Living Simply Series: Why It’s So Hard to Give Up Our Stuff

Let your friends know:

This is the 5th installment of our “Living Simply Series.” If you’ve missed out on the other articles, click on the links below to catch up. And, don’t forget to get your FREE living simply bundle at the bottom of this article.

 

 

Why It’s So Hard to Give Up Our Stuff

No one said it would be easy to simplify. Ask anyone who has moved to a more minimalist lifestyle, and they’ll tell you that there can be a lot of resistance come up. But it’s only stuff. Why do we have such a tough time finding a new home (including the trashcan) for items we no longer need or use? It’s all about the emotions surrounding the items that cause us to hold on tightly.

Stuff makes us feel secure—we buy with our emotions, not logic, which means we invest emotionally in our possessions. Having a lot of stuff makes us feel safe and secure. How many things do you keep around “just in case”?  Having a lot of stuff or expensive items gives us status in our society, which also makes us feel important and secure in our place in the world.

We spent our hard-earned cash on it—many people feel wasteful and guilty when they start decluttering their things. They think about how much they senselessly spent on items that are now simply cluttering up their homes, garages, basements, and sometimes even storage space they are paying a monthly fee on.

We know we should use it—guilt also comes in the form of “should’s.” We should use our treadmill. We should wear that expensive suit. A lot of times we buy special or nice things and then only use them for good… which is usually very rare or we forget about them when we are preparing for a special occasion.

It was a gift—even if our least favorite aunt gives us a hideous lamp for the holidays, something we would never put out, we keep it in a closet, basement or storage unit. We feel it’s mean to donate something that someone put thought and money into, even though we hate it. So the guilt keeps us hanging onto it.

It reminds us of better times—we hold onto stuff from our past, most of which has no monetary, but a sentimental value. Keeping a few small items isn’t a big deal, but when we feel we need to keep everything from our carefree college days or all the love letters we’ve ever received, it can take up a lot of space and emotional energy. Being unwilling to part with things that remind us of happier times can be a red flag that we aren’t happy with our current situation.

Everyone feels emotional when going through their stuff to declutter. It’s natural, so when you experience this, don’t beat yourself up. Just be aware that even though they are just things, we are typically connected to them in various ways because of the emotions that we have attached to them.

If you haven’t received it yet, you can get the FREE Simple Living Bundle. This includes a checklist, eBook and a guide with tips to you start living simply in just 15 minutes a day!

Let your friends know:

Living Simply Series: Maintaining a Decluttered Home

Let your friends know:

I may the be odd one, here, but I really do love cleaning house and organizing things. The problem has always been the upkeep after I’ve organized everything. It’s taken a bit of “new-habit-forming” but I feel like I’ve (finally) got ahold of things.

Do you find it difficult to keep up with the maintenance of decluttering? If so, you’ll find our third installment of our Simple Living Series helpful!

If you didn’t grab your FREE Living Simply Bundle last month you can still get it! (link at the bottom of this article)

Maintaining a Decluttered Home

So you’ve followed all the advice and decluttered your house. But all too soon, you realize that you have clutter creep. Stuff is starting to build up again. Maybe you ended up replacing some of the stuff you got rid of or maybe everyone isn’t pitching in to keep the house decluttered. Here are a few simple, quick habits that all family members can do to keep the house decluttered.

Deal with mail immediately — The last thing any of us wants to do after a long day at work is deal with the mail. But since it has to be done, do it immediately. Throw ads and other junk mail directly in the trash or recycling bin. Put bills and other important papers in the specified place and shred sensitive information that doesn’t need to be filed. To make this even easier, make all your bills, banking and other statements paperless and get your name on the “no junk mail” list. Before long, there will be very little mail to deal with at all.

Nightly pick-up routine — As you gather in the living room in the evenings, each family member brings stuff with them—a mug, a glass, a snack plate, an iPod, a hand-held video game or homework. Have you ever noticed how frequently that stuff stays in the living room, making it cluttered? Set a new rule that each night before heading to bed, everyone picks up everything they brought into the room that evening and puts it back where it belongs, in their out-the-door basket, for example. It takes 2 minutes to do and keeps clutter creep to a minimum.

Add a coat rack and baskets — As soon as the family walks in the door, they are likely to take off coats and backpacks, set down lunch boxes and briefcases, all right in the entryway where they will be tripped over for the rest of the evening. To keep this area decluttered, add a coat rack and a basket or cubby for each person in the entryway. Get family members used to hanging up their coats and putting the other stuff they bring home in a designated place, like their out-the-door basket. It will take a little time and a few gentle reminders, but everyone will eventually appreciate the new peace that a decluttered house exudes.

Eliminate your junk drawers — This may sound undoable, but it really isn’t. Have a place for everything, including the small items that tend to end up in a junk drawer. Get small containers or better yet, upcycle some with the kids, and keep these small items separated and organized in drawers. Things like batteries, paper clips, rubber bands, twist ties, etc. all have their own place in a drawer or two. Take a rubber band off the Sunday paper? Put it immediately in the correct cubby hole before sitting down to enjoy the paper.

As promised, here is my free gift to you, so you can start living simply right away. Sign up below and you’ll receive the FREE Simple Living Bundle. This includes a checklist, eBook and a guide with tips to you start living simply in just 15 minutes a day!

Let your friends know:

Living Simply Series: 5 Ways to Start Simplifying Today

Let your friends know:

Last month, we began our series on simple living by talking about the benefits of simplifying our lifestyles. Today, we continue by giving you 5 ways you can start simplifying today.

If you didn’t grab your FREE Living Simply Bundle last month you can still get it! (link at the bottom of this article)

5 Tips for Living Simply

Get the right mindset—While you can make definite headway in a weekend, simplifying your life is going to be a process and that’s okay. Get your mind in that place where it’s okay to take one step each day toward your goal. A plan to simplify should be simple, right?

Spend just 15 minutes—In just 15 minutes a day, you can reduce clutter, put filters on your email, make a phone call to implement an auto-payment, unsubscribe from newsletters that clog up your email or cancel a credit card you don’t use. If you are feeling like you just don’t have time to simplify, it’s a sure sign you need to! Decide on one small task to complete each day. Set a timer for 15 minutes and see what you can accomplish.

Chose one place—What room or area makes you the craziest when you walk into it? What have you been meaning to clean out and declutter the longest? Start there. It’s taking up mental energy you can use for more important things.

Get your family or housemates involved—the common areas of your house are not going to stay decluttered if you are the only one maintaining them. Sit your family down and have a chat about why simplifying is so important to you and how it will benefit everyone.

Keep a “donate” boxOnce you’ve made that first (or second) big trip to the donation location of your choice, you will still come across stuff that you didn’t notice on the first go-round. Keep a donation box in an out-of-the-way place so that you can toss things in as you find them. When the box is full, take it to your donation center.

Buy one, toss oneMake a new rule for the household: when you purchase a non-consumable item and bring it into the house, you must get rid of something. For example, if you buy a new pair of shoes, either throw out your old, disgusting running shoes or place a pair that is still good, but that you don’t care about keeping,  in the donate box. This rule works in two ways—it helps you maintain the minimalist lifestyle you are creating, and it cuts down on impulse shopping. You’ll probably be surprised to discover that there’s no pair of shoes you currently have that you are willing to part with in order to have the new, shiny pair. Problem solved.

As promised, here is my free gift to you, so you can start living simply right away. Sign up below and you’ll receive the FREE Simple Living Bundle. This includes a checklist, eBook and a guide with tips to you start living simply in just 15 minutes a day!

Let your friends know:

Living Simply Series: Why You Should Live More Simply

Let your friends know:

As homeschoolers, it’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle of life and trying to have it all, do it all and give our kids our all. All of these things sound good but in practice, it can be draining and in the end, we’re not living the life we want to lead and actually causes more damage to our families than good.

That’s why, this year, I want to help inspire you to live a more simple life.

Today, I’m starting the “Living Simply Series.” At the beginning of each month, I will provide you the tips, inspiration and help you need to live a richer life by simplifying it.

I’ve also got a FREE gift for you! Find out more about it below!

Top Benefits of Living More Simply

There are many benefits to living more simply, and everyone has different reasons for choosing to simplify their life. But there are definitely some reoccurring benefits that you see on almost everyone’s “reasons to simplify” list. See which of these could motivate you to choose a simplified lifestyle.

More time—Everyone would like more time, but 24 hours each day is all we get. So using this time on the things that are really important to us is of the essence. When you say no to more activities and obligations and have less stuff to maintain, you end up with more time to live the life you want to live.

Less stress—Along with more time, people are desperately seeking ways to lessen the amount of stress they have in their daily lives. Fewer obligations, less doing and fewer possessions mean there’s less overall to deal with. You can even simplify the number or types of people you hang out with. People who are always stressed out and complaining can be weeded out so that you have more time to spend with people who bring real value to your life.

More focused energy—Much of our limited time seems to be eaten up by responsibilities and obligations that add very little, if anything, to our lives. Once we simplify how much we do and have, we have the time and energy to focus on the things that are the most important to us, like family, lifelong learning or hobbies.

Less debt—In our materialistic world, we are constantly bombarded with ads telling us if we only have this product, we will be happier. In an attempt to gain that elusive joy for ourselves, we “buy into” sales gimmicks that leave us with little but debt. Dedication to living more simply means we have less desire to impulse spend because we are spending our time doing fun stuff, so our happiness naturally increases. And since we are hanging onto less stuff, we are no longer willing to “own” things we don’t need… especially on credit.

More freedom—When you start to let go of the mountains of burdens you have taken on in the form of overworking, overspending and overextending yourself, you suddenly feel free. Maybe for the first time in your life! You begin to recognize the trap that you’ve been in, simply because society told you it was the way to happiness and fulfilment. True happiness comes from the freedom of doing less so you can be more.

As promised, here is my free gift to you, so you can start living simply right away. Sign up below and you’ll receive the FREE Simple Living Bundle. This includes a checklist, eBook and a guide with tips to you start living simply in just 15 minutes a day!

Let your friends know:

Simple Changes to Help You Save Big at the Grocery Store

Let your friends know:

simple-changes-to-help-you-save-big-at-the-grocery-feartured

Being a homeschooling parent is hardly an easy task. Between juggling schedules, curriculum and driving here and there, just finding the time to go grocery shopping can be difficult (especially if you’re trying to get there sans the kids!), let alone sit and clip coupons from the Sunday paper and try to hunt down the best deals to save a few dollars.

One of our savings experts, Melissa, switched up her grocery shopping habits for her family of four 6 months ago and she swears it was one of the smartest decisions she’s made in her adult life.  Despite what people say, you don’t need to be an extreme couponer to save at the grocery store.

How to Save Money at the Grocery Store

Melissa shared her saving experiences with us and we collected them into the list of easy tips below!

1. Grocery Shopping Once a Month Saves Money

On average, shoppers visit the grocery store three to four times per week and end up purchasing over 50% more than they originally planned. Save time, money and stress by limiting your grocery trips to once per month.

  • You can prioritize your grocery list in advance and match up your coupons with the foods you actually eat.
  • It also allows enough time to plan and print couponsso you never miss a deal!

2. Save and Scan All of your Receipts

Receipts are a great way to take advantage of additional coupons and promotions you may have missed when you were at the store.

And, on the planning side they are the best tool to keep track of what you’re actually buying. Notice a lot of impulse buys on that receipt? Make note and don’t deviate from your prepared shopping list next time. Those purchases add up fast!

PLUS: Some of our favorite apps for cashback are below. Use multiple apps to maximize your savings!

3. Buy in Bulk (We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat Freezer!)

Whether it’s big boxes of goods at Sam’s Club, or the bulk bins at the local market, it’s easier and cheaper to buy larger amounts of food and paper goods in bulk (it also saves on excess packaging too).

  • Price-per-unit is king (check out the price tags which will indicate cost by weight/pieces.)
  • Always weigh bagged produce as they may actually weigh more than what the package says
  • Buy by the case and save tons – you can usually ask the store manager for details
  • Buy a large quantity of an expensive items one month (especially if on sale) and another one the following month, rotating similar large purchases throughout the year while matching sales.  Example: olive oil, frozen chicken.

4. Use Store + Manufacture Coupons + Rebate Apps = MORE SAVINGS

Manufacturer coupons are the “holy grail” for savvy shoppers because they are accepted at both national and local grocery stores.  The best couponers will combine manufacturer coupons with grocery store coupons, rebate apps and customer loyalty cards to maximize savings power.

Coupons: Sign up and print from these brands and score$1,000+ in exclusive coupons form your favorite products, useful tips and ideas on how to save (even more!), and learn about free samples and exciting promotions.

HOT TIP: Keep in mind – you can usually only print two online coupons per person, per manufacturer, per day.

5. Sign Up for Store Loyalty Programs for Extra Savings and FREE STUFF

This is a great way to get added perks in the form of store credit or points delivered right to your inbox.  The best tactic is sign up for the brand’s loyalty offer via their website to get their deal announcements sent directly to your email – EASY.

Here are some of our favorite loyalty programs:

  • Starbucks Rewards
    • Once you become a Gold member the free coffee and other savings just pour out!
  • Kellogg’s Family Rewards (mentioned above)
  • Target Red Card
    • Get 5% off ALL of your Target purchases when you apply for the Target Red Card. They offer a credit card as well as a debit card.

6. Curious About a New Product? – Try Before You Buy and Don’t Waste Money

Don’t know if that cereal, shampoo or diaper product is any good?  No worries, look for a free sample from our huge Free Samples or Freebies sections on MySavings.com.  We list hundreds of brand name products so you can try them out before purchasing.

HOT TIP:  Did you know you can ask to sample anything at Trader Joe’s and also in the produce section at Whole Foods?

7. Know the Sales Cycles and Stock Up

Focus on only buying groceries when they are at their rock-bottom price.

HOT TIP: Most stores and regions follow a 6-week cycle. So, if you see a cheap price one week then buy enough of that item to last around 6 weeks to add to your stockpile.

Be sure to research each grocery store’s online couponing policy before shopping.

8. Know Where to Get the Cheapest Groceries

If you’re like Melissa, and other moms on our team, you have a favorite store. It’s your go-to place, your shopping home. While it’s okay to prefer one shopping experience over another, don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and explore prices at other stores. You’ll save a lot more than you think by adding several stops to your grocery trip.

Be sure to keep all your receipts to help you compare prices at different locations. It may sound like a lot of work, but once you know where to buy certain items, you won’t have to comparison shop until you notice a price increase.

YOUR TURN: What’s your favorite way to save at the grocery store?

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for reading!

simple-changes-to-help-you-save-big-at-the-grocery-pinterest

Let your friends know:

What On Earth Review & Giveaway

Let your friends know:

what-on-earth-review-giveaway-featured

I found two wonderful new books for kids who love hands-on science! “What on Earth? Water” and “What on Earth? Wind” are two wonderful books written by Isabel Thomas and Pau Morgan to help kids discover and understand their world. These books encourage kids to investigate the properties of water and wind and experiment with these elements to discover how they work.

what-on-earth-review-1

What on Earth? Water

by Isabel Thomas and Paulina Morgan

Learn all about the water cycle and find out how water shapes our planet. Make a precipitation gauge or grow your own stalactite. Find out how important it is to conserve water and harness its energy.

Explore, Create and Investigate through experiments, activities and hands-on tasks. What on Earth? takes the reader on a journey of discovery to explore the natural elements of our world.

What on Earth? Wind

by Isabel Thomas and Paulina Morgan

Find out how humans have harnessed the wind’s energy and traveled the world.

Create an experiment using your own windmill and learn how to make a sail racer.

Discover all about the water cycle and make a precipitation gauge or grow your own stalactite.

About The Authors

Isabel Thomas studied Human Sciences at Oxford University, trained as a journalist and explored the world before becoming an author. She has written more than 100 titles, from picture books to encyclopedias.

Paulina Morgan works as an independent illustrator based in Santiago de Chile. She studied design before moving to Barcelona, Spain to obtain her master’s degree in Art Direction. She worked in advertising before deciding to pursue her passion for illustration.

My kids are a couple of years younger than the books’ recommended ages but they love most science topics so I thought they might enjoy reading these books. This week we read a few of the sections in these books that I though my kids would be most interested in and they liked them very much. The illustrations were engaging and each unit covered topics that were interesting to kids in a simple way.

what-on-earth-review-2

The writing style was easy for them to understand and encouraged lots of questions. Our favorite parts in each section were the Investigate and Create segments where we could do great, easy to follow experiments to see firsthand how water and wind works and how people use these elements in their everyday life. We got to make projects such as a waterwheel, a rainbow, a kite and a sail racer to explore and reinforce the concepts that were introduced in the sections.

what-on-earth-review-3

We did a few of the activities and learned about volume and capacity, states of water, clouds, how plants grow, life in the desert, erosion, music, wind power, the history of sailing ships, storms and winged seeds. I was truly amazed at how much information was packed into these little science books and how many great activities were included in each unit! My kids and I also liked the units about the water cycle, water on other planets, the different water zones in the ocean, weather, wind power and geography and climate.

what-on-earth-review-4

These beautiful books are an amazing reference and a great overview of all things related to water and wind. They are simple enough for younger kids to understand and enjoy and include fun poetry, clear step by step illustrations for each activity and diagrams to help kids visualize and remember some of the more abstract subjects. They are also great for older kids because they encourage and motivate them to find out more by asking thought provoking questions and challenging them to explore these elements on their own time with ideas for cool activities with lots of fun facts and background history.

I recommend these great books for kids who ask lots of questions and love to explore the world around them with a very hands-on approach. These books are a fantastic and fun resource for kids to learn more about our planet and how it works.

Enter to Win!

Here’s a chance to win your very own set of Isabel Thomas and Paulina Morgan books! Leave a comment below, telling us how you can use them in your homeschool, fill out the Gleam form below (there are chances to win extra entries for sharing the sweepstakes with your friends!) and you’ll be entered to our give-away!

What On Earth Review & Giveaway

what-on-earth-review-and-giveaway

Let your friends know:

Kitchen Club Kids Review & Coupon Code

Let your friends know:

kitchen-club-kids-review-and-coupon-code-featured

I’m one of those moms who, when she asks her kids “What would you guys like to eat for breakfast?” is really asking “Would you like some cheerios again or should I warm up some pop tarts?” So most cooking (and even reading about cooking) is a little out of my comfort zone.

kitchenclubkids-storybooks

However, my kids have shown a lot of interest in cooking lately and when I saw the books ‘End of the Rainbow Fruit Salad’ and ‘Garden Safari Vegetable Soup’ that were geared for the preschool years, I was excited to introduce them to cooking in a fun way.

We read ‘End of the Rainbow Fruit Salad’ the same day we got it in the mail. The book was great and the illustrations were beautiful. My kids (3 and 4 years old) loved the colorful rhyming story and how fun and easy it made cooking sound.

kitchenclubkids-fruitsalad

 

Of course, the kids wanted to try “cooking” right away. I let them slice bananas, peaches and strawberries for the fruit salad. They loved it!

20160812_152159-1

20160812_152929

20160812_153423-1

They were able to follow the recipe easily, practiced measuring the blueberries and counting out the strawberries. They stayed engaged, had fun and learned some new skills. I was happy the recipe was so healthy and colorful. The kids enjoyed eating their fruit salad for snack.

We read the “Garden Safari Vegetable Soup” book the next day and again I was impressed with the engaging fun story line and how easy and fun it made cooking sound. I also liked how it included counting, measuring and cooking healthy with many different colors of vegetables. Again after reading the story my kids ran to the kitchen to try it out!

dsc09291-copy

dsc09270

dsc09288

I was happy about their enthusiasm and I was glad I had most of the ingredients on hand. I had to help the kids chop the celery, carrots and onions, but they loved chopping the potatoes, measuring and pouring the chicken broth, rice and spices. And of course, mixing and stirring was pretty exciting for them. They were really cooking! I was surprised at how much fun we had! The kids ate their bowls of soup for dinner. My son even asked for seconds! I am now looking for other ways to involve my kids in our daily food preparation.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to get their preschooler excited about preparing food, eating healthy and learning a little math (measuring and counting), in the kitchen. The fact that cooking together can be a great one on one or family activity is just another great advantage. Who says learning can’t be a lot of fun?!

kitchen-club-kids-review-and-coupon-code-pinterest

Let your friends know:

Keep Your Sanity While Working from Home and Homeschooling

Let your friends know:

keep-your-sanity-while-working-from-home-and-homeschooling-featured

A homeschool mom’s most important job is raising her children, overseeing their education, getting dinner on the table and administering an ample dose of hugs and kisses at bedtime. Homeschool moms pull off minor miracles to get this done. Add in earning money from home and it can get overwhelming! A work-at-home mom really is working two jobs at once and the biggest challenge for a mother is learning to do both in harmony.

There are some tips and tricks every work-at-home homeschool mom could utilize. It is important to understand that each person is unique and in a work-at-home setting what may work for others may not be what works best for everyone. Yu should feel free to experiment and discover what works for you and your family.

Home Business Setup Tips

When operating a business from home it is important to do so from a designated area. Making sure this area is clean, well-organized and well stocked with essentials will alleviate frustrations, which may be caused by trying to find the phonebook or stapler in a hurry. This should be carried over to the lives of the children in the home as well, after all if Johnny can find his crayons easily he will be less likely to bug mom during work hours.

An office area should include any tools necessary to complete daily work such as a computer, Internet access, a telephone, cell phone and fax machine if applicable for the particular job being done. Along with all of these things perhaps the most important tool needed is privacy and freedom from distraction.

Tips for a Successful Work-At-Home Day

There are some simple steps that can be taken in order to enjoy a productive work-at-home day. The first is to set a schedule and stick to it. In order to have a stress-free day the work day should begin at the same time every day, focus on objectives, schedule breaks and plan ahead for any foreseeable variations to that schedule.

It is important to understand that children will be more accepting of schedule changes if they know they are coming and they know the game plan for the day. If breaks are normally taken at 2PM for homeschool or story time, be sure to discuss any changes in advance. For example, Jenna will be less agitated if she knows in the morning story time will have to wait until 2:30 and then is reminded of this again at lunch. By keeping them apprised of the situation children realize they are a priority and their special time has not been forgotten.

What Every Work-At-Home Mom Must Remember

Above all else, a work-at-home mother must make time for her own well-being and her own personal life as this will help to keep the stress factors to a minimum. Parents must remember to get a good night’s sleep each night, exercise each day, make time for themselves, say no to clients in unrealistic situations, and network. There are many groups designed specifically with networking for work-at-home moms in mind, they are a great resource for advice, support and even clientele.

keep-your-sanity-while-working-from-home-and-homeschooling-pinterest

Let your friends know:

3 Natural DIY Beauty Recipes

Let your friends know:

2

Silky Makeup Remover Wipes

silky makeup remover wipes

These wipes are perfect for removing makeup all over the face and neck without leaving your skin feeling too oily, or getting makeup all over your bath towels. This recipe will normally last for 3-4 weeks at room temperature.

Ingredients:

  • 1 roll strong paper towels
  • 1 very sharp knife
  • 2 cups warm water (preferably water that was boiled and then allowed to cool to a warm temperature)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Reusable airtight plastic container

Directions:

  1. With the sharp knife, carefully cut paper towel roll in half, and set aside extra half of roll.
  2. Remove inner cardboard tube from paper towel.
  3. Drop coconut oil and warm water into your chosen plastic container and mix until coconut oil is completely melted.
  4. Place the half of paper towel you are working with into your plastic container and allow roll to absorb the water and coconut oil mixture.
  5. Once roll is fully wet, you can squish down the roll until it fits into your plastic container and close the lid.
  6. To use, open container and remove 1-2 sheets of your new wipes and gently remove your makeup.
Let your friends know:

Pages: 1 2 3