Organizing Essential Oil Bottles

After being a Young Living distributor for over two years, we have accumulated quite a few bottles of different essential oils.  We ordered cases to store them, but not only was that getting expensive, but the cases have tops.  This makes them great for travel, but not so home-friendly.  The way we were organizing essential oil bottles had to change!

How to store essential oils on the cheap!
We love the case and the cap labels, but are running out of room!

After doing lots of research, the containers that were available to purchase just seemed like too much money.  My husband suggested that we use the containers that the company sends the oils in since they basically cost us nothing extra.  So, we started saving the containers.

Making Your Own Storage / Organization

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These are the containers that we were shipped in one month’s large order.  It doesn’t take long to build the collection needed to store a large amount of oils.

Store essential oil bottles using materials that you probably have on hand.

Cut the tubes to the desired height.  Hubby used a hack saw to cut them.  We decided to cut them all the same so the small 5 ml bottles would also fit.  I used a ruler to make the rows straight.

Essential oil bottle storage!

Attach the cut tube pieces to a piece of cardboard that you have already cut.  (Measure how large you want to make it first.)  I started using hot glue to attach, but then I ran out so hubby picked up some tacky glue at Lowe’s and that worked great.  Glue, place, press.  Repeat.

How to store essential oil bottles in the home.

Here’s what it looks like!  This storage system works great for us.  I measured and created this to fit in a drawer in one of our cabinets.  That’s awesome because you can customize this to whatever size you want.

As we get more oils, we re-arrange the bottles.  Our type A personalities require us to store the oils in alphabetical order.  Yes, I re-organize them each time we get a new oil.  It just makes it so much easier to find what you are looking for!  This system makes it easy to change where the bottles are placed.

Storing this amount of bottles can be very challenging.  I hope that you find this helpful!

Learn more about Young Living here.  Read more about essential oils here and here.

Ways to $ave money

Saving money is definitely important in all aspects of life, but especially if you are trying to pay off debt.  The average American household as of April 2014 has $203,163 worth of debt including mortgage, student loans, credit cards, etc. (Source).  I’m almost positive that this number must be higher now.  Our cultural mentality is gimme gimme more more more.  I’ve written about de-cluttering in a previous post.  Less is more, especially when you don’t really have the money.  So, with that being said, let’s talk about some ways to save some dough.  These are listed in no specific order…….

  • IMG_3075Make a Budget and stick to it!  Have a monthly budget meeting.  You can learn more from Dave Ramsey here.  In fact, if you are trying to pay off some debt, I strongly recommend going through the Financial Peace University.  That will give you some ideas and tools to really attack your debt.  Great starting point.
  • Shop second hand.  Consignment shops, thrift stores, used/refurbished online items.  There are many great items in my closet and home that we have purchased used.
  • Cancel monthly trash pick up.  You will have to check with your state to see if you are able to do this.  We live in Delaware and order cards from the state to take trash bags to the transfer station.  There is an upfront cost of purchasing a large container to hold your trash and recycled materials, but it is well worth it.  We were spending about $35 per month on trash and recycling services.  Now, we are spending about $30 per YEAR!  My husband takes a load about every two weeks.  It does take some time, but the financial gain was awesome!
  • Cancel Netflix/Hulu/DirecTV services.  My household has talked about this, but we haven’t actually done it yet.  Families spend too much time watching television when they could be doing other things together.  This not only saves money, but gives a gift of TIME.
  • When preparing meals for dinner, double or triple the recipe.  This also gives you the gift of TIME.  Make two or three of whatever you are preparing and freeze the extras.  It’s not that hard to make more when all of the ingredients are already out.  Then, you have extra meals that you simply take out of the freezer and bake/warm-up.
  • Don’t go shopping.  We stopped going to the mall after doing the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University.  We were spending too much money on things that we really didn’t even need.  Instead of going to the mall, we take a walk, go to the zoo, etc.  Read more about family activities here.
  • Get creative on dates.  See who can find the best coupon, price, deal, etc.   We like to put J to bed and then do something together at home.  It’s easier and cheaper.  Minimal planning.
  • Call companies and ask for a cheaper rate.  Usually when you threaten to to cancel a service, companies will find all of these great deals for you, which has always frustrated me.  If they can offer it when you complain, why not just give it to me to begin with?!  We have called our car insurance, Internet provider and cell phone provider.
  • Grocery shop using a list.  During your budget meeting, you will need to decide what amount you have available to spend on food.  Use that to meal plan and create your list.  We use the Buy Me a Pie app to create our grocery list.
  • Don’t buy things just because they’re on sale.  This one is really hard for me.  I love a bargain.  But, I was buying things because I liked the price, not necessarily the item itself.  Now, I decide whether I like it before I see the price, and then decide if I will buy it after I see the price.
  • Sleep one night before making major $ decisions.  Buying cars is not a fun process for most people.  Even though you just want to get the process over with, we have found that if you leave the lot and then decide, you are less likely to make the wrong decision.
  • Ditch the drugstore.  Stock up on homeopathic supplies instead of going to the drugstore.  Essential oils, Rescue Remedy, and Sovereign Silver are all great ways to support your body’s systems.
  • Amazon subscribe & save.  If you sign up on Amazon to receive items monthly to save a percentage.  You can have items shipped every month, every two months, or any amount of time.  You are allowed to skip a shipment.  If you get more than one item doing the subscribe & save during one month, you get extra savings.  Read more here.
  • Use the envelope system.  This is another Dave Ramsey trick.  After budgeting, put specific amounts of cash in envelopes.  When the cash is gone, you can’t buy any more.
  • Empty all change into a jar.  When you use cash, don’t pay for things with change.  Put your change in the jar and when it’s full, use it to do something special.
  • Don’t buy clothes.  This was really hard for me.  I love to shop.  And I love clothes.  When you think about it, we really don’t need that many clothes.
  • Use online banking.  Stamps are so expensive!  Save the money on stamps and checks by setting up online banking.  This also saves TIME!
  • Make your own bread.  I love bread.  After looking at the ingredients and doing my own research, I learned that High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is really bad for you.  Read more about food here.  All the bread that we were purchasing had HFCS in it.  I found a great recipe online here.  It is a process because you make the dough in the bread machine, let it rise, then bake it.  I usually double the recipe.  It is the best bread I have tasted!  Sweet enough to eat plain, perfect for sandwiches.
  • Remove saved credit card information online.  It is much too convenient to make a purchase!  If you know that you have to find the card and enter all of that information in manually, you will think twice about making the purchase.  Online shopping is great, but it can be expensive because of how easy it is!
  • Make breakfast sandwiches ahead of time and freeze.  Stopping at fast food places to grab breakfast on a busy morning is bad for your health and your wallet.  When I was pregnant and eating several meals a day, I would eat breakfast at home, but was ready to eat again by the time I got to work.  Teaching made it difficult because I’m not really supposed to eat in front of the students.  I would bring in breakfast sandwiches and eat one right before the students came to school.  It’s really easy to find lots of recipes for these on Pinterest.
  • Embrace a simplistic lifestyle.  LESS is MORE!  Think birthdays & Christmas…… We decided that J would only receive a few presents for her birthday and Christmas.  Something to wear, something to read, something she wants & something she needs.  Although she is only two, we plan to continue this so she doesn’t learn to expect all of this STUFF.  It makes me sick to hear how much money people are spending on their children for Christmas and birthdays.  The retail industry really has ruined holidays.  I want to teach her about the meanings behind why we celebrate, not set her up for a life time of expectations.

Hope this can help another family!  Money issues always bring tension in a relationship.  Don’t let your stuff take over your life.  Take control of your finances today!

 

 

Family Fun for Free or on the Cheap

Have you ever noticed that planning activities for a family can be an overwhelming and expensive task?  You have to figure time, gas (if driving), food and cost of whatever you are doing.  It can seem like nothing is free, but there are some easy things that you can plan for free or cheap.  Family fun time is so important!  I feel like the enemy is always trying to distract me with things that aren’t as important as they seem.  Here’s a few activities that my family do on occasion:

Family Fun

Some Ideas:

1. Walk.  This is great for your health because it is exercise and forces you to spend time relationally with each other.  No electronics allowed!  That might make you dizzy anyway.  I have read that walking helps flush out your systems – that’s detoxing – plus it gets you out in the fresh air.  Obviously, this one is weather dependent.  My family loves to walk when the weather cooperates.

2. Build forts inside the house.  Okay this one is a must for building creativity in your kids.  It’s terrible how many hours young children, teens, and adults for that matter spend on screens (myself included!).  Using cushions from furniture, a few chairs, and some sheets, you can easily construct something for kids to play in.  Add something extra by eating a snack in the fort or playing a game.  This is great because it can be done at any time, regardless of the weather.

3. Play outside.  Here’s another one that brings back memories from my childhood.  It seems like kids don’t even know how to play outside anymore.  I remember being outside all day with my younger brother, only coming inside to eat.  We made up our own games which were really silly, but we had fun.  When it’s nice outside, send kids out to play.  It’s not hard to build a sandbox; if you’re not into DIY, you can pick them up pretty cheap.  *Trick: sprinkle cinnamon in the sand to keep the creepy crawlies out.

family fun

4.  Go to the zoo.  Most zoos run specials and smaller town zoos are even free.  Pack a lunch and cameras.  My daughter is only two and we have already been to the zoo dozens of times.  I just read that the Philadelphia Zoo (pictured above) offers free summer admission for educators!  Check it out here.  The site is dated for 2015, so I will keep checking to see if it is updated for this current year.

More Ideas:

5. Look at older pictures/watch old home videos.  I have dozens of scrapbooks I made back when I had time –  before I was a mom.  My daughter loves to look through the pictures and that gives me the perfect opportunity to talk to her about what happened in the pictures.  It also helps her with name recognition of family members.

6. Scavenger hunt.  This one takes some preparation so you need to plan ahead.  My mom was great about doing scavenger hunts when they had a surprise for us.  One year, she sent me & my brother on a scavenger hunt with all of these clues hidden all over the house to tell us that we were going to Disney World.  She picked up Disney / Florida things on the cheap – yard sales, thrift stores, etc.  It is fun and exciting for children.

7. Prepare a meal together.  This would work best with older children.  J loves to be in the kitchen, but she’s not old enough yet to actually help.  I give her kitchen utensils and bowls so she can pretend, but older kids could really be a part of the preparation.  It’s always fun to get everyone in the kitchen, as long as your kitchen is not super tiny!  Prepare, eat, clean up, relax together as a family.  It’s always a good idea to eat together as a family at the dinner table.  Talk about your day; you could even plan your next fun activity as a family.  No electronics!

8. Play games.  Break out the board games!  Candy Land, Monopoly, Checkers, card games (My husband’s family plays Hand & Foot, but this is very difficult for younger children.  Would be great if your children are teens or older!), JengaCootie, etc.  So many families allow themselves to be distant from one another and do not interact.  Have a weekly game night – again, no electronics allowed!

Make Time for Your Family

The main goal for family activities is to do things together.  Be in the present.  Put down the Smart phone.  In fact, put it on silent.  Communicate to others that you will be spending time with your family and allow them to leave a voicemail or text.  Keep the family time sacred!  Be a part of your children’s lives.  Know their friends, dreams, goals, ambitions.  Make sure that they feel that they are important to you and that they matter to God.  Listen to your children with all of your attention, not “listening” while checking your e-mail or texting.  I know that this is extremely difficult in the culture that we live in, but it is super important! Make time for your family.