How to Reclaim Your Time From Your Clutter

July 29th, 2014

How to Reclaim Your Time From Your ClutterA couple of weeks ago, I decided to spend my morning cleaning out our garage closet.

The kids were at school, and I had received the extra bit of motivation I needed to get this job done from my daily Hardcore Homemaking email, so it was time.

I had two hours to work before it would be time to pick up the kids again.

And I used all of the time. All of it.

Two hours on one closet, and I wasn’t even done.

There was still work to do! There were a few things I couldn’t get to because I needed my husband to move something heavy for me.

And beyond that, I also had a pile of stuff I needed to drive to my local donation center, as well as a few things I wanted to try to sell.

What is the true cost of stuff-ownership?

People talk about it a lot, and I’ve done some of that talking too. I think by now, we all know that it isn’t just whatever you paid for it, coupled with the storage space to keep it.

It’s much more than that.

And my garage closet drove the message home for me.

Stuff takes time.

Even if it’s “just sitting there” with seemingly no maintenance required.

Stuff takes time, even if it’s “just sitting there.” Reclaim your time. Here’s how. Tweet this.

We still spend time on it.

  • We move it around from closet to closet.
  • We spend time organizing it.
  • We spend a little bit of time now and then cleaning it or at least dusting off the cobwebs.
  • When we move from house to house, every bit of extra stuff adds to our packing and unpacking time.

I spent TWO HOURS in a closet I have barely even peeked into in the last few months, dealing with items I mostly don’t have any use for!

That’s two hours during which I could’ve been writing, working on my son’s quilt, cooking something delicious, walking my dog, and reading.

The worst part is that because time is completely finite (We all get equal amounts of it. Period.), it is infinitely valuable. I’ll never get that time back. Ever.

Time is completely finite (We all get equal amounts of it. Period.) so it is infinitely valuable. Tweet this.

Even once we decide to get rid of it, stuff takes more of our time!

  • We spend time loading it into our car and driving it to the donation center.
  • (Or we spend time arranging a donation pick-up appointment if we’re lucky enough to live in an area with that service.)
  • We spend time photographing items for sale, listing them on ebay, craigslist, or facebook buy/sell groups, communicating with potential buyers, meeting with them, measuring the items for them, answering questions, shipping or delivering the items, or waiting for someone to come to our house to get them.
  • Or we spend time advertising our garage sale, going to the bank to get change for the big day, setting up early in the morning, organizing our things again, and talking with potential buyers who jingle ziploc baggies of quarters as they eye our wares. (And then spend more time taking our setup down after the sale, and driving the leftovers to a donation center or storing them AGAIN “for the next yard sale.”)

How Many More Saturday Mornings Will You Let Your Junk Take From You? Reclaim your Time.

I listed five items from that closet for sale on a local page that morning.

  1. Our big flat screen television we haven’t used in the 6 months we’ve lived here
  2. Our PS3
  3. The coffee table we haven’t used since my older child was a baby
  4. A really nice computer monitor my husband bought for work and used for several months until the Navy finally issued him one
  5. And a computer/writing desk.

The television sold the next day, pretty painlessly.

Someone else asked about the height of the coffee table when I listed it. I measured it and replied with the answer, and she hasn’t commented again.

I “bumped” all of my listings a couple of times this week, and tagged the girl who asked about the coffee table.



Nothing.

Do I keep trying?

Spending my infinitely-valuable time trying to recoup some of our “investment”?

Nope.

Are you going through this too?

It’s time to reclaim our time.

Here’s how I did it, and how you can reclaim your time too.

  1. Know what your priorities are before you begin. When you know exactly what you want out of life, it’s far easier to answer the question, “Is this item serving my priorities or tearing them down?” If you need help figuring out what your priorities are, grab my ebook and worksheets for free.
  2. Spend as little time as possible on decluttering projects. This doesn’t mean don’t do it. It means that when you do, FOCUS. 
  3. Set a threshold for how much you’re willing to work to recuperate money from your clutter. You might decide that you’re ready to donate everything you don’t need, and never look back. But if you feel like you need a bit of cash in exchange for your stuff, set a dollar amount. Donate anything worth less than $10, $20, or $50 (you decide where your cut-off is).
  4. And for the stuff you do try to sell, set a time limit. Give yourself a deadline on the calendar, or a certain number of hours (photographing, listing, communicating, re-posting, and so on) you’ll allow yourself to put into it. When your time is up, donate the item. Don’t let it steal any more of your time from you!
    (If you drop it off at a consignment store, be sure to check the box to allow them to donate the item if it doesn’t sell.) 
  5. Move forward with the knowledge that stuff will cost you more time than you ever realized it would. Decline freebies from businesses events. Go shopping with a plan, keeping your priorities in mind. And when you notice that something is no longer serving your priorities, let it go as quickly as possible.

If you feel like you need cash for your clutter, set a dollar amount. Donate anything under $10, $20, or $50.Tweet this.

So the next time you’re spending hours on a decluttering or organizing project instead of living your life, remind yourself that you can prevent this from happening again in the future.

You can’t get back the time you’ve spent on STUFF in the past, but you can get through the clutter as quickly as you can and reclaim your time in the future.

Get through your clutter as quickly as you can and reclaim your time. Tweet this.

Now, make it happen.15 minutes is all it takes to get started decluttering, organizing, and homemaking

If you haven’t already figured out your priorities, spend 15 minutes reading my ebook (it only takes most people 15-20 minutes to read it) so that you can fill out the priority worksheet.

If you have your priorities figured out already, set the timer for 15 minutes, and get to work on clearing your clutter. Focus.

Go!

Make Facebook Less Annoying – Without Quitting!

July 22nd, 2014

how to make Facebook less annoying Facebook sucks.

That seems to be the general consensus, anyway.

But most of us are still on Facebook, for good reasons.

Keeping up with friends who live far away. We’re a military family, so I get it. 6 moves in 7 years will do that to a person. But military or not, we’ve all got people we love all over the place.

Communicating with groups of local people for events. I do a lot of playdate-inviting via Facebook. My neighborhood coordinates group garage sales through Facebook. I sell stuff we don’t need anymore on Facebook (I never look at Craigslist anymore). Our class spouse club sends invitations to get-togethers and coordinates potlucks through Facebook. It’s convenient because most of us are already there.

Sharing photos with friends and family. It’s kind of the same as #1 but definitely easier to use Facebook for this than to email photos individually, or text everyone, or print and mail them. Let’s face it. Sometimes Facebook is convenient.

Participating in groups. I know people who have quit Facebook totally… except for groups. When we find a group we “click” with and learn from, that’s super valuable. And it’s fun to be part of a community we identify with. Kind of like my community of real homemakers making real changes (that actually stick). We have a blast on Facebook together!

Keeping up with brands, companies, and blogs we like. Sure we could use Feed.ly for keeping up with blog posts, but sometimes bloggers post “extra” goodies on Facebook. And we don’t necessarily want to sign up for email lists for every company we like, but “liking” them on Facebook still lets us keep up with their sales and promotions (if Facebook’s algorithm decides we need to see them).

You can also do cool stuff like following other people’s interest lists, and creating your own. Here’s my “Home – Organizing, Simplicity” list if you’d like to follow along with some of my favorite bloggers and pages.

So… maybe it doesn’t really suck. Not completely. There are great reasons to use Facebook.

But Facebook can be really, really, really annoying.

Read the rest to find out how to fix your newsfeed.

4 Ways to Clear Your Mind (When You Don’t Have Time)

July 17th, 2014

How to Clear Your Mind When You Don't Have TimeMy mind won’t stop.

It won’t rest.

My inner monologue is just rambling on and on.

I need focus.

I need to quiet my mind.

Have you ever felt this way?

When your mind is feeling muddled, it’s hard to focus on anything, let alone the most important things.

But I know it can feel like we just don’t have time to STOP and give ourselves a little mental cleanse, when so much other stuff (and people) needs our attention.

It’s crucial though.

We need to take a little bit of time for our own mental health on a regular basis.

Here are 4 ways I clear my mind when I don’t feel like I have time to, at OrgJunkie.

5 Simple Weekend Actions to Improve Your Week

July 15th, 2014

improve your week with these 5 simple weekend actionsMonday’s coming.

Feeling anxious?

I’ve been there.

Dinnertime rolls around and we realize we forgot to thaw the meat for the day’s meal. Or when our kids ask, “What are we doing today?” we’re not exactly sure what to tell them.

As someone who works from home, it’s always apparent to me whether or not I spent a bit of time on the weekend to prepare to have a great week.

I’ll sit down to my desk during my Monday morning work hours and feel… lost.

But it’s the same for everyone, work-at-home or not. Just a bit of weekend preparation can help us make every week count, from avoiding a Case of the Monday’s, through sidestepping the typical TGIF.

Will you jump in with both feet, totally present and ready to have a fantastic week?

Are you ready?

Avoid a Case of the Monday’s and sidestep the typical TGIF when you do these 5 Simple Weekend Actions to Improve Your Week. Tweet this.

So what can you do?
What Are the 5 Simple Actions You Can Take This Weekend to Improve Your Week?

Your Purse Contents = Your Homemaking Style, Revealed

July 8th, 2014

What your purse contents say about your homemaking style
Your purse.

It goes everywhere with you.

Always by your side, it’s disguised as a fashion accessory. But what is it really?

It’s a little piece of your home.

And what might surprise you is that its contents are saying a lot about you and your homemaking style.

“I’m thinking balls are to men, what purses are to women. It’s just a little bag but we’d feel naked in public without it.” – Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City Tweet This.

Learn about your homemaking style by taking a peek into your purse.

Ready to Find Out What Your Purse Contents Say About Your Homemaking Style? Click to Read the Rest.

How a Busy Mama Crafter is Whipping the WIPs (in 5 Steps)

July 8th, 2014

Do you have too many craft works-in-progress (WIPs)? I know the feeling. When they start to pile up, it’s easy to lose focus on what project has top priority, and it feels like you don’t get anything completed!

In my guest post at A Slob Comes Clean, I share how I’m tackling my works in progress, including pictures of my craft “room” (shelves and a desk in the laundry room). Thankfully, I’ve done more craft-material purging since writing this post, and took care of a lot of the issues I pointed out in the photos.

How a Busy Mama Crafter is Whipping the WIPs (in 5 Steps) - Get your crafts under control.

Ready to read it? Click over to Dana’s blog to read How a Busy Mama Crafter is Whipping the WIPs (in 5 Steps).

Travel With Kids: 3 Real-World Tips for Packing Light

June 19th, 2014

My latest post at OrgJunkie gives you three real-world tips for traveling with kids while still packing light.

How to travel with kids and pack light

Which tip did you most need to hear?

I think #3 is hard for a lot of families, but every time we travel, it’s reinforced more and more, so it’s become an easy one for us to wrap our minds around now.

Click over to read Travel With Kids: 3 Real-World Tips for Packing Light at OrgJunkie.

 

5 Simple Steps for Taming Your Craft Stash

May 29th, 2014

I'm an Organizing Junkie

I’m so so so so so excited that Laura asked me to be a regular contributor on her blog, I’m an Organizing Junkie. She’s fantastic to work with, and her entire website pretty much rocks my socks. So, here’s my first post on her blog as an official contributor!  5 Simple Steps for Taming Your Craft Stash

declutter your craft materials

I get it. I’m a crafter too.

I know what it’s like to see the potential in that tiny scrap of fabric, that beautiful woven ribbon that came unexpectedly wrapped around the last thing you ordered from Etsy, the stacks of printed and textured paper that are 50% off in the craft store.

Chances are your “stash” will keep you busy for a long, long time. Unfortunately, if your stash has developed a life of its own, oozing out of designated baskets and boxes, spilling off of shelves, and piling higher and higher, it’s going to keep you busy managing your materials rather than creating masterpieces.

So how can you cut through the clutter, get to the good stuff, and really start creating again? It’s pretty simple. Here’s how I’ve been doing just that, since we moved into our house in December.

Read the rest at OrgJunkie.com – 5 Simple Steps for Taming Your Craft Stash.

Three Things to Simplify NOW to Save Time Everyday

May 27th, 2014

i heart organizing feature

Jen at I Heart Organizing has such a HAPPY blog and her attitude goes right along with it. I love following her on Instagram and reading her blog posts, and I’m so grateful that she gave me the opportunity to share some tips on simplifying with her readers.

simplify these three things now

If you’ve been meaning to declutter and simplify, or if you’re on that path now, it’s probably because you’ve realized that excess is not just taking up space in your home.  Far from it.  It also sucks up any extra time you might have.  (And who really has “extra” time?  Not me.)

When you spend time washing extra things, moving things around to get to other items you need more, and organizing and reorganizing stuff you never have time to actually use, there’s not much time for anything else.

And I know you want that time back.

You don’t just want it back.  You need it back.  Because that’s the time you’re supposed to be using to make wonderful memories with your family, to pursue your dreams, to take care of yourself, and to engage in your favorite down-time activities. 

So it’s time to pare down a bit.  Here are some things you can simplify NOW (whether it’s a block of time this weekend, or a little bit each day) so that you’ll be able to stop wasting time and have a few more hours for what’s really important in life.

Read the rest at I Heart Organizing… Three Things to Simplify NOW to Save Time Everyday

Simple Kid Lunches – 5 Steps to Never Running Out of Ideas

May 6th, 2014

Extraordinary Mommy guest post

Check out my guest post at Extraordinary Mommy about how to never run out of ideas for your kids’ lunches. Ever. It’s my step-by-step guide to figuring out what to feed the kids in general, getting them involved so they have a sense of ownership, and how to use the system on a daily basis to make exciting, delicious, healthy meals your kids will actually eat.

Emilyinstagram-lunchspiration

 

I also include four different lunch planning charts (for different styles of diet and planning) which will help you stay on top of the school-lunch game.

SDD-Printable-Lunch-Ideas-Chart-Paleo