Saving money?

A few years ago, I started using coupons and following all of these blogs about how you can save so much money by using coupons.  I was able to get a lot of things for free or, at least, close to free.  But (and you knew there would be a “but”, didn’t you?) now I’m trying to clean out my kitchen, organize, simplify, and minimize.

I’ve slowly been cleaning out cabinets.  Going through my dishes hasn’t been all that difficult as I tend to do that every year.  Since I very rarely buy any new dishes (except  for travel mugs/glasses for work…that’s a whole different blog post), I’m finally at a place where I don’t have a lot to get rid of.

Now I’m tackling the pantry.  Since I haven’t been feeling well (gosh, for what?  Like the past three years?), I’m just doing a little bit each evening while doing the dishes.  I started on one shelf, took out boxes and cans, checking the expiration dates.  I’m ashamed to admit how many cans of veggies or soup I’ve tossed because they were well past the expiration date.  Anyhow, my method is to go through the items until I’ve found a minimum of five items to discard.  Some days that’s pretty quick work.

pantry...before

pantry…before

You know, I was so proud of myself for being able to save so much money when I was buying all of this stuff.  But, honestly, how much money did I really save when I’m now pitching probably half of what I bought?

I’ve learned a couple of lessons here.  One, don’t buy so much processed food.  Fresh is healthier and I tend to actually use it because I knowingly buy small quantities so it won’t go bad on me.  Two, I’m not really saving money if the things I buy end up in the trash.  Okay, make it three lessons.  One person doesn’t need a lot.  When you see all of those stockpiles people have created, it’s not meant for one person.

I’m going to continue cleaning out the pantry.  I don’t know exactly how long it’ll take to get it done, but I’ll eventually finish it.  I’ll do a post later about my pared down pantry (hmm…I’ll have to remember that for the title).

Do you buy more than you need and then toss a lot?  I know a lot of folks say they do that with fresh produce, is that where you have issues?  Or is it in other areas?

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Decluttering challenge, day 15

I decided to get with it last night and quickly gather the 15 items I would need for today’s challenge.  I walked back into my spare room, thinking I’d dig through the closet again.  Then I saw one of the book shelves.  Mmm hmm…I know I can find some books to get rid of.  I went to the hall closet and picked up a plastic bag and headed back into the spare room.

Of course, in my mind, I have been planning to sell some of my books, at least the ones that are in good condition.  So I didn’t even look at those.  Instead, I gravitated toward the books I’d purchased used, deciding to make a quick trip to Goodwill with those.  I didn’t even give this a lot of thought.  Didn’t page through the books.  Didn’t deliberate, didn’t question whether or not I might want to read each book again.  I was quickly able to gather the 15 books I needed, then decided to go ahead and pick up another 10.  A grand total of 25 books will be dropped off at Goodwill when I get off work today.

Books, books, and more books

Books, books, and more books

Anyone interested in the number of items I’ve managed to let go of in 15 days?  Well, I’ll tell you anyhow.  In 15 days, I’ve eliminated 152 items from my home.  Not too shabby, huh?  Now in the interest of honesty, I didn’t even consider getting rid of books by my favorite authors.  I don’t know about you, but I often reread books that I particularly like.  How about it?  Do you have favorite authors or books that you just won’t let go of?

Decluttering challenge, days 12, 13, 14

Oh man, you’d think having four days in a row off work would allow me the time to declutter, take some pictures, and write about it.  You’d think.  I’ve just felt awful though.  Kind of feels like a waste of time off.  I had planned to do so much while I was off and was lucky to make it out of bed by noon.  Oh well…so my decluttering didn’t go quite the way I wanted it to.  Instead of tackling my closet, I pitched out enough magazines to cover days 12 and 13.

Then today I cleaned out the fridge.  You know all of those salad dressing bottles?  The ones you bought thinking they sounded good?  And then they turned out to be not so good?  Yeah, threw out several of those today.  Also a few carrots that I somehow overlooked to the point where they just didn’t look all that appealing any more.  Found some green onions that I had to pitch.  Wish I would have found them sooner, I could have cut the green part off and planted the bulbs and grown some more green onions in my house.  But I didn’t so I couldn’t.

Anyhow, I ended up getting rid of 15 things out of the fridge today, so was able to surpass my goal of 14 items. For the month of January, I’ve now managed to eliminate 127 items from my home.  I have to admit, it is becoming more difficult to find the number of items I need each day.  The refrigerator cleaning made for a pretty quick search today, but now it’s clean.  So tomorrow?  Not sure where I’m going from here.  Plus I have to go back to work tomorrow, so exhaustion and time play into it as well.  What I really need to do is start (or even finish) my search tonight, but I have other things I want to do too…argh!!  Why does life have to be so hard sometimes?  Ha!!  Yeah, because I have it so tough, right?  Whine, whine, whine…

What are you whining about  working on this evening?

Scout on the treadmill, literally on it~

Scout on the treadmill, literally on it~

I think Scout is trying to tell me something…like, “Hey, you need to start using this thing.  If you’re not going to, I will.”

Decluttering challenge, days 10 and 11

Oops…skipped a day, didn’t I?  Well, I did have a few things already pulled out for yesterday with the thought that I’d finish gathering the remaining items when I got home from work.  Then it ended up being a major struggle to make it through the work day…just felt weird (and that’s the official medical term for it) all day.  I told my boss I felt like I was walking sideways, if that clears anything up for anyone.  After work, I stopped at Pet Smart and CVS so I wouldn’t have to get out today.  By the time I made it home, all I wanted to do was soak in a hot tub and climb under the blankets with the kitties.

Scout climbing high

Scout climbing high

Scout didn’t feel like going to bed though.  Her thoughts seemed to be how high can I go? And she managed to climb pretty high without breaking anything.  What a good girl.

I didn’t bother to take pictures of the items I gathered for days 10 and 11.  And I’ll tell you why.  I cleaned out my chest of drawers (found several pair of socks with holes in them.  Why I ever put them back in the drawer, I couldn’t say.  It’s not like I don’t have a ton of socks.  I even have socks I’ve never worn, so why save holey ones?  Also found three bras that I never wear because  they simply don’t fit right.  You gals know what I’m talking about, I’m sure.  Again, not sure why I’d bother to save them…with the thought that they might become more comfortable??? Sheesh.  Also found a pair of pajama pants that are old and worn.  Then there were the two T-shirts that I don’t even like.  Oh, and I can’t forget the teddy that I’ve never worn.)  Combine those items with a couple of magazines and an orange (have I ever mentioned how much I dislike wearing the color orange?) canvas tote and I have my 10 items for yesterday.  I decided to just count all of the socks as one item in order to get rid of more stuff…my goal.

Then, for today, I decided to tackle the vanity in my bedroom (I think I’ve mentioned this before, but my chest of drawers and vanity were refinished by the astronaut, Gus Grissom’s, dad…he was from Mitchell where I lived for many years…and where I hope to move when I finally am able to retire.)  Anyhow, it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I’m counting as one item all the little pieces of paper with notes and phone numbers (some with no names…smh…).  I just threw all of them away.  There was also an older phone book, no need for multiples.  Heck, I’m not really sure how much need there is for a phone book at all any more, but I did save one from last year.  I found some post cards with kitties and puppies on them.  Figured Clara would like those.  I also found several notepads that had been mostly used up.  Clara gets those too.  There was a calendar from 2012…I don’t see myself needing to refer to it for any reason…trash.  Health insurance packet from 2005…we have a totally different policy now and get the packets every year when we renew…again, trash.  There were some small notecards with envelopes (some of the envelopes are so old that they’ve sealed closed…haha).  So I thought these would be something Clara could have fun with.  She likes to make cards for her mom and grandfather, so if she can use them she might as well have them.  There were several non-functioning ink pens…pitch ’em.  I also found several sheets of stickers.  Back in the day, when I actually wrote letters, I would decorate the envelopes with stickers.  Now, not only don’t I decorate envelopes, I don’t even write letters.  So Clara gets all of the stickers too.  There were also some cards that people had sent (or given) me.  I stopped saving cards a long time ago, so I’m not sure how those snuck into the drawer, but they’re history now (I have to admit, I did save wedding and birth announcements from my nieces and nephews, as well as the photo Christmas cards they send me).  And last, but not least…or maybe it is…there was a partially burned, soot-covered plain votive holder.  I’m sure I kept it because, well, you never know when you’re going to need a candle.  But you know what?  I have an entire little storage table filled with jar candles.  I don’t think I’ll even miss this little one.  So there you go.  Now you can see why I didn’t bother taking pictures…just a bunch of junk today.

I ended up with a small bag of trash to go out and a few little things for Clara.  But now my bedroom is almost clutter free.  Well…there is still the closet…yikes!

Not counting all of the items individually from yesterday and today, I’ve now managed to eliminate 87 items from my home in the first 11 days of January.  Who knows what the closet will bring?  But it sure is a good feeling to have the bedroom cleaned up, well…sort of cleaned up.  I should take down the curtains and wash them and the windows.  Isn’t it funny how decluttering makes you want to do some cleaning as well?

 

Decluttering your inbox

screenshot of an email inbox filled with spam

screenshot of an email inbox filled with spam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh my gosh, I think I’m probably the world’s worst at unsubscribing to email newsletters that I’m no longer interested in.  I just do mass deletions and go on.  But I was reading an article (somewhere?  All You, maybe?) today about decluttering and they mentioned cleaning out your inbox so you don’t have to deal with deleting all of those emails every day.  Head slap!!  Why haven’t I done this before?  Why do I think people will be insulted if I unsubscribe to their emails?  Seriously, will most people or businesses even realize it?  And why should I care?  And really, if I unsubscribe, how will I even know that it bothered them?

So I’m going to start doing this.  I know it takes a few minutes, but eventually I’ll get rid of all that clutter in my inbox and have one less stress in my life.  What about you?  Are you quick to unsubscribe or do you just let it slide?

Vacation, writing, chores

pinterest nwf

pinterest nwf (Photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg)

I’m on a little bitty vacation right now.  I go back to work on Friday (weird, I know, but with the work schedule I keep, that’s the best way to do it), so I’ve got a few days to get a bit done, caught up on, started…

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve allowed myself to become quite the slacker with my writing…I think I can use this week to redevelop the daily writing habit.  I have to, it’s one of the things in my life that keeps me sane (or at least what passes for sane in my crazy life).

I’ve also been going through a lot of my “stuff”…funny, I’m pretty careful with what I buy any more, but still end up with several boxes/bags of items to pitch or donate.  How in the world does that happen?  Seriously, I go through things at least twice a year.  You wouldn’t think I would have much to get rid of after several years of doing this, would you?  But you’d be wrong with that assumption.  Right now, I have a bag of magazines  to donate (bingo ladies in my complex?), a couple of bags of books to take to the Friends of the Library tomorrow, and some clothes to take to Goodwill.  At least I’m pretty much past the stage of having knick knacks to get rid of.

Today’s focus is going to be the kitchen.  I did clean the oven yesterday.  It really didn’t need a lot of cleaning, just wiping out, so that was fairly easy.  But I want to pull everything out of the fridge and freezer, clean it completely, then reorganize it when I put it back…and I may just have to make up a big pot of veggie soup using frozen leftovers just to get rid of some of the little containers filling my freezer.  Then I want to pull all of the furniture out and do a good mopping.  I admit, I’m not the world’s best at that, only do a complete job of it a few times a year.  Usually leave the plant stands in front of the window and just reach under them.  But not today.  Today I’ll move everything and use the little steam cleaner and get it done right!

I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel so much better when my house is totally clean and organized.  Oh, I did clean off my desk yesterday…found $3 in expired ECBs from CVS.  Don’t think that didn’t make me mad!  Note to self, that’s why you immediately cut them from the receipt and put them in wallet in purse.  {Head slap}

So, I can’t promise I won’t spend any time at all on Pinterest (or Facebook) today, but I can promise that it won’t be the entire day!  What about you?   Got any plans for your Monday?

spring comes early this year

And what kind of crazy winter has this been?  Daffodils trying to bloom in early February?

I’m a winner!

Federal Experss long-distance ground delivery ...

Image via Wikipedia

I sure do love giveaways, especially when I win something!  I’d almost forgotten about winning a case of Better Oats oatmeal until I opened the door to the FedEx guy yesterday.  When I opened the box, I was so pleased to see the assortment of flavors…I mean really, dark chocolate with a name like Lavish?  How could it not be good?!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the blogger who hosted the giveaway…Laura Williams at http://laurawilliamsmusings.blogspot.com/  I now follow her blog and enjoy reading her posts at We Use Coupons as well…thanks so much for the chance to win this fantastic giveaway, Laura!

And I even look forward to getting my mail every day now…felt like I won the lottery yesterday with the haul I took in…

Got the P & G coupon booklet, the Organize Your Life coupon booklet, an envelope full of coupons from a coupon train on We Use Coupons, a free sample of Vaseline Intensive Care lotion, a free sample of Maggi soup starter and the Remedy magazine.  I haven’t actually had the time to go through any of this yet, but I’m thinking that might be a pleasant interlude this afternoon with a cup of hot tea and some music.

I’m on vacation this week (yea, me!!).  I spent all day yesterday cleaning house…something I’ve neglected terribly lately.  But now it looks all fresh and clean.  Have you ever noticed that you just feel so much better when you walk through your front door and the house is clean and organized?  Now to tackle my spare bedroom…unfortunately not so clean and organized…yet!!  But I’m going to do a little each day…will probably have lots of goodies to give the bingo ladies for their prizes…something they really appreciate.  And I certainly appreciate the more organized nature of my spare room…thinking about turning it into a home gym, just not sure how I’d manage to get the treadmill up the stairs…oh well, that’s a problem for another day.