Attention Parents: MamaBear is an App You Need to Check Out

Raising children these days exposes parents to so many more challenges than the ones faced by our parents. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying it is more difficult. I’m just saying it is different. While we face so many challenges that have arisen due to the increase in technology, we have also gained a number of tools that can make things easier…if we know what they are and how to use them. Today, I’m going to introduce you to one that I think is amazing.

Let me begin by saying that when it comes to parenting, I don’t mind being the bad guy. My three children are 13, 11, and 5. The 13 year old is the only one with a phone (and at this point, the only one who spends much time away from us). We made it clear to her that we would monitor her phone – not because we didn’t trust her, but because we didn’t trust others.

The app I am talking about is called MamaBear. If you would like to know where your child is without having to call or text and ask….if you are concerned about what is happening on his or her social media accounts…if your child just started driving and you want to make sure he or she is not speeding…if your child rides with other teens and you want to make sure they are not driving too fast with your child into the car…if there is a particular place you want to make sure your child does not go…if you just want to know when your child arrives safely at school each day and you know they won’t remember to text you…this is the app for you. If you are worried about offending your child, this is not.

I have the feeling that most teens would be a little aggravated if you told them you were installing this app on their phone. Luckily mine was not, but let me be clear – I would’ve put it on her phone even if she was. I take this parenting thing seriously, and my number one priority is her safety.

I first learned of this app from my brother. He lives in Knoxville, and his son drives himself and his brother to school each day. I was at their house for a visit, and my brother received a text telling him that his son had arrived at school. I asked how he got the text, and he explained the basics of his app to me. I knew right away that I had to have it.

Let me explain some of the awesome features. First, you can view on a map where your child is at all times. The map is like Google maps – you can zoom in and view a basic map, or a satellite or hybrid view. You can then name the place as a “safe place” and receive alerts when your child arrives at or departs from the place. You can also send a message to your child using the app. When he or she replies, it will give you the street name of his or her location. I love the idea that I can click the app at any time and see exactly where my child is.

The app also gives you the ability to monitor quite a few social media accounts. It can monitor Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can have it alert you if your child adds friends/followers, if anyone tags or mentions them, if they upload a photo, and you can list restricted words to watch for and receive an alert if they mention any of those words in a post. If your child has an android phone, you can even use it to monitor texts.

The last feature that I am super excited about is the driving feature. You can set a speed limit for your child (whether they are the driver or a passenger with someone else driving) and receive alerts anytime they exceed that speed limit.

I realize this app is not for everyone. Many of you will feel like this is an invasion of your child’s privacy and that is certainly your decision. We each get to approach this parenting thing in the way that we feel works best for us.  I am simply sharing this information for the other parents like me who would find this useful. Ithis a free app, so if you think this might be something you would like, go check it out on the App Store.

If you already use it, let me know what you think. Do any of you use a different app that has similar features? I would love to hear what others are out there and what you think of them.

 

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30 Day Clutter Challenge – Day 5 Linen Closet

  Thanks for hanging in there with the clutter challenge. Do you feel like you are making any progress? Things have been really busy around here, but I still feel like I am getting things done to clear the clutter.

Today, we will focus on the linen closet. This task will be simple. All you need to do is get rid of any torn or stained linens. It makes sense that you would do this as they become stained or torn, but, if you are like me, the reality is that you think you will find a miracle stain remover and someday soon you’ll get them back to new condition. Or…you think that a little tear in a towel isn’t a big deal. Then, you let it go for a few washes and suddenly your little tear has turned into a big, frayed mess.

There are probably very few people who enjoy spending their hard-earned cash on new towels or sheets, but having a few really nice quality ones is a better option than having a ton of torn and stained ones that you are embarrassed to have anyone use.

So, go take a look in your linen closet (or under your sink, or in your bedroom floor, or in the laundry basket…wherever you keep your towels and sheets) and give them a quick sort. If you find any really bad ones that you can’t use for cleaning rags, consider donating them to a local animal shelter. They can usually use them and would be happy to have them. 

This one won’t even take the full 15 minutes (if you keep all the items in one location). Go get it done. Quickly. While you’re motivated. See you on the next mission!

 

Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn – Trust Me…You Need to Try This!

  Oh my goodness…I almost feel bad about sharing this recipe with you. I accept no responsibility whatsoever if you get addicted. I am not a fan of traditional caramel popcorn. It is way too sweet for me and I don’t care for the hard sugary coating. This, on the other hand, is perfect. 

This “caramel” is made with marshmallows which actually mellow out the sweetness and keep the coating soft. Plus, and maybe most importantly, it is crazy easy to make. My thirteen year old is the one who always makes it at our house. I showed her once when she was eleven, and she has been making it since. 

We like to start with organic popcorn kernels from the most awesome store in our small town,   B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery. Aren’t they gorgeous?  

 Any old popcorn would work fine, though. You can pop your own, or you can just stick a bag of microwave popcorn in and let it go. If you want to make it as healthy as butter-brown sugar-marshmallow coated popcorn can be, let me share the most awesome tip with you:

You can make popcorn in a brown lunch sack in the microwave using get this…nothing but plain popcorn kernels! Seriously. If you don’t believe me, try it. Put about 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in the sack, fold it down three times, place it straight up in the microwave, and cook about two minutes (until the popping slows).  Now THAT is a healthy snack, filled with protein and no fat, sugar, or salt (unless you choose to add it 😉). 

Okay, got a little sidetracked there. Back to this deliciousness. Make a batch of popcorn using whatever method you choose. Place a stick of butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar into the microwave for two minutes. When it is finished, stir in nine large marshmallows until they are melted then immediately pour it over the popcorn and stir to combine.  

 You are going to want to eat this right away while it is still a little warm (though we have had a few leftovers the next day before – not quite sure how that happened – and it was still really good). Pop in a movie and have a family night. Give it a try, and if you can stop eating long enough to hop back over here, let me know what you think!

 

30 Day Clutter Challenge- Day 4 Kitchen Utensils 

So, if you’ve been following my blog, you know that I love to cook. I’ve always dreamed of opening a restaurant. Creating plates of food that people enjoy eating makes me happy. Because of this passion I have for preparing food, I have built up quite a collection of kitchen supplies….ingredients (as we discussed in the pantry mission of this challenge), dishes, cookware, appliances, and kitchen utensils. Just as a carpenter needs the right tools when building, I’ve always felt that I need the right tools when cooking.

When I began my big clutter clearing mission last year, I knew that clothes were my biggest problem and that the kitchen was next. It’s pretty simple…every time I catch myself complaining about cleaning, the two things I complain the most about are laundry and the kitchen. It makes sense that those are my two most cluttered areas.

You see, the problem wasn’t just that I wanted to have every tool I might need in the kitchen (even is I only used it once a year), I felt like if having one tool was a good thing, having two or three was even better.  As I started to group my items, I was amazed at how many duplicates I had. You might be, too.

Today, you will need to take out all of your kitchen serving utensils and group them into like items. This is great practice for younger kids in matching. Place serving spoons in one group, spatulas in another, whisks in another, as so on until they are all grouped. Once this is done, you should notice that some groups are larger than others. Now, you’re going to have to figure out how many you need. This process will vary from one person to another. For me, it was a matter of thinking through how many food items I would generally prepare at once and what utensils would be needed for prepping and serving those things. So…a typical meal here consists of an entree, two or three sides, and a bread. For prepping that, I could need a whisk, a spatula (the stirring type and the flipping type), a set of tongs, two or three cooking spoons,four serving spoons, a serrated knife for cutting the bread, and a butter knife. I most likely wouldn’t need all of these items in the same meal, but it is a possibility, so I want to be prepared. I want to have all of these items handy so that if a need arises, I don’t have to look around for a needed tool.

Let me stop for just a minute and share a couple of recommendations that might make your life (well, at least the part spent preparing meals at home) a little easier. My favorite utensils to use for cooking are bamboo. This set from Amazon is inexpensive and will last for years. Lipper International 826 Set of 6 Bamboo Kitchen Tools, in Mesh Bag. There are several reasons why I love these. First, they do not scratch nonstick cookware. Second, they come in a variety of shapes that meet most cooking needs. They are made of bamboo, so they do not run the risk of melting and imparting chemicals into your foods as you are cooking, they feel nice in your hands, and most of all…they are beautiful. (You can see a couple of these in the photo at the bottom. I used my wood burning tool to add a few designs to them, but these are the ones I ordered from Amazon.) My second recommendation is that if you do not already have it, you get a nice set of serving utensils. If the ones you have are in poor condition, I suggest these Klassische Kuche (TM) Professional Grade Stainless Steel Flatware 6 Piece Kitchen Tool and Gadget Set. I was able to let a lot of my utensils go because once I had grouped them, I could easily distinguish between the nice serving pieces and the junk.

So, now you’re probably thinking…what if I have a party, or Thanksgiving is at my house this year? I have a solution for you, too. When I did my big utensil purge, I knew that there were several items that I might need occasionally but would not use very often. I didn’t want to face a need and know that I had gotten rid of the exact tool I needed, so I bought a little tub like this one Sterilite 18828012 6-Quart See-Through Latch Box with White Lid and Peacock Latches and placed the items I knew I would use again but not very often inside. I closed the container and placed it on an upper shelf in my pantry. This keeps me from having to shuffle these items around daily while looking for something I need, but also ensures that I have them when the need arises. The thing you want to be careful of here is that you truly only keep the ones you know you will use.

Once you have figured out which items you will actually use, place those back into your drawer, and get rid of the extras. I suggest thinking about your flatware, too. This is not an issue with me, but, I do know people who have three or four complete (?) sets of flatware in their drawers. Why would a regular person in a family of four or five ever need that many sets of flatware? If you don’t have more than six people at your table almost every day of the year, you do not need twenty-four forks and spoons. You need to wash dishes more often. Here is an important thing that I have realized: If you have more utensils and flatware than you need, it is tempting to use more of them before doing the dishes which creates a dirty kitchen. If your silverware basket is always running over in your dishwasher (and you don’t have a houseful of guests), this is probably directed at you. Try an experiment…take away the extras for a week and see if you can survive without them. If you find that it does not create too much extra work to keep them clean and that it does create a cleaner-looking space, pack them up until needed.

My last tip today is to separate your utensils in to more than one drawer if possible. After cutting the number I have in half, I still have quite a few utensils that I use almost daily or at least a few times a week. I hate wasting time digging through the drawer trying to locate the exact item I need, so I put all stainless steel utensils in one drawer and all others in a separate drawer (my flatware is in a third drawer). I realize that you might not all have the luxury of extra drawer space. If that is the case, consider grouping one set in a pretty container on your counter. This one is really nice because it rotates. OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Rotating Utensil Holder You might even have a nice container sitting around that could be put to use for this purpose. My kids can easily separate the utensils into these two sets because either the utensil is all silver or it is not. The end. It is easy to choose the correct drawer. I could fit all the items in one drawer since I don’t have an excessive number of them, but having them in separate drawers is so nice because it allows me to see with a glance what I am looking for and grab it.

I hope these tips will help you and that they will save you a few precious minutes each day. I would love for you to stop back by and let me know how this mission worked out for you. I hope to see you again for the next mission!

30 Day Clutter Challenge Day 4 Kitchen Utensils

30 Day Clutter Challenge- Day 3 Books/Magazines

How did the closet mission go for you? I’m pleased to say that I only had to get rid of a few t-shirts this time and one pair of pants that I hung onto in the last purge but realized I really do not wear. I feel like I might finally be getting into a groove with keeping my closet under control. We still have one more step to go in the closet, but I will save it for later in the challenge.

Today’s mission is very simple and fast (unless you have to dig under beds and through closets to find them). We are going through old books and magazines. These items can take up a lot of valuable space in your home. I realize that these items have a sentimental attachment for some people, but they take up a lot of space, and most people do not actually go back and read them again.

I don’t have any pictures to show you from my house on this one, because I got rid of my books and magazines the last time I did a purge. I realized at that time that I had saved stacks and stacks of magazines thinking that I would use one project or another. Do you know where I looked each time I wanted to come up with an idea for a project, though? Not my stack of magazine. Nope, I looked on Pinterest. So….. I saved the one magazine that had a collection of food gifts and their wrapping ideas and got rid of all the rest. All of them.

I also took a long, hard look at my books. This part was a little tougher because I really loved each of the books I had read and hung onto. I had to admit to myself, though, that I really was not going to go back and read any of the novels again. Some of you do that, and that is fine. Keep your books if you will truly go back and read them again. I am just not one of those people. Because of that, I donated my novels. I took several of them to the school, and I donated the others to the local library. They were thrilled to get them. There are a few that contain advice about saving money or decluttering, and since I refer back to them and do read sections over in them, I hung onto those. I placed them all in one location so that I could easily access them and I hung onto a couple of novels that I thought my girls would enjoy when they get older.

I have never had a large bookshelf that was full of books, so I was shocked at just how many books I had accumulated. It was nice to recover that space and know that the books would be enjoyed by others. It’s kind of like giving your beloved books a new life. They exist to be read and enjoyed, and giving them the opportunity to continue that “life” just seems like the right thing to do.

Happy decluttering!

   

Quick and Easy Breakfast- 3 Ingredient Hidden Ham and Cheese Biscuits 

With three kids and two adults trying to get out the door quickly in the mornings, I’m always looking for something new to add to my breakfast rotation (see my earlier post where I shared some of the ideas I have tried). I’m always excited when another winner comes along.

This breakfast requires less than ten minutes prep time (more like five if the biscuits are easy to separate 😉), and the rest happens while you are drinking a cup of coffee and reading my blog. Hint, hint! You see what I just did there?

Alrighty, let’s get to it. First, you need to grab your three ingredients from your refrigerator- or someone else’s refrigerator if you aren’t home. If you are home, you probably shouldn’t go to your neighbor’s fridge and grab ingredients. Okay…I’ve got to stop for a moment. Can someone PLEASE tell me why fridge has a “d” in it but the whole word, refrigerator, does not? This drives me crazy!

The three ingredients you need are a can of flaky biscuits (the flakes makes them easier to separate), five slices of deli ham, and a bag of shredded cheese. Get whichever cheese you prefer…you’re eating this, not me. If you’re wondering, though, I used a Colby & Monterey Jack mix. 

  
The first step is to preheat the oven and spray a muffin pan with nonstick coating so that you can get these lovelies out when you are finished. Next, you will need to separate the biscuits into two halves, using the layers to help you do so. 

  

They look like little open mouths to me…just waiting on the game and cheese! Take your ham and cut it in half. I had the deli sliced ham that comes in small circles, so half a piece was perfect for fillings he biscuits, but if your ham slices are larger, adjust accordingly. I had two layers of an because after cutting the circle into two parts, I folded each piece in half. See what I’m talking about…

  
Okay, after you have added the ham, you’ll want to top it with some shredded cheese (or sliced cheese if you’d prefer). I see a Colby-Monterey Jack blend, but almost any cheese would work. I think a sharp cheddar would be great. I just happened to have the Colby jack on hand the day I came up with this recipe.  You’ll need about a tablespoon for each biscuit. 

 
After that, you’re ready to seal the pockets up and get them in the oven. 

  
To seal them, simply fold the top flap over and press the edges down into the muffin pan. 

    

   

  

  
They look like little pillows. Yay! The hard work is over. Who am I kidding? That was not hard work at all. You don’t have to tell the people you are serving them to, though. You can act as if you slaved over them for hours if you’d like. I won’t tell.😉 Now, just put them in the oven, go drink a cup of coffee, and relax. Check them after about ten minutes. After that, keep a watch on them until they are golden brown. 

     
Place them on a pretty plate and serve them. Pat yourself on the back, then sit down and enjoy breakfast with your family.  

    
  

Quick and Easy Hidden Ham and Cheese Biscuits

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
 
•one can of flaky biscuits 

•5 slices of deli ham

•shredded cheese

Spray a muffin tin with nonstick coating. Tear each biscuit in half. Cut the ham slices in half. Place the bottom half of the biscuit into the muffin pan. Put one piece of ham on top, sprinkle shredded cheese over it, and cover it with the other half of the biscuit. Cook at 350 until browned (about 15 minutes).

 

Feel Like You Have the Flu? These Two Remedies are the Best Kept Secrets!

 My family has been very fortunate over the last few years. My husband and I both teach school, so you can imagine how many germs we come into contact with on a daily basis. My oldest child is at the high school, my middle child in elementary school, and my youngest is in preschool…so, we are collecting germs from a variety of environments every single day and bringing them into our home. 

For one reason or another, many students come to school sick. Students who are eligible for exemption in classes based on their attendance do not want to miss a day if they do not have to, so we end up with a lot of sick students walking around our campus and in our classrooms during peak flu season. I’m going to share with you today some of my tips that have worked to help my family stay well.

Let me begin by stating the obvious…hand washing is essential. There has been a trend toward the use of hand sanitizers over the last few years. I do love my Germ-X for a quick fix, but hand sanitizers are no replacement for washing hands with soap and water. I think of it like this…do I want to simply kill the germs on my hands, or do I actually want to wash them off? I prefer to know that they are gone, so I try to use soap and water as often as possible.

I also use disinfectant sprays in the classroom. Each time a student sneezes or complains of not feeling well, I make sure to disinfect his or her seat when class ends. If the student is using a computer, I get disinfecting wipes and wipe down the keyboards and desktops. Occasionally, though, we pick up germs anyway. There is no way to avoid germs in the hallways at school, so getting them is inevitable.

I have learned to watch for the signs of impending illness, though. I have learned that if I can catch an illness at the very beginning, I can usually stop it in its tracks. At the first sign of a cold (coughing, sneezing, sore throat, runny nose), I use Sambucol Cold and Flu Relief Tablets, Black Elderberry, 30 Count. The main ingredient is Elderberry. I heard about these a couple of years ago, and I have used them each time we have felt a cold coming on since then. I love these because they are safe even for young children. They come in a very small tablet and dissolve quickly in your mouth. They even taste pleasant, so my children do not mind taking them. I rarely have to take more than one or two before my symptoms are gone.

My second line of defense is for the more serious illnesses. Any time one of us develops a fever along with cold symptoms, I immediately turn to my old standby Boiron Oscillococcinum for Flu-like Symptoms Pellets, 30 Count/0.04 Oz each. These are specifically targeted at flu symptoms such as fever, body aches, and chills. My kids know these as “mouth sprinkles” because they come in these tiny tubes and look like teensy white balls. You pour these magic “sprinkles” into your mouth, and they dissolve. They are really fun to take, so my kids never complain about them. My son began taking them when he was two years old, so they even work for young children who are sometimes hard to convince to take their medicine. Here is what the box looks like:

 

We have had flu-like symptoms and fevers many times over the years since I discovered this product, but so far since using this, none of us have developed the flu. I recommend that everyone keep a box of these on hand and take them at the very first sign of any flu-like symptoms. I am not saying to replace anything else you take (read the label for yourself but this homeopathic remedy does not appear to affect any other medicines), but I would definitely add this to my arsenal of defenses if I were you.

Do you have any other remedies that have worked well for you? Have any of you ever tried either of these? I would love to hear if they worked well for your family, too. Good luck throughout the remainder of flu season. I wish you all health and happiness!

 

30 Day Clutter Challenge- Day 2 Closet, Part 1

This post contains an affiliate link.

Well, how did you do with yesterday’s challenge? How much clutter did you remove from your pantry? I actually didn’t have as much as usual. I got rid of a few boxes of cereal that were open and stale, one jar of rice wine vinegar that was almost empty but expired (vinegar expires?!), some instant oatmeal that my kids chose and thought they would eat but actually don’t like, a half-eaten bag of stale chips…not too bad. I still have A LOT of food in there, but I am making an effort over the next few weeks to use those items and leave some empty space. How did you do?
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Okay, now….on to today’s mission: your closet. You can see one end of my closet above. If you’re willing to give up just a little bit of control for the sake of less work, you can enlist your kids’ help here, too. They can work in their closets at the same time (assuming they are old enough). I have broken the closet down into two parts to keep it at 15 minutes per day. I mean, come on…it’s Wednesday for heaven’s sake. We don’t have time for an entire closet overhaul on a Wednesday!

You, too, can have more space. All you have to be willing to do is live with less stuff. That’s it….a simple equation that you don’t have to be a math nerd to appreciate.

LESS STUFF = MORE SPACE

Today, we will only focus on the simple…stained/torn items and those that you have not worn in at least a year. First, the stained and torn. This should be a given, but you might be surprised at how many of these items you hang onto.

We hate to waste money, and it seems to us that if we are getting rid of these items, we are throwing away the money we spent on them. Here’s the thing, though…the money has already been spent. You are not getting any of that money back unless you are able to sell the items (and in this case, I don’t think many people will want to buy your torn or stained items). Keeping these items in your closet is taking up valuable space. You have enough space to fit everything, though, so why clear the space?

Have you ever scrolled through Pinterest and looked at closets that you’d love to have? What do they all have in common? Let me take a guess here…MORE SPACE. You, too, can have more space. All you have to be willing to do is live with less stuff. That’s it….a simple equation that you don’t have to be a math nerd to appreciate.

LESS STUFF = MORE SPACE

The next step is to get rid of things you have not worn in at least a year. If you’re thinking, how will I know if it has been a year? Here’s a simple solution: if you cannot remember the last time you wore the item (not the exact date- I just mean that you cannot picture yourself in the item), let it go. The only exceptions are specific items that you only wear once in a blue moon (a suit for an interview, a formal that you will actually wear again,…). The same rules apply here as above. You cannot reclaim the money you spent by hanging onto items you do not use. And….if you only wear the item occasionally just so that you don’t feel guilty about keeping  it – not because you actually like it (be honest with yourself here!), get rid of it.

There are a few of options here for getting rid of the items. If they are expensive brands and are still in style, consider selling them. Facebook is actually a great source for selling items such as this. Just post them on your page, or join a local sales group page and post there. If the items are in great condition and still in style, but you couldn’t get much in return for selling them, donate them.

Otherwise, if they are clothes that no one would want (again, be honest), get rid of them. (If any of you have good ideas about specific things that can be done with these items, please let me know!)

*If you absolutely can’t let these items go right away, box or bag them up, write the date on the outside, and put them in your storage room/garage/basement. Check back in 6 months and get rid of what is still there!

Although you can’t see it in this picture, I have a set of these hanging shelves on the left of my built-in shelves. I use these to organize my folding clothes. The only clothes I do not hang up are underclothes and shorts. Yes, I even hang my t-shirts. I have this thing about folding clothes… I hate it. Anyway, Amazon has these for a great price right now if you are interested in adding them to your closet. They are really handy for organizing clothes for the week.  Whitmor 6536-300-GREY Hanging Accessory Shelves, 10.75 x 10 x 35

Don’t forget to keep up with your results and take before and after pics! I’d love for you to share them in the comments with me or on social media using the hashtag #mysimpleclutterchallenge and let us know how much clutter you cleared!

Come back tomorrow for the next mission. Two days already down…28 to go to. We can do this, and we will be so glad we did. Thanks so much for joining me for this challenge!

 

30 Day Clutter Challenge – Day 1 Pantry

Are you ready? Let’s do this! If you read my post yesterday, you know that today we are embarking upon a life-changing (well, at least home-changing) challenge. We are going to spend 15 minutes per day over the next 30 days and clear the clutter from our homes and our lives. I solemnly promise that if you complete this challenge with me, you will have a lighter load of clutter and a more peaceful home. I’m not saying it is going to be easy, I am saying that it is going to be worth it. So, in the words of Jerry Maguire…”Who’s coming with me?”

We are going to begin this challenge with something simple. I am not asking you to make any gut-wrenching decisions today…you will not be parting with any sentimental items (unless you really, really love your food in a somewhat awkward way). The first challenge will be to tackle the pantry (or kitchen cabinets if you do not have a pantry). We are specifically looking at all the food items in your home that are not refrigerated with the exception of spices (for some of us, that is a whole challenge within itself, so we will save that for later).

I am very fortunate to have a huge walk-in pantry. When we designed our home, three things were of the highest importance to me – an open kitchen/family room, a large closet, and a walk-in pantry. You see, I like to have a lot of food on hand. Having a pantry full of foods provides a sort of security blanket. I know that if we get snowed in, my family will always have food to eat. In the days before I discovered eMeals, I needed a variety of pantry staples on hand so that I could throw a meal together without prior planning. This sounds good until you peek into my pantry and see the mess. EEK!


I normally would not let people see this, but we are all friends here, right? You won’t judge me….will you? I am okay with showing you this because I know it will not look this way for long. I am about to tackle the food clutter!

Believe it or not, I have done this many times in the past, and I am always amazed at how much I have to throw away. And not amazed in a good way. It really is an eye opener to see how much food is wasted. I am going to make an effort to use the food items in my pantry and quit trying to keep so many extras going forward.

Okay, enough talking…let’s get started. Take a look at every item and check its expiration date. If it is expired, throw it away. No exceptions here. Packaged items last a lonnnng time. Even if it technically was okay to eat, if it is expired, you have had it for a very long time already bid you haven’t eaten it by now, you aren’t going to. Trash it. Now.

Next, be honest with yourself for a minute and get rid of all the items that you are not going to eat. If they are still in date an unopened, donate them to a local food drive or shelter. If they are opened and still good but you know you aren’t going to eat them (you wanted to be healthy and love that new granola brand but realized the first time you ate it that it tastes like cardboard….you want your kids to eat the healthy brand of cereal but if you are being honest with yourself, you know they will only eat Froot Loops and Cocoa Puffs….your spouse accidentally bought sugar free syrup and you didn’t want to waste money by throwing it away but you know you’ll never eat it), get rid of these things now! The money has already been spent. Holding the item in your pantry or cabinet is not going to get the money back, and it is continuing to cost you more by robbing you of space. 

Whew! You did it. That wasn’t so bad, was it? BONUS: Once you have gotten rid of these things, you can organize by grouping like items together. To do this, I am going to purchase another set of these awesome containers that I have bought in the past from Amazon. There are two different sizes, and I have used them for everything from packing foods for lunch, storing leftovers, to food storage. Purchasing something in the midst of clearing clutter seems a little contradictory, but having my foods organized and grouped together will help me know exactly what I have on hand and (hopefully) prevent me from buying more of something I already have. If you are interested in the containers I use, I am including a link below. I like the 16 ounce ones for storage, and the 8 ounce ones for packing in lunches.
Reditainer Deli Food Storage Containers with Lid, 16-Ounce, 36-Pack
Reditainer Deli Food Storage Containers with Lids, 8-Ounce, 40-Pack

I would love to hear how many items you have gotten rid of! Share your stories in the comments for this article. Pictures are even better! Post your before and after pics. Tag them with the hashtag #mysimpleclutterchallenge and come back tomorrow for my recap and the next mission. I’ve got to go get busy now…

See you tomorrow!

30 Day Clutter Challenge – Get Rid of the Clutter in Just 15 Minutes a Day


If you’ve been following this blog since the beginning, you know that I have worked in the past toward having a clutter-free home. Let me be the first to admit that I have failed. Don’t get me wrong…it isn’t due to a lack of effort. I have tried. However, when I look around my home, I realize that I still have a lot to do.

I eliminated a ton of things from my home last year, using the Konmari method from the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Slowly, but surely, the things have crept their way back into my home, though.

I have learned that you have to continue to de-clutter. It is not a one-time event that lasts for years. Until my entire mindset shifts toward less consumerism, I will have to regularly evaluate the items in my home. This is the reason I came up with this challenge. My home needs this. I feel so much happier with less stuff cluttering my home, and I don’t have to spend nearly as much time cleaning. Those of you who know me well known that cleaning is one of my least favorite things to do. 😉

So, I hope you will join me for the next 30 days. You shouldn’t have to spend more than 15 minutes per day. If you don’t have an extra 15 minutes (really?), then set your alarm 15 minutes earlier. I promise you won’t miss the minutes, and you will be so thankful for the peace that a de-cluttered home will bring.

Follow my blog to join the fun. You will receive emails each time a new blog is posted. You can also follow me on social media for daily updates. Go ahead and reserve 15 minutes tomorrow to begin clearing the clutter from your home. See you tomorrow!

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