A House Full of Clutter: My Daily Struggle

how to organize a home

When my husband and I moved into our house, our home, save for a small pile of boxes in the basement, was blissfully empty. We wondered how we would fill the house! Now, some 12 years later, our house is filled with so much stuff that I don’t know what to do with it all! I am constantly working to organize it all.

An Organized Chaos

The biggest problem in my house is that nobody (except for me) really wants to get rid of anything. While I’ve been dutifully emptying my unneeded stuff out of our home bit by bit, the other members of my family have been clinging to nearly every possession! My kids offered to sell some of their old toys in a recent garage sale, but sadly, there was very little they were willing to sell.

Luckily, we have been able to contain our mess to just a few areas of our home:  the basement, a small unused spare bedroom, and sadly, our master bedroom! I will share with you my progress in neatening up those spaces within the next few months.

A Clean Living Space

The neatest room in my house is my home’s living room – I am very happy about that! A room that was once held two toys boxes and often had toys on the floor now has a beautiful new sofa, ottoman and area rug! The sofa was my Christmas gift last year, and I have to say that the sofa goes a long way in making me feel happier about our home! I love our new living space and recently redecorated the living room for fall!

sunny, bright, living room, reveal

See how nice and empty the space is? I love it!!

To the Rescue

Luckily, a few months ago, my husband put up wall to wall shelves up along one length of my home’s basement. (Thanks, honey!!) Those shelves have been a godsend! Lately, I have been using those shelves to sort my kids’ toys and to get them up off the floor. Sadly, my work often becomes undone after a play session down in the basement, so I will have to put my kids to work and have them neaten up the space.

shelves, basement, storage

Lots and lots of  toys!

Cleaning House

While most of my work in the basement is spent sorting and organizing toys, I sometimes donate items my family no longer needs to make my job much easier! This morning I spent just one hour in the basement, and I was able to donate three large garage bags of stuff to my a local thrift store, Greater Goods Thrift Store. Money from the thrift store’s proceeds go toward the charitable organization, Rise, which runs a food bank and helps local struggling families. I feel doubly good about donating my unneeded things to the thrift store: It helps me to create some space in my home’s basement, and I know that my unneeded belongings can help other families.

More to Do

Check in to see how I do against the daily battle against clutter in my home! Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing strategies for conquering clutter, and the progress I make on getting rid of the clutter in my home’s basement and in the living areas of my home. Wish me luck!

Free Printable Calendar for 2015

Do you feel like this year is speeding by? I do! My family and I were just enjoying summer and trips to the beach, and now we are already firmly entrenched into the school year! It won’t be long before my family will be planning dates for 2015, so we’ll need a 2015 calendar! So I thought I’d make up my own free printable 2015 calendar for both my family and yours! Who couldn’t use a free printable calendar? free printable 2015 calendar The free printable calendar has fairly large boxes for each date so hopefully there’s room to track every family member’s busy schedule! I am lucky that my kids are twins and like many of the same pursuits, so they share a few activities. Thank goodness! That’s helpful for a busy mom!

I got my idea to make a free printable calendar from Abby from Just a Girl and Her Blog, who always makes great printables! Feel free to check out her free printable 2015 calendar, too!

More Free Printables

I have been into making fun printables to help keep my family organized, so be sure to check those out! I’ve recently made a free printable chore chart for tweens (or older kids) and a free printable weekly cleaning schedule. Hopefully these printables will help us manage our busy fall schedules more easily!

free printable chore chart for tweens
free printable weekly cleaning schedule

 

 

I am linking this project up at The Makers (Linky Party #36).

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Early Morning Routine for a Night Owl

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This post is sponsored by Cottonelle.

I bet this sounds like a lot of moms’ early morning routines. Your morning schedule starts early, so you get dressed in 10 minutes or less and throw on sweats before seeing your kids off to school. That’s my routine this year! My husband and I are night owls, and I get up at 6 a.m. to make breakfast and help my kids out the door, so I’ve been very sleep deprived!

So, I’ve developed a quick routine to make myself presentable enough to walk my kids to the bus stop. Now, I don’t actually have to walk them to the bus stop (none of the other parents do), but this is my kids’ first year taking the bus, so I am having a little trouble letting go!

Quick Early-Morning Routine Products

These are my favorite products for getting myself ready in 10 minutes or less on school mornings — in just over one week of school so far, I’ve gotten it down to a science! (Thank goodness I can take a leisurely shower later once the kids are in school.)

1. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub: Part of my early morning routine includes washing my face with Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Wash, Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub. I just love this scrub — it is gentle on my sensitive skin, but also helps take care of blemishes. The pleasant grapefruit scent also helps to wake me up in the morning!

2. Listerine Mouthwash: Listerine mouthwash gets ride of any morning breath I may have, so I don’t worry if I run into a neighbor or two on my way to the bus stop! I also like that it does more than freshen breath — it helps prevent gum disease.

3. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Makeup: I love this makeup — it does a great job in evening out my often red and blotchy skin, is kind to my sensitive skin and helps protect my very fair complexion from the sun! This base is also practically scent free – the scent in other brands bothers my sensitive nose/allergies.

4. Mary Kay Compact with eyeshadows and blush: I adore my Mary Kay compact. I can fill it with the eye shadow and blush colors of my choice and is not pricey at all! I also love that I can try on my color choices at home with my Mary Kay consultant and return whatever doesn’t work for me!

5. Cottonelle Clean Care Toilet Paper and Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths: Because I don’t have time to shower before stepping out of my house in the morning, I want to be extra sure that I am as clean as possible. I like the softness of Cottonelle Clean Care Toilet Paper and the extra security of the Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths. The wipes are alcohol-free so they are harsh on one’s skin, and they are sewer and septic safe, so I don’t have to worry about my home’s plumbing.

Rite-Aid Cottonelle Coupon

I got my Cottonelle products for $1 off at my local Rite-Aid, and you can, too. Visit the Rite-Aid website and watch the 30-second video. After the video, you can log in to receive a coupon to download for $1.00 off your purchase of Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths and Cottonelle Clean Care toilet paper.

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Back to School Mud Room Area

mud, room, how, to

With fall and winter upon us, and the school year into full gear, having a family mud room is essential. I know one is needed in my house! We need a place to hang our coats and drop off our sometimes wet and muddy shoes. My home isn’t very large, and we don’t have a coat closet by the front door, so we have created a “mud room” out of a small space.

This is what I have found helpful to have in our “mud room” space:

1. Easy-to-Clean Floors: Tile flooring is great for a mud room floor, since it’s easy to clean and durable. My mud room area just inside my home’s front door has linoleum flooring, which I don’t love, but at least it stands up to dirt and wetness better than the carpeting that runs through the rest of my home. (I would love to replace the carpeting with hardwood flooring, but that’s another story!)

 2. A Place to Stash Shoes: A mud room should have a place to take off wet shoes and boots, and a place to store them, as well. In my mud room area, I have fabric bins in a small bookcase — the bins give my family a place to stash our shoes.

mud, room, shoe, organize, store, storage

3. Hooks for Jackets and Coats: It seems obvious that a coat closet should be placed near a home’s front door, but my home doesn’t have one. (Go figure!) So just above our mud room’s shoe storage area, I’ve hung a coat rack for our jackets and coats — otherwise, we’d have to walk almost all the way to the back of our home to hang up our coats!

4. Someplace to Sit: I am still hunting for a small stool or bench to keep just adjacent to my home’s mud room area — our mud room area is actually too small to house a small stool. LOL. So now, my family and I sit on the steps just off our mud room area, or try to put on our shoes while still standing.

5. Clock: When my kids were younger, I was constantly dropping them off at school at least a minute or two late each morning. It wasn’t until I hung a clock by the front door that I realized that it took my kids longer to put their shoes on than I realized! Anyway, I tend to run late, so I need a clock to keep me on schedule!

 

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6. Message Board: My family has a message board just to the right of our front door, and it is very handy! It helps to remind us what needs to be brought to work and school and what else needs to be accomplished that day.

7. Calendar: A calendar is also a useful mud room essential — sometimes I wouldn’t know what day it is or where I am heading if I didn’t have my calendar to glance at! Our calendar is hung on our front door, and on that calendar are all my kids’ school holidays, after-school events, etc. I have the calendar custom printed each year, just before school starts.

mud room, back to school, calendar

8. Mirror: A mirror is a great thing to have in a mud room for those last-minute touch-ups before running out the door — “running” being the most appropriate word for my family!

mud, room, mirror

Do you have a mud room in your home? What items have you found to be essential for your mud room space?

I am linking this project at: This Month’s Favorite Post Link Up Hit Me With Your Best Shot,  Pin Junkie Pin PartyWork It Wednesday, Project Pin It #43, Creativity Unleashed, Moonlight & Mason Jars Linky Party #72 Moonlight & Mason Jars #73 and Project Inspire(d).

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Marker Roll Up Tutorial & Teacher Gift

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Office Depot, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #inspirestudents http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

My kids moved up to middle school this year, which means buying a lot more school supplies! My daughters and I visited our local Office Depot and stocked up on everything we needed before school started. I picked up some Sharpies, Papermate pens and scented Mr. Sketch markers. The pens, Sharpies and markers will be great for a back-to-school teacher gift! I know teachers have to cart a lot of school supplies around, so I thought it would be nice to make a pen and marker roll up as a back to school gift.

fabric, roll, up, marker, pen, teacher, gift, school
I adore office supplies, and really like the colors available in the Sharpies, Mr. Sketch markers and Papermate pens. I found a crayon roll up tutorial at Make-it and Love-it and adapted it to fit my fabric’s size and my office supplies for my pen and marker fabric roll up teacher gift. For my fabric, I used fabric cloth napkins that I had left over from my cloth napkin pillow project. (I recently made really great inexpensive pillows for my new living room sofa.)

sharpies, markers, pens

Fabric Roll Up Materials

Two 17.5 x 17.5 cloth cloth napkins; one trimmed to 17.5 x 9 inches

21-inch ribbon (or you can use the fabric left over from your trimmed napkin)

Coordinating thread

Pen & Marker Roll Up Tutorial

Fold both pieces of fabric in half lengthwise and iron. Using sharp fabric shears, trim your second piece of fabric to 17.5 inches x 9 inches. Sew a 1-inch hem on the raw edge of your cut fabric.

Take the smaller piece of folded fabric and sew a seam close to the folded edge. Open the large piece of fabric and put the smaller one on top. Match the two raw edges of the smaller piece of fabric with the long raw edge (opposite the fold) of the big piece of fabric. Sew along that long (17.5 inch )raw  edge.

fabric, roll, up, pens, markers, supplies

Fold the empty half of the big piece of fabric over the smaller piece that you just sewed on and pin it along the 17.5 inch edge and the two sides. (Fold in half where you ironed the fold on the large piece of fabric, but in the opposite way.) All the four raw edges of fabric are now pinned together.

Sew along all three sides (not the fold). Leave at least 4 inches open at the bottom, so you can turn your roll up right side out. Trim all four corners of your roll up, and then turn your fabric right side out.

Iron your roll up flat and sew around all the sides, close to the edge.

dew, fabric, roll, up, marker, pen

Now you need to sew the compartments in your top pocket for your markers and pens. What I did was lay out my markers and pens along the pocket, and pinned where I wanted each compartment to be.

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Sew in each compartment seam. Turn your marker and pen roll up over, and pin on your ribbon.

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Fabric roll up with ribbon

 

Sew on the ribbon, making sure you don’t stitch any of your compartments closed.

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Your pen and marker fabric roll up is complete!
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I really like how the pen and marker fabric roll up came out, and think it’s really handy for carrying pens and markers in a purse, briefcase or backpack.

Are you interested in making your own pen and marker fabric roll up? Now is a great time to head out and get your supplies, because Office Depot and Office Max will allow you to save $5 Off your purchase of $20 or more on Select Newell Rubbermaid Brands (PaperMate, Expo Neon Window Markers, Sharpie, Uni-Ball, & Mr. Sketch), while supplies last. That’s a good deal!

Do you have a great back to school teacher gift idea? I would love to see it! Tag me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestInstagram and use the hashtags #InspireStudents #TeachersChangeLives #pmedia. 

I am linking this project up at Pin Junkie Pin PartyBe Awesome Link Party #12 , Moonlight and Mason Jars # 71 , Work It Wednesday and Inspire Me Monday (24).

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Four Great DIY Pot Rack Ideas

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Courtesy of P&Geveryday

If you have a small kitchen like my home’s kitchen, finding enough storage for everything can be tough! To add more storage for pots and pans, I’ve been wanting to add a pot rack, but pot racks can be expensive, and the ceiling ones can be tough to install. So, I love the DIY pot rack ideas that I found on the P&Geveryday website!

The P&Geveryday website has tons of great pointers for making every day easier, with lots of recipes and ideas for home decor, gardening, useful products and fun family activities. The P&Geveryday website, created by Procter & Gamble, also has great product reviews, samples and coupons, which are always helpful!

DIY Pot Rack Ideas

Pegboard is one of the most popular and commonly used DIY pot rack ideas, à la Julia Child. This idea could work well in my home’s kitchen, as there is a lot of unused wall space on the wall behind my kitchen table. I could make the pegboard fun by spray painting it a bright color (spring green is my favorite choice!) It might be fun to write on the pegboard where each pot and pan should go.

country kitchen, organize, farmhouse

The wall space between my kitchen’s china cabinet and the window would be a great place for DIY pot rack storage.

I also like the ideas of using a coat rack or a towel rod mounted to the wall to hang pots. I could get two wall-mounted coat racks with four to five hooks each to hang a whole cookware collection on the wall, or I could hang pots and pans with S hooks from a towel rod. I plan to add oiled bronze knobs to my kitchen cabinets this summer, so I could purchase a coat rack or towel rod that features oiled bronze. A stand-alone, upright coat rack could also be useful for hanging pots — especially in my kitchen, where I could store it in an out-of-the-way corner.

Organize Your Home

I know I plan to do lots of organizing in my home this summer, so I will be sure to visit the P&Geveryday website, and the P&Geveryday Facebook page, which both have lots of tips for getting a home neat and organized, like how to clean your patio and your grill this summer! (I just grilled the other night, so I know my grill needs cleaning!)

paver patio, wrought iron table, chairs, chain link fence, privacy

I hope to use the tips from P&Geveryday to get my patio cleaned soon this summer.

Both the P&Geveryday website and Facebook page have really useful ideas, advice and products to make life easier for busy moms like me — something I could sure use this summer as I try to enjoy as much downtime with my kids and family as possible!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Kids Bedrooms

*This post contains affiliate and sponsored links.

Finding enough storage in kids bedrooms can be tough, but if you buy furniture and accessories with storage in mind, you should be able to find plenty of storage for kids rooms.

storage for kids rooms

My daughters, 11, are twins and enjoy sharing a room. So, when I chose the children’s furniture for their kids room, I chose children’s furniture that would give us the most space as possible for storing their things.

Their room is fairly large, but not that big, considering that we must fit two twin beds in there, a dresser, and as many places as possible to stash all their clothing and toys. I think their room is pretty nice as kids rooms go!

Extra Storage for Kids Rooms

For extra storage, I chose a storage bed  with drawers (South Shore Furniture, Lily Rose Collection, Twin Mates Bed 39?, Romantic Pine) that is available from Amazon.com. The twin bed frames, at $165 each, are affordable, and offer three large drawers for storage underneath. The beds are an attractive and easy way to add additional storage for kids rooms. The frames only allow for a mattress (and not a box spring), however, so I got pillow-top mattresses for my kids to make their beds more comfortable.

I like the fun bedding I chose for my kids’ room, too. One daughter has a fun polka-dot print with pinks and oranges for her sheets, while the other has polka-dot sheets in blue. But my daughters are getting new bedrooms this summer (they will get their own rooms) so I’ll be shopping for new bedding – new sheets and new duvet covers — that will coordinate with the decor in their new bedrooms.

We purchased our children’s storage beds from Amazon.com, and got free shipping, which is a great deal, since shipping for large furniture items can be expensive!

Lily Rose twin bed with drawers underneath

One of the Lily Rose storage beds in my daughters’ room

My husband put the South Shore Furniture twin storage beds together for us, and he actually marveled at how well made the beds are, and how simple they were to put together.

I like the light wood tones of the twin storage beds, their Shaker style and the pretty flower pulls on the drawers. I also appreciate that they are made from composite wood carrying the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, which means that they are eco friendly.

Storage for books, toys

To add more storage to the room, we added a bookcase headboard (South Shore Furniture, Lily Rose Collection, Bookcase Headboard 39?, Romantic Pine) at about $90 each behind each daughter’s bed, which gives my kids a place to store their favorite books and their extra special treasures. I love looking at those headboard bookcases to see how each daughter has decorated it, as each girl has added her own special touches and treasures to her bookcase, making it truly her own.

Lily Rose Bookcase Headboard

Dresser for Kids Rooms

We also bought the Lily Rose Collection, 5 Drawer Chest (South Shore Furniture, Lily Rose Collection, 5 Drawer Chest, Romantic Pine) at about $169 for the room, and the dresser gives us ample space to store kids clothes.

pretty Lily Rose five drawer dresser

My daughters’ Lily Rose five drawer dresser, which offers plenty of storage for clothes.

We’ve had the storage beds for about two years, and they are holding up excellently. The only problem we’ve experienced so far is that one of the three drawer knobs on one of the beds becomes loose occasionally, causing the pretty flower drawer pull to fall off.

I’ve allowed my daughters to store items of their choosing in the drawers under their twin beds, so it gives both girls a place to keep their most treasured stuffed animals, toys and art supplies. I think the storage beds will continue to work well even when my kids get their “tween” bedrooms this summer — I might just have to switch out the knobs on the drawers to update them a bit!

 

Coupons.com #SuperheroMom Giveaway

Shop Stacks and Stacks Homewares

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*This post is sponsored by Coupons.com. I received a Target gift card from Coupons.com for this post — the gift card helped me make my living room remodel happen. (I used the gift card towards a new accent chair!)

The living room in my home has always been a family-friendly space. For most of the 11 years we’ve lived in our home, the living room has been a play space and housed only a piano, two toy boxes and some toys. Now that my children are older, I’ve taken back the space and turned it into a bright and pretty sitting room!

sunny, bright, living room, reveal

My newly furnished living room — it’s no longer a playroom!

To celebrate my home’s beautiful new room, I am co-hosting a $200 Gift Card Giveaway, hosted by Coupons.com! Through the giveaway, Coupons.com will award the winner one(1) $200 gift card to Target, West Elm or Home Depot – winner’s choice! The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

To enter the giveaway, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Good luck!

Getting Organized for More Space

I can’t tell you how nice it’s been to have our front door open up into a beautiful new space instead of into a messy room filled with toys! I can now invite my neighbors in to stay and sit a while!

Two of the newest additions to my home’s living room are a beautiful accent chair and a cocktail ottoman, both from Target!  You can see a list of where I got all the new items for my living room in my Sunny & Bright Living Room reveal .

sunny, bright, modern, living room, source list

Click this photo to find out where I found the decor and furniture for my new space!

To make room for my home’s beautiful new sofa, ottoman and accent chair, I had to find room/storage for the toy boxes and for all the extra toys that used to accumulate around the toy boxes. So luckily, my husband was nice enough to assemble a whole wall of shelves in our basement (thanks, honey!), on which we can place and organize all of our kids’ toys! The goal is to have everything neatly organized on the storage shelves in the basement, so the kids can easily find their belongings!

 

shelves, basement, storage
Our new wall of shelves in the basement provides a lot of storage!

I have to admit that I have been using some of the high shelves in the basement for storage for Christmas and other seasonal decorations. (My kids can’t reach those shelves, anyway.)

The shelves are still a bit of a mess, but we are still working on organizing them! I am hoping to move more stuff that we have stored on the second level of our home (we have a wall of shelves there, too, in a loft area) to the basement. I am hoping that by neatly organizing and storing everything in our (thankfully) dry basement, we will have a much less cluttered living space upstairs!

Simplify Your Home!

If you want to work on simplifying, decluttering and organizing your home, too, check out these  Mother’s Day coupon codes for how you can save money while you do it!

#SuperheroMom Giveaway

While I am working on making my home’s basement organized and pretty, you can take the opportunity to enter the $200 gift card giveaway from Coupons.com in the Rafflecopter below! One winner will win his or her choice of a $200 gift card to Target, West Elm or Home Depot! The giveaway runs through 11:59pm on May 26, 2014, and is open to US residents only. Also be sure to search the hastag #SuperheroMom online for other great Coupons.com #SuperheroMom giveaways across the Web. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check Out My Friends’ Blogs!

Several of my blogging friends are co-hosting this giveaway! Be sure to check out their blogs and read how they have worked to simplify their lives and their homes!  I can’t wait to read what they have been up to! They are all great blogs and are fun to read!

Brave New Home | Crafting in the Rain | Dukes and Duchesses | Girl in the Garage | Glued to My Crafts | Happy Go Lucky | It Happens in a Blink | The Pinning Mama | The Thrifty Groove | unOriginal Mom | Up to Date Interiors  

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“Rooms Repurposed” — Making Your Home Work for You



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A few months ago, I shared with you my friend Christine’s awesome black and white craft room. Christine converted what might have been only a lightly used space in her home — an area that would normally be a dining room — and converted it into a striking craft room, complete with hand-crafted black and white decor, a card catalog for fabric storage and a highly functional sewing table. I am so excited because that room is now one of the inspiring spaces featured in Cristin Frank’s new book, Rooms Repurposed: A Purposeful Home, A Purposeful Life, available on Amazon.com! What an honor for both Christine and me! (Thanks, Cristin!)

By repurposing her home, Christine was willing to throw convention out the window and make her home specifically work for her. That’s what I love about Frank’s book, Rooms Repurposed: It shows how homeowners have rethought their spaces to make their homes uniquely purposeful for their own needs. Frank’s book features beautiful photos of rooms that have been converted into entertaining spaces, meditation rooms, libraries and game rooms. What bliss!

Rooms Repurposed is a lot of fun for someone like me who has a relatively small house and doesn’t want to waste any space for conventional uses like a staid/cookie cutter (but hardly ever used) dining room. In fact, my home doesn’t have a dining room, but we do have a “music room”/living room (with a piano), and a “game room”/family room complete with a full-sized pool table, dartboard and pool table cue rack! (That is how we roll in my family!)

Rooms Repurposed, Cristin Frank, Mom Home Guide
Rooms Repurposed: A Purposeful Home, A Purposeful Life

Rethinking Your Space

Frank’s book shows the reader how to get the most out of one’s space — Frank shows that you don’t have to fill up your home with conventional pieces like a living room sofa and a dining room table if you don’t want to! If, like Christine, your home’s dining space would be best used as a craft room, so be it! Frank’s book has ideas of how you can repurpose spaces in your home into useful spaces — and make them look good while you are at it! For instance, Christine’s craft room is one of the first spaces one sees when entering her home, and the room is both gorgeous and useful!

black, white, craft, room, sewing

Christine’s craft room, complete with beautiful black and white decor and a very useful sewing cabinet. (Photo courtesy of Cristin Frank)

I really like this game room featured in Frank’s book — it includes a foosball table, bean bag chairs for lounging, and a desk with laptops that can be used for gaming or surfing the web.

game room, foosball, bean bag chair

This game room (featured in Frank’s book) features a foosball table and comfy seating.

I have friends who would love to have this meditation room (featured in Frank’s book). The whole space has a calming, peaceful Zen feel.

 

meditation room

This simple meditation room frees the mind with its uncluttered space. (Photo courtesy of Cristin Frank)

Free Up Your Space

For those of us who struggle with clutter in one’s home (like me!), Frank’s book has lot of of great ideas (and product suggestions) for how to organize and neatly store all of the collections in one’s home. In the book are ideas for storing items in an organized pantry, a dressing/closet room, a mud room and wine closets, etc. Frank also includes tips on how to use color and furniture to create most space (or the illusion of space) in one’s home.

About Cristin Frank

The founder of Eve of Reduction, a lifestyle movement focussed on controlling comsumption, simple living and upcycling, Frank is also the author of the book, Living Simple, Free & Happy: How to Simplify, Declutter Your Home, and Reduce Stress, Debt & Waste, also available on Amazon.com.

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2013 Year in Review

mom home guide, 2013, year in review

Happy 2014, everyone! I can’t believe that 2013 is over! Last year was a busy one here at Mom Home Guide. So, before launching my new projects for 2014, I am going to share the best of what I accomplished in 2013! Here is my 2013 Mom Home Guide Year in Review.

Burlap Crafts

Burlap was popular in 2013, so like many crafters, I jumped onto the burlap bandwagon in 2013. It was fun! Two of my favorite burlap crafts I completed was my stenciled no-sew burlap valance for my home’s downstairs powder room, and my no-sew fringed burlap table runner. Both projects were problem solvers, as I was having a hard time finding a valance that I liked for my home’s downstairs bathroom. My very large farmhouse-style kitchen table is hard to fit with tablecloths and table runners, so the burlap table runner that I made works just perfectly! (Check out the links below for these projects’ tutorials.)

burlap, table runner, valence, stencil

Stenciled Burlap Curtain and Burlap Table Runner

Wine Storage and Tags

I love getting together with friends, so last year, I completed two projects that make entertaining just a little bit easier. I created simple wine-glass tags so my friends can tell whose drink is whose, and I installed an inexpensive wine glass rack
underneath a kitchen cabinet to provide storage for my wine glasses … and my margarita glasses! (Click the links below to get the info on these projects.)

wine glass, rack, charms

 Crafty Wine Glass Tags and Wine Glass Rack

Home Organization

I worked hard to get my home and all its stuff under control … organizing my house is a never-ending job! I organized my children’s bedroom, my kitchen and my kids’ basement playspace. (Check out the links below to read more about these projects.)

organize, home A Year Full of Organization

Tween Decor

My kids officially became tweens in 2013, so I updated their bathroom by switching out the kid decor and swapping in more sophisticated tween wall art, decals, etc. My daughters love their new tween bathroom! I also created a fun hangout /study / media space for them by painting an accent wall and adding a fun mural and some chalkboard paint. I outfitted the room with a TV (an old one, but I hope to update it with a flat screen TV at some point) and two beanbag chairs. It’s a great space for my kids to read or play games/surf the Internet on their mobile devices.

tween bathroom, study, space, media room

New Tween Bathroom and Tween Study / Media Space

Gardening and Landscaping

I love spending time outdoors, so I worked hard to improve my home’s outdoor spaces in 2013. Among my top projects were staining the backyard shed’s ramp and adding some shed landscaping, creating a pretty DIY flower tower for my home’s backyard patio and planting a sunny perennial garden that included my favorites — mammoth sunflowers!

diy, garden, projects

Landscaping a Backyard Shed, August Garden Tour with Mammoth Sunflowers and DIY Flower Tower

Join the Fun!

Whew! I got a lot done in 2013! I have so much to do, though — my daughters may get their own rooms, I plan to furnish my home’s living room, and I hope to turn my home’s unfinished basement into a useable living space. So, keep in touch — there will be lots of fun projects and recipes ahead! You can follow the fun on Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin, and by subscribing to Mom Home Guide’s emails. Happy 2014!

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Garage Organization (a Garage Pegboard)

Ever since my family and I have moved into our home, we’ve rarely parked in our garage. Our garage is so narrow that it takes VERY careful maneuvering to get our family’s mini van into the garage! With winter only a few months away, however, I’d love to get the garage cleaned out enough so that if a major snowstorm is forecast, I can get the cars into the garage if I want to! (I hate cleaning off snow-covered cars in the cold!)

Getting Organized

I hope to focus my organizing efforts on the garage and get some wall storage into place. I already plan to make a mini mud room area in the garage so the front entry of our home will get less wear in tear. I also would like to paint some pegboard a pretty color (perhaps green, my favorite color) and create areas to hang up our shovels, tools, etc. I really love the below look — I might have to make my pegboard look just like this!

garage, pegboard, organize

A pegboard garage organizing system shown on Decorology.com

Great Pegboard Project

Melissa of The Inspired Room has a great tutorial on how to make a large pegboard for tools on her blog.  The amazing thing is that she somehow got a Home Depot associate to build it for her right in the store — I wish I could be that lucky! Her pegboard project came out great!

tool pegboard

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while might be laughing — I’ve posted at least a few times over the past few months about organizing my home’s garage, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I hope I can get this project done before this winter! Keep posted!

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Kitchen Organization Tips for Busy Moms

country kitchen, organize, farmhouse

It’s often said that the kitchen is the heart of the home, but unfortunately for many moms, the kitchen is often the central point for something unwanted – piles of clutter. So, I am always searching for new tips on kitchen organization!

My kitchen tends to accumulate a lot of clutter, too. My kids like to do their homework on the kitchen table (even though there’s a desk for them upstairs), so we often have to take the time before dinner to clear off homework, pencils, books, etc.

The kitchen table is also where I tend to leave the mail for my spouse to see when he comes home, so junk mail and newspapers tend to pile up there, too.

Fridge Clutter

fridge

My home’s refrigerator before my Mead organizers.

Before kids, my husband and I never used to post things on the fridge, as we were told when we bought the appliance that magnets could mar the appliance’s finish. But now, since kids, the fridge is usually where we post school menus, permission slips that need to be signed and stellar spelling and math test results.

Needless to say, my kitchen often looks like a mess!

Clearing the Clutter

I haven’t been able to get my kids to study upstairs (I think they prefer to be near me, as I am often getting dinner ready while they study), but I have cleared off a shelf in our home’s upstairs hallway on which to put recent newspapers, catalogs and other mail.

fridge

My fridge with it’s now neater appearance.

I’ve also found two nifty refrigerator organizers from Mead at Target. One is a dry-erase calendar, on which I can keep track of my family’s activities, and the other is a magnetic plastic sleeve organizer in which I can put school menus, forms about upcoming school events, etc. Since I’ve been using those fridge organizers, the outside of my fridge looks a lot neater (but the inside of my fridge is still another story).

I was thinking of adding more organizers to the fridge, like perhaps bins in which to put incoming mail, so I can leave the mail there (and not on the kitchen table) for my spouse.

 

I like this idea I found on Pinterest, which combines a place to put kids’ school papers with an area to store homework supplies. I also like the addition of frames to give a better appearance to the photos and artwork that often land on the fridge:

kitchen command center

Kitchen command center by Landee See, Landee Do

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Small Fry & Co. shows how to covert a cereal box into a organizing bins for mail and bills — this is something I plan to try myself:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have any tips on how to keep clutter to a minimum in the kitchen? Please share them in the comments.

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Kitchen Wine Glass Rack

under cabinet wine glass rack

The cabinet space in my kitchen is limited, so I recently added some extra storage to my kitchen with a wine glass rack to hang some of my more decorative wine glasses.

My husband isn’t a wine drinker, so it isn’t often that we drink wine together, but I do like to serve wine occasionally when my dad stops by for dinner, or when I have friends over from the block for a ladies’ night.

The wine glass rack that I chose — the Oenophilia Under Cabinet Stemware Rack — was just under $13 and can hold six wine glasses, plus my two margarita glasses. The wine glass rack was really simple to install.

In the wine glass rack I’ve hung some pretty striped wine glasses that surprisingly, I picked up at the dollar store.

For the most part, I am happy with my wine glass rack. But I’ve found that if someone closes the cabinet door above the wine-glass rack too strongly, the wine glasses will swing — I’ve had a wine glass fall on two separate occasions. One time, the glass broke, but the other time, fortunately, the glass didn’t break. Now, we have to be careful when closing the cabinet door — I am going to have to make my own DIY stoppers to place at the front ends of the rack so I won’t lose any more glasses. But despite this hurdle, I am pleased with the way my new wine-glass storage works — and I have extra space in the kitchen cabinet above for other storage.

 

 

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DIY Jewelry Organizer

DIY jewelry organizer

I’ve seen a lot of DIY jewelry organizers on Pinterest and on other blogs, and I love them. So, when I was at the dollar store the other day and saw the materials I needed to make my own DIY jewelry organizer, I snapped them up.

First, I picked up a simple $1 black document frame with silver trim. Then, I found some silver thumbtacks, also for $1. I figured that the thumbtacks would add a little bling to my DIY picture frame jewelry hanger.

Document frame

MY DIY Jewelry Organizer

Later that day, while catching some TV with one of my daughters, I decided to get started on my picture frame jewelry organizer. First, I removed the glass panel and cardboard backing from the frame and stored them to use for another craft. Then, I opened the thumbtacks and carefully pinned them along the perimeter of the frame — the tacks serve as a spot where to hang my necklaces, earring and other bangles, and add some bling to my jewelry organizer.

The thumbtacks I used for my project

I then took some leftover picture wire that I already had and strung it from the metal tabs that were already on the back of the frame. (The ones that once held the frame’s cardboard backing in place.) I found some Command Adhesive Hooks and used one to hang my picture frame jewelry organizer on my bedroom wall — since I wasn’t in the mood to go find a hammer or put another hole in the wall. To disguise the Command hook, I hung some faux eucalyptus branchs that I already had, on the hook.

Command adhesive picture hook

I used a Command Adhesive picture hook to hang my organizer.

The Result

Not only does the jewelry organizer dress up what once was a blank wall, it gives me a place to hang some of my most frequently worn jewelry — I no longer have to search for them on my disorganized dresser.

diy picture frame jewelry organizer

The best part is that I only put about $2 into the project, and the project only took about 20 minutes to complete!

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Rainbow Loom Organization

tackle box, organize, rainbow loom

My daughters each have a tackle box to neatly organize their rainbow loom supplies.

The rainbow loom craze has hit my home! I love that my daughters are having so much fun crafting their rainbow loom bracelets, but I soon discovered that we seriously needed something to organize all of my children’s rainbow loom supplies!

We used to keep my kids’ rainbow loom rubber bands in one big plastic takeout container, but that system didn’t work too well. All of my kids’ different rubber band colors were all jumbled together in that container, so sorting out the colors that they needed was a long process for my kids!

Rainbow Loom Rubber Bands Organized

I found the solution to our rainbow loom organization problem one day when one of my daughters’ friends showed up at our house for an evening of rainbow looming together. She brought her own tackle box full of rainbow loom supplies — with each color of rubber bands neatly organized in their own sections — and my kids were in awe! I knew that I had to get my daughters their own tackle boxes. So, the next day, I was at our local Wal-Mart purchasing my kids each their own tackle box, for about $10 a box.

rainbow loom, organization

I spent hours that morning meticulously sorting their rubber bands by color and organizing them in each kid’s box, making sure each kid had the same amount of rubber bands and the same amount per color. Nuts, I know, but I am a very dedicated and devoted mom! That’s just how I roll.

When my kids got home, they were over the moon happy with their new tackle boxes. When they finished their homework, they immediately got to rainbow looming and have been rainbow looming since quite often. They love how they now no longer have to search out the color rainbow bands they need — everything they could want is right at their fingertips. Now, they have so much more time to loom! As you can see, my kids have made me quite a number of bracelets — which I wear proudly!

raimbow loom bracelets

I love wearing the rainbow loom bracelets my kids have made for me!

Rainbow Loom On the Go

If your kids are into the rainbow loom, I strongly suggest that you get them their own tackle boxes to organize their rainbow loom supplies. My daughters love theirs — each of their boxes are decorated with stickers, giving each box its own unique look. When they get together with their friends, their boxes always go with them. The boxes make carrying their looms and all of their loom supplies so much easier! The rainbow tackle box is now a big trend in my area!

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