If you live in a small house, like we do, you know all too well the value of being able to use one tool to do several different things. I have to economize the space we have available, which means we don’t have room for gadgets that only do one thing.
I am always looking for items that can pull double-duty. Finding new uses for things I’ve already got not only helps me reduce the amount of clutter around the house, but it also helps me save money – if an item is not going to serve more than one purpose, I’m definitely not going to waste my money on it!
Lately, life has been busy. Really busy. Between our bathroom remodel, our vacation in Cheboygan, and the general busy every day life, I’m spent. On Monday I spent most of the day in Ann Arbor, running errands and visiting my endocrinologist (after 14 years, my thyroid just might be straightened out!). Yesterday, I spent the morning volunteering in The Goose’s classroom, and then I was lucky enough to go to lunch with his class. Boy was that loud! And today, I spent all morning and part of the afternoon running to three different home improvement stores, a sporting goods store, the grocery store and the pharmacy, and then I had to stop to fill up the gas tank. And while I am happy to have a bronze shower curtain rod, to match our new bathroom, I’m exhausted. So that’s it for today…
I have always been a list maker. When I was a kid, I was always listing my Barbie Dolls and Cabbage Patch Kids, counting out my shoes and clothes. I was constantly writing things down. Now that I’m older, I make lists of chores I need to do, things I need to buy, projects I need to start. In all honesty, if I don’t write it down, it’s not going to happen.
I’ve tried several online techniques for making lists – including using Google Tasks, using the reminders and notes functions on my phone, even sending myself e-mails with things I need to do. But I’ve found that nothing works as well as putting pen to paper and writing it out. It’s almost as if the physical act of writing something down solidifies the information, and makes it actually stick inside my brain.
Years ago, when my husband and I were deciding where we wanted to raise our family, we looked at a lot of homes. We looked at colonial style homes, homes with odd shaped additions, homes with crawl spaces, and even a home with a clawfoot bathtub at the top of the stairs (seriously!).
Just when we had given up hope on finding a home we could imagine living in for the rest of our lives, we finally found it. A 1920s era craftsman bungalow. We loved this house for a lot of reasons – the beautiful arched doorways, the beautiful dark wood doors and molding, the enclosed porch with nearly 20 windows to let in tons of light, and it’s proximity to family. But, the biggest reason that we loved this house so much is because it was small. And that’s exactly what we were looking for.
At my house, Friday is grocery day. And because I really dislike grocery shopping, I try my hardest to make it as quick and painless as possible. This means that I do a lot of planning before heading to the grocery store, and that I work hard to save money on groceries each week.
I usually stick to the same stores when grocery shopping, because I know the layout and can get in and out quickly. I also follow the layout of the store when making my shopping list. But the real savings comes with being organized and thinking about what we really need – and this is how I do it.
When The Goose was younger, he was quite the scribbler. There were scribbles on walls. Scribbles on furniture. Scribbles on paper (rarely). And even scribbles on his arms and legs. If left unattended with a marker, crayon, or pencil you’d better believe he’d be off somewhere making a picture.
Like a lot of parents, I would turn to the magic eraser to clean up the scribbles on my walls. Then I realized that it was not just removing the scribble – it was removing the paint too! I knew there had to be an easier way to remove the drawings, and that’s when I found out about the wonders of the microfiber cloth.
Almost five years ago we bought our home – a craftsman style bungalow that was built in 1927. We fell in love with our house because it has a lot of charm – beautiful hardwood floors, arched entryways, picture frame molding, and an old porcelain kitchen sink that I used to find impossible to clean.
Over the years, that sink has caused a lot of anguish. I’ve tried everything to keep it clean – using wash tubs when scrubbing dishes, scrubbing it with scouring powder, and even obsessively cleaning it each and every night. The result? I was frustrated and the sink still wasn’t clean.
Yesterday I shared my habit of making an annual birthday resolution, rather than the standard New Year’s resolution. This year, I have decided to tackle a project that has been weighing on me for a long, long time… I’m going to gradually purge, declutter and organize my entire house.
Decluttering and organizing may not sound like a big deal to a lot of people out there, but in my house it definitely is. You see, I’m married to a keeper. When I say keeper, I don’t mean just in the traditional sense that I love him and we’re going to be together forever. I say that because he’s a keeper of all things, and hates to throw anything away. If it’s broken, we can fix it. If it’s old, we can still make it work. And if it was a gift, well, we have to keep it forever. Even if it is both old and broken.
I am not in the habit of making New Years resolutions. I have a hard time believing that come January 1st I will suddenly change my life completely, exercise more, read more books, save more money, the list goes on and on. I do, however, make an annual “Birthday Resolution,” by setting one goal I’d like to accomplish before my next birthday rolls around. And, since I’m celebrating a birthday in a couple days, I thought it would be a great time to share the progress on my birthday goal from last year.
Last year, I decided to change the way that my family eats, and I’d have to say it’s been pretty successful. In years past, much of the food that my family was eating was made from boxes, mixes and cans. I’d been working to change it, but it wasn’t until I set my birthday goal that I started making real progress. Now, most of the food that we eat is made by me, in my kitchen, from real ingredients. Making this change has been time consuming, without a doubt, but it’s also been very rewarding. And it’s saved us a lot of money.
The Goose’s best friend is a stuffed monkey named Monkey Max. Monkey Max goes with us everywhere – to church, to the movies, and sometimes he even goes to school!
As you can imagine, Monkey Max’s escapades, while fun, cause him to get dirty. Really, really dirty. That poor monkey has been dragged through mud puddles, has had play dough mashed in his fur, and has been thrown up on more then once. Because of this, I am a pro when it comes to gently (and safely) washing stuffed animals.