Out with the old, in with the new…habits

pregnancy announcement

2015 is fast approaching – it is a mere 11 hours away actually! Yikes! Where did the year go? Without question, 2014 was good to us, and I am confident 2015 will be even sweeter as we will be welcoming baby #3 in June!! Happiness. Pure happiness.

While I am beyond elated about our growing family, I would be lying if I said I am not anxious about maintaining some semblance of routine and order when baby arrives in a few short months. For that reason, I have adopted a few new habits that are really helping me on the home keeping front.

-First-

I run the dishwasher every night regardless of how full it is. If I only have half a load, I just choose the half load cycle. While the kids are eating breakfast in the morning, I unload it and then load the breakfast dishes. Ending the day with an empty sink, and starting the day with an empty dishwasher is a really good thing.

-Second-

I start a load of laundry before bed. While my coffee is brewing the next morning, I toss that load into the dryer. I try to do a load during nap time too, but I don’t panic if that doesn’t happen because just doing one load of laundry a day REALLY helps me stay on top of the ever growing piles of dirty clothes.

-Last but not least –

The kids bedroom serve a singular purpose – sleep. We removed all toys from the bedroom level of our home. The kids have a shared bookshelf in the hallway, but their rooms are toy free. This really helps me keep that floor of our home tidy and manageable.

Those three things have really made home keeping more enjoyable and manageable and, frankly, are good for my Type A soul. What are your favorite housekeeping habits? I’d love to hear from you!

Small Changes Add Up

When we moved into our home, there were a TON of updates I wanted to do. A few projects in, I realized my to-do list needed to become more of a wish-list. Let’s face it, renovations are costly and time consuming. But, that has not stopped me from making small updates that make a big difference [without inflicting much damage on the budget or monopolizing entire weekends].

For example…

1. Painting our millwork instantly made our entry feel lighter and brighter.

staircase

2. Painting our mantel instantly modernized an otherwise dated fireplace.

fireplace

3. Painting our cabinets black completely changed the look and feel of our kitchen.

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Those are just examples of what paint can do, and proof that you don’t have to make drastic changes or spend a ton of money in order to update your space. Small changes can really add up :).

Cozy, Comfortable

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1. Lighting – the general rule of thumb is to  light 3 of the 4 corners. Ideally, you should use three different kinds of lighting (i.e. a table lamp, floor lamp and a light focused on an object or piece of art work).

2. Live plants – Simple, structural greenery in an attractive pot is timeless. I recently read THIS interesting article about the benefits of houseplants.

3. Candles (out of reach of little hands and paws) give off soft light and great smell. What’s not to love?

4. A variety of textures makes a room feel collected, comfortable, and unfussy

5. A neutral, warm beige on the walls is timeless. You can inject the space with pops of color via fabrics, artwork, and accessories

6. Strategically placed tables ensure that there is a place (within reach of every seat) to set a mug or glass

7. Keep a basket for clutter creep nearby- Things that don’t belong will, inevitably, find their way in, but you can just toss those things in a basket until you have time to deal with them.

8. Keep toss pillows and throw blankets handy. A storage ottoman is a perfect hiding spot for these.

9. You will never tire of Artwork and framed photographs that you truly love

In the Kitchen of a Type A Housewife

While I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a designer, I decided I am going to post before and after pictures of our new house as the rooms evolve and projects get completed.

Our first project was the kitchen. The changes were few, but the impact was huge!

What we did:
1) painted the cupboards black
2) added cabinet hardware
3) changed the wall color
4) painted the trim
5) changed the light fixture over table
6) window coverings (not pictured)
7) new appliances

Before

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After

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I don’t decorate my kitchen per se, but I do like it to look like some thought was put into it. For that reason, I make it a rule that anything “decorating” our kitchen has to be functional. Since pictures are more fun and where inspiration is usually drawn from anyway, I snapped a few pics of my kitchen and how I add “personality” to it.

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A stoneware crock holds utensils, and my copper tea kettle adds some visual interest.

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A basket holding cookbooks adds texture (and easy organization), and my dutch oven adds a pop of color.

Pretty simple, but I find these little elements charming as well as functional, and it doesn’t add unnecessary clutter.