Tag Archives: Cleaning

Start 2023 Off Right with 6 Audiobooks on Decluttering Your Life

A messy desktop

Start the New Year Off Right

It’s the beginning of the year   and Get Organized Month. What better way to  start off on the right foot than to clean, declutter and organize. It is hard for new  and exciting things to come into your life  when there is a lot of extra stuff hanging around. I don’t necessarily mean physical  things like your wardrobe , furniture  or housewares. Rather it could be emotional baggage, electronic clutter on your computer  or just plane old bad habits.

Display of NLS Talking Book Player, Cartridges and Earbuds
Display of NLS Talking Book Player, Cartridges and Earbuds

To help you move in the right direction, I found  6 books on getting organized. These are all in audio format and  can be found at the National Library for the Blind and Print Impaired, Bookshare and Hoopla. They are my go-to sources for great audio  reads. If you read print, I am sure these gems of wisdom are available  at your local library or where books are sold. Select one or two  and enjoy the journey of decluttering your home, workplace  and life.

6 Audiobooks on Getting Organized

A Caucasian woman is reading a book while holding it in her hands. The book covers most of her face where only her hair and eyes are visible. She is standing in front of a wall of books at the library.

1. Make Space for Happiness : How to Stop Attracting Clutter and Start Magnetizing the Life You Want by Tracy McCubbin

It’s time to make room in your life for happiness to blossom. Do you feel like you have too much stuff? A cluttered space isn’t just inconvenient. The truth is it’s hard to lead a joyful, purposeful life when the things around you detract from your relationships, habits, and goals.

But decluttering is more than getting rid of the stuff you already have. To make real change in your home, you need to look at how these excess possessions got there in the first place. This book examines the acquisition cycles that keep our homes overcrowded and distract us from going after the meaningful things we really want in our lives.

2. Making Space Clutter Free : The Last Book on Decluttering You’ll Ever Need by  Tracy McCubbin

Discover the freedom of a beautiful home, personal purpose, and joyful inner confidence Decluttering expert Tracy McCubbin offers revolutionary help to anyone who has repeatedly tried to break their clutter’s mysterious hold. Her powerful answer lies in the 7 Emotional Clutter Blocks, unconscious obstacles that stood between thousands of her clients. Once a Clutter Block is revealed—and healed—true transformation of home and life is possible.

3. Simple Organizing: 50 Ways to Clear the Clutter by  Melissa Michaels

Getting organized can feel like an impossible task. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. The things you actually use need a designated home. The rest of the stuff is clutter and needs to be removed. Once you’ve determined which is which, order can easily be maintained.

Empish selecting clothes in closet

4. Declutter Like a Mother : A Guilt-Free, No-Stress Way to Transform Your Home and Your Life by  Allie

Casazza

The author shares her powerful and proven method for clearing the clutter in our minds by first clearing the clutter in our homes, the place where transformation begins. When Casazza first became a mom, she found herself struggling to make it through each day. She battled fatigue, depression, and the unsettling feeling that she didn’t have what it took to do “this mom thing” well. When she realized the root of her burden was the overwhelm of physical clutter, she got intentional about what took up her space and time.

5. Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff : Declutter, Downsize and Move Forward with Your Life by Matt

Paxton

The author distills his fail proof approach to decluttering and downsizing. Your boxes of photos, family China and even the kids’ height charts are just stuff. They are attached to a lifetime of memories. Letting them go can be scary. With empathy, expertise, and humor, this book helps you sift through years of clutter, let go of what no longer serves you, and identify the items worth keeping so that you can focus on living in the present.

Empish mopping kitchen floor

6. How to Keep House While Drowning : A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing by  KC Davis

This revolutionary approach to cleaning and organizing helps free you from feeling ashamed or overwhelmed by a messy home. If you are struggling to stay on top of your to-do list, you probably have a good reason: anxiety, fatigue, depression, ADHD, or lack of support.

For therapist KC Davis, the birth of her second child triggered a stress-mess cycle. The more behind she felt, the less motivated she was to start. She didn’t fold a single piece of laundry for seven months. One life-changing realization restored her sanity and the functionality of her home. You don’t work for your home; your home works for you. In other words, messiness is not a moral failing. A new sense of calm washed over her as she let go of the shame based messaging.

After 20 Years of Ownership My House is Still a Home Sweet Home

man and woman standing in front of a sold sign.

Twenty Years Owning a Home

Last month I contacted the courthouse  to request a copy of my deed. For some reason I misplaced my original  and  needed to replace it. As I was reading the copy they sent, it dawned on me that it has been about 20 years since I purchased my house. Where has all the time gone? As they say, time moves fast when you’re having fun.

Reflections on Purchasing Decision

I  reflected on the past. When  and why, I made the decision in the first place. What was happening  in my life at the time. The steps I took to finally get the house. The challenges  and rewards along the way. And today, how happy I am now for my simple yet cute piece of real estate, which is truly a home sweet home.

Next to my college degree, home ownership is another thing I am the proudest. The ability to have a place to call your own and have total control over is powerful and self-gratifying. When I made the huge step  to purchase property, rental rates were continuously increasing while mortgages  were not.

Benefits and Challenges of Homeownership

Empish Writing a Check

I reasoned why not look more seriously at home ownership. I thought about all the possibilities and positive outcomes. Things like a stable monthly payment. No more surprises when the landlord increases the rent  when time to renew the lease. The sense of permanence . The idea of something to call my own that was solely mine.

Then I also weighed the challenges. No more calling the landlord when  the toilet needed fixing or to service the air conditioning system in the summer. I would have to handle those tasks.

Of course, my disability played a major role in the decision but it was not a deterrent. I already knew people with vision loss who were homeowners and doing well. So, I knew it was possible. It was just a matter of educating myself, getting my ducks in a row and going for it.

Planning and Preparation to Purchase

A Caucasian woman is reading a book while holding it in her hands. The book covers most of her face where only her hair and eyes are visible. She is standing in front of a wall of books at the library.

I did just that with taking home ownership classes, reading audiobooks from the library  and talking to friends who were long time homeowners. Also, I got advice from my family because I grew up in a house. My family up to my great grandparents  were all homeowners so this was not totally unfamiliar  territory. I just needed to learn the nuts and bolts of home ownership. I needed to weigh the cost because once I signed  the mortgage contract it would be over. Unlike a rental lease, you can more easily  walk away.

More Challenges of Homeownership

There have been ups and downs over these 2 decades. Dealing with the housing and economic crash in 2008. That was pretty tuff with homes  foreclosing all around me. At one time I was one of two owners on my short street in my subdivision. It took time but over the next few years things improved.

Then it was dealing with noisy neighbors  which ended when they finally moved out.

Empish Working in Home Office

Next it was the pandemic. I had already been working from home however others in my community  were now as well. At first, this meant  constant slow  neighborhood internet and power outages   which improved over time as we all adjusted to  this medical crisis. But because I was working in my home office, I was able to keep plugging away   with no more disruption to my life.

I also had to replace and purchase new appliances. First it was the dishwasher  . Next some years later it was my gas stove that died during the holiday season. Cooking my Christmas dinner   was a bit creative  because I had no working oven and had to use my microwave  more than usual. Recently it was my washer and dryer that I brought with me from my old apartment days.

Empish touching dials on washing machine

Today, I am happy and at peace in my home sweet home. My little town house has served me well. I am proud of the decision I made to become a homeowner and I have no regrets.

National Homeownership Month

June is National Home Ownership Month and was created to celebrate the value  and joy of owning property. Do you own a home? If so, how has the experience  been for you? Would you encourage others to also become homeowners?

Working From Home? Here’s 5 Safety and Security Tips.

Empish Touching Fire Extinguisher Mounted on Wall

Home Office Safety and Security Week

As this pandemic continues on so does the attractiveness and ability to work from home. According to Findstack, 16% of companies in the world are 100% remote and 77% of remote workers say they’re more productive when working from home. With that being said it is important   to make your home office environment safe and secure. This week is Home Office Safety and Security Week. Observed every second week in January, people use this time to reevaluate their home office space. Check fire and smoke alarm systems. Clean clutter from office space. Back up files, use password protection and antivirus software.

When I read about this special week I had to take a pause. Is my home office safe and secure? After doing my own inventory, I am now ready to share with you what I learned. If you work from home this post will help you look at your office environment too.

1. Security Alarm and Fire Safety

The first thing I think about when it comes to home safety is my alarm system, smoke detector and fire extinguisher. A home security system is not just ideal for protecting your personal possessions but for work as well. Now that more people are working from home it is important to keep office equipment, computers, and other devices secure. Additionally, don’t forget to engage your alarm system during the day while you are working. Many folks tend to turn it on at nighttime only or not at all.

When I purchased my home some 20 years ago, one of the first things I did was go to a home improvement store and buy 2 fire extinguishers. I have one in the kitchen and the other is in the hallway upstairs near my office. According to the National Fire Protection Association it is best to have a fire extinguisher on each level of your home, in the kitchen, the garage and near exit doors. You never know when you might need to put out a small fire and you will lose precious time running around the house to get an extinguisher. Two things to remember though check the agent class. They come in A, B, C or a combination. I purchased one for all fires so I don’t have to worry about if the extinguisher will work properly. Also, I try to keep track of the agent levels in the extinguisher. Over time the agent strength level decreases and the worse thing is to have a fire, grab the extinguisher, aim and spray and nothing comes out!

2. Office Clean Up  

Next, I work hard at keeping my office free from physical clutter. That is papers, folders and boxes. It is so easy to plop things down on the desk or floor and before you know it piles of stuff are everywhere. So, I stop from time to time to organize and clean things up. Not just because it needs to be done but because it is a physical hazard. I can easily stumble and fall. And because I am self-employed there is no workers comp pay for me! HaHa! Got to pay my own medical bills.

A paper shredder and a clear bin with paper being shredded.

3.  Shred Sensitive Documents

Along with that is shredding sensitive documents. Your job might require this so investing in a good quality shredder is key. One of my goals last year was to empty my overflowing shredder box. I was all geeked up to do it. Then my shredder died. So, this is on my list to do this year. I have got to clean out all these old papers and dump them in the trash.

4.  Secure Your Technology

Another essential part of working from home is securing your technology. Whether that is a desktop, laptop, tablet or other device is it secure? Do you use a good antivirus software? What about password protection? Are you running the latest software programs to do your job? Depending on your line of work this is critical. Also, backing up your files. I do this constantly. I use a combo of Dropbox and One Drive. They both work well for my writing and photo storage.

5. Protect Your WIFI and Router

My last tip is to protect your internet connection. Make sure your Wi-Fi is appropriately encrypted with a password. Make sure your internet provider gives you the newest version of available routers and that it has basic security to keep your data protected with a firewall. Or you can set up your own wireless modem rather than use the one that comes from your internet service.

It takes some time to evaluate your home office so use this week to get started. Once done it can be simple to maintain. Checking your office safety and security on a regular basis will help ensure your peace of mind and work productivity.

My Laundry isn’t Smart But I Am

Empish touching dials on washing machine

Washer Dies After 20 Years of Dedicated Service

Last month my faithful washing machine said goodbye to me. It had been a long-term member of my household. Spanning the years since I went blind back in the late 90s when I was living in an apartment with two housemates. To the Y2K and people thinking the world was ending. Remember the excitement over that? My machine was still washing clothes through all of it. Then moving to a smaller apartment and one housemate, my washer kept right on spinning along. Next, it was the purchase of my home, the first Black president and now the pandemic.

This machine has been with me through thick and thin. Through many ups and downs. Through a couple of boyfriends and jobs. So, excuse me if I get a little sentimental for a quick minute. It is just that not many things in life have that kind of longevity. When it died I was surprised I was not distressed or dismayed. It had been two decades. Instead, I took the rational approach and reasoned my washer had served me well. All good things must end. Nothing last forever. I took it in stride. Plus, it couldn’t have happened at a more auspicious time. The 4th of July was right around the corner. I knew that I could find a good sale on a new one. Shoot even a dryer too! And that is exactly what happened.

No Fancy Smart Appliance

I knew before going to the store I had no interest in purchasing one of those smart home appliances you connect to your phone. The fancy ones with all the bells and whistles. I had heard about them for the kitchen. Devices like rice cookers, crock pots, dishwashers and even refrigerators are all connected to your phone these days. Sorry, but those of you who read my blog and know me personally know that I am a bit old fashion. Heck, I still use a landline phone with an answering machine for all those robocalls! I don’t go run out the door and purchase the first new hot thing smoking

. I use an item until the wheels fall off. Until it is falling apart. Case in point my washing machine.

Need Knobs and Dials

So, I told the sales lady none of that smart home stuff for me. I want the old fashion washing machine and dryer with knobs and buttons. I want to be able to touch and feel my appliance. She showed me one on display that was perfect for my needs and I purchased it.

Now, you might be asking why I am so dead set against the new fancy smart home devices? Well, glad you asked because I got a couple of reasons and it is not just because I am blind. Although my disability is close to the top of the list. So, I will start there first.

As a blind person I want tactual appliances and devices. Knobs and buttons are what works best for me. I can feel them easily and mark them as well. I usually apply a product called Hi Mark that goes on wet but when dry puffs up. I use this product for all kinds of stuff like my measuring cups, microwave, thermostat, and dials on my air frier, dish washer and curling iron. I have been using it for years and it works beautifully. Plus, it comes in bright colors for the low vision folks.

Smart Machines Are Expensive

I mentioned earlier that I purchased my washer and dryer during the 4th of July. I got a good deal but not sure that would have been the case with a smart option. Typically, smart laundry units are more expensive to purchase. And even more expensive to repair says Angie’s List. The main issue for high-tech appliance malfunction is the control board, which is the computerized system that operates the appliance. Meaning an expert repair guy or gal must come and fix the machine and it won’t be cheap.

WIFI Connection and Firmware Updates

Smart appliances are called this because of their innovative technological advancements. Appliances are connected to WIFI via a smartphone. So, if the connection isn’t working neither are the machines. This is too high tech for me. I just want to keep it simple and wash my clothes whether I got an internet connection or not.

since these appliances are connected to the internet there might be data and privacy problems. Reliable internet security protocols might not be used which could lead to people hacking into your system and other devices. And we all know the more info people have about you and me online the more that data is vulnerable. Who wants people snooping around?

My last point, about why my laundry isn’t smart, is the firmware might not be updated regularly. Smart washers and dryers can experience a lot of glitches with their apps, home hubs and connectivity. Additionally, there is no guarantee a smart washer or dryer will get firmware updates. This means if there is a problem the app and machine won’t be talking to each other and your goanna have to call that repair guy I mentioned earlier.

Is Your Laundry Smart?

You see how smart I am. Now, don’t get me wrong I appreciate technology however when it comes to some things if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Old-fashion or what they call standard machines work just fine. The bottom line is to get the clothes clean and dry. To do it in the easiest and least complicated way available. That’s what I think. Tag, it’s your turn. Do you have a smart home appliance? If so, how’s it working for you? If not would you purchase one?