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My Grand Plans: Loft

In our previous space, the loft was our son's playroom. Now that he will be getting his own room, I finally get a proper office and retreat space! Hooray! That also means that I have to make new furniture work with old furniture and create a space that I will be happy to work, organize, manage, read and think in. Take a look at what I've been cooking up.

Working from Scratch {sort of}
The space is set to be my working haven. A place where I can be organized and strategic one minute, then relaxed with a book the next. Just thinking about that space makes me giddy because there are so many things I have planned. Let me share my inspiration with you.
Loft Office

There are some old pieces and some  new pieces mixed in here. The desk where the printer rests currently lives in my closet office and the rug currently lives in our living room. I will marry the two in the office and create one big office family.

Here's what I'd like to do:
  • Purchase new expedit desk
  • Use fabric to conceal office bags
  • Use matching fabric to back the book shelves
  • Create an accent wall
  • Cover office chair in a bright color
  • If there's room, create a work space behind the desk for spreading out
This office space makes me giddy! Maybe it's because the organizer in me gets to be unleashed in this space. It's my Momcave! I can't wait to get to work on this {ahem, so I can serve my family, of course}.

Does the thought of an office make you as excited as me? No? What space in your home gives you the chills? Share in the comments!
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My Grand Plans: Boy's Bedroom

My first brain dump sneak peak for the new place will be the biggest change for us. Our son is getting his own room {finally} and I couldn't be happier! It will be his own little master suite complete with a walk in closet and full bathroom to call his own. We're praying that his transition goes well. In the meantime, let me walk you through my grand plans for our boy's room.

Working with What We Have
Currently, he has his bed in our room and a playroom in the loft. Our new place will combine the two and give us much needed storage for his outgrown clothes and baby essentials {for when God brings #2 along}. Take a gander at the inspiration.
Mateo's Room

This is a rough sketch thus far, but there are a few projects I need to work on to complete the room:

  • Paint the other Trofast storage unit we have white
  • Label bins with pops of color
  • Install art display
  • Create reading nook
  • Make blackout curtains
  • Design learning zone
This room organization project is full of tiny little projects that are sure to make a big impact. For the most part we are working with what we have and trying our hand at DIYing the rest. Wish us luck {we're going to need it}!

Are you working on a kid's room? Any tips on painting IKEA birch furniture? Gift it forward in the comments!
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My Grand Plans

While I pack and move, I wanted to leave you all with some things to look forward to, so I will reveal my plans for our new rental starting next week. It's my way of brain dumping all the many projects in my head and also giving us something to look forward to in the months after my move.

To give you a little reminder, here is the before and after floorplan:
We will lose:
  • Private Courtyard
  • Kitchen Island {and cabinet storage that came with it}
  • Entry niche
We will gain:
  • A second bedroom and bathroom {dual master suites!}
  • Laundry room {instead of current laundry closet}
  • Breakfast bar space
  • Garage space {2 car vs. 1 car}
  • Loft space
As you can see, it's quite different from where we are now, so I have to rethink how I will use the new space to make it work for us. It will be a bit of an adjustment, but I'm most excited to be gaining some much needed space! Gift!
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Why I'm NOT Getting an iPhone 5

When Apple sets up to launch a new product, there is much anticipation. Anticipation from media, techy bloggers, and consumers alike. I am no different. iPhone 5 promises faster processing, brilliant display, advanced software, all in a thinner lighter body. It's the best of the best, and I'm drooling over it, but I'm not getting it and I'll tell you why.
It's Not What You Think
In my previous post, Wallet Divider printables, I share our family's new way of keeping spending under control using a cash envelope budgeting system made popular by Dave Ramsey. We are trying to become debt free. We are accomplishing this by implementing what Ramsey calls a snowball plan.

In addition to that, Michael and I agreed to make personal sacrifices. It's all part of our journey to a clutter free house and life. This is the life part. My sacrifice is to keep my iPhone 4 until we are out of debt and able to buy a new phone without using a credit card. That means no iPhone 5 for me.

Why It's a Big Deal for Me
Making this kind of sacrifice may not be a big deal for some, but for me it's pretty big. I tried to think of what I could sacrifice to show my commitment to our family's goal to be debt free, and for a while, I couldn't think of anything. Shoes and clothes were options, but the thought of not getting something new in those areas didn't hurt. 

For me, not being able to upgrade hurt. It hurt because this is my year to upgrade. I even thought about getting one with larger data capacity, now I'm not getting one at all. This is my sacrifice. Squelching the techy in me could have a dramatic affect on my life...right?

How it Affects My Life
Now that I know there is no iPhone 5 in my immediate future, I have had to rethink how I use my technology. It forces me to use my devices more wisely. Compartmentalize. It was a rigorous exercise, but a healthy one for me.

More often than not I blog about how great it is to be able to do everything from everywhere, and for certain things like keeping our family's calendars organized, it's necessary. Sacrificing an upgrade has caused me to shift my thinking and live within my means {financially and technically}.

I've deleted so many apps that I haven't used in months. Made choices to keep certain things on a particular device. Declutter my life and my devices. It's refreshing and worth the sacrifice.
I'm sure that there is something that, if taken away, would hurt you too. Take a moment to think about that. Do you have life clutter? What does it look like in your life? Would it cause you to shift your thinking? Would it make room for other more important things? Challenge yourself to sacrifice what many would consider a luxury and see what it does to you.

Share your life clutter in the comments and tell us what gifts sacrificing it will open up for you.
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My About Page Critique

Today I'm putting my blog in the hot seat over at MomComm. My entire About page is going to be picked and prodded to let me know what I am doing right and what I can do to improve. Have you read my about page? If not, read my about page first, then hop over and learn from my critique.

I'm a bit nervous, but mostly eager to learn how to better my blog, specifically the about page. Later, I'll share with you all what I took away from the critique and what changes I make. In the meantime, read my critique and learn as I take a spot under the microscope.
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Ikea Digital Catalog App

The 2013 Ikea catalog was recently released, and if you're like me, you couldn't wait to get your hands on it. Unfortunately, I live a fair distance from the nearest Ikea and didn't have a good enough excuse to drive all that way just to get a catalog. What's a girl to do? Get the app, of course! Today, I'll walk you through the fancy-schmancy-techy-fab app and save you the time of driving to Ikea while also saving you some paper clutter.

Get the App
If you follow the blog regularly, I recently did a post on Digital vs. Paper Magazine subscriptions. Although I haven't quite decided which side of the fence I'm on yet, I will tell you that having a digital catalog is awesome, and is quickly swaying me to the digital side.

The Ikea Catalog App is great for lots of reasons. It's simple, space saving, functional, and free! It also works on both the iPhone and iPad, so you can browse from anywhere.

Flipping Through
At first glance, one might say that the app is just a digital copy of the paper catalog, but it is so not. Although the look is exactly the same, the app allows you to do so much more with your browsing than the paper version could ever do.

Flipping through to your favorite categories is as easy as a swipe and a tap, taking you straight to that page.

Extra Content
I'm a sucker for bonus features and extra content, and the Ikea app does not disappoint in this area. While taking your stroll through the catalog, you may run across a fun blue button telling you there is extra content available, tap it!

Interacting with the App
As if tapping and swiping weren't enough of an incentive to browse digitally, how about a few more fun features? Tap to zoom, a lower hidden menu of products shown, view product details, and product details viewed in their in app browser...oh my!

Some argue that with digital catalogs, you don't have the ability to dog ear your favorite pages and products. This app makes the impossible even better. Now, when you see a product you want to save for future reference, simply add it to your favorites and begin hoarding collecting faves on your own personal wish list!

Gift it Forward
Because you know I'm an advocate of gifting it forward, the app has a built in gift it forward share feature too! It pleases the giver in me to see things like this.
When it comes to window shopping, what's not to love about this? I can stay at home in my comfy clothes, shop away, collect my faves and gift it forward. I'm a happy camper. What makes it even better is that after all that, I don't have to worry about what to do with the catalog after I've seen it. It tucks nicely away on my iPad with no clutter. Happy shopping everyone!

Have you discovered the Ikea Catalog app? It's free! Go now! Tell me what your favorite thing about the app is in the comments.
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Planning a Move and Vacation Simultaneously

It wasn't intentional, but it happened. Our upcoming move and vacay are happening on the same week and there's no stopping either of them. I began to dread these two significant and overlapping events, but the optimist in me prevailed once again {she usually does}. What began as an over scheduled oversight has actually been a blessing in disguise. Here's an update on my moving process and why planning a move and a vacay in the same week may not be so bad after all.

How Did This Happen?
Let me begin by emphasizing that our move and vacay were not entirely planned to be in the same week. That's just how the chips fell for us. We planned our out of state vacay months ago not realizing that a) we would be moving {it wasn't even a thought in our minds then}, and b) that our lease would end smack dab in the middle of our getaway.

Months later, after we decided we needed a bigger space, we looked at details like when our lease would be up and...{gasp}...we're not going to be here! We need to move before we go! {Queue dramatic music}

Now the next step in our journey to an apartment upgrade is to play with the hand that we've been dealt. This means that I need to be super organized. Yay!

Planning to Move
We are going from a 1 bedroom, 1.5 bath unit with a loft, private courtyard and 1 car detached garage, to a 2 bedroom {dual master suites}, 2.5 bath unit with a loft, no courtyard and attached 2 car garage.
With the help of my handy dandy moving planner, I laid out my to dos and started gathering supplies. Then with the help of some really cool techy room planners I started plugging away the lay out of the new house. I'll let you in on my plans another time, stick around for that.

So, to packing I went. I began with taking everything decorative down and putting it away. Makes the place look so blank. I decided to put all the decor together because I wanted an opportunity to re-imagine the space and get creative. This will give a fresh perspective when going to decorate the new place.

Planning to Travel
Because life is full of little twists and turns, here's another gem for you. Recently, my hubby has been shipped off to projects out of town, leaving me to pack all by my lonesome with toddler in tow. That also means that his travels have given me an opportunity to practice for our syncronized move and vacay.

Having hubs out of town has been a bit rough with just the two of us {props to all you single moms and dads out there}, but I still managed to pack 5 boxes of decor and kitchen wares. But I digress, back to travel.

We will be gone for an entire week visiting our close friends. That means a whole week's worth of clothes needs to be ready to go before it even enters the new house. Since I'm packing stuff up anyway, packing well ahead of time not only gives me less to think about after the move, but it also gives me less boxes to pack. Score!

Blessings in Disguise
Is there anything good about planning a move and vacation at the same time? I think so.

  • Planning both together forces you to be organized. In order to make both successful, there is no choice.
  • Since I'm packing for a move anyway, might as well pack for vacation too. Multi-tasking at its best.
  • Unbeknownst to me until now, this blog has been a huge blessing, as far as moving is concerned. Because much of our belongings are organized, have homes, and containers, packing will be that much simpler! Gift!
  • After a move, who doesn't need a vacation? We get to do that for real!
  • Once we return from vacation, I will be super excited to dive into making our rental a home.
For all you pessimists, skeptics and realists out there, I challenge you to see what may look to be a difficult situation and turn it into an opportunity to be creative, organized or both! It's not so bad to have a vacation planned right after a move. It's almost like a reward for all the hard work. I may have to intentionally plan our next vacation soon after our next move. We'll see.

Have you ever had a two big life changes happen simuntaneously? Did it force you to be more organzied? Share in the comments!
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