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Friday, July 29, 2011

Yikes! I Just Watched Hoarders! (Part 3)

Okay, it's been a while, but I am finally back to write some more about hoarding.  Well, not so much hoarding, but just, uh, let's call it "keeping."  I like that because that makes me a keeper, as in "Crazy Mom's a keeper."  LOL

Before I get to the today's topic at hand, which is how being frugal leads to hoarding, uh, keeping, I thought I'd explain the above photo.  This is one of my little hoarder pockets.  You see, my son had cleaned out the van.  Now, when my kids or Sane man "clean out" a vehicle, what they really do is contain the mess in garbage bags which they bring in the house for ME to sort through and put away.  So, in reality, I am cleaning out the van, though they don't see it that way.

So, anyway, my son Dode Man cleaned out the van and left everything in a laundry basket.  Then he did it again and put it all in a bag.  There were a couple of other bags from other such endeavors and they were in my dining room.  Appetizing, huh?  Well, they had been there for a while, so I thought I'd condense them all into an overflowing basket, take a picture, and show you one of my little projects.  My initial intent was to also take a pic of the empty basket, but I never did.  I'm sure if you try very hard you can imagine what it looked like.  LOL

Now onto the frugal thing.  :)

So, I came out from the womb frugal.  It's in my blood, and it's just the way I am.  It's the one good thing I actually picked up from my mom.  You see, my mom is thin, energetic, organized, and in ten times better health than me, and she is 82 years old.  I figure I was born backwards so I got the reverse of everything she is.  That's my theory, anyway.  However, the frugal thing must have already been transmitted to me through the umbilical cord, so frugal I am.

Now, being frugal is normally a good thing.  Because I'm frugal I don't go out and buy tons of stuff.   I think my sister got that one.  If she finds a shirt she likes, she'll buy it in every color.  She gives me bags of hand-me-down stuff and there will be like eight black sweaters in the bag only slightly different.  And this is the stuff she is getting rid of!  BUT, she is also neat and organized and has a huge walk-in closet, so it's not really a problem for her.  I do like a good sale though.  I do sometimes stock up on things, like today I bought 12 deodorants because they were 99 cents, but that isn't really my problem either. 

So if I'm frugal, and don't buy loads and loads of stuff, how have I become a "keeper?"  Well, I have a really hard time getting rid of stuff!  I mean, you know, I might use it some day.  For example, I have a really hard time getting rid of clothes.  If it has a stain or tear, it can still be "work" clothes.  If' it's a tad small, I'll lose the weight.  (Yeah, right!)  Now, like I said, I don't buy tons of clothes, but over the years I have gotten bags and bags and bags and bags of them.  Even when my kids had more than enough of them, I'd still take them.  After all, I have eight kids, right?

And books.  I love books!  But I have only two large bookcases and a storage cabinet.  I also have about five bookshelves worth of books.  The bookcases are where I keep most of my curriculum, but I have baskets and Rubbermaids (c) of books everywhere.  Of course, if I actually want to read one, I haven't a clue where it is.    So, what do I do?  I sign up to do book reviews!  LOL  So now more and more books show up my mailbox on a regular basis.   

I guess when I really think about it, most of my "keeper" issues are with clothes and books. 

Soooo.....  here's how I am dealing with it.  :)

As far as clothes go, I have made a new rule for myself.  I no longer accept bags of clothes.  Recently I made the mistake of letting someone give me some clothes for my girls.  Now, I had pretty much only been given boys clothes, because I have six boys.  So I said I'd take them.  Well, what I got was like a dozen bags of clothes!  It took quite some time to get through them all.  I mean, I was blessed, for sure, but wow, I just was way overwhelmed.  So, when someone offers me clothes I ask if them have what I specifically need, or if possible, I go through the bag, get what I want, and give the rest back.  I just don't have the space or time to sort through a lot of clothes.  Also, I have been trying to bag up as much as possible that we don't use.  I need to be the one giving the clothes away!

As for books, I simply have decided the make full use of the library.  My son loves a series on Christian heroes which I just assumed the library wouldn't carry, so I've been buying them up.  However, on a whim, I decided to see if I could, in fact, borrow them.  Well, surprise, surprise!  They have the books.  Now to get rid of the books we no longer need.  This will be a seriously long and arduous task.  It must be done, however, and I'm going to do it.  One day.  :)

Oh, I did think of one more thing I have trouble with.  It's with throwing away things that seem valuable, but that I don't need.  For example, those ever so versatile margarine tubs, or a nice pickle jar.  I didn't have to make any rules about this one, however, because my city recently started an awesome recycling plan.  I mean, I'm no greenie, but I LOVE recycling.  I can throw stuff away without really "wasting" it.  We actually fill up a 96 gallon bin of recyclables each and ever week.  Yeah, it really, really, helps.  I mean, I did throw the stuff away before, but it always felt somehow "wrong."  Now, it feels so "right."  Yes, I do realize I'm a bit odd.  ;)  (Okay, really, really, odd.)

So, that's it.  I am frugal, and it makes me a keeper.  Are you frugal?  How does it work for or against you when you are trying to clean and organize your home?  Any tips to share with the rest of us?  Please do tell!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Searching for Buried Treasure!!!

You know the commerical that asks, "What's in your wallet?" Well, I'd like to ask you, "What's under your couch cushions?"

I used to try to keep things clean under my couch cushions. Several years ago I had a weekly meeting in my home. Each Wednesday I would make sure to dutifully clean and even vacuum under each cushion. There was one time I didn't get to it, and wouldn't you know, some friends brought their sick kid to the meetin who proceeded to throw up right in the corner of my couch. It was clean up the puke myself and avoid letting them see what was lurking under there, or let them do it and expose myself. Well, in that case, I chose the latter, but any other time I would be just horrified if anyone saw what was actually under there. That is, until now. I see the junk under the couch cushions in a whole new light!

It's amazing how helpful it has been to keep that treasure trove just as it is! The other day I needed a pencil. I reached my hand in the cushion and "Voila!" there was a pencil! Then my husband yelled that his comb was missing as he rushed to get ready for work. I reach in my trusty treasure stash, and "Tada!" there was a comb! The other day my daughter had a great time. She decided to reach in to see what she could find. Wouldn't you know, she came up with two miniature Mr. Goodbars and a Starkist candy! What fun! So you see, you have to look at things in a different light. Now, whenever I need something, a pencil, comb, nail clippers, ponytail holder or midnight snack, I just reach on into my trusty couch and I am never disappointed. Just don't bring over any sick kids.

Take that cleanies!!!

~The Crazy Mom

Friday, July 1, 2011

Yikes! I Just Watched Hoarders! (Part 2)

So, I think I struck a nerve.  I am not the only homeschool mom out there with hoarder tendencies.  As a matter of fact, if you read the comments from my last post, you'll see that I have come up with a new idea for a reality show called Homeschool Hoarders.  LOL  It does seem that we homeschoolers have a little more hoarder in us than the average mom.  Not all of us, of course, but how many homeschoolers do you know that don't seem to more books then they have space for?  Seems to be a pretty common problem.  Homeschooling means you not only have a home in your house, but a school too.  Then consider that there are many homeschool families out there that have bigger than average families, and, well, you have the makings of a perfect storm.

So, after thinking about I have added a few more reasons why I have to fight against hoarding.  Here is my now updated list.

  • I'm frugal.
  • I'm sentimental.
  • I procrastinate.
  • I'm disorganized.
  • I'm a people pleaser and just WAY too nice.  (Here the kids snickering?)
  •  I homeschool.
  • I have ten people living in a small house.
  • My house is dysfunctional.  (I mean the actual house.  LOL)
You'll notice, I added that my house is dysfunctional.  I have an old house that doesn't really have much closet or storage space.  The only closet on the main floor is one small closet in my room.  This means no coat closet and no linen closet.  The bathroom is tiny and consists of a tub, sink, and toilet.  There is no vanity.  There are no cabinets.  In other words, there is very little space to organize stuff.  It's Hoarders waiting to happen. 

I do do some things right.  Some things are done every day.  For example, in the kitchen, the dishwasher is loaded and unloaded twice (at least) everyday.  The counters are wiped down, the sink in cleaned out, the floor is swept, and the trash is taken out.  Two loads of laundry are done, that is washed, not necessarily folded and put away.  :)  In the bathroom the sink is wiped out, the faucets are shined, the floor is cleaned and swept, and the trash is emptied.  The couches and chair are cleared in the living room,  the hearth straightened up, the table cleared, and the floor swept/vacuumed.  The dining room floor is swept and the dining room table cleared (usually, unless there is laundry on it, which has been the case lately.)  My bed is made and the floor is cleared and swept on Sane Man's side per his request.  (He doesn't like to get crunchies on his feet after taking a shower, go figure.)  But all this seems to be undone as fast as it's done.  Actually, about ten times faster.  It also seems to consume a considerable amount of time every day.  This means the other areas of the house become neglected.  This is where the little "hoarder pockets" start to grow.

So the plan is this.  I will take each of the items on my list and blog about how I am conquering in this area.  I will also be looking for input as to how to do better in that area.  I want to hear your ideas.  Let's do this together!!! 

The next post will be about how being frugal, while a great thing, can lead to hoarding.  I hope to post it at the beginning of next week.  So, please think about this and come back so that you can comment with your ideas.  Also, if you happened to post about it on your own blog, leave the link and we'll all learn from each other! 

Well, I suppose I'd better get back to my little hoarder pockets now.  Maybe I'll even take some pics!  Ewwww......    :)

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