Not everyone has the finances to buy new plants for each season or occasion. That doesn’t mean a garden has to look drab or bare, nor do gardeners need to be deprived of their favorite pastime. The sign of a beautiful garden is not how much money is invested, but how well it’s cared for, the design, and choice of plants.
Through cuttings, seeds, plant sales, plant rescuing, and other resourceful ways, a garden can look like paradise. Here’s how:
Cuttings are one of the most obvious and popular ways to sample different plants in your region. You can propagate them through layering, rooting, dividing, or simply transplanting the plant directly into the soil.
This is a popular way to add to your succulent garden, especially for those who live in the western United States and dry or drought-stricken regions that feature succulents in landscapes throughout the year. There’s such a frenzy of succulent lovers out there that Facebook groups devoted to collecting and sharing information have had to limit membership due to overwhelming response.
Try to resist taking a cutting from a public or private garden—it’s someone else’s property. Instead, find the owner, and ask if you might have a cutting. Most likely they will be flattered and happy to share.
Flea Markets and Car Boot Sales
Flea markets, farmers’ markets are a great source for cheap and sometimes free plants. In the United Kingdom, a car boot sale is a term for a group of people gathering together to sell household and garden items.
Most people price plants to be affordable. After all, that’s why people attend and sell at these kinds of events.
In spring or fall, organized garden tours give locals and enthusiasts opportunities to visit residential gardens. It’s a chance to see what grows well in the region, and many tours sell cuttings of plants at stops along the tour.
Yard and Estate Sales
Plants are among the least-popular items at an estate or garage sale–everyone has his or her eye on a valuable piece of jewelry or a cool Mid-Century modern teak buffet. Strategically arrive at the end of the sale, when items are often reduced drastically as the sellers want to pack up and move on.
Offer a low but reasonable amount to take several potted plants off their hands, and be prepared to move them yourself, swiftly and easily. With a little gardening know-how, pruning, and TLC, you can have those plants looking healthy in a month or so.
Garden Clubs and Organizations
Plant sales are an excellent way to raise money and awareness of local garden and horticulture clubs. That’s why they hold seasonal plant sales. And those sales are where someone who is looking for more unusual plants at a great price (or sometimes free), should attend.
An added bonus: most members include information on how to grow the plant. Who knows? You might end up joining one of the clubs, where the monthly meetings are often good places for free plant swaps.
Request a Plant as a Gift
Your friends and family are always bugging you for gift ideas around the holidays and your birthday, anyway—so why not ask for something you actually want, like plants? You can also request seeds or gift certificates to a garden center or nursery. Your gift giver will be happy to know he or she has selected something you really want. And it’s a gift to you, which means it didn’t cost you anything.
Pay it forward and share cuttings with other plant love
Nothing makes clutter clearing easier than knowing your household items, clothes, and shoes are going to a worthy cause. That’s why donating is such a wonderful pursuit; it helps other people while freeing you of stuff you no longer need.
Below are some of the most popular things to donate, places to donate them to, and tips on what to do before you donate.
I have a hard timing parting with books, but I have to admit eventually, some of them are not going to be read again and are just eating up valuable storage space. Knowing they will go to a good “home” makes the task of donating books much easier for me.
Places to Donate Books:
- Operation Paperback donate books to troops overseas.
- Access Books collects books for relief shelters (think: victims of hurricanes, floods, etc.).
- Your local library will be glad to take your books.
Before you donate: Make sure you’ve removed any notes or small pieces of paper that may have found their way in between pages.
Again, you could simply recycle your old car by bringing it to a junkyard and be paid for its price in scrap metal, but why do that when many charities will take your old car and put them to good use? Bonus: You get a tax write-off! Here’s more on that from a nonprofit guide: Car Donation to Charity
Places to Donate Cars:
- America’s Car Donation Center accepts donations in all 50 states and allows you to choose the receiving charity.
- Car Talk Vehicle Donation Program–from the popular radio show–will allow you to donate to your favorite radio station.
- Trade-in your car towards a new car.
Before you donate: Make sure to search every inch of the car for receipts, or papers marked with any identifying information. Give your car a good cleaning, either by hand or via a car wash.
You could simply recycle your old cell phone, and I find that most people put old cell phones in a box in the basement and forget about their existence until it’s time to declutter. Put your cell phone back into use immediately.
Places to Donate Cell Phones:
- ReCellular allows you to donate your phone, or start a charity donation program (for your church, c=school, or other worthy cause).
- American Cell Phone Drive
- Cell Phones for Soldiers
Before you donate: Wipe your phone of any personal data (Numbers, notes, etc.)
Knowing that my clothes are going to a worthy cause makes them much, much easier to art with on a daily basis. I keep a donation bag at all times and I slowly put items in I haven’t worn in a while. When it’s full I call the Vietnam Veterans of America to come pick up a bag or two.
Places to Donate Clothes:
- Goodwill Clothing & Donation Centers
- Vietnam Veterans of Americas
- Salvation Army International
Before you donate: Clean your clothes!
Some people need to buy computers every year (the “early adopters”), and some people like to rehab old computers. Either way, there a lot of old computer floating around out there that are still in useable condition.
Places to Donate Computers:
- Your local school system.
- Your local library.
Before you donate: Wipe the hard drive and removing any identifying or personal information. Do not count on anyone else to do this for you (i.e. the person taking your donation).
Another great household item to donate is furniture. Only in very, very rare cases would you recycle it, as most furniture will be useful to someone.
Places to donate furniture:
- Salvation Army will pick up your furniture. Call 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825)
- Operation Homefront lets you choose military families for furniture donation.
- Furniture Banks lets you donate your gently used furniture to persons in need, typically formerly homeless people trying to get back on their feet financially.
Before you donate: Dust it, clean it and make sure there are no ragged, dangerous edges or nails sticking out that could potentially hurt someone.
Glasses and Eyewear
Eyewear is a great recycling option because glasses are in demand!
Places to Donate Glasses & Eyewear:
- Your local Lions Club
- Pearl Vision
Before you donate: Clean your glasses and, if you still have it, return them to their case for easier transport or mailing.
Mixers, blenders, rice cookers – store them based on how often you use each one.
I strongly urge you to organize and declutter your kitchen twice a year to sweep for un-used or no-longer-used kitchen appliances. They take up valuable storage space that may be better used for appliances and foodstuffs you use every day.
Before you donate: Clean and find all of the accouterments like cords and attachments.
I bet you have a lot of these hanging around. I know I do. The best place to donate used linens is animal shelters. Shelters use your linens for bed lining and to bathe animals.
Before you donate: Obviously, wash the linens, and call ahead to see if your local shelter is accepting donations.
Another option is to donate them with your clothing donation.
This is a big one because many times we buy tools or a tool set for a specific project and then after we’re done, the tools collect dust and take up valuable storage space. You can donate old tools to Habitat for Humanity or any other construction-focused local charity.
Before you donate: You don’t have to do much except box your tools up. Just make sure you don’t have anything dangerous floating around in a box, i.e. small saws, nails, etc. Contain those items or label them and donate them separately.
In the spirit of spring, cleaning is a big part of the season and despite our best intentions, some spaces tend to become magnets for clutter. Rather than putting things back in their proper place, high traffic areas often become drop zones for mail and other miscellaneous items. Although you can’t keep every inch of your home perfect all the time, you can keep these spots relatively clutter-free by giving them a quick clean-out once a week.
There are steps you can take to cut bathroom clutter long-term, such as making sure you have enough storage. But even when you’ve taken care of that, minor clutter can still accumulate on counters and in cabinets. Once a week, take a minute to straighten out the makeup you didn’t have time to put away, the bottles that may have tipped over, and any other little bits of bathroom clutter that can make a small room look messy.
Cleaning out expired foods from your refrigerator, and figuring out what mystery items might be wrapped in foil in your freezer, is a pain. That’s why it’s tempting to avoid cleaning out these areas until it’s absolutely necessary to do a major fridge overhaul. Compared to that, decluttering your food weekly is quick and nearly painless.
You do not have to fully declutter your closet every week. Just fold, put away, or hang up any clothes that are lying around. Also, set aside any items that you’ve noticed you no longer want or need; then donate once you accumulate a bagful.
For most people, a quick bedroom declutter will go hand in hand with tidying up the closet. After you put your clothes away, just walk around the room and check for things like books or drinking glasses that you may have brought into your bedroom and forgotten to put back where they belong.
Trash and Recycle
This one is simple: don’t let your trash or recycling pile up in your house for more than a week. In addition to your kitchen trash bins, do a sweep of wastepaper baskets in each room as well. If you tend to forget to take it out, leave it in front of the door so you can’t miss it.
The entryway to your home is one common area where stuff is often allowed to pile up. Prevent the pile of shoes, coats, bags, etc., from growing too large by regularly returning everything to its proper place.
You only intend to put your mail on the coffee table for a minute, but you get distracted and leave it there all day. And the next day, and the day after that. The same goes for your gloves, your knitting, the list goes on. Keep the coffee table from becoming a dumping ground by giving it a weekly decluttering.
Unless you use the same exact makeup and products every day, chances are your makeup bag will end up with some extra unused lipsticks or eyeshadows as the week goes on. Check to make sure you’re only carrying around what you currently use daily and that you’re not missing something you need. If you don’t wear makeup, this also applies to any small store of supplies you keep in your bag, whether it contains hair clips, Band-Aids, medicines, or gum.
These fruit kabobs are a great alternative to sugary sweets and candy. Not to mention, they are super easy!
Need a fun and fast dessert idea for Easter? How about making these cute Peep fruit kabobs?! They would make the perfect snack for a neighborhood Easter egg hunt. Young and the young at heart will enjoy theses treats.
They were born just hours apart in the same hospital.
These two were simply meant to be!
Two newborns, coincidentally named Romeo and Juliet, were both born hours apart at the same hospital last week.
According to this article from The Today Show, parents, Morgan and Edwin Hernandez welcomed their baby boy, whom they named Romeo, on March 19. Eighteen hours later, Christiana and Allen Shifflett welcomed a baby girl, Juliet — right down the hall at the same hospital. What are the odds!
Cassie Clayshulte, who is a photographer at the South Carolina hospital where Romeo and Juliet were born, snapped photos of the newborns together in the hospital.
After getting permission from both sets of parents, Clayshulte posted those photos on her Facebook account last week, and that’s when the story of the star-crossed lovers went viral.
When the families reunited the babies at Clayshulte’s studio for an interview and photoshoot, they decided to go with a Shakespearean theme in tribute to their names.
They did great, which is rare for non-twins to be snuggling together,” Calyshulte told ABC News about the babies shooting together. “They held hands and nuzzled each other and they didn’t cry until we took them apart.”
And luckily this story has a happier ending than its counterpart. The four parents have become friends and already have plans to reunite their little lovebirds.
“We have already talked about getting together for one-year photos for the kids’ birthday as well as senior year photos,” Hernandez told The Today Show. “We have found an amazing friendship within Juliet’s family.”
How beautiful is this!?
Live someplace you’ve never been, where you know no one and no one knows you. Whether it’s across the state, across the country, or across the world, start over. Then start over again, and again. Immerse yourself in a new place, a new culture, a new way of life. Then see who you become when there are no expectations of who you’re supposed to be.
Fall in love
Fall in love with something or someone. Fall in love with a boy, a girl, your best friend, with your job, your favorite food, a hobby, workout routine. Fall in love with something. Feel that passion for something, anything, and feel it hard.
Force Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone
The most remarkable life moments are the ones that make you uncomfortable. I recall my first time driving in the pouring rain at night from one town to another with my eldest son in the back seat. It was one of those moments that get your heart racing and your palms sweating. Force yourself into those situations and get out of your comfort zone. The moments that make you unsure – the moments you’ve never experienced before – are the ones that you’ll remember.
Work Hard, Play Harder
There is no such thing as a work/life balance. You need to create it. Take a lunch and read a book in a park, leave early to go to happy hour on a Tuesday. Take all your vacation days, put your email away, and keep work at work. If you let it take over your life it most definitely will. It’s up to you to create a life for yourself outside of your job.
Being alone is uncomfortable and scary – but it is also essential to your sanity. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, being alone gives you the time to think about yourself, your life and your decisions. It makes you acutely aware of the things happening around you and gives you an opportunity to take in your life – to realize who you are, where you are, and why you’re there. See a movie. Eat at a nice restaurant. Go to a bar and order a drink. Don’t hide behind your phone or rush through it. Let yourself be alone, observe the people around you, and be open to conversation.
Do Not Settle
Throughout life, you will feel spurts of loneliness, unhappiness, desperation, and thousands of other emotions relating to your imperfect job, nonexistent relationship, empty wallet or countless other perceived shortcomings. Through all of this, however, never, ever settle. Do not stay at a job you hate purely because it pays the bills – find something else. Do not stay with a guy who is not good enough purely because he’s convenient – find someone else. Settling is easy. But not settling is worth it.
Take Care of Your Body
This is the only one you’ve got and you don’t want it to deteriorate before its ready. Eat well, get enough sleep and exercise. Know what you are putting into and onto your body and make sure you keep it up and running for as long as you can.
You may say you can’t get those new boots, those great tickets that second drink, because you’re “poor.” But let’s face it, you’re probably reading this on your very own personal Mac, in warm clothes, on a comfy couch (or an uncomfortable office swivel chair). You’re not poor. It may feel like it when you have to hand over ⅔ of your monthly paycheck to a landlord who probably can’t even bother to fix your sink when you ask, but you’re not poor. An important part of life is realizing how fortunate you actually are. Volunteer. Serve food at a soup kitchen, help at-risk high schoolers prep for the SATs, play a sport with some kids. Put your life into perspective, and help others along the way.
Never say no to a first date. Even if you meet him on Tinder and he takes you to McDonald’s. You will miss invaluable experiences if you say no before you give it a try. This is not desperate. This is not sad. This is you, figuring out what you like and don’t like, which is a part of life. You never know what could come out of it – a boyfriend, a friend, a work connection. At the least, you’ll get a free meal, and at the most you’ll get a good story.
Getting your heart broken can be a good thing; it shows you what you’re capable of. If you can fall hard enough for someone that it hurts when you hit the ground, that’s a remarkable thing. So eat a pint of ice cream and let yourself cry, but then get up, get dressed and get over it.
Know the News
Know what is going on in the world around you. Just because a war, a riot, or a plane crash is not happening in your backyard, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t know and care about it.
Explore What You Love
Everyone has passions but not everyone is lucky enough to work with those passions on a day to day basis. Life is made for exploration. Take a painting class, even if you can’t draw a stick figure. Join a running club, even if you have to stop after 3 blocks. Try new things and revisit the old. Figure out what you’re passionate about and never forget it. Sometimes five minutes of doing something you love can make up for 8 hours of doing something you hate.
Read books. Lots of books. They are there for a reason and they are not to be ignored. Pick up the reading habit. Get addicted to books. They introduce you to new worlds, take you to foreign places, and teach you about other cultures. They let you feel love and hate and everything in between. They’re the best learning tool you can possibly find and a great conversation starter. Never in your adult life will you wish you read fewer books.
Keep a Journal
Write about it all – the boy you kissed in the Park just as the streetlights came on, the date you wanted to leave the second you saw his sneakers at a formal event. The time your boss was in a bad mood and took it out on you. Write it all down and read it when you’re feeling nostalgic (or when you need a reminder of the fact that you survived it all).
Spend Money on Experiences
The saying “you only regret the things you don’t do” couldn’t be more accurate. Frugality is important, but so is living your life. Buy the concert tickets. Go to the expensive rooftop bar. Take a spontaneous weekend trip to a new city. You’re alive to do these things. In the end, it’s the experiences that matter. They make up the stories you’ll tell your kids. Looking back, you’ll be happy you went on that cross-country road trip, and you won’t even remember how you had to eat Ramen noodles for three months to pay for it.
Stay in Touch
People move, things change, and life go on. But don’t let miles or time ruin your relationships. Between texting, calling, tweeting, and Facebooking, you have no excuse to lose contact with someone. Make an effort and take the time. Don’t let a great friendship die because it’s no longer convenient.
Make a Bucket List
Sometimes the only way to accomplish something that you never thought you could do is by visualizing it – by making sure you know that it’s attainable and within reach. It keeps you motivated to try new things and see new places. And it ensures you’re always working toward some kind of bigger goal. So make a list and never stop adding to it.
Everyone has their awkward moments, and sometimes being awkward isn’t always charming like the television shows suggest. Being awkward means always having the perfect comeback a few seconds too late to say it. It means smiling at him without realizing he’s looking at the girl behind you. It means falling on the sidewalk because you’re distracted by a puppy, landing in horse poop (with no Prince Charming there to spontaneously catch you and ask you out) and having to wear that brown stain on your butt the entire walk home. Being awkward is, actually, rarely charming. Until you find the right person to be awkward with. So embrace your weird tendencies, your clumsiness, and your affliction for always having the wrong thing to say. It is what makes you, you.