Sunday, August 16, 2015

Just a reminder that if you want to keep up on what is going on in our life, you can head on over to our personal blog: www.kristinsterk.com. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

6 Ways To Save Money This Summer



Summer is almost here!

Summer is a season that many of us look forward to (at least in the North after a LONG winter!) Summer not only means warmer temperatures, but it can also mean more activities, more opportunities, and in the end, more spending. It is easy to look at summer as a break from everything - even budgeting and paying attention to what your money is spent on. Usually vacations and days away mean eating out, gas for traveling, accommodations, and sightseeing. Unfortunately, it is easy to walk away from summer in debt, and having to recuperate after an expensive and stressful summer, instead of being a summer intentional spender.

Is it possible to have what kids label a "fun" summer without breaking the budget? Of course it is. It is all about choices. Every decision comes with a choice. Are you going to choose to be an intentional spender this summer, or throw away the budget? Believe it or not, there are many ways you can live this summer to the fullest and still save money. Try these 6 summer intentional spending tips.

1. Be intentional about where your money is going. 

If you have to set up a budget, do so. You could even set aside a certain amount of money in envelopes (like for activities) and once the money is gone, it's GONE. 

2. Decide what you want to spend your money on.

Making the choice to say no to some activities and yes to others, helps in deciding what you value most. Often it is the experience that offers more value than an actual material possession. For example, if you value spending time together as a family, then make family plans to go to the park and have a picnic, instead of buying a new movie to watch. Some of the best summer activities do not cost any money: think campfires, swimming, reading a book outside, biking, etc.   

3. Watch your variable spending. 

These are the expenses that fluctuate, like food, groceries, and gas. Try to be mindful about how many trips you make into town for errands. When you take your kids to the grocery store, take a list with you. No deviating from the list! Those little purchases that the kids constantly beg for, add up. Be firm and say no. 



4. Take advantage of summer perks. 

Farmer's markets are a gift in the summer, as they offer locally grown food at an often cheaper price (depending on the market). If you can't make the market, buy seasonal fruits and vegetables. If you are able, take advantage of the warm weather and plant your OWN garden! If you have too much of one item, find another gardener who is willing to swap produce. This significantly decreases the cost of produce and keeps your family eating healthy all summer long.


5. Plan ahead for vacations. 

This is where summer can get expensive, though this does not have to be the case. Budget for vacations by setting aside a certain amount every monthand sticking to it. Look for deals online when it comes to hotels and airfare. Search for coupons on theme parks, zoos, museums, and parks. Also, know when to travel. Weekends are just plain expensive - hotels, gas, and airfare automatically go up on weekends. If you can avoid this time frame, you will be saving money!

6. Finally, check your bank statements. 

If you are still wondering where all of your money is going each month or even each week, when you get your bank statements, highlight the items that are variable and unnecessary purchases. You may be surprised at how many highlighted items you have. After you are done highlighting, go through the list and decide what changes you can make.



Do not let this summer be a burden when it comes to spending. Being a summer intentional spender will save you time, money, and stress. Enjoy the sights and sounds of this summer by finding ways to be intentional about where your money is going, while also making the most out of summer for you and your family.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How To Make the Most Of Summer



Warm summer days.

Long days on the beach, cookouts on the back porch, late nights socializing with friends, looking at the stars in the quiet of the night, and the next day, repeating the process all over again.

This type of day may be a reality or a far-fetched dream. No matter what the case may be or where you live, it is probably safe to assume that you will feel like summer is going to fly by. Before you know it, it will be time to start the back to school mission. It is easy to just live each day and each week, doing the mundane (such as cleaning the house) and letting the days go by without making the most out of each day. Then all of a sudden school rolls around and you regrettably say adios to summer.

So how do you make the most of summer? Here are 7 practical and tangible ways that you can make this the best summer ever!

Tour Your Own Town. One of the easiest places to forget about when you are looking for something to do is your own hometown. Pretend you are a vacationer in your town. What would you see? Where would you eat? Is there anything particularly interesting that sets your town apart from others? Traveling to your town's visitor center (if it has one) or talking with the locals about what there is to do, is the best way for your family to make the most out of where you live.


Think Water. If you are from the North, this idea is a must because for only half a year, you get to enjoy the great waters of your state. Take the time to go to a waterpark, skip stones across a lake, river, or creek, go swimming at the local pool, soak in some rays at the beach, or create your own slip and slide outside. Summer is really the only time to take full advantage of these activities, so don't miss out on them! You will be longing for them in the winter and wish you had done more.

Go Camping. To make it even easier, camp in your BACKYARD. Sometimes the thought of packing up the whole family to go camping may seem like a daunting task, but why not set up a tent in your backyard? You can have all of the joys of camping (sitting around a fire, lawn games, etc.), with all the comforts of your own backyard.

Throw Your To-Do List Out The Window. Families are known to have a long laundry list of house projects they want to get done in the summer. For some, that is THE only time they have a shot at even getting remotely close to getting their to-do list accomplished. Yet, it's the to-do lists that keep one from enjoying the most of summer. If you have a long list of to-dos, throw it out. Save it for a rainy day. Save it for a day when there is nothing else to do. Don't get caught up with today's to-dos that could be done tomorrow (or 1 month from now).

Spend Time Outdoors. Taking time to go outside in the summer is a necessity! Time outdoors not only keeps one active, but can also help every one release some stress by getting a breath of fresh air. Outdoor games such as bocce ball, basketball, bean bag toss, taking a hike, or even going to a town softball game, are all ways to stay active. Taking time to even read outside or lying in the grass looking at the stars, are bonuses that won't last forever because winter will be right around the corner before we know it!


Eat Outside. Whether you have a picnic table, chairs, or just a blanket to sit on, eating outside can end up being one of the most enjoyable meals of the week. The food tends to just taste better when you eat it outside. Take this idea a step further and grill! Grilling meats, veggies, and even pizzas on the grill are ways to spice up the menu in summer!


What do your kids want to do? It is easy to plan out each day with activities that the parents think are best. What if parents allowed their kids to make the choice of what they want to do in a day? The last thing you want to hear from your kids at the end of summer is how "boring" it was. Let them choose 1 or 2 activities for the week and let THEM make the most out of their summer.

Make the most of your summer. Don't let the days of summer fly by, leaving you wondering where summer went, wishing you had only done more!

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Time To Say Good-Bye

I can't even begin to put into words how thankful we are to have Mazy in our lives!





Before God showed His plan for us with regards to kids, I especially wondered how God would use me, if He was not calling me to be an earthly mother. When we moved to Minnesota, I in a way, went through an identity crisis. We had just left a pretty difficult situation behind, and here we were, in a new state, with a new start. That meant new opportunities and almost a starting-over process.

Minnesota in March is pretty chilly, so I found myself at home. Often. Wondering how to fill my time. I decided to foster a dream of mine, which was to start an organizing blog. At the time, I had our personal blog, but I found myself being even more intrigued with organizing and how to live life with less.

That is when I decided to start my own small business with a blog called Organizing Life With Less. I have absolutely LOVED being an organizing blogger and have learned more than I ever imagined, met some incredible people, and realized that in creating this blog, I became even more content. I discovered the type of life I really wanted to live - a life with less.

Over the past 2 years, I have spent countless hours developing Organizing Life With Less and when I look back, I can't believe that dream actually came true! It took a lot of hard work, but again, it has been completely worth it and I am a different person (for the good) because of it.

Well, now I have entered a new chapter in my life; being a mother to our absolutely beautiful daughter (okay, maybe I am a little biased). Since having her, I have realized my time looks very different, and I want it to stay that way. I do not have the time to keep up the organizing blog like I need to, and I am okay with that. I just didn't want to give up all the hard work I put into it. All of those posts! All of those pictures!

Even though I have decided to stop blogging for Organizing Life With Less, all of those posts are now imported into my personal blog, which is www.kristinsterk.com. It is a new chapter that I am excited to embark on - and that is living life with less. Living with less commitments, so that I can be the mother I want to be!

I have enjoyed the past few years blogging for Organizing Life With Less, but it is also time to close this chapter too. So thank you for being a faithful reader and supporter! I have loved all of the challenges, giveaways, guest posts, and opportunities that Organizing Life With Less has given me, but it is now time to enjoy even MORE time with our baby girl! I do plan on still writing about organizing when I get the chance on our personal blog, so head on over there!

So, thanks again for all of your support, sweet comments, and faithfulness in reading this blog! Now it's time to start a new chapter and time to live my life with even less...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Declutter Your Home For Good!

Today I am linking up with HOMETALK to help you find even MORE creative ways to delutter your home! Hometalk is a lot like Pinterest, but I find it to be even more helpful because of the ability to ask questions, for advice, and also see the how to's on a project. 

As a constant declutterer myself, I am excited to share with you, 


You can also check out my previous boards on:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Today Is The DAY!

TODAY IS THE DAY!

Join me at 7:00pm CST for the Norwex Online Facebook Party!
For one hour, you can see how Norwex products can change and transform your cleaning routine! Join the group by clicking HERE!

Below, you can see how Norwex can save you MONEY!

Monday, May 18, 2015

How I Clean My Kitchen Sink

TOMORROW is the DAY!

Tuesday, May 19 at 7:00pm CST, you can learn how Norwex products have transformed my cleaning routine and can transform yours as well! Click HERE to join the Norwex Online Facebook Party! You can also enter to win a FREE Enviro Cloth!


We do not have a dishwasher, nor have we ever had one. Many think that is just crazy, but like my husband says, "we do have a dishwasher - it's Kristin!" No, that is not some downgrading comment because who dries? My husband, Dan. We share the dish duties and always have. Honestly, we have some of the best conversations while doing dishes together!

Because I do so many dishes, our sink can get really nasty. Granted, each time I clean out all of the food and spray down the inside, but if there is any colored liquid that sits in there for a little while, it gets stained. I need to clean it out every week with some type of cleaner. I have to admit, that I haven't found a great cleaner - it always left it film-filled and with stains.

Our sink: it needed a good cleaning after who knows what liquid was sitting there for a few hours

I know, I am appalled that it looks like this, but really, this was just in between meals

 Insert Norwex products. I had heard word that a combination of the descaler and the cleaning paste, used with the spirisponge, that they can do wonders.

The thing is, whenever I used a lot of elbow grease, you can see what happened to the cheap scrubber. I created holes and lost lots of the padding that was inside it. That is why I was excited to use the spirisponge!

I sprayed the descaler inside the sink and let it set for 5-10 minutes. I then rubbed a bit of the cleaning paste on my spirisponge and started scrubbing:

 After about 1 minute, this is what it looked like:

The pictures don't lie - it really cleaned up that well! Those cleaners are worth it because they are replacing the numerous cleaners I have purchased that have NOT worked. I now am saving space and in the end, saving MONEY.



I am just loving cleaning my house with Norwex! If you would like your sinks to look like this, try the descalercleaning paste, or spirisponge. You can find them on my website!

52 Places in 52 Weeks: Gift Wrap



You found the PERFECT gift for that special someone. You get home to realize that your gift wrap is nothing but pathetic, and you are embarrassed that you have to put that lovely gift into THAT. Or maybe you are one of those last minute shoppers. You buy the first thing you see and when you get home, you again, realize that your gift wrap is a mess and you don't have time to decorate it in something fancy. Well, today we are going to organize ALL of our wrapping paper, gift bags, and whatever else you use to wrap gifts. This way, the next time you are stuck buying that last minute gift or want to put that something special in something beautiful, you are not stuck and left frustrated!

5 Steps to Organize Your Gift Wrapping Supplies:
1. Grab ALL of your gift wrapping supplies (including ribbon, tape, labels, Christmas paper, etc.)

2. Lay it all out.

3. Sort it (this may seem tedious...)
  • Organize your paper/bags by occasion
  • Organize those piles by putting all the things you have used in the past 2 years in one pile.
  • The rest? THROW IT AWAY (or donate it)
  • Again, you may think "I'll use it someday..." NO YOU WON'T. You've been saying that for the past how many years and those bags and wrapping paper are continually pushed down to the bottom.
  • Next, I would suggest buying a tote to store all of your gift wrapping supplies in (including scissors, tape, and a marker so everything is in one spot). 
I have two of them - one I keep all of my general supplies in and the other, Christmas. That way, each time I need to wrap a gift, I just have to grab ONE container and I know ALL of the supplies I need are in that one tote.

4. Another suggestion would be to see what "occasions" you do not have wrapping supplies for. Jot yourself a note to buy paper in advance for that occasion to prevent panic mode when you have to wrap something. I realize that you don't know what size the gift will be, but wrapping paper is great because it's something that is cheap, easy to decorate, and you don't feel as guilty throwing it away.

5. One of the most IMPORTANT ways to control your gift wrapping supplies is to USE UP WHAT YOU HAVE. I have been known to buy paper just because it is a good deal. Well, it's not a good deal when I can't fit it all into the containers I already have. Less is more, even in wrapping paper I think!

Hopefully this helps in the organizing of your gift wrap, that it is now easily accessible, and it is now a fun process, instead of a dreaded one!


Looking to make the most of your summer? Jennifer from ListPlanIt.com has given me the privilege of doing a giveaway for not only 1, but TWO 100 Days of Summertime 2015 eBook! You bet, that means TWO Organizing Life With Less readers will receive a copy (download) of this eBook for FREEJust sign up below! Giveaway ends Thursday, May 21, at 11:59pm. Or you can buy it now for only $8.00!



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