How I Gave Myself Free Flowers

Check out these beautiful tulips that I received today!

Free flowers vase recycling

Colorful tulips remind me of Spring!

How did I get them?  While I have been tempted to buy myself tulips to help escape the winter-blahs, I have been distracted by a clean- and purge-my-house-of-things-kick, meaning no time or need for flowers.  Fortunately, I found a way for my de-cluttering to payoff with free flowers.

It was simple – I had several glass vases collecting dust in my basement. On the bottom two vases, I found a clear sticker with the contact info for a local florist. I called them up and asked them if they re-cycled vases, and she said that they did, giving fresh flowers in return. AWESOME!

This was such a win-win-win situation: I get rid of excessive vases I don’t want, AND get fresh flowers in return. A win for the florist: they are able to stock up on vases in time for Valentine’s Day at a minimal cost (I assume)! And a win for the earth is always recycling! Finally, it was a win for Daddy O., who will not buy me flowers for Valentine’s Day (though admittedly he wouldn’t anyway after years of me telling him not to because they are so ridiculously marked up for the holiday, and I’d rather do something together as a couple instead of receiving a gift).

Search your own home and see if your local florist recycles vases too!

For organizing and spring cleaning tips, see my post from last January when a dear friend helped me organize my living room / toy chaos.

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Forget Spring Cleaning – Winter Organizing 101

Winter has us cooped up inside for most days, though Wisconsin weather HAS been quite kind to us as of late, so we’ve been able to enjoy playing in the snow. Still with all the indoor time it is a prime opportunity to get organized!!

A visit from one of my dearest friends, who has know me since 5th grade, was exactly what I needed to get inspired and start organizing.  Here’s how she helped me attack at least one room – our living room:

  1. Dump out one bin or focus on one area at a time. We have a lot of wicker and cloth bins, so we just dumped out their contents to see what toys were where.
  2. Start sorting like items. By doing this, we identified “themes” of play-things. We planned out bins for cars / trains, pretend-play, games, books, technology / music, dolls, blocks and one miscellaneous.
  3. Ask yourself – does this item need to be in this room? We had this conversation about my daughter’s hair-things. They were stored in a bag in the living room. “Why are they in the living room?” my friend asked. “Because I often do her hair in the living room,” I explained. “Why can’t they go in the bathroom?” she inquired. I thought about this, and realized, oh yeah, they CAN go in the bathroom closet instead. Good call, my friend!  You should also ask yourself, “Should this item be kept, sold or donated?” Build a pile each for keep, sell, and donate.
  4. Decide what fits where. Once we took some items out of the room to be placed elsewhere in our house, we started filling up my existing bins.  Before doing so, my friend (who is also a neat-freak) vacuumed out the cloth bins. We filled up bins and she found spots to place them that I didn’t think of before.  It was genius!
  5. Find “homes” for the remaining items. This meant I had a list of bins and plastic tubs to buy. I searched my own home first, so I could make the most of what I already had. Just shifting toys around a bit helped me find similar patterned cloth bins.
  6. Buy said bins / organizers & finalize the room.  It’s amazing what you can fit into bins that are more accessible for kids than a toy’s original packaging! Now I am ready to rotate my kids’ toys more often to keep them entertained this winter. Already, I feel like everything has its place, and we’re picking up before getting something new out.  Clean, organized house = one happy mama!

Here is my new & improved tv stand converted into toy storage:

organized toy storage

With a little help from my friend – the final result of my organization!

At my going rate, I hope to keep on organizing this winter, so come springtime I can be outside with my family!

How do you keep your home organized? Let me know if you have any tips that work well for you!