Spring Cleaning – Where to go with all the Stuff?

I’ve written about organizing before on my blog (HERE) and have continued going through pretty much EVERYTHING in our house to determine if it should stay or go. Getting and staying organized helps things run more smoothly at home, and since we’re moving, I have an even greater sense of urgency to donate, recycle, share, or properly dispose of non-essentials. Here are some ideas for where to go with the things you’re getting rid of this spring:

  1. Baby gear / clothes / toys: I’ve continued the cycle of passing along items to family and friends. For some items, I’ve donated to a local organization that supports single moms.
  2. Baby Cribs: My friends on Facebook had a lot of great ideas on where to go with used cribs. One suggested a domestic abuse charity, to help women get out of a bad situation and provide some needed furniture for their family. I contacted an organization for single moms and received two options for donating – to their main site or to a couple who collects gently used furniture for the poor.
  3. Adult clothing: I’ve split between Goodwill and a homeless shelter that has a collection bin at our church.
  4. Appliances: Goodwill accepted our non-working shop vac. We also have to get a broken wine fridge (sad, I know), and dehumidifier to an area appliance recycling location. Check with your county or municipality for recycling appliances in your area!
  5. Vases: This was AWESOME – my local florist recycles old vases. I wrote more about that in How I Gave Myself Free Flowers.
  6. Shoes: For Lent our Church is working with Soles for Jesus, an organization that sends shoes to the under-served in sub-Saharan Africa, where many people walk barefoot as their means of getting around. Just one pair of shoes can help prevent disease and make a difference!
  7. Books: My daughter’s school was having a book drive to support a local charity, so some children’s books went there. Another bunch went to the Little Free Library nearby.
  8. Bras: I knew this was a long-shot, but I had some bras that were truly gently used , and I couldn’t bear to throw away, as my husband suggested. I went to Google and found a donation site for Free the Girls, an organization dedicated to help survivors of sex trafficking in developing countries.
  9. Household items or other miscellaneous things: Most of this has ended up at Goodwill. I’ve also considered donating to Easter Seals Disability Services, as they need a wide variety of items and can even arrange to pick up your items for FREE! If there seems to be some use left, I would much rather pass it along than just pitch-it!
  10. Batteries, Printer Cartridges: My husband’s work recycles old batteries. I’ve also brought some to Batteries Plus. Empty printer cartridges have gone to Office Max / Office Depot.
  11. Expired Medicine: I’ve dropped off old prescriptions and expired medicine at a county sponsored annual drug / medicine collection. Click on the link from the FDA that explains how to properly dispose of unused medicine.
  12. Hardware Store Items: I found some electrical products and other miscellaneous items purchased from a hardware store that we haven’t used. I think I ultimately bought the wrong things! After Daddy O. goes through this random box, I plan on taking it to the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Getting rid of items is no small feat, but there are so many organizations and people that are in need, both locally and around the world. I hope that my spring cleaning efforts play a small part in keeping items out of landfills while helping others.



How I Gave Myself Free Flowers

Check out these beautiful tulips that I received today!

Free flowers vase recycling

Colorful tulips remind me of Spring!

How did I get them?  While I have been tempted to buy myself tulips to help escape the winter-blahs, I have been distracted by a clean- and purge-my-house-of-things-kick, meaning no time or need for flowers.  Fortunately, I found a way for my de-cluttering to payoff with free flowers.

It was simple – I had several glass vases collecting dust in my basement. On the bottom two vases, I found a clear sticker with the contact info for a local florist. I called them up and asked them if they re-cycled vases, and she said that they did, giving fresh flowers in return. AWESOME!

This was such a win-win-win situation: I get rid of excessive vases I don’t want, AND get fresh flowers in return. A win for the florist: they are able to stock up on vases in time for Valentine’s Day at a minimal cost (I assume)! And a win for the earth is always recycling! Finally, it was a win for Daddy O., who will not buy me flowers for Valentine’s Day (though admittedly he wouldn’t anyway after years of me telling him not to because they are so ridiculously marked up for the holiday, and I’d rather do something together as a couple instead of receiving a gift).

Search your own home and see if your local florist recycles vases too!

For organizing and spring cleaning tips, see my post from last January when a dear friend helped me organize my living room / toy chaos.

#ThrowbackThursday: Playing in Leaves

I had a flashback to these beautiful moments playing in the leaves through the years with my kids yesterday.  Here’s a series of pictures of big sister from two years ago!

Even back then, big sister was a ham! Love it!

Even back then, big sister was a ham! Love it!

And going back one more year, here were the kids in 2012.

As a one year old, I don't think my son was "feeling it" as much!

As a one year old, I don’t think my son was “feeling it” as much!

This year at age four and almost six, they are BOTH loving the leaves and even throwing them at me! This season really IS the best, and our backyard has a seemingly endless of supply of leaves for the next month, so we will enjoy it for sure!

A New Way to Display Art – Old Window Screens

As I mentioned in a recent post, I like to use what we have around our house before going out and buying something. Early on in summer, I was tired of seeing the old window screens stacked behind our garage, so I searched Pinterest and found this pin.  I knew we could figure something out for a bulletin board for my daughter’s room.

I picked the two best looking screens and cleaned them off with a our garden hose, which actually pulled off some of the old paint for further “distressing” of the wood.  Between some hardware stores and Hobby Lobby, I manged to find mini clothespins, eye-hooks, and D-hooks for hanging the screens on the wall. With a little help from Daddy O. at the end of summer, we managed to create and hang up these two screens.

The Finished Product

full view of window screen art boards

Two window screen bulletin boards proudly display my daughter’s art.

close up of window screen art boards

Close up of the screens, so you can see the vintage, distressed wood. It actually matches nicely with our older home!

Now our only issue with the screens is that we didn’t make one for my son! A larger window screen is waiting by Daddy O’s tool bench to make it happen.

What “junk” have you re-purposed into something functional for your home?

Oh yeah…I also did some crafting with big cardboard boxes too! See the train and kitchen I made out of carseat boxes.

It’s a Jungle in HERE! Wild about this Party Theme

We threw my son a leopard / jungle inspired 4th birthday over the weekend, and had a lot of fun with it!  Here are some pictures of our decor:

Jungle birthday party collage

From top: Leopard on the cake, sunflower centerpiece on a leopard print tablecloth, Middle: stuffed animals help decorate, bottom: monkeys swinging from the vines, and our vine window treatment

cat pictures

My daughter and son had fun coloring pictures of cats (still living and extinct), so we HAD to display them.

view of the table and jungle vines

I LOVED this leopard table cloth and may have to re-use it. We also have a jaguar picture hanging from the chandelier, who is going to eat the monkeys (according to my son).

The kids and I had so much fun hanging the vines (green yarn and green crepe paper) and placing the stuffed animals around the room.  I used green pipe cleaners to keep the monkeys attached to the chandelier.

For treats for the kids, we had animal crackers and jungle animal fruit snacks. We also had out a zoo play set and safari truck, though the kids went WILD playing with seemingly ALL of the toys in our house. It was awesome!

It was also very easy to find leopard print gift bags, though hot pink leopard print and zebra print tended to be more common in the stores we checked out (Dollar Store, Target, Wal-mart, and finally a party store).

One present that we bought the birthday boy was this cute stuffed leopard or jaguar.  My son said it was the greatest present in the whole world and has since named it “Spotty,” “Leppy,” or “Jaggy.”

Birthday boy taking good care of Spotty.

Birthday boy taking good care of Spotty.

Happy Birthday to my sweet 4 year old son!