Minute by minute

my thoughts on making the most out of all of life's minutes…

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Tip #27 – It’s not me – it’s them

Tip #27 – It’s not me – it’s them – – 28 Days of Decluttering


Whew – it’s spring break out here and I’ve fallen behind with stuff.  Talk about distractions – I should have included in that series – “don’t plan anything when the kids are out of school for a week“.  Geez!  I can’t get ANYTHING done with them around.

But I digress – because I am determined to finish up the 28 Days of Decluttering series – so I can quickly jump into April’s series (it’s a good one – stay tuned to tomorrow to find out what it is).

Sonya wrote….

Sonya wrote on my Facebook page the other day – “I’m doing this thing that asks me to declutter my home as part of a bigger process. My own stuff is daunting enough, but here’s my problem: My wonderful husband has a case of the what-if-I-need-it-someday-itis. I assume kids are the same way.

I’ve been thinking about this and yeah, it’s a hard one.

Confession:  I used to over buy boxes of chicken stock and canned tomatoes.  Like – a lot.  At one time, I think I counted that I had over 22 boxes of chicken stock in my pantry.  Every time I went to Costco, I would buy another case.

What was I afraid of?  Running out of stock?  Because if I used up the last box today, would I not be able to go to the store tomorrow and buy some more – assuming I would be using chicken stock two days in a row?

And I live in a suburban area – Costco is literally less than six minutes away.  And there are two grocery stores closer than that.

I think when you get into the mindset of “what if we need this some day” and are trying to declutter – it is a snowball waiting to happen.  Unless it is emergency supplies…really – do we really need it?

Here’s is what I would suggest to help combat this concern:

  • Employ the 30 Day Method.  As a reminder – – this is where  you place said questionable items in a box for thirty days.  As you need the items, take them out, use them and put them away in their normal place.  At the end of thirty days, whatever is left in the box can be discarded or donated.
  • If the 30 day rule is too short – lengthen it to six months.  This should take away the concerns for seasonal items.
  • Create an “only one” rule.  Do you really need three step stools, four crock pots, six dustpans, eight bottles of hairspray.  Probably not.   And really, one of each of these items will be sufficient.

My situation is the opposite of Sonya’s.  My husband tends to get rid of things too quickly in my opinion.  What about you – do you battle with your housemates about clutter and what to keep and what to discard?



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Word Up Wednesday! Economies of Scale and Scope

Happy Wednesday!

This week’s Word Up is two words actually.  They have a similar concept so I thought I would present them at the same time.

Economies of Scale: The increase in efficiency of production as the number of goods being produced increases. 

A basic form of Economies of Scale is buying in bulk.  When you buy in larger quantities, the price per unit decreases.  Thus, you can create one unit of your product for less.

Beware: there are concerns of buying too much and having the supplies go to waste or spoil.  Think of a small cookie store.  The owner can buy her materials in bulk, thus reducing her costs in the long run.  But she needs to take into consideration shelf life of the supplies as well as the amount of cookies baked compared to cookies sold.

This concept can be used for a home situation as well.  Costco and Sam’s Wholesale Stores are great places to stock up on bulk items – if your family consumes them in the appropriate amount of time.  If you won’t consume the items, it will probably save you money to buy in smaller quantities.

Economies of ScopeAn economic theory stating that the average total cost of production decreases as a result of increasing the number of different goods produced.

Example: I always remember the example we learned in college for this concept.  Think Boeing.  They produce airplanes.  But a similar product that would use a similar technology and production methods would be if they added producing rockets to their platform.  Producing dog food would not be a good example of  Economies of Scope for Boeing.

If you think in terms of a small business – whether you produce something or offer a service – let’s consider a massage therapist.  She could offer to sell the oils and candles that she uses during her massage sessions to clients.  Maybe even the music that she plays too.  But getting into selling yoga mats and self-help books might be pushing the boundaries of Economies of Scope.

This one is a hard one to apply to a home situation – although I do like to believe most business principles can be applied to the home.  I’ll keep thinking on this one.

Do you run a small business? I’d love to talk with you about how you can implement the concepts of Economies of Scale and Scope into your business.  Let’s chat!

Thanks for reading!  Amy

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25 Tips for Christmas – Tip #13 – Share the road with friends

Tip #13 – Share the road with friends

Have you ever heard that gas saving tip about running all your errands on the same day?  Well, along the same thought – why not ask a friend to pick up a needed item if they are headed in that direction or work or live on that side of town.  Likewise, offer the same back to your friends.

Here’s how it works:

Molly – “Hey Diane, would you be able to stop by that little toy store next to your office and pick up an item that I have on hold.  It’s already paid for and it is waiting behind the counter under my name.”

Diane – “You bet!  I’d love to help.”

Molly – “I’m heading to Costco on Friday, do you need me to pick up anything for you?

Diane – “YES!  Thanks for offering, my Friday is slammed full.  I really need some goat cheese and a bottle of olive oil.

Give it a try – I bet the outcome will be positive.

Happy Tuesday!