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Home Improvement

Learn where our editor-in-chief, Hannah Kincaid, found organization inspiration as she cleaned and sold her first home.

| May / June 2018

  • Replace plastic items with glass, metal, and ceramic products, which are better for the environment and look nicer.
    Photo by Getty Images /Svetl

My boyfriend and I recently finished renovating our century-old farmhouse, which means we’re placing it on the market and looking for our next fixer-upper. This was our first home, and the experience taught us a lot about what to prioritize in our next one (a basement and closer proximity to our community) and what to avoid going forward (tiled kitchen countertops — never again will I spend so much time scrubbing grout). During the past few weeks, we’ve been deep-cleaning and staging the rooms for photographs and in-person showings. The house feels the best it’s ever felt, and I’ve learned an important lesson in the process: Don’t wait until you’re selling your home to make it shine!

While clearing clutter and organizing closets, I found two books extremely motivating. Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up helped me donate or recycle a surprisingly high number of items — and I already considered myself a minimalist. Kondo’s basic message is that if an item doesn’t bring you joy, then say goodbye. With fewer items, you’ll spend less time cleaning and more time doing activities you love.

The second helpful book was Remodelista: The Organized Home, which was written by the staff of and has earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf. This book inspired me to decant our pantry items into clear glass jars. You wouldn’t believe the difference this has made in both the look of our pantry and its usefulness. It’s now easier for me to buy in bulk, too, which helps save money and reduce waste over time. This book stresses the importance of replacing plastic items with glass, metal, and ceramic products, which are better for the environment and look nicer.

Whether or not you’re selling your house, I encourage you to walk through its rooms and pretend you are. Which items aren’t worth packing up and moving, and should therefore be donated or recycled? Would any weekend projects, such as a quick coat of paint or a well-placed flower box, spruce things up considerably? Share your improvement projects with me at or by using the hashtag #MotherEarthLiving; it’s always such fun to see what our thoughtful readers are up to!

3 things I love in the May/June 2018 issue:

1. The recommendations for sustainable essential oils. I can’t believe the habitat destruction our essential oil craze has caused.

2. The Moringa Guacamole recipe — what a delicious way to sneak superfoods into your diet!

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