Start Planning Your Treehouse

"The Minister's Treehouse" built by Horace Burgess. Photo by Casey Fox.

  It may be chilly out right now, but before you know it, lovely weather will be upon us! Call me an overgrown kid, but I still think that one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors is hanging in your very own treehouse. And plenty of people agree with me. Today, spectacular treehouses are being designed and built more often than you might imagine. Perhaps the best part of all this treehouse love is that many people are building their tree abodes with reclaimed materials!   Great Treehouses Built with Reclaimed Materials If you’re close to Crossville, Tennessee, stop to see the nearly 10,000-square-foot treehouse supported … [More]

How to Organize Your Winter Gear

Knitted cap; scarf and gloves

Now that all the wet and muck of winter have arrived in earnest, you might be confronting that perennial organization problem: how to store all your gear. It can be surprisingly difficult to keep those hats, mittens, and boots sorted, especially if you have a small place or have more than a couple people in your family. The good news is that there are creative solutions, even for homes without dedicated mudrooms or voluminous coat closets. To figure out how to tackle your own gear dilemma, first take stock of what spaces you’ll need. Usually this will include spots for: drying damp gear; keeping boots; hanging coats and … [More]

Repurposed DIY Storage Ideas

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  I didn’t know what to do with my old books. I rarely read them, they were too tattered for used bookstores, and I couldn’t find anywhere to donate them. What to do? It felt wrong to throw them in the trash. A little online search gave me a stroke of genius: I could build a table out of them. In a happy coincidence, I was in need of a side table to go next to my sofa. With a small amount of effort, I had a new table and a new purpose for those books. There are many more creative ideas where that came from. It turns … [More]

Creative Ways to Organize Your Books

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  Cicero said that “a room without books is like a body without a soul.” Luckily, books are as attractive to display as they are important to read. A well-organized bookshelf can add that special touch of warmth and visual interest to an otherwise unremarkable room. And if you’re interested in getting a little creative, books can be the catalyst for some intriguing design ideas. Every nook and cranny of your house has the potential to store and display books, and there are shelves and furniture of all descriptions to make organizing them more fun. Bookshelves are the standard choice for storing books, of course. But bookshelves of … [More]

Favorite Sustainability Infographics of 2012

from One Block Off the Grid's 9 Surprising Things about People Who Go Solar infographic

  We’re all in love with infographics, it seems. Often, we don’t have a choice when we view billboards, television commercials or other forms of advertising, but a lot of us seek out infographics. We even click on them to make them larger! I don’t understand all of the psychology behind the popularity of infographics, but I do know that not all infographics are created equally.   For me to consider an infographic as wonderful, it has to do a few things:   Present sources. I don’t want to guess where the info came from. Be easy to read. If I have to strain to read it, forget … [More]

Making Office Organization Fun

Funny business

Keeping your work space organized can be a thankless task—so many pens to wrangle and papers to keep straight, only to have them become chaotic again. Since it’s a task you have to manage no matter the trouble, why not have a little fun with it? There’s a whole universe of amusing and amazing office organization products just waiting to make your work life a little brighter. For example, why not start off in the morning with a cuppa from the office coffee pot in your wake-up mug, which has eyes that become alert when filled with steaming java? For your desk, try this pink rhinestone desk set … [More]

How to Confront a Hoarder

Extra Space Storage Hoarding

  In recent years, the problem of hoarding has got a lot of media attention, primarily because of the popularity of reality TV shows that document the problem, as well as the suffering of the hoarders themselves. If you are concerned that someone you know may be a hoarder, confrontation can be a first step in helping him or her regain control over his or hear life. Here are some ideas for constructively and effectively confronting a hoarder:   Hoarding vs Messiness Obviously, before you confront someone over their hoarding, it’s important to make sure that he or she is actually a hoarder and not just someone whose … [More]

Start Your Year with a Home Energy Audit

Thermal Image of the House

  I talk a lot about energy savings for business but as a homeowner I’m also interested in saving energy at home. Now that 2013 is here, it’s time to make some New Year’s resolutions for your home! Following through with those resolutions will not only be helpful for the environment, but will also save you money. Before you can make your goals, you’ll need to take a closer look at your home. When it comes to home energy efficiency, the problem is often air leaks. Remember, even if you have a new HVAC system, you can still waste a lot of energy if you have poorly insulated doors, … [More]

10 DIY Organization Ideas for Personal Items

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  Personal items are some of the more troublesome things to keep organized. They’re often small—cuff links and little tubs of make-up—and frequently used, so they have a tendency to get lost and jumbled in the bottom of your purse or bag. What can you do to make organizing these things more functional and stylish? The more user-friendly and appealing your storage regime is, the more likely you are to actually keep these important little pieces of your life in order. Try these ten DIY solutions for keeping your jewelry, make-up, ties, toothbrushes, and other personal stuff straight. 1. Keep all your lipstick and blush where you can … [More]

Pinterest Favorites: Winter Wonderland

Snow covered birch trees

Winter is here! There’s so much to enjoy this season, not least of which is a pristine blanket of snow. But even if you don’t live in a snowy clime, you can discover the pleasures of colder weather, including hot beverages, snuggly coats, and the cozy ambiance of life indoors.   Winter Beauty To get into the winter spirit, check out these Pinterest boards full of appealing winter wonder.  “Glorious winter scenes” will remind you how beautiful winter can be. You’ll wish it were winter all year when you see these boards: winter imagery involving animals and snowy barns, and glorious snow-bound vistas. “Winter Wonderland” a lovely winter-themed … [More]