Scrapbooking has become a popular pastime through the past few years. If you've looked into it, you know that it can easily become an expensive one as well. But with some creativity, you can use the everyday items in your house to create a scrapbook that reflects your individual personality and style.

After you've selected your favorite photos and mementos for your scrapbook, take a look around you. You've probably looked at items around your house hundreds of times without considering their scrapbook potential.

If you've got photos from a favorite vacation, look around to see what you have around your home that reminds you of that trip. Postcards, souvenirs and even travel brochures that can be cut apart are great ways of building a great vacation page or section.

If you're building a school days page, report cards, awards, certificates, ribbons, graded assignments, and even notebook doodles are clever enhancements. Paper clips or crayon wrappers work nicely.

Pressed flowers, handwritten poetry, and clippings from magazines can also nicely enhance a wedding or engagement page. Be sure to jot down details of the day you want to be sure you remember. Use the fronts of some of your favorite cards and remnants from saved gift wrap as backgrounds for your photos.

Ribbons and gift wrap remnants also work well for baby's page. Be sure to include an announcement card and a copy of baby's footprints. You might also want to tuck in a corner of a baby blanket or a page from a favorite storybook.

Even remembrance pages can reflect your own personal memories of your lost loved one. Enhance your favorite photos with a label from a favorite perfume or cologne, food, beverage. Movie ticket stubs, buttons, newspaper articles, handwriting samples and favorite quotes or funny moments jotted down on paper can make your page special.

With a fresh look at some ordinary, every day items, your scrapbook can take on a personal and individual flair.

If you have a busy family that seems to be traveling in different directions constantly, you know how challenging it can be to coordinate everyone's schedules. Between projects and deadlines at the office, meetings with your children's teachers, after school activities like soccer practice and troop meetings, not to mention the household chores, it can be a dizzying and confusing task. But if each family member is committed and communicates effectively, the task of creating a combined family schedule is a manageable one for you.

The first step is to commit to weekly family meetings. Make it mandatory that each family member is there so that the schedule can be discussed and organized. This should also double as a great opportunity to schedule quality family time together, so make sure it's held at a time when everyone is able to attend.

Next, design a schedule that can be easily accessed by all family members, so that everyone knows where everyone else should be at any given time.

This can be done by designing one yourself using materials such as poster board, markers, pushpins and index cards that can be pinned to the schedule, allowing for changes that can occur from week to week. It could also be designed on your family computer and saved onto the desktop, so each family member can readily access it and make changes if necessary.

Have family members get into the habit of indicating on the schedule specific addresses or contact telephone numbers if the activity is new or changes from week to week. Be sure that care providers for your children such as grandparents and babysitters are familiar with your scheduling system and know how to use it.

Again, with a commitment from each family member and open lines of communication, the family schedule can be a useful tool for everyone.

Households are bombarded with paper on a daily basis. Bills, statements, pay stubs, calendars, schedules, menus and permission slips seem innocent enough individually, but when joined with the other piles of unattended paperwork, they can form an army that overwhelms even the best defenses. But you shouldn't feel defenseless against this persistent warrior. With an organized plan of attack and some disciplined strategy, the paperwork enemy can be conquered and tamed.

First of all, take a look at the type of paperwork that's overwhelming you the most. Is it those bills that go unpaid when you can't locate them? Is it the mounds of artwork your children have lovingly created and decorated your refrigerator with? Maybe it's the constantly changing soccer schedule or troop meetings.

Once you determined the most invasive paper culprit or culprits, it's time to line them up and sort them out. A successful filling system has three main components. A file for those things that need to be acted on immediately, one for those that are part of a household's ongoing management, and one for those that are more infrequent but nevertheless crucial, such as tax records, insurance policies, wills, and home maintenance documents.

When conquering the paperwork monster, make a promise to yourself to deal with each item the first time you handle it. Get out of the habit of rifling through your mail and tossing it aside. Set aside time each day to open mail, go through paperwork in your inbox and sort and file appropriately. Decide if each item is something to be paid, something to be done, or something to be filed. At the end of each week, take out each file and respond appropriately by paying the bill, responding to the request, or moving items that need to be filed into their permanent locations. Of course, if you know something is urgent and can't wait until week's end, clip it to the front of your file box or place it in front in a folder labeled Urgent and act accordingly.

Save telephone time by keeping calendars, schedules, take-out menus and phone lists into clear page protectors in a 3-ring binder. Flip through the household notebook to quickly check meeting dates or find phone numbers. Create your own forms, or use our free printable Household Notebook forms. This is also a great place to put correspondence addressed to the entire family. Organize magazines and newspapers into baskets kept near couches and living room chairs for people to look at during their free time. Be sure to keep in the habit of sorting through this on a regular basis and filing those magazines you decide to keep and tossing old newspapers and magazines you wish you toss.

Bathrooms seem to be notorious for becoming cluttered and unkempt. Between small makeup compacts, medicine bottles, hair accessories, razors and the like, it can be quite easy to lose things in the shuffle. Assess your bathroom and its contents and utilize a few simple ideas and you'll find more space and tranquility as a result.

First, take a good look at your medicine cabinets. Ironically, it's probably not a good idea to store medicine in your medicine cabinet, as most bathrooms become hot and humid during showers and baths, and can be detrimental to medication that requires being stored at room temperature. Don't keep medicines past their expiration date, even if you've never opened them or have used them very little. Try storing your medications on a high shelf in your linen closet with a lock-tight lid. This will help lengthen their shelf life as well as keep them out of reach of curious little hands.

The same should be done with old makeup. Generally speaking, most makeup will last about 18-24 months, with the exception of mascara, which lasts about three months, and liquid eyeliner, which lasts about three to six months. Nail polish generally only holds up for about a year, so if you have any older than that, get rid of them. And since many makeup products have animal-based ingredients, it's also important to pay attention to how they smell. If they smell like they've gone bad, they probably have, so toss them. Try using a permanent marker to mark the purchase date on the back of the item, so that way you won't have to try to remember just how long it's been since you purchased something.

If you take a look in your favorite discount store's home organization aisle, you'll find lots of inexpensive storage containers that can easily be utilized in bathroom drawers, under the sink, and for shower and bathtub areas as well. Since bathrooms are full of small things, they can easily be organized in small bins, baskets or boxes.

Photos can be a wonderful way to preserve memories and relive favorite past moments. However, they can also become a cluttered mess without an organized storage plan.

Probably the most important tool to have when you begin your photo organization project is a trash can. Statistics show the average person develops one roll of 24 pictures a month but only seven are worth keeping. That being said, you'll probably find many photos in your collection that simply aren't worth keeping.

Another tool you'll need during your organization process is several manila envelopes. Do your best to sort the photos by year, and place each group in the envelope with the year clearly marked on it. Place these envelopes in a strong cardboard box or storage bin. You'll probably be able to store a decade's worth of photos in a single container.

Collages and shadow boxes are great ways to display several photos from a selected year. Include mementos and keepsakes in the shadowbox to add a unique personality. Special photos should be enlarged and framed to be displayed around your home.
Take special care to purchase photo albums that are made with acid-free paper. The acid used in processing everyday paper can be very damaging to photographs over the long haul.

Scrapbooking is a growing trend and a clever and creative way to display your photos. Craft stores have an abundance of scrapbook supplies, including stencils, decorative scissors, background papers, rubber stamps and permanent markers.

You can also utilize everyday items around your house such as ribbons, magazine clippings, and fabrics. Again, take care to ensure that the paper you use is acid-free or is displayed separately from your favorite photos.

Lastly, just in case something should happen to your photos, make sure you have a backup plan to replace them. Store the negatives of your most important and cherished photographs in your safe deposit box to also protect against theft or destruction from elements such as fires or floods.

 

Every year, tons of material that could be recycled aren't, and end up clogging our already overwhelmed dumps, waterways and roadsides. Most people think it's a difficult undertaking to organize a recycling center at home. However, with some creativity and commitment, it can be easy to do. You'll feel better about yourself doing your part to care for the environment as a result, too.

Find a convenient place in your home or apartment for the center. It doesn't take much
room for your recyclables. The garages, a storage closet, corner of the kitchen, or under your kitchen sink all make great locations. Find and clearly label containers in which to store your recycled materials. Plastic buckets, storage containers or even trash cans work great depending on the amount of room you have available.

Get your family actively involved in the recycling process. Make sure they all are aware of what products can be recycled. Teach them the difference between the aluminum can bin and the tin can bin. While doing their weekly chores, teach them to be on the lookout for recyclable material lying around the house, and encourage them to place it in the proper storage bins.

Encourage them to come up with ideas for reducing the amount of recycled material that's consumed by your household. Take them along with you to the recycling center in your neighborhood so they can witness the process firsthand. Show them how they can reuse recyclable materials in their own organizational efforts at home. Perhaps a large cardboard box can double as a bin for all their shoes, or a coffee can be repurposed as a penny bank.

And when they learn the money that can be both saved and earned from recycling and reusing products, they'll have developed an environmentally healthy and thrifty habit for life.

Home improvement projects can be dangerous. Many tasks call for sharp tools or power tools that can cause injuries.

You can't successfully repair or tackle home improvement projects your home if you're not careful. With a little careful organization and forethought, even the most difficult home improvement tasks can be conquered safely and successfully.

Be sure to completely read the instruction manual for your power tools and follow the manufacturer's safety cautions. Tighten any adjustments and check that the guard is working before you operate a tool. Keep power tools dry, and plug them into grounded electrical outlets. Take care not to cut the power cord. Never store your power tools while they are still connected to the power supply.

Keep fingers well away from a power blade. Clamp small pieces of wood before cutting them, rather than holding them. It's imperative to wear work gloves when you're handling rough materials such as wood, glass, or metal, but take them off when using a power tool so you have complete control over it.

Never use any kind of power tool without proper protective eyewear. Unplug a power saw before changing the blade or doing any other kind of maintenance or cleaning to it.
Learn how to properly support a board when you cut it with a power tool so it doesn't kick back towards you during use.

Always completely shut off power or water when working with the electrical wiring or the plumbing. One of the first questions you should ask as a new homeowner is where your shutoffs are located.

When working on a ladder, don't lean out to either side. Keep your body weight between the sides of the ladder. It may take longer to get off the ladder and move it to reach farther, but it is well worth your time. Falls are one of the most common causes of injuries in the home.

If you're not used to the physical element of doing construction, remodeling, or renovation work, you might easily injure yourself or strain your muscles. You may not even notice the aches and pains until you wake up the next day. Don't take chances and overexert yourself when lifting heavy objects, or when repeatedly lifting lighter loads. Get a helper to do some of the work, and take plenty of breaks. Listen to your body's signals and realize when enough is enough. Learn to bend and lift with the knees and not your back.

You're going to find a great satisfaction and pride knowing that you're able to safely and successfully accomplish repair, remodeling and renovation projects around your house as long as you're smart, safe, and keep yourself organized, focused and on task.

 

Procrastination can creep in and easily become a habit. Once it does, it erodes your capacity to function effectively. But it can be a hard habit to break. However, with some honest self-assessment and an organized and attainable plan of attack, it can be overcome successfully.

Be gentle with yourself when you decide to try and kick the procrastination habit.

It may be so ingrained that you don't fully recognize all the ways you actually procrastinate. Start out by taking a large or complicated task and breaking it down into smaller parts that you can accomplish easier. It's important to bear in mind that the most difficult or complex tasks are simply just a series of smaller jobs.

Make a verbal commitment to someone else about improving your time management skills and your desire to avoid procrastinating. Allow others to become involved in your efforts by reviewing your progress, helping you set deadlines or evaluating your results can be very helpful. This will most likely create a commitment on your part to fulfill the expectations they've set for you.

Sit down and map out a plan to manage your time more effectively. When a deadline is looming, make sure you allot time each day to work on the project so it doesn't sneak up on you in the final hours or days. Learn to ask for help when you're feeling overwhelmed or overworked.

Reward yourself for good behavior and accomplished goals. Don't wait until you've accomplished the ultimate goal, but reward yourself for your successes along the way. Make sure the reward is something you like to do. Treat yourself to the newest book by your favorite author and take the time to read it. Indulge in bubble baths or relaxing music. If you've gotten into the habit of working late, make sure you develop a new habit of going home on time each night.

By making a commitment to avoid the avoiding habit, you'll soon be well on your way to finding more time and find yourself more relaxed and productive and less stressed in the process.

Arranging the furniture in the right manner ensures that the room area is efficiently used. A clever furniture arrangement can also highlight a favorite piece of furniture. However, figuring out the best way to utilize space and create a comfortable atmosphere can be a difficult chore. But with some planning and creativity, it can be accomplished easier than you think.

Before you move anything, you have to decide what the focal point of the room is going to be. Focus your efforts around that location or item. Before arranging furniture in the room, decide on what will be the focus of the room. Center your furniture arrangement around that focal point. It can be anything; a fireplace, a picture window, a home entertainment center or a wall painting.

Chairs should be placed within about eight feet of each other to encourage conversation. Position a table in such a way that it is easily accessible from every chair.

Keep a light source near the seating area. Coffee tables should have a clearance of about 14 to 18 inches from the sofa. Side tables should be at least as tall as the arm of the chairs or sofa to make serving easy and discourage accidental spills. When arranging furniture, make sure you provide enough space to move around the room.

In a multipurpose room, arrange furniture in a way that you divide the room into separate living and dining spaces. A strategically placed screen or curtains hung from the ceiling are simple and inexpensive ways to accomplish this.

Make sure the room stays balanced and that the sections or divisions don't fight one another. Area rugs are a great way to define areas and groupings. Small pieces can easily get lost in a large room, so be sure to group them with larger elements.

 

If you're looking into adding some fresh decorative touches to your home, a good place to start is with your window treatments. But it can be a bit daunting to your budget to purchase window treatments for an entire room.

However, there are many window treatment options available that you can do yourself, and you never even have to pick up a needle or thread a sewing machine. With a little imagination and some simple connectors, any piece of fabric can easily and quickly be transformed into a window treatment.

So find a fabric that suits your home décor and personal style, and choose something that already has finished edges, such as a vintage linen or printed sheet. Then choose a grommet, clip, hook, or cord to hang it with, and you'll have a beautifully simple and inexpensive window treatment that reflects your personal style and creativity.

Grommets, slipped over wall hooks, produce a simple, crisp window treatment. Generally, a hammer and a grommet tool works at least as well for setting just a few grommets. The grommet prevents the hook from tearing through the hole.

You can thread rayon cording through grommets and tie behind the grommets to create loops to hang from a wooden dowel or hooks above the window.

There are also stylish clips that can be found at flea markets and antique stores that simply latch onto the fabric. Home decorating and import stores also carry clip-on rings to hang curtains from.

You can even use buttons on curtains. Simply thread fine wire through the holes and sections of ribbon and simply twist the wire on the back side to create simple ribbon loops to hang the curtain with.

Let your creativity be your guide, and you can craft window treatments that reflect your personality and style. You're only limited by your own imagination.