7 Things to Declutter This Fall

7 Things to Declutter This Fall

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There are times of the year that people like to declutter and organize their homes, Most I think are Spring, but for some reason, I find that I like to do it in the Fall, too.  Anyone else?  I find that it makes more sense for my household to do it this time of the year, then again in Spring.

It isn’t really a plan, but I usually end up going through things in the fall (before we all hunker down for the winter) and in the spring (to freshen up the house).

I think it’s great to go through items from the spring and summer once the weather gets colder.

The reason for this is that it was just the prime time to use outside toys and wear summer clothes. If we didn’t end up using something, it’s still fresh in my mind and I might be ready to get rid of the things that we didn’t need all spring and summer long.

1.) Pool and Beach Toys

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Like I said before, it was just the prime time to use pool and beach toys. If you didn’t use certain items all summer long, do you really need them? Probably not, it’s best to donate them.

Keep at eye out for floats that are leaking air, broken items, or toys that your kids are too old for now, we seem to accumulate a container every 6 months or so.

2.) Yard Tools

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Take a look through your yard tools and look for things that are broken or worn out.

Also, take a look at your lawnmower or other things with a motor. You might not need to declutter them, but you might need to make sure they get a tune-up before you need them in the spring.

3.) Scooters, Bikes, Roller Blades…

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Declutter anything that is broken beyond repair or anything that will be too small for your kids to use next year, a great time to do this, just in time for some holiday fun! (We all know there’s a lot of toys and gifts coming for them)

4.) Swimsuits

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If you didn’t wear it in the last six months (during prime swimsuit season), do you really need it? I do this for my little ones also, Will they fit them next summer or no? Then the swimwear they’ll wear next summer, I put away for next year’s fun in the sun!

5.) Shorts, Capris, Summer Dresses…

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Again, if you didn’t wear it in the last six months, do you need it?

Check for clothes that will be too small for your kids next year too.

If you have items that need to be replaced or bought in different sizes, now is an amazing time to snag some clothes on clearance so that you’re ready for next year.

6.) Sandals

Close up on big pile of colorful woman shoes.

Did you wear all of your sandals? Do they fit? Are they comfortable?

7.) Toys

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Before you get busy with the holidays coming up, take a bit of time to declutter the toys in your house.

Your kids are probably about to get a whole bunch of new toys for Christmas (as said previously), so it’s a good idea to clear out as much as you can before that happens and you get overwhelmed.

For sure keep an eye out for anything broken.

If your kids are old enough to be involved in the decluttering, I heard a great idea the other day. You can explain that before they get any new toys for Christmas, they need to get rid of a certain amount of toys so that other kids can enjoy them. This can be a beautiful thing for them to enjoy!

 

Do you declutter and organize more in the Fall or the Spring?

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20 DIY KONMARI Style Dollar Tree Organization

Get inspired by these KonMari Method Dollar Tree Organizing tips. Frugal and affordable ways to master the Japanese art of tidying up! (Which we all love)

20 KONMARI DOLLAR TREE ORGANIZATION TIPS

 

DIY KONMARI Styleollar Tree Organization

 

 

I have to fess up. An hour-long show of Hoarders gives me less anxiety than ten minutes of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Maybe because one show requires me to be proactive and invest my time, while the other show allows me to be lazy and appalled by what I am seeing on television. Either way, both do inspire me to clean and get organized (to a degree.) When going half in my efforts (insert a chuckle), I like to be frugal as possible. This includes getting organized all my cabinets, closets, and other places that tend to get a little crazy.

 

This pretty pantry sparks joy! It is organized all with products from the dollar store. This blogger originally had a $600 receipt but brought it down to $20 by shopping frugally.

 

 

The makeup drawers are one of the hardest areas to tackle for me. These drawer organizations were purchased from, you guessed it, The Dollar Tree. Sort by size originally and then by category.

 

Talk about winning with this Dollar Tree garage organization. I would be overjoyed if my garage looked like this, so beautiful and tidy!  | I Heart Organizing

 

This laundry room makeover is pretty impressive especially with all her Dollar Tree uses. I love how it stays with one color and every item has it’s own place. | Nikki Jayne Papery

 

 

Love this! Turn a cookie sheet into a family command center – you guessed it, only a dollar and such an easy DIY weekend project. | The Crazy Craft Lady

 

This deep freezer organization system is easy to implement, easy to maintain, and inexpensive; all you need are some Dollar Store bins and about half an hour! Anyone else tired of rummaging through it and freezing your fingers off?  This is amazing. | Practically Functional

 

Organize your mail with these upcycled baskets. Be careful for these to not become a place where you toss extra papers but only a spot where you keep what is important. I really love this idea!

A House Full of Sunshine

 

Anyone else ever have an issue with things being put on the staircase? These pick up baskets are an ideal way to make it more organized of what goes upstairs or downstairs. | Sew Many Ways

 

Go have a look at the “before” on these Bathroom Organization Bins! I love the way she matched the bins to her bathroom colors and got it tidy! | The Country Chic Cottage

 

There is hope for the linen closet with these Organizational Hacks. Can you fold a fitted sheet? If not, Go have a look at —>| A Bird and a Bean

 

Turn plastic baskets into locker baskets to organize your shelves (you can paint them any color you’d like).  Really cute idea! | Little House of Four

 

Turn a plastic laundry basket in a place to organize blankets with this tutorial. Don’t you love this?   | I Heart Organizing

 

Organize your makeup brushes with these Dollar Store supplies. This is great!   | Kimspired DIY

 

Sort your pots and pans with these dividers from the dollar store. I think we all love this one! | Orgjunkie

 

Dollar Tree bins are perfect for organizing the refrigerator and kitchen. Our family could use these bins, as a matter of fact, I think I’ll do that this weekend!  | The Domestic Geek Blog

 

Divide bathroom toys with dollar store baskets and command hooks. I love that they drain as well. This would be a huge solution in our bathroom, so many toys, we have 2 little ones that love playing with toys, this is a great idea. | Homemade Ginger

 

 

Organizing your playroom by labeling bins so they know where each toy goes, I love this idea too! | Clutter Bug

 

Keep the bathroom countertop clutter-free with this plastic cup and velcro hack. Truly perfect, pretty sure I’m doing that too this coming weekend.  | Living Well Mom

 

Are your cleaning products tossed around under the cabinet? Organize your cleaning products with plastic caddies is a great idea and easy to keep track of what you have. | Neat House Sweet Home

 

Don’t forget to utilize the bathroom cabinet for extra storage!  Hooks and baskets do the trick. This is so perfect to keep hair things in for my daughter!  | Homemade Ginger

Well, I certainly love this list!  I think we can all do these and help our homes to become better organized!

 

What was your favorite?  Do you already do some of these?  Let me know!

Living and Saving Money on a Budget

That’s a question that is asked a lot.  I understand why!  Most of us live on a day to day or week to week budget plan.  Every time you think you’ll save a bit, something comes up.  So here’s a good way to start saving and hopefully continue saving.

 

Number 7 is paying off debt.  This will not only save you in the long term but also save you from stress.  To me that’s worth every penny of paying off debt, I hate owing anyone money, or feeling like I’m in debt.  It’s too stressful knowing I owe money.  Don’t you agree?

 

What are some things you’ve done or are doing now?  Any tips you have?

7 Priorities for Better Budgeting and Better Saving

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Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com
Priority No. 1 is a starter emergency fund.

Many experts recommend you try to build up several months of bare-bones living expenses. We suggest you start with an emergency fund of at least $500 — enough to cover small emergencies and repairs — and build from there.You can’t get out of debt without a way to avoid more debt every time something unexpected happens. And you’ll sleep better knowing you have a financial cushion.

 

Priority No. 2 is getting the employer match on your 401(k).
Get the easy money first. For most people, that means tax-advantaged accounts such as a 401(k). If your employer offers a match, contribute at least enough to grab the maximum. It’s free money.Why do we make capturing an employer match a higher priority than debts? Because you won’t get another chance this big at free money, tax breaks, and compound interest. Ultimately, you have a better shot at building wealth by getting in the habit of regular long-term savings.

You don’t get a second chance at capturing the power of compound interest. Every $1,000 you don’t put away when you’re in your 20s could be $20,000 less you have at retirement.

Priority No. 3 is a toxic debt. Once you’ve snagged a match on a 401(k), if available, go after the toxic debt in your life: high-interest credit card debt, personal and payday loans, title loans, and rent-to-own payments. All carry interest rates so high that you end up repaying two or three times what you borrowed.If either of the following situations applies to you, investigate options for debt relief, which can include bankruptcy or debt management plans:

  • You can’t repay your unsecured debt — credit cards, medical bills, personal loans — within five years, even with drastic spending cuts.
  • Your unpaid unsecured debt, in total, equals half or more of your gross income.
Priority No. 4 is, again, saving for retirement.
Once you’ve knocked off any toxic debt, the next task is to get yourself on track for retirement. Aim to save 15% of your gross income; that includes your company match if there is one. If you’re young, consider funding a Roth individual retirement account after you capture the company match. Once you hit the contribution limit on the IRA, return to your 401(k) and maximize your contribution there.
Priority No. 5 is, again, your emergency fund.
Regular contributions can help you build up to three to six months’ worth of living expenses. You shouldn’t expect steady progress because emergencies happen, but at least you’ll be able to manage them.
Priority No. 6 is debt repayment.
These are payments beyond the minimum required to pay off your remaining debt.If you’ve already paid off your most toxic debt, what’s left is probably lower-rate, often tax-deductible debt (such as your mortgage). You should tackle these only after you’ve gotten your other financial ducks in a row.

Any wiggle room you have here comes from the money available for wants or from saving on your necessities, not your emergency fund and retirement savings.

 

Priority No. 7 is you.
Congratulations! You’re in a great position — a really great position — if you’ve built an emergency fund, paid off toxic debt and are socking away 15% toward a retirement nest egg. You’ve built a habit of saving that gives you immense financial flexibility. Don’t give up now.If you’ve reached this happy point, consider saving for irregular expenses that aren’t emergencies, such as a new roof or your next car. Those expenses will come no matter what, and it’s better to save for them than borrow.

Budgeting 101: Use the 50/30/20

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Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Divide your income among needs, wants, savings and debt repayment, using the 50/30/20 budget as a guide.

In its simplest form, budgeting is a third-grade math problem.

If I have a take-home pay of, say, $2,000 a month, how can I pay for housing, food, insurance, health care, debt repayment, and fun without running out of money? That’s a lot to cover with a limited amount, and this is a zero-sum game.

A budget is an answer. Here’s how to set one up.

 

NEED HELP STARTING YOUR BUDGET?

Frugal Overload breaks down your spendings and costs to show you ways to save.

Get started — it’s free

Follow 5 steps to creating a budget

  1. Figure out your after-tax income. If you get a regular paycheck, the amount you receive is probably it, but if you have automatic deductions for a 401(k), savings, and health and life insurance, add those back in to give yourself a true picture of your savings and expenditures. If you have other types of income — perhaps you make money from side gigs — subtract anything that reduces it, such as taxes and business expenses.
  2. Choose a budgeting plan. Any budget must cover all of your needs, some of your wants and — this is key — savings for emergencies and the future.
  3. Track your progress. Record your spending or use online budgeting and savings tools.
  4. Automate your savings. Automate as much as possible so the money you’ve allocated for a specific purpose gets there with minimal effort on your part. An accountability partner or online support group can help so that you’re held accountable for choices that blow the budget.
  5. Revisit your budget as needed. Your income, expenses, and priorities will change over time. Adjust your budget accordingly, but always have one.

 

Readers also ask

How do you make a budget spreadsheet?

How do you keep a budget?

How do you figure out a budget?

A budget is a plan for every dollar you have. It’s not magic, but it represents more financial freedom and a life with much less stress.

Try a simple budgeting plan

We recommend the popular 50/30/20 budget. In it, you spend roughly 50% of your after-tax dollars on necessities, no more than 30% on wants, and at least 20% on savings and debt repayment.

We like the simplicity of this plan. Over the long term, someone who follows these guidelines will have manageable debt, room to indulge occasionally, and savings to pay irregular or unexpected expenses and retire comfortably.

The 50/30/20 budget

A guide for allocating your dollars using the 50/30/20 rule

Monthly after-tax income(required)

?

 

How much you have for:

Necessities

 

Wants

 

Savings and paying off debt

See your money in one place

NerdWallet tallies up your expenses and shows you how much you’re spending on things like food, bills, travel and more. Plus, I’ll show you ways to save big.

Get started

 

Allow up to 50% of your income for needs

Your needs — about 50% of your after-tax income — should include:

  • Groceries.
  • Housing.
  • Basic utilities.
  • Transportation.
  • Insurance.
  • Minimum loan payments. Anything beyond the minimum goes into the savings and debt repayment category.
  • Childcare or other expenses you need so you can work.

If your absolute essentials overshoot the 50% mark, you may need to dip into the ‘wants’ portion of your budget for a while.

If your absolute essentials overshoot the 50% mark, you may need to dip into the “wants” portion of your budget for a while. It’s not the end of the world, but you’ll have to adjust your spending.

Even if your necessities fall under the 50% cap, revisiting these fixed expenses occasionally is smart. You may find a better cell phone plan, an opportunity to refinance your mortgage or less expensive car insurance. That leaves you more to work with elsewhere.

Leave 30% of your income for wants

Separating wants from needs can be difficult. In general, though, needs are essential for you to live and work. Typical wants include dinners out, gifts, travel, and entertainment.

It’s not always easy to decide. Is a gym membership a want or a need? How about organic groceries? Decisions vary from person to person.

If you’re eager to get out of debt as fast as you can, you may decide your wants can wait until you have some savings or your debts are under control. But your budget shouldn’t be so austere that you can never buy anything just for fun.

Every budget needs both wiggle room and some money you are entitled to spend as you wish.

Every budget needs both wiggle room — maybe you forgot about an expense or one was bigger than you anticipated — and some money you’re entitled to spend as you wish.

Your budget is a tool to help you, not a straitjacket to keep you from enjoying life, ever. If there’s no money for fun, you’ll be less likely to stick with your budget — and a good budget is one you’ll stick with.

Commit 20% of your income to savings and debt repayment

Use 20% of your after-tax income to put something away for the unexpected, save for the future and pay off debt. Make sure you think of the bigger financial picture; that may mean two-stepping between savings and debt repayment to accomplish your most pressing goals.

How to budget- Your first step to financial freedom.

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We have all been there (some of us still are). We feel good about the money in our pocket, we buy some food, we make a purchase that we want (but don’t necessarily need) and suddenly, we’re short on cash.

Does this happen to you more than you’d like? Does it stress you out? (it stresses all of us) Or even force you into debt? 

It’s probably time to make a budget.

Don’t worry, it’s easy! And you can use a calculator!

Really, a budget is just a list.

Step 1: Take a paper and draw a line down the middle.

Step 2: Make a list of all your income coming in the door every month. Every paycheck you get. Maybe a regular side hustle. Do you get alimony or child support? What about income from investments? Everything.

Step 3: Then, on the other side, start writing your expenses. Start with the big stuff: rent, car payments or transportation, utilities, groceries, any debt payments you need to make — things like that.

Step 4: What about everything you spend money on that you like, but maybe don’t need? Eating out, entertainment, that new pair of shoes. Add those as a list to your expenses. Treating yourself is great! But you want to do it within your budget.

Step 5: Don’t forget to set aside some savings for a rainy day. It’s smart to have this baked right into your budget.

Now you have the beginnings of your monthly budget! You can add up all your expenses and subtract it from your post-tax income. How did you do?

It’s most efficient to build this kind of budget on a spreadsheet somewhere — whether it’s Microsoft Excel or a Google doc. Then add new expenses as you spend.

And those new expenses will surely pop up. Try to do as much planning as you can for those once or twice a year costs — like buying presents around the holidays, or that vacation you plan every year. Or, the unexpected doctors visit.

The more you track your spending and keep an eye on it, the better you’ll get with your monthly expenses.

Keeping electronic records of your spending will help you stay organized. And there are apps out there that can help you too — some can link your credit and debit cards to your budget so you can keep track, or even set limits.

At the end of the day, it’s still a rat race out there. Money can be tight even if you’re doing everything right.

But the best way to not be scared is to be prepared. And the budget is your first step.

Here’s a budgeting spreadsheet for you.  Hope it helps!  Budget Worksheet

8 Simple Ways to Save Money

Sometimes the hardest thing about saving money is just getting started. This step-by-step guide on how to save money can help you develop a simple and realistic plan to save for goals, big or small.

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1. Record your expenses

The first step to saving money is to figure out how much you spend. Keep track of all your expenses—that means every coffee, household item, and cash tip. Once you have your data, organize the numbers by categories, such as gas, groceries, and mortgage, and total each amount. Consider using your credit card or bank statements to help you with this.

2. Make a budget

Once you have an idea of what you spend in a month, you can begin to organize your recorded expenses into a workable budget. Your budget should outline how your expenses measure up to your income—so you can plan your spending and limit overspending. In addition to your monthly expenses, be sure to factor in expenses that occur regularly but not every month, such as car maintenance.

3. Plan on saving money

Now that you’ve made a budget, create a savings category within it. Try to save 10 to 15 percent of your income. If your expenses are so high that you can’t save that much, it might be time to cut back. To do so, identify nonessentials that you can spend less on, such as entertainment and dining out, and find ways to save on your fixed monthly expenses.

Tip: Consider the money you put into savings a regular expense, similar to groceries, to reinforce good savings habits.

4. Choose something to save for

One of the best ways to save money is to set a goal. Start by thinking of what you might want to save for—perhaps you’re getting married, planning a vacation or saving for retirement. Then figure out how much money you’ll need and how long it might take you to save it.

Here are some examples of short- and long-term goals:

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Short-term (1–3 years)

– Emergency fund (3–9 months
of living expenses, just in case)

– Vacation

– Down payment for a car

Long-term (4+ years)

– Down payment on a home or a
remodeling project

– Your child’s education

– Retirement

If you’re saving for retirement or your child’s education, consider putting that money into an investment account such as an IRA or 529 plan. While investments come with risks and can lose money, they also create the opportunity for compounded returns if you plan for an event far in advance. See step No. 6 for more details.

5. Decide on your priorities

After your expenses and income, your goals are likely to have the biggest impact on how you allocate your savings. Be sure to remember long-term goals—it’s important that planning for retirement doesn’t take a back seat to shorter-term needs. Learn how to prioritize your savings goals so you have a clear idea of where to start saving. For example, if you know you’re going to need to replace your car in the near future, you could start putting money away for one now.

6. Pick the right tools

If you’re saving for short-term goals, consider using these FDIC-insured deposit accounts:

  • Savings account
  • Certificate of deposit (CD), which locks in your money for a fixed period of time at a rate that is typically higher than savings accounts

For long-term goals consider:

  • FDIC-insured individual retirement accounts (IRAs), which are tax-efficient savings accounts
  • Securities, such as stocks or mutual funds. These investment products are available through investment accounts with a broker-dealer. Remember that securities are not insured by the FDIC, are not deposits or other obligations of a bank and are not guaranteed by a bank. They are subject to investment risks, including the possible loss of your principal.

Tip: You don’t have to pick just one account. Look carefully at all of your options and consider things like balance minimums, fees, and interest rates so you can choose the mix that will help you best save for your goals.

7. Make saving automatic

Almost all banks offer automated transfers between your checking and savings accounts. You can choose when, how much and where to transfer money or even split your direct deposit so a portion of every paycheck goes directly into your savings account. Splitting your direct deposit and setting up automated transfers are simple ways to save money since you don’t have to think about it, and it generally reduces the temptation to spend the money instead.

8. Watch your savings grow

Review your budget and check your progress every month. Not only will this help you stick to your personal savings plan, but it also helps you identify and fix problems quickly. These simple ways to save may even inspire you to save more money every day and hit your goals faster.

35 Best Rustic Home Decor Ideas from the Dollar Store

Love this, adorable ideas that don’t cost a fortune. Thanks to Prudent Penny Pincher for this!

Get the rustic look for less with these dollar store rustic home decor ideas. From centerpieces and decorative accents to wall decor and candles, these ideas will add country style to every part of your home!

Candle Dollar Store Rustic Home Decor

cinnamon stick candle holder

Cinnamon Stick Candle
cinnamon sticks + twine + vanilla pillar candle

Rustic Stick Candleholder
glass candle holder + small pillar candle + sticks

Branch Candles
$1 tealight candles + large branch (free) + saw + large drill bit

Clothespin Candles
clothespins + mason jar lid + glue gun + twine + buttons + pillar candle

Acorn Candle Holder
acorns + white votive candles + mason jar

Farmhouse Candle Holder 
candle stick + $1 cake pans + white satin finish spray paint + E600 adhesive + $1 greenery garland

Other Dollar Store Rustic Home Decor Ideas

Twig Picture Frame
wood frame + twigs + glue gun + photo mat + photo + Sharpie

Wood Block Picture Frame
wood block + dark walnut stain + twine + chevron burlap ribbon + photo + glue
You can get the twine, ribbon and glue at Dollar Tree. Great project if you have some scrap wood.

Twine Lanterns
balloons + twine + white glue  + petroleum jelly + clear, fast-drying spray paint + lantern lights

Picture Frame and Message Board
glass taper candleholder + twine + paint or stain + clothespins + burlap ribbon

DIY Rustic Twig Frame 
picture frame + shears + brown acrylic paint + foam brush + hot glue gun + small twigs + faux flowers & moss

Hanging Wire Baskets
wood + d ring + wire baskets ($1.50 each at Walmart) + greenery

DIY Wall Sconces
twine + mason jar + faux mum flowers + scrap wood + wood stain (optional) + hook
You can get everything but the scrap wood and stain at Dollar Tree.

Twig Letters 
cardboard + hot glue gun + $! pack of glue sticks + twigs

Rustic DIY Mason Jar Wall Lantern 
votive candle + river rocks + mason jars + twine + wood plank + plant hanger hooks + wood stain
This is a great project if you have some scrap wood lying around. You can get everything but the wood, stain and hook at Dollar Tree. The hook you can find at Walmart for $1.50 – $2.

Kitchen Dollar Store Rustic Home Decor

Twine Pears
light bulbs + twine + twigs

Twine Cabinet Handles
All you need is jute twine, which you can get at Dollar Tree

Vintage Pantry Labels
$1 mason jars + free printables

Kitchen Utensil Holder
mason jars + wood box + twine + stencils + craft paints in various colors
You can get the jars and twine at Dollar Tree and the craft paints at Walmart for $0.50 each

Tiered Stand
table legs +  $1 3 cake pans + plywood circle  + paint
You can get the cake pans at Dollar Tree and you could use $1 glass taper candleholders instead of table legs

DIY Tiered Farmhouse Tray
$1 frames + chalky paint + wood + wood glue + satin poly + $1 candlestick + $1 finial

Salt and Pepper Shaker
mason jars + acrylic paint + stencil + twine + drill + sandpaper

Wine Rack (Source Unknown)
$1 wine glasses + old rake + $1 natural raffia

Centerpiece Dollar Store Rustic Home Decor

Rustic Succulent Pots
terra cotta pots + white and aqua acrylic paint + twine + succulents + potting soil

Rustic Mason Jar Flowers
mason jars + twine + flowers
You can get the first two items at Dollar Tree

Rustic Fall Centerpiece
sticks + coffee can + fall florals + burlap ribbon + brown paint

Rustic Sunflower Jars
empty jars  + chalk paint  + burlap ribbon + lace trim + fake sunflowers and “grass”

Home Burlap Centerpiece
burlap ribbon + mason jars + white acrylic paint ($0.50 at Walmart) + foam brush + sandpaper + raffia

Wreath Dollar Store Rustic Home Decor

Burlap Wreath
burlap ribbon + wire wreath + embellishments

DIY Farmhouse Boxwood Wreath
$1 brown willow wreath + greenery garland  + hot glue gun

Dollar Store Cotton Wreath
$1 brown willow wreath + berry picks + cotton balls  + $1 floral wire cutter + $1 burlap ribbon

Storage Dollar Store Rustic Home Decor

Burlap Dollar Tree Bins
burlap fabric + plastic baskets + spray paint + labels

Metal Storage Bins
storage bins + metal and oil rubbed bronze spray paint +  wooden chalkboard tags

Cardboard Box Basket
jute twine + cardboard + white fabric

Rope Trash Can
wire mesh trash can (Dollar Tree) + rope (or $1 twine) + hot glue gun

7 Ways to Keep Your Home Smelling Great

Looking for easy ways to keep your home smelling fresh? Take items you already have in your pantry and produce bin to naturally eliminate odor from various areas around the house. These natural ingredients are the key to a great smelling home!

Make Your Home Smell Good
  •  
  • DEODORIZE THE TRASH CAN

  • Make your own super-simple deodorizing discs with 4 parts baking soda to 1 part hot water. Combine into a thick paste, adding more water if necessary, then press into parchment-lined muffin tins or silicone molds and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. Top with a couple drops of your favorite essential oil, if desired. Leave in the bottom of your trash cans or diaper pail for up to a month.

  • USE ESSENTIAL OILS TO REFRESH THE BATHROOM 

  • Add a few drops of pure essential oil to the inside of your toilet paper roll—the scent releases as the paper’s used. Lemon, eucalyptus and peppermint are all fresh choices.

  • REFRESH THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL WITH CITRUS PEELS

  • Pour half a cup of baking soda into the disposal, followed by about a cup of vinegar. Let sit for ten minutes, then flush with boiling water. Now, toss citrus peels and a few ice cubes into the disposal and turn it on. Consider freezing citrus slices in ice cubes to keep on hand for regular quick disposal refreshers.

  • LAVENDER & CHAMOMILE OILS: AROMATIZE THE BEDROOM

  • To freshen your mattress, sprinkle with ¼ cup baking soda that’s been mixed with a few drops of lavender pure essential oil. Let sit for about half an hour. Vacuum. Keep your personal dreamland smelling fresh with a calming homemade pillow and linen spray made from distilled water, a little vodka and 10 drops each lavender and chamomile oils.

  • DIY: AIR FRESHENER

  • Freshen the rooms in your house with this do-it-yourself natural air freshener. In a small glass spray bottle, combine distilled water, a little rubbing alcohol, and 10 to 20 drops of your favorite pure essential oil or oils. Some of our favorite combos? Orange & clove, lavender & vanilla, or peppermint & rosemary.

  • FRESHEN THE CARPET

  • Use this DIY carpet freshener to get rid of any lingering carpet odors in the main rooms of your home. Empty a box of baking soda into a large bowl. Add 10 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oils, mix, then, using a funnel, return to container. Sprinkle on carpet and let sit 10 minutes before vacuuming.

SAVE ON CLEANING SUPPLIES WITH THESE DIY PRODUCTS

An American family spends an average of $504 per year on cleaning supplies. That’s a lot of money, especially toward products that are made mostly of water! In the spirit of saving, Sparkle® paper towels brings you a way to seriously scrub down your cleaning budget: homemade household products. If you cut 75 percent of your cleaning-supply spending (which many of the following ideas do), you could save up to $378 a year. That could cover 2.5 weeks of groceries, 10 months of air-conditioning, or 47 movie tickets. Pick your jaw up off the floor and get ready to DIY!

  • ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER

  • This cleaner is the solution to so many messes — in the kitchen, bathroom and the dinner table where your little one (perpetually) spills some milk. Vinegar is a homemade cleaning heavyweight and the star of this potion, with disinfecting properties thanks to its acidity. A batch of this miracle worker cost its inventor 52 cents, or a sixth of what leading cleaners sell for.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • 1 part water
    • 1 part vinegar
    • 10-15 drops essential oils of choice
    • Spray bottle
  • Pour all three ingredients into the spray bottle, shake, and bam – you are done creating your all-purpose cleaner! Make sure to shake before each use to ensure ingredients are well mixed.

  • GLASS CLEANER

  • Save lots with this easy-to-make glass cleaner. It’s as simple as vinegar + rubbing alcohol + water — three ingredients already in your house! The gamechanging ingredient in this concoction is rubbing alcohol, which works to dissolve dirt and oil and dries quickly for a streak-free finish.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • ½ cup rubbing alcohol
    • ½ cup white/distilled vinegar
    • Water (Clean tap water is fine for short-term use. Use distilled or boiled and cooled water for long-term use.)
    • Essential oils of choice (optional)
    • 16 oz. glass spray bottle
  • Add the alcohol and vinegar to the spray bottle first. Then added water into the bottle until it is full. If you do not care for the vinegar scent (which goes away when the surface dries), add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. When using, spray the cleaner on windows and mirrors, then wipe with a microfiber cloth. Store spray bottle at room temperature when not in use.

  • FABRIC SOFTENER

  • It’s worth repeating, vinegar is the cleaning superhero that conquers all. This recipe for fabric softener uses it as a softening agent and static cling fighter, while a measure of conditioner incorporates your favorite scent. And at as low as $2 per batch, the price can’t be beat.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • 12 oz. container of hair conditioner
    • 1 ½ cups distilled white vinegar
    • 3 cups warm water
    • Whisk
    • Mixing bowl
    • Storage container
  • Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and whisk together. Pour ingredients into a storage container (e.g. glass jar with a lid), and that is it! You are ready to use your homemade fabric softener.

  • FABRIC REFRESHER

  • This DIY makes use of the simple ingredients to fight unwelcome odors. Baking soda acts as a deodorizer, while essential oils add your favorite scent. Essential oils are another concentrated ingredient; a little will go a long way. Mix the ingredients and place in a small jar to make this easy room freshener. Perfect for bathrooms, your pet’s favorite chair and teenager’s bedrooms everywhere.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • 1 TBSP of baking soda
    • 2 cups warm water
    • Essential oils of choice
    • Spray bottle
  • Start by adding the baking soda to the spray bottle, followed by adding in the 2 cups of water. Put the lid on the spray bottle and shake well. Once the baking soda has dissolved, take off the lid. Add 10 drops of essential oil. Shake all ingredients together, and you are ready to deodorize your house. Spray your chemical-free refresher on fabrics or in the air to leave your house smelling…refreshed!

  • WOOD POLISH

  • This two-ingredient furniture polish employs olive oil for shine and lemon juice to help remove any buildup or stains. Leaving your furniture shiny and lemony-fresh will only cost you $1.55 per bottle, a fraction of leading commercial wood polishes.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • 2 parts olive oil
    • 1 part lemon juice
    • Spray bottle or empty jar
  • In an empty spray bottle or jar, mix 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice. Shake well! Now you have yourself some natural, chemical-free wood polish. Spray or pour sparingly onto wood and in circular motions, rub the polish into the wood until it is well buffed with a soft cloth.

  • OVEN CLEANER

  • Cleaning out the oven is not for the faint of heart. Between the crouching, scrubbing and nauseating fumes, we tend to avoid it for as long as possible. This oven cleaner is nontoxic and fume-free, and budget-friendly. Just mix baking soda and salt for ultimate grease-cutting, scouring power. Let it sit and work its magic!

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • ¼ cup castile soap or concentrated dish detergent
    • 1 cup baking soda
    • ½ cup coarse sea salt or kosher salt
    • Warm water
    • Distilled white vinegar
    • Sponge or scrubbing brush
    • Spray bottle
    • Mixing bowl
  • First, mix the soap, baking soda, and salt, adding a little water, if needed to make a paste. Then apply your paste the interior of the oven and let sit for several hours, preferably overnight. When ready, dip a sponge or scrubbing brush into the warm water and wash the interior clean. Spray interior with some distilled white vinegar to rinse away any excess paste residue.

  • BLEACH PEN

  • Bleach pens are the laundry room sidekick we can’t live without. But they’re a little pricey! This homemade bleach pen will cost you a minuscule 25 cents. That’s not a typo. Cornstarch, water, bleach and a little bit of stovetop magic make for a household product that’s cheaper than anything we can remember buying … ever.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • 1 cup cold water
    • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 5 tablespoons regular bleach
    • Medium sized sauce pan
    • Container of choice (e.g condiment bottles)
    • Container of choice (e.g condiment bottles)
    • Whisk
  • Mix cold water and cornstarch and whisk together in a medium sized saucepan. It’s important that the water is cold so that the cornstarch doesn’t cause any lumps in the gel. Over medium high heat, stir the mixture continuously until it is very thick and pasty. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Add the bleach to the gel and blend well. Carefully pour the gel mixture into container of choice like an empty glue bottle or condiment bottle. Bada bing! You have your own gel bleach pen. Use the same way you would a regular bleach pen on dirty areas like grout. Also, when working with bleach it might be a good idea to use gloves!