Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Discarding Day

Going cabin crazy yet?  It's a real thing here in snowy, northern Wisconsin where I live. Every winter I read in the newspaper about some guy going cabin crazy and hacking up his wife and sticking her in the freezer or some such horror.  No lie.

I always wonder what living in their house was like?

I imagine there was a lot of clutter.

It's touted that living in clutter can be disturbing, but will it lead you to kill someone? Probably not, but for some of us it does have serious psychological ramifications.  This article in Psychology Today by Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D says it best. 

"Messy homes and work spaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed."

I don't know about you, but I'd rather feel calm, empowered and joyful as I go about my day.

So what can be done?  Once a week, hold a Discarding Day.  

Pick a day, put it on your calendar repeating for the entire year.  When that day arrives, pick one type of item from the following list to discard and go to it.  

At the end of the year, you'll have discarded 52 types of items in your home and it will only have taken you minutes each week.  

It goes fast.  Promise.

The Discarding Day List*

  1. Phonebooks
  2. Old condiment packets
  3. Old maps
  4. Old fire extinguishers
  5. Manuals to items you no longer own
  6. Bags you no longer use (tote bags, plastic grocery bags, purses etc.)
  7. Old hair accessories
  8. Old dish sponge
  9. Broken flashlights
  10. Expired canned food
  11. Old pillows
  12. Newspapers, magazines and books never read
  13. Old sunscreen
  14. Broken umbrellas
  15. Puzzles with missing pieces
  16. Scarves never worn
  17. Junk mail
  18. Gifts you don't like
  19. Suitcases you no longer use
  20. Your toothbrush (buy new)
  21. Expired coupons
  22. Old greenting, holday and birthday cards
  23. Old pots and pans 
  24. Clothes you've never worn
  25. Broken jewelry
  26. Old bed linens
  27. Dead batteries (dispose of properly)
  28. Candle holders
  29. Recipe books never used
  30. Worn out shoes
  31. Mismatched plastic containers
  32. Ink-less markers
  33. Gifts/letters your ex gave you
  34. Trial sized cosmetics/hotel samples
  35. Games you never play
  36. Wire or dry cleaning hangers
  37. Old electronic cords/accessories
  38. Old children's artwork
  39. Old undergarments
  40. Broken glasses/sunglasses
  41. Broken items you'll never fix
  42. Old phones/phone cases/phone accessories
  43. Outgrown baby/kid clothes
  44. Unused wedding gifts
  45. Old schoolwork papers
  46. Perfume/colonge you don't like
  47. Broken crayons
  48. Scraps of wrapping paper/ribbons/bows
  49. Expired make-up
  50. Old spices
  51. Unmatched and holey socks
  52. Torn towels

*This list was adapted from here

Now that's what I call, PROGRESS.

Quick, start today!  Choose peace, calmness and joy.  I don't want to read about you in the newspaper.

Is anyone's clutter making you crazy?

What's the first thing you'll discard from the list?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Is It Still Under Warranty?

A few months ago I blogged about manuals & warranties and how to keep them organized with this post.  After I wrote it, I put together my own manual and upon completion, took it one step further, based on a great tip that I learned from a client, which I'll share later in this post.

If you've been putting this organizational task off, but would still like to do it.  You can follow along here, step by step.

First, gather up all of your manuals & warranties, along with a 1 1/2 inch binder and lots of clear plastic sleeves.  If you have more manuals then can fit in one binder, you can certainly use 2 or 3.

As you can see, most of mine were in folders, filed away in the filing cabinet.   The idea as that if something goes wrong, one can easily locate the binder and all of the information you (or the repair person) needs is at your fingertips.  

By compiling them in a binder, makes the manual easy to find if you decide to sell the machine and if you ever sell your home, the buyers will love you!

Manuals you'll want to include are: Dishwasher, Refrigerator, Stove, Microwave, Garbage Disposal, Washer, Dryer, Water Heater, Water Softener, Freezer, Humidifier, Air Conditioner, Thermostat, Fans & Lighting, I even included the Compost Bin!

The cover doesn't have to be anything fancy, and be sure to label the spine.  You'll see why at the end of this post.  If you use a binder with a clear sleeve, you can simply type up an index and slip it in.  

Then it's a matter of simply slipping each manual & warranty into a sleeve.  I placed mine alphabetically, but if you're using more than one binder, you may want to place them by category such as one binder for the kitchen, one for the basement, etc.

After that step is complete, it's a good idea to make tabs so it's easier to locate each manual.  You could use something like this.  Or if you're like me, use what you have.

I used a very thin sharpie to write the name of each machine on the tab.

After it was completed, we purchased a new humidifier, so I just wrote it in on the cover and added it to the book.  No need for perfection here.

Then I decided to take things a step further...

One of my clients told me that now that she's organized her warranties, she logs the expiration dates into her online calendar.  Then as that date approaches, she evaluates how the machine is working to decide whether to contact the company or not about a repair or replacement.  


At our house we're always kicking ourselves that the warranty has already expired - usually within a few months of us taking action on a glitch or a break.  Always too late.

So, I used this template and logged in all of the information for each machine. But, it didn't take very long as all of the warranties require a receipt!  

Of course our receipts for most of these purchases are long gone or the warranties had long expired. 

Here's to long living machines and a new practice of filing the receipt with the manual & warranty from now on.

I did find the receipt to the water heater though....25 years old.  Not good.

When I went to put the binder back in the filing cabinet...uh oh, forgot to measure.

So I tried it this way.

That just takes up SO much room for potential files!

 In the end it went here, next to our books on home remodeling in our "library".  I've easily located it 2 or 3 times since it was placed.  Place yours where it makes the most sense.  Like with like.

Color coding books makes for a restful space.
It's easy to create a separate calendar just for appliances in your online calendar program. Remember the final step of logging in your warranty expiration dates!

What is the oldest appliance in your home?  

Would replacing it save you time or money?