How to Cut Clutter

Keeping a clean house can be quite the challenge. Sometimes, you’ll spend hours cleaning and then just a week later be drowning in clutter all over again. It’s overwhelming trying to keep up with the growing piles of laundry or stacks of books or junk mail, but there are some steps you can take to prevent your house from becoming  a mess too quickly.

Throw Away

Get a big trash bag (or several big trash bags), and go through every room of the house, collecting old and unused items. In the kitchen, throw away spoiled food, stale cereal, and old condiments. Throw away all the magazines and junk mail that you know you’ll never read. Gather everything that’s broken or useless that you’ve been trying to make up an excuse to keep. If you haven’t used it in over a month, toss it.

Give Away

You’d be surprised how much perfectly good stuff you have in your house that you never use. Take another trash bag and fill it with old toys, rarely used mugs, never read books, you name it. This step is especially key in your closet. Getting rid of all of the clothes you never wear makes a huge difference. One helpful exercise is to begin the year by hanging all your clothes with their hangers backwards. Whenever you wear something and hang it back up, hang the hanger the right way. At the end of the year, any clothes you have that are hanging the wrong way, get rid of. Gather up all the shoes, scarves, hats, gloves, etc. that you never use and place them in your trash bag. Giving your unused belongings to someone who will actually use them is far better than them sitting pointlessly in your house. Find a local charity that will appreciate and make good use of all your old stuff.

Make a Habit

One of the most essential parts of keeping a clean house is, well, cleaning up. Find a system of cleaning that works for you. but make sure it is one that you can and will stick to. If you live alone, maybe you only need to clean a couple times a week. Pick a couple days and form a habit like cleaning for one hour every Wednesday and Sunday. If you live with a big family, you most likely need to clean more often. Get the whole family in on it- start cleaning for just ten minutes after dinner every night. You’d be amazed at how much of a difference it makes! And make a game of it! Hold cleaning competitions for your kids, play upbeat music throughout the house, anything that will get your family motivated to get going.

Another important thing is having certain days assigned to certain tasks. For instance, make Monday laundry day, or Saturday toilet cleaning day. Some things, like dishes, need to be taken care of daily, but others, like laundry, need to happen weekly, or like deep cleaning the refrigerator, monthly. Whatever chores need to happen in your house, making yourself a schedule and staying consistent will make all the difference.

Best Indoor Plants

Nothing adds more to a room than a houseplant. Plants add color, life, comfort, and beauty to your home. However, keeping a vase of flowers from drooping after two days is hard enough, not to mention keeping a potted plant alive long term. That said, not all plants are created equal. Some require hard work and constant maintenance, but some are far less demanding. Adding plants to your home doesn’t need to be difficult, you just have to choose wisely.

Air Plant

The air plant is just about as easy as they come. In this case, there is no need to worry about soil because the air plant grows, well, in the air. All you have to do is mist it with water every couple days, or submerge it in water every couple weeks. Easy!

African Violet

African violets are popular houseplants because of their beautiful blooms. But just because it’s pretty, doesn’t mean it’s high maintenance. All this lovely flowering plant needs is bright, indirect sunlight and frequent water.  African violets are pretty hard to kill, so even if you forget about it every once in a while, after a bit of water, your African violet should perk right back up. And they bloom multiple times per year, so you get the benefit of flowers more than once!

Succulents

Succulents and cacti are pretty trendy right now, and for good reason. They come in all sorts of fun shapes, sizes and colors, and they’re some of the most low maintenance plants you can purchase. They require a fair amount of sunlight and water once every one or two weeks, but other than that, they’ll take care of themselves. Heck, I’ve forgotten to water one of my cacti for months and it’s still thriving today. Plus, succulents can be propagated, meaning if you take off one leaf and plant it, another whole plant will grow! Pro tip: the thicker the succulent or cactus’ leaves, the less water it requires.

English Ivy

English ivy is a gorgeous addition to a home. Its long tendrils covered in lovely dark green leaves add color and class to a room. English ivy doesn’t require much sun, so it’s ideal for those less sunny rooms that other plants might not survive in. It has to be watered enough to keep the soil moist, but it can tolerate dry environments occasionally.

Rubber Tree

Rubber trees are fun, unique plants that can grow to be pretty large, depending on the pot you plant them in. If you want your rubber tree to be a tabletop plant, place it in a smaller pot and prune it regularly. If you want it to be a living room tree, transfer it to a large pot and let it grow to your desired height. Rubber trees prefer indirect light and moist soil.

Dragon Tree

This is a lovely plant, but it can be toxic to cats and dogs, so think twice about it if you’re a pet owner. Dragon trees like low light, so they’re great for darker corners. They need water when the soil is dry, but other than that, they aren’t too picky.

If you’ve had a tough time keeping plants alive in the past, don’t give up! There are plenty of plants out there that don’t need too much care.

6 Museums Everyone Should See

There’s something about art museums, the quiet rooms full of beauty, the cute cafes and peaceful gardens, that is endlessly comforting. I could spend days and days roaming through art galleries all over the world. There are, after all, art museums everywhere- sometimes dozens in one city. So unfortunately, you can’t see all of them. But there are some that you just can’t miss.

The Louvre: Paris, France

Everyone has heard of the Louvre, but not everyone knows that it used to be a medieval fortress and palace, hence its beautiful architecture. Set in a city of romance and art and beauty, the Louvre boasts 35 billion dollars worth of art. Its art includes the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa among other hugely famous works.

Smithsonian Institution: Washington, D.C.

Spread across downtown D.C., the Smithsonian includes nineteen different museums, each unique and amazing. There is an extraordinary amount of art and artifacts in the Smithsonian Institution, and its impossible to see it all. Visitors should plan their visit well and see what interests them most. The Smithsonian includes all sorts of American history- from the First Ladies’ dresses, to the Hope Diamond.

The British Museum: London, England

Yet another massive museum, the British Museum focuses on archaeology and holds all sorts of archaeological finds like prehistoric bones. Its Egyptian Gallery is world renowned and includes the Rosetta Stone.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: New York, New York

Located in the heart of the Big Apple, the Met is a pinnacle of art surrounded by a fast paced, business focused city. It is the largest museum and most visited museum in the U.S and has a vast array of items from all time periods and all places. From Picasso to Rembrandt to Matisse to Van Gogh, the Met’s paintings are extraordinary.

The Vatican Museums: Vatican City, Italy

This museum is the oldest on the list, opening in 1506. One of its most breathtaking works is the famous Sistine Chapel. It holds lots of gorgeous religious paintings, and the buildings themselves are a must-see. Standing in the Vatican certainly feels like a religious experience with its high, gold plated ceilings and marvelous, painting-covered walls.

State Hermitage: St. Petersburg, Russia

The State Hermitage is the world’s second largest museum, spanning over 700,00 square feet. The colorful building is lovely and inviting, and the art inside is even more amazing. With works from Picasso, Da Vinci, and Rembrandt, the State Hermitage holds a rather impressive collection of world art.

Regardless of where you’re traveling to, there is always an art museum or two to pop into. But if you happen to be near any of the six cities mentioned above, be sure that you don’t miss their world famous art collections, holding tons of extraordinary masterpieces.

Dorm Room Design 101

Going off to college can be pretty overwhelming, but decorating your dorm doesn’t have to be. Dorm rooms are small and small spaces can be hard to decorate. But don’t worry! Dorm room decor can be a very fun project when you set your mind to it. One of the biggest challenges is simply how to fit everything into your dorm room.

Maximizing Space

There are lots of ways to make the most of the tiny space you have in college. One major way is raising your bed. If your dorm room bed has the option of turning into a loft bed, take advantage of it. By raising your bed off the ground, you free up loads of storage space on the floor underneath. Sometimes you can even fit a desk down there!

Another great way to make use of you room is to get multi functioning furniture- a pouf that doubles as a table, a vanity with tons of drawer space, you get the idea. Don’t waste your space on furniture that doesn’t have ample storage space because trust us, you’ll need it.

Choosing a Theme

A basic theme can really bring out the best in a drab college dorm room. Coordinate with your roommate to pick a theme that the two of you agree on. Anything works- pastels, gray tones, primary colors, bohemian vibes, you name it- just as long as you stick to one simple idea. If you and your roommate try to fit too many non matching items into your tiny room, it’ll get busy, confusing, and overcrowded very quickly.

Making It Your Own

Now comes the fun part of dorm decor- the decor. Once you’ve chosen basic furniture layouts and a basic theme, it’s time to get creative and start decorating. Think about your bedroom at home- what makes it yours? What makes it personalized? If you’re a nature lover, add a plant or two to your room; plants never fail to add life and happiness to any room. If you’re a late night reader, consider string lights or pretty lamp. Hang pictures of you and your family and friends from home above your bed, this way you can show your new college friends your life back home. Or hang posters of your favorite books, bands, or movies.

In a room as small as a college dorm room, there will usually be one thing that quickly catches people’s attention. This tends to be the bedspread. Pick a bedspread that matches your rommie’s, because it’ll be pretty obvious if you don’t. You should also pick a bedspread that shows off who you are, one with some personality, one that you love.

Overall, remember that your dorm is home for next year of your life. Make sure it feels that way to you. You’ll be spending quite a bit of time in it and you need to feel comfortable in it at all times. It may seem scary and foreign at first, but soon enough, your dorm will be your home away from home!

Tips for a Girl’s Nursery

You should make your baby girl’s new room as special and beautiful as she is, so I’ve compiled some tips and ideas to help you do just that!

Color

One of the best ways to spruce up any room is with pops of color. If you can, choose a room with a window, as natural light always accentuates the colors you place in the room. Now I get it, not everyone wants a solid pink baby nursery. In fact, some of the most beautiful nurseries are simple, white walled rooms. But if you do want to go with colored walls, keep in mind that your daughter may outgrow them in a few years. Four colored walls can also be a bit overpowering to a room, so you may want to try a light pink or gray accent wall accompanied by three white or eggshell colored walls.

But walls are not the only way to add a splash of color to a room. You can also try a pretty pink shag rug, or colorful crib cushions. There are also various decals- from trees to flowers to monograms-  that you can easily apply to your nursery wall to make it unique.

Furniture

There are a few basic furniture items that all nurseries should include. Obviously you’ll want a crib in your baby’s new room. A simple, white, wooden crib will match anything you choose to put in the room. You will also want a changing table for all those fun diaper changing adventures you’re about to embark on. Try a changing table with lots of drawer space and a pastel colored cushion. Depending on the size of the room you’r working with, you may want to add a nice big rocking armchair. You can get it covered in a fabric that matches the rest of the room, and it will be ideal for nursing and rocking your baby. A simple set of shelves is always a good addition to any room, especially a bed room. In general, nurseries tend to look lovely with relatively simple, often white furniture. That way, you can put your decorative skills to use with rugs, curtains, pillows, wall hangings, etc. without making your nursery too busy.

Theme

A theme is certainly not essential to your nursery, but it can be fun and unique if done well. There are all kinds of nursery themes to choose from. Some are pretty simple, like polka dots or flowers. With this kind of theme, try adding the design to one wall and matching it to the rug and pillows. Another successful theme idea is to choose a city, a common one would be Paris. Try black and white photos of the city and a little statue of the Eiffel Tower. Yet another idea is to choose an animal. Try elephants, teddy bears, etc.

No matter what you choose to do with your new nursery, remember not to overcrowd it, and to stick with one general aesthetic. And enjoy the decorating process! You’re sure to have a crazy few months in front of you, so don’t let your nursery add to the stress!