Life as a military wife and mother

Who’s ready to purge?! May 9, 2011

Filed under: Cleaning,Organization — holdingdownthehome @ 11:06

Spring is FINALLY here… at least I think so…. er, I hope so….

What does spring make you think of? What are you itching to do every spring? For me it’s flinging open the windows and flinging out the STUFF that accumulates around my house!

BUT WAIT! This can sometimes create chaos as oppose to getting said chaos under control. Here is a step by step process to get you going.

1. Get a box and label it “Give Away”, then grab your trashcan complete with trash bag. Take them to the place you want to start with. Let’s say the kids closet

2. Set your timer for 15 minutes, DON’T CHEAT!

3. Start at the top shelf, and work your way down (Or start in a corner of a space and work clockwise.

4. When you pick up an item say to yourself “Do I love this item? Have I used this item in the last year (NOTE I did NOT say “Do I think I MIGHT USE THIS SOMEDAY”)?” If the answer to both is no, either throw it away or put in the give away box.

5. When you come across something that goes somewhere else, PUT IT THERE! Then go RIGHT BACK to the closet. Don’t get Sidetracked!

6. STOP after 15 minutes and do something else or take a break. Get some distance from the project, then go back.

Just keep repeating this process until it’s clean. Even if you only do it for 15 minutes a day, you will be shocked at how quickly it will be clean! And you won’t overwhelm yourself. Don’t let yourself get into the rut that if you can’t completely finish something the same day you start it that you shouldn’t even begin! That is how our house gets cluttered in the first place.

And, something to think about when purging items… it is SO tempting to hold on to things for sentimental things and I’m all for holding on to a few heirlooms or special papers. However, we CANNOT keep everything everyone gives us, or every piece of paper or project our kids bring home. By holding on to the non-so important things, we make the REALLY important things less important. Just because you get rid of something, doesn’t mean you are getting rid of that love or memory, it just means you don’t NEED STUFF to keep that love or memory because it’s that strong! So it’s really a blessing to that other person and shows just how much you care!

Now set your timer and JUMP IN! 🙂

If you use these steps show me some before and after pictures! I would love to post them!


Stay Tuned! April 22, 2011

Filed under: Cleaning,Extreme couponing,Frugal living,Organization — holdingdownthehome @ 07:45

Good morning friends. I know I have been so lax about posting but that is going to change. I PROMISE! So, a couple of projects I’m going to post the next few weeks:

1. Organizing a chest freezer! Does it take you a very cold hour to find that ground turkey you need?

2. Organizing canned goods… whether you have a pantry, or like me deep cupboards in your kitchen, you need to know whats in there to be able to use it up!

3. And the big project? Finishing the painting in the kitchen!!!!!!!!! WHOO HOO! This is going to be a great one!  I’ll show you before and after if I can dig them up.

This is just a few of them… there will be more posts that this!

There are going to be TONS AND TONS of projects happening here in the next year. It’s going to be awesome! Just wait!

And if there is something you want me to blog about tell me! I love ideas! (And exclamation points!)


Price Chopper this week April 1, 2011

Filed under: Couponing,Frugal living,Price Chopper,produce,shopping cheaply — holdingdownthehome @ 15:51

Hi all! Just wanted to post really fast about my shopping week. There were some awesome deals at Price Chopper this week and I managed to go a couple transactions each time I was in town. So here’s what I got!

And there was so much… I had to do it in TWO PICTURES!

The only things not shown are 6lbs of chicken thighs and legs, a bottle of Axe I already gave away and 5 boxes of cat food that I already gave away. So, all this stuff (plus what I mentioned that I didn’t take pics of) I could have spent $122.04 – which is the total AFTER sale prices. But using coupons??? My total was $23.11!!!!! That is a savings of 81% Was it worth a couple trips on my way by and a little bit of time thinking ahead of time? YOU BET!


What is the first thing people see? March 30, 2011

Filed under: Cleaning,Frugal living,Organization — holdingdownthehome @ 11:04
Tags: , , , , ,

I am ashamed to say that lately, this is the first thing people see when they walk in my door. Funny how walking into a Pepto-Bismal pink room can make you nauseous! NOTE TO READERS** No, I did not paint a room this color. It came with the house and as we have been remodeling for the 5.5 years since we bought the place as we have the money to do so, this room is as yet not done. So, for now it is a mud room, play room, office, and storage room. It’s a BIG room! So, as my husband’s deployment begins I have millions of ideas for improving things around the house and was going a little nuts yesterday as to where to start first. So, I figure why not start at the front of the house and work my way around. I went through a few ideas yesterday and made a trip to Big Lots and the Dollar Store for a couple little things. Then got started this morning. Here’s how it went.

First I took EVERYTHING out of the area other than the cedar chest, and the dirt bike (Yes that’s a dirt bike for our three-year old… what? according to my husband all three-year-olds NEEDS one). I cleaned the window and the floor.

At the dollar store I grabbed a four pack of self adhesive hooks. I really wanted an area for us to put our every day jacket and my purse (which I can never find). So, we each get a place for ONE jacket a piece, including a munchkin situated hook, and a place for my purse.

What entrance is complete without a key hook? I grabbed this for $2.50 at Big Lots. Of course it was a little boring so I looked through my craft stuff and found some pretty-uppers to stick on it.

Then I grabbed this shoe rack out of the closet….

And for the finishing touches…

Put a basket on the chest for hats, gloves, or anything else, and a blanket on the chest for sitting and taking of your shoes. And of course, a picture of our favorite hero.

Voila! A new “mud room”. Total time: less than an hour. Total $ spent: $3.50.


This is why I use coupons! March 17, 2011

Filed under: Couponing,Frugal living,Price Chopper — holdingdownthehome @ 13:46

So many people ask if it’s worth the bother and time of couponing. Well let’s see!

Price Chopper had some great deals this week that I took advantage of. Here is what I got:

Yes that  is TWENTY sugar free Jell-O cups and pudding 6 packs. 6 bricks of delicious cracker barrel cheese. 3 bags of apples. A bag of grapefruit. And of course our favorite fat free half and half for our coffee. I made 2 trips (as I passed by doing other things) and Matt made one for me, for a total of 5 transactions. **NOTE: I didn’t go out of my way to shop, I had to be in town for many other reasons and just ran by.

Without coupons this would have cost me $71.14 ON SALE! Using coupons I spent $14.89. That is a savings of $56.25 or 79%!!!!!!!!!!! Imagine saving that much on your groceries every week! That’s $225 a month! Now I have healthy snacks for my Weight Watchers plan and to send to pre-school with my son.

Another thing I’m going to mention, is ask store managers when they typically mark food down. Price Chopper marks produce down Wed or Thursday. So today, knowing the cash register was going to give me $8.00 to spend when I did my Jello/Cheese deal, I went in search of the marked down produce (after I grabbed my half and half). They put it on a table off to the side and it’s usually bruised fruit, over-ripe bananas, that sort of thing. I LOVE THIS STUFF! As you can see I bought 3 bags of apples and a bag of grapefruit this week. Here was what I paid per for them:

$.20 per pound!! Yes, they might have a couple bruises but they are going to make delicious apple sauce this weekend! Last week I grabbed a 5 lb bag of sweet onions for the same price, I cut them up later that day and froze them. You can use just about any produce like this. If you like to bake, look for bananas. Celery, carrots, or squash?? Blanch them and freeze them for soup and casseroles. Seriously, do NOT walk by a table like this in your store thinking you are too good for the “elderly produce”! This can save you TONS of money.


Financial Challenge from Bowl Full of Lemons March 15, 2011

Filed under: Frugal living — holdingdownthehome @ 08:00

It’s day two of the financial challenge over at Bowl Full of Lemons but Check it out! I’m going to jump in on this. Make 2011 your best money year yet! She is using ideas from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I would love to find a class around here to go to. Debt free, here we come!


Stockpiling Vs. Hoarding March 10, 2011

What is the difference between stockpiling and hoarding?

This is something that’s been on my mind since I started getting into couponing. Remember the A&E show “Hoarders”? As I look as some of the new shows like “Extreme Couponing” on TLC I can’t help but compare the two shows. Some of them are so similar it’s a bit worrisome!  Now this is going to be just MY OPINION but it is something I have seen and I have seen what it’s like to dig yourself out of it. I could even see myself going overboard with stockpiling.

Now we all know that high that comes with getting an amazing deal with coupons! Cutting your $50.00 shopping trip down to just a few dollars or even a few cents is awesome…. but did you buy the items because you needed, or will need them in the near future? Or did you buy them because you liked the feeling you got when you bought them? Here are some questions to ask yourself before you buy something… or even before you make out your shopping list:

1. Will we use the item before it’s expiration date?

2. Is this nutritionally beneficial to my family? — This is one of my favorite questions because many coupons are for boxed or pre-packaged foods that are not always very good for your health.

3. Will I use this item within the next couple years (if no exp. date).

4. Do I have ROOM to put these items without making my house into a stockpile garage?

5. Am I buying this because I NEED it or am I buying it because it’s a good deal. –And just so we are clear…. being a good deal is NOT enough reason to buy something!

Watch this video taken from the TLC show “Extreme Couponing”. In my opinion this goes beyond even extreme couponing. I consider this hoarding. This is absolutely over the top insane. If he were donating all these things, or running a store out of his house then maybe. But it is just sitting in his garage. CRAZY!

I have learned in a very short time to ask myself those few questions for a shopping trip. Let me give you an example. I have limited storage space so I have a cupboard designated to cereal. I can fit about 10-12 boxes in it… last week it was full, so even though there were other cereal deals… I passed them up. I also have about 12 tubes of toothpaste in my cupboard (I only pay tax for toothpaste never anymore than that) and even though this week I could have gotten free toothpaste at the local drugstore, I passed on it. I am also good on pasta, shampoo, and butter for a least 4-6 months… so I won’t be using any deals for these products even if they are free. I WON’T clutter my house and my life. There will be a good deal again when I need it. The only exception to this is if I get something to donate to charity.

Now couponing DOES provide you with a great opportunity to give to charity for just pennies! There are tons of couponers out there that give hundreds of pounds of food to charity every month! My favorite coupon lady, Melanie, from The Coupon Goddess is always showing us her trips to her local food bank. This is a great this to do and only adds a few minutes onto your couponing every month.

Remember, saving your family money does not need to come at the expense of your comfort at home. You can save just as much without buying EVERY good deal you come across… and in fact will probably save more.

If you feel that you have been hoarding and need help to stop the cycle please visit FLYLADY and ask a professional counselor for help. You CAN dig yourself out!