frugal seeds

 

 

person holding a green plant

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The title of my blog gives away the fact that I live with at least one chronic illness.  Now, I don’t want to brag, but I actually live with several, and as interesting as it sounds, it is not a whole lot of fun.  Unfortunately I am not the only one in my family who lives with such a burden.  Every person in my immediate family lives with at least one chronic illness.

As a result of all of our medical bills, we have learned to live on a tight budget.  Over the years I have had to learn to be frugal and about 6 months ago I decided to put some of  my frugal ways into a book,  Frugal Seeds: 501 Ways to Make, Save or Stretch a Dollar.  It is now available in both paperback and e-book on Amazon.  The entire book can be read for FREE with an Amazon Kindle Unlimited membership.

You will notice it is written under a pen name.  This has been done as I working on additional books and I am determined to keep the lives of my children private.  Thank you for understanding.

 

 

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Charities that will pick up your donations

close up photography of toy cars

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Sometimes we are just not able to personally remove all of the unwanted stuff out of our home.  It is either too heavy, too big, or there is just too much to physically put in a vehicle.  So, during my last decluttering session, I went on a quest and searched for places that would be willing to come and pick up all of my discarded treasures.

The quickest pick-up date was given by Goodwill and they were willing to come to my house and take all my stuff as long as it was on the first floor and was near an exit.  Done!  I set up an appointment via computer and they showed up on time and away my stuff went.  In fact, it was so easy I had them come back for more!  It felt so invigorating and freeing to let stuff go.  Less stuff = less cleaning = more energy for other activities.  Woohoo!

The organizations below are not available for pick-up in all locations, but I have provided links below for further information.  These are not posted in any particular order and is it not an all inclusive list.   Happy Spring Cleaning!

 

General household donations:

American Kidney Fund

Goodwill

The Salvation Army

Big Brothers Big Sisters

AmVets

Vietnam Veterans of America

Disabled American Veterans – DAV

Volunteers of American

Military Order of the Purple Heart

The Arc

St. Vincent De Paul

Lupus American Household Goods Donation Program

 

Cell phone/Smart phone/Tablet

Cell Phones for Soldiers

Secure the Call

Medic Mobile

1 Million Project

 

Boat donations:

Boat Angel

Orange Coast College School of Sailing and Seamanship

Chapman School of Seamanship

Angel for Hope

 

Motor vehicles:

American Children’s Cancer Foundation

American Kidney Fund

Wheels for Wishes

Kars 4 Kids

Volunteers of America

The Arc

 

Building Materials/Cabinets/Appliances:

Habitat for Humanity

 

Don’t forget to get a receipt for tax deduction purposes.  All of the stuff you move out of your house to make it more comfortable and enjoyable is going to help others also live a better life.  A BIG win-win situation!

 

wendi, under the pen name Charlie, is the author of Frugal Seeds:  501 Ways to Make, Save or Stretch a Dollar

 

Until next time…….

A sink full of dishes

shallow focus photography of gray bowl

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Dishes………..another area of housekeeping that is an absolute necessity.  Unless you can afford to continually purchase paper plates and bowls, plastic utensils and new pots and pans every week, you have to wash your dishes.

The fact that I am even typing out a post on this subject is rather ridiculous.  If  you were to walk into my kitchen at this very moment, you would find a sink full of them.  Yes, I am blessed to have a dishwasher and it is used on a more-than-daily basis.  But, dishes have always been a difficult chore for me to keep on top of.  On my bad days, this task is so far down my list, they will usually sit and wait until another day.

Within my household there is a lot of cooking going on……and it is usually not me.  I have a vegan and vegetarian and they do most of their own cooking, thank goodness!  I also have those who will eat anything as long as it is not vegan or vegetarian.  And because of chronic illnesses, we try to cook a lot of our food from scratch and cooking from scratch results in A LOT of dishes.

I remember being in Lowe’s and the gentleman who was helping us choose a new dishwasher asked, “How many times a day do you run the dishwasher?”  I remember the look on his face when I answered “Most days, about four.”

Yep, that is a lot dishes and it is one of my least favorite chores.   Unloading the dishwasher is one of the most difficult tasks for me to physically do.  I do get help from others here at home, but as any mother knows, you are the one who needs to manage the process.

So, my rules for dishes are:  bring all dirty dishes into the kitchen, rinse all the dishes before placing them into the sink, if there is room place the dirty dishes in the plastic wash tub in the sink.  Several months ago, I purchased a plastic tub from Dollar Tree and put it in our sink so dirty dishes could soak before going into the dishwasher.  Now, this tub quickly fills up but at least some of the dishes will have been soaking and ready to go when the next load is done.

I realize this is not much of a system and I have tried to improve upon it.  I have read several books on how to clean your home systematically, but most of them were unrealistic to my situation.  I have yet to find a book on house cleaning authored by someone who suffers from a chronic illness and has children at home.   If there is one out there, I would be thrilled to know about it!

When it comes to dishes in my home, I just have to do the best I can and be thrilled that a lot. OK, mostly healthy cooking is going on.  When there is enough money in the budget, I do try to purchase paper products for times neither I nor the dishwasher can keep up.  I have to admit, paper plates, cups and bowls are one of my favorite luxuries.

So, how do you keep up with the dishes in your home?

 

Laundry, one load at a time…..

photo of wit and yellow tops

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Chores …….we all have to do them and there never seems to be an end to what should be done.  To top it off, they are really not all that much fun to do.   Being endless, chores can become overwhelming for those of us with CI, resulting in depression and anxiety.  We get depressed looking at the endless chores left undone because we are too ill or lack the physical energy it takes to complete them.  Tasks get pushed further and further down on “the list” which creates anxiety with all that is left to do.

So, how to tackle the chores that are the musts:  laundry, dishes, groceries and meal preparation, and make them as easy as possible?  I am by no means an expert at home management, but I have had a lot of experience living with CI and having a home to take care of.  It is a ton of work and I made a lot of mistakes along the way.  With every mistake, I searched for ways that would make each chore one I could physically manage.

So this post will touch briefly on laundry.  No matter how many times we are able to wear those not-so-dirty pjs (or fill-in the blank), they will eventually need to be washed.  If you have other people in your household, their clothing and bedding will need to be washed too, adding to the chore load.  I have tried various ways to tackle the endless mounds of laundry;  everybody has a different laundry day………..a BIG nope!  Even when the kiddos were old enough to do their own laundry, if I didn’t feel well enough to supervise, things didn’t proceed as it should.  Laundry got backed up and the room became way too crowded for my liking.

Then I went to doing all the laundry in one day.  Neither me nor the dryer could keep up.  I learned quickly, if I felt well enough to do laundry for 10 hours……….I sure as hell didn’t want to spend my day doing that!

Now, I have no system other than I try to do one load of laundry a day.  That is it.  Everyone is responsible for telling me when they need to do laundry and IF the washer is open, the answer is yes.  I no longer allow loads of dirty laundry to sit in the laundry room.  The room is small and the passage to and from the garage so the clothing can be a tripping hazard not to mention a source of anxiety to be looking at room full of dirty clothes.

So, one load a day from washing to hanging up (I hang up most of our laundry to save it from wear and tear of the dryer and have our clothing last longer) but what comes out of the dryer is folded and then put away by the owners.  If I am having a decent day, I may be able to do two!

If laundry is your responsibility, how do you handle the loads?

……………….Until next time, you are a superhero!

bedside table

bed bedroom blanket clean

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You are probably thinking, why on Earth would you write about a bedside table?  Well, it came to me yesterday as I was tidying up my side of the bedroom and trying to fit all my “necessities” on the little table next to my side of the bed.  It was at that moment I realized that a functional bedside table is a necessity for everyone with CI.  How could I not have thought about this before?  My goodness, I have always had trouble trying to fit everything onto that tiny surface.

I know everyone with CI will have a different list of what is important for him/her to have next to the bed, but I have always had a pretty consistent list of must haves:  journals, a devotional, a lamp, lotion, lip balm, tissues, bottle of water, a supplement or three, my current read and note cards and pens for making lists/taking notes/writing a card to a friend/family member.  And all of that stuff takes up a lot of space.

There is little that is more frustrating than feeling terrible and needing something from the table, and as you reach for it, it and maybe several other things fall to the floor because the table is so crowded with guests.  As for me, it usually stays there with the hopes that it really wasn’t that important.

At the moment my table is just that, a small plant stand.  It is a nice one, solid wood, Amish-made, sturdy, but oh my goodness, it is small and only has the one surface.  So, I have made it my mission to find something else within the house to use as a gathering place for my goodies.  My dream is to purchase something out of the IKEA catalog but that isn’t going to happen anytime soon, but hey, those of us with CI are all very good at making due.  We live a make due life day-in and day-out.

So, here are to things that make our lives just a bit easier, no matter how insignificant it may seem to others.

……………Until next time, YOU my friend are a superhero and YOU make the world a better place!

 

favorite de-cluttering & cleaning book

books in black wooden book shelf

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I have read many, many books on decluttering.  For a while, I would say it almost became a hobby of mine to search out and find books on the topic.  I would search shelf after shelf in used books stores, Goodwill stores, libraries, and occasionally websites of full-price retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Despite the numerous books that I have read, many fell very short in their benefits.  In fact, many books I read were down right disappointing.  In my very humble opinion, there was one book that stood out among the rest for readability, practicality, and relatability.

My all-time favorite decluttering book is, Clutter’s Last Stand by Don Aslett.  This book is the only decluttering book that kept me interested from beginning to the end, I didn’t want to put it down.  Mr. Aslett drew me in with his humor and casual writing style, putting me at ease with the fact that I did not have my clutter under control.  If you would be interested in checking it out, you should be able to get it through your local library in order to save money.  If your local library does not carry it, many libraries will try to find a book for you through an inter-library loan at no cost to you.  Otherwise, you may be able to find it at a used bookstore.

Until next time……happy reading.

 

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Great reasons for de-cluttering…..

bed bedroom blanket clean

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  • less stress
  • home will be easier to clean
  • you will gain more living space
  • more energy left for fun things
  • find your stuff easier
  • surroundings more visually pleasing
  • think more clearly
  • blessing others with your extras
  • find things you forgot you had
  • you will actually know what you have
  • save money by not buying things you already have
  • your home will be cleaner
  • a cleaner home is a healthier you
  • cleaner air to breath
  • you may find things to sell and make money
  • surround yourself only with things you love
  • think more clearly
  • increased focus
  • move more freely through your home
  • walk safely through your home
  • rid yourself of emotional baggage
  • feel more comfortable having people in your home
  • tax write-off for donated items
  • reduced anxiety
  • coming home will feel more relaxing
  • you will smile at a job well done
  • feelings of accomplishment
  • guilt-free Netflix binge watching
  • more appreciation for what you have
  • you get to make the decisions
  • You will discover another super power!

…….Until next time………………….YOU my friend, are a superhero!

Prep work before de-cluttering

shopping bags

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Big projects such as decluttering take a huge amount of time, physical and emotional energy.  Dealing with CI while taking on large projects requires some prep work.  In addition to  gathering the necessary supplies (discussed in a previous post) it is also important to plan ahead for meals.

When you are worn out after a long day,  the last thing you want to do is to head to the kitchen (especially if you have been working in it) to prepare a meal.  Feeling exhausted, it is easy to go for something fast and convenient and probably unhealthy.  This is when meal prepping  before you start your day comes to the rescue.  By gathering ingredients and putting them into your crock pot or pulling a home cooked pre-made meal out of the freezer to thaw will be extremely beneficial at the end of your long day.  It is also important that you have healthy snacks such as cut fruit and/or veggies in the fridge plus a portable drink to be with you during your cleaning sessions (most of us with CI need to stay hydrated!).

Setting a timer to remind yourself to take your medicine and/or supplements on time may also be a good idea.  If you are like me, you tend to get caught up in the work and you lose track of time.

Also, don’t forget to take breaks as needed, no need to power through.  We all know that we will pay dearly for not listening to our bodies.  The most important thing to remember about decluttering is that you are creating a better living environment for you (and your family).  So make sure you take the best care of yourself so you can accomplish all that you are able.

Until next time, don’t forget that YOU are a superhero!  Who else could do what you do?

 

 

Now it gets tough……

vintage music antique radio

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The really difficult task of decluttering spaces, items or boxes full of stuff that you have a  strong and sentimental attachment to is next.  This is when things get really tough and unfortunately can lead to stress, anxiety, and an overall feeling of sadness.  This is the stage where many people, not just those of us with CI, give up because hard decisions need to be made and feelings of loss are awakened.

Those of us who have had the unfortunate experience of losing  someone(s)  precious and dear to our hearts know how hard it is to handle inherited items or items that were given to us before s/he passed.  We keep the goods stored away believing that holding onto their stuff  keeps our loved one closer.  To get rid of anything could be seen as a rejection of that person, the “willingness” to  let go of our memories and fear they will soon be forgotten.

Realistically, we all know that the items are not the person and the memories of our loved one do not live in the items.   But for those of us with CI, we live with the uncertainty of our health, and as we declutter emotional items we unconsciously deal with our own mortality.  Our unpleasant thoughts create even more stress and since we deal with more than our share every day………….we shove it all back in a box and tell our self,  maybe another day!

This is why I believe it is so important during the decluttering process to physically hold every single item you have in your home.  I know, this sounds ridiculous and overwhelming and time consuming and you are right……….it is.  But, it is the only way you are going to be able to truly declutter and make appropriate decisions.  No where is touching every item more important than when dealing with the sentimental stuff.

While going through that box of  knick-knacks from grandma………….touch each and every item individually.  Does it make you happy?  Do you remember where she had it in her home?  Is this something important enough for you to place in your active living space?  Would giving it away bring you emotional pain?  How about a box of old pictures………..do you know who those people are?  If not, are the pictures even labeled?  Is there someone else who would enjoy the photos more than you?

As you touch each item, you can feel it’s vibe, it’s memory (or lack thereof) and sense what you should or shouldn’t keep.  Maybe there is a treasure in a box that means absolutely nothing to you but would be beneficial to another.  Or maybe there is something worth money you don’t care about that you could sell and pay off a medical bill.  Hey, maybe that is why it is there in the first place!

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing inherently wrong keeping items boxed away.  But are we really honoring our special people by doing so?  Would your loved one really want you to have your basement, storage room, attic, or garage stuffed with their past possessions?  I highly doubt it.

As you work through the difficult items to declutter, just remember that you are not discarding memories and you are not going to forget about grandpa because you only kept 2 of his 15 fishing poles.  Instead, you are blessing others with your loved ones generosity and you are putting Aunt Martha’s beautiful vase on a shelf  where you get to enjoy looking at it every single day.

…………until next time.

You are a superhero!

 

 

Now it gets a little more difficult……

man in bus

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Now that you have done an awesome job decluttering areas in your home where you have little or no emotional attachment to the items, it is time to move on to a more difficult task.  Your next step is to choose areas where you have moderate attachments to the items, which in my case is clothing and books.

Although I am a minimalist in my day-to- day clothing, I have still held on to some “special” articles……….a few dresses I wore to friends’ weddings and other pieces of clothing with special memories.  I have kept them all with a desperate hope that I would be able to fit into them again someday, despite it being over 15 years.

It is healthy to keep these items?  Probably not………….every time I see them I immediately feel like a complete failure for not being able lose the weight needed to fit into the clothing, even after all of these years. So, I have to ask myself, even if I become skinny again, is this something I would wear?  I most cases, the answer is no.  So, we need to be honest with ourselves.  We need to love ourselves enough to let go of the past so we can move on.   I realize this is a much scarier proposition for those of us with CI as many of us live in fear of what the future may hold.  But here is one area of your life that YOU are able to have complete control.  While cleaning, you are able to choose every single item you  keep in your life.  You choose what you look at every day, what to use to create a peaceful living space that provides a place for rest and relaxation.  There is no way that living in clutter is beneficial to healing nor is keeping items that make you feel bad.  So, you can do it.  Dig deep, surround yourself only with things that bring a smile and realize you are in control.

………..until next time.

You are a superhero! (no matter how crappy you feel)