Creating More Space in a Small Space

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Do you often feel defeated by your small space? You are constantly struggling between the limited space and the amount of items you own. Fighting for space in a small home or apartment can be difficult! You should not be forced to get rid of your favorite things because there is no where to put them, but instead you should focus on good organizational systems. Organizing your small space effectively can change your life by making your small space, livable. Here are our four quick tips for creating more space in your small place:

Tip No. 1: Doors are so much more!

If you are not using your doors for extra storage, start using them ASAP. Doors can help organize things that you currently do not have a place for like shoes, coats, jewelry, dog leashes, etc. Try to purchase a door organizing system for as many doors as you can. It can ultimately help eliminate and reduce clutter.

Tip No. 2: “Double” your dining set.

When shopping for furniture, look for a dining room table that can be expanded when you have guests and retracted when it is just you. This can help create more space when you need it most.

Tip No. 3: Systematic shelving.

Shelving utilizes your wall space and it is never a bad idea in bathrooms, entry ways or kitchens. The extra space can be used for essential items that you do not have enough counter space for like your beauty products, car keys, and kitchen spices.

Tip No. 4: Fold-away Furniture.

Fold-away furniture is typically attached to the wall and allows you to bring it out when you need it and tuck it away when you do not need it. For example: if you do not have the room to keep a desk in your bedroom all day long, you can incorporate a fold-away desk. The desk will attach to the wall and you can bring it up when you need it and put it back when you do not need it. This solution is used in a lot of small city apartments because the owners do not have enough space for a full-sized desk.

We hope you enjoyed these four quick tips for creating more space in your small place. Let us know what you think in the comment section!

Master Suite Must Haves

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Master bedroom renovations are on the rise. Most commonly they are being built out to accommodate a spacious master, large walk-in closets and roomy master bath. If you have considered making some changes to your master suite, then this read is for you. Not only will you have a sanctuary that is large enough to share with your partner; you will also be making a healthy investment, for re-sale purposes.

Make sure the actual bedroom is large enough to comfortably fit a king size bed. This means there should be enough room around the sides and at the end of the bed. It is also helpful to have space to place extra furniture pieces, like two wide night tables, a wide dresser and a robust lounge chair. It is important that there is enough room for larger furniture pieces, as well as space to move around.

It is a common misconception that carpet is desired in the bedroom. However buyers are looking for wood floors. They are easy to clean and area rugs are used to add your own style to the space. Either place a large area rug down or place two smaller rugs on either side of the bed.

A large walk in closet is always a good idea. In the master suite, typically two people share the space. Having a large closet that can house a two person wardrobe is always a smart choice. Buyers are always turned off by small closets and always very pleased to see a large walk in closet. Do yourself a favor and add this feature.

The en-suite is basically a large master bathroom that is located inside the master suite. This space should be large enough to house a bathtub, as well as a shower, a double vanity and a toilet room. Couples like having a water closet that provides privacy for the toilet area. Make sure there is ample cabinet space and storage where the double vanity is located. It also doesn’t hurt to have a linen closet in the en-suite as well. This adds more storage and makes it easier to keep the space organized and tidy.

When making over a master suite, keep in mind the king size bed, large closets and a large master bath for two people! You will enjoy the space now and if you ever decide to sell, this will add value to your home!

Organizational Tips

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With the holidays rapidly approaching, now is the time to get more organized. Before you know it your home will be filled with extra decoration, people, food, and presents. It will be helpful to get organized now to free up some space.

Choose the proper containers:

When organizing the pantry, it is good to choose clear, rectangular containers that will hold dry foods and spices. Clear containers allow you to find what you are looking for in a cinch. The square shape is a space saver, as opposed to cylindrical containers. The square shape makes it easier to fit more containers on a single shelf. Round ones are hard to stack and waste space.

Donate Items to the Salvation Army:

The Salvation Army is not for profit. Anything you donate will actually go to people in need. Not to mention that your donation is tax deductible. It is a good idea to have an area in the home, preferably in a hall closet or garage, where you keep a bin of items to be donated. This will cut down on the clutter in your home, and help people in need. Donate clothes that are no longer being worn, old furniture, or anything that works but is no longer being used. A good rule of thumb is: If you have not used an item over the course of a year, donate it.

Take Control of Papers:

It is so easy to end up with piles of bills, junk mail, and other paper items. The first thing to do in order to help with filing important papers is to buy an accordion type file folder that can be easily closed. Make tabs for the following:

Bills, Manuals, Home, School, Pets, Medical, Miscellaneous

When opening mail head straight to the recycling bin and dump junk mail.  File away important papers as soon as you can. This will help you find important documents and keep the paper clutter at bay.

Designate a Place for Shoes:

Shoes can pile up next to the door or just be sitting about. They are clunky and a tripping hazard. Figure out a place to store shoes. This can be a cabinet that holds shoes and can store items on top. Another possibility is to get a shoe organizer for behind the door in a mud room. These are great items to keep in each family member’s closet as well. It is nice to have a place for each person to store shoes as well as being a centrally located place to hold regularly worn shoes.

Follow these easy tips to clear some space in your home. You will be glad you did once the holidays arrive! These tips can be used year round for a clutter free home.

Making Your Home Lovely Part 1

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First impressions are everything. Therefore, it’s important that your home always look it’s best. How can you ensure that your house looks fabulous? Before you begin brainstorming lavish decoration ideas there are simple things you can do to make your home more inviting. Below are some simple suggestions you and your family can implement.

 

While your house may be clean, with items stored in every crevice and toys all over the place clutter can make your home look bad. The first step in improving your home’s appearance is decluttering your living space. As easy as it sounds, it takes commitment to organize, create and stick to a system. You can start decluttering by determining an appropriate place for everything.

 

Perhaps the hardest part of organizing a home is throwing away things that your family no longer has use for. It’s easy to get attached to material possessions especially if you’ve had them for years. In fact, you may even have a special attachment to some possessions. However, when you’re attempting to downsize it’s essential to separate your feelings from material items. During this process you’ll have to think of things in terms of utility. Consider:

 

–       What capabilities does this item have that can be useful to me?

–       Do I already possess anything that performs similar or better than this item?

–       How much sentimental value does this item have?

 

Utilize the three box method. Label each box: Keep, Donate and Trash. Items that you have a need for you will toss in the Keep box, things that you will be of use to someone else you can put in the Donate box and junk items with no value can be discarded in the Trash box.

 

Decluttering your house isn’t a task that can be effectively tackled overnight. It will require the help and support of all in the family. To avoid getting frustrated be sure to set aside a few hours each week to organizing your home. 

How to Sleep When Traveling

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Have you ever had trouble falling asleep while traveling?  It’s a shame not to use the quiet time in a vehicle to rest – as long as you aren’t the one behind the wheel!   Why not start the relaxation process while you are traveling to your destination? Find out tips to sleep in the car, on a plane or in a train.

Get an eye mask that blocks out light. An eye mask is an excellent way to get some shut eye as long as it completely blocks out the light. Pull one of these over your eyes and quickly fall asleep.

Make sure and have a neck pillow with you. If traveling by car, a real pillow can also be nice. For traveling purposes a smaller neck pillow works just great! This allows you to lean your head back or to the side and comfortably catch some Z’s.

Create a playlist of calming or meditation music. This will cancel out noise around you and help you instantly relax. This paired with the eye mask and neck pillow will have you sleeping in no time. You will not feel surrounded by others because you will not be able to hear or see other people. Noise cancelling headphones works the best for this type of need.

If traveling by a plane or train, order a cocktail. A nice red wine will instantly make you feel more relaxed. Order a drink on the first opportunity, enjoy the beverage and take your time drinking it. After you are done put on your eye masks, head phones and situate your neck pillow. Also if you are traveling by plane or train, try to choose a window seat so that you can rest your head up against the window.

Pack a light blanket. This will help you to get relaxed and feeling cozy. Pair this with wearing comfortable clothing. You may even want to dress in layers since you cannot anticipate if it will be hot or cold in the vessel you are traveling in.

How to Grow Pineapple from a Pineapple Top

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Growing a pineapple plant is easy to do just by using the top of a pineapple that you cut off. This is a great way to grow your own food without having to purchase seedlings from the store. Find out how to plant pineapple from the top of another pineapple!

Cut off the leafy top about a half an inch below the leaves. Remove the lowest leaves. You want to be able to see the little root buds, that look like little dark dots. You may need to trim the base with a knife or scissors until you can see the buds.

Dry out the top in a sunny place for several days. By drying the top out thoroughly the plant will not begin to rot. It may take up to a week to fully dry the top out. Place the top in a place with good air ventilation.

Next you are going to plant the top into a small pot. Use a potting soil and mix in a little bit of sand. This helps add proper drainage for the young plant. Plant the top in the soil up to the base of the leaves. Water the soil and place in a spot that gets a good amount of indirect light.

Normally it takes the roots about 6-8 weeks to mature. Check and make sure the roots have grown before giving the plant direct sunlight. You can plant the pineapple outside in a partially shaded location. This should be done in the late spring or early summer. The plant will need to be moved inside once the weather becomes cold. Frost will kill the plant so you may want to keep it in a planter. Select a planter that can provide ample room for the plant to grow but allow you to bring it indoors when the chance of frost occurs.

It will probably take one whole year for the plant to begin to bear fruit. Be patient and tend to the plant year round. You will be glad you did once summer rolls around again and you can eat fresh, home grown pineapple!

Foods to Eat During the Late Summer

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Late summer is the perfect time to take advantage of certain fruits and vegetables that will soon be out of season. Find out which foods are ripe and ready to be eaten!

Plums are ripe right now and make the perfect sweet snack for late summer. This fruit pairs nicely with brie cheese. They are best eaten soon after being picked. Once they have been purchased at the grocery, they need to be eaten in the next few days.

Watermelon is at the peak of their ripeness during late summer. This is a summer favorite that we all will soon be missing. Take advantage of them now. Eat watermelon plain by itself, or add to a crisp summer salad topped with a balsamic drizzle and goat cheese crumbles!

Bell peppers can make some deliciously flavorful meals. These veggies taste bet when grilled or sautéed. Yellow and orange peppers are quite sweet and are perfect for making mango salsa to accompany fish tacos!

Basil is the fresh herb of summer. It can freshen up any recipe. Use this herb on handmade pizzas, in salsa and bruschetta. The tomato is always tastier when paired with basil and a little salt. Basil is even good either chopped or simply placed on a sandwich.

Summer is not over until you have had fresh peach cobbler. Peaches are perfectly ripe right now, but not for long. Skin them, slice them and warm them up; then add cold vanilla ice cream for a quick summer treat.

Yellow summer squash will soon be long gone this season. This veggie is perfect for grilling, baking or sautéing. For a quick and easy side, sauté in a pan with a little butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper for a delicious side dish that goes well with any summer dinner.

Don’t forget to eat your corn on the cob before it’s too late. This summer favorite is the perfect side when grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. You can grill it too. Simply peel back the husk, add butter, salt and pepper. Then place the husk back around the corn. Wrap the entire cobb with aluminum foil and grill for 30 minutes!

What to Do With All Those Tomatoes

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If you are gardening in the summer, chances are you have at least one tomato plant. They seem to yield more tomatoes than you can eat before they go bad. Here is an idea for what to do when you have too many tomatoes.

Below is a recipe for an easy meatballs entrée. The sauce can also be made separately and frozen for use during the winter! The good news is that this recipe is cooked using a slow cooker, therefore your house will not heat up from using the stove.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time:  3 hours in a  slow cooker!

What You Will Need:

Slow Cooker

Ripe Tomatoes (10-15 can fit into most crock pots)

A bag of frozen meatballs

5 Leaves Fresh Basil

¼-1/2 Stalk Fresh Rosemary

2 Tbsp. Butter

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Black Pepper

1 Clove Garlic

½ Tsp. Lemon Juice

What to Do:

Chop or dice the tomatoes up. We prefer to cut them up into chunks, instead of dicing them. Peel and dice the garlic clove. Chop the basil.

Turn the crock pot on low. Add the olive oil and butter to the crock pot first.

Next add the basil and rosemary. Stir mixture. Then add the diced tomatoes and garlic.

Add the salt and pepper and stir well.

*Let the sauce cook for two hours on low.

Once the sauce has reduced down, it is a good time to add the frozen meat balls. Let the meatballs cook for an hour and then serve! Don’t forget to remove the rosemary before serving.

 

 

Savory Sautéed Spinach

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Spinach is one of the healthiest green vegetables. This recipe is so healthy, it can be fed to your family once or more a week. It is easy, requires no preparation and only takes about five minutes to prepare.

What You Will Need:

5 oz. Bag of Spinach

Lemon Juice (from an actual lemon or from concentrate)

Garlic Salt

Coconut Oil

Directions:

In a large sauce pan, add one tablespoon of coconut oil.Make sure the bottom of the pan is coated well, to ensure the spinach doesn’t burn.

Place two to three large handfuls of spinach into the saucepan. It seems like a lot but the spinach actually reduces down quite a bit. The heat should be on low to medium heat.

Sprinkle on a teaspoon of garlic salt. We prefer to use Lawry’s brand.

Add a few drops of lemon. If you are using real lemon feel free to use an entire halve. If you are using concentrated lemon drops, only use three to four drops. The concentrate is very strong.

Cook on low heat to medium heat. Once the pan heats up, it only takes about a minute or two to cook. Using tongs, mix the leafy spinach so that the lemon juice and garlic salt mix well. Use the tongs to keep the spinach moving. You don’t want the spinach to sit for too long in the pan. It can burn in a matter of seconds.

Once the spinach is reduced down to a juicy green sauté, serve immediately. It only takes a few minutes to cool down. When cooking this side, cook all other elements of the meal first. Then the last five minutes, sauté the spinach!

Green Smoothie Pops

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Looking for a great way to stay healthy? Green smoothies are a great way to get extra nutrition into your day while enjoying a delicious treat! These are packed with vitamins and minerals, plus having a green smoothie in the morning gives you plenty of energy throughout the day. Making smoothie pops is an easy way to have the smoothie readily available each morning without having to prepare it every day. This recipe will make about 6 pops.

What you will need:

A Kiwi
A blender or food processor
Popsicle trays or an ice tray
One large banana
One cup of frozen or fresh blueberries
A handful of baby spinach
Half a cup of milk or coconut milk

Directions
Spray the ice tray or popsicle tray with a light coating of nonstick olive oil spray. This is done so the pop will slide right out without sticking. The pops will easily slide right out of the tray without any force needed. Slice the kiwi into thin round pieces. Place a kiwi slice in the tray before adding the smoothie.

Add the banana, blueberries, spinach and milk to the blender. When the contents are well mixed you are ready to fill the tray. The contents are rather thick, therefore use a spoon to fill the trays. Place a stick in the middle and freeze overnight.

These pops are perfect to start your day off as well as having enjoyable snacks available. You should be able to notice an energy boost about 30 minutes after eating a pop. Feel free to add strawberries or pineapple for added flavor and extra vitamins.