Pretty Organizing on a Budget

We all hate it, but most of us live by a budget. Maybe, we don’t hate the budget; we just hate it when there doesn’t seem to be much allotted to organizing.

I mean, really, have you ever seen a line item on any budget that says “organizing.” It almost makes me laugh to think about it. (As a professional organizer, I know that everyone from time to time needs something or somewhere organized, and the help of a professional is often a great option. But no one ever told me I was a budgeted item. Come to think of it maybe we should encourage such a thing.)

When there isn’t a budget for organizing or buying products that aid in that pursuit, then organizing on a budget it is.

But just because you don’t spend a lot doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful!

A deep search on the topic will yield tips  for storage containers like:

  • “shop” for baskets and bins in your own home first
  • use hacks for storage, i.e. cover cereal box bottoms with pretty paper, egg cartons, muffins tins
  • shop at thrift stores and dollar stores

Ideas for shortcuts are everywhere for different areas of your home, but when you finish, somehow you think “this isn’t as pretty as the pictures I see online. I guess that’s what I get for trying to do this on a budget.”

Here are a few ideas on how to be pretty on a budget:

  • Use the same color containers or involve a color scheme that you love. Even if you have to cover boxes with paper, for heaven’s sake cover them with paper; don’t leave just the box. Make the papers coordinate or match, whatever you love. Even if you have to buy dollar store containers, buy the same color. The color coordination will add the value of being pleasing to the eye.
  • Use items that you have stashed away because you “love them and don’t want anything to happen to them.” My experience with my own “valuables” tells me that I’ll never enjoy them because there is always the possibility that “something will happen.” Truthfully, I’m not hard on my possessions, and I’m guessing that you’re not either. Get out those beloved pieces and re-purpose them for your organizing. It helps the budget, and you’ll love “what you’ve done with the place.”
  • If you need to buy products, spend the little bit more to get buy the products that enhance the appearance of your space, even if it is a closet. I know that other people don’t see inside your closet, but you do. And you matter. This is the space that you live in and work in. It matters what it looks like. It makes the work seem lighter if you love being there.

Organizing on a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t have a pretty spot. Take your time finding the right pieces in the right color scheme that are the right size and shape for the job. You’ll enjoy space even more.

Three Reason to Protect Your Bedroom

We’ve all done it. Used our bedrooms as storage. Ugh! What were we thinking?!

Oh, it happened so innocently. Perhaps you got a box out of the attic to sort through seasonal clothing for the upcoming season. Then on a whim, you decided to have friends over for dinner. But there sat that box of clothing in the middle of the living room floor.

No problem; you can just set it in the bedroom for now.

But the weekend is over, and it’s back to work, children’s activities, grocery shopping, etc. You think to yourself, “There’s always next weekend to tackle that box.”

Next weekend came but there were kids’s ballgames. So, it’s okay that the box is in the way. You’d been working around it for a week now anyway. What’s another week?

Then you teen’s science fair project took up residence in your bedroom where the siblings wouldn’t destroy it before the science fair next month. Next month?!

And then the stack of magazines you were scouring for new recipes showed up.

The stack of T-shirts for the quilt have been washed, but you’re not quite ready to sew. So . . . yup, they’re now lurking in your bedroom.

You not only get the picture; you’ve actually lived with the mess. Your bedroom often becomes home to a barrage of items that don’t belong there in the first place.

Eventually, you decide you must sort through everything that is now at home in your bedroom.

Bedrooms are an easy target for clutter and extra storage space, but they shouldn’t be!

Instead of talking you through the usual organizing steps, I want to talk you through WHY you should organize your bedroom. Understanding the sanctity of that space will go along way in motivating you to get it organized and keeping it organized.

  • Bedrooms are for sleeping and ultimately resting.

It’s common information now that clutter adds mental weight. When our minds are heavy, rest is, at best, well . . . restless, and at worst, illusive. We simply cannot rest when we are buried in “stuff.” The “stuff” veritably screams out to us to put it away, meaning we do not truly rest.

  • Bedrooms provide a haven.

Relaxing by its very nature implies a haven. Think spa. Need I say more? We all  long for time and a space to feel like the cares of the world are far away. Bedrooms should provide just that.

Have you ever been to a spa or salon where the boxes of shampoo, nail polish, or incense are sitting in the waiting room? There’s a reason that area and the massage rooms are clear of clutter.

Hotel rooms are a classic picture of why we like and need clutter free bedrooms. We all love the picture perfect place to relax. In fact, have you ever walked into your hotel room and just flopped on the bed with a deep sigh. Me too!

Your bedroom should be that space and evening should be that time to find your haven away from the  cares of the world.

  • Bedrooms are often our only place of retreat.

There’s a lot of activity going on in a home: meal prep in the kitchen, eating in the dining room, homework in the kids’ bedrooms, TV watching in the family room. And sometimes the standards are all over the place: eating takes place in the kitchen or the family room and homework is done in the dining room. Nonetheless, home is a busy little place.

If we want to get away with a book, find a place to work on our planners/journals or just to think, we head to our bedrooms.

I know; I know. It won’t be long till some little fist comes rapping at the bedroom door, and somebody wants you for some reason. But the fact that there was even a knock at the door, tells us that for some reason, it’s understood that something quiet is going on in there, and he who enters needs to do it respectfully.

We all need to retreat away from the busyness of life from time to time. You want your bedroom to function that way for you or your spouse.

(We could deviate here and say the same applies to your guest bedroom. Do your guest find a retreat, a haven, a quiet resting place in the space you provide for them? Or do they feel like they are keeping you from your hobby?)

Organize as you will. But let me recommend some things to eliminate from your bedroom.

  • Hobby paraphernalia – all of it! Even projects that you are presently working on. You don’t do them in your sleep anyway.
  • Stacks of magazines that you plan to read before going to sleep. It’s doubtful you will.
  • Removing a TV may be necessary if watching it makes you stay up later than you should.
  • Electronic devices; unplug for a bit, for heaven’s sake.
  • Laundry – if it’s clean, put it away; if it’s dirty, put it in the hamper. Your bed nor the floor are storage facilities.
  • Any kind of box of any kind of thing. If you need the items in the container, then they need a “home” where you can get to them. A box is not a “home.” For anything.
  • Clutter on your dresser top. What? You were able to make it to the dresser, but you couldn’t get the drawer open to put that item away?

When it comes to organizing your bedroom, you can go about it in a variety of ways. In the end, if you truly value your bedroom, it will serve you well.

Fall Decorating ~ Making It Easy

Fall ~ what a great time of the year! It marks cooler temperatures and, most enjoyable, color changes. It also marks the beginning of the quarter of the year that I most love to decorate for.

Fall brings all the beautiful oranges and yellows. I’m not in love with brown, but it does add a rich backdrop for the warm hues of autumn.

What are you using to decorate?

20131017_164210

My challenge to women, who are in the early years of homemaking, be patient; collect a few well chosen pieces each year with which to decorate. As the years pass, you will collect quite an inventory of items to use.

So let’s suppose you fall into this “early homemaker” group. What are some suggestions for decorating while waiting for the inventory to build?

  • Use leaves and pinecones from your yard (or your neighbor’s yard). Leaves can be ironed with wax paper to seal them to make them last. Or you can replace them as they dry out.
  • Use 40% or 50% coupons at local craft stores, i.e. Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, and buy a larger sized item. The larger item fills up space that would require many smaller sized items to fill up the same space. For example a faux pumpkin will work until you put up Christmas decorations; as compared to an “apple decoration.”
  • Some flowers dry well to use during fall.
  • Also, ornamental grasses have beautiful plumes that will dry to be used now.
  • Don’t overlook plain de-leafed branches to arrange in a container.
  • Ask your mother to borrow some of her inventory. Remember we said that over the years, you will collect quite a bit? Your mother has plenty; borrow hers. 😉

Oh! One way to build that inventory is to buy items at the end of the season when you can buy at a deep discount. However, by then the store may not have that one piece that you had your eye on. I suggest not picking out something and hoping that it will still be there when the discounts arrive. Rather go shopping the sales with fresh eyes ~ no expectations. You might be surprised and find something you are in love with.

Women who have collected décor for years unite!

  • Don’t put your decorations in the same place each year.
  • Different from the first suggestion, find completely different places to place your decorations. Think outside of the mantel and dining room table. For example, decorate along the top of your kitchen cabinets, inside your fireplace (except when in use), on the floor at the side of a chair or couch, inside a basket angled in the corner of the room.
  • Add only small changes for a new look, i.e. ribbon laced in among the pinecones, a big bow for the focal point, or a simple splash of color by adding new filler to an old arrangement.
  • Pare down the amount of the decorations you use, which serves to accent what you do have out.
  • Loan (or give) some of your decorations to an “early homemaker.” She wants to be where you are inventory-wise. She will be excited with “your old stuff.”

What are using to decorate? Please share your best kept secret for making fall decorating easy.