Couponing for the Rest of Us

Simplify Sunday 10-23

Debby McCuiston, the “Queen of Clutter-Free”, does a segment for us each Sunday on simplifying our lives, getting rid of “clutter”, and focusing on what’s important. We look forward to her words of wisdom each week & hope you enjoy it too! Take it away Debby….

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I must say, after a week in New York City to visit my son and daughter-in-law, I am amazed at the ability of the people that live there to do so much with so little room. The spirit of making do with what you have and making the best of it is alive and well in the “Big Apple”.

On our adventures one day we found a tiny little hat shop, inside a room about 6 ft. by 10 ft. (not even as big as most of our bathrooms) where hundreds of hats and one little older gentleman spent the day. To even see what he had to sell only one person could step just inside the door and tell him what you wanted to see. He knew where every size, make and model of any and all of his hats were. The place was so small he could just about reach any hat from his stool in the middle of that room. I am not saying that this little shop was neat as a pin or didn’t need a good dusting, but he had that place as organized as could be.

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There were entire convenient stores in rooms no bigger than my little kitchen. The secret is to know what you want before you go in to the store because there is no room to look around or to even think about what you might want to buy. Most places are not up to our normal standard of clean and neat but organized they have down to a science.

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The one thing that I have been amazed at every time we go for a visit is the fact that people are either very neat and organized (like my daughter in law) or it’s a crazy mess in their place. After talking to several people that live there the secret is to only have what you need at that moment to survive. No one has dishes for every season (sad but true). You only have glasses for the basic amount of people you might have over. No room for excessive decorations on counter tops, or tables. Everything in their spaces needs to serve more than one purpose. There is no storage for items you aren’t using. If you are thinking why don’t they rent one of those nice little storage units to store all the excess in, mainly because it would cost almost as much as renting another apartment. People that have so little room are probably the most creative about how and where to store things. Coffee tables are storage for extra blankets, decorative boxes hold office supplies, and each bed is raised to add a few inches for more storage. Everything that is purchased has been well thought out as to where it will go and if it is really necessary and will the space it takes up be worth it. Living like this will truly change how you look at all the stuff we think we can’t live without.

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One of the first things I did as soon as I walked in the door was to give my washer and dryer a great big hug then I started a load of wash without having to feed it $2.50 worth of quarters per wash. Wash day is a planned activity for every other week, unlike at my house where the washer is working at least 3 times a day. I love to wash anything and everything so the thought of having to watch what I washed because of the cost would really make me think twice about my wardrobe. Really changes the way we looked at what is important.
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For all of us ladies and gentlemen that coupon and take great pride in our stockpile, I am sad to say you would have to decide if you wanted a bedroom or a storage room because you could not have both. Most people only get what they need for meals by the week some others get only what they need to eat each day. Very few stores take coupons and I haven’t heard of any store that doubles. (I did wear my Time 2 Save t-shirt just in case they might want to know about the world of couponing). Yes, at times I felt like I was in a foreign land. But we were able to use a coupon from restaurants.com at a local place, so there may be hope for the city yet.

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If I had one suggestion for the big city it would be to power wash everything at least once a year. I am just saying…. A good power wash can make anything look good again.
After visiting our son’s church last Sunday I am amazed at the people that God has called to that city. People that could live other places and have more stuff and make more money but choose to be there because they have been called to do a work in that city at this time. No one is standing on the street corner yelling the world will end or pointing out each person’s sins. They are quietly loving those they meet one the subway, on the street in the shops or at work. Their mission is to be a light in a dark world no matter the cost to themselves. They have reprogramed their mind to think like Christ, living among the needy and giving what they can to make Christ known to all His people.

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Yes, as a mother I want to get them more stuff, a bigger place, cleaner subways and better health care but because God called them there to be a vessel used by Him on a daily bases, my job is to pray for them and support them, not to fix it.
I am honored and humbled every time I visit, seeing how God is using what we might consider an inconvenience to us or giving kindness to those we consider unworthy or seeing how He calls and so many go – no matter what He asks they continue to follow and obey. That is what it truly is all about, not what we think we deserve but what it will take to show others Christ at all cost.

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Maybe if we all realized we are called for a purpose other than what we think we deserve this world could understand how much God loves and cares for them.

Make a difference is those around you each day!!
Love, Debby


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