Saturday, October 29, 2011

Still Purging

I found this really great blog after reading a Yahoo story:

http://www.tosimplify.net

It's about a man and his adventures as he decides to move into his van full-time.  As I read the purging part of his story, it reminded me that I've come off track, so I've gotten back on track.  And, as our hot water heater broke this past week (which is located in the back of the downstairs closet), it was another sign to continue purging.

Yard jarts - we found yard jarts in the back of our wet closet.  When the heck did I receive those & what was I thinking.  Technically, we don't even have a yard - we live in a complex of townhouses!  Bye-bye to those!  I know I trashed a bunch of other stuff this week, but nothing specific comes to mind.  I guess that's just an indication of how meaningless these items were to me.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Well, I failed

Yep - there - I put it on paper. I failed.  I wanted to participate in a 30 day blog of posting financial help, but I only did one post.  Why?  Was it the fact my father-in-law was visiting and I was side tracked?  Was the topic something I didn't feel qualified to write about?  Why?

I think the reason I failed was I didn't really feel that passionate about the commitment to writing every day for 30 days.  And, since my blog has no direction, and really hasn't hit on the financial side of life, why pretend to be something I'm not?

Instead, I'd rather just practice my writing by letting random thoughts flow through my head & out onto this screen.  And I'm just perfectly fine with that!

Until next time......whenever that may be!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Just Breathe



Day 1 - Just breathe.  I’m here this month to discuss personal finance.  Did your heart just skip a beat?  Is your respiration increasing?  Don’t worry - it’s just numbers.  And your behavior.  Before you start freaking out, practice some deep, belly breathing.  
For some reason, when we start talking about our personal financials, we tend to get stressed out, or tensed up or something along those lines.  Once you face it, understand it, embrace it and tackle it, you come to realize it’s no big deal.
Just breathe.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Get Ready For It!

I just committed myself to 31 Days of Blogging for the month of October!  See this post for more details:

31 Days of Change

I've dreamed of becoming a Financial Counselor so I decided to write about 31 days of sound financial principals.  I have read a ton of articles and books and I feel I am ready to share my thoughts and views on this very important topic!

How about you?  Is there something you can commit to doing for 31 days?  Exercise?  Praying? Dieting?  Join in the fun by clicking the link above and committing to making a change!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Hardest Thing to Declutter

Sentimental Clutter. To me, this is the 'stuff' one has accumulated from people or places that holds a significant meaning and is hard to let go of. Take for instance, this bathrobe:



This bathrobe was given to me by my DH, on the first Christmas we celebrated together in 1992. When it was new, it was the whitest, softest robe I've ever worn. I loved it and wore it whether it was 60 degrees outside or 90. Over the years, he has bought a few other robes for me, and this one ended up just sitting on the hook, barely ever worn. It isn't the softest, whitest robe anymore but I felt bad throwing it out, so there it sat - taking up space.

As the decluttering continues, I had to come to reality that it was time for the robe to go bye-bye. After reading a few other articles about sentimental clutter, I decided I would immortalize the robe by taking a photo of it and journaling my thoughts. On a side note, I'm participating in Project 365, which is where you take a photo of something in your life each day & journal about it. So that's what I decided to do, and I actually felt a small sense of relief to throw the heavy robe into the trash. Let's face it - 20 years! I had a bathrobe for 20 years!

Time to let go.........

What sentimental items have you let go & did you find a way to keep the memory of them?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Yes! Decluttering Continues!

In my journey to declutter, I now have to step it up a notch. We've decided to move and I'm not going to move non-essential 'stuff'. Since I'm a runner, I buy running shoes every 4-6 months, so I go through a few pairs each year. I don't wear them for anything but running so when they don't suit my needs anymore, they are still in pretty good shape. I like to keep a pair for working outside or around the house. Low & behold I found 2 additional pairs under the bed, so I decided to donate. I also picked out a few items in my closet that can go as well. The black thing in the back is an evening gown that someone gave to me (it's a size 8 & I'm a 4) & I've never worn plus 2 shirts that aren't on my 'love' list.

What have you given away that you haven't 'loved'?

By the way, all my donations go to the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast thrift store (http://www.hstc1.org/) which is a wonderful organization in our community. I've adopted 2 of my cats from them & saved 2 others from ending up there.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I think I met my 5 a day goal tonight!

So Tues. is trash day and DH & I decided to tackle a portion of the attic last night. Here's a small list of what we got rid of:

  • Extra dining table & 2 chairs (I convinced him we need to save 2 chairs for when we have guests)
  • Silverware, extra mugs, shot glasses, some wine glasses, coffee pot, a stack of frying pans, chip clips from my Pampered Chef selling days, a ton of kitchen utensils, a Barnett Bank mesh beach bag (still looked brand new!), a bike rack for the back of a car and tons of miscellaneous stuff
  • Two 6' cloth palm trees that used to decorate our living room
  • 4 speakers and a subwofer
  • A 10' piece of PVC pipe (who knows why we had that?)
  • Old fishing tackle and a huge tackle bag
  • An old microwave
I'm sure there's more but DH was throwing things down the stairs fast and furious. At one point in life we thought we would buy or build a small log cabin in Georgia, but I'm not sure that will ever happen. Instead, I think when we retire, we can just rent something for a few months if we are still in love with that area & want to spend a summer up there.

A lot of stuff I'm donating and a lot went in the trash. I'm curious to see how much is still out in the trash pile this morning. I'm sure the neighborhood pickers went through it. Sorry I didn't post a picture, but I didn't have a chance to download any photos last night.

On a side note, DH was able to put one coat of paint on the strip in the bedroom that never got painted. The story there is we painted the bedroom thinking we would add crown molding, which never happened. So there was a 1" strip of unpainted area that needed to be finished. The first coat is on and now he has to finish the second. Thank God he's suddenly motivated to finish that project, but he still has a few more to go!

So, at least when our company is here later this week I won't feel guilty about not having the time to throw away 5 things. I think I met the goal for the rest of the week!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Phew! Dodged a bullet.....but another's is on its way!

Well, luckily in South FL we dodged Emily as she quickly went from potential hurricane to nothing then a depression and then bye bye! Now just to quickly drink up that second gallon of unopened milk before it expires......

.....but our next bullet is on its way - time to move! Yes, we have decided it's time after living in our 1100 square foot townhouse for 11 years. Yes, the mortgage will be paid off on December 27th, but we are just too cramped in here. If we didn't ride bikes, hunt and fish, we could stay here forever and ever, but we are active outdoors people with lots of 'stuff'. We hunt for ducks (lots of decoys for those trips), wild boar (need a bigger gun), deer and whatever else. We love to fish (different rods for different fishing - offshore vs. inshore), and we both ride road bikes and mountain bikes. We cram all these things into our tiny townhouse and rent a storage unit for overflow and my DH's business inventory.

Now it's time to return to my 5 a day purge. I have 4 bags of 'stuff' ready to go to the Humane Society Thrift Store today. There will be lots more as this adventure takes place. Stay tuned as I journal how the moving process proceeds.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Uh Oh - Emily is on her way!



I live in South Florida & this is the image on the National Hurricane Site this morning. See the big round circle in FL? That's Lake Okeechobee, and I live directly due East of it on the coast. Sometime on Saturday, Tropical Storm Emily will pass by us, bringing much needed rain and some wind. Hopefully it won't strengthen to a hurricane, and we will have a near miss.

I'm not worried thought. Why? Because we are prepared.
  • We have a generator and today DH will fill up some gas cans
  • We eat simply - lots of fruit & veggies - and they don't necessarily need refrigeration.
  • We can easily put our hands on our hurricane shutters and install them in a matter of a few hours.
  • We have a small house which is concrete construction with reinforced steel and a concrete roof.
  • We survived Hurricanes Wilma, Jeanne and the other female that I can't remember
A tropical storm is like staying home during a big snowstorm. We are well stocked and have plenty to do, with or without power. The only difference is the weather is HOT and HUMID and no A/C is not fun. But, when the storm passes and if we are without power, we have a window A/C just in case.............

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Help! I'm stranded

This morning I was stranded. I was left without a very important tool. I.......was.....stuck.......in the 'little girls room' as my Mother fondly called it.

Yes, no toilet paper - not a fun way to start the morning, that's for sure. I always thought I was so organized, and that I fully stocked every bathroom in the house with several rolls, for those 'just in case' moments. Well, I was wrong. No more t.p. under the sink.

So, what is the lesson learned? When you use the last of something, you better write it down on your shopping list, lest you find yourself stranded. I've read that it takes 21-28 days (depending on who you read) to form a habit. One new habit for me is keeping a list on the fridge of what is needed so when I shop for the week, I know what items I used the last of. It's a small step in my organizing journey, but a very important one.

Oh, by the way, the story has a happy ending. Since I recycle my t.p. rolls, I found one that had rolled somewhat behind the toilet, and I was able to scrap enough off to just get by.........

Monday, July 18, 2011

What are your frugal hobbies?

I read this question on another forum and it made me think about my frugal hobbies.

  • Biking - I love to work out and I bought my Specialized Allez frame back in 2003. It was a leftover from 2002, so I picked it up for $500. Over time, I purchased better components for it, and I still ride it today without having to change or 'upgrade' any more components.
  • Reading - I love to read, and what a great frugal hobby. I can share books with my sister and friends, or go to the library.
  • Running - I love to run and all I have to invest in is a good pair of shoes. I purchase them from a local running store, who gives me credit towards coupons that I can use for future purchases.
  • Scrapbooking. Initially this was a huge investment. In fact, this is the one thing that got me in trouble with my credit cards. But now I have so much 'stuff' all I have to do is purchase adhesive (always with my Joann or Michael's coupons!) and some cutting blades when they get dull and now I have cards and gifts for everyone!
What are your frugal hobbies?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Continuing on my journey

This morning while getting ready for work, I went through my jewelry drawer (costume jewelry, not the real stuff!) and I found 5 pins that I never wear to get rid of. Whew! Just lightened the load a bit!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My 5 Thing A Day Challenge

I've fallen off the bandwagon and can't get up! Seriously, with so much activity swirling through my mind lately, I have totally lost my focus on decluttering. I thought about it this morning and decided to just focus on that primarily instead of all the other things that I'd like to do. Yes, I want to eat healthfully, make better consumer choices, eliminate plastic, etc.

I came back to blogging so I can chronicle my journey of decluttering. This morning I looked in the mirror, told myself to focus and to find 5 things, right now in this bathroom, that I could declutter. I opened my makeup drawer & found:

  • 4 bottles of nailpolish
  • 1 old tube of lipstick.
I trashed the lipstick and when I get home tonight from work, I'll dump the nailpolish & recycle the bottles. So, I am killing 2 birds with one stone, or maybe 3: I decluttered, recycled and got rid of something toxic in the house!

What have you decluttered today?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A safe & effective way to discard of prescription drugs

In my effort to declutter, I was cleaning out my medicine cabinet the other day & realized I had 2 expired prescriptions: hydrocodone and a muscle relaxer from my back spasms last year. Now, the last thing I want to do is dump them down the drain, so when I went to pick up my monthly pills, I asked the pharmacy clerk at Wal-Mart what to do with these 2 expired prescriptions.

The clerk turned me onto this site: http://www.smarxtdisposal.net/. This site gives you step-by-step instructions on how to properly dispose of your expired prescriptions in a safe, effective manner without damaging the environment. It's easy and takes 5 minutes. Check it out!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

What makes you happy?


I thought I would take a few moments to reflect on those 'things' in life that make me happy. And, no, they are not material 'things'.

* Enjoy my morning coffee while reading many blogs.
* Playing hide n seek with my cat, Cosmo
* Fishing or hunting with my DH
* Going for a non-competitive bike ride with a group of friends
* Scrapping with friends or by myself
* Cuddling up on our favorite chair & watching TV and eating popcorn with DH
* An awesome run or bike ride
* Any mountain bike ride - good or bad!

These are just a few of my favorite things. They don't cost me anything, or in some cases, very little. Although I have fallen into the Consumerism mindset in the past, my values have returned to where they were when I grew up: frugality, savings and simplicity.

What makes you most happy?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Fun Day Off


The ocean was flat & I had the day off which equals Fishing! DH & I headed out and had an awesome day. It started when we were catching bait & I was able to hand feed a porpoise! There was a feeling of calm and excitement in taking a bait, slapping the water to attract the porpoise's attention and then watching as I let go of the bait when he swam within inches of my hand. He (or she) was so gentle and graceful in the water, as if he had done this millions of times before.

After acquiring sufficient bait, we headed out to sea and found a spot to begin our fishing. Within minutes of putting bait in the water, the lines started goi
ng off & we spent the next 2 hours reeling and reelin
g. We caught a tone of bonito, and I scored a small (40-50 lb) sailfish. The action started to slow again and that's when this guy came along:


He wasn't all that big, but we fed him off of the chum line. You never know what you'll see out in the ocean and it was exciting to see this small hammerhead shark circle the boat (insert Jaws theme music here).

A day off doesn't have to be about consumerism - it's about time spent with those who are important in your life, and DH and I created yet another memorable day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My 5 A Day Challenge

My challenge is still happening, although it may not be a daily pursuit. I'm now working in chunks of time (mostly on the weekend) and ending up, on average, 3 things a day. This weekend, I decided to spend 1 hour on my scrapping space. Before I begin, let me give you some background on where we live.

DH & I almost own a 1200 square foot townhome. I don't even think it's 1200 square feet-maybe 1190, or something like that. Two bedroom, 2.5 baths. The 'spare' bedroom serves as his office/fishing storage and my scrapping space. The entire room is a disaster area, in my opinion. We are not naturally neat-freaks, so it tends to be the dumping ground, as I like to call it. When we have company, everything extra from downstairs gets dumped onto every available surface in this room. It actually causes my heart rate to accelerate when I look at it, so I know we have a problem.

As I started tackling a small part of the room, mainly the section of the closet where I store my scrapping space, I really had to take the time to think about what I wanted that space to look like. I know I have too much stuff in there, and I need to weed it out. To begin, I just started pulling things out & asking myself if this item made me happy or not AND was I ever really going to use it. The conversation went something like this:

"C'mon, Jan, you know you've had this for like 10 years & you've never used it before in your scrapping."
"I know, but I may NEED it one day."
"Yeah, like when? You don't even realize you HAVE it!"
"I know. It is starting to get old and not look so good."
"Then maybe someone else can use it - like a preschool or something. Maybe someone else can get some enjoyment out of it."
"Hmmm, that sounds good. Let's dump it!"

And so I grew a little pile and felt a big sense of accomplishment. I also went through my endless pile of paper and made another bag of paper for 2 girls that I work with.

So in my challenge, I ended up finding 4 more books to donate, 1 jar to recycle, about 50 sheets of scrapbook paper to give to friends, 2 tackle boxes with Christmas decorations, ribbons, pearls and sequins in them, 3 pails for decorating, 2 picture frames, the bowdazzler and a brand new 8x8 album.

I think that meets my minimum for the week! What have you decluttered today?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Looking inward

I haven't posted for a few weeks and I miss doing it! It's interesting to me that I've become so introspective and really trying to evaluate my life and my priorities. What do I want to be when I grow up? I work for a private employer who has a plan to sell her business in X number of years so she can retire. It made me think about what I would do when she sells her business. Would I stay on with a new company? Would I find another HR job? Would this be the time to launch something of my own? If so, what would that look like?

In the meantime, after reading 48 Days To The Work You Love, (www.48days.com), I'm still unsure what I want. I know I love teaching, but I don't want to teach kids, or work in a traditional classroom setting. Could my writing teach others? Possibly. What would I write about? The questions and answers go on and on. I think the important aspect to recognize is where your strengths are and to pursue those attributes.

Until next time - keep it clean and keep it green!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Simple Life

Sunday was a simple day. Just me and DH and our boat. That's it - quiet, peaceful, heat, sun and an endless ocean. Sure, we fish 4 rods plus fiddled with trying to keep a few baits in the water off of the kite rod. Sure, I brought some munchies and water. And definitely other boats rode past us, and one fished kinda near us. But at the end of the day, it was a simple day - just fishing. It also doesn't hurt that we at least caught one 9.2 lb dolphin (mahi mahi) that we kept.

What more could a perfect day entail?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New Design for the blog!

In my efforts to reduce the clutter and now plastic in my life, I felt a more clean look was in store for the blog. Simplification to me means several things. First, life should be as easy as possible. For example, it's my DH's birthday today and he loves apple pie, so I thought I would make him one. I had this recipe for one from Alton Brown on the Food Network. We enjoy watching him because he teaches as he cooks. I dug out his recipe and it was way over my head. There were ingredients on his list that I had never even heard of! When we watched him make it, it looked easy and absolutely delicious. Not so much when you see the recipe!

I decided to whip out my 'go to it' recipe book, The Joy of Cooking, and make the pie, from scratch mind you, from that book. My MIL went through it with me at Thanksgiving and showed me how she made apple pie, so I plan to do the same. Now, you may argue that it would be easier to go buy a frozen one from the grocery store or go to my local bakery & buy one. And yes, that is the most simple way to do it. However, it is DH's birthday & I love him and want to make this for him. It's the simplest recipe I have for making one.

Simplification also means to live with the basics of life - nothing more and nothing less. I guess that's one post for another time......

Also, in my get rid of 5 things daily challenge: Friday, May 20th I decluttered a plastic flashing ice cube that you put in drinks, a pedometer I never used, a stainless steel, plastic-lined water bottle (no plastic!) a mini photo frame and one of those Easy buttons from Staples that someone gave me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dropped off at Hospice Today

What a relief to drop a bag of my former 'stuff' off to Hospice today where someone else can use it and Hospice makes a little money. I was pleasantly surprised to see alot of people shopping in there at lunch time today.

I left them the shirts I decluttered from last week, along with the bag of jewelry I didn't need. I also found 3 beanie babies in my trunk (from my former office) and I don't need those either.

While I was there, I bought a drinking glass for a whopping 50 cents plus tax. The reason is I'm also trying to get rid of plastic in my life and use more natural/organic products.

What did you get rid of today & where did it go?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The last shuttle launch

I didn't purge anything at home today. Sure, I put some things in the recycle bin and read through the newspaper (one reason we still buy the paper is it's my DH's customer), but today was about relationships. See, sometimes there are more important things to handle in a day than 'doing stuff.' Sure, I could have gone through a drawer & found 5 more things to get rid of, but when I arrived home from work, my DH told me that his Mom is within a day of going to Heaven. Although we knew it was coming, the moment really takes your breath away and makes you realize just how short our time on Earth is. Today was about being with my DH.

It was the last launch of Space Shuttle Endeavor. We stood outside and watched the plume of smoke as it lifted off into the sky and then that magic moment occurred when you see the bright orange light of the capsule and the rocket boosters separating and then it fades out of sight. I took some pictures & will upload them. Good luck to our space crew on their final mission. God speed, my friends.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Shorts & t-shirts

What more can I need in life than shorts & t-shirts? I live in S. FL where 70% of the year (or more) I can get away with wearing shorts & t-shirts. However, in my decluttering challenge, I took a look at the t-shirt pile & decided I have too many.

This decluttering thing is hard. I looked at many of my t-shirts and found that my DH gave me lots of them! And, I can associate memories with them as well. I was running some 5k's back in '09, and have those t-shirts which I can't give up yet too! However, I did manage to find 4 of them to get rid of; 3 of which were volunteer t-shirts. These 4 t-shirts will go into the rag pile for use in the many projects my DH is involved in. I also threw away a workout shirt that I had from, sit down for this one, 1996!!!! Bye, bye - you've had your usefulness!

One thing I haven't mentioned yet is my scrapbooking room. I have sooooo much stuff in there and it's probably going to be the biggest challenge for me to declutter. So, I scrapped a quick layout today and I'm happy to use some of my 'stuff'!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

5 Things

As I'm re-evaluating my life, I have definitely decided there is too much 'stuff' in our house. We live in a 1100 square foot townhouse, and while we aren't hoarders or anything like that, we tend to accumulate 'stuff' and not let it go. I just finished reading 'The 100 Thing Challenge' and while I'm not ready to live with a specific amount of things, I'm ready to let go of a bunch of stuff.

I decided if I find 5 things each day to get rid of, I should start easing the amount of 'stuff' in the house. I'm not sure if I can get DH on board or not (he has A LOT of things), but I think if he sees me purging, it might spark something within him. To make myself accountable, I will post on here the 5 things I find each day to get rid of. I actually started this on Thursday, so I'll catch up with the past 2 days:

Thursday 5/12/11
An XXL large shirt DH bought for his Dad on a hunting trip in Idaho. It's too big for his Dad, and DH was going to 'return' it via mail for another size. That was October, 2009.
4 Shirts from my closet. These were things I haven't worn in years, so Ciao! Off with you!

Friday, 5/13/11
2 necklaces
1 pig pin
1 bracelet
1 set of fake silver earrings

So, you are probably wondering what I'm going to do with this stuff? Well, I really don't believe in clogging up our already overflowing landfills, so these are good quality items and will be donated to some thrift store (just haven't decided which one yet).

What 5 things can you get rid of?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The first post of 2011!

Wow - I haven't blogged anything since 2010! Yikes - where does the time go? I'll tell you - sometimes it's spent on the things or stuff in life that aren't important. Those time wasters that we all fall into - watching TV, surfing the 'net, etc.

I turned 39 this year and have really been re-evaluating my life and what it is all about. 39 isn't a significant number, and I'm healthy as a horse so I shouldn't have any worries, right? I just feel like I'm not doing what I'm meant to do on this Earth. I heard a quote from a preacher who was being interviewed, and although I can't quote it exactly, it does something like this: we all complain about not having enough time. God has given us enough time to do what He wants us to do.

Think about that one.

Bits and pieces of our lives.