Birthday wish list: toilet seat

We had a great day celebrating my daughter’s 16th birthday yesterday. This was just her family party, friend event will come later. She wants to take a group of girls to our family beach house, which current looks like this:

Birthday wish list: toilet seat

Clearly you can see why the friend party will have to wait.

We all had a good chuckle over how we do birthdays around our house. You see, we all LOVE to get things for our house. In the case of my girls, they love to get new things for their rooms. This is basically how we decorate on a budget year round.

“Hey, sweetie, your birthday is coming up! How about a new toilet seat for your bathroom and a set of sheets for your bed?”

Yep, no joke. A toilet seat and nice sheets were among the gifts this year. And she was thrilled — she really was! Nothing like a shiny new toilet seat to brighten a girl’s special day. I’ve trained her well.

We have bought something nice (whatever our budget allows) for our house every year for our anniversary too. We almost always forgo staying at hotels in favor of shopping for something new — a cool new lamp, an accessory, something for the walls, furniture or plumbing — whatever strikes our fancy, or is a need that we normally would put off due to a limited budget. That is our kind of romantic evening! :-) Dinner and a new faucet!

It has worked for 20 years, and we are still happily married! Who needs diamonds or pearls? Give me new plumbing fixtures!

Come to think of it, maybe that is where I got the tag line phrase for my business: Refining your home for authentic living™. We make refining our home a priority all year round, with really no decorating budget. We just make our home the recipient of lovely and practical gifts on holidays that we can use or enjoy all year round. Other people buy jewelry or cars or electronics. We buy house stuff. Nothing really fancy, just stuff that makes life in our home fun and adds to the beauty of everyday living. Authentic stuff. Like new toilet seats.

Organize First. Products Second.

I received a lovely compliment on my blog from Brandie Kajino of Organize & Simplify today. And from there, my day took a new turn. And as I think is the case with many creative people (even only SOMEWHAT creative people, such as myself) they are easily moved off task by the thought of something more fun, visually appealing or less mundane than say, paying bills or organizing paperwork.

Brandie’s thoughtful comment inspired me to take a stroll around her lovely blog filled with organizing tips and ideas. And from there, after reading one of her posts, I started thinking about my own tendency to shop for the fun organizing products first (to inspire me, of course) and then figure out how to organize “later”. Usually that results in lovely, empty organizational systems I didn’t really need. Not good.

Well, the truth is, while parts of my house & life are actually somewhat organized, everything is not as tidy as it should be. In fact, one of my big problem areas revolves around paper. Case in point, I have lost my daughter’s sixteenth birthday card and her birthday is tomorrow. I bought the card three months ago and it was perfect for her. I knew I could potentially lose it or forget about it, so I put it in my pajama drawer. HUH? Yep. You heard me. I do not have a tickler file. I do have a greeting card box, but since I didn’t want her to find it, I didn’t put the card there. I put it in my drawer, well, or so I thought. Two hours of searching later, I still can’t find it. I am sure I thought of a wonderful spot for it, I just can’t remember where that place is.

I am convinced. I need a tickler file.

And that brings me to another excuse to shop for lovely products! I won’t buy any, yet, I promise. But in case you are in the same boat, here is some inspiration for all of us. I could see myself enjoying filing if I had these pretties to look at!

Organize First. Products Second.Organize First. Products Second.Organize First. Products Second.


Or, how about creating a card binder? I love binders. Lots of pretty binders, all lined up on a shelf…a visual delight! :-) Makes you feel organized just to see them. As if you really had them filled with cards & papers, and not sitting there empty. Ok. I get it. Organize first. Products second.


Organize First. Products Second.


Products & photos from See Jane Work.