Browsing CategorySerenity Downsizing

Transform An Ikea BILLY Bookcase Into A Stunning Kitchen Pantry

Ikea provides affordable and good-looking options for remodelers on a budget, and here’s how to make your money go even further! While designing our kitchen, using Ikea cabinets, we needed a large pantry for our family. The cost of the coordinating Ikea pantry unit exceeded our budget, so I decided to wander around Ikea for a while and figure out an option. That’s when the BILLY bookcase came into view! It’s estimated that every five seconds, one BILLY bookcase is sold somewhere in the world. Pretty impressive considering the Billy series was launched in 1979. Historically, these bookcases have become a home for books and chotskis to be displayed, but these days, they can be transformed into a myriad of functional furniture/storage pieces. You can find…

Give Your 1960’s Ranch Style House A Facelift For Under $100

Not content to pull into the driveway of a boring looking 1960’s ranch house anymore? These inexpensive changes can transform your cookie-cutter ranch and make it a modern mid-century joy to come home to! Same, same, same… All  ofthe other houses in our 1960’s tract home neighborhood had terracotta brick, plastic shutters, and a small cement porch with twisted iron railings, that jutted out inconveniently from of the center of the house.   Every other home in our neighborhood was an equally dreary version of ours. Most of our home improvement budget was earmarked for a kitchen remodel, so it would take ingenuity to transform the exterior of our home. Fortunately, I’m a penny pincher, and knew I could make this facelift dream a reality!…

Give your kids every advantage you can, by raising them abroad.

Raise Happy, Confident Global Citizens. Move Abroad With Your Kids.

We both considered the white button-down shirt as I held it up for inspection. It (like almost everything else in the trendy clothing store) is made out of an inexpensive grade of cotton, required daily ironing, and would undoubtedly shrink the first time it we washed it. All this for only $29.99. “I know it’s kind of expensive, but can we get it Mom?” my sweet 17 year-old daughter pleaded. We raised our now bilingual daughter abroad, which helped her land a great job at a nearby hospital. This was the type of shirt she needed for her position, so even though she and I usually hunt for bargains, I bought the shirt. Our children spent their formative years in Costa Rica and have both grown into…

Moving Mom – Be Ready, When The Time Comes To Move Your Elderly Parents

I had my last child at age 42, which I’m told increases my odds of becoming a centenarian (100+ years old.) The thought of being around to enjoy more time with my children is appealing, but I’m not sure my kids would be that excited about spending time with their 100-year-old mom! Both of my (long-ago divorced) parents are robustly enjoying their 80’s, but as my mom nears her 90th birthday we, like thousands of other 40/50-somethings, are making plans for Mom to come live with us. We are fortunate that my Mom is healthy enough not to require professional care on a daily basis, so she will be moving into our son’s bedroom and we’ll create a living space for him in our basement.…

What Should I Pass On to My Children?

I have inherited the possessions of two relatives in my life, and it was an overwhelming experience I am determined NOT to pass on to my children! From bulky wooden pieces of furniture to trinkets from world travels, I had to try to unravel the history and value of the multiple mementoes my grandmother had left behind. Like an archeologist, I unearthed studiously wrapped up and ferreted away treasures I discovered in the far end of bureau drawers and closets. Nana had surprised me by labeling a few of her more precious pieces, but knowing where they’d come from, or their age, wasn’t enough to take me back to that place and time she’d found so important. This is why most of us hold onto mementoes,…

How I “Tiny Housed” My Full-Sized Life In 7 Short Days!

“Would you take 3 bucks for it?’ the man said holding my stunning McCoy vase. It had come to this, all of my collectables, dishes, utensils and appliances lay out like lava on the kitchen counters, the result of a huge cabinet eruption. This was the final weekend before we moved to Costa Rica and our family of four could only take a few suitcases, so EVERYTHING else had to go. My husband had already moved to start working, so I alone had to get rid of a house and garage full of things I never thought I could live without; a chef’s kitchen full of my favorite things, a library of books I’d collected over a lifetime, 10 boxes of Christmas decorations, and craft/art supplies…

“Tiny House Your Full-Sized Life” · 7 Day Challenge

The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment. – Marie Kondo Tiny house living or downsizing may sound appealing, but if you can’t abandon your current full-sized life, you can still experience the joys of tiny house living. I moved back to the US two years ago after long-term tiny house living abroad and in just two short years back home, my drawers, closets, and life were bursting at the seams. I had innumerable decorations (otherwise known as stuff) out on display that needed constant cleaning and I’d begun replacing, rather than religiously repurposing or upcycling what I already had. As the amount of stuff increased, “clutter clusters” were spawned in almost every room. The materialism…

Easy Spring Cleaning Secrets And Tips

Frühjahrsputz (German) · lente – skoonmaak (Afrikaans) · dọn dẹp nhà cửa sạch sẽ vào cuối đông (Vietnamese) · pulizie di primavera (Italian) · nettoyage de printemps (French) · limpieza general (Spanish) · Spring Cleaning (English)                                                                   Spring is fast approaching, and with the continuous rain showers we’ve had here in the south, I’ve been able to postpone the dreaded spring cleaning my home so richly deserves. Our ancestors kept their homes warm with coal, kerosene and wood. On the first sunny day of spring, they’d throw open the doors and windows and haul everything outside to beat out…