The Ultimate Guide to Decluttering Your Home

We can all end up with our homes full of things we don’t need. It’s so easy to buy something because you think it’s pretty but then it takes up valuable room in your home. Many of us reach a point when we want to have a clearout. Perhaps you want to have a cleaner living space, or maybe you’re moving to a smaller home. Decluttering your home can be hard, but you can do it. In fact, you can live with very few possessions if you’re inclined to. I have some fantastic tips on how to walk through your whole home and clear out the things you don’t need. Follow my advice to get a tidier home.

 

Consider the Purpose of Your Decluttering

Before you start clearing things out, you should think about why you’re doing it. If you’re moving to a new home, there might be a couple of reasons you need to declutter. Firstly, you could be trying to cut down on how much you have to pack into the moving truck. Secondly, you might have less space in your new home. You should be aware of the space you have to use in your new home and which of your current possessions are going to fit. You might be clearing out your house because you feel you have too much stuff. If so, you need to focus on what you want your home to look and feel like.

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Declutter One Room at a Time

Decluttering your home can seem like a huge task. If you have a large house, you might have no idea where to start. It’s a good idea to do one room at a time, especially as you organize each room differently. It can be best to start with the easier rooms, so your decluttering doesn’t become too disruptive. For example, if you begin in the living room, you probably won’t make too much of a mess. However, if you start by tidying the kitchen, you could end up with food and utensils all over every surface. That wouldn’t be convenient, since you need to use your kitchen for cooking. Leave the kitchen for when you have plenty of time to get it all done in one go.

 

Tag Items

One of the best ways to declutter is to separate everything into categories. You can decide what you want to keep, what to sell, give away, trash, or recycle. With some smaller items, you might wish to put them into different boxes or bags. However, it can be easier to leave everything where it is, especially for larger possessions. Instead, get some color-coded tags or stickers. As you walk through each room, decide what you want to do with each item and label it. If you think you can make some cash from something, you might wish to sell it. If it’s in good condition but won’t make you any money, give it to charity. If it’s recyclable, you can take it to your nearest recycling bank. And if it doesn’t fit into any of these, throw it away. Your next step might be to start moving things yourself, or you might hire some movers to help. Or, a cheaper option would be to get your friends to help and pay them in pizza.

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James Nash

Choose the Best Sales Channels

If you’re hoping to make a little cash from your clearout, you need to find places to sell your things. One of the options is to pick just one avenue through which to sell everything you think can make you some cash. You might decide to have a yard sale if you think you could get some of your neighbors interested. Or go the more modern route of using eBay or a similar site. With some items, it can be best to find a website for selling specific items. For example, at http://buybackexpress.com/books/ you can sell unwanted books. More valuable items could be sold through specialist stores or even auctioned. If you think you have something that might be worth a bit of money, make sure to get it valued before you sell it.

 

Decide on Somewhere to Donate

Once you’ve decided how to sell anything you hope to profit from, you need somewhere to donate things. You might decide you don’t want to sell anything, and you would rather give it all away. There are lots of things you can donate to charity, from clothes and linens to furniture. You should be able to find local places where you can drop off donations. Sometimes, you can even have them come and pick things up from you. Before you make a donation, you must make sure anything you want to give away is in good condition. Find out what different charities are taking at any point in time. Some will ask for specific things, and others might say they are not currently taking donations. Find out about donating non-cash items at https://unclutterer.com/2013/.

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Dispose and Recycle of Things Responsibly

What you are now left with is anything you want to recycle or throw away. Usually, you can easily recycle things like glass, paper, cardboard and some metals. If you don’t have your recycling collected, you can find your nearest recycling plant. You can also recycle some things by finding other places or people that might reuse old items. For example, some places take clothes and other fabrics. You could find artists who might want to use some of your possessions to make something new. Everything else can go in the trash, as long as there’s no other way to get rid of it.

 

Organize Your Remaining Possessions

Now you’re left with everything you want to keep. To truly declutter your home, you need to reorganize all your remaining possessions. Everything might look odd anyway, since you’ve got rid of a lot of stuff. Just like you did when you were clearing out, you can do it room by room. Even though you’ve just got rid of some things, you might want to get some new storage to help you organize everything.
Once you have decluttered your house, you will feel free from all your excess possessions. Your home will have more space for you to live.

The Best Areas To Focus On When Upgrading Your Kitchen

There’s a lot that comes with kitchen renovations, which is why knowing the best areas to focus on is crucial. The reason it’s important to know the essential areas to focus your upgrade on is because of cost. Kitchen updates can be expensive, but if you only concentrate on the essential areas, they don’t have to be. It’s just a case of being smart about what you choose to upgrade and what features and appliances you choose to keep as they are.

Today, I’m going to share with you the best areas of your kitchen to focus on when it comes to updating the space. Take the tips and advice below on board, and you can update your kitchen to a high standard without breaking the bank. For everything that you need to know, keep reading.

Think about practicality

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When it comes to updating your kitchen, it’s crucial that you focus on practicality above everything else. Style is important but a kitchen is a space that has a purpose – aka cooking, so it’s essential that it’s a room that’s practical. This means making your kitchen a space that’s easy to use and also, safe for the whole family.

When it comes to the design of your kitchen, it’s worth taking your family into account. If for example, your kids like to be in the kitchen chatting with you while you cook. Then having a table or breakfast bar in there for them to sit at is a good idea. This keeps them out of the way and away from the stove, but still able to chat with you while you get on.

Be selective about your lighting

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When it comes to what should a be a priority in your kitchen, lighting probably isn’t the first thing to come to mind. However, the lighting in your kitchen is important. It’s not just a case of ensuring that the space is well lit, it’s also worth thinking about where your lights are positioned.

Ideally, you want lights that shine onto your cooking area – the best option for this is kitchen track lighting. This is because you can fit LED Par30 bulbs to these types of lighting, giving you lots of bright light. Plus, the lights can be turned whichever way you need them. The other benefit of these bulbs is that they’ll save you energy compared to regular ones. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, this will cut your energy bills.

Opt for lino flooring

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Is the flooring in your kitchen looking a little old and worn? Yes – then it may be time to replace it. The problem with flooring is that it can be incredibly expensive to replace, especially kitchen flooring. Most kitchens have tile, slate or wooden flooring, which are pricey to replace and fit. This can add hundreds to the cost of your kitchen makeover.

However, the good news is that these aren’t the only types of flooring you can choose from. They might be the best in terms of longevity but when it comes to cost, they’re seriously expensive. Lino on the other hand, is not. It might not last as well, but if fitted properly, lino can look just as smart and stylish as wooden, tile or slate flooring.

There you have it, a guide to all the best areas to focus on when updating your kitchen. Stick to the tips above and you can ensure that your kitchen upgrade is both affordable and easy.

 

How to Fight Your Way Out of a Financial Mess

When you find yourself in a financial mess, it’s very easy to feel alone and isolated from the world. It is possible to get out of your situation and put things right though. Here’s how to do it.

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Organize Everything

You often find that when a person gets into a financial mess, they completely lose control of their papers and documents. Everything spirals into one large, disorganized mess, and that ends up just making things even worse than they were in the first place. So, it’s important that you put this right. It’s impossible to get your accounts in line and correct your mistakes if you have no control over the situation. Reasserting control over your finances certainly is challenging though. Especially when you have a complex financial mess surrounding you. In those cases, it could be a good idea to hire an accountant. Visit somewhere like http://www.forbes.com to learn more about hiring an accountant.

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Get the Financial Guidance You Need

There are other forms of financial guidance that might allow you to get back on track though. For example, sometimes your situation is short-term, and you just have a cash flow issue. If that’s the case, getting a loan from a place like http://personalmoneystore.com might be the answer. And in other situations, when your debts are spiraling out of control, it can be wiser to contact a debt charity. They can give you independent and impartial advice. They will have no vested interests, so they will be able to point you in the right direction.

 

Change Your Long-Term Spending Habits

Sometimes, the only way to sort your financial situation out once and for all is to change your relationship with money. We all use and think about money in different ways. And the way in which we think about it will also affect the ways in which we spend it. If you value money more highly and take a more considered approach to how you spend it in the future, you might be able to improve your situation. You should make a list of priorities when you are planning what you will spend. Some things simply don’t need to have money spent on them. Tightening your budget and cutting back on luxuries can make a big difference.

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Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Twice

There are many reasons why you can find yourself in a poor financial situation. Sometimes, the smallest mistakes can have a huge impact on the way in which your finances look. If you miss one loan repayment, the interest and late fees can add up and mess up your accounts massively. So, you need to make sure that you know why you got yourself into this mess. Only then will you be able to make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes again in the future. If you go back to your old ways once you are out of your financial mess, then it will just happen again. And then you’ll be back to square one all over again, and that’s not what you want.

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Failsafe Tips To Save Money When Traveling

Travel is something most of us would love to do as often as possible. Sadly, going on holiday, especially with a family, can be pricey. If you’re hoping for a holiday this year, but you’re not sure if you can afford it, here are some failsafe tips to bring costs down.

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Image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/holiday/

Book online

The Internet has changed the way we find and book holidays. Within seconds, you can customise your search and confirm your dream trip. Booking online is simple and free. You can also enjoy a
wider range of deals, and you can compare prices easily. Using comparison sites, you can make sure you get the
best deal out there. If you’re thinking of going away, do some research beforehand. Look out for deals and one-day sales. If you can’t afford to pay the total upfront, you can often pay a deposit to secure the booking, and then pay the rest at a later date.

Collect vouchers and coupons

If you’re a bargain hunter, you’re probably already aware of the benefits of coupon collecting. Look out for vouchers and discount codes for hotels, attractions and entertainment options. You may be able to find 2-for-1 movie theatre tickets, for example. If you’re a savvy shopper, you could save yourself a tidy sum of money.

 

Public transport

If you’re going exploring this summer, check out public transport options. Getting the train or bus can often save you a lot of money. If you’re travelling as part of a group, you may wish to consider chartering a bus. You can find more information here. If you’re staying in the city, getting around by metro or tram is likely to save you money compared to hiring taxis. If you are driving, make use of apps to show you where you can find the lowest prices to top up with gas.

Self-catering

Food can be a major contributor to soaring vacation costs. Even budget restaurant meals can set you back a significant sum each day. Self-catering is a much cheaper option, and you can create simple, healthy meals in minutes. Do a supermarket shop as soon as you arrive and plan your meals. If you’re going out and about, take packed lunches and picnics.

Look out for freebies

Entertaining kids on holiday can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Before you go, research free attractions and think of places you can visit in the local area. Many museums offer free entrance, and you can also enjoy days out at the beach and botanical gardens on a shoestring. During the holidays, you may also find that there are free special events and festivals taking place. Look online for details and follow the social media accounts of tourist information offices.

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Image by https://pixabay.com/en/child-woman-family-holidays-beach-431442/

Vacations are notoriously expensive, but there are ways of saving money. If you’re crafty and organised, you can plan a memorable family holiday on a budget. Keep your eyes peeled for special offers and secret sales and sign up to mailing lists to hear about free events first. Keep costs down by using public transport and making your own meals and make the most of the natural surroundings. Most importantly, have a fantastic time!

5 Reasons Why You Should Stay At Home To Watch A Film Rather Than Go To The Cinema

Going to a cinema is a great way to spend an evening. It’s fun to watch a film on the big screen, and they have all the newest releases for you to watch. However, it’s not always the cheapest of trips with the ticket cost, and the snacks you have to purchase.

With people having the latest large screen TV at home, it’s worth considering staying at home to watch a movie. Here are the top 5 reasons for staying in to watch a flick, rather than heading to a cinema.

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Save money

The main reason to stay at home rather than go to the cinema is to save some money. With the average movie ticket price at the highest, it’s ever been, it’s too expensive to make the trip. The average is now $8.61 for a ticket, so you could be looking at around $35 for a family of four. With the price of popcorn and sweets at a high cost too, it’s more than the average family can afford. You can also save petrol money if you stay at home to watch a film!

 

Eat your own snacks

Going to the cinema means you are likely to buy some snacks which tend to be very unhealthy, as well as pricey. If you stay at home, you can have healthier snacks such as fruit or nuts. You will not feel the need to eat so much as well if you watch a flick at home.

 

It’s noisy

If you want to watch a film, you don’t want people messing around right next to you. When you are in a screen, you often get a few people who think it’s funny to shout through a film. It can be very annoying when you can’t hear the movie. Sometimes you can end up having to complain about the noise. At home, you can keep the noise to a minimum, and enjoy the film a lot more.

 

It’s more comfortable

Watching a film at the cinema can often be a painful experience. As this blog suggests, there is often not enough leg room for you to be comfortable. They don’t offer enough support for your back. Sometimes you can end up in a seat where you can’t see over the people in front of you. At home, you can get comfortable on the sofa, and can stretch your legs if necessary. You are guaranteed to have the best view in the house!

 

You can have a break

If you are at the cinema, you will miss some of the film if you need to pop to the toilet. It can be frustrating as you may end up missing vital parts! At home, you can easily have a break to get a drink, or go to the restroom. If the phone rings, you can also quickly answer the call, and then come back to the film later. Also, if your kids are tired, you can leave it for the evening and come back to it the next day.

With many people having Netflix and Amazon Video at home, they often have the latest films for you to view!

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Boosting Your Credit Rating: Everything You Need To Know

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It’s always important to keep a good credit rating. Even if you aren’t on the lookout for a new loan. If you do want to lend some money, a healthy credit score will help creditors to look favorably on your application. If your rating isn’t looking particularly good right now, there are plenty of ways to give it a little boost. Here is everything you need to know.

 

Hire A Professional

There are some companies that specialize in helping people improve their credit ratings. They will take a look at your personal financial situation and be able to advise you on the best route for you. They can also help you with prioritizing your current debts, to help you get everything paid off as quickly as possible. To find out which are the best, check out these credit repair companies reviews.

 

Stop Applying For Credit

This sounds quite obvious. But many people don’t realize that they should stop applying for credit until your credit rating is where it should be. If you carry on applying for loans and credit cards, your applications could be denied. This doesn’t look good to potential lenders. So it is best to wait things out until your credit score and rating is fixed. This could be hard if you are living on a tight budget, but it will be worth it in the long run.

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Pay Back Current Loans On Time

You need to be repaying all your current loans on time, and each monthly payment needs to be in full. This then gives a good impression to potential creditors. They will see that you are currently handling loans well, and will be more likely to trust you with their money. They could be put off if they see that you aren’t doing so well with any current repayments. If you aren’t using a credit card anymore, you should cancel this too. This could cut down your monthly payments or fees.

 

Don’t Go In For Joint Finances

If you have joint finances with someone who has a poor credit score, it will bring your rating down. So it is always best to only sign things in your name. If there is no real reason you need joint finances, then you should always go in for things on your own. This also makes things simpler if you ever split from your partner. Keep everything in your own name as you are the only person you can really trust and rely on.

 

Apply For Credit You Are Likely To Get

Once your credit rating is looking slightly better, you can start to apply for loans. But don’t set your aspirations too high. Only apply for loans and credit cards you are likely to get. When you are applying, reread all the forms you submit and make sure you proofread them fully. Any mistakes will look bad to potential creditors.

Improving your credit rating is very easy if you deal with it step by step. Hopefully, this guide can help you on your way!

 

Tips To Stay Safe In A New City

Travelling alone or with friends can be two very different experiences. But whether we have a group to collaborate with or only ourselves to rely on, we need to take our safety seriously. Travelling and vacations are a chance to feel spontaneous and carefree. But we can still achieve that effect without taking any unnecessary risks. Staying safe and sensible usually just involves a little consideration and forward-planning. We should not allow fear to rule our travels but just take reasonable precautions. If you’re taking a trip any time soon, be sure to consider the ways in which you can stay safe.

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Tours and Guides

Taking a tour can be a wonderful way to explore a new city. Not only are you likely to see and experience the major sights and attractions. But you’ll have a tour guide who is knowledgeable, passionate, and available for questions. Ask them honestly in private if they consider there to be any “no go” areas for tourists. If they have any tips and tricks for how to stay safe or inconspicuous, listen to them. The advantage of taking a tour also means that you will be in a group throughout the day. You will be safe to explore the major landmarks without the fear of getting lost or into a difficult situation.

 

Nightlife

The nightlife of a new place is one of the things that most of us want to experience and enjoy. Even if we are not drinkers, the atmosphere of a place changes as the sun sets and the evening stretches out ahead of us. Bars, pubs and clubs offer a unique opportunity to socialise and relax. But the night time is also potentially when we are the most vulnerable as a newcomer. All of the obvious safety rules still apply here but we must adhere to them. Keep a close eye on your drinks, don’t go overboard, and have a backup plan if you get separated from your friends. It is also wise to avoid public transport and stick with a registered cab or Uber. The evening can be a great time to unwind and relive the adventures of the day. You can sample the delights of local cuisine and maybe try a famous regional cocktail to top it off.

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Ask The Locals
The locals are usually very candid about their own cities and can advise where is safe and pleasant. Waiters, hotel staff and even cab drivers are all goldmines of information! Explain your concerns in a logical way. You don’t want them to feel that you are insulting the town or completely inexperienced. Starting the conversation by asking for places with a good atmosphere or are tourist-friendly is a great way to go. You may also be lucky enough to have friends and relatives who have visited your destination before. Ask them in advance for recommendations and details of their experience. It can be remarkable what others pick up on their trip and you can learn from it all. Before you know it, you may well feel like a native yourself!

How To Get A Great Family Vacation On A Budget

Please enjoy this guest post written especially for LLandLoL readers!

When you have a family life can be hard financially. Raising kids isn’t cheap, and there will always need to be sacrifices to meet their day to day needs. That could mean that you won’t get a vacation every year, or that you need to give up some of your hobbies and interests. So when you do get a chance to take a vacation, you want it to hugely enjoyable and memorable for all of you.

Budgeting for a vacation is easy. You simply put away your spare cash into a savings account each week. Over time, the pot will grow until you are ready to take your vacation. Sadly, we can’t always afford to put much away. It may take a couple of years for that savings account to have enough in there to take a break. No matter how much you’ve got, there are still plenty of options for a great vacation.

One of the best ways to get a great vacation is to hire or buy an RV. If you’re not sure about the types of RV that may be available to you on your budget, check a reputable website for details. If you can buy one outright, you can then take a vacation anytime you want for just the cost of the fuel. If you want to use the facilities of a good RV park so the kids can join some activity clubs, then budget in a little for the hire fee.

Your RV can provide you with luxury accommodation and all the creature comforts of home that you’re used to. It means you can take a break off season when entry fees are cheaper. Or you can vacation on a whim without needing to book. It makes life on the road very comfortable. And it also allows you to choose the routes and itinerary on your terms.

Camping is one of the best ways to enjoy a family vacation on a budget. You can pack just the bare essentials and enjoy all that nature has to offer. You don’t need to travel far to take a vacation either. If you know you don’t have long, then stay in the State. It will cost you less in fuel, and you can always come home if you need to. But it gives you an opportunity to see and do things you don’t ordinarily get a chance to.

Even overseas vacations can be achieved on a budget. Flying offseason is the cheapest way to do it. You may be able to pick up last minute cancellations if you’re willing to wait around for them. Or you can choose a budget airline. By travelling in seats that may not be grouped together, you could save even more.

 

It’s not easy to raise money for a luxury vacation for all the family. But if you’re willing to sacrifice some of the creature comforts, or you’re happy to take what you can get, there are great vacations to enjoy on a budget. So start saving, and have a great journey.

 

Arizona Renaissance Festival Tips

I was provided with complementary tickets to the festival.  All opinions, as always, are my own.

Every year, around my son’s birthday, the Renaissance Festival comes to Arizona.  I was never able to go when I was younger but since having my own kids, I make a point to go each year.  The kids always have a blast but this place is great for adults, too!  This year I was lucky enough to go twice! Once on a date with my husband and another trip included the kids.

Arizona Renaissance Festival

The Arizona Renaissance Festival never disappoints and it’s one of the highlights of our year.  There’s only two weeks left for this year and I highly recommend you check it out.  Here’s a few tips from my family to yours, to ensure the best time possible!

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1. Bring cash.  Sure there are ATMs but it makes the trip smoother if you prepare ahead and bring cash.  Don’t worry, if you need to grab cash, ATMs are pretty easy to locate both inside and outside the entrance.

2. Dress Up.  My kids love any chance to dress up and why not?  We have a box of dress up gear and helped them pick themed appropriate pieces but the certainly don’t have to be historically accurate!  My older boy wanted to wear Pokemon pieces that resembled a dragon. The employees are always extra fun when you are dressed up.

3.Timing.  I know my kids won’t last the whole day at the festival so I’ve learned the best time for us to go is in the afternoon.  That way we are there at the end for the Joust to the Death.  It’s one of our favorite things to see, the show is such fun and higher energy than the others throughout the day. This timing works for us, but take a look online to see what might work for you.

4. Wear sunscreen and comfy shoes.  The festival is 30 acres packed full with rides, food, stages/shows, crafts, jousting, mermaids and more!  Make sure you are wearing comfy shoes so you can enjoy your time exploring.  The festival is outdoors (though you can certainly find relief form the sun in one of the shaded areas) so sunscreen is another must.

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Great Deals (and Giveaway) from AT&T

I am an AT&T Phoenix Mom and received this amazing product for personal in exchange and to help facilitate this post and giveaway.  As always, my opinions are 100% my own!

If you’ve been following along, you know I ‘recently’ switched to AT&T.  They have amazing promotions and right now is no different!

  • New and existing wireless customers in Arizona can buy one, get one free with AT&T’s latest and greatest smartphones! For example, if you purchase an iPhone 6S or Samsung Galaxy S7, you can get another one for free when you add a second line.
  • You can get up to $650 in credits per line to help you switch to AT&T when you trade in your current smartphones and buy new ones on AT&T Next.
  • AT&T has been making big upgrades in AZ! Over the past few years, AT&T has invested more than $500 million in its best-in-class networks in Arizona to upgrade reliability, coverage, speed and performance for customers.
  • You can find out more information by visiting www.att.com/switchnowAZ

att polariod printer

I am a busy mom and use my phone for everything.  This Polaroid Zip Mobile Instant Printer is perfect for me to be able to share physical photos quickly and easily.  Perfect for filling out my kids’ Star Student/About Me posters, scrap booking with ease and giving grandma and grandpa the pictures I just took.

This mobile printer prints images instantly from any mobile phone, tablet, or Bluetooth device. The photo prints on 2×3-inch smudge-proof, peel-back sticky paper. No Ink, no hassles, and prints in under a minute. There is a free app that adds versatility and creative printing options.

AT&T has been generous enough to offer LLandLoL’s readers a giveaway for the Polaroid Zip Mobile Instant Printer! This giveaway is open to US residents 18 and older. Enter below!