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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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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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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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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3 Tips for a More Enjoyable Laundry Room

Depending on how you feel about the chore of cleaning clothes, the laundry room might not be your most cherished spot in the house. I totally get it. I’d much rather spend my time in a craft room than a chore room. But laundry must get done, as the funny quote above explains.

And laundry rooms are those places in our homes that are never quite big enough or have enough storage. In fact, for many of us it’s more of a closet than an actual room. So how do we learn to love this little spot?!

Here are three things we can do right now.

{ONE} Keep it simple

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{via} This is pretty much my dream laundry room. I love the simplicity, soft colors, open space and no sign of dirty clothes. Lol

How do we get remotely close to this beautiful image? Start by taking a picture of your own room. Whether that’s a mental picture or an actual “before” picture, that’s your call. But take a snapshot as-is. Find all of the things that don’t belong.

Are there piles of shoes, stacks of towels, lingering pieces of mail or anything else that makes the space feel cluttered? If so, you can actually feel pretty good, because this is an easy fix.

Help the shoes find their closets, the towels find the bathroom, and the mail find your desk. Have a place for everything, and put everything in it’s place. I’m a big fan of that philosophy. It might not always look perfect, but at least there’s a plan.

Once you’ve cleaned out all of the non-essentials, you’re already on your way to a much happier space!

{TWO} Make it productive

Understanding that this room isn’t always the most ideal (too small, not enough storage, also the dog’s room and mud room)…it’s important to make it as productive as possible. Assign every square inch to a specific task.

For example, can the space between your washer and dryer be used for storage? Can the top of the dog crate also serve as shelving?

This is where some Pinspiration can come in handy. Here are a few of my favorite ways to make your laundry space more productive.

Use all of your horizontal surfaces. In this picture, the top of the washer/dryer is used for folding and sorting. They also added a shelf between the cabinets to create room for pretty storage baskets. Even the top of the sink offers a spot to store detergent.

Add standing shelves. If you don’t have built-ins or room on the walls for shelves, think about adding bookshelves with baskets to gain some extra storage.

Play hide-and-seek. Here’s another great way to think about storage. Look for hidden places, like the space between your washer/dryer. These are great spots to stash dirty clothes or even laundry supplies.

While we’re on the topic of hiding spots…

I thought this was a smart way to handle an ironing board. It’s attached to the bottom of a drawer so it slides in and out of a cabinet. That way it doesn’t have to be out in the open when not in use. I also like the boards that fold down from the wall.

Double down on your space. If you have to share your laundry room with your pet or even your craft supplies, here are some lovely ways to handle the mission.

In this house, the dog bed is perfectly color coordinated with the walls, so it fits right in. The cabinets can hold all of the pet supplies, too!

Here’s a cool basement that’s one part laundry room, one part craft room. I love the open shelves that allow for baskets and any other odd-shaped supplies that need to be stashed. Keeping the walls white makes the room feel cleaner. Don’t you think?

{THREE} Let it be personal

Finally, I think it’s helpful to add a touch of your personality to the room. If you can’t make yourself fall in love with the act of cleaning clothes, at least you can make it a place you enjoy looking at.

In the picture above, I love how they added a pretty curtain to cover the sink and a stylish rug to warm up the room. There’s also a personal touch hanging on the wall.

How do you create a personal space for yourself?

Think of three things you love the most. Your kids? Your playful pup? The beach? Yoga? A bucket-list item, like spending a summer in Paris? Now find a photo or object that reminds you of these things, and put it in this space.

No room on the walls? Place a picture frame on the shelf next to your detergent. So you give yourself a reason to smile each time you reach for the soap.

Other ideas to make your room a little happier:

  • Paint the room your favorite color
  • Add a rug to make it feel more cozy
  • Display your detergent in a pretty jar – instead of its store-bought boxes
  • Place a jar of fresh flowers next to the sink
  • Light a candle in your favorite seasonal scent
  • Buy nice hangers so you’re more likely to use them
  • Place a dry erase board on the wall for inspirational quotes or love notes from the kids

I hope that was helpful and that you have a lovely day!!

-Kate

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5 Ways to Mind Your Money

With school back in session, soccer gearing up, and holidays right around the corner, I like to do some budget planning this time of year.

If I’m being honest here, “like” might be an overstatement. I’m not really a numbers person and spreadsheets make my eyes cross. But I realize setting a budget is important, so I try to think of it this way…

money quote

During this planning mode, I’ve come across some helpful tips and resources. I thought I’d share my top five – in case you’re a little like me and love any help you can get 😉

I realize this might not sound super exciting, so feel free to crack open a bottle of Chardonnay-nay or whip up one of these fancy mimosa mocktails to make this more like a party.

Ready?

{ONE} Make a Plan

IMG_2313

You can order a new Day Designer here.

You might be thinking, “Well, of course I need a plan.” But I didn’t always take this idea to heart – until recently. I decided to sit down with Brandon (my hubs), and and write down all of the things we need, items we’d love and experiences we want to have. Then we assigned costs to each line item and had some serious discussion and brainstorming around how we could make it happen.

This step alone was huge.

We’ve always talked about wanting to send our kids to college, make updates to the house, and travel to Hawaii. Now we have a better sense of what it would take, and we can keep our eyes on the prize.

Drilling down to a monthly view of our finances is also helpful for us. At the beginning of each month we write down our estimated expenses and income. Then we check in at least once a month to see if we’re on track. I tuck receipts into my Day Designer so when it’s time to review they’re all organized in one spot.

PS. If you need a new planner to get you through this upcoming busy season, the Day Designer is really awesome.

{TWO} Check – and Double Check – Rates

credit cards

You know that credit card transfer or store credit card you opened a few months ago because it had 0% interest or gave you extra coupons? If you haven’t already paid those off, and the promotional window is over, you could be paying significant interest – like up to 25%. Not cool, man.

It’s also smart to double check the rates on your home and car loans – since rates are still really low. It might be time to refinance. We just checked on our home loan and realized we could be saving a significant amount of money.

{THREE} Shop Wisely

Have you met my new friend Ebates?! I like using Ebates for my online shopping because you get cash back (like in the form of a check) sent to you just for shopping at places you already shop.

For example, I scored 30% off at Old Navy (because they were having a sale), and also got 6% back in cash because I clicked through to Old Navy from the Ebates website. It’s seriously that simple.

I even used it for booking our hotel in South Dakota and got 10% back. That was some good cash.

If you don’t want to spend tons of money on brand name clothes for you and your family…geez, I sound like an ad for TJ Maxx or something. But seriously, if you want beautiful things like a Coach shoulder bag or a Michael Kors dress, ThredUp is a great place to shop.

They claim to offer up to 90% off the original price. And some of the items are new – with tags. Sold!

Now for groceries…

When it comes to groceries, I’m not a coupon clipper. I like to make shopping as painless as possible. So I started using the Walmart Grocery Pickup.

Y’all. It is so amazing.

I sit and plan my meals, make a quick list and then jump online to order each item. I type what I need in the search bar and up pops my choices. (Once you’ve done this a few times, it saves all of your “favorites”, so it’s even faster to re-order and checkout.) Then I pick a time to go get my things and it’s all fresh and ready to roll.

The biggest benefit – other than saving me gobs of time – is that online shopping keeps me from impulse buying. #moneysaver

The site also shows you “cost per” ounce, roll, etc. so it’s super easy to comparison shop. I love not having to do more math.

{FOUR} Eat at Home

Now that we have our groceries picked up…

These Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps are super easy – and delish.

Yum. Eating at home is not only better for your waistline, but also your wallet. I  know it’s not possible to eat at home for every meal, but it’s good to take a look at your ratio. Does it skew more toward your family kitchen than the family diner down the road?

I did a quick check and was a little surprised by how much we’d “just swing through” places for a meal, snack or drink here and there. It all adds up. In lots of places. (Which is why we had the Whole30 discussion last week.)

Meal planners are a must in my life. Here are a couple I found that are super helpful >>

I like planning my meals a week at at time. And I leave room for eating out on nights like Mondays when everyone has soccer practice (clear across town from each other) and no one is home until 8pm.

{FIVE} Include the Kids

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Boy, do they love stuffed animal shopping! <3

This final note is something Brandon and I recently figured out. Now that our kids are tweens and teens, they’re old enough to learn about managing money.

We give them a line item in our budget, which means we set aside a little money for them each month to choose how to use.

They get to experience the true cost of things as they head to the cash register, and they get practice making decisions. Do we go for an ice cream treat after dinner or save up for more stuffed animals?

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Something else we’re doing is setting a fun family goal. Do we want to go back to Disney or experience a cruise?

Once we have it figured out, we’ll let the kids help “pay” for it by putting any of their loose change in a basket in the kitchen. {We’ve actually had a change basket above our refrigerator for awhile, so we have a head start!)

This won’t pay for the entire trip, of course, but the kids will feel like they’re helping – and that they’re an important part of the family when it comes to making money decisions.

I hope at least some of these ideas were helpful to hear. What are other ways you and your family stay on track with your finances?

-Kate

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Winners & Planners Unite

I’m excited to announce that Melissa Liston is the big winner of the 2016 planner! And the Jar of Joy is going Lynn Buss! She’ll receive 100 days worth of joyful notes. In addition to these lucky ladies, I’m sending huge virtual hugs to everyone who entered and helped me celebrate the blog turning one.

In addition to splurging on some spice cake with cream cheese frosting, my parents surprised me with a cute t-shirt that features the Neat Nook logo.

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.

Wasn’t this the sweetest gift? Yes, I teared up a bit.

It was such a fun week, and I hope you all enjoyed the giveaway. With all of this planner talk recently, and the fact that 2016 is only one monthly tab away, has me thinking about what works and doesn’t work about organizing a planner.

I’m sure we all use one, but it doesn’t always get our undivided attention. I know I’ve had plenty of hectic weeks where I abandoned my book, and I undoubtedly paid for it later – like the time I spaced Avery’s orthodontist consult and couldn’t get scheduled back in for two months. That was one of those weeks sans planner.

As a recovering perfectionist, I realize life happens and it’s messy. I also realize that I don’t have to memorize my entire life schedule. I have this pretty little book sitting next to me waiting patiently to be my assistant. So let’s put it to work!

A few tips for organizing our planners.

{ONE} Pick one that fits your life.

Let’s say you have multiple kids with multiple activities, and you’re also starting a home-based business. A calendar that just offers a monthly view won’t cut it. You need a sizable planner with space for everyone and everything in your life. Consider options with full pages for each day, such as The Simplified Planner. If you don’t like carrying a book and writing things down, use a mobile app like Planner Plus that syncs right to your calendar.

{TWO} Color your world.

Meaning, use color codes for each type of activity on your list. My niece, Sarah, introduced me to this tip. She has a set of colored pens that she carries along with her. What I like about this is it gives you a quick visual cue for each day. For example, work/business items are blue, kids’ stuff is green, house needs are orange, and personal things are purple. In addition to breaking up a long, overwhelming list into manageable chunks, color-coding gives you a snapshot of where you spend most of your time. In an instant, you can see what’s a priority in your life at the moment. If you start to feel unhappy or pulled too far in one direction, try to shift some of the colors around. Or maybe it’s time to create a new category for a hobby – and color that baby bright yellow!

{THREE} Legend has it.

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In addition to color-coding, you can write symbols next to each item so you know what’s going down. The Day Designer uses the suggested legend shown above, which is helpful. I don’t use all of these marks, but I do star important things and label whether it’s a task or event – mostly for showering purposes.

{FOUR} Multi-devices can totally work.

For example, if you mostly use the calendar on your phone for tracking errands and daily to-dos, that’s great. You can use an offline, paper planner for all of your big-picture planning and goal setting. Don’t feel pressure to fill out both planners, though. Assign each planner a job and make them both work for you!

{FIVE} Include long-term planning.

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of making daily “to-do” lists that help you get things done around the house, but they don’t necessarily make you feel accomplished. I’ve felt this way many times. When I look at a page full of crossed-off items and feel drained versus energized or proud, I know something is off.

This is a clue that I need to look back at the long-term vision I have for myself. Are the things I’m doing and crossing off my list each day moving me in the right direction? If the answer is “no,” it’s time to reevaluate where I’m spending my time. Laundry still needs to get done, but maybe things like weeding the garden could wait until I’ve spent time meditating or reaching out to a fellow blogger.

The Day Designer, shown above, is an incredible planner for establishing your purpose and mission. If you want to live a purposeful life, long-term planning is a must.

{SIX} Get in a routine.

Just like creating any good habit, we need to show up every day and practice. It can be hard, I know. With your planner, though, the good news is that if you spend a little extra time up front, the daily check-in goes much smoother and faster. I try to sit with my planner on Sunday nights, like a little meeting with just the two of us, and I fill out the pages for the week ahead.

I start by looking at my monthly view to catch the big stuff: birthdays, anniversaries, ortho checkups. I transfer those details to the week’s list, and then fill in what I know needs to get done each day. If the week marks the beginning of the month (like next week), I’ll also check in with my annual plan to be sure I’m on the right path toward my goals and making happy, productive decisions with my time.

It all sounds simple enough. I know. If any of us fall out of routine, forget an appointment, skip a week with the planner, there’s no need to freak or feel bad. You’re not alone. It’s easy to get back on track.

And as Glennon Melton says, “We can do hard things!”

Have a productive week, sweet friends.

-Kate

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Five New Uses for Pool Noodles

Now that the pool days have come to a close (at least in our neck of the woods) what should we do with all of our noodles?

pool noodles

I say we repurpose them, especially since we’ll end up buying new ones again next year. They never have the same buoyancy after a long winter’s nap.

I found five interesting uses for those foamy floaters.

{ONE} Bracelet Holders

Untangle and organize all of your cute bracelets with the help of a pool noodle. Sounds weird, but it’s genius. Right? Cover them in pretty fabric and let them stand freely on your dresser or line them up in a cute box.

{TWO} Cord Cover

You can use 8 inches or so of a pool noodle to help corral your lamp or computer cords. Cut a vertical slit so the cords tuck nicely inside the center. Voila!

{THREE} Toy Blocker

Do you have a mini Bermuda Triangle under your couch? Countless toys, socks and coins can get lost down there. An easy fix is to wedge a pool noodle in that space. You can cover it with fabric or find a dark-colored noodle if you’re worried about it being visible. The sample pictured has a black foam insert under there. It’s hard to even see it!!

 {FOUR} Boot Inserts

Boots are back in season, so cut those noodles into boot-height lengths to keep your kicks standing tall. Easy and practical, yes?

{FIVE} Pom Pom Shooter

For something not so practical, but full of fun…you need one of these. Take a little scrap of leftover pool noodle from one of the projects above and turn it into something your kids will totally dig. And it will make up for shoving the rest of the noodles in your boots. #winning

What’s your favorite way to repurpose pool noodles? I have so many of them in my garage, I could use plenty of ideas.

Here’s to a well-organized day.

-Kate

PS. The blogiversary giveaway is still going on. Be sure to enter before this Friday (10/23/15) at 10pm Central.

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DIY Candlestick Projects (That Organize Your Space)

If you want a stylish way to organize some small spaces in your home, here are five solid projects to consider.

{ONE} Your sink

Gather your hand soap, dish soap, counter spray, and other sink stuff in one easy place. By elevating a tray or dish on a candlestick, it’s easy to reach your things – and they stay out of the wet zone. #winning

{TWO} Your photos

This is one of the most creative and inexpensive ways to gather and arrange your favorite photos. Take an inexpensive candlestick, wine cork and paper clip and voilà, you have a beautiful photo holder. And who doesn’t love a project that requires a cork or two? Cheers!

{THREE} Your coffee and tea

In most kitchens, counter space is highly valued property. By elevating a few items, like sweeteners and k-cups, you create more space along with a beautiful display.

{FOUR} Your jewelry

This organization project includes a variety of glassware, such as cups and vases. I’m thinking you could add candlesticks to this list and use it to stack and store your bracelets.

Tip: Cover your glass items with white gloss spray paint to give it the look of milk glass.

{FIVE} Your bathroom essentials

This project combines mason jars with candlesticks to make lovely apothecary jars for your bathroom. The key is to use varying heights of candlesticks to create a nice grouping. You could easily take inexpensive glass candlesticks and spray them with metallic spray paint.

I think I’m going to try the photo project later today. I’ll be sure to take pictures and let you know how it goes. We’ll see if it makes it on my “Friday Faves” list tomorrow. Here’s hoping!

Which of these projects sounds like something you’ll try? Be sure to take pics and tag me (@Katejandersen) on Instagram so I can see your great work.

-Kate

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Friday Wrap!

It’s Friday already?! I say we get right to it with the list of five faves of the week.

{ONE} Friday the 13th

superstitious

Am I the only one who still misses The Office? I loved that show.

It’s officially Friday the 13th! We won’t have another one until November, so here’s hoping tons of luck falls your way on this rare day. In the spirit of the “holiday,” here’s a fun quiz to see how superstitious you really are.

{TWO} Surprises in the Garden

DaffodilsSo this happened yesterday…I went out to check the mail and spied these sweet daffodils BLOOMING in the garden. I can’t wait for their friends to wake up and grow already. Not many things scream spring more than a bunch of freshly cut daffodils on your windowsill.

Quick tip: Daffodils release sap that’s harmful to other flowers, so they’re best kept to themselves in arrangements. If you’d like to mix them with other flowers, be sure to place cut stems in a vase of cool water overnight to help release some of the harmful substance.

{THREE} Rain Boots

Rain BootsWe’ve had lots of rain in the forecast lately. In fact, it’s raining as I write this. So the twins and I went shopping for new boots. Now we’re officially ready for some puddle jumping! We shopped at a local store, but I noticed Zulily has some really cute styles right now if you want to order online.

{FOUR} Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix

The box included five items, plus this handy style sheet that helps you see how to mix things up.

Okay, I might be late to the party on this one, but I had my first Stitch Fix box arrive this week. I was super impressed and especially liked the blouses they sent. It all came with a personal note from my stylist, who talked about the weather in my area, as well as how the outfits she pulled together would be perfect for my job at the PR agency. It was a home run on personalization. I didn’t keep everything because the sizes were a bit off, but overall I’d give it two thumbs up. I’m really excited to see how my next styling goes!

{FIVE} Spice Rack Makeover

Spice Rack

I glued an old wine glass between two Lazy Susan’s to make this spice rack. The entire thing spins!

I’ve been on a cooking kick lately, which means I’ve been digging in my spice rack more than usual. My cabinet was jam-packed with jars, and it was hard to read labels. That made things super frustrating, so I decided to get creative.

I took two small Lazy Suzan’s (that I bought from Walmart) and stacked them. I glued an old wine glass to the center using E6000 adhesive and created this two-layered spice rack. It’s so much easier to find things – and it made more room in my cabinet. Now I can shove more stuff inside!

That’s a wrap. I hope you’ve had a stellar week. I’d love to hear about it. Be sure and checkout all of the amazing blogs (amazeblogs) via Five on Friday, which is sponsored by none other than April, DarciChristina, and Natasha.

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Cheers to Friday!

-Kate

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