10 Unsightly Places In My House

cleaning, organize, declutter

cleaning, organize, declutter

I really wanted to start this post by telling everyone how organized and OCD I am.  I mean, don’t I have to have a spotless home to post beautiful pictures on social media sites?  Isn’t that a mandatory part of being a blogger?

Then I decided that listing ten embarrassing places in my house is just too much information.  Talk about opening myself up to be judged. No one needs to know.  I could list five places, sympathize with other slackers and vow to be perfect by the end of next week.

Then I thought… Haters gonna hate.  So what.  Judge away.

10 Unsightly Places in my House

1.  My bedroom.  I can’t seem to keep things put away.  It’s behind closed doors so maybe I don’t care as much.  There are too many blankets, papers to be filed, and clothes.  Just too much stuff.  There isn’t a place for it all.  I really need to get rid of some stuff in there.

2.  Hallway.  Our house is tiny.  There is one hallway.  It serves too many purposes.  Our coat racks and shoe racks are there.  The microwave.  A tote with our winter gear, hats, mittens, scarves, etc…  A shelf unit with pantry items. An overhead shelf with small appliances and extra paper goods.  My cleaning supplies.  The only thing it’s not good for is walking through… hmmm.

3.  Attic.  Who’s attic isn’t a wreck?  Really?  It tends to be a catch all for us.  If something isn’t currently needed or in use, it goes into the attic.  Some of it we find and use as needed, but a lot of it gets shoved to the back and never seen again.  I’m sure there is stuff there that could disappear and we’d never know it.

4.  Garage.  Ugh! It really seems like we clean out the garage every spring and fall.  And every time it fills up again.  We have never parked a car in the garage in the nearly five years we’ve lived here.

5. The kids’ bedrooms.  There are two of them but I’ll list them here as one.  My 13 yr old son just doesn’t take care of his clothes.  Clean or dirty.  They just hang around.  My 10 year old daughter collects things.  And most of them end up on the floor.  If anyone has any tips on motivating your kids to clean their rooms, PLEASE let me know.  I’m out of ideas.

6.  The screen porch.  This is probably most embarrassing because it’s the first impression to my house.  And it’s winter right now.  Shovels, patio furniture, returnables, and Goodwill fodder.

7.  The freezer.  It seems like we put things in the freezer, but very little ever comes out of it.  The last few times we emptied the freezer was because someone left the door open and ruined everything inside.  I’m so ashamed.

8.  Basement.  Okay.  So there’s probably not much I can do about this.  One wall is field stone and the basement is damp.  When it rains hard we get little streams of water running through to the drain.  Everything down there is up on pallets.  It’s not really a pleasant place to be.

9.  Under the couch.  It eats things like pencils, candy wrappers, and socks.  Actually, I’m pretty sure the kids feed it.

10.  Top of bookshelves.  We have a lot of books.  So we have a lot of bookshelves.  The tall ones that have five shelves. It’s pretty rare that I think about dusting off the top.  Anything that’s up there has a layer of dust and cobwebs.

 

Yuck! That list makes us sound like slobs.  I really wish I was OCD.  Maybe I will be by the end of next week.  Right.

What areas do you find embarrassing in your house?  What do you wish you were OCD about?  Comment below. 🙂

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How to Create Calm in Your Home

cozy, calm, tips, home

 

cozy, calm, tips, home

1.  Light a candle.  

Get a candle with a warm scent.  Something like apple-cinnamon, pumpkin pie, or sugar cookie. These smells are associated with home cooking.  Home cooking makes you feel like you’re cared for.  Which equates to cozy.

2. Use lamps vs. overhead lighting.

I use this a lot.  Especially when I want quiet.  There’s something about low lighting that makes people talk in hushed tones.  Think theaters or fancy restaurants.  It works when we have company or if I just want to calm the kids down before bedtime.

3. String up white Christmas lights.

I love this.  One string of Christmas lights gives plenty of light yet isn’t blinding.  The little bulbs remind me of tiny candles.  They’re beautiful in an archway or around pillars.  And white lights can stay up all year.

4. Declutter surfaces.

Visual clutter translates to mental clutter.  You don’t have to clean the whole house.  Just clear off the counters and tables.  It’ll give you more space to think.

5. Cozy down in your favorite spot.

Got a favorite chair?  Or a corner of a sofa that you love to curl up in?  Put a plush throw pillow and a cozy throw blanket nearby.

6. Make coffee.

Or tea. Or whatever your favorite warm drink is.  The smell of coffee is always calming to me.  But having a mug of something warm to sip or just hold is so comforting.

7. Play music or ambient sounds.

Load some Pandora.  Whatever style of music is calming to you… play that.  Jazz?  Soft Rock?  Opera?  Instrumental?  My personal favorite is The Piano Guys. The music is engaging, not sleepy.  But there are no words to distract.  If you’re not into music, maybe a running fan or a humidifier.  A soft, steady sound can help you relax.  It also cuts down on aimless chatter.

 

What are some of your favorite ways to relax and unwind?  Does your home promote a calm atmosphere?  I’d love to hear your comments.

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5 Things to Teach Your Kids About Money

Dell, laptop, kids, finance, money, cash, saving

It was a pretty exciting day around here yesterday.  My 13 year old son bought a laptop.  A very nice laptop.  Nicer than mine.  I’m not jealous.  Nope.  Really.  Actually, I’m very proud.  Yup.  Proud mama right here!

Geo has been asking for a laptop for at least a year now.

“For Christmas??”  No.

“For my birthday??” No.

“I need one!”  No.

My husband and I don’t always say no.  However, there are some very important principles that we want our kids to learn about money and saying yes all the time defeats those lessons.

#1.  Money is finite.  Keep your priorities straight!

My husband is the only money maker in this house at the moment.  We are very blessed that his income gives me the opportunity to stay home.  It gives the kids the option to be homeschooled.  More importantly though, is it pays the bills.

We budget all of our expenses, needs and wants on one income.  Therefore we have to make sure certain things are taken care of before we go handing out money for pleasure items.  Things like rent, groceries, fuel oil, car expenses, clothing.

Yes, a laptop is cool.  But being homeless, hungry, cold, and naked are not.

#2.  Work for it.  God blesses those who work.

Dell Inspirion, pay cash, laptop, finance, kids
Peeking inside the box!

This summer, Geo got an introduction to cutting grass.  He’s been mowing grass around our place for years now but this year he did some mowing for others.

His first opportunity was really more of a desire to serve.  An elderly widow in our church needed someone to help her.  She wasn’t able to pay for it and those that had been helping in previous years were no longer able.  This lady also happens to have been Geo’s reading teacher when he was in kindergarten at the Christian Academy at our church.  So he stepped up and volunteered to cut her grass.  Yup.  Proud mama here!

I was more than happy to take Geo over a couple times a month and have a visit with our dear sister while he worked for hours mowing and trimming.  He was satisfied with being a help to someone who needed it.  But, somehow word of his good deeds reached our pastor.  He wanted to compensate Geo for his work because the Bible says that it is the pastor’s duty to make sure the widows and orphans are cared for.  So Geo was blessed for serving others.

His second opportunity came when close friends of ours moved to another state.  They put their house up for sale and needed the lawns mowed while the house was on the market.  Since they knew that Geo was already cutting grass for others, they asked if he would help them too.  They paid him for several mowings up front and then mailed him a check for the mowings after that.

#3.  Save for it.  No money = no opportunity.

Dell, laptop, kids, finance, money, cash
Little sister learns what saving can do!

Some people are natural savers.  Some are spenders.

Luckily, this was not a hard lesson for Geo because he is a natural saver.  He finds comfort in watching his money pile up.  He knows how long it took and how many hours of work to accumulate what he has.  He doesn’t have a miser mentality.  He sees money as opportunity.  Because that’s really what it is.  It’s an opportunity to help others.  It’s an opportunity to enjoy things.  It’s a little padding between you and life.

Geo may be 13 but he has had plenty of opportunity to use his money.  He has always been taught to give a tithe (10%) to the church.  He has often given to special needs presented for works of God like missionary needs, building needs, and fundraising.

Geo has secretly (at the time) and anonymously given to adults in need when he overheard their story.   One occasion, leaving $10 in the driver’s seat of our friend’s car because he heard of his financial struggle and wanted to help.  He told us several days later.  On another occasion, he was able to cover the cost of a purchase when the adult he was with had forgotten their wallet.

For a 13 year old, my son has a keen awareness that by spending all that you have on little things, you lose the opportunity to do more with your money.  Money is a tool that can be made to work in a variety of ways.

#4.  Wait for it.  You don’t have to settle.

Patience is one of the hardest things to teach children.  It’s also one of the hardest things for all people to learn.  Delayed pleasure.  Ouch!

 

Geo has been watching the fliers.  Especially around Black Friday and Christmas time.  He’s been eyeing other’s laptops.  He had a pretty solid idea of what he wanted.  He also knew that sometimes good deals can pop up.  But you never can tell when it might happen.

Since he had been saving up money, he knew what his price point was.  And it was lower than what he needed for the computer he wanted.  But good things come to those who wait. Geo wasn’t willing to settle for a lesser model just because he didn’t have enough money.  He would just have to continue saving money or find a great deal.

Dell, laptop, cash, money, finance, kids
Ahhh… it feels so nice!

This week a flier to the office supply store, Staples, listed a sale for $200 off a Dell Inspirion touch screen with 8GB of RAM and a TB of storage making the laptop $349.  This was it!  Geo put in a call to our local store to see if they had it in stock.  Yes!  He put a hold on it until the next day when the sale started.  Did I say I was proud??

#5.  Pay cash! Take ownership.

Because Geo had spent the summer saving up some money, knew what he wanted, and was willing to wait for a good deal, he was able to walk in a pay cash for his laptop.

Paying in cash is important for a couple of reasons.  First, it is a tangible trade of hard work for reward.  You see the money you worked for changing hands in trade for an item you really want.

Second, there are no payments that follow you home.  When you pay for something with cash, that item is truly yours and you own it.  Then you can really enjoy every moment with it.

Having your children take true ownership of expensive items is a great way to ensure that they take care of it.  This laptop represents an entire summer of work and savings for Geo.  He’s going to be very picky about who uses it, how it’s used and where it’s used.  It wouldn’t be the same if we had simply given him the laptop or given him the money for the laptop.

*Bonus*

The bonus to learning all of these lessons as kids is that they all still apply when you’re an adult, only to the nth degree.  We can all put these lessons into practice and reap the benefits.  But, oh to have learned them when I was young!  My children are so blessed to have parents that tell them NO!

 

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