If your spring cleaning tasks have unearthed a mound of kid art projects that you can’t bear to part with (and honestly, you really need to spare yourself the heartbreak of having your child see his or her masterpiece in the trash), we have some solutions for you. From turning crafts into wall art to archiving their creativity, here are 4 ways to continue to admire your child’s artwork while still keeping your home organized and clutter-free.
Find Use for Empty Frames
Using thrift store frames with the glass and backing removed, Jean Van’t Hul of The Artful Parent has created an entire wall dedicated to her children’s artwork. One of the greatest advantages of this solution is that you can change out the artwork regularly—changing with the seasons or with the whims of your child’s artistic inspiration. Take a picture of the wall each time you change the art—giving you an ongoing archive of your child’s talent.
Hang with Clothes Pins
An even simpler solution is to attach clothespins to a piece of trim and hang it in on the wall (we suggest the wall of a playroom or children’s bedroom). Jen from Iheartorganizing.com gives step-by-step instructions that include painting the clothespins in bright, vibrant colors to really accent your child’s artwork. Hang the trim low enough that your children can actually put up and take down their own projects.
Write a Book (literally)
Several online photo services like Shutterfly and Snapfish offer templates for creating books filled with your own images. We especially love the platform Shutterfly has created (called Mini Masterpieces) which includes a design layout and copy specifically for children’s artwork. There is nothing better than watching your child’s face light up when the published book arrives in the mail. Great addition to your coffee table.
Go Out on a Ledge
Gallery ledges are great for displaying all sorts of artwork and photos, but can be especially fun when they are filled with your child’s creations. While you can certainly go out and purchase these ledges, Ana White shares easy step-by-step instructions for creating your own. She suggests painting them the same color as your wall so the art really pops. Another plus with the ledges is that it lets you display three-dimensional pieces as well, finally giving that dinosaur statue a place to live.
Talk to us: How do you display or archive your child’s artwork?
How are you celebrating Earth Day this year? Whatever you are doing to praise our planet (click here if you need some ideas), we have the perfect soundtrack for you. Here are the 5 of the best songs that celebrate earth:
Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology), Marvin Gaye
Big Yellow Taxi, Joni Mitchell
Road Trippin’, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Society, Eddie Vedder
Waiting on the World to Change, John Mayer
Talk to us: What is your favorite song that celebrates all that is wonderful about our world?
Happy National Garlic Day! If you didn’t have this day marked on your calendar, there is still plenty of time to celebrate. While you may be thinking of all the delicious meals you can make with garlic (if you’re stumped, click here for some yummy ideas), we wanted to share 4 things you can do with garlic outside of the kitchen.
Keep Bugs Away
The natural properties of garlic make it a great addition to this all-natural DIY bug spray. Combining “garlic-water” to basic soap spray (made with castile soap) will keep the insects out of the garden without hurting your plants–or yourself! In addition, you can keep away mosquitoes by leaving out a few cloves of garlic where the bugs seem to congregate.
Clear Up Acne
“Garlic is known for its antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal and antioxidant properties,” writes GroovyGreenLivin.com. Therefore, it is the perfect ingredient for clearing up your skin. Simply slice open a clove of garlic and rub onto the affected area and leave it for 5 minutes before rinsing with cold water.
Care2.com reminds us that garlic is a natural adhesive, so if you are looking for a quick fix for mildly-damaged glass, rub crushed cloves onto hairline cracks, wiping away excess liquid. It will help the glass stay together and prevent any further damage.
Remove a Splinter
A piece of garlic placed over a splinter, covered by a bandage, will naturally draw the splinter out. Leave the bandage in place for a few hours or even overnight before removing.
Talk to us: How do you use garlic?
image courtesy of flickr CC/Clyde Robinson
Yard sales, moving sales, estates sales…whatever you call it, we love it. These do-it-yourself sales allow you to get yourself organized and get rid of things you really don’t need—it’s one of the best examples of recycle, reuse and reduce that I know.
But, yard sales are hard work and sometimes the effort you put into it doesn’t seem like it’s worth the amount of money you make. Here are our 5 secrets to getting the most out of your yard sale experience.
Find a Partner
When it comes to yard sales, don’t go it alone. When you partner with neighbors, friends and family members you not only have more help, but you have more things to offer prospective buyers. Experts believe the more “full” a sale seems the more traffic you will receive. Worried that you won’t be able to keep track of everyone’s stuff? Give each group its own color-coded price tag—when the sale is over there will be no mistake how the money should be divided and who is responsible for items that didn’t sell.
In addition to advertising in your local paper, checkout some of the free online sites such as Craigslist, Yard Sale Search or Garage Sale Hunter and don’t forget to add signage in your yard and around your neighborhood. Use your advertising space wisely—choose phrases such as “Estate Sale” to really capture people’s attention and, if possible, include a few of your best items in your advertising such as “Baby Clothes”, “Sports Equipment” or “Kitchen Table.”
The strategy of throwing multiple items into one box with one price sign sounds like an easy solution, but it won’t necessarily give you the best results. Take the time to create price tags for each item—I really like this eco-friendly option from Etsy or make your own by cutting out shapes from paper scraps. This makes the pricing easy to find and gives the illusion that they are shopping at a store. A pricing tip from the pros: don’t price under the assumption everyone wants to haggle. If your pricing is too high, many people will just walk away.
Think like a store designer by not only grouping like items together (kitchen items in one area, toys in another, etc.), but also focusing on how each item is displayed. Set dishes on a table, hang up clothing by size and gender (use a shower rod or string wire between trees) and stack books on a shelf. Make sure there is enough walking space between your sections and put big-ticket items (nice furniture, golf clubs) by the curb so people will want to stop. Once you have everything set, take a step out into your street and see how everything looks.
Make It an Experience
In addition to finding a good deal, yard sale hoppers are also looking for a good time. Put out a table with coffee and pastries for the early morning, play your favorite Pandora station in the background and create an area where small children can be entertained with crayons, puzzles and games. The idea is to make people feel comfortable—allowing them to linger over your items instead of rushing to get to the next sale.
Once your sale is over, continue the green theme and donate leftover items to a local non-profit organization.
Talk to us: What is your best tip for yard sale success?
image courtesy of flickr CC/r. nial bradshaw
Seriously, what is more difficult than folding a fitted sheet? As professional cleaners we see inside many a linen closet and while towels and flat sheets may be perfectly folded and organized, fitted sheets are usually folded into a bundle and tossed at the bottom of the closet in hopes no one will notice. Once and for all, here are the steps you need to take to fold those fitted sheets from Real Simple Magazine:
- Turn the sheet inside out (elastic edge facing you) and put one corner in each hand.
- Fold the sheet in half vertically by flipping the right corner over the left to create a pocket. Turn the sheet 180 degrees and create a second pocket on the top.
- With two corners over your left hand and two in your right, fold the sheet in half once more so that all four fitted corners meet; flip the right set of corners over the left set.
- With all gathered edges facing up, fold the longer part of the curved edge toward the center creating a straight edge. Now you have a rectangle which you can fold into half and/or thirds.
Talk to us: Do you fold your fitted sheets? If so, we’d love to hear your tips.
image courtesy of flickr CC/Jinx McCombs