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Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

De-Clutter Your Home

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On September 12, 2011 No Comments

When you first move into your home it seems like you have so much space.  As the years pass, you might find yourself becoming a pack rat.  What are you going to do with all the stuff you have accumulated?  Perhaps it’s time to weed out the unnecessary items and organize your home.

Home Organization 101: Easy Steps to a Clutter Free Home

Home organization is a step-by-step process.  It will take more than a day or even a week to get everything to a manageable level, but once you do staying organized is an easier task.  If you have a family, enlist their help.  They can pitch in and learn a thing or two about controlling clutter in their life. home organization

1. Start with the high traffic areas.  The living room and kitchen are usually the two most used rooms in the house.  Everything gets dropped on a counter or the couch in these two places.  Concentrate on getting everything set up the way that you like it before moving on to another room.

2. Use storage containers.  Over the years, the style of storage containers has upgraded to be pretty as well as functional.  Instead of storing containers in stacks in the garage, purchase ones that match your décor in each room and integrate them so that no one would even notice they were being used for storage.

3. Divide items into categories.  You can use heavy duty trash bags for this part.  Everything that you find can go into a pile: KEEP, THROW AWAY, GIVE AWAY, and RELOCATE.  Items that will stay in that room are to keep.  Things that you don’t need or are broken can be thrown away.  Clothes or furniture still in great condition can be donated and scheduled for pickup by the Veteran’s association or Goodwill.  Anything that definitely belongs in another room can be labeled for relocation when you get to that room.

4. Remove everything from drawers and cabinets.  This is a time-consuming process but it is easier to start with an empty space and fill it instead of simply pushing things around.  If you line things up on the counter, someone else can help by putting the items in some type of order.

5. Make use of all of your available space.  In the kitchen, for example, appliances or extra containers can be stored on top of the cabinets provided they don’t extend all the way to the ceiling.  That’s extra storage space without benefit of a storage container.  Also use the top of the refrigerator for cereal boxes and breakfast food like boxes of instant oatmeal or grits.  In the bedroom, shoes and winter clothes can go into flat storage bins that slide easily under the bed or the dresser.

6. Label your containers.  Use tape and a permanent marker to identify the contents of your storage containers.  Avoid writing on the actual container in case they are reused and the contents are changed.  Labeling also makes for easy identification if you decide to sell or give away a container of books or something.  You won’t have to open each container to locate them.

Organizing your entire house takes time.  But, once it is done, returning everything you use to its proper place will maintain that same level of organization.

Frugally yours, Mary

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Picture Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/evelynishere/3629690639/



How to Organize Your Home

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On March 21, 2011 No Comments

Home Organization 101: Easy Steps to a Clutter Free Home

When you first move into your home it seems like you have so much space.  As the years pass, you might find yourself becoming a pack rat.  What are you going to do with all the stuff you have accumulated?  Perhaps it’s time to weed out the unnecessary items and organize your home.

Home organization is a step-by-step process.  It will take more than a day or even a week to get everything to a manageable level, but once you do staying organized is an easier task.  If you have a family, enlist their help.  They can pitch in and learn a thing or two about controlling clutter in their life. 

1. Start with the high traffic areas.  The living room and kitchen are usually the two most used rooms in the house.  Everything gets dropped on a counter or the couch in these two places.  Concentrate on getting everything set up the way that you like it before moving on to another room.

2. Use storage containers.  Over the years, the style of storage containers has upgraded to be pretty as well as functional.  Instead of storing containers in stacks in the garage, purchase ones that match your décor in each room and integrate them so that no one would even notice they were being used for storage.

3. Divide items into categories.  You can use heavy duty trash bags for this part.  Everything that you find can go into a pile: KEEP, THROW AWAY, GIVE AWAY, and RELOCATE.  Items that will stay in that room are to keep.  Things that you don’t need or are broken can be thrown away.  Clothes or furniture still in great condition can be donated and scheduled for pickup by the Veteran’s association or Goodwill.  Anything that definitely belongs in another room can be labeled for relocation when you get to that room.

4. Remove everything from drawers and cabinets.  This is a time-consuming process but it is easier to start with an empty space and fill it instead of simply pushing things around.  If you line things up on the counter, someone else can help by putting the items in some type of order.

5. Make use of all of your available space.  In the kitchen, for example, appliances or extra containers can be stored on top of the cabinets provided they don’t extend all the way to the ceiling.  That’s extra storage space without benefit of a storage container.  Also use the top of the refrigerator for cereal boxes and breakfast food like boxes of instant oatmeal or grits.  In the bedroom, shoes and winter clothes can go into flat storage bins that slide easily under the bed or the dresser.

6. Label your containers.  Use tape and a permanent marker to identify the contents of your storage containers.  Avoid writing on the actual container in case they are reused and the contents are changed.  Labeling also makes for easy identification if you decide to sell or give away a container of books or something.  You won’t have to open each container to locate them.

Organizing your entire house takes time.  But, once it is done, returning everything you use to its proper place will maintain that same level of organization.

Frugally yours, Mary

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 If you’d like to read more:
Eliminate Chaos: The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home and Life

The Clutter Diet: The Skinny on Organizing Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life

Organizing Plain and Simple: A Ready Reference Guide With Hundreds Of Solutions to Your Everyday Clutter Challenges


Inexpensive Do It Yourself Projects

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On January 26, 2011 No Comments

There are a number of ways you can update or redecorate any room in your home for just a few hundred dollars. By doing the work yourself, you can save money.

Challenge yourself , but be smart about what you can and can’t tackle.  You won’t save money if you have to pay a professional to clean up after you.

Here are a few inexpensive do-it-yourself project ideas for any room in your house along with some personal cautions and lessons learned.

My Very Own Handyman

My Very Own Handyman

#1 Paint - Painting, while it is a bit of work, can cost less than a hundred dollars. And the changes a fresh coat of paint can make are astounding. You can turn a dull room into a room that looks like it’s been designed by a professional interior decorator. Use the paint-theme ideas found in free brochures at your local hardware store. Surf online for inspiration too.  Lessons Learned: Painting is a test of patience (not my strongest suit) and it’s best to take your time and do it right.  Mistakes, a.k.a. globs of paint stick out like a sore thumb.  Always wear safety goggles – they aren’t stylin, but it keeps the paint out of your eye.

That's Me

That's Me

#2 New window treatments – Your window treatments can say a lot about your home. Finding treatments that are the right length and width is the first step. Then, take a look at the fabrics and textures you want.

A soft fabric like cotton, linen or silk can add a nice touch to a family room. Canvas, corduroy, or even leather offers a completely different feel. And if you don’t like curtains, take a look at the variety of blinds, shutters, or shades. Make sure you measure correctly, order the correct hardware and take time installing the window treatments.  Lessons Learned:  When tackling D.I.Y. projects, play to your strengths!  I found some beautiful paneled curtains at Pier 1 for 75% off and ‘my’ handyman did the measuring and hanging.

#3 Lighting - Simply changing out your lamps is a fast way to update a family room. However, you can add fixtures to your room to enhance the décor. For example, you can install pot lights in the ceiling to give the room a bright and open feel. You can carefully position accent lights to focus on a piece of art or a display cabinet. You can even change the color of your light bulbs.

Take care when working with electricity. Make sure you turn the power off at the circuit breaker before installing any new fixtures or switches.

Hawaii 622

#4 Flooring - You’d be surprised how easy it is to install carpet or even to put in a new laminate floor. Installing carpet is hard work, but you can do it yourself. You’ll need to buy the tacking strip, the pad and the carpet. You’ll also need a hammer and you can rent the kicker to stretch the carpet over the tacking strip.

Installing laminate floors is pretty easy too. There are many types of laminate. Some require an adhesive while others simply click into place like puzzle pieces.  Lesson Learned:  Adhesive sticks the second it touches the floor.  Be sure to place pieces carefully before dropping in or you’ll be pulling it up for hours!

Tile is another option. You can rent a tile cutter and install the tile yourself. Make sure to purchase a few extra pieces of tile for those inevitable mistakes. I haven’t tried this one yet and I think I’d go with peel and stick on my first go round.

#5 Fireplace - While installing a full fireplace and chimney isn’t likely to be something you want to tackle yourself, you can install a fireplace. If you have a gas line, you can install a gas fireplace. You’ll also need to install venting through your outside wall.

You can also purchase and install a vent-free gas fireplace. Make sure you purchase one that fits your needs. If you’re not interested in the having to vent your fireplace or buy gas or wood for it, consider an electric fireplace which can be installed in an hour or less.

While we didn’t install a fireplace, we did pull out some tile flooring in front of the fireplace.  Believe it or not, that was one of the hardest things we have tackled to date.  Lesson Learned:  Sometimes what you think will be easy turns out to be more than you bargained for.  Be prepared to stop, take a breath and figure out how best to continue. 

My SO has also cut countertop and we replaced and installed several new appliances.  We also had to demolish and remove a huge built in bunk bed which turned out to be really fun and a great stress reliever.  D.I.Y. projects are like that – lots of hard work and usually some stress.  Be sure to have a realistic timeline and take breaks when you need to. 

There are a number of inexpensive do-it-yourself projects you can tackle. My SO and I have painted walls and cabinets, cut and laid countertop, removed and put in flooring, and I’ve used tools I had never even heard of before.  It can be done.

Again, be prepared and realistic about what you can do and call in a professional when/if needed. Take a look at your budget, your design needs and your available time (most projects can be completed in a weekend), and get busy.

Frugally yours, Mary

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