Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Past Week

The weekend has arrived which means  that I'll be staying close to home.  Last night's sleep was good and solid so I woke up (after coffee) with the energy of a bunny.  You most likely know which one I'm referring to.

The sheets went into the washer with a pod on the hot setting.  I use a pod for anything the pup comes in contact with because, let's face it, as cute as she is she does go outside.  I wash the blankets every other time and the mattress pad four times a year.  When the pad doesn't get washed it gets lightly sprayed with home made lavender water and wiped down with a dry cloth.  The pillows and blankets also get a spray and the window is wide to the cool air to freshen up the room.  When the cloth is done wiping the pad it gets used to dust the furniture.  I have to write myself a note to call the carpet guy to clean the carpet in the bedroom.  The decision has been made to have them cleaned once a year in that room as it is the most used room with carpet in the house.  The upstairs can go to an every other year schedule  because there's little traffic in that part of the house.

Since essential oils need to be stored in dark glass I splurged
and bought some bottles on amazon.  They're good quality and the sprayer
works well.  I just shake before each use to  meld the oils and distilled
water together and spray.  Easy to make and easy to use.

A couple hours on Thursday were spent with S. looking for jeans for her five year old.  She hit the jack pot at Children's Place where the sale price was $7.99 a pair.  I also hit the jackpot and came away with four shirts, a winter hat, and a bracelet set for the three year old for her birthday in the fall.  I'll look for a great book to add to the clothes and her gift will be complete.  The total of the clothing items came to just over $17.00.  I used the gift money saved from turning in my change from last year.

Every little girl needs a raccoon hat to keep her warm
during the cold months.

I seldom check my numbers for the blog and even less often check the number of followers I have.  I happen to check them the other day and saw four people had unfollowed me.  That's OK because I'm not after the numbers.  I think you all know that by now. This happened after I wrote something about my attachment to God in a comment.  That's OK, too.  I'm just hoping the two ladies I have become attached to were not of those who unfollowed.  It's difficult for me to know, but I want you two to know how much I appreciate you and consider you both a part of my life.

A friend put up a recipe on my Facebook page for a lentil soup that used only one pound of sausage in it.  It looked so good I decided to make it next week.  Maybe I can convince her to write it out for the blog so everyone can enjoy the winter goodie!  She artfully called it 'Souper Bowl soup in place of Super Bowl. 

As long as the subject of friends has come up, let me brag about another friend.  I call her the queen of couponing.  This woman runs circles around anyone I've ever met when it comes to setting up scenarios for buying the items she needs.  The best part is the scenarios she sets up do not just include her needs.  They include her local food pantry - each week.  I may get this number off a bit and I know she'll correct it, but if I remember correctly she has saved over $50,000 in a five year period by taking the time to scour the local ads, price matching, and using coupons.  Kudos for her efforts!  She is making her area a better place to be while having fun doing what she loves.

A local grocery store had a sale on clams and other seafood.  A bag of 18 clams was $5.00 and called out to me as I looked over the seafood case.  The same store had an offer of BOGO (buy one get one free) on organic butter.  After doing the math the organic butter was less expensive than the regular butter.  Regular butter is priced at close to $5.00 a pound in my area.  The organic butter, on sale, was $3.50 a pound.

So into the basket it went.  The clams went on the stove and some butter got melted to dip the clams into.  The butter was heavenly with a pure and salty taste.  Little did I know that butter could taste so good.  To combat the price in the future there will be less butter used on toast.  I'd rather have less of something that is healthier than lots of something that isn't.  I can think this way because I'm only responsible for myself.  I'm aware of how blessed I am.  This approach most likely would not be possible with a family of growing children and a hungry man eyeing what's cooking on the stove.  Please know I'm reporting my life here and not suggesting or saying anyone should follow my  advice or routines..

Have an enjoyable weekend where ever you are and stay safe.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Free Book From Amazon (My Daughter's!)

A SUPER treat for my readers.  Today only Carolyn's publisher has her new book,  "Undercover in Six Inch Stilettos", by Carolyn LaRoche, on amazon kindle for FREE!!!!!!!!!!!

You can find it here:

Let me know what you think if you choose to read it.

Happy reading!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Spring Cleaning, Decorating and Fresh Air

When I think of frugal and simple foods the egg salad sandwich is on the list - close to number one.  What I didn't realize after using one egg I boiled  - it should be number one.  I used that egg to make a sandwich today.  Imagine how surprising it was when that egg produced two sandwiches.  (not skimpy)
One egg
5 chopped up green olives
One small celery stalk
Two (2) tablespoons of mayonnaise

And, I have two meals for 30.75 cents.  Adding in 5 cents for the additional ingredients still makes it a simple, yet frugal, meal at just under .18 cents a meal.  Add the bread which I can't calculate because I don't know how many slices are in the loaf.  But, fair is fair so the bread needs to get a mention.

Grocery stores don't offer smaller portions for single people in the fresh veggie department.
If I want lettuce, I buy an entire head.  Or carrots and celery come in nothing smaller than 'stalk' or a pound.  A friend has been singing the praises of green bags for years to me.  I finally bought some because I had all the dehydrated foods I need and watching food waste was irritating the heck of out me.  She was correct!  I now have a portion of a head of lettuce that is still good that was purchased at the beginning of January.  That makes it twenty four days with more to come.

Now, out of the kitchen and into the office.  I'm loving the small space.  The couch came in with a small black side table.  It's beginning to get cozy in there.  Next will be drapes.  Measuring from the ceiling to the floor let me know I need 95 inch drapes.  If the roads are clear on Monday, I'll hop over to Penney's to check out their selection.  If they're not on sale in the store, I'll grab the information and go online where there is a 50% off sale plus 20% with any type of payment.  Going through ebates will net me another 9% off which will bring the cost down to just over 26.00 a panel for a panel that was originally priced at $70.00.  The ones I'm looking at are lined in white.  White is the only color that can appear in the windows from the street. (Home Owner Rules)  I don't mind it because the look is consistent.  Our neighborhood is small and multiple colors would definitely look unbalanced and not so clean.

Things got moved around already.  To fill the empty space
in the jut out part I placed the organizers that were previously
next to the bookcase and desk.

The couch is a bit bigger than a love seat, but smaller
than a regular couch.  It also opens up to a sleeper.
(Double) Marley photo bombed the picture. 

On the list is also another lamp for the small side table.  I'm hoping Marshall's still has a matching lamp to the one that's on the bookcase.  The last thing will be a medium size television so Marley and I can watch our videos.  I'm looking into a 'smart' TV which has Netflix and METV access built in.  I have heard rumors that those devices can spy on a person in the room.  I don't know how true that is.  Well, no matter.  There's time to make a decision.


After prayer time I began watching a couple of the ladies I follow on yoo toob.  Before coffee!  Bad idea because one of the videos was extremely motivational.  By 9 AM I had a dining area that was scrubbed down from the floor on up.  I washed the chairs and table base, then went on to the table top.  The floor and baseboards are now clean, as well.  I just realized the ceiling light didn't get cleaned so when I'm done writing I will wipe that down as well.  The chair seats have also been cleaned with upholstery cleaner and are in the middle of drying out.

The chair seats need to dry before they are returned to
the appropriate position.  When they're dry I'll clean off the residue
with a cleaning brush to remove the dried up dirt.

Since everything is smelling nicely I opened the living room window to air out the living area.  The sun is shining and the air is crisp.  Just the right combination to kill germs.

Later this morning the plan is to go to Penney's to check out the drapes for the office.  I did a bit of research on smart TVs and I think I'll pass on a TV in the office room.  Samsung has a privacy policy that literally tells you they collect data from your device AND the TV is capable of listening to conversations in your home.  I don't talk much anyway, but I also like to think my home is my private area,  So, I'm taking a pass on that one.  It's an invasion of privacy to be on the computer and that's enough for me.

Here's a link to Samsung's privacy policy.  Note the verbiage is soft, mentioning third parties.  No thank you.

Stay safe. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Preparing for the Storm

We're waiting for the big storm to hit, but I find it difficult to sit still and just wait.  Everything has been canceled and the schools are on half day to make sure buses aren't on the roads during 'the weather event'.  Since this is the South (USA) the area is not prepared to clear roads and line them with dirt and sand.  Our roads are especially slippery because the black top contains shiny bits of sea shells. I'm told the shelves in the stores are getting rather bare so people are preparing to stay home and wait the storm out.  My  biggest concern in this situation are the seniors who are alone as they're not able to protect themselves as well is needed. 

This is where I feel the need to tell you about a video I watched yesterday.  The man is from the North, but currently lives in the South.  The video was rather snarky about Southerners clearing the shelves of bread and milk.  While he (The great and powerful OZ) is always prepared for such emergencies.  The video stressed the attitude of Northerners told everything.  I am a transplanted Northerner, but I was never like that.  I developed a hard emotional shell to protect myself and can keep up with the snarkiest of them, but it's not my personality and can be most stressful to live in a constant motion of snarkiness.  I fit in down here in the South where people have manners and consider the feelings of others before their mouths engage.  The meanest thing I've heard here is, ' Well, isn't he (she) special'.  Meaning quite the opposite.

This morning I have a chocolate cake in the oven and chili on the stove top.  I make the cake (mix) with milk rather than water to add protein to the finished product.  Three eggs and 1 1/4 cup of milk makes the cake a healthy alternative.  No frosting is need, perhaps a sprinkling of powdered sugar. (or not)  It's the cake I like, not the toppings.

A few weeks back a friend gave me some of her chili to take home.  It was so good and packed with vitamins that I decided my chili has a lot to be desired.  I don't know what spices she used so I went looking for a packet of pre mixed spices.  I put back the packet I found in the grocery store because of the ingredients I had a hard time pronouncing.  I could pronounce the word 'silica'.  Translated to English, that means wood shavings.  No thank you.

At the Dollar Tree I found a national brand and read the ingredient label.  With nothing more than sugar and spices,  I bought a pack to try it out.

Nothing but real ingredients listed in this product.

Yesterday was spent with my 13 year old grandson.  He was sick and spent the day with grandma.  We watched the movie 'Purgatory' and ate soft foods that didn't irritate his throat.  To offer some relief to my daughter's busy daily schedule, at the end of the day we picked up his brother and I provided her with a pot of ham boiled dinner.

Boiled dinner is not my usual, but a friend encouraged me to use up left over ham and veggies and make the dish.  It includes cabbage, which I have an aversion to, but I went to the store and bought a small head.  I didn't eat any of the cabbage, but I don't mind the flavor.  I must say it was a delicious meal.  I left two helpings for myself before I gave the pot over to my daughter and her family.

S and I went to the large Dollar Tree this week to gather a few things.  They had a container of organic soup that I'm going to try from a national company.  Campbell's has recently put out a press release stating as they move forward their foods will be labeled and identified as containing GMO items.  This is a good business move as people have obviously stopped buying products that contain ingredients that are not whole foods.  It appears the company has identified the problem correctly and is rising to meet the consumer demand.  Hopefully other companies will join them in providing healthier alternatives.

Breakfast this morning consisted of - you guessed it - chocolate cake and milk.  Add a few sips of coffee in the mix and you'll find a happy girl. 

I tried to get a picture of the pup a minute ago, but she will have no part of it.  When the camera is pointed in her direction she turns her head.  The one picture I do have of her was taken when I caught her off guard.  The little stinker!

 The 'weather event' has just begun.  Stay safe dear readers.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Everyone has favorite things in their life that cut the edge off a day that had to be maneuvered around stressors.  Like walking through the door and slipping into PJs as soon as you turn the lock.   Then making a cup of tea and sitting on the couch for ten minutes mindlessly watching a blank television screen before everyone in your family needs your attention. 

Well, maybe the PJ thing can happen, but the tea normally has to wait until everyone has settled in for the evening.  I remember those days with fondness.  My routine when I came in from working 12 - 14 hour shifts at a local emergency room was to give the kids a kiss and hop into a shower.  I didn't want the kids to even touch me before a shower because of any germs I may have picked up while working.  Hugs and contact came after the shower.

These days life is much calmer and I take solace in small things that change from time to time.  Currently I find myself enjoying these small treats.

1.Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that have been stored in the refrigerator for a couple hours.
2. Oranges (vitamin C)
3.Raisin bread  (There's iron in them there raisins!)
4. Banana bread (potassium)
5. Apple cider vinegar to maintain good blood sugar levels and blood pressure.  There must be some effect vinegar has to maintain health because my last blood pressure was 100 over 68.

1.My tastes are eclectic in this area.  My first go to video is Boss of the Swamp.  This man lives off grid, but is not a show  offie type.  He's down to earth and has the prettiest and well behaved border collie that gets a lot of attention from viewers, including me.  He's an artist and his wood working skills are to be admired.  He reminds me of my husband in so many ways especially his even personality and dedication to his tasks.

2. A Simply Simple Life   This family has four well rounded children, one male and three females. (Sound familiar?)  Diane vlogs through a day in the life with a Pilipino accent that can be addictive.  The videos are relaxing and informative.  What I like about Diane is when she shops she lets us know what she likes, but she doesn't grab everything to put in her cart.  She has a budget and sticks to it.

3. Elizabeth Mayhem!  This lady is from the UK and has a most delightful sense of humor.   She is laid back even though she also has a large family.  Very entertaining as well as informative.  I originally began watching her videos because there were foods from the grocery store that I didn't recognize.  She was gracious enough to answer my questions when I had them.  I'm learning about another culture while at the same time being entertain with laughs and giggles.

4.Frugalnista  If you want to see a woman who exemplifies the proverbs woman, cast an eye on Vivica.  Checking out store dumpsters is legal in her state and she can find some beautiful items by just peeking in and grabbing what's on top of the pile.  I call it elegant diving.

The saint that was picked out of a hat for me this year by my friend in NY was Saint Maria Galetti.  I believe this saint was canonized in 1950.  Maria was only twelve when she was murdered, but left a trail of good deeds and pure love for God.  She was also a poor farmer's daughter who happened to be Italian.  I'm having a good time researching her life. 

I added a new prayer to my list.

I love the new desk and bookcase in the office room.  I like the feel of the small room and have intentions of added a love seat and television to it.  I have a feeling that's where a person will find me in the months ahead.  As cozy as the living room is, the feel isn't there because of the high ceilings.  I'm more familiar with smaller spaces and feel secure in them.

My go to home wear are sweat pants and waffle weave tops.  Since it's winter I also cozy up with a tee shirt under the waffle weave.  I also brought out the flannel sleep pants for warmth while the pup cuddles up next to me for a long winter's sleep.

Since I don't need too many items any more my shopping has been reduced to comsumables such as food and light bulbs.  I do love an essential oil I bought called Thieves oil.  I use it to make liquid hand soap because of it's disinfecting properties.  It's called thieves oil because it is a combination of oils that were put together to protect thieves in the 1400s while they stole from bodies that were effected with the black plague.  A rather vile beginning, to say the least. 

Distilled water
3 Tablespoons castile soap
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
5 drops essential oil

Place oils and soap in a pump dispenser (I repurpose)
Add water to about 1 1/2 inch from lip of the dispenser
Cap and shake well

Do you have favorite things this month that help you get through the day?  Kind of a spark of sunshine during a dreary winter's day.  Please fell free to share in the comments section.  Until the next time, stay safe.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Thoughts and Tasks

I really don't have any subject to discuss this morning, so perhaps I'll just rattle on about the goings on around here.  Tomorrow I'll be attending my grandson's tenth birthday party.  He wanted to hold it at the bowling alley and invited just a few friends.   The kiddos bowl and the adults sit and jabber on.  It's a nice and relaxing time for me as I watch all the grands throw gutter balls.

S and I went to Wally World yesterday so I could pick up a few items on my list.  The camera is on the last batteries so I picked up those along with four large bottles of 70% alcohol.  The alcohol is used as a heat source when the power goes down.  The area I live in is relatively new so the infrastructure is in good shape.  Our wires are mostly underground so the threat of loosing power is minimal.  But,  I don't want to be freezing cold if there is an occurrence.  I have a rocket stove for cooking and heating a room.  The alcohol is poured over a roll of bathroom tissue and lit in the fire well of the stove with no ill effects to the environment.  Since I'm a safety Sally, I'll open a window just a smidge if I need to use the stove for warming.

C asked me why I've become so prepared for things.  I reminded her I have always been this way which brought up a memory for her.  She acknowledged I was right because she remembered  when she was young I had a supply of food and water in the basement in the event of a tornado.  They were rare, but did happen now and then.

As a matter of fact, one came by our area on the day of a celebration we were having in the back yard.  The patio table went over and the glass shattered sending my husband to the factory to purchase a new one before guests arrived.  I cleaned up the mess, he went for the glass insert, and no one was the wiser.

'In the Shadow of the Shield', my daughter's new book (number 2 in the series) is on amazon for .99 cents today.  You can find it here:  Once you begin to read her books, it will be difficult to wait for the next one.  Her publisher has listed her book as a must read for 2016.  The books are a combination of intrigue, deception, and romance. 

Today will be a lazy day, I can feel it.  I have a project that I'm working on for the office and feel tomorrow is a good time to continue it.  I bought a collage frame so I could put most of my framed family pictures in one frame.  I'm not fond of picture walls because of the business of the finished product.  I'm hoping this will be the one thing that will serve my purpose and steady my visual needs.  I won't put pictures of family, especially the kids, in the living room where they are visible to strangers.  It's just part of the safety Sally in me.

Also, while at Wal Mart, I purchased another case (of 6) two quart glass canning jars for the pantry.  They take up less space than the other available canisters.  Today may be the day I wash them out and transfer the items in the bigger canisters to the jars.  I also saw a bar of laundry soap for .97 cents to wash items by hand.  What an interesting concept.  I bought one to try it out.

The jars went from this to -

to this.  Pretty, isn't it?

Laundry bar soap in front of my fun purchase of heart decorated
straws.  I have a 'thing' for straws these days.

I just cleaned out the refrigerator and decided it would be a good idea to eat from the freezer and cupboards this week.  Normally I shop every other week so my grocery bill isn't all that high, but I'm still finding waste in the refrigerator.  I have to figure out how to stop the waste.  One thing I've been thinking about is breaking down my stubborn streak and learning how to meal plan.  There was a time I didn't need to do that because food flew in and out of the house with six people in it.  Talking to a friend who has offered to help me get organized in this area, I discovered that organization is a key ingredient in the process.  As she began to explain what she does to dispel food waste, a light bulb went off.  She has organized the days of the week with the food she puts on the table for her and her husband.  This means, for example, that Thursday is designated as soup and home made bread day.  Always a different soup, but soup none the less.  Because they go to Mass on Saturday the meal consists of sandwiches - either hot or cold.  This information has opened a new door in meeting the goal of the current quest.

It seems I have a lot to ramble on about today.  I'm not a big talker, preferring to listen to others most days.  Once in a while I can't talk enough.  My friends and family just let me ramble on when I'm in that mood.  Today, my readers have caught me in that mood.  So here is another revelation about myself.

I was washing the two quart jars before using them.  I lined them up in two rows of three on a clean kitchen towel, making sure the glass etchings were all facing forward.  Then I put the caps in front of the jars in a neat line - the wording didn't have to be lined up.  At first I thought it was a bit radical of me to line up the etchings.  Then I noticed the wording on the caps didn't have to be lined up.  Here's my thought process.  I was taught by nuns in my formative years.  We were taught that order made our lives run a bit more smoothly.  It was a good quality to possess in those days.  By current standards this behavior would be considered a personality glitch in the medical field.  I ask this:  When did a desire for order become a glitch?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

How Much Saved?

This post is inspired by a reader as she asked if I have any other home made cleaning products besides the orange cleaner that I use.

I'll post what I have normally used as well as the minor changes I've made because my body can't handle the pain involved in cleaning without a little help  from 'my friends'.

Wood Floors: Until recently I got down on my bum and cleaned with a rag and hot water.  I tried the cleaning pads the other day (attached to a Swiffer pole) with side effects to Marley.  I had to get down after that and wash the product off the floor anyway.  So to solve the problem I have a steamer.

Sinks, counters, bathroom fixtures, cooktop, and most other surfaces: I use the home made orange cleaner.

Windows and glass surfaces:  Vinegar has been my go to cleaner for these surfaces.  I need to look up the recipe so if anyone wants to use it to clean their glass surfaces it's available.  Fill half a spray bottle with water and the other half with white vinegar to make a glass cleaner.  Because I got a bottle of glass cleaner free a few months ago, I have that on reserve.

Clothes:  Wash ball and dryer balls.  The wash ball goes in the sun after 30 uses to regenerate.  I do use Tide free and clear for the dogs bedding with a touch of bleach I purchase from the dollar store.
I also use tea tree essential oil in the dryer to discourage the collection of mites on all bedding.  You know the ones we can't see that are normally demonstrated with the use of cartoon characters.  I'm not even sure they really exist, but to be on the safe side the essential oil goes on the dryer ball.

The wash ball, dryer balls, and essential oil used to
clean bedding and other clothes.   The oil is placed on one
of the dryer balls.

Stainless steel surfaces.  I use plain warm water and a lot of elbow grease.  If one of the grands leave a full hand print, I clean around it because I love to see those little prints that bring up feelings of love.

Cooktop:  I tell anyone within ear shot that I'm not happy with the ceramic cooktop.  This feeling aside it needs to be kept free of dirt and grease.  First I use the orange cleaner then I sprinkled baking soda and use a damp rag to spread it around in a circular motion - with lots of elbow grease.  Not only do I not prefer to use store bought cleaner, but I refuse to pay 9.00 a bottle for it.  I swear it's only a paste made from baking soda and water anyway.  The cooktop also needs a couple of rinsings to remove any residue left behind from the baking soda.  The final step is a good buffing with a clean clot in a side to side direction.

The ceramic cooktop before cleaning.

Baking soda sprinkled on the cooktop after the orange cleaner has
been used then removed.  Water is added to the soda to create a paste.

The results after the cooktop has been buffed.

The items used to get the resulting shining cooktop.

Walls:  Most of the house is painted with a surface that is not smooth.  The only thing I can use is a magic eraser from the dollar store.  I also use the small paint kit the builder left behind for any touch ups needed.

Wood surfaces:  A small amount of plain water on a rag then buffed up with a clean rag.  I use to use a spray that had fabreeze in it because I liked the scent it left behind.  Then I read the ingredients on a fabreeze label and decided to change my strategy.  I also clean painted wood surfaces this way. but add just a drop of essential oil then rinse with an additional cloth.

Doing the math is my favorite part of this equation.  Let's calculate the annual savings.  The items and their costs come from current pricing on amazon.  I'm going to try to compare environmentally friendly items.


I couldn't find an item to clean the stove top.  The price in my local grocery store is very close to 9.00.  Realistically this item is used every week or more.  To be more than fair- because I don't know the size of the container - let's say we use only three per year.  27.00 total

Just these five items will remove 141.69 per year from your wallet.  My orange cleaner cost whatever the peels of citrus costs and about 2 cups of vinegar.  Baking soda costs .50 at the dollar store.  The elbow grease is free.

It's been said we have either time or money.  I've found out I can have both.

Stay safe and let us know if you have any home made products you use that saves you money.  The simple life is the healthiest and stress free life I have ever encountered.  A simple life can be had no matter where you live.  To me it's more a frame of mind than location.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Organization Has Begun, 2016

The new year is here!  Lots of ideas float through our minds of what we can alter and improve on this year.  Yoo Toob is buzzing with organizational videos - so many that there's not enough time to watch them all.  Vloggers are organizing everything from closets to weight programs.  My first choice every year is organizing paper work.  This year's project has brought me to new heights.  I bought a desk and a book case.

I plan on arranging the room differently as soon as inspiration
hits.  For now, I'm just happy to have the desk.

You may recall one of the things on my new year list was to purchase a desk in a final attempt to organize paper work.  I did just that.  The office space was empty because, to be honest, I was too cheap to buy a desk.  I've gone along these past years (3.5) using small containers for the hanging files and all of the other items needed to run the economics of a home.  Things never got where they belonged because I would forget which container they went in or the 'I'll do it later' mentality set in.  In the past I would use the right church, wrong pew mentality.  All this did was upset me when I had to search for a document.  To keep my sanity I sprung for a desk.  One with a drawer that is specific for hanging files.  It's in the office along with a matching bookcase. 

I don't know why I didn't do this years ago.  I found that the space is so cozy that I'm going to purchase a love seat and TV for my down time.  A couple of lamps and some cozy curtains and I'll be good to go.

I've set up the room to include the small stash of craft items I have as well as paperwork and office items.  I'm using containers I have collected from around the house to house everything.  Although I have placed the hanging files in the appropriate drawer, I have been going through each item and discarding what I don't need.  As an example:  I don't need every electric statement that comes in each month.  The statement has a chart on my usage for a year so each month the usage can be compared.  I do need all of my financial statements so 2015 was organized by month and placed in a bin designated for long term storage.

Also on the agenda is organizing the gift wrapping items.  I purchased an organizer that holds even the long rolls of wrapping paper.  I have all Christmas supplies in one and liked it so much I have another organizer coming in the mail for all occasion items.  I also bought bins for the holiday decorations.  The ones I used this year were kept and others were donated. 

An additional area I have completed work on is health and beauty - cosmetics.  I have more than I can use in two years so I thinned out my supply of creams that my daughters can have if they like.  They are sample items from a large cosmetic company, but they are great for winter months.  I use them on my hands at times even though they're made for the facial area.

The kitchen cupboards got a run through to be decluttered.  I found a few items I don't use so they went out the door.

The junk drawer - before

The junk drawer - after.  I don't need 10 pens and pencils
at my fingertips.  The extra are going to the office to be stored.
If I don't use them in this coming year, They will leave the house.
Areas left to organize:
Clothes (again)
 Shoes (again)
Pantry (again) DONE!

Organizing is one of my favorite things to do.  I get a sense of accomplishment from the activity.  Do you enjoy organizing?  What's on your agenda this month?

Addendum:  I bought a famous maker cleaning pads for the hard woods that attach to the Swiffer handle.  Imagine my surprise when my dog began to sneeze then not be able to breath.  I put her out in the fresh air and re washed the floors with hot water and a rag.  The dog responded to my efforts.  I remember now why I began to make my own cleaning products.