What an Old Laundry Hamper Taught Me About Living Simply

laundry hamper

Guest post from Abby of Mother on a Mission

When my husband and I got married nearly five years ago, we were gifted nearly everything we needed for our new home together.

One item we didn’t get, however, was a laundry hamper. It wasn’t a necessity because my husband still had his red mesh fold-up hamper left over from college, but it was something I really wanted.

Soon after our wedding, I made a trip to Target (armed with gift cards and a 20% off coupon) to purchase some remaining items from our registry. I began to fill my cart with things we needed: dish towels, shower curtain hooks, a broom, and dust pan.

When I reached the aisle of pretty woven laundry hampers, I was shocked. The cheapest basket on the shelf was $35; some cost upwards of $60. Until then, I’d just assumed I would purchase one. But then I had an ‘a-ha moment’ right there in Target.

Here are 3 things I learned:

I don’t need to impress anyone else.

I didn’t need a new laundry hamper. The one we already had was in adequate condition. I wanted one because they are pretty, and because it seemed to be necessary if I wanted to rid our bedroom of that dorm room feeling.

In reality, no one besides my husband and I would see the hamper, and my husband could care less what sort of device we used to store our dirty clothes.

I don’t always need what I want.

I really wanted a hamper. Maybe, for me, it was a big step in transitioning between childhood and adulthood.

Instead, I took another big step that day: thinking practically. I was a full-time student and full-time preschool teacher, and my husband was making a measly salary as a teacher at a private Christian school.

As much as I wanted to get rid of that old mesh hamper, it just wasn’t practical. Gone were the carefree college days when my spending decisions affected only myself. I had to think as a wife, and that meant putting aside my frivolous want in favor of our needs as a couple.

My frugality paid off with unexpected rewards.

Now, six years into our marriage, we still have that red mesh hamper — and I still plan to replace it one day!

For now, though, it’s still doing its job. My three-year-old son loves to help with the laundry, including returning that red hamper to our room after I’ve emptied it into the washing machine. It’s a simple thing, but I love watching him run down the hall, dragging it behind him — something he couldn’t do with a fancy hamper.

It’s funny to think how vital that new hamper seemed six years ago. Standing in the aisle at Target, I was pained by the decision to go without. But, since then, my life has been pretty unaffected by the absence of a pretty basket.

Now, when I’m debating purchases, I often ask myself if the item I’m about to buy will significantly improve my life, or the life of an immediate family member. If the answer is no, I usually don’t make the purchase.

I’ve learned that I only “need” as much as I think I do.

Abby is a wife, a mother of two, a high school teacher, and a wannabe game show contestant. She blogs at Mother on a Mission about getting crazy in the kitchen, her parenting (mis)adventures, and her baby steps toward creating a frugal, happy household. Abby’s mission is to be the mom — and make this world the kind of place — her children deserve.

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Tanga Deal: 6-Foot Chalkboard or Whiteboard Decal for just $9.99 shipped

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 12.32.08 AM

Such a fun deal! Get a 6-Foot Chalkboard or Whiteboard Decal for just $9.99 shipped!

Turn any ordinary wall into a fun writing surface with this easy peel-n-stick decal. Perfect for kids’ coloring surfaces, grocery lists, calendars, weekly dinner menus and much more, the 1.5ft x 6.5ft decal can be cut into any shape and size. The decal sticks to any wall and peels off without any residue.

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 12.36.22 AMSkip the scrubbing and give your family a wall to color on without the mess!

(Note: The link in this post is my referral link. Read my disclosure policy here.)

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P&G Everyday: Free samples and coupons!

Have you signed up for P&G Everyday yet? If not, you’ll want to do so today because they are offering some great samples and coupons right now — including free Pampers, Pantene, Head & Shoulders and Bounty samples. Click the graphic above to sign up.

After you sign up, just log in to your account and click on “Samples and Coupons” to choose which samples you’d like to order. You can order new samples and coupons every quarter.

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.)
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Staples: Back to School Deals for the week of July 27-August 2, 2014


Here are the best Back to School Deals at Staples this week:

$0.15 – $0.50 Deals:

  • 2-Pocket Paper Folders — $0.15
  • Staples 1-Subject Notebook — $0.17
  • Staples 12″ Wood Ruler — $0.25
  • Staples School Glue 4 oz. — $0.39
  • Staples 3×5″ Index Cards 100 ct. — $0.48
  • Crayola Crayons 24 pk. — $0.50
  • Staples Translucent Pencil Box — $0.50
  • Staples Composition Book 100 sheets — $0.50
  • Staples Poly Covered Composition Book 70 sheets  –$0.50

$0.68 – $1 Deals:

  • Staples Dual Dome Pencil Sharpener — $0.68
  • Staples #2 Pencils — $0.68
  • Slide Pencil Case — $0.75
  • Staples Filler Paper 120 sheets — $0.82
  • Staples Pink Cap Eraser 12 pk. or Pink Beveled Eraser 2 pk. — $0.96
  • Crayola Classic Markers 10 pk. — $0.97
  • Crayola Colored Pencils 12 pk. — $0.97
  • Bic Cristal Pens 10 pk. — $1
  • Bic Brite Liner Highlighters 5 pk. — $1
  • RoseArt Colored Pencils 12 pk. — $1
  • ShurTech Poster Putty — $1


PaperMate SharpWriter Mechanical Pencils 5 ct. — $3.79
Submit for $3.79 EasyRebate (limit 1)
FREE after rebate

Thanks, Moms by Heart!

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Educational Deals & Freebies Round-Up

knex-truck-300x300Here are some of the best educational deals and freebies available right now from Katie who writes at Cincinnati Cents:

LeapFrog Animal Mash-Up Set for $11.99: Amazon has their LeapFrog Animal Mash-Up Set on sale for $11.99. This set typically retails for $17.99, and it helps children learn baby animal names, fun facts, colors, and classic songs through tactile, audio, and visual learning.

Mozart’s Complete String Quartets & Quintets for $0.99: Purchase Mozart’s Complete String Quartets & Quintets for just $0.99. This VoxBox Edition includes over 12 hours of music from Mozart.

LEGO Minecraft the Nether Set for $27.42: Amazon has their LEGO Minecraft the Nether Set on sale for $27.42. This set includes 3 buildable Micromob figures (2 Ghasts and a Zombie Pigman), and it allows young builders to recreate the Nether biome from the Minecraft world.

Free Animal Alphabet Cursive Writing Pages: Education.com has a free set of Animal Alphabet Cursive Writing pages available for download. Each letter has its own page to practice the letter in lowercase and uppercase, and it includes a sentence for copy work as well.

ALEX Toys Early Learning Button Art Set for $15.20: Purchase the ALEX Toys Early Learning Button Art Set for just $15.20. This set includes 46 chunky buttons, 10 pictures, and a storage tray for easy clean-up. Children can match and snap the buttons to complete the pictures while developing hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and creative thinking.

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils (12 ct.) for $11.75: Amazon has their Prismacolor Premier Woodcase Colored Pencils (12 ct.) on sale for $11.75. This set typically retails for $19.39, and the pencils include high-quality pigments for drawing, blending, and shading. Plus, the thick leads are break resistant as well.

Thomas & Friends Magazine Subscription for $14.99: Purchase a one-year subscription to Thomas & Friends Magazine for just $14.99. This magazine is geared towards children ages 2-7, and each issue is filled with stories, a collectible poster, and activities such as counting, matching, and reading. The magazine features Thomas the Train and all of his friends like Sir Topham Hatt and Oliver.

Colgate Bright Smiles Kit for Teachers: Colgate is once again offering teachers a free Bright Smiles, Bright Futures Kit for their classroom. This kit includes Colgate kid’s toothbrushes and toothpaste samples for each child as well as a video, posters, storybooks, and a teaching curriculum. If you’ve signed up for this offer in the past, you don’t need to sign up again. Rather, they will automatically ship your kit to you. Kits will be mailed out in February 2015.

K’NEX Classics 4-Wheel Drive Truck Set for $9.99: Amazon has their K’NEX Classics 4-Wheel Drive Truck Set on sale for $9.99. This set typically retails for $24.99, and it includes 313 durabable K’NEX pieces, working lights, and 4-wheel steering functions. There are colorful, step-by-step instructions to build this set into three different models. Plus, the set can be combined with the K’NEX Transport Chopper Building Set for an awesome combo build as well.

Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes for $12.96: Purchase the Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes for just $12.96. This book presents step-by-step instructions for building ten unique airplanes, and comes complete with 40 sheets of flight-tested, ready-to-fold paper, printed on both sides in a variety of colorful patterns. Or if you have a Star Wars fan, you can also pick up the Klutz Star Wars Folded Flyers Book for $16.82 as well.

Pocoyo & Friends Swiggle Traks Set for $10: Amazon has their Pocoyo & Friends Swiggle Traks Set on sale for $10. This set typically retails for $29.99, and it includes a flexible race track with many options for building, a motorized vehicle, 4 tracks, 1 moving bridge, and a ball accessory.

Free Caps for Sale Printables: Homeschool Creations has a free set of Caps for Sale printables available for download. This pack includes word families, rhyming words, graphing, money skills, and more.

Guess Who Game for $4.99: Amazon has their Guess Who Game on sale for $4.99. This classic game is full of mystery-solving guessing fun, and it includes 4 different character sets – sea creatures, fun foods, vehicles, and pets.

Playmobil Speed Boat Set for $22.21: Purchase the Playmobil Speed Boat Set for just $22.21. This set typically retails for $35, and it includes a speedboat that really floats as well as 4 figures (two adults and two children), snorkeling gear, towels, cooler, binoculars, and snacks.

Free Beach Printable Pack: 3 Dinosaurs has a free Beach Printable Pack available for download. This pack includes beginning sounds, addition, counting, puzzles, sorting, and more.

Katie is a wife and homeschooling mother of four who writes at Cincinnati Cents about saving money and having fun as a family without breaking the bank. She enjoys sharing new recipes, ideas for frugal family fun, and tips for spending less at the grocery store.

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