Top Ten Clutter Busting Secrets

 Posted by on September 19, 2013  1 Response »
Sep 192013
 

My house is far from perfect.  But it looks deceptively clean sometimes.  How?  I’ve put some principles into practice that help me keep on top of the messy piles that can accumulate so fast!  And so, today I give you my…

Top 10 Clutter Busting Secrets at www.habitsforahappyhome.comTop 10 Clutter Busting Secrets

  1. I sort mail immediately… often, I sort it on the way into the house from the mailbox, and toss the junk mail into the outside garbage.  Bills go into a box on my desk, to be paid bi-monthly.  Credit card offers and other identity-sensitive junk mail are opened, the envelopes tossed, and the contents immediately shredded (buy yourself a shredder if you don’t have one… they are definitely worth it).
  2. I never go up or down stairs empty-handed.
  3. I abide by this saying I heard long ago:  “Don’t put it down, put it away.”  (If only my family would, also…..)
  4. I occasionally do 15 min of decluttering, an idea I got from the flylady.  This is how I keep my cupboards and closets organized.  I like to do it immediately after the post-dinner kitchen cleanup.  Upbeat music helps keep it fun.
  5. We have a yard sale, usually once a year.  Our home owners’ association puts on a neighborhood one, and takes care of the advertising.  If we miss that, we donate to charity items  we no longer use or need, including clothes that are out of style or do not fit.  When decluttering, I put these items in large black bags, tie them, and take them to the garage or car.  This prevents me and my family members from regretting our decisions and going back and retrieving the items.
  6. In our house, we have a large basket by the front door, which I purchased at a yard sale.  During warm weather, it looks like the picture above.  In the winter, it contains hats, scarves, and gloves.  We also have a dresser (purchased for $10.00 at a yard sale) in our foyer.  Keys and sunglasses are kept in a basket on the dresser, ready to head out the door.  We also place any items we need to take with us that day on the dresser.
  7. We keep coats in our hall closet.  No hall closet?  Try a coat tree or hooks.  IKEA makes a nice-looking, inexpensive wall rack.
  8. Let’s face it, the kids won’t always be as concerned with clean as you are.  I do give them daily chores, but if their rooms are not exactly the way I like them, I have them take their things there, then I shut the door.  Aahhh….
  9. I use one file box for things like receipts and bill stubs we don’t need for taxes.  We don’t claim home office space, so we only save the one previous bill for our utilities.  For things I need to save for tax purposes, I have another, smaller file folder with a slot for each month.  Every piece of paper reflecting a purchase or bill I will claim goes into its slot as soon as I am finished with it.
  10. When I start to see an area getting out of control, I do my “five things clean up.”  Choose five things from that area, and put them away.  It’s amazing how that little bit makes a difference.  If I’m in a hurry, I’ll do three things.

How about you? What are your top clutter-busting secrets?

 top_ten_tuesday

~Written by Kim, Daisy Muse

Jun 182013
 

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Kim~littlesanctuary

 

Oct 162012
 

Recently, a new acquaintance at church, approached me hopefully.  “Could I get your advice in getting started home schooling?” she asked.

Since putting together a plan of action for this lovely woman, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we just had a blog post about getting started?”  Then I realized we probably do… but the neat thing about blogging is that there are different approaches to every subject.  Here is mine….

Getting Started Home Schooling… Ten Steps to Success

1.  First, and foremost, pray about it, and be ready to listen to God’s answer (His answers always line up with His Word).

2.  Is your husband on board?  If not, pray about that, too.  If he remains completely opposed to it, I wouldn’t do it.  But with prayer and careful consideration on your part about approaching him, you may be able to gently persuade him (think Esther here).

3.  Now that you have your answer and your husband is in agreement, check your local reporting laws, and write any deadlines on your calendar.  HSLDA.org is a great resource for home school law.  You can also become a member for a nominal fee, and they will come to your aid should you have any trouble with local school authorities regarding home schooling.

4.  Join up with a local home school group that fits your families needs.  Do you want mainly fellowship and field trips?  Or more of a co-op for academics?  Just search for “home school groups in…” on the internet.  Better yet, talk to a home schooling acquaintance.

5.  Choose a curriculum.  There are several learning styles, many types of home schooling, and hundreds of choices for curricula.  It can be overwhelming!  Again, talk to a home schooling friend, and check out this website:  thecurriculumchoice.com.  I also love the book A Field Guide to Home Schooling by Christine Field.

6.  Address any behavior problems with your children before you begin.  Basically, I mean respect.  If you cannot get your children to listen to you and do what you say, how are you going to teach them?  It’s never too early to begin that training.

7.  I strongly suggest you get your home in order before the school year begins.  Best website for housekeeping?  flylady.net.  By following the Flylady’s “babysteps,” you will have your house organized and reasonably clean in no time!  If you prefer a book to a website, I love Emilie Barnes’ More Hours in My Day.

8.  Choose a place to “do school.”  I’ve done it many ways.  In one house, at the dining room table, with books and supplies in a nearby cupboard.  At the end of the school day, we took five minutes to pick up and put away our things, turning the room back into a place to eat.  In another house, I had a whole room for school, complete with a teacher’s desk and bulletin board.  These days, I’m somewhere in-between.  We have a combination school room / guest room.  The girls have attractive, lightweight desks (hand-crafted by Dad) that can be easily moved into the dining room or living room should Grandma come and stay for a few weeks.  Each girl decorates her desktop as she wishes, with pictures, flowers, stuffed animals, etc.  They each have a pen/pencil cup and a little basket for supplies such as a calculator or protractor.

9.  Begin each day with prayer.  Maybe together, maybe just you desperately praying for grace and wisdom in your closet before you start the day!  You’ll never make it successfully without putting God before your day.  I know this from experience!

10.  Make a plan… a flexible plan.  I plan the girls’ lessons one or two weeks in advance, no more.  Things always change and we get behind or ahead, and the plans need to be adjusted.  Make the plans in pencil… and keep an eraser nearby.

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

Seasoned home schoolers, what would you add to this list?

~by Kim, The Daisy Muse

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 Posted by on July 16, 2012  No Responses »
Jul 162012
 

Four Things to Talk About Before Marriage – The Big Four. Marriage counselors tell us that there are four main areas you need to be in harmony on before you get married. Those things are money, religion, kids and in-laws. To the extent that you’re not in agreement on these areas, your marriage will struggle. But to the extent that you are, you’re setting yourselves up for much smoother sailing.

3 Parenting Non-Negotiables -Do you want children and grandchildren who your friends enjoy having in their home, that you don’t mind taking places or even that you enjoy being around? Those kinds of kids are made not born! Our responsibility is to teach them some basics that will bring honor to you as parents but more importantly to God.

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~By littlesanctuary

Jul 032012
 

Last weekend, Brian and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary.  I can hardly believe it’s been that long since the day we said “I do.” We have come a long way since then and rarely have we sailed along without any trouble at all.  Yet we’re still a couple, still enjoying each other’s company. I would still rather spend a weekend away with him than do anything else.

I am not any kind of expert; I am just a woman who’s learned along the way, (sometimes the hard way), so I thought I’d share with you:

Top Ten Tips for Staying Happily Married

1)  Divorce is not an option and is never discussed as such.

2)  Learn to forgive, and overlook your spouse’s faults. Standing at the altar, staring into my handsome, kind, soon-to-be husband’s eyes, it was hard for me to imagine I’d ever have to do so.  But I have, many times, and he’s done the same for me.  We are imperfect humans and will mess up often.  God has forgiven me of so much more… I try to remember that when I’m tempted to hold a grudge. Forgiving doesn’t mean he wasn’t wrong; it just means I choose to let it go.

3)  Get on the same page with your finances, and let that be the “stay-out-of debt” page. Nothing sparks an argument like too much month and not enough money!

4)  Never say, “That’s not my job.”  I got tired of nagging my husband to take out the trash, so I started doing it myself, and found I enjoy the little walk outside.  Now I rarely ask him.  I was in his car and put gas in it – and occasionally mow the lawn. He cooks often, and helps straighten up the house when we have company.  I find that a gentle request goes a lot farther than whining about how much I have to do or the fact that “Nobody helps out around here.”  And yes, I learned that one the hard way!

5)  Learn to see the flip side of your spouse’s faults.  Let me explain: Your spouse has a good quality to go with each fault. It is likely these good qualities were some of the things that attracted you to him in the first place. For instance, I love Brian’s laid-back temperament. It balances my more high-strung one perfectly. But sometimes he doesn’t fix things right away or contact one of his design clients whose payment is delinquent. I feel myself getting annoyed, until I remember this lack of aggression is what attracted me to him in the first place! I love my man’s temperament, and wouldn’t trade it. (And, if left alone, he eventually takes care of the problems!)

6)  Date each other. Ok, I admit… we don’t do it every week. We live so far out from town, and often one of us is taking one of the girls somewhere, so in the evenings, the last thing we want to do is go out. However, we do date regularly, and by regularly I mean when we feel the need, which is about twice a month. We don’t spend a lot of money. We do spend time together, laughing, talking about our interests, and trying not to talk about the kids. We were a couple before they came along, and we will be one when they leave the nest.

7)  Do not bring up things that bother or annoy you about his family. Even if he agrees with you, he will take it as a personal insult. Focus on what you like about your in-laws, and remember they are human, too.

8)  Put each other before the children. I remember when I was little, I told my mother I didn’t like something she cooked. She said, “We’re having it because Daddy likes it.” I never forgot this early lesson that Daddy was the most important person in the house to her.

9)  Laugh… at yourself, at your mistakes, at your trials. We all know the verse “A merry heart does good, like medicine.”  (Prov. 17:22)  I have found this to be true, over and over.  In our family, humor helps us enjoy good times and feel better in bad times. Brian and I still laugh together at some of the ridiculous financial mistakes we’ve made. We don’t insult each other, but we do joke about most things. I’d rather laugh than hold onto regrets!

10) When your spouse is down, lift him up. Whether he’s struggling with a particular sin, discouraged, or just out of sorts, be there to encourage him and spend extra time praying for him. He needs you!
Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

~ by Kim, The Daisy Muse