Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Category: setting up a home

5 Good Reasons to Declutter, Plus a Decluttering Challenge

I’m happy to introduce Amy Harke-Moore, who wrote this post for us today! She also guest posted around Christmas last year, with this very wise post.  Today, she has some great advice for reasons to declutter.  Plus, she is hosting a declutter challenge on her blog. Details following this motivating post!

Unless you’ve been living sequestered in an ancient mountain village and currently go by the name of Brother Paul, you can probably relate to having too much stuff. It’s a modern dilemma, to be sure, and for some of us our collection of material goods has reached the scary point. Where do you even start? Much easier to shut the door and forget about it, right? But I propose a different idea.  Instead of letting the overwhelm paralyze you, take courage. Here are five good reasons to motivate you to declutter.

  • Feel lighter. Don’t underestimate this! I had always heard this from the decluttering crowd, but it wasn’t until I actually took a challenge and got rid of over five hundred items in two weeks that I really understand the truth of the statement. I felt like I’d just lost twenty-five pounds on a crash diet. I probably did lose that much weight—just not off my person. Every item you own, however small, carries some burden, responsibility, or weight to it. Lessening your load can be life-changing!
  • Sell your items for quick cash. If you’re like me, you have clothes you bought and never wore and gifts you never took out of the box. Why not take those barely—if at all—used items and turn them into a profit? Have an old movie collection? Sell it on Craig’s List. Toys your children have outgrown and no longer care about? Take them to the consignment store. Or hold an old-fashioned garage sale. Just be careful you don’t spend the money on more stuff.
  • Give your items away to charity. Want to feel even better about getting rid of stuff? Take a box of items to Good Will or to a church with a donation center or one of those boxes you see in parking lots where you can drop off quality used items. You’ll have the satisfaction of helping others who might have been through a traumatic event like a house fire or losing a job.
  • Eliminate things to dust, clean, wash, and store. You can’t dust what you don’t have. You don’t have to find places for items you no longer own. The fewer things you have to take care of, the more time you free up from cleaning, storing, and worrying about those possessions. And the wide open space will make you feel like you have room to breathe.
  • Make room for what really matters. So maybe the spare bedroom has become the catchall place, but you’ve dreamed of having an art studio. Or maybe you’d like a dedicated place to work out. Decluttering can get you back in touch with your passion. You’re using the space in an uplifting, positive way instead of storing items that, in many cases, are no longer useful to you. You’re investing in something that brings you joy or challenges you rather than stuff.

So there you have it. Five good reasons to declutter. Are you motivated yet? Join me for a 7-day decluttering challenge running September 24 – 30 at A Rural Girl Writes. You just might get rid of a few things and have fun in the process!   Click here to find out more and join!  Margo says: “I just did and am ready to tackle my basement!”

Also, while you are here,  don’t forget to enter the photo caption contest and win prizes! It’s fun! It’s easy. It goes until September 30, 2018. 



Only the Boring Get Bored–Tell Your Kids This Summer

(contributed post)

If you’re a parent, you’ve no doubt heard your kids utter the words “I’m bored” at one time or another. Some kids say it more than others, but it’s pretty common for them to say it at some point. What do you do when your kids say this? You might give them something to do. Maybe you tell them to go and play a game, or paint a picture.

However, giving your kids things to do all the time can stop them from using their own creativity and imagination. It’s normal for them to ask for something to do, especially once they’ve started school. After all, they’re told what to do all day long there: stand in line, do this equation, draw this picture, don’t do that, etc. They may feel like the same should be happening at home. However, their time at home is their opportunity to do what they want to do (within reason).

If you always give them something to do, they’ll rely on you. They’ll say they’re bored all the time. They’ll stop discovering new things that they like to do all on their own!

Make sure you tell your kids that only the boring get bored! They aren’t bored, and there isn’t nothing to do. They’re simply uninspired. Provide your kids with what they need to come up with their own activities and games.

Make sure your kids have the following:

Materials For Drawing And Painting

Drawing and painting can be quite a therapeutic activity for kids. Making sure they have various materials for drawing and painting can be a way to ensure they always have something to do. You could even make sure they have coloring books.

Something For Writing

Some kids like to write poems and stories. Maybe you could get them an old school typewriter, so they’re not always on the computer getting distracted. Plenty of pens and notebooks can be great, too. You never know what they might come up with!


Books are a fantastic way to get kids improving lots of skills, from reading to listening and even communication skills in general. Kids that develop a love of reading while they’re young usually have it while they’re older, and this can be very beneficial for them in their school work. Books are like watching a TV show in your head, so they encourage imagination.

A Musical Instrument

An ear for music can be tough to develop when you’re older. It’s so much easier when you’re young. Encouraging your kids to play a musical instrument could help them to develop confidence and allow them to see what they are really capable of. Sites like Easyukulelesongs.com are designed to help anybody learn songs quickly and easily. Your kids could be playing their favorite songs in no time.

A Garden Area

Kids should be spending time outside. The sunshine and fresh air is important! Give them a place in the garden they can play. It might be a sandpit, a mini park, or even a vegetable garden they can tend to.


Tips to Choose Flower Arrangements for Your Dining Room

Flowers always have a way of making a home look more beautiful and cheerful. Their lovely shapes and bright colors can put people who see them in a good mood. If you love flowers, you will want to add flowers to your home, too. Put a pretty flower arrangement from a flower delivery company in your home and make your home look more beautiful. Everyone who visits will be impressed and feel relaxed in your home, especially if you put the flower arrangement in a pretty vase on top of your family dining room table.

Below are the tips for picking flower arrangements for your family dining room table:

  1. Consider the room decoration

Whatever is your flower choice, make sure that you choose the most appropriate one—for the sake of the room decoration! The flower arrangement is used to beautify your room, after all. Make sure that you pick the one that will complement the room. For example, if your dining room design or decoration is the minimalist type, it’s better if you choose a simple flower arrangement because a lavish flower arrangement might not look appropriate there.

  1. Consider the color

After the room decor, the color is what you have to consider, too. Choose the flower color that looks nice and matches the room. What is the color of your dining room? If the color is white, you can choose white too, or other soft colors to make the flower arrangement stand out.

  1. Consider the flower meaning

Do you know that flowers have meaning too? Each flower has its own meaning. If you choose it right, you will not only get a pretty arrangement, but also a meaningful one. You can do a little research on the internet for each flower meaning and decide the most suitable one before buying your flowers. Or you can simply ask the florist for the flower meaning.

  1. Consider the flower itself

However, don’t forget to consider the flower itself–its life span and the maintenance that it needs. Don’t choose flowers that wilt easily or need extra care if you don’t have much free time for it. Instead, choose one that lasts long or just needs a simple treatment to keep it alive and fresh. Moreover, don’t choose flowers that need intensive sunlight if your dining room cannot provide enough sunlight.

  1. Buy it from the best florist

Finally, buy the flower arrangement from the best and trusted florist for the best result. You don’t want to buy flowers with cheap quality, right? An entrusted flower delivery service will be the best source for your flower arrangement; make the rooms in your home look more beautiful with flowers.

The best and experienced florist will know how to choose the most appropriate flower arrangement for your rooms; don’t hesitate to ask for suggestions.

(contributed post)


Teenage Kicks: Creating a Bedroom for Your Teen

(contributed article)

Even if you enjoy decorating and creating fresh and new interior designs in your home, you might not feel so excited about the prospect of redesigning your teenage childrens’ bedrooms. It’s not the actual decorating that puts off most parents – it’s the fact that their tastes might differ wildly from those of their children, and this could create some very stressful disagreements and arguments. But when your teenager outgrows her princess theme or his transportation craze, redecorating their space becomes a must! 

Thankfully, though, decorating a teen’s bedroom doesn’t always have to end in tears. Here are some great tips that can help you through it.

Talk To Them

No matter what you do, you really need to discuss the decorating project with your child. This gives you each the chance to swap ideas and inspiration. It also lets you both get anything off your chest, such as things that you don’t want to see in the bedroom. Talking openly before you start all the work will prevent any arguments from breaking out further down the line, as you can discuss differences in opinion.

Go Bright

Next, you need to think about a color scheme. Your teenager will of course have a favorite color, and hopefully, it’s an acceptable one to put on the walls. But, as it is your home, you should have the final say – that will prevent them going wild and asking for their walls to be painted black, for instance! As this is a room for a teenager, you should try and give the overall decor a youthful and playful feel, which can easily be achieved by using a bright color scheme. You can find out more about color scheme ideas at thespruce.com/.

Keep It Practical Yet Comfortable

The bedroom needs to be a comfortable space that promotes sleep. However, you should also create a practical room that is suitable for them to study in and hang out in. So, as well as adding something from comfysacks.com/, you should also consider adding practical items, such as a desk and office chair. That way, you teenager’s new bedroom can serve more than one purpose. Just remember, though, that you might not get them out of it again if they enjoy being in it so much!

Don’t Forget Storage

You should also aim to add plenty of storage to your teenager’s bedroom. All parents know that their children can accumulate a lot of stuff in a short amount of time, and they will need plenty of space to accommodate for it all. If you don’t add adequate storage, then their room will just come across as very cluttered and messy. If there isn’t much space for a dresser or chest of drawers, you should look for furniture that has hidden storage built into it, such as beds with drawers underneath.

Creating a new bedroom for your teenager doesn’t have to end in such an ordeal – the above tips can really help!


7 Simple Steps to Better DIY Home Projects in 2018

(contributed article)

Now that Christmas is over, you may start noticing some jobs to do around the home. Becoming a DIY master isn’t something that happens overnight; you need to be ready to put in hard work to achieve the results that you are looking for. No matter how experienced you currently are at DIY, we have compiled a list of top tips to help bring you up to the next level.

Prior Planning

The best DIYers don’t simply rush in with all guns blazing. They take the time to plan every project carefully and analyze all the different things which could go wrong along the way. For more complicated projects, this may involve drafting up plans; and for simpler ones, it may be taking the time to watch a how-to guide on YouTube. Good quality planning results in less wasted materials and a reduced likelihood of anything going wrong along the way.

Staple Tools

Building up your toolbox is essential for anyone with DIY on their minds. The tools and materials will vary depending on what jobs you are doing, but you should be looking to gradually grow your collection over time. However, when it comes to the more expensive equipment, unless you are planning on using them regularly, it may be worth borrowing or renting them.

Accept Help to Improve

Help could come in the form of a professional friend who knows what they are doing and can teach you the ropes. It may be that you need to work with a professional company, like Armstrong because you need a steel building  or shed in your back yard, and the job is too complicated to do completely by yourself. The willingness to learn is one of the hallmarks of a quality DIY enthusiast.

Finish What You Start

Don’t be that person who leaves a job half-finished for months on end. Even if it may be difficult, push yourself to overcome barriers that are in front of you. You may need to call in help on particular areas, but you are still gaining the invaluable knowledge, so you can complete the job next time.

Challenge Yourself

Of course, it is important to do the jobs you already know how to do; but if you don’t push yourself every now and again, you won’t be getting anywhere. Obviously, safety and practicality are paramount, but the internet has provided so many more resources these days for DIY projects, so you can push yourself to the next level.

Improve the Lighting

One of the most important aspects of DIY is making sure that you have high-quality lighting, so you can see what you are doing. So, if you have a workshop, try to get as much natural lighting in the room as possible. Also, you should have different artificial lighting sources, so you can pick and choose as needed. Investing in a headlamp can make your life so much easier.

Pass Along Your Knowledge

Teaching someone else is a great way to understand the skills you have developed, as well as helping the next generation of DIYers to learn and improve.

What is a DIY project you are tackling in 2018?