of the day does fall apart, you've still reached that goal.</p> <h3>9. Time yourself.</h3> <p>The little things kill you in two ways &mdash; you either overestimate or underestimate how much time they will take. If you overestimate, then you keep putting that task off because you think you don't have time for it. Meanwhile, it's a mental distraction, hanging over you and keeping you from being as productive as you could be. If you underestimate, then you get caught up in that little task and spend far more time on it that it deserves. Facebook, anyone?</p> <p>Use a timer to find out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-time-with-batch-processing">how little time some tasks take</a>, so you know you can get them done in between phone calls. And use a timer to stop yourself on those other tasks that tend to eat up more time than they should.</p> <h3>10. Expect an ebb and flow of productivity.</h3> <p>No matter what the productivity gurus might say, nobody can be at 100% maximum output all of the time. We all have different work rhythms to consider, as well as normal living and working patterns that affect what we can accomplish. Figure out what your best work hours are and try to get a solid block of time then to do your most important work. Then expect that you'll tone down in productivity, get some smaller tasks done, or take a break. The same goes for the days of the week; I find that I usually have a very productive, energetic day followed by a more mellow day. If you pay attention and see your own patterns, you'll be able to schedule unavoidable but less-important stuff (meetings, reports, things like that) for your less-productive times and mellow days. Then you can focus your best hours and most energetic days on the most important work.</p> <p>Do you have any real-life productivity hacks from your own experience? Share them in the comments so we can all benefit! I'm always looking for ways to get more done in a day and have a good time while I'm at it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-productivity-hacks-from-a-work-at-home-mom">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/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve 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/10-tips-to-make-working-from-home-a-success">10 Tips to Make Working From Home a Success</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-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make 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/6-tools-that-stop-computer-distractions-and-help-you-stay-on-task">6 Tools That Stop Computer Distractions and Help You Stay on Task</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-fallacy-of-multitasking">The Fallacy of Multitasking</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity decluttering distraction multitasking work at home Thu, 30 Jun 2011 10:24:09 +0000 Annie Mueller 602193 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4118482119_f3307745e.jpg" alt="Man at organized desk" title="Man at organized desk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have a bad tendency to let things &mdash; paperwork, tasks, laundry &mdash; pile up. That's why I'm often not as organized as I should be. By the time I go to put things away, I feel like I'm dealing with clutter so powerful it could defeat Godzilla (I've already started on the screenplay for <em>Godzilla vs. That Pile of Stuff I Still Haven't Put Away Since Moving</em>).</p> <p>Thus, I am a huge proponent of making little steps towards organization. Below are 25 ways to organize your home, your finances, and your life that are quick and easy enough to attempt today. Seriously, start making a dent in your disorganization before it turns into a movie-worthy monster. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesome-storage-solutions-for-under-10">15 Awesome Storage Solutions for Under $10</a>)</p> <h2>Organize Your Stuff</h2> <p>From the fridge to the filing cabinet, here are some ideas for organizing your things.</p> <h4>1. Identify What You Want to Organize</h4> <p>Yes, I am telling you to organize your organizing. Make a specific list of what you want to organize &mdash; the bookshelf? Your closet? Your drawers? If you have time, start to formulate a plan. Now, when you have a couple of hours over the weekend, you're ready to attack.</p> <h4>2. Buy Masking Tape and a Marker</h4> <p>Masking tape is a great way to create temporary labels for everything from storage containers in the basement to Tupperware in the freezer. Buy a roll of masking tape and a Sharpie, and always keep them in the same place.</p> <h4>3. Buy Containers and Dividers</h4> <p>If you're planning an organizing project, buy any containers or other organizing tools you need now. Just as with making the list, you're now totally ready to tackle the project when you have a moment.</p> <h4>4. Organize One Drawer or Shelf</h4> <p>Just one. Throw out junk, move things if they belong elsewhere, and neaten up what's left.</p> <h4>5. Find a Place for One Item</h4> <p>Have one item that's never put away, even though you don't always use it? Find it a home.</p> <h4>6. Designate a Donation Bag or Box</h4> <p>Now, when you see something that you want to donate to Goodwill, you can immediately pick it up and put it in the donation box instead of leaving it for later.</p> <h4>7. Lose the Leftovers</h4> <p>You don't need to clean the whole fridge at once &mdash; just remove any questionable leftovers or past-their-prime condiments.</p> <h4>8. Clean&nbsp;Your Bag</h4> <p>Remove everything you use from your purse, messenger bag, or briefcase. Clean out the dust, and put things back in nice and neatly.</p> <h4>9. Get a Mail Organizer</h4> <p>Whether it has different slots for everyone in the house or is just a basket that all the mail gets dropped into, stop throwing your letters and bills on the kitchen table.</p> <h4>10. Pack One Storage Container</h4> <p>Whether it's mementos, out-of-season clothing, or DVDs you rarely watch but want to keep, pack one storage container.</p> <h4>11. Scrapbook One Page</h4> <p>That big pile of photos is daunting. You don't need to organize them all at once, though &mdash; scrapbook one page. This is a great activity to do while watching TV.</p> <h4>12. File Something</h4> <p>Similarly, if you have a big pile of papers waiting to be filed, just tackle some of them &mdash; don't feel like you have to do them all.</p> <h4>13. Set a Yard Sale Date</h4> <p>Give yourself a deadline for getting yard sale items identified and out of the house. Consider asking a friend or neighbor to do the yard sale with you so someone holds you to it.</p> <h4>14. Cut Down on Accumulation</h4> <p>You have less to organize if you simply have less. When you're buying something, ask yourself if you really need it. Read more about this in Kentin's article on the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clutter-free-the-zero-accumulation-household">Zero-Accumulation Household</a>.</p> <h2>Organize Your Finances</h2> <p>It's important to know where you stand in order to reach your financial goals. Understand your money situation by making these small steps toward getting your funds organized.</p> <h4>15. Check Your Budget</h4> <p>Look at your budget &mdash; is it still accurate based on your current spending and income? Adjust accordingly. (Don't have a budget yet? <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-first-step-to-budgeting">Make one</a>!)</p> <h4>16. Start Saving for a Specific Goal</h4> <p>Whether you open an online savings account or put $20 in an envelope labeled &quot;new couch fund,&quot; make a plan for saving.</p> <h4>17. Research Opportunities to Streamline Your Accounts</h4> <p>Join a site like <a href="https://www.mint.com">Mint</a> or <a href="https://www.adaptu.com">Adaptu</a> that helps you see all of your accounts in one place, or take Craig's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-quick-tips-for-organizing-your-finances">financial organization advice</a> and find ways to put more of your accounts under one bank.</p> <h2>Organize Your Computer</h2> <p>At work or at home, a disorganized computer can make for a unproductive day.</p> <h4>18. Set Up Folders</h4> <p>Are all of your files loose in&nbsp;&quot;My Documents?&quot; Create folders for different areas, and move files accordingly.</p> <h4>19. Clean Off Your Desktop</h4> <p>Now that you have those lovely folders, clean off your desktop. I have a chronic habit of downloading files to my desktop and not putting them elsewhere &mdash; in fact, I&nbsp;have (gulp) almost two monitors full right now. I'll be doing this one later tonight.</p> <h4>20. Answer Old Emails</h4> <p>If your inbox is piling up with messages you need to reply to, take a few minutes to start chipping away.</p> <h4>21. Hide Facebook &quot;Friends&quot;</h4> <p>Feeling inundated with status updates that you just don't care about but read anyway? <a href="http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/13/on-facebook-no-unfriending-goes-unnoticed/">Hide&nbsp;Facebook updates</a> from repeat offenders. You'll still be friends, but you won't have to read about their disgust and fury every time the grocery store is out of cilantro.</p> <h2>Organize Your Time</h2> <p>Feel like you never have time to organize? Well, maybe your time is exactly what you need to tackle.</p> <h4>22. Track Your Time</h4> <p>Whether you use a spreadsheet or a <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5362829/five-best-time+tracking-applications">time-tracking application</a>, better understand where your time is going.</p> <h4>23. Get a Calendar</h4> <p>Even if you think you don't need it, almost everyone can benefit from having a calendar. I especially love <a href="http://calendar.google.com">Google Calendar</a>, because it allows you to share your calendar with friends. Being able to see what my close friends are doing makes it easier to plan get-togethers.</p> <h4>24. Look at Your Calendar</h4> <p>A calendar won't do you any good if you don't <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/budgeting-hack-gift-calendars">use it</a>. This might seem obvious, but I know plenty of folks who have calendars and never actually look at them.</p> <h4>25. Make a Chore Chart</h4> <p>If you have a family or roommates, a chore chart can help you fairly split tasks. And even if you live alone, having a list of chores can help you spread them out over the week.</p> <p><em>What quick ways to get organized did I miss? Share your thoughts in the comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-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/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve 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/how-to-downsize-and-declutter">How to Downsize and 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/10-ways-to-save-time-with-batch-processing">10 Ways to Save Time With Batch Processing</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/these-checklists-will-make-your-life-better">These Checklists Will Make Your Life Better</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/11-unusual-ways-to-sell-your-stuff">11 Unusual Ways to Sell Your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization Productivity decluttering easy organizing organizing finances storage time management Mon, 09 May 2011 10:36:10 +0000 Meg Favreau 538299 at http://www.wisebread.com