I’m trying to teach my oldest child how to use the washing machine and dryer. Any tips?
I’m trying to teach my oldest child how to use the washing machine and dryer. Any tips?
We love our local library. Not only does it help us save money, but it also reduces our clutter. How? By providing us with education, entertainment, things for the home, and so much more, thus reducing the pile we have in our house.
Here are some of the areas in our home where clutter has been reduced, thanks to our local library. You may be surprised by how many different areas of our home we are able to keep clutter free just by having a library card.
I strongly suggest that if you check out your local library, especially if you haven’t been there in a while. Chances are there are plenty of opportunities you will enjoy.
Kids Craft Supplies
Our local library provides our children with many different opportunities for creative crafts. Often we can just drop in during a particular time period and do the craft together with supplies that are already laid out. Other times, the craft is directed by an instructor. Either way, the kids have some creative fun, and I don’t have to purchase and keep mounds of craft supplies in my home.
For a while, magazines were one of the major sources of clutter in our home. We use them for entertainment, research and knowledge. Plus, we like trying some of the new recipes that we find. It was always hard to recycle magazines, since I worried that I might miss something.
Our library now offers popular magazines in a digital format, free to download. There is no limit to the number of current issue magazines that we can view–the library makes all of the most popular ones available, as well as some trade magazines, so we always have access.
Plus, if we really want to read paper versions, we can spend a few moments at the physical library reading current issues or borrow older issues and take them home.
Entertainment or Media Center
We used to save money by purchasing used video games, but we still wound up with quite a collection that cluttered up our living room. The library has helped us eliminate that clutter by offering video games for our home system. The kids can check out a new video game for an entire week at a time. The games also come with any extra controllers or special devices that are needed to play them, so we don’t have to worry about having to buy and store a special board to do some virtual skiing, for example.
Thanks to the library, we can check out new movies any time we want. There is a good selection of DVDs available that can be borrowed from one to three weeks, depending on the popularity of a particular title. This eliminated our previous practice of purchasing whatever new family movie became available. Now, we only purchase a movie if we’ve checked it out more than five times. We get to watch new movies all of the time, without having to commit to the space to keep them all organized.
While most libraries offer DVDs for free, some do charge a nominal fee for this service.
Need a new CD for the car or just to listen to at home? While the library may have been the last place you would think of for new music, the truth is that it is a wealth of a resource, especially for children’s music, world music and popular tunes.
This month alone, I saved at least three feet of bookshelf space in my home simply by avoiding book impulse buys and checking the books out at the library instead. Thanks to our library’s online access, I can “order” new books and have them waiting for me to pick up for free. When I am done reading, there are more wonderful books to be had. Since my family consists of avid readers who tend to bump into walls because we have our noses in our books all of the time, the clutter reduction is significant. Thanks to the library, boxes and boxes of books have left our home and given us a lot more space.
What about rare books or less popular ones that may not be available at your library branch? Request them through intra-library loan.
We often kept certain books around for reference, such as cookbooks and home repair books. While we still have a few of these, most of the time, we can simply check out the library when we need to learn or be reminded of something. Physical reference books can be viewed or check out of course, but our library also has a number of online references that we are allowed to access. The library offers solid and reliable reference material. Reference books tend to be large, so it is nice to not have to find permanent space in our home for them.
Toys and Games
Our local library offers a number of board games that can be played with while in the library, including both the classics and some new favorites. It also sponsors different toy and game events from Lego building for kids to card games for seniors. Not only can this reduce the need for tons of toys and games in the home, but it can also offer social benefits, as well.
Some libraries also allow toys and games to be check out of the library for a number of weeks, so you can take them home to enjoy.
If you want to stay warm this winter, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you can try this trick from the wisdom of the past. It has been passed down for generations. All it requires is one log that will last the whole winter. You don’t even have to have a wood stove or fireplace!
Here is what you do.
Select a nice fat log. It doesn’t have to be very dry. In fact, the thicker and the heavier the log is, the better it will keep you warm.
Take your log and bring it up to the highest point in your home with a window. It is important to select the very highest spot you can get to reasonably. Set the log down and open the window. Next, pick up the log and place it outside of the window. Let it go so it falls all the way to the ground, making sure first that you don’t hit people or damage your property.
Next, close the window.
Go all the way down to the bottom of your home and out the front door. Pick up the log.
Take the log back up to the highest point and repeat until you are nice and warm.
Yup–when you have a family, this is what it is all about: spending your Saturday at IKEA.
Meanwhile, I love this piece from Adam Byatt on why writing is like building furniture from IKEA. “You must be two people to assemble this item.” So true, Adam, so true.
The wind gusts are swaying the trees today and making a lot of noise.
For breakfast, I made Strawberry Banana Cream Oatmeal in the crockpot. You can get the recipe here.
There is homemade chicken stock simmering on the stove, right now.
I’m still de-cluttering and organizing. This was the junk drawer.
This guy got caught last night licking out the roasting pan .
This morning, we woke up to no power. This is a frequent occurrence in the woods, where high wind and heavy rain can take out a power line in a snap. We are used to it. It can last for a few hours to a few days.
My husband hooked up the generator before he left for work, so I could have my off-line laptop (for end-of-the-month writing deadlines) and coffee (also for end-of-the-month writing deadlines). Well, he also hooked up the heat and the refrigerator.
Because we have well-water, no electricity also means no water, which is why our basement crawl space is stacked with cases of bottled water and bottles of hand sanitizer. There are also a few gallons of stored water for flushing–you know, the important things. We learned the first year in this house that it is easier to store milk jugs full of non-potable water than to take a bucket down to the creek in the middle of a rain storm, snow storm, hurricane, invasion of stupid drunk people hitting trees in the middle of the night. I refuse to let the yellow mellow.
The power (and the Internet) did come back on eventually, and I got my first over-the-phone lesson in undocking the generator. That husband of mine is trying to turn me into a country woman, which is funny, since he comes from New Jersey. I opted to leave alone, the open wires connecting the furnace to the house power. I figure crispy mama would not be a good view for the kids to come home to after school.
What it looks like out there this afternoon. The background roaring noise is the creek.
The snow was coming down fast, so we parked the car at the top of the driveway (else we will never get it out). While waiting for my kindergartener (coming home on the school bus), I drew a smiley face on the windshield. He saw it and giggled. Score one for mom!
Clutter can cost you, both in time and in money. When we spend so much time taking care of stuff that we get little pleasure or accomplishment from, when we spend money to house items that we don’t need, we can’t soar in our lives. Those things creep in, usually slowly, and rob us of family time, financial security, and a sense of home as a haven.
Simplifying can be freeing.
Most of us have way too much stuff, too much clutter, so much that we would never be able to catalogue everything we own from memory. Yet, despite this, we tend to feel as though we constantly need more. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with owning things that we love, but what about the rest? Do we love the junk mail and school papers that accumulate on the kitchen counter, or the stack of books that we may read someday, or the clothes in the back of the closet that we never seem to want to wear?
Chances are, if you sit down with your computer or pencil and paper and start writing down what you own, being very specific, you’ll quickly find out which things that mean the most to you. The rest might just be too much.
In order to make room in our lives for the things that do fulfill us, we have to get rid of the things that serve as distractions. Clutter can hold us back.
I am by no means a master of this, this removing the excess from my life. In fact, I have a long way to go. I look forward to the day when we can look around at my home and really love everything that our eyes see.
Here is a list of my clutter busting accomplishments this week, so far.
Have you been getting rid of clutter? Please comment with your accomplishments. Do you have any questions about where to start? Post them as well.
Helpful Tip: When de-cluttering toys, remember to remove any batteries. Otherwise, a rogue toy may give you away. Oops.