My oldest daughter’s closet was kind of a hot mess.
Well, more than kind of. It WAS a hot mess. It started out great, but as her clothes got bigger (and she did, too), her needs began to change. I decided her closet needed a bit of an upgrade. Since her boxes and organizer shelf were still in great shape, it didn’t need to be a big upgrade.
The first thing I did was order her some new hangers. Now that she is older, her clothes were falling off the child sized plastic hangers. I’d flip through her closet and the clothes would slide right off.
I purchased a pack of fifty velvet hangers from Walmart.com, and also a ten-pack of the same hangers with pants clips for her jeans and skirts. For fun (and to make them match her boxes), I ordered them in hot pink.
Now that her clothes were no longer falling off the hangers, and her hangers were all the same size and width, her closet already looked tons better.
I also removed anything that did not fit, or was out of season to give her more space. Afterward, I began to think about what she needed to store in her closet. She is a little fashionista, so there are plenty of scarves, hats and purses that needed a home.
She also doesn’t wear pantyhose or tights that often anymore, so we really didn’t need two baskets for those.
When I finished purging things, I put all like items together, and updated her basket labels. When I finished, I had this:
A closet that meets her needs and is pretty to look at as well.
With two little girls who like shoes as much as I do, I don’t see it getting any better. My husband isn’t impressed by the shoe buying, nor is he impressed by my shoebox-hoarding. I just knew I could do something cool with them.
I’ve wanted to reorganize my train wreck of a craft cabinet for awhile now, so I thought these would make cute storage boxes for my supplies. I raided my craft cabinet and found chalk paint, antiqued book plates and some paint brushes. I pealed all the stickers and tags off the boxes and wiped them with a dry microfiber cloth.
I gave the box lids two coats of green chalk paint. Keep in mind anything chalk painted usually has an ugly phase. Don’t let it deter you. Just wait 12 hours and apply a second coat. The picture above is after the first coat- see how streaky and thin the paint looks?
And that massive green blob at the bottom is where my unattended (only for a minute, I promise) grabbed my paint brush and paint I’d left out and got to work. A word of caution: put paints and brushes out of the toddler’s reach when you’re not using them. I’m lucky that’s ALL she painted.
I then applied two coats of paint to the bottom of the boxes and allowed them to dry.
I then attached these antiqued bookplates to the box fronts. I already had these in my stash, but you can find them at Hobby Lobby. Side note: if you are having trouble poking holes in the shoe boxes to attach the brads, I’ve found using a grill skewer works well to poke through the cardboard layers.
When I finished, I had three sets of cute little storage boxes.
And with these, I loved the bottom of the boxes and opted not to paint them. I love how they turned out! They’re pretty enough to display on a desk or bookshelf.
Next time you buy shoes, don’t toss the box. Get yourself some chalk paint and book plates, and make some cute little storage boxes.
RIGHT Now. Drop everything and PURGE YOUR HOME NOW! No, I’m kidding. Sort of.
I know you read a lot about purging your home on my blog. Some of you are probably fans of living with less already, while others of you are scratching your heads and wondering how much more stuff I can get rid of and blog about it. #istillhavetoomuchstuff
I am currently in the midst of a whole house purge, but we will talk more about that later.
The truth is, living with less has a lot of benefits. Some are health benefits, some are financial benefits, and some are so good they don’t fit into any category. I’d like to share a few of those with you today, as well as some great advice for purging your home that I’ve collected over the years.
1. Living with less can be beneficial to your mental and physical health
Living with too much causes your house to feel cluttered. A cluttered house feels chaotic, and makes it hard for you to relax and destress. Continued stress affects your mental state, as well as your physical health. An organized and clean home evokes a peaceful feeling, and who doesn’t want to feel at peace in their own home?
This one is especially true if you have kids. More stuff=fewer places to put things away. Stuff that is left out in the floor becomes a trip hazard. Show of hands: who else has fallen over items left in the floor, or stepped on some hard plastic toy with your bare feet? (Lego moms, can I get an “amen?” )
2. Living with less makes your home feel and appear cleaner
Living with too much makes it harder to find places to put things away. Having nowhere to put things causes your home to look and feel cluttered (see above).
A cluttered house also seems dirty even if it really isn’t. Having less stuff and less clutter makes your house look and feel cleaner.
3. Living with less saves time
How does living with less save time? It means that you spend less time looking for things. It’s been said that the average person spends four years of their life looking for things that they are missing. Not being able to find your missing items makes you stressed. Having less stuff means that you don’t have to sort through so much when you need something.
5. Living with less saves you money
How is this? Well, when you make a conscious effort to live with less, you are much more intentional with your spending. Additionally, who here has ever bought something, only to realize you already had that same item at home? Living with less makes it easier to distinguish what you need- therefore keeping you from spending money on something you already have.
There are many benefits to having an organized and simplified home, with less stuff. Start with one room at a time and keep only what you need- donate, recycle or throw away the rest. I know many people who wish their home was less cluttered, but I don’t know anyone who wishes their home was MORE cluttered. Start today and you’ll soon see the benefits.
Picture it: you’ve finally arrived at your destination on your long-awaited yearly family beach vacation…and you’ve arrived to complete and total chaos. Your hotel/accommodations weren’t what you envisioned, you can’t find half of what you’ve packed, your kids are hungry and grumpy, and you’re about to lose your mind. We’ve all been there, and it’s never pleasant. Sometimes, despite our best planning, our vacations don’t always go so well, and sometimes when you book your vacation the following year, you worry you’ll have a repeat experience.
Worry no more, because an organized family beach vacation IS possible.
The two major things that stress me out the most about vacationing are 1. Spending too much money, and 2. not properly planning for the needs of my family beforehand. Those are the issues I’m going to discuss the most today.
1. Save money before AND during your beach vacation by:
a. I’m a big fan of saving money on vacations. Although vacation lodging is expensive, you can actually save some money. Before booking, browse discount travel websites such as Expedia or Hotels.com. Many chain hotels/motels even offer discounts for military personnel, AAA members, and many other things. Sometimes hotels offer special packages for certain rooms or off site activities that could save you a little cash. You should certainly check to see what reduced rates, discounts, or special rates are available prior to booking your accommodations.
b. It’s super easy to blow your travel budget on meals if you manage to eat out for every meal. If you’re lucky enough to get a hotel room with a kitchenette, or rent a house/condo, you can utilize your kitchen and refrigerator to cook some lunches and breakfasts yourself. A trip to the grocery store for a few cheap, smaller meals is still cheaper than eating in restaurants for every meal.
c. Kids eat free at some restaurants. If dining out is on your itinerary, you may want to find restaurants that are family friendly. Depending on the age of your children, you may even be able to find a few restaurants in which your kiddo’s meals will be “on the house.”
d. Don’t go shopping. I know this one sounds crazy, as it’s one of the things some of us look forward to when we go to the beach. BUT, before you shop, ask yourself: is this something I can do at home? Is this really something I need to buy right now, on this trip? Are similar stores available back home? If you can answer yes to two of those questions, don’t shop. Wait until you’re home, where prices will likely be less in a “less-touristy” area.
e. Search up discounts before booking excursions or activities. Sometimes your hotel concierge or front desk staff will have an inside scoop on coupons or discounts for local fun and games. You’d be surprised how often you can find discounted rates on aquarium tickets, local mini golf attractions, or amusement park admission via your hotel’s front desk.
2. Plan ahead as much as possible by…
a. Researching the area before you book your trip. If you’re headed to a destination you’re already familiar with, skip this step. BUT, if you’re traveling somewhere new, you may want to make sure your family will have plenty to do. Make sure there are lots of fun activities that aren’t too costly your family can enjoy. You also want to research the area so you’ll know where nearby drug stores, minute clinics and pharmacies are in case you need them. Familiarize yourself with the area so you will not have to spend so much time looking for streets and landmarks.
b. Create checklists. Before you start packing, write out a checklist for each family member and what you’ll need to pack. Be mindful of any planned activities or excursions you’ll be participating in as you’re thinking about your packing list. Create a checklist as well for what you’ll need while traveling to your destination. For your kiddos, it’s a good idea to have some snacks and quiet activities on hand to curb boredom. Make sure when you pack that you aren’t rushed. If you’re in a hurry, you’ll be more likely to forget things. See also What to pack in your toddler’s pool bag! and Vacationing with kids: How to simplify.
c. Pack your vehicle the night before your trip, if possible. Packing the night before will save you some time, will cause you to be less stressed when you leave for your destination, and will give you time to realize you may have left something behind.
I hope you have enjoyed our travel tips. Tune in next week for our favorite products for traveling to the beach.
We have been actively purging our home for a few weeks now. We’ve cleaned out closets, we’ve donated items, we’ve given things away and we’ve thrown away or repurposed other things. It’s easy to get rid of some things, but others, it’s more difficult. How do you decide what to purge and what to keep?
1. Take a tour of your home and note everything you use regularly. It’s easier to do this room by room. If you don’t use it regularly, how long has it been since you last used it? If it’s been more than one year, don’t keep it. If it’s clothing that no longer fits, don’t keep it. If it’s broken, stained, or damaged, throw it away. If it’s something you don’t need, but may need someday, don’t keep it. If it’s something sentimental, keep it or take a picture of it to keep.
2. Living with less creates a sense of calm. Cluttered living stresses you out and keeps you from being able to relax. It’s also true that living with clutter distracts you from being able to enjoy items you truly love. After all, the secret to happiness isn’t having what you want, but appreciating what you have, right?
3. Don’t buy material items for your family but invest in experiences together.
We have been trying to both reduce our number of things in our home, but also to save money. This can be hard when you have kids. When Christmas or birthdays roll around, you may potentially receive a lot of “things.” What if families put money toward experiences, such as a zoo trip, or a paint your own pottery class? Our kids have college fund accounts that their grandparents contribute to for holidays and birthdays. Another popular idea is to have party guests bring an item to donate to a local charity, such as pet food to be donated to an animal shelter. I think in today’s society so much emphasis is placed on having “stuff” and I think it’s important to teach our kids to value one another instead.
4. You get what you pay for
There was a time when if I needed something, I’d just go buy it for as cheaply as possible. I ended up having to replace a lot of things. If you’re purchasing something you’ll use a lot, buy quality. It may seem like you’re spending more money up front, but items of a higher quality last longer and don’t need to be replaced as often. This actually saves you money. I have even found this to be true of clothing: higher quality fabrics wear better and look nice for much longer than cheap clothing. It’s worth the higher purchase price to be able to use it longer. Spending more means you’ll be less likely to purchase duplicate items, too.
5. Make it a point to purchase only what you need
I’m not saying you should never buy things you want. You can, but you must do it sparingly, or you’ll end up spending a lot of money on things that sit around taking up space. Make it a point to buy only what you need and splurge on your wants occasionally. Your home will be lighter but your wallet will not.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my tips for simplified living. Have a wonderful day.
Getting organized can be costly, but it doesn’t have to be. You certainly can spend a lot of money on organization if you want, but if you’re budget conscious like me, you don’t want to do that. Luckily, there are many ways to get organized without overspending.
1. Shop discount home stores like TJ Maxx or Home Goods, or use sales coupons.
I love the basket selections at my local big box craft store, but I don’t love the price. TJ Maxx and Homegoods have tons of cute baskets in a number of colors and materials, and they aren’t expensive.
2. Don’t forget the dollar stores
Dollar store bins and baskets aren’t the most durable, so they aren’t appropriate for organizing everything. They’ll do for organizing cabinets, holding bathroom toiletries and organizing your kids’ books,though.
3. Target has awesome baskets, and they’re frequently on sale
I have bought so many cute, durable baskets at Target over the years. They have so many different sizes and styles to choose from.
4. See if you can repurpose or DIY something
I have covered diaper boxes with fabric and used them for bins. I’ve wrapped old mailing boxes with twine so they’d look like a basket. I’ve used tin cans wrapped in scrapbook paper to store things. Before you buy, Look around to see what you already have that can be repurposed.
5. Shop your house
See that basket on my china hutch? It’s been everywhere. It’s been in my bathroom, my kitchen, my office, and now it landed in the dining room. Shop your house to see if you may already have something you can use before you buy anything new.
There are so many ways you can get organized by spending little to no money. All it takes is a little creativity. You’ll be glad you did it later.
You can also use pegboard to organize almost anything. I’m currently coveting this blogger’s craft room, where all the wrapping paper and paper crafting supplies are within reach. Who knew pegboard could look so cute?
While creating this roundup, I was impressed by the adaptability of each one of these ideas, and how they can be used for more than one room. I was also impressed by the beauty and simplicity of each craft. I plan to try one or more of these in the near future. I can’t wait to share which one it will be!