Reducing Visual Clutter

Does your external environment cause you anxiety? Do you struggle to focus because of external clutter? Today I wanted to talk about visual clutter, the impact it has on us, and how to reduce it.

For many people, visual clutter is distracting. The reason is because our brain is constantly processing our environment. Visual clutter can have an impact on our mental and emotional health, resulting in us not being as efficient and productive as we could otherwise be.  Clutter has been linked to cortisol production, the stress hormone. Research from a 2009 study out of UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF) has shown that women who perceive their homes to be cluttered tend to have unhealthy patterns of cortisol levels. Interestingly, men did not have the same cortisol response with regard to clutter. This could potentially be because women tend to take on more of the household chores even if they are also working full time. Clutter is also linked to lack of self control, resulting in unhealthy eating habits. According to a Cornell University study from 2016, stress triggered by clutter may also trigger coping and avoidance strategies, like eating junk food, oversleeping or binge-watching Netflix.

So what can we do to reduce visual clutter? I wanted to share some ideas for you to reduce visual clutter in your home today.

First, the obvious one: declutter your possessions. When you have less, it is easier to clean, store, and organize your items. This can be easier said than done, so I suggest doing this slowly over time. If we try to declutter all of our items at once, we can get overwhelmed and experience decision fatigue. Slowly but surely as you declutter your possessions, you will have less visual clutter.

The next one goes along with the first. Be intentional with what you keep and what you bring into your home. When you are intentional with what comes into your home, you have an idea of where the item will go and how you will use the item or what purpose the item will fulfill to you. Sometimes people get into the habit of purchasing anything they find beautiful without intentionally thinking about its purpose. This is when it gets difficult to find a place for everything we bring into our homes. I have learned to enjoy and appreciate items visually at the store, acknowledging that you like it and it is beautiful,  without having to take the item home with me.

Next, group like items together in bins or baskets. When smaller items are stored away in bins or baskets, there is less visual clutter.

Choose uniformity when organizing and storing items. Get uniform food storage containers, cleaning bottles, and storage bins. When you have uniform jars, bins, and bottles you eliminate bright colored packaging, making your space feel more calm.

Have a place for everything. If you have a home for each of the items you own, they are less likely to get left lying around your home. When things are put in their proper place, your home feels less chaotic and less cluttered.

Another principle you can implement to reduce visual clutter in your home is maybe one (or a few) is better than an abundance. Throw pillows are a good example here (although admittedly I likely own too many of these!!) Maybe having 2 on your sofa is better than having the entire sofa lined with pillows. Or perhaps it’s home decor. Maybe having a small vignette of 3 items grouped together is better than the entire piece of furniture being covered in home decor.

Lastly, storing items away in a cabinet or drawer instead of leaving it out can reduce visual clutter. For me, I like to have a spot in my cabinet to store things like our toaster, the blender, and other large appliances. In the bathroom, you can have space for your items such as make up, a hair brush, toothbrush, and facial products in your bathroom drawers or cabinets instead of housing them on top of the counter. This will immediately reduce visual clutter in these spaces.

I hope this gave you some practical ideas on how you can reduce visual clutter in your home today!

The YouTube video I made in conjunction with this blog post.

My 6 Favorite Organizing Tools As a Professional Organizer

Today I wanted to share with you 6 of my all time favorite organizing tools as a professional organizer.

First up is BINS OR BASKETS. Anyone who has been to my home, or who has hired me to organize their home, can attest to my love of bins!! The number one thing you can do to get organized is to categorize. The easiest way to do this is with bins or baskets. My favorite bins are white plastic bins from The Container Store. They come in several sizes, are cost effective, simple, and durable.

Using UNIFORM HANGERS will always immediately make your closet look more organized. There are so many choices, from wooden to velvet or even plastic – as long as they are uniform it is just more pleasing to the eye.

Next is LAZY SUSANS. Using lazy susans throughout your home is such an efficient use of space to keep like items contained. They come in all sorts of sizes, and they can also come with a standard lip or a deeper one depending on what you are storing. I am currently obsessed with clear acrylic lazy susans!

I also love GLASS JARS. These are especially great for food storage like pasta, rice, or baking items. I love the Fido brand, but I also really like the simple Ball Mason jars as well. When using the Mason jars, I purchase white plastic lids to make taking the lids off and on easier.

Another item I love to use is UNIFORM CLEANING BOTTLES. Whether you choose clear or amber glass cleaning bottles, or even plastic ones, cleaning bottles look so much more streamlined and simplistic when they are all uniform.

What organization project is complete without LABELS? I love using labels for practical purposes so you know you know what is in the container, but I also just love the look of labels aesthetically! There are so many different options for labels! I love the label made by a Cricut, and I also love the look of just an old school embossed label!

Well, I hope this gave you some ideas on how you can take your home organization to the next level!

Here is the video I made with this information! It is a giveaway collaborating with several other YouTubers, so definitely go enter to win if you are reading this blog post close to the time it is posted! *Giveaway ends June 15, 2021*

My 25th Wedding Anniversary

Today is my 25th wedding anniversary. When you’ve been married this long, sometimes people say things like, “what’s the secret.” But honestly, I don’t think there is one secret. To tell you the truth, I don’t even feel like it’s possible that we’ve been married that long! I will share with you my thoughts on being married this long.

9,131 days. 

1,300 weeks. 

25 years. 

7 vehicles. 

6 apartments. 

3 kids. 

2 dogs. 

2 homes. 

This is us.

You know, I really think “secrets” are a myth. I think there really are only obvious answers. When people say things like “how do you stay looking young and healthy?” I joke – “It’s a BIG SECRET *insert sarcastic tone* – I eat healthy, exercise, drink lots of water, and get good sleep.” It’s the same with a lasting marriage, there is no big secret – you remain loyal when times get tough, you forgive, you ask for forgiveness, you give grace and compassion, and show humility. That doesn’t seem to be a big secret to me.

But, HOW do you do that. That is all easier said than done. I will share with you that I can’t imagine being so dedicated to my marriage if it weren’t for my faith in Jesus. In Philippians 2:3 it says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others better than yourselves.” This is one of the principles I strive to live by. In all relationships, but especially in marriage. Believe me, there are times when I have to fight to believe this and live it out! It is certainly not always easy.

Also, marriage has not always been easy! That’s when I have learned to lean into Jesus and trust that He is refining me and making me more like him through my marriage. It also helps me to not put all of my hope and faith in a person {{my husband}} but recognizing that he is human and will let me down at times.

Loving someone unconditionally for 25 years is not easy – and I’m not just talking about me loving my husband, I’m talking about my husband loving me! It goes both ways. We both believe in the 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 passage regarding love. We may not always feel it, but we have to keep coming back to this passage:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves.”

I will assure you – romance fades, hormones change, the honeymoon stage is just a phase – BUT, none of that compares with building a beautiful life with that person you fell in love with, had romantic moments with, and for a while couldn’t keep your hands off each other! We have so many wonderful and beautiful memories! We have spent the last 25 years building our family, which God intertwined our very beings together through our children and all the memories. 

You will always be my person. I love you David. Forever and always.

Six Decluttering Tips To Give You Momentum

Decluttering can be difficult and daunting. Sometimes it’s just getting started that is the hardest part! I wanted to share with you six tips to help you with the decluttering process. At the end of this blog post I will share with you a PDF printable document with a list of spaces in your home that you can declutter!

The first tip is to get rid of old things you are replacing immediately. If you are replacing an item, whether it’s a broken toaster, or a worn out set of dishes, immediately put the old items in the donation bin. You don’t even have to think about if you should or shouldn’t since you are replacing it with a new item. If you don’t get rid of it immediately, you may end up forgetting and having duplicates of the same type of item in your home.

The second tip is don’t second guess yourself – once it’s in the donation box, it stays there. It can be tempting to revisit the donation bin and second guess if you made the right decision. I would suggest if you have items that you are on the fence about to have a separate bin where you can store these items for a fixed amount of time (usually 6 months is a good amount of time), then move them to the donation bin once you realize that you didn’t miss the items. Usually there is a reason you initially put an item in the donation bin, so don’t second guess that gut instinct.

The third tip is don’t declutter other people’s stuff – you’re not responsible for it! Allow other people – whether that’s a spouse, children, or other family members living with you – to declutter their own items. It’s very important to allow people to make decisions about their own possessions. If you declutter someone else’s things, you risk having tension in the relationship and there is a good chance that they will bring more things into the space when you declutter their items without permission.

The fourth tip is to start with easy/non-sentimental items. It can be very time-consuming and therefore discouraging to start with decluttering sentimental items. When decluttering items that you don’t have a sentimental attachment to, or they are easier to replace, it makes the decluttering process go more quickly. Oftentimes with decluttering, you just need momentum to continue the process. Starting with something like decluttering kitchen items will make it easy and quick to make decisions giving you confidence moving forward.

The fifth tip is to set a timer. This makes it feel easier, like you’re not going to spend the entire day decluttering. Setting a timer allows your brain to know that you will only be working on this project for a finite amount of time. Sometimes decluttering projects can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to declutter everything in one space all at once. Decluttering a few items is better than none.

The sixth and final tip is to have fun! Don’t overcomplicate it! Can decluttering be fun?? A couple of months ago, I played the Minimalism Game to declutter my home. If you’re not familiar with this game, you spend one month focusing on decluttering. On day one you declutter one item, on day two two items, on day three three items, and so on and so forth through the whole month. You end up decluttering over 400 items! This was a fun way to get things decluttered from my home. You could also enlist your family members’ help for items that belong to the whole family – like movies or games. Maybe take a vote on each one, and the majority wins! Or perhaps you could have a contest with other family members to see who can fill a box or bag of items to declutter the fastest! There are many creative ways to declutter that are fun and make it not as stressful as it could otherwise be!

I hope these tips gave you some inspiration on how you can declutter in your home today! Use this free printable to give you ideas on different spaces in your home that may need to be decluttered.

10 Things To Deep Clean In Each Room For Spring

Today I wanted to share the 10 things I like to clean in each room for spring cleaning! To be honest, I don’t specifically “spring clean.” I choose one room in my house each week to deep clean and declutter – meaning, usually my whole house gets deep cleaned and decluttered every three months or so. But, each of these items on the list I clean (for the most part, read on for exceptions) each time I deep clean a room. Be sure to scroll to the bottom where you can find a printable PDF document with all of these items on a check list! You could print it out once and stick it in a plastic protective sheet and mark off each item with a dry erase marker as you go, or print it out each time you have a room to deep clean! Happy spring!!

The first thing I like to do when deep cleaning a room is remove the drapes/curtains to wash or at least to shake out if they are not machine washable. Or even take them to the dry cleaners if you feel so inclined! At this time you can clean off the drape rods and finials as well. Remember when I mentioned the exceptions… I’m going to start with an exception right off the bat with this one. I don’t typically clean the drapes every single time I deep clean a room. I will do this once or twice a year.

The next thing I clean is the ceiling fan or light fixture in the room. Ceiling fans especially are prone to collect dust. I have an e-cloth extension duster like this that I like to use to clean fans. After I use this duster, I will go back with an all purpose cleaning spray and paper towels to get the remaining dust. I like using the all purpose cleaning spray to make the room smell good!

In addition to the drapes and ceiling fans/light fixtures, I make sure to vacuum the room, paying special attention to the edges and corners. I use the extension on my vacuum cleaner with the angled edger piece to get into the edges and corners of the room – something that doesn’t get done each time I vacuum a space.

Something else I do in each room when I am doing a deep clean is to dust the baseboards and clean the walls if necessary. We have a room with Wainscoting, and the trim definitely harbors dust which needs to be cleaned. I just use an all purpose cleaner and a microfiber cleaning cloth for this.Sometimes you just have to get on your hands and knees to get a space cleaned!

Next I will dust all of the horizontal surfaces in the room – shelving, dressers, entertainment centers, end tables, and anything else you may have which collects dust. Typically for wood surfaces I will use a specific wood cleaning product, and for painted surfaces I will use an all purpose cleaning spray.

I also like to be sure to clean the windows – at least the inside of the windows – and the blinds if that is applicable. I use a glass and mirror cleaner on the windows with a microfiber cleaning cloth, and I go back over it with a glass cleaning cloth – both I got from e-cloth. For the blinds, I use an all purpose cleaning spray and a microfiber cleaning cloth, however I have been wanting to get a specific blinds cleaning product as cleaning with the cloth can be very tedious.

In addition, I like to use my extension duster to clean the cobwebs off the ceiling whenever I deep clean a room!

Next I clean the inside and outside of dressers and cabinets. I like to take everything out and declutter as I go. While items are out of the cabinets and drawers, I take the time to clean it out with an all purpose cleaning spray.

Like I mentioned, the next thing I do is declutter. It’s always good to go through items and get rid of anything you are no longer using or loving!

Lastly, I will mop the room if it’s wood or tile, and use a steam vacuum if it is carpet. It’s always good to get a deep clean, especially with carpets!

I hope this gave you some ideas for things to deep clean in one of your rooms today! Be sure to check out my Deep Cleaning Checklist printable if you need guidance while cleaning a room!

Chaos To Order, Sustainable Room By Room Organization

Today I wanted to share with you how I keep our home organized room by room! There are several different organization tools that are helpful in keeping your home organized. But, there are also some everyday practices that will help in keeping your home organized.

The first thing I wanted to talk about is decluttering. I won’t be-labor this point as I know I have several blog posts about the value in decluttering. When getting a space organized, there is no sense in organizing items that you no longer love or are no longer useful to you. I’m sure by now you have all heard of Marie Kondo’s Konmari method of decluttering. I don’t necessarily like everything about her methodology, however I do like the idea of decluttering by category. Some people get overwhelmed by pulling everything out in one category, so I suggest working one room or space at a time as well. Start with items that are easier to declutter – like kitchen items, which don’t have sentimental value and work your way up to sentimental items. Generally, the process of decluttering gets easier as you gain momentum. Also, it’s important to note that each room or space in your home will need to be revisited. Unfortunately, decluttering is typically not a one time event but rather a process as most homes continually accumulate items.

I wanted to talk a little bit about a system I learned many years ago from the book The Fly Lady. She has lots of great advice in her book, but the thing I have implemented into my routine is creating “zones” coordinating with different spaces or rooms in your home, and each week choosing one zone to deep clean and declutter. I have 12 zones in my home, and by choosing one zone per week my entire house gets deep cleaned and decluttered every three months. It’s not only important to stay on top of decluttering, it’s also important to stay on top of your organization systems as things can get misplaced or in disarray over time.

My number one advice for client’s is to have a place for everything. When each item in your home has a place, it makes cleaning up and putting things away more efficient and easy. I love to use bins, baskets, and lazy susans throughout my home to house items which are alike. For many of these bins, I use labels, making it easy for everyone in my family to know where things are and where they belong.

The first space I want to talk about is your entryway – whether it’s at your front door, back door, or both! Typically this is a “drop zone” – a place where everyone sets down their everyday items and takes off their shoes. You want to have organization tools which will accommodate this. Hooks for purses and backpacks, a shoe rack or baskets for shoes, a key holder for keys, and bins to hold things like hats, scarves, and gloves. Having a space for each type of item works well, or perhaps you can have a bin and or hook for each family member. These are items that are notorious for getting lost, however if you have a place for these items, each family member will know where they go and where to find their items.

The next location I wanted to talk about is the living room/family room. In this space, it’s important to have functional furniture to store different items that belong in the room, such as game consoles, video games CDs, movies, remotes, and blankets. Once again, if items have a place, everyone will know where to find them. Blankets can be stored in an aesthetically pleasing way such as in a basket, on a blanket ladder, or draped across the sofa. If you’re like me and like to have a variety of throw pillows, you can choose to purchase pillow covers when possible, making it easier to store when not in use. In addition to this, if you like using different decor for different times of the year, find creative ways to store these items. I have a dresser in my office where I store all my extra decor that is not in season. I do have two large bins storing my Christmas specific decor, which I store in the attic. A trick I like is to use dual purpose decor. I use wood bead strings around my Christmas tree as garland, but when it is not Christmas season I use the beads as decor in other areas of my home. Also, you can find a lot of versatile “Christmas decor” that will transition into the winter season.

TV Console with space for Living Room items.
I store extra pillow cases in our side tables in the living room.
I store my extra home decor in a dresser in my office.

The next space I will talk about is the kitchen. This might be one of the most important places in the home to find an organization system that works well for you as it allows you to be more efficient in meal planning, getting groceries, putting away the groceries, and meal prepping. It’s helpful to have your kitchen organized in a functional way. Store items where you use them. I have a corner of my kitchen where I do most of the meal prepping, and that is where all of my utensils and dishes are stored. Organizing your pantry and refrigerator/freezer space by category helps to keep everything contained and easy to find. I have chosen a variety of bins, boxes, and jars to store items in my pantry. Taking pantry items out of their packaging and decanting items into streamline jars and bins is a more efficient use of space. Using labels will make it easy to put things away, and allow family members to know where items go. It also just looks more appealing! In the refrigerator and freezer, you can use bins to keep things in order, and again using labels so everyone knows where things belong. This also keeps your refrigerator more clean, so if anything spills or leaks, it is contained in the bin. Lastly, using drawer organizers helps to keep drawers neat and easy to maintain.

I also wanted to talk about the office. This is probably one of the most difficult spots to keep organized, primarily because often offices become overrun with papers. Again, organization systems help to keep everything in its place. If you have drawers in your desk, invest in drawer organizers, which can be fairly inexpensive. Having little compartments in your desk drawers to store all the little office type items will help to keep your desktop clean of clutter. Dealing with paper clutter can be time consuming and overwhelming! Definitely invest in some sort of filing system for important documents, whether that’s a filing cabinet built into your desk drawer, or some sort of external accordion style filing folder. Additionally, you can use an app like Adobe Scan, a document scanning app, to keep digital records of your paperwork, eliminating a lot of the paper clutter! In my opinion, it’s so much easier to get work done in a organized and tidy space!

A couple of other spaces that often need organization systems are the laundry room and the bathroom linen closet. Having bins to house like items is definitely helpful in these spaces. I store all of our medicine in three separate bins which are labeled, making it easy for family members to find which type of medication they are looking for. Folding your sheets and towels in a uniform way will also help to keep your linen closet in order. I have a YouTube video where I show you the way I fold sheets so they will look neat in your cabinet! This might not work for everyone, but we own two bath towels per person, two hand towels per hand towel hook, and two sets of sheets per bed in our home. One for in use and one for in the laundry or in the cabinet. Having a system like this will cut back on clutter in this space.

The final space I wanted to discuss is the closet and/or dresser. This is another space that can be hard to stay on top of as we often have a constant flow of items coming in. Again, it’s important to make it a habit of going through your clothing items and donating anything you no longer wear or love, anything that is too small or too big, or anything that has a hole or stain. One of the easiest ways to make your closet look more organized is to invest in uniform hangers. It’s up to you to decide how many! Everyone is different in the amount of clothing they have space for and want to own. Also, finding storage systems for shoes, off season clothing items, and anything else you store in your closet is important. As far as the dresser goes, I want to mention the Konmari method again. I have found using the Konmari folding method to be the most efficient way by far to store clothing. More clothing fits in the space when folded this way, it’s easier to find what you are looking for, and once you learn to fold in this way it is very efficient to get your clothing folded. Once again, I have a tutorial YouTube video on how to fold Konmari style!

I hope this gave you some ideas or information on how you can get your home organized and functioning efficiently today!

10 Common Assumptions About Professional Organizers, Are They True?

Today I wanted to share with you 10 common assumptions about professional organizers and if they are true or false. Obviously this is from my experience and perspective, so other professional organizers may answer differently, but I thought it would be fun to share with you my thoughts!

{ONE} We want you to get rid of everything. FALSE. This is not at all true. We recognize that everyone needs and wants a different amount of items to bring satisfaction and fulfillment to life. We are all in different life stages, requiring different amounts of things. The most important thing is that you get rid of the items that are no longer useful to you, or no longer bring you joy.

{TWO} Every space in our homes is organized or perfect. FALSE. Most professional organizers likely have a “Monica’s Closet” (for you who are fans of the tv show Friends!) I have a few spaces in my home that seem to get disorganized easily or pile up with stuff. We have an attic crawl space, a storage closet in our garage, and the desk in our kitchen which all get out of control from time to time. Truthfully, organization is not something that is once and done. It is a constant process.

The next three assumptions are similar but separate assumptions…

{THREE} We judge you for your disorganization. FALSE. This is certainly not true! We understand that not everyone has the time or ability to easily organize a space. We recognize that you likely hired us because you want your space to be organized but don’t know where to start or how to efficiently do it. We don’t judge your disorganization, and think it’s amazing that you took the step to hire someone to help you get organized!

{FOUR} We judge you for how much you own. FALSE. Like I mentioned with number one, everyone has different needs and wants for how much they own. And everyone is in different life stages, requiring different things. I will certainly organize any amount of stuff, as long as it fits in the space! My only rule is that we do purge any items that you are no longer using or loving because it’s silly to organize things that you no longer want or need. My goal is that when I organize a space, everything has a home!

{FIVE} We judge our friends and family member’s homes. FALSE. This is also false! Most of the time when I go into someone’s home, I experience how THEY make me feel not how their home makes me feel. Everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to clutter and cleanliness. While I would not like clutter in my own home, I don’t judge other people for clutter in their home because I don’t have to live there!

{SIX} We are perfectionists with attention to detail. TRUE. I will have to say, this assumption is true. I like to call myself a “recovering perfectionist” because I feel like the word perfectionist has a negative connotation. I don’t want to be the type of person who has high or unreasonable expectations on others. I’m learning that sometimes good enough is good enough!

{SEVEN} Organizing comes naturally to us, so it’s really easy for us. TRUE + FALSE. This is true and false. I think there is a natural component to the ability to organize – whether it’s inborn or we are taught to keep our things tidy and to have a place for everything. However, I am not always motivated to organize, declutter, or clean. Also, some projects are challenging and take a lot of thought and time to complete, so while it might come naturally, it’s not always easy.

{EIGHT} Our homes are always tidy. FALSE. This is definitely not true. In my home, I have 5 people who are currently living here. There are constantly things that need to be cleaned up or tidied. Where people live, there will always be things to clean!

{NINE} We are minimalists. FALSE + can be TRUE. This can be true, but certainly not all professional organizers are minimalists. Everyone wants a different amount of things to feel fulfilled in life. Some people like an abundance and some people don’t. Being a minimalist makes it easier to keep things clean and organized with minimal effort, however that doesn’t mean all professional organizers are minimalists.

{TEN} Our kids are also organized. FALSE. Just because we are organized, does not necessarily mean our kids will be organized too. I have two kids who are more on the disorganized side, and one who is more on the organized side. I have taught all three of them techniques to keep their spaces neat and organized, but not all of them follow through. Which is perfectly fine since they are each their own individuals and need to learn to navigate life, and find what works for them!

Well, I hope you found this post interesting or entertaining! Let me know if there are other assumptions you have about professional organizers!

45 Things I’ve Learned In 45 Years

I know this blog post is a little different than my other posts, but heading into the new year I have been thinking about all the things I have learned over the years that I want to truly implement in my life this year! You know how sometimes you can know something in your head, but your heart hasn’t caught up? With several of these things, that is the case for me! I know they are true, but it’s hard in the day to day to carry them out. So, this blog post is just as much for me as it is for you. To write things down and see them in black and white makes a bigger impact than we know!

1 Love is always the answer. This sounds cheesy, but it’s true. If we love others we can’t go wrong.

2 Vulnerability is not a weakness. Usually vulnerability allows others to feel comfortable sharing their own struggles. It is a beautiful thing to have people in your life who know you intimately and can encourage and challenge you to grow and be better!

3 Your body is amazing (everything it has done). Oftentimes, especially as a woman, we can dislike our bodies – shape and size. Instead let’s focus on what our bodies have done and what they can do!

4 Gratitude changes your perspective, be thankful. It can be so easy, especially in this time period with social media so prevalent, to become discontent with what we have, what we can do, with who we are. Instead we should focus on all the positives in our lives!

5 Forgiveness frees you, holding onto resentment doesn’t hurt your offender only you. It’s not easy to forgive. It is certainly a process. But you will find deep peace in forgiving and letting go!

6 You cannot change or control others. You can only control yourself. You are not responsible for others’ behavior, feelings, or reactions. Only focus on yourself and what you can do to change a situation or relationship.

7 Little acts of kindness go farther than you can imagine. You never know what someone is going through. Buying a cup of coffee for the person behind you in the Starbucks line or even just holding the door for someone could really make their day. Or just a smile may change someone’s entire day. I think smiles are underestimated. Even now with wearing masks everywhere, people can see the smile in your eyes.

8 Everyone has their opinions. You do you! Oftentimes people have conflicting opinions, so there is really no way to please everyone! Follow your heart and your gut, and don’t worry about the critics!

9 Fun is underrated, do crazy fun things!

10 Age is just a number, it’s never too late to start something. I used to feel this for sure! There are many examples of people who became successful later in life – Samuel Jackson and Julia Childes just to name a couple. George Eliot says, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

11 We aren’t promised tomorrow, so live today to the fullest!

12 Purchasing that “next thing” will not make you more happy.

13 Don’t sweat the small stuff. For real though… I spent way too much of my life being anxious about things that in the long run really didn’t matter. I could have been putting my energy into other things.

14 You will almost always benefit from putting others first. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but trust me on this one!

15 It’s okay if everyone doesn’t like you. You’re not for everyone, so just be yourself!

16 When someone is rude to you or says something rude it usually has nothing to do with you. They are hurting and have not processed the pain.

17 Exercise! Even if it’s just walking. Exercise releases endorphins which is the happy hormone!

18 Never underestimate the power of drinking lots of water! It gives you energy, makes your skin look young, and more!

19 It’s okay to have needs! Everyone has needs. We are human. We can’t do everything ourselves.

20 Communicate your needs. People can’t read your mind. If you need help, ask.

21 Set boundaries. It’s okay to say no. You only have so much time in a day and only so much bandwidth. Say yes to the things you enjoy and will bring you fulfillment.

22 Find something you love and are passionate about and do that! Being able to do something you are passionate about brings energy and life!

23 Don’t be afraid to take risks. It can be scary to step outside of your comfort zone, but oftentimes we are glad we did it, and if we fail…

24 Failure is not a bad thing. It’s a teacher. We can learn and grow from our failures.

25 Being positive is a choice. Choose positivity. We can choose to focus on all the negative things in life, or the positive. Focus on the positive and give more attention to the positive!

26 Adversity is not bad. It helps you grow and to become a better person.

27 Give financially to a cause that’s important to you. Being generous brings fulfillment to life!

28 Volunteer your time to a cause that’s important to you. Being generous with your time also brings fulfillment to life!

29 It is what it is. Sometimes things out of our control happen, so roll with the punches.

30 Rest. Prioritize rest in your life so you don’t get burnt out. Schedule it in if you have to!

31 Don’t go to bed angry. Communicate your hurt. Reconcile. Forgive.

32 Learn new things. Read. Take a class. Watch a YouTube video to learn something new. It is good to stretch and exercise your brain to keep it in shape!

33 Prioritize people over to do lists. I still struggle with this as someone who really likes to get everything checked off my list! But I’m getting better at not looking at the clock when I spend time with people, but instead to just enjoy their company. Along with this, I stopped worrying about if my house was clean or everything was perfect before having people over!

34 Spend money on experiences over things. I believe this with all of my heart! My grandparents were big travelers, so they were an example to us of this principle. Memories are so much more valuable than things!

35 Notice small miracles. I think people can overlook small miracles. Recognizing them builds your faith.

36 Compliment people when you notice something you like about them. I know this can be hard for some people who are shy, but people really appreciate being noticed. Especially in this time when so many people are focused on themselves.

37 Thank people when they help you or do a job well. This is more appreciated than we know. People like to feel valued, like their time and effort was noticed.

38 Listen more than you talk.

39 Give up your place in line. For a mama with a young kiddo, for an older couple, for someone with less items than you.

40 Make the time to cultivate good friendships! It can be easy to get busy in your everyday routines and not prioritize friends, but my friends are truly a Godsend. I don’t think I would make it through this life without them!

41 Don’t worry about perfection, good enough is usually good enough!

42 Burn the nice candles. This one is silly, but I spent many years “saving” my nice candles for a nice occasion, but that occasion usually never came!

43 Your actions will have a bigger influence on your kids (or those you have influence over) than your words. You can teach your kids (or people you influence) all you want how you think they should live, but they notice what you do and will usually replicate that.

44 Pain is not a bad thing. It tells us something is wrong.

45 Pray. This is the only way I am able to get through life!

Well, I hope this was inspiring or encouraging to you today! Also, hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my photo memory lane!

Real Life Organizing | You Can Be Organized!

Sometimes while talking to clients or friends they either allude to or say outright that their space can’t be organized. Recently one of my friends hired me to help with her pantry. She came over to my house to see how I had organized my own pantry, hoping for inspiration or maybe to gain some trust that I could in fact get her pantry organized? She said that I seemed to be more of a methodical cook than her, and she wasn’t so sure her pantry could function like my pantry. She still reluctantly hired me as I encouraged her that I was up for the challenge! In the end she was surprised that she did in fact have distinct categories in her pantry! Several weeks after I was finished with her pantry, she let me know how much easier it was to order and put away groceries now that her pantry had a system. She was shocked and surprised that there was a sustainable organization system that worked for this space!

This is my pantry

I share this story because I think people often think that their space (or spaces) cannot be organized. I told my friend that is why she needed to hire me! I had a vision that she couldn’t even imagine. We all have gifts and talents, and my brain just processes things in light of order. Organizing projects can feel overwhelming at first. Even for me, sometimes I feel overwhelmed before starting a project, but I know you just have to take things one step at a time no matter how big or small the project is!

Here is my friend’s before pantry picture

The first step to getting any space organized is always to declutter. You don’t want to organize items that you no longer need, use, or love. 

The next step is to identify categories in the space. The best way to efficiently organize a space is by category. This is why I am a big fan of bins. This will help contain items for each category, making it quick and easy to put items away in the future.

After you have decluttered and identified your categories, you will need to measure your space and then go on a hunt for bins, boxes, baskets, or lazy susans that will fit the space and your style. This can be tricky at times. When we were looking for bins for my friend’s pantry, we were balancing a multitude of specifications. We were looking for bins of a certain size, style, and price point. You have to balance all of these specs and give weight to the importance of each. Just know that this can take time! You may have to scour the internet as well as stores in your local area. It’s not always a one stop trip! Don’t forget your labels too!

Next is the fun part!! Or at least for me!! You will need to remove everything from the space, and I always like to give it a good clean while the space is empty. Then you can begin organizing things into categories. Label each box making it easy to find homes for each of the items.

Organizing a space is certainly not a one size fits all, and it can’t always be done as quickly as a Home Edit Netflix episode. Be realistic, and have your expectations set so that you are not disappointed in how long this process can take.

If it all feels too overwhelming and you can’t hire a professional organizer, enlist a friend to help! Oftentimes it helps just to have accountability even if they are just as clueless as you!

Here is what her pantry looked like after!
Here is the YouTube video I made in conjunction with this blog post

How To Love Your Home Now

If you’re anything like me, you can get overwhelmed and inundated by all the perfect home images out there – Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube videos. It can lead to discontent and a feeling like your home needs a total overhaul! I consider myself a creative, and the main outlet that is realized is in home decorating and home renovations. So I am especially susceptible to wanting overnight changes. The other day I was thinking about the drastic transformation my home has gone through since moving in 11 years ago {{you can read the blog post where I shared all the renovations we did to our home!}} It has certainly been a slow process, and I continually have ideas to change things up! It takes time – sometimes what feels like a turtle’s pace – because home renovations take time if you’re doing the work yourself and money! I was thinking about simple and cost effective ways you can “transform” your home, and wanted to share those with you!

The very first thing you can do is clean your home! You may think this doesn’t change much, but truly when everything is cleaned and put away your home just feels more cozy and peaceful. Making your bed daily is a habit that will help to make your home feel more inviting.

Along with cleaning in general, I wanted to mention floors specifically. Deep cleaning the grout in your tile, or polishing your wood floors can make them look new again! {{I have an inspirational YouTube video of cleaning my grout!}}

Rearrange! Move furniture around – either in the room they are in, or to another room. You can also rearrange your home decor – moving pieces to other rooms. I don’t like to own a lot of home decor and this helps to make things feel new.

Bring in fresh flowers or plants. I feel like fresh flowers and plants make a much bigger impact to a room than you would expect! I even like rearranging my plants – moving them to different rooms. If you are afraid of taking care of a plant, there are a lot of real looking faux plant options out there as well.

Use scent to enjoy your home more. Whether it’s a scented candle burning, an essential oil diffuser running, cookies baking, or a pot roast in the oven! Scent can really bring extra joy to a space.

Of course you know I can’t write a blog post without mentioning DECLUTTERING! Letting go of the things that you no longer love, or no longer serve you will make a great impact on feeling comfortable in your home. Display what you love and get rid of the rest!

Another idea is to initiate trading home decor with your friends or family members. You could even host a party where everyone brings what they no longer love for their own home. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

In addition to trading home decor, you can scour Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or local thrift stores to find new to you items on a budget to incorporate a style that reflects you. Along with finding home decor at these places, you can find some amazing deals on furniture that just need a little TLC. Flipping thrifted furniture is definitely a cost effective way to upgrade your home.

I purchased this dresser for a good deal off Facebook Marketplace then cleaned it up! Also, several of the pieces of art in this photo were thrifted!

The next thing I wanted to share is PAINT! Paint is such a cost effective way to make a dramatic impact in any room in your home. If you’re willing and have the time to put in the work of painting yourself, it is quite inexpensive. I have always used Behr Ultra primer and paint in one paint and it is $32 a gallon. Most rooms can be painted with one gallon, depending on which color you are going to and which color the room was at first. Obviously if you go from light to dark or visa versa, or if the room is large, then you will need more paint. You can also paint furniture or spray paint home decor you no longer love – a vase, picture frame, drape rods, and more!

BEFORE
AFTER

Another thing you can do is to hang drapes. Okay, I know this isn’t for everyone, but I feel like hanging drapes makes a room feel much more luxurious, taller, and more cozy. When we moved into this home, an IKEA had just opened near us and I purchased all of our drapes from there. I love their drapes because you can get really long ones (96” or 108”) for a great price. Hanging your drapes as high as possible gives the illusion that your room is taller and more luxurious!

You can also make your own artwork, use your children’s artwork, or frame family photos for inexpensive art. Another recent thing I learned about is downloading art prints that you can then print off on whatever medium you choose – like a canvas, or a print to frame. Even if you’re not super crafty, some of the art that is popular now is very simplistic and easy to replicate.

Learn a new skill!! Usually, the biggest cost of home renovations is the labor involved and potentially also paying a contractor if you don’t already have connections. If you want to do some bigger renovations like installing new flooring or a new backsplash, it might be worth it to look into learning these skills. Usually projects like this just take a weekend to complete, especially if you have a partner to help you.

Lastly, if nothing else, start a gratitude journal. When you are focused on the things you are thankful for, you are less likely to focus on the negative or on the things you want changed!

Some of these options may not be feasible for you, but I hope this gave you some ideas that you have not thought of before on how you can love your home now!