5 Lesser-Known Fairytales for Creative Minds

Juniper TreeI read fairy tales to push my creativity into overdrive. Most of them are oddly written, with themes we usually don’t explore in modern times.

Unlike the sanitized, Disney interpretations, they are dark and deep. Power, corruption and conventions are major themes throughout most of the tales.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, consider reading one of the obscure fairy tales below.

The Goose Girl by The Brothers Grimm

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As a child, I was fascinated by the problem posed in this story. The main character, a princess, loses everything because she refuses to break her promise.

This story is one that is hard to understand unless you think about the lesson it was trying to teach. The titular girl’s character is what saves her.

She is too good.

And that always fascinated me. Also, she has a talking horse.

Excerpt:

Then with many harsh words the chambermaid ordered the princess to take off her own royal clothing and put on the chambermaid’s shabby clothes. And in the end the princess had to swear under the open heaven that she would not say one word of this to anyone at the royal court. If she had not taken this oath, she would have been killed on the spot. Falada saw everything, and remembered it well.

Blue Beard by Charles Perrault

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The more tales you read, the more you’ll realize that many stories were meant to prepare children for adult life. Thus, themes about young women adapting to forced marriages frequently present in stories. From Beauty and the Beast to Little Red Riding Hood, beastly males dominate young women’s lives.

Blue Beard follows this trend with a twist.

Excerpt:

Neither of them would have him, and they sent him backwards and forwards from one to the other, not being able to bear the thoughts of marrying a man who had a blue beard. Adding to their disgust and aversion was the fact that he already had been married to several wives, and nobody knew what had become of them.

Mother Holle by The Brothers Grimm

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Serena of Gossip Girl may have been the “golden girl” but, the original lives in this story. Two step sisters are contrasted for the content of their character by Mother Holle. Unlike other witchy figures, Mother Holle is both fair and benevolent.

Interestingly, the girls are sucked into her world. Usually, fairy tales feature magical beings that jump into our universe.

Excerpt:

The girl went back to the well not knowing what to do, and at last in her distress she jumped into the water after the spindle.

She remembered nothing more until she awoke and found herself in a beautiful meadow, full of sunshine, and with countless flowers blooming in every direction.

 

The Magic Fishbone by Charles Dickens

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Perhaps the most nonsensical story on this list, it will remind you of listening to a tale from a child. That is perhaps the best part of this writing. It captures the mind of a young person in a way that few adults can replicate.

It’s supposedly told by a child. So, the story follows a random and senseless narrative. This makes the moral even sweeter at the end.

Excerpt:

The King was beginning, “Might I ask the reason—?” when the Fairy became absolutely furious.

“Will you be good, sir?” she exclaimed, stamping her foot on the ground. “The reason for this, and the reason for that, indeed! You are always wanting the reason. No reason. There! Hoity toity me! I am sick of your grown-up reasons.”

The Six Swans by The Brother’s Grimm

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Although the better known fairy tales feature men saving women, this story’s protagonist is a diligent sister. She saves her brothers, and the whole kingdom with her patience.

Intriguing power dynamics play a role in the making and unmaking of the core curse. At the time, women wielded strength through marriage and children. This story focuses on the use and abuse of that privilege.

Excerpt:

The King in his anguish of mind consented, and the old woman led him to her little house where her daughter was sitting by the fire. She received the King as if she were expecting him, and he saw that she was certainly very beautiful; but she did not please him, and he could not look at her without a secret feeling of horror. As soon as he had lifted the maiden on to his horse the old woman showed him the way, and the King reached his palace, where the wedding was celebrated.

What Are Your Favorites?

I’d love to hear about your favorite tales and fables. Let me know what stories you love to read.

 

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5 Poets for People Who Don’t Like Poetry

Soul, WhitmanYou say you don’t like poetry but, don’t read poems. Consider this list a tasting.

I can appreciate the struggle to enjoy poetry. So many old tomes are long, with forced rhythms and rhymes. And then, current spoken word pieces can be overwhelming to decrypt.

But, I love poetry.

In fact, I prefer to sit and read a single poem from a selection of poems on a Sunday afternoon. Often, it’s aloud and a point of discussion.

Each of these poets are readable, enjoyable and overall, a pleasure to experience.

1.Edward Lear

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This is the limerick guy. He’s snotty and it’s delightful. Also, he drew creepy cartoons to go along with his poems.

Look for an illustrated volume for the complete experience.

Excerpt:

There was an Old Man in a tree,
Who was horribly bored by a Bee;
When they said, ‘Does it buzz?’
He replied, ‘Yes, it does!’
‘It’s a regular brute of a Bee!’

2. Maya Angelou

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Possibly the best known to modern readers, Angelou had a wonderful presence. Her work is quite popular, and become very pinnable, because her words are succinct.

Her thoughts are communal without becoming commonplace.

Excerpt:

I will remember silent walks in
Southern woods and long talks
In low voices
Shielding meaning from the big ears
Of overcurious adults.

3. Pablo Neruda

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Although his quotes about love have become the most popular, Neruda pontificated on a variety of topics. He has a subtle humor that most readers will appreciate.

It breaks up the earnestness of his writing.

Excerpt:

Fleas interest me so much
that I let them bite me for hours.
They are perfect, ancient, Sanskrit,
machines that admit of no appeal.

4. Sylvia Plath

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Although she is better known for her fictional near-memoir, The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath’s poetry continues to resonate.

They’re mostly confessions.

Yet, they’ve become a rallying cry for many.

Excerpt:

The nights snapped out of sight like a lizard’s eyelid :
A world of bald white days in a shadeless socket.

5. C.S. Lewis

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Before he wrote popular children’s fiction or theology musings, Lewis put together youthful, angry words. He had recently returned from the war.

And he had a lot to say about it.

Excerpt:

What call have I to dream of anything?
I am a wolf. Back to the world again,
And speech of fellow-brutes that once were men
Our throats can bark for slaughter: cannot sing.

Tell Me Your Thoughts

Reading poetry is a pleasant way to absorb new thoughts and discover fresh voices. If you liked this list then, you might enjoy reading some new works like 15 Poets You Need to Be Reading in 2018.

Check out some rhymes and tell me what you think.

 

 

 

How to Make Your Own Pom Pom Garland Tutorial

If you’re looking to add a little whimsy to a room, a pom pom garland can do the trick. For my version, I went a little primitive and boho with varying pom pom colors and sizes.

What I love about this tutorial?

It’s easy to make it your own.

How to Make Your Own Pom Pom Garland Tutorial

This tutorial is easy to put together, especially if you already know how to make cute pom poms. You can use up scrap yarn and turn it into something wonderful.

Time Required: 10-30 minutes

Cost: Free or Minimal

Tools:

  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Pen or Marker

Materials:

  • White String
  • Hot Glue Sticks
  • Pom Poms or Yarn
  • 3M hooks

Instructions

If you haven’t already made some, start by making your own pom poms. Then, you are ready to make this garland.

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Step 1: Measure Your Yarn

Determine how long you want to make your garland and the space between your pom poms. For this one, I made it 15 feet long with about 3 inches between pom poms. Cut to length and make marks where you want your pom poms.

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Step 2: Glue Your Poms

Glue Your Pom Poms into place with a single dot. You’ll need to separate each strand slightly. Repeat until you finish.

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My Tip: I decided to make a variety of sizes and do them from large to small going out from the center.

Step 3: Hang and Enjoy

Using a 3M hook, hang your pom pom garland on the wall.

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Show Me Your Garlands

I like light-weight wall hangings that work with 3M hooks. As a renter, you want to avoid putting too many holes in the wall. A pom pom garland is perfect!

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I’d like to see any garlands you have made. Please post in the comments or tag me on Instagram @verderamade.

Make your own
Pin Now! Make Later.

How to Hack an IVAR (IKEA Hack Tutorial)

If you need slim storage, you can turn an IKEA IVAR into a narrow cabinet with a few simple steps. All you need is the cabinet, furniture legs and some paint. At $70 a cabinet, this is an easy and cost-effective solution to your home organization.

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I put two cabinets side-by-side to make a living room landing space. My husband and I each get our own cabinet. I store art supplies and work files in mine. My husband stores electronics and work files in his.

The best IVAR IKEA hacks transform the cabinet into furniture while capitalizing on the low price of the original piece.

How to Hack an IVAR from Ikea

Hacking an IVAR easily transforms this kitchen cabinet into a unique piece of furniture. You don’t need much to get started.

Time: 1 hr 30 minutes

Cost: $70 – $300

Tools:

  • Screw Driver
  • Paint Brush
  • Hex Key from kit

Materials

  • Screws
  • IKEA IVAR Kit
  • Furniture Legs
  • Paint, Furniture Wax or Polyurethane

Instructions

The best thing about this project? The variations are limitless. All you have to do is purchase unique furniture legs and finish to make the IVAR work in your space.

Step 1: Purchase your IVAR and Assemble

Follow the instructions provided with the kit. The cabinet should be assembled as specified by Ikea.

Step 2: Add Legs

Add your selected furniture legs using the instructions from the leg kit. Most include a metal piece that must be screwed into the bottom of the IVAR cabinet. Then, you can screw the leg into the metal piece.

Step 3: Finish and Style

Paint, wax or polyurethane according to your taste. Mine are currently the raw pine with no refinishing. However there are several cool transformations that you can fine online.

Best IVAR Hacks

I’ve created a board with the best IVAR hacks. Most of these follow a similar design, adding legs to the narrow model. Repin your favorites for inspiration.

 

Show Me Your Inspo!

I’d love to see the IVAR projects that you love most. An IVAR hack is such a great project for any home. Send me links to pins or projects in the comments!

 

How to Make a Felt Star Mobile (Tutorial)

If you are only going to make one project for your baby’s room, this is it!

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Baby’s Eye View of the Mobile

When I thought about decorating my son’s nursery, my DIY spirit tempted me to take on a long list of projects. Realizing that I should focus on simplicity over quantity, I opted to commit to a single project.

What project inspired me most?

I liked the idea of my baby peacefully enjoying a unique mobile that created just for him.

I selected this project after some disappointing shopping. I didn’t see a single mobile that I liked. To begin, I wanted something with a nice look both from the side (for me) and beneath (for baby). Also, I wanted soft colors (for my clean aesthetic) but something eye-catching (for the baby). I wanted it to feel organic but, I needed it to be motorized.

The resulting project was my solution.

How to Make a Felt Star Mobile

Time Required: 45 Minutes

Cost: $30

Tools

  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Hot Glue Sticks
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Sharpie
  • Pencil

Materials

  • Mobile Hanger (model pictured)
  • Mobile Motor (model pictured)
  • White paper or thin cardboard
  • White string
  • Royal Blue Felt (2 sheets)
  • Dark Grey Felt (2 sheets)
  • Light Grey Felt (2 sheets)

Instructions

Making a felt star mobile requires a trip to the craft store and a little online shopping.

Step 1: Cut Out Stars

I traced and cut out stars on white copy paper. However, you could buy pre-cut stencils for any shape.

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Step 2: Cut Felt Stars

I cut out the stars from the selected felt colors. You’ll need 2 sides for each shape. So, I cut the following:

  • 20 small light grey stars
  • 20 medium dark grey stars
  • 10 large blue stars

Make sure you keep the fabric scraps in a pile to use as stuffing later.

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Step 3: Create the Blue Stars

These stars hang at the bottom of each strand. Using your scissors, poke a hole in the middle of 5 stars. Then, thread the white string through. Stuff each star using fabric scraps and seal it with hot glue. In the end, you should have 5 strings with a big blue star at the bottom.

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Step 4: Add the Grey Stars

Add the grey stars one at a time. They can be spaced about 2 inches apart. You can measure them evenly or vary them for an organic look.

Keep each star in place on the string with a dot of hot glue. Then, glue both sides together around the edges.

Repeat this until you’ve added all the stars for each strand.

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Step 5: Assemble the Mobile

In the end, you should have 5 strands with 5 stars on each. Hang these from your mobile kit by tying a knot on each end. You can hang them evenly or vary the heights.

I chose to vary the lengths for a more whimsical an organic look.

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I attached the mobile to the ceiling using a 3M hook. The small motor plays music and spins the motor. This light-weight mobile spins with the breeze or when the motor is on.

Let’s See Yours

In the end, I created an simple felt star mobile that my baby loves. You can see how this concept can be changed for different colors and shapes. It’s light-weight and whimsical to perfectly match the feel of the room.

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My Calm, Minimalist Nursery

I’d love to see how you decorated your child’s room. Leave a link to your favorite projects in the comments.

How to Deal With Sentimental Clutter

LovecraftProjecting emotions onto objects is an odd quirk of being human. Items themselves can evoke memories from their shape, feel and smell. Some are special and good. Some are unpleasant or weak. Separating meaningful items (even if they aren’t useful) into keep and toss piles can be a stressful and energy sucking process.

In fact, sentimental clutter is usually listed as a separate category of organization. It’s so hard to decide what stays and what goes.

The experts say…

  • Christine Kell: “I put my prom dress on one last time, took a picture, and shared it on Facebook,” says Kell. “People laughed and commented, and that made it easier to get rid of the dress — because it’s really all about your relationships and sharing the memory.” (Source)
  • Marie Kondo: “Hold each item in your hands, as close to your heart as possible,” she says. “And then, pay close attention to how your body responds. When something sparks joy, you should feel a little thrill running through your body, as if your body is somehow slowly rising up to meet the item, embracing it even.” (Source)
  • Joanna Gaines: While going through her kids’ baby clothes, she kept her favorites and tucked them each in a container with a note, “in case they are sentimental like their mama,” she writes on Insta Stories. (Source)

How to Deal with Sentimental Clutter

My process for sentimental clutter is a little different. I go through a process that allows me to identify the emotions and determine what space the objects have in my life. Below are the steps I take to assess each item.

Separate Emotional Items

First, I pull together the clutter that I consider to be keepsakes. These are objects that really don’t have much function and don’t fit as part of my daily life. I put them in laundry baskets. Seeing them together often causes me to reconsider the sheer amount of sentimental items I really need to keep.

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My mother saved this cabinet for me from our childhood home. I updated it with some wood oil and paint to make it a special place in my son’s bedroom.

Pack Away and Take a Test

Next, I pack these items away. I leave them somewhere safe but, where I can’t see them. I put a reminder in my calendar to go back a couple of months later and review the baskets.

When the time comes, I try to make a list of what I packed away without looking. Usually, I can only recall a handful of special things that I set aside. This is a very telling part of the process. It shows what items really matter because they take up some space in my memory.

At this point, I can usually remove some of the items because I have realized they really don’t matter much to me.

Write Down Your Feelings

With the remaining items, I create a list. Next to each, I write little notes about the emotions they give me. Sometimes, the feelings can be complicated or negative. Often the emotions are not ones I want to relive. This helps me get rid of things that don’t make me feel joy.

Display and Enjoy

With anything that is left, I make a plan on how I will display them. Sometimes that means framing things, cleaning them or altering them in some way. Regardless, this means less of those items are actually clutter.

They are now a meaningful part of my home decor with the chance to bring me joy each day.

Tell Me Your Thoughts!

How to deal with Sentimental clutter
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I’d love to hear about the special items that you choose to keep and display. Do you have something special handed down from a friend or family member? Do you have mementos from special events? Let me know about your favorite pieces and how they came into your life.

Why I Decided to Organize My Life

I consider myself a “Type A” creative person. Some people may call that a contradiction. It kind of is. Basically, I have an artistic side that I express through writing and art. But, I also prefer to work in a meticulous and organized manner.

You won’t find me in a studio filled with piles of inspirational clutter.

“It’s human nature to take the easy route and leap at storage methods that promise quick and convenient ways to remove visible clutter. Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved. But sooner or later, all the storage units are full, and the room once again overflows with things.” – Marie Kondo

Since my first apartment, I became determined to organize my life. Below are the key motivations behind my process.

Why I Decided to Organize My Life

Have you ever stayed in a hotel room for business travel? It’s amazing. With such a neat and maintenance-free space, it’s easy to focus on being productive. You can sit on the bed, hunch at the little desk or put your feet up on the coffee table at the undersized couch. Nothing rests on any surface except the materials you need for your project.

That’s the feeling I wanted to develop in my own home. I wanted a place that allowed me to focus and that meant I needed to get organized.

I desired to be more creative.

I feel very blocked when I am surrounded by mess. Instead of letting my thoughts flow through me, I find myself making lists of things I need to tidy or clean. However, when I am in a tidy space, I can’t help but touch my tools and supplies more thoughtfully. It makes me feel free to create.

I wanted more time.

Disorganization actually sucks up my time. I find myself hunting for things because I don’t know where I put them. Then, that creates stress. And when I finally find the item, I’m annoyed that I had to search for it. Keeping things organized gives me some of my precious time back.

I craved less stress.

Overall, I feel less stressed in an organized home. I’m a Type A list-maker. I need a certain amount of control over my surroundings to feel at ease. Keeping things organized levels out my moods and allows me to enjoy everything I do.

All of this motivated me to organize my life. Now, I spend less time lost in emotions and stressful thoughts. Instead, I get to be more creative and enjoy that process.

What Do You Think?

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I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you consider yourself organized? Or do you have a beautifully chaotic process? Tell me more about your process in the comments below.

How I Was Able to Organize My House

When I moved into my first apartment, it was a disaster. I had just graduated from college. I had clothes, boxes from my childhood bedroom and one piece of furniture – a desk. The place looked how you would expect. Stuff was everywhere.

Even as I started to acquire normal furniture like a bed, sofa and kitchen table, the place still looked crazy.

“Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of live are not only not indispensable but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I hadn’t lived there very long when my boyfriend sent someone over (unannounced) to pick up something from my place. He didn’t live with me and wasn’t aware that I was spending my weekend tearing things apart, cleaning and trying to deal with my piles of stuff. When my surprise guests arrived, I was so embarrassed!

Even from the front door, you could tell the place was a mess. At that moment, I realized that I wanted a very clean and organized home – one that would be easy to maintain.

How I Was Able to Organize My House

cacd6080636dbd9dd72cf0d276ecd622As someone who works, and always seems to have a side hustle, I don’t want to spend much time maintaining my space. Sure, I have to clean like everyone else. But, I don’t want to move piles around to find things or clean underneath.

So, I developed a system to organize my house and keep it looking good in any situation.

1. Focused Mindset

As I started unpacking my stuff, I realized that I had a lot going. There were craft supplies, art supplies, sewing supplies, old textbooks, clothes, sports equipment, board games, cooking tools and piles of books.

As I considered my situation, I noticed that my possessions weren’t reflective of how I spent my time. I didn’t do massive sewing projects ever. I never looked at my college textbooks. I really preferred to cook simple meals without lots of tools or appliances.

So, I culled my belongings to match how I actually prefer to spend my time. By only keeping the stuff in reach that I actually use daily, my space became more focused.

2. Smarter Storage

For the stuff I rarely used, I developed a pattern for smarter storage. For example, I always have a bin for donations or yard sales. As I pack things away, I find there are items that I’m not sure I want to keep. So, I place those in a “maybe” box along with the items I’m sure that I want to store. This keeps me from endlessly packing and unpacking items that I really don’t want to keep.

3. Manageable Lists

As a list addict, I would fall into that common trap of long, complicated lists. They usually aren’t achievable and bring a feeling of constant defeat. Over time, I changed my mindset and simplified my list-making into a more manageable process. Some of it is similar to Bullet Journaling, where I focus on daily activities and a few long-term goals.

4. Reliable Routine

I must admit that I’ve become a more boring person for the sake of home organization. Meaning – I schedule time to keep things neat. It’s part of my daily, weekly and monthly routine. It starts with putting things back in their place every day. Weekly, I make sure I get rid of items that don’t belong in my home. This is often things that I must return to other people. Finally, I go through my storage monthly. I just do one “problem” space at a time like a cabinet or a shelf. It’s a chance to make sure I’m actually using the things I have put away. By keeping to this regular process, I keep things in check.

What Do You Think?

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I’d love to hear about your thoughts on home organization. Do you like to keep things organized? Or do you have a more organic way of managing your life? Tell me more about your thoughts in the comments.

Top 15 Home Organization Hacks

My first apartment was a disaster.  When I moved from college to that first space, I quickly realized that my stuff needed both a thorough decluttering and a system for organizing. From the kitchen utensils to the files on my desk, my stuff lay in unhelpful piles.

“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” – Benjamin Franklin

My biggest problem? I didn’t have a system to organize my stuff. To begin, I was short on real furniture. So, I had to save up money to buy those basic pieces like a desk, bookshelf and dresser.

Then, I needed to make my stuff fit together in an organized system. With time, I found I preferred to organize slowly.

Top 25 Home Organization Hacks

Below are my little tips and tricks that keep my home organized. Each of these addresses a common problem area where clutter tends to build up. With these home organization hacks, you can tackle the most disorganized areas of your space.

1. Use Industrial Shelving for Long-Term Storage

Look for pieces that can be adjusted for both height and width. Then, as you move or shift storage, you can still use the pieces. I have two of these shelves from Lowes. I’ve used them in several different rentals with great success.

2. Try Magazine Bins for Files

I’ve tried filing bins with hanging folders but, found them frustrating. Mostly, I end up over-stuffing the files and struggling to keep categories. By switching to magazine files, I was able to simplify the storage and put them upright in a cabinet. The photo above shows how nice they look on open shelving too.

3. Store Cosmetics in Glasses and Goblets

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I don’t use a lot of makeup but, I do like to keep my favorite products handy. So, I display them openly in handed-down glasses. You can do the same using heirloom goblets or thrifted finds.

4. Nest Small Items in Sugar Bowls

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Sugar bowls are one of my favorite ways to store small items. They’re usually shades of white and cream with little dainty lids. You can collect them from family members, friends or vintage sources.

 

5. Stow Spices in Glass Bins

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If you don’t have a great space for a spice rack, consider storing them in a glass bin. It makes it easy to see inside when you place it in a cabinet. Also, it’s a practical way to pull together mismatched containers for easy access.

6. Label Boxes with Masking Tape

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I’ve tried different labeling systems but, have found that I prefer plain masking tape. Why? It’s easy to remove. Typically, I relabel boxes over time. So, I need something that will stay on for a long time but, remove easily at a later date. Masking tape does the trick.

7. Partition Drawers with Shoe boxes

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This is an old family trick but, worth sharing. While you can invest in actual drawer organizers, shoe boxes can double as dividers. They’re not as pretty but, they make our drawers more functional.

8. Put Crates in Your Car Trunk

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Do you have plastic milk crates leftover from your college dorm days? Try reusing them in your trunk. We use them to contain trunk clutter like jumper cables and the first aid kit. Also, we keep crates with seasonal items (like defrosting gear or sports equipment) and swap them out as needed.

9. Repurpose an Art Box

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Unfortunately, this vintage art box was damaged and can no longer be used to tote my supplies. So, I pulled out the internal divider and use it to organize my “vanity.” I don’t actually have a true vanity. It’s just a spot on top of my dresser. The art box corrals my clutter into neat little compartments.

10. Attach Surge Protectors to Furniture

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Source: http://mattandcourtneyswebsite.com/customdesk.html

I learned this trick a long time ago and love it for desks and dressers. You can attach surge protectors to the back of furniture to corral chords. Everything looks so much neater with less cords.

11. Make a Bulletin Board Jewelry Holder

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Source: http://www.hiveandnest.com/2012/04/corkboard-jewelry-holder-tutorial.html

I’ve done several versions of this over the years and plan on making a new one for my latest bedroom. Display your jewelry easily using a bulletin board. It encourages you to wear items because you see them each morning.

12. Keep an Outbox by the Door

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I kept seeing this tip from several sources and it really does make a difference. Designate a spot in your home as an outbox. It will remind you to remove things from your home that don’t belong. It can be a bag for library books, items to return to friends, or donations for a charity. Whether you choose a bag or a box, this will help you focus on lightening your home of outgoing objects.

13. Keep Medicine in a Plastic Shoebox

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When you need medicine, you usually need it quick. I corralled all of mine in a clear plastic bin. It makes it easy to see what remedies are inside. Also, it’s quick to scoop up the whole box in case of an emergency.

With these home organization hacks, your space will feel more peaceful. If you tackle these clutter-prone areas slowly, you’ll find that your home improves over time.

Stay in Touch

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Do you have any home organization hacks that you want to share? I’d love to hear them. Let me know about them in the comments.

Also, please share or like this post if you found it helpful.