Monday, April 13, 2009

peppermint poo

Normally I buy kitty litter in a bucket (easy to carry.) But I was recently shopping with a friend, and he spotted some bags of litter, very inexpensive, and offered to carry them for me. It was a name brand, so I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, I did not read the label, and discovered, to my dismay, that is is not clumping litter. When wet, it just turns brown and stays wet. And, strangely, it smells like peppermint!

Today I was reading an article about "The Most Toxic Places in Your Home" on Today / MSNBC. The article mentions that many kitty litters contain crystalline silica, which is a carcinogen. Great, now another thing I have to look for on the label!

Darn stinky cats.

fragrant fire

Herbal Fire Starter

Pinecones and dried herbs such as rosemary, sage leaves, and cinnamon sticks make fragrant kindling for a winter fire -- and, unlike composite firelogs and lighter fluid, don't rely on chemicals to ignite the flame.

1. Bundle dried herbs and small pinecones in a sheet of newspaper and secure the ends with raffia or cotton twine.
2. As you pile up logs for your fire, nestle the herb bundle underneath, with paper ends sticking out.
3. To start the fire, light the newspaper ends. As the paper burns up, the herbs inside will ignite and incinerate, giving the logs a chance to catch fire.

Cost: less than $10

From MSN article "25 Eco-Chic Ideas for Your Home."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

new year, new space?

I found this anonymous quote recently:
If it is neither useful nor beautiful,
it doesn't belong in your life.

It really sums up something that’s been on my mind for a while: I have too much stuff, WHY?

I need to downsize drastically. We will not always have this 3000 square foot house with the huge garage and 3 storage sheds... and when we (eventually) move across country, we can’t afford to take all this stuff with us!

A recent issue of House Beautiful magazine featured an article about clearing clutter from closets. Julie Morgenstern’s strategy is SHED.
SEPARATE the treasures — identify the gems that are worth hanging on to.
HEAVE the trash — eliminate what's weighing you down.
EMBRACE your identity — connect to who you are without all your stuff.
DRIVE yourself forward — explore the direction that connects to your genuine self.

I really liked what she said about items of “sentimental value:” Ask yourself: Is this the best and most important reminder of that time in my life, or person I knew, that I own?

You can read the article online here, but I encourage you look for the print version too, it’s laid out nicely with different fonts & colors.

To rid my home of clutter, I’ve created a "6 bucket method." I will go through one room at a time, with 6 buckets/bins/containers:
1. OUT -- trash
2. OUT -- donate
3. OUT -- sell
4. IN -- put away somewhere else
5. IN – keep for sentimental value
6. IN -- not sure / decide in 1 month

This is my variation of the “four box method” from Organized Home (and zillions of other sources on the web!)

Today we cut off our cable and internet, and after this weekend we'll be cancelling NetFlix. So our entertainment will be reading, watching our small collection of DVDs/VHSs that I’m frankly pretty sick of watching (I see an opportunity to donate here!), or crafting (but I don’t have much space to work, too much clutter!) So this is a great time in my life to dedicate my evenings & weekends to cleaning up the clutter!