5 Life-Changing Tips to Help You Declutter Your Space For Good!

5 Life-Changing Tips to Help You Declutter Your Space For Good!

I don’t know about you, but if you’re anything like me, you like to organize…and organize again, then re-organize everything in an infinite cycle of organizing chaos, because it’s continually a mess, and there MUST be a better system.

Let me tell you, I’ve read A LOT of books, A LOT of blogs, and watched A LOT of documentaries, tv shows, and YouTube videos about decluttering, but only one book truly got into my head and made me discover the “why” behind the decluttering and organization.

The one book that finally inspired me to declutter regularly, the only book that I’ve ever re-read 8 times (or listened to on Audible) was also the book that taught me lessons about tidying, lessons about myself and lessons about life, that I had never known before.

If you didn’t guess it already, this book is called, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” I’m sure you’ve heard of it throughout the past several years, and now that they’ve created a show called “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” on Netflix, I’m sure you are well aware of this tidying way of life.

So, the reason I am telling you all of this is because I am launching my #DeclutterWithA Series on Instagram and the blog, starting this Friday, February 1, which will continue throughout the month of February! I will be taking you on my journey of decluttering my space and minimizing my belongings while sharing tips and tricks along the way.

PS: Did you know that the decluttering process is SO much easier when you prepare first?

To make this process easier for you to start, I’ve created a FREE Declutter Prep Guide to help you this week, before you start the decluttering process in YOUR home!

CLICK HERE to get your own Declutter Prep Guide.

Since I’ve read and re-read this book SEVERAL times, I honestly think it’s a great one for you to pick up in store, online, or even download on Audible (I’m a HUGE fan of Audible’s audiobooks), so you’ll always have it in your arsenal, but I figured I’d list a few tips and tricks I learned from the book, that I found extremely beneficial.

A Few Helpful Tips I Learned:

  1. Every item needs a home.
  2. Pick up each and every item, one at a time to see if it “sparks joy” within your heart.
  3. For the items that don’t spark joy, you must thank them for what they have brought to your life.
    • This could be the knowledge of knowing you shouldn’t buy similar things anymore, since you won’t wear them, or it could be that this item lasted a long time with you, and has already proven it’s worth, so now it’s ready to bring joy to another home.
  4. I found that when I wasn’t using an item, I felt more of a desire to part with it than I had anticipated. This was because it started to make me think of the items as I would think of people.
    • I began feeling bad that they were made for a specific use that I wasn’t using them for. I want them to fulfill their purpose, and if I couldn’t do that, they needed to go help someone else who could or would use them.
  5. Going through your home by category, rather than by room, truly allows you to see and lay out EVERYTHING you have from one category.
    • ie: if you had 1 junk drawer in every room, but tidied only by room, you would think you had the right amount of pens, post-it notes, & scissors. However, when you tidy by category and put all your office supplies in one spot and then realize you had 12 pairs of scissors, 78 pens and unlimited post-it notes, you can easily keep the best ones, eliminate the ones you constantly reach over, and have only one or two office supply drawers rather than 9 junk drawers throughout the house.

I can’t wait to start my first decluttering journey of 2019, and I hope that you will join me in the process and start decluttering and minimizing your home too! If you do start your decluttering process in February, please tag #DeclutterWithA so I can see what items “spark joy” in your life!

Always, your constantly decluttering friend,

A



DIY Christmas Gifts

DIY Christmas Gifts

Some years I go crazy with the gifts during Christmas, and end up with a lot of debt in the new year, but this year is different. I love my friends and family so so much, but my “love language” is definitely spending time with my loved ones or spending time making them something they will truly enjoy, rather than just giving them random useless things because “it’s the thought that counts.”

I thought I would share some tips for gifts you can make for your friends and family that they will love, as well as some that are budget friendly!

  1. A Statement-A-Day Jar: This year for B’s birthday I made him a jar filled with 365 notes that included different sayings, things I loved about him, things I wanted to do with him, and memories or funny anecdotes we shared throughout the past year. This really is such a great gift idea, because they will have something to open every single day until the next year.
    •  What you’ll need: 
      • 1 large jar (I recommend this 64oz. jar for the size)
      • Ribbon (I used this to put at the top of the jar so it looked “finished;” you may have this laying around your house, or you can pick up from the 99c store)
      • Gift Bag (A gift bag is easier to wrap the jar with, than wrapping paper, but you can do either; you can pick this up from the 99c store)
      • Tissue Paper (I use this to fill the gift bag with; you can pick this up from the 99c store)
      • Stationary Paper (I chose this Christmas one, but they have so many other decorative papers online or at Joann Crafts or Michael’s)
      • Pen (I love these felt tipped pens with different colors, but a regular pen or Sharpie works just fine too!)
      • Scissors (I cut the paper into strips 1″ x 3″, so you will get 12 strips for every sheet of the 6″ x 6″ paper I linked above)
      • Time! This project took me several hours, making sure I had enough topics to write down as well as counting and re-counting the papers to make sure I had 365
  2. Hand Made Photo Album: I made this gift for my parents a few years ago for Christmas and it was so simple and appreciated! We all have our phones attached to our hips, which means we always have our cameras with us at all times, THEREFORE, you probably already have a ton of candid photos of your family and friends. To make this album, I took scrapbooking cardstock, printed out my favorite photos of them and glued them on the pages. I secured the album with ribbon and it was so simple. 
    • What you’ll need: 
      • Scrapbooking paper or Craft Paper (This will make up the pages of your book.) 
      • Glue-stick or Washi Tape (to hold images down; if using washi tape, I recommend sticking the corners down on a diagonal, or taping only the top and bottom with smaller strips.)
      • Photo paper & printer (or you could have this printed at a photo developer like CVS or online)
      • Hole puncher (use this to punch three holes in the side of the paper and thread with twine or ribbon to create a binding.)
      • Ribbon or Twine (to secure the book together, I’ve linked thin satin ribbon, because that’s what I prefer, but you could use curling ribbon instead (it just needs to be small enough to fit through the punched holes.)
      • Scissors (to cut photos out)
      • Sharpie (to write words, or make designs around the photos)
  3. Personalized gift cards: When I was younger, I obviously couldn’t work, which meant I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on gifts, but I could gift “acts of service.” An act of service is a practical gift that enables the recipient to basically get time back for themselves. (and who doesn’t need more time?!) Since this gift is really up to you, I am going to list a few things you could “gift” your friends and family. However, in making these certificates, you could either create them on your computer using Photoshop or Word, online through a program called Canva, or by hand on nice cardstock.
    • Some examples could be: 
      • Washing their car
      • At home manicure/pedicure
      • Picking up their mail, groceries, dry cleaning, etc.
      • Running errands for them
      • Walking their dog
      • Bathing their dog
      • Pet-sitting
      • Cooking a nice dinner for them
      • Their sober chauffeur for the evening, instead of Uber
      • If you have experience: Wardrobe Styling, home organization, makeup application, hair styling/blowout
      • If you are knowledgable on a subject they are interested in, you could give them a 1 on 1 lesson
      • The list could really go on and on…

I hope these few ideas gave you a little DIY gift inspiration this year, especially if you’re short on time! Let me know what DIY or low budget gifts you have planned this year!! 

4 Tips for Maintaining a Work/Life Balance

4 Tips for Maintaining a Work/Life Balance

Whether you work from home, at an office, or as the CEO of a multi-million dollar company, maintaining a work/life balance is always a difficult issue we deal with. When you’re at work, you’re worrying about your home life, and when you’re at home, you’re feeling guilty for not working. 

I decided to make a list of a few tips to help you more easily maintain a work/home life balance.

  1. DO NOT multi-task at work: Did you know you could finish the same amount of work in 30 hrs (or less) that normally takes you 40 hours to complete? This is because you are multi-tasking, which is not efficient long term. When you’re at work, focus on one task at a time, and complete it before moving onto the next.
    •  When you’re trying to focus on the task at hand, while having 30 tabs open on your browser, and checking your email, during a weekend conversation with your coworker, you aren’t able to complete the one most important task at hand, but instead, you feel like a chicken with it’s head cut off bouncing from one screen to the next, not knowing what you’re doing or why.
    • When each project has a deadline associated with it, do you usually focus only on that project until it’s complete? This will free up 10+hours in your week to spend with your friends or family. Maybe that helps put it into perspective?
  2. DO NOT multi-task at home: When you are home with friends or family,  don’t spend your quality time with them checking email or texting your coworkers about a project you could’ve discussed at work. Doing this makes your family feel like a second priority, and you won’t be able to get the time back that you wasted talking to a colleague about an “emergency” that we BOTH know is not a life or death situation (unless you’re a doctor, then please, take the call).
  3. DO set a “phone free” time: When you are with loved ones, set aside a time to be “phone free”. This allows you to be truly present with your partner and to enjoy the time you spend together without being distracted by irrelevant issues.
    • When B and I go out to date night, or spend time at home at night, we have a specific time where we leave our phones in the other room and are completely present with each other to give one another our full attention. This allows for each of you to share your day, laugh a bit (or a lot in our case) and really bond on a deeper level, everyday.
  4. DO use your vacation time: If you have a company that compensates you for vacation days (or even if you don’t) take a vacation with your partner. Whether you are taking a “staycation” together or actually getting out of town, take the time off work to disconnect with the trials and tribulations of office drama, and reconnect and rekindle that fun or intimacy you had when you first started dating.
    • This is when you want to engage in “phone free” time too. 

I hope this helps you more easily navigate a work/home life balance! If you have any tips or tricks you would like to share, please let us all know in the comments! 

-A

Fall Decor Ideas for Every Style!

Fall Decor Ideas for Every Style!

Time is flying by this year and Halloween is already next Wednesday! Have you been just as consumed with the day to day activities (as I have been) that Halloween hasn’t crossed your mind until…right about now? Well, I have gathered a few simple decor DIYs that are pretty simple to create, to make your home feel like Fall is in the air, and decor that will match your own personal home aesthetic. Let your home be cozy, warm and beautiful enough to create happy memories with the ones you love during this festive season!

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TRADITIONAL001

TRADITIONAL:

Are you a traditionalist? Are you someone who simply loves the true authenticity of Fall and those bold red and rich orange hues that go along with the season? If so, this decor might be the perfect style for you!

Basic directions: (for more details with photos, click on the photo above)

  • For this DIY, it’s not so much a step by step process as it is a few different styling tips for your Fall mantel.
    • Try using non-seasonal items like window shutters, lanterns and vases to create the background for her seasonal decor, which creates more depth and visual interest.
    • Create ambience with a tiered candle stand in the fireplace and a glowing lantern with a candle on the hearth.
    • Add fresh seasonal flowers in wooden pails or rustic vases to give a true natural, Autumnal vibe.
    • Find a festive leaf wreath, leaf branches and small pumpkins to bring a pop of color to the mantel.
    • With a wooden crate, more scattered faux leaves and pumpkins, she creates a more rustic indoor look on the hearth, while keeping everything clean.
    • For finishing touches, add a cute “Fall” banner to the top of the window shutter and some festive pillows, to create a warm, cozy look.

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MINIMALIST:

For the ultimate minimalist, we found this gorgeous paint splattered pumpkin tutorial, which is fun, festive, and very simple.

Basic directions: (for a more detailed tutorial with photos, click on the photo below)

  1. Start with real pumpkins or fake pumpkins from the craft store (which are probably on sale right now), and paint them all one color, with whatever colors best match your home decor; let dry. *you can paint them all over with spray paint or acrylic paint and a brush.
  2. Once dry, lay pumpkins on their side on top of newspapers or plastic tarp for painting. *Do this outside so you won’t splatter paint throughout your entire dining room (unless that’s the look you’re going for). 
  3.  Use acrylic paint for this next step and dilute the paint with water. (about a 1:1 ratio)
  4. Load your brush with the paint mixture and whip it downward toward the pumpkin. Rotate pumpkin to your liking while splattering, to create the look you want. Let dry. *again, make sure you are doing this outside, the paint will get everywhere.
  5. That’s it! Simple, wasn’t it? *feel free to finish with some clear gloss, satin, or matte spray, or leave it alone.

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FRENCH COUNTRY:

So, you have more of a French Country kind of style. Try this gorgeous heirloom pumpkin look for a mantel, dining table centerpiece, or a buffet.

Basic directions: (for a more detailed tutorial with photos, click on the photo below)

  1. Start with real or plastic pumpkins and several different shades of green, ivory and blue paint
  2. Paint pumpkins all over with one shade of paint. Let dry. *remember to mix up the colors to paint the pumpkins differently, so they aren’t all the same.
  3. Use a dry brush to add subtle highlights and contour to the face and crevices of the pumpkin to add dimension.
  4. Use a diluted paint color to splatter paint onto pumpkins, to create a realistic look. Let dry. *remember to do this step outside and cover your surfaces with newspaper or painting tarps
  5. Spray with a clear matte or satin spray, let dry, and you’re done! *add greenery to create the whole scene, it looks like she used eucalyptus and some other greenery to match
  • she recommends removing the fake stems and replacing with real pumpkin stems, but you can also tape off the stems while painting and paint the fake stems with whatever color fits your style best!

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GLAM:

Are you inspired by all things that sparkle and shine? Well, this tablescape may be for you! Add a touch of class and an air of glamour to your Fall feast with a little glittery gilded charm!

Basic directions: (for a more detailed tutorial with photos, click on the photo below)

  1. What you’ll need are pumpkins of various sizes (real or fake), pinecones, a sliced tree stump (or a cake stand), gold spray paint or acrylic paint, gold votives, a strip of burlap and some branches (real or faux)
  2. Let’s begin with the burlap, cut into a size fit for your table (1/3 the width of your table and allow for 6″ to hanging over each end) and use this as your table runner, the background for your setup.
  3. Next are the branches and pinecones.  Lightly paint the ends of the branches and tips of the pinecones with gold acrylic paint. Let dry and spray with a clear gloss if preferred.
  4. For the pumpkins, you’ll want to use real or fake pumpkins, and spray or paint them gold, including the stems. Let dry and finish with a clear gloss if preferred.
  5. For the center piece, make sure to use the largest pumpkin and set it atop a thick slice of tree. If you are unable to come across a tree stump, use a cake stand in white or gold, or spray paint it a color of your preference. this gives the center of your table height and more visual character. 
  6. Lastly, come the votives. place the gold or mercury glass votive holders around the table and light those candles. The glow will create a beautifully enveloping ambiance, which will make your whole tablescape glisten.

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BOHEMIAN:

Are you craving a more lived in vibe, possibly something reminiscent of a gypsy fortress, exclusively for the wanderlust dedicated?  Try this simple, yet seasonally inspired, DIY with the cutest tiny pumpkins and gold tipped feather garland.

Basic directions: (for a more detailed tutorial with photos, click on the photo below)

  1. To make the garland, you will need string or twine, long enough to hang across your mantel, door frame, or wherever you choose to hang it up; and large assorted feathers
  2. Place a dot of hot glue on the tip of each feather and glue about 3″ apart *we recommend doing this on a piece of cardboard or a surface that won’t be ruined if damaged by the hot glue.
  3. Once the feathers are all glued down, grab a piece of paper or cardboard to cover the part of the feather you don’t want painted, and spray paint the visible part of the feather with gold spray paint. *make sure you are spraying outside or in a well-ventilated area, and you have a painting tarp or newspapers down underneath the feathers you are painting.
  4. After the paint is dry, you can hang it up! She used gold thumb tacks to place in her mantel, but if you aren’t wanting to create holes, we recommend grabbing the smallest command hooks in clear and tying them to the hooks. To create a more finished look, add a gold tipped feather to each end as well.

 

I hope some of these décor ideas have inspired you to create a festive, Fall-inspired atmosphere, that truly represents your own style. Enjoy a cozy, warm and beautiful season, filled with friends and family.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Traditional: 

Minimalist:

French Country: 

Glam:

Bohemian: