#603 The Great Freezer Cleanout

#603 The Great Freezer Cleanout

603 – The Great Freezer Cleanout

When it’s time to make dinner, do you fall prey to the game of “Freezer Roulette?”

Do you find yourself pulling out a container of presumably edible, yet completely unidentifiable frozen food, wondering:

  • What is that?
  • How long has it been there?
  • Do I really want to eat that?

Join Kathi and Roger Lipp for tips and tricks to organize your freezer and save yourself time, money, and hassle.

Sign up here to be notified when the next episode is released.

 

The Accidental Homesteader: What I’ve Learned About Chickens, Compost, and Creating Home

Homesteading [hohm-sted-ing]
noun
1. an act or instance of establishing a homestead.
2. the act of loving where you live so much that you actively ignore the fact that your house is trying to kill you on a regular basis.

For Kathi Lipp and her husband, Roger, buying a house in one of the most remote parts of Northern California was never part of the plan; many of life’s biggest, most rewarding adventures rarely are.

Kathi shares the hard-won wisdom she’s gained on her homestead journey to help you accomplish more at home, gain fresh perspective, and give yourself grace in the process. Here’s a handful of the lessons Kathi shares:

  • Prepare before the need arises
  • Everything is always in process, including us
  • Your best household solution is time and patience
  • You don’t have to do everything the hard way
  • Be open to new and better ways of doing things
  • A lot of small changes make a huge difference.
    Highly practical, humorous, and inspirational, The Accidental Homesteader will encourage you to live with more peace, joy, and contentment.

Order your copy of The Accidental Homesteader: What I’ve Learned About Chickens, Compost, and Creating Home here.

Do you label your freezer contents? Share your answer in the comments.

Let’s stay connected

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Meet Our Guest 

 

Roger Lipp

Roger is a productivity and quality engineer for a Fortune 50 company.

Roger helps teams reach their full productivity potential by teaching them the practical and simple steps to reach their goals. Roger and his wife, author Kathi Lipp, teach communicators how to share their message through social media and email marketing.

He and Kathi coauthored Happy Habits for Every Couple with Harvest House Publishers.

Transcript

Well, hey, friends. Welcome to Clutterfree Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. And I am back here with the person I’m fighting clutter with every single day. He is the super man. To my Wonder Woman. I think about the bracelets and reflecting all that clutter in our lives. It’s Roger Lipp.

It’s so good to be here. I’m glad I’m fighting clutter with you.

Yes. No, I’ve said this many times on the podcast. There’s a Taylor Swift song where the lyrics are. Wait, it’s me. Hi, I’m the problem. It’s me. I know. I’m the cluttery person.

We do have different clutter.

We have different kinds of clutter. Yes.

Different kinds of clutter. Yes. I know that. Either you or your kids have been here. If they’re empty drink container. Not even empty. Yes, empty drink containers, like a soda can or a fast food drink sitting next to the sink in the kitchen. I’ve never understood it.

I’ve just come to the place where these are people I love, and these are tokens of their love. You could also throw those away, but that’s okay. Apparently, that’s not your journey. It’s fine. And then my clutter is. Yeah. Anyway, we won’t discuss that. We don’t discuss that among polite company, except with thousands of podcast listeners every single week.

But we’re talking about something today that, wow, I don’t think we’ve ever talked about it on the podcast. And I don’t know if this has been an issue for other people, but it’s definitely been an issue for me as the chief cook. And I was going to say bottle washer. You’re the chief bottle washer. I’m the chief cook in our house. And that is freezer management, because, holy cow, it is hard. And let’s just start off by admitting that we have three freezers, and we.

Also have special circumstances.

We do have special circumstances. I would say if we lived in town, we would have two freezers. We would have the everyday getting stuff in and out freezer, and then we have the more long term freezer, the deep freeze.

That is, in fact, what we had in San Jose.

Yes. And we used it. But if you don’t stay on top of it, there are lots of benefits to having not just a regular freezer, but a long term freezer. When you’re buying meat, you can store more of that. We can sometimes get snowed in here, or whatever it is. And so it’s really important for us to have extra food on hand. We sometimes have. Just last month, we had 13 people here, and that all had to be managed and feeding that many people.

It’s good to have a freezer. It’s good to have an extra freezer. Most people don’t need three. We do. It’s fine. But I want to talk about, how do you manage the freezer? How do you clean it out? What do you do? So let’s talk about that. We came up with a system of how we manage our freezer, especially after some winters where we couldn’t get out and a fire where we couldn’t get in. There are barriers to it.

And what we’ve come up with for us, that works for us, is we build up our freezer stock in the fall, and we eat it down in the winter and spring. Do you want to explain why we do that?

Yeah. In the winter and spring, we could get trapped here because of snow. So it’s good to have extra food on hand. So that’s why we build that up for the winter and the fall. I’m sorry, spring. And in the summer, we want to do the opposite because we may have to evacuate. So we’ve kind of learned that there’s a natural rhythm up here that we need to abide by. And in the summer, we want that backstock to be low, and in the winter, we want it to be high.

Yes. Because we’re not probably going to have to evacuate for a long period of time in the winter. We may sometimes things happen, but that has not been our journey so far. So recently, we did a big freezer clean out, reorg, that whole thing, and we did it in the month of January 1, because it’s really cold up here, and you can keep things cold for a while while you’re cleaning things out. And so we learned a few things while we were doing that. You were kind enough to help me unload, and I think the very first smart thing you did is you put on your gloves. What kind of gloves do you have?

Yeah, well, gloves up here are kind of a way of life. I put on a glove to carry out the garbage.

But the glove that I like to use, it’s a good general purpose glove. I like the Milwaukee glove from Home Depot. It’s the red glove. It’s grippy, has just a little bit of insulation, so it kind of keeps my hand away from stuff and allowed me to deal with the freezer without getting cold, but I could still pick things up.

That’s the important thing. And we can throw those in the washer and they drip dry and they’re just great. So I thought wearing your gloves was a really good time. It was a great time to do it because the stuff is going to stay cold. You wear your gloves, and then one of the things that you did is you used laundry baskets and totes to carry everything into the kitchen so I could kind of see it and organize it.

We actually have some of those totes permanently in the freezer.

Yeah, we’re going to talk about that.

So I just picked those up and brought those in. But then there was a sorting process that you were doing in the kitchen, and I was bringing things in from the outside freezers through the laundry basket or whatever. Carrying mechanism.

Yeah, it’s nice to have two people, if you can. One just doing, let’s just say grunt work and the other doing the sorting and organizing and stuff like that. So, yeah, grab some extra laundry baskets so that you have a way to organize stuff. And then I’ll be showing on our show notes the kind of totes that we use that we keep permanently in our deep freeze. They’re almost like a basket. How do I want to say that? Like an organizing basket or. They kind of look like they could be garbage cans. They’re not.

I got them at Target, and some of them are kind of deep. The rest of them are a little, maybe they’re six inches deep. One of them is probably a foot deep. And I keep different categories in there. So one of them I keep bread in. I don’t want them to get too heavy because I need to be able to lift them. But we organize our food in that. But before you get to organizing, the first thing I think you need to do is throw away anything you wouldn’t be excited about eating.

This is anything that is, if it’s not labeled, do you know what it is? Because if you don’t know what it is, you’re not going to cook it, most likely. Or you can do what I did last week, there was something in there. I didn’t know what it was. It did have a date on it, so I felt good about. But I thought it, and I’m like, oh, that’s a pork roast. At first I thought it was a beef roast, but it was a pork roast. And so we cooked that up. But throw away anything you wouldn’t be excited about eating.

And that’s the what and the when. The date is important too.

Yes, the date is very important because we’ll talk at the end of this podcast about how long things should be in the freezer and when it’s just gone too much. The other reason you might want to throw something away is if it has a lot of freezer burn. If something was put in there and it’s just not looking appetizing anymore, it’s okay to throw things away and give yourself a fresh start. So the next step is, while everything is out, clean the inside of your freezer. Now, I’ve done this recently, we didn’t do it with this last decluttering of the freezer, but if you just take a little bucket of hot soapy water and then you do another bucket with some clean water, you’re dipping your towels in there. You’re not throwing that all in the freezer, but then finally your last towel is just a dry towel to dry it all out. You’re going to be golden. Now I will tell you, the thing I learned last time is have your washing machine emptied out before you do all this towel maintenance, because then it’s just easy to throw it all in there, wash it and you’re ready to go.

It’s not going to make you crazy doing this. So clean that out. And then the next thing I did, if you have a taller person, that is a good reason to say you need to be the one to wash out the freezer. Just a little hint there, since I have somebody taller in my life. Make a list. The next thing I want you to do is make a list. Make a list of everything in your freezer. I did it by categories.

I did fruits and vegetables, meats and seafoods, prepared meals, grains. So grains were like rice, potatoes, breads and then liquids. I made a list of everything we have in there, which is great because then you can start to meal plan from what’s in there. And if you know it’s in there, it’s easier to get yourself to dig to the bottom so that you can.

Yeah, because you’re not digging to find out if something is there. You’re going with a purpose.

Yes, it’s so true. You’re going in there because you’re like, okay, I know that there’s a roast in there, or I know that the brown rice is in there and you can do it that way. I think another thing that that list is valuable to have is in the deep freeze, it’s easy to forget what you have and what you don’t have. So making a list of things that you have too much of and you do not need to buy again. Let me just tell you, apparently I am addicted to frozen fruit and soup dumplings.

We’re good. What?

Yes. Like little wontons that you can throw in soups or you can throw them in the deep fryer stuff like, we’re set for a while. We’re good. In fact, we should have that for dinner tonight. Roger. Yeah, we’re going to be fine, so don’t worry if there’s an emergency.

We’re good on souped up links. Yes. And then I would say put things back in categories so they’re easy to find. Kind of have a bread section. Here’s the other thing. I would say have your bread section on top of your meat section. So put the meat lower down. And there’s a couple of reasons for this.

One, it’s not as heavy. Two, you want that meat towards the bottom because you’re going to get less freezer burn, the less air you have around it. So hopefully you’re using your bread pretty quickly because that can get freezer burned pretty quickly. But you want that towards the top. You want the lighter things towards the top. Maybe the prepared meals, that kind of stuff. But have some people buy a quarter of a cow and you want to have that packed down at the bottom. But you want to know what you have that’s really important.

So make sure things are labeled, pack them in tight. And then another thing that you and I have done is you’ve just done freezer roulette where you’ve grabbed things out. It’s like, okay, that’s what we’re going to make for dinner tomorrow.

I think we did that for some podcasts, didn’t we?

Yeah, we did it for TikTok. Yeah. But you can reverse engineer. You don’t have to create a menu plan and then go to the store and buy stuff. You can see what you have on hand. And reverse engineer. Like for us, we’re going to have wanton soup and we’re going to love it. It’s going to be great.

We’re going to love it. It’s our own little guy’s grocery game right here.

Right. So put things back by the category so it’s easy to find them. And we love guys grocery game. We think that’s very fun. Use the bins from Target or however you’re going to do it to be able to organize. I’m going to tell you, Roger, for some anniversary coming up. You know what I want? I want to replace our deep freeze with a standing freezer. Have you seen just.

Well, we used to have one. Right. I was just going to talk about the different configurations of freezers. And does that change your packing strategy? Because I know for the standing freezers, you can’t pack them too dense in certain areas. Otherwise you don’t get cooling, but yet you still want things to be accessible. I was just kind of wondering if there was a different strategy.

So the standing freezer we had before was kind of like a refrigerator. It just had shelves, but it was all freezer. The one I’m kind of interested in.

It’s an eight drawer freezer.

A drawer, like a filing cabinet?

For food. All right.

Right. And Costco has them for less than $400. And the reviews on them are excellent. So I have not done this, but.

I like the concept.

Yeah, I like the concept a lot. Yeah.

I can see putting a label on the outside of the drawer. Here’s my meats, here’s my breads. Here’s the stuff that Roger wants.

All the frozen pieces are here.

I know. Here’s the thing, guys. Our deep freeze is only five years old because we bought it when we moved in here. And these things last for 20 years. I don’t know that I’m going to last for 20 years. So I may just have to bite the bullet and say, this is what I want, because we can’t have four freezers.

Well, for the sake of providing a review to our valued listeners.

We might need to get that and let you know how it goes.

The connection that Roger and I just had on that, that made me love you, like, a percentage more. I didn’t think there was room for improvement, but that may have tapped us out at 100%. Okay, so I do use the bins from target. I will show those to you so I can lift things up easily and see what’s in our deep freezer. I think it’s really important. Don’t use round containers. Use rectangular containers, because with round, what you’re doing is you’re putting space around that food and you’re going to trap air in there, and that’s going to lead to freezer burn. And I don’t want that for you.

I think that that’s really important. Science guy. You would agree with that, right?

Well, I think the freezer, it’s the amount of air inside the container. So the thing that’s tripping me is with a round container, you’re just wasting all that space as well. Yes.

I think you’re wasting space on the outside, too, right?

That’s what I’m saying, yeah.

And that’s going to make your freezer work harder because of all that air.

We don’t want that. Yes. No, we don’t want that. Okay. So the other big hint I have for this is to break your packages down into usable packaging. Here’s what I mean by that. I just recently bought one of those Costco bags of giant chicken wings because we like to have chicken wings every once in a while in the air fryer. Love that for us.

But to drag that ten pound bag out every time, it doesn’t work for me. So right now, we’re on our last individual bag of chicken wings. So when I open up that big container, what I’m going to do is I’m going to pull out my food saver and we’re going to break that down into probably eight to ten packages. Individual packages of, like, eight wings. That’s usually what we’ll have when we’re doing chicken wings. And so we’ll have those eight to ten packages of wings, but we can just pull one out at a time, stick it in the refrigerator, let it defrost and be done with it. And I find that I’m much more likely to use my freezer food if it’s already packaged in usable packages. Does that make sense, what I’m saying, Roger?

Oh, 100%. I think there’s a lot of different food that we do that with because otherwise, when you open it, you’ve exposed the whole set of stuff to air, which is deadly to freezer stuff.

Freezer food. Yeah.

Right. So having those individual containers is really important, and that’s a great tip for folks like us. We cook for two primarily, so to proportion that food according to however many people you’re going to be cooking for. I think that really is smart.

And one of the things that I did, especially when we had a large family, but I still do to this day, is if we get, like, a bag of chicken breasts, I’ll just put two into a freezer, a little container, and I’ll put marinade on it. And so while it’s defrosting, it’s marinating, and we can just pop that into a saute pan into the oven. However, we’re going to do it with some vegetable that we’ve got a mixed container of. So things that you can do this with chicken parts, like large packages of pork chops, hamburger meat, there’s a million different ways you can do this.

Let me just pile one more thing on breaking that stuff up into the size that you want. Basically, you have to thaw it first, break it up into the stuff, and then refreeze what you didn’t use. And now, oh, my gosh. You’ve lost all that moisture by doing that up front. Makes a lot of sense.

And it’s easier to package into your refrigerator. It just is. You’re not pulling out these giant things. It’s a win win. If you’re able to use reusable containers, that’s a win for the environment, too. Keep at least half of your freezer full to avoid freezer burn. That’s a really important point. And, guys, just, again, label, label, label, label.

What I’ve done now is I’ve got a list of everything that’s in our fridge. When I pull something out, I’m marking it off so I know exactly what’s in there, at least for the most part. And then in the notes of this episode, we are going to put the government food safety website so you can see how long your stuff should be in cold storage. It’s really surprising some meats can be in there for up to two years. It’s not so much a safety thing. It’s usually a taste and a texture thing. Why? You have to get rid of things when you do. But you can keep things in a freezer for a surprisingly long time.

You don’t want to keep them in there too long because they do start to break. Also, I would be remiss if we had a freezer episode where we didn’t talk about, what if you have a power failure? Because Roger and I have lived this.

I knew you were going there.

You have to. Right. And here’s what I’ll say. If you have a power failure. One. You guys, if it’s longer than 24 hours, I would rather be safe than sorry because I’ve had food poisoning. Not by my cooking, by somebody else’s, and I wanted to die. So we’re not playing here, friends.

We are not playing. But ours was a three week power failure. Yeah. So if you have a substantial power failure, my number one tip is when you get power back, plug that freezer in and freeze everything. Because it’s so much more pleasant to clean out while it’s frozen. Because, yeah.

It doesn’t smell when it’s frozen. So that it is much easier to clean.

Yeah. I will say if we had to evacuate again, I would get a large tote and throw all our freezer food in there and just take it with, like, we can figure it out on the other end because it’s a nightmare to clean that. I almost just asked Roger to take the freezer to the dump, but nope, I froze it. Got. We took all that food to the dump. We got in there with hot, soapy water. We washed everything out a couple of times and we dried it. We saved the freezer.

It’s the freezer we use to this day, but, yeah, freeze it all again. Trust me, you don’t want to smell that unfrozen. I promise you. Anything I’ve missed, Roger?

No, I think that’s great. That was good.

Okay. This is a fun episode. We got a good energy on this episode, I think because we’re hungry. It’s lunchtime, and yes, we’re going to.

Go visit the freezer, find some of those noodles.

Yes, exactly. We’re going to make it happen, friends, thank you for listening. You’ve been listening to clutter free academy. I’m Kathy Lip. Now go create the clutter free life you’ve always wanted to live.

#563 How to Declutter A Lot – FAST – Part 3

#563 How to Declutter A Lot – FAST – Part 3

563: How to Declutter A Lot – FAST – Part 3

Do you feel life circumstances change so quickly that it’s a struggle to keep your spaces clutter free? Kathi and her husband, declutter buddy, and cohost Roger Lipp are with us today sharing the last three tips in their Top 10 Ways of Getting Clutter Free podcast series. If you haven’t listened to Parts 1 (listen here) and 2 (listen here) of this series, put those in your queue!
In today’s Part 3 they discuss:

  • How to curate your items (“Curate” is Kathi’s new favorite word! )
  • Organizing activity supplies into separate tubs
  • Using a spreadsheet to keep an inventory

In this episode, Kathi mentions her tub for Art Activities. Below are some photos of the finished project. So adorable!

   

Did you know: Roger is a collector of certain Disney shirts. Disney memorabilia is officially called Disneyana.

The Clutter Free Home: Making Room for Your Life

Longing for a place of peace from which you can love others well? The Clutter-Free Home is your room-by-room guide to decluttering, reclaiming, and celebrating every space of your home.

Let author Kathi Lipp (who once lived a life buried in clutter) walk you through each room of your house to create organizational zones that are not only functional and practical but create places of peace that reflect your personality. Kathi will help you tackle the four-step process of dedicate, decide, declutter and “do-your-thing” to reveal the home you’ve always dreamed of, and then transform it into a haven that reflects who you truly are meant to be.

Order your copy of The Clutter-Free Home  here.

 

 

Do you have a favorite activity or project you have organized?

Tell us in the comments below! 

Let’s stay connected

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now. 

Meet Our Guest 

 

Roger Lipp

Roger is a productivity and quality engineer for a Fortune 50 company.

Roger helps teams reach their full productivity potential by teaching them the practical and simple steps to reach their goals. Roger and his wife, author Kathi Lipp, teach communicators how to share their message through social media and email marketing.

He and Kathi coauthored Happy Habits for Every Couple: 21 Days to a Better Relationship.

Transcript

How-To Have a Clutter Free (& Worry Free) Garage Sale

How-To Have a Clutter Free (& Worry Free) Garage Sale

 

Two summers ago, an older couple gifted my daughter a large number of household items as they moved out of state. The goal? Have a garage sale and make money for college.

 

We spent nearly a week sorting and transporting items, another week preparing for the sale, and a full weekend selling. The result was a whopping $600.

 

On the other hand, our neighbor who planned to move to Poland later that year joined in the sale, strategically added items to her lot across the street, and made nearly twice the money.

 

Two garage sales. Very different results.

 

Consider Your Options                   

 

Before deciding to embark on a sale, weigh the time and effort required with other options.

 

  • Do you only have a few great items in new or like-new condition? Maybe an online marketplace or auction site would be better.

 

  • Do you have quite a few items, but not enough to draw in a crowd? Consider connecting with others for a community or block sale. Donate to a church or non-profit sale. Or invite a neighbor or friend to join forces to draw a wider group of shoppers.

 

  • Garage sales can make a lot of money. Karen M, a Clutter-Free member, recently had a sale and “with not too much effort made $1,000.” On the other hand, garage sales can be a lot of work for little to no money. I’ve hosted several garage sales that netted in the neighborhood of a total of $100-$200. Are you okay with either result?

 

Once you’ve decided a garage sale is the best option, you will need to get to work.

 

 

Time

 

A terrific garage sale takes time. Sometimes a lot of time.

 

  • Be prepared. Gather items, price and display them, spend 2-3 days hosting the sale, and commit to clean up and disposing of items that do not sell.

 

  • Don’t underestimate the importance of the weather. If it is too hot, too cold, too windy, too rainy then your sale may be a bust. Pick the right time of year, keep an eye on the weather forecast, and choose the most temperate part of the day for sale hours.

 

Do you have enough time to make it worthwhile?

 

If so, choose a date and put it on the calendar.

 

 

Space & Location

 

You’ll need space to store items until the sale begins and a location to hold the sale.

 

  • Where will you store items before the sale begins?

 

  • Are you in a prime location for a sale? Or could you hold the sale at a friend or neighbor’s house that is easier to find with better exposure?

 

  • Some neighborhoods do not allow yard/garage sales and have restrictions about street parking. Be sure to check any homeowner agreements that may impact your sale.

 

Where will you hold your sale?

 

Help

 

Sale days will be much more manageable (and fun!) if you have friends and family by your side.

 

  • You will need a lunch or restroom break.

 

  • A crowd may arrive all at once.

 

  • Friends and family help keep you company during the slower parts of the day.

 

  • Someone to keep reminding you why you are decluttering.

 

Who will stand by your side while you sell your stuff?

 

 

Gather Your Items

 

Before you can have a sale, you have to know what you’re selling. 

 

  • Make a pile. Load up boxes. Sort and organize. Go through closets, drawers, basements, and garages and come up with the items you’ll sell. (This is a perfect time to declutter!)

 

  • Group like items. Furniture, books, clothing, baby clothes, kid’s items, tools, dishes, kitchenware, appliances, household items, and so on. If you bought it, you can probably sell it.

 

Do you have enough desirable items to warrant a garage sale?

Pricing

 

“There is no better deterrent from bringing new items into your home than seeing that candle you bought for $24.95 re-sell for only $2.50. This is the Clutter Tax we all pay for excess stuff.” -Karen M

 

  • Be realistic. Garage sales draw bargain hunters. It is unlikely you can sell an item for even a fraction of what you paid. Even like-new items may not sell for more than half the original price. Exceptions: Certain collectibles. Antiques. Refurbished items.

 

  • Decide ahead of time if you’re willing to dicker or if you’ll have a half-price hour or a last call (selling everything for a dollar) at the end of the day.

 

Remember your objective is not to make money, it’s to get rid of stuff. Bringing it back in the house defeats the purpose of having a clutter-free garage sale.

 

 

Cash

 

A few days before the sale, visit the bank. Obtain a wide variety of bills in different denominations. If you priced items under a dollar you will also need change.

 

Display.

 

Staging is important!

 

Put the “wows” upfront. You want stuff that will literally stop traffic. Furniture, tools, and electronics are your best bet for getting a spouse to pull the car to the curb.

Clothes. Hanging, easily viewed clothing sells best. A garment rack is ideal, but a shower rod or tautly hung rope can work. The next best option is folded clothes preferably on a table. Be sure to put up a sign that says “Hangers Not Included” unless you’re decluttering hangers too.

 

Books, CDs, DVDs. Create a temporary display. If you have enough shelf space, place the front covers face out. Next best option? A table. Try to keep the shelves looking full (this is a great job for kids).

 

Group items. Housewares, small appliances, bath items, baby clothes or toys, yard items, etc. But make sure there’s plenty of space between displays for people to comfortably move.

 

Advertising

 

On the web. Online groups exist to help you get the word out. Check into your favorite sale sites, neighborhood, or market place, and add your listing. Highlight the kinds of things you’re selling (tools, kids’ clothes, furniture, etc.) so you attract the right buyers.

 

On the street. Create large, readable signs to attract more drive-by traffic. Neon poster board is great for this. Add a few secure balloons to draw attention.

 

Check city ordinances regarding sign size and location of display signs. Although many people use utility poles, this often violates city rules. Also, be a good steward and collect all signs at the end of your sale.

 

Tell your friends. Share your goals. Be sure to let your Facebook or Instagram friends know as well.

 

Newspaper. Running a cheap ad in your local newspaper or an online classified service may bring you more shoppers.

 

Back-Up Plan

What will you do with anything leftover?

Who will be taking the items away?

Where will it go?

 

If you were willing to get rid of the stuff in the first place, don’t let it wiggle it’s way back in.

 

With a lot of planning and a bit of hard work, you can have a successful garage sale. Whether your sale makes $100 or $1000, if you’ve met your goal to declutter you’ve triumphed! Your heart and home will be lighter.

 

Your turn. What additional tips can you add for a clutter-free sale?

 

*Thank you, Karen M, (of Clutter Free), and Kathi Lipp for contributing strategic suggestions included in this article.

 

April Kidwell lives in the Pacific Northwest with her science-geek husband, soon-to-fly young adult children, three dogs, two cats and a gecko. She writes Contemporary and Historical Christian romance for the Waiting Heart and comes from a long line of “what-ifers.” (What if we need it? What if we make it useable again? What if…?) Connect with her at https://www.blessfulwritings.comhttps://www.instagram.com/blessfulwritings/, and https://www.facebook.com/Blessfulwritings/.

 

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Apricot and Blueberry Oatmeal Bars

Apricot and Blueberry Oatmeal Bars

 

 

Apricot and Blueberry Oatmeal Bars

I love any recipe that is a twofer.

A twofer is any dish that can be served just after making, and then is also fabulous later on as a LOOP (Left Over On Purpose.)

Let me introduce: Baked Oatmeal.           

The reason I love this recipe is twofer:

  1. It is a warm, nourishing breakfast to have on a Monday morning when the world feels like too much and you just need some comfort food to make the world right again.
  2. It is perfect on a Tuesday morning, straight from the fridge as an “Oatmeal Bar” which I then grab and go as I drive into town for work with my homemade latte.

See? Twofer. (That is, if your crew doesn’t eat the whole pan first. If that’s a possibility, you may want to consider making TWO pans to be assured of oatmeal bars later.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups whole almonds, roughly chopped

1 1/2 cups dried apricots, roughly chopped           

1 cup blueberries

1 1/3 cups whole milk

2/3 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup honey

1/3 cup brown sugar, divided

1 egg

1/4 cup butter, divided (2 tablespoons melted, 2 tablespoons room temperature)

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

 

Preheat the oven to 350° F and grease a 9 x 9-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. 

Fold in the almonds, apricots and blueberries. Spread the mixture evenly into the baking dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, cream, honey, 1/4 cup brown sugar, egg, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and vanilla to combine. This creates a custard-like mixture that you then pour over the oats.

Cut up the rest of the butter and put that on top, along with the remaining brown sugar.

Bake for 25 or 30 minutes, or until the oatmeal has absorbed the liquid and is golden brown on the surface.

Cool slightly before serving.

 

Let me know if you’ll be trying baked oatmeal, or if you have a favorite twofer recipe in the comments!

 

 

 

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8 Ways to Make Your Cleaning Products Last Longer

8 Ways to Make Your Cleaning Products Last Longer

 

 

Need some simple ways to make your cleaning products last longer? Here are 8 simple ways to stretch your supplies, and cut down necessary trips to the store.

 

Like many of you, I’m looking for ways to leave the house less for errands. Less time spent in grocery stores and warehouses, the better.

 

I’m trying to find ways to make not only my groceries last longer, but everything else in my house. And with us being home more, let’s just say, I’m cleaning a lot more than usual.

 

If you’re shopping less, but cleaning more, you may find yourself running out of all your cleaning products at the same time. So, if you need to make your current stash stretch until the next monthly run to the grocery store, here’s how to make your cleaning supplies last.

 

  1. Measure Your Amounts                   

Many of us have been trained to fill both dispensers in our dishwasher or fill the laundry soap cup to the brim. Now’s the time to evaluate how much detergent you really need. Read the packaging and see how much detergent is recommended for the load you’re washing. Your friend with toddlers may need to use more laundry detergent than your neighbor who is running a load of work-at-home clothes.

 

2.  Mix Your Own Sanitize              

If your cleaning cabinet is running out of products that will sanitize your home, it’s time to turn to your laundry area. Bleach and water, in the right proportions, will do wonders.

 

“Bleach is very effective at killing the coronavirus, as well as virtually every other germ on the face of the planet,” said Dr. Paul Pottinger, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Washington Medical Center.

 

To create your own household cleaner, follow the Center for Disease Control guidelines:

Clean the surface with soap and warm, clean water. Rinse the area with clean water. Then sanitize with a mixture of 1 cup bleach to 5 gallons water. Let the area air dry. Be sure to wear rubber gloves to keep the bleach off your hands.

 

 

  1. Spray the Cloth, Not the Surface

Never spray cleanser directly onto the surface you’re cleaning. You’ll save cleaner and money by spraying your glass, wood, and surface cleanser directly on your cloth and then cleaning the intended surface. Many of us subscribe to the myth, the more cleanser, the cleaner it is. But using too much cleanser can actually cause build-up and require extra work to clean the surface. (No wonder we hate cleaning!)

 

    4. Use the Cloth for the Size of the Job

We’ve taken to rationing our disinfecting wipes with one simple trick: tearing them in half. Most of the cleanup jobs I’m doing right now are on the small side: wiping down door handles, disinfecting a sink, wiping down light switches. None of these require a huge cloth to do the job. Now, I tear the wipes in half and stick the leftover wipe back in the container to be used for the next job.

 

     

 

5. Use the Leftovers

We all have them. The cleaner we tried for our bathroom and didn’t love the smell of, but didn’t get rid of either. Now is the time to scour the house for any containers under bathroom sinks, in the laundry area, in the garage, or even in your basement. Where are those half-used bottles of cleaners hiding? Gather everything you have into one place, so you know exactly what you have and what you are running low on.

 

  1. Check the Label                         

Read the label on the all-purpose cleaner; you may just be using it for surface cleaning, but the label tells you that it is also a degreaser, a spot cleaner for fabric, and even a carpet cleaner. It’s time to discover the power you already have sitting in that bottle and all the ways that “multi-purpose” is really true.

 

  1. Use Concentrate as Intended

With so many products being offered as concentrates, make sure that you’re using the proper amount of cleanser, and using it correctly. Do you need to be adding water to the product before using it, or using way less than a non-concentrated product?

 

 

  1. Ask Yourself: Does this Really Need to Be Cleaned?

With most of us not going out as much as we are used to, think about the ways that you could reduce the number of items that need to be cleaned on a daily basis.

 

Do you need to wash that shirt you just wore for 45 minutes for a teleconference call?

 

How about dishes? Assign each member of your family one different colored cup each day so you are only washing one cup, per person, per day. Depending on the size of your family, that could save a half a load of dishes right there.

 

You may not be able to employ all of these tactics, but even implementing one or two can help you get to a place of extending the life of your cleaners, as well as feeling safer during this time of crisis.

 

 

 

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