Adding Joy to Every Room

For this month’s edition of Collectively Creative (dreamed up and hosted by Kelly over at Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons), the theme is Joyful.

The Joyful Edition Logo 2012

I decided to take a non-Christmas approach to this theme and talk about adding JOY to every room in my house. So much of my time is spent organizing and cleaning and doing all of the things that NEED to get done. Often, I forget about little things that can make life oh-so-sweet and don’t take a lot of time, money or energy. So I decided to add something that makes me happy or brings a smile to my face in every room of my house. Here are just a few!

~Switching out the soap bottles on my kitchen counter

This one seems almost too basic to bring me actual joy, but it does bring me a little. 🙂 This is what I have always had sitting next to my kitchen sink:

IMG_8047Booooring, right? It was efficient and easy and didn’t take up to much space, but it was nowhere near pretty. I just wanted something simple to replace these, so I found relatively cheap plastic bottles to use.

IMG_4905I put them on a little tray I already had and put a napkin underneath to catch any drips. Soon I’m going to make cute labels for the bottles. This is a simple switch, but I love how it looks and everything is very easy to clean. It makes me smile just a little when I do the dishes. Everyone could use that, right?

~Dressing up the dresser.

I also wanted something decorative and useful on the dresser in our bedroom. Before, we had a little jar we used to collect change. I loved the jar, but it was so lonely sitting there by itself.

Lonely Little Change Jar

Lonely Little Change Jar

Again, I just shopped my house for decorative friends for the jar. I found a candle which was going unused in the dining room along with some polished river rocks I had.

IMG_4909 IMG_4919I put the rocks on the tray around the candle and brought them upstairs. I brought up a small plant that was also sitting in the dining room. Here is what the corner of our dresser looks like now:

IMG_4923I love how it looks! It so nice to have a plant in the room and it’s the perfect touch of green. The bonus is that it doesn’t take much water or light so it’s very easy to take care of. I’m not known for my green thumb. I also love candles, but only have them lit when I’m in the room. Now I can light a candle while I’m upstairs reading or watching tv. I love that this project adds a little light and life to that corner of our room…for free!

~Nesting in the office

A while back, my mom got me a box of 4 little decorative nests. I’m assuming this was because I had just started Neaten Your Nest and they caught her eye.

IMG_4870They are adorable, but I had no idea what to do with them for the longest time. Then I decided it was time to display at least a couple of them. I bought a shadow box (1/2 off at a craft store) and decided to cover the back of the box with some burlap I’ve had for months that was just waiting for a project.

IMG_4873I hot glued the burlap to the backboard and then hot glued 2 of the nests to the burlap. I reassembled the shadow box and now it’s a super cute decorative accent.

IMG_4877

Reasons I love this project:

-I had most of the materials on hand already, so it was super cheap.

-It’s adorable!

-It says a lot about me. The nest goes along with my business and blog, I love the comforting colors and the rustic nature of the materials, and I did it myself.

These 3 simple projects are helping to add a little joy to my home. It’s amazing how many simple projects can bring happiness and make life easier. What small things can you do around your home to bring you joy every day?

Now add a little more JOY to your blog reading and check out the other bloggers participating in this round of Collectively Creative!

Framing Christmas PJs – (Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons)
J-O-Y to the World – (Pillows A-La-Mode)
How To Display Christmas Cards – (Organized Living Essentials)
The Spirit Of Christmas – (A Ponytail Kind Of Day)
Wrapped In Christmas Lights (Happy Little Kiwi)
Sharing Joy – (Gentle Stitches)
The Joy Of Discovery – (Love, Laughter and a Touch Of Insanity)

~Erin

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Short and sweet post!

So I have been MIA this week and will continue to be all next week. This week was a craaaaaazzzy week with the ‘day job’ and next week my husband and I will be enjoying the peace and beauty of Yellowstone!!!!! I figured the blog can take a hiatus….it is time to reconnect with a few things, including my husband, nature and my sanity.

Here are a few pics from the last time we went to Yellowstone and Jackson!

See you all soon!

~Erin

Get rid of stuff by asking questions

I have found a new way to get rid of stuff! Usually, I try to sell items or donate them or even throw them away if the other two options won’t work. However, I found a new way to get rid of things! It sounds ridiculous, but it’s all about starting conversations and asking questions. Let me give you a couple examples:

Last weekend I was hanging out with a friend who has a newborn. She had him in one of those baby carriers and mentioned how he always slipped down. I have a cute little Seven Sling I got when my second was born.

It’s in the donate pile right now, but I asked her if she wanted to try it since it is a different kind. She said yes. Instant de-cluttering of an object in my house and I got to help out a friend!

Yesterday another friend mentioned she wanted a new hobby. My question….what kind of hobby?

Her answer?…..”I have always wanted to learn to play banjo.”

My response?…..”I have a banjo!!!! And I never use it! You can borrow it!”

So today I said a temporary farewell to our beloved banjo:

Now I’m not gonna lie…a little piece of me misses it already, even though it sat unused in our guest room for 2 years. However, I know that one of two things will happen:

-My friend will love the banjo and I won’t miss it enough. Then I can sell it to her.

-I will decide I really want to play the banjo and when she gives it back, I will finally pursue my long standing dream of being a blue grass musician (not even kidding).

Either way, I have temporarily cleared out a space in my home. This will cause me to finally be rid of the darn thing or finally learn to play it. I’m happy with either outcome.

So just by asking a few questions, I was able to get rid of a couple items and help some friends.

This brings me to another subject…bartering. This is a great way to exchange goods and services. Case in point: I am working on building a portfolio for Neaten Your Nest so I’m doing a couple ‘pro bono’ organizations. However, one friend of mine is a great photographer and I am severely lacking in this area. So I’m going to trade some organizing for some photography tips.

So if you have things to get rid of or a service to promote, start talking! Ask questions, offer help, look at social media posts, get outside the box! These kinds of things have the potential to help you clean out your stuff, increase your business, build relationships and more. Get talking!

~Erin

Inspiration Week Continues

Today’s inspiration comes from Thea over at Organized Living Essentials. You can find her right here.

I’ve mentioned her blog before and how I love the format. She always presents a situation, a problem and then a practical solution. I think when you’re faced with a problem, it’s a great idea to lay it out and then come up with a realistic plan to solve it.
Her post this week called ’10 Key Ideas to Being Organized‘ inspired me in a couple of ways. Here is the mini poster she made to illustrate her great ideas, which all start with the letter P:

Here is why I like this concept:

-She thought about a lot of aspects that surround organizing. It is not just about putting things in a specific place. It is about how you process ideas and utilize systems. It is about making things work for you, even if they might not work for someone else. It’s about learning and growing. Organizing is much, much more than what goes on which shelf. It is about defining a way to be efficient and create spaces that bring you peace and joy.

-Another thing I love about this is that they all start with P! Sometimes we just need a way to help us remember things. Whether it’s things that start with the same letter or an acronym or some other trick, it’s great to have an easy way to remember something important. One of the acronyms I love is S.P.A.C.E. It was coined by organizing expert Julie Morgenstern and S.P.A.C.E. stands for:

Sort, Purge, Assign, Containerize and Equalize.

By breaking down something into simple steps, Julie helps people and business truly assess their problems and systematically solve them.

So it’s all about looking at your problem and finding efficient and possibly creative ways to solve it. Thanks Thea and Julie for the inspiration!

~Erin

Super Sunday!

So I arrived in Georgia yesterday afternoon after a surprisingly easy plane ride with two tired little boys! We left our house at 4:15 in the morning, drove the hour to the airport and waited in unusually long check in and security lines. I was trying to push my way to the crowd to get to the pre boarding line and I have to admit I was a little perturbed by my 3 year old who was walking soooooo slow. We were late and he was stopping to tell everyone how he was ‘going on a plane’ and ‘going to Georgia’ and ‘Owen is in the stroller’. Looking back on the situation, I am so proud of him for being so personable and smart and excited about life. But at 5 in the morning, I was like ‘Come on already!’.

So I had my backpack full of activities and healthy snacks for Evan. I had a bottle for Owen and I was going to hold him off until the plane started to take off. Also, we had been assigned to the aisle and middle seat so my plan was to politely ask the person in the window seat if they could switch to the aisle (pretty please if that’s ok with you?????). Here’s how the first 20 minutes really went:

-Owen screamed for 10 minutes as I tried to scoot Evan down the aisle.

-The person in our row wasn’t there yet so we just sat in the window and middle seat. When the guy showed up he said ‘I’m supposed to be in the window seat’ and I must have just looked at him and not said a thing because he paused for half a second and then said ‘um, I’ll just sit in the aisle if that’s ok’. I don’t technically remember giving him any particular look, but it must have been a look of absolute pleading for the window seat or else it was a death stare and he was afraid of me. Window seat…check.

-Owen’s first bottle was gone before the plane backed out of the gate.

-Evan spent the first few minutes in his seat crumbling up a strawberry Poptart EVERYWHERE!

-5 minutes into the flight, Evan was watching ‘Rio’ on my computer.

Ha!

After that, things calmed down and Owen did take a nap (after spitting up on me a dozen times) and Evan did look at flashcards and read his book about safaris. We did have healthy snacks and we sang a couple songs and practiced not kicking the seat in front of us. Another passenger carried my carry-on suitcase all the way up to the front for me after we landed and the pilot gave Evan a little plane ‘wings pin! I had no idea they still did that. How freaking cute!

Lessons Learned:

-No matter how much you organize and prepare for an event, something unexpected will probably come up and catch you by surprise.

-If you prepare as much as possible, then you know you’ve done the best you can and it makes all these little upsets sooooo much easier to deal with.

Here’s a couple pics of our trip and our 24 hours in Georgia so far:

I was so proud of both my boys and now I’m not nearly as nervous about flying back to Colorado with them. They are amazing little people and I’m blessed to be their mom. Funny side story…today Evan went around to everyone and said ‘Are you a human?’ How funny, why would he even say that? 🙂 Love those kids…..

On another note, my sister in law is pregnant (Yea!!!!) and I went with her today to start her registry. I was seriously so excited, not only because she’s having a baby, but because a registry is literally the first organizing thing you do for a new baby! And I got to share it with her! Thank you Stacy!

However, the store did not offer any kind of real checklist. Now I know everyone’s needs and wants are different, but it’s still helpful to have a general guide for anything like that. We are continuing the registry process tomorrow so tonight I searched websites and found a couple great baby registry checklists that I’ll print off for her to look at. It really does help to have something to check off and reference. And I’m such a ridiculous list person that I literally can’t do anything without a list. This registry thing is right up my alley. I’ll keep you posted on my travels through Georgia!

~Erin

I Have been Nominated for an Illuminating Blogger Award!

Illuminating Blogger Award

I’m so excited that I was nominated for an Illuminating Blogger Award. Thank you so much to Thea from http://organizedlivingessentials.com! I’m new to the blogging world and she has already been a source of inspiration and support. Thank you Thea! Check out her blog for posts on organizing, crafts and life inspiration. The format is great. Posts are often separated into ‘The Situation’, ‘The Problem’ and ‘The Solution’. What an easy and helpful way to organize posts and ideas!

Here are things nominees are supposed to do to continue the nominating and encourage recognition of each other and also the site that hosts the award!

-The nominee should visit the award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/) and leave a comment indicating that they have been nominated and by whom. (This step is so important because it’s the only way that we can create a blogroll of award winners). (Check!)

-Here is the official award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/)

-Share one random thing about yourself in your blog post. Here goes nothing…I could do all of these things every day: Take pictures of my kids; go on scenic drives with my husband, eat mac & cheese, sing, read, sit on my front porch, and make to do lists 🙂

-It is also my pleasure to nominate 5 blogs that inspire, intrigue, teach and fascinate me!

http://lifesprinkles.com/ – Inspiration for a balanced life. How can you possibly fit everything in? Ask Life Sprinkles! 🙂

http://alotonyourplate.wordpress.com/ – A great blog about a little of this and a little of that!

http://southernbellesoulmountainbrideheart.blogspot.com/ – This girl can do anything. Love it!

http://spaceforlivingos.com/about – She runs a business, but it’s also her passion. How inspiring!

http://modernchristianwoman.com/   – Delicious recipes and tips that even I can handle!

Thanks everyone!

~Erin

Time for Change

So this weekend was time to take a break from the routine. Stop the work, stop the cleaning, stop the organizing and get out of town. Me and the fam escaped for a one night mini vacay to Pagosa Springs, CO. And how did we pay for the majority of our trip? Quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies friends! We have been planning this trip for a while and had already booked the hotel, but we still had to pay for everything else. So last week, we gathered up the change we had around the house and had ourselves a counting party!

We keep little containers for change around the house so it doesn’t end up hanging out on the counter or in our pockets. We prefer to use pretty containers so they blend into the decor and can be functional AND beautiful.

I’m so pretty!

We rolled the change into coin rolls, exchanged them at the bank and had enough money for road trip groceries, a tank of gas and a decent dinner! This was perfect! We just did a one night trip and we made lunches for both driving days. Our hotel offered free breakfast so we only had to eat out once. Instead of doing costly activities, we walked along the river, stopped at two different playgrounds for the kids and sat in the garden at our hotel in the evening. On the way back, we stopped at the Sand Dunes National Park, which only costs $3.00 per adult (and kids are free)!

Now why should you care about all of this? 🙂 Well, this post is about two things that are very important to me (and I think to most people)…Spending and Saving. That is, SPENDING time with family and SAVING money. I think it’s so important to have a clean and organized house that makes you feel comfortable and secure. However, what good is that if you don’t invest time with the ones you love and also plan for your future. I will be back with the organizing this week, I just needed to post about what is most important to me in the long run!

Sunday Survey Time!