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Turning your house upside down once or twice a year for a thorough cleaning is an exhausting process that often leaves you wishing you could be more organized throughout the year. Decluttering does not have to be a big ordeal that saps your energy. Each of these easy decluttering tips can be done in ten minutes or less and will leave your house looking neat and uncluttered.

Plastic Cups

Open your kitchen cabinet and look inside. Ideally you will be treated to the sight of a cupboard full of lovely glassware. If you see a cabinet full of plastic cups, it may be time to pare down your drinkware collection. Restaurants, movie theaters and local businesses often give away drinking vessels with branding and promotional information brightly printed on the side. It is all too easy to wash these and put them in the cupboard with the rest of your glasses. Soon, you have an army of plastic cups advertising at you every time you reach in the cabinet. Save one to wash the dog and donate the rest.

Shabby Linens

It’s no secret that we all have sheets and towels that have seen better days. Many people hang on to these well-worn items longer than they should, creating chaos in the linen closet. Look through your linens and toss anything with holes or tears. A good rule of thumb is to keep what you would feel comfortable with a guest using and get rid of the rest.

Writing Utensils

Everyone has a junk drawer bursting with odds and ends that do not belong anywhere else. At least half of every junk drawer seems to be filled with accumulated pens and pencils. In a digital age, no one needs that many writing implements. Keep a few of the ones you like best and donate the rest to your local school.

Condiments

Let’s face it. We like to eat out on occasion. But then we end up with double handfuls of condiment packets thrown into the takeout bag. Instead of tossing the unused packets, many people shove them into a drawer a bin in the refrigerator where they languish for what seems like forever. Don’t fall into the condiment trap. Look for all those stray packets and toss them in the garbage. If you don’t feel comfortable trashing them, see if your local food bank would like them.

Old Cosmetics and Beauty Products

Tossing food past its expiration date is a no-brainer, but it seems to be uncommon knowledge that cosmetics and beauty products have a shelf life as well. As a rule, anything older than two years needs to go. Old cosmetics are a favorite hangout for germs and any beauty product past date just won’t be as effective. Check the expiration dates for your favorite products and be merciless.

Magazines

That large stack of old publications that resides on your side table or in your bookshelf is taking up a lot of space. Perhaps you told yourself that you would use them in a future DIY project, or there is a specific article you just knew you would want to reference one day. Realistically, you are very likely to never get around to those projects. Digitize the articles you want to keep and recycle the rest. You just crossed something off your to do list.

CDs

With external hard drives and cloud storage, there is just no reason to keep your CDs. They will soon be as unfamiliar to kids as eight tracks. If you just can’t bear the thought of parting with your most treasured CDs, put them all on one spindle and toss their jewel cases. This will free up most of the space they were occupying while allowing you to hold on.

Extra Cords and Cables

Long after electronics and appliances have made their way to the thrift store, the cords and cables that came with them remain in the junk drawer. Be brave, and pull out that tangled mess to determine which cords you still need. Recycle the extras or send them to the thrift store to reunite with their lost electronic partners.

Fridge Magnets

It seems that every restaurant, gym and mechanic bombards you with a free magnet to stick on your refrigerator. Eventually, your fridge becomes so weighed down with these that you may not even remember the original color of the appliance. You do not need those magnets. Any phone number you need is programmed into your device or just a click away online. Keep one or two and get rid of the rest. You will be amazed at how much better your kitchen looks.

Outdated Documents

If you are like most people, you file your important papers and forget about them. There are few documents you need to keep for more than seven years. Go through your papers and shred the ones that you have been hanging onto for no reason. Sign up for online statements for everything you can to keep the paper from piling up again.

After you go through your home and declutter using these ten tips, every room will feel more spacious and usable. Getting rid of the items on this list has the added benefit of automatically updating the look of your home, making it a much more aesthetically pleasing space.

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Oh, we are all about…




The Best Farm Animals to Keep In the City

If you’ve ever visited the countryside, you know the joy of having animals on the farm that you can take care of. In the city, you’ll never see a cow except for on a milk carton and the same applies to other farm animals. The obvious reason for this is that larger breeds of farm animals need a specific environment to live in; so the city’s pollution and noise are a big no-no. Luckily, you can keep a few kinds of farm animals at your city home. While it does depend on your area’s jurisdiction, these animals pose the least problems.

Chickens

I’ve already written about the basics of how you can raise chickens from chicks and then move them into a coop. Chickens are also very quiet (not talking about roosters!) so you won’t get in trouble with the neighbors either. Not only will you be raising home-bred chickens that taste better, you’ll also get fresh eggs at home. You can choose to sell these products to your neighbors or consume them yourself. Moreover, they also provide high-quality manure that works well as fertilizer or an addition to compost. You can choose from a variety of breeds, based on whether you’re raising them for the eggs or meat.

Quail

For city dwellers, quail are the best farm animal to keep if you have minimal space. Though they mature a little slowly, you will find that they’re much more fun to keep than chickens. When 24 weeks old, quail begin to lay eggs so if you want to grow some chicks, you’ll require an incubator. While the bird itself tastes delicious, their eggs are too; you can raise a fine amount selling quail eggs.

Ducks

If you can handle their sometimes-aggressive attitude and loud quacking, I recommend that you raise ducks. Now, most people don’t consider duck meat and eggs to be a delicacy, but they are expensive from their ordinary chicken-based counterparts.

Therefore, whether you have a taste for duck eggs, want to make some extra money on the side, or simply think ducks are adorable; you have your answer. You’ll find that a few rare species can even lay almost as many eggs as a chicken, which would be a score. You’ll need more space for these ducks, not to mention a small pool, but other than that you’ll be fine.

Pygmy Goats

Enough about the birds, you want a herd, don’t you? Pygmy goats aren’t just your ordinary petting zoo animal, but they make great urban farm companions as well. Although they don’t serve as a large source of meat and milk, you can’t underestimate certain breeds like Nigerian Dwarfs.

If you’re interested in drinking fresh organic milk, you’ll be happy to know that they can produce up to a liter of milk every day, as long as you feed them good quality produce. However, if you are not interested in keeping them for their meat, there is always the option of having them as pets that produce manure that is rich in nitrogen.


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