Ugh, Clutter Is Invading Our Home

I hate clutter.  I also know that clutter is always around the corner.  Forget about it for one second and it invades your home.  Once it creeps in, the cycle of clutter doom starts.

Unfortunately, it’s my opinion that we let clutter in the door somehow.  The good news is that clutter can be uncluttered with a few steps.  Before all else, you have to recognize clutter.

Well, clutter, consider yourself recognized!

Here are a few areas where clutter has invaded our home, and what we plan to do about it:

  • Paint cans – I’m in the middle of repainting a few rooms upstairs, all necessary with finally getting our youngest from her crib to a bed.  As I’ve gone through all of our paint supplies, I realize that I have no less than 20 paint cans.  We’ll be adding a few more with the various colors we’re painting, and honestly I don’t have room anymore without making some changes.  The plan: Four times per year, the county will collect hazardous materials, including paint.  They charge $10 for the processing and such, but this will be well worth it.  I will go through our paint cans, and get rid of those which have gone bad or which I know we will never use again.  I expect we’ll be down at least half, which will free up a shelf or two.
  • Closets – As we’ve started shifting things around, some room clearing has been accomplished by stashing things in closets.  What I’ve realized as I cram lamps and such in the closets is that we have stuff there that probably isn’t needed to begin
    Stay On Top Of Clutter Before It Takes Over

    Our clutter isn’t this bad yet!

    with.  One closet has a bunch of old luggage that I need to get rid of, as well as a lot of gift bags that we’ve kept for potential re-use but that have grown way beyond what we’ll ever need.  The plan: As we complete rooms and complete the moving around,  we’ll have to make sure that all items in the closet are things we want to keep, otherwise it will need to be donated or disposed of.

  • Boxes – Similar to our gift bag stash, in the basement I keep various boxes that we can use when wrapping presents.  These have been great over the years, but even during Christmas, we’ve probably never used 10% of what we have.  There’s a certain advantage to having a box of any shape or size, but that can be outweighed by realizing that you’re losing lots of valuable space in the process.  The plan: Cut the number of boxes we keep by at least 33-50%, freeing up a couple of shelves.
  • So-called moneymakers – I have a couple of faucets that I bought at Home Depot for around $1 each.  Their original price was probably $75 for each of these, but they threw them on some discount shelf, and I pounced.  They’re not ugly, or broken, they were just changing styles.  While I have no need for them in my house, I figured I could probably get $10 or $20 for them somewhere.  But I haven’t.  The plan: I’ll need to either try to sell them and collect my massive windfalls or donate them, and realize what Home Depot did, that sometimes it’s just not worth it.
  • Bike – My wife got a new bike last year.  The problem is that her old bike is still hanging from our garage ceiling.  Her old bike still works, but it was old, bulky, and for the riding we like to do when we take our bikes on camping trips, it no longer met her needs.  The plan: Either sell it or give it away.
  • Exercise bike – I have a working exercise bike in the basement.  There are a couple of sensors that go haywire once in a while (resulting in the bike telling you that you stopped pedaling when you haven’t, only to ‘resume’ a couple of minutes later).  I don’t use it as I like to go to the gym, but the bike takes up space in my basement.  The plan: Same plan as the bike, either sell it or give it away.  This will involve hauling it upstairs, which is why it hasn’t been done yet.

None of these things are huge, and we’re nowhere near being considered for a casting call on Hoarders (is that show even still around), but it does show that a little bit of clutter here and a little bit there can lead to feeling like you are being surrounded by too much stuff.

I’m sure these aren’t the only areas, but they’re currently on my target list, and if I can address these, it might make the next round more identifiable.

What de-cluttering activities do you have in process or planned?

Copyright 2014 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

A Simple But Effective Way To Clean Pet Stains From Carpet

I’ve been a cat owner for 17 years, and over that time you get used to cats getting sick, and when they do, it always seems to be right in the middle of the floor.  For years, I’ve tried various ways to clean up the mess, but more often than not, I’d still be left with a stain.  The worst was in my condo when I got new carpet that looked darker on the sample sheet than it was when they installed it.  Nearly white carpet simply doesn’t last too long with cats.

But our house has beige carpet.  It’s not in the best of shape, as it’s the original carpet that was put in 1999 when the house was built, but the previous owners actually took good care of it and we have tried to keep it up as well.

We’ve had it cleaned several times since we moved in, and I’ve used different carpet cleaning outfits that did an OK job, but none that really wowed me…that is until this past winter when I found a one-man operation who did an absolutely fantastic job!  His price was about half of what I was getting for full service (cleaning, ScotchGuard), and he spent twice as long in my house getting things taken care of.  As I watched him work, I noted that he worked on our carpets as if they were his very own.  My wife even observed that there were areas which had spots since we moved in which were now clean.

Since stains that go down into the padding tend to re-appear over time, I don’t expect miracles, but it was still nice to see our carpet look better than when we moved in, which is a pretty big feat since we had put five and a half years of wear, and quite a few kitty messes along the way.

As we talked about the cats and their effects on the carpet, he gave me some tips.

First, he told me that the way we had been cleaning up was wrong.  Our method had been to use a vinegar and water mix that I sprayed on, blotted off, and repeated as necessary until the mess was away.

What was wrong with this?  Well, he brought me up to a room that he was cleaning and as he was cleaning, he showed me every spot that I had cleaned with the vinegar-water mix as he could tell when the steam cleaner was pulling vinegar out of the carpet.

The problem, he said, when you use vinegar or other cleaners, is that they don’t come out of the carpet.  After they get done cleaning and stick around, the problem is that they then attract dirt, so in the end those clean areas will end up becoming dirty faster.  Many times when I saw stains where cats had gotten sick, it wasn’t stained from the cat mess, but stained from dirt attracted after the stain was cleaned.

Technically, he said, I could keep doing that and just add in some steps to make sure that the vinegar was rinsed out, but he then pointed out that his tried and true method did that anyways, and essentially skipped the entire use of vinegar.

What You Need

Paper towel or rags
A spoon
A large pitcher
A shop vac

How To Clean Up The Pet Mess

  1. Take your rag or paper towel, and get rid of as much ‘solid’ mess as you can.  Don’t rub it in, but try to soak it in.
  2. If you can’t get the solid mess up this way, you can use your spoon to basically pick it up.  (Wash the spoon, and you probably want to simply dedicate a spoon for this cause as I’m sure it would gross people out to know that a regular spoon was used for this, even if it was washed afterward).
  3. Once the solid mess is gone, fill up your water pitcher.  Use water from the cold water tap as warm or hot water will set the stain.
  4. Pour the water all over the stain.  Yes, you will feel odd dumping two or three cups over such a small area, but that’s OK.
  5. Let it soak in for a couple of minutes.
  6. Use your shop vac to suck up the water.   Work your way from the outside in, going in circles.  You want to be working the worst part of the mess at the very end. Otherwise, you could end up spreading the stain outward if you do it in reverse.
  7. After the first pass, you might have to repeat a time or two.  I usually do three passes, using slightly less water each time.
  8. Empty your shop vac

The strong suction of the shop vac will pull up most of the water so even though you’re dumping a lot water in, you’re not leaving it in long enough for it to soak through the padding.  By soaking it, you’re loosening the mess from the fibers, which coupled with the strong suction that a shop vac offers, allows it to pull up.

So far, since we’ve had the carpets cleaned a few months ago, I’ve had to use this method 4-6 times, and honestly, I can’t find the stains.

The quicker you address the stains, the better likelihood you’ll have of them not setting, but honestly, I had one small stain that sat there for at least a week (I pulled up the ‘physical evidence’ but the stain itself was still there), and I was worried that I’d waited too long, but it came up just fine.

This is great information and I’ll use it for every pet stain I have moving forward.  I only wish I had known about this for the first 16+ years of being a cat owner!

Readers, what method(s) have you used to clean up stains from pets? 

Copyright 2014 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

10 Small Things To Do Around Your House Today

If you are fully or partially responsible for the place that you live, whether that be a house you own, house you rent, apartment, townhouse, whatever, you know that there is always something to be done.  Much of the time we are focused on big projects, things that can pay off big, cost big, and can take big chunks of time.

Today, let’s focus on some small things that everybody should take a look at (well, some might not apply, but I think there are enough things here that everybody can get some benefit).

Consider one or two of these things to get done today, and look at all of them as things you can do that will only cost you a few minutes of time, and in many cases, won’t even cost you a single penny.

  1. Change your furnace filter – You’re supposed to change these things every month, unless you have a special one that either lasts longer or can even last forever (though they do require regular cleaning).  If you haven’t changed your filter in a while, it’s probably time.  The more clogged that filter gets, the harder the furnace has to work to push air through it, making your bills go up and diminishing the life of the very expensive appliance.
  2. Do a quick check under your sinks – Go to each sink, flip the water on, and take a peek under the sink.  Hopefully the answer under all of your sinks is ‘nothing’, which means everything is in good shape.  But, you might find a few drips of water, either from the water lines or the drain lines.  In either case, it’s usually just a bit of tightening up to get rid of the leak, but those little drips can add up to ruined cabinets, mold, and a bigger leak down the road if you don’t catch it before it gets out of hand.
  3. Polish your wood furniture – If you have a dining room table made of wood, think of the last time you put furniture polish on it.  Doing so will protect it from drying out and will extend the life of your furniture.  It will also give your wood table a nice shine, something you may have forgotten can actually be present!
  4. Clean and treat your leather furniture – When we bought our leather couches a few years ago, we bought a ‘Leather Protection’ plan, meaning that if anything goes wrong with the leather, they’ll repair it.  On top of that, we get to go to the store and get free refills of leather cleaner and leather protector.  Every few months I’ll clean the couches and then put the protector on them.  This keeps the couches clean and will help prolong the life, and protect them from drying out, which is when you then start seeing cracking of the leather.
  5. Test your smoke alarms (and maybe even replace the batteries) – All smoke alarms are equipped with a button to test them. Go around and press this button on all of your alarms and make sure it beeps.  If you have a system where all of the smoke alarms are wired together, it should set off all the other alarms to, so test this.  If you can’t remember the last time you changed the batteries, it’s probably time to do that as well.  If you have smoke alarms that aren’t connected together (and thus aren’t connected to the house’s electrical system), you should replace the batteries every six months.  If you have alarms which are wired to your house’s power, once a year is generally fine.
  6. Clean your dryer line – You know how you’re supposed to clean the lint filter every time you run the dryer?  That’s great advice, but the dirty little secret is that lint continues through the system.  If you have a hose connecting the back of your dryer to the hole in the wall that sends the exhaust outdoors, you should disconnect that hose and make sure it isn’t clogged with lint.  Letting this go untouched for too long can make your dryer run poorly, and can put you at risk of carbon monoxide posioning and at risk of fire.  Just make sure that you securely fit the hose back on tightly, and ensure it’s on properly after the first few times you run the dryer.
  7. Check the caulking around your windows – Ideally you should do this on the inside and the outside, but since these are ‘quick’ fixes, just focus on the inside of your windows.  Take a look around at the caulking between the window and the wall.  If you don’t have any, you have a big problem!  If it’s there and it doesn’t have any cracks, that’s great!  But, if it’s there and starting to crack, you should start thinking about re-caulking.  This means it’s drying out, creating gaps, and losing effectiveness.  Caulk is one of those things that you can generally apply and forget about, but just for a few years.  Not forever.
  8. Go take a look at your water meter – Go find your water meter and take a look at the reading.  Write down all of the numbers.  Go do something else for 15 minutes or so, making sure that you aren’t running water anywhere (no flushing, no showers, no washing your hands), and then go take another reading.  If the numbers are all the same, you’re in good shape.  But, if the numbers don’t match, it could mean you have a small leak somewhere.  Many leaks go completely undetected but can take big chunks of your water bill.
  9. Tighten something that’s loose – There is always something that’s come loose somewhere.  It drives you crazy when it jiggles, then you forget about it, so it never gets fixed.  Whether it’s a knob on a closet door or a kitchen cabinet, the handle on the refrigerator, or somewhere else, chances are a screw just needs to be tightened
  10. Go clean something – Find an area where you haven’t cleaned in over six months.  A junk drawer.  The shelf in one of your closets.  Whatever.  Take a few minutes and clean it.  Chances are if it’s been that long, you’ll find some stuff you can get rid of, eliminating clutter and getting something clean in the process.  You may even come across something you haven’t been able to find in quite some time!

Those are just a few ideas.  What types of little things do you do that you’d like to share?

Copyright 2014 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Get Your Rental Deposit Back After You Move Out

If you rent, as many people do, you likely had to pay a rental deposit before you moved in.  I only lived in one apartment in my lifetime, and we had to pay a month of rent as a deposit.  This was right after college, and my friend and I stayed there for two years, at which point he moved out and I stayed for several more months before moving out myself.

After I moved out, I was not expecting to get much of the deposit back.  Unlike what you might expect from two guys in their early 20’s, we actually tried to keep the place in good shape.  We were pretty clean and kept on top of things, so why, then, was I not expecting to get the deposit back?

Because of the spaghetti sauce incident. 

At the job where I was working, we staffed a 24×7 operation.  As such, we rotated through various shifts.  The ‘night shift’ only required a couple of people, so thankfully we only had to be on this shift for about a month out of the year.  This was my month.

Because of this, my schedule was all off, and I was sleeping as Rob (my roommate) got ready for a normal day shift.  I was not too happy when he burst into my room, panting that he needed to warn me about something.  After assessing that it was the ‘crazy’ hour of 7am (crazy to someone for whom this was regular sleep time), I figured it had to be important enough for him to wake me up.

He told me to be careful because he had dropped a jar of spaghetti sauce, and there could still be glass on the floor.  I figured I was still half asleep as it could not possibly be right that he said he had dropped a jar of spaghetti sauce, because what reasonable person would be making spaghetti at seven o’clock in the morning?  Especially when Rob appeared to now be running late for work.

I asked what he was talking about, and he explained that he had opened up the cupboard, and apparently it was someone’s wise idea to store the spaghetti sauce all the way on the top shelf, and that it hadn’t been pushed all the way in, for when the door opened, down came the spaghetti sauce, hitting the countertop, breaking open, and sending a spray of spaghetti sauce everywhere (including all over his suit, which I’m not sure ever got worn again).

At this point, I was laughing hard enough that I was fully awake, so I threw back the covers and proceeded to head out, as I wanted to see for myself what had happened.  Rob told me that most of it had stayed in the jar, the majority of what came out had spilled on the counter, and that he had cleaned up ‘the rest’.

When I went out to look I was expecting our kitchen to look as if a massacre had taken place, and was mildly disappointed when it appeared that Rob had actually done a pretty good job cleaning it up.  There were only a few spots where I saw the telltale dots of red (including a couple on the ceiling, which I got a big kick out of).  Then, I looked on the carpet in the dining room and noticed some strange splotches.  The carpet was the beige carpet that probably adorned most apartments at one time or another, as cheap as it comes.  It was brand new when we moved in, so when I saw a bunch of light colored stains, I was curious.

I asked Rob about it and he said (somewhat annoyed by this point because now he just wanted to leave) that he some had sprayed over and that he used ‘cleaner’ to clean it up.  At that point, he left, and I went over to where we kept our cleaning stuff.  I found that he had indeed used ‘cleaner’…which contained bleach!

The spots weren’t huge, but there were a few of them and they were big enough to tell that something was amiss.  At that point, I figured that we would likely be buying new carpet for the next tenants after we moved out.

It was probably another year or so that we lived there, and those stains mocked us every time we walked through the apartment.  A few weeks after I moved out, an envelope arrived from the management company.  I opened it and found….

The full amount of our deposit.  $525 bucks! (Yes, it was a pretty cheap place, even back in the mid-90’s)  I called Rob and neither he nor I could believe that we had not been charged for the carpet damage.  Of course this was the same place who listed a ‘pet charge’ of $25 per month if you had cats, but they never charged us (in fact, the ladies that worked the office stopped by to see our kitten, so it was no big secret).  I’m guessing enforcing rules wasn’t at the top of their list at the time.

Still, I doubt that many are so lucky.  It’s important to keep your place in good shape if you want your money back.  It’s money that technically belongs to you, and in many cases, people forget about it, so getting that deposit check back is almost a way of getting free money.

How do you increase your chances of getting your security deposit back in your pocket where it belongs when you move out?

Choose Your Roommates.  In my case, my buddy and I knew each other through most of college.  We knew we got along.  We knew that we were both reasonably clean and responsible, so this match worked.  Many people choose roommates because they get along on a personal level, but understanding how they take care of their stuff, how clean they are, and how well they work as a team is important, because these things will all spill over into how your rental looks after you leave.  If you live by yourself, hopefully you know what to expect going in!

Understand Rules.  When you sign a lease, there’s a bunch of small print that might be hard to read, but it’s there for a reason.  Many people get charged for things that they simply didn’t know about.  Are you allowed to nail holes but not drill anything into the wall?  Can you paint an accent color?

Clean Regularly.  Damage to rental property is another but if excessive cleaning has to be done, this will be taken out of your deposit, and this can easily be avoided by cleaning regularly.  Dusting, vacuuming, not letting food sit where it shouldn’t, there are all things that need to be a part of your life regardless if where you’re staying actually belongs to you.

Be Honest.  If you damaged something, you may be inclined to try to hide the damage or act as if you know nothing about it.  Forget it.  The owners and managers aren’t dumb, they’ve likely heard it before, and you’re not going to get away with it.  In fact, if you have something you know got damaged, the best approach is to disclose it when you give your intention to move.  You may be surprised because one thing that could happen is that you’ll be given the option to fix it yourself, something that will likely cost less than if it’s fixed after you move out.

The best approach of all is to treat a rental unit as if it were your own property.  Most people will not willfully damage their own property, and will go out of their way to ensure that damage doesn’t take place to something that they own, so if you keep this in mind, you’ll likely not have anything to worry about.

Renters, do you typically receive all of your security deposit back after you moved out or have you gotten some of it held back?    Landlords, what are the types of things you’ve witnessed which required you to hold back deposit money?

Copyright 2014 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

6 Quick and Cheap Tips To Keep Your Kitchen Looking Awesome

The kitchen has become the centerpiece of the house for most American households.  We eat there.  Kids do homework there.  We cook there.  We gather there.  For many, the kitchen is the life center of the home.

When you spend so much time there, you want it to stay looking good, but all the time spent there can make things get cluttered, dirty, or worn out.

Here are a few quick and cheap tips that can help keep your kitchen looking great.

  1. Wash your stovetop accessories in the dishwasher – Many stovetops have removable grates that get dirty over time.  You can wash these, but I’ve found that it’s just as easy to throw everything in the dishwasher and give it a cycle.  Make sure to give yourself time to let everything dry off before putting it back on the stove.
  2. Keep your coffee pot looking fresh with ice – I stumbled across this trick while researching methods to keep the inside of my waste tanks clean in our camper.  With the camper, you can pour some ice (with a little bit of water) in the tank right before driving. All the sloshing around will cause the ice to remove crud that builds up on the walls.  The same principle applies to the stains that inevitably occur in coffee pots. Put a little water, some ice, and give it a good shake for a few minutes.  Watch the stains come right off.  Be careful not to shake too hard, so that you don’t break the pot.
  3. Clean your stainless steel pots with Bar Keepers Friend – Over time, the stainless steel pots and pans will get stained and dull.  A quick shake and scrubbing with Bar Keepers Friend will restore the polish and remove stains.   It’s cheap but it works!  We use it just about every time we wash and it’s awesome.
  4. If you have a stainless steel sink,  do the same thingBar Keepers Friend works to polish your sink.  It doesn’t even have to be stainless steel, either.  We have a white porcelain sink that gets dirty, and Bar Keepers Friend cleans it right up.
  5. Get your windows sparkling clean and streak free – If you get sunlight in your kitchen, having clean windows and door walls will let the light in and make the kitchen an even warmer place.  The trick I’ve learned for cleaning glass is to clean it with newspaper.  Paper towels and even rags will leave streaks.  Using newspaper (hint: only use the black and white pages, avoid the colored ink) gives a clean, streak free shine every time.
  6. Organize one cabinet or drawer a month – Stuff you put in cabinets in drawers will become disorganized over time, and drawers also have the unfortunate habit of accumulating crumbs and such.  Often people avoid doing a full cleaning because of the number of drawers and cabinets in a typical kitchen.  Spread it out by cleaning one per month.  Empty everything out, clean it, re-organize it, give/throw away broken and unused items, and put it all back.  You’ll keep a good handle on your kitchen that way.

None of these tricks will break the bank, but they will help you keep the shine in your kitchen so that it can remain the hub of your home.

What tricks do you use to keep your kitchen looking good? 

Copyright 2014 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Taking A Day To Clean Out The Garage

Our garage had gotten, in a word, crazy.  We have a three car garage.  With two cars, this leaves one empty area for the rest of our ‘stuff’.

Unfortunately, this area had turned into a big mess.  Bikes, kid toys, the lawn mower, other lawn stuff, and a multitude of other items had turned the third garage bay into a nightmare.  It was impossible to get anything out without having to take something out first.  We actually got to the point where we avoided taking bike rides or having the kids play with the stuff stored there, simply because it was too hard to do anything there.

In addition, the ‘flow’ of other stuff just didn’t make sense.  We had shelving units in a couple of different spots, in addition to some permanent wall shelving, but on each shelf area there was a mixture of different things.  Kids toys (bubbles, playground chalk, balls, etc.) were on three different shelving areas.  Also, gardening stuff, fertilizers, random garage stuff, it was everywhere.

It got to the point where it was so bad that we didn’t even try to straighten up anymore, because it became obvious that it had to be dealt with on a larger scale versus just ‘picking up’ or ‘moving things around’.  Realizing that was a good revelation, but it did have the negative consequences of making it worse, since we basically abandoned  all pretense at keeping clean once we realized an entire overhaul was needed.  So, it got bad.  Really, really bad!

Something had to give.

Fixing this was something that Mrs. Beagle and I wanted to do together.  While the garage was typically my domain, when we stared adding in all the kid stuff, it became a more shared space.  I think what happened is that the kid space got shoved into whatever available space came up, and was never organized.

That was about to change.

We actually sent the kids packing for the day over to their grandparents, so that we could focus on this.   At the end of the day, the transformation was remarkable.

Sorry, no pics, but I’ll walk you through the process.

Everything out.  First, we cleared out everything from the garage.  We didn’t move the tool bench I have there, because it weighs about 800 pounds.  I also left a few items on some of the permanent shelving units because I knew it wasn’t going anywhere.  But, everything else came out.

Get rid of the dirt.  With everything out, I attacked the floors with the broom, sweeping up all the dirt, leaves, and other stuff that makes its way into a garage no matter what.  With nothing in the way, I was able to get a lot of stuff swept up.  I followed this up by hosing down the slabs to get even more dirt out of the garage.

Identify easy trash and giveaway. While I waited for the water to dry, we had lunch and I started going through some of the obvious stuff that was garbage.  Into the bin it went.  The main thing that was taking up a lot of room was boxes.  Lots and lots of cardboard boxes.  From diapers.  From baby wipes.  From Amazon orders.  They all got broken down and stuck into the recycling.  I also found stuff that we didn’t need but could be donated.  Instead of starting a ‘pile’ I moved that right into my trunk, which would force me to take it to the donation center.

Set up shelving.  One of our goals was to have all the kids stuff in one spot.  As it was, they got a shelving unit set up in the front of the garage, so that their toys could be right in front.  The shelving unit was cleaned off and set up.  Another shelving unit was moved to the back of the garage.

Set up areas. We then started setting up stuff in areas where everything would be put together.  The back corner of the extra garage stall was for all the yard stuff.  The wheelbarrow went in, then the trimmer, edger, and other stuff went into the wheelbarrow.  Fertilizer, dirt, etc. went in that area.  Everything was put in a place where it took the least amount of room, yet was available so that I wouldn’t have to tear the area apart.

Big stuff in.  The bikes, the wagon, the bike trailer, the lawn mower all went into the third stall.  I put them in as if they were going into angled parking spaces.  This let me put everything against the wall, while keeping an ‘aisle’ clear.  That way, any item could be taken out and put in without having to move anything else.  This is huge!

Random stuff.  After we got all this done, there was still a lot of random stuff that didn’t have an exact spot.  A lot of it we decided we didn’t need and threw away.  Other stuff got put into a ‘random’ spot on the shelving unit that was available.  A few items fit better inside in the basement, going with other like stuff (e.g. a cooler).

Final cleanup. After everything was finally put away, I did a last sweep of the garage.  Then, I took the leaf blower and blew off the driveway.  A lot of little dust and such had come off, and I knew if I just left it there, it would eventually just blow right back into the garage.

At the end of the day, the garage looked awesome.  It took about five hours total between the two of us.

The first thing my wife did the next morning was take the kids out to play.  We also went for bike rides, and when we went for after-dinner walks, we were able to take whatever it was we wanted to use to take the kids (bike trailer, wagon, stroller) without making a decision based on what would involve the least amount of moving things around.  That’s honestly what had been dictating that decision for the last few weeks.

Our next step will be to keep it clean and to make a clean transition down the road when the summer stuff needs to be put away.  I did keep that in mind when laying things out (e.g. the lawn mower can go where the snow blower is now).

I think we’ll have a much better remainder of the summer as far as the garage is concerned.

What de-cluttering projects have you undertaken recently?

Copyright 2014 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.