My Latest Posts

Posted on: September 1st, 2015 by Darla | No Comments

A while back I showcased my organized freezer, but I somehow never got around to showing you how to organize a refrigerator.

How to Organize a Refrigerator

True story, my grandma is probably THE nicest person in the world, but her second claim to fame is a deadly refrigerator. Deadly, as in once or twice a year someone in the family will come and offer to toss out old food from the fridge, so there are no accidental trips to the emergency room. Even so, she’s been known to harbor salad dressings from the last decade. It just goes to prove, God didn’t give us all the same gifts!

Anyway, I don’t have time to clean or organize my refrigerator, so this is something that I kind of put on autopilot, and I never feel like it’s a very big job.

How to Organize a Refrigerator- Step 1

Eat all the food. The less that’s in the fridge, the less you have to move, toss, clean around, and organize. Whatever isn’t edible gets tossed. It’s not completely empty, but I kind of move everything over to one shelf rather than emptying it onto the counter.

How to Organize a Refrigerator

How to Organize a Refrigerator: Step 2

Wipe down the shelves and clean the veggie bins. I keep a bottle of vinegar and water on hand for this and other household chores. It’s safe for the kiddos, so I can see this being a chore that I’ll be handing off soon to my 8 year old. They LUUUUUV squirt bottles!

Use vinegar to clean and  Organize a Refrigerator

How to Organize a Refrigerator: Step 3

Wipe down the door bins. For some reason, I feel like this is the grimiest part of my fridge. It’s also where the out of date items hide. Optional: If I’m really motivated, I’ll wipe down the door seal. Experts say this needs to be done occasionally, but I’m mystified as to how crumbs make their way in there.

How to Organize a Refrigerator door bins

How to Organize a Refrigerator: Step 4

Go grocery shopping, and restock a shiny, clean fridge…with no lurking mystery meat or golden oldie leftovers.

How to Organize a Refrigerator

Full disclosure…I do not decorate the inside of my fridge. I know some people who do, but I have other things to do. The only fridge gadget that I have and love are the Tupperware FridgeSmart bins shown at the top right. Used correctly, they increase the life of my produce and fruit by days and weeks, and I’ve had them for over ten years. Talk about saving money by staying organized!

I usually do this little eat leftovers- clean and organize the fridge- shop for groceries routine without thinking much about it, because it doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes for each step. It usually ends up happening sometime around the first of the month, and ends up being part of my first of the month organizing routines.

What about you? Do you have a favorite way you like to Organize a Refrigerator?

Posted on: August 25th, 2015 by Darla | No Comments

By now, you probably know that I’m off on an adventure to soak up as much of as Paris as possible. Before heading out, I had new luggage tags on my wish list. Did you know that simple little luggage tags can run $10-20???? I’d rather spend that on museum admission or more crepes, thank you very much.

Luggage Tag Makeover

I’ll warn you now that this Luggage Tag Makeover project is kind of a fail, but kind of not. You decide. Remember how not “crafty” I’m always telling you I am? Yeah, here’s proof. You have been warned.

This logo luggage tag was ripe with rehab possibilities.

Basic Logo Luggage Tag for makeover

I got some goodies at Haven Conference, and I decided to get creative with some Modern Masters Metallic Green Apple, some Modern Masters Metallic Green Apple adhesive, and a candy wrapper.

I hit the logo side of the tag with a light layer of spray primer, then two coats of this gorgeous, rich metallic green.

painted luggage tag makeover

I may not have let it dry as much as needed (mistake number one), and then I applied a thick coat of DecoPage Outdoor, which was probably mistake number two. If you replicate this, go with a thin coat of this stuff and let it partially dry.

decoupage Luggage tag makeover

Mistake number three was adding the plastic too soon. Basically, I covered a wet surface with plastic and spent the next three days watching paint dry. The plastic was a polka dot candy bag from Haven in a previous life.

painted luggage tag makeover

It couldn’t hurt to wrap the entire tag in packing tape, and now it’s durable enough for a transatlantic trip.

Luggage Tag makeover finished

Even so, with all these mistakes, I still ended up with my desired end result: a no cost and impactful makeover for a luggage tag that will set my bag apart.

What do you think? Was this luggage tag makeover a fail or fab?

Posted on: August 18th, 2015 by Darla | 1 Comment

I’ll turn anything into a home office, because I don’t know anyone these days who doesn’t need one. And especially when mom has 4 kids and 4 businesses, mom needs a home office!

Mom needs a home office

Does this look familiar? The dining table is command central, which makes family meals more difficult than they should be. mom needs a home office

Lucky for us, she already has the space for a home office! This office armoire isn’t being used by anyone in the household, so we’re laying claim to it today! I would have taken a picture of all the unused clutter inside, but we had to organize the entire room before we could even reach the cabinet.

Mom's new home office is hiding in the clutter

Organize a Home Office for Mom

In just a few hours, we have all the clutter sorted, moved out, and grouped into projects. More importantly, we have all of mom’s businesses, books, and a tickler file moved into her new home office. Existing files that were previously in a plastic bin are now in the file drawer on the lower right. The stack of papers that need to be sorted (not shown) is less than a foot tall.

Mom's home office

All it took was an afternoon, and permission for mom to create her own space. She’ll plan on working on her laptop from the sofa that’s next to this cabinet, or maybe she’ll still hang out at the kitchen table, but this is now mom central, and all of her business supplies and files can land here, instead of getting in the way of dinner.

Does this inspire you to think differently about your space? Can you create a home office out of a nook or a home office in a closet in your home?

(Sorry about the slightly blurry pictures. We work hard when we are getting this much done, and I’m just going to say we were working so fast that I didn’t stand still long enough to let the camera focus.)

Posted on: August 13th, 2015 by Darla | 11 Comments

Did you get away to someplace awesome this summer? I took my annual pilgrimage to Haven Conference, a DIY, decorating, and professional blogging conference. This was my third year, and it’s a different but great experience every time.

Haven Conference 2015

It’s completely impossible to narrow down all the great things about Haven to a short list, but I’m going to do my best. Here are 10 of the many best things about Haven Conference 2015.

By the way, sorry for the poor photos. I picked up a new camera 2 days before Haven, and this is what you get. Pictures are SO MUCH BETTER since then.

New blogger roommates can be awesome, like Kendra Darr of SimplyDarrling.

Haven 2015 SimplyDarrling
There’s absolutely nothing better than finding your tribe. Ryobi still rocks!

Ryobi Rocks Haven(I know, it’s a shocker. You were expecting to see my Ryobi boys here, right? But Stephanie is one of my favorite people at Ryobi.)

Finding DIY projects anyone can do. You guys! I can’t wait to get time to put together this great organizing workbench from Simpson StrongTie  and available at The Home Depot. (With my Ryobi tools, of course.)
Simpson StrongTie kits
With Liberty and DIY for all, with my friend Scottie from Saved By Scottie. Liberty Hardware, that is.

Saved by scottie
A reminder that the simplest paint projects, like this easy silhouette paint project from Behr, can have high impact.

Behr At Haven Conf
New tools from Kreg inspire crazy goals, like building a whole new bed from simple plans. It just might take some time.

Kreg at Haven
Finding other people who get as excited about good lighting as I do. Have you seen the new GE BrightStiks?

Haven Conference
Periscope looks like the next big thing. If you are a blogger or marketer, hop on now and start learning how to use it.

Haven Conference 2015 (1)
Ultimately, DIY is about having a second chances mindset. DIY can be frugal, creatively rewarding and socially responsible and one way to create a beautiful life. Thanks to Amy Howard for inspiring us with her just released book, A Maker’s Guide.

Amy Howard paint A Makers Guide book

Hanging late at night with some of my best friends in the blog world, like Kim from The Kim Six Fix.

The Kim Six Fix

And even more best friends. Sorry for the poor picture here, but you should really get to know these ladies. Dreaming In Color, Dagmar’s Home, Somebody Laughed, and Tracey Hillborn.  Even though that makes my list 11-14 best things about Haven, LOL.

Haven conference bloggers

Would you like to win your own mementos and DIY tools from Haven? I’ve put together a gift bag of some wonderful tools and gifts from Haven for one of my readers! Enter today, just by commenting below. Tell me about a favorite DIY project you’ve done. I’ll randomly draw by comment number after September 8.

Haven Conference Giveaway

Whether you win or not, remember to…

Haven Conference 2015

 Please comment below to enter the Haven Conference Goodie Bag Giveaway.

Posted on: August 11th, 2015 by Darla | No Comments

We’re living in an age where there is so much flexibility in fashions for the home, much like any skirt length is acceptable in clothing, but not all skirts look good on all women. Fashions for the home can run the gamut from casual to formal, neutral to colorful. But there are still a few “home décor don’ts” to avoid.

Home Decor Do's and Don'ts

What’s a home décor don’t?

1. Too short curtains. Hang them as close to the ceiling as possible, and skim the floor. For most homes with 8 or 9 foot ceilings, the off-the-shelf 84” curtains just look skimpy. Better to buy longer curtain lengths and have them hemmed if needed.

2. Wallpaper or stenciled borders, usually at the ceiling or chair rail. These will date your home back to the 1980’s faster than anything. Feel free to remove ASAP.

3. Clutter, disguised as small-scale accessories. Chose a few amazing large scale accessories and feature them, rather than lining up or grouping tiny souvenirs and bric-a-brac.

4. Dusty fake flowers, especially if they are out of season. Artificial flowers can actually look great and be great time savers and budget savers, but take care to wash them often and keep them seasonally appropriate.

5. Worn, tired, and mismatched bedding. Lovely, fresh bedding in current styles can easily be had for under $100. Even if you are the only one who ever sees it, a coordinated (not necessarily matching) bedding set can start and end your day in comfort and style.

So what’s a home décor do?

1. Fill your home with a coordinating color palette. Use shades of 3-5 colors in varying amounts throughout adjacent rooms to create a visually pleasing flow.

2. Use your rooms how they work best for you, not necessarily how the builder intended. If your dining room only gets used twice a year, consider turning it into a home office instead.

3. Invest in your own comfort and style. Expect to invest a minimum of 1% of your home’s value into maintenance and upgrades each year. So a home worth $500,000 will need at least $5,000 of upgrades and maintenance to stay in good shape. Don’t wait until you sell to enjoy a lovely, well-maintained home.

4. Connected spaces. Today’s homes have open, flowing floor plans. If you have a chance to remove doors between public rooms, remove non-structural walls, or remove cabinets that divide the kitchen from other rooms, Even in older homes, a small change can make a big difference to how the space feels and works.

5. Painted furniture is definitely a trend these days. Repurpose treasures from your family or second-hand stores easily and to your taste. Add one painted piece in a bold color like sapphire blue or sunshine yellow, or paint mismatched furniture all white to create a coordinated look. (click here to see an example: Be thrifty, green, and trendy all at the same time.