Category Archives: Shop

Craft/Play Room Reveal

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Here we are in the Ides of March and I’m done with my project!

This was the first time I set out to makeover a complete room all at once and the first time I tried to work within a budget. Overall, I’m very pleased with the outcome. Although it wasn’t exactly as perfect as I had it pictured in my head (is it ever?), it is a vast improvement on what it was and a good starting point for improvements to be made in the future. Budget-wise? I failed. I don’t have time to tally up the damage tonight, but I think it was somewhere between $150 and $200. I’m planning to add it up and post all the nitty-gritty details tomorrow. Today is just for appreciating the pleasant space that is my craft and play room. I hope you get a few ideas for any trouble spots that may be lurking in your home. Honestly, if I can do this, anyone can.

Here are the “afters”:

I spent almost the whole first week just focusing on this closet. Everything came out and then got sorted, labeled, and put back in. EVERYTHING has a label on it. I used the over-the-door shoe holders I already had along with some covered boxes, baskets and Ziploc food storage containers. The clothespin labels are just like the ones from our clothes closet.

These are photos from Hubby and my trip to Barcelona. They were sitting in a box so I decided to showcase them in this frame I had something else in before. I’ve been to that city several times and I’m always so inspired by the mosaics and architecture and lively atmosphere. I found out I was pregnant with Boo-Boo on the day we got back so this trip was especially special.

Remember the mirror that reflected a blank wall? Now it reflects the windows and craft table. That light switch caused a spacing problem so I decided to hang it as a diamond instead of a straight square. (Thanks for making that happen, Hubby!)

I really wanted an area for Boo-Boo to be able to reach his toys and be able to pick and choose what he wanted. The four baskets have toys arranged by type. Once a week I rotate things out to keep it interesting. The books are also rotated. The toys not in use are in the second closet (along with out-of-season clothes) and the books are in the wall shelving. Those shelves, if you’ve never seen them before, are just brackets with large books on top. I’ve seen it done where they actually drill a hole in the book to make it the shelf, but I wasn’t about to puncture any of my precious books! (Props to Hubby for making these happen, too.)

Finally, my craft table is meant to be a bright and open workspace. I have a few supplies displayed in the curios above and a note board (made from ½  yard of fabric and an old poster frame) to post reminders and clip inspiration pieces. The box on the table is to keep the supplies I’m using for an ongoing project. I usually take several days to finish up and instead of leaving everything spread out I can store it in there quickly. There are more book shelves over here and a small couch for relaxing. In case we play too hard!

Clearance shopping

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It’s been a slow week on the blogging front: Boo-Boo got sick… then I got sick… Between a clingy, nursing baby and my 100º fever I’ve been in more of a survival mode than an organizational one. But, I’m still working on my project by doing some planning and a little shopping, too.

When I was at Target waiting to pick up Boo-Boo’s prescription, I decided to hit up their clearance spots.

Here’s what I found in the home, office supply, and Valentine’s Day sections:

 

Score! I’m super excited for the curtains as they were exactly what I was looking for to hang in the craft/play room.

When I got home and unpacked my prizes, I started thinking about how I feel so much more excitement finding great deals than if I just went out and paid full price. Of course, because of home economics it’s not always possible to plunk down $25 for new sheets. But I think that even if I had the money I’d still shop this way. Do you agree?

Here are a few tips for clearance shopping that I’ve learned along the way:

1. Know your discounts. At Target, items usually start at 15% and then go to 30%, 50%, and eventually 70% off. Seasonal items will go down to 90%. A lot of times I’ll spot something I like at 30% and then wait for it to go down to 50%. In my experience, a lot of things don’t make it down to 70%. It’s a little bit of a gamble (I guess that’s part of what makes it fun) and sometimes you’ll wait on something only to never see it again because someone else bought it. I consider several factors in my decision to wait for deeper cuts or buy now. If I really love it and need it and there aren’t many left, I’ll buy at 50% or maybe even 30%. For example, the curtains I bought this week were only 50% but there were only three panels left and I knew I wanted them for a specific, immediate purpose and they were exactly what I was looking for. Another time, toddler shirts were on 50% clearance. They had an entire rack. I thought they would be precious on Boo-Boo for next fall. But I waited it out and got them at 70%.

2. Scan it. Target is usually good about putting a little red sticker on anything that’s on clearance. But sometimes things get clearanced before they get a chance to mark it or things get put i the wrong place. If you see something that seems out of place or large clearance sections with several different % off signs, use those handy scanners to check the price. This is especially true for seasonal items. Scanning is also a good task for bored husbands or older kids to do while you are rummaging through the clearance selection.

3. Weekday late mornings are best. I usually find markdowns happening on Tuesdays-Thursdays around 9:00 or 10:00 AM. Usually by the weekend all the best deals are gone. I know it’s difficult if you work during the day, but shopping during the week is much better.

4. Set your price limits. It’s really easy to get carried away with awesome deals and buy things you won’t use or too much of something that might not work in the end. Maybe you give yourself a weekly allowance or a project budget. Yes, you are getting great deals, but you are still spending cold, hard cash! Buying clothes on clearance for the season ahead can be especially tricky. For adults, not much is going to change from one year to the next, but when buying for kids, well, it’s a shot in the dark. I have limits for what I’ll pay for future wear. If it’s for a year or more in advance, I’ll only spend $5 and under. That way, even if he can’t use it I’m not out that much money and I can feel okay about taking it to the resale shop with the tags still on it. (Or giving it as a gift!)

5. Think outside the (bread) box. Being able to envision items as something else will help you get what you need at a fraction of the price. Seasonal and speciality items are often quick to get marked down and usually hang around because people think they are out-of-season or not useful. Whenever I see something on 50% or 70% off, I think about how I could use it in a different way than it was intended. For example, I’ve found plus size dresses for under $5. Now, I don’t wear plus sizes but that material can be cut up and made into something like a pillow or curtains or a smaller dress. I think this creativity is what I like best about clearance shopping. I’ve done one or two posts about repurposing something I found on clearance. For your budget’s sake, it is important to be reasonably sure you have a specific plan and that you will follow through.

Anyone else love clearance shopping?

Super Doubles

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Coupons have always been a part of my life. I can remember being a little girl and going to the grocery store with my mom. I watched her match up coupons with sales to maximize savings. She a huge accordion file stuffed with carefully cut out and categorized coupons. Sometimes I even got to hold the ones we were using. When I first started grocery shopping on my own, I didn’t use many coupons. My mom would send me some now and again, but I didn’t become serious about it until after I stopped working full time. Not only did I have a tighter budget but I also had more time. Using coupons well takes time: cutting and organizing, planning, and shopping sometimes at several stores. I went from doing one big grocery haul on Sunday afternoon to shopping two to three times a week at different stores. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t drive across town to save fifty cents. I’m fortunate enough to live in an area that has four (soon to be five) grocery options within two miles of my home.

One of these options is Harris Teeter. They usually run one major coupon event per month. Super Doubles is when coupons double in value up to $1.98. This means a coupon for $1 off will be $2 off. Pair this with sales and you can find some great deals!

So for this month I sorted through all my coupons (most of them sent to me by my wonderful Mom!) to find any that might be a good deal. Then I used the store’s online shopping system to see what the prices of each item were. Sometimes I don’t go to the trouble of all the preplanning, but it really helps now that I grocery shop with kids who could at any time stage a mutiny from the cart. It also keeps me from overbuying.

Here are my coupons I had planned to use:

BEFORE: Coupons

While at the store I decided to use only one of the 7th Generation coupons and I found a product that I didn’t think they would carry. A couple of the items were still a little more than I’d like to pay, but I went ahead because I needed them. Here is what I came home with:

AFTER: Groceries

My total before coupons: $55.24

My total after coupons: $30.89 (including tax, of course)

 

Now I have good food for less money.