5 Unusual Places to Organize

It’s that time of year again. The time when the deals on Black Friday are just too good to pass up. When grandparents can’t help but shower your kids with TONS of presents, & suddenly your house feels like it’s stuffed to overflowing. To me, right before Christmas is THE BEST time to start the de-cluttering process. There are about to be a huge influx of toys, craft supplies, & leftover cookie tins that nobody seems to know what to do with, but it’s just SUCH a shame to give them away.

In our family’s effort to seek simplicity in our home & lifestyle, I’ve been doing more organizing, & de-cluttering so we can enjoy more of the simple things in life. I’ve recently learned that the key to having a clean, peaceful home is very dependent on minimizing the “stuff”. The more things we have piled up in corners, on the shelves, or stuffed on the counters… the more stressed I get. Clutter just seems to breed chaos, doesn’t it?

5 Unusual Places to Organize

1) Hair Accessories:

I currently have 3 (THREE!) containers full of hair ties, bobby pins, hair clips… & I haven’t used most of them in 5 years. I use a few elastics (when my hair is long), & some bobby pins on a consistent basis. So… why am I hanging on to the hair clips that I’ve had since I was 12? Do you need to save all the bent bobby pins, or the ones that don’t match you hair color? (Why do I have bobby pins for blondes? I’ve never been blonde…) Throw out broken hair clips. Do you hang on to those hair ties that have the elastic break on the inside, but they still sorta-work? Well, don’t.

2) Cleaning Supplies:

Glory. Who needs 12 different sprays, 2 kinds of furniture polish, & a bunch of other bottles full of mystery liquid? At the end of the day, all I ever use is a bottle of Mrs. Meyer’s Basil Concentrate mixed with water in a spray bottle. It works on windows, counters, bathrooms, toilets… pour a glug in your mop bucket, & your floors will be super-shiny. I keep a bottle of Lysol toilet bowl cleaner, Mrs. Meyer’s, Barkeeper’s Friend (great for cleaning the tub/sinks)!, & a jug of bleach. If I haven’t used the cleaner in 2+ years, I. Don’t. Need. It.

3) Jewelry:

That’s right. Go through your Bling, ladies. I haven’t opened my jewelry box in ages, except to dig through the countless numbers of costume jewelry earrings to find my favorite pair. I just went through my jewelry, & got rid of SO much! My box was full of earrings I’ve had since I was 12, the cheap ones that turn green, & earrings missing their mate. I saved my favorite earrings & jewelry, a few special heirloom pieces, & the rest is going bye-bye. I will save anything that’s real gold or silver to sell, but the costume jewelry can be thrown away!

4) Technology:

I have a camera I haven’t used in 5 years. It’s perfectly good, but I have a better digital camera, & my iPhone… so… why do I have it? We have 5 years-worth of chargers & cords to old devices that we no longer use. What do you use on a daily basis? Do you need a phone charger in two places? I keep a charging cord in the car & one in the house. But I don’t need the 5 extra cords from the old flip-phones that we used to have! Clearing out our technology basket is on my next order of business.

5) Winter Accessories:

I know after winter’s over, you just grab all the hats & scarves & winter accessories… only to stuff them all in the attic. What have the kids outgrown? Have you worn that hat in 2 years? Is something out of style, just old & dingy looking? Have people given your Hubs 18 scarves, & he’s just not the scarf-wearing type? These are great things to sort out now, & this is the best time to donate them to help out the community (Try a local homeless shelter!).

So… are you gonna join me in pre-Christmas de-cluttering? What area of your home are you planning to tackle?


newsletter_simple
newsletter_simple_art

Finding Freedom from “Busy.”

I’m the kind of person that quickly feels trapped if I’ve got too much on my schedule. Even if I’ve got lots of fun things on m schedule, it there are too many things on my calendar, & I’m a cranky little bundle of stress! I like having freedom to do life spontaneously. Random coffee dates with friends, impromptu walks in the park. To me, life is just better unplanned.

Mindset Shift: Finding Freedom from "Busy"

BUT. I still have to do stuff. I still have to accomplish tasks in a timely manner. Go to appointments. Cook dinner. Run a business. I’m learning that finding freedom from “busy” is partly emptying out the calendar, but mostly it’s a mindset shift. Here’s what I’m doing to find freedom:

1) Un-Schedule –

Yep. I’ve un-scheduled as much as I possibly can! There are still the non-negotiable things; doctor visits, business appointments, time with my friends that work best with schedules. 🙂 But the other stuff? I’ve pared down. I’ve always thought that I just need to learn how to schedule & plan better in order for me to stick with something… until I realized that plans & schedules just don’t work for this free spirit! Paring down leaves me with lots of space for creativity, friends, & family. ‘

2) Writing Lists –

Instead of a set-in-stone calendar, I usually write myself a list of to-do’s. It includes things that have to be done by a certain date, things I want to do, & new projects that I hope to put in the shop sometime. If a task HAS to be finished by a certain date, I get it done (usually last minute!). If there’s no ‘due by” date, then I get to is whenever I’m interested in that thing. It’s pretty free-form… & no, stuff doesn’t always get done. But I am much happier with day-to-day life with the relaxed freedom this allows.

3) Making Goals –

Instead of a full calendar, I set simple goals & try to accomplish them throughout the day, week, or month. By the end of each day, I try to have a load of laundry done, & the sink empty of dishes. Weekly, I want to clean the bathroom, write a post for Corner Chair, & always, ALWAYS leave plenty of room for coffee dates with friends. (I have a lot more goals than these, but they are a few examples.) Having loose goals allows me to do them when I want to, & not feel locked down into a daily or weekly schedule that makes me feel like I’m stuck in a box.

For years, I’ve tried to “get better” at sticking with schedules, at keeping up with my calendar, to do All The Things that all the “experts” say you should do in order to have a successful life. But all those things honestly make me miserable. And that’s okay! These three simple changes in my mindset have completely changed my joy & happiness each day. I love waking up to a day that’s empty of stress, appointments, & full of endless opportunities. I have the option to put a to-do aside if I get excited about a new knitting project. Or write 5 blog posts at a time, because the inspiration is flowing.

Are you a scheduler, or do you need your days to be free-form?


newsletter_simple
newsletter_simple_art

Life Slows Down (When You Do).

The other day, I stopped my usual routine to go to the park with friends. It was fun, & the kids LOVED it. By the time we got home, all three of us could barely keep our eyes open! We are some turkey & cheese, & then I put the kids down for their naps. Then I did the unthinkable:

I took a nap too.

I thought to myself “I’ll just lay here for a little while, & then get up & accomplish X, Y, & Z.” Almost 4 hours later, I woke up. The house was quiet, & still. I heard a tiny little giggle from the kids’ room. Even though I had napped my “free time” away, it felt like time had held still. Like somehow, the day hadn’t slipped by without me realizing it.

Life Slows Down (when you do).

Time doesn’t feel like it’s racing by quite as fast. It doesn’t feel like I’m going to miss something. When we stop rushing from one thing to the next, the feeling that there isn’t enough time seems to disappear. Ironic, isn’t it? The one thing (time, rather; not enough time) that keeps us running the “rat race” seems to slow down once we stop running.

Now, I’m going to get the kids up from their nap. We might watch a movie & eat snacks. Because the time that I have with those I love is more important that the race, anyway. This Mama is raising her cup of coffee to toast living more slowly. Oh, you too?

*clink*

What is one thing you can do to slow down?


newsletter_simple
newsletter_simple_art

Enough Comfort.

We live in a world full of judgers. You weigh too much. You’re too intraverted. Too skinny. Too involved in technology. Too old-fashioned. Too opinionated. A lot of times, we judge ourselves. “My legs are ugly. I hate the way I laugh. I’m too shy.”

What would our world look like if we started telling ourselves & those around that we’re just right? Would we all begin to experience the freedom that comes with being fully accepted? We might begin to live in the knowledge that we are loved. We might begin to find joy in the person that we are meant to be.

We might start to move mountains.

Watch Carefully... when you are comfortable enough to be yourself, you can move Mountains. #atticuspoetry

Most of us struggle with some type of poor self-image. But I know this: I was made for more than worrying what people think of me. I was made for a bigger purpose than hoping to look like the skinny stick-figure on a magazine cover. You know what? So are you.

Let’s give those around us (& ourselves) enough comfort The comfort we need to be ourselves, without worrying if we’ll fit in. We are made to be bold. Mountain-movers. Don’t fit in; Stand Out… & watch the magic happen.

What’s one thing you could tell a friend (or yourself!) that will let them be themselves?


newsletter_simple
newsletter_simple_art

ANNOUNCING: The Identity Collection

Hello, friend! Today’s the day… I’m SO excited to share the new collection with you. When I first started planning this collection, I was hoping for unique line of handmade gifts. Let me just say: NOTHING went according to plan! I was scrambling last minute to finish some of the designs, scrambling to find a location for the photoshoot… the collection seemed to be changing quickly into something different than I had planned. Sometimes, you just have to let go of plans. It just seemed like the right move to change the name from “Brown Paper Packages” to…

The Identity Collection

13

I loved every minute of designing this collection of screen printed shirts. Each shirt is intended to highlight a special personality… no matter if you’re a home-body, or a growly little bear cub. Even better: the shirts were modeled by a STUNNING family (😍) & Samantha from Samantha Jane Photography did a gorgeous photoshoot. I’m so blessed to have an amazing creative community around me. ☺️

Check out the Lookbook to see more!

SHOP THE COLLECTION.

For an exclusive coupon, sign up for the Corner Chair Newsletter:

Comforting: verb.

This week has been just… so, SO good. I’ve intentionally kept it free of to-do’s, & since we’re all recovering from colds, I allowed plenty of room for rest. There is something comforting about an unhurried life. I don’t like feeling like I’m in a rat race, which I usually do if I put too many things on my calendar. Some days I accomplish a lot, & other days it’s Netflix & headphones during nap-time. And ya’ know what? That’s okay.

I’ve been thinking a lot about intentionally slowing down. Even going to the gym is currently up on the table. I know I need to keep up with my well-being, but trying to tear up to the gym 3 days a week is stressful. I’m not really sure what I’m planning on doing, but it’s going to involve more mindful, restful exercise. While thinking about slowing down, finding more balance & peace, the word “comforting” just kept coming back to my mind. So, I looked it up:

Some thoughts on intentional living that are so comforting.

The path to an unhurried life is interesting. It feels…well,  selfish, at first. There’s a lot of opportunities you have to turn down to clear the schedule. What I’m finding is once I get my calendar empty enough to think, I actually have more time for people. I am not hurried when I see friends, so I can have more meaningful conversations. When I can stop & rest, I can infuse more encouragement into others.

The thought of slowing slowing down IS comforting. Strength-giving. It’s exciting when I realize that I can pour more of what I love into others. Full of hope. What do you think?


newsletter_simple
newsletter_simple_art

Letting Go of Plans.

After writing about needing space to plan on Monday, I planned… & then experienced a major shift in all my plans. Yesterday while trying to work on new items for the upcoming photoshoot I managed to dump a bottle of paint on the living room rug… 3 times. 😑 Plans for the location were changed, & I’m still trying to nail down a spot for the photos. Let’s just say it’s been… interesting… to say the least! Top it off with a 5 day migraine & a toddler with an attitude, & this quote says it all:

Learning to Breathe & Adjust when plans change.

Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. It’s not a bad thing; it’s just different. Mid afternoon yesterday, I lamented to Hubs that it felt like everything was falling apart. He’s so good at helping me get grounded again when I’m feeling pressured because my plans collapsed. A girlfriend came over with Starbucks, & we commiserated over our day together. Breathe. Let go.

I did manage to get the paint cleaned out of the rug. Over half of my screens are finished. (Yay!) I’m still working on some other details, & I know it’ll happen. Life is good, even if it doesn’t go as planned. Sometimes I need to be reminded to let go, & breathe. Let life happen… ’cause it’s usually even better than what I had planned. So today, I’m raise my Chai to-go Starbucks cup to you and say: “Here’s to letting go!”

Do you need to let go of some well-laid plans & just breathe? Share one thing you’d like to try to help you adjust to change in the comments below!


newsletter_simple
newsletter_simple_art

Space to Plan.

Hello, friends! I’ve got a BIG project ahead… &, as usual, I’m cutting the deadline close. I’ll be telling y’all about it soon, & I’m SO very excited! When there’s a big goal ahead like this week, I always need to give myself space to plan it out. Unfortunately, I’m a last-minute kinda girl… so I’m usually running late & running around like a crazy person the day of. However, I also work really well if I give myself a deadline. 😀 I definitely have a deadline this week, so I’m going to take some time today to plan! Here’s what I do to give myself space to put together a good plan:

Space to Plan: 4 Steps to Making Plans for BIG goals.

1) Space to Think.

The most important thing I need is to think… to be able to feel like I can relax enough to get my thoughts & plans sorted out on paper. Over the weekend, I got my housework caught up, & did some cleaning. Today I need to run the vacuum & wash the dishes, but other than that, the house is pretty much spot-on. Read more about having space to think here. 

2) Write a List.

The next thing I need is a to-do list. I write everything down that I need to accomplish… & I do mean E. VER. Y. THING. Breaking tasks down into individual steps on my to-do list gives me a really good idea of the time each thing will take. If I need to do laundry, I’ll write a list something like this:

Laundry – wash – fold – put away – wash – fold – put away

This way I can mark off each individual task, but they’re still grouped together on the same line so I can see the task as a whole.

3) Separate To-Do’s

Once I have a full to-do list, I separate it into days. Some things have to be finished before other things can be started. Less important things have to take a backseat so that the most important can take priority. Some tasks can’t even be started until other tasks are finished, so each day has specific tasks so that the entire project can get done by the deadline.

4) Organize It All

Next, it’s time to organize. I have a weekly tear-off sheet I found at Target that has a list under each day… I write everything down there, breaking it up by day. The Reminders App that comes on my iPhone is also a life-saver. I didn’t start using it until recently, but I enjoy that I can set my phone to beep to remind me of certain tasks, or when they should be done. I love Awesome Note, which is one of the only apps I’ve ever bought. Your to-do lists are organized by file, you can give notes due dates, & synchs everything with your iPhone calendar so you don’t have to put it in a million places at once. (The reminders app also synchs with your calendar, & with Awesome Note!)

I hope this helps you get your next big task accomplished… no matter if it’s a big project for work or deciding to go minimalist! I’m off to write my to-do list for this week. Do you have any other tips to add? Share in the comments!


newsletter_simple
newsletter_simple_art

What Causes Your Soul To Dance?

I want my soul to dance. For life to be so full of joy & contentment & beauty that I can’t’ keep it in. This kind of joy is always within my read, but how I view the world around me can completely change my perspective. If I let the normal stresses of the day get under my skin, then my day doesn’t feel like it’s full of joy; instead it’s full of frustration.

What causes your soul to dance?

If, however, I can get in touch with my intuition & see what’s really bothering me, I can make simple adjustments & change the day. I can learn to stop reacting to the kids being cranky or my own failures & be proactive. Sometimes it’s as simple as lighting a candle & putting on some soft music. Other times I need to stop what I really want to do & get some of the toys picked up so I’m not feeling like the house is a mess.

Joy lies in my own hands… all I have to do is grab hold of it.

 

What makes your soul dance?


newsletter_simple
newsletter_simple_art

Space to Live.

I was too busy. Running here & there, taking care of obligations & errands & adding extra things in… just in case I wasn’t busy enough. I needed space to live. I talking about having enough room outside of the to-do’s & pressure of every day to enjoy the moment. I need time to enjoy the simple pleasures that get shoved out too quickly when my schedule fills up. I don’t feel like I’m living life to the fullest unless I make time for some of the finer things in life.

Space to live: making space for the life you want.

To me, the “finer things” in life include taking time to relax at the local coffee shop. To chat with friends or simply people watch. Now that the kids are getting bigger, they can play at the “kids table” by themselves much better, & it’s so nice to FINALLY be able to just sit there, drinking my Chai & talking to adults. 🙂 If I’m too busy, I don’t have the time I need to spend in deeper conversations with friends & family. I love talking about big ideas & questions, & I need time in order to connect with the people I care about. So, here’s what I did to give myself the space I needed to feel like I was truly living:

#1: First off, I slowed down in my obligations. I had to begin somewhere, so I starting to purposefully slow myself down. I only put a few things in each week, so if I wanted to add more, I could… but there wasn’t the pressure of having 10 obligations in one week. This has really made the biggest difference.

#2: The next thing I did was to let myself relax. If I have a lot of things to do, I tend to feel rushed & stressed. I started picking the top 3 things on my to-do list & trying to accomplish those things each day. Anything else I get done is a bonus! The amazing thing is that I’m accomplishing so much more, now that I’ve taken the pressure off of myself!

#3: Finally, I began adding simple joys to my week. Making a point to go to my favorite coffee shop, going to the gym later in the day so my mornings could be unhurried. Burning a yummy smelling candle. Setting an atmosphere of calm will automatically begin to create calm, I’ve found!

So, what about you? What kind of life do you want to live… & what changes do you need to make to get there?


newsletter_simple
newsletter_simple_art

5 Years.

It’s been 5 years. 5 whole years cine I walked down the aisle, & said “I Do” to my best friend. We had a whirlwind romance, & honestly, we barely knew each other when we tied the knot. But we knew it was right. We felt the peace of God surrounding us as we made some life-altering vows. We’ve learned a lot about each other since then. Grown by leaps & bounds; both individually & as a couple.

file-sep-29-6-54-31-pm

It’s amazing; somehow the time has flown by; but it also feels like we’ve been together forever. It’s been SO good. There have been hard times. We’ve weathered the ups & downs of a DIY renovation. (Our tiny home is getting closer & closer to being done!) We’ve learned each other’s likes & dislikes, the things that annoy each other, & how to make each other laugh on no-good-very-bad-days. Hubs was there every step of my labor & delivery of our sweet babies, & I couldn’t ask for a better partner. Adding two littles in 14 months definitely created a whole new dynamic to our family!

file-sep-29-6-53-58-pm

 

 

 

We snuck away last weekend (by ourselves!) to a wonderful bed & breakfast in the mountains. We enjoyed the quiet of the mountains, visited a museum, & enjoyed browsing a few snug little mountain towns. Antique & coffee shops were in great supply, which made both Hubs & I quite happy. (Thank you, Hubs, for supporting my current chai obsession.)

file-sep-29-6-53-38-pm

 

 

In many ways, we are so alike that we blend together almost seamlessly. In other ways, we are polar opposites, & that allows us to push each other out of our comfort zones. 5 years… Wow. 5 years of give & take, of learning how to compromise, & how to stand united. This guy has given me the courage to pursue my dreams, the freedom to be more independent, & more love than I thought was possible.

file-sep-29-6-55-08-pm

 

Happy (belated) Anniversary, love. Here’s to 70 more!

The Best Way To Start.

After coming back from a weekend away, I’ll admit; it’s been hard to get back into the swing of daily life. I’ve had a list of things I need to do around the house, for Corner Chair, & I still needed to take care of the daily stuff of life. After slugging around the house for a day & a half, I needed to do something. I have recently realized that there are a few triggers for helping me get out of a slump, so I started with something I knew I desperately needed.

My tried & true method for getting myself out of a slump... Click to find the technique I use!

Off to the gym I went. It felt good to run, & I was in need of some exercise, since I haven’t been in about a month due to random circumstances & the kids being sick. Once I got my heart pumping & my heart rate up, my energy levels shot through the roof! It felt so good to pound the rubber on the treadmill & listen to Rend Collective.

Once I got home, I wrote everything I needed to do on a list, & narrowed it down to the things that were bothering me the most. The laundry pile that was sitting on the living room chair from before our trip was my #1, so I folded laundry. I washed a second load, so the hamper didn’t get too full. Gave the kids a bath, & fed them lunch.

Next up, I did something I wanted to do… write this blog post! I worked on a few other projects for Corner Chair, too… starched some knitting for Hubs & my booth in a local shop, listening to an inspiring podcast or two, & before I knew it, my body had begun moving naturally & I was back in the groove of normal life again.

Basically, my equation for getting out a slump is to do three things I should do, then one thing for myself. Like this:

Exercise
+ 1 Chore
+ 1 Thing for Myself
= Happy, Industrious Me 🙂 

What’s your recipe for breaking through a slump? I’d love to hear in the comments!


newsletter_simple
newsletter_simple_art