June 21, 2011

Extreme Couponing = Hoarding?

The show, Extreme Couponing on TLC is another "shock and awe" program along the lines of 19 Kids and Counting and Toddlers & Tiaras. It profiles people and families who live to clip coupons and save as much money as they can on their grocery trips.

It is fascinating to see what people can get for free with some store and online research, good math skills and a lot of quick scissor work. Many of the people on the show spend 40-70 hours a week doing their coupon work and amass huge stockpiles of food, beauty and home products. Much of it they donate to their local food bank or shelter. I'm all for never paying full price, but these people will not get anything unless it is free. In addition, they will get anything that could potentially be free, even if they don't need it.

Their desire for more and more stuff seems to take over their lives. One woman who was profiled lives to shop and get things for free, and her overflow of items is taking over her house and has even started making their way into her husband's "man cave". One shopping trip took at least half a day with over two hours spent checking out at several registers.

Another person on the show was able to get their $1,000 bill down to $50. But what did they get? Dozens of bottles of sugary soda, hundreds of boxes of pre-made noodles, candy bars and a huge container full of deodorant. Personally, for $50, I would rather have some fresh produce, some great cheese, bread and wine and some excellent organic meat...and I would be able to fit it into my refrigerator.

June 15, 2011

Organizing Modularly

The term "module" is popping up in many different areas: teaching, biology, new media, design, architecture, etc. A module is a fully-functioning and self-sufficent item or piece of information that can be connected to another item or piece of information. For example, modular housing uses self-contained structures that can be attached to each other to make a full-sized house; modular Web design uses self-contained, fully written code that is combined with other "containers" of code to create an entire website. Another key to modules is that they are interchangeable.

When decluttering and organizing your home or space, think modularly. Is your wardrobe fully functional on its own or do you have to go to other parts of the house or your bedroom for your shoes, underwear or accessories? Does your garage work as a self-contained unit that can be used for all your yard and outdoor gear? Does your vehicle (as its own separate module) seamlessly fit in with the garage? If not, really think about how you use each area of your home, and try to make each area work on its own as well as with the rest of the house.

Photo courtesy of [jared/Flickr]