Life as a military wife and mother

Chest Freezer Organization May 23, 2011

Filed under: Cleaning,Frugal living,Organization — holdingdownthehome @ 10:54
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I love, love, LOVE my big chest freezer. That thing comes in so handy when I find a great deal and have to by a ton of something.

What I don’t like is wondering if that blue shade my fingers turn while I’m searching for something will go with my outfit that day! Holy cow, I feel like sometimes I need to climb in it just to find what I need down at the bottom!

So, how can you organize a chest freezer. Well I tried crates, they just crack in the cold temp. And they are a PAIN to lug out. I tried just stacking stuff in general areas. That lasts about three days. Then a few weeks ago I was shopping and bought a bunch of the same thing (veggies I think). So I brought home a reusable shopping bag full of them and really had to hit the potty (because who can shopping without grabbing a giant Diet Coke?). So, I tossed them bag and all into the freezer. I went back a little later to grab the bag and thought, “wait a minute! HOW PERFECT!” They were all contained and easy to grab out to look for something else. So I found a few more shopping bags and put all my chicken products in one, all my bread products in another, beef in another, etc. And voila! How easy (and CHEAP) is that?! I used different colored bags for each catagory… I mean you can get them for $1 or less at most places!

And that’s it. Now my freezer is pretty organized, I know what item is in what bag and just pull it out, shut the freezer while I get what I need out of the bag, and then toss it back in! So simple and no more blue fingers! And when the freezer needs defrosting I can grab the bags in a just a couple minutes, defrost the freezer very quickly with a fan, and throw the bags back in! If it’s easy and cheap I like it!


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!


Toy Box Overhaul January 31, 2011

Filed under: Organization — holdingdownthehome @ 17:35
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As you come in to my house you see the gigantic toy box my step-father made for my son’s first birthday. This thing is massive! It doesn’t even fit in a standard bedroom doorway so we made our front room that needs to be re-modeled into a temporary play room for him. And being an only child with LOTS of Aunt’s, Uncles, and Cousins, and Grandparents, this kid has SO MUCH STUFF! It gets to the point I can’t even close this mammoth toy box. I finally decided last week we need a major overhaul in this department. He doesn’t play with a lot of these toys and has out grown others. So, I took a couple of days and went through ALL of it. Here is what I was dealing with:

I just took everything out and dumped it on the floor. Then took some bins and separated a lot of the toys. As I did this I had another box to throw in stuff to donate. And the garbage was handy for those ever-present broken items. The little man even helped out! He liked putting the things into different bins and that was easy for him to do. So I took that idea and made labels for the bins… but along with the words, I put a picture to show him what goes in each bucket. Here’s what they looked like:

Now he knows where they all his toys go. And having them in bins like this makes it easier to just have one out at time. So we did a few more bins like this. A bigger milk crate bin for big cars and trucks and one for things like his Doodle pad, and Leap Frog computer. And the end result was this:

It is definitely a HUGE difference. He plays more in the playroom when it’s organized and he’s not overwhelmed with clutter and chaos. I also have a bin next to his toy kitchen for that stuff. And I got rid of a couple bigger toys that he has outgrown. Will we have more kids? Maybe… do I need to keep EVERYTHING that my son had “just in case?” NO! (Took my husband a long time to get me out of the “keep everything just in case” frame of mind). My son is worth having a great big space to play without a bunch of clutter.

Do you need to work on the toy situation at your house? Have you been keeping everything “just in case” even though you don’t have enough storage? This kids you have right now deserve a nice, organized, beautiful place to play. Let those toys that are outgrown go so they can have some room to build those amazing, imaginary worlds they will grow out of all too soon!