“Unplug Your Kids” in Breathe Magazine!

By , October 18, 2010 7:36 am

Thank you so much to Breathe Magazine for asking me to contribute to their fall issue article entitled “Your Kids Unplugged.”

I really like how they present the middle of the road point of view…REDUCE…don’t eliminate.  This is almost always what works best for families and it is so great that someone is actually discussing that!  Screen-free time does not have to be all or nothing (as I have tried to emphasize since the start of this blog).  Do what works for your family.

If you live in the Mid-Atlantic or Southeastern U.S. you can find out where to pick up a free copy of Breathe by clicking here.  If you can’t get a print version, then you can read the full article here.

Ghosty, Ghoulies …

By , October 14, 2010 9:21 am

Here are a couple of quick and fun Halloween ideas that I love, but unfortunately can’t really take credit for. The first came from school, the second was from a bake sale. Oh well, have fun with them anyway!

Ghostly Foot Prints:

Boney Witch Hands:

(These are just plastic food service gloves with candy corn “fingernails” in the tips and then filled with popcorn “bones.”  Tie wrists closed with black yarn or ribbon!)

The Pack Rat’s Guide to Getting Rid of Stuff

By , October 5, 2010 12:02 pm

Yes I am still here on planet Earth!

What a long blog break I took! Actually I have been way too busy to write lately. I, a confirmed pack rat, have been organizing, sorting, and “de-junking” my house.

I wish I had taken before and after photos. Clutter and mess was creeping in and threatening my sanity. So far two whole pickup truck loads of stuff have left my life and it feels GREAT!

I am not done yet. I have a big house and lots of things pack ratted away, but I am nearly done with the downstairs and then I will move on to the upstairs.

It took me a whole year of sitting around and procrastinating to finally get going with this enormous undertaking!

If you are feeling bogged down by stuff and need some tips to get moving to eliminate it, here is what I have learned:

  • Start small. Don’t think about your whole house or you will just want to curl up and take a nap instead. Be sure to make each goal achievable in a short time, preferably a day or two.
  • Pick a closet, drawer, cupboard or something easy for your first tidying session. Once you see how great it looks, you’ll be inspired to tackle the bigger jobs.
  • Make a deal with a friend to help each other sort and organize. When you have someone else there to help you work, you can’t just go take a nap instead! Plus, it is way more fun to do it with some pleasant company.
  • If you don’t have a friend available to work with and you can afford it, hire someone to help you.  This might sound extreme, but that is what I did.  Hiring a helper is the only reason I have been able to accomplish all that I have accomplished so far.  My helper is a friend of a friend who needed a part-time job.  It is a definite win-win for us both.  She has a job, I have help and motivation, and we both have found new friends in each other (never having met before).
  • Set a schedule and stick to it. For example, Every Monday 9AM to 3PM at your friend’s house. Every Thursday 9AM to 3PM at your house. If you are not strict about your schedule, you’ll find a way to procrastinate. Trust me. I KNOW.
  • Be ruthless, it will feel good in the end.  Do you really need five pie plates?  If you haven’t worn your out-of-style, navy blue interview suit in ten years why are you keeping it?  What about that tacky porcelain cow that your aunt gave you for Christmas twelve years ago and that you keep only because you like your aunt (not the cow).   Someone out there will find that cow in a thrift store and think it is the most wonderful piece of art and you (and, indirectly, your aunt) will make their day if you only just give it away!
  • Unless you are a regular Ebay seller, don’t hang on to things thinking that one day you will sell them on Ebay and make a fortune.  Ebay takes time to do right and if you tend to procrastinate about sorting your house,  you will almost certainly procrastinate about listing your things on Ebay.  Just get it all out of there and let a “real” Ebayer find it in the thrift store.  The good feeling of letting go is probably worth more than you would have made anyhow!
  • If you have sentimental feelings about any of your give-aways, don’t put them in your own yard sale.  Seeing strangers handling your precious belongings and haggling with you over prices will be distressing.  Either give them away to a thrift store, or find a good friend who will sell them for you.
  • Once you decide what to toss out and what to donate be sure to get all of it out of your house right away. This avoids second thoughts, nosy children, and clutter simply moving to a new location such as a garage or attic. Plus, you need the immediate reward of feeling the positive energy that moves in to replace the stuff that leaves.

For more inspiration as well as some ideas for where to donate your cast-offs,  read my old post Sort, Junk, Donate.  Good luck!

(Thrift shop photo courtesy of Wikipedia – license information here)
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