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How to Simplify Your Life in 2018

Say goodbye to chaos, clutter, and overwhelm, and hello to breathing space, simplicity, and a wider margin to your days. Sounds delicious, right? If simplifying your life is at the top of your resolutions list for 2018, but you’re not sure where to begin, start here. Put these 5 tips into practice, and you’ll be on your way to a more spacious home and schedule before you know it.

Avenue Lifestyle
Avenue Lifestyle

Tip #1 — Decide how you want your home to feel

Instead of getting hung up on how your home looks, zero in on how you want to feel when you are spending time in your home. For example, would you like your home to feel peaceful, spacious, and clean? Or creative, welcoming, and warm? Aim to choose three keywords that capture the essence of how you want to feel (and how you hope others feel) when you enter your home. Once you have your words, use them to evaluate your space and everything in it. For each item in your home, consider whether it contributes to, or detracts from, the feeling you wish to create.

Avenue LifestyleHYGGE
Avenue Lifestyle

Tip #2 — Name your essentials

Once you’ve let go of some of the clutter that doesn’t mesh with how you want your home to feel, it’s time to move on to the experiences you want to have in your space. So consider this: What are your essentials? What activities, rituals, and routines bring you joy and peace? For me, this includes waking up early so I can sip coffee from my favorite mug in peace and quiet, reading great books, and having cozy game nights with my family. Perhaps for you it’s yoga, knitting, and playing the cello! There are no right or wrong answers here, but do keep your list short and sweet. And then make these items your top priority. To find extra time, pare back on non-essentials that don’t feed your soul, like aimless internet browsing and scrolling through social media feeds.

Shira Gill2
Vivian Johnson for Shira Gill

Tip #3 — Choose quality over quantity

Throughout the year, whenever you need to shop for something new, make ‘quality over quantity’ your new mantra. Making this one change means you’ll choose items that you really love, and stop filling your home with clutter. For example, pick the one lovely leather bag you love, rather than three so-so bags that you bought because they were on sale.

Tip #4 — Schedule regular clutter clearing dates

There are regular times throughout the year when we get new things: birthdays, holidays, back-to-school shopping, but we hardly ever make regularly scheduled times to clear out the old things. No wonder we end up with cluttered homes! So grab your calendar, and pencil in at least three dates when you can commit a day to clearing clutter from your home. With these in place, your space has a much better chance of staying clean and clutter-free throughout the year (and beyond).

Shira Gill1
Vivian Johnson for Shira Gill

Tip #5 — Make small choices that add up

The little things really do add up to big results, and this is definitely true when it comes to decluttering and simplifying your life! Aim to pick up just one tiny new habit at a time — for example, opening your mail immediately and recycling all the junk — and once it’s fully integrated into your routine, add another tiny habit, like doing a ten minute tidy up before bed each evening. To keep your awareness on simplifying, I highly recommend keeping a simplicity journal where you record your thoughts on new habits you’re trying, and the progress you are making. You can do it!

Rug Roundup
Rug Shopping Guide: 1. Surya Jill Rosenwald Orinocco Webs in black and cream; 2. Jaipur Rugs Naturals Lucia Mayen in white and tan; 3. Surya Contemporary Pillows Teori IX in ivory and light gray; 4. Loloi Rugs Justina Blakeney Kahelo in ivory and aqua; 5. Loloi Rugs Phoebe in white.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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5 Tips for Winter Wellness

Between back-to-back holiday parties, late night gift wrapping sessions, and super short days, it’s easy to get a bit run down at this time of year. Take care of yourself through the holidays and beyond with these five winter wellness tips, and stay healthy, happy, and well this winter.

Domino
Domino

Tip #1 – Get Hygge

In Denmark, it’s common for doctors to recommend “tea and hygge” as a cure for the common cold! If you’re not yet familiar, hygge is a Danish concept that roughly translates as creating a warm, cozy feeling of togetherness. Embrace the spirit of hygge this winter by carving out time to just hang out and enjoy the company of your family and friends. Plan a casual, totally low-key games night, or a movie night with hot chocolate and freshly popped popcorn. Light candles or plug in a few strands of twinkle lights, light a fire in the fireplace or woodstove if you have one, and snuggle up beneath a thick blanket.

Cup of Jo
Julia Robbs for Cup fo Jo

Tip #2 – Enjoy Breakfast

Taking the time to sit down to a real breakfast is a lovely way to begin your morning, and it sets a healthy tone for the rest of the day. Try starting with something fresh on your plate, whether that’s cucumbers and smoked salmon, avocado toast, or a berry smoothie. Put your phone down and pay attention instead to the delicious food on your plate and the company of your breakfast companion. Breakfasting solo? Try listening to soft music instead of distracting yourself with social media for a refreshing change of pace.

benjamin-voros
Benjamin Voros

Tip #3 – Get Some Sleep!

Getting enough hours of sleep each night is one of the best things you can do for your health. Make your bedroom as conducive to a good rest as possible by cleaning and decluttering, making the bed with fresh, crisp sheets and cozy blankets, and placing just a few carefully selected items on your bedside table. I like to keep a carafe of water, a small green plant or bud vase of flowers, my current read, and a warm cup of tea to sip before I turn out the lights.

Good_Vibes_yoga-studio
Good Vibes Yoga via The Design Files

Tip #4 – Find Your Zen

Finding a practice that soothes, inspires, and restores your spirit is a key component of any wellness routine. Create a corner of your home (it doesn’t need to be big!) where you can simply be still. You can add a yoga mat, meditation cushions, or simply a great chair where you can sit and write in your journal, a steaming mug of herbal tea by your side. Protect this space by not allowing clutter to encroach, and use it daily. Even if only for five or ten minutes, that little bit of peace can have a big impact over time.

Domino3
Domino

Tip #5 – Soak Away Stress

Instead of always rushing through your morning shower, set aside time each week to slow down and really enjoy the experience. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the base of the shower before you get in, and enjoy the scent as it rises with the steamy water. Have more time? Take a soak in the tub instead! The bath shown here uses lavender, sandalwood, and geranium essential oils (plus fresh peonies!) for a fragrant DIY spa experience.

Zen Rugs

Rug shopping guide: (clockwise from top left) Feizy Rugs Arazad in pink; Surya Naya in lavender and light gray; Oriental Weavers Revival in purple and gray; Momeni Petra in lavender.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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3 Tips for a More Peaceful Morning Routine

How your morning goes can set the tone for the entire day. Just think back to the last frantic day you had, and I’m sure you’ll agree! Instead of starting with the snooze button, skipped breakfast, and forgotten appointments, why not cultivate a more calming routine, instead? Read on for 3 key ingredients to consistently create more peaceful, positive mornings.

Yvestown
Yvestown

Key Ingredient No. 1: A good night’s rest. There’s no getting around it, if you want to bounce out of bed ready to greet the day with a positive mindset, you’ve got to have enough sleep! As a former night owl, I can assure you that (while not entirely pleasant) it is possible to adjust your sleep schedule and become a morning lark. Start winding down a bit earlier each night, put away the screens (pick up a book instead), and begin to dim the lights to create a more restful ambiance. A neat and tidy bedroom, free of clutter, with fresh sheets on the bed and a cozy rug underfoot doesn’t hurt, either.

VT Wonen
VT Wonen

Key Ingredient No. 2: Create a cozy morning nook. While you’re waking up, bleary eyed and wondering what on earth possessed you to set the alarm so early, it can really help to have an inviting nook to retreat to. This should be somewhere in your home that gets lovely morning light, and includes a comfy spot to sit. Use this space to practice a nourishing morning routine like writing in a journal, recording a list of things you are grateful for, reading uplifting books, or meditating. Open the shades, let in a bit of fresh air, and greet the new day with positive intentions.

Local Milk
Local Milk

Key Ingredient No. 3: Slow down and savor your favorite simple pleasures. Ahh, the rich scent of freshly roasted coffee beans, golden light streaming in the window… Instead of gulping down your first cup of coffee or tea as quickly as possible, consider slowing down and savoring those few precious moments of morning peace. As you sip, think about how you would like your day to unfold. A beautiful morning is bound to lead to good things!

Morning Rugs

Rugs fit for a morning nook (clockwise from top left): Surya DwellStudio Riad; Surya Lotta Jansdotter Decorativa in dark purple; Surya Lotta Jansdotter Decorativa in dark blue; Surya Jill Rosenwald Orinocco Webs in cream and mauve.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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Back to School Organizing Tips for A Happy, Healthy Year

Babyccino
Babyccino

The back to school season is exciting…and, let’s face it, frantic. But with a little extra organization in key areas of the home, and a few tweaks to your family’s daily routine, you can make the transition with ease. Read on for my favorite ways to get organized for a happy, healthy school year.

Back to School
Parents Magazine

A happy, healthy school year begins with some smart preparation, so set aside some time over the weekend to get a few key areas of the home in order:

- Help your child choose outfits in advance for the first week or two of school, and stow them in an easily accessible spot.

- Set up a “command center” near the front door with a clock, family calendar, paper organizer, and drop zone for backpacks and other belongings.

- Avoid the frantic morning rush by stocking the kitchen or downstairs bathroom with a spare hairbrush and toothbrushing supplies.

- Don’t forget to label backpacks, lunchboxes, water bottles, and sweatshirts with your child’s name!

omkidsyoga
Ore Studios

Ease new-school-year jitters with a peaceful morning routine. Roll up a few yoga mats and keep them in a basket near a cleared area or floor to make it easy and tempting to sneak in a few simple yoga poses or a guided meditation. Even five minutes of gentle stretching or deep breathing before the rush of the school day begins is worth it: your child will feel calmer, and you will both feel more connected and ready to face the day. After school, kids are tired and may be feeling overwhelmed from all of the new experiences at school, so try to schedule something fun and relaxing for right after. This is a great time for a trip to the park or sports practice.

Once your child is back at home, aim to get in the routine of putting their backpack in the same spot, emptying out their lunchbox, and looking at any papers they brought home together.

Celebrate the new school year by treating your hardworking entryway to a fresh rug (find four of my favorites below) and bring on fall!

Back-to-School

Rug shopping guide: (Clockwise from top left) Liora Manne Front Porch Birds in beige and brown; Liora Manne Front Porch Owls in night; Martha Stewart Rugs Hand-Tufted Autumn Woods in Francesca Black; Nourison Waverly Greetings Accent Rugs in Red.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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