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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Stress-Free Holiday Cleaning Routines

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…

ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second.
- William James


   After moving to MI from AZ to take care of my mother, I swore I’d never use a moving truck again…I will simply auction off everything and ship what I want to keep and I’ll hire a maid!  Also, be sure to scroll to the bottom for access to a funny holiday message…


Stress-Free Holiday Cleaning Routines

From Mother Earth Living, By Allison Martin

This holiday season can be different: Amid the parties, gift-making, dessert-baking and guest-preparing, you can be amazingly, serenely stress-free. How? By establishing routines to keep our homes running smoothly every day, we can reduce stress and devote our time and energy toward special seasonal activities with our loved ones, rather than chores. Try these tips to enjoy a holiday season that feels joyful instead of chaotic.

Streamline Your Home

Getting there requires some work, but not of the rushing, busy-bee variety we typically associate with a hectic holiday season. Instead, we need to strategize for long-term, day-in and day-out success.


If clutter is overwhelming your house to the extent that inviting guests over requires hours of cleaning, it’s time to simplify. “Too much stuff” is a problem in many households. A 2012 study by the UCLA Center on Everyday Lives of Families found that managing too much stuff can feel so overwhelming that it can actually raise stress hormones. Is clutter really worth added stress?


Keeping in mind that reducing your holdings can actually improve your health, take stock of your environment: Which items take up space but have little function? Let the holiday season’s spirit of charity inspire you to box up everything you don’t use regularly and donate it for another family to enjoy. Encourage the kids to get involved by going through their old books and toys and donating everything they’ve outgrown.


After you’ve pared back and given yourself some breathing space, consider implementing one or more of the following routines, all of which are designed to help keep your home in order easily.


You Want: Breathing Space

The problem: We cleared our homes of clutter on de-clutter day, but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean we’re done. Clutter doesn’t build up in a day — it accumulates slowly over time. It takes vigilance to permanently keep clutter at bay.


The routine: Start by making a “donation” bin somewhere in your home — maybe it’s in a closet or by the back door. Any time you notice something you don’t use or like, add it to the donate bin. Once it’s full, drop it off at a charity or women’s shelter.


Then schedule 20 minutes once a month to analyze your spaces and manage excess stuff. When you see something that isn’t needed, get rid of it. Right then and there; it really can be that simple. As you analyze items, you only need to ask yourself two questions: Do I use this item? Do I love this item? Functional items should be used at least once a month to make them worth space in your home. If it’s something you love — say, a piece of art your son brought home from school — display it. Frame the art and hang it on the wall. If you have items that are neither used monthly nor displayed, limit your “collection” of them by getting a reasonable-sized weatherproof tub that fits easily in a closet, and store your nostalgic items there. As long as it fits in the tub, you can keep it. Once the tub is full, it’s time to make decisions about what to keep and what to toss.


You Want: Under-Control Mail

The problem: As it continues to come in day after day, mail can put a kink in your house zen. Piles of bills, fliers, coupons and more can seem to take on a life of their own.


The routine: Don’t let mail take over. Instead, sort the mail as it comes into the house, immediately recycling junk mail, shredding unneeded financial statements, and filing important paperwork. Create a mail station in an office or near the front door. Stock it with a small recycle bin, a paper shredder, and a tray or box for actionable items such as invitations that need an RSVP or bills that need to be paid.


You Want: A Spic & Span Mudroom

The problem: Shoes, shoes, everywhere. And jackets. And backpacks. And more.

The routine: The much-needed items that protect us against the cold are definitely not clutter. Yet it’s easy to find ourselves fighting the battle of the bulging hall closet. Get ahead of the game by dedicating space just inside the door for outerwear. Customize this space to accommodate the items most often piled in your entry: Keep a basket for shoes by the door; tuck gloves into another bin; and hang lots of hooks for jackets, backpacks and bags.


You Want: A Clutter-Free Kitchen

The problem: A cluttered dining table or countertop is an all-too-familiar housekeeping pitfall. All that stuff has to go somewhere—and the nice open expanse of the dining table can be an attractive place to plunk down that stack of papers…the laundry basket, your knapsack, etc.

The routine:  Counteract this tendency by making clearing kitchen surfaces a part of after-dinner clean-up. While the dishes are directed to the sink, gather items that don’t belong on the table or counter. Pile them up and, once the kitchen is clean, return all the runaway items to where they belong.


You Want: An Empty Kitchen Sink

The problem: For many of us, the first step in making dinner is clearing the dirty breakfast dishes from the sink. Or worse, maneuvering around empty cups and adding to the mess to be dealt with later.

The routine: How much easier would life be if the kitchen counters were clear and the sink empty when you got home from work? This is attainable — and simple. Load the dishwasher in the evening after dinner, but don’t run it yet — in the morning, add the few items used before you leave the house and let the dishwasher run while you’re out. When you return, it will be to a clean kitchen with an empty sink.

Excerpted from Mother Earth Living, a national magazine devoted to living wisely and living well. To read more articles from Mother Earth Living, please visit or call (800) 340-5846 to subscribe. Copyright 2014 by Ogden Publications Inc.


   Christmas tip…money was mighty tight when I was a kid so my mother hid several of the gifts we got from relatives and handed them out to us rain and snow days when we had to stay inside [unlike many kids today, we played outside whenever possible from dawn to dusk]



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This is to help you get ready for the Christmas season. Enjoy!

Click the link below and have a laugh or two. Holiday Dinner Party,
it's short and really hits home for us Boomers!



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The campy, the sexy, the odd, the risqué and retro [and even the practical] Gifts he’ll appreciate!


Yours in freedom,

Bruce ‘the Poor Man’


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