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Having an RV (recreational vehicle) is awesome! It gives us the freedom to be able to travel and always have a comfortable place to sleep with no worries. It is also super convenient to just pull onto the side of the road if you have to go to the bathroom! No more painful waits for the next rest area or searching for a gas station with a working bathroom. Maybe that's just me. Either way having an RV with all the comforts of home and stocked with just about everything you need for traveling makes traveling simply delightful!
However, our RV, being inexpensive and small, did not come with most of the comforts we wanted nor did it have a lot of space for all of the above, so here is what we did to make it like home for us.
1. The Bed
We chose an RV that had a bed that never needed to be 'broken down.' In other words, in many smaller RV's the bed is also the kitchen table and benches. We made sure this was not the case for us so even though our RV is small (18') it has a permanent bed. The bed also had to be a decent size. Our RV is a queen size bed and this was very important to us.
2. The Entertainment Center
OK, I know it is not camping if you have an entertainment center, but really. It's not exactly camping to stay in a nice trailer with the comforts of home anyway! At our age, we just don't care. We want to travel all around the country and at the end of the day we like to relax and watch some TV. Even if it is just a DVD, we don't care. It is relaxing. So Since our RV didn't come with an entertainment center we had to make our own!
3. The Bathroom
I don't know about you, but this room is pretty important to me! In a small trailer you get a small bathroom. In our case it is really, really small. In fact, it only came with a tiny shower, a toilet, and a mirror on the wall! Nothing else but a door!
4. The Kitchen
Of course this is really part of the bedroom, the living room, and the dining room! Ha Ha. But who cares? It's still my kitchen and I knew I could improve upon it!
5. Key Holder
Now our trailer is always organized, ready, and feels like home no matter where we go!
My husband pulled this 8 drawer chrome cart out of our neighbors garbage. It was a little rusty, but otherwise would be perfect for all my craft supplies. I think it is a great find because similar carts sell for upwards of $70 on Amazon! What to do, what to do.....so I simply sanded, wiped it down, and spray painted it! Now it is not only is perfect for all my supplies, but it looks brand new too!
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There are so many ways to start creating a simpler life! From finances, to house cleaning, to simply how you perceive your surroundings, simplifying your life can be, well..., simple! Here are my five favorite ways to keep my life simpler every day! You might think some of them are sort of 'cheating' but I think they are genius because to me they just make sense. In fact, they make so much sense that you may already be doing some, if not all, of them already!
ONE: Car Keys - Nothing makes me crazier than misplacing the car keys. Whether I am home, at the store, or even at work, misplacing, or trying to locate the car keys is a annoying! Here's how I simplified this problem: a hook. What? Yup, a hook. Not just any hook, mind you. My hook is a brass round eye quick snap that is actually used for rope or chain and it can be found in just about any hardware department. I originally tried some hook clips that were specifically made for key rings, but they weren't heavy duty enough for the kind of life I lead. I just happened to spot this one in the hardware department several years ago, and well, the rest is history!
Heres why it works:
TWO: Crocs - Mine are faux, my husbands are real, but either works great! We each keep a pair of these right by the door on a multi-purpose tray (perfect for winter snow boots too!). This allows us to quickly slip them on to run the garbage out, put the chickens away, get the mail, pick vegetables, take the compost out, etc. No searching all over for shoes, and no wasted time having to tie them. It is so simple to slip them on and run right outside. I don't have to worry about stepping in mud or chicken poop with my good shoes because stepping in that stuff is exactly what these are for! When I come back in the door they immediately go right back on the tray, mud and all! Want to wash them? Simple, just hose them down. No stress, no worries. Notice the ones on the tray are lined for winter use? I have another pair in purple with no lining for the summer :-)
THREE: All Surfaces Clear - When the surfaces in your house are clear, your home looks, or appears, clean! When the house appears clean, you feel better and have no worries or stress about anyone suddenly visiting or stopping by. How is this accomplished? First, get rid of the knick-knacks that take up space (and collect dust) on tables, shelves, etc. Second, get rid of extra furniture and anything that takes up unnecessary floor space. The same goes for kitchen counters and the top of the refrigerator too! Less is more! The bottom line is that you should be able to easily wipe a rag across any surface in your home to dust, sweep, mop, and or vacuum any time you choose. You shouldn't have to clean, before you clean! This goes a long way towards making the house appear clean even if you haven't recently dusted or swept! Win-win:-)
FOUR: Make the Bed - I don't really mean make the bed, which if done correctly like in a motel room can take a long time to tuck in the sheets, blankets etc. I mean make the bed appear to be made, or made good enough. First, you need to have a nice headboard. It doesn't have to be expensive, and you can even make your own, but it is 'key' for this tip to work. Then get an oversized comforter or summer quilt and a few matching decorative pillows. Keep the comforter on the bed and use it. Yup, sleep with it every night and in the morning as soon as you get up for the day, straighten it out and throw the decorative pillows at the top by the headboard. It will look great and literally only take a few seconds to accomplish! So simple!
FIVE: Mail (not the 'e' kind) - The mail basically gets delivered every day but Sunday. Most of the time it is junk and bills. Not exactly a pleasant experience. How to simplify? Well, you could get a PO Box and only pick it up once a week, but this costs money. A better way is to just grab it, sort the junk and the bills, simply throw the junk right out and stick the rest in the 'bill basket.' Immediately. Don't let it sit around. Don't waste your time opening it. The 'bill basket' is simply a drawer in a wicker corner unit that I throw all the bills and other 'non-junk' mail into. Once a month when it's time to pay the bills, I go through it. That's when I file the papers that aren't bills but need to be saved (like EOB's) and sort through what bills do need to be paid. Yes, I only do bills once a month. I took the time to make all my bills due on or about the same day each month, and I sit down to pay them all about a week before they are due. It takes less than an hour of my time, on one day only, of each and every month! Thats about 12 hours a year to pay bills!
Did you like any of the tips above? Then stay tuned!
Our book "The ABC's of Creating A Simpler Life" is coming soon! It is chock full of tips from A to Z to help in creating your simpler life. There is something for everyone, no matter what stage of your life you are at or where you live.
After all, who doesn't want life to be simpler?
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Keep it simple my friends :-)
First of all, Happy New Year! I wish everyone a safe, healthy, simple, and genuinely wonderful year :-)
If you are in need of a simple calendar to start the year off with, then have I got the answer for you! I know, I know. You just program all your important dates to remember into your smart phone. I'm just not there yet. I really enjoy sitting down and writing all my important dates by hand and then color coding and highlighting them all. I hang it inside my kitchen cabinet and can simply open the door and see the entire month at a glance. Oh, and it is large enough to read too!
Recently when I was up in the Adirondacks helping take care of my mom after her Christmas Day injury (Read that post here.) I saw this great calendar the local Black Bear Restaurant gave out (see below). It's so simple I wasn't sure if they made it themselves or had it printed professionally, but I loved it! It was printed on 8.5" x 11" paper and stapled to a piece of thick black construction paper that was a little longer than the paper itself. Every page had the same 'picture' at the top, but was a different month. They didn't even use color printing, but the black and white on black construction paper was so simple, yet so perfect!
Well, that got me to thinking, "How hard can it be to make your own calendar?" I began an online search right away and it wasn't long before I foundthe site: Homemade Gifts Made Easy.
They had a very simple 2017 downloadable calendar template that could be personalized with one or more photos and a choice of calendar size (letter or A4). It is a microsoft word file so it was super simple to download and use! The directions are available on the site and are very easy to read and follow. Not only that, there is also a great video to watch and see it done if you prefer!
I made two calendars: one for personal use with a different picture for each month and a business caledar that could be given out as an advertisement similar to the Black Bears Calendar above.
Personal Photo Calendar Slide Show:
If you like the calendar above and want to print a copy for your personal use, feel free! You can download a pdf of it by clicking the button above :-)
The website provides very simple directions for inserting your photos. I also chose to add a separate text box with my website on top of each picture. I love the way it came out! All the pictures I chose were shared on our Instagram account over the last year (Follow us!).
Simple Business Calendar (one photo):
For the business calendar above, I used the same "picture" for every month. I printed them with two months to a page so that the entire calendar would be smaller (4.25" x 5.5"), and I also printed regular 8.5" x 11" calendars as well. All of them were, of course, stapled to construction paper and looked great when finished! In my opinion anyway....
If you want to create your own "business photo" like mine above, you can download the microsoft word template I created, with instructions to make it your own, by clicking on the button below.
And lastly, here is the link to the awesome 2017 Calendar download I used to make both calendars that was created by Hommade Gifts Made Easy. And yes, I think you could make it into a great gift for someone too! Oooh, my parents anniversary is coming.....what a great idea!
LINK TO DOWNLOAD AND MAKE YOUR OWN 2017 CALENDAR!
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Have a small kitchen? Are you limited on space for storage? Our kitchen is 9 x 7 and yes, that is pretty small for us (it is actually smaller because its really 5 x 3 attached to a 7 x 6 for a total square footage of 57 square feet)! It's because it is so small that we had to come up with some simple ways to make the limited space work the best for us!
Every one of the pictures below was taken in our little kitchen. Under the pictures is a list of all the ways we use to make the most of our minimal kitchen space! Maybe some will work for you :-)
Kitchen space saving ideas:
See more ideas on our Pinterest Home Organization Board!
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Do you have a messy bedroom or guest room in your home? Most people do for one reason or another. I happen to have several since my kids are slowly leaving the 'nest' their bedrooms have become a medley of their belongings and things that have been 'temporarily' stored in there over time. It is easy for this to get more carried away than anyone ever expected. One day when you're adding to the pile you actually stop and really look at it and you're like "Oh My Gosh! How on Earth did this happen?" If you're like me or my daughter whom this post is actually dedicated to, the thought of cleaning is overwhelming so you kind of just keep the door shut. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Well that only lasts for so long. Eventually, for whatever reason, you need something in there, or, like me, you actually have a need to use the room for something other than a bedroom so it's time to clean it!
We have our new online store starting up (coming soon) so with all the stuff piling up we really needed a room to keep everything together and organized. My daughter hasn't officially lived (or slept) in her bedroom for a few years so I mentioned to her that I really could use the space. She completely understood but is overwhelmed by the amount of stuff she has accumulated over the years. She asked me for help and I told her I could have it done in a day if she really wanted me too. I think she was afraid for me to do it without her, so she's been working on her room a little at a time (the picture above is a work in progress). But, naturally the fact that I said I could do it in one day is based on experience as I have accomplished this very task several times in the past and this, of course, is what inspired me to write this post! If you are disciplined and on task, you too can clean a messy room in one day and if you follow the step-by-step process it should be as simple and painless as possible!
So here we go....
The bottom line: get rid of as much stuff as you can. Less really is more! Less stuff to clean, manage, and take care of means less stress and more happiness :-)
Enjoy your clean room!
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Check our our Minimizing and Organizing pages and our Organization board on Pinterest for other ways to help simplify your life!
Love decorating for different holidays but discouraged by having too much stuff to decorate with? Does the thought of decorating make you tired before you begin? Are you running out of room to store all that stuff? Want to find a simpler way? Then it is time to minimize and organize! Less stuff = less stress so here's a simple way to minimize and organize all your seasonal and holiday decorations now.
Where to start?
What about the "Binless" Holidays?
These are the holidays you don't go all out for, but still want to acknowledge and celebrate.
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It's the start of a new year so what better time than now to start a Christmas memory tree? A Christmas memory tree is a tree where each ornament has a specific memory associated with it. A few of our special family memory ornaments are shown in the picture above. As you can see they range from simple items like key-chains to exquisite glass ornaments. But each one has special memory associated with it that we share and remember together every year when we decorate the family tree for Christmas.
Why We Started This Family Tradition
This is a second marriage for both my husband and myself. We each brought our own children into the marriage and we were trying to find ways to create special memories that would help to blend our two families together. I had already started some new memories and traditions with my children as a single mom, so it was easy to continue doing it as a blended family. Today, ten years later, it is still a yearly tradition for all of us to get together and even though the kids are 25, 23, and 20, we still laugh and talk about the memories as we decorate the tree. Sometimes we even get a little teary eyed over the ones that make us a little sad such as the memories of our family dog that passed away this past July. But one thing is for sure, he will never be forgotton!
This is also a great idea because it minimizes the junk around the house. Everyone is always buying nick-nacks on vacations and has favors from various weddings and parties. Get rid of all that stuff and choose the special ones to make into ornaments! The memories are small, they do not sit on a shelf collecting dust, and they will be used (and actually remembered) once a year!
How To Start A Memory Tree
1. Collect Items as Ornaments During the year -
Check out this little slide of a few of our special family ornaments:
2. Make it into an Ornament -
3. Write on the Ornaments -
4. Decorate the Tree with Memories -
Each year there will be more and more ornaments to add to the tree and the memories of all the things that you did will always be remembered :-) Above is a picture of our family the night that we decorated our tree for 2015. It's also another tradition to take a family picture in front of the tree after we decorate it and this years picture includes my daughters finance who we will now include in all our future memories!
It is never too late to start!
Start today and by Christmas you will have memories of the entire year to share!
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It's that time again....a new year with new resolutions. How many of us actually accomplished all of our resolutions from last year? I know I didn't. But this year I have a plan! FIVE SIMPLE, yet life changing, resolutions! Each of the 5 resolutions is simple and straightforward so they should be easier to follow through with, right? Well, hopefully! But the real plan is that they become lifetime habits that I eventually don't even have to think about!
1. Eat Whole Foods - this is not a diet but if done properly should lead to losing weight and feeling more energetic. Eating whole foods means exactly that: eating fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats instead of anything that is processed. If the foods are all organic, then even better! If the food required some sort of processing in a plant and has ingredients added for whatever reason, then it is OUT! Need some help with this? Then check out the following site:
2. Exercise - Five minutes a day is all that's needed to get started and it can be simple like walking to the store instead of driving!
3. More Quality Family Time - are you usually too busy for your spouse, children, or even your parents or siblings? Then make time for them before it is too late! It doesn't have to cost anything either! You can simply make a plan to do something for 1-3 hours each week. It can be as simple as playing a game like monopoly, or going for a nature walk at the local park. The idea is to make it a priority and schedule it in if you have to!
4. Organize - get the house in order! This will make everything so much simpler this year. It makes it easier to clean, takes less time to find what you need (Don't you hate searching for something?), and of course frees up quality time to spend with your family!
5. Grow Your Savings - even if you have debt, it is important to have some money in a savings account. Having money saved makes me feel protected in case of emergency like when our stove blew up last year. I usually set a certain goal to reach each year. I don't always meet it, but it helps!
I wish you and your family a Healthy and Happy New Year!
Thank you for visiting :-)
When in doubt, don't just throw it out!
Have you ever thrown out any of the items in the picture above? Well, all of those items are either recyclable or residential hazardous waste. Yes, hazardous waste! Bottom line: none of them should be going in the regular garbage or into a landfill. Especially the hazardous waste which can leach out of the landfill and into the groundwater. I certainly don't want any of them in my drinking water!
In my last post Recycling Part I - At Home Basics we discussed the basics of recycling aluminum and tin cans, plastics #1 and #2, glass jars and bottles, paper, and corrugated cardboard. Today we will talk about the other garbage, the oddball stuff that also includes hazardous waste.
Getting Rid of Garbage Step by Step:
Hazardous Waste Products
Household hazardous waste (HHW) is any household product that contains corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients. These are items that should NEVER be put in the regular garbage. Town waste facilities provide a means for disposing of most hazardous waste, so you should be able to take all of these there. However there are few things that may be more difficult to recycle and for those I provide some alternatives.
*As stated earlier, local waste facilities usually manage the collection of the hazardous products mentioned above (as well as others). My facility requires proof of residency and that the products are placed in sealed plastic bags. All products must also be in the original labeled container. Whatever is necessary to properly dispose of the hazardous waste is worth it. These items should NEVER be in a landfill that could leach into the groundwater (and ALL landfills will eventually leach).
These are items that usually must be recycled in a special way. I simply keep a bin - see the label I use above - in my house and just put these items into it as I go. When I know I am going to be at or near one of the locations I take the items with me to drop off! Simple!
Best Buy Recycling Kiosks:
The kiosks are right in the front of the store. I love this because it's a one-stop-drop! Simple!
NOTE: If it the item is in working order, wait for Recycling Part III - Selling & Donating!
E-Waste Recycling through Best Buy Recycling:
Just click on the link, choose your state, and then choose the item you want to recycle. Most items are free to recycle, but there are some exceptions so it is best to check before you go. It's that easy!
Here is a partial list of items they will take (they literally take hundreds of items):
They DO NOT take large or small kitchen appliances.
Don't Want to Bring Your E-Waste to Best Buy?
Then check out the EPA's Donation/Recycle E-Waste to find other locations near you!
NOTE: If any products are in working order, wait for Recycling Part III - Selling or Donating!
Are You Part of An Organization?
Terracycle collects large amounts of a particular type of waste and gives proceeds to a cause of your choice – example: all Garnier Fructis Beauty Products or squeezable Juice containers. You just arrange to collect it, then mail it to them. Just go the site, select your waste, collect, and send. Simple!
Coming Soon: Recycling Part III - Selling and Donating!
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Welcome! I'm Kathie, an educated, happily married mother and step-mother to four adult children. I wholeheartedly believe in creating and living a simpler, happier, and healthier life in this stressful and modern world! I work at creating a simpler life in ways that are as economically wise and environmentally conscious as possible. Please join me on my journey:-)