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    9 Real-Life Ways to Banish Paper Clutter

    Ah, paper. They keeping telling us that tablet computers, high-tech wristwatches, and all other things digital will soon replace the need for Post-its and flyers — and yet, every available surface in your home is littered with mail, catalogs, forms, and more. Here’s how to keep the paper monster at bay.1. Admit that the paper isn’t the problem. It’s you.”Paper comes into our homes two ways — either we print it or we carry it in,” says Maeve Richmond, founder and organizing coach at Maeve’s Method. “There’s no paper fairy that dumps clutter onto our desks at night. To begin reducing the volume, be more conscious about the paper you bring inside.” 2. To do this, adopt a paper-banishing alter ego.”Conjure your inner super villain, and be heartless about keeping paper out of your space,” says professional organizer Seana Turner. “Visualize paper as a culprit that steals your real estate, and then only keep to what you desperately need.” Ask yourself if you really need another pamphlet from your doctor’s office or another school flyer — especially when all of the information is probably available online. 3. Create opportunities to toss paper, not keep it around.”Use the time walking from your mailbox to sort out junk mail, and toss it before you even get inside,” says professional organizer Rachel Rosenthal. Place a recycling bin (or better yet, a shredder) in your mudroom or garage, or at least not very far from your front door. Then you’ll be left with stuff you actually want to read (magazines, catalogs), and items that require action (bills, invitations), instead of piles of paper that still need sorting. 4. Devote one spot (just one!) to paper clutter.Chances are you can’t eliminate all paper from your home, but you can limit its reach. “Create a dedicated drop zone, like a bowl or a tray.” says Richmond. Give yourself permission to drop papers there (and only there!), and sort them after you’ve had a chance to settle in at the end of a long day. 5. Realize that mail stops being mail when you bring it inside.”Clients often ask me, ‘Where’s the best place to keep mail?'” writes professional organizer Matt Baier. “That’s like asking ‘Where’s the best place to keep groceries?'” Just like you’d immediately store milk in the fridge and canned tomatoes in the pantry, recognize that the different kinds of mail shouldn’t all just languish on your dining table. They deserve a home that makes sense (new magazines might go on your nightstand, and bills filed in a “to do” folder), and tidiness will follow.6. Replace lots of pieces of paper with one big one.”Hang a large monthly calendar,” says professional organizer Lauren Silverman. “Every appointment, party, school event, or sports practice gets recorded on the calendar as soon as the paper comes through the door, and the invitation or flyer gets tossed. By keeping track of stuff in one visible, accessible sport, you’re less likely to misplace something important, which is a reason people tend to hang onto paper in the first place.” 7. Park pretty objects where you would ordinarily pile paper.Make it difficult for paper to clutter places it doesn’t belong. “Empty surfaces act like paper magnets, so fill them with framed photos, houseplants, or other decorative pieces when you can,” says Richmond. “Choose something that anchors the spot and makes you smile.”8. Stop paying for guilt.”Many people are over-subscribed to magazines and newspapers, resulting in a pileup,” says Turner. “We look at the pile and feel guilty that we haven’t read them, which keeps us from recycling them. Limit yourself to two or three subscriptions, and if a new issue arrives before you’ve read the old one, let it go.” 9. Fight fear with technology.”People are really afraid of losing something or not being able to retrieve it later,” says professional organizer Marcia Bennett. “The truth is that 80% of the papers we file, we never use again.” If that stat doesn’t help you part with old bank statements or greeting cards, embrace the digital revolution (instead of the filing cabinet) to hold onto things. “Take documents and other papers worth saving to Staples or a copy center and have them digitally scanned,” says Richmond. “With rare exceptions, printing out a scanned copy of paperwork is just as good as the original.”Drowning under a deluge of kids’ artwork you just can’t bare to toss? “Photograph or scan the little masterpieces and turn them into photo books,” says Silverman. “This way, an extra copy can even be shared with Grandma and Grandpa.”

    Lauren Piro
    Senior Web Editor
    Overseeing all things home for GoodHousekeeping.com and HouseBeautiful.com, Lauren swoons over midcentury design and employs tough-love approach to decluttering (just throw it away, ladies).

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    Organizing Recipes: Best Strategies for Managing Clippings, Cards and Printouts

    Sharing recipes is so easy now with the internet. If we need any kind of recipe at all, we just Google it. We also read magazines like Good Housekeeping and clip the ones that sound great to try. Unfortunately none of that fits into the little 3×5″ card files we might still be trying to manage. Using a recipe binder is a strategy that is easy, sturdy and flexible for all sizes and types of recipes. Choose a binder that is very sturdy with reinforced edges and room to grow; at least 2″ width is best for most recipe collections. Buy one with pockets on the inside covers and ideally a clear sleeve on the spine and front to creatively label your collection.Use a combination of full-page sheet protectors and 3-ring photo sleeves (3×5″ or 4×6″ or a combination) to hold the recipes inside the binder. Using sleeves like these enables quick inserting of new recipes without needing to punch holes, and it also protects the pages from splatters while you are cooking.Purchase tabbed dividers that are extra wide, so that the tabs extend beyond the edges of the sheet protectors. (Avery #11222 is an example of these.) You may need to buy two packages of dividers depending upon the number of categories you have.Choose from these recommended headings, or create your own: Appetizers & Beverages, Breads & Breakfasts, Cakes/Pies/Desserts, Candy/Cookies, Main Dishes, Salads/Side Dishes, Sauces/Spices, Soups, Take Out Menus.When you clip or print a new recipe, tuck it into the front inside cover pocket and keep it there until you try the recipe with your own family. Once it is declared a keeper, file it away in your sheet protectors in the right category. If there are so many new ones that it’s overwhelming to have them in the pocket together, try an accordion folder with the same category slots as a temporary home for the “untried and untrue” clippings.

    3-Ring Recipe Binder

    Jot & Mark
    amazon.com

    $34.99

    The back inside cover pocket can store small manuals and instructions that you reference often, such as the instructions for sharpening your knives or the timing chart for your steamer or rice cooker. Share your recipe collection thoughts in the comments!

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    Bedroom Design Mood Boards (4 Winter Looks)

    Today I’m going to share four possible mood boards for a little bedroom project I’m going to work on for the winter months, featuring some inspiration pieces I found from Walmart. It’s so nice to find items that are affordable, accessible AND so stylish! Thank you Walmart for sponsoring this post.
    As fellow homebodies, it can be so therapeutic to have projects or fun activities we are looking forward around the house in the upcoming months (rather than just dreading winter.) In my last post I introduced you to my favorite feature in my new bedroom (it’s a dream come true!) AND the new project I’m looking forward to!
    I’m excited to be making a few simple updates to our new bedroom, not only to pull the space together and make it our own, but so we can enjoy it for the winter months!
    Today I want to share with you four possible mood boards we created for the room. Perhaps they will inspire you, too! I wanted to put together some options that could be cozy for winter but also items that would feel right at home or easy to switch out in the spring, too! The items we used in these mood boards were all found at Walmart, so they are easy to find and are affordable, too.
    Thankfully Walmart makes decorating or updating a home for the seasons so simple and fun! I love to shop online and Walmart has been doing a great job at not only having stylish items that I want or need for my home or occasion, but getting things shipped in a timely way is so wonderful (and rare!) these days! But if you need something right now or at the spur of the moment, stopping in Walmart to shop is convenient, too.
    Take a look at the four mood boards below! Which board is your favorite? Or would you mix and match items in a different way? You can find me on Instagram stories, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on which items YOU like best! You’ll find the sources for each mood board linked below and in the scrolling bars.
    LOOK ONE:

    SOURCES: Scroll and click the photos and links below for details:

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    Stormy Shore Framed Artwork
    Nautical and Coastal Framed Ship Artwork
    Decorative Throw Pillow with Stripes and Tassels
    Cream and Navy Traditional Area Rug
    Chunky Knitted Ivory Throw Blanket (multiple color options)
    Linen Trim Light Blue Decorative Pillow
    Green Ceramic Lamp with Oatmeal Lampshade
    Gray Striped Duvet Cover Set
    Rustic Pharmacy Floor Lamp Wood and Metal
    Ivory Shams / Duvet Set

    LOOK TWO:

    SOURCES: Scroll and click the photos and links below for details:

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    Botanical Art
    Rustic Cream Lamp with Linen Shade
    Round Gold Metal Frame Mirror
    Ticking Stripe Shams & Quilt
    Sweater Knit Ivory Accent Pillow
    Traditional Black Area Rug
    Faux Olive Branch Plant in Ceramic Pot
    Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
    Chunky Knitted Gray Throw Blanket
    Charcoal Gray Duvet Cover Sham Set
    Velvet and Metal Gray Tabletop Frame
    White and Brass Leg Tabletop Alarm Clock

    LOOK THREE:

    SOURCES: Scroll and click the photos and links below for details:

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    Coastal Canvas Art
    Distressed White Porthole Mirror
    Navy Blue and White Textured Accent Pillow
    Tonal Navy Plaid Flannel Duvet Cover and Sham Set
    Navy Tabletop Picture Frame – Velvet and Metal
    Antique Gold Brass and Glass Square Picture Frame
    Ceramic Gray and Gold Lamp
    Aged Brass Pharmacy Floor Reading Lamp
    Faux Peperomia Plant in Basket
    Gray Herringbone Throw Blanket
    Natural Fiber Braided Area Rug

    LOOK FOUR:

    SOURCES: Scroll and click the photos and links below for details:

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    Botanical Roses Artwork
    Rattan Loop Round Wall Mirror
    Chenille 3 Piece Duvet Cover and Sham Set (multiple colors)
    Gray and White Patterned Sheet Set 100% Cotton (multiple color and pattern options)
    Blue and White Woven Throw Blanket
    Green Plaid Accent Pillow (multiple color options)
    Linen Trim White Decorative Throw Pillow
    Ceramic Aqua Lamp
    Distressed Vintage Blue Area Rug
    Faux Aloe Plant in Stone Planter
    Wood Decorative Boxes
    Bronze Floor Adjustable Pharmacy Reading Lamp

    Did you pick a favorite? What elements spoke to you?
    The reason I call these our “mood boards” is because they are more than just “design boards.” To me, designing a room isn’t just about showcasing a particular style (although that’s fun too!), it’s about how the room will feel to be in it. Mood boards help me to visualize the feeling of the room when all of the accessories will come together, which in turn helps me to focus on some practical ways I can uplift my real-life mood in every season!
    I like to try out different colors, patterns and accessories or even bring together different styles to see what combinations speak to me. The mood of a space can also be impacted by the features of the room itself as well as what’s going on in my life, so it’s fun to pull all of those elements together!
    When you need a new mood in your room (and life, ha), there are several options. You can shop your house to switch things around from room to room, add some new seasonal accessories or elements to give what you have a whole new look, or play around with different furniture or art arrangements and even paint colors.
    I’m going to do all the above for my bedroom this winter! Our style is collected, which means we gather pieces over time (whether they are handed down, vintage finds or anything new to us that speaks to us or meets our current needs).
    You can make mood boards with items representing things you already have, or just show new items that could help you create a fresh vision for your space! The items on our mood board are new possibilities for our room, which we will mix in with what we already have.
    I can’t wait to show you more of our room and the design updates after Christmas.
    We often make our room mood boards with Photoshop, but you can also make them with poster boards, bulletin boards or even online options like using Pinterest or Instagram to gather inspiration. Do whatever inspires you! Mood boards and room updates can be a fun winter activity.
    By the way, I share more simple ideas for enjoying every day life at home through each season in my new book A Lovely Life, which will come out this spring!
    I hope you enjoyed seeing these mood boards as much as we enjoyed creating them! Don’t forget to tell me which board is your favorite! Or how you would you mix and match them in your own way! That’s the fun of a mood board, you can create a look that inspires YOU!
    Find more cozy winter finds from Walmart Home here! More

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    Take a Tour of Victoria's Secret Model Sanne Vloet's Perfectly Organized Kitchen

    Victoria’s Secret model and founder of the matcha company, Nekohama, Sanne Vloet recently redecorated her kitchen. Her space is modernly designed and bright — items beautifully (and expertly) placed and stored in her cabinets and drawers. Keeping your kitchen organized isn’t an easy feat. It can be daunting, especially when you’re shopping weekly or bi-weekly and your utensils and pantry items increase and overflow. Lucky for us, Sanne welcomed Good Housekeeping into her home, giving us a tour of her brand new kitchen and how she keeps it clutter-free. During the walkthrough, you’ll be impressed by the size of Sanne’s kitchen. It’s so spacious! Most of her ceramic kitchenware (she loves buying them for cooking videos and at-home group dinners) are neatly stored in drawers featuring built-in organizers. She uses trays on the counter to place her most-used items (including having her bamboo tea tray next to the coffee machine for her matcha) and keeps her spices together in labeled glass jars so they’re easy to find. Along with showing us her pantry — where she uses baskets labeled Breakfast, Snacks and Cans — Sanne gave us a look into one of the most challenging spaces for her to keep tidy: the laundry closet. For those seeking advice, Sanne recommends using wire baskets and labeling everything — from your tape and umbrellas to your tote bags and detergent. Tip we love: Sanne keeps her pots, pans, plates and bowls in her kitchen island’s drawers. She also uses drawer liners to keep them from slipping.
    Organize Your Kitchen Like Sanne

    Bamboo Expandable Drawer Organizer

    Pipishell
    amazon.com

    $25.99

    $22.09 (15% off)

    ZRAZ Kitchen Wire Baskets

    ZRAZ
    amazon.com

    $17.99

    Natural Bamboo Vanity Tray

    Qttify
    amazon.com

    $14.99

    Talented Kitchen 24 Glass Spice Jars & Labels

    Talented Kitchen
    amazon.com

    $37.50

    Mariah Thomas
    Mariah Thomas is the Assistant Editor for Good Housekeeping, where her coverage includes decorating ideas, gift guides, and DIY projects.

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    How to Make Easy Paper Snowflakes

    We’re always looking for DIY crafts to share during this cheerful season. From showing you how to make a bow as a present or decoration to how to DIY a Christmas stocking to hide your small (and delicious) treats. This time, you can learn how to make a snowflake in two different ways. Paper snowflakes make great craft ideas for kids (and unique home decorations if you’re looking for a wintery feel). You can glue them to your windows, hang them on your walls and even turn them into a snowflake wreath for all of your guests to admire. Follow our simple steps for instructions on how to make regular and 3D paper snowflakes. You can also watch our video above for step-by-step visuals. How to Make a Classic Paper SnowflakeMaterials:

    Instructions:Get to folding: Fold your paper diagonally.

    Snip snip: Cut off the excess paper at the bottom.

    Fold your paper in half.

    Fold the paper in thirds.

    Flatten out the top of your paper by cutting off points.

    Get creative: Draw your own pattern for your snowflake.

    Mark all of the empty spaces you didn’t draw on with an x.

    Reveal your pattern: Cut out the marked sections and unfold to reveal your snowflake.

    Tip: Use a low setting to lightly iron your paper snowflakes to smooth out any creases. How to Make 3D Paper Snowflakes

    Materials:Instructions:Fold your paper diagonally.Cut off the excess paper at the bottom.Fold the paper in half.Cut three diagonal lines along the non-folded edge of your paper.Unfold your paper after trimming.Tape your center flaps together. Flip and tape all of the flaps to the middle of your snowflake. Repeat all of the previous steps for the other 5 pieces of paper.Combine all six of the papers together at the middle point and use your stapler to hold them in place.Staple each section together using your stapler.

    Mariah Thomas
    Mariah Thomas is the Assistant Editor for Good Housekeeping, where her coverage includes decorating ideas, gift guides, and DIY projects.

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    Simple Christmas Mantel Decor + Letting Your Personality Shine

    It’s important to me that our home feels cozy and inviting, as well as tells the story of the people and personalities who live here. One way I let my personality shine in our home is to bring in a bit of the unexpected to our seasonal decor in subtle ways. I’ve long been a fan of quirky animals in decor, so when I found this darling fox and bunny I couldn’t resist!
    You might recall I’ve had bunnies and even a fox or two in the decor of many of our homes, so when I saw these they just felt like they belonged here, too! I adore them for the holidays, but they will also be so charming all year round. I picture their bowls filled with something new in every season — Easter eggs, spring flowers, candles, pine cones, greenery, seashells, Christmas bells, ornaments, the options are endless! They can also be moved from the mantel to be tucked into bookshelves and serve as bookends. I love flexible decor!

    This arrangement is what we have now on our mantel as of Thanksgiving weekend. We have a bit of greenery, some candles, a strand of wood beads a few pinecones, a bell and a bit of sparkle in the bowls of the bunny and fox. It’s pretty simple, but it keeps evolving. In the coming days I may add a wreath on my mirror and some garland across the mantel (and maybe swag our beads across it) but even if what we have now is all I do, it’s enough to feel festive and cozy.

    That’s what I have always loved about letting our decor evolve slowly through the seasons. We can always add more if we feel inspired, but whatever we did can be enough at any point. Of course, we can even take some away if the holidays start to feel too cluttered or overwhelming! It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If your home is truly going to reflect your personality and be authentic to you, the feel of your home should evolve with you (and the seasons!) so you always feel at peace, cozy and comfortable in your surroundings.

    Sources (scroll and click below):

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    More Christmas Decorating Ideas on The Inspired Room:
    Last Year’s Christmas House Tour + Video
    Christmas Decorating with Mini Trees
    Simple and Beautiful Christmas Decorating Inspiration
    Christmas Decor Ideas with Garland Greenery
    Effortless Christmas Decorating Ideas
    How to Make a Winter Charm Snow Globe
    9 Creative Ideas for Extra Festive Christmas Stockings More

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    How to Make a Scrunchie in 6 Easy Steps

    Many ’90s trends have come flying back into fashion, especially scrunchies! Lucky for us, scrunchies are super simple to make at home. It’s easy to get started on your DIY journey: Use fabric scraps from old bedding, cut off the bottom of a T-shirt that’s too big or just buy new fabric you love. Homemade scrunchies also make a great gift for birthdays, holidays and any other occasion.Whether you’re a newbie who just invested in a sewing machine or a pro who wants to teach children how to sew, scrunchies make an excellent first project for sewing beginners. Follow these simple instructions for our DIY scrunchie tutorial: What you’ll need:FabricIron (optional)Fabric scissors (or rotary cutter)Elastic, 1/4″ thickSewing pinsThreadSewing machineSafety pin (optional)Instructions:Get your materials ready: Gather all of your materials. Lay your fabric flat and iron if it’s wrinkly. Using fabric scissors, cut a 4″ x 25″ strip of fabric and a 6″ to 8″ piece of elastic (depending on how tight you want the finished scrunchie). For an oversized scrunchie, cut your fabric wider than 4 inches!

    Hearst

    Secure the elastic in place: Pin the elastic to each of the shorter sides of the fabric on the wrong side (aka the back side). Make sure it’s centered, and then stitch with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

    Hearst

    Hearst

    Stitch the initial tube: Fold the fabric in half longways right sides together, and stitch with a 1/2″ seam allowance. For best results, press it flat first and pin it in place.

    Hearst

    Turn the scrunchie right side out: Turn the tube inside out, so the right side of the fabric is facing out. Tip: If you pin a safety pin to one end, you can use it to help guide the material through to the other end.

    Hearst

    Hearst

    Create a circle with the tube: Pin the two ends of the elastic together and stitch straight across with a 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving an opening. (Make sure the scrunchie isn’t twisted before sewing.)

    Hearst

    Hearst

    Finish your scrunchie: Your project should look almost finished! Seal the final opening by folding in the raw edges, so they are hidden. Stitch across the folds to create the final seam, sewing as close as possible to the edge.

    Hearst

    Hearst

    Bonus tip! To add a cute tie look to your scrunchie, cut a 4″ x 10″ piece of fabric, then fold in half lengthwise and trim off a 1″ diagonal piece on each end. Stitch around the sides with 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving a small opening in the front to turn it inside out. Turn it inside out and then stitch the final opening closed with a small seam allowance. Then, tie this piece onto your scrunchie.

    Emma Seymour, Good Housekeeping Institute
    Product Testing Analyst, Textiles, Paper and Plastics Lab
    Emma Seymour is a test analyst in the Textiles, Paper and Plastics Lab at The Good Housekeeping Institute where she evaluates fiber-based products ranging from bedding to clothing.

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    How to Crochet a Christmas Stocking for Beginners

    Great as a gift or to mount on your own mantel, this easy DIY monogrammed stocking comes together in less time than a holiday dinner. Learn the basics of how to crochet a Christmas stocking with this simple tutorial and pattern — you’ll discover it’s easy to crochet a stocking, even the tricky heel! DOWNLOAD THE PATTERNWhat You’ll Need:You can also use comparable yarns from Sugar Bush Chill, Loopy Mango Marino No. 5 and Wool and the Gang Crazy Sexy Wool. If you want to invest in more sizes of crochet hooks for just a few dollars more, try a full set of Soft Grip Crochet Hooks.How to Crochet a Stocking, Step by StepGLOSSARY: CH: Chain // ST: Stitch // SL ST: Slip Stitch // SC: Single Crochet // DC: Double CrochetRow 1: Create a magic circle. CH 2, then work 12 DC into the middle of the magic circle. SL ST to join to first stitch. (12 DC made)Row 2: CH 2, *DC in first stitch, 2 DC in next stitch* repeat from *to* a total of 6 times. SL ST to first DC to join. (18)Row 3: CH2, *DC in next 2 STs, 2 DC in next ST* repeat from *to* a total of 6 times. SL ST to first DC. (24)Row 4: CH2, *DC in next 3 STs, 2 DC in next ST* repeat from *to* a total of 6 times. SL ST to first DC. (30)Rows 5-12: CH2, DC in next 30 STs. SL ST to first DC. (30)Row 13: CH2, DC in next 20 stitches. Leave last 10 stitches unworked. (20)Rows 14-20: CH2, turn, DC in next 20 stitches. At the end of row 20, SL ST to join heel together.Row 21: Chain 2. DC 12 stitches across heel, spacing the stitches evenly. Skip stitch in corner. One SC stitch where toe begins. DC 8 across top of toe. One SC. Skip stitch in corner. DC 12 across top of heel. SL ST to join. (34 stitches)Row 22: Chain 2. DC 12 across heel. Skip over the SC stitch from the previous row. DC 8 across top of toe. Skip the SC stitch. DC 12 across top of heel. SL ST to join. (32 stitches)Rows 23-38: Chain 2. DC around top (32). SL ST to join rows.Finishing: Chain to make a loop at your desired length. Tie to top corner of stocking. Weave in ends. Add a monogram or pom pom if desired.Download and print the full crochet stocking pattern to complete the project and deck out your home this holiday season.

    Mariana Tuma
    Mariana is the Design Director of Good Housekeeping.

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