Let’s Celebrate “Clean Off Your Desk Day”

If there’s a national holiday that’s right up my alley, this is certainly one of them: National Clean Off Your Desk Day. And today is the official day!

I sure love a good, clean desk that’s free of towering paper piles, old cups of coffee, and random things like shoe polish. (That last one is sure to happen if you have a home office like I do.)

I’m totally inspired by this swoon-worthy home office, btw. >>

Having a clean, organized work space not only makes you feel less stressed, but also makes you look more professional.

It’s important to respect the space in which you work. The way you treat it is an outward sign of how you feel about your job and the activities you do in that space. So take a moment to review it now…what is it saying about you?

(My space is saying I’m a little overwhelmed. Eek.)

In honor of this special day, I’m going to clean off some of the clutter. In fact, here are three things I plan to do right now:

{ONE} Remove what doesn’t belong. So long shoe polish, you’re headed to the closet. Also, all of those mugs I’ve been collecting are headed to the kitchen. I’m even moving my books to a shelf. This seems like a no-brainer, but I just realized how many books are on my desk – and how much room they take up.

{TWO} Clean all surfaces. I think this holiday lands smack dab in the middle of flu season for a reason. Desks rarely get cleaned – like with Lysol wipes. It’s good to sanitize your space every now and then. So I’m going to wipe down my desk, phones, lamp switch…anything I touch on a daily basis. Some sources say it’s okay to wipe down computer keyboards with regular ol’ wipes, but I like to use these for electronics.

{THREE} Add some life. Part of the “cleaning off” process should include oooone little add on. Y’all know how much I love fresh flowers. Well, I’m going to add a colorful vase of tulips to my desk to brighten things up a bit. I especially need this in the winter.

And there’s research that suggests adding plants (in addition to your flowers) makes you happier and more productive. Cheers to that!

I hope you’ll join me in celebrating this special holiday. What’s the most random thing you’ll be cleaning off your desk? Or what will you add?

Blessings,

Kate

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Baby Steps to Getting Organized

First of all, Happy New Year! 2018 has a good vibe to it. It truly feels like a fresh start with the fist day of the year landing on a Monday…and on a full moon. There’s good energy all around, which is inspiring if you’re sincere about wanting to make lasting changes or keep up any good habits you started last year.

As we make plans to do things like exercise more, eat better and save money in the year ahead, one of the first places we should assess is our home.

Home is where your heart is, which means it’s the center of your life. If command central is in a shambles, how can you truly feel healthier and more productive?

Getting your house in order doesn’t have to involve a giant time-consuming makeover. Taking a few small steps each day or even each week, and done with an end-goal in mind, can make a significant impact.

How to start small?

Let’s take for example the clothes on your bedroom floor (or piled up in laundry baskets). If they’re a constant reminder of your messiness, this would be a great place to start your efforts. Find your nemesis and peck away at it one task at a time.

For example, you could break it down into steps:

Step 1: Downsize

Leave the mess on the floor for now. Look at your closet and dresser drawers while they’re fairly empty. These are the clothes you haven’t worn recently, so it should be a lot easier to go through and pull out anything that doesn’t fit or feels out dated.

Yes, there’s a chance things will come back in style, but by the time that happens, will you really love wearing them? Go ahead and sell or donate. It’s way more fun to shop later.

Step 2: Develop a Plan

Figure out why you don’t put your clothes away and develop a plan. A few reasons could be:

  • You don’t have enough hangers or the right storage options. The plan: Go shopping! Get yourself matching hangers and pretty baskets for smaller items. And consider adding hanging storage or plastic bins for your folded shirts or sweaters.
  • Maybe you don’t know what to hang or fold. The plan: Follow this easy guide >
  • You’d much rather watch Netflix than put clothes away. The plan: Find something that motivates you – like playing good music or rewarding yourself with a trip to the spa after a job well done.

Step 3: Do it

This is where you put your plan in place. Use the hangers, fill the baskets and storage cubes, and jam to your favorite tunes while you put those clothes away. Here are some great tips to consider:

  • Group clothes by color so it’s easier to plan outfits each day.
  • Place all hangers facing forward and reverse it once you’ve worn a particular item. This helps you keep track of what you’ve worn (or not) all year.
  • Keep everything visible, because “out of sight out of mind.”

That’s a basic plan for your clothes, and it doesn’t have to happen all in one day. Baby steps count!

Good luck getting off to a great start this year. If you’d rather tackle a few smaller projects around the house, get some inspiration on a few ideas.

Blessings,

-Kate

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Shaping Your Holiday Wishlist for New Year’s Resolutions

I’m excited to share this guest post from a fellow blogger, Julie Morris. She’s a life and career coach who thrives on helping others live their best lives. Today she shares some thoughts with us on creating the most helpful holiday wishlist.

Hopefully this gives you some inspiration on some last-minute gift shopping – for others and yourself!


{Image via Pixabay}

It’s that time of year again…

The days are shorter and the malls are more crowded: the holiday season is upon us once again! Not only do you get presents, but also the fresh start of a new year come January 1st.

New Year’s resolutions are about shaping your life to be more like you want it to be. Whether you’d like to get back in shape, become more creative, learn a new skill, or simply take time to be more present, you can give yourself a little head start on your resolutions this year by crafting your holiday wishlist to include things that will help get you there.

Here are some of our favorite ideas.

If You Would Like To Get Back In Shape…

Ask your loved ones for the gift of fitness with your very own kettlebell! Kettlebells are all the rage right now. You can get a full-body workout from the comfort of your own home. You can build strength using full-body movements that work various muscle groups at the same time. Check out this free workout tutorial from PopSugar and see just how fun and effective kettlebells can be.

If You Would Like To Be More Creative…

To help ignite your imagination, ask for art supplies this holiday season! Getting new supplies will inspire you to use them and you can explore where your mind goes from there. What kind of art supplies depends on your preference, but if you really want to push your mind’s boundaries get something you’ve never worked with before. If you’re already pretty good at drawing, ask for modeling clay that you can use to create unique shapes. From there you can transcribe your vision in other ways. There’s no better inspiration than yourself!

If You Would Like To Add More Music To Your Life…

Put an instrument on your wishlist this year! Stringed instruments (like a guitar or ukulele) are affordable options for your friends and family. Plus, there are endless online lessons that can teach you how to play from the comfort of your own home.

Ukuleles in particular are a great option if you are just starting out. These smaller guitars help you establish the finger dexterity you need in order to move up to a full-sized guitar. Plus, they are super cute. Not sure what kind of ukulele is right for you? Check out this helpful guide to explore your options then put the best one on that wishlist!

If You Would Like To Be More Mindful…

Coloring books for adults are a fun, inexpensive gift to add to your wishlist this year. Coloring has many benefits for mental health, including reducing anxiety and improving focus. However, one of the reasons it’s a huge trend right now is how it promotes everyday mindfulness. If stressing out over hypotheticals and the future was a regular occurrence in your life this year, a coloring book could be just the gift you need to put things in perspective looking forward.

***

It may be a coincidence, but it’s pretty cool how the biggest gift-giving season falls next to the biggest starting day for self-improvement. Merge the two this year by asking for gifts that will help you realize your goals. Whatever they are for the year ahead, take advantage this of the season and ask for things that will help you achieve them.


Great advice, Julie! I personally want to exercise more, so I’m going to look into those kettlebells.

Friends, I hope this was helpful. What would you add to your wishlist this year?

Blessings,

-Kate

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Get Your Christmas in Gear with a Planner

Ho, ho, happy holidays! Friday is already December 1st, which means it’s go time, girls.

As we put up our festive flair, bake delicious treats, and make our lists and check them twice, I thought it I’d share a few fantastic planners to help keep us organized. At least we’ll try, right?!

I live by, swear by lists – especially this time of year. Having things written down somehow takes the pressure off. I can relax knowing two things: 1) I can only do one thing at at time, and 2) I have a list to guide me along.

I also try to stick to being realistic about what I can and can’t do. Some things on my “to-do” list are more of a “wish to-to” list. So if they don’t get done, my world won’t crash down. #perspective

Here are three planners that I’d recommend this season. >>

{ONE} From Yellow Bliss Road

I found this on the blog Yellow Bliss Road, and I just ordered it. I love how it includes so much more than a checklist.

Kristin @ YBR describes it as “a 28-Page Christmas Planner to keep you organized for the holidays! There are calendars, a weekly agenda, budget and gift trackers, and so much more! There is even an editable Christmas Card AND editable gift tags! All available in the YBR Designs Shop.”

Did you see the part about a budget tracker?! And it all has such a pretty design. She forgot to mention that part. The planner and gift tags cost me $8.99 to download, which was a small price to pay for my sanity.

PS. I downloaded the smaller, A5 size so I could slip it in the front pocket of my Day Designer. Which, btw, they have super fun designs for their 2018 planners. Check them out!

{TWO} From Cottage Market

Aren’t these super cute? I think my kids would like them, too. I plan to print them for their own personal gift lists.

I also like that this has an order tracker (to keep up with all of those online purchases). And it includes a a planner for handmade items, so you can plan out everything you want to make for gifts. Love it!

Oh, and did I mention this one is free? It is! Thank you, Cottage Market for this darling bundle.

{THREE} From Any Bookstore!

This idea is more of a DIY. It’s called a bullet journal. So you’re free to craft your own lists as you go.

Bullet journals are ideal for people who like to doodle, journal and keep lots of little to-do lists going. If you’re still not sure what a bullet journal is, this graphic might shed some light. >

Also, this article is helpful (and funny…and has some language…but funny). You can use this approach to not only plan your holiday, but also document the season to reminisce later.

Here are some great ideas for a holiday-themed bullet journal (and they’re all from this article if you want more details!)

Christmas bullet journal idea

{record family gift ideas and purchases}

Christmas bullet journal idea

{keep track of gifts received for prompt thank yous!}

Christmas bullet journal idea

{have a list of last-minute gift ideas ready to shop}

Christmas bullet journal idea

{include your Christmas card roster}

Christmas bullet journal idea

{spend some time making personal goals}

Christmas bullet journal idea

{keep track of your favorite holiday recipes}

Christmas bullet journal idea

{remember the things you’re grateful for}

Christmas bullet journal doodle ideas

{…and doodle ’til your heart’s content!! You can find more design ideas here.}

I’m off to do some planning…and doodling. Let me know what tips and tricks you use to stay organized through the holidays!

XoXo,

Kate

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DIY Cleaning Supplies (that work and save money)

{including our cleaning supplies!}

Happy Saturday, friends! We have a special guest on the blog today. Demi Giles is sharing some of her favorite tips on DIY cleaning alternatives that not only work great, but also help save us some money. Cha-ching!

Demi contributes to several blogs and is passionate about topics related to home improvement, cleaning and organizing. She owns a small company based in London called Clean Start, and I’m excited she’s contributing to the Neat Nook community today!

DIY Alternatives for the Whole House

 

Let’s be honest, some cleaning products are just too expensive. And why waste money when you can make these things at home on a much cheaper price and they will have the same effect?

On top of that, a lot of the commercial cleaning products are really not that environmentally friendly. And it is not just the environment they harm. A lot of children and pets and the people cleaning can get affected from some the products, which could cause irritation and many other problems.

To kick things off, let’s start with a good window cleaner recipe.

You will need a quarter of a cup of white vinegar, a quarter cup of rubbing alcohol, one tablespoon of starch to reduce streaking (your options for starch are widened in case you happen to have an allergy from corn), two cups of water and eight to ten drops of essential oils of your choice.

When you have all of your ingredients, get a glass spray bottle and pour everything in. Close it up and give it a good shake so the ingredients thoroughly mix and the starch doesn’t clog up the spray nozzle.

This product can be used for not only windows but also any glass surface. So you can clean up your coffee table or glass door cabinets or display cabinets. It is best used with a microfiber cloth.

Let’s keep things shiny.

How about we stick to the shiny part of your home and talk about making a product for ideally cleaned aluminum kitchenware, aluminum window frames and doors. If your kitchen sink happens to be aluminum, that as well.

The recipe for windows and doors four cups of water, one cup of vinegar and a few slices of lemon. Mix the water and vinegar in a pray bottle and shake it up. To use this solution, rub the lemon slice on the aluminum service and after that add the mixture and wipe off.

This solution also works for removing hard water stains from aluminum, like the faucet or shower head. But drop the lemon slices and get an old toothbrush and put in some elbow grease to it.

To clean up your aluminum kitchenware, you will have to go with this method: Start filling up your pot or pan with water, while making sure you add two tablespoons of potassium bitartrate for every quart of water. After that, add half a cup of lemon juice or white vinegar and let it boil for about ten minutes. After that, let things cool down and proceed to regular washing. When you are done, set it to dry.

Now let’s clean the toilet.

You are going to need three quarter cup of borax, one cup of white vinegar, ten drops of lavender essential oil and five drops of lemon essential oil. Mix them all together in a bottle with a squirt nozzle and shake it up really nice. The way to use it is to flush the toilet once and pour the whole thing in the bowl and let it sit for a few hours.

A good idea is for this to be done in the morning so that during the day no one will need it because they are at school or at work.

Okay, now let’s see about cleaning your sofa or any upholstered furniture.

You will need rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, and if you want, essential oils for fragrance. If you are going to use essential oils, a glass spray bottle is best. You already know how it goes. Let’s move on to using it.

To be sure it works on your furniture, first use it on an inconspicuous area. If it doesn’t remove the coloring, then proceed to use it anywhere. Get the bottle and a sponge and spray and scrub. If the stain persists over time, repeat the process.

****************************

Special thanks to Demi. I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips. Do you have a favorite recipe or secret cleaning ingredient you love to use? I’d love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Kate

PS. If you’re a blogger or author and would like to share some of your best organizational or creative tips with the Neat Nook, let me know! Check out my contact page and let’s talk.

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Happy Halloween 2017

Hello, gorgeous goblins! I hope you’re ready for a fun night of candy and craziness. We finally got our house ready…lights up, pumpkins out, and costumes on hand. (I promised my family I wouldn’t hang the witch hats this year.) Haha!

Speaking of decorating, though…

Here’s a quick organizing tip!

Do you love how your house looks right now? Did you stick the landing on your entryway decorations and want an encore performance next year?

Then take pictures!

And don’t just take pictures for Instagram, but also print them out and tape them to your storage bins for when it comes time to pull it all down in preparation of Thanksgiving (or even Christmas if you want to jump right to it.) It’s only 8 weeks away. Eek!

Putting photos of your decorations directly on their storage bins helps you remember just how awesome your house looked AND tells you exactly what’s inside the bin. #likeagenie

If your witches and webs are too much for a single bin, not to fear. Print multiple photos and use a Sharpie to circle the items that are inside each bin. Even with clear bins like the ones below, it’s nice to have a snapshot of everything that’s inside.

{shop this bin} – it’s not an affiliate or anything, I just really like these bins. 🙂

PS. Finding holiday-colored lids (think orange for Halloween and green or red for Christmas) makes it super easy to pull all of the right bins – especially if you store them in a dark attic or basement.

That’s it for now. Enjoy the festivities on this spook-filled night!

-Kate

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10 Best Organized Living Tips…so far

Well, this week is off to an exciting start. The Neat Nook was selected to be part of this BuzzFeed Nifty article about organizing tips. >

I was so honored when one of their editors reached out. She was particularly interested in the post about “new uses for rubber bands.”

It was cool to look back at that post – and even a few others in the Organized Living category – to refresh my memory of all of the tips I’ve shared so far on this blog adventure.

I decided to share a few of my own favorites with you. So if you’re new to the blog or haven’t caught these particular posts, you can see them here.

{ONE} New Uses for Rubber Bands

This was actually the idea that was posted in the BuzzFeed article. > Secure two tissue boxes with a rubber band. Use an empty one as your built-in trash can. It’s perfect for a kid’s room or traveling in the car. Ta-da!

I love finding new uses for things. In fact, I have lots of posts with this theme. If you want to see more, such as new uses for cupcake liners, or new uses for loom bands, check out these Neat Nook posts!

{TWO} Bedtime Rituals

Nothing beats the feeling of crawling into a soft bed at night. I tell ya. Some days are easier to lull into a slumber than others, though, so I pulled together an easy routine to help us S.T.A.R.T. sleeping better. (It’s even an acronym to help us remember.)

Read the full post, and hopefully you’ll be sleeping like a champ – and waking up ready to rock the day.

{THREE} Creating a Welcoming Entryway

An entryway sets the tone for the rest of the house, so this post gives practical and beautiful ideas to organize this important space. <3

{FOUR} Organizing Your Jewels 

This was one of my very first posts, y’all! For sentimental reasons (and because the tips are still pretty dang useful) I wanted to include it on my list. 🙂 Check out these three simple steps to getting your jewels all jazzed up.

{FIVE} Tips for a More Enjoyable Laundry Room

This post not only offers great tips on organizing your laundry space, but also shares some photo inspiration that could actually get you excited about laundry.

{SIX}  Five Things Every Guest Room Needs

If you want to make guests feel like they’re on a retreat when they come stay with you, this post outlines five must-have qualities.

{SEVEN} One Hour Desk Makeover

Sometimes your desk just needs a mini makeover – like with some sorting, purging and organizing back in place. This post gives five simple steps to do just that – within an hour!!

{EIGHT} Slimming Down Your Bookshelves

If you love to collect books like I do, this post can help you slim down your selection so your shelves aren’t too overwhelming. Just let this photo be our inspiration. #ohsopretty >

{NINE} Candlestick Projects

Technically this post could be filed under the “new uses” category. I decided to round up some favorite ideas using candlesticks. Here’s the result. 

{TEN} Beautiful Bulletin Boards

I love a good ol’ fashioned bulletin board where I can print and pin pictures, quotes and even family schedules.

Here’s a post I pulled together that shows some of my favorite bulletin board ideas.

Speaking of boards, if any of these ideas inspire you, feel free to pin them on a Pinterest board. You can also follow me @ Kate Andersen.

Have a beautiful and organized day, my sweet friends!

Kate

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10 Beautiful Bookmarks (that you can make!)

I love curling up under a fuzzy blanket and reading a good book. I might even brew a cup of peppermint tea and claim some official “mom time.”

Every good reading sesh comes to an end, though. And I never seem to have a bookmark on hand. Gripes! I’m usually reaching for a bobby pin in my hair or the nearest magazine so I can tear off a corner to use as a makeshift solution.

I’d love to have at least one better option lying around. So…

I decided to gather up some DIY bookmark projects for us!

{one} peppy pom poms

Making pom poms out of yarn is super easy, and I love how they look popping out of the top of a book.

{two} buttoned up ribbons

This requires a tad of hand sewing, but nothing too difficult. I love the use of patterned ribbons with darling buttons.

{three} corner hearts

With a little paper folding, this sweet heart slips right over the corner of the page.

{four} crochet bouquets

Okay, quick confession. I have no idea how to crochet.

So I either need someone to teach me how to make these gooorgeous bookmarks, or I’m headin’ on over to Etsy to find a little purchase. #treatyoself

{five} paper clip ons

Now we’re back to something I can handle: gluing and tying. Aren’t these dainty flowers so adorable?

I actually made a batch of these (below) for my office makeover. Remember that??

I use my paper clips all of the time for officey things. I haven’t thought about using them as bookmarks until now. Duh!

These were my rendition. PS. I still love the black and gold in my office.

{six} magnetic magic

Probably the coolest thing about these bookmarks is the no-slip factor. They’re made with magnets on the tips, so they stick together when in place.

This first one uses washi tape, which is brilliant. And the second one uses pretty ribbon.

{seven} light as feathers

This is probably the most basic idea…using paper as a bookmark. But these beautiful feathers certainly don’t look basic.

You can have fun cutting out your own or downloading that second set (below) with inspirational quotes.

{eight} paint chippin’ in

This is really stepping up the craft game. These bookmarks are made with (free) paint chips from the hardware store that have been embellished with stamps, doodles and a pretty ribbon tab.

Notice the flower-shaped grommets around the base of the ribbon, too. Love the detail on these.

{nine} kids’ play

This one made me laugh. And who wouldn’t want the sweet faces of their kids dangling from their books?

I’m thinking you could do this photoshoot at any park. Have your kids hold onto a monkey bar and snap away. Too fun.

{ten} pop art

Ending with the KISS method (Keeping It Simple, Sister), these popsicle sticks actually look pretty cool decorated with hand drawn tribal prints.

Here’s some additional inspiration for your patterns.

I hope you enjoy some of these projects. You’ll have to show me your bookmarks!! Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram or Twitter. My handle is @KateJandersen.

Blessings,

Kate

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Looking for a Life of “Lagom”

The word lagom (pronounced: laaw-gum) is a Swedish twist on minimalism, and it translates to “just enough.”

I read about this philosophy in a recent Skimm update and was super intrigued. We live in a world of wild contrasts. We spend too much time with our phones, iPads, and Netflix, and at the same time are encouraged to reduce things from our diets and simplify our workouts and schedules. So it makes sense the idea of lagom hits home with so many of us.

It’s a way of life that strives to be in constant and steady moderation. So essentially, you can have your cake and eat it too, as long as it’s a reasonable bite.

Fascinated by this idea, I decided to assess my home and see where I could use a little lagom makeover. Where were areas of excess and stress?

Well, I found five specific places. Here’s where they are – along with inspirational pictures of what I hope to accomplish.

 {ONE} My Closet 

Doesn’t looking at this picture make you feel so calm and happy? I strive for a closet that’s this simple – and downright pretty.

Problem: I keep too much variety in my closet at any given time. I have at least three different pant sizes going on: aspirational, just right, and PMS/holiday. And I let the seasons overlap too far, as in wool scarves and bathing suits. I also hang on to things that I don’t totally love, but they fit. So, eh, I’ll keep ’em.

Plan: Get real about my size, what feels good, and what I really love wearing – then donate the rest. I’ll take my nicer things to our local Dress for Success location to help women who are truly trying to better their lives. The rest can be shared with friends or donated to other local shelters.

I’ll also be smarter about how I divide and organize the clothes I want to keep. For example, I’ll sort fall/winter and spring/summer and only have one set in the closet at all times. The clothes not in my closet will go in clear, labeled bins and stored the attic.

Also, I think having matching hangers and grouping clothes by similar colors will make me feel like I’m going shopping every time I open my closet door!

{TWO} The Pantry

As a mom who feeds three square meals a day (plus snacks) to five hungry mouths, the pantry can get a little crazytown. Everyone has their own favorite foods, and I like to plan ahead for at least a week’s worth of meals, so that = a lot of pantry items. What’s a momma to do??

Problem: My pantry always feels like it’s crammed with stuff, and I’m not even a doomsday prepper. I keep a reasonable amount of food. I think the problem is that I don’t have the right kind of storage solutions to fit the space. For example, my pantry shelves are really deep, so I can’t reach the very back of the space.

Plan: Invest in sliding baskets so I can easily store and reach items in the entire space. I will also group like items, such as all of the canned goods together on a shelf and all of the lunch items (chips, granola bars, etc.) together in a basket.

I do have some room to reduce the amount of items. The next time I plan meals, I’ll start with what’s already in the pantry and just add what’s needed to round out the meal. That way I can finally use up the extra wide egg noodles that keep looking at me every time I grab my morning cereal.

{THREE} Bathroom Closet

Bathroom storage can be a hot button for many of us. For starters, we rarely have enough room to begin with. Where are we supposed to put all of the towels, linens, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and sometimes even our makeup and hairstyling tools? Serenity now!

Problem: Space. I have a small closet in the bathroom that’s trying too hard. Poor thing.

Plan: Spread the love. I can put spare toilet paper in our laundry room (where there’s more vertical storage) and the cleaning supplies can go in a caddy under the kitchen sink. In fact, I could probably stand to reduce a few cleaning solutions.

The things that are left in the closet, such as towels, linens and some lotions, I’ll do a better job organizing and labeling. Ahh. I feel better already just saying that.

{FOUR} The Bookshelves

I love books. With my whole heart. Real ones, too, that you can hold and turn page by page. The side effect of this passion, though, is having piles of books teetering on shelves.

Problem: Thinking I’ll read all of these books again, or that my kids will want to read them one day. #nope

Plan: Give myself a set number to keep. And a realistic number that allows room for other interesting objects on the shelf, like a beautiful shell we found on our recent trip to the beach or the cool beer stein I brought home from my girls’ trip to Germany years ago.

Then I’ll donate the rest of the books to the library so I can feel good releasing them into the wild – where others can be inspired or learn from them.

{FIVE} Craft Supplies

Craft supplies. My love language. Even my family knows it. There’s a spot in my garage we call “mom’s craft corner.” It’s my mini Hobby Lobby that continues to grow – and get a little out of hand from time to time.

Problem: I tend to keep every scrap of pretty wrapping paper, ribbon, and fabric swatch. And since I don’t have a specific craft hobby, I’ve collected a large variety of items.

Plan: Toss anything that has been cluttering my space for more than two years. I mean, if I haven’t used those pink glitter pipe cleaners by now…I can donate to the art department at my kids’ school.

Everything else that’s left will go in clear plastic bins that are clearly labeled by type. For example, all of the ribbon will go in a “ribbon” bin and my scrapbook scissors and punches can go in a “paper tools” bin. Sounds reasonable, anyway. I also love the idea of pegboard storage. So I foresee a project in my future!

Wish me luck as I dive into this whole idea of simplified living. Here’s to beautifully simple weekend ahead!

XoXoXo,

Kate

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Natural Bug Repellent (in an awesome jar)

There’s actually a mosquito bite on my right arm as I type this post. Sigh. The bugs are already out n’ about in our neck of the woods, so it’s time to whip up a batch of the “Clark family bug spray.”

I call it that because the recipe came from my last family reunion in Minnesota, where they joke about mosquitos being their state bird. They’re that big. What I love most about this spray is that the ingredients are natural, and they smell really nice when mixed together. Aaaand it works.

Here a snapshot…

All you need:

  • 15 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  •  ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup witch hazel
  • 1 cup distilled water
  • Spray bottle

All you have to do:

  • Combine first four ingredients in a 16 oz measuring cup
  • Pour the distilled water into the cup – up to the 16 oz mark (about 1 cup)
  • Stir and transfer to spray bottle

That’s it!! I made some last night and put it in a very cool glass spray bottle that I want to talk about. It’s called an Infinity Jar. Have you heard of them?!

Take a look. >>

{This is the 200 ml glass fine mist spray bottle and sells for $20.}

I personally hadn’t heard of these jars until the company reached out asking if I’d try one. So this was a sample – and it came with some helpful information. I also started researching them on my own and found some interesting facts.

For one, I didn’t realize how important a glass container is for skin care products and ingredients for cooking. I also didn’t realize how popular these magical little jars were. They must really work.

Here’s what came with the bottle:

That tomato test was crazy! The bottles not only preserve what’s inside, but also protect our bodies from chemicals.

I decided to try my bug spray recipe in this, because I want it to retain its freshness and strength during the summer season. There are so many uses, though. I’m looking forward to ordering the apothecary jars to store my herbs!

The only drawback I can see is that since it’s so opaque, you can’t see what’s inside. And if you have several of these bottles with your favorite potions inside, you wouldn’t want to get them mixed up. A super easy solution is to have a good labeling system.

I’d recommend waterproof labels, since these bottles will more than likely contain liquids and be stored in a kitchen or bathroom. Now, the bottles themselves do come with a small envelope of labels. In fact, the packaging was very thoughtful. The bottle was in bubble wrap, and it came with a cleaning cloth and labels. The labels were just a little clinical. So if you want to design your own pretty labels, I found these waterproof and adhesive food labels on Amazon.

Here’s what my label looked like. >

{The art for this label is also shown at the top of the post}

If you want to print the full recipe and get this label design, download this free printable.

As a wrap, my opinion so far is that this jar is an extremely high quality item. The glass is is nice and thick and is a pretty bluish color. The sprayer gives off a perfect fine mist, so you don’t have to rub in the product. It doesn’t “squirt” in weird streams – like some sprayers. And I’m super happy that I decided to put my natural bug spray in this jar, so the essential oils and other ingredients retain their effectiveness!

I hope all of this was helpful to hear. I don’t get anything from their company for your purchase, so my advice to buy one is purely because I think it’s a good product.

Looks like right now you can win a $50 gift card for posting a picture of your jar on social media. And you can get a free jar when you order $25 worth of product on their site. Happy shopping!

Have a fantastic weekend and let me know if you try the recipe. I hope it works just as well for you and your family.

Blessings,

Kate

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