How to Make Yourself at Home Almost Anywhere

Have you ever stayed with friends or family who told you to “make yourself at home?” But when you head to the kitchen to help yourself to a glass of water, you have to search through their kitchen cabinets to find a cup. The cabinet doors hide the contents, so it’s a mystery what you might find behind each door. To you it makes sense to keep the cups close to the dishwasher, but your friend likes iced drinks, so he stores them next to the freezer. Your little thought is a judgment that bogs you down. And right away you realize, you’re not at home.

But what if you could feel at home here, there and everywhere? Not everyone has a good feeling about the concept of a home. But imagine your ideal home filled with all the comforts you desire and the people you love. What if you could have that sense of happiness and peace wherever you were?

If you own a motorhome, there’s a good chance you consider it home when your on the road. It’s a scaled-down version of the comforts you keep in your home. It tells a story about your priorities for everyday life:

If you’ve ever taken a long flight, your carry on bag is a small collection of some of your comforts from home: a jacket with lots of pockets, a stainless steel travel mug for tea, a book, your Android phone, and a few other treasures.

By bringing along some of your favorite things, you can make yourself feel at home wherever you are. You are a spiritual nomad, but few people experience the benefits of this in the physical world. Van-dwellers are at home wherever they’re parked, and when they’re going 70 mph on an Interstate Highway. People who live in houseboats or yachts are at home on the water. If you choose to see it, they expand the mainstream definition of what it means to be at home.

Van-dwelling RVers change up their back yard every time their wheels roll. And perhaps they’re moving closer to the true meaning of home. It’s less about the stuff in your home and more about the thoughts in your mind.

wandxrbus volkswagon van minimalism make yourself at home

Sabrina and Jimmy Horel own less to see more. They live on the road in their hippie bus with dogs Austin and Seepy. See more of their lifestyle photos on Instagram/wandxrbus.

I’ve lived in so many places in my lifetime that I’ve lost count of how many homes, apartments, condominiums, townhomes, dorm rooms, and other domiciles I’ve occupied. For a while my husband and I owned a 5000 SF home in a Portland Street of Dreams neighborhood. Our home and family were featured on HGTV. When we bought that home it was a dream come true and when we sold it, I was equally happy because I was ready to downsize to something smaller.

I’ve lived in a number of states in the United States, as well as in France and China. And, as of a few years ago, I’ve added a Pleasure-Way motorhome to the mix. When people ask me where home is, it’s whereabouts I am now. It’s not some faraway place from the past.

You can experience the full joy of being at home in the present moment. If you want to make yourself at home almost anywhere, you’ve got to do some remodeling. It’s not about rearranging furniture, it’s all about rearranging your thoughts.

At first, it might feel like a sacrifice to let go of things you collected. But once you start letting go and lightening up, the benefits you experience fuel your momentum.

You can learn to make yourself feel at home almost anywhere. The lesson begins by teaching yourself to rely on the joy of your thoughts rather than the comforts of your environment. The practice continues day after day, like Groundhog Day, until you awaken to the fact that regardless of where you go, you can not escape your Heavenly home. It’s all there is. And everyone else is right here with you.

Feeling at home is a state of mind. It’s a mental place where you know you’re safe from the battleground, that place where you compete to survive. The battleground, as described in A Course in Miracles, is the world. It’s a place where no matter what you have, you always want to experience something new or different. You desire an improvement on the old or something entirely new. It’s just the way life is in this world of time and space.

It’s quite possible to make yourself at home anywhere when you awaken to the awareness that your home is out of this world. Wherever we go, God is. He’s always there whispering directions so you can find your way home. Every bird sings of it.

You see what you believe and you believe what you see. It’s a paradox you can’t escape until you awaken. Your narrow perspective can begin to expand only by releasing your judgment of others who see things differently.

If you decide that you are not at home here or there, then you are right. And if you decide that you can make yourself at home anywhere, then you are right because that is your belief.

When you have a belief engraved in your thoughts, then anything that supports that belief is right to you, regardless of whether or not others agree.

home birds nest nature make yourself at home

Are you aware that home is everywhere? Whether you’re  walking through a city or forest, you are at home.

Like animals, we’ve learned to gather resources to help us feel more comfortable. Birds build nests in trees, while moles, squirrels and rabbits burrow underground. Birds, butterfliesfish, and reindeer migrate. And people do too! Whether you’re in a forest or a city, you can make yourself at home.

You can build your nest almost anywhere in the world. It might be in a motorhome, or it might be a house filled with a big collection of motors such as your dishwasher, washing machine, blender, vacuum, garage door opener, and so on. Regardless of what you choose, remember that even the most fortified homes are vulnerable in this world.

You can insure a home for reimbursement for damages, but the only way to ensure that your home is damage-proof is to move into your true home which is not of this world. When you awaken to this truth, you will rise above the earthly theatre knowing that what you stage as your home today, can and will change. Everything in this world is designed to change with time.

Sell furniture. Quit job. Take road trip.

I’m in Silicon Valley and no joke, as I was writing this, my home shook for several seconds from a small nearby earthquake.

In her international bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo recommends going through all your possessions one by one asking one simple question, “Does this spark joy?” If it does, then you can feel good about keeping it. If it doesn’t, let it go.

Recognize that all your special collections in your earthly home both lift you up and weigh you down. This is normal for life in this world of opposites. The more you lighten your load, the easier it becomes to make yourself at home anywhere.

Close your eyes and awaken your mind to your eternal home in a castle beyond your wildest expectations. Through your thoughts you can build your dream home. What you think about you will see. And you can do this anywhere!


building vision street art eyes open mind open

EYES OPEN • MIND OPEN street art in Los Angeles


If you’d like to join my husband and me on some of our RV adventures in our Class B Pleasure-Way Lexor, please SUBSCRIBE NOW to our channel at YouTube/Techie and Writer.

Techie and Writer Video Productions


What do you love about your Class B RV?

If you’re thinking about buying a Class B RV, you might be surprised to know how much there is to love about traveling small.

It’s easy to drive.

If you’ve ever owned an RV over 22′, you know that it can sometimes be a challenge to drive and park. With a Class B RV under 22′, you can park it nearly anywhere. It’s much like driving a long-bed truck. It’s easy to handle, even for people who minimal experience driving larger vehicles.


It makes it easy to travel.

You can keep all your necessities stocked in the RV. This includes your bed, bath, kitchen and closet. When we want to do a road trip, we load up some food and clothes and we’re ready to head out.

You can go almost anyplace a car can go.

With a Class B RV under 22′, you can park in most parking lots, and parallel park in most streets. In tourist areas or destination spots, you need to check for signs that might restrict vehicles over a certain height, but in general, you can park almost anywhere. It’s much easier to park a Class B RV than larger rigs or trailers.

You can sleep in your own bed.

If you’re visiting friends or family, you can “spend the night” in your own bed. You can spend all day visiting and checking out local attractions, but when it comes time to sleep, you just walk out to your RV. There’s no need to plan for extra time or rides to go back and forth to a hotel. This places minimal impact on your family and friends, especially if they don’t have a guest room or if it’s occupied by others during your visit.

You can squeeze in at “full” campgrounds.

Because Class B RVs are small compared to other RVs, sometimes you can get a spot even when a campground is “full.” When we learned about this from a fellow Pleasure-Way owner, we put it to the test and sure enough we were able to squeeze into a “full” campground on a 4th of July weekend. A Class B RV is quite small relative to large bus-size motorhomes or long fifth wheel tow rigs.

It’s fun to personalize

Since it’s a small space, you can quickly change the decor by swapping out just a few items such as pillows, window treatments, seat covers, towels, and other hanging items. You can decorate for holidays or special events and then quickly change it around again in less than an hour.

It’s a terrific way to get around when you have time to travel.

Whether you’re retired or just looking for a weekend getaway van, a Class B RV is a terrific way to get around. It’s small enough to park in most driveways or streets in front of homes, so it can be on standby until you’re ready to roll.

It’s nice to be able to shower and get cleaned up in your own space.

If you’re used to traveling by plane, you know you need to build in extra time to get out of the airport and checked into your hotel. And once you’re settled in the hotel, you need to plan time to get to the local venues and attractions. When you’re traveling in a Class B RV, you can shower and get cleaned up almost anywhere, including the parking lot of many attractions. Once you’re cleaned up, you can walk straight into the park or activity you have planned for the day.

You can control the temperature.

Most Class B RVs come equipped with heaters and air conditioners, so it’s easy to stay comfortable all day long, whatever that means to you. During moderate temperatures, you may not need to use either one. You can conserve energy by cracking windows, using an installed Fantastic fan, positioning your rig to capture more or less sun through the windows, or strategically adding Reflectix window covers to block sun or conserve heat.

Interest Cancellation is Your Ticket to Financial Freedom

“Interest cancellation is one of the secrets of financial freedom. What you’re about to read is unbelievable. It’s legal and the banks and mortgage companies are KEEPING this INFORMATION FROM you and your family,” says Kimberly Daly, a business developer in Silicon Valley.

The word mortgage is derived from two Latin words: mort which means death, and gage which means pledge. What many people have with a mortgage is a pledge until death.

“But don’t worry, I’m going to show you how easy it is to escape this pledge and manage your mortgage and other loans to your benefit. You can build equity in your property and own it in a shorter period of time,” Kimberly said.

Mortgage brokers know next to nothing about helping you manage your mortgage.

Banks and brokers are out to make sure that they get a big commission on your mortgage. What does this mean for you?


Interest cancellation can help you save thousands of dollars on your mortgage.

Most people don’t spend as much time and attention learning about their mortgage loan as they do on the property they purchase. But the reality is that, in the end, the loan costs more money than the property itself.

After 15 years of paying off a 30 year loan, you still owe over 90% of the original amount borrowed. And after 24 years, you still owe 50% of the original amount you borrowed.

Few people realize that they make 120 unnecessary mortgage payments in a 30-year loan.

Would you like to slash your mortgage by as much as 80%?

The ordinary homeowner is locked into a crippling mortgage plan. This proven reduction system will help you build equity in your property and pay off your mortgage quickly.

“It’s not what you make, but what you keep. I’m giving you facts and information that banks and mortgage companies don’t want you to know. It’s guaranteed to save you tens of thousands of dollars on your existing mortgage. It’s perfectly legal, but there is a right and a wrong way of doing this. Those who do it right hardly ever talk about it. That’s why 99% of the people have no idea how to pull this off and remain a financial slave to their property for most of their lives,” Kimberly said.

This requires no refinancing of your first mortgage and no alteration to your current standard of living. Conventional banks only offer these options:

  • make biweekly mortgage payments
  • make extra payments
  • refinance to lower your interest rate


But with interest cancellation, you can eliminate next month’s interest now.

What is interest cancellation?

Here’s how it works. By working with the bank’s amortization schedule, you maximize the interest cancellation effect. You can work with the bank’s system to save yourself up to 120 unnecessary mortgage payments.

Here are some typical numbers for a closed-end mortgage. You take out a loan for $340,000 at 3.99% interest for 30 years. Here’s what it looks like:


CLICK HERE to calculate the loan amortization chart for your mortgage.

Here’s a new versus an old way to pay off your mortgage. In a closed-end loan, you can eliminate interest. This allows you to control your money so your money isn’t controlling you. This also allows you to get your money working for you instead of you working for the bank.

As long as you’re willing to manage your amortization schedule and principal balance, you can get reap the benefits of interest cancellation.

Let’s say you have a $340,000 loan at 3.99% interest for 30 years. In 20 years, you gave the bank $389,100, but they only applied $179,793 to your original loan. You still owe $160,207!

This is what makes the banker happy. In the first 20 years of your loan, all the damage has been done. The majority of your payments have gone to interest, not principal. Very few people live in a home for a full 30 years. Most people sell their house before the end of their mortgage. So most of their payments go toward paying off the bank, not their home.

With interest cancellation, you can gain control of your money. This is good news that will brighten up your day . . . and the rest of your life. This ONE FINANCIAL TIP can change your life for the better.

How can you apply interest cancellation to your loan?

You can run your numbers for free. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • your monthly mortgage amount
  • a copy of your last or current mortgage statement break down
  • your total finance amount, your principal
  • the length of the loan, or the term
  • your original finance date
  • your finance percentage %

Here’s how it works. Make this month’s payment, plus the principal amount for the following month. For example, in the month of October, you would make your payment of $1621, plus you would pay the $492 principal for the following month. See the amortization schedule below.

CLICK HERE to calculate the full amortization schedule on your loan.

CLICK HERE to calculate the full amortization schedule on your loan.

Check with your bank on their requirements to ensure that your payment of $492 is applied to principal only. And follow up to be sure that it’s applied appropriately. By doing this, you eliminate the expense of the interest payment of $1129 that would otherwise be applied to the following month’s payment.

Interest cancellation is your ticket to financial freedom.

Interest cancellation is your ticket to financial freedom.

In just six months you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on the balance of your loan and the number of remaining payments. And you have additional benefits:

  • No refinancing is necessary.
  • This works for all mortgages except for balloons.
  • You don’t have to make extra payments.
  • You can apply additional principal payments at your discretion.
  • You learn how to keep your money in your pocket.
  • You now know how to pay off your loan quickly.
  • You can build equity effortlessly.

Many people are afraid of being responsible for their own money. Financiers and bankers are counting on your fear and lack of knowledge to keep you paying forever.

“Lots of people start doing this, but then they don’t continue. What else is going to pay you hundreds or thousands of dollars for just a few extra hours work each year?” Kimberly asked.

It is worth it to be persistent with your bank to figure this out. You have to be persistent. Once you learn this, you’ll wonder . . .

Why doesn’t everybody do this?

You have to be conscious and stay at the front of your mortgage. The bank doesn’t care. They hope you’re going to be late because they make more. Banks don’t want you to pay off your loan early. There’s no one out there promoting interest cancellation.

“I learned about interest cancellation in college, but I swept it under the table until I got my first home. I had forgotten all about it, but my father reminded me to do this. I started doing it on my own, and continued to do it from then on,” Kimberly said.

Make sure all your numbers match and once you get it, you’re pretty much ready to go.

money 100 rolls interest cancellation

By applying principal only payments to your mortgage, you can save thousands of dollars.

Whatever amortization tool you’re using, it’s important that your numbers match the bank’s numbers. You have to play their game. You can call the bank each month and ask for next month’s principal amount. You do have to care about your money and be proactive about this. If you take a few minutes on the phone each month, it can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month. By making a principal only payment one month in advance, you eliminate the interest in that following month.

You can pay your principal down even faster by applying extra money when you get a bonus or tax return, for example. You can always pay more, but you have to make sure it applies to principal only. Look at the numbers for the next six months and calculate the amount. If you want to make extra payments, you can calculate the principal for the upcoming months you want to pay off and add it up for the upcoming months.

“I want to empower people to take care of their money. Finances aren’t scary. I have done presentations all over the US about this. I’ve shared this information in offices, homes and special events. I encourage you to share what you learned today with your family and friends. It’s simple to manage your money. It’s just a mathematical equation,” Kimberly said.


Kimberly Daly helps companies acquire new customers and sell additional products or services to existing customers. Her role is a crucial one for any business with the ambition to expand or diversify its clientele. As an effective business developer, she listens to what you want and where you want to take your business, including business-to-business, business-to-customer, and even non-profit organizations.

If you’d like to learn more about interest cancellation, call Kimberly at 817-382-8375.


Does this glass bookcase spark joy?

A few months ago I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This book proposes a radical concept: touch every item you own, one by one, and ask yourself, “does this spark joy?” This is rule #1 in the KonMari method, a term Marie Kondo coined by combining parts of her first and last name.

Her book sparks joy for me. And it delivers on the promise in her title. It offers “life-changing magic.” It motivated me to start going through different categories of things in my home to find and keep only the things that spark joy. Kondo’s book inspired me to tidy up my clothes which were stuffed in a closet in my bedroom. Plus my office closet was full of dozens of jackets and coats, including many I hadn’t worn for years.

By the time I was done tidying up my clothes and jackets, all my favorite items fit into the bedroom closet. And it freed up a bunch of space in my office closet. I was now able to use this closet to store work-related things that spark joy.

In addition to tidying up my clothes, I also found the KonMari method useful in other categories of things I owned. I was so pleased with the results that I decided to tidy up our furniture. We had a number of pieces that were tolerable, but now I had this acute awareness that many of the pieces did not spark joy.

Because I enjoyed her first book so much, I bought her second book, Spark Joy, when I saw it at Recycle Bookstore in San Jose. I love buying books from them. Not only do they have great prices and selection, I love to visit with the resident cat.

Recycle Bookstore is a great place to buy and sell both used and new books

Recycle Bookstore is a great place to buy and sell both used and new books

As I started looking at all the furniture pieces in our home, I realized that some of them sparked joy, while others clearly did not. Kondo recommends going through things by category. So if you have a lot of books, which I do, you go around your home and collect all the books you have from every room and stack them up all in one place. And then you quickly go through them one by one keeping only those that spark joy.

I need to be honest here and let you know I cheated. I didn’t go around our house and collect all our furniture pieces and put them in one room. My husband is generally cooperative when I ask him to move heavy stuff, but this would have pushed him over the edge.

I did, however, take photos of a lot of our main pieces and put them in a Google photos folder where I could see the images all together. This also made it a lot easier when I was out shopping and wanted to visualize what something might look like in a particular location.

Does your furniture spark joy?

After taking a closer look at all the furniture throughout our home, I realized that we’d have a more joyful home if I made some changes.

Some of the pieces had to go, but some of them just needed a paint job or a new location within our home. I had a glass bookcase in our dining room, for example, that served as a nice display case for cookbooks and glassware, but I knew this space was underutilized.

What this dining room wall really needed was a buffet/hutch. It would make the entire room much more functional.

But this glass bookcase sparked joy for me and I didn’t want to get rid of it.

spark joy glass bookcase KonMari method Marie Kondo

this glass bookcase sparks joy for me, but the location does not

As I was taking stock of all our furniture, I started a wish list of what I wanted to get to make our home more comfortable. I decided which pieces sparked joy and would stay. And for all the pieces that didn’t spark joy, I thanked them for the purpose they served in my life, as Kondo recommends, and then I listed them on OfferUp and Craigslist.

One of the pieces on my wish list was a storage cabinet for the bedroom. I wanted something that was about 5 or 6′ tall, about 3′ wide, and no more than 12″ deep. I wanted a piece that could provide more storage for clothes in the bedroom. And I was hoping to find something white.

Ironically, I went to thrift shops, estate sales and used furniture shops, including Not Too Shabby, before realizing I already had the perfect piece! It was the glass bookcase in my dining room.

It turns out that this case was just the right shape and size. It fit all the requirements on my wish list for this piece, but I didn’t see it right away because I was so used to seeing it in my dining room.

chalk paint restoration illumination tami shabby chic spark joy

chalk paint is a great way to transform a piece of furniture

Another thing that clouded my vision from seeing this piece in our bedroom was the dark stain. I wanted something tranquil that would fade into the white walls. I wanted it to feel light, clean, serene.

Tami Shidawara-Vasquez is a talented artist and owner of Restoration Illumination. I met her after purchasing one of her pieces at Not Too Shabby. She enjoys projects like this where she can do her magic with Annie Sloan chalk paint and wax. She specializes in giving pieces a new look, and sometimes an entirely new purpose.

9 Ideas to Repurpose Junk Into Treasure

spark joy glass bookcase konmari marie kondo

Since reading Kondo’s books, I handle clothes differently. Now when I come across a clothing item I know I won’t wear again, I immediately set it aside to sell or donate. I typically try to sell things at Crossroads Trading first, and then donate the rest to Goodwill.

When I first read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I couldn’t put the book down. It kept me up half the night. And the same thing happened when I read Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up.

Does it spark joy? It’s such a good question. What’s the point of hanging on to things you don’t love?

Because this bookcase has glass on the front and sides, it turned out to be a beautiful display case for sweaters. Not only does it provide extra storage for clothes, I can see many things in one glance. This makes it easier to get dressed. And because I already tidied up, now I’m searching for what style I want among items that spark joy. I’m no longer wasting time slipping in and out of things I wouldn’t wear anyway.

Finally, the glass on the sides allow the light from the window to shine through into the hallway. It seems that this piece was custom made for this spot, but accidentally got put in the wrong room when we moved in several months ago. When we take the time to slow down and appreciate everything and everyone in our lives, one by one, something magical happens. It’s enlightening.

spark joy glass bookcase KonMari method Marie Kondo shabby chic

glass bookcase repurposed into shabby chic clothing display case

Speaking of light, the curtains are still a work in progress. I hung blackout drapes so that my husband and I can sleep in the dark, but haven’t gotten around to tidying up the window treatments yet.

Tami suggested swapping out the hardware for glass knobs. This coordinates well with the existing glass knobs in the house, plus it adds a bit more character to the glass bookcase.

spark joy glass bookcase KonMari method Marie Kondo shabby chic restoration illumination

glass bookcase repurposed into clothing display case

The clothes add color to our bedroom while maintaining the peaceful feeling I want in this space. The clothes are much more comfortable in their new space. I’m so happy with how this piece turned out. The entire project, both inside and out, sparks joy for me! And my husband likes the improvement as well.

Although Kondo recommends folding most clothes into rectangular shapes and storing them upright, these bulky sweaters work well in this case since they’re in short stacks.

I’m so happy this lovely lady came into my life. Kondo’s tidying up methodology awakened me to a magical power from within.

People around the world are obsessed with the KonMari household decluttering method.

People around the world are obsessed with the KonMari household decluttering method.

Think for a moment about all the things you’re surrounded with in your daily life. Does this spark joy for you?

9 Ideas to Repurpose Junk Into Treasure

Tami Shidawara-Vazquez is part of a movement of people who love to repurpose to help keep stuff out of landfills. She’s especially interested in furniture and other things made of wood.

When a piece of furniture is damaged, a lot of people put it out on the curb. Tami likes to find things that people are ready to trash, especially if she can get it for free. What some people see as broken, she sees as raw inventory that she can repurpose into something new.


vintage car mirror repurposed as a decorative shelf

She likes to fix things, paint things, and transform them into something different. She hopes to inspire people to see things past their current state. Here are nine ways she repurposes trash into treasures.

1. Repurpose old parts to light up your home

When Tami saw a Pinterest picture with vintage car mirror repurposed as a little shelf, she knew she wanted to do a similar project.

She started with a cabinet door discarded from a kitchen remodeling project. She has accumulated all different shapes of cabinet doors, but for this project, she chose this thin cabinet door because it was an appropriate frame for a tall candle.

She’s always looking for new ways to use cabinet doors. She decided to do a wall sconce. She thought using a car mirror would be a great idea because most people have never seen something like this.

RestorationIlluminationCarMirrorCandleHolder repurpose

vintage car mirror and cabinet door repurposed into candle sconce light

People are always remodeling kitchens, so it’s easy to find old cabinet doors. She got a door, painted it and distressed it. It was hard, however, to find a deal on a vintage car mirror, but she finally found one at an estate sale.

“Sometimes it takes a long time to find some things, but if you’re patient, you can find interesting things when you least expect it.” Tami said.

This wall sconce can provide ambient lighting in just about any room.

Tami often responds to Craigslist posts when people are getting rid of things. Sometimes things are already spoken for when she replies, but sometimes she’s the first person to respond, or they agree to keep her on file and call her later.

In this case, she connected with a contractor. She let him know that she likes to repurpose stuff and she’d be happy to haul away unwanted items such as: leftover wires, fence boards, cabinet doors, drawers, windows and doors.

2. Repurpose drawers to create focal points

Tami loves giving new life to old drawers. During remodeling projects, people typically toss out old drawers because they don’t think there’s any use for them.

“But, the possibilities are endless. You can paint them, stencil them, decoupage and Mod Podge them to totally customize them to match your decor. You can hang them on a wall, put them under a bed, put your kids art supplies in them on the top of a table, or just about anything else you can think of,” Tami said.

repurpose drawer beverage water kitchen chalk paint stencil

repurpose a drawer into a practical decor for entertaining

Tami often gets drawers from contractors who are remodeling a kitchens. They have to pay to have trash hauled away, so they don’t mind at all if she does it for free.

drawer repurpose decorative box enjoy life pine cones chalk paint stencil

repurpose a drawer into an uplifting centerpiece

There are endless combinations you can do with drawers. You can put anything in them and put them in any room of your home. You can put towels in them in the bathroom. In the living room you can use them for drinks, newspapers, or recycled papers. On a craft table, you can use them to store your paint, brushes and paper. You can also utilize space under desks or other underutilized areas.

“Drawers are like a blank canvas. You can do anything with them,” Tami said.

3. Repurpose boards to organize with style

One of Tami’s customers saw a picture on Pinterest of a bathroom towel hook. She loved it and wanted to recreate it. The Pinterest photo linked over to a post that explained how to do the project with suggestions on where to find the supplies, including buying the vintage-like door knobs from Hobby Lobby.

“They offer a good deal on these knobs. People at flea markets often charge more for authentic vintage knobs like this,” Tami said.

With the original inspiration photo, Tami was able to transform some scrap wood and trim into a towel holder for her client who needed to increase towel storage in a small bathroom.

Restoration Illumination door knob vintage towel holder repurpose shabby chic

repurpose door knobs into towel holders

Tami got a board that she cut down to the sizes a bit longer than the door knob plates. Then she got some wood trim and mitered them for the decorative top. She painted the boards and knob hardware with Annie Sloan white chalk paint. She painted the door plates so that it all blended together. Then she distressed it to make it look old.

repurpose door knobs into towel hooks

repurpose door knobs into towel hooks

Tami’s customer was so excited. She absolutely loved them. She knew that she wouldn’t be able to find these in a store so she was thrilled that Tami was able custom make these for her.

4. Repurpose boxes to create more storage in your home

Tami searches for all sorts of things at estate sales and on Craigslist. She usually starts searching around Wednesday for estate sales coming up, typically on Friday, Saturdays or Sundays. If she finds estate sales that she likes, she signs up for their email updates.

Tami found this interesting crate at an estate sale. She had to flip it upside down to turn it into a table, so she had to take the bottom off and put it on the top. She wanted the Chinese characters to be the right way up. Then she stenciled the “HK” and “SF” letters on the top.

Restoration Illumination Repurpose Crate stencil table storage

repurpose a crate into a side table

“Crates provide great storage. They’re one of my favorite finds because you can do so much with them. You can hang them on a wall, put wheels on them, make ottomans out of them, or turn them into tables. If you stack up a pile of them, they make a great backdrop for wedding photos.” Tami said.

Tami did this project on her own just for the fun of it. She ended up selling it at a booth at Not Too Shabby.

5. Repurpose vintage pieces into multifunctional works of art

“I found this piece folded up against a closet door at an estate sale. The vinyl top was ripped. I couldn’t even tell it was a table. I saw the wood and I was curious. I looked at it closer and discovered it was a card table. I loved the potential of the wood. I knew I could make some sort of wall art or a sign out of it so I bought it,” Tami said.

Restoration Illumination Card Table vintage repurpose

look for ways to repurpose “damaged” pieces

“I removed all the vinyl and sanded it. I went to Graphics Fairy to look for some royalty-free images. I found one I liked and scaled it. Then I did a chalk transfer and hand painted it. I love French graphics and how the lettering looks really old on this one,” Tami said.

Restoration Illumination Card Table Sign Art stencil repurpose

repurpose a vintage card table into multifunctional art

“I liked this project so much that I decided to keep it in my own home. I only recently started keeping pieces for a while. People often see my stuff and think that my whole home is decorated in this style, but it’s not. Most of the things I do sell right away. They never make it into my home. I can’t keep everything.”

“I have “visitation rights” to some of my favorite pieces. I love seeing them when I go back to do other projects at their homes. It’s fun to see how people use pieces in their homes. It’s often different from what I envisioned.”

“I plan on keeping this one for a while. It’s something I can use for shows to display how to repurpose tables. It also shows the sign work I do. It’s a good example of my style.”


“You never know what you’re going to find at a flea market. You can often find rare things at a decent price.” Tami said. She enjoys both buying and selling at DeAnza Flea Market.

Tami occasionally sets up a booth at arts and crafts show such as the Harvest Festival. She loves seeing all the other art and meeting other creative people and seeing the things they’ve come up with.

6. Repurpose furniture to add color to your garden

“I have tons of chairs and many of them are broken. But just because they’re broken doesn’t mean you can’t use them. I had so many chairs, I knew I should start doing some thing with them. I was looking for ways to use them around the house or yard,” Tami said.

“I recently painted a red chair and I thought it would be fun to do some chairs in other bright colors. I had a big pot that happened to fit into the frame of this one. The pot rests in the seat frame,” Tami said.

Restoration Illumination Yellow Garden Chair repurpose chalk paint distressed art

repurpose a chair into garden art

This chair was originally a worn brown stain. She painted bright yellow Annie Sloan chalk paint and then she distressed it. When she does pieces for the outdoors, she tops it off with a coat of Minwax water-based Polycrylic protective finish.

7. Repurpose damaged furniture into new storage

When people have a chest of drawers that’s broken in some way, most people throw them out.

“But dressers are so fun. You can make a kitchen island out of them. You can put wheels on them and roll them around,” Tami said.

Tami got the idea for this bar upcycle from a picture she saw on Pinterest. She fell in love with the idea of doing a similar project.

Restoration Illumination Cabinet repurpose chalkboard paint chalk paint farmhouse

repurpose a chest of drawers into a beverage cabinet

“I started searching for a dresser that I could convert into a bar. I found this one at a Kuzak’s Closet estate sale. I chose this piece because the top drawer had a drop front which made it ideal for a beverage bar. The railings on the middle drawers were broken so I removed them, gutted it out and made a shelf inside. I cut out a section of the bottom drawer and added chicken wire. I like when you can see inside a drawer. I love adding farmhouse style features,” Tami said.

Restoration Illumination Cocktail Cabinet repurpose chest of drawers shabby chic farmhouse

click here to learn more about his bar upcycle that Tami purchased from a Kuzak’s Closet estate sale

Tami painted the main part with Annie Sloan white chalk paint and the sides with chalkboard paint. You can keep it fresh by changing the words. This bar upcycle project can easily change moods for different events, seasons and gatherings. By changing a few words and accessories, it easily converts into a cereal bar, coffee bar, or anything else you desire.

8. Repurpose small-scale pieces for kids play stations

To create a kid’s play station, you can repurpose an old cabinet, nightstand, or any small-scale piece of furniture. Tami used a pegboard to hang the toy tools. She spray painted it with a glossy metallic silver paint to create the illusion of a magnetic board.

You can also use small-scale furniture to make a little kitchen island, an oven, a produce stand, a lemonade stand, or just about anything else to spark a child’s imagination.

Restoration Illumination Workbench children's play station tools repurpose

repurpose a cabinet into a workbench

This was a nightstand that Tami converted into a kid’s workbench. She saw an idea on Pinterest and she thought it would be super cute for her kids.

At the time her youngest was around three years old. It was a great place for him to store his play tools. He was able to put his little tool box in the bottom. Her boys love getting involved and helping. They love to watch, sand and paint.

“Sometimes I would have to repaint projects. They thought they were helping, but they were really making more work for me. But after a while, they got really good at it. I wanted to get them involved and allow them to be creative. It’s a bonding activity that we can work on together. I love doing projects with my boys.”

Now that they’ve outgrown the toddler tool station, she’s going to repurpose it into a kitchen playstation that she’ll sell. Things can be repurposed even after they’re repurposed.

9. Repurpose vintage items to enhance a wedding theme

Suitcases can be used for a lot of different purposes. Some people cut them in half and mount them to a wall for a shelf. You can decoupage them, paint them, or turn them into tables.

Paris Suitcase Repurpose Restoration Illumination stencil decoupage

repurpose a suitcase into a gift card box for a wedding

Tami turned this vintage suitcase into a gift card box for a wedding with a Paris theme. For weddings, she likes to use suitcases for card boxes. The paper used for this decoupage project was from an antique French hotel directory from early 1900s. All of the letters are in French, so all the pages were vintage to start with. She stenciled “Paris” over the pages to top off the French theme with a stencil she purchased from Maison de Stencils.

After the wedding, this sort of storage box can serve as a wedding souvenir and home decoration for years to come.

Restoration Illumination LOVE sign repurpose wood sign art wedding chalk paint

repurpose wood pieces into a sign

“I have tons of wood around my house so I try to find ways to use them such as for signs or candle holders. I wanted a positive word, so I chose love,” Tami said. A sign is also something that can be used for a wedding and easily be used as  year-round home decor.

“If something looks like trash, try to find another way to use it and repurpose it, give it a new life, another chance. It’s a shame to see things getting dumped. There are others who would love to get their hands on it and repurpose it,” Tami said.

Once you get a hang of the idea, you begin to see things for their possibilities, and come up with ideas to transform things in unexpected ways.

Tami checks Pinterest every day to get ideas and inspiration on how people are repurposing. She does searches with keywords like: shabby chic, junk, flea market and farmhouse.

Restoration Illumination Logo shabby chic farmhouse junk repurpose

If you’re interested in commissioning Tami for a project, contact her at Restoration Illumination.

Dreaming of ways to minimize your allergy symptoms?

If you have sleep issues caused by allergies, it’s a good idea to look for solutions before your minor symptoms snowball into bigger health issues. Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways you can strengthen your immune system and combat allergies symptoms such as: sneezing, coughing,  snoring, dry mouth, itchy eyes, runny nose or difficulty breathing.

Sleepy Woman

After having a bad “allergic” reaction to Tempur-Pedic memory foam mattress topper, I decided to consult with an expert on ideas for how to make our bedroom a better place to sleep. In case you or someone you care about is sleeping on a Tempur-Pedic product, be sure to check out this post:

WAKE UP and read the label on your mattress

After I got rid of the memory foam mattress topper, I called Kirsten Flynn of Sustainable Home to ask her to do a checkup on the rest of our bedroom. Before she came to our home she sent me some terrific advice about mattresses. Check out her answer to the following question:

I’m shopping for a new mattress, preferably natural/organic if it’s affordable. Any advice?

Although we had already gotten rid of the Tempur-Pedic about a month or two earlier and our symptoms had drastically improved, I had a gut-feeling that our Gateway Mattress and box springs may need to go as well. It was simply based on some of the symptoms my husband and I experienced since the time we got the bed.

So when Kirsten sent some information about organic mattresses (ones that have not been sprayed with flame retardants), I immediately started searching for a new bed and we even purchased one from The Futon Shop before she came to do the consultation on the rest of the bedroom.

When Kirsten got to our home, she asked a number of questions to understand our lifestyle and what might work best for us. After doing a walk-through, she concluded that the main thing we needed to do was to minimize the accumulation of dust in our bedroom.

We live in a city and we like to keep good air flow through the apartment. She mentioned that this allows a lot of the outdoor air to enter our sleeping space. Although I didn’t think of it as an issue previously, as soon as she mentioned it, I suddenly saw dust everywhere.

Not only is there a lot of dust from the road outside, it’s exponentially worse on the days when the landscapers come through and use their blowers to clear away leaves and other debris. Kirsten mentioned that they cause even more pollution when they use gas-powered blowers rather than electric. The gas powered blowers put out exhaust causing even more harm to the environment, and especially to the operators.

Here are a few tips that Kirsten suggested to help reduce the dust in our bedroom and to minimize some of the allergic reactions my husband and I were experiencing:

Wash bed linens and other textiles regularly

You’re probably already familiar with the benefits of washing your bed sheets regularly. It helps to minimize the risk of bed bugs as well as any allergic reaction you may have to the dust and particles that accumulate on your pillow and sheets.

Keep your window treatments simple, and easy to wash. If you prefer to sleep in a dark environment, buy washable room darkening curtains or blinds that are easy to clean.

Minimize the number of soft surfaces where dust can settle

CD1631CCommon soft surfaces in the bedroom include: clothing, curtains, bed linens, stuffed animals, cushions on chairs or benches.

One of the biggest issues Kirsten found in our bedroom was the fact that my “closet” was out in the open. She suggested that I find ways to cover the clothing. Although we have a small walk-in closet, it’s not big enough for both my husband and me to store all our clothing, luggage, shoes and so on.

InterMETRO natural cotton canvas cover

One thing I love about this sort of open rack storage system is that it makes it easy to see all my clothes at once. The shelves are easy to adjust, unlike closet shelves which are usually screwed into the wall. We’ve had this wire shelving garment rack system for years. These sturdy racks break down into flat parts making them very easy to move. But the biggest issue is that they’re completely open.

She suggested that I cover the open clothing racks since each individual clothing item becomes a place where dust can settle. There are many places for dust to enter the room and settle in between the open shelves of the clothes. She suggested that I find a way to cover the clothes better to help keep the dust from accumulating in the clothes.

With a little searching, I found this InterMETRO natural cotton canvas cover. It was just what I needed. I also incorporated Sterlite stacking drawers to keep dust off my folded clothes.

Minimize the main source(s) of dust

Some of the common things that increase dust in your bedroom include: pets, children, clothing, shoes, open windows or doors, and possibly even food. You can curtail most of these sources from the inside of your home, but you also need to consider what’s going on just outside your bedroom doors and windows.

off-the-leash-1-dogs in bed

If you’re like me and you like to open your windows, you’ll have extra dust in your home. If you have pets, you’ll have extra dust in your home. If you wear shoes indoors, you’ll have extra dust in your home.

We all have personal preferences. You may want to keep your windows open, sleep with your cat or wear shoes in your home, but consider making slow changes toward a cleaner sleeping environment.

All my clothes were open to collecting dust and I had a lot of shoe boxes and shoes stacked on top of boxes. Not only do the shoes and their boxes collect dust, but shoes can bring other toxins and bacteria from outside into your home.

Why your home should be a shoe-free zone

Can you begin by making your bedroom a shoe-free zone, for example?

Clean the floor

Kirsten recommends vacuuming frequently using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. If you have hard surface flooring, you can vacuum up the dust and then wet-clean the floor. Wet-cleaning is the best way to remove all the dust.

Vacuuming also helps to pull dust out of carpeting. Keep in mind, however, that no matter how much you vacuum, you’ll never be able to get all the dust out of the carpeting. It settles deep into the carpet and padding, and just keeps getting dirtier over the years.

housecleaning cartoon

If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, it’s best to replace it with hard surface flooring. But if you’re renting or don’t have the budget to switch out the flooring, the best solution is to vacuum frequently.

Dust regularly

Dust tends to accumulate on nightstands, headboards, and on less accessible areas such as the tops of armoires, mirrors and door frames.

You have to decide what “regularly” means to you. If you take steps to reduce the sources of dust in your bedroom, then “regularly” can be less often. If you want to spend less time dusting, try to simplify your bedroom as much as possible. Less stuff means less dusting.

When you’re dusting, be sure to use a nontoxic spray. Check EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning for ratings on common household cleaners.

Use an air filter

Kirsten suggested that we purchase an Austin Bedroom Machine air filter so that we could keep the air as clean as possible. According to Austin, clean air offers a number of benefits:

  • sounder sleep
  • reduced snoring
  • stop sneezing
  • reduce nighttime allergies and asthma attacks
  • strengthen your immune system
  • reduced coughing and wheezing
  • eliminate dry mouth and runny nose

Buying a quality HEPA air filter might seem a bit extreme at first, but think about it for a minute. Smokers and people who live in highly polluted areas increase their risk of health issues. The cleaner the air, the better. If you have allergies and you’re extra sensitive to air borne pollutants, clean air may be the one thing you need most to help get a good night’s sleep.

I’m a big believer in drinking pure water to flush the inside of my body:

Drink distilled water daily to detox and defend your body

The same logic applies to flushing out your lungs. If you sleep in a clean environment for about a third of the day, it gives your lungs and body a chance to rejuvenate every night.

But what about the cost? A good air filter is a small investment in comparison to the cost of poor health, not only as it relates to your daily productivity, but also to the cost of long term illnesses that occurs because your body doesn’t have the chance to regenerate each night.

Looking for other ways to minimize your allergy symptoms and improve your indoor air quality throughout your home? Check out more suggestions from Kirsten at:

5 Ways to Improve your Air for a More Sustainable Home

Even Rodney Dangerfield believes that everyone deserves a good night’s sleep. “I asked my wife, ‘last night, were you faking it?’ She said, ‘No, I was really sleeping.'” Just-One-Liners


AAFA logo - Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

Why you ought to squat a lot: 7 benefits of squat toilets

Did you realize that squat toilets are the norm for the majority of people throughout the world? If you grew up using a Western toilet, you might find this surprising but . . . squatting is the natural position for better elimination.

split pants baby squattingIn China, babies are allowed to follow their instinct and squat when they need to go. Although they usually wear diapers for the first few months, they’re quickly weaned off diapers and clothed into crotchless pants that make it easy for them to go when they need to.

When a child is outdoors, the caretaker usually tries to get the child to go on the nearest tree or landscaped area, sometimes holding him or her from their knees in a hanging squat position until the child is finished.

When an adult sees a toddler going down into the squatting position, it’s obvious that the child is getting ready to go. I remember many times, when living in China, seeing babies and toddlers stopping in their tracks and stooping to squat. The parent or caretaker, and everyone else around, knows exactly what’s coming!

America is the land of dog and cat lovers. It’s socially acceptable for animals to pee or poo near trees or grassy areas, but many Western travelers sneer when they see human babies doing the same.

The health benefit for the child is that their bottom isn’t soaking in their pee or poo in their diaper. It’s all wiped away immediately, just as adults do for themselves. Some Asians view diapering as a dirty and unhealthy practice. Which is more important? The cleanliness of the sidewalk area or the cleanliness of the baby’s bottom? Your culture has taught you the “right” answer.

Warning: Old People and Frogs May Trigger Culture Shock

Before you cringe about hygiene, keep in mind that dogs, cats, birds, and nearly all other living creatures defecate in their natural settings. They don’t have indoor plumbing. In all cases (whether animals or humans), it’s best if the excrement is collected and disposed of properly, especially in highly populated areas.

Did you hear the joke about the toilet? Never mind, it’s too dirty. Great Clean Jokes

man pooping in a squat toiletBefore I traveled to China, I didn’t know much about squat toilets, but within a few weeks of living there, I noticed the benefits of squatting. Not only did it feel more natural, I also gained more strength in my calves and thighs from squatting several times throughout the day.

Consider the following seven health benefits of squatting:

  1. In general, squat toilets are more sanitary than Western toilets because your body doesn’t need to touch any of the toilet parts. Passport and a Toothbrush
  2. Squatting is the natural position for elimination. It positions your muscles in a more ready position for elimination. Wellness Mama
  3. Squatting helps to alleviate hemorrhoids. Lillipad
  4. According to Dr. Oz, constipation is the #1 gastrointestinal complaint in the US and, in rare cases, can even be fatal. Squatting is a natural treatment for constipation. Squatty Potty
  5. Squatting allows you to better empty your bowels which reduces your chances of irritable bowel syndrome, appendicitus and fecal stagnation which can lead to colon cancer. Nature’s Platform
  6. Squatting when you eliminate may help prevent numerous health issues caused by western toilets such as: bladder incontinence, diverticulosis, endometriosis, GERD, heart attacks, hiatus hernia, hysterectomy, pregnancy and childbirth issues, prostate disorders, sexual dysfunction, uterine fibroids and much more. Adam Huber
  7. Squatting helps to increase your flexibility in your ankles, calves and thighs. It can help you maintain balance. This is especially helpful as you age. Squatters tend to have better health throughout their lives and are therefore less likely to be as needy in their later years.

If four out of five Westerners suffer from one of these Western-toilet related ailments, does that mean that one enjoys it? Porcelain Poetry

Are you pooping wrong? 

Some experts believe the western toilet was one of the worst inventions in modern times, as detrimental to people’s health as cars. Just as cars have taken away people’s need to walk when they want to go somewhere, Western toilets have taken away people’s natural tendency to squat when they need to go. If you believe it’s more “civilized” to sit on a toilet, sit in a car, sit at work all day, and sit on the couch in the evening, you must also conclude that it’s more “civilized” to have more health issues. Real Constipation Remedies

When I moved to China I found it fascinating to see people relaxing in the streets or in the subways in the squat position. Interestingly enough, while I lived in China it quickly became a comfortable and relaxing position for me as well.

men in Asia squatting

When you feel the urge to go, try to go soon. If you make a habit of going in the squat position when nature calls, you do yourself a big favor. Holding it puts extra stress on your bowels, your stomach, and your digestion system. Squatting allows for a full release.

“But where do I put my feet?” Here are some basics on how to use a squat toilet:

Don’t assume that a Western toilet, or “porcelain throne” is better just because you’re accustomed to it.

If you have a Western toilet at home, consider purchasing a platform that allows you to squat. It relaxes the muscles in your back and throughout your body making it easier for you to release fecal matter.

If you’ve never tried squatting, you can work your way up to it by using higher and higher footstools near your toilet. You can also practice extra squats throughout the day. Over time your flexibility will increase.

Your Best Excuse for Not Going to the Gym

You don’t have to go to a gym to work out. If you squat each time you go to the bathroom, you can work on increasing your strength and flexibility multiple times a day wherever you are.

Trainers recommend that you breathe out as you squat down and breathe in as you stand back up. This may be something helpful to think about as you’re practicing squats. Squatting improves the flexibility in your legs and back, and it also helps to maintain your core strength. If you can already squat down and balance on your feet for several minutes, you’re probably in fairly good shape.

If you aren’t flexible enough to squat yet, begin incorporating squats into your daily routine. Practice squats throughout the day when you’re doing household chores, gardening, or reaching for things on low shelves. With practice, you can increase your strength and flexibility.

11 Equipment Essentials for Easy Everyday Exercises

If you’re interested in purchasing some type of device to help you get started at home, begin by using a stool to prop up your feet in front of your toilet or purchase a toilet adapter from the Squatty Potty (7″ or 9″ foot elevation) if you’re a beginner, the Lillipad (12.75″ and 15″ foot elevation) once you’ve developed some flexibility, or Nature’s Platform (adjustable to the height of your toilet) when you’ve achieved maximum flexibility.

The next time I remodel, build, or buy a home, I definitely want to have at least one squat toilet. In the meantime, I’ll keep lifting the toilet seat to squat on western thrones. Always lift toilet seats when squatting because they often shift when you put all your weight on them.


Once you increase your strength and flexibility, you can practice squatting on Western toilets when you’re away from home. When you’re using Western toilets in public restrooms, choose handicapped stalls whenever possible because they have handle bars to hang on to. This helps to make it a little safer.

Although I have more I’d like to share with you, I really need to go . . .

toilet hackers org logo

Four Great Ways to Solve Your Garage Storage Issue



Do you really need more shelves and hooks for stuff you rarely use? Before you pull out your wallet to buy garage storage systems, think for a minute. Consider the following suggestions:

1. Downsize before you organize

Most of the time, garage storage isn’t the only issue. Running out of space is often a clutter issue. Don’t throw more money at the problem by buying  shelving units that only add to the problem. Chances are, you can get rid of more than half the stuff in your garage. The more often you clean out your garage, the more likely you’ll be able to Organize Your Garage In No Time.

When you have a free day, get the family together and remove everything from the garage. Yes, everything! Not only does this give you a chance to clean the garage, it also forces you to go through things and determine what you need to keep. If you have children, they’ll moan an groan on garage-cleaning day, but if they keep stuff in the garage, they need to be involved. They don’t like going through piles of clutter any more than you do. Be sure to give them an incentive for their participation.

If you haven’t used something for the past month, you probably don’t need to keep it. If you haven’t used something for the past year, it’s definitely time to sell it or give it away. At the end of the day, call your local Goodwill or Salvation Army to schedule a pickup.

Your Commute is Now Your Gym sign (1)

Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking About Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives

2. Downsize a vehicle

If you have an SUV, trade it in for something smaller. If you have a car, trade it in for a Smart car, a motorcycle or scooter. When you decrease the size of your vehicle, you make more room for other things in your garage.


3. Sell a vehicle

Selling a vehicle has several big advantages. You can save money, get more exercise, and have more time to build relationships and get work done.

You’ll save a lot of money in the long run. On average, Americans spend more than $9,100/year for each vehicle they own. And those are after tax dollars! FairTax estimates that most Americans are paying 23% or more toward taxes. That means you need to use about $11,000 of your earnings each year just to pay for one car. Don’t get too hung up on the accuracy of this estimate. Instead, take time to calculate the specific cost of your own vehicle(s). See for yourself how much you’ll save.

When you spend more time walking and biking, your health will improve and you’ll find it easier to sleep at night. It’s no coincidence that the USA has one of the highest ratios of vehicles per capita and is also the most obese country in the world. If you need a car every now and then, you can rent a car for a few days or use a car-sharing service, such as ZipCar, for a few hours.

Commute with a colleague or look for carpool buddies through eRideShare or CarpoolWorld, or take public transportation, ride a bike or walk. You can also combine various forms of transportation. In many cities, you can take your bike on the bus or train. Whether you’re carpooling or waiting at a bus stop, you have more time to socialize and build relationships. When you commute via public transportation, you can work, listen to music, or nap while your driver is paying attention to the road.

4. Convert your garage to living space

A 2-car garage is typically 400-600 square foot. After traveling and living throughout Europe, South America, the Caribbean and Asia, I can tell you that millions of American cars have better housing than millions of humans on the planet. And housing is a problem for many people in the US as well.

According to the National Center on Family Homelessness, millions of families and children in the US go homeless each year. And according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, on any given night more than 60,000 veterans are sleeping in the streets. When you convert your garage space to living space, not only do you increase the square footage and potential value of your home, you could also create a small, affordable living space to rent out to people who can’t afford more. Doesn’t it make more sense to invest in people or your home instead of shelving?

Design a Peaceful Bedroom

Good sleep is one of the most important factors in maintaining good health. Make your bedroom a peaceful sanctuary. By applying a few Feng Shui principals, you can optimize your sleeping space. Use a mix of soft blue tones, for example, to promote tranquility. Avoid bright red, or other vivid colors or patterns that stimulate energy.

blog create a peaceful bedroom

Keep TVs, computers, and other electronics out of your bedroom, or at least hide them away in closets or cabinets before sleeping. Keep your alarm clock on the far side of your nightstand and make sure it doesn’t emit too much light.

Keep mirrors out of your bedroom. They bounce light and images around the room, and therefore increase energy. If you have a mirror in your bedroom, cover it with thick fabric before getting in bed. Glass also reflects light. Glass-top nightstands, artwork framed in glass, and glass containers all reflect light and should, therefore be avoided.

Consider your partner. Objects and colors should appeal to both of you. If you share your bed, place a nightstand on each side to create balance. Choose art and objects carefully. If having a partner is important to you, avoid depictions with only one figure, which suggests solitude. And avoid things with three or more figures which  can insinuate infidelity. Be especially attentive to what you can see from your bed. What you notice first thing in the morning can help to set the mood for your first and last thoughts of the day.

Ideally, everything about the area should be peaceful. Don’t store exercise equipment near your bed, for example, or allow clutter to accumulate. If you live in an open-style loft or you can’t move things, cover them, or hide them behind a screen before you go to sleep.