Unclutter Your Life

Tips on Homemaking

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Do you know what today is?  Yes, it is HUMP Day… half way through the week and halfway to the weekend.

Over the last week, we have been doing some remolding and repairs in the bathroom.  We had a small electrical fire in the lights above the medicine chest which turned into a major project.  So for about a week, the medicine chest was sitting in my living room.  I know what does this all have to do with “homemaking”, right?8133762f897b470f847f2c663562ef7f

It brought back some memories and got me motivated to clean up some of the stuff in the house.  My idea of doing chores for many years – since I have lived on my own – has been keeping things neat, a feather dusting and a quick vacuum or sweep.  Nothing major except for when I had the urge to move the furniture, then watch out.

When did I go from Saturday morning (or my day off) cleaning to just having things passable.  When did I stop paying attention to the details of housework like my mom?  I learned about cleaning and homemaking while living with my parents but the lessons never translated when I moved in on my own.

I went on the hunt for some help with homemaking hints, so I could get a refresher course.  Here are the 5 best tips, I found….

1. Practice.

Practice doesn’t always make perfect, but things do get better over time. What area do you struggle with – cleaning the bathroom? Practice. Struggling with laundry? Practice.  I never thought of these things as skills but in order to get good at them, you need to do them every day (or often) until you get really good at it.

2. Work on one area.

Or at least one area at a time. As much as you would like to, you don’t have to be on top of everything all the time!  It would be nice but truth is, it’s a juggling act.  Get the bathrooms shipshape, and then the laundry room is overflowing. Then the kitchen gets scary. And so it goes.  So take it one step at a time, one area at a time. Then repeat.  I struggle because our kitchen, dining room and living room all flow together, keeping them separate seems like even more of a struggle.

3. Give yourself grace.

We all have challenging seasons – maybe a pregnancy, a new baby, illness, job loss, or maybe moving to a new house? These are HUGE so don’t beat yourself up while going through it.  It is during these times, you need to slip into survival mode and just concentrate on the bare basics.  Honestly, I think I gave myself grace for far too long (5 years of challenging seasons).  During these times I have had enough on my hands so I am done heaping more guilt on myself.  What about you?  Do the guilt gremlins invade your space too?

4. Remember Who you are serving.

Cleaning (homemaking) was always all about pride or for my family’s sake but mostly about people pleasing.  When I didn’t do it according to the rules or the script, it was discouraging.   I woke up this morning with an AHA!  What if I am doing this as service to God—and Him only?  It really changes my perspective, the same as my dieting is pleasing to him.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men (or family, friends, or neighbors). ~ Col. 3:23

So, with a song in my heart and strength in my hands, I am going to it!

5. Study the craft.

I may not be studying like I did in school BUT I am looking for articles on how to do things quickly, easily and toxic free.  I am not saying the dust bunnies won’t still creep in but they won’t linger as long.  Pinterest and Google have some great tips to help with the skill of homemaking.

Here are some more tidbits of information I picked up along the way:

  • Baking soda gets the smell out of stinky spots.
  • Clean the dirtiest areas of the bathroom first and then work your way up the mirrors last.
  • Run a lemon through the garbage disposal to freshen the sink.

By learning new tricks, homemaking is becoming more manageable and not a dreaded chore.  What are some of your best tips?1342735549209_2735191

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Cleaning Made Easy

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For those that know (and love me), they know that cleaning is not the tops of my list of things to do.  Don’t get me wrong – the house is neat, dishes are done and “public” rooms are usually ready for company.  The dust bunnies under the coach or in some of the other rooms know that they are safe most of the time.  So for me “cleaning made easy” would involve someone coming in at least 2 times a month to clean the house from top to bottom.

I haven’t reached that point yet BUT am looking forward to the day it happens. In the meantime, I found this awesome chart on Pinterest that helps me to get things done in a short amount of time.

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Seems easy enough, right?  I have calendar blocked 45-minutes Monday through Friday to get things done.  It works.  Now remember it is just hubby and I in the house so it is a little bit easier than those of you who have kids.  You may need to block a little bit more time to get these things done but I would say no more than 1 hour.

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This next tip is courtesy of hubby.  Hubby had surgery last week on his hand – minor in the big picture of things.  His hand was wrapped and dry skin appeared under the wrap.  Well, he scratched and got some blood on the ace bandage that was protecting his incision.  He asked if there was anything that he could do to get the blood off since he had 4 more days to wear it.  I couldn’t think of anything so off to bed I went.  The next morning he says “look I got it clean”.  I was shocked BUT I was even more surprised when he told me what he did.  He got the tip from You Tube….

Spray a small amount of WD-40 on the spot.  Let it soak in for about 1 minute.  Then take 2 or 3 drops of white cider vinegar (so it doesn’t discolor anything) an apply it over the WD-40.  Let sit for about 30 seconds.  Then he took a clean paper towel with just a little bit of water and rubbed.  It disappeared.  He took a second paper towel with some dish detergent on it to make sure the WD-40 was gone.  So in about 3 minutes the blood was gone!  According to the You Tube video it will work on all fabrics.

Here are some more uses for cleaning with vinegar:

Clean Windows – Make your own window-cleaner with two tablespoons of white vinegar with six and a half pints of water, and dispense into a used spray bottle. Squirt on, then scrub with newspaper, not paper towels, which cause streaking.

Freshen Up Laundry – Toss a capful of white vinegar into the machine on washing day. Your colours will come out bolder and your whites whiter.  Got grass stains? Make a mixture of 80 ml white vinegar and 160 ml water. Apply the solution to the stain and blot with a clean cloth. Repeat this process until you’ve removed as much green as possible, and then wash as usual.

Clean Carpets – Battle carpet stains like wine with a mix of vinegar and warm water. Rinse thoroughly.

Dissolve Stubborn Glue – Have trouble getting that annoying sticky label residue off a product or accidentally glued something together? Try using vinegar as a solvent to dissolve many common adhesives. Vinegar is also good at cutting through grease.

Quick and easy, right?  What is your best tip for removing stubborn stains from clothing or carpets?  Share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Clear the Clutter

Release Your Attachment to Your Stuff

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“To change skins, evolve into new cycles, I feel one has to learn to discard. If one changes internally, one should not continue to live with the same objects. They reflect one’s mind and the psyche of yesterday. I throw away what has no dynamic, living use.”   Anais Nin

I LOVE that Thirty One starts the “new year” in the middle of the calendar year.  Sounds crazy, right?  But the truth is that it allows me to re-visit my goals and sets me on fire to get back on track. Haven’t you lost momentum for those goals (or resolutions) that you set at the beginning of the year?

It is a time for me to reduce the stuff in my office and declutter my world. The process can be both satisfying and exhausting.  Satisfying because I’m able to get rid of things that I no longer need.  Exhausting because every item requires a decision. Keep or release? Sell or gift? Friends or family?

Some things are easy to get rid of, right?  Then there are things that we say “what if” – that usually happens with clothes for me.  Maybe the clothes are a smaller size that you hope to get into again. Maybe it is the outfit that you wore on your first date with that special someone.  Maybe someone told you how “beautiful” you looked.  Whatever the reason, we cling to things.  Then there is the question, “What if I give it away and then need it in a month?”.

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Here are some steps that helped me. The same steps can be used if your goal is to empty your junk drawer, your garage, or your wardrobe.

1. Start with an easy area or the area that annoys or distracts you the most.

An easy area is great for instant satisfaction and motivates you to continue. Tackling an area that annoys or distracts you is a fantastic way to free up energy. The garage that you can longer fit the car in. The drawer that you have to push and shove to close because it’s so full. Pick your spot.

2. Give yourself a time limit.

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Having a time limit will keep you from being sucked into the black hole that is your closet. Or garage. Or pantry.  When I focus on the time limit, I was less distracted. If  you find yourself distracted a quick look at the clock will get you back on track.  Setting a timer – I like the old timers that you can hear the minutes ticking by.

3. Only keep what is essential or beautiful.

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Imagine if your home only contained things that were essential or beautiful, or both. Does, that fill you with a sense of calm and pleasure. It does me!  When decluttering clothes and accessories – Does it make you look or feel like a million dollars?  Having a wardrobe full of things that make you feel like a millions dollars is simplistic luxury.  It doesn’t mean that you only keep the most expensive things either.  Some of my favorite outfits or accessories, I bought for a few dollars and I feel like a million dollars in them.

4. Get some help.

I find that when I work with someone (friend or family), put some music on, and combine laughter with letting go of what no longer serves me – so much more gets done!  Give it a try!

6. Give your things a second life.

I have a STACK of ThirtyOne t-shirts that I can’t part with even though some are worn and tattered.  I am going to create (actually find someone who will create) a backdrop/table top for my vendor shows with them.  Each one has a story that will allow me to share my journey with others.  What do you have that you can give a second life?

7. Connect with your emotions.

Is getting rid of things stir up memories/ emotions?  The truth is that we need to dig into why you’re hanging onto an item. What does the item represent to you? What memories have you attached to that item?  What if you were to thank those items for helping you create memories. I know it sounds odd, but it works.  Then you can release those things with a smile and a thankful heart.

Reducing our possessions allows for less distractions.  You will feel lighter and more in control of your stuff instead of the stuff controlling you.

I challenge you to pick ONE spot and give it a try TODAY!  Share the results.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Hope Wissel, Unclutter Your Life

Need a Cleaning Solution

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TGIF!! Yes, it is Friday.  I am sure many are counting down the hours till they get out of work, right?  With some awesome weather predicted at the Jersey Shore, I am sure you have lots of things planned that will keep you out and about.  For some, cleaning the house including picking up the kids toys will be on the list.  I am long past the lego stage of life BUT I do know some of you are still there.  We didn’t have legos at our house, it was Polly Pockets and Barbies.  Of course, my daughter’s room was never quite this neat.

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A friend and fellow blogger, Vanessa Coppes, had the opportunity to be on The Chew last week and shared a GREAT tip for cleaning up the legos (or anything small that gets lost in the vacuum).  Click HERE to see the clip.

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What a GREAT idea, right?  Using a stocking to collect legos with the vacuum.  She is a GENIUS!

Does your child’s room look like the picture?  Toys everywhere – from action figures to legos.

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The Oh Snap bins are great for those little things all over the house.  The “snap” loop lets you hang them on rods or on a hook in the closet.  I love that our products are so versatile.  So you may buy it for one use and then you can also use it to hold your bottle of water or phone when you are out at those fall games.

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Thirty One’s large utility tote is another great solution.  Not only is it sturdy enough to hold all of those toys but when you add a lid, it can be used to tote those toys.  This tote can be transformed as your child grows up.  It is great for for sporting equipment.  How about keeping the trunk of the car clean.  Grocery shopping for you instead of all of those plastic bags.

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What would you use one of these products for?  How could they make your life just a little bit easier?

Struggling to find a solution for an organizing problem at home, the office, your car or even your purse.  Let me help you find the solution.  Contact me below:

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel, Unclutter Your Life

Purge

Most people clean out closets BEFORE Christmas to make room for more stuff or they do the seasonal clean.  I seem to work better when I am doing the annual clean just before the new year.  It clears my head and gets me focused on my goals for the upcoming year.

I have been following Your Organized Guide over the last month and PURGE is their big word.  I love her definition and it is so true:

And purging isn’t just for stuff, although that’s a big piece of it. Purging is also about letting go of the past, forgiving yourself, and even discarding thoughts which no longer serve you.

So, here are some things that I never thought about that I hold on to:

Pictures – So many pictures. Do I need them all? Do I want them all? And more positively, which of these pictures brings me JOY?  I cleaned a lot of the pictures out when we sold the house in South Jersey but I still have a lot of them.  Mostly the ones that do bring me JOY!

Clothes – What is the rule?  If you haven’t worn it in 6 months, get rid of it.  With the change in seasons, I usually do the “if I haven’t worn it in 2 seasons – get rid of it”.  Or what about those “just in case clothes”.  You know the ones that are too small or too big – just in case you lose weight or gain back the weight you lost.

Negative thoughts.  This used to be  HUGE problem for me.  I have found that with the help of a good life coach, I am practicing extreme gratitude and radical compassion for myself.

Saying YES even when I don’t want to.  WOW!  That is the people pleasing side of me.  Come on, be truthful, you do it too, right?  What if we were to choose to spend five uncomfortable minutes now saying NO so that we are not regretting our YES for the next several months.

Office supplies.   I opened a drawer in my office to find WAY more supplies than I really needed.  I tend to shop on impulse especially when there is a sale.  I donated a lot of them before the holidays.  I will also look at how old things are and if they are too old, I will be tossing some into the garbage!

Belinda used to say when I got in “clean mode”, if you aren’t tied down or have a purpose, you get tossed.  It is so true.  I used to be better out when we gathered a lot of stuff in the bigger house but now in the condo I try to keep things simple.

There really are good feelings that come after the initial hyperventilation of actually beginning the purge, freaking out, and thinking, “I can’t do this!”

Purging is a practice – and a good one when it is done thoughtfully, consciously, and from a mindset of love and abundance (I am enough, I have enough).

Go ahead, try it.  Do it and let me know how it feels when you’re done (or let me know why you started and never finished).

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!