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15 Simple and Affordable DIY Projects

15 Simple and Affordable DIY Projects

DIY projects look fun and stylish, but many seem daunting because of 1) effort and expertise, and 2) cost. Some of us are less artistic, some of us don’t have tools to saw and drill into things, and some of us just plain can’t afford the materials to make these things. No fear, here are some affordable DIY projects that don’t require you to be a carpenter or a master artisté. Happy DIY-ing!

1. Gold Desk Organizer

Anthropologie Inspired Gold Pencil Holder - Desk Organizer  |  View From The Fridge

    It’s no surprise plenty of DIY blogs enjoy taking on some of Anthropologie’s products with cheap ways to make them yourself. This DIY desk organizer looks super modern without being expensive. You can easily find tins or small glasses around your house or at a thrift store for the compartments.

    2. Easy T-Shirt Grocery Bags

      Plastic bags are still the main option for produce even in the greenest cities. Make your own reusable produce bags out of old t-shirts with very minimal sewing. All you need are old t-shirts and a thread and needle, both of which can be bought cheaply if necessary.

      3. Mini Gardens

      Don’t have a green thumb? No worries. Succulents are tougher than the average plant and do well in pots. Your local home improvement or gardening store will have some succulents to choose from; if it doesn’t already say so on the plant tags, ask an employee which ones do best indoors. Bam, colorful and easy mini garden.

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      4. Pebble Bath/Mudroom Mat

        Easy, affordable, and not as hard to collect materials for as you think. Those who don’t want to gather stones themselves — or who simply don’t live near a body of water — can purchase bags of river rocks at most dollar stores. A few other cheap items also typically available at dollar stores, and you’re all set to make your mat.

        5. Mini Framed Dry-Erase Board

        dryerase

          Make a small DIY dry-erase board with tape and a simple frame, an easy way to leave notes in the kitchen or by the door. And fellas, don’t let the cute mom-theme put you off here — there are plenty of manly or neutral tape patterns you can use for your manly-man abode.

          6. Cereal Box Drawer Organizers

          DIY drawer dividers

            This may be another free project if you’ve got a) cereal boxes or boxes from other non-perishable foods, b) wrapping paper that isn’t covered in Santa, and c) double-sided tape. Any of these things can be bought cheaply regardless.

            7. Stamped Cloth Napkins

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              Similar to the first DIY project on this list, this napkin idea looks like an artsy store-bought product but at a fraction of the cost. What I like best about this tutorial is that it gives you ideas for common household objects to make cool patterns with. Spice up any cloth napkins you already own or buy some cheap ones from the local dollar or thrift store.

              8. Gold Sharpie Mugs

                This DIY project is a great opportunity for super-creative people, but the less artistic folks can easily do simple, classy designs. The link above suggests oil-based sharpies for the best chance of staying-power, though I’ve personally had luck with a regular black sharpie by baking the mug a little longer and not owning a dishwasher. Either way, the possibilities are many.

                9. Natural Room Scents

                Scents_for_home5.jpg

                  While a little more involved, but there are plenty of ways to get creative with the ingredients to use some things you already have in your kitchen. These room scents are just a fun way to make a room smell yummy for a gathering or just a day of relaxation, without the toxic chemicals found in most store-bought air-fresheners.

                  10. Wire and Stone Photo Display

                    The tutorial specifies a type of wire, but you can use any kind that suits your taste and budget. Take your favorite pictures, find some medium-sized rocks (probably for free, unless you live in a strangely rockless environment), and display them with an industrial-chic style.

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                    11. Constellation Jar

                      Mason jar + aluminum sheet + small light = instant star-filled bedroom. You don’t even have to be that artsy to do this project, as it requires little more than cutting a disposable cake pan, puncturing holes, and putting one thing inside of another. And, of course, it requires only affordable and easy to obtain materials.

                      12. No-Sew Covered Pillow

                        While many of us would love to make stylish home decor on the cheap, the whole sewing thing that many of those projects require is a lost art for some. This no-sew pillowcase idea has to be one of the easiest DIY home decor projects I’ve seen. All you need is a cheap decent-sized chunk of fabric (you could even use old sheets, or old clothing items if they’re big enough) and you can follow these easy instructions for chic DIY pillows.

                        13. Colorful Paint-Bottomed Glasses

                        colorfulglasses

                           

                          If you can find it and afford it, there are paints for glasses that won’t wash off when you do the dishes, but a cheaper option is to use acrylic paint and seal it. Buy some dollar store tumblers or other glassware and make them look ultra-modern with these cool paint design ideas.

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                          14. Hat Organizer

                            Store hats or scarves cheaply and conveniently with this no-brainer idea. If you want, you could even spray-paint the hanger to make it look extra nice.

                            15. Photo Magnets

                            photofridgemagnets

                              A unique way to save photographs, AND an awesome gift idea for someone you share memories with. Your fridge will never be boring again, and you have a quick and affordable gift/party favor idea for the future. It’s a win-win.

                              Featured photo credit: Untitled/Jamie Henderson via flic.kr

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                              Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                              How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                              How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                              Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                              You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                              Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                              1. Work on the small tasks.

                              When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                              Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                              2. Take a break from your work desk.

                              Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                              Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                              3. Upgrade yourself

                              Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                              The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                              4. Talk to a friend.

                              Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                              Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                              5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                              If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                              Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                              Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                              6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                              If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                              Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                              Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                              7. Read a book (or blog).

                              The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                              Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                              Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                              8. Have a quick nap.

                              If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                              9. Remember why you are doing this.

                              Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                              What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                              10. Find some competition.

                              Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                              Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                              11. Go exercise.

                              Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                              Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                              As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                              Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                              12. Take a good break.

                              Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                              Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                              Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                              Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                              More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                              Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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