Easy To Make Organizer Containers Using an Upcycled Tissue Box

upcycled tissue box
upcycled tissue box

I have this thing with recycling,  upcycling and re-purposing items when I can. In this post, I’m going to show you how to make organizer containers using an upcycled tissue box, for your drawers, your office desk or your shelves.

Materials & Items Needed

  • Empty tissue box
  • 5 empty toilet paper rolls (optional)
  • Paper scissors
  • Ruler, measuring tape or cutting mat
  • Masking tape or Washi tape or you can use colorful masking tape
upcycled tissue box

Upcycled Tissue Box Instructions

You can make these containers as tall or as short as you want, but I found 4 inches to be a great size for markers, pens, and scissors.

You can use a ruler of course, but I like just using this small cutting mat.

1- Measure and mark the four-inch place on the top of the box. Flip it until you have all four edges marked. 

upcycled tissue box

2- From the tissue box opening, cut into the corners. Then cut down to the place that you marked and cut all the way around.

upcycled tissue box taping

Finishing Off the Top Edge of the Cut Upcycled Tissue Box

1- Finish off the top edge with masking tape, painter’s tape, washi tape, or colored masking tape. Place the tape so it’s halfway onto the front of the box edge and wrap the tape all the way around the top edge of the box.

2- Rip the tape and fold the other half over the edge and secure the tape in place.

upcycled tissue box packaging tape

If the tape isn’t sticking very well, like sometimes it doesn’t, you can take packaging tape and fold it over the top to make it more durable.

upcycled tissue box janni tip

Here is a tip on how to put the packaging tape around the corners so it doesn’t overlap.upcycled tissue box taping

3- Center the tape along the top edge just like you did the masking tape, but BEFORE YOU FOLD THE TAPE OVER, CUT A SLIT IN THE TAPE AT THE CORNERS.

This will allow you to fold each side separately down without overlapping. Works like a charm!

Now the upcycled tissue box will be more durable and that Wasi tape will be stuck down.

Optional Upcycled Tissue Box Inserts

If you want little sections inside the box for pencils and things upcycled toilet paper rolls work great.

Cut the 5 toilet paper rolls to four inches (or the height of your box). You can flatten the rolls in half to make that cut, and they’ll spring right back.

Simply stick the toilet paper rolls into the box. Sit this on your desk and you’re good to go.

If you wanted to cover up that Kleenex symbol, just put a sticker over the top.



upcycled tissue box socks

Large Upcycled Tissue Box Organizers

I really like using these bigger upcycled tissue boxes as organizers and dividers in my drawers for things like socks, underwear, and other small items.


upcycled tissue box clothing

You pretty much do the same thing. I like using the full height of the box for socks and stuff, but if you wanted to make the box height shorter for an office drawer of smaller items, simply cut the sides down just as explained before.

Of course, you can always buy premade plastic dividers, but why not upcycle a simple tissue box?

I hope this is something that you can implement in your house and use to recycle when you can.






Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

Simple Meal Planning Tips – How To Take the Stress Out of Dinnertime

meal planning frustration

(Updated May 5, 2023)

Take the stress out of dinnertime by having a PLAN. Meal planning will not only save your sanity but it will also:

  • Save You Money
  • Improve Nutrition
  • Save You Time
  • Reduce Stress
  • Make Dinnertime Enjoyable For The Whole Family


You know the story, it’s around 5:00 p.m., and a sense of panic, even anxiety wells up inside of you as dinnertime approaches because you realize you have no idea what you are going to fix for dinner.

You look in the refrigerator, the freezer, the pantry, and then you look in the refrigerator AGAIN, (just in case you missed something the first time).

“What do I fix for dinner?” Nothing is coming to you.


Even worse, is when you have to stop at the grocery store on the way home from work. You are tired, hungry and just want to get home. You end up aimlessly wandering the isles of the store in a paralyzed state of overwhelm hoping something will pop out at you.

Not a great state of mind to be in for nutritious meal planning!

This is usually when you grab the highly processed, sugar, and fat-laden foods because it is something quick and easy. Can anyone relate?

Can your mood affect the energy of your food?

It is my belief that thoughts and emotions have energy, and energy affects everything around us.

If you are in a stressed state while preparing food, could that affect the food you are preparing? I believe it can.

Even if you are just chopping up veggies, or making a simple grilled cheese sandwich, choose to do it with love.
It is much easier to do it out of LOVE if you are not stressed.

Menu planning doesn’t have to be complicated.

It does require a LITTLE of your time, but the benefits are SO worth it. When I have a menu set up, my whole life runs better.

meal planning calendar

Here are some meal planning tips that work for me

1-Get some kind of meal planning form

This clipboard calendar is one of my favorite ways to plan my menus.

It is SIMPLE, attractive in my kitchen, and works great to clip to my fridge or bulletin board so the whole family can see.

The magnetic clip shown in the photo above is one of my favorites.

I use them all over the house to hang things. They work really well for my menu calendar.

There are several ways to make a menu plan out there. It can be as simple as a calendar, phone app, or an online program.

If you prefer something simple like a clipboard calendar, or one-page forms (like I do), these printable forms are great.

You can print them as needed.

meal planning calendarI like to display the menu in the kitchen where everyone can see it. This way you can easily delegate food preparation to someone else if needed.

2-Decide how detailed you want to get with your meal planning

No matter how detailed you get with your planning, I recommend being somewhat flexible! Life can get a little crazy and you want to be able to switch things around a little if necessary.

For example: Let’s say you have a meal planned that will take an hour to prepare and ***** hits the fan and there is NO WAY you have time or energy to cook.

Just switch to an easy meal you have groceries for and make that meal another day, NO BIG DEAL! I do it all the time.

The idea is to plan and buy groceries for the week/2 week and you can switch things around as needed.

I offer 3 different printable menu planning forms in my shop.

  •  Weekly menu
  •  2-week menu
  • detailed daily menu planner


meal planning


If you are following a strict diet or want to plan all three meals and even snacks, this weekly meal planning form works great.


This 2-week menu planner includes a shopping list that comes in handy when it comes time to go shopping.

As you assign meals you can easily jot down the ingredients you need to buy.

3-Gather your meal planning recipe resources

Get out your recipe books, and magazine recipe clippings, and check your Pinterest boards for some great ideas.

It is funny how you can get in a rut and eat the same things over and over and forget about certain foods.

Don’t be afraid to try some new things. Maybe incorporate a new recipe each week.

Some people have certain nights of the week for certain types of foods.


Whatever works for you and your family. Just find something that works and go with it.

Whenever I see a recipe in a magazine that I want to try, I rip it out of the magazine and put it on a magnetic clip in my kitchen where I can see it.

If it’s a keeper recipe, then I save it, if not, it goes in the trash.

When I schedule a meal, I like to list the reference of where the recipe is located: Pinterest board, Book name, page, or clipped magazine, etc. 

4-Assign meals to fit your schedule

Don’t plan on fixing a big, labor-intensive meal on the nights you have a lot going on.

You can even delegate and have someone else prepare the meal and even the meal planning.

My husband and daughter are more than willing to prepare dinner if I have already decided what to fix.

5-Create a meal planning shopping list

Once you have a week or two weeks planned out, go through your menu and write down the items you will need to buy at the store.

This will save you so much time and money because you are not making repeated trips to the store.

Repeated trips to the store, mean extra gas money and unnecessary items that you may be tempted to buy that you don’t really need.

One of my dear friends showed me this technique she uses to keep her shopping list organized.

IT’S A SIMPLE, GAME-CHANGING and a little QUIRKY THING, that works like a charm.


  1. Fold a piece of paper in quarters.
  2. Write down the places you shop frequently.
  3. As you plan your meals and when you think of items you need, you simply put them on the store list and you’re set. 

6-Clip coupons 

Keep coupons that are needed for the trip to the grocery store all in the same place.

Now, this step is optional for the coupon queens out there. I used to be, but not so much anymore. I do a lot of my shopping at Costco where they don’t take coupons.

If you do use coupons, cut them out and place them in an envelope ready to go.

My menu planner set includes a printable that you can print out on envelopes that have a place for the items needed and a place to hold your coupons. 

7-Keep your grocery list accessible

I like to keep my grocery list either on my fridge or on my magnetic chalkboard

Another thing I find very helpful is to keep a pencil on my fridge. 

Simply glue a tiny magnet dot towards the top of the pencil so you have access to something to write with when you think of an item that needs to go on the list.

meal planning frustration

8-Be flexible

If something comes up, or for some reason, the meal you have scheduled just doesn’t sound good that night, fix something else on your menu.

Find a time during the week that works for you to sit down and plan your menu.

I find Sunday evenings are a good time for me to sit down, look at my week ahead of a do a little menu planning.

Now that it is just my husband and me, we sit down together and plan out the menu.

That way he has some say in what we’re eating and what he will be preparing.

(Yes, my husband has agreed to help prepare some of the meals).

I should have incorporated that a long time ago.

There are no “MEAL PLANNING” police. If you go off the wagon for a time, just jump back in. 

You’ll notice when things start to get hectic again. 

The benefits of meal planning

Oh, you are going to love the peace and assurance when 5:00 p.m. rolls around and you already know what you are fixing for dinner! Yahoo!

I will admit, I have fallen off the wagon a little and need to get back in the groove.

Tomorrow, it’s meal planning time! I am ready for some structure in my life again and I hope you are too.

Here are a few recipe ideas that you can add to your weekly menu. 

Remember, it’s good to switch things up a bit and try something new. 

Here are a few gals I follow that have some yummy recipes.



Instant Pot Lasagna

Quinoa & Bean Salad | Lime Cilantro Dressing

Quick and Simple Spanish Rice 







Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

5 Simple Ways To Organize Your Scarves | Dollar Tree Hacks

scarves main image
wadded up scarves

If you’re like me and have a collection of scarves, knowing how to organize and store them can be a bit challenging. In this tutorial, I am going to show you 5 simple and INEXPENSIVE ways to organize all your scarves.

My scarves used to just end up wadded together in a wicker basket. They got all tangled and wrinkled and it was hard to find what I was looking for. I have tried several ways to hang, fold and store my scarves, and these 5 techniques seemed to be the most practical and effective.

What I love about these DIY organizing projects is that you can get the supplies at Dollar Tree or you may already have these items already in your home.

1-Shower Curtain Ring Scarves Hanger

I really like this method because

  • It takes up less space in your closet
  • You don’t have to have wall space to hang it
  • The materials and items to make it are inexpensive and accessable
  • If you have a lot of scarves, you can hang multiple filled hangers next to each other
scarves hanger and rings
hanging scarves


  • Apply the shower curtain rings to the hanger (I find 12 per hanger is a good amount).
  • Thread the end of the scarves into the rings and hang so the ring is in the middle of the scarf. **If your scarves are extra long, fold them in half first.

2-Plastic Cups Scarves Organizer

Now, this is as simple as you can get, and it is very cost-effective. Once again, you can pick up a bag of BIG plastic cups at the dollar store. The only drawback to this method is it does take drawer space. You could put the cups inside a short box as well.

What you’ll need:

  • Large plastic cups
  • Drawer or box to put them in
  • Tape to adhere the cups to the drawer (masking tape or duct tape)



  • Apply some rolled tape to the bottom of the cups. This will help keep the cups from shifting around and tipping over in the drawer.
  • Arrange the cups inside a drawer or box. Fold the scarves lengthwise first and then roll them up and place them in the cups. (One scarf per cup)

3-Shower Ring Grid Scarves Holder

This is another inexpensive method and space-saving method.  You can make multiples and hang them in your closet next to each other if you have a lot of scarves.

What you’ll need:

  • 10 shower curtain rings
  • 1 pants hanger
  • Acrylic paint (optional)
  • Sponge brush
  • Painter’s tape
  • E-6000 glue or a Gorilla glue that dries clear
  • Super glue
  • Wax paper



4-Towel Rod Scarves Holder

This is another simple method; however you will need wall space to hang it, and you can’t fit as many scarves on the rack as the others.

What you’ll need:

  • Wooden towel bar
  • White spray paint
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Electric drill/screwdriver
  • Wall anchors


5-PVC Piping Scarves Organizer

This method is similar to the plastic cup method, but a little more durable and sturdy. It does take some more time and a little more money unless you have some PVC pipe kicking around. You will need access to a saw.

What you’ll need:        

  • PVC cut to the height


Have fun getting organized!





Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

How To Fold, Store, and Organize Your Fabric

organize your fabric cover

When it comes to how to fold, store and organize your fabric, there are many ways you can do it. It just depends on your personal needs and what you have available to work with. Some of you may have a big, spacious room to sew and store your fabrics, and others may only have a small closet.

In this post I am going to go over several different tips and ideas on how you can efficiently fold, store and organize your fabric pieces.


Why Organize Your Fabric?

  • You can see what you have.

When your fabric is organized it is so much easier to know what you have available. When you categorize your fabrics into sizes and colors you can tell if a particular piece of fabric is going to be the right size or color.

  • Reduces multiple inventory

What I mean by this is, let’s say you need a piece of green fabric for a particular project and go looking for that color. You can’t find it because the green piece of fabric (you swore you had) it stuffed in the bottom of a box in the bottom of your closet. SO YOU PURCHASE ANOTHER YARD OF GREEN FABRIC. This goes for other sewing materials and supplies.


If you’re like me, you save every scrap of fabric that is leftover from your sewing projects. I don’t save all the little tiny pieces, but anything that is 5 inches and up, and is a favorite!


You can’t fold these little pieces, so what do you do with them? I used to just throw them in a big bin, but that was so messy and hard to see what colors I had.


I get gallon size ZIP BAGS and sort the fabric pieces into colors. Each bag is a different color. If you have a lot of one color you can break it down into shades of colors. Then I place all the bags into a big bin with a lid. This works really well because I can see at a glance what I have available. It’s helpful when finding pieces for my HEXIES AND OTHER QUILT BLOCKS.

How to fold, store and organize FAT QUARTERS and other SMALL FABRIC PIECES

When shopping for fabric or looking at sewing projects and patterns, it’s common to see fat quarters. But what are these pieces of fabric and what do you use them for? Fat quarters are pre-cut fabric, frequently seen in the quilting section of fabric shops. Fat quarters vary slightly in size, based on the width of the fabric, but typically they measure 18 by 22 inches when the fabric is cut by yards or 50 by 55 centimeters when cut by meters.

This method I’m going to show you works for other small pieces of fabric that are too small to fold onto boards.

I like to use these COMIC BOOK BOARDS, but you can also just cut pieces of thin cardboard from cereal boxes or other boxes. The comic book boards I buy are 10 ½ x 6 7/8 inches.

I cut them in half to measure 5 ¼ x 6 7/8.


Folding Fat Quarters

organize your fabric fat quarters

  1. Place the fabric so the selvage edge is at the top. Fold the bottom edge up to the selvage edge, flatten it out. Then fold it in half again.organize your fabric fat quarters 2
  2. Place the board on top of the fabric about 4 inches from the edge of the fabric. Start folding the fabric onto the board, keeping it centered on the board as you fold.organize your fabric fat quarters folded
  3. Tuck the short end under and place a fabric clip or pin onto the fabric to hold it in place.

To pin, clip or do nothing at all?

Let’s talk about whether to pin, clip or do nothing at all to hold the fabric in place. I used to pin them, but after poking myself with the pin too many times, I have switched over to using these handy alligator clips.

organize your fabric alligator clipsThese clips are inexpensive and I feel worth every penny. I tried to find them at the store, but couldn’t find them. You can get them HERE. I got a package of 500 for a very reasonable price.

Pinning works well, but just be careful not to poke yourself. You can also just do nothing and stuff them in a box. It’s totally your preference.

How to store your small fabric bolts

Box or small bin

Any small box that fits the dimensions of the bolts will work. I have found these nice plastic, open-top bins.

organize your fabric fat quarter boxThey are actually meant for storing items in the fridge or pantry but work PERFECT for my fat quarter bolts. What I love about them is you can see the beautiful colors and prints of the fabric.

organize your fabric mini bolts shelf I place them on my IKEA BILLY CABINET SHELF.

Put them in a drawer

Another option is to place them neatly, side facing in a drawer.

How to store mid-size pieces of fabric/ ½ yard to 3 yards

This method works great for pieces of fabric that are anywhere from ½ yard to 3 yards of fabric. You can fold longer pieces, but it does get kinda bulky.

organize your fabric comic board TIP: Place two of the comic boards at the end of a table about eight inches apart. Line them up so they are even and straight with the edge of the table. Tape them in place. These taped boards will serve as a guide when folding the fabric.organize your fabric fodling

  1. Take the fabric piece and bring the selvage edges together. Most likely your fabric will already be folded like this, especially if you just bought it.organize your fabric mini bolts folding
  2. Place the selvage edges at the top with the long edges of the fabric draping over the edge of the table. Fold the bottom edge up about 1/3 of the way. Using the boards underneath the fabric as a guide, even out the fabric and then fold the selvage edge down so there is about ½ inch of the boards showing at the top and bottom. Center the fabric so it is even. Flatten the fabric out and start folding the fabric onto the bolt.

  3. Adjust as needed and keep folding.organize your fabric clipping

  4. Fold the short end under and clip in place.

  5. Store these neatly folded mini bolts of fabric on a shelf, in a deep drawer, or in a plastic bin. Some people even use file cabinets to store their fabric.organize your fabric mini bolts shelf
  6. I love my Ikea Billy cabinet, it’s the perfect size for my mini bolts and displays them so beautifully in my sewing room.
  7. If you do store them on a shelf, I recommend putting them in a cabinet that has a door of some kind to prevent dust from settling on the fabric. You don’t want to have to dust your fabric!

What to do with odd shapes of fabric pieces

There will be times when you have leftover pieces of fabric from projects that are too big for the other methods of folding. You can still fold them on boards.

  1. Cut off any small wonky pieces, and just start folding to get that size to fit the boards as shown before.

How to organize your fabric that is 4 yards and up

If you’re like me and buy fabric in bulk at times, you have to store it somewhere. I have been known to even buy bolts of fabric if it is on sale and something I think I will use.

organize your fabric big binYou can fold some on boards, and some just need to be folded nicely and put in bins like in the photo above. I have a bin that I put midsize large pieces in and a really big bin that I store bolts, the few that I have.

I hope that was helpful! Having your sewing room in order and your fabric organized will make your sewing experience all the better!

So, turn on a good podcast, play some tunes and organize your fabric. You’ll be so glad you took the time to do so.


Play Video




Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

DIY Earphone Holder – It’s A Snap

I’m sure you know the scenario, of tangled earphone cords, right? Well, have I got the perfect solution for you. A DIY earphone cord holder made from upcycled materials, of course. It really is a SNAP! (pun intended).

Here is a SIMPLE, quick method for keeping your earphone cords organized and TANGLE FREE!. The great thing about this little project is there is no sewing involved and they take only minutes to make. The key INGREDIENT in this project is a SNAP.

The new craft gadget that I am totally in love with is this KAM Snap System. I love the simplicity of it, the bright-colored plastic snaps that are available, and the efficiency of this tool. I have had a box full of mismatched snaps and a variety of snap application tools that just sit there because there are missing parts and so many different sizes of parts. It’s overwhelming.

I got this new system, (which is VERY reasonably priced), and pitched all the other stuff. AHHHHHHH, that felt good. Now I have just one snap applicator and a bunch of cute happy colored snaps.

You can make these earphone cord holders using a few different materials, but the ones I found most durable and effective are upcycled yoga mats and upcycled wool sweater fabric. A thick, dense, good quality wool felt piece will work as well.

There are two different styles of holders: Rectangle shape and heart shape. 

Find out more about HOW TO FELT A WOOL SWEATER here.


  • Free PDF Pattern (heart and rectangle style available)
  • Yoga Mat Scrap (Cut 3.5 inches x 1.25 inches) (8.5 x 3 cm)
  • Scissors
  • Snaps (Kam snap system) optional
  • Other snaps will work as well.
  • Snap Applicator
  • Awl


CUTTING OUT: Using the pattern, cut out one piece. HEART DESIGN, fold the fabric in half and place the pattern on the fold where indicated.

If using a yoga mat, you’ll need to trim the mat using little snips to get a rounded edge.

SNAP APPLICATION: Follow the directions that come with your applicator.

Fold the fabric in half and line up edges. Using the awl, poke a hole through both layers where indicated on the pattern. (Wiggle the awl around a bit while inside to make the hole visible and easy to find).

SNAPS: You’ll need

  • 2 pieces that look like tacks (snap back piece)
  • 1 male snap
  • 1 female snap

Open the fabric up and poke the snap back piece through the hole. Apply either the male or female snap on top of that. (Look for the little ridges of the snap, that is the side that goes towards the fabric).

Grab the snap applicator and place the SNAP BACK onto the applicator tray. (This should match the size of your snaps). It should fit snuggly to the snap. You’ll know when it snaps in place.

Make sure the snap front is aligned in the applicator before SQUEEZING. Give it a tight squeeze to clamp the snaps together. Bam, that’s it!

Repeat the process for the other snap.

Wind up your earphone cord and place it inside the holder. Snap is place. You’re good to go!


Play Video

TIP: If you use your earphones a lot during the day at work or on-the-go, you can slip the holder around a belt buckle on your pants. It will hold your earphones right there in place.

You’re going to love the simplicity of this thing. I hope it comes in handy for you as much as it has for me.


Carabiner Keychain Tutorial 

Coupon Organizer 

Have a fabulous day and remember to keep it simple!




Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

Magazine Management – 7 Tips to Clear the Clutter

magazine management

This past month I have been on a decluttering kick, and one of the first things I did was a little magazine management.

This is only the beginning of an urge to purge that I have had for several years now.  Two years ago we sold my mother’s house and moved her into an assisted living facility. Before we could sell the house we had to go through my Dad’s stuff that he had collected over the years. We’re talking serious STUFF!!!! Bless his heart, yes he was a hoarder. We knew this day would come after he passed away, and there was no getting out of it.

So all of the family got together and we plowed through it. It took 3 big dumpsters and MANY trips to the local junk yard to get rid of it all. He collected odd things. Multiples of garden tools, woodworking tools, wood, fishing supplies, nuts, bolts, and yes magazines. You name it, and he probably had several of them.  We did hold an estate sale which was a lot of work. It took us several weekends to finish the task. We’re talking hauling stuff out of a basement that was almost chock full to the ceiling of STUFF.

This impacted me like no other! I swore that I would never do this to my kids. Wanting to gut my own house was a dominant feeling and still is. I started getting rid of things left and right. My own tendencies to KEEP stuff were brought to my awareness. We have good intentions right. “I can use this someday”, “I may need it someday”, “I can fix it and save money”, etc. are all excuses we may use to justify the hoarder in us.

Do you have any hoarder tendencies?

I think most people do, obviously some more than others.

magazine management

Anyway, back to MAGAZINES. The first room in my clutter control project was my craft and sewing room. I had a few shelves that I stored my magazines on. Ya, it looked cute, added some color to the white shelves, but they had been there for years.

We’re talking some of these magazines dated back to 1996. The old Country Living favorites, Yoga Journal, and of course Martha Stewart’s Living to name a few.

Why did I keep them? It seemed that whenever I would go through a magazine a second time, there were things in there I had missed. Heaven forbid, I could miss something. So they sat on the shelf looking pretty and never got looked at again. Well not until I started my magazine management project, where I did a quick look through and then tossed.

I have since leaned and have come up with a few rules and guidelines to help keep the magazine situation in control. Here they are.

7 tips for magazine management

1-      Purge

Get rid of your stash! If you feel you need to go through some of your favorite magazine titles to see if there is anything worth saving, do it. Put those magazines in a box out of the way. Whenever you have a few minutes downtime to sit and relax, you can grab a stack of magazines and flip through them. (I find whenever we are traveling and I’m not driving, is a good time to flip through magazines).  If there are magazines that you just don’t even want to bother looking through, just toss them!

2-      Donate

Take some of the magazines to your doctor’s or dentist office, or local hospital waiting rooms. Perhaps you have friends who may be interested.

3-      Limit your subscriptions

Get rid of those magazines that are just full of fluff and advertisements. Stop and think if that magazine is really worth the money or your time to read. Can you get that information online?

4-      Go Digital

Most magazines nowadays have a digital version available. If you are one who likes to read your magazines on the computer or digital device, this is a great option.

5-      Recycle

If you have access to a recycling center that processes paper, take advantage of it. I am lucky because in my community we have a recycling can that gets picked up every other week. It’s wonderful.

6-      Read It & Rip It Out

Read & rip out  has been my system for many years, which limits the need to keep any magazine. Whenever I receive a magazine in the mail, I keep it in a rack for a very short time. I read through it, rip out anything that I am interested in, and immediately toss it in the recycling bin. I do like to rip out recipes, inspiring photos, and occasional articles for future reference. Those pages go in my file or on my vision boards.

The photo shown above on the left is an old bike basket that I keep some of my favorite magazines in. I placed felt pads underneath so it doesn’t scratch the bathroom floor.

7-      Keep Only Your Favorites

Occasionally there will be magazines or catalogs that are full of things that inspire me. I will keep them in a wicker basket that I display in my living room or bathroom. (The photo that is shown on the right is a nifty magazine rack I designed years ago, and my amazing, handy husband built it for me). These are magazines that I can flip through at leisure that bring me joy.

I do keep a few magazines and catalogs  that are my favorites.  Pottery Barn (great ideas for paint colors, home decor, and decorating), Whole Living (until they decided to stop publication), Simple,  and Eating Well.

So there you have it. A few magazine management tips. Don’t let clutter consume you, zap your energy and keep you stuck in the past.

WebMed has a great article on how clutter can drain your energy. Check it out here.

Let it go!

Here are a few of my other posts related to clutter that you may be interested in.

Clutter Free – Step by Step

De-clutter your wallet

26 day detox

Clutter Free Hot spots


You got this!




Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

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DIY Wicker Basket Drawer Tutorial

Do you have a deep shelf or storage bin that you just can’t keep organized? In this diy wicker basket drawer tutorial I am going to show you how to make a drawer using a simple square basket.

wicker basket drawer

The nightstand shown above is the nightstand I had in my bedroom growing up. We just keep painting it and using it because I love the simple design, however I did not like the deep shelf. Books would fall back in there and it was a hard to keep it organized.

wicker basket drawer

I found a square wicker basket that fit perfectly. The problem was pulling the basket out of the shelf. So I simply added a cute crystal handle.

wicker basket drawer

I remembered these cute antique knobs that I have been saving for just a project like this.

You can find them at most hardware stores, specialty shops, and home decor shops. Amazon also have a cute set that would work perfectly. Ikea ( I love Ikea) have several storage bins that would be so cute with wicker baskets that have cute handles on them.

wicker basket drawer

Here is what you do

  • Cut a piece of thin wafer board. Approximately 4 x 5 inches. Depending on the size of your basket.
  • Drill a hole in the center so the knob can go through. (This anchors the knob so it won’t pull through the wicker).
  • Take the bolt out of the knob and stick it through the wicker and the board, then screw the knob on.

BAM! Simple as that.

This could easily be done with any basket and would work great for baskets under your bed or in any cabinet.

How to Maintain a Clean, Orderly Home – the perfect cleaning system to keep you from going insane

cleaning system
Now the days are longer, are you ready to do a little SPRING  (summer) CLEANING? I sure am.
Before you put on your rubber gloves and cleaning aprons, stop and think about how you handle all the tasks that need to be done around your house.
Do you have a cleaning system? Or do you randomly dive into a job here and there only to find yourself going in circles?
Do you have a tendency to get all gung ho and attack too many projects at once, leaving you feeling OVERWHELMED and FRUSTRATED?
I used to until I created a cleaning system for myself and my family that allows us to get things done a little at a time.
I have purchased and tried other lists and cleaning systems, but none of them really fit my lifestyle and didn’t quite jive with the tasks that I needed to be done at MY house.
The pre-formatted lists would never get completed and  I would find myself feeling like a failure, overwhelmed again by all the things that were not getting done.
This Keeping House Cleaning System that I have put together really works because you can adapt it and customize it to the needs of your home and those who are helping out around the house.
What I love is that EVERYONE in the family knows exactly what, when, and how to do their chores, because you will have created a custom chart just for them.
The pre-formatted lists would never get completed and  I would find myself feeling like a failure, overwhelmed again by all the things that were not getting done.
cleaning system
If you are the only one keeping house, you will have a plan.
You won’t find yourself wandering around all morning wondering what you should do or where to begin.
If you stick to it, you will get things done.
And when things get done, you feel fabulous because you have completed something!

The challenge will be, to NOT do more than is on the list. Seem crazy?


This is what usually happens. You get all excited about cleaning, then you have a little time to do a little more and then a little more.

Before you know it, you’re burned out for the day and you don’t want to do anymore the next day. Sound familiar?

The key is to do a little at a time, at a steady pace and you will find magic happening in your home.

If you stick to your list, you will find yourself having MORE TIME to do the things you really want to.

Setting up the cleaning system will take a little time at first, but will be well worth your time in the long run!

Here is the cleaning system process

● Analyze each room and determine exactly what tasks need to be done and how often.
● Make a schedule. Decide which days would be the best to accomplish these tasks.
● Split up the tasks with others in the family and create personal chore charts.
● Create a tickler file for the bigger, not-so-frequent tasks.

This is what’s included in the Cleaning House System

6 different editable PDF files are included in the cleaning house system. The forms will help you set up your system so you can create chore charts for each family member. 

Family dynamics and schedules will change. No worries.  Saving your files will allow you to tweak and make adjustments. That’s the beauty of editable PDF files!

My daughter had just moved out, therefore I had to rearrange and distribute her tasks, which was easy because of the editable forms I had saved.

cleaning system

The printable pdf forms allow you to type in whatever information you want, customized to your needs.

cleaning system

Create a cute tickler file for the bigger, not so frequent tasks

cleaning system

Adding one or two of these cards at a time to your schedule will keep you on top of the BIG jobs.

cleaning system

After you complete the task, write the date on the back.
(If your kids are doing the task, it helps to put their initials). This will show accountability!

When the task is complete, put that task card in the back of that file section.

As a result, this will help rotate tasks and help you eventually work through all the tasks.

cleaning system

Keep some empty cards handy in your cleaning apron to jot down those jobs you don’t have cards for yet. I love my keeping house aprons! If you sew, the pattern is available here.

Where do you get the Keeping House Cleaning system?

You can purchase the printable files here.

Happy Cleaning and remember………cleaning is a JOY!

Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

Declutter Your Wallet – Dave Ramsey Style

Is your wallet full of old receipts, unused gift cards, and uncashed checks?

Does it feel like you are packing around a mini suitcase in your purse?

Perhaps it’s time to declutter your wallet!

Whether it’s clutter on your dining room table, magazine rack, or wallet, it is doing the same thing…….draining your energy.

The negative effects of clutter don’t just affect your energy, it can also affect your health.

There is an interesting article on the Huffington Post that lists five ways clutter can hurt your health. It is quite exciting and something you may want to check out.

I love the saying, “The way you do something is the way you do everything.” 

If you have an issue with clutter somewhere else in your life, you most likely have an issue with your wallet. If you do have some clutter in your wallet, no worries.

I will share a few tips on decluttering your wallet and making it more efficient, Dave Ramsey style.

Who’s Dave Ramsey?

Dave Ramsey is the guy known for helping people get out of debt and how to manage money. I respect what he teaches and have taken his Financial Peace University Class. You can find more about it here.

I am about making things simple, doing things to improve health, and getting out of debt. Who would have thought that decluttering your wallet had anything to do with these? Ironically, they do.


Here are a few simple tips on how to declutter your wallet:

1-    Get rid of old receipts, grocery lists, and other paper items that are not needed

2-    Go through your wallet and see if there are any gift cards that you have forgotten about. If there are, USE THEM!


3-    Keep your debit, reward, and membership cards that you use frequently in a handy place.

Place a rubber band around the ones you don’t use often. If you have room in your wallet, you can put them in a different place. I like to store them outside of my purse for less bulk.

4-    Chuck old business cards that you are no longer interested in. File the ones you MAY be interested in.

5-    Get rid of all unnecessary credit cards. Dave Ramsey would have you get rid of ALL of them. I have one connected to my COSTCO membership and another one for my business. We track them with an online mvelopes system. I don’t know what I would do without envelopes. It’s like an envelope system, but online. I pay no interest, and is paid off automatically every month.

6-   Have emergency information where it can be seen, especially if you have a severe health condition.


7-    Keep a complete set of MONEY FRIENDS available in your wallet. Read more about it here.


8-    Use some cash tab system inside of your wallet instead of having a separate cash envelope wallet. I love my cash tabs. You can learn more about them here.

9-    If you have had the same wallet for a long time, switch it up for something new and fun. 

I really like the Mundi wallets. They work really well with the tabs. 

There you have it: simplicity, less stress, and hopefully, some motivation to get out of debt.

Life can be chaotic enough; your experience at the checkout stand does not have to be stressful.

Unclutter your wallet and see how it unclutters your life. Remember, the way you do something, is the way you do everything.

So what’s next………… your sock drawer, or your closet?

AHHHHH, it feels so good to let some things go. LET IT GO!


Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

DIY: Carabiner Keychain Tutorial

carabiner keychain
carabiner keychain

Lost your keys AGAIN? If you are one who can not keep track of your keys, this DIY tutorial is for YOU! I am going to show you how easy it is to make a carabiner keychain. It really is a snap!

DIY carabiner keychain

Seriously, why is it so hard to find your dang keys? You know the drill. You get to the car and the fumbling begins. Reaching your hand in the endless pit of STUFF in your purse, there are no keys to be found.  You try one pocket, then another, not there. Oh the FRUSTRATION!.  Now you are all worked up and stressed. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way!

DIY carabiner keychain

I have found something that WORKS! My husband has been using a carabiner keychain for a long time and he always knows where his keys are. So I decided to make my own. I know it’s not the most feminine thing, but the purses I enjoy are a little playful and whimsy anyway, so it works for me. In fact, it has been working quite well. I LOVE IT!

Right when I get out of the car, I simply clip my keys to the side loop of my purse and let the keys fall inside. When I am ready to get in the car, I EASILY unclip the carabiner, and viola, keys in hand I am ready to roll. Works like a charm.

Are you ready to simplify your life a little? I am telling you, this is a game-changer.

To make your own carabiner keychain you will need

DIY carabiner keychain

1″- 1 1/4 ” Split Key Ring

I like to buy a variety of sizes like is in this set. They do come in handy for other things. You can find them at most stores, often at the checkout aisle.

2 1/2 – 3 ” Carabiner

You can get these at Home Depot, Amazon, or other hardware stores. This one from Amazon comes with the split keyring.

DIY carabiner keychain
DIY carabiner keychain

I am a recycler! This is my box of random webbing pieces that I have salvaged from different things that I no longer want or use. (bags, backpacks, coats, etc.) I save the hardware as well. They really do come in handy for a lot of things. So if you don’t have a stash yet of random webbing, something you may want to consider. (Keep it to a minimum, remember) I don’t want to promote a hoarding scenario here.

Sewing Machine


1- Cut 6 1/2 inches of webbing

DIY carabiner keychain

2- Thread the webbing into the ring

Fold the top piece up 2 “

DIY carabiner keychain

3- Sew the top webbing to the bottom 1/2 ” from the fold

You can use a zigzag stitch or two straight stitches.

DIY carabiner keychain

4- Fold the bottom webbing piece under 1/2″

DIY carabiner keychain

5- Fold the top piece so it overlaps the bottom piece

It should measure 2 1/2 “.

DIY carabiner keychain

6- Topstitch the upper loop

Using a zigzag or straight stitch, to secure the top folded webbing in place.

DIY carabiner keychain

7- Slip the carabiner onto the top loop

Add your keys and you are ready to ROLL!

DIY carabiner keychain

This is how my husband hooks his keys to his backpack. They can also be attached to a belt buckle.

DIY carabiner keychain

If you have any questions while sewing these up, shoot me a note.

Get ready for hassle-free key accessibility!


DIY carabiner keychain

Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

Painters Tape: 6 Handy Household Uses

painter's tape

Although painter’s tape is mainly used to mask off areas that should not be painted, I have found 6 other handy ways to use it around the house.

Painters tape is a type of pressure-sensitive tape made of thin and easy-to-tear paper that has an easily released pressure-sensitive adhesive.

It is available in various widths and can be found in blue or green, depending on what brand it is.

I use it all the time and I keep a roll in my kitchen utility drawer for easy access.

My husband knows not to mess with my roll of tape.

I told him to get his own or to be sure to return it. Just a little frustrating when I go to use it and it’s not there.

Now I am sure there are many other ways to use this beautiful blue strip of stickiness, but here are some handy ways I use it.

1- Dating and labeling food storage containers

Have you ever put leftovers in the freezer and a week later wondered what the heck it is?

You seriously think you will remember, but when food freezes, it takes on a new look. Right?

I rip off a little blue tape, grab my Sharpie marker, and write on it.

I write what it is and sometimes I write the date.

Not only is it good to know what it is, but it comes in handy to know how long this food item has been hanging out in the freezer or fridge.

2- As a chip bag clip

If you don’t down a bag of chips in one sitting, a little strip of blue tape actually works really well to close it back up.

I will admit I was a little doubtful about whether it would work or not, but it does.

The same tape will keep working even after opening and closing it multiple times—no more need for all those random chip clips.

I used to use a close pin, but this works better.

3- Label plastic bins and tubs

If you are not picky about how your storage tubs are labeled, painter’s tape is a great quick way to tell you what’s inside.

I use this method when I am organizing. If it is a bin that I will be keeping long-term, I go back and make a more professional label.

Using the tape makes it easy to peel off if I use the bin for something else.

4- Sewing guide

For those of you who sew, painter’s tape will now be your new friend.

When the seam allowance is much broader than your sewing machine guide displays is a great time to rip off a piece of painter’s tape.

Simply measure the width and apply it to the sewing machine arm.

Works like a charm.

It works really well to mark where you need to topstitch.

Instead of using chalk or a fabric pen, you can mark the fabric nicely where you need to sew.

You can also mark on the tape where you need to apply elastic or buttons.

5- Sticky note replacement

Instead of using a sticky note pad, grab a piece of blue tape.

Leave a little message to someone you love, or leave a little reminder for yourself of something you need to do.

What I love about this tape is that it doesn’t leave any residue, and it can be moved and used again.

You can even use it on paper without tearing it when you remove it.

6- Household product dating

You may be wondering why you need to put a date on your household products.

Well, this is something that I have been doing for many years.

  • It helps you know how long it takes to go through something.
  • You don’t overstock your storage. Have any of you kept buying a particular item in fear of running out, only to find out you only go through it six months or even yearly? I have. Not only do you get stuck with a bunch of product, you have wasted money.
  • Awareness. It may be very enlightening for you to see how long items last.
  • Helps with budgeting.
  • You won’t have to go without something you need.

I am all about having good food storage and items on hand.

However, I have lightened up a bit because I was overbuying and, in many cases, waiting for food and products.

This method of dating products has helped.-

You can apply a strip of painter’s tape to the box or container or write the date on the package with a marker.

I hope this has given you a few ideas on how to be a little more organized and thrifty by using painter’s tape.

Enjoy your day!




Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

Creating an Efficient, Non-Toxic Laundry Room – Healthy Home Tour

Doing the laundry is inevitable, and something you get to do several times a week or even daily if you are lucky. Why not make the laundry room a space that is non-toxic and enjoyable to be in. Your non-toxic laundry room does not have to be a dungeon!

A few years ago, we added onto the back of our house. My husband and I did everything ourselves except the foundation, framing and sheet rock. It took us A LONG TIME! There are still a few things to do in Phase One, but needless to say, I am so excited to have a new laundry room!

One of the biggest reasons we added onto our home, was to bring the laundry room upstairs. Although it was great exercise going up and down the stairs, it became less efficient and time consuming, and a downright bother.  When I was designing the laundry room, I took some serious thought into what I wanted.

As you can see, I had all the details drawn out. I spent hours on Pinterest, going through my magazine clippings and researching to find out the most efficient way to use the small space that we had to work with.

I love home tours. Not only do I enjoy seeing the structural details, I like seeing how the people LIVE in the space. So I thought it would be fun to bring you into my home, room by room and let you see how we live, what products we use, and perhaps share a few helpful tips.

Let the non- toxic LAUNDRY ROOM tour begin

Raised washer & dryer stand

I am going to start with one of my favorite features in my laundry room. I love having the washer and dryer up high enough that it doesn’t’ break my back pulling the laundry in and out of the dryer. We looked at all the options for washer and dryer stands and they just didn’t appeal to me, and were a lot of money. My husband and I did a lot of sketching and designing and this is what we came up with. This stand is really sturdy and gives me room to store two laundry baskets underneath.

Laundry basket sorting

I recommend having a laundry basket for each category of laundry: WHITES, COLORS, TOWELS & SHEETS, and JEANS. This helps to keep thing organized. It is a good way to stay caught up with your laundry. If the basket gets full, it’s time to do a load of laundry.

One thing that has helped me stay on top of my laundry, is to do a little bit everyday (or almost every day). This way I it doesn’t pile up and get overwhelming. I know this may not work for everyone. Some like to just take a day and do it all. Whatever works for you.

Non-toxic laundry soap

I like to keep the laundry soap accessible and close to the washing machine. I found this unique glass container at a thrift store years ago. It is perfect for holding my non-toxic powdered detergent.

Have you ever checked into what is in your laundry soap? Your laundry soap may smell yummy and fresh and it may be getting your clothes clean, but it may be VERY TOXIC. Most commercial laundry detergents have ingredients in them that are very harmful to your health.

Because of “trade secrets,” manufacturers are not required to disclose what’s in their detergent, so the ingredient list is usually vague and not very helpful. Conventional laundry soap generally contains the following:

  • synthetic detergents, which are often made of petrochemicals
  • phenols (established endocrine disruptors, of which BPA is the most notorious)
  • fragrance (which usually contains phthalates)
  • optical brighteners, which are often made from benzene, a definite carcinogen
  • bleach, which contains chlorine (an environmental toxin–and possibly a carcinogen and endocrine disruptor)
  • phosphates, which break down minerals and render detergent more effective, but with harmful environmental ramifications

You can read more about these ingredients here.

I hope this was enough information for you to ponder, and hopefully nudge you to find a more safe way to clean your clothes. There are a lot of options out there that do a great job. I have been using non-toxic laundry soap for many years and have tried several brands. I wasn’t real impressed with any of them until I came across County Save. This is good stuff.

I recently tried a few other things that I have been really pleased with. Have you ever heard of SOAP NUTS? I hadn’t until a little while ago. I will post more details about these little gems soon, but I really like them!

Back to the tour

I also keep a container close by with baking soda in it. This and white vinegar are great to put in with a load of towels. It keeps them fresh and clean.

I also keep a few essential oils on hand as well. If you put a few drops of oil on a washcloth and then place it in with your clothes your laundry will come out smelling fabulous!

If you have room for a sink, do it.

Having a sink in your non-toxic laundry room does come in handy.  Those times when you need to soak something, or wash something really dirty, it’s nice to have it out of the way and not have to use your kitchen sink.

You can see the soap nuts in the cute little glass container on my dryer. (Can’t wait to post about them).

The container to the right of my sink, is homemade non-toxic foaming hand soap. It is VERY simple to make using castile soap and essential oils. I show you how to make it here.

Clothes Racks

Putting your clothes on hangers as soon as they come out of the dryer will save you a lot of time and grief. Having a place to hang the clothes once they are on hangers is really convenient.

My husband made and installed a handy clothes rack that attaches to the ceiling right by the dryer. This way I can take the shirts out of the dryer, put them on hangers and hang them up until I finish that load. The ceiling rack is made of galvanized steel. It is nice and sturdy and modern looking.

I recommend putting the hung up clothes away in your closets right after you have hung them up. Don’t let them accumulate until you have a huge load of clothes to put away. This will only cause overwhelm, and add clutter to the room.

Dryer Balls

Dryer balls made from wool yarn or felted wool sweaters work really well to save on drying time. They do help reduce static cling somewhat. I show how to make them here.

Basket for mismatched socks and delicate clothes

The basket on top of the washer is for socks without a match and for delicate clothing. When the “other” sock makes its way through the laundry, I know exactly where its match is. When there are enough clothes accumulated for the delicate cycle, I do a batch.

Window Treatments

If you have windows in your laundry room, freshen things up with a cheery window treatment. The fabric window valance I have shown in the picture was really easy to make and it didn’t take a lot of fabric or time. I show how to make it here.

Ironing Board and folding table

Long before we finished the laundry room I found a used ironing board cabinet for sale. I bought it and it sat in the garage for about a year before we were ready to install it. I love it. The ironing board is hidden, it’s easy to pull out and put away. It doesn’t take up a lot of room because if fits right between the studs in the wall.

Who doesn’t love IKEA? I could spend hours in there, well, I do actually. On one of my visits I was browsing and came across this awesome fold down table. I think it is made to use in small kitchens where you don’t have a lot of room.

When I saw this, a light came on in my head. I knew what I needed it for, my laundry room. I wanted to be able to fold the laundry in the same room, but there is no room for a table. This was the perfect solution. It works like a charm. When it’s not in use, I simply fold it down.

While we are talking laundry, here are a few other posts you may be interested in.

There you have it. I hope you enjoyed the little tour of my laundry room.

Even if your washer and dryer is tucked in a closest, or it is in the basement; there are simple, inexpensive things you can do to optimize the space and improve the aesthetics.  It really does make a big difference in your desire to do laundry. I can honestly say that I don’t mind doing laundry and actually find it quite therapeutic.

Transform your laundry room into a place where you like to be. Doing laundry can be enjoyable, if you choose.

Start with little things and do things that are doable. (Remember, my laundry room took 2 years to complete). Make it a journey and do it with a smile!


Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

How To Fold and Organize Socks Efficiently

If you find it challenging to find a pair of matching socks from your drawer, I am going to show you how simple it is to fold and organize your socks quickly and efficiently.

In what state is your sock drawer?

They say, “the way you do something, is the way you do everything”. So, what is that saying about you if your sock drawer is a heap of unmatched socks? Most likely you will find this same thing showing up in other areas of your life. Something to think about! If you want to change your life, start with your sock drawer. I know this sounds crazy, but seriously, if you do something as simple as organize your sock drawer, it will change the way you do everything!

Besides feeling a sense of ahhhhh every time you open your organized sock drawer, by organizing your socks you will:

  • save time by not having to search for a matching pair of socks
  • save money (because you will know how many socks you have instead of having a stray sock floating around somewhere in the house and having to buy new ones)
  • you will have a sense of clarity and order

This technique I am going to show you below is simple, quick, and does NOT take a lot of time.

here is how it is done

  1. Find the match to your sock and place them on top of each other, matching heels and toes.
  2. Fold toes up 1/3 of the way, then fold the cuff over that.
    For longer socks, fold in half, then in half again.
  3. Stack and put them in your drawer right away.

The key is to find some kind of little box to keep the socks contained. There are a lot of options. It doesn’t have to be fancy or cost a lot of money! The option above is very affordable and is available here.

There is a plastic type that folds up like the one above. You can get them here.

Or Ikea sells a set of drawer boxes like this one. (I love Ikea)!

Or you can just use a simple shoe box without the lid. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just something to keep the socks contained and in a smaller area.

Fold, stack and store!

Simple as that.

Give it a whirl and see how your life changes.

By the way, how is your utensil drawer?  That is next ha, ha.






Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

Hanging Up Your Laundry – Streamlined

Do you ever get overwhelmed with the laundry? I am going to show you a slick trick my daughter taught me to streamline hanging up laundry. Allie is a master in efficiency and organization (She gets it from her father who does this very thing for work). Whatever she is doing, she finds a quicker, more efficient way to do it. She even made hanging up a load of laundered shirts a snap!

Here is what you do:

Gather a bunch of hangers and set them on a table or wherever you fold your laundry. (I love this foldout table that I got at Ikea).

Take the shirts out of the dryer and stack them on top of each other, front facing out.

Place a hanger in each shirt. (Make sure all the hangers are facing the same direction).

After the hanger is inserted, fold it forward and go to the next shirt until all the shirts have a hanger in them.


Below is a video demo of how slick this really is.

Play Video

Here are a few other laundry tips:

Remove empty hangers from your closet regularly

Isn’t it frustrating when you go to hang things up and there are NO HANGERS? When my kids were younger, “gather hangers” was one of the tasks on their chore list. It worked out nicely. So if you have little ones around, this is a great little job for them. It is also nice not to have all the empty hangers taking up space in your closet.

Avoid placing laundry on the bed to fold later

I know it is tempting to throw a load of laundry on your bed with the intention of folding it right away, but do you? It is very easy to put it off and forget about it until you go to crawl in bed. Then what happens? Yep, it gets thrown back into the laundry basket or maybe even on the floor. Now, you have to throw it back into the dryer to get the wrinkles out, and you are starting all over again. What a waist of time. So, just avoid it in he first place, unless you are certain that you are going to do it right then.

Use closet organizing tags to keep clothing in order

I show how to make these simple closet organizing tags here in this post.

Get rid of clothes you don’t wear!

I am always about getting rid of clutter. Not that I am queen of doing this, but I try. Keeping clothes in your closet that you don’t wear, just takes up space, drains your energy and could be used by someone else. Something to consider.

There you have it, a few tips on how to hang up and store your laundry.

Stay tuned for some other fun tips on getting organized and clutter free. It’s that time of year when I want to just gut the house and get rid of things.

Please share if you have any questions or great ideas!

Remember, doing laundry is a joy!




Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

HOLISTIC LIVING: Healthy Travel Tips

holistic living

I went on a little vacation this week, and as I was gathering all my goods, I thought it would be a fun idea to show you some things I do and some things I take along with me. Here are some healthy tips and tricks that I do to maintain SOME holistic living while traveling.

holistic living

Notice that I said “some”. When you are out of your routine and in a different place it can be challenging to do all the things you normally like to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  I suggest you back off a little and do the BEST YOU CAN and enjoy yourself.  Don’t freak out because maybe you had to resort to eating a little “fast food” or that you didn’t get your daily run in.

Know and trust that your body is very resilient and it will bounce back quickly once you get back to your normal routine. I say this like I don’t worry about this stuff, well I still do somewhat but have learned to not let it ruin my vacation.

I bring with me and implement the things I can, and then enjoy myself.  Yes, you will have to adapt a little, but that is good for you!

Here are a few tips & tricks:

Medications, Supplements, and Tinctures

Make sure you have all your needed medications and supplements! I learned this the hard way. On the last trip I went on I ended up getting food poisoning. Without going into too much detail, because of a particular condition I experience, I am supposed to up my dose of hydrocortisone significantly if I experience any kind of illness or food poisoning. My doctor had given me some shots with cortisone in them in case this ever happens. (I ended up in the emergency room when I had food poisoning before, pretty much because I couldn’t keep the cortisone pill down).

Anyway, I forgot to pack the shots for this trip. DANG, I was sooooooo sick. I would rather go through childbirth than this. Not fun being that sick in a hotel room.

Healthy Travel Tips holistic living

If you have a “daily” supplement container, it is a good idea to tape it closed like I have done here in the photo. I have had it open up and spill all over my purse way too many times before I learned to just tape it closed. I use painter’s tape.

holistic living

Don’t forget any NEEDED medications, supplements, or tinctures. To save room, I get the small snack zip bags, label them, and put the capsules in there. If I think I may need the whole jar, I will just take the whole thing. Put them all in a BIG zip bag.

holistic living

Healthy Snacks

Throw a few snacks in a little zip lock bag for those times at the airport or in the car when your sugar levels may drop and you need something to eat. If you have something handy, you will be less tempted to buy junk food, and save some money.

Healthy Travel Tips holistic living

If your hotel room has a fridge in it, go to a grocery store and buy a few healthy snacks to have on hand. I like to get some string cheese, rice crackers, apples, nut & seed mix, carrot & celery pre-cut mix, bottled water, and grapefruit.  Yep, that is sauerkraut in there. I got that for a little extra probiotic action for my gut this week. It was a small bag so even though I didn’t finish it, the little I had served me well.

Even if the place you are staying has breakfast available, it is nice to have some of your own alternatives. (The snacks you bought at the store are probably better for you than the instant pancakes, powdered eggs, or sweet rolls they have available). Now, if there is no other option, do the best you can. They will usually have oatmeal packets or yogurt and perhaps some fruit if you are lucky.

If you are really feeling vigilant, I know some who take their blenders with them. I really don’t want to be hauling my Blendtec on the plane. Although I did consider taking my son’s Magic Bullet. Oh, how nice a green smoothie would taste on vacation!

Healthy Travel Tips holistic living


What about grapefruit? When traveling, most likely you will be eating out more frequently than normal, and perhaps eating foods that are a little more heavy, rich, and fatty. Grapefruit is a good source of fiber, and it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber both of which can help improve digestion and constipation. Who wants to be constipated while traveling?

After eating a heavy dinner, I like to come back to the hotel and have some grapefruit. I peel it just like an orange. You are going to love the aroma as you peel it. Now some of you may never have eaten a grapefruit like this, but trust me, it grows on you and is quite a yummy snack. There are VERY good properties in the pith (white stuff around the grapefruit) so don’t pull it all off, eat it. When I eat a grapefruit, I don’t get bloating, or indigestion, and I feel much lighter.

Healthy Travel Tips holistic living


It is so important to stay hydrated and so easy to forget to drink water while you are traveling. I bring along my own water bottle and pack it empty, so that when I get to the hotel I can fill it up and have it handy. It helps me to remember to drink water if I have my water bottle there.

If you don’t want to pack your own, make sure you at least buy some bottles of water to have handy. I buy a few gallons of water and bring them back to the hotel. Most likely you don’t want to be drinking the water from the bathroom tap!

Healthy Travel Tips holistic living


Although you may not be able to attend your favorite yoga class or go for a bike ride, there are some ways you can still move your body while traveling or while on vacation.

  • Skip the elevator and take the stairs
  • If the hotel you are staying at has a gym, use it
  • Go for a walk and do a little exploring
  • Take an online yoga class in your hotel room

It can be so easy to go several days without exercising while on vacation. It doesn’t have to be a serious workout, just move your body in some way. You will regret it if you don’t.

Healthy Travel Tips holistic living

Herbal Teas

This is another thing I bring with me. I always take some Yarrow tea with me. This is one of my “go-to’s” when it comes to any kind of illness. Also good to help detox.

When I travel I take a little zip package of a blend of herbal teas that I like, usually Yarrow, Peppermint, and Raspberry leaf. I know it looks like I am smuggling some drugs or doing crazy stuff, nope just herbs.

Healthy Travel Tips holistic living

Sometimes, the hotel will have some herbal teas, but not always. What I do is go down to the lobby and get some hot water where they have it for coffee, and fill up a cup. I take it back to my room, put in about a teaspoon of dried herbs, and let it steep for a few minutes. Then I get out my trusty stainless steel straw that filters out the herbs and viola, a nice cup of tea.

Healthy Travel Tips holistic living

Essential Oils

I saved the best for the very last. As some of you may already know, I LOVE ESSENTIAL OILS and I don’t travel without them.

essential oil case I have a little mini case that I have in my purse at all times, but that is not enough. I like to take as many as I can, AND my diffuser.

Go HERE if you want more information on this little travel case.

There is nothing like being cramped up in a hotel room that is stuffy. Why not diffuse your favorite oils to make it feel and smell a little more like home. I have a small travel diffuser that I pack.

When packing my oils, I have a difficult time deciding which ones to bring. I take the most essential ones and pray I won’t need any of the others. Trust me; these oils have come in handy. On this trip, I was so glad I brought the big bottle of lavender because I got a little too much sun on my back and was able to have my husband apply some on my back. Works wonders.  You never know when there will be a need for them physically or emotionally. LOVE EM!

Hopefully, this will be helpful for those of you who want to maintain some kind of healthy balance when on vacation.

What is a tip you have learned and do to stay healthy on vacation? I would love to hear about it!


Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

How to organize and store felted wool sweaters

store felted wool sweaters

I am on a quest to organize, DE-junk, and clear the clutter from my home and my life.  The first thing I did was clean out my closet and have worked from area to area in my home letting things go and organizing.  I will post about this later as it is quite amazing some things I have learned.

As you all know, I love felted wool sweaters and I have acquired just a FEW over the years. (Ha, Ha)  I must say my SWEATER STASH was getting out of control. Every time I started a wool project, I hauled out my bins of sweaters (six and one mega size bin), lined them up in the hallway, and would dig through them all, trying to find just the right piece and color.  WHAT A MESS!

Not having my supplies in order caused PROCRASTINATION.  The thoughts of the mess, and the bother of hauling all those bins out, kept me from moving forward and getting things done.  Do any of you find yourself feeling like this?  It was time to MOVE ON.

I bit the bullet and turned on an audiobook, got a chair, and a pair of scissors, and got to work.

store felted wool sweaters
This is what some of my bins looked like.  Most of them were worse off.  So crammed I could hardly get the lids on them.  Who knew what was in there???

Here are a few tips on how to organize and store felted wool sweaters.

I am going to show you a technique that I have found that works really well in storing the sweaters so they don’t take up so much room.

1. WASH AND FELT THE SWEATER.  (Instructions here on how to felt and shrink sweaters).


Right after you acquire a sweater and have washed it, disassemble the sweater.  Cutting the sweater up like this will make it easier to cut out items for your project, and will save so much room when storing.  Here is a step-by-step guide on how I disassemble my sweaters.

store felted wool sweaters

Cut up the side seam to the arm pit.

store felted wool sweaters

Cut the sleeve off.

store felted wool sweaters

Cut through the shoulder seam.

store felted wool sweaters

This sweater has a turtle neck.  So cut off the neck piece if it has one.  This could come in handy for a lot of good things.

store felted wool sweaters

Cut the other shoulder seam and the other sleeve off.  DO NOT CUT THE
OTHER SIDE SEAM.  This will allow you to have more intact yardage if
necessary for larger pieces.

store felted wool sweaters

If the sweater has a good cuff.  Cut the lower 4-5 inches of the sleeve
off.  These cuffs work well for the cuffs of mittens and slippers!

store felted wool sweaters

Cut down the sleeve seam.

store felted wool sweaters

Open the sleeve piece up and fold.

store felted wool sweaters

If the sweater has a good cuff along the bottom of the sweater.  Cut the
lower 4-5 inches off in a long strip.  Once again, this cuff fabric is

If the sweaters have any cool accessories on them, BUTTONS, ZIPPERS,  POCKETS, etc. save them. 
Here are a few zippers that I have saved from sweaters.  The reason I saved these zippers is because of the cool zipper pulls they have.  This can really add charm to a project.  Yes, I know it will take some time to unpick the sweater from the zipper, but something you could do while watching t.v or riding in the car.  (As a passenger, of course).

store felted wool sweaters


store felted wool sweaters

Doesn’t this look so much nicer than a wad of wool?

store felted wool sweaters
This is a flatter bin about 6 inches tall, that I store all my cut-out cuffs in.  Easy to find and easy to see what colors I have available.

If you are just starting to explore the world of FELTED WOOL SWEATERS  and you don’t have a big surplus YET, just find a nice bin with a lid to keep your sweaters in.

BUT, if you have been into this for a bit, you most likely have several sweaters of many colors kicking around.


To make your life easier when it comes to felted wool sweater projects, get yourself several bins, preferably the same size for easy stacking.  I get mine at Costco.  I used to have a big old mongo bin that I would throw some of the sweaters in, but it was way too big and hard to organize.  So, that bin is now being used for sleeping bags.

I cut my bins down from 6 regular plus the mongo bin, to only 6 regular size bins.  Yea!  It feels so nice.


Depending on how many sweaters you have, sit and figure out what colors need to go where.  I use a whole bin for greens, and one bin for blacks and grays.

Label the bins so you can easily see at a glance where things are.

I just got a Silhouette Cameo machine a while back and was able to make some fun vinyl labels.  You can make a paper label and tape it to the box or even just stick some masking tape on and write what colors are inside.

Establish a box for SCRAPS.  After you have cut things out you are going to have pieces that are too small to fold.  DON’T THROW THEM AWAY.  There are so many projects that require only a small piece of wool. Balls, hearts, and so many other things.

I also keep smaller box, or you can even use a bag, for the tiny scraps of felted wool scraps.  These I save for laundry dryer balls.  For more information about making these gems, check out this blog post.  

So, there you have it.  I hope this LONG post was helpful to you in some way.

If you have a great idea or have questions, please feel free to chime in and leave a comment.
Sometimes I feel like I am just talking to the wind.

Have fun sorting, sewing, and of course, SMILING!

Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

Printable Cash Envelope Tabs

Do you know what the Cash Envelope System is?

The envelope system is nothing new, it’s been around for decades. It is a method of keeping track of your money (managing your budget). These cash envelope tabs are the best! Dave Ramsey teaches this method in his training. I LOVE IT!

With the envelope system you use cash for different categories of your budget, and you keep that cash tucked away in envelopes. You can see exactly how much money you have left in a budget category just by taking a quick peek in your envelope. How easy is that?

Well it just became a lot easier.

I used to use actual envelopes and had a separate wallet for my cash. It was bulky, my envelopes wore out quickly, and there was a lot of fumbling around my wallet at the cash register. I got thinking, there has got to be a better way! So I designed these tabs and my life is much better, especially when it comes to spending.

These tabs fit right inside your existing wallet (unless you have a very small wallet). There is no need to have TWO wallets! Who has room for that?

The tabs can be purchased from my Etsy shop already made, but for those of you who like to Do It Yourself, why not just make them yourself? That way you can customize and print out as often as needed.

Where can you get the printable download?

These printable and editable cash envelope tabs are available  in my Etsy shop.

Where do you find a good wallet?

When looking for a suitable wallet, look for one that has a roomy area for a lot of cash. Make sure it is at least 7 1/2 – 8 1/2 inches wide. I like these Mundi wallets. You can find them in most retail stores or here on Amazon.
Check out this post to find out a little more about saving money using the CASH ENVELOPE SYSTEM.
This is a no brainer, easy way to get control of your spending. Download and print as many time as you want.

Let me know how this system is working for you, and if you have any other comments or suggestions regarding budgeting or saving.

Happy Budgeting!