At our house, it only takes a few days for things to get out of place. I have figured out an easy and quick way to get things back in order.
I take my big plastic dish pan and starting with the dining room table, as that is where most of the clutter begins, I put everything that's out of place into the pan.
I walk around the room and place what stays in that room where it belongs and anything else that does not belong in that room, I put it into the pan.
I go from room to room and in just a few minutes, I have everything back where it belongs and have saved myself lots of steps.
Nice tip! I've used a sturdy laundry basket or large box to do the same.
After going through this I am determined not to put my children through this hardship. I have been sorting through all the stuff my husband and I have accumulated over the years. I have sold things at flea markets, yard sales, and given to our local Salvation Army. I have earned money not only by selling but finding things I probably would have bought in the near future.
I am more aware of the stuff I bring into my home now. I weigh each purchase. The best is I save time by not having to move "piles" from one area to the next. We enjoy are home more because we are not always stepping over things and battling clutter. Home is a calmer more spacious place to be.
By Pat W. from Eastern PA
Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/post_myfrugallife.ldml
Good idea. I too was faced with cleaning out my parent's huge overstuffed home. I donated to every charity that called, gave to my kids and the neighbors and threw stuff away. If anyone has trouble getting rid of something just look at it, contemplate the size of it, even if it is a shoebox and say to yourself "this item is taking up this much space in my home".
At my school, we are just about to start organizing our second annual Bring and Barter event. After the great success of the first one, we are hoping for even more happiness and learning from this one. The idea came to one of my colleagues and I after I gave her a spare tomato plant I had grown and, in return, she gave me a large jar of home-produced honey. Now, I thought that this trade was unfair as the actual monetary value of the honey was far higher than one tomato plant (even if it was in quite a big pot!) but her reasoning was that to get that one plant she would have had to buy seeds, compost, pots in several sizes and find somewhere to put them along the way. So as far as she was concerned the trade was fair.
This got us both thinking and within a month we had organized a Bring and Barter event. We invited everyone to bring ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING they wanted to trade, set up a table and then waited to see what happened. Two hours later, about 150 people of various shapes, sizes and ages left delighted with their 'bargains' and happy to leave unwanted or surplus items with other folk who wanted or needed them more. One of our colleagues who had been very dubious about the idea was amazed that he had managed to trade up a wooden spoon, value approx 50 cents (multiple swaps of course) to a jar of my mango jam, value around $5. Children had to think hard about what things were worth to them and to others and some learned the hard way when their swaps were turned down!
If you want to use the idea as a fundraiser or need to pay for a venue you could make a small charge for entry, perhaps $1-$2. It was a great way of bringing the community together and the children really got to understand the meaning of 'Fair Trade'. Best of all, there was no clearing up or disposing of unsold items as they were taken away by the participants!
By Mrs. Christmas from Slovenia, EU
What a great idea and I think it's unique.
I hate clutter; probably because I dislike dirt. Clutter makes it far harder to just keep up, and to find things. I have even read that it can cause stress. For me, clutter means I can't find what I'm looking for, or hiding something I forgot I have.
One thing I noticed in a movie based in Iceland that I just saw, is that there was a noticeable lack of extra STUFF in their homes and other places. We as Americans have so much extra stuff, but I am trying to use that vision of a stripped-down environment to inspire me.
What a great tip, especially now that I see scads of phone books sitting under mailboxes all over the place. Most have been there for weeks already, all wet from the rain.
By GreenGirls from Summerfield, FL
Editor's Note: Be sure to follow the links. If you don't have the name exact, it will take you to a phony site. You should see a photo of a mountain at the top of the correct page, not a bunch of links to unrelated subjects.
I'm going to try that here. I have called many times trying to get them to quit delivering them. But instead of quitting, they deliver more! Every year now I get 4 of the large phone books and 3 of the small ones (the small ones are identical to the big ones only smaller print------big waste of money)
If the phone companies would quit wasting money printing and delivering so many unwanted phone books, and only print what is ordered, or only print about 1/4 of what they print now and only deliver to new customers and current customers who order them, they could probably cut our bills by at least 1/3!
If you're like me you can get overwhelmed with the clutter. I found this tip in a magazine it works really well. Clear out 30 bags of junk in 30 days. I just fill a handbag from all over the house as I'm cleaning each day, and the clutter is going down.
I am a pack rat by nature and I save everything: Broken jewelry and bits of china, ribbon pieces to be used in future craft projects; clothing that is a decade out of style but just too nice to throw away. It is a compulsion and a bad habit that with some practice can be reformed.
Since so many of us have a lot of time off for Thanksgiving, it's a good time to go through stuff and see all you've been blessed with.
You can opt-out of receiving the yellow pages by visiting the following address. I almost never use a paper yellow pages any more since just about every business has a website so I really appreciate not having to receive delivery of them.
Yea! Gonna add this to my t'do list as close to the top as I can! I get YellowPages books from areas I don't even live in! I sure dislike the waste...worse'n junk mail! Thanx muches!
Clutter control tips from our readers. Post your ideas!
Turn your "clutter" into cash by selling clothes, collectibles, etc on ebay! Too much trouble? Set a goal of a major garage sale at least once a year and donate remainder to charity. I make a LOT of money selling "junk" each year.
When shopping, live by the mantra "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without".
I have a long icky story that I won't bore you all with, but I am in a bit of a pickle. I have made huge strides in de-cluttering and clearing my home. I began 3 weeks ago with the easy stuff, garbage, old magazines, papers, etc. that were most visible and I knew would make the "visual" impact that would keep me motivated.
Now I am at the hard stuff. Let me give you a scenario. I have a ______ (enter "box, closet, room, container, etc") containing the following: letters, books, important papers, pictures, office supplies, crafts, samples, toys, kitchen items, bathroom items, shoes, etc.
My question is, what do I do first? Sort and put things where they are supposed to go? or purge? (do the emotional part of deciding to toss, ie., do I need this, do I have another one just like it, does it work, does it make me sad, happy, etc.).
I'm going to call you Econo for short 'cuz your user name is too long for me to memorize as I scroll down the page to respond. :) Congrats for the first step! I'm like you, the visual improvement motivates me to continue the de-cluttering process. Just be aware that it can also cause a false sense of achievement! (Been there, still dealing with that!)
My best suggestion involves eight bins or bags with eight different labels:
1) Keep - Put back where it belongs.
2) Donate - Items must be clean and functional
3) Recycle - Plastic, paper, etc.
4) Trash - Trash, soiled, broken, dysfunctional, 'Nuf said
5) Sell - The garage/yard sell stuff
6) Sell - the more valuable E-Bay/auction stuff
7) Repurpose - Wood, fabric, etc.
8) Keep - Sentimental
As soon as the #1 bin (put back where it belongs), the #2) bin (donate), the #3 bin (recycle) or the #4 bin (trash) gets full, deal with them: put up, donate, recycle or trash at each days end.
Bins # 5, 6, 7, & 8, as they fill up, will need to move into another area for later action. (These will be the toughest to deal with and you will feel better by giving yourself a second, slightly delayed, opportunity to validate your original quick sort decision.) Honestly, however, by allowing yourself a second chance to go through these items you will probably find more and more items to eliminate via the trash, donate, recycle options. You will feel more confident in these choices as you give yourself the opportunity to think through it twice!
For most, the room by room method works best, but for others, it's drawer by drawer, or wall by wall. Just keep your system flexible enough that if you get stuck ("what do I do with this?") you can forgive yourself for not tackling it immediately and move on to another area that helps you keep up the momentum.
Be realistic as to how many hours per week you can actually devote to de-cluttering. Even if you get behind schedule, never beat yourself up as long as you are making significant progress on a routine basis.
I got into my own cluttered life style because a) I'm sentimental - my grandparents and parents were all gone before I was 33 years old and I inherited a lot of their stuff, b) I'm frugal, borderline cheap, and can tell you within a dollar how much I spent on every item in my home, not wanting to part with a dime and c) I can't stand throwing away anything that still has a useful purpose, even if I don't have a useful purpose for that item. (In part, that's why I use so many bins.)
I'm getting out of my cluttered life style because I'm weary of being the caretaker of "stuff"! Wishing you the same sense of sanity and best of luck with the process.