Five Friday Favorites: our favorite apps for staying organized in the new year

Most of us enjoy being organized, and others of us want to be more organized. Some of us fit into both of those categories. Better organization and a more simplified life is at your fingertips…look no further than your smartphone.

There are a few apps that have proven indispensable to our family and I’d like to share them with you.

1. Cozi family organizer (free, premium version available)

Do you have two or more children with several activities on the calendar? Do you struggle to plan meals, keep track of schedules and to-do lists? Cozi is for you!! We use it to catalog recipes, share shopping lists and keep track of schedules via the calendar feature. Each week, it emails all members of your family the events for the week.

2. Spotify Family

I was already a Spotify Premium user and I originally tried to share my account with family. This worked great until we all wanted to listen to something different at the same time. For less than $20, you can have up to five members on one account…not much more than one Spotify Premium account. We also take advantage of their under 12 account, where you can block explicit content and see what your kid listens to.

3. Poshmark

Are you cleaning out closets for the new year and getting rid of outgrown clothing? Make a few extra bucks by selling those clothes on Poshmark. You can also save a few bucks by purchasing gently used clothing for your fast- growing littles. We do!

4. My Macros

Take charge of your diet and fitness by keeping track of your daily food intake with My Macros! I have used this app for about a year and a half now and I love how easy it is to track my calories, fats, carbs and proteins. I highly recommend it.

5. Instacart

No time to grocery shop? Uncomfortable going into the grocery store? Give Instacart a try! I have been making a weekly grocery cart, adding to it throughout the week, and finalizing my order when it’s finished. Then, I arrange a pickup time, drive to the store, and pick up my order. I pay online so my stuff is already paid for when I get there, and they even load it for me. It saves me so much time.

What apps do you use to keep your family, food and fitness on track? Comment below!

Reuse and repurpose: Five new uses for cardboard

We seem to always have a lot of cardboard around here. When our kids were younger we had diaper boxes. Now we have boxes from Amazon purchases and Christmas gifts. And with two daughters and a shoe fetish of my own, we have tons of shoe boxes. Whether it is a big box or a shoe box, there are so many creative and useful ways to reuse a shoebox.

1. Stylish storage container from a shoebox

From shoeBox to storage box

Take a shoebox and paint it or wrap it in pretty paper. Add a name plate and you have a cute and useful storage box. It’ll look great on your desk.

2. Diaper box closet storage bin

These cute bins are made from wrapping diaper boxes in fabric and decorating them with ribbon.

These super cute matching bins were made from diaper boxes, spray adhesive and fabric. They’re sturdy and roomy, and best of all, FREE! Don’t they look cute?

3. Make a hamper from a y’all box

This donation hamper was made from a tall skinny box…using the same fabric and ribbon as the diaper box bins

This one is just like the diaper box bins. With just fabric, spray adhesive, some ribbon to hide the seams and a cute label, you can have a cute new hamper. This is not for wet clothes, though. Only for dry items.

4. Cute notebooks or scrapbooks from cardboard

These are made from cardboard, card stock, pretty patterned paper and scrapbook binding posts.

I have made these many times to sell but also to give as gifts. Just take cardboard and cut it to your desired size. Use pretty patterned paper to cover it and spray adhesive to make it stick. Then, secure the paper to the cardboard. Create pages from card stock and a hole punch. Then, attach the cover and secure the binding posts through the covers and the pages. These make great journals, notebooks, photo albums or scrapbooks.

5. As a weed mat for your garden.

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Raise your hand if you hate pulling weeds. I know I do! Save yourself some time by lining your flowerbed or raised bed with flattened cardboard. It’s biodegradable and it will not hurt your plants.

I hope you have enjoyed these ideas! What do you do with your cardboard?

The Benefits of Living with Less…and why you should purge your house right now!

The Benefits of Living with Less…and why you should purge your house right now!

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RIGHT Now. Drop everything and PURGE YOUR HOME NOW! No, I’m kidding. Sort of.

I know you read a lot about purging your home on my blog. Some of you are probably fans of living with less already, while others of you are scratching your heads and wondering how much more stuff I can get rid of and blog about it. #istillhavetoomuchstuff

I am currently in the midst of a whole house purge, but we will talk more about that later.

The truth is, living with less has a lot of benefits. Some are health benefits, some are financial benefits, and some are so good they don’t fit into any category. I’d like to share a few of those with you today, as well as some great advice for purging your home that I’ve collected over the years.

1. Living with less can be beneficial to your mental and physical health

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  • Living with too much causes your house to feel cluttered. A cluttered house feels chaotic, and makes it hard for you to relax and destress. Continued stress affects your mental state, as well as your physical health.  An organized and clean home evokes a peaceful feeling, and who doesn’t want to feel at peace in their own home?
  • This one is especially true if you have kids. More stuff=fewer places to put things away. Stuff that is left out in the floor becomes a trip hazard. Show of hands: who else has fallen over items left in the floor, or stepped on some hard plastic toy with your bare feet? (Lego moms, can I get an “amen?” )

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2. Living with less makes your home feel and appear cleaner

  • Living with too much makes it harder to find places to put things away. Having nowhere to put things causes your home to look and feel cluttered (see above).
  • A cluttered house also seems dirty even if it really isn’t. Having less stuff and less clutter makes your house look and feel cleaner.

 

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3. Living with less saves time

How does living with less save time? It means that you spend less time looking for things. It’s been said that the average person spends four years of their life looking for things that they are missing. Not being able to find your missing items makes you stressed.  Having less stuff means that you don’t have to sort through so much when you need something.

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5. Living with less saves you money

How is this? Well, when you make a conscious effort to live with less, you are much more intentional with your spending. Additionally, who here has ever bought something, only to realize you already had that same item at home? Living with less makes it easier to distinguish what you need- therefore keeping you from spending money on something you already have.

 

There are many benefits to having an organized and simplified home, with less stuff. Start with one room at a time and keep only what you need- donate, recycle or throw away the rest. I know many people who wish their home was less cluttered, but I don’t know anyone who wishes their home was MORE cluttered. Start today and you’ll soon see the benefits.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Coming soon: Characteristics of an organized home

Getting organized: tips for a more organized home

Getting organized: tips for a more organized home

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It’s that time again- spring time. The time when flowers bloom, everything is green and fresh, there is pollen all over everything…and some of us engage in a little yearly tradition known as spring cleaning.

I don’t know about you, but my house needs some extra TLC, and I can’t always get to those extra things during the school year. Like many others, I choose to spend a few days in the spring giving my house some extra cleaning and organizing. Today, I’d like to share some tips for getting your house cleaned and organized but in a simple and timely manner.

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1. Give your closets some TLC 

One of the first things I tackle are our overflowing closets. and donate what I do not need, throw away what is damaged, and organize and put away anything else. You can read all about how to keep your closet cleaned here.  You can read about how to organize your child’s closet so that it grows with them here. 

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2. Clean your kitchen: clean your cabinets, fridge, freezer, and pantry.

Give your fridge a good cleaning before cleaning out your pantry and cabinets.

Remove any expired foods or unneeded kitchen items from your pantry. 

Use cabinet organizers to keep your needed items within easy reach. 

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3. Organize your bathroom!

Organize your linen closet by donating items you don’t use anymore, and throwing away expired items. 

Use drawer and cabinet organizers to keep everything in easy reach. 

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4. Organize your playroom

Get rid of any broken toys and donate or give away anything your kids have outgrown.

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5. General cleaning

I also like to do some extra cleaning, such as moving furniture and cleaning under or behind it, or cleaning our blinds. We also pressure wash the sidewalks, porch furniture, and outside of the house. We also take down the curtains and wash them.

What spring cleaning tasks do you do?

Closet Recharge: making your kids’ closet grow with them

Closet Recharge: making your kids’ closet grow with them

My oldest daughter’s closet was kind of a hot mess.

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Well, more than kind of. It WAS a hot mess. It started out great, but as her clothes got bigger (and she did, too), her needs began to change. I decided her closet needed a bit of an upgrade. Since her boxes and organizer shelf were still in great shape, it didn’t need to be a big upgrade.

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The first thing I did was order her some new hangers. Now that she is older, her clothes were falling off the child sized plastic hangers. I’d flip through her closet and the clothes would slide right off.

I purchased a pack of fifty velvet hangers from Walmart.com, and also a ten-pack of the same hangers with pants clips for her jeans and skirts. For fun (and to make them match her boxes), I ordered them in hot pink.

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Pink Velvet hangers

Now that her clothes were no longer falling off the hangers, and her hangers were all the same size and width, her closet already looked tons better.

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I also removed anything that did not fit, or was out of season to give her more space. Afterward, I began to think about what she needed to store in her closet. She is a little fashionista, so there are plenty of scarves, hats and purses that needed a home.

 

She also doesn’t wear pantyhose or tights that often anymore, so we really didn’t need two baskets for those.

When I finished purging things, I put all like items together, and updated her basket labels. When I finished, I had this:

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A closet that meets her needs and is pretty to look at as well.

Have a wonderful weekend!