The Cleaning Urge

     Maybe it’s just me, but there is something about January…new year-new beginning, that makes me want to clean!   Having just had a long, rainy, cold spell, it was fantastic to see the sun peaking through the clouds yesterday!  But that is also when I realized how dusty the house was!  Suddenly- I felt it. That urge to CLEAN! 

 Now, you may be saying to yourself..I never get that urge.. but I think probably at some point everyone does, we just maybe too busy to act on it!   After all, there are so many other more pressing obligations, (kids, meal-prep, kid taxi service, jobs) to do and isn’t it the cleaning that usually gets pushed to the back burner? Yeah, at my house, too. 

 For me, cleaning is cheap therapy, but I think I might actually enjoy it now!  And I  might as well, I have to do it anyway.  Maybe you are lucky enough to have someone do it for you, but  the rest of us end up doing it ourselves.   So, here is my chosen method when I have limited time.  Let me know what you think…

  • Focus on one room at a time.  I started this when my daughter was small, since I knew I would be regularly interrupted while working.  
  •  If possible, plan to clean the room with the most sunlight coming in. If you don’t have that choice,  pick the room that bothers you the most when it is messy.
  •  Pick up any visible clutter  and put it back in its designated area or room. For example, toys get put in whose ever room they belong, magazines get put where they belong, glasses or dishes get immediately put in the dishwasher or sink, (don’t wash them now, you are sticking to the one room)  throws or pillows get carried to the laundry to be washed later.
  • Vacuum or Sweep , move all furniture away from walls a few feet, if possible.
  • Dust the baseboards while the furniture is pulled out, either with a vacumm cleaner dusting tool or a wet dustrag.   (I like to make my own swifer pads out of old flannel sheets or pjs. No sewing required, just use a swiffer pad for a pattern and use scissors.)   You can then either re-wash the homemade swiffer cloths in your washer to reuse, or dispose of them. Personally, they have to be really filthy for me to justify trashing them, and I am not one to take them outside and shake them either. Eewwh! I am sneezing just thinking about it!
  • Vacuum behind furniture. Do this before vacuuming/sweeping the main area and pathway.
  •  Get behind the furniture and dust the baseboards.  
  •  Take down, and launder curtains that need laundering and start that laundry load. Dust or vacuum the backs of couches or chairs, and windows and windowsills while the  furniture is still pulled out if this applies. Otherwise,  just clean the baseboards. 
  • Clean or vacuum couch or chairs, and under the couch cushions. (Put that money you find in your piggy bank!)
  •  Remove cushion covers or slip covers and put them near or in the washer and start the washing cycle, or wash them with the curtains, if possible. Wash curtains first, so you can push back the furniture. They can be washing while you are continuing to clean the room.
  •  Next, dust all windowsills, window glass, door facings, vents, picture frames and glass, books, or anything else on the walls or on bookshelves. 
  •  Now finish vacuuming/sweeping the rest of the room and clean any other baseboards not yet dusted. 
  •  Finish cleaning the middle of the room by swiffer, mop or dust mop.
  • Vacuum under and atop any area rugs. (If these need laundering, decide when you will do this or have it done, then schedule it on your calendar).
  • Dust any other surfaces. Rehang curtains and put cushion covers or slip covers back.
  • Start your laundry load of throw pillows. Wash the dishes in the kitchen or start the dishwasher. (You now have a start on cleaning your next room!)
  •   Sit back and enjoy that feeling of knowing you have one really clean room!  Wohoo!!!
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A Stressless birthday party!!

As I reflect on celebrating my gal’s 13th birthday, this year, I think it was the most stressless one, so far!  

 Here’s how it went:

We were blessed with a Snow Day because of hazardous driving conditions, so my daughter and I got to bake cupcakes and make frosting together.

We made yellow cupcakes and home whipped buttercream icing, and then separated two batches of icing and started creating! This, to us, was the fun part. Our colors, periwinkle blue, and orchid~turned out beautifully.  And we displayed them in the lovely silver cupcake tower we bought on sale!  It was nice to have someone else helping in the kitchen and that was a lot of the reason the celebration was less stressful.

 Afterward, we met all her friends @ YoLo – the yogurt place, with extremely friendly staff. I like it when people act happy to see ya.  We had a great time trying different flavors and just hanging out. Then, when we sang the “Happy Birthday song” everyone in the entire place was happy to sing along. 

We returned home to eat “Little Caesar’s” cheese and pepperoni pizza , and the cupcakes.  After that, a sleepover began. All in all, it was very enjoyable. And that is how minimalism works. It is all about less stress &  more enjoyment! Wow, and it only took me 13 years to figure it out!

“Doing Taxes” a new way…..

    Since January has rolled around, it is time to begin sorting through all last year’s receipts, and get ready to “do taxes.” It occurred to me that now would be the time to do a bit of change in how to keep records for the upcoming year’s taxes. 

The first thing I want to do in my restructure is to stop keeping so many receipts to everything. I have decided that once I record it in my check stub, and Microsoft Excel, (which is a Microsoft budgeting tool stored on my computer) I will trash it, shred it, or recycle the paper.  Being a bottom line type person I’m planning on keeping only those receipts that I really need. 

 For example, department store receipts, (such as Target & Wal-Mart) will only be kept for 3 months, unless it is for a major purchase, charitable donation, or business expense.  Three months is the maximum amount of time most department stores offer returns.  If the receipt is for food, and was bought with cash only, I plan to toss those after recording it.  If it has a debit/credit card number on it, I keep that part of the receipts to shred, and recycle the rest. But this is done only after recording in Microsoft Excel.
I will keep all other monthly receipts in an envelope with January 2011 written on it, and then go through at the end of each month, checking all receipts to see what can be thrown out. I also plan to pull out those receipts which I need to keep until the 90 days is up, & keep in a separate envelope. The envelopes will be in a file folder, in my filing cabinet labeled with the month and year.
More to come on this issue each week! Hope this helps!

Hello world!

 Hello World! 

        After much thought and research, I took some timely advice, and just decided to try my hand @ blogging!  This is all sooooo very new to me!  On my quest toward becoming a minimialist, which I suppose has a different meaning for everyone,  I  am rethinking my life full of stuff.     I want to explore how, where, and what I can do with the things I no longer use or need.  I am excited to hear what it means for you, too.  So, I hope you will get your walking shoes ready, and let’s get started!

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