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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Decluttering Tips

  • Keep a box in a closet for donations. As you come across clothes or other items you wish to give away, toss in the box. Once it's full, take it to your favorite charity.
  • Go through your linens and pull any old towels or dish towels. If they are ragged, stained, too thin it's time to decide what you want to do with them. You can take some scissors and cut them into rags for cleaning, washing the car, paint rags, etc. Or you can donate them to your local vet or humane society or pet groomers. They always need washing/drying rags.
  • Create a Google (or other, such as Yahoo) calendar. Use this to track everything. I have a gmail email account. No matter what computer or software or device I use, I can always access Google and my gmail. With this same gmail account, I have a calendar. I use this calendar to schedule when bills are due, when I need to refill a perscription, my appointments, when to change my air filter or change the oil in my car, etc. It's color coded and you can add others to events with emailed reminders. It's a one-stop place I check every morning and evening. I even keep up with the weather, how I feel that day, what I accomplished that day (like a mini diary). All this is digital and accessible via my tablet, smart phone, laptop. No paper, no journal, no paper calendar or daybook or planner.
  • Sign up for ebills to lessen the amount of papers that come in. Save in pdf format and organize on your computer in annual folders. For instance, I have a folder for 2016 and within that folder are subfolders for Utilities, Credit Card Statements, Bank Statements, etc. Almost all these things can come to you digitally now or you can scan them as they come in. Just sign up at your bank for ebank statements. Same for credit cards and some utilities, as well as 401k statements, etc.
  • Create a cloud based storage account and make backups on the cloud. This makes it accessible from any device but also keeps it safe. If your house burned down, was flooded, destroyed by a tornado or hurricane, you would have backups offsite in the cloud. Cloud storage refers to a company who has a huge storage server somewhere that you can store your files either free (for a minimal amount of storage) or for a fee (for more storage). I keep at least my most important, cannot lose files on cloud storage for easy access from anywhere and as backup.
  • Prep station or launch station. As you come in and go out, there is a place where you keep your purse, your keys, your cell phone, things to come in or go out. This is your action station. Most people usually use a place near the door you use to come in and out. I heard that you should always keep your keys and your cell phone in your bedroom. That way, if someone breaks into your house, you can use your remote on your key chain to set off the car panic alert and use your cell phone to call for help. Therefore, I made a closet in my bedroom as my launch station. I put shelves in there to hold things that I need to take with me on my next trip out. Maybe it's a box of items to donate, or coupons for my trip to the grocery store, or the bag with an item to return to a store, etc. In that closet, I also keep a basket for incoming mail, my camera (I take it most places), a mirror for touchups before going out. My shredder is there and junk mail goes through there first, then the rest of the mail goes in the incoming basket for further processing later. I have some tote bags already made up for some regularly scheduled things like club meetings and church. For instance I have a tote bag with a Bible, pen and spiral notebook to take to church and Bible study. I have a tote bag with my DAR club manual, member list, spiral notebook (I'm the secretary and have to take minutes) and the table flags. I have also made a tote bag for the gym. These are also kept in my closet in my bedroom.
  • As you purchase herbs and spices, use your labeler to put the purchase date on the jar or canister. Toss herbs and spices that are over a year old. It's lost it's flavor.
  • As the season begins to change, take any seasonal clothes to be drycleaned. For instance, as spring comes on, it's time to take coats, jackets, sweaters, wool suits and other winter clothes to the dry cleaner. Take furs to storage. As Fall comes on, take your silk, linen summer items to the drycleaner. It's a good time to sort and go through your wardrobe and get rid of items that you aren't wearing.
  • Use Wish Lists at online shopping sites like Amazon. I not only put things I would like to purchase, but I also put items I think would make good gifts for someone and make a note (there are places for comments and notes) as to who I would like to get this for. I also use it to keep up with things I need to re-order. For instance, I purchase my vacuum cleaner bags from Amazon so I have that on my wish list with a comment and it's easy to go back to find and re-order. I also have a digital labeler attached to my laptop. I have it on my wish list so that when it comes time to re-order the label tape, I can find it easily. If I come across books I want to check out, I put on my wish list and then check with the library to see if they have that book, before I order it. I use my wish list at Amazon very extensively. Keep up with your favorite products like my favorite bra maker, size, style.
  • Keep 1-2 sets of sheets for each bed. I prefer to take sheets off, wash and dry and put them right back on. That saves me folding them. But I keep one extra set in case something happens and I need to change sheets right then. For instance, if my dog (who sleeps with me) has an accident one evening, I need fresh sheets without having to wait for them to wash and dry.
  • Do you really need to collect CDs or DVDs? I don't any more. I can do it all through Netflix, Youtube, Amazon Prime, and digital music. You can hoard all you want as long as it's digitally. That takes less money and there is no clutter or need for storage or maintenance. Same with books and magazines!
  • Get a decent scanner and learn to use it. You can scan birthday cards and save as a jpg file and toss the hard copy. You can scan bills or invoices or receipts as they come in and save digitally. Toss the hard copy. Scan artwork by your children and save as a jpg file. Scan and organize your digital files. Make backups in the cloud or on an external hard drive (or both) and rely on these digital files.
  • Yard stuff - My husband has an old pair of shoes he wears in the yard, along with a pair of work gloves. I keep them in a plastic shoebox (for $1 at the Dollar Tree). This keeps them outside the house (no trailing grass clippings inside) but safe from spiders and bugs. I don't want to stick my feet in a pair of yard shoes that have been sitting on my porch only to get a spider bite. Same with your gloves. So make it a habit to put those gloves and shoes in the box and store in the closet by the door, on the back porch or in the gardening shed. Wherever it makes sense for you and is convenient.
  • Be sure any old photos are safely stored in acid free boxes or acid free photo albums. Whether you are highly organized and have them sorted by year, theme or person or you just have a bag full of loose photos... please store them in an acid free box or album. Digital photos are stored on your computer but be sure you have backups on an external hard drive or cloud (or both).
  • As you come in or change clothes, put your jewelry away. Do NOT lay them anywhere but put them back where they belong in your jewelry box, drawer or rack. As soon as I come in, I put my purse down, hang up my keys and go to my jewelry box. I remove my jewelry, even my wedding rings and put them away. This keeps them cleaner, safe and easy to find. No hunting for earrings by the phone and rings by the kitchen sink or necklaces by the bed.

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