Love Your Home

Recently I was chatting with Taylor at Porch.com and she asked me to share about my “happy place” at home. This sounded like too much fun to pass up, so here I am! Have you heard of Porch.com? Porch is a home network that allows you to find the right professionals, get inspired, and manage your home….for free! 

 A little over 5 years ago, we bought our first house. We discussed living here for about 5-10 years until there were a few little feet running across these floors and we were feeling cramped. Then we were going to move on to something bigger and better. Now I’m trying to find ways to stay here forever. We’ve turned this little blank slate of a house into our home.

They key to having a home that we love and never want to leave has been this : only have things that we absolutely love, mean something special to us, and make our way of life more enjoyable. That means we ignore the lists online that tell us whether our home and belongings are on or off trend. If we love it, it stays. That also means we work to make sure our home is a sanctuary, for us and those who cross our threshold. We love to have friends and family over and to host parties and get-togethers. We want everyone to feel comfortable and at home! 

#loveyourhome

One of my absolute favorite corners in our home checks off all 3 items on our “how to love our home” list. That corner is the coffee bar!  This little space in my kitchen is my happy place. If you’ve been here long enough, you’ve learned of my obsession with coffee. I’ve even got a steaming cup of joe smack dab in the middle of my logo. It’s not so much the life giving nectar that this coffee bar provides that makes it my happy place. Although, that is a nice bonus! This little corner provides much more than a jolt of caffeine. 

#loveyourhome

Many special and important conversations have been had over a cup of coffee brewed in this very spot. It has been an essential part to our at-home date nights and late night visits with family and friends. When we hit a mental road block with our adoption paper work, we poured two cups and got to work together to finish that stack. We have done the same while celebrating immense joys with our friends like weddings and babies; and deep sorrows like the loss of loved ones. 

#loveyourhome

We have been lucky enough to inherit a few special things from loved ones that we have incorporated throughout our home decor. Our coffee corner is no exception! The cabinet was actually my great-grandmother’s china cabinet. It was a bit beat up and didn’t quite fit the look of our home, so I spruced it up a bit. The cabinet holds a few special items given to me by my grandma. My favorite is the beautiful sea foam green tea set. It belonged to her grandmother. She and a few of her friends bought matching sets and took turns hosting each other each week for tea. These things are sweet reminders of special people, and just part of making this house feel like home. 

#loveyourhome

 This little space is just one of the ways we’ve made our home so special! 

Now, I want to see your happy place in your home! Post a photo on Twitter or Instagram with #loveyourhome ! 

{you can read more about our coffee bar and find sources here}

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I Carry Your Heart in My Heart {Valentine’s Day Mantel}

I love Valentine’s Day. Well, really I love Valentine’s Day decor. It goes back to elementary school; decorating “mail boxes” and passing out Valentine cards and candy. I just can’t quite get enough of the pink and red hearts and paper doilies. 

So, of course, I love putting up a few Valentine decorations in the house. I especially enjoy decking the mantel for the day of love! This year’s mantel features a few of my favorite things : chalk art, vintage and handmade! 

Happy, handmade Valentine's Day mantelThe focal point of the mantelscape is the large printed chalk art, based on the famous E.E. Cummings poem. You can purchase the downloadable file from Caravan. I had an engineer print done at Staples for around $4. 

Happy, handmade Valentine's Day mantelMost of the rest of the mantel is recycled from last year’s. The adorable felt heart garland is by Aidie’s Hideaway. You can read about how to make the faux antique brass letters here.

Happy, handmade Valentine's Day mantel I bought a grocery store bouquet of white spider mums and used my blue jars as vases.The antique mason jars are leftover from our wedding and have gotten so much use since then!

Happy, handmade Valentine's Day mantelThe flowers got an extra dose of fun with Happy Flags from Natalie Creates.  

Happy, handmade Valentine's Day mantel

Happy, handmade Valentine's Day mantelAren’t they cute?? :)

Happy, handmade Valentine's Day mantelDo you put up any Valentine decorations, or are you still enjoying the post-Christmas breathing room? 

“I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)I am never without it (anywhere
I go you go,my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet)I want no world (for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)”
E.E. Cummings

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5 Tips for Decluttering Your Home

One of the biggest tasks I accomplished in our house last year was getting rid of junk. I definitely have hoarder-like tendencies. I am very sentimental and have always saved every little thing that might have a memory attached to it. The planner part of me also has a hard time letting go of things because of the “what-ifs” I can come up with. The thing is, living with excess junk is living with a big burden. I got so tired of being a “stuff manager”. I wanted to enjoy my home by spending quality time with people I love… Not spending my time cleaning all of the stuff we don’t need. 

My only regret in my “Great Purge of 2014″ is that I didn’t weigh the stuff that was leaving my house. We got rid of SO.MUCH.STUFF. It would have been fun to see how much weight our house lost over the course of a year. :) Here are a few of the tips that worked for me in shedding the house clutter. 

 Purging the junk once and for all!

1) Have a Giveaway box

Have a designated spot to keep a box or bag to store giveaway items until you can donate them or have them picked up. We keep a box in our garage at all times for this purpose. Any time I’m cleaning and find something that we no longer need, and is still in good condition, it goes straight to the box!

If something is in poor condition or just not usable anymore, trash it or find a way to recycle it. Last month, I was helping organize a free garage sale that our adoption agency does every year for all of the Birth Moms they have worked with, and I could not believe some of the stuff people had donated. If it is gross or broken, just chunk it. 

2) Purge often!

Make purging a continual thing, not just a big once a year project. It’s much more manageable to purge several times throughout the year. Whenever I am cleaning a room or a cabinet, I am pulling out things we don’t need anymore or things that need to be trashed. You can also set aside one day a week or month to sort through a drawer, cabinet or closet. 

3) Participate in an online organizational challenge

There are so many awesome organization challenges online that you can participate in. Right now, I’m following along with A Bowl Full of Lemon’s Home Organization 101 14 Week Challenge. Each week we have an assigned area of the home to organize, complete with a check list. There is also a Facebook group where we can encourage each other and brainstorm ideas together. You could also participate in a “40 bags in 40 days” challenge. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll be encouraged and motivated to declutter your home when you have a little guidance and you’re participating with others. 

4) Find an easy way to donate

When you’re desperate to rid your home of the clutter, it’s usually best to give these things away quickly instead of hoarding them for a garage sale. It may be months before you can get around to this garage sale, and then there will be a ton of work that has to go into prep. If you’re not careful, that pile could start taking over your garage or things will start finding their way back inside. 

Find an easy way to quickly get these items out of your home. Either put your donation box inside your car as soon as its full and drive it straight to a donation center of your choice, or find a charity in you area that does scheduled pick ups and get on their e-mail list. 

I found a charity in our area that supports kids in the foster care system. I subscribed to their list and get an e-mail about once a month letting me know which day they’ll be in my area. I can either click “Yes, I have a donation” or “No”. All I have to do it make sure my giveaway box is out on the front porch first thing that morning and they will haul it off and leave a receipt. It could not be any easier to purge our home of stuff we no longer need, and it feels good to know that those things will help local kids in need! 

5) Sell your high dollar items 

 Sometimes you do have items that you know you could get some cash for and you’d rather sell than giveaway. You have several options at your fingertips for this. You can always try sites like eBay if the item is easy to ship. Craigslist and local Facebook garage sale sites are also great options, especially for heavier things like furniture. If you take this route, make sure all specifics are spelled out – like the price, acceptable payment, and a meeting place and time. Always meet in a well lit public place. Make sure someone knows where you are headed and when. Better yet, take a friend! Most people are great, but you can never be too safe! :)

What are some of your best tips for purging your home? 

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