Celebrate Your Achievements With a Day Off

Conceived by union labor movements, Labor Day is “an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Celebrated since 1882 with parades and picnics, it marks the ceremonial end of summer, and offers a brief respite from the typical workweek to shop, travel and relax. Whether you decide to road-trip or venture no further than your own back yard, make the most of Labor Day by shutting down your screens and trying one of 23 suggestions from Country Living.

So You Shopped the President’s Day Sales

Happy President’s Day!

We at the Organizing Blog know that we’re a little late in telling you this, but since retailers were trotting out the deals over the long weekend, you may have celebrated your day off shopping for mattresses, furniture or other household goods.

Having recently moved in to a new home, we did the same. And some of the discounts were incredible! But that doesn’t mean we bought a lot — some things weren’t that great a deal, most we didn’t need, and many would have created more problems than they solved.

Unless you’re starting over, any decorative item or piece of furniture you buy is likely redundant. If you’re short on space, you need to make sure whatever you buy actually replaces an existing item, or you’ll wind up surrounding yourself with #clutter.

You can buy things and still avoid this problem. Is your living room already crowded with furniture and knickknacks? One new couch might be able to do the work of two old loveseats, or a new wall unit could help you make sense of what’s on display.

Some furniture — like beds frames with storage underneath — can actually create space by offering a place to store some of your stuff out of sight. But you’ll need to observe a strict out-with-the-old policy to avoid #clutter.

With large items like beds, mattresses and couches, the ultraminimalist one in/two out rule doesn’t always apply. But be sure to get rid of the one old thing as quickly as you find its replacement, and donate it to ClothingDonations.org if it has some life left in it.

For smaller stuff, make an attempt to find two items in the same category to get rid of as soon as something else enters the inventory. This will preserve the thrill of the shopping “hunt” while slowly downsizing your possessions — or at least keeping them in check.

Observe this simple #decluttering rule, and before you know it, any new stuff you find at the weekend sales will help your home look brand new, stylish and spotless, and the old stuff that survives will consist only of things you truly cherish.

You don’t necessarily have to stop shopping to keep the #clutter at bay!

Reasons Not to Shop on Black Friday

The circulars are out, and the buzz is building. There are so many deals to be had on the busiest shopping day of the year — how could anyone just sit around the house enjoying a long-awaited day off and some Thanksgiving leftovers?!

As tempting as some of those deals might be, you don’t have to shop on Black Friday. In fact, it might save you lots of money in the long run if you avoid the crowds and keep your credit cards hidden away in a drawer. Otherwise, you might overspend.

“We go with a list, but other tempting deals reel us in,” says Simply Organized Home. “Then, all of a sudden, we had to have it. After coming home and realizing we went over our budget, we get a sickening feeling down in our stomach.”

That sickening feeling foreshadows bills that might be a lot more than you want to pay after all of the gifts are given and all of the tidings are told. What’s more, a lot of that impulse stuff is probably unnecessary, so you and yours will have to find places to put it.

Then there’s the hassle of fighting the crowds — those legions of people who, like you, want to save a buck or two on whatever the “it” item is this year. Do yourself a favor and turn tail on those crowds unless you truly regard shopping as a competitive sport.

The fact of the matter is that you can probably get just as good a deal by shopping online, and do so in a more targeted and efficient way. If you know exactly what you want, you can probably get just as a good a deal while sipping coffee in your bathrobe.

And if you don’t buy those things nobody needs, you and your giftees will have less clutter to cope with at home. Less clutter means less anxiety — and less time spent simply managing one’s own possessions.

Use the day to plan what you want to give to your family and friends. Consider giving a gift that take up no space whatsoever, like a charitable donation to the Vietnam Veterans of America or another worthy nonprofit.

Or take a day to decompress. Instead of going to a mall or big-box store, “Go ice skating,” says The Minimalists. “Donate your time to a food bank. Play in the snow (or in the sand). Or just relax and enjoy the holiday season. Simply be together — no purchase necessary.”

Get the Best Deals on Black Friday

To ensure you get the absolute best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, be sure to check the model numbers, says Today. Especially in electronics, companies often offer a near-identical stripped-down model that isn’t what you want or the deal you think it is. You can also check an item’s price history to see if it has been just as cheap in the past. For online shopping, try clearing your browser’s history or using private browsing to ensure you get the latest markdowns. And if you find an amazing “doorbuster” deal on something you really need, buy it fast before it sells out.

Shed Pounds, Donate Clothes

If you’re like many Americans, you might have overindulged during the holiday season and may be toying with the idea of changing some aspect of your behavior by making a New Year’s resolution.

According to Inc., 2019’s top three resolutions are “diet or eat healthier,” exercise more,” and “lose weight.” Runners-up include “save more/spend less,” “quit smoking,” “read more,” and “find another job.”

Any of these resolutions on their own — or any combination of them — is difficult to keep. Most people start too-restrictive diets or overly ambitious workout schedules only to stick with them for just a few weeks.

To increase the likelihood of sticking to your resolution, document your goals, Forbes says. Understand why they’re important to you, and develop a strategy for attaining them. Set a reasonable time frame, and emphasize the progress you make over the minor setbacks that will undoubtedly occur.

If it’s weight loss you want, don’t think that you’ll shed 10 pounds every week. You won’t, feel bad about it, and stray further from your diet. If you want to get more exercise, start slowly so that you don’t hurt yourself and wind up spending more time on the couch recuperating.

Remember to give yourself a reward for reaching an event milestone — cheat a little after a month of dieting or get a massage after your first 5K run. Celebrating such successes can condition you to achieve more.

Healthy resolutions often include an appearance factor, such as fitting into a smaller size pant or dress. The Organizing Blog has a radical suggestion where this concept is concerned: If a garment doesn’t fit now — as you embark on your resolutions — get rid of it.

If you’re anything like us, you’ll find garments you’ve wanted to fit into and wear again that have languished in the back of the closet for years. Edit your wardrobe down to only the essentials that flatter your physique today — the stuff you really wear.

The clothes you’re trying to fit into again are holding you back. Not only do they not fit, but they also may not suit your current style. They represent the old you — not the new you, who sticks to resolutions. Pack them up and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup.

Besides, if your current go-to garments start fitting a bit loose in the months ahead, you can reward yourself with a small shopping spree. The new you will need a new look — and that simple reward will help keep you on track to accomplish even more.

Here’s to a happy, healthy 2019!