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Creating Beautifully Decluttered & Functional Spaces - Simply Fabulous Living

 

Hello!

It’s spring and a great time to get your spaces decluttered, organized, rearranged, cleaned, and all-around freshened up!  Just reading that feels delightfully motivating :-) As I’m beginning to think about space arrangement in our new house, I’m putting a plan together for organizers, furniture, and cabinet layout.  So, I thought it would be a great time for me to share my strategy for how I’m putting all of this together.

I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago {HERE} that I was creating an inventory of items we have from each space in our current home.  I used that inventory to start paring down to only what we need in each space of our new home.  In other words, this inventory has helped me to figure out what we need and what must go BEFORE we move into the new house.  Now that we’re nearly down to the bare necessities, I am able to start mapping out how I want to distribute these things in each space in the new house.

For the sake of making this a manageable post, I’m going to use one space to illustrate my strategy. Our laundry room is a space that I have had to carefully plan out.  Have I mentioned we have 6 pets in our house? We’re something of an unofficial pet rescue society…LOL!  The laundry room is where I store their stuff.  That, in addition to the typical storage needs for a laundry room, prompted me to really plan this space out well.

 

 

Laundry Room - Simply Fabulous Living Blog

This is our laundry room, still under construction.  The doors are still not installed on the cabinets, but the 2 trashcan drawers are in!  Click the FOLLOW ME button in the sidebar for the latest updates on our new house via email and on Instagram @ourlouisianahome

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A Simple Strategy

***You can also refer to a post I did a few years ago on our old laundry room at the house in Houston HERE. It received lots of hits and pins on Pinterest! You may enjoy it.

The first thing I did was to declutter our current laundry room stuff.  Refer to {THIS} post for my thorough tutorial on how I sorted and decluttered.

  • Cat litter box is broken and needed to be replaced
  • some of our old towels had seen their better days and were put in the trash
  • I cleaned out and recycled cleaners that were out of date, useless, or had a small enough amount to call it quits
  • got rid of a handheld vacuum that was taking up space and never used
  • cleaned the dog and cat food storage bins
  • got rid of extra sewing notions and fabrics – I don’t sew enough to have extra fabric on hand

 

Next, I created a list of our needs (functions) for the new space with what items remained.

  • Storage for cat litter box
  • storage for dog + cat food
  • storage for cat litter
  • storage cubby for each pet + 1 cubby for pet sweaters  + 1 cubby for pet hygiene
  • storage for household cleaners
  • storage for vacuums, mop, mop bucket
  • storage for laundry soaps
  • storage for washer + dryer extras
  • storage for old towels
  • storage for our sewing machine + notions
  • Counter area to fold clothes
  • something to put clean clothes in from the dryer – preferably something that rolls so I can take the clothes to the rooms be put away

 

I made a list of what I need to purchase or do for the space.  I measured each space well and began searching for the items online and in stores around town.

Pinterest is a helpful tool for collecting ideas (without the clutter of magazine clippings) and it’s a great place to find ideas for different ways to store and display items.

  • 8 white baskets for the cubbies — something soft not to scratch the painted shelving
  • Chalk labels for the baskets + new white chalk pen
  • a new, larger litter box for the cats
  • relaxed Roman shade for the window
  • prints for the wall
  • lamp for the counter
  • Rolling basket for just-out-of-the-dryer clothes
  • wash the dog sweaters
  • replenish sewing notions that I’ve run out of

***Other items you may want to add to this list:  a new paint color for the walls, a new lighting fixture, a new rug to add a pop of color

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I’ll be posting the final reveals of these spaces in the coming months.  Be sure to stay connected!

That’s all for today.  Have a wonderful weekend and, as always, thank you for following along!

Live fabulously, folks!

Leah :-)

 

Are there any spaces you’re decluttering and making more functional this spring?

 

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Hi there!

I’ve recently gotten some emails asking how little M was doing so here’s a quick update post on our lovebug.

 

Little M

 

This past autumn, we transferred back home to Louisiana from the Katy, Texas area.  We were desperate to find help with the baby and wanted to raise her immersed in our Cajun culture.  We also wanted to be able to spend more time with our family.  Though the move with a young child was difficult, the good heavily outweighed the bad.  We are so happy to be back home. It really was the reason we struggled to put roots down in Texas.  It just never felt right.

We hit the ground running with trying to nail down medical help for little M, while we searched for a babysitter and land for our new home.  It was a busy few months.

Mama and little M on the front porch

This was me and little M on the front porch of our new house. Smith took this with a camera from 1950 which is why the photo is a little fuzzy.

 

One of the biggest worries I had prior to the move was to get all of little M’s therapies set up while also establishing a pediatrician in Louisiana that would be able to coordinate with our doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.  Since we’ve been home, we’ve found a pediatrician and 2 incredibly good physical therapists and we’re working toward getting her into art therapy locally to help with getting her to use her right arm.  She loves to color and seems like she will appreciate the art sessions (and not realize that it’s actually therapy). We were able to do water therapy until the winter came and we plan to continue with it in the spring.

 

Water Therapy

This is little M with her favorite therapist, Ms. Kylie, at water therapy.

Cognitively, she is doing really well.  She doesn’t seem to have had much damage to the frontal lobe of her brain (read more here about her infection that caused brain damage). At 2 years and 5 months old, she’s putting full sentences together and her vocabulary is growing every day.  She’s been singing along with songs and her recall is unbelievable.  She eats really well and will try anything.  She recently started drinking out of a “big girl glass” without a straw.  She was incredibly proud of herself.  We are just so thankful for all that she can do and for all of the resources to help her do the things she currently isn’t able to do.

We’re working to strengthen her core so she will be better able to walk when she finally can. We’re doing physical therapy 3 days a week and seeing real progress with every session.  She’s getting stronger and she’s better able to sit on her own. And, as of a few weeks ago, she has been able to go from laying to sitting on her own!!! So awesome! She’s also been pushing up to tall kneeling {which is a really BIG deal for her}.  It’s so exciting!

As for her right arm, she’s using it more and more every day!  We often find her using it when she isn’t aware that we’re watching.  Massage, weigh-bearing, and two-handed activities {like opening a container and scooping and pouring dried rice into and out of a container} have encouraged more use of the right arm without having a therapist directly working on it. It’s proven to be so much more effective for us that way. Incorporating the Art Therapy that I mentioned earlier will be a huge help with encouraging right arm use.

 


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We went to the pumpkin patch in Hammond, LA in late September.

 

Pumpkin Patch

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Hello!

If you’re reading this via email, I hope you like the new email format! I’ve been working hard to get my blog more functional and fabulous, one thing at a time.

I’m so happy to have found some time to write to you guys.  I miss blogging so much and every time I would have an idea to write, I wouldn’t have the time to make it happen.  I’ve gotten some part-time help with little M, so that’s made a huge difference!  Y’all, she’s getting so big!  I’ll post a little M update, soon.

This post is something of an intro to our new home.  I will be sharing all of the new organizing and decorating projects as we finish up the actual construction (we’re scheduled to move in early May). In the meantime, I’ll post how I’m preparing for the move.

We’ve been incredibly busy since we migrated back home from Houston.  We moved right into a rental so we wouldn’t have the burden of selling a house in a market that isn’t seller friendly.  We hit the ground running with trying to find land to build our forever home.  In the meantime, I worked with our builder and an architect to design our home.  We found a beautiful little subdivision with only 65 houses and larger lots.  We broke ground on the house in mid-November 2015.  I will post more on the house as we get closer to completion, but if you’d like to follow the progress I am posting, go here –> @ourlouisianahome on Instagram  You’ll love it :-)

 

New home under construction

 

Preparing for the Move to the New House

I am a very organized person, so I am naturally planning ahead for the spaces in our new home–from the furniture to what specifically will be stored in each cabinet. Everything will have a place…and if it doesn’t, it goes!

The period of time before you start packing is by far the BEST time to clear out what you don’t need.  If you can get your hands on a floor plan of your new home, that would really help you to figure out what you can and can’t keep.  Especially if you’re moving to a forever home, like we are, you really shouldn’t have to get a storage unit for extra stuff.  If it isn’t going in your new home now, why would you keep it?  Take off the weight of extra stuff and clear things out before you move.  You’ll be so happy you did and your transition will be much smoother.

 

Sorting — room by room

The first thing I did when our plan was completed was to decide on what would come with us and what would go. Because our home is a custom build, I was able to design cabinets that fit our needs.  For example, I have 8 cubbies in our laundry room for our pet stuff and 2 large trash can drawers for food and litter.  Having designed storage areas like this, I was better able to sort through everything at the rental, knowing what we had space for before the cabinets were even installed.

Here’s a sneaky peek of that laundry area:

Laundry room sneaky peek

I purchased a notebook and labeled each page with a room/space {including the garage, attic, and patio}.  I went room by room taking an inventory of items.  Doing this made me go through everything.

I checked measurements for furniture pieces and cabinet needs, compared that to our plan, and started making final decisions on what would stay and what would go.  I then decided on what decor would make the cut for each space. I did some major sorting in the kitchen and took an inventory of the items to figure out what would fit in the new kitchen and pantry.

Once I had my inventory completed.  I was able to begin labeling my inventory items with what needed to be sold, donated, thrown away/recycled, or moved to the new house.  Some of the furniture going with us needed repainting, so I noted that on this list as well.  My goal with this was to make the move to the new house the most efficient and easy transition as I could.

Decluttering

Seriously, this had to be one of my favorite things to do since we’ve been home. I really really like ONLY HAVING WHAT WE NEED AND ACTUALLY USE. And, the move from Houston taught me a lot about moving with an 18 month old.  The less you have to move, the better!

SELLING

We used 3 outlets for selling items:  Craig’s List, local Facebook selling pages, and neighborhood sites like NextDoor.com

I took clear, well-lit photos of each item including overall and detailed snapshots.  I provided a well-written and comprehensive description of each item and included every dimension possible.  I priced each item well and (for some) listed them as “firm,” so there were no questions about the item cost being negotiable.

When people come to pick up the larger items, I always keep other items being sold available for them to see as well.  You can sometimes sell more that way!

DONATING

Many people struggle with giving away items. If you can find someone to donate your items to or an agency with a good reputation of helping the community with donated goods, it may be more worthwhile to let go of your things.

  • There were a few pieces of furniture that were going to be a difficult sale, so we decided to clean them really well donate them to a family that could use them.
  • I also had decor that I wouldn’t use in the new house and couldn’t’ see just keeping, so I donated it to the therapy center that little M goes to.
  • I had a ton of scrapbooking materials that my sister in law was happy to take.
  • I donate some of little M’s clothes and toys to a family with a daughter a year younger than M.
  • I brought decor and smal furniture pieces that I couldn’t find a home for, to the Goodwill store down the street.
  • We donated spare parts and DIY project stuff to a family doing electrical and construction work at their fixer upper.

THROWING OUT + RECYCLING

Things that needed to go:

  • Anything broken or missing pieces
  • Torn linens and worn pillows
  • Paper clutter (shredded and recycled)
  • Old pet stuff (like toys and blankets)
  • kitchen items that had seen their better days
  • old shoes and clothes that weren’t nice enough to donate
  • we went through all of our tech gadgets and recycled what we needed to at Best Buy
  • We have a ton of paint samples, cans of old paint, and chemicals in the garage.  There’s a chemical drop off day this spring in our town, so I’ll take those items then.

 

Purchasing for the New Spaces

Once this process of decluttering was completed (which was just a couple of days ago), I began proactively working toward putting the new spaces together.  I started by making my shopping lists and idea boards for each space.  I’m using secret boards on Pinterest to gather ideas (and furniture/lighting/decor pieces I find online) and to collect photos of stuff we already have to work with.  I’m using a notebook lister to keep track of pieces I’m pricing for each space. I’ve signed up for emailings from the companies I plan to purchase items from.  I want to know when the exclusive sales are!

So that’s where I leave ya today! I hope this post will inspire some decluttering, even if you aren’t in the process of moving to a new home.

Live fabulously, folks!

Leah :-)

 

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Hi folks!

Long time since we last visited!

Lots going on here.  Smith and I have decided to move back home to south Louisiana!  I don’t know a better way to put this other than, mama’s wiped out and I need to surround myself and my little family with people who genuinely love and support us.  I need help from my close family and friends…something we haven’t had here in Houston.  I am desperately craving the familiar aspects of home and my Cajun culture. We struggled so much to put roots down in Houston.  And although the move to Houston brought so many positive life changes, it just always felt like something was missing. It just wasn’t right for us long-term.

 

louisiana move

Without going into a ton of details {I’ll share more of the specifics in later posts}, we are looking to move in the next month or so.  We plan to live near family and build a new home in the next year.  I’ve already begun organizing the move and plan to share some tips here in the next couple of weeks on moving preparation.

Because I’ll have more help when we’re back home, I’ll have more time to blog.  I miss it so much!  The blog was a project I worked so hard to build.  The coincidence that it ran right into a very {unpredictably} busy time for our family, really made it a place of frustration for me.  For a type A go-getter personality, not being able continue the blog’s success was a really hard reality to face.  Lots of guilt and feelings of failure were {and still are} constantly on my heart.

My focus has been solely on little M…

As she’s grown over the last year, we’ve been able to really see the effects the meningo-encephalitis had on her brain {more about this HERE}. Particularly how it’s affected her physical ability. She’s 20 months old now and she has spastic triplegia cerebral palsy {affecting her right arm and both legs}.  Though she is still struggling to move from laying to sitting, she’s not crawling, she’s not walking, and is standing supported for short periods of time, she is making progress every day!  She’s also kicking butt cognitively. We are working so hard to help her. We can see the difference we’re making and it’s amazing!!! Plus, she’s such a happy kid :-)

Here she is the day she received her stander earlier this spring.  

This will help her to build muscle in her legs through weight-bearing.  

 stander

This is a pic of little M balancing on the edge of a slide.  

Something that seems so simple is really quite an accomplishment for her!  

slide

As we continue toward this move, I ask for your prayers {if you’re the praying kind}.  We will be changing some of our doctors and all of our therapists. That in itself is incredibly scary.  We’ll be moving 3 dogs, 2 cats, and a 20 month old.  It all makes me a little nervous.  Prayers for a smooth transition would be greatly appreciated!  Also, any prayer for little M would be awesome, too!

Thanks y’all!  I’ll be in touch again, soon!

Live fabulously, folks!

Leah :-)

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Savory Mashed Cauliflower - Simply Fabulous Living

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This is a one pot meal that allows you to clean as you cook.  :-)

This recipe is AIP, PALEO, GRAIN FREE, GLUTEN FREE,

DAIRY FREE, NIGHTSHADE FREE, EGG FREE, NUT FREE, COCONUT FREE

 This is a really tasty way to prepare cauliflower and is sure to please. Little M LOVES this stuff and so does Smith.  I’m thrilled to share this easy recipe with you guys!

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Gather: 

2 Tbsp    fat  —  You can use one of the following, depending on your own dietary restrictions:  olive oil, coconut oil, or Kerrygold Unsalted Real Butter {i personally use the Kerrygold butter}

1 + 1/2 cup    diced yellow onion

1/8 cup    minced garlic

1/4 cup    finely chopped green onion

10 cups    chopped cauliflower {1 large head }

1 to 2 tsp    chervil {or dried parsley — the flavor will be less with the dried parsley, but it’s a close substitute} **I put 1-2 tsp of chervil because you can add a little more if 1 tsp doesn’t flavor it to your liking

1/2 tsp    fine sea salt

4   slices of cooked bacon, minced

2 cups    Organic Chicken Bone Broth from Pacific Foods {or 2 cups homemade bone broth to make strict AIP compliant}

***Pacific Organic Chicken Bone Broth ingredients can be viewed HERE.  

Equipment:

  • immersion stick blender or potato masher
  • 4 quart saucepan with lid
  • measuring spoons + measuring cups
  • large spoon for stirring
  • cutting board + knife

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Prepare:

  1. Start by preparing your bacon.  You can do this ahead of time.  For instance, you could make bacon for breakfast and cook 4 extra strips and refrigerate to use for this recipe. To prepare the bacon, get a baking sheet or use a nonstick ceramic baker.  If using the baking sheet, I would suggest making an aluminum foil square with folded up sides to prevent the grease from getting away. This way is also super easy clean up.  Preheat your oven at 400 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes. Side note about bacon. We only use the Applegate brand of bacon.  And, I am very allergic to pork so I used turkey bacon in this recipe.  It’s all tasty, so make it with turkey bacon if you need to.
  2. In your saucepan, saute the cup and a half of diced yellow onion + 1/8 cup of minced garlic +  2 Tbsp fat until it begins to brown on the bottom of your saucepan.
  3. Add 2 cups of either the Pacific Foods Organic Chicken Bone Broth or homemade bone broth. Stir mixture and bring to a rolling simmer.
  4. Add the cauliflower and cover to cook for 25 minutes.  You will notice there is not enough liquid to cover the cauliflower, that’s ok :-)  It will steam some and boil some of the cauliflower.  At about the halfway point of cooking, I stir the cauliflower to get the top ones in the simmering liquid. The goal is to get the cauliflower cooked enough to blend with the immersion blender.
  5. Once the cauliflower is cooked, CAREFULLY {because the mixture is extremely hot and can spray out as you blend} blend the mix with an immersion blender.  I like to leave it kind of lumpy, like I would potatoes in a mashed potato mixture :-)
  6. Next, sprinkle in a teaspoon or 2 of chervil + minced bacon + 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions + 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt.  Stir. Voila!

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I hope you enjoy it!

Live fabulously, folks!

Leah :-)

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