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Hobbies on a budget: Five things to do today to simplify your life

Have you ever thought about the seasons of life? Kids love to collect things like marbles, rocks, stamps or favorite movie memorabilia. As you get older, you might find that you are collecting baseball hats, vintage glassware or sets of dishes. Eventually though, you may outgrow your collections or decide that you are tired of spending hours of your life dusting the knick knacks or want to have room in your garage to actually pull your vehicle in out of the weather.

If you have moved past the collecting season of life and are ready to simplify but not quite sure where to start because there is so much stuff in your life, here are some simple tips to get you started. 

Clean out your closet: This may seem like a no brainer, but most of us have stuff hanging in our closet or stuffed in boxes on the top shelves that we haven’t worn or used in years. If it hasn’t been worn in the past two years, what are you saving it for? Many people are saving old prom dresses, overcoats, uniforms, sweaters, scarves and shoes that just don’t fit, aren’t in style or don’t fit your current lifestyle.  

Periodically we will go through our closets and sort out things that just don’t work for us anymore. We either take them to the local thrift store, give them to a friend or family member if it’s something they need or just throw them away. Because, let’s face it, not everything deserves a second life. Some things need to be tossed so they don’t end up cluttering someone else’s life.

Donate unused drink mugs: We all have drink mugs, sports bottles or souvenir cups in our closets that we have accumulated over the years. But do we really need them taking up that cabinet space? Donate them to the local thrift store and free up some great space.

Skip the Sales Ads: This reminds me of the classic Laura Numeroff books. If you don’t see the amazing sales happening in the sales ads, you might not be tempted to head to the stores. If you don’t walk into the stores, you might not buy more stuff. If you don’t buy more stuff, you won’t end up with extra stuff in your life.  

Clean up what you have: The other day I took a good look at my salt and pepper shakers. They are little glass shakers, have been used daily for quite a few years and just really don’t look that nice anymore. I debated whether I should just chunk them and buy a new set since they’re not very expensive, but instead I took a few minutes and cleaned the ones I have. Now they look brand new and only took 20 minutes. 

Tip: Invest in a box of steel wool pads so you can clean up your stove or pots and pans so you can get new life out of the things you already have!  

Throw out old crayons: When crayons and school supplies go on sale each year, I always stock up on supplies. The problem is that when I add the new crayons and pencils, I forget to throw out the old stuff. This past week, I took a few minutes while I was watching TV and sorted out the old crayons, pencils and markers. I put the used ones in a plastic bag and donated them. That means I have an extra plastic box that I can use to store other things that really matter to me.

Like many of you, I’m on a mission to simplify and streamline our living. What are your favorite tips and tricks for clearing out the clutter? I’d love to hear!  

For more ideas for hobbies and life, check out Hobbies on a Budget (www.hobbiesonabudget.com).