Category Archives: Product Reviews

Getting Back On Track with JORD Woodwatch!

After a lazy summer, use these tips, tricks, and ideas for getting yourself and your schedule back on track this school year!

Well here we are! After months of traveling, moving, packing, unpacking, and enjoying an entire summer of late nights, slow mornings and non-scheduled days, it’s finally time for our little family to pull itself together and get back into a daily routine. My little Henry starts Kindergarten today (how is that even possible?!?) and although I don’t feel ready for this big day on so many levels, we are all very much in a place where some routine, time management, and systems would do us some good. When the lovely folks over at JORD reached out to me about a possible collaboration, I wasn’t sure the partnership was a great fit. But then I realized this was an awesome opportunity for me to share a beautiful product with all of you while hopefully jump starting my new year in our new home with a return to some tried-and-true habits! Today, I want to introduce you to this beautiful line of women’s watches and share with you all some of the ways I am easing myself out of the slow and easy days of summer and back into more productive and structured routine!

After a lazy summer, use these tips, tricks, and ideas for getting yourself and your schedule back on track this school year!

Sometime during the last few years, I got out of the habit of wearing a watch and instead have been relying on my phone to keep me tuned into the time and my schedule. In recent months however, a simple check of the time has turned into a huge time drain. Please tell me I’m not alone on this one! It often goes something like this: I turn on my phone to simply check the time. Then I see a Facebook notification I want to check out or a news update that peaks my interest. Then once my phone is fully unlocked and I’m in, I’m suddenly doing a quick scroll through Instagram and checking my email…and before I know it, I’ve lost 15+ minutes on my phone. All because I just wanted to check the time…and this, of course, happens several times a day, resulting in hours (hours!!!) of wasted time.

Over the last few months, I have been feeling especially tapped out by my phone because of this exact scenario. I wish I could say I was disciplined enough to my keep phone time at bay, but grabbing my phone and checking this, that or the other has become too quick, easy and habitual. In the weeks since this beautiful Koa wood and rose gold watch arrived on my doorstep however, I’ve been more than happy to rely on it to tell me the time rather than my phone. Thanks to its simple yet chic design, amazing details, and comfort, it is one of the first accessories I put on in the morning. In turn, I’m finding less reason to reach for my phone and yielding more minutes I can put toward projects, posts, and quality time with my family.

After a lazy summer, use these tips, tricks, and ideas for getting yourself and your schedule back on track this school year!

Getting myself off my phone is just one way I am slowly getting myself back into a productive groove. Can I tell you a secret? Until a few days ago, I hadn’t cracked open my planner the entire summer. Not only was our summer so busy and crazy and fluid that holding myself to a planned schedule was practically impossible, but I also desperately needed a break from to-do lists, meal planning and all of the systems I rely on to stay sane. The break has been good for me; but in recent weeks, the effects of our lack of structure have been showing in Henry’s behavior, my disposition, and the overall function of our household. So this past weekend, I pulled out my planner and pretty pens and returned to the systems that work well for our family. It’s time, and we need it.

After a lazy summer, use these tips, tricks, and ideas for getting yourself and your schedule back on track this school year!

I printed out an entire stack of my Weekly Organizing printable to get back on track with meal planning and our weekly commitments, and used the same form to hash out our new morning and night routines for the school year. We’ve been turning off the Olympics earlier and earlier each night in an effort to get Henry back to a normal bedtime (and instead watching the coverage over breakfast!). I have been filling in my planner with due dates and commitments, goals and plans, and lots of pretty stickers; and I am getting myself back into the habit of time-blocking my day. I focus better and accomplish more when I take a few minutes each morning to determine what, when and how things are going to get done, and this printable still comes in handy for times when my productivity needs a big ol’ boost. By taking just a bit of time this past weekend to re-familiarize myself with these systems, I am (mostly!) ready to start making the most of these long child-free days that are now upon me!

After a lazy summer, use these tips, tricks, and ideas for getting yourself and your schedule back on track this school year!

This summer has been a long and hard one for our family; so to ease the stress of everything going on, we pulled back on the schedules and the forms and the calendars and the plans. And even though it feels like the last of the moving boxes were just hauled away and we’re not quite ready for structure…the calendar tells a different story. School is starting, and it’s time like these I have tried-and-true methods for reigning in the chaos and restoring order to our household!

After a lazy summer, use these tips, tricks, and ideas for getting yourself and your schedule back on track this school year!

Thank you so much to JORD for gifting me this beautiful watch and providing me with the motivation I needed to pull out of my summer haze and get ready to take on the school and work year head on! And to all my wonderful readers, JORD is offering one lucky reader a $75 e-voucher that can be applied to any watch on their website. Simply enter at the link below. Contest ends at midnight on August 23rd.

ENTER HERE TO WIN $75 TOWARD YOUR OWN JORD WATCH!

Last but not least, I’d love to hear what you all have been doing to ease yourself back toward the more structured days of fall as summer comes to a close. Are you struggling to restore order like I am or running willingly toward full planners and set schedules? If you have any tried-and-true tips for this time of year, please share in the comments!

Megan Signature

I did not receive compensation for this blog post; however JORD did provide the Cora watch for me to have and review. Please remember that I only work with brands and products I fully support and that make sense for my home, my family, and this blog. All opinions are 100% my own!

Cricut Explore for Home Decor | Part 1: The Essentials

As most of you long-time readers know, one of my favorite and most-used tools in my craft room is my Cricut Explore. Along with my sewing machine, my Cricut Explore is my go-to machine for making unique, inexpensive, and personalized decor for our home(s). There is a bounty of Cricut Explore information, tutorials, and videos available on the web; but I’ve had quite a few readers reach out to me with questions and tutorial requests that I thought I’d launch a new series: Using the Cricut Explore for Home Decor! I’ve got a lot of great topics to cover (what’s coming up is outlined below), but today, we’re starting at the very beginning. I’m breaking down the essentials you “need” in order to make decor items for your home! Let’s get to it!

Are you ready to use your Cricut Explore to make home decor? This post breaks down the essentials you need to get started!

If there is one thing that comes along with crafting, it’s STUFF! Man…there are just so many neat machines, accessories, tools, and doodads that can help you cut, bond, sew, paint, color and more. I have my share of craft stuff (too much of it, some might say!), but if I could only keep a few things, my Cricut Explore would be at the top of my list! The Cricut Explore is no different when it comes to accessories either – there are tons of nifty tools that can help you do all sorts of amazing and fun things with your machine. But not only are all these accessories costly, I’ve found some are unnecessary or even cumbersome to use. In full disclosure, I have NOT used every accessory that Cricut makes for the Explore…however, I did want to share THE items I use over and over and over again to make a majority of what you see here on the blog. If you’re looking to get a Cricut (or start using the one you have!), these are the products I recommend most!

By the way, this post and this series are in no way sponsored by Cricut. This is just me, sharing the products I truly, truly love, use and believe in!

Are you ready to use your Cricut Explore to make home decor? This post breaks down the essentials you need to get started!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission from any purchases you make from my links at no additional cost to you. You can read more about my policies here.

What You Need to Use Your Cricut Explore for Home Decor!

  1. Cricut Explore MachineObviously, you need a Cricut Explore machine if you don’t already have one. You can read more about my impressions of this machine and why I am on Team Cricut HERE.
  2. 12×24″ Cutting MatsCricut makes mats in a variety of sizes and stickiness, but honestly, I never use my smaller mats. From cutting long lengths of vinyl to small little bits of cardstock, I always pull out my longer mats. Why? Not only can I (obviously) cut bigger pieces of paper/vinyl at one time, but I can (carefully) setup or weed out cuts on the opposite side of the one that is actively being cut. If you want to get into making larger crafts for your walls and other home decor projects, the bigger mats are worth the investment! Also, I’ve never experimented with the different sticks of mat; I find the standard sticky mat is perfect for most of my projects…and if I need to make it more sticky, I use this trick!
  3. Deep-Cut Blade & Housing. The deep-cut blade and housing unit makes cutting thicker materials (like fabric, poster board, matte board, plastic sheets for stencils, chipboard, etc) possible. When I find my standard blade is having trouble cutting through my material, a quick change to this blade gets me perfect cuts every time!
  4. Scoring Tool. Admittedly, I use this tool more for cards and gift tags, but it is something I pull out pretty frequently so I thought it was good to include on this list for those who might be building their collection from scratch. The scoring tool is used to create fold lines in your projects…perfect for gift boxes, organizers, file folders and more!
  5. Pens. When I first got my Cricut Explore, it came in a set that included two sets of pens. I didn’t think I’d use them since I don’t do a ton of scrapbooking or card-type projects, but they really do come in handy for other projects as well! I’ve popped them into my machine for a variety of projects, and love that they allow me to make clean and pretty labels quite easily! While I don’t use them a ton, I do think having one set opens up a bunch of possibilities for you!
  6. Seam Ripper. Cricut makes a handy-dandy little tool kit, of which I have but never pull out. The only thing in the toolkit I used was the little picker to weed out vinyl or pry up pieces of paper off the sticky mat. Over the years, I found myself reaching for my seam ripper instead and it works wonderfully!
  7. Cricut Design Space Library Subscription. Last year I won a one-year subscription to the Cricut Design Space Library, which is a collection of over 30,000 Cricut images, 370 fonts, and 1,000 Make-It-Now projects. At the time, I wasn’t sure if it was worth the money (rather than buying images/cartridges as I needed them) so I was excited to try it out and see how much I used it. Well…my free subscription just expired, and I immediately and eagerly renewed it for another year on my own dime! A week doesn’t go by that I don’t sit down to make something with my Cricut Explore. And almost every single time I search for an image, the one(s) I want to use are included in my subscription! And if the image I want to use is extra money, with a bit of hunting around for and/or manipulating free images, I’m typically able to get the look I want without having to pay extra! If you anticipate using your Cricut Explore a lot, I can’t recommend the subscription enough!
  8. Assorted VinylI have an entire post coming up on how I buy and work with vinyl, but I can’t skip it here as it’s one of the most common things I cut with my Cricut Explore! Just over a year ago, I bought about $100 worth of Oracle 651 vinyl…30 5′ rolls in an array of colors and sheens. Whenever I have labels, gifts, or wall treatments I want to make, my stash almost-always covers the project. There have been a few occasions where I had to order several rolls of one color to complete a project (like the tile backsplash), but having an assortment of colors available allows me to make almost anything without having to run to the store or place an order each time! Not only is buying vinyl in bulk more convenient, but it’s often cheaper than buying a single roll at the craft store!
  9. Assorted CardstockLately, I’ve been on a huge kick using paper as decor (wait until you see some of the projects I have coming up!) Not only is cardstock easy to find and really inexpensive, but there are just SO MANY cool things you can do with paper. I’ve taken to stocking up on these paper pads whenever I see them at Michales on sale for $5 each. The quality of paper is really, really good for the price AND I love having so many shades of a single color available to me. I currently have the blues, turquoises, greens, and pinks and have been using them everywhere!

There you have it! If I could only buy 9 things for my Cricut Explore, these are them! With this small but mighty toolbox, you’ll be able to make a wealth of things for your home, as well as gifts, cards and other crafts! If you have and use your Cricut Explore, I’d love to know which tools you find a MUST and reach for time and time again!

Coming Up Soon In This Series!

I realize there are so many great tutorials and resources available on the web…many of which I use. But there are also some other tricks and tips I’ve picked up along the way that I can’t wait to share with you guys. If there is something you want me to cover, leave me a comment! Otherwise, be sure to check out all the posts in this series by clicking on the images below:

A Cricut Explore can be used for SO much more than paper crafts! Check out these awesome 30 home decor projects that you can make with a Cricut Explore! Are you ready to use your Cricut Explore to make vinyl decor, labels and more? This post breaks down everything you need to know about working with vinyl! One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images! Attaching Images to one another is one of the easiest yet most misunderstood functions when using the Cricut Explore. This tutorial explains whey, how, and why to use to perfect your projects!

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Things are starting to get a bit nuts on this side of the screen, but I hope to be checking in on my usual Tues/Thurs schedule for a while longer! Coming up Thursday, a round-up of my most recent works and projects featured around the web! See you then!

Megan Signature

Break Through Your Blogging Barriers with the Blog Boost Bundle!

Happy Tuesday, friends! I’m popping in with a different kind of post today…one that is geared specifically to my friends and readers who write their own blogs! (If that’s not you, I promise I’ll be back on Thursday with the basement reveal post I’ve been hinting about!) If you are a fellow blogger who is looking for a great resource to boost your income, traffic, confidence and more, there is a super exciting new e-course bundle launching today, and I can’t wait for you to check it out! Friends, let me introduce you to the Blog Boost Bundle!

*I am proud to be an affiliate for the Blog Boost Bundle, and this post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission for any purchases made via my links at no additional charge to you. You can read more about my policies here

Take your blog to the next level! There are over 24 hours of instruction across 6 amazing workshops with the Blog Boost Bundle!

The Blog Boost Bundle is a series of 6 intensive webinars created and assembled by 5 amazing bloggers (Lesley from Chaotically Creative, Angie from The Country Chic Cottage, Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage, Tasha from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body, and Bre from Rooms for Rent). These ladies have assembled over 24 hours of amazing, detailed and crazy helpful video content across 6 platforms that we bloggers need to know and master including Google+, Instagram, Facebook, Email Marketing, Affiliate Marketing and SEO. Each workshop includes a series of videos, interviews, worksheets and more and goes in-depth into each of these all-important but often challenging and mysterious topics. I was given the amazing opportunity to access this course early so that I could dive in and give you all my honest-to-goodness review. And friends…I am just so blown away by all the content jam-packed into this bundle!

Take your blog to the next level! There are over 24 hours of instruction across 6 amazing workshops with the Blog Boost Bundle!

WHY I AM ALL IN FOR THE BLOG BOOST BUNDLE

I am passionate about what I do here and about getting my ideas in front of more people; but after 4 years of relative traffic and income stagnation, I finally realized that passion alone wasn’t bringing people to my site or helping me reach bigger goals. After years of ignoring the wealth of wisdom available from more experienced bloggers around me, last Fall I finally committed to learning the tricks, strategies, and techniques necessary to grow my blog, my readership, and my income. I poured myself into every blog post, e-book and e-course I could in order to learn all the tips and tricks I was missing. I started to create friendships and connections that I saw other bloggers making but could never figure out how to establish myself. And in the 9 months since I jumped all in, The Homes I Have Made has experienced some tremendous growth of which still makes me humble and giddy every single day.

But there are only so many hours in a day. Right now, I am still a One Woman Show and trying to learn and do everything I needed to know in order to grow my blog was zapping my energy and stealing my joy from creating the content and writing the posts that actually kept the blog chugging along. I had to pull away from the “growing” side of my business in order to get back to creating content I loved. And for the last few months, that’s what I’ve been doing: focusing on content. But that too came at a price…and since I’ve been slightly “neglecting” the business side of my blog, my traffic and income have suffered.

I knew I needed to get back to all the workshops and e-books I have invested in over the last year to learn and implement even more growth strategies, but I just didn’t have it in me. So when my friend and one of the expert bloggers on the Blog Goals team, Lesley, reached out to me about the Blog Boost Bundle, it didn’t take long for the overwhelm to set in. I was so eager to learn what these gals had to teach, but I was picturing more and more hours dedicated to ideas and techniques I just didn’t have time to implement. But as soon as I logged in for the first time, I couldn’t help but dive right into the first course and before I knew it, I had worked my way through almost the entire first lesson (I started with Google+). I was honestly blown away at how easy and digestible the content was. The videos were short enough to be engaging yet long-enough to be jam-packed with usable, easy-to-understand, and action-packed tips. With our upcoming move literally around the corner and what seems like a million other things going on right now, I knew I had finally found a way to actively educate myself and grow my blog without burning the midnight oil or stressing myself out!

MY FAVORITE PARTS OF THE BLOG BOOST BUNDLE

  • The platform! I don’t know about you, but when I’m taking e-courses, I get so frustrated when I can’t figure out what to watch first, which worksheet goes with with video or what I have and haven’t done. The Blog Boost Bundle is delivered on the snazzy, easy-to-use platform Teachable, and I am obsessed with it! The platform is so easy to navigate. Worksheets are uploaded right beneath the corresponding videos, and shading and percentage graphics tell you exactly where you are in each course. You can do each course in sequence or bounce around and never loose your place. The platform alone makes working through the courses in this bundle seamless, intuitive and downright fun!
  • The time commitment! As I mentioned above, when I was faced with starting yet another e-course to grow my blog, I just didn’t know if I could make the time in my already crazy schedule. I have worked (and am currently working) my way through A LOT of other e-course and there is just something about this one that feels so manageable and easy. The topics are focused, and the videos are a great length. The tips are implementable, and I know with certainty I will actually finish this one…and soon!
  • The topics! There are A LOT of topics that could and should be covered in a blogging course, but the Blog Goals ladies have zeroed in on 6 of the most important and toughest ones to figure out and get right. These ladies are experts in their particular topics and have a wealth to teach. When looking for efficient and manageable ways to grow your blog and your income, these 6 courses strip away the chatter that abounds on the Internet and focuses you on the strategies and platforms that will really make a difference.

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE BLOG BOOST BUNDLE?

There are 6 courses totaling over 24 hours of instruction, as well as expert interviews, worksheets, a private Facebook group, and 2 roundtable discussions. Here’s a quick breakdown of each course:

Simplified SEO

­ Confused about SEO? Let us help! We will walk you through everything you need for your posts and your blog overall. Plus we are spilling our secrets on how to plan for your blog so that you are going after the right keywords on every single post. Get more focused with your blog plan and implement our strategies for a website that ranks in those all important search algorithms. We have taken the mystery out of SEO!

Instagram

­ Bre has grown her personal Instagram following to over 100,000 followers and has used the platform to grow her blog as well. Learn her secrets for unlocking the power of Instagram! You can get hits to your blog from Instagram and even use the platform to make money. This workshop will walk you through everything you need to do to implement the strategy on your own Instagram account!

Affiliate Marketing

Learn all about how to build a steady stream of income from affiliate marketing by utilizing affiliate links on your blog, on social media and through your email list! In this workshop, Tasha will teach you about the logistics of affiliate marketing, how to comply with applicable rules and regulations and tons of strategies for rocking affiliate marketing on your blog and other channels.

Email Marketing

Learn all about email marketing and the strategies to use when building a list for your brand. We cover how to offer freebies to grow your list plus so much more. If you are confused by things like segmented lists and drip campaigns, let us take the mystery out of your email marketing strategy. Your email subscribers are your biggest fans! Be sure to grow and use your list in a way that will benefit your blog in the long run!

Facebook

­ Frustrated with Facebook? We have all been there! After a lot of research, and a lot of just trying crazy ideas, Gina finally found a method that works. In this workshop you’ll learn the bare basics bloggers need ­ plus more advanced strategies that will help you grow your engagement and reach.

Google Plus

­ Did you think Google Plus was going away? Guess what! It is not! Google Plus is actually very important for your blog! Google Plus is the one thing that most people overlook when it comes to SEO. Every post on your blog should be shared on Google Plus for maximum rank in Google search engines. Angie will show you how to use Google Plus for maximum effectiveness and to increase your rank in those all important Google search results. Follow along with the course from the beginner’s guide that will take you through all of that confusing terminology that probably made you leave Google Plus in the first place. Then deep dive into more advanced tactics including incorporating Google Plus into your overall SEO strategy.

HOW MUCH IS THE BLOG BOOST BUNDLE?

All 6 webinars, plus the roundtable discussions and private Facebook group (where you can interact with all 5 expert bloggers) can be purchased HERE for $299. Private consultations or individual courses on each topic could easily run you thousands of dollars…so this bundle really is a fantastic investment into tangible and applicable techniques to grow your blog from experts who know it and have done it.

Take your blog to the next level! There are over 24 hours of instruction across 6 amazing workshops with the Blog Boost Bundle!

If you are interested in individual courses, you can buy those too! Each individual course is available for $119 and can each be accessed at the links below!

GOOGLE+ | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | SEO | AFFILIATE MARKETING | EMAIL MARKETING

Take your blog to the next level! There are over 24 hours of instruction across 6 amazing workshops with the Blog Boost Bundle!

The content in this course is exactly as the title suggests: it’s a boost! It is not a step-by-step for setting up a blog and is not necessarily information for beginner bloggers who are just getting started and learning the ropes. BUT! If you are in a blogging funk, need expert info on a specific topic, and/or need a serious boost to get your blog back on track, this is the course for you! I do hope you’ll check it out, and if you do, be sure to come back and let me know YOUR favorite parts and how it’s helped you!

Take your blog to the next level with the Blog Boost Bundle - over 24 hours of amazing content include Facebook, Instagram, and Google+ Workshops!

I hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! On Thursday, I’ll be back with our “final” playroom/basement revel! See you then!

Megan Signature

3 Creative Ways to Use Spice Jars (with MagnetJar!)

Not every product review proposal that lands in my Inbox is a great fit for me, our home, this blog and my readers; but every now and then I come across something that I can’t wait to try myself AND share with you all. Let me introduce you to MagnetJar – beautiful glass spice jars with…wait for it…magnets on the back…making for the ultimate vertical storage solution! I am so crazy excited about this product, I couldn’t stop using them around our home to organize a variety of things. Today, I not only want to introduce you to these jars and this great company, but also show you three creative ways to use spice jars all around your home!

MagnetJars are clear, glass spice jars with heavy-duty magnets secured to the back! They are perfect for holding spices, craft supplies, hardware and more!

This FREE 5-week email course will help you clean out and improve function in EACH area of your kitchen!

MagnetJar is a new, American-based company…literally born in a Pennsylvania kitchen this last Christmas. It’s owner, Marc, was trying to prepare holiday treats with his Mom when he became exasperated by his Mother’s spice storage situation. A guy after my own heart, he wanted to make use of the available vertical space on his Mother’s refrigerator to keep the spices more accessible, but struggled to find magnetic spice jars that 1) were strong enough to stay in place, 2) held a decent amount of spices, and 3) looked and functioned like normal spice jars with a shaker top. His frustration turned to experimentation, which then turned into a new company! He has now launched MagnetJar…a wonderful line of jars that look as good as they work!

MagnetJars are clear, glass spice jars with heavy-duty magnets secured to the back! They are perfect for holding spices, craft supplies, hardware and more!

One thing I love about these jars is that their design was dictated by function first! The flip-top shaker caps are easily removable for refilling and scooping, and are corrosion- and leak-resistant. The jars are square (instead of round) to maximize volume, and their super strong magnets resist jostling and attach vertically to any magnetic surface. The magnets on the jars are called “channel magnets,” and are uniquely strong…in fact a single magnet used on a MagnetJar can hold nearly 10 pounds! MagnetJars are also made with mostly American Industry (the caps are from Washington and Illinois, the jars are from California, the magnets are from New York, and the adhesive is from a company in Germany; the jars are assembled in New York). MagnetJars are available in quantities of 6 with the option for white, yellow, green or red caps.

MagnetJars are clear, glass spice jars with heavy-duty magnets secured to the back! They are perfect for holding spices, craft supplies, hardware and more!

MagnetJars for Holding Spices

When I set out to play with my new MagnetJars, my first step was obviously the kitchen. They are indeed designed for spices after all! You all know I’ve been longing for a practical yet pretty spice storage solution for a while now (I even lamented over it here), and you better bet these jars had me swooning!

MagnetJars are clear, glass spice jars with heavy-duty magnets secured to the back! They are perfect for holding spices, craft supplies, hardware and more!

One of my biggest struggles with transferring spices to new jars in the past was they never seemed to hold an entire bottle of spices. Transferring my spices to smaller jars required me to store the excess somewhere else, which somewhat defeated the whole purpose. I had a brand new, unopened jar of Italian Seasoning in my spice basket, and was beyond thrilled to see the entire bottle fit comfortably in the MagnetJar!

MagnetJars are clear, glass spice jars with heavy-duty magnets secured to the back! They hold a single jar of spices perfectly!

Transferring the spices out of their containers into matching jars means that you loose the label. I certainly could have used the chalkboard labels that come with the jars, but instead went back to my tried-and-true method of labeling: washi tape + clear label tape. Works and looks great every time!

Quickly and easily label spice jars with washi tape and a label maker!

True to the magnet description, those suckers are strong. I had no issue securing the jars to any magnetic surface around the kitchen!

MagnetJar spice jars are a great way to keep frequently-used spices always handy and at the ready!

The jars come in sets of 6. And while I would certainly love to bottle up all my spices and create a big fancy and functional spice display, I found that even having just my 6 most commonly used spices SO handy right next to the stove was pretty, darn great!

MagnetJar spice jars are a great way to keep frequently-used spices always handy and at the ready!

MagnetJar spice jars are a great way to keep frequently-used spices always handy and at the ready!

These jars would be awesome stuck right to the nearby refrigerator, but I chose to setup mine on a little magnetic board next to my oils and vinegars. I can quickly and easily pin up a recipe or note, and now I have most of my dinner preparation supplies in one tidy (and oh so pretty!) spot!

MagnetJar spice jars are a great way to keep frequently-used spices always handy and at the ready!

This FREE 5-week email course will help you clean out and improve function in EACH area of your kitchen!

MagnetJars for Holding Hardware

Using MagnetJars for spices is really just the beginning for these great little guys. My next stop was our garage!

MagnetJar Spice Jars are a great way to sort and organize hardware to keep them always at the ready!

Time and time again, I sing the praises of vertical storage. Not only does storing items on the wall keep things tidy and always-accessible, but it also helps maintain a clear work surface so you can actually be productive! Out in our garage, we are currently using little drawers to hold all of our various nuts, bolts, screws and nails. For fun, I played around with these jars for our hardware storage and was instantly smitten that I could see and find whatever I needed without having to open lots of little drawers! #itsthelittlethings #nopunintended!

MagnetJar Spice Jars are a great way to sort and organize hardware to keep them always at the ready!

I’ve sung the praises of the strength of these magnets already, but here is some pretty great proof! These nails and screws aren’t light…and these jars didn’t budge a bit!

MagnetJar Spice Jars are a great way to sort and organize hardware to keep them always at the ready!

You may not think you have a lot of magnetic surfaces in your garage, but that shouldn’t keep you from giving this storage solution a try! Jars can be attached to extra refrigerators/freezers, metal toolboxes or even large metal sheets you can get at the hardware store. I have my strips attached to a simple metal strip from IKEA!

MagnetJar Spice Jars are a great way to sort and organize hardware to keep them always at the ready!

MagnetJars for Holding Crafts

Of course, my last stop for these awesome jars had to be my craft room! I am constantly looking for easy and convenient ways to store the items I use the most, and these jars couldn’t be more perfect!

MagnetJar Spice Jars are a great way to sort and organize small craft supplies and notions to keep them handy and always at the ready!

I am struggling so much lately with having too many items on my work surfaces, and I really need to start making better use of vertical storage options. From pins and bobbins, clips to pens, I can think of dozens of things that would be so handy to have secured up right in front of me…easily available whenever I need it!

MagnetJar Spice Jars are a great way to sort and organize small craft supplies and notions to keep them handy and always at the ready!

When I put all these craft supplies in the jars, I was concerned about them fitting…and then I was concerned about getting them all back out! Because of the nice, wide mouths on the jars, they are super simple to fill and empty, and can even be used as open storage for pens, scissors, utensils and other taller items!

MagnetJar Spice Jars are a great way to sort and organize small craft supplies and notions to keep them handy and always at the ready!

If you can’t tell, I’m pretty smitten with these little jars and keep thinking of more and places to use them (office supplies, medicines). I do still love my basket for organizing my spices, but if you’re looking to take advantage of vertical space in your kitchen, home, office, or workspace…give these jars a try!

MagnetJar Spice Jars are a great way to sort and organize small craft supplies and notions to keep them handy and always at the ready!

Using vertical space is a great storage solution in almost any room of your house, and MagnetJar makes taking full advantage of that space fun, easy, and affordable. If you’d like to give MagnetJars a try, they are graciously offering a coupon exclusively to THIHM Readers!

Visit AMAZON and use the code THEHOMES to get 25% of any number of MagnetJars!!!! (One per customer only)

If you want to learn more about the jars and the company, visit their page here!

MagnetJar Spice Jars are a great way to sort and organize small craft supplies and notions to keep them handy and always at the ready!

I am working away on putting the finishing touches on my next big organization project that launches next Tuesday! If you need more help and ideas for your kitchen, you won’t want to miss this! See you then!

Megan Signature

I received both product and compensation from MagnetJar for this blog post. Please remember that I only work with brands and products I fully support and that make sense for my home, my family, and this blog. All opinions are 100% my own!

My 7 Favorite Baskets for Organizing Your Home

It is really no secret around here that my number one strategy for keeping our home picked up and organized is baskets. In fact, Greg would probably say I’ve never met a basket I didn’t like (and by the looks of our stash in the garage, I admit he’s right!) And while we certainly have our share of a variety of bins and baskets around our home, there are certain ones I find myself reaching for time and time again to hold a host of different things. If you’ve gotten on the basket bandwagon but don’t have the time or energy to shop around for just the right ones, I’ve got you covered! Today, I’m sharing my all-time favorite baskets for organizing!

Baskets come in every size, shape, color and quality. Here are my favorite 7 baskets for organizing every area of your home!

There is no shortage of good quality, versatile baskets on the market these days. In fact, bins and baskets are now available at almost every home store, in any style, and at every price point. There are certainly plenty to choose from, but not every basket out there is a good investment. What makes a good basket, you ask? First and foremost, it should hold what you need to store in an efficient, complete, sturdy and attractive way. Second, it should nicely fit onto whatever shelf, cubby, or spot you are going to place it without cramping or leaving too much wasted space. Third, they should be easy to use, and fourth, they should hold up to that use. Lastly, they should be easy to clean/maintain, a reasonable price, and easy to find. These 6 baskets, my friends, (plus one more bonus at the end) are all of these things: good-sized, sturdy, attractive, useful, easy-to-find, and budget-friendly!

Baskets come in every size, shape, color and quality. Here are my favorite baskets for organizing every area of your home!

ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR | FIVE | SIX

Read on to find out exactly why I love each of these so much, and see the different ways I use them in our home!Baskets come in every size, shape, color and quality. Here are my favorite baskets for organizing every area of your home!

Long-time readers of the blog will not be surprised to see the IKEA DRONA bins at the top of my list. One of my biggest priorities in picking baskets is that they need to fit wherever I am placing them just right – I hate wasted space! These bins are made to fit the IKEA Kallax (and former Expedit) shelves perfectly. These bins are wide, deep and tall, and I have found they hold so much stuff! Although they are made out of sturdy board covered in fabric, I’ve found they hold up pretty well to heavy items and a lot of child handling. We loved using them in our playroom so much in our last house…

IKEA DRONA bins are great for the playroom!

…that we added more shelves and bins to our playroom in this house! (See our playroom storage HERE and how to label these bins HERE!)

IKEA DRONA bins are great for the playroom!

After seeing them hold up so well to toys and rough play, I also invested in 8 more white ones to hold all of my fabric. I love how much they can hold and how they slide in and out of the shelves like drawers! (See how I made the labels HERE!)

IKEA DRONA bins are great for the craft room!

You don’t need IKEA Kallax shelves to use these bins…they stand up great on deep shelves as well!

IKEA Drona Bins on Open Shelves

There are a few down-sides to these bins. As I said, they are made of heavy-weight poster-like board and are covered in fabric, so they are not THE most durable baskets on the block. They are a great price ($6 each), but are primarily available at IKEA stores. Also, IKEA only carries certain colors, so if you have a particular look in mind for your space, you might be out of luck. If you’re willing to pay a bit more per bin, I did find this seller that has a few more color options!

Baskets come in every size, shape, color and quality. Here are my favorite baskets for organizing every area of your home!

My #2 choice is also no surprise around here, considering I use these Y-weave baskets from Target in almost every room in our house! These bins are sturdy and easily cleanable because of their strong plastic structure, and are available year-round in an array of colors and sizes! Both in this house and our last house, I have used the “Medium” size in our kitchen to hold everything from spices and tupperwares to sippy cups and cooking liquids!

Target Y-Weave Baskets are great for the kitchen!

A while back, Target carried a “Large” size of these baskets, but I can no longer find that option online. This slightly shorter version of the “X-Large” are great for holding any number of things and are strong enough to hold up to the bulk of towels and linens in the linen closet!

Target Y-Weave Baskets are great for the linen closet!

The “X-Large” version of these baskets are indeed my favorite! They are deep and tall and sturdy, and hold a lot more than you think they will! In our last house, I used them to hold gift wrap, embroidery supplies and more on open shelving…

Target Y-Weave Baskets on Open Shelving

And now those same bins hold the same kinds of supplies tucked into my IKEA Kallax Shelving. (You can see how I labeled them HERE!)

Target Y-Weave Baskets are great for the craft room!

To me, the only downside of these baskets are the price…they are a bit on the steep side; but considering the quality and versatility of them, I find myself paying for them over and over again anyway. When I first discovered these, they were actually hard to find, but I now see them year-round and in all sorts of colors!

Baskets come in every size, shape, color and quality. Here are my favorite baskets for organizing every area of your home!

As I was making my list of favorite baskets, I was a little surprised I added this one to the list. I bought these baskets from Hobby Lobby for our command center primarily because they were the look I wanted (wicker) and the size I needed for our command center in our last house. In our current home, we don’t have this shelf setup, but I still find myself shuffling these baskets around the house. We are currently using one in the bathroom to hold small towels and wash cloths, a second in the kitchen to hold all of our coffee supplies, and the third on our bookcase to corral small booklets. Not only are they a great little size, but they are so sturdy and their texture is so great that they look awesome on their own. They don’t need a shelf or cubby, and function just as much as decor as they do basket! Pictured here is the “Small” size, but they are available in three different nesting sizes.

Baskets are ideal for making use of every inch of space!

I do love the look and sturdiness of these woven baskets, but there are a few downsides to them. First, they are pricey. Yes, Hobby Lobby regularly runs 50% off basket sales (so wait for those!), but even after the discount they felt expensive for their size and quality. Second, and even more annoying, is that Hobby Lobby doesn’t carry a huge stock. They only had one small basket on hand, and I had to “order” the other two to come in. If you have a lot of cubbies to fill, it might be hard and/or time-consuming to track down enough!

Baskets come in every size, shape, color and quality. Here are my favorite baskets for organizing every area of your home!

Once upon a time I thought milk crates were only for college kids, but when I went hunting for large, durable, wipeable and CHEAP baskets for our garage, these were what I came home with. And much to my surprise, we keep finding great uses for them! Sure, a milk crate is a milk crate, but I like that these have a dedicated place for a label (of course 🙂 My favorite thing about these (besides their size and cost) is that because they are plastic and have lots of holes, they are super simple to clean out. A quick spray down with the hose and 20 minutes in the sun and they are clean! We primarily use these out in the garage: on our work bench in our last house:

Target Milk Crates are great for the garage!

…and as our recycling bins in this house…

Target Milk Crates are great for the garage!

…but I also think they would work great for toys and other hardier items!

Baskets come in every size, shape, color and quality. Here are my favorite baskets for organizing every area of your home!

The next “basket” on my list are scrapbook cases designed to hold 12×12″ cardstock. I do indeed use these cases to hold all my 12×12 papers, but now and over the years, I have found they are useful to hold so much more! As you can see below, they are great for storing small, flat craft items like felt and Cricut cartridges; but I also find they work great for holding manuals, stickers and other paper embellishments, rolls of vinyl, and party supplies (banners, cupcake toppers, straws, etc). My Mom always used these to organize her in-progress quilts (all the blocks, directions, fabric swatches for one quilt in the same box), and I find myself using them to contain “in progress” projects too!

Scrapbook cases are great for holding all sorts of craft supplies, not just paper!

These boxes are cheap and easy-to-find; they stack and come in different colors; and can be used to store a variety of flat things. The only downside I found is that they aren’t the most durable against a lot of use and/or frequent moves!!

Baskets come in every size, shape, color and quality. Here are my favorite baskets for organizing every area of your home!

I hesitated to add my beloved flip-top plastic boxes to this round-up because mine (the version you see in the pictures below) were bought overseas in Okinawa (at their version of the Dollar Store). When there 10+ years ago, I stocked up on nearly 30 of them and continually use them all of our house. While you mostly likely won’t be able to get the exact same ones, these are quite similar…I think they are worth mentioning simple for their function!

I use these flip-top boxes to store almost all of my small craft supplies. From sewing notions and trims, to paints and glues, glitter and punches, I have twenty of them inside my craft cabinets alone. I love that they stack and they fit my selves perfectly, but I mostly love that they are clear! Quite often, I don’t like clear storage because they don’t conceal “messes,” which can be bothersome to the eye. But in the case of craft supplies, I love that I can look at the boxes and find just what I’m looking for, even if they aren’t labeled. The flip-tops allow me to quickly and easily access items without having to empty the box! And since I don’t have to take the lid off, it doesn’t get lost or thrown out by accident. I have found clear plastic boxes are best for craft supplies, but we also regularly use them for toys, snack items, and hygiene items.

Flip-top plastic boxes for craft supplies and toys

The only down-side I can see to these boxes is that they can add up if you need a lot. Like I said, I currently use close to 30 in our house, but I bought them at a $1/each. This flip-top version I found at Walmart are a good deal, but if you need a lot, it could be a big investment!

Baskets come in every size, shape, color and quality. Here are my favorite baskets for organizing every area of your home!

Last but not least, I had to include my beloved Target file boxes. I found these in the Target Dollar Spot years ago, and scooped them up more because they matched my house than because I had a use for them. It didn’t take me long to figure out how handy they were in the kitchen! Not only are they a perfect size for holding a variety of foods and snacks, but their slender and short size are ideal for tight cabinets and refrigerators!

Skinny Pantry Organization-07

Target File Boxes in the Refrigerator for Snack Storoage

I love that they have so many versatile uses, come with chalkboard labels and are super easy to clean out and stack for storage. So why was I reluctant to include them on my list? They aren’t the easiest to find. In fact, I haven’t seen them at Target in ages, and when I do, it’s usually just a few of them tucked away in a random bin in the Dollar Spot. My girlfriend just bought red ones, so I know they are still around…so I have my eyes peeled because I want more of them!

Phew! Did you make it? I wasn’t expecting this post to be so long, so thanks for hanging in there with me to the end! I do hope you found these links/insights useful! Do you agree/disagree with any of the baskets on my list? Do you have others that you turn to over and over? Share in the comments so we can all check them out!

Baskets come in every size, shape, color and quality. Here are my 7 favorite baskets for organizing every area of your home!

I hope you all have a great weekend and a Happy Easter! Next week, I’m going to be a busy bee getting ready for Henry’s 5th birthday party (what?!?!?!), but I’ll be checking in on Tuesday and Thursday with some end-of-the-month business to tidy up! See you then!

Megan Signature