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!



Friday Wrap: Adulting Like a Champ

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you really feel like an adult – even though you’ve officially been an adult for many, many years? That was me…this week.

I was in “get ‘er done” mode, and checked tons of things off my to-do list. Many of those things were very grown up, too, like prepping for taxes and getting an energy audit on the house.

Before you start yawning, though, check out some of the highlights from the week. Adulting can be way more interesting than expected.

{ONE} Updated Front Door Decor

This was by far the most fun project on my list, so we’ll start here. Easing into things.

I decided it was time to take down the “Happy New Year” message on my front door and replace it with something else seasonal – like a heart for Valentine’s Day!

I actually made this, y’all!! 

My inspiration came from this wreath. But when I looked for a heart-shaped form, I couldn’t find one…anywhere. I ventured into the “Valentine” aisle of Hob Lob, which is 40% off right now, and I found this wooden plaque. #bingo

First, I made bunches of burlap rosettes using this tutorial >>

I skipped step #8 since I was gluing these directly onto a flat surface.

And this is a closeup of what mine looked like.

Once I had all of my burlap blooms ready, I hot glued them onto the wooden sign. I had to overlap a few of them so you couldn’t see the wooden sign underneath.

Tip: Wear an old pair of gardening gloves when using your hot glue gun so you don’t burn the ever-living prints right off of your fingers. Speaking from experience.

The final step was adding a pretty pink ribbon to the top of the heart and calling it good & pretty!! (Then peeling the glue from your throbbing fingers if you forgot the gloves.)

{TWO} Completed an Energy Audit

Now this is where we get to the real adulting.

We have a few drafty rooms in our house, and our electric bills seem pretty high, so I’ve always been interested in having our energy company come out and do an audit.

They’re totally free, but they do take several hours. And you need to be there to see all of the things that need fixed…or in our case, caulked!!!

If your window ledges have cracks like this, you can apply caulk so you’re not leaking precious hot (or cold) air out of your home.

The whole process was super educational. For instance, I learned that the five recessed lights in our kitchen, which have incandescent bulbs, cost us $6/month in energy alone. LED lights only need 1/4 of that amount. And that was just one example. I literally have two pages of notes!!

When the energy people left, they gave me a free kit that included three tubes of caulking (thank you very much), a package of weather stripping, LED lightbulbs, and all kinds of other odds and ends.

This is just a small sample of the energy-saving stuff they gave me…for FREE!

I highly recommend going through one of these. It’s definitely worth the time.

{THREE} Prepped for Taxes

Taxes stink. There’s no way around them, though. So the best we can do is try to be organized, right?

I keep folders in our home office (remember that sweet little nook?) where I collect “all things tax related” throughout the year.

Sometimes having pretty folders helps me stay more organized.

We itemize our taxes, so our receipts from donations, business expenses, medical expenses, etc. all go into files as we collect them.

When it comes time (like right now) for year end statements, W2s and other important tax stuff that comes in the mail, I can simply add them to our files. And then we’re ready to rock our meeting with the accountant in no time at all.

Tip: H&R Block does our taxes, and they provide a handy envelope that includes a checklist on the outside. If you don’t already have something similar, you can download a checklist here.

{FOUR} Organized the Coat Closet

I have been so frustrated by our coat closet lately. I mean, look at it. >>

Coats were falling off their hangers and hats, gloves, and scarves were spilling out of bins on the overhead shelf.

Side note, I gave myself a half-point of credit for having bins in the first place. But we obviously didn’t use them very well.

I spent a quick 20 minutes organizing. And I promise it was only this long, because that’s all of the time I had between unpacking groceries and running to get the kids from school.

Here’s what went down. >>

  1. Removed all of the coats we never wear and bagged them for donations.
  2. Hung all of the remaining coats the same direction and picked out all of the white hangers. That instantly created a uniform and clean look!
  3. Dumped all of the hats, gloves, scarves and other misc. items on the floor and matched/sorted.
  4. Found a shoe caddy and stashed all of the newly sorted items inside.
  5. Got rid of the mismatched bins (overhead) and narrowed them down to three clear bins.
  6. Lastly, I put some of the odds and ends, like rain ponchos and detachable hoods, inside the upper bins.

Look at the instant transformation just with the same color hangers – and coats hanging the same direction.

A hanging shoe caddy is perfect for storing small items like gloves and mittens!

I put things we don’t use very often, like rain ponchos, in the matching overhead bins.

Now hopefully I won’t feel so embarrassed when guests need a place to hang their coats. Welcome to my closet nirvana, everyone!

{FIVE} Joined a Book Group

This is a legit book group, too, that’s organized through a church in our area. (So I probably won’t be making 3-gallons of sangria for this gathering) Lol!

This is a 12-week course about Calming My Anxious Heart. And heaven knows I could use some of that. Just going around the circle at our fist meeting and having to share about ourselves made me feel off-the-charts anxious. (Am I the only weirdo who feels that way?!)

Our first gathering was on Tuesday, and so far so goodish. I’ve been challenged to memorize scripture and uncover the secrets to contentment. All things I’ve never done before. But I’m sticking with my plan to stay “open” this year.

And, I’ve decided to keep this verse near over the next 12 weeks…

After such a productive, grown up week, I can’t wait for a weekend full of movies, board games, girl talk, family snuggles and a few glasses of wine with my sweet B.

I hope you have a playful weekend planned, too!





Organize Your Special Days in Style

Facebook is great for reminding us about birthdays (among other things), but when it comes to keeping track of all your special events, including anniversaries and personal moments – like the day you were engaged or found out you were pregnant – the perfect thing to have is a perpetual calendar.

What’s a perpetual calendar?!

It’s just like a normal calendar, but it doesn’t list specific days of the week. That means you can use it year after year. For example, the month of January looks like this…


See how there are just dates – without days of the week to lock in a specific year?

I’ve used one for years. I keep it on the wall of my work space at home because I think it’s pretty.

perpetual calendar

See? isn’t this cute?!

How do I use it?

Once I purchased my calendar, I sat and wrote down every special event I could think of or had written in my day planner. From there, it became a matter of checking each month or adding new dates.

I’ve made a habit of looking at it at the beginning of each month. Then I purchase cards and gifts in one big batch. Sometimes I’ll also jot a note in my day planner to give special people a call or send a FB message.

Where can you find them?

If you’re in the market for a new perpetual calendar, or if you’ve never used something like this before, be sure to check out these beauties below. (I made sure to include links to each source so you can easily find them.)

Now, if you’d rather go down-and-dirty, you could always download this free printable from Whitney English. I’m using her Day Designer this year, and she recently shared this with her planner peeps.

Whichever route you choose, here’s to a happy day organizing your special days!



Slim Down Your Shelves

Stacks of books

I know there’s a little trend called e-readers like the Kindle, NOOK, and Kobo. Let’s face it, though, I still love a good ol’ fashioned hardbound book in my hands. So I continue to buy them. I’m a huge fan. I also adore magazines and catalogs, which is something I come by honestly. My mom is quite the catalog queen. It’s always a treat to thumb through her collection. The only downside is the stacks and stacks of paper around the house. What are bibliophiles like us to do?

You gotta sort, toss, share and store.

Let’s start with sorting and tossing.

My mom organizes her magazines and catalogs in alpha order so when the latest issue arrives, she can easily find the publication and swap it out. She has the amazing willpower to let go of past issues. I personally have a struggle tossing back issues of Real Simple, but I’ve recently let go of anything before 2010. It’s progress.

One thing that has helped is a filing system.

I tear out pages that have inspired or taught me something I want to remember, and I file them in a cute storage bin labeled by topic. Then I feel okay about recycling the rest of the publication.

This canvas file tote was from Hable Construction.

This canvas file tote was from Hable Construction.

When it comes to books, I sort by subject matter. It’s like a mini Barnes & Noble right in my living room. It helps me assess the collection and see if I have any duplicate titles, which has happened! Once you realize you have one too many books on container gardening and parenting toddlers, it makes it easier for the next step: sharing!

Share and share alike.

There are tons of great ideas for swapping or sharing your books and magazines once you’re ready to part with your beloved pages:

  • Use an online resource, such as Book Mooch to swap out your book titles.
  • Go to Amazon. They have a program where you can trade in old text books for merchandise on their site – which has practically everything.
  • Have a book swap party with friends or neighbors. Just like a cookie swap, you have everyone bring a certain number of items to share. That way everyone leaves with the same amount of fresh material. Magazines are great for this, too. If you’re left with an issue or book that everyone has read, the host can donate the stash to the local library.
  • Create a Book Hut program in your community. I was strolling around Bentonville this weekend with my niece, and we spotted this adorable house of books. The concept is to create mini libraries around town. It encourages reading, sharing with neighbors, and best of all – keeping your bookshelves to a minimum.
book hut

Look out Springdale, I want to bring this to our neighborhood!

Store your beauties.

Once you have determined your must-keep books and pared down your favorite magazines, you can store them in a lovely manner. I like using baskets for my magazines. When it comes to books, I prefer traditional shelves with some non-traditional bookends tucked in the mix.


I love how this bookshelf is styled. The magazines are stored in seagrass      baskets along the bottom and books are intermingled with vases, planters    and other interesting odds and ends. Beautiful!! {via}

I hope this inspires you to organize your books and slim down your shelves a bit. I’d love to see how your books look. Be sure to take pictures and tag me on Instagram @KateJAndersen so I can see.

Have a creative day!