How To Stop Being Embarrassed By Household Clutter

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I asked the members of my decluttering facebook group a while back if clutter ever stopped them from enjoying their home as much as they could and many answered yes.

Several went as far to say that clutter stops them from inviting people into their home. I can only imagine that the core reason for this is that they are embarrassed by household clutter.

Dear cluttered friend, I have been there too. In the past I have looked around my home and thought, “No way am I inviting so-and-so over! This place is too much of a mess and I can’t possibly get it looking good enough for visitors by….”

Stop being embarrassed by household clutter!

 

But I am happy to say that those words hardly ever come out of my mouth now. Please don’t get me wrong, I am still dealing with clutter, but it no longer stops me from inviting people over.

How To Stop Being Embarrassed By Clutter

1. Come up with a doable plan to attack your clutter

I am not suggesting in this post that you decide to just feel good about your clutter and invite people over to eat dinner between the piles on your dining room table–nope! Clutter does need to be dealt with.

Clutter is not only embarrassing, it is a health hazard. Trust me, clutter is weighing you down both mentally and physically.

However, I want you to be realistic with how long it will take you to attack your clutter. In order to do that you must also be truthful about your decluttering personality.

Are you a weekend purger or a little at a time type of person? Whatever your decluttering personality type you need to write a plan that suits and stick to it.

If you prefer to follow a pre-written plan here are a few books that can help:

You can also try my 52 weeks to a simplified home.

You can always change your plan if it isn’t working for you, but you cannot stop attacking your clutter. Keep at it!

2. Declutter the most public areas of your home first

Guests generally don’t enter all areas of your home, so focus on decluttering those they do first. Once these areas are clutter free inviting someone over isn’t as scary. Simply shut the doors on the other areas. It is a rare friend that would dare enter areas with closed doors without permission because truth be told almost everyone has a “closed door for a reason” room.

  • The entrance way (for some homes this may include the front porch leading to the entrance way)
  • The living area closest to the entrance way
  • The bathroom guests use
  • The kitchen
  • The dining room (or wherever the table is that you use to share a meal with friends)

How to Make Time Spent Decluttering FlyHow To Make Time Spent Decluttering Fly By

3. Make keeping them decluttered a priority

Too many times I have said, “Good, those areas are decluttered now I can move on to…” and then I do and I forget one essential step–keeping the public areas free of clutter.

If you want to get rid of clutter shame for good, you need to devote some time each and every week to removing clutter from the public areas of your home. Clutter grows quickly. A pile of unopened mail here, a pile of craft supplies there, a pile of stuff from the back of the car there and then BAM! The piles seem out of control and you cringe at the thought of company.

However, if instead each time you carve out time to declutter you devote the first portion of it to maintaining the public areas you already decluttered, it won’t have time to grow and your home will stay company ready.

Another way I keep continuing the fight against clutter in public areas in my home is by repeating these 3 simple steps over and over each day. After a while I just started doing them without thinking and they truly are my greatest weapon in keeping my home “almost” company ready at all times. To me “almost” company ready means that my home is fine for close friends, but about an hour away from making its best first impression on new friends.

4. Realize everyone is human

Trust me, your friends don’t live the clutter free lives they portray on Instagram. I for one will admit to actually temporarily removing a pile of clutter out of the way so I can take an awesome picture of the dessert I baked that turned out perfect for once!

Stop waiting for your home to be 100% clutter free in all areas to invite friends over. Instead, get the public areas of your home 80% decluttered and start inviting people over anyways.

Honestly, they won’t say anything about your random pile of your child’s school papers on the corner of the kitchen counter because they have one of their own at their house.

5. Come up with a visitor plan

I have two different visitor decluttering plans. I have the invite friends over because it will help me catch up on my clutter piles plan and the “Oh no!” a friend just called and said she is dropping by in 15 minutes decluttering plan.

In the first I purposely set a date for someone to come over and then make a plan to intentionally remove clutter piles from public areas of the home before they arrive. I like doing this because it gives me a reward of something I like doing, spending time with friends, in trade for sticking to something I hate doing, decluttering.

My “Oh no!” plan includes grabbing laundry baskets from the laundry room, throwing all random piles of clutter from the public areas of my home into them, and then shoving those baskets into my bedroom and shutting the door.

Both plans have their place and both work well for me.

4 Essential Items for Efficient Decluttering4 Essential Items For Efficient Decluttering

6. Never stop decluttering

I know this one is hard to hear, but in our consumer society we fight what can sometimes seem a losing battle with conquering piles of stuff.

It might not even be stuff we buy, but stuff given to us as gifts or for free from events we attended.

I knew when I finished my 52 weeks of decluttering I needed a way to keep clutter at bay in my home, which is why I went on to making myself fill one box each month with things to drop off at the thrift store. I plan to make this a forever habit. Every month for the rest of my life a box is going to the thrift store–no exceptions.

7. Know you are not alone

You are not the only one fighting a clutter battle. Just check out the slew of decluttering books out there. Those authors don’t write books no one will read.

If you need decluttering support, join my decluttering facebook page. In the group we discuss areas we plan to declutter over the next week, post pictures of progress and cheer each other on.

You are not the only one to feel embarrassed by your clutter, but you are the only one that can put an end to those feelings.
Stop feeling embarrassed by your home and start a plan of action that will make you feel good about it!

More decluttering help:

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RV Trip Update: On Our Way

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I am sitting in our RV at the end of our first day on the road as I type this.

Our first day on the road has turned out to be rather uneventful except for one thing — the FREEZING weather.

When I woke up Saturday morning I turned on the weather app and discovered that it was -1 Fahrenheit. That is pretty gosh darn cold!

I then looked up the temperature for the day in Nashville,which was our destination, and it was showing a daily high of 20 Fahrenheit.  Granted 20 is a lot higher than -1 but it is still cold.

When my husband woke up we spent time praying for wisdom together. Do we leave in such cold temperatures or do we wait it out until Nashville is at least above 30?

We decided to go for it with the back up plan of ditching the RV for a hotel if we couldn’t get it warm enough. We have never tried camping in cold weather before so we really were not sure if the heater in the unit was going to be able to keep up. Plus my husband was very concerned about water pipes freezing.

With our minds made up we flew into action packing the last of our items and making sure the house was ready for the house/dog sitter.

The drive to Nashville was relatively uneventful except for a few stressful moments at a gas station trying to maneuver the RV around the pumps and back onto the road. We want to ideally stop at large gas stations that cater to  semi-trucks but today we ran low on fuel and there were none in site.

We pulled into the campsite at Nashville in time to unpack and start dinner. It was higher than the weather app said it was going to get but still pretty cold. The RV warmed up quicker than we thought it would though.  It took about half an hour to feel livable and an hour to be warm and cozy.

We decided to not hook up our water for now. We are two spots over from the restrooms in the campground and they are warm and very clean. We do have to bundle up to use the facilities, but my husband really didn’t want to risk frozen water pipes.

It feels a little surreal to finally be doing something that started as a dream years ago and became a plan just 9 months ago.

This week we are heading to Atlanta and I promise in next week’s update I will  have pictures of what we see . For now I just wanted to let you know that the adventure has finally begun.

Follow me on Instagram for the latest pictures of the trip.

Click over to my RV trip page for a complete listing of our trip updates.

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12 Months To An Exceptionally Brighter Financial Future

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You are staring at a pile of bills. You want to get out from under them, but you don’t know how. You know you need to track spending, make a budget, get out of debt, get an emergency fund and on and on and on. It seems like improving your finances is just as overwhelming as living with a mound of bills.

It isn’t! At least not when you break down each step that you need to take to a brighter financial future into a small goal, taking time to make that one goal a habit before moving on to the next one.

Make this year the year you create a budget that works, pay off debt and start living with a brighter financial future.

12 Months To An Exceptionally Brighter Financial Future

Some of you might be able to complete a number of these tasks and make them a habit in less than a month. However, others might need more than a month to master one of these skills. Because of that, the 12 months is a general guideline; speed things up or slow things down as you need–BUT don’t get stalled! Be diligent to stay consistently progressing through all 12 steps.

Each step builds on the other. You don’t stop doing one step at the end of the assigned month, instead you add the next month’s goal on top of the habit you just finished mastering.

Month 1: Track Spending

It is hard to write up a budget if you don’t know exactly where your money is going in the first place. Take the first month of this challenge to track each and every penny you spend.

You can do that with a pen and a notebook or use a simple expense app on your smartphone. Either will work.

Month 2: Track All Sources Of Income

This month keep tracking your expenses, but track your income too–all of it. A lot of people track just their main paychecks, but I think it is important to track the little things too. The cash back check you got from the hardware store. The money you received for reselling those clothes you no longer needed. Add every penny that comes into your home.

Month 3: Write A Budget

Now that you know how much you earn and where you spend your earnings it is time to write a budget. Your budget will change almost every month as expenses and income change so don’t spend hours creating a pretty masterpiece. A simple typed out budget will do or even a handwritten one.

The important thing is that you have assigned every dollar of your money earned. Now some of you may discover that your expenses are larger than your earnings. If that is you, don’t panic–by the end of these steps you will have that corrected and be doing something to get rid of the debt you created while you were spending more than you earned.

If you have no clue how to even create a budget the book Debt-Proof Living: How to Get Out of Debt & Stay That Way by Mary Hunt can help. You can also download these free printable budget forms over at Queen of Free.

Make this year the year you create a budget that works, pay off debt and start living with a brighter financial future. 17 Ways Thrifty Bookworms Save Money On Books

Month 4: Start Studying

This month you are going to learn how to make that budget balance by learning from thrifty masters how to stretch your hard earned dollars.

My top 3 books for those beginning their journey into the thrifty life are:

Month 5: Reduce One Budget Line

Starting with this month I want you to pick one line of your budget you think you can reduce, set a goal for the reduction and stick to that goal.

You can visit my save money on groceries page for tips on how to save money on your food budget, my saving money on clothing page for tips to keep your clothing budget down and my money saving tips page to figure out how to save money in pretty much any area of your budget.

When the month is over pick another area of your budget to lower. Repeat this step over and over each month, even if you just lower the chosen category by $5–it all adds up.

Month 6: Start An Emergency Fund

Now that you have a written budget and you are working on creating wiggle room in your budget it is time to create a vital piece in the puzzle that is your financial success: an emergency fund.

An emergency fund will stop you from digging out your credit cards to pay for car repairs, a broken water heater, emergency medical bills and so on.

Most financial experts suggest having at least a $1,000 set aside while you are paying off debt and after the debts are paid you should grow this to 3 to 6 months worth of income.

A great way to kickstart your emergency fund is to set aside some time this month to go through your home from top to bottom gathering things you no longer use to resell.

My reselling tips page if full of how-to suggestions for all sorts of different places to resell your stuff.

Make this year the year you create a budget that works, pay off debt and start living with a brighter financial future. How Our Family Pays Just $45 A Month For Service To 3 Smartphones

Month 7: Make Your Smartphone Pay

With a written budget and a $1,000 emergency fund it is time to generate some small streams of income that can help put a bit of fun in your budget.

Of course, you could use these tiny streams of income to pay for food,or clothing if you want, but I prefer using them to add a few treats to a otherwise treat-less budget.

I suggest starting with cash back style smartphone apps. These apps earn you points for purchases and other actions that you can then trade in for gift cards or PayPal deposits.

5 apps for Earning Gift Cards With Your Smartphone

Ibotta

The Ibotta app gives you rebates when you complete various tasks for a product in the app and then take a picture of the receipt for the product you chose in the app and upload it. Here is my step by step guide on how to use Ibotta.

Use my referral code QtTQg at sign-up (sometimes they offer a special when you do this–sometimes not).

Sign up for Ibotta here

MobiSave

MobiSave offers cash backs with no thresholds. What this means is if you pick 3 rebate offers all valued at say $0.10, then go shopping and upload your receipt, in 24 hours you will receive your $0.30 in rebates in the form of a PayPal deposit.

Here is my tutorial for how to use MobiSave: Earn Cash Back On Your Groceries with MobiSave

Sign up for MobiSave here (use my referral code OGHUVPZ)

Receipt Hog

Simply upload a receipt by taking a picture of it with your smartphone or tablet and watch your points and spins add up. There are lots of stores that qualify including Aldi. Read my full tutorial on Receipt Hog here.

Earn a free spin when you use my referral code YECT1667 when signing up

Sign up for Receipt Hog here (YECT1667)

BerryCart

If you shop for organic, gluten-free or NON GMO foods then you are going to want sign up for BerryCart. It works like a rebate program giving you money back for certain natural food purchases when you upload your receipt.

Here is my tutorial for the BerryCart App: Step By Step Guide To BerryCart App

Sign up for BerryCart here

 Shopkick

Shopkick is the app that pays you to browse. You don’t have to purchase anything to earn gift cards through the Shopkick app. You simply sign in when you enter select stores and earn kicks just for entering in the store and/or by scanning select products while you shop.

See my tutorial (a Step by Step Guide To Shopkick) for more details.

Sign up for Shopkick here

Month 8: Make Your Time Online Pay

Swagbucks is a point program that allows you to download a toolbar. When you download this toolbar and enter your web searches through it you earn points called SB at random. These SB points can then be cashed in for gift cards for dozens of different stores and restaurants including Starbucks, Amazon and even PayPal.

Swagbucks also gives points when you shop at various online stores or daily deal sites. If you are searching the web or shopping online you might as well be earning gift cards for your time.

Sign up for Swagbucks here

Month 9: Start Attacking Debt

Finally you and your family are gaining financial headway, now it is time to kick it up a notch and get rid of those monthly payments.

Pick your smallest debt and each month send in more than the minimum payment–as much as you possibly can. If you did not resell everything you could to create your $1,000 emergency fund now is the time to resell it and put the proceeds right on your debt.

When the smallest debt is gone roll that payment into the next smallest debt and start getting rid of it faster. Repeat over and over until you are left with just your mortgage. Depending on your level of debt this step could take years, but it will be worth it.

The Ibotta app gives you rebates when you complete various tasks for a product in the app and then take a picture of the receipt for the product you chose at the store you chose and upload it to the app.6 Ways To Turn Your Laptop Into A Money Making Machine

Month 10: Start Researching Alternative Streams Of Income

If you want the debt to be gone faster and if you want to have more financial freedom once the debt is gone, unless you already earn a very generous income chances are you are going to need to create an alternative source of flexible income.

For our family our flexible income streams include rental properties, my blog and my husband’s on call work. For your family chances are it will look much different–we all have unique talents and opportunities.

My Earning and Selling Tips Pinterest board is full of ideas for creating flexible side jobs.

Take a month to research what side jobs might work for you. Figure out whether there is a market for your idea, what the costs involved are for starting it and if you really have the passion for it.

Month 11: Stop Researching And Start That Side Job

At the end of one month stop researching ideas for side jobs, pick one and start doing all you can to get it off the ground.

Too many of us get stuck in research mode never to take the leap into action mode. You won’t earn a single penny researching–you need to take action.

Month 12: Start Dreaming BIG

You have now laid the foundation for a strong financial future. You have earned the right to stop wallowing in an overwhelmed state and start dreaming about the future.

When you and your family are out of debt what do you want to do? Take a vacation? A cross country RV trip? Move to a bigger home? Create and fund your own charity? Dream big and start striving towards that goal. When you do, watch BIG things happen.

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