21 Ways to Make the Most of Leap Day

Wondering what to do with that extra day? We've come up with 21 ideas that are practical, rewarding and probably overdue. 

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By late February, most people have moved on from their New Year's resolutions, and dreams of an organized home or a major clutter purge have been pushed away to next year. But this year, we’ve been given a special gift: more time. Every four years, we actually get an extra day, and that means more time to devote to making our clutter-free, deep-cleaned, ultra-organized dreams a reality.

Leap Day

Leap Day

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/Craig Dingle

©iStockphoto.com/Craig Dingle

So what if this year’s extra 24 hours happen to fall on a Monday? My suggestion: take the day off and make the most of it. Do the things you always want to do but never seem to have time for. This is a free day! Don’t treat it like any old regular calendar day. This is Leap Day, and Leap Day is magical.

1. Create a Gallery Wall

Lead?- Art Wall

Lead?- Art Wall

One of the most important factors in giving a room personality is the proper selection of art. This doesn’t require spending a lot on gallery works, but rather a keen eye. This gallery grouping was made by searching local flea markets and vintage stores for a mix of colorful and neutral pieces ranging in shape, size and subject matter. After spacing them out on the floor, the collection was hung on the wall with a consistent amount of space left between each piece.

Photo by: Sarah Dorio & Rustic White

Sarah Dorio & Rustic White

So you've been collecting art, framing family pictures and just waiting until the perfect day rolls around when you have the time to really focus on your gallery wall … the time is now! We know it can be a bit daunting, but with some expert tips and a little pin-worthy inspiration, we know you can do it!

Find Your Inspiration

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Make a Statement

Jen Bekman, founder of the popular online art shop, 20x200, finds that creating a gallery wall is the perfect way to make a personal statement at home. "This is your opportunity to make a statement about who you are and what you like. Mix paintings and photography, black-and-white and color and combine high and low pieces," advises Bekman. Image courtesy of 20x200

Have Fun With the Layout

Before placing your collection of pieces, Bekman suggests playing with a few layouts until you identify the best one for your gallery wall. "I recommend laying your framed work on the floor to try out a few setups. You can even use painters tape to outline the size of the wall to help you visualize. Take cell phone snaps of a few variations that you like as you go. To start, use two to four pieces hung in the center at the same height to establish your anchor or focal point and fill in from there." Image courtesy of 20x200

Think About Placement

As you are designing your gallery wall, think about the placement of each piece, particularly when you're hanging art over a sofa or chair. "When installing artwork over furniture, leave at least eight inches between the base of the frame and the top of the furniture," says Bekman. Be sure not to hang pieces too low or too high. Eye level is best. Image courtesy of 20x200

Develop a Palette

You can showcase art with a variety of shades for a colorful display, or use works in a similar color palette that will complement the space that your art hangs in. Christiane Lemieux, founder of DwellStudio and curator of its new Art Shop, is a fan of a gallery wall with a specific color palette, “Design a whole room around modern abstract paintings. I'm loving working with the bold black and whites. It's so graphic and chic — a palette that works all year!" Image courtesy of Dwell Studio

Create a Wall Story

Gallery walls can also be used as a unique way to document and tell a story of your travels and experiences. You can include photographs from recent trips and prints and artwork that you bought while on vacation. Lemieux is a fan of identifying pieces that have a sense of story to them. "I'm always inspired by the vintage art I find while traveling and have developed a deep love of collecting pieces from flea markets and galleries all over the world. I love artwork that has a back-story. It's a real conversation starter." Image courtesy of Dwell Studio

Frame Your Work

Your gallery wall is not just about the art on display, but also the frames that highlight the art. For a clean look, frames in the same color and style are the perfect fit. You can also mix and match picture frames so that you work feels like it has been collected over time. "Frame your artwork with unique frames. Go for something distressed for an old-world vibe. I'm always finding vintage frames at flea markets. They can add so much visual interest to the home," remarks Lemieux. Image courtesy of Dwell Studio

Go Off-Center

"Ideally you'll have one picture to build from, but this doesn't necessarily have to be centered," interior designer Hillary Thomas advises. When building your gallery wall, try hanging pieces to the left or right of center for an arrangement that is less formal. Image courtesy of Hillary Thomas Designs

Mix It Up

Illustrations, paintings and a menagerie of distinctive pieces can all have a home on your gallery wall. "Do mix in drawings with photos and paintings. The more eclectic, the more you'll get a 'salon' feel," says Thomas. Image courtesy of Hillary Thomas Designs

Let Loose

The final and most important thing to remember when creating your gallery wall is that there is no specific formula for creating a great display. Thomas's final tip: "Creating a gallery wall can be intimidating, but don't overthink it. Just jump in!" Enjoy the creative process and have fun creating a unique gallery wall that you will enjoy over time. Image courtesy of Hillary Thomas Designs

2. Make Room for a Home Office

Small Home Office

Small Home Office

Matt and Jodi sought the help of a designer friend to give purpose to the open space just off their apartment's entry. In order to use this as a private office space, the area needed to be separated somehow from the dining and living room areas.

Whether you work from home on the regular or just need a space to go through paperwork and keep the house running, it doesn’t take an extra bedroom to have an efficient home office. In fact, you might be surprised just how cheap and easy it is to turn even the tiniest space into a hard-working home office. And with the right attitude, we bet you’ll be marking this one off the to-do list by the end of the day.

Find Space Anywhere

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Modern Artwork

The neutral color palette here doesn't steal too much focus from the rest of the room and the small desk details and wall frame cluster keep it from feeling unfinished.

Shelf Under the Stairs

Add a floating shelf, and a small space beneath the stairs is transformed into a tidy workstation. The corkboard on the wall displays clippings and reminders and the front of the shelf opens with hinges to hide paper clutter.

Bachelor Pad Nook

Even the most unlikely corner can function as a work area. This master bedroom nook instantly became an office with the addition of a few floating shelves and a refined desk chair.

Homework Helper

If you're able to renovate, building a custom study space may be the best option, as it was here for contractor Chip Wade, host of HGTV's Elbow Room. The station is private enough to curb distractions, but open enough that it still feels connected to the room.

Corner Curios

Don't overlook corners. You can buy a corner desk to effectively "hide" a workspace and make it blend into the room, or you can take a small, traditional desk and turn it into a room feature. Here, Rate My Space user fleamarkettrixie took added some Tiffany blue flea market finds to spruce up this space.

Minimal and Modern

Choosing a white desk and chair is a smart strategy if you don't want to add too much visual weight to a room. The clean lines of these pieces also make them feel light and airy.

Masculine Area

Sometimes a workspace can actually help unify a room, as this desk area does with its sculpture, pistol painting and red cords on the wall. A brick room can be challenging to decorate, but these details certainly add interest.

Tiny but Flexible

This little cranny is only 3' x 3', but it utilizes the 10 feet high vertical space nicely with custom built-ins that are the same color as the wall (a bit of eye trickery), and all the surfaces can be stowed away or rolled out as needed.

From: Luis Caicedo

Vintage With a View

Pick up a vintage desk, pair it with a woven chair. Plant both in front of a bedroom window. Decorate with framed photos, flowers and a lamp, and you've added form as well as function to an overlooked space.

Hidden Away

Take an awkward bit of empty space and put it to use. Here, the previously unused square footage just off of an apartment's entry is now occupied by a private office space.

Wash Room Workspace

Can an office fit in a space the size of a stacked washer and dryer? This cozy little cubby proves it can! (Bonus: Bet you'll get your wash done more quickly by working next to the laundry, too.)

Closet Office

An unused closet has office area potential, as shown here by Rate My Space user Jennifer Jones. The elegant wallpaper and shelving make it pretty enough to display, but she could also choose to conceal the office area with tension rods and curtain.

Loft on Wheels

This industrial-modern desk set seems like it's monopolizing the loft, but all the pieces have casters, so they can easily be rolled out of the way. Mobility is key when you need give the room another purpose!

Portable Laptop Table

If you still think you can't squeeze an "office" into your space, think again. If you have a laptop, consider a C-table for your bedroom. The bottom of the table has a C-shaped frame that tucks underneath the bed, keeping it out of the way. Now you don't even have to get out of bed to work. Trust us, it makes the commute easier.

Photo By: Photographer: Christina Wedge

3. Clean Your Mattress

Blue Wicker Bed with Dog

Blue Wicker Bed with Dog

Round mirrors and man's best friend accentuate the cozy feel of this coastal master bedroom. A wicker bed frame encases the mattress, while a soft wall color and wicker bed create a peaceful summer retreat.

Photo by: Eric Roth Photography

Eric Roth Photography

People spend almost one third of their lives in bed. So just washing your sheets and pillows isn’t going to cut it if you want a clean, healthy spot to lay your head down at night. Unfortunately, this is one task that often gets overlooked. You should regularly run the vacuum over your mattress to suck up allergens and dust mites. Take this day to start a healthy, new routine.

4. Build a Fire Pit

Fire Pit

Fire Pit

Whether you buy one or build your own, adding a fire pit to the yard or patio creates an elegant and cozy focal point for your outdoor living space.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Shayne Newman

Image courtesy of Shayne Newman

Depending on the weather, this may be the perfect day to finally head outside and build the fire pit of your dreams. Come springtime, you’ll be so glad you did.

Make This: Brick Fire Pit

30 Gorgeous Styles

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Private Fire Pit

A secluded seating area becomes prime real estate for a fire pit setup. A grouping of weather-resistant chairs surround the fire feature, while a living privacy wall surrounds the entire space.

Photo By: DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Built-In Fire Pit

Indoor/outdoor living can be enjoyed year round in this California community. Here, a spacious atrium is the perfect gathering spot for family and friends. Modern rattan furniture placed near the built-in fire pit adds plenty of space for relaxation. Design by Kevin Smith

Limestone Fire Pit

This built-in fire pit is veneered in house brick lined with a fire brick interior and finished with a four-piece thermal bluestone coping. Design by Bob Hursthouse

Sunken Fire Pit

This Maui vacation home features more than stunning ocean views; it also comes with a stone patio and sunken fire pit to make alfresco relaxing that much better.

Marble Fire Pit

A marble fire pit warms up this covered outdoor living room and makes the space perfect for year-round lounging. Design by Adam Miller

Four-Unit Fire Pit

Four separate gas units comprise the modern fire pit design of HGTV Dream Home 2012. The Utah limestone-clad column is topped in a surface of limestone. A clear glass surround protects gas flames while contributing to the deck's open fire experience.

Open Fire Pit

Set in the Santa Monica Mountains, this adobe-style home encircles a large pool and courtyard with an open-flame fire pit situated right in the middle. Design by Lewin Wertheimer; Photo by Douglas Hill

Bluestone Fire Pit

This natural stone fire pit features a fire brick interior and is capped in Pennsylvania bluestone, which can quickly turn into additional seating when more party guests arrive. Design by ACM Design

Photo By: Frontier Group ©Photographed by Frontier Group

Stacked Stone Fire Pit

This contemporary outdoor space is a destination for every season with lush foliage that peaks in the spring and summer and a cozy fire pit for cold-weather months. Design by a Blade of Grass Landscape Design

Old World Fire Pit

This outdoor patio is designed to bring a contemporary look to an Old World-style house. Adjacent to the pool, a built-in stone fire pit becomes the centerpiece to a cozy lounge area. Design by Paul Wrona

Flat Stone Fire Pit

Landscape designer Chris Lambton transformed his own backyard into an outdoor oasis complete with a custom-made picnic table, bluestone patio and fire pit area finished with Pennsylvania flat stone. The fire pit is surrounded by upcycled whiskey barrel stools and wooden Adirondack chairs for ample seating options.

Photo By: DarrenMcCollester/Getty Images © 2012, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Stacked Stone Fire Pit

A band of composite decking in a lighter shade visually separates the fire pit area from the rest of the entertainment deck. Photo courtesy of Trex

Covered Fire Pit

A colorful, two-tiered deck and adjacent fire pit adds function, depth and layers to the back of this home. Design by Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri

Photo By: Chris Amaral © 2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Stacked Stone Fire Pit

The freestanding fire pit is the focal point for outdoor gatherings and is incorporated into the design by extending the existing deck area into an organic shape. Design by Jamie Durie

Natural Stone Fire Pit

Lush landscaping combined with a built-in barbecue, large seating area and fire pit create the ideal place to entertain family and friends. Design by Kevin Smith

Stone Fire Pit

Just off the crescent-shaped pool, a fire pit provides an additional lounge space for evening entertainment. Design by Joseph Vassallo; Photo by Mary Vail, OSG Publicist

Stone Fire Pit

A built-in stone fire pit anchors this streamlined patio with a circular layout that facilitates conversation. Design by Andreas Charalambous

Photo By: Geoffrey Hodgdon ©Geoffrey Hodgdon

Contemporary Fire Pit

A small, contemporary fire pit is the showpiece of this shaded outdoor seating area. An expansive pergola makes the fire pit area more intimate. Design by Jamie Durie

Mobile Fire Pit

A small backyard becomes a magical garden with lush landscaping and a C-shaped seating area surrounding a fire pit. Design by Jamie Durie

Fire Pit Bowl

A Gabion bowl was used for a fire pit feature in this luxurious and modern backyard design. The fire pit deck is sunk below the height of the infinity pool to keep the benches level to the pool. Design by Jamie Durie

Patio Fire Pit

An in-ground fire pit lights and warms up this patio sitting area. A pair of wicker sofas flank the fire pit, offering a convenient spot for chatting with family and friends.

Fire Pit With a View

Take a dip in the hot tub, then cozy up by the fire pit for a view of the magnificent waterfront sunset. This British Virgin Islands home's patio offers ample space and seating, making it an ideal setting for entertaining guests.

Photo By: Smiths Gore Limited, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Gray Stone Fire Pit

This private backyard patio renovation includes gray stone and boulders throughout, including the cozy fire pit area. An outdoor dining table with a neutral umbrella provides a lovely place for enjoying afternoon lunch, while long wood steps lead to a deck area that overlooks the surrounding tree-lined property.

Garden Fire Pit

Surrounded by lush perennials, this outdoor lounge is relaxing whether the fire pit is in use or not.

Reflecting Fire Pit

The fire pit in this cool contemporary space is adorned with black tile that reflects the flames.

Concrete Fire Pit

The simplicity of this Asian-inspired design helps create a tranquil setting on the deck. The fire pit is surrounded by comfortable cozy seating and a unique privacy wall.

Photo By: Tomas Ovalle / Associated Press

Geo Fire Pit Patio

This patio was made for entertaining. On those cooler evenings, four geometric wooden armchairs circle a stone fire pit, while warmer evenings allow for a dip in the glowing infinity pool.

L-Shaped Fire Pit

This Yard Crashers backyard renovation included adding a water feature, a cooking area and this custom, L-shaped fire pit.

Photo By: Tomas Ovalle / Associated Press

Tabletop Fire Pit

A tabletop fire pit in the middle of the bar adds some unexpected pizazz to this outdoor kitchen.

Half Fire Pit, Half Epic View

This cozy sitting area looks out over a vibrant blue ocean. A built-in fire pit ensures a relaxing spot, keeping the space warm from the cool ocean breeze.

From: Mark Scott Associates

Photo By: Anthony Gomez

5. Set Up a Recycling Station



Add shelter and organization for recycling and waste bins with a recycling center made from basic building materials.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

You know how you always want to recycle but just don’t have the space? No more excuses. Make recycling easy and convenient with a designated area for your paper, plastic, glass and even compost. And the best part is that this recycling station won’t take up any of your precious indoor space. 

6. DIY Cleaning Products

Homemade Cleaning Supplies

Homemade Cleaning Supplies

Simple ingredients from the pantry can be used to make cleaning products that are kinder to the environment for a fraction of the cost.

This is one of those projects that will improve your life in multiple ways. Not only are homemade cleaning products healthier for you and better for the environment, they’ll also save you money in the long term. The only issue is actually sitting down to put it all together. Make that a priority today and rake in the benefits for the rest of the year.

7. Feed and Repot Your Houseplants

plant in ceramic vase on wooden table with modern sofa

plant in ceramic vase on wooden table with modern sofa

plant in ceramic vase on wooden table with modern sofa at home

Photo by: Khongkitw


It’s recommended that most houseplants be repotted once a year. Whoops! If you’re guilty of leaving your precious plants a little too long, this is the time to make it up to them. It’s also a great time to step up your planter game. We’ve got a few recommendations.

16 Bold Planters

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Metallic Dinosaur Planter

Make a cute miniature planter using metallic plant and dinosaur figurines.

Make Your Own Book Planter

Turn a vintage book into a one-of-a-kind tabletop planter. All you need: some glue, a craft knife and a desert plant like a succulent or cactus. Get our step-by-step instructions to create your own version.

Photo By: Design by Kyle Schuneman. Reprinted from The First Apartment Book, copyright 2012.

Living, Breathing Art

Make a bigger statement with a temporary living wall. This design for a Philadelphia row home uses a modular product called Woolly Pocket that acts as a natural air freshener and sound dampener. Asparagus fern, English ivy and calathea in reddish and purple tones further soften the edges of this contemporary interior.

Open-Air Terrariums

Create a tiny natural world on your tabletop with these handblown glass terrariums from West Elm. The unfinished metal stand adds a little height and develops a beautiful patina over time.

Photo By: Courtesy of West Elm

Mason-Jar Terrarium

No budget for a new planter? You can turn a basic mason jar into an indoor green space with these simple step-by-step instructions.

Pet Bowl Planter

Colder days mean less time outdoors for your pet, too. Turn an old pet dish into a planter full of safe-to-eat winter greens for your favorite four-legged friend.

Photo By: DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Moveable Wall Art

Rearrange your living wall to your heart's content with these magnetic planter boxes from Urbio. How it works: You purchase as many magnetic blocks as you'd like, then stick on durable polypropylene planters equipped with magnets strong enough to hold everything from succulents to leafy ferns. Once you've set up your blocks, you can move the planters to your heart's content.

Green Up Your Desk

If you're not ready for the responsibility of watering a whole wall of plants, you can also tuck one or two bits of low-maintenance green (like this spiky spider plant) into your office space.

Cactus Garden, Y'all

Yee-haw! A basic planter becomes bold when you fill it with a tiny desert landscape studded with angular cacti. Add tiny plastic cowboys and Native Americans for a touch of whimsy.

Photo By: DK - Ready Set Grow! ©2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Upside-Down Greenery

For apartment dwellers or those short on counter space, meet your new friend: the Sky Planter from Poketo. A locking disc holds the soil and plant in place, while a reservoir system holds enough water to hydrate most plants for two weeks. Use it to grow your own herbs, ferns, orchids or other plants with a small root system.

Photo By: Courtesy of Poketo

Wall-Mounted Metal

Bring your favorite patio plants in for the winter without taking up valuable counter space. These wall-mounted steel rings from Poketo hold standard 4-1/4-inch collared pots found in home and garden stores, or your favorite small vessels. If one of your plants meets an unfortunate fate, use the spare pot to store stray pencils, utensils or odds and ends.

Photo By: Courtesy of Poketo

Simply Geometric

Bring the geometric trend to your garden pot with this sculptural planter from Etsy shop MGMY Studio. Each terra-cotta pot is designed and handmade in the company's studio in Brookyln, N.Y.

Photo By: Courtesy of MGMY Studios

Busts or Bust

Art doesn't have to be serious; these male and female busts from Floral Art double as whimsical planters. Fill them with easy-care mosses or succulents.

Photo By: Courtesy of Floral Art

Hanging Garden Globes

Stock up on these hanging, handblown glass globes from West Elm to create a living focal point in almost any room. Fill with air plants, succulents or moss to create your tiny garden.

Photo By: Courtesy of West Elm

Tree Stump Turned Planter

A tree stump can be at home indoors as a rustic side table, but it can also double as an unexpected planter. Designer Kris Swift drilled holes in the surface of this tree stump, then embedded small succulents on top. The result: A living table!

Photo By: Design by Kris Swift

Simple and Rustic

For a more refined take on the rustic look, fill this burled wood planter from The Phillips Collection with smooth succulents in a variety of hues.

Photo By: Courtesy of The Phillips Collection

8. Makeover Your Medicine Cabinet



If empty tubes of toothpaste, old prescription bottles and scattered makeup brushes rain down whenever you open your medicine cabinet, today is the perfect day to sort through what you actually need and what needs to be tossed. If you really want to make an impact, consider giving your cabinet a decor upgrade with a little help from House Counselor Laurie March.

9. Customize Your Staircase

Anthony Carrino with His Ombre Stairway Accent

Anthony Carrino with His Ombre Stairway Accent

For a more subtle staircase accent, create a trendy ombre look like John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino (pictured) did here on HGTV's Cousins Undercover. Start at the bottom with a favorite hue, then add a little more white paint to the mix each time you move up to the next riser.

From: Cousins Undercover

Photo by: Tricia Messeroux © 2013, HGTV/Scripps Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. OWNED - No limitations on time/term, territory or media as long as the images are o

Tricia Messeroux, 2013, HGTV/Scripps Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. OWNED - No limitations on time/term, territory or media as long as the images are o

Paint a runner, add quirky numbers in varying sizes or create a cool ombre effect using your favorite paint color. No matter your style, Leap Day is a great day to give overlooked spots a little attention.

Step Up Your Stair Game

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Playful Pattern

Give a plain white staircase a whole new personality by creating a faux runner. Paint the outer edges, add stripes and stamp Xs and Os on the risers for a new, whimsical look. Get the full how-to at DIYNetwork.com.

Cottage-Style Stairs

For a shabby chic take on the painted stair runner, use white, brick red and creamy yellow paint. Mismatched, salvaged house numbers give this farmhouse stairwell an extra design pop, as seen on HGTV's Sarah's House.

Candy-Colored Stripes

These bright, cheerful vertical stripes coordinate with the pink and blue hues featured in this eclectic living room, while also leading the eye upstairs. Design by Cortney and Robert Novogratz.

Wallpaper Your Stair Risers

Add style to your staircase by decking out the risers with wallpaper, acrylic sheeting and decorative hardware. Combine sample-sized rolls in coordinating colors and patterns to make this project even more budget-friendly.

White on Black

Painting the stair risers and skirtboard black allows the large-scale birch-patterned wallpaper on the stair risers to stand out, as seen on HGTV's Cousins on Call.

Photo By: Chris Amaral © 2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Color Coded

Paint your family's favorite words or phrases onto the risers using stencils you can buy online or at most craft stores. (Super-fun attached slide optional.) Here, Cortney and Robert Novogratz started with basic white and added a rainbow of hues.

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier © 2011, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC

Create an Ombre Effect

For a more subtle staircase accent, create a trendy ombre look like John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino (pictured) did here on HGTV's Cousins Undercover. Start at the bottom with a favorite hue, then add a little more white paint to the mix each time you move up to the next riser.

Photo By: Tricia Messeroux © 2013, HGTV/Scripps Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. OWNED - No limitations on time/term, territory or media as long as the images are o

Tiled Stair Risers

A nod to Spanish Colonial style and the tradition of cladding stair risers with Talavera tiles, glass tile lends color, texture and protection against scuff marks in HGTV Smart Home 2013.

Zebra Carpet Runner

Swap a plain carpet runner for a bold, zebra-printed version that adds both comfort and style.

Photo By: Photo Courtesy: Scott Womack © 2013 Gibbs Smith, Allure of French & Italian Decor, Betty Lou Phillips

Add Texture With Sisal

For durable, easy-to-clean texture without bold color, consider adding a sisal runner to your staircase. Learn how to install your own.

Make Use of Wasted Space

That triangular wall under the staircase? Turn it into a tidy home office, complete with a wall-sized bulletin board for photos, notes and mementos.

Create a Gallery Wall

Turn this well-traveled area of the home into a showcase for treasured family photos. Here's how to create a cohesive, salon-style gallery wall along a stairwell.

Red-Paneled Stairwell Wall

For a more dramatic look, stagger photography and art along a bright accent wall all the way up the stairs, like HGTV's Cousins on Call did here.

Photo By: Chris Amaral © 2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Make a Modern Art-Inspired Gate

Banish basic stair gates for pets or babies in favor of this stylish version inspired by iconic modern artist Piet Mondrian. Here's how to make your own.

10. Finally Start Composting

Know What to Compost for Best Results

Know What to Compost for Best Results

Find a suitable place for compost bin in full sun or partial shade. Try to achieve an equal balance of nitrogen rich green material and drier carbon rich waste. Avoid composting cooked foods, which attract vermin. Mix different types of waste.

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

You might be surprised just how easy (and cheap!) it is to build your own compost bin. So stop putting it off, and start saving those scraps for a healthy garden year after year. 

11. Organize Your Craft Room

The built-in cabinets provide plenty of space for storing and organizing tools and craft supplies in the craft room, as seen on Fixer Upper.

Photo by: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

With ribbon, fabric, paint pens and so much more to keep track of, it’s no surprise that craft rooms tend to be disheveled and totally unorganized. But a little organization now will make future projects so much more relaxed.

Creative Storage Ideas

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Egg Carton Organizer

It's easy to wad a bit of leftover embroidery thread into a ball and forget about it. Of course, once you do, it's all knots. Stop the madness! Try keeping your carefully-wrapped thread in a leftover egg carton for easy (and cheap) storage.

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Michele Pacey

Drawers Full of Ribbon

Great for wrapping gifts, giving outfits pizazz and adding an extra touch to any project, ribbon is a crafting staple. Make it easier to find and use by keeping similar colors together, wrapped around cardboard and kept safe in a drawer. Feel like going the extra mile? Add a corresponding sticker outside each drawer to always know which color it houses as seen in HGTV Magazine. See this amazing craft room here.

Photo By: John Merkl

A Place for the Extras

If you have extra ribbon that isn't enough to add to the drawer but still enough that it seems a waste to toss (a common crafter's dilemma), wrap it around a clothespin and put it in a glass container as seen in HGTV Magazine. Don't forget: out of sight, out of mind. See this amazing craft room here.

Photo By: John Merkl

Borrow From the Kitchen

As a creative crafter, it's time to think outside of the box. Venture into other rooms of the house, and you just might find some useful supplies. Who knew a cheese grater could make such a cute pencil holder? You never know until you try!

©Photo courtesy of Alicia McDonald and Jamie Ritter

Muffin Pan for the Miniatures

And speaking of borrowing from other rooms, this muffin pan looks like it has seen better days. So while you may opt for a newer version to cook your breakfast, an old muffin pan acts as the perfect drawer caddy for the small crafting supplies that you can never seem to find.

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Heather Dutton

Easily-Organized Scrapbook Paper

HGTV Magazine shows you how to keep scrapbook paper wrinkle free and at your fingertips by displaying it just like the stores do. To get the look in your craft room, try placing clear plastic stacking trays (these are from amazon.com) in cubbies. See this amazing craft room here.

Photo By: John Merkl

Homemade Spinning Caddy

This DIY spinning caddy, featured in HGTV Magazine, is actually made up of a lazy Susan, cake pans and candlesticks. It makes the perfect caddy to store thread, buttons, twine and any other small crafting supplies. See this amazing craft room here.

Photo By: John Merkl

DIY Wrapping Station

Adjustable shower curtain rods are the perfect solution for keeping wrapping paper handy and in good shape. Just pull the amount you need and cut. So simple! Photo courtesy of California Closets

Ribbon Bar

And if you like the shower rod idea for wrapping paper, you'll love it for ribbon. Another suggestion: try using an adjustable rod to corral your washi tape. Really, the options are endless. Photo courtesy of California Closets

Hanging Thread Rack

For serious sewers, a single sewing basket just isn't going to do it. But a sewing corner, like this one featured in HGTV Magazine, just might fit the bill. This hanging thread rack (June Tailor Mega-Rak II, $50, joann.com) not only keeps spools organized and in their place, it looks like a work of art! See this amazing craft room here.

Photo By: John Merkl

Fun With Magnets

This craft room makes the best possible use of wall space, utilizing magnetic boards to store small items in magnetic containers plus shiny hooks and rods for the remaining crafting goodies.

Bucket O' Yarn

Let's not forget about the classic galvanized bucket. A classic for a reason, a shiny industrial bucket is great for storing yarn, half-finished projects and just about anything else. Keep a few stacked to use whenever needed.

12. Refresh Your Bookcases

Stacked Books and Decor

Stacked Books and Decor

One trick for boosting an item's stature, literally and figuratively, is risers. "These come in handy for varying the height of the things in your shelf composition and help draw attention to a particular piece," she explains. Use books stacked on their sides as platforms, wood or lacquer boxes as pedestals and compotes, cake stands and other risers to help stagger heights and bring your accessory arrangement up to snuff. Design by Emily Henderson.

From: Secrets From a Stylist
and Secrets From a Stylist

DIY a pair of new bookends, organize by color or add in a few new tchotchkes. For an even bigger impact, consider adding a fun pattern to shelf backs.

Bookshelf Decorating Tips

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Show Off Your Collections

Whether you collect birdcages or buttons, sculpture or shells, transferware or teacups, any collection you love deserves pride of place in your home. Plus, there's power in numbers: "Anything looks better as a collection," says Mary Carol. "The different sizes, shapes and colors play off each other, and grouping a collection together gives it emphasis." Gather up your treasures around the house and mass them for a stunning display.

Put Your Passions on Display

Not sure what to showcase on shelves? First, consider what you love. Your interests and hobbies should come through in your accessory choices, says Debbie Wiener, an interior designer in Silver Spring, Md., who helps homeowners create spaces reflective of their everyday lives. "Kids' framed artwork, books, decorative plates, baseball cards or boomerang collections. Your home should look like you," Debbie says. Take stock of vacation mementos, crafts and items you're drawn to time and again when assembling accessories for a shelf arrangement. Design by Emily Henderson.

Group Like With Like

Unite your shelf displays by grouping items by theme, color, shape, texture or material. "Like things together give the biggest bang," says Megan Samuels, ASID, an interior designer in Manhattan Beach, Calif. "It creates a really nice, curated feel to your treasures." A grouping of white pottery and other light-toned objects looks stunning on dark wood or brightly painted shelves, for example, while an assemblage of boxes, bowls or spheres adds instant emphasis that's lacking when they stand alone. Design by Sarah Richardson.

Make It Functional

You can unify a shelf display by function, too. Mary Carol Garrity, author of Feather Your Nest: It's All in the Details and the owner of Nell Hill's, an accessories emporium in Atchison, Kan., likes to turn a shelf into a bar or a serving station. "Take out the shelf above to create more room, then top a tray with pretty cut-crystal decanters and glassware," she suggests. Design by Emily Henderson.

Go Big and Bold

Several tiny tchotchkes on a shelf will only collect dust and look like jumbled clutter. Instead, choose bigger, bolder accessories that will stand out. Select tall vases (if there's no shelf above, fill them with giant flowering or fall branches for a dramatic display); giant balls of knotted rope, substantial pottery and large art books; collect whatever strikes your fancy, as long as you can see it from across the room. Give smaller items more visual presence by collecting them in a container: "I love an old jar filled with vintage photos, seashells collected at the beach or even colorful crayons and marbles," says Megan. Design by Judith Balis.

Forget Symmetry and Be Odd

Rather than a matching set of mirroring objects, go for asymmetrical arrangements of three, five or seven objects, setting them off-center to add a subtle element of surprise. "Odd numbers are usually the most interesting," says designer Megan. Instead of symmetry, what you're aiming for is balance. "Even if you have two matching items, like a pair of beautiful urns, put them on the diagonal," rather than directly opposite each other, she suggests. Design by Christopher Grubb.

Change the Shelf Height

Another tip to aid in your asymmetry efforts: Unless your shelves are fixed in a built-in or other shelving unit, "vary shelf heights so they don't all line up exactly," suggests Nancy Barsotti, ASID fellow and interior designer in New York City and Pittsburgh. You'll be able to use larger pieces and break out of the "lined-up soldiers" look that gets boring so quickly.

Vary Accessory Height

A big shelf decorating don't is lining up items of the same height. Their uniform size can appear flat and boring. Instead, "mix different heights by contrasting high and low to keep the eye traveling," says Mary Carol. When gathering pieces to decorate shelves, make sure you have a combination of short, medium and tall objects. Design by Erinn Valencich.

From: Erinn Valencich

Stack Books

One trick for boosting an item's stature, literally and figuratively, is risers. "These come in handy for varying the height of the things in your shelf composition and help draw attention to a particular piece," she explains. Use books stacked on their sides as platforms, wood or lacquer boxes as pedestals and compotes, cake stands and other risers to help stagger heights and bring your accessory arrangement up to snuff. Design by Emily Henderson.

Add Sparkle and Shine

Glass, crystal and silver objects make shelf arrangements literally shine. A mirror placed at the back or bottom of a shelf will double the visual effect of the objects placed in front or on top, says Nancy. Rather than hiding the family silver in a dining cabinet, Mary Carol urges to pull it out, shine it up and display it on open shelves: either as a collection or by using individual pieces paired with rougher objects for contrast and interest. "I love the shine of silver next to a more primitive piece," she says.

Photo By: drew-o-rama

Create Layers on Shelves

In addition to height, consider depth when decorating shelves. "Stand up trays, pretty plates and pieces of art to use as the backdrop for your arrangement (and) then work your way out from there," says Mary Carol. After you've placed the largest, tallest items as anchors at the back of the shelf, "layer smaller, shorter objects in front of them," says Nancy. The resulting assemblage will invite viewers to linger a while, discovering new layers in the decorative diorama with each glance.

Photo By: fieryeyed

Keep It Spare and Simple

While layering accessories works well in traditional or eclectic settings, a streamlined approach is fitting for contemporary and modern spaces. "Follow the style of your home when accessorizing," says Nancy. If your decorating style leans toward rigorous minimalism or you simply favor an uncluttered look, your decorative shelves should reflect that. Says Megan: "There's something so serene about three blocks of wood attached to a spartan white wall with a simple, carefully placed object on each."

Photo By: the 10 cent designer

Arrange Books by Color

If you have a large collection of books, consider arranging them by color for instant bookshelf pizazz. The rainbow-hued display can be quite dramatic, although it can also make hunting down a specific tome a bit of a chore. "Library sales are a great way to pick up groups of colored books inexpensively," Megan suggests. Try removing the dust jackets on your hardbacks, too, especially for vintage books with interesting spines or luxe cover material.

Vary Book Displays

"Display some books up and down and others laid on their side," says Nancy. "And group books by subject — mass all the photo books together, for instance — or by size, which instantly creates a sense of order." As for those tatty paperbacks, get rid of them or hide them in good-looking boxes or baskets tucked into your bookshelves. Design by Emily Henderson.

©Design by Emily Henderson

Mix Art in With Books

Don't relegate photos and art to walls only. Shelves are great display spots, too, and they make it a snap to regularly rotate new pieces into your home gallery. "I love framed art placed casually among books, or even hung or leaned in front of a group of books," Megan says. Other ideas: Hang diminutive pieces on the wall behind open shelves or tack them onto the back of closed shelves so they become part of the vignette. Design by Luis Caicedo.

From: Luis Caicedo

Display Art in Creative Ways

You can also create a shelf display of nothing but art or photos: Rather than a precise arrangement, lean your collection casually on the shelves, overlapping edges and mixing frame sizes, shapes and styles to keep the eye's interest. "Juxtaposing ornate, antique frames with plainer frames works well" in this context, Nancy says. Design by Robin Callan.

Look Up and Lock Down

Don't forget the tops of bookshelves or kitchen cabinets when scouting spots to accessorize. Placing objects there can highlight tall ceilings or simply provide space to display big, dramatic pieces that won't fit on the shelves below. Another great way to add height to decorative shelves is with large posters or artwork. Hint: If you live in earthquake country or if your bookshelves rattle ominously when the kids run past, be sure to secure the shelves to the wall with L-brackets or hook-and-eye latches. Also, museum or earthquake putty (available in most hardware stores) is handy for ensuring that small objects stay put.

Photo By: ninainvorm

Let There Be Light

As a finishing touch, illuminate your shelves to spotlight the arrangements you've created there. The options for shelf lighting abound: Add track lighting to the ceiling and focus a few spots on shelf displays; mount a picture light above a shelf or a series of picture lights above a series of shelves; affix small puck lights to the underside of one shelf to highlight the contents of the shelf below or discreetly tuck tiny up-lights behind a vase or other item to backlight the arrangement. Design by Luis Caicedo.

From: Luis Caicedo

13. Clean Out Your Fridge and Pantry



Expired cans? Mystery meat? Stale chips? Buh-bye. Bring a little order back to the kitchen by ridding yourself of outdated items and reorganizing what’s left in a way that puts everything on display. It never hurts to give the inside of the fridge a thorough cleaning either. Try this method to really make it sparkle.

14. Make Your Own Pet Treats

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

For canines who are peanut butter fans, this homemade dog treat gets a double dose of nutty goodness from the batter and the creamy frosting.

Why not use your extra time to pamper your pups with homemade treats that are packed full of nutrients! And with tasty recipes like peanut butter delight, strawberry shortcake and cream cheese biscuits, we know you’ll find a treat that will delight your pooch. And don’t forget the kitties. Try this tuna cookies recipe for your feline friends.

15. Organize Your Laundry Room

Laundry Room With Stylish Storage Containers

Laundry Room With Stylish Storage Containers

If your favorite dryer sheets' package clashes with your color palette, transfer the contents into a container that's more in line with the decor. Stacy Risenmay of the blog Not Just a Housewife chose an old metal box that adds the perfect patina to her laundry room.

Photo by: Not Another Housewife

Not Another Housewife

Since you’re normally too busy doing the laundry to worry about organizing the laundry room, take this day to clean, organize and personalize your cleaning space. It only takes a few changes in this small space to make a big impact, but you might be surprised how much an organized space improves your mood when it’s time for the next load.

Quick Tips for Organization

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Keep It Clean for Good

Laundry rooms can often become a catchall for shoes, coats, backpacks, mail and anything else that can quickly get dropped off at the door. But these "chore rooms" don't have to be merely industrial spaces; they can be just as clean, organized and designer-worthy as every other room in the house. Follow these six tips to keep your laundry room organized once and for all — we promise!

From: Jane Ellison

Corral All-Weather Gear

Hats, gloves, sunglasses and scarves usually end up all over the house or shoved in the coat closet. Use Julie's SPACE method to get organized: Sort, Purge, Assign, Containerize and Equalize. First identify what's important and group similar items, she says. Then purge any glove missing its partner. Assign by corralling all your cold- and warm-weather essentials and containerizing with labeled baskets for each member of the family. Store these where your family normally takes them off after coming indoors. "Rather than retrain the family," says Julie, "store things beautifully where people drop them." Finally, equalize the space every day by tidying up.

Contain Your Cleaning Supplies

A common source of frustration in the laundry room (other than endless piles of dirty clothes) is finding a place for all those cleaning supplies. Solution: Store cleaning supplies in a carry-all caddy or open-top storage container. The caddy is ideal for wire shelves because it prevents bottles from tipping over. Plus, no more rooting around in the back of the cabinet for window cleaner. Design by Elsa Greer

Create a Pet Zone

If your pet's possessions are slowly taking over the household, consider creating a pet zone in the laundry room. A pet zone can free up space and make you aware of how much you pamper your pet, which might mean you have to cut back. Things to put in the space: a bed or crate; a peg rack for leashes and collars; and food dishes on a nonskid carpet or in an elevated dish. Be sure everything is placed out of the flow of traffic for the room.

Go Vertical to Dry Clothes

The too-small laundry room often suffers from a serious lack of hanging space, resulting in clothes draped over the dryer, cabinets and doors. Vertical space is often the most overlooked area in these rooms. Install a retractable clothesline or buy an inexpensive freestanding drying rack to reclaim some much-needed space in the laundry room. Imagine, counter space that's actually used to fold clothes.

Presort Dirty Clothes in Hampers

Cut down on laundry time with an organized method for presorting clothes. If space is available, add three laundry hampers (we love the idea of color-coding or labeling) for whites, lights and darks. When a hamper gets full, it's time to run the wash. To keep the system going, have each family member take responsibility for bringing their clothes to the laundry room.

Create a Laundry Room Lost and Found

More than just socks go missing in the laundry room each year. Add a mug or basket near the washer to contain items found in pockets. For those elusive socks, keep another basket handy for strays. Reunite all items with their owners each week. By deciding where things will go (at least temporarily) and remembering to make it logical and accessible, you'll have more success with organization in the long run.

16. Build a Raised Garden

Brick Mowing Strip Positioned Next to Raised Bed

Brick Mowing Strip Positioned Next to Raised Bed

Railroad ties are good to use for a raised bed planter. If the raised bed is adjacent to a lawn, make maintenance easier by laying down a mowing strip of bricks to make trimming easier

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

It may still be a little while before you’re ready to plant your garden, but it will sure be nice to already have a raised garden bed when the time comes. Still on the fence about this popular gardening style? Get inspired by these 17 beauties.

Make It for Cheap

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Why Raised Beds?

Raised beds are a convenient way to make the most out of your garden. With good drainage, protection from weeds and many pests, plus well-aerated soil perfectly blended to encourage growth, raised beds are a great choice for those with limited space, soil or sunlight restrictions or just an appreciation for higher yields from less effort. Raised beds come in a variety of sizes and styles, but can be pricey. For those interested in raised bed gardening without the expense, this DIY project is easy to build in an afternoon (even for beginners) for a fraction of the cost of store-bought kits.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

What You'll Need

Materials: Three 8-foot 2" x 12" planks / 4-inch deck screws / cardboard / garden soil (8 cubic feet, or around nine 20-quart bags, for a 32-square-foot, 12-inch deep bed)  Tools: Measuring tape / carpenter’s square / circular or hand saw / drill with Phillips head bit / shovel / rake

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Measure and Mark

Locate the center point on one 8-foot plank and mark with a straight line. This project can be adapted to make raised beds of varying sizes. If adapting to suit location or materials, raised bed should be at least 12 inches deep and—as a rule of thumb—width shouldn't exceed 4 feet so plants may be easily reached without disturbing the soil.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Cut Plank

Use a circular or hand saw to cut along measured line to produce four 4-foot planks.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Set Screws

Measure in 3/4 inches from each end of a 4-foot plank. Use a drill with a Phillips head bit to partially sink three screws into the broad side of each end of the plank, spaced evenly from the long edges (at approximately 3, 6 and 9 inches). Repeat the process with the other 4-foot plank. If using reclaimed lumber or wood that is especially dry, it may be necessary to drill pilot holes for the screws to avoid splitting.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Attach Side

With a helper, hold an 8-foot plank on its side and line up the end of a four foot plank at a 90-degree angle with the screws facing the end of the long plank. Sink screws using drill with Phillips head bit to secure.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Square Corners

Rest the other 8-foot plank perpendicular to the attached 4-foot plank at the free end. Use a carpenter’s square to line up at 90 degrees and sink screws to attach.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Complete Bed

Repeat the assembly process at the other end, using a carpenter’s square as you go to make sure angles are square. More elaborate raised beds may use braces at the corners to maintain shape, but the long screws used here will keep the bed intact until is it filled with soil to fortify the structure.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Position Bed and Add Cardboard

Find a flat location with good drainage and plenty of sun exposure. Rake out any rocks, sticks or yard debris and place bed. Press on sides to make sure bed rests evenly and there are no gaps between the ground and the bed (if gaps are detected, use a shovel to level the site). Place a layer of  cardboard, newspaper or old carpeting to completely cover the ground inside the bed. This barrier reduces the possibility of weed growth in your raised bed.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Sourcing Soil

One of the biggest advantages of raised bed gardening is the certainty that your soil is ideal for growing. Buying an appropriate mix of soil, compost and organic amendments from a nursery can be expensive. Amending available soil on your property is a possibility, but loose, pre-mixed medium can be purchased from landscaping wholesalers for a fraction of the price of bagged garden soil. If you have access to a pickup truck or trailer, the savings can be astonishing. We filled this 32-square-foot raised bed with premium garden soil for $25.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Fill Raised Bed

Use shovels or a wheelbarrow to fill the raised bed with planting medium. Here, we used a short length of 2" x 4" to act as a ramp so we could dump soil directly from the wheelbarrow without damaging the wall of the bed.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Level Soil

Use a rake to level the surface of the bed about a 1/2-inch from the top. If your plans include adding a drip hose or mulch, you may wish to leave a little extra space.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Add Plants

Drainage issues, poor soil conditions and crop-choking weeds are a thing of the past with this inexpensive and easy-to-build raised bed.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

17. Start Your Seedlings

Growing Seedlings in Trays Makes Jolly Good Fun

Growing Seedlings in Trays Makes Jolly Good Fun

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Fruits and Vegetables in Pots © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Fruits and Vegetables in Pots , 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Depending on what you’re growing, this might be the perfect time to start your seeds. And if you’ve never done this before, we’ve got a few pointers for starting your little seedlings off on the right foot. If you need any more incentive, seed starting is a smart way to save money and offers more variety for your garden.

Fun Seed-Starting Projects

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Start Seeds From Practically Anything

From eggshells to pots to paper towels, you can start your seasonal veggies, herbs and flowers in containers you have lying around the house. These sunflower “people” turn old paint cans into delightful characters that greet your family throughout the summer.

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Funny Seed-Starters

After the kids finish reading the Sunday comics, help them create newspaper seed pots that can be planted directly into the ground. Fold the comic strips up and around the outside of a small glass to make a miniature pot, then remove the glass, add soil and seeds. Keep the paper pots in a tray near a sunny window until it's warm enough to plant outside.

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Reuse Seed Trays

Recycle last year's seedling trays and flats to start seeds. Just starting out? Most garden centers and stores sell trays for low prices—but don't be afraid to ask your garden-savvy neighbors if they have extras lying around.

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Use Small Pots

Small pots are great for large seeds, like beans, peas and squash, that require fewer plants in your garden. Make sure to turn pots sitting in windowsills so the seedlings grow evenly.

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Try Cardboard Tubes

Try using old toilet paper or paper towel tubes for a budget seed-starting option. Gayla Trail, HGTVGardens contributor and garden authority, recommends using old cardboard tubes for starting finicky plants that don't transplant well like beans, sunflower and dill.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Start Seeds in Old Food Containers

Use recycled drink cartons or plastic tubs filled with potting soil to grow a variety of spring salad crops. Just make sure the cartons have drainage holes in the bottom.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Don't Throw Out Your Lunch Container

Poke holes in freshly-washed plastic containers and fill with soil to start leafy greens, herbs and veggies. If you have the proper conditions—a warm, sunny windowsill—you can even continue to grow herbs and salad greens indoors.

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

A Milk Jug Living Wall

Old milk and juice jugs can be used to start seeds, and even create a mini-greenhouse by cutting into the jug to fashion a vessel with a hinged lid. Here, mixed greens are planted in recycled containers attached to the wall for a cool vertical salad garden.

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Make a Homemade Propagator

A propagator creates a humid environment that seeds need to germinate. Instead of buying one, make one at home with an old 2-liter bottle.

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Start Seeds in Eggshells

Clean eggshells are another useful, biodegradable seed-starting container for small herbs and flowers. Use a needle or a pin to poke holes in the bottom of the egg for drainage before sowing the seeds. Water carefully and closely, as the eggshell "pots" can dry out quickly if left unattended. During late winter, try forcing daffodil bulbs in eggshells for a fun display that blooms just in time for Easter.

Use Dollar Store Finds

A deep, plastic tub from the toy aisle is great for starting root vegetables like beets. Make sure to thin out the seedlings to allow enough room for the roots to grow properly.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Don't Forget About Tubers!

Early and maincrop potatoes can be sprouted inside before planting in the garden—this process is known as chitting. Arrange undamaged potatoes, with eyes uppermost, in egg boxes or seed trays in light in a cool, but frost-free room.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Sow Seeds on a Paper Towel

Damp paper towels, napkins and coffee filters can all be used to germinate seeds, or even test if seeds are viable—just place seeds on a damp paper towel, place in a plastic bag and store in a cool, dark place to encourage rapid growth. Once the seedlings sprout, transfer them into loose potting soil. Here, watercress seeds—which grow effortlessly from seed—are poured onto a wet paper towel in a terracotta pot to create a cress salad garden.

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Junk Mail Seed Bombs

Get rid of that stack of old mail and newspapers with this easy seed bomb project. Paper pulp filled with wildflower seeds are easy for young gardeners to make and are also great gifts. Get the steps >>

Make Seed Paper

Making your own seed paper takes the fuss out of spacing. Simply glue seeds onto strips of toilet paper or a paper towel and roll it up on the leftover cardboard tube until it's time to plant. Click here for the full instructions.

18. Clean Out Your Closet

Adjustable Closet Storage System

Adjustable Closet Storage System

To get a high-end customized look on a low-end budget, use systems like Cincinnati-based Organized Living’s “Freedom Railway.” These easy-to-install systems, available from organization-focused retailers, are perfect for the not-so-handy man. Shown here in cypress, the rail system includes adjustable drawers and shelving.

Photo by: Organized Living

Organized Living

Time to purge. With the capsule wardrobe trend on the rise and Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up still surging in popularity, jam-packed closets look more sad and overwhelming than ever. Why not take this free day to get down to business and get rid of some stuff?

Creative Closet Storage

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Funky Frame for Your Jewels

Don't let your favorite necklaces get in a tangle. Mr. Kate transformed a simple picture frame into perfect storage (and display) for your best jewels. All you need is a couple of nails, a hammer and chicken wire. Make it your own by painting your frame a refreshing color, like this canary yellow.

Ice Cube Tray Organizer

It's easy to lose those stud earrings or extra buttons from that expensive pea coat you purchased last winter. Instead of having a junk drawer, use an ice cube tray to keep it organized. Now you'll know exactly where to go if that one-of-a-kind button goes missing. Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Silverware Tray Displays Your Jewelry

While this project really works great with a wooden silverware tray (because you can paint it any color), a plastic version will suffice. Jennifer Hadfield of Tatertots & Jello got creative and decorated her organizer with chalkboard paint, feathers and glitter. It's glam enough to leave out in the open, but also smart enough to stuff into a drawer without worrying that your jewelry will get lost or tangled.

Prop Up Boots With an Old Tabloid

We've all suffered from saggy boot syndrome. Storing your favorite kicks for the summer doesn't have to mean a nasty crease come fall. Roll up back issues of your magazines and stuff them into your boots so they stand tall until the cold weather returns. Photo courtesy of Clossette

Hang Baubles on Branches

If you have a big enough space, move that unsightly fake plant into your closet and decorate it with your necklaces by color coordinating them. Photo courtesy of Alejandra Bernardez Interior Designs

No Closet? No Problem.

Sometimes closet space isn't an option. If you're a small-space dweller, you know all too well how precious — not to mention hard to come by — storage can be. Toma Clark Haines of The Antiques Diva literally made her own closet next to her shower with some tension rods and duct tape.

Store It in a Planter

Need more storage for your beauty products or tube socks? Go outside. Hipcycle used a flower box planter as a depository for medium-sized necessities. Simply remove plants, clean it out and fill it up.

Bread Box Shelving

Remember that old bread box you inherited from your mom? Now you can finally put it to use. Cristin Frank of The Eve of Reduction turned a planter into shelving. She removed the hinged lid and positioned the box on the wall so the indents from the hinges aren't visible.

Basket Made From Plastic Bags

Hipcycle came up with a way to reuse all your plastic bags. They weaved colorful plastic bags into handy bins that you can use to store your T-shirts, allowing you to stay organized while helping the environment.

Savvy S Hooks

S hooks aren't just for hanging pots and pans in the kitchen. They're also great for those hard-to-store items like purses, umbrellas and scarves. They're not as big as hangers, so they take up less space. Use pliers to tighten up their grip so they don't slip off. Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Tag It With Shipping Labels

It's such a basic idea, but it really can make all the difference in getting your closet in order. Professional organizer Jean Linder had a client that wanted her linens to be separated by type. "We wanted to label each stack, but were afraid that putting the label directly on the wire shelf would cause the label to get hidden," she says. "So, we used regular shipping tags that were found with the client's office supplies."

Tie Rack for Your Jewelry

Who really has enough ties to fill an entire rack? Use that leftover space to hang your favorite chunky necklaces and bangle bracelets. Best of all, it's small enough that you can hang it in your closet or another inconspicuous place like your bathroom — or in the corner of your bedroom. Photo courtesy of Angel Tuccy

Sub Out Your Towels for Scarves

It's perfectly OK to neatly fold your summer scarves and place them into a drawer. However, folding isn't always an option when you're in a rush. A towel rack is the perfect solution for your storage dilemma. Simply loop it through to return to a non-wrinkled scarf, guaranteed. Photo Courtesy of Alejandra Costello

The Catchall Basket

You've used this wicker basket throughout the entire home — from the laundry room to the living room. It works just as well in your closet. Make this basket wool- and silk-friendly by covering it with cloth to prevent unwanted nicks in your fabric. Photo Courtesy of S.O.S. Sharb Organizing Solutions

Tidy Up the Tuna Can

Aluminum is one of the strongest materials around, so Stephanie Lynn of Under the Table and Dreaming had the idea to use cans to line a vanity drawer for storing small things like bobby pins and rings. You can also use cans to store office supplies. Be sure you fold down the sharp edges and wash them out completely to keep them odor-free.

Woven Tin Wastebasket

This colorful basket by Hipcycle is made from scrap tin containers and can store plenty of items without taking up too much space. Similar design ideas include using magazines, plastic bags, T-shirts and newspaper.

Bungee Cords Hold Items

You know the top part of your closet that you can't bear to look at? It's the place where you haphazardly throw the items you aren't sure what to do with, so things pile up and come crashing down. Alejandra Costello solved this problem by tying a bungee cord from the bottom shelf to the top shelf to create a cage, making the space innovative and safe.

Rolling Pin Coat Rack

This project really stands out because it's so unexpected. Jessica Farmer of Etsy shop Bluebird Heaven cut wooden rolling pins into halves and nailed them onto a sturdy piece of plywood. Add some variety by choosing rolling pins with different handles and adding a coat of paint to create one-of-a-kind storage.

Bring Your Wire Flower Box Indoors

If you have a special place in your closet for gift-wrap, then you'll love this idea to avoid the dreaded tangled ribbon calamity. Cristin Frank loved the style of this flower wire box, but she had no idea how to use it. "It wasn't long that I realized what a great ribbon holder and dispenser it could be," she says. Clean the residual dirt off with a wire brush, then hang the box on the wall with two picture hangers.

19. Clean Out the Junk Drawer

How to Organize a Messy Drawer

How to Organize a Messy Drawer

Photo by: DK - House Works © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - House Works , 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

And while you’re on that organization high, make your way to the kitchen. It’s time to clean out the junk drawer. Need a little guidance? Follow our simple steps for a kitchen organization system that works for you.

20. Organize Your Paper Clutter

Woman Shredding Receipts From Paper Stack

Woman Shredding Receipts From Paper Stack

Certain items like monthly bank and credit card statements, monthly mortgage statements and paycheck stubs can be tossed after one year. Tax documents, W-2 and 1099 forms and year-end statements from your bank or credit card company can be tossed after approximately seven years. But there are several important documents that should be kept forever and appropriately filed away. These items include all annual tax returns, receipts for major purchases that you still own, year-end summaries from financial services, home improvement records and beneficiary designations. And depending on whether you claim a home office deduction on your tax return, items such as utility statements, sales receipts, credit card receipts and bank deposits and ATM receipts can be shredded and tossed each month.

Photo by: Martin Poole

Martin Poole

Bills, school permission slips and kids’ artwork have a way of piling up on us. But nothing compares to that feeling you get when your mail is sorted and all other paper clutter is out of the way. You want that feeling, right? Follow our guide to get rid of the mess, and watch your stress melt away.

How to Clear the Clutter

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Say Goodbye to Clutter

Are your kitchen counters, island and table swimming in a sea of paper? Do the stacks of bills and mail seem to just keep piling up? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then listen up: We have an organization system that's guaranteed to clear the paper clutter for good.

"I'll Do It Later" No More

The key to clearing paper clutter and maintaining an organized home is to deal with the paper you receive right away no matter what it is, from school schedules and bills to bank statements and party invites. It's easy to walk in the house, throw the mail on the kitchen counter and vow to put it away later, but oftentimes, the stack of mail continues to grow. Without a proper filing system, important notices can easily get lost in the shuffle. Tip: An excellent way to decrease the amount of paper in your home is to sign up for online bill pay and email statements.

Photo By: ©Digital Vision

Organized Family

An easy way to disband paper stacks and keep your filing system clutter-free as well is to use an extra-large calendar to record family-wide schedules. Tack the calendar in a central location that every member of the family is guaranteed to pass, such as the refrigerator. Include school schedules, homework due dates, party invitations, sports games, doctor appointments and business trips. To prevent confusion, designate each member of the family with a particular marker color and use that to fill in his or her events. This is a great way to maintain accountability and keep everyone on top of their due dates, appointments, games and meetings. Learn how to make this giant chalkboard calendar from HGTV Magazine.

Photo By: Zach DeSart ©HGTV Magazine

Get Organized

Here's where the process gets a bit timely, but it's well worth the time spent in the end. Depending on the amount of paper clutter, you could use a small and simple 12-tabbed file folder or an entire office-style filing cabinet. Start by clearing off the kitchen table and creating stacks of the same type of paper or mail: car insurance, health insurance, utilities, taxes, credit cards, bank statements, receipts, etc. It may be easier to combine certain areas and create broader subjects like bills, insurance and personal. The important thing is to have a go-to file for each subject for reference. Anything that requires a response in the near future should be placed in an "action stack" that will eventually be filed away once that particular bill is paid or form is filled out. For any papers you don't find file-worthy, create a "shred and recycle" stack.

Personal Filing

The way you choose to file your paperwork is entirely up to you. If you have the available closet space, an excellent and convenient way to file important papers is to use magazine holders, label them accordingly and line them up on the shelf for quick reference. An often forgotten set of paperwork that can be needed are instructions and appliance pamphlets. Separate folders or holders should be created for them, too. So, if the microwave breaks or DVD player starts skipping, you'll know exactly where to go. Tip: For a budget-friendly filing solution, cut and paint cereal boxes to serve as repurposed magazine holders.

Banish the Stacks

Not only do newspapers and certain magazines become quickly outdated, but they also take up a large amount of space. If you love a recipe from a magazine, cut it out and file it with your other "recipes to try." If you love the editor's beauty product selection, write down the name and brand of the facial cleanser in your notebook. Read the magazine once; take what you want and then say sayonara. Tip: A fun and easy way to eliminate the ever-growing stack of magazines in your home is to trade them with people at work after you've finished reading them.

Careful Keepsakes

For those magazines or newspaper pages you want to keep, use a magazine holder to keep them filed away with the rest of your documents, or display them in a chic, stylish way.


You'll appreciate the time you spent cutting coupons from the Sunday newspaper once the savings start showing up on your grocery receipt. To ensure you don't hit the store without your coupons, keep them in a wallet-sized coupon organizer and stash in your car or handbag. Now, you can still reap the savings on last-minute supermarket runs. Tip: For any products you don't typically buy or use, share the coupons with friends or coworkers. By sharing your unused coupons, your friends will, in turn, save your favorites, too.

Keep or Shred?

Certain items like monthly bank and credit card statements, monthly mortgage statements and paycheck stubs can be tossed after one year. Tax documents, W-2 and 1099 forms and year-end statements from your bank or credit card company can be tossed after approximately seven years. But there are several important documents that should be kept forever and appropriately filed away. These items include all annual tax returns, receipts for major purchases that you still own, year-end summaries from financial services, home improvement records and beneficiary designations. And depending on whether you claim a home office deduction on your tax return, items such as utility statements, sales receipts, credit card receipts and bank deposits and ATM receipts can be shredded and tossed each month.

Photo By: Martin Poole

Stay On Top of It

Maintaining a clutter-free home requires daily attention that will eventually become a simple, everyday routine. Keep your kitchen counters and home office clean and pristine with these tips:
1. Go through the mail daily as soon as you receive it. You can immediately toss (and recycle) what you don't need.
2. Whether it's a cubby in the mudroom or a basket in the home office, create a place to store your "action stack" (bills, forms, RSVPs, etc.).
3. Set aside a designated time once a week to file your keeps. If you're using a mobile filing system, multitask by watching your favorite TV shows while filing. This way, it will seem like a less daunting task.

Keep the Kids Clean

Kids can acquire plenty of paper clutter on their own, too. Keep their bedroom and playroom organized by integrating stylish storage boxes onto bookshelves and cabinets. Extra-wide boxes can keep precious artwork and drawings stowed away for safekeeping, and magazine holders can double as coloring book organizers. With a proper place for everything, cleaning up and staying organized can be a breeze for little ones.

Photo By: ©Martin Poole

21. Decorate for St. Patrick’s Day

If this is one holiday that usually flies by before you know it, take your extra day to deck out the house in festive green decor.

Easy Handmade Ideas for St. Patrick's Day

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Paper Leprechaun Hat

You only need a few materials to make this adorable leprechaun hat. Set up a photo booth at your party, and make a few of these to serve as fun props or give them out as party favors. Get the full instructions here>>

St. Patrick's Day Cupcake Toppers

Baking cupcakes to celebrate St. Patrick's Day? Make them festive with these fun, printable party circles. All you need is paper, a craft punch, lollipop sticks and labels. Get the full instructions here>>

Lucky Banner

Celebrate this lucky holiday with a colorful pendant banner. Drape in front of a mantel, down a banister or across a doorway for a bit o' leprechaun luck. Get the full instructions here>>

Felt Shamrock Pillow

Update a pillow for every holiday with easy-to-make felt cutouts. A simple shamrock and flower appliqué add a splash of green to your home's decor for St. Patrick's Day. Get the full instructions here>>

St. Patrick's Day Art Prints

Printable art is a budget-friendly way to incorporate the St. Patrick's Day spirit into your home. Simply print off our templates and place in a favorite frame.

Potted Paper Clovers

Don't forget to decorate the dessert table. Make a fun and simple paper-clover centerpiece using only green card stock, skewers and a terra cotta pot. Get the full instructions here>>

Bubble Wrap Shamrocks

You can make these decorative shamrocks with your kids using only a few household items. Get the full instructions here>>

Easy-to-Make Burlap Wreath

If you can tie a knot, you can make this wreath. A glittering shamrock adds a little glam to this simple decoration, while neutral burlap fabric is versatile enough to display the wreath throughout the year. Get the full instructions here>>

Rainbow Paper Bunting

Add some color to your party with this easy cake bunting project. All you need is card stock, twine, tape and paper straws. Get the full instructions here>>

St. Patrick's Day T-Shirts

Don't get pinched on St. Patrick's Day with inexpensive, iron-on shamrock appliqués that can be easily added to any cotton shirt. Make sure to wash the shirt before applying the applique, and then remove backing from appliqué and place in desired position. Cover with a white cloth, and iron for 30 seconds to attach appliqué to shirt. Pre-made appliqués from Once Upon a Design.

Rainbow Paper Wreath

You can most likely rummage through your craft supplies to make this colorful wreath. The kids will love to help create the curly spirals, and they can hang the finished wreath on their bedroom door. Get the full instructions here>>

Free Printable T-Shirt Patterns

Choose from our custom patterns to fun T-shirts your friends will envy. We have patterns for your pooch, too! Print the patterns, and get full instructions>>

Felt Shamrock: Project 1

Make easy felt shamrocks and wear them several different ways, including attaching them to ribbon to wear as a headband. Get the full instructions here>>

Felt Shamrock: Project 2

Instead of using ribbon, glue a large felt shamrock to a hair pin. Get the full instructions here>>

Felt Shamrock: Project 3

Wear the felt shamrocks yourself by gluing them in varying sizes to a pin to add to your clothing. Get the full instructions here>>

Wax Paper Rainbow Art

Help your kids make abstract rainbow art using wax paper and crayon shavings. Get the full instructions here>>

Treat-Filled Paper Clovers

Fill these easy-to-sew paper clovers with delicious treats to surprise your kids. Get the full instructions here>>

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