Thursday, February 28, 2013

10 Paper Storage Solutions

I'm not sure about you, but I have issues with paper.  Think bunnies multiplying except replace the bunnies with papers and that hardly describes the gravity of the issue.  I get papers and magazines and advertisements in the mail.  I take notes, I use printables, and my son draws these adorable pictures.  Then they begin to gather together to take over my home, surface by surface.  They often start with the computer desk, but then the start to make piles on the floor.  Then little by little they cover my TV stand, my end table, and my bookshelf.  You think I would catch those little papers before they got so far, but no.  With moving every few years, my storage tools come and go and are often busted up by the moving companies (no, really, my filing cabinet is irreparably dented at the drawers).  I need new options and I need them fast!  Here are some if the solutions I've come up with to prevent my paper problem from consuming every surface in my home:

Letter Sorter
 Brocade Letter Sorter Via The Container Store
Quick Pros and Cons
A Letter Sorter is a great way to separate out the mail designated for each member of the household.  Just remember, that the letter sorter can become just another place for junk.  Also think about where you will put the letter sorter and how much room you are willing to give to your incoming mail.  If all family members can commit to looking through their own mail daily, this can be a great place to stick mail as soon as it comes in the house.
Letter Tray
Quick Pros and Cons
 A letter tray can be a great place to store ongoing projects or to store documents as they come into the household or office.  You can also assign a tray to a particular family member or assign them to ongoing tasks such as bills, taxes, or work files.  Again, you will need a surface that is large enough to house the set of trays, but if it keeps all of your papers in one place it can be a great benefit.

Magazine Files
Magazine Files Via See Jane Work

Quick Pros and Cons
Magazine files have so many uses!  You can store magazines in your files or you can store kid's papers, computer paper, or current ads. It's great to use one to house misc. papers.  Once the misc. magazine file becomes full, you can go through the file.  You can store the files on a bookshelf or under an end table.  Just remember to go through the magazine files, no need to store things that are just going to take up space in your beautiful home.

File Tote Box
 File Tote Box Via The Container Store
Quick Pros and Cons
 The File Tote Box is a great way to keep hanging files nearby and stow things away quickly.  If you keep one in your home office near your computer, you can easily print out tax information and file it away or keep track of receipts and bills.  However, this is a temporary storage option.  Permanent files need a permanent home.  You will want to keep temporary files and current information in a box like this.

Paper Storage Case
Paper Storage Case Via The Container Store
Quick Pros and Cons
Paper storage cases can be great for storing children's art, ongoing crafting projects, and any oddly shaped papers you may have sitting around that you may still want to keep.  The main purpose for this case is to store scrapbook paper, but a 12" x 12" box can be used for myriads of paper projects.

Colorful Storage Boxes
  Stockholm Office Storage Boxes Via Container Store
Quick Pros and Cons
 Office Storage Boxes in bright colors just make me chipper!  Why not hide all the paper mess in these wondrous boxes?  For larger boxes, you can keep track of larger family photos.  Letter size boxes are perfect for storing written works of art.  Speaking of art, the mid-size boxes are great for keeping art paper.  However, you must be sure to designate a purpose for each box.  It could be easy to lose papers if you are not intentional about how you use each box.  Store the boxes on a bookshelf to make a statement.
Desktop File
Bamboo Desktop File Via Container Store
Quick Pros and Cons
Desktop Files are very similar in use to the file tote boxes except these are intended to live on top of your desk.  If you have tons of space on your desk, this is an even easier option for grabbing out files that are used often and storing them away quickly.  These can also be great for keeping track of children's homework and yearly school files.  The bamboo is one option but there are also many other colors and textures in the realm of desktop files.  If you have extra desk space, then consider including one of these files on your desk.
Mesh Desk Organizer
Quick Pros and Cons
 I love this product!  It is a desk organizer, but it has shelves and two areas for binders.  This is a great way to create horizontal storage space on your desk allowing you to keep home organization binders on your desk or even on a kitchen counter.  The shelves are ideal for desk accessories, keeping things up off the desk and out of your way. It may be a challenge to fit this on a small desk, but it is definitely worth considering.
Nickel Paper Caddy
Nickel Paper Caddy Via See Jane Work
Quick Pros and Cons
This Nickel Paper Caddy is a very stylish option for your desk, bookshelf, or counter.  You can keep files, binders, notebooks, and magazines resting on the caddy.  Personally, I think it is so beautiful that I would absolutely have to keep everything tidy in respect!  Again this item will take up some space, but if you have the space and money to afford this product, you will indeed enjoy having the organizational capability that it provides.
Lateral Filing Cabinet
 Outlook Lateral File Cabinet Via Smart Furniture
Quick Pros and Cons
Many of the other tools are temporary storage options.  You need to have a filing cabinet to house your permanent files.  In a filing cabinet you store last years taxes, medical records, car insurance information, etc.  These are all files that are necessary to keep, but do not need to be accessed often.  Instead of the metal vertical filing cabinets that most of us are used to, this lateral file cabinet is much more refined.  The one negative for this cabinet is the price tag.  A nice looking file cabinet will cost you more, but you'll enjoy having it in your home. 

Whatever you buy for your home, home office, or office, consider buying organization accessories that make the experience more enjoyable.  I hope going through these paper storage solutions has helped you as much as it has helped me!  Now which ones shall I buy?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Refocusing Designing Life

We all grow.  We grow externally as children to become adults.  We grow internally in knowledge, wisdom, and in life.  People grow, but so do thoughts and concepts.  My Designing Life blog is one such thought, one such concept.

I started Designing Life's blog in August 2010.  The thought behind creating this blog was to share my experience as an Interior Designer as well as provide a supplemental source of information about Designing Life, my Etsy Shop.  Since it's conception in 2010, my blog has grown.  I have realized that Designing Life isn't just about interior design, but it's also about organization, family, and intentionally designing one's life.

However, in past months, I have taken the concept of "intentionally designing one's life" and broadened it so much that it is too all encompassing.  With some deep thought and contemplation, I have come to believe that my readers do not come to my site to hear about how to find peace, finding movies that motivate a workout, or even realizing the difference between Life Coaching vs Discipleship.  Though I personally am interested in these topics and they are great topics, Designing Life blog isn't about those things.  Designing Life the blog is about helping people with their home, organization, and life through design, organization tips, simplification advice, and printables.

Therefore, I'm refocusing Designing Life.  I'm narrowing this concept back down to appeal to my reader and to help others in these specific areas.  Consider it my winter pruning.  My blog will now focus into the following areas exclusively:

Design & Decorating
Home Organization
Simplifying Life
Printables 4 Life

Please join me as my blog and I continue to grow.  I would love to keep my current readers as I make these changes and gain new ones as this blog grows more like a flower than some expansive ivy.  Thank you for reading about the changes and growth happening at Designing Life!

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Holistic Idea

My Holistic Idea: A holistic site that focuses on healthy eating, a healthy lifestyle, holistic remedies, a healthy sense of style, and healthy faith

There comes a time in everyone's life when you can't get something done without a little help.  Big ideas need company.  I have a new idea that is enormous to me.  Even so, I want to make it happen.  I've made steps to make it happen.

I have a domain name that is all my own.
I have the e-mail address in gmail.
I have the Pinterest account.
I have the Facebook page.
I have the Twitter account.
I even have the Google+ page.

It's all aligning and then I find myself stuck.  Mainly, I'm stuck because I bought GoDaddy's website builder along with my domain name and honestly, it's awful.  I can't get anything where I want it.  I need help.  I need someone with vision.  I need someone who will come alongside me and be in this with me.  That's who I need.

The Rundown

Site Name: Hidden until the great unveiling

Company Tag Line: Ditto

Briefly describe what the site will be:

My new site will be an informational paradise chock-full of holistic/healthy lifestyle tips, foods, remedies, faith (how to live out faith holistically), and style.  As I begin to bring my family forward into a healthier lifestyle, I want to share my experiences with the world.  I want to provide lifestyle tips as I discover them.  I will share recipes as I test them myself.  Giving sources and keeping a catalogue of remedies that I want to try and adding information as I try them.  My faith is essential to me and I know that having a healthy spiritual life is in agreement with the holistic lifestyle as well.  Also, I want to explore how to bring holistic into style, looking good while dressing healthy.

List of 5 Adjectives that describe this site:

Holistic, Healthy, Helpful, Informative, Fun

Why is this site different or better than other sites?

I see a lot of holistic blogs out there that are fantastic.  Honestly, they are great resources to those who are holistic.  This site will be different (still fantastic, just unique).  First off, I really care about style.  I want to wear organic cotton that makes me look amazing.  I would sacrifice style for health, but no one has to make that sacrifice.  The site will help people find ways to look slammin’ and still be healthy.  You can have your hair clean and mousse it too (as long as it’s with a homemade organic mousse).  In addition, I want to have the information very accessible.  I want remedies and natural herb care listed in a way that makes it easy to find when it’s most needed.  Finally, I have a unique perspective.  I haven’t been doing this my whole life.  In fact, I used to eat Ramen Noodles (MSG, etc.) all the time during college and the the first few years of my marriage.  Giving up my Little Debbie’s was a sacrifice.  Now, I’m delving deeper into the holistic lifestyle.  Care to join?


Why do you think people will visit your site?

            I know a lot of people are interested in what holistic is all about.  I think that starting from the very beginning is a really great place to start (didn’t someone say that before?).  Also, health is exciting!  I’m so sick of eating what I’ve been fed (figuratively and literally) and I’m ready to fight!  I’m going to make my eating real and my life holistic.  I think others will want to jump on board.

When people don’t know you exist, why would they find you or happen upon your site?

            I know by experience that lots of people are looking for holistic alternatives to modern medicine and modern life.  When I’m sick, I search website after website for legit sources for herbal remedies and holistic alternatives to modern medicines.  That’s certainly a draw.

Why would they come back?

            The site will have ways to connect.  By e-mail, by Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, Google+, basically, all the usual.  I don’t want to be gimmicky though.  I want people to come back if they want to and not just sign up because they will get something free.  Holistic applies to marketing too!

If they do know you, why would they take the time to visit your site?

            Maybe to see what crazy venture I’m on this time.  No, really, I think those who know me know that I have become consumed by the realization that most Americans (yes, Americans!) have the least healthy diets in the entire world.  Fast food, packaged food, processed food, MSG, partially hydrogenated oils, and high fructose corn syrup are included in the diet of most Americans.  Why are we unhealthy and having numerous health problems?  It’s our diet!  I think that those who know me will be happy to see me embracing something I’m so passionate about.

Target Audience:

What types of visitors do you want to get?

I want visitors who are interested and engaging.  I want people to visit who want to know more and have questions.  The draw needs to be information, education, and growth.  Those people who are seeking will find themselves at home at this site.

Who is your target audience? (age, education, and other demographics?)

I expect to have visitors who are mostly women from ages 22-65+.  Generally, I notice a lot of stay at home mothers embracing this lifestyle, but I want to open up the genre.  I will have a section in the site dedicated to holistic living for the single working mom (and maybe dad).  It doesn't seem easy cooking healthy foods when you are a single parent or if your husband is deployed.  The section will include quick, easy, and healthy recipes for the family as well as tangible ideas that can be applied to bring holistic to a household that has little extra time.

Secondary Audience:

What other visitors is your site going to get? Job seekers? Board members?

            The other audience would be those who are already holistic in lifestyle.  The site will not focus on those who are already living it up whole, but I’m sure that parts of the site would appeal to them.

Site Goals:

What are your goals for the web site in terms of your site goals?

            As a site, I would like to see the site grow to have more authors who are avidly interested in the holistic lifestyle.  I especially want to have experts in the various categories.  One day, I would like to have a holistic gardener author the gardening section.  The site would have a holistic stylist author the holistic style section.  Experts in every section!  Isn’t it fun to dream?

What is the purpose of your site?

            To educate, uplift, and have people consider a different way of life

The Site Will NOT:

Encourage people to live in communes disconnected with society.

Tell people what to do and how to live.

Rant and rave about how crazy people are who aren’t holistic.

Attach anyone or anything, rather education against something less healthy.

Who I Need:

I need a web designer/developer with a passion for holistic food and the holistic lifestyle.  I don’t just want someone to come and design a website for me that will suffice, instead I want someone who won’t stop until it serves its purpose and informs others about what holistic means to them.  Not only will they be a part of helping me design the site in its conception, but they will be a part of the life of the page.  This person needs to be full of ideas and be willing to listen to ideas.  This is the person that I want to find.

Skills Needed:

XHTML/HTML, CSS, Good Design Sense, SEO, Project Management, Basic Writing and Editing, DOM

Do you know this person?

Are you this person?

Join me!

Leave your name and website or the designer's name in the comments below, thanks!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Helping Bring a Baby Home

As some of you may know, Christie and her husband (Satisfaction Through Christ) were chosen to adopt a brand new baby girl a couple of weeks ago, so they've been fundraising to bring her home!  We're excited to say that the 10:10:1 campaign ended this past Sunday and they met their $10,000 goal with $19 to 10 days!!

So, their next goal is $6,000 by March 12!  In order to help them meet that goal they are doing an online auction of items donated by some amazing people!

So, make sure you hop on over here (or click the pictures below) and check out these awesome items they have up for grabs in their first auction....more to come!  All winning bids will go directly towards their adoption expenses!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Classy Homeschooling


The more I look into homeschooling my child, the more I realize that I want to do what I call "classy homeschooling." When I say classy, I don't mean my kid needs to wear Abercrombie and be dressed in the latest styles and hang out with children who come from the best families. No, that's not it. I mean that I want to have my child to be well rounded and be able to fit in anywhere, anytime, with any culture, and with any "class."  I want my child to be able to take care of himself well, dress well, and know how to present himself and his beliefs in an appropriate yet meaningful manner.  Do I know how to best do this? Not yet. But I refuse to be remiss and allow him to not fit in anywhere, to not be able to communicate fully, and not know how to dress appropriately, speak appropriately, and have full confidence due to a full education.  I feel that classy homeschooling must an intentional education decision.

Neon Fanny Pack via TheForgotten
Culottes via EqpStyles
Mom Jeans via Fashion Binge
Why Might I Consider Some Homeschooling "Not Classy"

Oh come on!  Anyone with eyes knows that stereotypes exist for homeschoolers.  I was the stereotype in the 90's.  I wore culottes (otherwise known as a hideous skort), had a bright odd colored fanny pack, wore "mom jeans" (at age 8 - 15), and to top it all off I was shy, very shy.  Refer to the Why I Was a Geek graphic to the left in case you are unaware of these references.  It was a hard phase for me.  Some stereotypes are true, just not all the time.

More importantly than not fitting in with fashion, I did not fit in socially.  I had to catch up when I went back to school in 8th grade.  I am sure my classmates can attest to my awkard behavior as I learned how to dress like others of my age, communicate well, and even how to implement good study habits.  I hadn't needed to take notes, write down assignments, or study for tests while homeschooling.  I simply learned, read, and did school at home.  However, it isn't classy to get to school and not be able to relate to your peers.  It isn't classy to have no idea how to adapt to a different culture.  Fundamentally, I found that homeschooling, the way I did it as a child, was a challenge for me as I moved forward with my life.

Now, many things are different.  The awkard parts of the eighties (that I was cool enough to bring into the 90's) are finally gone, but still homeschooling and homeschool families have a stereotype.  Some do not fit in, not because the families do it contentiously, but many just don't think it matters.  After hearing my story, let's consider that it does matter if homeschooled children have the ability to fit in to society.  No clones, no lessening of creativity, but rather children need knowledge of fashion, communication, study skills, and other skills that are often considered outside of the realm of basic homeschool studies.  From this, you may agree that some methods of homeschooling are not classy.

So Other Schools Have Class?

Let me be clear.  The public school system is not teaching children to be classy either.  Many private schools want to teach children to be classy, but pump out brat after stuck up brat.  While some may think I am picking on homeschool families, I'm not.  Very few school systems, either home, private, or public, are adequately preparing kids to expect the best of others and of themselves.  Teaching kids to thrive in any environment has become somewhat of a lost art.  Children are told to either focus too much on academics, too much on home life, or too much on being cool.  Where is the balance?

Does Classy Curriculum Exist?

I have been searching online for Pre-K materials for homeschooling as well as browsing the various blogger's sites who homeschool their children.  Our homeschooling materials need to be well presented, interesting, and hold to some standard to be worthy of being integrated into our curriculum.  I have seen so many materials that do not serve a direct purpose or materials that suggest some of the most boring projects I have ever seen in my life.  While I don't want to teach my child to be picky, I also don't want to teach him that everything has equal value.  Classy curriculum can be found, but it is necessary to say no to the materials that are of little value.

My idea of classy homeschooling means taking the basic suggested list of subjects and bumping it up a notch.  We shouldn't try to meet the expectations of a school system that creates adequately educated individuals, instead we want to use our minds to take the adequate and create the best.  The best is different for every family and every child.

Here is a basic list of subjects, what would you add on to this list for "classy homeschooling?"  Now that I've presented what I consider to be classy homeschooling, what materials have you found that fit in this category?  Are you implementing classy homeschooling?

Health and Safety
Social Studies

Note:  If you have been in any way offended by my focusing on  some of the faults of homeschooling, please be aware that I am fully considering homeschooling my family.  With all of the shortcomings that can be found within the general homeschool community, the benefits FAR outweigh the disadvantages.  Also, my explanation of the faults come from my personal experience of being homeschooled in 1st grade and 4th through 7th grade.  With my challenges, I find that it was a beneficial time in my life that taught me many things.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Giveaway Celebrating 100 Sales!

Everyone loves to celebrate and everyone loves a giveaway!  Let's do both!  Last night, my shop registered it's 100th sale.  I'm so happy to have helped people with their design and home organization needs 100 times!  I cannot tell you how much fun I have and joy I receive by creating useful tools for others to use in making their homes and lives more organized and more what they want their homes and live to be.  So today, I have having a giveaway to celebrate this occasion!

Giveaway Lead: Designing Life on Etsy
Giveaway Co-Sponsor: Turtle Dove Lane on Etsy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

UPDATE 2/12/13 - Just so you know that either I am crazy or am not completely crazy . . . the giveaway does not end on 1/14/13 12 a.m. like the graphic above states.  It actually ends at 2/14/13 at 12 a.m. (aka midnight between 2/13 and 2/14).  Alrighty!  Now that's cleared up! ;-)
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