Archive Monthly Archives: April 2019

My Favorite Places to Find Bargains

If you are looking for high quality items, there are a number of stores where you can purchase beautiful furniture, fixtures and accessories local to your area and nationally. However I am not going to talk about those, because that isn't my thing. If you are a little more cost conscious, like myself, then you are familiar with Overstock and Wayfair (some of the most popular online stores) as well as the popular physical store Pier 1. Then for organizers, The Container Store and Amazon can be our holy grail. But if you are on a budget and just looking to spruce up your space with a few decor or organizing items, those places can really add up.  So I have put together a few of my favorite bargain recommendations for you, that go beyond your local Target!

  • Home Goods – part of the same conglomerate as TJ Maxx and Marshalls, but as the name implies Home Goods is household oriented. This is probably a well know one, but I thought I would start us off simple. They are great for cheap kitchen and bathroom items, canvas artwork to fill odd spaces or blank walls, and ohh the selection of canvas totes and boxes for organizing! But beware, finding things there is hit and miss; they never have the same things twice and items are spread out across the store. So, if you see something you like, you better snag it because you will probably never see one again.
  • At Home – This store is new in my area. Maybe you know of it, but I absolutely love it! The first time I walked in, I just strolled up and down the aisles in awe. The throw pillows were organized by size and color. It was like a dream. Here is the awe struck picture I snapped, its ridiculous I know, but everything is arranged very easily to understand with tons of options. So as opposed to seeing only one kitchen pot rack, there are 6 kinds. Bathroom accessories, two aisles. Storage totes and boxes, 4 aisles.  Not just one centerpiece vase, but you have your choice of silver, yellow gold, nickel, rose gold, brushed metals, ceramics and glasses of different colors… I think you get where I am going.
  • Big Lots - This is an interesting store.  To be honest the quality is not very good.  It's a step up from the Family Dollar or similar, but if you are looking for something really simple like a cheap shower curtain, those plastic stackable storage drawers for the kids bathroom, basic outdoor furniture, or even a cute little gnome to put in your garden, they have all of that.  Just don't expect it to last more than a few years or make it through a few moves.
  • Charming Charlies - This is a jewelry and accessory chain store. So you are probably wondering why I suggest it. Well, they have darling little jewelry bowls, stands, and plates. If you are shopping for a statement piece to stage a home for sale, you may be able to grab something cute for cheap. Also perfect for pre-teen and teen gifts. I bought this little ceramic white and gold decorate plate that is perfect for a bathroom or a master bedroom, for $8.00.
  • Thrift stores! - This is really more for decorating than organizing. I am addicted to this one by my house, Wagging Tails. It’s similar to an antique mall in that it is HUGE and there are tons of things spread across the warehouse. But, it is all donations AND the proceeds go to MCHS, our local county humane society. Bargains and helping animals, what more do you need?! I have found great gems there including these amazing red glass votives, a mercury glass bottle, unused candles (flame and flameless), and surround sound speakers (ok that last one is irrelevant to home decor, but I wanted to make a point that the options are endless). I think it helps that I live in an affluent and diverse area as well. If you have a wealthier neighborhood/county near you, I would definitely suggest scoping out the thrift stores in that area as you will find better quality items. If you don’t have anything like that, Goodwill and Salvation Army are worth a peak as well. I personally haven't had good luck at yard sales or estate sales because often those items are out of fashion or very used, but if you have had some good finds or again a wealthier neighborhood, go for it!
  • Your own closet! Ok you came here looking for suggestions of places to buy new to you things, but I just started really thinking about repurposing and re-using items in a different way lately, so wander around your house and take a look. Is there something that you aren't using that may be better somewhere else.  Because not buying anything is the best bargain of all!

I hope this has been a little helpful, that I at least gave you an idea or two you didn't already have.  Let me know in the comments if you have other suggestions for your area, local to me or on a national level that myself or others should check out.  ​ Happy bargain hunting!

My Favorite Home Decor Items

Just like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, I have prepared a few of my favorite home decorating (and also staging) accessories that don’t cost a lot if you know where to look for them (i.e. check out my next post on great places for bargain buys!).  I think these items give you the most bang for you buck; eye catching and attractive. For staging, that little little emotional connection that a few of the create, is ideal to give a potential buyer the feeling of a home, not a house.  So without further adieu, here are my 8 personal favorite staging/decorating items.

1. Glass mosaic votives - I'll admit it, I may have a collection of mosaic votives in different shapes sizes and colors. I love them all. Some give off beautiful spectacle of light when holding candles or the sunlight hits them, others just remind me of stain glass. I have a gold glass one that is sophisticated and eye catching for a modern, chic staged home. This large red glass one holds a large pillar candle around the holidays, and my small challis style votives are more earthy; remind me of a Moroccan outdoor eatery. Whatever you choose, I don't really think you can go wrong, however it does have to fit the style of the rest of your furnishings.  So keep that in mind.

2. Decorative entryway bowl/tray – Mine is actually a candle stand, I bought it at a thrift store. There are only two of us in our household so it holds our keys and my boyfriend's wallet. Many people use ceramic or wood bowls and sometimes trays. For some families this is also the mail drop, but don't let this become your catch-all. Your entryway should be clutter free!

3. Imitation flowers - Not just any fake flowers, they have to be excellent imitations that make you take a second look to confirm they aren't real. Hearth & Hand (By Joanna and Chip Gaines) have adorable ones; Magnolias (obviously) and Hydrangeas. Home Goods has them in all different shapes and sizes; loose and in vases. I bought a few with gel that looks like water. And I even bought a few succulents, because somehow I always kill the real ones.

4. Windchimes – There’s nothing that says summer to me like windchimes blowing in the wind. Now I am slightly biased (I have 5 sets), but I think that for a home with a great patio or porch, this would be a marvelous little touch to the home staging. It would really create the ambiance of relaxation in the outdoor space.

5. Pillows with gold accents - As I look around my home I see that I have multiple sets of pillows with gold accents, all in different rooms. I would have thought that earthy reds and browns are the colors that tie my home together, but I think it is actually brown and gold. Gold accented pillows are great because they add a little pop and sparkle when natural or artificial light hits them. You can choose modern styles  like this pattern or a rustic twist like this adorable vintage pickup truck I picked up at the At Home store. My boyfriend has worked on cars his whole life, so I bought it for him (but obviously it was really for me 😀 )

6. Flameless candles - These can come in unscented or, somehow, scented.  I love these because they are safe around pets and children, you don't have to worry about putting them out, they don't melt everywhere, and they give off the same alluring glow of a flame.  I have bunched a few together on my table for quiet evenings.  Sometimes I even light one real candle or wax melt, while those are flickering in different rooms to make it seem that I have many candles glowing. I have to admit, this is my friend's arrangement, I just thought it was so beautiful that I took a picture.  

7. Nest candles – And what candle burns that gives off enough fragrance to trick someone into thinking all of the flameless candles are also scented, you ask? Nest candles! They are expensive but last a while and are totally worth it. Birchwood Pine is my ultimate favorite. It smells like the holidays to me for some reason – it reminds me of nutmeg and cinnamon and mulled cider and Christmas trees. Its funny because I was introduced to it by a friend in Hawaii so that is the opposite of my experience, but none the less. This says “home” to me, if I walked into a house for sale with that burning, I might be sold. I burn it before people come over and when I am trying to unwind.

8. Large decorative mirrors - These are a pretty well known tool of the trade, but I can’t make a list without mentioning it. Mirrors open up your space, making any room appear larger… just don’t put mirrors across the entire wall. It was a trendy idea in the early 80s, but it makes the room feel like a carnival. Boy am I glad that is out of fashion.

So there you have it. A few things you might want to pick up to spruce up your house before your next gathering, your in-laws come over, or if you are interesting in renting or selling your house.  But if you really want to get the most for your home, hiring a professional stager is really your the 9th and best purchase you can make.  Let me know what you think of my list and if you have any to add of your own!

My Favorite Home Organizing Essentials


April is a glorious month. A month of rain showers, slowing rising temperatures, blooming flowers, earlier sunrises, runs and walks outside, and overall just happier days. So on that note, I have decided that April will be my month of favorite things! But don’t worry, I won’t just share videos of ninja cats or babies giggling (because who doesn’t love a good baby giggle?)

Since I was just talking about all the great ways you can start organizing your life, I have come up with a list of my favorite organizing accessories to help you get started; all of which drumroll… are all in my house!  I have split up the items by use.

General Use

Under cabinet organizer - These are crucial if you have small cabinets or spaces in order to use all of the vertical space efficiently. The ones below I bought on Amazon and have moveable drawers so that I can pull one out without taking the whole thing.  I have one in my kitchen for cleaning supplies and one in my bathroom for hair, nails, and makeup.

Wicker or canvas totes – I have two cats, they LOVE wicker, therefore wicker baskets and bags are not allowed in my household. So instead we have canvas and faux leather totes and boxes. I have one for extra blankets and pillows in the living room and bedroom.  One for office supplies on a shelf under my desk. They are so versatile and almost every home, office or department store carries them these days.

Bedroom/Closets

Under the bed boot organizer - I knew shoe organizers existed, but not for boots. When I found this, it was a game changer because I only have 4 pairs, but they take up way too much space in my small closet. To protect the integrity of the boot, I still put the plastic inserts in there, don’t worry.

Storage cubes - These are great for so many things and if you like the minimalist, modern style, then they are perfect for you! Most people I know use them for their kids, its the same cubbyhole system we are used to from childhood.  I have a client that uses them for all her son's toys, my best friend created an entire entertainment system for their playroom, some people use them for shoes. I personally use it to organize all my workout clothes.  I appreciate that I have a little canva box for my sports bras, socks, gloves and hats, and then open spaces for tshirts, tanks, leggings, hoodies, etc.  When everything is at a glance, as Marie Kondo likes, I can find exactly what I am looking for, whether I am going to the gym, going for a run in the park or just lounging around.

Kitchen

Spinning spice rack - There are so many different kinds and they are sold everywhere.  This is great because you don't have to rummage around looking for spices. You can see all of your favorite ones and it uses more vertical space on your shelf! Mine is actually on the kitchen counter along with our other essentials for daily use.

Knife magnet strip - Never again will you put your hand in a drawer and cut it on a sharp knife (which by the way I hope you sharpen your knives, but I digress).  When we first moved into our current home, we had just been given a really good commercial grade chef's knife and sharpener from a dearly departed chef friend.  Low and behold, they didn't fit in the drawer of the late 1950s kitchen.  So we bought this strip above and it has saved our butts in many ways!  And it also looks pretty professional, so even if you don't cook much, you can look like you do!  

Wire Rack - As I have mentioned a million times, small old house = little to no closets and cabinets.  So we of course don't have a pantry and being the home of a runner and a carb-a-holic, who both also like to cook and bake a lot we found that the space didn't offer enough options.  So, we found the ClosetMaid Ventilated Storage Rack at Home Depot.  I think its for the garage, or utility closet, but we don't care! It perfectly fits all our different food items from canned to oatmeal to my protein powder and bars and even my cookie butter (a girl has her weaknesses).

Flour container - If you are a baker or home chef, this is essential.  I don't know how I was baking for this many years without it! Its ingenious, 1) You can see how much flour you have, 2) It has a secure top (although it may not last if you drop it from the top cabinet), 3) It doesn't hold static like my previous metal jar, 4) IT HAS A LEVEL FOR YOU SCOOP OR SPOON.  I am not sure if that is as exciting for you as it was for me upon picking it up in the aisle of At Home.  Wow.

Clear glass jar - This is a Martha Stewart brand one my friend gave me because she didn't want it. Its large and it weighs A TON.  So now I get why she didn't want it.  They can be used for anything, I used to have flour in it however it was really hard for me to take in and out of the cabinet because of the weight, so I got the amazing one above. I honestly didn't have this on my list originally, but it just popped into my head as I was writing because of something my boyfriend said last night.  I asked if he wanted to use a different container to hold the Nespresso coffee pods, a bronze metal one that is light weight and smaller and kind of reminds me of coffee. And he said that he liked this one because he can see which pods are in there and Nespresso makes their pods so decorative and colorful, it looks pretty.  So there ya go. I just thought, maybe you want to get a big heavy glass jar but you aren't sure what it could be use for. The answer is, whatever you want!

I am pretty sure I can go on about my faux leather pen holder that I originally bought to hold the tv controllers or any other little storage essentials I have around, but I will leave you with this list. I hope you found a few new things that can help you stay organized and clutter free!  Let me know what you think and if you have any of your own recommendations!

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