There is a ton of insight your already have in your post below

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As soon as you determine that something is a low priority and not worth the energy to put away that is your “ahh haaa” moment to donate it and get it out the door.

We all, really should only have high value items in our homes…not dollar value but items that are worth investing our time to maintain and put away.

If it is not worth putting away, it is not worth the space, time and money we have invested in it.

That’s why I stopped using free cycle

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Along with people who post something I’m interested in, and when I see the post that’s offered(I see it when I’m off work as I work during the day), it’s gone. I got frustrated, because I felt it wasn’t fair, they act like they don’t want to wait and give people a chance to reply.

There was a big gap under the house which got fixed, so it’s not duct work

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My bill isn’t that high – runs around $100 or less. Mind you, this summer was cooler than previous years. But still, there was a big difference in the cost.

I have the widows covered up with insulated foam panels for the winter. Still not making a dent in the dust which is really aggravating. I have those old timey composite ceiling tiles and a construction friend thinks that may be the issue. The original ceilings are plaster.

Chiming in late here

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and I should start off by saying that we could be the poster child example of folks who really need to knuckle down and declutter. So the following advice is from someone who needs to do better anyway. Having said that, one of the easiest ways I’ve found to declutter, is to work with the local women’s shelter. It’s one thing to give stuff away when there are concerns about the goodies not being valued or appreciated. It’s entirely another issue, knowing that my cast-offs are going to ladies who had to clear out of an abusive situation, often with nothing except the clothes they were wearing, and often with kids in tow. We have an outstanding women’s shelter in a nearby town, and they need EVERYTHING – clothing, home appliances, dishes, sheets, videos, anything and everything you can imagine. I donate stuff to them every time I go through a de-cluttering phase, and at this very moment I have some audio-visual equipment that a friend was going to take to the landfill because it was obsolete in his latest-and-greatest lifestyle. I talked him out of it, and those appliances are going to go to the shelter instead. That by itself can be a powerful motivator, if there’s some additional motivation needed. Most metro areas, and county-seat towns, have women’s shelters. If you don’t already know about them in your own town, look for them. They’re out there.

Let start by saying no offense to

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anyone who has posted here but I have decided that my biggest issue with decluttering is getting up and doing something vs. sitting and reading a bunch of how to’s. LOL I could read all day long and enjoy every minute of “learning” but that does not get my house decluttered. Anyone here relate?

If your house is THAT leaky

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then you’re probably paying WAY more for your heating/cooling than you should be. Make that a priority next spring – it should save TONS of money. As a stopgap, try finding some of the 3M film that you put over your windows. If that’s where the big leaks are, you’ll see an improvement in both the dust level AND the heating bill.

Last year after I kicked out the ex

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I went to JCP and found some flattering dresses and blouses, pants that each cost under $10 each and bought them. Actually, I was forced to since I lost about 60lbs and nothing fit.

I have realized that I seldom spend money on me and I do actually deserve to have a pedicure from time to time and a manicure since I don’t do that for myself and I do deserve to look good in nice clothing, I don’t have to wear farm/dog clothes all the time. Working for a financial company, it’s OK for me to spend some money on makeup and accessories. *I* feel terrific when I put in the effort and it is noticed. I always look presentable, but there is a difference between nice and presentable. And we absolutely HAVE to spend money on foundation garments, there is no point in buying the wallyworld cheap stuff since its uncomfortable and secondly, doesn’t last very long.

My issue is still the blasted dust in the house (going to work on that problem this year to figure out where the dickens it is coming from) and if the fix is re-carpeting the house using tax refund money so its manageable for me, then so be it. I’m done with driving myself crazy because I just never seem to get ahead and it’s damn near soul destroying. I’d rather have to vacuum a couple of times a week because I just cannot keep the house dust free and its driving me nuts having to wash plates and pots and pans BEFORE cooking because of the amount of dust. Not to mention its just plain unhealthy.

As for de-cluttering, I have things I use seasonally so there is no point in ditching those items (mostly for the livestock, lambing supplies, de-icers etc etc etc) but I need a better organization system. At this point, my hands are tied when trying to organize because of the dust. So, dust-fix first, then I’ll work on the organization aspect. I went through a lot of boxes etc when looking for what the ex left me, so I’m keeping it all boxed up until I get the dust issue resolved. Pain in the butt when I’m digging for reference books.

Heh, I’ve used that

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“trash, recycle, give away, put away” method for years – what I need to figure out is the “put away” stage. I accumulate too much and a lot of it really doesn’t have a good place. A lot of it has no real value but is wasteful to just plain throw away, but it takes work to find a place for it all. And it’s stuff that isn’t worth a lot of energy. So it sits in low-priority limbo.

But stuff that lies around gets trashed, sooner or later. I remember once gathering a whole box of extra office supplies, pads of paper and other stuff, and storing it in the basement, and by the time I got to it, the papers were curly and dusty and ugh, I should have just given them away when someone could have used them.

6 months is a little bit too soon for me as well

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but if it has been over 5 years, it is a pretty safe bet. the exceptions are my professional resources, although lately, much of that is available online. Still, I like being able to know just where to find something if I need it.

For the kids, if they have not touched it in a year, we put it in a bag and put it out of sight. If they don’t ask for it in the next few months, it gets put in my “to sell” pile.

I do think that the purpose of Mark

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is so that we can comfortably do those things when we need to. If you are being smart in other ways, we need to. Life is not all about having money and storing it, but never enjoying anything. It is about being responsible with our money so that we can take care of all of our needs, save for future emergencies, and then enjoy some of our wants without going into debt.

I had a friend in the ‘organizing’ business show me how to declutter

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Get four boxes, or bags. Label them Donate, Trash, Keep and label one with today’s date and 6 months from now.

Empty shelves and closets on the floor in front of the boxes, so that it’s in the way and you are ‘forced’ to complete the job.

We started in the messiest room of the house, my craft room.
She gave me 10 seconds to decide what to do with the item I had in my hand.
Ask yourself, how long had it been since you really used it, if ever?
If it’s still in the box, has the tags on it, or otherwise still usable, then it goes into the Donate box.

If it’s broke, (NO, You are NOT going to fix it or get it fixed if you haven’t by now.) Trash it. Do it quickly, your first instinct is probably right.

The box with the dates are the things that you truly can’t make up your mind about. This box needs to be the smallest one of the four, once it’s full, no more goes in it. So you have to be careful what you put in it. Once full, close it up and if you haven’t opened it to get something out of in in 6 months, trash it or take it to charity, without opening it.

The Keep box is for things that you actually currently use, or wear.

Once I got the ‘hang’ of it, it went pretty fast. I was surprised how fast the ‘Trash’ box filled up.

We then labeled every shelf in the closet and every container that we put stuff back in.

It took us (me) a couple days (okay, a week!) to go through the whole room, but the feeling of accomplishment you have when you finish undeniably puts you on a natural high every time you walk into that room.

I’m coming up 74 and have never had a

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manicure, pedicure, facial or massage. Frosted my own hair in the past. Not saying any of that is a good thing, I’m just a tightwad. I agree with you gals that you do need to take care of yourselves as well. Talbots has nice things but so far mine have come from the second hand store.

That’s a terrific deal on your cut and color

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It runs my $80 (plus tip) everytime I go in for a trim (I have long hair), bang trim (to cover the wrinkles!), and a color. I should go every 5 weeks to look my best, but I’ve been stretching it to the max. I’m not going to do that this year, but I do think I’ll stretch it to 8 weeks. I’ll look like garbage for 3 weeks but that’s better than looking shabby for a good two months as I’ve done this past year. As for Wacoal bras? They are the best. Macys is having a sale on them right now, but the best deal is to get them either for Nordstroms Rack or from someone selling them NWT on Ebay. They usual are ones that say SAMPLE on the tag, but who cares? I have to wear an underwire bra, and these ones last forever. My mother in law just told me that she buys new bras every few months.Really? I’m positive she’s buying them from Kmart (I’m not slamming Kmart. We just live in a small community and that’s about all we have to choose from). I’d rather pay more and get better quality. She just bought her first Wacoal bras and is in heaven. Anyway, it’s a big deal to fork out $150 for 3 bras, but in my world, I’ve decided, I’m going to be good with this necessary upgrade, considering I won’t have to do it again for sometime. Definitely, check them out. Lastly, I love Talbots. Their clothes are all classic. I have dresses that are 20 years old and you’d never know it. They are having a huge sale right now. Lovely dresses for under $60. Can’t beat it. I bought 5. 5! Holy Cow! I’ve lost my mind! lol I know I’ll be wearing these for years, and the price is right. I purchased one summer, one winter, and three all season fabric dresses. I don’t buy trendy. I always buy classic. Look at their website. I think you’ll find something you like, and they have a wide range of sizes. Lastly, I’m fortunate in that I have a fairly stable weight. I’m on thyroid meds (as I’ve just learned a lot of us are) and the dosage was recently tweaked (again). I’ve lost a few pounds without doing anything since my dr. has changed my thryoid prescription. We also ski a lot at this time of the year (although, here in northern Michigan the wind temps are minus zero so I haven’t ventured out as of late). I always loose weight this time of year. I just want to be more mindful of what I’m eating and to eat better. I figure the better I eat, the better my health will be, so that’s what I want to concentrate on. I just want to feel like I’m looking and feeling my best.

All in all I look at what we’ve accomplished in the past year. My marriage is better, my relationship with God is growing, and my family life is solid (I have children that range in age from 6 – nearly 25). . I’m very fortunate that I’ve made strides in those areas. . I’m going to roll with what I’ve done with those things, and now spend some time on myself as well. You work hard, Cindy. I want you to do something just for yourself as well. Heaven knows, you are very committed to growing your business and to your marriage. Do something for yourself as well. Finances are important, but I think we (or at least I have) just become so focused on doing what’s right/responsible, that we (I) neglect ourselves during the process.

My hair grows fast

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its thick and coarse, and would be gray all over if I didn’t color. It just bushes out if I don’t keep it cut in layers. So I go every 5 weeks if I go to the beauty salon due to the cost …. $35 for a cut. I go to the beauty school for color, around $15—every 4 weeks. However I’ve had trouble settling on a hair stylist to cut my hair so I am going back to the beauty school. It is all supervised by instructors. I can get a cut and color for $30 or less. By getting my color and cut at the school I can get the cut every 4 weeks instead of every 5.

I get pedi’s every 4 weeks due to problem toenails … ingrown or some who try to be ingrown. It’s a medical thing for me, not a luxury. It often involves some significant discomfort or pain, even at every 4 weeks.

I have been like you so much

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I have not bought for myself with a free/willing spirit, though I had some blow money every month. I usually have bought for my hobby or the house but not for ME. In less than 2 weeks I have bought myself 4 new nice tops. My issues concerning buying for myself are a multitude. For a long time it has been a mishmash of lack of money/budgeting/planning (pre-DR). It also involves low self-esteem/self-worth, codependency, etc. Another part is finding pretty stuff in plus sizes. It seems designers use all the pretty fabrics on sizes 0-12 and by the time they get to 14 and up, all that is left is stuff so ugly I would not upholster my lawn chairs w/it. Eye rolling smile I am working on eating healthy—NOT dieting. I don’t know if it’ll help the weight issue but we’ll see. I plan on keeping myself in appropriate clothing …. not too expensive but as nice and as pretty as I can afford.

I have a bunch of old t-shirts and stuff I need to go through. They will do fine for someone else … they are not ratty, rather they are hardly worn. I will get them bagged up so I can donate them Monday. I also have some pants I need to donate as well. If I lose weight I deserve to have new pants to wear, not stuff that has been hanging in my closet for 4-5 years gathering dust.

I just cleaned out my underwear drawer and got rid of some worn out stuff.

It’s helped me declutter!

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I don’t do things based on when I bring things in…instead, I have a habit of two or three bags of stuff to salvation army every month. I have no idea how we still have stuff in the house, except that we never got rid of things when we were I our 20s :). Also, I sneak my husbands clothes it sometimes…he got 10 UGLY shirts from my father in law a couple of years ago, and refused to get rid of them, though he would never wear them. I got rid of them slowly, one per trip in the bottom of the bag, and he has never asked about them. Sometimes I wish someone would get rid of my stuff when I’m not looking!!!

I think you and I are going in the same direction, Liz

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I used to do this on rotation (pre Dave days): Once per week I would either: have a pedicure, a massage, a facial or my hair colored/cut. Usually a massage would be in the mix every other week. I looked terrific, but I was blowing money like crazy. I went from having my hair cut/colored every 5 weeks to every 12 weeks (yikes!!!!). What happened to me???? I haven’t indulged in the pedicures or facials in over a year, I know what happened. I got the Dave fever and cut everything either out or minimalized it. I realize that I’ve become an extremist, to the extremes. . I’ve had one massage (because of gift cards) in the past year. This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but I have a huge Vitamin D deficiency that I’m constantly battling, and the massages really do help. When we were in FL state we use paydayloansfloridaonline.biz and I just had a huge breast cancer scare. This has made me throw the towel in. I’m going to get my hair done regularly. I’ll have an occasional massage, and maybe a facial once or twice a year. The pedicure….ummm….whatever…my nails look nicer since I haven’t indulged. Bras???? Well, guys don’t get this, but a decent Wacoal is going to cost around $50. That’s worth it for a bra I’ll have for a few years. Clothes? I deserve to look nice. I’ve been wearing the same go to out fits for the past 8 or 9 years. Cindy, buy clothes that look nice on you. Who cares about the size. I just did the same, and I love Talbots because their clothes are classic and the styles don’t change. You need to feel that you look nice. Do it for yourself. Honestly, we need to take care of ourselves and feel good about ourselves, along with taking care of the family finances. I finally decided life isn’t all about money; sometimes, it needs to be about me too. I’ve left the “me” out of the picture for way too long. I’ve got everyone (business, home, kids, college, retirement, etc.) covered but I didn’t think I should be included. I was wrong…I do count, too. This is the year of me. I purchased everything on clearance so I should be good for the year, but I did it. I spent money on myself (finally) and I feel ok with it. Now….I just need to get a hair appt. and maybe a facial scheduled…

Here’s an organization question

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When you bring in new items into the house, do you declutter old things? Also, on a regular basis….When new items come into your house, do you find it hard to find a place for them? I own things that come in and I don’t know how to deal with it. I’ve got paperwork, decorations, kid stuff. I want my home to be neat. I had it organized, but now I’m drowning in stuff again. I think I’m paralyzed at making decisions.

Does your brain work differently? Do you just look at something and say, “that doesn’t belong here”, and throw it out without guilt?” I spin in circles and wonder if there is a trick to decluttering.

Thanks

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Yes, fun to be in a new office. I do credit /debit verification for an auction house that sells jewelry and coins online. I also, on the second day, got to call customers and take payments. Nice group of people, close to my house, 4 hours a day on Monday and Tuesday only. So I still work the other three days with my husband on the books for our business.

Thanks for the info

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Perhaps this is why it isn’t working for us. my little guys are just reaching the point of sealants, so perhaps that’s why i disregarded bc/bs. they are our health care insurance carrier, although with my surgery and biopsy last month, i’m still looking at a couple of thousand dollars out of pocket. . it just seems the last few years that it’s harder and harder to take care of medical expenses.
so, my next quesiton for you, is what is this new part time job of yours? congratulations for scoring this! are you still working with your husband in your family business as well?

So, who’s yours with, Shay?

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When I looked, things like crowns wouldn’t be covered unless you’d had the plan in place for a year, and there was a bunch of other odd things that just didn’t make financial sense to me (although, for the life of me, I can’t recall what the issues were). I do know that my son takes medication that messes with his mouth. We had $5000 worth of dental surgery for him last May, the dental insurance would not have covered a lot of what he needed in dental care. Fortunately, we convinced our health care providered to cover some of the expenses since the problem has been pinpointed to the meds he has to take. I’ve simply decided to self insure and have a weekly amount auto drafted into a Capital One account specifically for dental needs, but I’m open to learn of something that may be beneficial, and cost effective for our family.

I think the decluttering thing

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and how soon you get rid of something has to be personalized to each family. Six months seems too short a time to me but 5 years seems too long. For example I have some office supplies that I have not used in a year or more but am beginning to use them now. I am glad I didn’t get rid of them. They all stored easily in a tote that went in the hall closet.

One thing FlyLady, and others talk about, is putting away off season clothes. We do not put away our summer clothes, ever. Our winters are mild and there are times we have worn short sleeves and shorts on Christmas day. I do put away winter clothes though. Once we get through March I feel I can safely put away summer clothes.

We haven’t any dental insurance either

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and when we compared the cost of the coverage versus the cost of the service, it didn’t make sense to buy the independent dental insurance. If you find something that does, please pass the info along. We pay in the ball park of what you’re paying for our children as well.

Speaking of Dental

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Where is a good place to get just dental insurance ? We have a health that doesn’t offer dental. I called the kids cleanings and xrays $168 a kid for cash pay. At 7 kids getting them cleaned twice a year I think need dental. Anyone point me somewhere I can get just dental with being self employed ? Is that even possible ?