Couponing for the Rest of Us

Simplify Sunday 2-12

 


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….

 

We are 2 days away from Valentine’s Day so for me that signals the start of Spring Fever. I am a firm believer in the fact that if it’s not going to snow it might as well be spring. I grew up in the sunny state of Florida but have lived in Tennessee for the last 204 years (or so it seems some days). I love the possibility that we MIGHT get snow during the winter. I love snowy days! I love the fact that everyone has to stay home, drink hot chocolate, read all day and best of all stay in your pajamas. That is my winter dream that comes from years of teaching school. I do not like plan old cold gray days that make my bones shiver and joints ache. So if the snow is not going to come this year we might as well move on to spring.

The fact that my rose bushes have already started to sprout has just about sent me over the edge this year, I’m ready for spring. Our neighbor’s yard already has daffodils peeking out from under a pile of dead leaves. Yep!! I have spring fever!!! The truth is that spring is still weeks away from being a reality! So my mind turns to things that need to be done before I can get outside and play in the dirt. Otherwise, I’ll feel the guilt of projects left undone inside the house.

I have started making the list and it continues to grow with every door I open. My first project is to get my stock pile pantry back in shape. It’s the closet where where I store all of the items I’ve gotten super cheap or free using coupons. I love this closet! The problem with having this space is that I am usually in a hurry (and who isn’t) so the extra items I’ve purchased for our food closet at church or to be passed on to a single mom ends up piling up. Before I know it, I’ve got 20 boxes of noodles and 40 bags of muffin mix piled up from several shopping trips that need to be in the hands of someone who needs them.

I have also gotten in the bad habit of storing items for my next craft project. Right now I have about 12 empty Sunny D bottles that I will need if I ever use the recipe for laundry detergent I found on Pinterest. (If you are a Pinterest fan you know you have a million things just waiting for the next time you get snowed in)

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Simplify Sunday 1-29

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….

 

Do you get as tired of doing the same things day after day as I do? It’s the things that you can’t stop doing, you can’t change the way you do them and you can’t even take a break from them. Preparing meals can be the most time consuming thing we do all day every day. Unless you are the primary meal planner in your home you will not understand how much time it takes to get any meal together from start to finish. I don’t believe there is another task that we do daily that requires so much of our time from the planning to the cleanup.

To begin the week long task of preparing meals you need to do some planning if you don’t you will wander aimlessly though the grocery store just waiting for something to pop out and say “take me home, I will make your life easier” or driving to the nearest fast food restaurant and ordering one of everything on the menu, hoping you can keep everyone full and somewhat happy.

If you are a couponer the added step of cutting coupons makes this planning so much easier, because you shop according to what coupons you have that matches up with what is on sale in your area then you plan your meals around your shopping trip. Or if you are a seasoned couponer your meal plan for the week will depend only on the amount of stock piling you have done in the past so you skip the whole grocery store shopping trip, you shop from your pantry in the comfort of your PJ’s.

The amount of people depending on you for their meals can dictate the amount of planning that is required each week to make meal time preparation easy and no longer a nightmare.  Since there are only 2 people for me to feed most nights my planning consists of a conversation about what do you feel like eating this week. If you have children to add into the equation you will need to plan meals that will be healthy, filling and take as little time as possible.

I will tell you how we do it and you will need to expand or down size to make this work for your family. My husband and I are watching our diets, trying to get in better shape and live a healthier life style so we are doing this through the Weight Watchers plan. It is what is working for us, but if you need to change you eating to become healthier make sure you find a plan that works for you.

In a perfect world this will go as planned, no hiccups, no problems and no drama, but in the real world stuff happens and changes need to be made, so don’t get stressed if you need to back up and rethink  your plan or use your back up plan to save your sanity. (Usually this is the plan to use coupons at a restaurant or call for pizza).

At our house Sunday is our magic day, it is the day with the least to do and the just about the only day that both of us can sit down after church and plan out the week. The first thing we do is look at the week to see what meals we will eat at home and which will able to eat a relaxing meal or when we will need a fast easy meal. Right now we are choosing to make our lunch our biggest meal of the day. Since we both work, lunch time is a set time and easier to make sure we have enough time to eat, most days.

Since it is winter and soups are our favorite comfort food, we make 2 large pots of the choice for that week. On pot of (this week it will be Taco soup) soup will be divided into 1cup servings and placed in containers that will be frozen and ready to pick up each morning. The other pot is divided into bigger serving to give away as the need arises. We have several families in our church that have health problems so to be able to bless them with a meal is such a blessing to us.

It may look like we can get a little OCD about measuring and planning head each meal but it is what works for us and it keeps up on track with our lifestyle change (diet). If I am going to have an egg & cheese for breakfast I go ahead and measure out my cheese for each day and put it in zip lock bag and store it in the frig for the week, each day taking it out as I need it. We plan out our snacks for the day, set them aside with the vitamins that have been placed in those cute little snack bags.

Dinner is our easiest meal of the day because of our schedule; we have less than an hour most nights for dinner, from the time work ends until we need to leave the house for the next appointment. We usually have some type of meat that has been prepared ahead and measured out, we steam a veggie and dinner is ready in minutes but it was filling and healthy. If we didn’t plan ahead it would be fast food most nights and that will not fly well on our healthy plan.

The biggest time saving item on planning ahead is the cleanup. On the cooking day there is a lot of stuff to wash and put away, but after that the cleanup in minor each day. So I trade one day of cleanup for 6 days off washing up the dishes we use to eat and loading the dishwasher. I think I win on this plan.

There are a lot of blogs and websites about once a month cooking and dishes that you can make ahead and freeze to use as need. I have a friend that has 12 children that does this; she spends one weekend cooking for the month for her entire family, everyone has a job to help out but the time they save through the month is unbelievable. Family time becomes a valued prize in this family on a whole new level.

This idea of making a plan and following through can be applied to so many areas of our lives and will change the way we look at how much time we waste each day. I know we don’t want to plan every minute of every day, we need time to enjoy to moment and not be worried about clock watching.

How many times have you said I can’t read my bible because I can’t find the time? Or how many people have you not be able to help even in a small way because you can’t squeeze in one more thing into your day? How many bedtime stories have gone unread because you are busy cleaning the kitchen night after night? You can never get those precious moments back; your family needs time with you. Children transfer their image of God by how they view their earthly parents, if you can’t find time for them how will they ever think that God will care about every area of their lives?

This week plan to make a plan that will help to free up some time to spend with each other but most important to spend time with my sweet Jesus. Time spent in His presence will change your life.

Love you to Jesus,

Debby

queenofclutterfree@yahoo.com

Simplify Sunday 1-22

 

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…

We are only 22 days into the new year and how many of us that made promises for this to be the year of all those changes we have dreamed about to finally come true are still moving ahead to make those changes?

How many dining tables are still covered with unopened bills and most of last year’s newspapers we keep saying we are going to read? How many beds are still covered with clothes that we can’t find room in our closet to put away? Has that exercise equipment that you couldn’t wait to get set up become a clothes hanger for those new workout clothes?

What has happened to that “can do” spirit that just 22 days ago was alive and well? I know life gets in the way but why do we allow something that was so important to us just 3 weeks ago get pushed to the side once again? If you are like me this is not the first time you made this same list of new year promises. Is it the promises that we are making that keep us from moving forward or is it just not worth the effort to keep going?

Maybe when we make these plans to make this the year we would complete those unfinished projects or clean out the clutter or finally lose the weight, we failed to count the cost of money, time and motivation.  I have so many great plans but somehow, someway, when it comes time to get started and I have either lost the will to make it happen or I realized it was going to take more time, energy and money than I have.  So instead of backing up and rethinking the project I just give up and walk away, then I begin to feel like a failure before we are even half way through yet another year.

With age should come wisdom, but I seem to be missing out when it comes to being realistic about why I can’t seem to keep promises I make to myself. After taking some time to really look at why I continue to make the same promises year after year without any progress being made, I think I have come up with one of the major reasons and it is that I want instant gratification. I want to see progress even before I finish making my list of this year’s resolutions.

I can’t understand why after the first 30 minute workout I can’t go into my closet and everything that I have purchased for the last 5 years (2 sizes too small) doesn’t  fit.  I worked so hard for the whole 30 minutes with no visible difference, and so begins the downhill spiral to the end of my weight lose goals.

While I am in the closet trying to make room for the new clothes from this weekend’s shopping trip, I can’t find enough hangers or room so they just get put on the bed or hung over the treadmill until I get this mess cleaned out. I get frustrated when I notice the clothes still hanging untouched from last year when I promised I would lose the weight to be able to wear them when I made that purchase. Now I have once again given myself and new and improved reason not to go near that closet or at the very least until I can fit into last year’s new clothes.

If you are like so many of us that have come realize that money doesn’t grow on trees, when we get rid of things we are also saying goodbye to wasted money. I am not sure how much sense it makes but isn’t the money still wasted if the clothes we don’t wear and don’t fit are still hanging in the closet instead of given away. Maybe we need to realize that the being able to bless others by giving the items away, outweighs the money we wasted on a purchased.

This year let’s set realistic goals, maybe lose one pound a week, get rid of five pieces of paper each day, give away three pieces of clothing per week, we don’t wear or no longer fits the body we have today, pass on kitchen gadgets that we don’t use or do not fit in our kitchen and get rid of one item a week that no longer serves it’s intended purpose (toys, dried paint, scraps of wallpaper, old suitcases, etc.).

You will be surprised how doing a few things each day will add up over a week or a few things each week will add up over a month and before long the task will be completed and you will ask yourself why did I wait so long to get busy on clearing out that clutter.

My biggest reason why I can’t get some of the projects started much less finished is “I do not have the time”! When I started to divide the project up into small and doable time frames I was surprised how much I can get done. Very few projects need to be finished in the first 15minutes you begin the work. Most can be divided up and completed in baby steps. You never would expect to see a house built and decorated in only one day. So give yourself a break do something small to make progress and keep working at the task until you have finished and are ready to move to the next one.

This is kind of like growing as a Christian; we think we have to know everything before God can use us. If that was the case I promise there would be a lot of jobs undone at every church in America.  God doesn’t want us to do His job; He just wants us willing to do the job He gives us. He never calls someone to serve that He doesn’t equip them with all they need.

Many of the “life lessons” that we go through are in preparation for a job that is ahead, maybe someone will need to hear the lesson you learned by going through that time in your life. Maybe someone taught you something that someday you will be able to share with someone else. Lessons in life are not given to us to fill up our time here on earth; they are there to make up usable vessels for Christ.  Maybe when we are learning something new we need to be aware that others are watching and learning through the way we handle the lesson. Do you want to watch others learn from you and do as you do?

This week decide on one project that you can break down into doable parts and each day do something to get that job finished. Remember baby steps, baby steps, baby steps.  If it’s worth making a new year’s promise, it’s worth doing!

Love you to Jesus,

Debby

queenofclutterfree@yahoo.com

Simplify Sunday 1-15

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….

With this new year in full swing I have been busy narrowing the list of things I want to change for the up and coming year. It always seems that around November I start to realize all of the things I have let fall by the way side, birthdays, anniversaries, missed parties, and the list keeps growing. Lucky for me the holidays take over and I can push the guilt away for a few more months, now that the dust has settled, decorations are put away and the guilt starts to creep back in.

One of the things that seems to have fallen by the wayside in my life seems to be the little things that on the outside seem to be unimportant but to friends and family that mean a lot. It is the art of sending a personal note of thank you, a card to congratulations for a job well done or birthday wishes or my favorite, the note that says, I was thinking about you and praying for you. I have relied way too much on email or Facebook for a last minute birthday wish right before bed hoping they don’t notice it was sent at 11:59pm. This way of receiving birthday wishes or notes of encouragement has been wonderful for those that are far away or for people you would probably never hear from if it wasn’t for these social mediums.  But I must confess I have sent very close family members a quick “happy birthday to you” because I had forgotten and only remembered because I saw all the birthday wishes as I was hanging out in cyber space.  Yes, I feel horrible and know if I am too busy to remember precious family member’s birthday I am too busy or not making the right things a priority.

To try to make a valiant effort to honor the family and friends that mean so much to me, I am trying keep my calendar up to date and in my mind more this year. To even hold my feet to the fire a bit more I went so far as to ask each family member to send me (via email, of course) a complete list of birthdays, anniversaries and any other celebration they wanted to list. Now they know I have this information, NO EXCUSE will do to get me out of hot water so I am all the way in to this resolution!

When my kids were growing up we lived by the calendar, and made a rule that if it wasn’t on the calendar it usually didn’t happen. Everyone had a color and each week we checked the events coming up and planned for what was ahead. Cards were addressed, gifts were bought and wrapped, uniforms ironed and hung, bags packed and ready and most of the time all this took place on Sunday afternoon.  For the most part our weeks went by with little drama.

Now that I am only responsible for myself and my sweet hubby I seem to have relaxed a bit too much. I really do miss the days that were organized and purposeful. So to try to reel my wayward self back in I have purchased 4 (yes, 4) calenders.  One that I keep in my purse and one to keep on my kitchen counter, both of these have a page with the entire month in view at once then the following pages are daily activities a week at a time. Within those daily pages there are spaces for meal planning, a place for a shopping list and hopefully all I need to stay focused and organized.

The other 2 calendars are the larger ones that will just have each day’s activities (colored coded of course) one is in the bathroom and the other is in the hall on the pantry door. I picked places we both spent a lot of time passing each day.  Maybe between the two of us seeing these on a regular bases we will be able to keep the other in check about upcoming events ahead of time.

My phone does have the capability to have all of the weekly information entered and will notify me when something is coming up, I am not sure if I will use this feature because I am not sure if I know how to use it and my kids are getting tired of the phones calls asking “how do I do______.”  But who knows I may just branch out and figure it out all by myself—- Maybe!

Looking back over the last year the things I think I regret the most is that I didn’t make it a priorty keeping up with the personal touches to those that I care so much about. I know that when I send a card or note it will not change the world in any major way but it may change a moment in the life of a friend that may be grieving the loss of her husband or a nephew that is missing his daddy that is away on business. I wonder what impact I will have on my future grandkids if I failed to send cards, notes saying how much I loved them and send goodies just to celebrate their little life. Will I have the privilege to influence their life if I haven’t taken the time along the way to show how much I care about them in some way? I doubt it!  I do not take in the advice I am given from people that have not invested in me or my family. Their words really are like white noise in my head. How that breaks my heart to think that I may become “white noise” in the life of those I love so much. So the investment in 4 calendars to make this a thoughtful year for me seems to be a wise choice.

I wonder with all the effort to make sure we let people know how much we care how much it would affect us if those cards, letters or gifts were never opened.  If we saw years of cards and gifts stacked in a corner unopened would it change how we feel about that person? What would our response be when we asked why these were not opened and they said “I am just so busy”?

Isn’t this what we are doing to the Lord each day we do not open our Bible? The words that He gave to tell us how much He loves us and the stories that will be able to teach us and guide us, left unread day after day, gifts given to us, unused day after day, how His heart must break day after day. But never is there a moment we aren’t loved and given the best, all it requires is a moment of our time to set, open His word and listen to the plans He has for us. He never fails to give up His best, speak words of love and guidance for our lives. Are we doing the same for those we love, doing and giving out of pure love, not for anything in return, but just to let those we say we love, really know how much we truly love them.

May this be the year I listen more, share more and bless others more because I have spent time with and listened to my sweet Jesus.

Love you to Jesus!!

Debby

queenofclutterfree@yahoo.com

Simplify Sunday 1-8


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….

Since it’s the start of yet another year, it is time to make a few changes. I don’t really do the whole New Year’s resolution thing, because all I wind up doing is lying to myself and setting unrealistic goals for myself, then within about 2 or 3 weeks wind up with a guilt complex that will last the rest of the year.

So this year I thought I would approach the New Year from a new angle, “What do I need to do to make this the best year yet?”

I wanted to make this the year I set some goals for myself and had to plan to make them into a reality. So over the last few weeks I have taken a look at where I want to be this time next year and what it will take to get there. I have come to realize that you can have dreams but without a vision to see where you want to go you fail to make that dream a reality.

As I thought about this the main question that kept rising to the surface was what will it take to make ME happy? First I had to decide what the picture of happy looks like for me; to me it comes down to being successful at the goals I set for myself. I found this to be very true because the things that make me unhappy are the things that I have failed to follow thru on. So with that as my main goal for this up and coming year I was able to come up with a doable list for 2012.

As a mother and a Christian we have been told that we must put others first at all times. We put our kids first, our husbands first, neighbors, strangers, stray dogs, sad cats, whom ever or whatever happens to cross our path we believe must come first. It doesn’t matter the toll it takes on our physical or mental health, we just keep going, believing it to be the “cross we must carry”. It has gotten to be the measure of our spiritual walk. So to appear to be “spiritual” we burn the candle at both ends, doing it all, all the time for everyone. Really? Do we really believe that the God that loves us so much and created us for His glory measures our love for Him by how much we do? Yes, we are to live a life serving others and should have a servants heart, but not to the point that we lose our focus and our health.

So many of us are sick and tired of being sick and tired! It’s because the plans that we believe God has for us require us to be all things to all people! NOT TRUE! In reality that sounds like an ego out of control, we believe we must fix every problem for all the people in our lives. That’s not our job; we are to be a willing vessel to be used by God allowing Him to mold us to be a usable vessel. But we think we can take on the role of the master carpenter, no longer following the plan but making the plan for our life and those around us. Wow! How did things get so out of whack? I believe that Satan’s goal is to get us off track, not off by much, just enough we lose our focus and get so busy that we aren’t doing what we are called to do, it becomes a competition to the point we burn our self out and end up on the heap of burnt out, do nothing ever again Christians.

I want to finish well!! So this year I am looking at the job I am called to do and how to best carry that out with my sanity in tack. So I have come up with a few goals:

  1. To eat healthy and treat my physical body as a gift that I can offer up to God for service.
  2. To become a strong woman physically, mentally and spiritually
  3. To understand that taking care of myself is NOT selfish or unchristian
  4. To get enough sleep, giving my body time to rest and heal
  5. To spend time in His word, to feed my soul
  6. To exercise daily to have a healthy body so that I can encourage others by setting a good example. That means sticking to the exercise plan every day no matter if I feel like it or not!
  7. To not allow others into my life that’s single purpose in this life is to be negative and unproductive.
  8. To do nice things for myself each day. This is not selfish, this is about teaching me allow myself to be valued and loved. Others treat us, like we treat our self and how we allow others to treat us. Would you allow your children to be treated like you treat yourself?
  9. To be proud of the progress I am making no matter how big or small. We cannot give to others what we do not have ourselves. If we want to give encouragement, we must set up a plan to encourage our self as we see progress and growth toward our goals.
  10. To declutter my home by only keeping items that add value and beauty to my life and family.
  11. To take time each day to invest in the lives of the people that God places in my life and to understand that my job is not to save the world.(that has already been done by my heavenly Father)
  12. To rest in the knowledge that God is in control and He does not need my advice or approval of His plan. (I know—Surprise!!)
  13. To live this life knowing that it is a journey not a sprint! Take time to enjoy the view!
  14. To live with intention, not just let life happen to me but to be ready and watching for opportunities to let God work thru me
  15. To love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and mind! Then loving my family as an outward expression of the love my heavenly Father has for me. To graciously except His unmerited love even though I do not deserve it and cannot earn it.

I look forward to working this year to make each of these goals a reality! Let’s start this year off with a plan that will allow us to see progress and growth. Declutter one small space each day, that’s progress! Ready, Set, Go! into the new year with purpose and intention.

Bless others as you have been blessed!!

Debby

queenofclutterfree@yahoo.com

Simplify Sunday 1-1 Happy New Year!

 

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! This week Debby is spending precious time with her family who she doesn’t see often due to distance. However, I pulled up her article from last New Year’s and it rings true today. Take it away Debby….

Are you really ready to begin a new year? I cannot believe that another year has come and gone. As far as being ready for a new year, I’m still not finished with all the stuff in 2011. So, on we go, ever moving and ever changing. Let’s welcome the New Year with anticipation, knowing that God is waiting to bless and teach us, if we will just TRUST Him.
As I reflect, I realize I am not where I had planned to be at the end of 2011. I can’t go back and change anything, but I can make a new plan with new goals and new dreams.
I have experienced seasons in my life where I’ve kept the same plan year after year never giving a thought to why last year’s plan didn’t work. Then I get so tired of never getting where I want and just give up! No more dreams, plans or resolutions. Do we really want to go thru life without a dream? Some of our dreams may be a bit “out there,” (I guess that would include dreaming of being 5ft 10, 105 pounds.) I am working on dreaming within the reality that I am only 5ft (on a good day) and “a little” over 105.
This year I want to live with intention. I want to set some realistic goals and have a plan that works for me, on how to achieve those goals. I have the same goals that all of you have: lose weight, get my finances in order, love more, spend time with those I love, be kinder to myself, keep up with cutting and filing my coupons and make my time on this earth count for something bigger than myself. Seems like a big list to accomplish in just one year. That’s where the secret of planning comes in. Until I started to get my home organized I didn’t realize how little planning I did. Important planning that says I will get up each morning and make a difference. Not the way I had been living for most of my life. I had just let my work schedule and the kids keep me moving. I didn’t look at the possibility of planning on really living beyond the “must dos”. I just let life happen to me. My goal this year is to take control of how I handle the things God gives me to do.
I ran across a saying by Peter Walsh (De-clutter Your Life) that I am looking forward to using this year – “Be more mindful. Before I buy, say, do or even eat something, the question will be ‘Will this action move me closer to the life, home, relationship or body that I want?”. Whoo!! Makes me stop and maybe back up a bit!
We can’t change anything in our life without taking a minute to realize what isn’t working for us and planning how and what we want to change. So for the next few weeks we will be addressing how to make a plan on the things we want to change and how to make it a permanent part of our lives.
This year I want and need to get my weight under control. I have accepted that being model thin may not happen. In reality I want to be healthy. I want to be in shape to play with the little ones in my life without needing a nap and able to look in the mirror and be proud of the strong woman I have become. This certainly can be a gift to me. I am a part of the most faithful weight watcher meeting goers I know. I love the social part of it, but the weight is my down fall. I have been going for 4 years, most every week, and have lost 50 pounds. While that may sound good, in four years I really should have all my weight under control. I realize I am just letting the weight come off, but am not being intentional about it. I thought I was “working” the plan, but in reality I was just going through the motions. I have a million reasons why I need to lose weight; the problem is none of those plans included me. They have always been about how someone would feel about me when I got thinner. This is the year I do it for me. This year I don’t want to hold back. My new question is – will this food bring me closer to the body and life I want? Such a simple question, but the taking the time to ask it and applying the answer will change my life.
I am making a plan! I will make a schedule for walking and riding my bike. Today I will get everything out of my house that I cannot eat and answer the question honestly. I know God created me to used by Him, I have been allowing my struggle with my weight to hold me back. I have allowed my weight to become an excuse to why I allow people to treat me a certain way. God did not intend for me to live a life wishing for more. The life I long to live, a life that honors Him in all I do, is within my grasp if I am willing to stop making excuses. “This is the day that the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it” Ps.118:24. I will begin my day rejoicing in the things that are ahead of me and will end my day rejoicing in the things that have been accomplished. I think this will be the secret to a life that my Heavenly Father will be able to say “well done, my good and faithful servant”. Now that’s a reason to stick to a plan!!!
Let’s make this the year we live our life with intention!!
Love you! queenofclutterfree@yahoo.com

Simplify Sunday 12-18

 

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….

We are in Christmas count down mode at our house for the next 6 days. In case you have been living under a rock let me be the first to tell you that Christmas is only 1 week away. I don’t know about you but for the last week I have walked around beliving that I had 2 weeks left.  I think that my brain is in overload with all that I still need to do. Where to start is the major question to the point that I spend more time trying to figure out where to start and what to do than getting anything done. I feel like I am spinning my wheels.

Of course as your shopping list is whirling  around in your head, the list of with all the places to clean and organize starts to join in on the stress that is now swirling at the speed of light.

It’s time to give yourself permission to let some of it go. Make a list of the items that need to be done by Christmas Eve putting the most important jobs first then write down the things you would like to get finished up just in case the cleaning fairies come in the middle of the night. (If they show up and have some extra time please send them my way).

I know there are guest that will be staying with some of you that you feel like you need to clean every corner and closet in the entire house or you will hear about it for the next 10 years and just thinking about it stresses you out. To tell you the truth, those special guest will find the only crumb on the floor no matter how many times you sweep the floor, so stop worrying.  If they are there to give your home the “white glove” test, next year when plans are being made to visit, forward them a list of all the hotels in your area. [Read more...]

Simplify Sunday 12-11

 

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….

In case you haven’t noticed Christmas is only 2 weeks away. If just reading that line makes your stomach turn and your last nerve go off the deep end, I can almost bet you are not enjoying the holiday and missing out on a lot of Christmas cheer.

Several years ago we completed a financial workshop at our church called “Financial Peace” by Dave Ramsey. At that time we were in serious trouble in our personal finances and it seemed our life was spinning out of control.  For years I thought I could handle it, needless to say I couldn’t!  Because of the financial chaos in our home, Christmas was the most stressful time of the year. Bills went unpaid to make sure our kids had plenty under the tree and our friends received a gift to show that we cared. Needless to say during this time of year I was stressed to the max and did not feel much like celebrating our Savior’s birth. I had allowed the world to dictate what Christmas was all about for me and I had lost focus of what really is important.

I will tell you it was not easy to get our finances in order, in fact it took several years of resetting our priorities to dig our way out. There were some Christmases that there wasn’t a lot under the tree and our friends received baked goods instead of store bought gifts. During those tight days I shed many tears and felt like a failure as a mom. I thought that my kids would be disappointed in me and may not love me as before. Needless to say, looking back those were the day that I learned the most about my family and friends. I now know that it isn’t the gifts that make someone love you; it’s the relationship that grows during the day to day time spent with those we love. [Read more...]