Knick Knacks: Clean Home, Fresh Start and a Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed. The winners are; Emily, Cindy, Mercedes, Brandi, and Deborah!

Knickknack – a small trivial article usually intended for ornament.

Photo courtesy of Orin Zebest.

I have noticed that once you get one type of knickknack, people think that you are a collector, then for every birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc… you receive more knickknacks to add to your collection. Before you know it, your shelves are overflowing with small or large decorative pieces. One day you will look around your home and think, “Do I really love Pez Dispensers this much?”

The problem is, sometimes the first knickknack was a gift and you didn’t necessarily love it. You end up with an entire house full of items you don’t really love, or that aren’t worth the hassle of dusting every week.

I have noticed one thing that makes a big difference in a home appearing clean is the absence of dust on shelves, furniture, pictures, and knickknacks. When I got married I had boxes full of knickknacks, a few of them I loved, but most of them I just kept because people had given them to me. It didn’t take me long to realize that I didn’t really want to dust these pieces on a regular basis. Over time I kept only the pieces that were truly special to me.

If you were to visit my house now, you would find very few items on my shelves and tables. I don’t like to dust so I don’t collect knickknacks. Because there are so few things to move and clean even my toddlers are able to help with the dusting. I like things simple, and for me simplifying means less visual clutter in my home.

When was the last time you went through and decluttered your shelves, tables, curio cabinets, dressers, side tables, and fireplace mantles? Go through your home and think about the things you collect. Do they bring you more joy than the stress of cleaning them? If the knickknacks are only a source of clutter and stress find them a new home.

To help you clean those shelves, Endust is giving away five coupons for a FREE Endust product. They have a new product, Endust Free Dusting and Cleaning spray, which reduces allergens on surfaces and in the air. This cleaning spray recently received the asthma & allergy friendly Certification Mark from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, making it the first fragrance-free, hypoallergenic dusting and cleaning product scientifically-proven to work.

To enter to win a coupon for a FREE Endust product leave me a comment and tell me what you collect. Giveaway ends Saturday, May 1, 2010.

Disclaimer: I do not dislike knickknacks, I dislike dusting them. I enjoy looking at other people’s collections. My mother-in-law has a collection of Santas that is one of my favorite things in her home.


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Clean out the Clothes: Clean Home, Fresh Start

Do you have clothes from your senior year of high school lurking in the back of your closet, clothes you haven’t worn in years? Bedroom closets can be a huge source of clutter. With most newer homes having master bedroom closets the size of a small country, the temptation to hang on to every single item of clothing since the 10th grade can be great.

I am guilty of hanging on to clothes that are too small because I am sure that one day I will fit into them. And sometimes I do end up fitting into them, but by that time they are hopelessly out of style!

I have found that with clothing less is more. A few basic pieces can go a long way, and you will  be less frustrated in the mornings while you are getting dressed. If items don’t fit, are not your style or color, or you just don’t like them, get rid of them! If you are a clothes hoarder have a friend come over and help you.

Having a closet full of clothes that you don’t wear makes it harder to find the clothes you do wear.

A few years ago, one of my more stylish friends came over and helped me clean out my closet. While it was painful at the time, she really helped me see what items were worth keeping and which ones needed to be tossed. The nice thing about clothes is that they can be donated or given to someone else. There are very few items that end up in the garbage can.

When was the last time you gave your closet an honest clean out? I cleaned mine at the beginning of the year and I love all the extra space!


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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

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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