De-cluttering and organizing our homes leads to de-cluttering and organizing our minds. Clearing the clutter leads to clearing the mind. It gives us mental space to think. One thing that I noticed at my own house is that if I am looking at too many things in different spaces, then I am unable to focus on what the task is at hand.
All of a sudden, I am thinking, “Why is that sitting there?” Wow, I have a sink full of dishes. There is so much trash on the floor. I seem to notice every little thing. Since my workspace is in the kitchen, I like to clean this area first. My mind is ready for clarity, and free to allow the words to come.
In October of 2018, my cousin decided to enlist my help in beginning her de-cluttering process so that she could feel free to work in her home office.
We were able to get the hallway closet and one of her two bedroom closets done. The way that I decided to tackle the hallway closet was to take everything out and create three piles: a donation pile, a garbage pile, and a keep pile. After emptying the whole closet, and creating all three piles, then I put everything in the keep pile back into the closet.
She had already gone through her belongings in the bedroom closet, so we didn’t need to take everything out. I just needed to organize everything in this closet. We were working and listening to preaching and gospel music, which made the time go by pretty fast. If you feel led, send me a message below on how you tackled the art of decluttering. God bless!
Plants bring so many benefits to our lives: 1) They give us oxygen and clear the carbon dioxide from the air. 2) Like pictures, they bring life and promote creativity to one’s home. 3) They bring the outside in by causing a de-stressing effect, and 4) For the most part, they are simple and low-maintenance.
A few months ago, one of my friends blessed me with two plants. I decided to add them to my bedroom so that I could feel refreshed upon waking up in the morning. I am all about aesthetics, and especially having spaces that are light and airy. I decided to place one in the corner of my bedroom in front of a wall mirror. The second one was placed on top of my storage trunk, along with another faux plant.
My son was given two plants recently for his birthday. One of them is a bamboo plant. He placed them in chairs by the living room window so that they could get proper sunlight. At first, I was questioning the location. Now, I have decided that I like them there. The greenery against the natural colors of the chairs and the curtain makes you feel so relaxed.
What simple, functional, grace-filled plants do you own? What places are you keeping them? Send in some comments and pictures below.
Sometimes you end up with the situation like myself, where you want the ability to seat more people in the kitchen (perhaps 10 to 12), but you don’t have the space, nor the money to do it. This is where building a breakfast bar comes in handy. Breakfast bars are great because they are multifunctional. They can serve as a breakfast bar/homework center/painting spot/reading area. You decide.
Last time, I explained how to build shelves using plumbing pipes here. The breakfast bar featured in this post only takes about 30 minutes to build, and very few materials. Plus, you can’t beat the price. Since the length is only 12 inches, you can probably setup two of these in a smaller kitchen, and still be fine.
Four years ago, I purchased the stools that are featured from Amazon. I decided upon these particular ones because I wanted a combination of an industrial/farmhouse/rustic look, along with something that would withstand wear and tear of teenagers and usage in general. Plus, they are both simple and functional, and that’s what Valley of Grace is all about. I don’t like to have to keep buying furniture. The stools come in two different sizes: table height and bar height.
Building a breakfast bar
2 ½” Tees
4 ½” flanges
2 ½” 36” nipples (or whatever height you choose)
2 ½” 12” nipples (or whatever width you choose)
A box of 2-inch screws
1 piece of 8 ft. 8” lumber from the lumber department (add additional 2 ft. for 6 people fitting comfortably, and another 2ft. for a coffee/tea station to be added at the end)
4 clips (optional for securing lumber to 12” nipples)
Assemble two 7 shapes to build the bar without tightly screwing:
Connect the 12” nipple to the flange.
Screw the Tee onto the 12” nipple.
Screw the 36” nipple onto the tee.
Connect the flange to the 36” nipple.
Use a stud finder to find the location of the studs in the wall.
Using the 2-inch screws, drill the two 7 shapes into the studs in the wall.
Place the piece of lumber on top.
Optional: Secure the (2) 12” nipples to the piece of lumber with two clips using a drill, and two screws per clip for both 7 shapes.
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. Psalms 127:1
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Background Story on Wire Baskets
A little while ago, I talked about the different uses for crates for organization. You can find that post here. Today, our organizational focus will be on the usage of wire baskets. I love baskets of all shapes, sizes, and textures. And so, of course, wire baskets would be included in this group. I like organizing things period. What I have realized within the last few years, is that when we are organized, we are able to turn the five hour paper search to a 15 minute paper search. Our lives run smoother, and we’re able to spend more time doing the things that matter: spending time with our family and friends, serving others, and being able to get those hobbies in. This is what happened when I didn’t have my scrap-booking supplies organized.
Not having things organized discourages doing anything because our efforts are multiplied. We start to think to ourselves, ” Why even bother? If I want to paint, it’s going to take 2 hours to find all the supplies!”
Baskets take the look of organization to a whole new level. Here are five reasons to contemplate using wire baskets:
Simplicity and Practicality
Wire baskets are easy to clean. All you need is a damp cloth to wipe them down and keep going. It doesn’t get any easier than that. Dust naturally collects on anything, and that where the damp cloth comes in. Also, every now and then, something may leak out, that is when a small squirt of dish detergent gets added to the cloth. Wipe and you’re done!
Wire baskets help you to get the clutter off the counters and off the floor. Because they can be purchased as a three or four in one, or individual units, they are easy to mount on the wall using 2-inch nails.
I home-schooled for 12 years. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about using wire baskets at the time. They are perfect for organizing individual folders and subjects for each kid without losing your mind. If you have more than one basket on the wall, then you can use one of the wire baskets to store all incoming bills and important papers that need attention as well.
Other homeschool and business ideas for wire baskets can be found here, where they have wire baskets specifically for mail and magazines, and as part of a wall organization unit for home and business.
There isn’t one room that I can think of in the house that wire baskets can’t be used in. For the bathroom, you can use them for facial and toiletry products. They can even be used for towels and shampoo.
For the kitchen, wire baskets are good for storing mason jars filled with items such as nutritional yeast, corn meal, and sugar. Spices and seasonings stored in wire baskets help you to get them off of the counter tops, along with still being able to see what you are needing to use. Lastly, for you bakers, wire baskets are perfect solutions for storing your rolling pins.
Other kitchen uses for wire baskets are the following: fruit and produce, napkins. place mats, and apron storage. I love the Madam Stoltz ones pictured here at Reforma Stockholm as a fruit and produce idea.
Last, but not least, wire baskets just look good. I am all about the aesthetics being in line for number three after simplicity and functionality.
Happy wire basket adventuring and have a blessed evening!
How would you like to make something fun for your door with less than $5? Well, that’s what I did this past April. Recently, I had the idea that I was going to take it down since we are now in the fall season. However, it just hasn’t happened. I liked this project for three reasons:
By the way, I purchased all of these materials from Dollar Tree.
Here are the materials that you will need:
1 bundle of jute material (optional) $1
1 wreath $1
2 small bundles of fake flowers $2
Total Cost $4.00 + tax
Fold the bottom half of each of the flowers stems.
Tuck the flower stems into the wreath by placing them in between the individual pieces of the wreath.
Tie bows around each of the individual flowers.
Hang on your door and enjoy!
Optional: This wreath can also be used as a table decoration.
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
When I moved to the place that I live now, I appreciated the layout of the kitchen. It isn’t large, but a decent size for having company and entertaining. The one thing that was a drawback is the fact that we lacked cabinet space. I had gotten used to the pantry that we were blessed with at the last place. So here, I had to get creative. That’s where the shelves came in. Last week, I featured a post on building a clothing rack with plumbing pipe material here.
I needed a place to store more dishes. Plus, I needed somewhere to store things like cereal and oatmeal boxes. What I decided is that I would build four shelves using plumbing pipe materials and lumber. I went to one of my favorite hardware stores, Menards, and got to planning. This project didn’t require a lot of materials. It just required planning as far as finding the studs, and then making sure that the flanges are being screwed into the studs in the wall. If they aren’t, well, we don’t want to go there, because it would be a disaster of broken dishes, drywall, and everything else.
Building the Shelves
Instead of stacking boxes, and all that drama on these shelves, I decided to use mason jars. To me, they give more of a clean, organized look. I liked the look so much, that if there was wall space on the other side of my kitchen window, I’m quite sure by now, I would have another set of shelves lined up there. Kitchen shelves are one of my favorite things to view in kitchens when I am glancing through home magazines.
I should also specify that I planned everything, and I gave my son and daughter the pleasure of dealing with the hardware. To be honest, I am not comfortable using a drill. I used a drill once at the last place when I got tired of waiting for them to place a shelf on the wall in the laundry room. When they saw that I had put the shelf up, with anchors and all, they kind of gave me the look, “Okay”. Anyways, here are the materials and instructions for having fun. If you are bold enough to try it, send a comment and post pictures below.
(4) 48″ X 12″ lumber boards
(8) 1/2 ” Tees
(8) 1/2 ” pipe flanges
(8) 1/2 ” 12″ pipe nipples
Use a stud finder to locate the studs in the wall.
Make sure that you leave enough space in between the shelves.
Using a drill, screw the nails into the pipe flanges, and then the nipples into the flanges.
Screw on the 1/2″ Tee to the pipe nipple.
Place the lumber board on top.
The weight of the jars and dishes will keep the board in place.
If you prefer to attach the pipe nipples to the boards, attach two metal clips on both sides for security.
Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. Psalms 127:1
Four years ago, when my kids and I were living at our last residence, my daughter wanted a clothing rack that she saw in a PBteen magazine. The clothing rack was $400. At the time, I wasn’t able to afford any kind of rack. We had just found a place to live. Four months later, the Lord blessed me with the funds to build her a rack. I gave it to her as an early Christmas present. She had enough closet space, but she wanted this particular clothing rack to be used as a furniture piece in her room.
I took the picture from the PBTeen magazine to Home Depot with me. One of the guys there was more than happy to help out. I told him that I wanted a spin off of the rack with the best solution possible. He took the time to walk me through the aisles, showing me every single part that I needed. I wrote all the parts down so that I would be prepared whenever God’s timing was right to send the funds. The list of parts came out to about $118.00. Three months later, I had the money to build the rack. That’s when I decided to go to Menards to compare prices. I was able to get all the parts that I needed for about $56 dollars.
I had my son to build the rack while my daughter was gone to a function. I told him, “You have to hurry up before she gets home, so it won’t ruin the surprise”. I could tell that he enjoyed doing it, because he stated that it was just like building Legos. I was so excited to be able to bless her with this gift after everything that we had been through. After he put the rack together, we waited for her to come home. I told her to come up to her room because I had something to talk to her about. When she got to her room, she was had the weirdest look on her face. She kept saying over and over again, “When did you get this?” This made my heart happy. The smallest things during the toughest times can mean a lot to anyone.
If you like to be adventurous, and build a rack, then here are the instructions:
(4) 1/2″ pipe flanges
(2) 1/2″ T’s
(4) 1/2″ 8″ plumbing pipe nipples
(2) 6 feet nipples
(1) 1/2″ 3 feet nipple
2 1/2″ 90 degree elbows
2 1/2″ 45 degree elbows
Make sure not to tighten all parts fully until you have put the whole thing together.
Place two flanges on one side and two flanges on the other side.
Picture in your head that you are building a towel bar.
On both sides, screw a 90 degree elbow into the two pipe flanges.
On both sides, screw an 8 inch nipple, then T, then 8 inch nipple to form a “towel bar”.
Attach the 6 feet nipples to the T’s on both sides.
Attach the 45 degree elbows to the 6 feet nipples.
Place the 3 feet long nipple in between the 45 degree elbows.
My kids know that when it comes to me getting my hands on some paint in the house, it can be really dangerous. I mean really dangerous. When I am trying to process things, and having an emotionally challenging day, it calls for creativity and fresh air. Creativity for me could be dancing, praise dancing, painting, journaling, writing, or decorating. When I am in painting and decorating mode together, watch out! So about a year ago, I was in one of my moods, and I sat on the couch thinking about how absolutely bland and lifeless the color of the kids’ piano was. I also started looking at a particular chair that I’d found my daughter about seven years ago from World Market on clearance for $24, which at this point, had been painted three times already. The original color was espresso.
On A Mission
Well, my mind kept going on the possibilities, and I ended up using the last bit of Antique Silver Paint, a color that I had bought from Menards in their Paramount Pittsburgh All in One, One Coat Paint and Primer Series. I had a paint brush, drop cloth, and paint, and one extra tray already in the laundry room. I was on a mission. No one was going to stop me.
I wanted to get everything done before the kids got home from school. They walked in the door, and they had the look of shock on their faces. My son’s main concern was that I didn’t ruin the piano. I said, “NO, you’re good.” He still looked skeptical. They slowly walked over to check it out. I think it took them a week to get used to it. All in all, it turned out pretty decent, and the best part about it is that I had just enough paint to finish the job. God is good. All the time!
If anyone knows me, they know there are certain things that I love. The top of the list are crates, jars, baskets, cutting boards, dishes, and aprons. Whenever my daughter and I are looking around in stores with any of these items, she knows me. I have to take a look. I stand there and look at all the wonderful neutral colors. Not only do I love seeing them in stores, but I love to decorate with them. When it comes to storage, crates are at the top of the list for me. They add a natural look and feel to the home, and can dress up any room. Today, I am going to be discussing different things that you can do with crates. Maybe you would like to adopt some ideas, or it might spark some interest as to what you can do with your own.
Crates can be painted, or left plain, so that the natural pine makes a statement.
When we were living at our last residence, I bought my daughter four crates to help organize the belongings in her room. I decided to paint them a mustard yellow to make the room pop. When we moved here, she decided that she didn’t want them. I painted one crate “Ponytail”, and I painted the other three crates black. Ponytail is somewhere in the beige to tan family of colors.
Crates can be used to house magazines.
I was so happy when I thought about this idea. However, it meant going through all the magazines that I had collected over the past couple of years, and thrown in piles on the floor all over the house. I gave some away and I recycled some. I made myself pair down to about 10 magazines, and decided that this was a sufficient amount to keep inside a medium sized crate.
Crates are great for displaying vases and candle holders.
A couple of weeks ago, I ran into my neighbor outside, and she told me that she was rearranging her cabinet, and that I could pick out some things that I wanted. This was such a blessing! The candle holders added just the pop of green that I needed for the living room.
Crates can be used for sewing supplies.
I have a small hallway upstairs on the second floor. In one corner, I keep a bag of pieces of material for upcycling, and then a crate filled with sewing and manicure supplies. The safety pins are housed in clear jars. Sewing needles and thread are housed in open plastic containers. The picture on the right reminds me of my grandmother, because she loved sewing and wearing scarves on her head.
Last, but not least, crates can be used as storage for laundry.
You can use a couple of crates for the clean clothes, and a couple of crates for the dirty clothes. I have a system of using one large crate for the towels, and then either dumping the dirty clothes into the washing machine, or in another crate or basket.
Feel free to share your many uses for crates down below.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
I have two pillowcases that I have had for a while. A couple of years ago, I debated over whether I should get rid of them. That turned into a fleeting thought once my brain went into creative mode. They were super cozy still, but the white was kind of faded. I decided that I would bleach them, and even if they didn’t turn out super white, I appreciated the old look.
Once again, I decided to put those good, old, warm scarves to use that have been sitting in my closet forever and a day. I already had the embroidery thread and needle at home, so I didn’t spend any money on this project. I hope that this quick project inspires you to upcycle your pillowcases as well. If you decide to take on this project, how about taking pictures, and posting them below on the discussion board.
Activity: Upcycling Pillowcases
Embroidery thread #25
Thick Sewing Needle
Cut out six two-inch square pieces of wool.
Sew the squares an inch and a half apart right up above the opening side of the pillowcase.
The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
20 By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.
21 My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:
22 So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.
23 Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.
24 When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.