Pinspiration | Soaking Bath Salts

This year, I’m learning to live with less in my 2014 Simplicity theme year.  That means finding innovative ways to save money so we can spend our money in the places we really need to (or want to). Ever since I started running, I’ve been using bath salts more and more, and I love them. And the recipe is so simple (and includes a cheat!) – and best of all, they make great and inexpensive gifts.

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Pinspiration: Soaking Bath Salts. This easy, useful project can be completed in 15 minutes. And recipes save your tired, achy muscles and make cute, inexpensive gifts.  We made these gifts for all of our kids teachers, our friends and our family (and I saved a few for myself, too).  These hard-working bath salts remove toxins from the body, relax muscles and help calm the spirit.  They are so easy to make – worth it!

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Family Information Center that works for you

You and your family have a lot of information to keep organized.  Between activities, appointments and tasks, managing your family information can seem like a full-time job.  Keep your family organized by creating, updating or enhancing your family information center into the active storage area you’ve always needed.  With these easy strategies, you’ll be able to keep everything together and just where you need it.

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Find a visible location that works for you.  We keep all of our calendars, newsletters, coupons, notes and items in our Family Information Center located in our kitchen.  Since we’re in this room so much, it makes sense to have this important information stored together right where we see it every day.  Find a place in your house that you can keep all family information and supplies together and educate everyone else to do the same.

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Learn to Live with Less: My 365 Experiment

We moved into our new house one year ago today. It was only two blocks away from our old house, so the move was easy. But we learned something as we were moving all of our things. It seemed like we were moving lots of junk. Now we’ve always been pretty organized, but we’d been keeping and organizing our masses. And it wasn’t working.

As we were loading our things into our new house, my husband and I came to the same realization: “What if we just had less?” It sounded like a great idea, but we needed to figure out what that really meant. Here’s what I’ve learned in our year of living with less, follow these simple strategies and you can do the same.

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15 minute Junk Drawer Rescue

We have 96 intervals of 15 minutes every day, meaning you have many opportunities to make a difference.  Each day this month, I’m giving you a 15-minute project idea. Pick your favorites to improve your day, yourself or your world. I promise you have time for this.

We all have one. The Junk Drawer. And that’s OK! They have a purpose and can serve you well; a very useful space in your house that will help you when you’re dealing with Junk and need the random tool or item that will help solve your problem.  Use this simple strategy to set up the Junk Drawer you’ve always wanted.

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Get the right supplies. You don’t need to purchase new supplies to organize your Junk Drawer, you already have the supplies you need in your house.  But they do need to fit in the drawer (both height and width).  You’ll usually need to have low containers, but they can be varied shapes and sizes–whatever works for you. Here are a few of my favorite repurposed container ideas:

  • I always use pottery I purchase at university-student project/class fundraisers to organize in my home and office. Looks cool, supports college students and I own tons of it–so I want to put it to good use.
  • I also like coffee mugs and use them creatively for everything (cheaper toothbrush holders than the official toothbrush holder and easier to clean in the DW).  We don’t drink coffee and get tons of these as gifts, so we make use of what we have.
  • And I love the little, inexpensive bins (photo above) you can purchase at your local big box store, usually in the kitchen/home section.
  • My mom also uses boxes: cereal or food boxes (cut to fit–your cereal will survive in the plastic bag), shoe boxes, checkbook boxes or small gift boxes.

Any of these items work, use what you have available! Right now, find about 10 containers of varied shapes and sizes to use for this project.  You’ll also need one XL storage box (to use for 10 more minutes).

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Bins, Tubs & Containers: Start with the Right Supplies

It’s easy to organize when you have the right supplies.  And you don’t need to purchase new items to make your organization work.  First, re-purpose items you already own.  It’s fun and easy to find storage and organizing solutions for items you think might not be useful in their original form.

Next, if you need more supplies make a list of what to purchase so you’re prepared when you shop for new supplies. Be creative with where you find items.  Could you find a treasure bin at a thrift shop? Are friends donating their extras?  And remember to check for sales at local discount stores.

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Bins

It’s easier for kids to help clean if they can just toss supplies in a bin.  We have lots of options in our toy room and have the toys organized by categories.  I’m making info-graphic labels for each bin, so both kids know what toys will go where by the picture on the front (you’ll be able to see those pictures in my Labeling blog).  We purchased the blue bins 10 years ago to store holiday decorations and have re-purposed them many times in the last decade.

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Cleaning Containers

We don’t use many cleaning supplies, mostly natural cleaners. But the supplies we have are organized on a high shelf in our laundry room.  You’ll want to keep cleaning supplies out of children’s reach. We store our plastic bags to re-purpose into trash can liners in our green bin that we purchased 5 years ago and have re-purposed many times since. We store our floor cleaner in our mop bucket and have a small container that houses the rest of our cleaning supplies.  It’s much easier to find what you need when you keep everything together.

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Organized Gift & Decorating Station

You’ve got the time to be more organized with your gifts and decorations this year.  And by starting now, you’ll be less rushed and enjoy gifting and decorating if you’re prepared for birthdays and holidays in advance.  Consider creating or re-organizing your gift & decoration station which will help you keep everything organized and make you more prepared for all of your celebrations throughout the year.

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Set limits on spending.

Make a list of all of the gifts you’ll need to purchase throughout the year (including birthdays, holidays and gift-exchanges) and the amount of money you can realistically spend on gifts.  Write this information down. This will help you stick to your budget as you’re searching for gifts throughout the year. Consider keeping this list with you, either written in your wallet or as a note in your smart phone. Once you’ve purchased your items, store them together so you know what you have.  After you’ve purchased your gifts, store them together, so you’ll always know what you have and are ready for gifting.

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