Starting a clutter-free home

I won’t wait until New Year to do this as one of my New Year’s resolutions because that thing is getting old to me.I’ve been side-tracked all the time to do things like this. There are days I’m uber motivated and there are times that I just want to be a bum. Well,it starts when I’m really really tired from work and waking up 4 am and can’t take a nap (even catnap) because our youngest daughter is a fighter but when she’s already napping it’s about time to wake her up then we will pick up her sister from school.

Maybe I give a lot of excuses. I just want to feel relaxed right after I work but usually,there are clothes to be folded. I don’t trust this task to my husband. My bad. I’ve been writing everyday to my notebook “my to-do-list” and I’m so happy to cross out some of them. Lately,out of 5 tasks for a day,I only crossing out 1 and this is when I feel I don’t do much. I feel I’m wasting my time.I’ve been hanging up my promise to organize the kitchen cabinets and drawers but the only improvement happened was to clear the kitchen counter top. It’s nice to get done something but there’s a little voice inside me saying, I should’ve done more like organizing one drawer,at least.

I’ve done cleaning/organizing each kitchen cabinets and drawers before and it took me all day to finish everything. From sorting to washing utensils all over again. It’s a lot. Or maybe,we have so much stuffs that we should get rid of. But with my dresser,it’s getting better. Our donation bin is getting full again. I can’t believe how much clothes I have. I started with my clothes for home use,like for example,my pajamas,sweat shirts and sweat pants,I got ten of them to get rid of. Wait until I go through my husband’s dresser. His socks will drive me crazy!

The girls’ clothes are in control. We donated few months ago including toys that they don’t play anymore and never played. Still,there are few more toys that are ready to be donated. It’s also my fault for not letting go some of it. I always say,they will play these nice toys one of these days but they never did.

I will also work on organizing our book shelves and what books should I keep and what should not. It will be hard for me to get rid some of them because I love to read but the problem is,I don’t *have* time to start or finish all of them. Some have been sitting there for a year that I read unfinished.But for sure, I’m going to keep a lot of them. I have my favorite books that I’ve been wanting for a long time and they are worth to keep.

Also,I will start organizing pictures. I have an obsession of using my camera every day. I take pictures for this blog or just to take a picture of our girls.

But I can do all these when I’m all rested up.I’m in the mood and when the girls are willing to help me (which I’m sure they will) instead of making a mess.

Come on 2015! Our home will be much organized before you arrive!

Frugal Fashion (the daughter edition!)

DSC_2270This is my pre-Christmas frugal fashion post and it’s been a long time since I posted about this.This time,our daughter will rock this post!

Last Sunday,they had Christmas concert at the high school gym which is only a block away from us. The program started at 1:30 p.m and ended at 2:30 p.m. They performed three Christmas songs. They all did great. I’m so thankful that the school principal asked me to sit beside her while I’m taking pictures. She was so shy when they all came up and she wasn’t singing at first until she saw me and then I saw that little smile on her face then she waved at me.The kids looked so cute singing.

We’re told to dress them up and it was like a day before the concert I realized I have something for her to wear. It’s more Christmas-theme dress that I got from….guess where?

Goodwill Store!!!

I only paid for $2.99! Her shoes and tights (gave to her by our friend) are cheap too! I shop once in a while at the kid’s store and I know how expensive these little dresses are. They are really expensive. It really pays off when you have patience going to second-hand stores or clearance racks. There’s no need to spend too much money on the whole outfit.

We can’t wait until next year they do this again.

Wait! Can you spot where my daughter is?

Our not-so expensive Christmas

DSC_2267In less than two weeks Christmas is here!!! Can you believe that? This year went really fast,between our jobs and family plus other activities,it really made us busy all year round. Even Christmas shopping will be done in the last minute,I’m still planning to finish it this week. I have no idea if Christmas cards will be sent this year,though.

We don’t have family Christmas budget every year. We don’t save money for it,just like many others,whatever we think we want to give to our loved ones,we buy it as long as our budget fits.But who said,gift giving should be expensive that will drain every family’s pockets especially this holiday? A lot of people spend too much money during this holiday season. Yesterday,we started the first part of Christmas shopping.All in all,there are less than ten people we give presents to-including our two daughters.It’s not that many but they are the people who are closest to us and they do a lot for our girls. So they deserve something for Christmas even it’s not that so much or too expensive.

Honestly speaking,Christmas can be so expensive. New clothes for the kids,gift giving,Christmas parties,exchange gifts,etc. But here are the things I plan this year to minimize our costs.

  1. On buying gifts. Some of my friends already done Christmas shopping since Black Friday. I don’t have Black-Friday-fever,just you know. I could’ve done shopping online that time but I decided not to do it. I had no idea what to buy and all the sales going on I might engage myself in impulsive buying which I’m trying to avoid. I have JC Penney store credit card and every month they send me coupons. I get $10 off when I purchase items worth at least $10 or more and $10 off if I spend at least $25. I got 3 $10 off coupons if I buy something at least $10. I used them yesterday to buy beautiful dresses for our girls. I love buying them dresses especially on Christmas,for picture purposes. I love to see them wearing same dresses. But I don’t spend too much money on it. Each beautiful dress’ original price was $60 and it was marked down to $17.99. I used $10 off for each of them and I ended up paying that expensive dress for less than $10. Good deal,right? Another thing, I have coupons from Bath & Body Works worth $10 off when you purchase items worth of $30 or more which we bought someone yesterday a gift set. In return, they gave us another coupon worth $20 off when you purchase items worth $50 or more. I think this is one of the best gift items to give someone if you are running out of ideas. They can use this everyday as long as you know how to look for good deals.
  2. Exchange gifts. We always have Christmas party every year with my fellow Filipino from nearby towns. We bring potluck and we bring gifts to our kids so that Santa will give it to them at the party to open plus we do exchange gift  which I haven’t participated for three years in a row now. The price is $20 and most of the time, I get something which we already have. The remedy is either to keep it or to re-gift to someone.
  3. Christmas cards. The joy of giving cards to your friends and family is very natural to a lot of people here. This year,we’re not sure if we’re going to send out or not. Is it okay just to call them and greet “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and always be healthy!” or send cards through email? At first,we sent cards to almost 20 people-friends,family and distant relatives but last year was minimal and this year maybe less than 10 or no cards at all.
  4. Christmas meal. This year it’s only the four of us will celebrate and I might be working that day for 4 hours. We just buy ham,one vegetable,we buy pie and I make potatoes just like our last Thanksgiving.
  5. On personal gifts. I don’t demand gifts,usually I’m the one who buys myself a gift. I just want a card from my girls and my husband. This year,I just bought couple books online for $10 (including the shipping fee) and I ordered my favorite chocolate- Delicia truffles. I will share these chocolates with my family and to be put in our friends Christmas mugs. My husband wants a new coffee maker,he said his old coffee maker which he bought for $1 at the garage sale is not working right. I will buy him a new one,he said it only costs $10 at the store and I have $25 rebate checks from them which I can use to pay for it and buy something for the girls or for my brother-in-law. Our girls get more than two Christmas presents from us. They already have dresses and pajamas. We’re thinking to buy them Frozen DVD since they love that movie so much and watch it countless times and we opened each of them their first savings account and I still don’t have any idea what else.Dolls?Educational items?New shoes?

Is yours going to be expensive this year?