It’s that time of the year again!

Cleaning equals cheap therapy.  With my new husband deployed, I am finding this chore becoming less arduous than before.  What better way to welcome sunshine and flowers  and keeping this lady busy than tackling the dreaded house overhaul.

My number one spring chore this year is tackling…the closets.  How many of us have simply thrown clothes, toys, shoes, whatever into the great abyss?

Talk about closets, cabinets and drawers oh my!

When most people discuss Spring cleaning we typically think about everything but….we envision taking down our drapes, the bedsheets, rugs…and beating the Winter dirt away.

So where to begin? If you’re closets are anything like mine you’ll need to take a deep breath—-start brainstorming and remember:  Organizing your closets is one of the first steps in organizing your home.

  • Get rid of unused clothes and those that don’t fit you well.  (Am sure with these tough economic times you can donate these items to your local church or even the Goodwill.)
  • Store most used items in plain sight (something I need to practice.)
  • Store seasonal clothes in see through containers or label them for easy identification (don’t forget the moth balls) You can also use the space under your bed for an easy tuck away.
  • Coordinate your clothing by season if you don’t have the storage capacity (i.e. sweaters, sleeveless, dresses, suits.)
  • Use storage cubbies to organize your shoes
  • Add lights to your closet space to illuminate those hard to reach places (if you have a walk in)
  • Color code your clothing to make finding things easier.

Hopefully these tips can help motivate you in getting started.  Only you know your preferences and remember, a clean closet means having peace of mind.   🙂

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Saving some energy $$

I received my Ameren UE personal energy report yesterday and was floored at how much electricity my household uses.  For 2010 my cost was $831.67 which averages out to $2.28 a day.

The highest month was August (the temperature was hovering about 84 degrees at that time) and the lowest was December with temps at about 37 degrees.

Though we pay some of the lowest rates here I am still appalled at spending so much money on simple niceties.

Ameren included a cost reduction flyer which I plan on putting into good use. Here are some tips:

Lighting

Turn off lights not in use. A single 100-watt bulb uses 72 cents of power monthly.  If you buy an ENERGY STAR qualified compact flourescent (CFL) bulb it uses roughly 75% less energy and you can save $30.00 in costs annually during the bulb’s lifetime.

Water Heating

Turn down your water heater to 120 degrees. Hot water accounts for over 25% of the average energy bill. Also cutting down your shower time can save $5 a month. (I don’t take long showers as it is…must have been a leftover from the military.)

Insulating

Using chalk and weather-stripping around windows an doors can cut down on those air leaks. I have energy-efficient windows upstairs and you can feel a marked difference in both heating and cooling. Time to replace those downstairs’ windows!

Kitchen

Use ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators and get rid of old ones that are simply sucking up the juice. Keeping an older model can cost you over $100 a year. (Think where you could better invest that money!)

Check the manufacture’s instructions for proper settings. Do not set it colder than necessary.

Vacuum the dust off the condenser and keep your fridge away from heat. (Gross I know but it can prolong the life of your appliance and save you $$$ each month.

And do what I do…when I am at work (and daughter is in school) I don’t keep anything on unless it’s the microwave clock and my alarm clocks…that’s it.

I believe the bulk of my electric $$ comes from needing to replace the windows. Once that project is completed I know I will see a marked savings in my wallet and be environmentally friendly.

Being your own handyman

…or in this case handywoman…

Can be a challenge when you are not used to fixing things around your place.  Having rented most of my adult life I find myself with jaw agape when I see something which needs fixing. So far the list includes:

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1.  Putting up a towel rack (trust me it is harder than it looks when you never put up a towel rack before).

2.  Leak under the fridge (WTF on that one).

3.  Leak in ceiling….(condo association has to take care of THAT !)

4.  Dealing with a blown fuse (took care of it).

But at least I know the place is mine.

Mine.