Media Clean Out: Clean Home, Fresh Start

old cdsHave you cleaned out your media cabinet lately? My husband is a technophile so we always have drawers full of equipment, cords, wires, old electronics, new electronics, videos, DVDs, CDs, tapes, etc. The problem with technology is that it changes so quickly many products become obsolete in a few years.

When our oldest was a toddler we bought her educational computer games for our Packard Bell 386sx computer. Some of these games were still lurking in boxes and drawers in our home. There were games that we really didn’t like or approve of once we purchased them, there were also discs that were so scratched they could not be repaired.

Then there were the discs that didn’t run on our computers anymore, or the discs that locked up and crashed our computer every time the kids tried to play the game. With so many great internet games available for free, it didn’t make any sense to hang on to games that only worked 10% of the time.

cd binder

We organize the kids’ computer games in these CD Binder. I love these because the kids can see which games are available without touching the actual discs and getting them dirty. They also take up less space and are portable!

We ended up getting rid of over 80 discs, not to mention a few broken headphones, CD players, and random odds and ends. Tonight we are organizing our cd’s and movies.

When cleaning out your movies and cds, remember to make sure that they all play, and are acceptable for your family’s values. We go through our movies and CD’s about once a year and get rid of the ones we didn’t like or that we felt were not appropriate for our family. If your disc has light scratches it can be repaired with some polishing and toothpaste.

If you have broken electronics check the cost of repair before you keep to them. Sometimes we have found that it is cheaper to replace an item than to repair it, but you would need to check prices in your local area.

We have sold computer games, CDs, and movies on ebay or at yard sales, donated them to the thrift store, given them to friends, or thrown them in the garbage. Do whatever works best for you.

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What to do With All that Clutter

clutter

Many of us have been cleaning and decluttering this month, but what do you do with all the junk?

1. Throw it away

Broken, worn out, too old to salvage items need to find a home in the garbage can. Do not donate or pass along things in poor condition.

2. Recycle

Visit your city’s web page and see what items they recycle. You might be surprised at the amount of items that can be recycled these days. If your city doesn’t recycle, you can find the closest facility and take it yourself.

3. Donate

Many organizations will come to your house and pick up your unwanted stuff! The following organizations may pick up items in your area.

4. Yard Sale

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? Yard sales are a lot of work, but it is a great way to earn some extra money. Money Saving Mom has a great post on how to have a successful yard sale.

5. Craig’s List

Craig’s List is a great way to get rid of just a few unwanted items. It works especially well for bigger items that you don’t want to haul away yourself. I posted some tips last year for buying and selling on Craig’s List, it is my favorite place to shop!

6. eBay

eBay is a good option when you want to sell higher value or unique items. Just remember eBay charges fees, so take that into consideration before  listing an item.

7. Pass Along to a Friend

Many families are blessed by hand-me-downs and second hand items. I know when I was first married almost everything we owned came from someone else. We couldn’t afford to buy anything new and we were very thankful for the generosity of others.

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Clean out the Fridge: Clean Home, Fresh Start

refrigerator

One of my biggest trouble spots is the refrigerator door. I often pull out a jar of salsa or bottle of salad dressing only to wonder if eating it is going to make us all sick. I never know how long things last before they “go bad.”

My husband tends to err on the side of caution and throw everything away, where I usually give it the sniff test to determine whether it is safe to eat. If you would like a better method of determining the shelf life of food check out this awesome Shelf Life Guide from Still Tasty. It even has a search feature so you can find foods quickly. No more sniff test for me!

I was surprised to find out that opened salsa lasts a month in the fridge and molasses lasts forever.

expired food

I spent some time cleaning out my fridge and found a lot of food and condiments that needed to be thrown away. It was depressing and I felt like I was throwing money in the garbage can.

dirty fridge

A good idea is to clean out your fridge before you go on your big shopping trip. This means most people will clean out their fridge every few weeks. Not only will you be able to toss expired food items, you will also be able to wipe down the shelves. I am sure if you have kids your shelves are probably not very clean!

refrigerator door

Your refrigerator manual probably has recommendations for cleaners, but I use hot soapy water and it works well. I just empty the fridge, remove the shelves and bins, then wash in the sink. The whole process takes about 45 minutes if I haven’t done it in a while. Remember to wipe the bottom of the containers before you put them back into the fridge, it doesn’t make sense to put dirty bottles on a clean shelf!

Keeping your fridge clean and clutter free is an easy way to save money. If you know what is in your fridge you are less likely to purchase duplicate items and are more likely to use up what you already have at home.

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Game Organization: Clean Home, Fresh Start

game organization

I love winning playing games with my family. I do not love opening my hall closet and being hit on the head with a stray game piece or board. Games are fun, but keeping them organized can be difficult.

game organization

Here are a few ideas for organizing your games.

Take stock of your games every few months. Make sure the games are not missing pieces. Throw away games that cannot be played because of missing pieces. Donate or sell games that you do not play anymore, or ones that you have never played and will never play.

Buy small plastic containers when they are on sale. Use these containers to hold games that did not come with their own box, or the box has been ruined.

Fix or throw away broken games. Mailing tape works great for repairing worn boxes and boards.

Keep a small stash of batteries in your game closet. Many newer games require batteries. Storing batteries with the games makes it easy to replace them when needed.

Store games sideways. If the boxes can hold up, this makes getting games out of the closet so much easier than stacking them on top of each other.

If you don’t have a closet for storage get creative. Bookshelves, wooden or metal cubbies, kitchen cabinet, microwave cart, hutch, coffee table, or trunk are all great places to store games.

Keep the games where you are most likely to play them. If the games are stored close to where you would play them, you are more likely to play them.

When was the last time you organized your game closet? As you can see from the above photos, my closet needs a makeover this week!


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