A Year to Clear (Week 39 of 52)

Week 39 – Random Items in the Attic

Are we the only ones with random items in the attic? And by random, I mean they have been there since the day we moved in and we really aren’t sure what they are. I think they may have been parts to a metal shelf and a bed frame, but I can’t quite tell. What we did find out is that they are heavy; we had 75 pounds of random metal items in our attic that we probably should have cleared out when we bought the house five years ago. Since we didn’t do it then, we are now: 75 more pounds of junk out the door.

52 Weeks of Saving (Week 39 of 52)

Week 39 – Free Stuff

FreeWhat do you try to always get for free? Where do you get free stuff? I have to admit, as much as I like searching for a deal, I don’t typical search for free stuff because I always think it is probably junk, but I know that isn’t always the case. I have found a few good things on the curb (like a Radio Flyer tricycle!), but what about sites like Craigslist? Freecycle? Other local groups? I have been thinking about this lately as I search for free moving boxes and I have been wondering if perhaps I should spend more time scanning sites for free items. So far I have found a few moving boxes on website Nextdoor and on Craigslist, but where else should I be checking? I think my other hesitation is that I don’t really like going to people’s houses to pick stuff up, but Matt doesn’t mind so I’ve been sending him. I doubt I will ever be one of those people that gets tons of cool stuff for free, but even free moving boxes is going to save us some money!

A Year to Clear (Week 38 of 52)

Week 38 – Gift Wrapping Supplies

IMG_9260I was looking for a gift bag and some wrapping paper this week and realized that we have saved way more gift wrapping supplies than we need. I also realized that some of the stuff really wasn’t in the best (i.e. reusable) condition. So I went through it all, saved the good bags and tissue paper, put some used tissue paper aside for boxing up fragile items when we move, and got rid of 3.5 pounds of wrapping supplies I will never use. I know 3.5 isn’t that amazing, but volume wise it was quite a bit and my theory is that every little bit counts, especially since pretty soon we will have to box up everything we don’t get rid of and put it in a moving truck.

52 Weeks of Saving (Week 38 of 52)

Week 38 – Make It, Don’t Buy It

PillowsSince our house will be going on the market soon, we had a professional stager come to our house and tell us what we could do to make it appeal to more buyers. Most of his suggestions had to do with adding more color in the form of paintings, rugs, pillows, decorations, etc. He specifically wanted more “pops of color” everywhere. I wish I had more time to get everything done because I would have made my own modern art paintings (he specifically said modern), but we decided that was going to be too time consuming. I was about to buy new throw pillows for our couch when I realized I could easily make new covers for the ones we already have. Mean while, Matt put together a platform bed frame from a borrowed metal bed frame and about $36 of wood.

In the end, we did have to spend some money getting our house to look like the stager wanted it to; however, we were able to save some money making a few things instead of purchasing them. The photo above shows the original pillow behind the pillow with the new pillow case I made to add a “pop of color” to the living room. Now, if only I had more time I could have saved us a lot more money, but we are trying to get the house on the market next week so there just isn’t enough time to do everything ourselves.

52 Weeks of Saving (Week 37 of 52)

Week 37 – Thriftbooks

S has a lot of books so lately we have been going to the library when we are ready for some new ones; however, sometimes there are books I want to buy for her instead of borrowing them. For example, we are going to be moving soon and S has already indicated that she has some hesitation about the move and has asked quite a few questions about where all her stuff will be. To help her understand what moving really entails and help her identify some of the emotions she is having, I decided it might be helpful to give her some children’s books about moving. I don’t want to borrow the books from the library because I want the books to be there through every step of our journey. Sometimes I find books pretty cheap on Amazon, both new and used, but this time I found the books about moving I was looking for even cheaper on a used book website called Thriftbooks. Currently, Thriftbooks is offering free shipping on any order over $10 so I made sure to order just over $10 worth of books to qualify for the free shipping. Within 24 hours I received a message that some of the books were already shipped, now I am just waiting for them to arrive.

A Year to Clear (Week 37 of 52)

Week 37 – A Big Map Turned Little

MapsQuite a few years ago Matt and I spent a few months traveling through South America. When we got back I put together a big wall map highlighting where we went on our trip. I laminated three maps together using sheets of clear contact paper, pinned the big map to a piece of fabric, and then hung it on the wall. I marked all of the places we went on the map and had plans to put up photos of our trip all around it on the big piece of fabric. Ten years later the map is rolled up in our closet unused and taking up space.

A year or so ago I decided that I would probably be better off making a small map, folding it up, and putting it in our photo album with the pictures we have from our trip. I have been meaning to do this for a while now, but haven’t got around to it so I finally put it on my “to do list”. I found a digital map, and then Matt printed it and volunteered to sit down and copy everything from the big map onto the smaller map. Now, the big wall map is gone and has been replaced by an 11″ x 17″ folded map that can tucked away in the back of the photo album. Thanks Matt!

A Year to Clear (Week 36 of 52)

Week 36 – Coins

Money2This might be stretching it a bit as far as getting rid of stuff goes, but S and I took all of our change to the bank and turned 7.5 pounds of coins into $109 in our bank account. It was a good activity for S too. She was thrilled to open up the piggy bank and spent quite a while helping me put the coins into a bag.

After we had collected all the coins in a bag, I decided to look for quarters to help complete my State Quarter collection that I started quite a while ago and never finished. I was surprised how much S got into it; she would sort all of the pennies out of each handful she took and then when I found a quarter that I needed for the collection she would get really excited. It was a fun activity for both of us and just as fun was the trip the bank where we got the dump all of the coins into the coin counter and watch the pennies add up. Money


52 Weeks of Saving (Week 36 of 52)

Week 36 – Be Your Own Tech Support

Photo credit: Laptop via photopin (license)

A better title for this one might be “don’t throw your hands up in the air and say “I give up” when your computer malfunctions”. Last week when S and I came home from vacation I found out Matt had downloaded a virus onto our laptop. We don’t have a TV, desktop computer, or anything else like that so the laptop is something we use A LOT. It is also where I edit photos and type blog posts. Needless to say, I was pretty bummed to come home from vacation and find out the computer was only somewhat operational. Matt had a inkling something had gone wrong, but it wasn’t until I came home and started trying to use the computer that we realized it was infected with a virus. I spent hours running virus protection scans, trying to find the infected files to delete, and searching for answers on the internet (luckily we have an iPad to do that on). I couldn’t fix it and couldn’t download any new software programs. Matt went to work and the IT people there suggested he download a specific malware detection program onto a flash drive and then run it off the flash drive. I did that and it got better, but the virus was still there.

I was about to give up and find someplace to take it to have it fixed, but I found out that would probably cost us at least $100. The laptop is over seven years so I was trying to decide if it was worth it to spend money to fix it. I decided to try to update the malware detection program and run one more full scan for infected files; a file was found, deleted, and the computer was fixed! Yay! I was so glad I gave it one more shot before paying someone to fix it for us, my effort paid off and saved us a lot of money.

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