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Simply Overwhelmed–Breaking Through Clutter in Fifteen Minutes!

clutter collageOver the holidays, we were so busy with events, family and resting, that many of my good habits in the clutter and cleaning department went by the wayside. A few weeks back I posted about 15 minute cleaning sessions, and how much you can accomplish in a short time. Many people were skeptical and challenged me, because they didn’t believe you can really get that much done in 15 minutes. Well, here’s proof. And be gentle, because I am about to show you my mess!

This is my reading nook in my room. It is a small area where I go daily to pray, read books, and relax. When the world is chaotic, this is my quiet place to escape and settle down. Only, over the break as I cleaned other rooms, stuff got dumped in here. Dishes were left after quick snacks, suitcases dumped, laundry piled up, and everything that didn’t have a home ended up here.


Every day I spend 15 minutes tackling a cluttered surface. Just 15 minutes! I turn on music, set an alarm, and go. I do what I can in that 15 minutes. I don’t leave the room where I would get sidetracked, I just put things in a basket to be delivered to their rightful home at the end. This is a Flylady trick I learned 10-12 years ago that has saved my sanity!

1. Turn on great music. Music you love. Music that makes you want to shimmy around!
2. Grab a basket for items that don’t belong in the room, and a trash bag for trash.
2. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
3. Clean!

Any items you find in your mess that don’t belong in the room–whether they belong in the kitchen, the closet, or even for giveaway, put them in the basket! Don’t leave the area to go to another room to put them away–you will find yourself sidetracked, cleaning all day with no real progress to show for it. So stay focused, stay in one place, and tackle the clutter.


This is my (embarrassing but real) before:


And after fifteen minutes of cleaning, this is my after:




Ah, peace. I can breathe again.


Now, I didn’t get time to dust or vacuum. The charging station wires aren’t all straightened out. The bibles and binders off to the side aren’t stacked in perfect order. But those things are perfectionist items, not clutter-busting. I was able to get all of this DONE in 12 minutes, leaving me three minutes to put the items in my basket in their rightful rooms, then take the trash out to the trash can.


Here’s the thing I’ve learned the past few years: clutter is ALWAYS overwhelming. It always ends up messy. And when it is messy, it seems like a gargantuan task that will take hours just to make a dent in. But it isn’t true. Just fifteen minutes can make a huge difference! I do this once a day, six days a week. Or, I try to! Sometimes life gets in the way. But when I do, our home is so much more peaceful! And even better, I haven’t spent hours cleaning to only have it messed up again. So I encourage you to TODAY, set a timer and tackle that one spot that seems impossible! DONE!

Handmade for the Holidays–10 Easy Homemade Gifts

ten gifts collage

Pinterest, blogs and Facebook, oh my! The internet is awash with projects that put Martha Stewart to shame. One project after the next, and they’re all labeled “Easy!” and “Simple!”–but the honest truth is, they’re far from simple or easy. Now, I love making homemade gifts. I do it every year, for friends and family alike. But handmade gifts should make your life simpler, not more complicated! Handmade gifts should be fun to make, save you time, and save you money. They should bless the person they’re being given to, as well. Here are my criteria for what made the list:

–simple list of ingredients that are commonly available

–non-crafty types can easily make them too

–can my ten year old make this without a lot of help?

–would I use this, if I received it as a gift?

So after several years of trial and error, of throwing out as many projects as I succeeded at, here is my list of 15 Tried and True, Truly SIMPLE handmade gifts that you can make at home this year.

Handmade lotion bars are

Handmade Lucious Lotion Bars

These bars are a huge hit year after year after year. Friends ask for the recipe all the time! They leave your skin not just moisturized, but healthier than before you used them! Plus, the recipe doubles as lip balm, is good for eczema, heals damaged dry winter skin and leaves a protective barrier to seal in moisture and protect them from future damage.

Chocolate (1)

Chocolate Peppermint Lip Gloss

Treat your friends with this decadent treat for their lips! It tastes divine but even better, it leaves your lips moisturized and silky smooth.

Oulander inspired loom knit sassenach cowlLoom knit cowl

Cowls and infinity scarves are the hot fashion accessory this year–and they couldn’t be simpler to make! Snuggle up with a pretty yarn and make one for yourself–and your friends–in just a few hours. This is so easy you can do it while you watch tv or kill time.

homemade sugar scrubSugar scrub

Sugar scrubs take less than ten minutes to make and are such a treat! They make fantastic hostess gifts. You can use this recipe many ways: a relaxing lavender scrub, invigorating grapefruit, or make a holiday-themed peppermint scrub using peppermint oil. Add a cute glass jar and a ribbon and you are ready to go!


honey_lemon_cough_syrupAll Natural Honey-Lemon Cough Syrup

This syrup is easy to make, stores well, and tastes great! We love to add just a little cinnamon to ours for a little extra anti-viral kick.

DIY-lemon-coconut-lip-balmHomemade lip balm

Keep chapped lips at bay this winter with this easy homemade lip balm! This is my all-time favorite lip balm recipe–at less than a quarter per tube, it is frugal, and it really penetrates skin to heal old man winter’s damage.

hand soapFoaming hand soap

These soaps cost pennies and take seconds to make! Plus, they smell divine. They make great hostess gifts, but are also great for anyone on your list–especially busy moms. Peppermint, orange, lemon, cinnamon–the options are endless. Plus, they kill germs without harsh, toxic chemicals that tear up your hands.

anti aging makeup removerAnti-aging makeup remover

With just two or three ingredients, you can treat your friends and family to glowing, younger-looking skin. Fine lines diminish, skin becomes more even, age spots fade, redness is minimized…the list goes on and on. Even better? It removes even stubborn waterproof makeup in a jif.


peppermint cinnamon holiday body butterPeppermint Cinnamon Body Butter

This body butter smells so good you will want to eat it! It is a decadent treat for your skin, too. Make sure you keep some for yourself–you will thank me for it!



Fizzy Bath Bombs

Pamper your friends and family with these easy Fizzy Bath bombs! These double as detox bombs, pulling toxins and impurities out of their bodies while they soak their cares away!

Natural Anti-Aging Makeup Remover


    I have always been one of the worst at removing my makeup every night. I hate the process, because it seems so time consuming. After washing you have to moisturize and protect your skin, especially those of us with sensitive skin. About nine months ago I began using a totally natural oil-based method […]

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Outlander Inspired Loom Knitting

Outlander inspired loom knit cowl

Are you as obsessed with the Diana Gabaldon Outlander series as I am? I’ve been reading (and re-reading) these books for close to twenty years now. I love them! It has been so much fun to watch the books come to life through the new tv series on Starz. I love watching these characters I […]

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Homemade All-Natural Gumdrops


  One of my favorite treats of the holiday season are spiced gumdrops. My grandmother used to keep a big bowl of them in her living room every year–and now my mother has carried on that tradition. Last year while we were making our holiday gifts, LittleMissSunshine asked me if we could make our own […]

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Homemade for the Holidays: Lucious Lotion Bars

Handmade lotion bars are

  Have you ever seen those fancy lotion bars at craft fairs or expensive beauty boutiques? They look so pretty and smell SO good! They promise all kinds of great benefits for your skin over the stuff you buy at the department store counter. But here’s a little secret: while they are fantastic for your […]

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All Natural Moisturizing Shaving Cream–for Pennies!

Homemade All Natural Shaving Cream

One of the easiest ways to save a little cash and make your beauty routine more natural at the same time is to make your own shaving cream. This recipe is very simple, takes only a few minutes to whip up, and leaves you with a close shave and soft, smooth legs. This doesn’t whip […]

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Ten Everyday Uses for Peppermint Oil

Ten Everyday Uses for Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil

  Peppermint, Peppermint, Oh how I love thee peppermint! Seriously, have you discovered how awesome this stuff is? We are in LOVE with peppermint around our home. It seems like every day we find a new use for Young Living Peppermint essential oil. It is our most-used oil, used several times a day around here. […]

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Fluffy, Soft Towels and Sheets with Essential Oils

fluffy towel graphic

  Is there anything more luxurious than stepping out of a hot shower on a cold morning to super soft, enveloping towels? Wrapping up all warm and cozy, with a large soft towel–that is one of the simple pleasures in life! But if you are using fabric softener to get there, then your towels aren’t […]

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Make Your Own Germ Killing Foaming Handsoap for Pennies!

hand soap

  In my Naturally Frugal Essential Oils group on Facebook, one of the most popular questions is how to make your own foaming hand soap. Y’all…if you haven’t done this yet, you NEED to! It is super-simple, costs pennies to make, and kills germs to boot! Not to mention, do you know all of the […]

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