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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Five Highlights from 2015

As we ring in the new year, open our fresh planners, and start pushing ahead with new goals and aspirations, I decided to take a quick minute to reflect on what a blessing this year has been.

Of course it wasn’t all blissful, as I lost a friend, experienced ups and downs with work, and searched for ways to balance life with three tweens. But between the tears, questions, and touches of sass, there were some pretty special moments. In fact, here are five pretty incredible things about this past year.

{ONE} Getting our puppy, Leo

sleepy puppy

This bundle of Goldendoodle fur became an Andersen this fall. Leo Heath Andersen is his official name. His special talents include walking upright on his back legs – like a person – and finding all of our favorite socks to use as chew toys. He really is a doll, and we’ve loved getting to know him and adjusting our lives to include his sweet self.

rosie at the office

We think Rosie the Rabbit feels the same way. They don’t snuggle like something you’d see on a Hallmark card, but they’re co-habitating fairly well. Rosie loves it when Leo takes a nap. That means she gets to roam the house and help with the blog. #coffeebreak

{TWO} Visiting Oregon for our 15th wedding anniversary

K and B beach

Arborbrook Vineyard

Brandon and I officially made it to 15 years of marriage. Not that I questioned the milestone, I just can’t believe it has already been that long – and that we were able to sneak away for a long weekend together to celebrate. The stars aligned, so we hit the friendly skies and headed straight for the Oregon coast to enjoy some much-needed adult time, incredible food, and gorgeous scenery. It was such a treat and perfect way to celebrate with my best friend.

{THREE} Taking a fun summer road trip

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This summer, we packed up the truckster and hit the road for a two-week, Griswold-style family vacation. The adventure started by heading straight north to Minnesota for the Clark family reunion. (My maiden name is Clark, and this fun bunch of people are from my dad’s side of the family.) We only get together every three years, so it’s always a wild time catching up, and meeting babies and newlywed spouses. A lot can happen in three years, you know!

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emma and paul

After the reunion we ventured down to Nebraska for my niece’s wedding. It truly was a picture-perfect wedding, and we were honored to be able to share in their joy.

{FOUR} Watching my kids continue to grow into beautiful little people.

Christmas card

Life with tweens can be interesting – and entertaining. Somehow Brandon and I managed to get some really great kids with equally as sweet friends. I’ve heard the teenage years get more complicated, so I’m enjoying this phase as long as I can.

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Evan completed his first 5K this year, as well as a full season of cross country. This translates into a growing boy who eats like there’s no tomorrow. Seriously. That boy can eat. When he stands still long enough for me to get a good look at him, I’m amazed at the young man he’s becoming. He’s officially taller than I am, but still says he loves me when I drop him off for school. He can officially stop growing, now.

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The girls entered 4th grade this year and played soccer for “coach dad.” They’re super active and are starting to show an interest in swimming. So there’s hope for a few more fish in our family. These two are total peas in a pod and are always up to something creative – and stuffed-animal related. For instance, I recently found them duct-taping stuffed animals to the fan blades in their room giving free “carnival” rides. They figured out how to get up there from the top bunk bed. It’s never a dull moment with my twinsies – and I wouldn’t trade a second of my life.

{FIVE} Celebrating my first blogiversary

Blogiversary-Thank-You

I was so surprised by this sweet gesture. I might have teared up a bit. In hindsight, I probably should have showered before I had this picture taken.

I was so surprised by this sweet gesture. I might have teared up a bit. In hindsight, I probably should have showered before I had this picture taken.

This blog has been one of the most rewarding creative endeavors. I have loved meeting other bloggers, sharing my experiences, and having a space where I can feel truly comfortable with my writing – typos and all! 🙂 I’ve definitely learned quite a few things in this first year, and I’m beyond excited for the adventure ahead.

Thank you for being here with me. Here’s to an incredible new year for all of us!

-Kate

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Friday Wrap and Year Beginnings!

New Year's Cheer

A New Year’s Cheers!

In case you haven’t been properly wished upon, yet, Happy New Year!!!

Our family spent the evening with a group of friends playing all kinds of crazy games – and tricks. It was the kind of fun that literally landed me on the floor laughing. It had nothing to do with the Moscow Mules, either. It was all about the awesome people, which we’re super thankful to have come to know.IMG_5099Then yesterday we kicked off the year with an amazing meal. My SIL served up a proper, southern New Year’s feast of Hoppin’ John (black eyed peas for good luck), collard greens (for wealth and abundance) and cornbread (for good fortune). I made sure to have seconds – for the luck and all. Wink.

hoppin-john

I was so busy eating, I didn’t grab a photo! This is basically what it entailed – a bowl full of delicious rice, black eyed peas and other veggies and seasonings.

This meal, and the past few days to be honest, has left me feeling incredibly blessed. Good food, good friends, good family moments…the best gifts of the season. I hope you’re feeling equally as thankful and are excited to keep the good things going.

Speaking of good things, here are five I’ve truly loved and/or obsessed about this past week that I had to share – outside of my SIL’s incredible food. I wish I could share that, too.

{ONE} Horse Race

horse race

We played with a cool, handmade version of this game.

This was THE best party game of new year’s eve. If you ever have a chance to play horse race, do it. And don’t fall for it when someone tells you it’s a game where you run with stick horses around the kitchen. Just trust me – and the floor I fell on.

{TWO} Melting Moments Cookies

Melting Moments

Seriously so good.

I made a few batches of these for our neighbors over the holidays, and I have since made several more batches (who’s counting?) for our own family to devour. These are seriously sinful. And like the name says, they melt in your mouth.

I tried making a gluten-free version for my parents using GF flour. They didn’t turn out so great. I might have botched things when I melted the butter vs. used room temp. I’m not the best baker in town, so I honestly don’t know if that made the difference? Maybe someone has a better GF version? For now, here’s the real deal from Give Recipe (that even I could bake):

Ingredients

  • 1 and ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup powdered sugar + 1 cup to sprinkle on top
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (not melted!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Combine flour, cornstarch and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix butter and sugar until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla extract.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture until everything is blended.
  5. Chill the dough for half an hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Make mini balls from the dough, and place on the baking sheet leaving about 1-inch space.
  9. Bake for 13 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before sifting powdered sugar over the top.
  11. Eat them. All. Then lick your fingers.

{THREE} Vision Boardssample vision boardEarlier this week I wrote about vision boards. They’re a pretty powerful way to map out your goals if you haven’t tried your hand at making one, yet. I finished mine (for now) and feel pretty good about how things are mapping out this year. I hope you’re able to take some time to do the same for yourself. Once you have an idea of what you want, it makes it so much easier to break things down into mini steps that you can put in your calendar (or gorgeous planner), which so eloquently brings us to number four…

{FOUR} Day Planners!

Day Designer

I’m so in love with this Day Designer. Belle & Blush sells these beautiful planners. They have tons of other amazing things, too. (Thank you notes, anyone?!) They’re definitely worth checking out. Tell ’em The Neat Nook sent ya!

This time of year reminds me of the first day of school. Stocking up on fresh notebooks and new calendars. I plan to kick it old school this year and use a day planner. I think the act of putting pen to paper makes things feel more official – like a contract. I’m going to see if it makes a difference getting things accomplished this year. Wish me luck!

There are so many great planners to choose from. I landed on a Day Designer by Whitney English. When I read, “It was created with creative professionals, busy mamas, and girls-on-the-go in mind,” I was like, um, that pretty much sums up my life. So I looked no further. I’ll be sure to share some of my favorite tips and tricks with the planner as I go!

{FIVE} Solmate Socks

Solmate Socks

These are from Handmade Market right here in Fayetteville. Darling store!

This was the dark horse of all the gifts in my stocking this year. I didn’t realize how much I could love a pair of socks until these precious things came into my life. They are super cozy, yet not too thick to fit inside your favorite boots. I live in them as much as I can – and probably need to get more for this winter we’re about to have. Snowy weather + cozy socks = happiness. Yes?

So, 2015…I feel good vibes about this one.

I’m looking forward to growing friendships, enjoying lots of family time, venturing into new projects and embracing my imperfections through it all. Thanks for being on this journey with me. Let’s make this year memorable!!

Love and creative wishes,

Kate

Fiveonfriday

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Start the Year with a Vision Board

Yogi Berra quote

I’ve always liked this quote. It’s funny, yet carries buckets of truth.

January is one of the most inspiring months. It delivers a fresh start filled with hope for an exciting year. My husband and I have a tradition each December where we wake up early on a Saturday (which we did this past weekend!), brew a few cups of coffee and plan for the year ahead.

We love our coffee visits. Any time. Any place.

We love our coffee visits. Any time. Any place.

Brandon enjoys planning as much as I do. We’re not overly type-A, by any means. We just like having somewhat of a plan in place. Our annual session always culminates in a vision board, which is a motivational thing for us. It includes words and pictures that represent our goals.

This article offers great thoughts on building a vision board to help your creativity.

To start, here’s the process Brandon and I go through to create our vision boards. Hopefully some of these steps (and a good cup of coffee) will help you, too!

{ONE} Determine Goals

First we just talk. We share personal goals and create family goals for the coming year. We try not to overanalyze. We quickly jot down ideas and assign rough budgets to everything. We’ve come to learn if we skip the money part, our plans are harder to achieve. Even if it requires saving over the course of several years, things and events won’t happen without saving and planning for them now.

{TWO} Pick a Word

Once we’ve chatted, each of us picks a word of the year. It’s a word that has a personal meaning, reminds us of our overall goals, and sets off a spark of motivation when we hear it. So if we’re in a slump or feeling defeated, simply saying the word can jumpstart our engine.

Last year my word was “emerge”.

I found myself in a bit of a rut, occupied with general busyness. You know the kind that keeps you from sitting still and asking what you really need to be happy? That was me, in a hamster wheel afraid to find out what would happen if it stopped. I finally grew tired of feeling dizzy and drained, so I jumped. I spent some much needed time figuring things out.

I ended up changing my work schedule, starting a blog, volunteering more at the kids’ school, and saying “yes” to more social invitations. I found myself “emerging” in new ways and feeling okay with it all. There were tasks that were terrifying, but I did them anyway. I made mistakes, but I learned to stop scolding myself. I embraced imperfection for the first time and kept walking in new directions – regardless of how awkward I may have felt at times. While I will always be on a journey of emerging, I decided to add a new word this year: action. As in, “get up and go, already!”

Now that I have a little more confidence under my belt, I think I’m ready to march toward some dreams I never thought were possible.

{THREE} Create a Vision Board

sample vision board

This sample vision board is from Martha Beck.

Once goals are figured out, and we have a word that can kick us in the pants when we need it most, it’s time to make a vision board.

You can either create one out of poster board and magazine clippings, or go for something digital. Brandon likes using the O Dream Board. You could also try Dream It Alive or any photo collage app on your phone.

I actually like using Pinterest. This year I’m creating a secret board, so I don’t have to share it with the entire world. The title includes the year and my word of choice, so something like: “2015 Vision: Emerge & Take Action.”

Spring hiking

I used this image on my vision board to encourage me to get out and enjoy our beautiful parks and trails with the family.

Next I’ll find images that represent each of the goals on my list. In the caption I’ll write action steps I need to consider. This helps provide guidance and direction for the vision board.

As Antoine de Saint-Exupery stated, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

I’ve already started my vision board. In fact, I just need to add a few more details, so I’m off to finish it now. Good wishes for your personal planning. I’d love to know your “word of the year” or what kind of goals you’ve set for yourself. Share it in the comments or tweet me @Katejandersen.

Your ideas could help inspire someone else – and that’s a beautiful thing to accomplish!

Much love to you all this year,

Kate

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