Clearing Out Your Home and Mind..A Look at Books that Will Help.

I find that getting a little guidance now and then on ways of simplifying my life helps a great deal when you get stuck in a rut. Books can inspire, help you remember, and guide you in the right direction. Below are a few great reads that will help you organize your shelves and your everyday life as well.

Organizing Plain and Simple by Donna Smallin is an all inclusive reference guide to get you through your clutter and find out why, and how, it accumulates in your life. It covers everything from cleaning to managing your time and family life. With professional resources and step by step guides, you won't be able to find a reason not to organize.

Organize Now by Jennifer Ford Berry is a great book for those of you who need a structured schedule in order to get things done. Conveniently, this book tackles the mountain of organizing a lot of us have to do and breaks it down into manageable weekly assignments. This book covers every nook and cranny where stuff can accumulate. An extra bonus is a chapter dedicated to helping you get it together for special events like holidays, a trip, or even when having a baby.

Unclutter Your Life in One Week by Erin Rooney Doland is a good book to establish a starting point within a brief period of time (one week). As reference, this might do the trick for some, but in my opinion the tasks the author creates for one days work could take some of us weeks to do properly. That being said, this book covers more than just the home. It delves into your work environment and even tips for getting out the door in the morning.

Living the Simple Life by Elaine St. James is a wonderful book about becoming clear about what is important to you. With chapters like "Things that Complicate Our Lives, Never Touch a Piece of Mail More Than Once, and Come Up With a Creative Solution Rather Than Buying a Solution" you are forced to start thinking about what you have in your lives and how to avoid the trappings of over complicating. This book deals with altering behaviors and your attitude to become a more fulfilled, time-saving, and organized individual.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin focuses on striving for both the physical and psychological ways of making yourself feel happier in a variety of areas in your life.
Although there is only a small section committed to cleaning up your space, there is an important message of overall wellbeing that is derived from organizing and shaping of your own direction. It is filled with personal stories of the author's struggles while maintaining an overall optimistic perspective about achieving a happier state.


Stylishly Creating Space in Your Bedroom

When it comes to your bedroom there may be a few areas that could provide you with a little extra space. Whether you want to add more things to your collection, or if you want to just have some room to breath, these quick tips can help you achieve your goal.

Organize your drawers and go through your clothes. Remove items you don't want / need anymore. Stow seasonal items (ex. sweaters, heavy coats) away for the season so that you can find the items you use everyday easily and without digging.

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Storage chests give you extra space for those sweaters and blankets while providing you with a place to sit and tie your shoes, or prop books and other often used items.


Here is a great example of transforming an unused space into usable storage. Not only did they hide their radiator with a practical window seat, but they built two large cabinets to either side for larger storage and used the header above the window to store smaller items.


Not all beds need to have the full pullout cabinetry underneath, or the slide and hide tupperware containers. This bed has lovely woven baskets to hold their extra items. The warmth and texture of the baskets compliment the warm earth tones throughout the room and give it an added natural feel.


Not that many of us have this option, but I thought it would be cool to take a look at an innovative solution for storing extra clothes. Very interesting, but not sure how practical.

dwell magazine

Using a dresser as a side table next to your bed can be a smart way of combining the elements you need. It is a functional side table where your light, clock, and books are located, but is also providing you with much more storage than a typical bed side table.

elle decor magazine


Another way to save space is use a desk as your bed side table. By combining two functional areas, you are able to save space in another area of your home.

domino magazine



Iron Beds

Finding the perfect bed can be a daunting task. Should you go with wood, tufted fabric, sleigh bed, platform? You spend a third of your life in bed, so choosing something that indulges your personal style and comfort is very important. When looking for the perfect bed frame make sure to take the following into consideration.

-Size - Don't get anything that will take up the entire floor plan, but also don't get something that is too small to be comfortable in.
-Height - Measure the height of the mattress you plan on using. Make sure the mattress and bed's height equal the overall height you want your bed to be.
-Style - Does the bed you are thinking about compliment your other furnishings?
-Storage - If additional space is something you lack, then getting a bed with added storage would be a great idea.

Take a look at a few iron beds that show you the diverse way you can use this classic bed type.

The Traditional to Contemporary Look:





The Antique Look:

elle decor magazine



The Rounded Frame:

country living magazine

coastal living magazine


The Canopy:



domino magazine

For a Child's Bedroom:

country living magazine

better home and garden magazine

country living magazine



Easy Embroidery Project

Over the holidays I try to make gifts for family and friends whenever I can. This year I wanted to make a gift for my friend in New York that was personal, but let me stretch creatively into a craft I had never tried before. Embroidery was something I've always been drawn to, but finding something that wasn't too technically overwhelming or time consuming was a little tricky. After all, xmas was only a few weeks away! Eventually, I was inspired to make a gift that reflected how much I missed us living nearby one another. The design was easy, the materials inexpensive, and the message heartfelt....the best combination!

Materials Needed:

-Embroidery hoop (I used a 6" hoop)
-Medium to heavy weight embroidery fabric (for beginners)
-Embroidery thread (Black and Red)
-Large crewel needle (size 10 or 12)
-Iron-on photo transfer paper


1. Find desired contour image (lines only) online. Make sure resolution is big enough that when you enlarge it it doesn't come out fuzzy. Having nice crisp lines will give you the best result. Make a copy on regular printer paper and hold copy, fabric, and hoop up to the light to make sure image will fit in the desired area. If successful, then you reverse (or mirror) the image using a photo program. Print reversed image on the iron-on paper. VERY IMPORTANT! If you don't mirror the image before you print, when you iron it on your fabric it will come out backwards. More information on printing with iron-on transfer sheets should be included in the directions that came with the paper.

2. Before transferring image make sure that your fabric has been ironed and is wrinkle free. Line up the image on your fabric and iron. Follow directions that came with iron-on paper for more info on iron settings.

3. After image is in place on your fabric, put fabric in hoop and secure. Cut off excess fabric that sticks out of hoop.

4. Cut about 20" of thread. For a smaller (less chunky) look separate some of the 6 strands of the thread and use only 3. Thread needle and sew small stitches following the pattern. Make sure the thread is covering the printed outline. Work with the black thread first and then with the red.

5. For an extra detail, write a small message on the back of the hoop along the wood.


Organizing your Medicine Cabinets

Recently, I opened my medicine cabinet and things started to fall out all over the sink. This was a sure sign that it was time to reevaluate where the space was actually going. The most important thing to remember when cleaning out and reorganizing your cabinet is that you make it work for you. I found that most of my medicine cabinet was made up of "medicine." Instead of continuing this reactionary trend, I decided to focus on the more important factor of prevention. I took all of the cold and sinus, cold and flu, allergies, serums and antidotes and put them in a plastic container and placed them in another bathroom cabinet. Then I filled the empty space with vitamins instead. I can't tell you how much better I felt about looking inside my cabinet. It felt like a weight had been lifted when I was focusing, not on when I am sick, but on my everyday health. So, keep in mind that your medicine cabinet should not only be filled with the items you use everyday, but things you want to incorporate into your everyday routine as well.

Below are a few exemplary medicine cabinets that will hopefully inspire the organizer in you as well as a few products that will help you get your cabinet in tip top shape.


Martha Stewart


$10.99 OXO Good Grips Medicine Cabinet Divided Organizer

$8.98 Medicine Cabinet Organizers at Harrietcarter.com

Tips on Getting Started from Real Simple.com:

1. Start by removing everything from your medicine cabinet. As you take each item out, check the expiration date. If it has expired, dispose of it properly. (The best way to dispose of medicine is to mix it with coffee grounds, cat litter, or sawdust in a zippered plastic bag and throw it out with the garbage. This will keep them away from kids and pets and prevent harm to fish and other wildlife habitats. Highly addictive drugs, which the food and drug administration classify as controlled substances should be flushed to eliminate any chance of accidental ingestion. Visit smarxtdisposal.net for a full list. Another options is to participate in a medication take-back program. To find out if your area has one and which medications it accepts, contact the local waste-management office at your city hall.) Sort and organize anything that hasn’t expired into piles based on what they are used for – pain medicines together, first aid essentials in another pile, and so on.

2. Look at your piles and evaluate what you need to re-stock. It's smart to have products for each of the following categories: Pain and fever, allergies, digestive issues, cuts and burns, and sunscreen. For a complete list of what you should stock see the Medicine Cabinet Essentials Checklist and the First Aid Essentials Checklist. Purchase anything that you are missing.

3. Final step: Wipe down the shelves and start putting everything away. The key to an organized cabinet is to group items you use together and nestle them in small, unbreakable containers. (Empty plastic beauty product jars work well, too.) Put products that you reach for most frequently front and center and place medicines on higher shelves out of reach of little hands.


Finding Storage Space in your Bathroom

The bathroom can be a total quandary because of the lack of space for many of us. It's hard to even keep the necessities sometimes. Here is a look at some space saving solutions for one of the smallest rooms in your house.

Everyone's bathroom storage dream!


Add storage shelves in unused, empty spaces.

Southern Living by Haskell Harris

Compartmentalize with shallow wood boxes. This way everything goes in its place.

Martha Stewart

Installing 3 towel racks instead of one

Above the door storage space


Storage and towel rack in one

Restoration Hardware

Re-Purposing Materials:

Wood Crates

Real Simple

Old Silver Set

Good Housekeeping

Cute little Berry Containers

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