What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Purging and Decluttering

It's a brand new year, perfect timing for purging and decluttering.  I'm on day 2 of doing both and it will likely take me a couple more days which is surprising since we have only been here 16 months and I did massive decluttering before the move.  I have also been very careful to not increase the clutter.  Still, the decluttering continues.  Here is what I'm targeting:

  • receipts - Any receipts over 7 years old kept for tax purposes can safely be destroyed.  Any receipt over a year old for small appliances can be destroyed unless there is an extended warranty which in my case only applies to a very few items.  I am a huge pack rat with respect to grocery receipts, the reason being I author a food blog that discusses food prices so I need to be able to refer to them.  After a year, the prices have changed anyway so the receipts are no longer needed.
  • medicines - Both over the counter and prescription medications have expiry dates.  While they may continue working after that date, there may be a reduced efficacy and/or chemical changes that could cause harm.  This is the time of year I go through the medicine cabinet discarding everything out of date, including vitamins.  I take all medications to be discarded to the pharmacy for safe disposal.
  • sunblocks/sunscreens - Both sunblocks and sunscreens have expiry dates.  We have a boat, a pool and and vacation home (in Florida) plus we do a lot of entertaining.  I always have sunblock and sunscreen on hand for ourselves and for our guests.  Expired sunblock and sunscreen lose the protection factor so even if you apply it, you can end up with a nasty burn.  I emptied all that were over or close to the expiry date.  
  • make-up - I very seldom wear much in the way of make-up so don't have a lot to begin with.  I tossed anything over a year old and I have no plans of replacing it.  I like the natural look.  
  • hair care products - I am a hair care fanatic!  I have waist length virgin (not treated) hair that is greying but I refuse to colour it.  At one time I had just about every hair care product imaginable (eg. gels, anti-frizz, sprays, detanglers, conditioners, shampoos).  Back in May of 2011 I started experiment with all natural hair care then in September discovered the Organix line of keratin hair care products and everything else was history.  When the kids were home for the holidays, I gathered up all the unopened bottles and there were a lot since I stocked up when on sale and sent them home with them.  I went from about 30 bottles and tubes of hair care products down to 3 from the Organix line and 2 Pantenes for my husband who hasn't embraced the Organix line yet.  Once the Pantene products are gone it will be the Organix as they are healthier for your scalp and hair because they are sodium and sulfate free.  Everything else I use on my hair is all natural (eg. baking soda, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, coconut oil) health, beauty and culinary.  
  • food - Generally, my time to go through the pantry and freezers is mid-March before gearing up for our bulk meat purchases and the start of the busiest portion of home food preservation so there isn't a lot to declutter.  However, since I'm in the decluttering mood, I'm making a systematic check through the pantry, freezers and cupboards.  Still this is a good way to use up some of those stashed left-overs.
  • clothes - I'm being really brutal here this time.  If I haven't worn something in over a year, into the donation box.  That's the rule.  
  • nic nacs - I did a rather good clean-up before we moved here but the storage area under the stairs became the home to things that didn't have an immediate home.  After 16 months, we haven't missed these items and likely won't use them so I'm clearing it out!  I'm also clearing out those items I thought would work in our new home but really don't.