My five favorite apps for organization that I use daily! 

These are my 5 favorite apps to get and stay organized on my iphone!

Throughout the years I’ve teetered between digital and paper organizational solutions. Although there’s something so amazingly gratifying about crossing off an accomplished task, I tend to be more of a digital gal. At the same time, I try to limit the number of organizing solutions I have on my phone. I find that when there’s too many solutions, none of them actually solve the problem.  So here’s my slimmed down favorite apps that help me stay organized:

 

Favorite Apps for Organization

Google Calendar

Everything is in my Google calendar. EVERYTHING. Changing from paper calendar to digital may take some getting used to, but I’ve found the benefits to be huge. One of my favorite features is the ability to send calendar invites to friends and family. That way everyone is in sync. One unique way Joe & I utilize Google calendars is to claim dibs on our car. We live in the city and have one car, so it’s helpful to be able to send him invites for my events when I need to use the car. Google calendars also come in handy for reminders. Joe & I have a reoccurring calendar invite to remind ourselves to take out the trash each Thursday. We’ve lived in our same house for 3 years and if it weren’t for that calendar invite reminder we’d be overflowing in trash.

 

ToDoist

I’ve tried lots of to do list apps … lots. For the last two years I’ve been using Todoist. I like the clean sleek look and ability to customize according to how I categorize my tasks. I can set reoccurring tasks, for example, creating a gorcery list every Friday before I grocery shop every Saturday.  There’s capability to see just the tasks I need to accomplish today or look ahead to see what I need to do for the next week. Filters allow me to see just the tasks I need to accomplish on my computer or who I need to call.  I can even put special labels on tasks to be accomplished before vacations.

 

AnyList 

I use AnyList specifically for grocery shopping and meal planning. I can import receipts I find online and the app magically adds the ingredients to the grocery list. It’s pretty amazing. There are other apps that have this same functionality, but the selling point for me was that I can share my grocery list with Joe. Throughout the week we both add things to the list that we’re running low on before I go shopping on Saturday. There’s a free version of this app as well, but I pay an annual fee of $12 ($1 a month for extra features). For me it’s a small price to pay for needed convenience.

 

Dropbox

I wasn’t always hooked on Dropbox. It seemed so basic without a lot of bells and whistles. I tried some of the newer storage apps but found that the simplicity of Dropbox was actually what I needed. Dropbox looks and feels a lot like ‘My Folders’ on my laptop: super straight forward. I use Dropbox for a couple different projects. Photo storage for Declan and Reagan: I like to save every photo we take and try to spare all my Facebook friends from being inundated with a zillion photos of my kid and dog. But the lucky chosen few relatives get unlimited access to every photo I take compliments of Dropbox. I can share individual folders with whoever I want. I also recently digitized my Christmas cards utilizing Dropbox. Joe and I also share a folder where we store important house, car and tax documents. My rule of thumb is to upload any documents that we may need and couldn’t easily get from somewhere else (for these types of documents I typically use Dropbox from my computer).

 

iScanner

I was just about to purchase a big clunky scanner when a friend introduced me to iScanner. This app scans papers and saves them as PDFs. I can automatically email the PDFs to myself or anyone. A surprising fun feature is the ability to attach PDFs to each other.  I use this weekly to keep track of my blogging expenses, but also for important medical, home and tax documents. Once I scan the docs, I can easily upload to my Dropbox account.

And that’s it. Yes, I have other apps on my phone (Facebook, Amazon, Instagram, Pinterest, the list goes on), but these are my favorite apps. The ones that constantly keep me sane during my crazy days. What are your favorite apps? Leave us a note in the comments!

Get completely organized and paper free using your phone and these top organizational apps. Here's our top 5 favorite apps to get completely organized!

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

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I’m sharing my ultimate list of all the things I accomplished before I had my baby. It’s the list of what to do before you’re due!

The ULTIMATE list of everything you need to do before you're due! 100 things that you probaly never thought of before, but will be happy you did!

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was elated. Totally overjoyed. Then I got to work. Got to work figuring out what the heck I needed to do to prepare. I was looking for that huge laundry list. A laundry list of all the little things that I should get done before the baby is born. All the things, as a first time parent, I didn’t think of. Well, let me tell you folks …. that list didn’t exist. I looked and looked and looked. Yes, I found a couple ‘here’s 10 things you didn’t think to do before you’re due’ type lists. Which are awesome. Heck, I wrote one too.

But that huge master list didn’t exist. So I did what any crazy to do list obsessed person would do. I created my own.

A Couple Notes First

A. This list may seem a little nutty, I realize this. Most people don’t love to-do lists as much as I do. I really love them. Really. Some moms to be want to relax and kick back to enjoy their pregnancy. I. Don’t. Relax. Happiness to me equals a to do list.

B. You’ll notice that I break down some to-dos to very specific tasks. For example – plan birth announcements gets broken down to several steps including make list of everyone to send announcements to, obtain home addresses of everyone, research photographers online, select photographer, find announcements templates that I like on Minted.com, etc. I find that breaking down a project to the smallest task is the most effective way to ensure it gets accomplished. It also makes for a HUGE to do list.

C. Just because it’s on MY list doesn’t mean it needs to be on YOURS. We all have different things we want to accomplish before our baby is born. Think of this long list as inspiration and ideas to help you write your own list.

D. I organized this list based on rough categories, not by date. As you read through you’ll notice that some tasks are more appropriate to do when you first get pregnant, while others won’t happen until towards the end (installing car seat).

Enjoy!

100 Things to Do Before You’re Due

Dog Owners

1 Stock up on dog food, bones and toys. Prevent yourself from running errands after the baby is born. Plus, your pup will appreciate having some extra toys to entertain them while you’re extra busy!

2 Figure out what you’ll do with your dog when you’re in the hospital. Can friends or family watch your pup? Or utilize an overnight doggy daycare?

3 Teach your pup to ‘drop it’ …. for all those times she grabs the baby toys!

4 If there’s any shots that your dog is due to have in the near future get those taken care of. Since we were planning to send our dog, Reagan, to daycare once in week, I also made sure that we were up to date on any shots that the daycare required.

5 Reagan used to sit in the backseat when in the car, but since we’ll have the car seat in the backseat, Reagan gets upgraded to the front seat. We did a couple practice drives so that she was used to sitting up front before Declan was born.

6 Play crying baby noise to get Reagan used to it. This task is about as fun as it sounds.

7 Decide which rooms, if any, will be off limits to your dog and start enforcing it.

8 Deep clean house to hopefully get rid of as much dog dander as possible.

9 As silly as this sounds, practice walking your dog pushing your stroller. Reagan was pretty overwhelmed by the stroller so I’m glad we got her used to it ahead of time.

10 Find a blanket that you’ll wrap your baby in after he’s born to show your dog to smell before introducing baby and dog. Add this blanket to your hospital bag.

11 Dogs can get a little upset once the baby comes home as they’re getting less attention than usual. Joe & I decided that we would periodically allow Reagan to sleep our bed if we’re taking a nap and that Joe would spend extra time with her when he was off on his paternity leave.

Top list of 100 things that you should do before you have your baby! What to do before you're due!

Hospital / Medical  

12 Sign up for birthing classes at your hospital.

13 Find an OB Dr.

14 Do a trial run driving to the hospital so that you know how to get there (and know the best route).

15 Decide on a pediatrician.

16 Fill out hospital paperwork ahead of time (so that you don’t have to fill it out when you’re in labor).

17 Put doctors phone numbers in your phone (OB, hospital #, pediatrician).

18 Make a list of everything you’ll need in your hospital bag. Ask your new mommy friends what they found helpful. For the record, the hair dryer and straightener that I insisted on bringing with me were never used 🙂 .

19 About a month before your due date, start packing your hospital bag. Better to be ready as you never know when the baby will arrive.

20 Get some cute newborn outfits to put in your hospital bag for those first photos with your baby.

21 Decide if you’re going to donate your extra umbilical cord blood.

22 Decide if you want pain medication when in labor (epidural).

23 Make sure you have your spouse’s work phone number in case you go into labor during work hours. Yes, I’m embarrassed, I didn’t have Joe’s work phone number in my phone, only his cell phone.

24 Our health insurance open enrollment occurred one month before Declan was born. We spent some time determining which plan would be best for us after Declan was born (there were over 8 plans to choose from). Yes, once he’s born we could have researched the multiple plan options then, but I was happy we spent time figuring this out beforehand. Then when Declan was born, we just added him to that plan.

25 While we’re thinking about insurance, we made sure we knew HOW to add Declan to our insurance after he was born. This made it super easy to just log on to Joe’s account (we’re on his employer insurance) to add Declan.

26 Download an app that helps track your contractions. Wat easier than watching a clock and writing it down. Plus, these days isn’t there an app for everything?

27 Inquire about circumcision process. In Seattle I learned it’s common for the OB to perform the circumcision about a week or so after the baby is born.

28 Get tdap shots. Joe and I both got ours along with my parents, as they were going to be spending a lot of time with Declan. Tdap shots can make your arm sore for a couple days and it takes a couple weeks to kick in. My doctor recommended that everyone gets a tdap by the 32nd week of pregnancy.

29 Make a list of baby medicines that are good to have on hand (email friends, google). Nothing’s worse than driving to CVS in the middle of the night for a sick baby.

30 Medical bills can be confusing. Medical bills when you’re pregnant can be overwhelming. I kept a list of every doctor appointment (big or small) and documented what occurred during the apt (Ultrasound, flu shot, etc). That way when you receive a bill, you can cross check it with your list to ensure everything looks correct (hey, hospital billing make mistakes too).

31 Download movies on your tablet to watch at the hospital. We never ended up watching the TV in our hospital room because we had enough shoes on my iPad to keep us entertained before Declan arrived.

32 Our medical bills started coming in the mail quicker than most congratulatory cards. It’s wise to have a system to track and pay for the bills as they arrive. I simply created a Google doc listing all the appointments/hospital stays/procedures along with the date and a little detail about the appointment. Then as I received bills I cross referenced with my list and marked down the date that I paid the bill.

Non Baby Related 

33 Clean out the inside of our car.

34 Get a new family room rug (our current one has SO much dog hair that just won’t get out via vacuuming).

35 Get rid of our old coffee table. It was sitting in our family room taking up space and I knew it would drive me crazy. Remember you’re going to spending a lot of time in your house. Make sure you like the space 😀.

36 Clean out fridge and freezer.

37 Stock up on stables for the home (toilet paper, paper towels, dish detergent, etc).

38 Buy gifts for any upcoming holidays, birthdays, weddings and showers. One last thing you’ll want to deal with.

39 Keep your house clean. This is an ongoing task that I tried to do every day starting three weeks prior to my due date. My rational was that I didn’t want to come home after delivering a baby to a dirty house.

40 Do laundry before it starts piling up (for the same reasons as above).

41 Pay your bills and go through mail as it arrives (for the same reason as above).

42 When I first found out I was pregnant I started nesting. And by nesting I mean some serious purging of stuff I just don’t need anymore. And there’s over 100 things we didn’t need anymore.

43 I did another home purge session in my 3rd trimester after we had most of our baby items.

The largest list of tasks to accomplish before you have your baby!

Nursery / Baby Registry 

44 Research and buy crib. We bought this one because of the extra storage at the bottom.

45 Put the crib together. Set aside a couple hours. This is NOT a one person job.

46 Order breast pump. Mine took a while to ship so it’s best to get this ordered before the baby arrives. Most insurance will cover this.

47 Once we found out the gender, I decided on the nursery theme and put together a collage of ideas.

48 Wash all baby clothes and blankets with dye free detergent before organizing and hanging up.

49 Buy baptism outfit.

50 Buy fragrance and dye free detergent. There’s detergent marketed specifically for babies, but we bought generic fragrance and dye free bottle.

51 Decide the initial sleeping arrangement for you, your spouse and baby. It’s recommended that the baby sleeps in your room at the beginning (and it makes it a heck of a lot easier for night feedings).

52 Make sure baby bed is ready to sleep in, whether that’s a crib, pack & play, bassinet or co-sleeper. We used this pack & play which I can’t recommend enough. It has a bassinet attachment for the early months and is relatively small in size so it doesn’t take up too much space.

53 Clean all the baby toys you have (we were given lots from friends and bought some second hand).

54 Test out all baby toys to make sure they’re working with new batteries. Just a warning: there will be a time (many times) that you’ll wish the batteries ran out!

55 Install car seat. Joe is WAY better at this than I am. Make sure your car is parked on a flat surface before installing. The street we live in is on a hill so we had to drive to the grocery store to install ours. Learn from our mistake: watch a YouTube video on installing a car seat before you try yourself!

56 Get blackout blinds for the nursery. (Note, we never got this accomplished before the baby was born. Another rookie mistake. So we ended up buying these temporary ones that might not be so temporary 🙂 )

57 Make clothes hanger labels for baby clothes. Both totally unnecessary and necessary at the same time. (I bought these on Etsy)

58 Organize all baby clothes by size. Make sure newborn sizes are the most easily accessible.

59 Ask friends about their favorite baby items (stroller, monitor, carrier, etc) to go on your baby registry. I relied heavily on recommendations from friends.

60 Decide where to register (we chose Amazon and Target). Both give you free gifts for registering. I’m a sucker for free 😀.

61 Create your baby registry. We registered on Amazon and Target.

62 Closer to your due date and as more items on your registry get purchased, add some additional items that you’ll need when your little one gets a little older. If you don’t have enough items on your registry you’re just asking for people to buy you stuff that you may not need.

63 Purchase thank you cards. You’ll be getting a lot of gifts 😀.

64 Also buy postage stamps (for thank you cards and baby announcements).

65 Make a list of gifts you receive and who gave them to you. I made a Google doc and shared with Joe so we could both enter the information.

66 Using my google doc, I kept up to date on sending thank you cards by writing them weekly. I knew once the baby was born I would likely get behind writing thank yous.

67 Determine how many baby clothes you want to have of each size (newborn, 3 month, 6 month, etc). There’s no magic number. I think it’s good to get an idea of how much you want. I went a little nuts and created a spreadsheet to track how many pieces of clothing we were receiving at each size. #notnecessary

68 Sign up for Amazon Family. It’s free and you get discounted baby stuff.

69 Stock up on diapers. You’ll go through these way faster than you can imagine. We had a lot of size 1, but not as many newborn size as we heard that babies outgrow the newborn size quickly.

70 Stock up on other supplies for baby (wipes, diaper cream, baby shampoo, etc).

71 Instead of buying a sound machine I installed this app on my iPhone and iPad. We really didn’t end up needing to use sound that much for Declan to go to sleep so I was glad we didn’t end up buying a sound machine.

72 If you’re breastfeeding, make sure you’ve got the essentials: creams, breastfeeding bras, bra pads, etc. you won’t want to be running around to baby stores to pick these items up after the baby is born.

So many things to do before you're due!

Family / Visitors

73 With your spouse, decide when you want family to come visit. My parents were in town when Declan was born and Joe’s parents came a week later. We were SO grateful for the help and wished they could have stayed longer.  On the contrary some of our friends chose to wait a couple weeks or months before family visits.

74 If family will be coming shortly after your child is born, stock up on things your family members will like. Think groceries, toiletries, prepare guest room, clean the guest bathroom, etc. While your family is likely coming to help, it’s nice to have the essentials for them when they arrive.

75 If you’ll be baptizing your baby, decide who the god parents will be.

76 If family is going to be visiting with you for a while, consider asking them to get a tdap shot.

77 Work with your church to schedule baptism. Our church had a short class we needed to take ahead of time.

78 Find a fun way to tell your family that you’re pregnant. I took this opportunity to make a cute little DIY.

79 Make a list of friends and family to inform once the baby is born. I went as far as to prep an email and save as a draft with all the email addresses I wanted to send it to. Then all I needed to do was attach some photos and add Declan’s measurements and date before going hitting send.

80 Talk to your partner about when you’ll want visitors (local friends & family) after the baby is born, keeping in mind that your opinion may change drastically once the baby arrives, but it’s good to chat about it ahead of time. We ended up having a lot of our friends come visit shortly after Declan was born (mostly because we wanted some non baby adult conversation), but I’ve heard that many parents need a couple weeks to get adjusted.

Baby Announcements / Thank Yous / Photos 

81 Select a baby announcement design. I ordered this one from minted.com.

82 Ask local friends for photographer recommendations.

83 Book a photographer for newborn photos or see if your hospital has a photographer on site.

84 Find photo example ideas for your photographer. Pinterest is a great place to look for newborn photo inspiration.

85 Make a list of everyone that you want to send baby announcements to. Get a list from your spouse, your parents and your in-laws.

86 Obtain mailing addresses for everyone you want to send an announcement to.

87 If you’re thinking of taking monthly photos of your baby, come up with the photo ideas / theme. Again, Pinterest has some great inspiration.

the most detailed list of things to do before you're due!

Miscellaneous 

88 Find an app to use to track baby feeding & sleeping (We use Baby Connect and love it. We chose not to track sleep, but we track feeding and diapers.)

89 Make a list of potential baby names. Both first and middle names. We waited until we knew the gender before Joe and I made our lists.

90 Decide in baby’s name!

91 Maybe a little silly, ok a lot silly, reserve an email address for your kiddo. Email addresses go quick. Especially gmail.

92 Sign up for a moms group to attend after your baby is born. If you can’t find one by doing a quick Google search, ask you OB for recommendations.

93 Determine how much time you and your spouse are taking off of work.

94 Make a list of child care options for when you go back to work. In Seattle, most daycares have huge waitlists so it’s best to start this process early.

95 Tour daycare options. You’ll want to tour any facility that you’re considering.

96 Finalize child care.

97 Make diaper changing stations around your home. We have a three story townhouse so to prevent having to run up and down the stairs we packed diaper changing supplies in baskets and placed one on each floor.

98 Two words: freezer meals. Now I don’t typically love frozen casseroles, but post baby is no time to become a gourmet chef.

99 Put extra baby supplies in your car just in case! Think diapers, outfit change, wipes, formula.

100 Make a list of things you need to do right after the baby is born. My list included: schedule first pediatrician apt, schedule circumcision, add Declan on to our insurance, confirm photo session. All of these items depended on WHEN Declan was actually born. It was nice to have a list handy since I really wasn’t thinking about all this stuff the day he was born!

and one more just because ….

101 I wanted to remember all the little things that Declan started to do – when he first started opening his eyes, sleeping through the night, rolling over, etc.  The easiest way for us to document these things was through a shared Google Doc. I denoted each week with the dates and then list interesting things that happened that week (ex. Week 8 June 24th).

 

And that’s it! Everything I did before our son was born. I’d love to hear what you did to prepare before you’re due! List any of your to-do’s in the comments!

The ULTIMATE list of everything you need to do before you're due! 100 things that you probaly never thought of before, but will be happy you did!

 

 

 

 

 





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This morning I spent some time checking out all my favorite stores finding the best Labor Day deals on organization, storage and cleaning supplies.

 

I was disappointed at the lack of steals at some stores,  but pleasantly surprised with the Labor Day sales at others (Hello Ebay!). Along with the expected discount on great summer seasonal items, there were some good finds on baskets, trays and storage solutions.

After several hours of online shopping, I bring you my favorites! #yourewelcome #shoppedtillIdropped

Enjoy!

 

Ebay

Use code P20LABORDAY to get an additional 20% off $25 or more.
1. I’m a big fan of any kitchen bowls that have lids.
2. Yep, a really big fan.
3. One less excuse not to eat a salad.
4. I’m also big fan of vertical storage. Anything that maximizes the wall space is on the top of my list.

CB2

All shelving is 20% off!

5. For those of us without a ton of extra space for an office, wall desk units are a great option. This one is the prettiest I’ve seen, both opened and closed.

6. All CB2’s patio furniture covers are heavily marked down. You definitely don’t need to own CB2 furniture to use their covers. Just check the measurements of your furniture and make sure the cover is at least the same size (or bigger).

Walmart

End of summer sale with huge discounts on all the typical ‘summery’ items.

7. If you’re in the market for a new vacuum, this is a steal!

8. I typically don’t think of Walmart as the location for sheds, but they’ve got great variety and lots are on sale now. We’re debating on getting one for the side of our townhouse. 

9. I like all my bins to match so I love this set of 4. It’s a great deal to store all your off season items – holiday decorations, clothes, etc. 

Target

30% off home items, plus an extra 15% off with code LABORDAY. Plus free shipping on order $35 and over.

10. We use these 3 of these baskets for under the couch storage (aka baby toy storage). Long, wide, and short baskets make easy storage under the couch or bed.  

11. Instead of a shoe rack, we use this round basket with handles to drop our extra shoes at the front door. Returning shoes to our bedroom closet becomes so much easier with a basket with handles!12. And this one is just fun. And of course, on sale.

West Elm

Use the code ‘HUGESALE’ to get free shipping on your order. Discounts range from 15-30% off.

13. Just because summer’s over, doesn’t mean that this tablet speaker won’t come in handy!

14. Those of us with small entryways always benefit from utilizing vertical wall space. West Elm has quite a few contemporary options.

Overstock

Up to 70% off of a HUGE slection. Sign up for their newsletter and get an additional 12% off.

15. These dry erase wall calendars come in sizes ranging from 16×12 to 40×30. Perfect way to keep track of all the family activities.

Container Store

Their big sale is 25% off all shelving, desks and Elfa going on for a while.

16. Hey, even hoses need to be organized

17. Prevent phone cords from breaking with Sugru Self-Setting Rubber.

Bed Bath and Beyond

Bonus: Free shipping over $29.

18. I’m always a fan of vertical storage.

19. Easy way to separate your dirty and clean laundry while traveling.

20. And last but not least ….. Appliance Cart, but really an ‘anything’ cart. I’m envisioning Craft Cart.

Happy shopping!

 

 

 

 




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Here’s our easy and fun pregnancy announcement puzzles that we made to announce my pregnancy to our grandparents!

Step by step instructions for a creative pregnancy announcement puzzle. Easy and affordable, it's the perfect surprise for family or friends!

When I first found out that I was pregnant, I was so excited to tell Joe when he came home from work. Then once he knew … we waited. And waited. What was actually a really short amount of time before telling family and friends seemed a lot longer than it really was. But it was the perfect amount of time to come up with a creative pregnancy announcement to tell our family.  (It was also a great time to come up with a list of all the things you want to get accomplished before the baby arrives. Here’s my list of the 100 things I did.) I used our wedding ring boxes to make announcements for our parents.  So I wanted to change it up. A puzzle was a fun and interactive way to spread the good news!

Step by step instructions for a creative pregnancy announcement puzzle. Easy and affordable, it's the perfect surprise for family or friends!

Pregnancy Announcement Supplies

Instructions

At first my plan was to be ultra crafty using a blank puzzle and design the labeling myself. But after a little research I realized it was much easier (and not much more expensive) do purchase purchase a pre-made puzzle online. I used the website Print Studio. Since they didn’t have an off the shelf puzzle with exactly what I was looking for, I created a digital template to upload on to their site. They then printed the template on to the puzzle for me. The completed puzzle was shipped to me in about a week. This was MUCH easier than attempting to DIY this portion. Feel free to use my ‘We’re having a BABY!’ template bellow. Just right click on the image and save it to your computer.

Step by step instructions for a creative pregnancy announcement puzzle. Easy and affordable, it's the perfect surprise for family or friends!

I originally looked for a small all white box to store the puzzle, but found these binder clips on clearance at Target and realized the box was perfect for this project. I really like the clear top. Amazon also has some fun clear gift box options.

Step by step instructions for a creative pregnancy announcement puzzle. Easy and affordable, it's the perfect surprise for family or friends!

Step by step instructions for a creative pregnancy announcement puzzle. Easy and affordable, it's the perfect surprise for family or friends!

I printed a small note “We’re excited to tell you ….” on standard white card stock in 14 size font. Loving all things arts & crafts, I’ve racked up many paper cutout punches so I used one to make the note card. Adding a hole punch in the top left corner, I laced with ribbon and affixed onto the clear cover.

Step by step instructions for a creative pregnancy announcement puzzle. Easy and affordable, it's the perfect surprise for family or friends!

Super easy and fun way to share the good news!

 

 

 

 

 




 

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The smartest way to store your Christmas cards: digitally! 

The smart way to organize your Christmas cards: digitally!

As soon as I found out I was pregnant I started nesting. Right away. Like THAT day.  And I started on the Christmas cards. We’ve got great storage space in our town house and I definitely put to the test. Lots of Container Store bins line our closets, several of which were storing a decade of Christmas cards. Now I love Christmas and love giving & receiving Christmas cards. I also hate getting rid of anything. You can see the problem arising!

The reality is that after the month of December, those Christmas cards don’t get looked at again. They’re just taking up valuable space in the closet. I knew I should get rid of them, but I just couldn’t do it.

So instead I compromised with myself. I got rid of the physical card, but stored copies digitally on Dropbox. There’s a variety of digital storage options available. My go-to is Dropbox, mostly because I’ve used it for quite a while so I’m very familiar and it’s folder system is very similar to that of a PC.

Get rid of your piles of Christmas cards, by storing them DIGITALLY!

I already had my cards stored by year, but if you didn’t, that would be the first place to start. It may be difficult to discifer which year each card was from, so you’ll have to decide if it’s worth it or not.

I found this project to be a lot easier (and less time consuming than I expected) largely due to the fact that I only used my iPhone (no computer needed).

Using a white foam board as a back drop I took a picture of each card one by one. For most of the cards I only took a picture of the front, but there were a few where I also took a picture of the back/inside.

Before I took any pictures of cards, I snapped a photo of the labeled ziplock bag that I was storing each year’s worth of cards in. This helped organizez my photos on my phone and made it easier to upload to Dropbox (more on that below).

Once all the photos were taken, I logged in to my Dropbox account on my iPhone. I added a folder titled ‘Cards’ and made sub folders for each year.

To add my photos I simply opened up one of the sub folders, hit the + key at the bottom of the screen and selected ‘Upload Photos’.

I selected all the photos that followed the photo of the bag marked with the appropriate calendar year. Then hit ‘Next’.

Depending on how many photos you have, it could take a couple minutes to upload.


Once the photos are all uploaded, you can rotate and label each one. I decided that extra step wasn’t worth it to me right now, but you may want your more organized!

I was so happy that I took the plunge to digitalize these and definetely have been enjoying the extra storage space! It’s now becoming an annual project each January (along with prepping birthday cards for the year).

Step by step tutorial for organizing your Christmas cards digitally!

 

 

 

 




 

 

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Who else finds coins all over the house? Here’s our latest organization solution specifically to store all that loose change! 

Each month I’m taking on a common organization challenge and tackling it with a thrift store item. I love when great organization solutions end up being affordable. It’s always a win-win.  All it takes is a little patience, DIYing and a great thrift store find! This month we’re tackling all that loose change with:

 ||| DIY Coin Holder |||

While I never find change in my couch (lots of dog hair instead 🙂 ), I do find lots of change at the bottom of my purse, in pockets of my jeans, in our car and lots of places in between. I wanted to centralize where I stored loose coins to one location large enough to hold lots of change until it was worth a trip to the bank. A large glass jar (think spaghetti jar) seemed to be the perfect size and price. I scored one for 50 cents at Goodwill. While the size was right, the function and design left lots to be desired. I wanted a true piggy bank style coin drop (as opposed to a screw off lid) to make depositing loose change easy. A little pop of color and design was needed since the jar will be sitting out in the open.

I never pass up an opportunity to spray paint things. ANYthing. I fancy myself somewhat of a spray paint connoisseur, if there ever was one. So armed with spray paint, here’s my quick and easy solution to storing loose change:

Coin Holder Supplies

  • One glass jar (use an old spaghetti sauce jar or find plenty in the dishware section of any thrift store)
  • Painters tape
  • Spray paint (I used white for the jar and gold for the lid)
  • Lettered stickers
  • Coin lid (I found this one on Etsy)
  • Protective gloss spray
  • LOTS of change!

Instructions

While I could have just spray painted both jar and lid, I wanted to add a label. A fun way to incorporate lettering on clear products is to use stickers and spray paint over the letters, making the font clear with the background in color. To ensure the placement of the stickers was even, I first placed painters tape around the jar and added the letters directly above. Once the stickers were placed on the jar, I removed the painters tape.

Both the jar and the lid got spray painted. I considered DIY’ing a coin drop lid, but the tutorials I found online looked cumbersome and tricky. Once I realized I could buy a coin lid on Etsy for a couple dollars, it was a no brainer. (there’s times when BUY instead of DIY is better. The lid was a definite buy.)

I opted for a white jar with a gold lid. This coin holder is going to sit in my laundry room (where most of the loose change ends up), with the possibility of moving it to the kitchen. So I wanted something simple, yet fun: white with a little gold.

Slowly but firmly peel off the stickers. I repeat, SLOWLY. If the stickers tear, scrape lightly with a butter knife to remove the excess. This last step is purely option, but I always do it for any spray paint projects.

Spray a clear protective coat over the entire jar and lid. This will help prevent the paint from scratching off and getting nicked, as it may with normal ‘wear and tear’.

one of our favorite organizational solutions: coin holder!

Final step is my favorite … Fill it up!

easiest DIY for all that loose change: DIY coin holder

The coin holder fit perfect in the laundry room basket I’m using to hold our detergent, bleach and stain remover. (I transferred all those products into matching containers with labels attached to the side. One of my favorite long lasting DIYs to date.)

 

Thrift Store Decor Upcycle Challenge

As a lover of affordable solutions of ANY kind, I’ve paired up with 19 extremely talented bloggers to bring you a monthly Thrift Store Upcycle Challenge. Each month we will create something amazing from an item(s) we’ve found at a thrift store, yard sale, resale shop etc.

MEET THE BLOGGERS

Amanda | Domestically Creative Kim | Made in a Day
Victoria | Dazzle While Frazzled Pili | Sweet Things
Debra | Shoppe No. 5 Sue | A Purdy Little House Chelc | Inside the Fox Den
Kimm | Reinvented Ann | Duct Tape and Denim Sara | Twelve on Main
Kim | Farmhouse Made Toni | Small Home Soul Angela | Simply Beautiful by Angela
Michelle | Our Crafty Mom Marie | DIY Adulation Chelsea | Making Manzanita
Leanna | Of Faerie and Fauna Denise | My Thrifty House Lindsay | Crazy Organized
Florence | Vintage Southern Picks Shirley | Intelligent Domestications

FOLLOW ALONG ON OUR PINTEREST BOARD FOR MORE UPCYCLED INSPIRATION!

Take a look at all these bloggers’ amazing thrift store projects:


Brilliant DIY coin holder storage solution!

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

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If you’ve ever wondered if smart home automation was worth it for your home, here’s everything you need to know!

You’ve probably heard the term Smart Home, but what does it mean and is your house a Smart Home?

We’ve been chatting on the blog a lot about technology and apps lately that make life easier. I’ll admit, sometimes technology can be more overwhelming than it’s worth. Other times it’s a lifesaver that we couldn’t imagine living without. I remember when the Iphone first came out. The idea of apps seemed totally unnecessary and completely confusing. Now a day doesn’t go by that I’m not using dozens of the apps on my phone.

Smart home automation is on the rise and for good reason. Not only does it streamline and simplify life, but it can even keep your home safe. Here’s everything you need to know:

What is Smart Home Automation?

A smart home lets you control your home using your smart phone, whether you are on vacation, at work, or just sitting in your bed. Implementing smart home technology for a rookie simply means adding more automation and scheduling than you previously had. Imagine lights scheduled to turn on when you’re out of town; a security system that notifies you if it detects movement when you’re out; and an air conditioning system that you can control over the Internet.

Yes, it might sound a little like The Jetsons, but didn’t we all secretly want to live in a home like that?

The Hive Welcome Home System has all the essentials to make your home a Smart Home:

  • Hive Hub – Hive Hub plugs into a broadband router to see and control the Hive ecosystem of products from a smartphone, tablet or laptop
  • Active Thermostat™ – A clever way to control heating and cooling, at home or from your smartphone
  • Active Light – Switch lights on and off, set schedules, and dim lights from a smartphone with Hive Active Light™ bulbs
  • Active Plug – Turn electrical appliances like an iron, radio or lamp on and off, from anywhere at anytime
  • Window or Door Sensors – Clever wireless sensors send alerts to a smartphone if windows or doors are opened or closed
  • Motion Sensor – Clever wireless sensor sends an alert to your smartphone if there’s movement in your home

Real Life Examples

Sounds neat, right? But when would I actually use it, you may wonder. I know; that was my first thought. While the uses are plentiful, here’s some examples of how I’ve been using my home automation: On a regular basis, I leave our home and worry that I left an appliance plugged in. Whether the iron, hair straightener or Christmas lights, it’s an awful feeling. ‘I think I turned it off. No that was yesterday. No, No, I’m pretty sure I turned it off. What’s the worst that would happen if I left the straightener on all day? Ugh. OK I need to turn around and drive home.’ Sound familiar? I use the Hive Active Plugs on these appliances. This allows me to confirm the appliances are turned off even AFTER leaving the house in the morning. And if I forgot, all I need to do is press a button on my phone to turn them off!

Before leaving for vacation, I make a list of tasks to prepare for the trip. Doing laundry and cleaning dishes before leaving allows us to come home to a clean house, which is always nice. I often ask a neighbor to grab any packages we receive at our door (hello, Amazon!) and I turn on several lamps throughout our home to make it appear that we’re home at night. By using the Hive Active Light to schedule lights to turn on (and off) throughout our home during vacation, it automatically gives the appearance that we’re home.

I also activate the Hive Motion Sensor which sends an alert to my phone if there’s movement in our home (aka if someone breaks in).

It’s no secret that Seattle gets a LOT of rain. The rainy season is long, but the temperatures are mild. It’s not uncommon for a spring or fall day to be warm enough to keep the windows open. While it’s typically not a huge deal for the windows to be open while it’s raining, I do like them shut when I leave the house.

Did I remember to shut the windows before I left the house to run errands? I can never remember.

Hive Window or Door Sensors lets me know if I have a door or window open. Now don’t judge, but I use this feature BEFORE I leave the home. Having a 3-story townhouse, the last thing I want to do as I’m about to leave the house is head all the way up to the third floor to make sure the windows are closed. I simple check the Hive app on my phone to see! #lazygirlhack

Installation

Now I’ll admit it. While I LOVE technology and any gadgets that make life easier, I’m typically awful at the setup of most electronics. Setting up our entire home with Smart House automation seemed more like a job for my husband, Joe. To my surprise, the Hive Welcome System was all set up in less than 30 minutes by …. ME! Super easy and very intuitive. Just grab your Welcome Box, router, computer & smart phone and follow the instructions online.

Once set up, it’s easy to customize based on your needs:

Sample of some of the customization and notification options available:

It’s easy to manage straight from your phone:

So is it worth it?

In a word …

YES

In a couple more words ….

Energy efficiency

Money saving

Home security

Convenience

If you’ve ever been interested in Smart Home Automation, Hive has you covered:

  • Easy, self-install approach (so easy, even I could do it!)
  • Low monthly subscription rates
  • Service features such as access to the Hive mobile app, on-demand customer service and ongoing warranty
  • Makes your daily life easier and a whole lot less stressful (never worry about whether you left your hair straightener on again!)
  • Unique features can double as a security system for your home!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hive. The opinions and text are all mine.

Smart Home Automation 101 - Your one stop shop to learning everything about automating your home straight from your phone!

 

 

 

 




 

 

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Over the next couple weeks, I’m going to step away from all the typical organization posts to share some of the fun pregnancy and baby related things I’ve been learning along the way. On April 24th we welcomed our first, Declan, and it’s been quite the wild ride since! Decorating the nursery, organizing the overwhelming about of baby supplies that we apparently need (ahhh!) and a couple fun DIY pregnancy announcements, like  the one I’m sharing in this post.

 

Last summer when we found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to come up with a fun way to tell our parents that they were becoming grandparents for the first time. Not an over the top crazy announcement, but a fun little surprise for them. Since our parents live on the other side of the country from us, these small pregnancy anouncment boxes were a perfect ‘mailable’ surprise! And true to my style, of course I wanted to DIY instead of buy.

DIY Pregnancy Announcement Supplies

  • small box (I actually used my engagement ring box!)
  • Two pieces of ribbon, one wider & one skinny
  • White cardstock
  • Tape
  • Super glue or crafting glue
  • Customizable Template

Instructions

Grab your two pieces of ribbon and measure by placing each around the box. Trim any extra, keeping an additional 1/2 inch loose ribbon.

Next, wrap the wider ribbon around the box, holding tight and secure with a little glue in the back. Repeat this step with the skinny ribbon on top.

I used this template for my note. It’s editable so you can edit with your information.

The box I used (which was actually my engagement ring box) was 2 1/2 inches on each side, so I measured my note to inches wide (just a tiny bit smaller). This might take a little trial and error to seee what size you want the paper to be. The printable note has two sizes, but since it’s editable you can adjust to whatever works for you!

At the top and bottom of the paper, I made a half inch fold where I’ll tape the paper to the box. The top of the note is folded inwards and the bottom folded back (see phonto). I then folded the note accordian style with each fold the same size.

I then added tape to the the small folds on the top and bottom to secure to the lid & box. The top of the note was secured to the back of the lid and the bottom of the note was secured to the front of the box (see photos below).


I then gently folded and closed the lid of the box and mailed it off!

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

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