Going “KonMari” on my Daughter’s Bureau

Our daughter’s bureau was a train wreck and I just couldn’t take it anymore. She’s been very much into picking out her own clothes lately and tends to dig around in her drawers until she finds what she wants, without putting anything back the way it was. Today I finally decided to tackle the disaster and emptied her bureau, folded everything in the “KonMari” style, and put it back with order.

 BEFORE

BEFORE

What’s the KonMari style? Well, technically the first step is to only keep what you truly love or use, and purge the rest (I pulled out a few items that she was starting to outgrow, but most of her clothes stayed). Then you fold everything uniformly so it can stand up in the drawers and be “filed,” allowing you to see everything at once. This is a great way to fold your clothes as you can see everything all at once and keeps you from falling into the rut of constantly wearing just what’s on top.

 AFTER

AFTER

As you can see I came up with a basic system for the drawer too - I grouped all her t-shirts together, then long-sleeve shirts, then sweatshirts and tank tops. (This folding technique also seems to be a lot more efficient as there’s even some empty space now!) I also tackled her other drawers too and tidied up her jeans, pants, and PJs. Overall I think it looks great and should help make getting ready for school in the morning a breeze.

How I organized it:

Going "KonMari" on my Daughter's Bureau:  AFTER

I already had my own drawers folded in the KonMari style and love it - it’s so nice being able to see all your options at once when you’re getting dressed in the morning. As for our daughter, I explained the new setup to her and she understands it (she was honestly really excited about her neat drawers when I first showed them to her) - but the reality is she’s five years old and there’s no way it’s going to stay this organized on it’s own. I also don’t think it’s worth nagging her over it to keep it this way, it’s really not a fair expectation for a five year old. So, we’ll see how long this lasts… I’ll do my best to tidy it up when I can and try to keep some semblance of order but it won’t always be picture-perfect and that’s okay. That’s life ;)

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How "Clean Kitchen at Night" Changed my Life

Okay, okay - so "changed my life" is a bit dramatic, but let me explain...

As a Mom, you spend your entire day cleaning up after others... toys, food, diapers, everything - and at the end of the day the last thing you want to do is clean up more. Before kids I used to be good about keeping an empty sink and clean counters, but these days once the kids were in bed I just wanted to be done and the kitchen was left in disarray almost every night. However after seeing An Organized Life's Instagram hashtag #cleankitchenatnight, I was inspired and had to try it!
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How Clean Kitchen at Night Changed my Life

The whole point of "clean kitchen at night" is that it's a great motivator.  Having a clean kitchen and clean slate to wake up to in the morning helps set a less-stressful and more motivated tone for the rest of your day, in all aspects of your life. It's so refreshing to see clean counters and an empty sink.  Making meals throughout the day is so much easier too when all of the dishes, pans, and silverware are ready to go!  I don't know how many times before I would go to make a meal, only to realize a specific pan, measuring cup, or casserole dish I needed was still dirty from the day before. Now meal prep is so much easier and quicker, simply because everything is already clean.

How Clean Kitchen at Night Changed my Life
How Clean Kitchen at Night Changed my Life

Now, we don’t have an “Instagram-worthy” kitchen… it still has the honey-colored maple cabinets and green (yes, green) builder-grade laminate counters. But trust me in that you don’t need a picture-perfect kitchen to feel the sense of accomplishment and motivation in leaving everything in a clean and organized state each and every night.

As cheesy as it sounds, having a clean kitchen really does reduce stress and brings some peace to normally chaotic mornings. And I’ve found this motivation snowballs into all other areas of my life too - I feel so much more productive in work and efficient in accomplishing my to-do list every day. There's a saying that goes something like "cluttered house, cluttered mind" - and it's true... if you surround yourself with messes and clutter you feel it. If you have a sense of control over your house, even if it's just the kitchen, it makes you feel like you have life together (even if you don't, haha).

Don’t believe me that “Clean Kitchen at Night” really makes a difference?

I challenge you to give it a try! For the next week, I challenge you to make a point to clear out the sink, clean the clutter off the countertops, and wipe down your whole kitchen every night. It can be hard work at first, but once you get in the rhythm it goes quick - especially when you’re only picking up that day’s mess and not messes from previous days too. Try it for a week and let me know if you feel less stressed and more motivated across all aspects of your life - I hope you do!

#cleankitchenatnight

How Clean Kitchen at Night Changed my Life

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Our Anniversary Weekend in Acadia National Park

Getting away these days isn’t easy… especially with two small kids and being a self-employed family.  And even more so when the car decides to bite the dust the day before you’re planning to leave (ugh).  But thanks to our wonderful family and a borrowed car, we were still able to make our whirlwind getaway to Acadia National Park to celebrate our seventh(!) wedding anniversary. 
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Watching the boats from downtown Bar Harbor.

Acadia has become one of our favorite places to visit for so many reasons - including the ocean, the views, the hiking trails, and the dark skies. Acadia is one of the best places to find dark sky these days, as the night sky everywhere is becoming more and more “light polluted” by city and town lights. On a clear night in Acadia you’ll see far more stars than you ever could back home. My husband Adrian is an accomplished astrophotographer, and loves capturing the landscape at night, along with the milky way and galaxies. This year our anniversary also coincided with the Acadia Night Sky Festival so it was a perfect excuse to make the trip up there. My favorite part of the whole trip was sitting on Sand Beach Saturday Night, listening to the waves and watching the stars.

 Adrian captured this amazing photo for us to celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary!

Adrian captured this amazing photo for us to celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary!

The rest of the trip was spent doing some small hikes, taking photos for other projects, and driving around exploring. This time we had a chance to visit the other side of Mt. Desert Island too, and got to see Somes Sound and Bass Harbor Lighthouse. We also spent the night at Blackwoods Campground which is conveniently located in the midst of of the park - we got very lucky getting the second to last campsite available in the entire campground!
On the way home we made sure to stop into Dysart’s Truck Stop for a late breakfast - no trip up the coast of Maine would be complete without a Dysart’s stop! All-in-all we only spent about 36 hours away but we were able to fit in a lot - scroll down to see more photos from the trip.

Happy Anniversary!  At Otter Cove, Acadia National Park
 Blackwoods Campground, Acadia National Park

Blackwoods Campground, Acadia National Park

 Sand Beach, Acadia National Park

Sand Beach, Acadia National Park

 Near Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park

Near Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park

 Otter Cove, Acadia National Park

Otter Cove, Acadia National Park

 The other side of Otter Cove, Acadia National Park

The other side of Otter Cove, Acadia National Park

 Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

 The view from the top of Cadillac Mountain - look how big that cruise ship is compared to downtown Bar Harbor!

The view from the top of Cadillac Mountain - look how big that cruise ship is compared to downtown Bar Harbor!

 Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

 Along Somes Sound, Acadia

Along Somes Sound, Acadia

 The worn stairs at Bass Harbor Lighthouse were so cool!

The worn stairs at Bass Harbor Lighthouse were so cool!

Bass Harbor Lighthouse, MDI
 Bass Harbor Lighthouse, MDI

Bass Harbor Lighthouse, MDI

Bass Harbor Lighthouse, MDI

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Favorite Find: "Find Momo" Books

We’ve been huge fans of Momo for years (in fact he’s my celebrity crush! haha). If you’re on Instagram you likely know exactly who Momo is - he’s a sweet border collie who’s always playfully hiding while out on adventures with owner Andrew Knapp. | This post contains affiliate links |

“Find Momo” became an incredibly successful series on Andrew's Instagram that turned into three, and soon to be four, books. These books are great for grown ups and kids alike; our girls LOVE Momo, especially our 4 year old. She really enjoys looking through the pictures, trying to find Momo. It’s just like Where’s Waldo, but a whole lot cuter! When she was just learning to talk, she got a great sense of accomplishment finding him, pointing him out, and declaring "MOMO!"
We’re really looking forward to the fourth book, "Find Momo Across Europe" coming out later this winter and can't wait to see all the cool places Momo and Andrew have adventured to.

Favorite Finds:  "Find Momo" Books are perfect for all ages!

Shop “Find Momo” Books:

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Money Saving Tips for Back-to-School

Sending the kids back to school usually means shelling out a lot of money on school supplies, clothes, and more.  Here are some of my tips on how NOT to go broke this fall.  | This post contains affiliate links | 

Money Saving Tips for Back-to-School

Invest in a Good, Basic Backpack and Lunchbox

Question:  How many parents buy their kids new backpacks and lunchboxes every single year? 
Answer:  Wayyyy too many! 

There's really no reason to shell out money that often on items that can can stand the test of time if you pick them right. I highly suggest NOT picking a character or crazy pattern backpack or lunchbox. Kids' tastes change from year to year (and sometimes week to week), and if you pick themed or cheaply made items they will not last. Our general guideline is upgrading backpacks once every "big transition" in school - so one backpack to last kindergarten through elementary school, a new one to last through middle school, and then finally a new one for high school. We love solid-color backpacks from high-quality companies like LL Bean - you just know they're going to last and never go out of style. (Pro-tip: check out the Outlets to get great, name-brand backpacks for less!)

Consignment Shop for Back-to-School Clothes

If you've been following the blog for any amount of time now, you know I'm a big fan of consignment selling and shopping.  It's a great way to get rid of any clothes or shoes your kids might have outgrown or refuse to wear and make some money back to use on gently used, name-brand "new" items.  That way you're essentially "trading up" for new clothes, and spend a lot less out of pocket. 
{You can read more on my Consignment Selling and Shopping Tips HERE}

Quality backpack and clothes from a consignment shop stretch your back to school budget farther!

Buy Snacks in Bulk and/or Store Brand

If you pack your child's snacks and lunches the cost can definitely can add up over time.  One way to save is to buy in bulk whenever possible.  If you can buy prepackaged snacks in larger quantities the price-per-item is a lot lower.  Buying store brand items over name brand is another great way to save.  

Reusable Water Bottle

Juice boxes are expensive (and arguably unhealthy), so having your child take a reusable water bottle to school saves a lot of money and also helps keep their sugar intake in-check.

Reuse Last Year's School Supplies

Money Saving Tips for Back to School

A lot of times the school supply list will include things like a set of binders, markers, glue, a pencil case, etc.  Many times there's no reason to repurchase these things - they can often be reused from year-to-year.  Empty out the old papers from last years binders and reuse those.  And the makers, crayons, glue sticks, etc?  They likely have plenty of life left - no need to buy more just yet!  

Coupon and Rebate Apps

And of course, a great way to save if you need to buy items is to use coupons or rebates whenever you can. We really love Coupons.com for printing coupons and the rebate app Ibotta for earning money back on purchases. At the beginning of the school year, coupons and rebates on back-to-school items are usually plentiful, but make sure to only buy what you really need!

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New England Maker: Simply Equine Design

As you know by now, I love sharing about companies and products we love on the blog and our Instagram - and most especially those made right here in New England.  Next in our series of interviews from New England Makers, we have Jennifer Fisher from Simply Equine Design!   

New England Maker:  Simply Equine Design

Jennifer Fisher is the woman behind Simply Equine Design - she is best known for her incredibly realistic, hand-painted horse stall portraits and signs.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your business.  

Jennifer Fisher:  I am a graduate of Colby-Sawyer College and have been a full time graphic designer for the last 13 years.  I've been running Simply Equine Design (SED) on the side officially since 2012.  Through SED I've branched off into photography — I often would travel to people and photograph their horses for painted portraits.  From there, I frequently received photo requests so 2 years ago I decided to split the two and keep SED strictly for art.  So currently, I quietly run the two simultaneously alongside working full time and being a mom — it's crazy haha.  Holidays get hard, as my turnaround time often takes 4 weeks from start to finish, but I'm very strict about deadlines, and once the order deadline for holidays is up, that's it.  I generally will close the shop after the cut off to reduce the number of requests I continue to receive.  But it's fun.

Jennifer Fisher of Simply Equine Design

How did you start Simply Equine Design?  Had you been making stall signs for awhile or was this a new leap for you?  

JF:  I made my first sign in 1999, for the horse I was leasing.  I wanted him to have a fancy sign, but I couldn't afford one, so I hand carved and painted one myself.  It wasn't long after that I was asked by other boarders to make signs for their horses.  I ended up painting signs for the entire barn that summer.  Ten years later, when I bought my first horse, I revisited my signs and due to the amount of interest, I decided to open up my Etsy shop. 

What does a typical day look like for you?  

JF:  Currently, SED is a weekend job so weekends can be a little chaotic.  There is no typical day for me, I grab a time to work wherever I can find it — thank goodness for nap times!  

New England Maker:  Simply Equine Design

What is your favorite part about owning your own company?  And least favorite part?  

JF:  As what I do is completely custom, I love connecting with clients and learning their stories.  Each portrait is very personal to the owner.  Whether it be a simple stall sign or a memorial portrait.  Knowing their stories is part of my process and makes each portrait a little more personal. 
My least favorite part?  Finances. 

New England Maker:  Simply Equine Design

What has been the most exciting moment for Simply Equine Design since you started? 

JF:  The majority of my business comes from word of mouth, even now as I don't do any sort of advertising.  So I would say one of the most exciting moments was to receive my first international order. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

What advice do you have for people just starting out with a handmade business?  

JF:  Work hard, and keep pushing on.  Small business are HARD and a lot of work.  

New England Maker:  Simply Equine Design

What is your long-term goal?  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  

JF:  I see myself expanding my product base to include a handful of non-custom products.  I'd love to be able to attend some larger events such as the Equine Affair in Springfield, MA.  

Who are some of your favorite New England Makers?  

New England Maker:  Simply Equine Design

Keep up with Simply Equine Design

Simply Equine Design

All photos courtesy of Simply Equine Design


DO YOU OWN A NEW ENGLAND-BASED BUSINESS AND WOULD LIKE TO BE FEATURED IN AN UPCOMING INTERVIEW?  OR WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN HAVING ME STYLE, REVIEW, AND FEATURE ONE OF YOUR PRODUCTS?  
Please drop me a note.  


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New Etsy Listing: “Gather” Sign

New sign design in our Etsy shop!  And I think this makes for the third new listing/design in the last week!  (I have a been a busy bee, haha.)  This farmhouse-inspired "gather" sign would make the perfect finishing touch to any gathering spot in your home!  Shop this design and our others at our Etsy shop:  

Farmhouse-inspired "gather" sign by Birch Landing Home

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New Etsy Listing: Rustic CAMP Sign

New sign design in our Etsy shop!  These distressed CAMP signs are just what you need to bring some rustic charm to your cabin/lakeside retreat or your everyday home.  This sign has a hand-painted, antique feel to it and is just what you've been looking for.  Shop this sign and more in our Etsy shop:  

Rustic CAMP sign by Birch Landing Home

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