My Cluttered Life – Part 2

I can’t tell you the number of items I find around the house that were purchased and either weren’t what I was looking for, didn’t fit just right, or just decided I really didn’t want anymore. They get put down with the intention to return.

Sometime attempts get made to do the return but where is the receipt? If I can’t find the receipt you get store credit and, well, I really want my money back. So it sits, in a pile, until its too late to return. Now what do I do with it? Sigh….

If it really can’t be used it either needs to go to the trash or in a container to be donated. It can be given to a friend or family member, as long as it goes out of your home. A big rule: No holding or storing items for others who do not live with you.

Lots of money is waited this way. I wonder if you took one popular store and added all the sales of product from that store that were never used and had had intention to be returned but ended up in a death pile in someones home would tally up to. Shivers…

So not much can be done for these items once they have been in your possession for a period of time but to donate, five away or trash. But, what can I do to prevent this from happening again in the future. Here is an approach I have developed to keep this from happening.

Get a zippered pouch and keep it in your car and get in habit of putting receipts in the zippered pouch so returns are easy. If you find you need to return something put the item back in the store bag with the receipt taped to the item so it does not get lost and put it in your car. Next time you go to that store or drive by that store do the return.

Make sure you regularly purge your zippered pouch of receipts after a certain time goes by when you can’t usually return, like 90 days, unless you need the receipt for a warranty.

Since I have got this habit it makers returns easy, it keeps a pile from developing and I have not once had to dig through the trash to find a receipt.

My Cluttered Life – Part 1

It has come to a time in my life that I have had an epiphany to the fact I hate clutter. I hate to move it around, to look for certain items and I certainly hate it to move from one place to another. I have started a quest to rid my life of excess. Don’t get me wrong I do like my stuff, but there has to be a line drawn in the sand.

So I am going to start writing a series of articles about clutter and for some of us hoarding. I will also talk about purging and cleaning and freeing yourself of the burdens ‘stuff’ brings to your life. You can follow these articles under the category ‘My Cluttered Life’ on the side panel of this blog. I will write every now and then. Some will be short and sweet with tips and tricks. Some will be an accounting of my goals and I want you to use them to help make your life a bit more free.

So, I just moved. Not far away but we moved from a temporary townhouse into a house so everything is now in one place. We moved from Rio Rancho, NM to West Jordan, UT (think Albuquerque to Salt Lake City areas). We moved from a house to a townhouse until we got established and figured out exactly where we wanted to live and where work would be. It took us two years. Yes, that temporary housing didn’t end up being so temporary. That caused a problem.

When I moved up here thinking it was a temporary move I packed accordingly. I packed stuff for a storage unit and packed stuff to live with for a few months. I figured I would keep things to a minimum that we were living with and I would handle it. So, most of everything went into storage. But when you live in a home for two years you need stuff (Yes, that temporary thin ended up to be two years). So, instead of digging through a three car garage packed very tight we just bought new. Now everything is in one place we have duplicates and lots of them.

This was the first step to make in my series of articles I am writing. I do not need two of most items. So out went ten good sized boxes that were just literally picked up by Big Brothers Big Sisters. It feels good to pass on items that were perfectly good to someone who could use it while it benefiting a worthwhile charity and in turn freeing up space in my home. I am sure I will find more duplicates as I move through the house but that is alright. I can make another large load to donate or take a box at a time to a local thrift store.

My strategy now is to go to one tote to another. Discard things that are no longer in working condition, broken or just not wanted anymore. I am also using labeled totes to put things that are ‘I don’t knows’. When I am done going through the house I will take one of these totes at a time and everything in the tote will find a home in my home or it will go to the trash or donate. Will write another article on the flip side of doing this. See you all then.

5 Realistic Resolutions to Make This Your Home’s Cleanest Year Ever

Every one of us wants to live in a clean, sparkling home. But most of us hate doing all the work that comes with keeping homes neat and tidy. If you are someone who hates cleaning and dreads the overwhelming feeling when it comes time to tidy up, there is a good chance you are approaching the issue wrong.

With a few simple tweaks in your daily, weekly, and monthly habits, you can have a bright, clean home without needing to waste eight hours in one day.

Here are five realistic resolutions to make this your home’s cleanest year ever.

1. Plan a daily, weekly, monthly system to keep your home clean.

The main problem for most people is that they fail to do small tasks each day and then end up with an overwhelming job in front of them. This year, you are not going to be one of those people. Instead, you are going to devise a daily, weekly, and monthly plan to keep your home clean.

This plan is going to be unique to your home and your lifestyle. You can come up with a good plan by dividing all the work with the other people who live in the house. In fact, many roommates find it beneficial to set a weekly time when all members know they have to clean (2 hours on a Sunday morning).

Having everyone do it together means it will get done in no time and you can all reward yourself with brunch after!

2.  Commit to tidying up for 15 minutes every evening.

On a daily basis, resolve to tidy up for 15 minutes before getting to bed. You will be amazed at how productive those 15 minutes can be!

Each evening, wipe down your bathroom surfaces. You will thank yourself when you walk into a sparkling bathroom each morning!

Additionally, always clean the kitchen after cooking, hang up your clothes when you change, and put things away after you have used them.

Getting in the habit of doing these small tasks will help keep your house clean overall because you won’t want to start messing it up when it is already tidy.

3. Live by the “one-in-one-out” rule.

This year, to truly have a clean and organized home, make a promise to yourself that you will live by the “one-in-one-out” rule. This rule states that for every new item you bring into your home, you also have to remove something similar.

So, if you buy a new pair of boots, you need to remove a pair from your wardrobe. If you buy a new candle, book, pillow, etc., you must donate one of your old candles, books, or pillows (see #4).

Not only will this make you take a step back and think a bit deeper about impulse purchases (are there really any boots you want to get rid of?). But, if you do decide to buy something new, you know that no more space is going to be taken up.

4. Have a donation box readily accessible.

Unless you are a through and through minimalist, there is a good chance that you have some clutter around your home that you would like to do something with. Decluttering is one of the most overwhelming parts of organizing a house (it takes a little bit more than 15 minutes). But, if you break it down into monthly tasks (see #1), then you can focus on a specific area of the house each month.

If you focus on a specific area each month and live by the “one-in-one-out” rule, then in a couple of months you will have a completely de-cluttered space.

An additional resolution to make this year is to have a donation box readily available. That way, when you come across something in a drawer, or a cupboard, or in the back of your closet that you don’t like, toss it into the donation box. When the box is full, you can donate it to your local charity shop.

5. Buy cleaning products with fragrances you want to smell.

Last but not least, a simple resolution everyone can all get behind! Only purchase cleaning products that come with scents you actually enjoy smelling. After all, you are much more likely to clean regularly with something that produces a smell you enjoy!

Do you think you can commit to one or all of these resolutions this year? Or do you have your own cleaning resolutions? Let us know in the comments below!

AUTHOR BIO

 Mohamed Samad is the Founder & CEO of Matic Services. He started the company in 2016 after a series of small start-ups within the home services sector. Prior to that, Mohamed was Vice President at Greenstone Equity Partners, where he spent 24 months building the UAE business from 2011-2013 with its founder.

Messy Home: How to Keep Your Things Organized

Where did I put that appointment card? Have you seen my favorite blue shirt? How on earth did the keys end up in the fridge? If you frequently find yourself asking these (or similar) questions, or you simply want to declutter your life, then this article is for you. It contains simple steps on how to organize a room with too much stuff as well as some useful organization tips for your home, to help you get organized and stay organized!

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PART ONE: Getting Organized

No, organizing is not shunting piles from one room to another, and neither is it shoving shoes under the bed. The easiest, quickest and most painless way of organizing your home is to tackle one room at a time. Each room can be divided into smaller, manageable sections, such as the floor, closet, pantry, draws, and tables – then give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back as you achieve each of your goals.

Get rid of everything you no longer need – As you progress from room to room, first make piles of anything that you no longer need, including paperwork, clothes, utensils, and ornaments. These items can be donated, passed on, recycled or thrown out. The creative soul may wish to repurpose or upcycle – extra mugs, pots and empty shoeboxes are ideal for creating a new and improved storage system.

Add extra storage – Corners, high places, and other hard-to-reach places are often wasted space that can be exploited for storage with the simple addition of bookshelves or cupboards. This is a great chance be creative with many ingenious storage solutions available, such as rotating cupboards in corners, nooks under stairs and floor-to-ceiling shelving. Raising the bed onto a plinth with roll-out drawers or adding a loft may also be viable options. If you still feel that your home is bursting at the seams, consider building a garden shed or renting a storage container off-site.

Give every item a home – This important step allows you to tidy quickly and efficiently later on, setting you up for success in PART TWO: Staying organized.

Use labels – If you think you might forget where things live (or know that other people will), labeling draws, boxes and those repurposed mugs is a quick, simple and stylish solution – and is one of the best ways to organize a cluttered bedroom.

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PART TWO: Staying Organized

Identify problem areas and times – Mess is commonly encountered at the dining room table after breakfast, on the living room floor at Christmas and in the closet all year round. Once identified, you can then create a system and routine that works for you.

Create systems – For doing laundry, dishes, rubbish, recycling and any problem areas identified. For example, you could consider using a drying rack, multiple washing baskets or a composting system.

Form habits and routines – As with any skill, keeping your room clean and organized all the time needs to be practiced regularly (yes, it can be classified as a skill). Soon, your systems will become productive habits that will save you time, energy and stress in the long run. This may be always making the bed in the morning, sorting the mail as soon as you come home or clearing the dining room table immediately after dinner before sitting down with a hot cup of cocoa as a reward.

Make a list for errands, shopping, and chores – A chalkboard, whiteboard or tear-off notepad can be a stylish addition to your kitchen décor and ensures you will never again have that awful sinking-stomach feeling when you discover you forgot to buy more cereal. It also allows clear communication between roommates/family members, so you are informed when they do use up the last of the cereal.

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Image Source: Sacha Chua via Flicker

Create lists of daily and weekly chores – This could include washing dishes, vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom/toilet.

Draw up a job roster – If there are multiple people in the house sharing the workload, try drawing up a “chores wheel” consisting of your daily and weekly chores. This way, everyone knows exactly what is expected – and has a deadline. The same method can be applied to just you if you need some extra motivation.

Stock up on cleaning products – So there are no excuses for a missed rotation on the job roster!

Schedule in down time – You have deserved it! Whether you love reading a book before bed or attending sunrise yoga classes, make time to enjoy the satisfying and liberating feeling of being organized!

Cleaning And Organizing For Easter

As a traditional family holiday, Easter is usually a time for big family gatherings, lavish festive meals and fun group activities in the beautiful weather outside. And if everyone is coming to your home this year, Easter means one more thing – spring cleaning. On one of the sunny weekends ahead, gather up your strength and plan your time well. With a good strategy, cleaning and organizing for Easter is easy and doesn’t require an entire army of professional cleaners.

Winter isn’t really a wonderful time for washing windows and deep cleaning of carpets, and towards its end our homes are far from looking their best. Dust and dirt have found their way to every corner of your house and removing them unfortunately isn’t as easy as we would want it to be. But where to start? The preparations for Easter seem so many that finding the right organizational system is really important. One of the essential steps is obviously deep cleaning, but before starting with it, try to go through every room, de-clutter and pick out the things you don’t need any more – old clothing, torn and de-colourised bedding, piles of old newspapers and magazines, broken toys, and so on. Decide on what could be recycled or reused, and what’s for the garbage. Check the attic, every closet and every cabinet, and get rid of all the clutter – it can make spring cleaning even more challenging.

Next, you can proceed with the clean-up. Start with the kitchen and pay some special attention to the oven and the refrigerator, because you will be probably doing a lot of cooking around Easter. Greasy grime is settled on the kitchen cabinets – remove the build-up with a wood cleaner or a soapy water and a soft cloth. Then go to the living room and start with the book shelves, cupboards and cabinets. Wash the windows well both on the inside and on the outside, using either a household cleaning product, or a mixture of water and lemon juice. Instead of wiping with a regular rag, rub the windows with an old newspaper – it’s great for really dirty and smudgy windows. Professionals like Sparkling Carpet Cleaners Battersea advice to wash the curtains, vacuum clean upholsteries or if they have stains, clean up with a mixture of water and white vinegar. Mop all the the floors, even the wood ones, using soapy water and cleaning the baseboards with a dampen cloth.

Move on to the bedrooms – they are usually the easiest to clean up. Wash all the bed linen and coverings, dust off, polish the furniture. Use the vacuum on the mattress and follow up with a good disinfecting spray to kill all the bacteria and odours. Put the pillows and blankets in the washing machine. Don’t forget the bathrooms – clean them after a hot shower, the steam makes dirt come off easily. Mix water and baking soda for the tiles, but if you run into serious stains, choose a good bathroom cleaning product. Change the towels and wash the shower curtains – they should be changed or washed regularly. Clean the washing machine, as well – run it with hot water, then rub it with baking soda and white vinegar, leaving them for an hour. Run it again and after it finishes, wipe it dry. This should remove not only the dirt from it, but also any unpleasant smells.

After cleaning your home and throwing all the garbage, organize and tidy the yard and the garden. Prepare for the Egg hunt by removing weeds, dead or dry plants, as well as any leafs that are left from the autumn. Mown the lawn, refresh the shed with a new coat of paint, and plant early spring flowers to have a colourful and beautiful Easter. You can try pansy, bloodroot, wild “harmony” iris, yellow Trillium, Grape Hyacinth, daffodil, and others. Right before Easter, set the festive mood by decorating your home with cute Easter candles, egg and Easter bunny décor and a lot of fresh flowers.