top of page

"Celebrating the art of simple, charming, dollarwise living"

  • Writer's pictureKathryn Bechen

New Home Products + How to Measure for a New TV

Updated: Jan 26

Kathryn Bechen cottage

Whether you live in a small home or a large one, the basic reason that some homes look and feel peaceful, calm, cozy, and orderly is because they have less stuff overall + good products to organize the home goods that one wants or needs to have in their home.

My favorite recent home organizing (and other) products are below and I am very glad I bought all of them. My hope here is that you might find something here that will make your home more functional and/or prettier too.

Kathryn Bechen organizing


This new acrylic makeup and toiletries organizer I bought recently is attractive and functional. It holds a lot and streamlines everything into one nice place. It spins. It's easy to clean; just wipe off with a wet cloth and dry. The shelves are adjustable. In other words, I love it! Now, if you don't like looking at your products, or want them in picture-perfect visual order on your counter, then you probably won't like this product. But for me, I wanted the ease of use all at my fingertips, and readily-visible, rather than an Instagram-worthy perfectly-organized products photo, so this was it!

SAVE SPACE TIP: I also bought these acrylic tumblers to further organize products within my new bathroom toiletries spinner. They are very attractive and work well to further separate things, or stand tubes etc. up vs. have them lying on a shelf. I also used a couple of other small containers to make corralling small things like my earrings easier.


(Be sure to check ingredient labels to make sure they work for you, as everyone is different!)

I have found Weleda to be wonderful! Made in Germany, (home of generations of my ancestors, back to the 1600s, as far as I have traced), so I love German-engineered products as I know they stand out in quality. (Germans have innovatively invented and discovered lots of amazing things!) I especially like Weleda's sensitive line. Their sensitive calming oil and face cream are so nice and have been very effective for facial dryness and redness in our Arizona dry climate.

I also have used Bach Flower Remedies for a long time, developed by German Dr. Edward Bach, and I love those as well. Storage tip below.

Also, if you notice the deodorant bottle on my toiletries spinner, that's Lafe's and I use the unscented version and have for many years. I really like it.

BUDGET SHOPPING TIP: I shop online a lot at Vitacost for most of my non-toxic toiletries, food, and supplements. They run great sales, often site-wide for every single product, so you might want to sign up for their mailing list to be notified of sales and get the current code to use. Great customer service. Easy return policy, no questions asked if something comes broken -- you call and they refund. Last year I figured out I saved hundreds of dollars on Vitacost's ongoing discounts, and that was just for one year and I have been shopping there for many years. It adds up, and my savvy shopping savings grow our travel/fun fund and our emergency fund!

Want to save even more on your Vitacost orders? Enter the Rakuten site first and then click on Vitacost in there for a rebate on top of your Vitacost discount. Recently I got 12% off from Vitacost with 3% off from Rakuten on top of it. 15% off everything I ordered. Yay! Rakuten deposits the rebate into your bank account. Vitacost takes the discount off your cart before you pay. What could be easier?! (Check Vitacost for their Weleda brand products when on sale too; sometimes cheaper than Amazon.)

HAPPY HAIRSPRAY: I have also looked for a long time for a new hairspray/gel I could tolerate with my severe fragrance sensitivities and this one by John Masters has done the trick. Not a very strong hold, but better than none and barely just a very faint essential oils smell that evaporates quickly. It's not inexpensive, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do, right?!

MAGIC MAKEUP: Allergic or highly sensitive to makeups like I am? I really like Bellephoria and RMS Beauty. I have had excellent online customer service from both companies, repeatedly. RMS "Uncoverup" is my fave and I use it as a coverup and foundation in one, with Bellephoria face powder over it with just a light dusting with a brush. I like RMS Lip2Cheek lip color that doubles as blush too. I like Bellephoria's face powder the best of any face powder I have ever used. (Personally, I found RMS foundation and face powder did not work well with my skin -- was too drying in our Arizona desert climate and for my age 60s skin, but you might like it for your skin and where you live as it's creamy and goes on nicely.) I love these bamboo makeup brushes for applying face powder, especially for the dollarwise price!

Kathryn Bechen organizing


I recently moved my Bach Flower bottles to the little drawers in my kitchen I mentioned above. They do roll around a bit, but it's sufficient. You can also buy them as a kit to keep all on hand and keep them organized too.

This mini Bach Flower kit and also this one make great try-them-out gifts! We could all use a little "hope & joy" and "clarity of mind" about now, right?! I put them in my water glass and sip throughout the day. If you want to learn more about Bach Flowers, this class I took years ago in person is now available online and it's excellent and easy to learn.

Kathryn Bechen organizing


On the other side of my bathroom sink is this new makeup drawers holder. I bought it with clear drawers (vs. white opaque ones) purposely so I can see really quick what I need to grab to quickly do makeup. Dandy. I stood drawer towers two next to each other and that worked great. And when I am ready to go on a trip? Easy to just dump each drawer into pockets in my hanging toiletry bag really quickly. The acrylic glass tumbler I mentioned above works great for my makeup brushes. I also bought one of these trimmers for eyebrows and like it so much better than a tweezer that I will never go back.

Those red and white lidded containers you see here? Those are salt and pepper shakers that hold my loose powder makeup. It avoids waste, looks cute, and when I travel I just put a piece of masking tape over the holes so the makeup doesn't get all over. But yes, they are plastic, sorry. (I know, landfills and our oceans!) If flying, I'd probably put tape around the top too so the lid would not pop off from air pressure and put it also in a zipper plastic bag for good measure just in case so that I wouldn't be wearing my makeup on my white top later. Yes, I know, sounds a little dramatic, but why chance ruining a white top or several other clothes in your suitcase when you're on your dream vacation! Better yet, I'd buy these with a lid next time.

Steve Bechen handyman at home


I like to keep as much as possible off my (small) kitchen counters, so I had Steve add two more wire baskets to the front of our pantry. He taped them up and leveled them and then screwed them in. Good idea!

I try to make the best use of vertical space that I can, without getting carried away so that it looks too cluttered. We are trying to streamline our small home, after all, and that's an ongoing process.

Kathryn Bechen cottage

Basket mission accomplished. My pantry sign is similar to this one.

So what do you do if you want to ever remove the baskets and there are holes in your cabinet, you ask?

Easy. Just fill them in with putty-stuff and spot paint over them white and when dry sand a bit and then a little more white paint and when dry, wipe of a bit with a wet rag so it's all smooth. It'll do because white paint cures a multitude of house sins! :) If you can still see something/don't like it, you can always cover it with a pretty decal.

Kathryn Bechen home organizing

These mini drawers work just great for storing small things in the kitchen, like the Bach Flowers I mentioned above, and I use them in my home office too. And I like these clear/white drawers too which stack and work great for all our food labeling supplies. (Thank you pandemic, for increased cooking supply needs!) These white trays have come in so handy for SO many things in our kitchen. They are sturdy, clean looking, and things don't slide off with the big sides. Nicely priced too. Win! I love them for our Sunday Trays.

Kathryn Bechen organizing


Clear turntables in small cabinets are just the best! I use mine for supplements inventory storage and for spices. Small short baskets work great for fill-in spaces too. And yes, I like to sort items and label the sorters. (And no, I don't take all these supplements every day.) The clear bins above I've had for awhile and they were from a dollar store as is the white basket. Easy to see through to find things quickly when I cook.

Kathryn Bechen home


Tired of paper lists on your small counter? I hear you. I wrote in this post about my ideas for keeping your fridge front clutter-free.

Kathryn Bechen home office


This is by far my favorite recent file papers organizing bin for my home office. I've tried many! It is sturdy. It has handles. I don't see it on Amazon anymore, but here's a skinnier similar style so you could use two of these. Or here's a similar one the size of mine. The folders don't catch on these when you take them in and out. I also like these plastic file pockets so papers don't fall out, plus you can wipe them off so they don't get so dusty. They last a long time. These hanging file folders hold them nicely and are pretty, but you don't have to use the hanging folders. You could use just the pockets. Be sure to measure the size though before buying as I have found lately that not all "letter" size poly folders fit a letter size file holder. Measure please. And this trolley I bought last year is just so great for organizing my office supplies by category. I love it! It's very lightweight so it's easy to move for us seniors, too.

Steve Bechen handy at home


Have you ever tried to figure out what size new TV you need, gone to Costco and seen 9000 TV screens flashing in all sizes and then said um, yeah, and just left with a headache and no TV? Me too! So when our 13 year old TV bit the dust right before Christmas, I told Steve there had to be a better way for introverts to buy a TV and how could we order a TV online without having to return it if we didn't like the size?

So one day my dear husband came in the house from his shed with this non-permanent TV-measuring idea ...

He cut cardboards in various sizes, put them on top our cabinet, and then we made an educated guess together on size depending on how it felt in the room! Our "educated guess test" involved both of us sitting in our bed together like when we watch movies together there, and deciding if we thought Downton Abbey would look good on various size screens. Don't laugh; castles need certain size TV screens to show up their best details and period costumes! (Or, you could just visit there in person, I guess, if you want utter clarity on the house-behind-the-TV-show.)

At first, I thought I wanted a really big screen because it would show all the beautiful travel scenery and gorgeous details on TV shows, until we did the cardboard test from our bed and I saw how it would seriously overpower the small room with a HUGE black box-thingy right in your face. Um, no. We are so not "go big or go home" people in much of anything, I suddenly remembered, so this 43 inch size TV was big enough for us!

So that was the end of our "scientific measuring for a new TV experiment!"

BTW, we love this TV. The colors are wonderful, as is the clarity. Now you don't have to go to Costco, in a pandemic, and get yourself totally overwhelmed with buying a new TV, in the right size, right?! We made it easy for you!

You're welcome. :)

Steve Bechen installing TV


We bought our TV on an Amazon lightning sale. Next came the installation, which Steve also did, God love him, since I don't do cords or anything electrical and Steve likes figuring that stuff out. Trust me, you and I are glad I don't do electrical cords!

BTW, Steve was the kid who at age six didn't like the fact that his head felt higher in bed than his feet so in the middle of the night he went all by himself to get a tape measure, pliers, and another tool from his Dad's toolbox and fixed it! Sure enough, his head was one inch higher, according to the measuring tape! True story. He just told this to me recently and I marveled and laughed out loud. At six years old?! I asked him how he knew how to do that and he shrugged and said, "I don't know; I just did." ) No wonder he grew up to be my Mr. Handy! xxoo

Steve Bechen TV installation

You see that little charming street scene above of coffee and cake on our new TV? That's my kinda place! I hope you enjoy "Calmed by Nature"! We found these TV screen charmers right when we hooked up the TV and they are so fun and relaxing!


Now, I do realize there are some cords in the back of our new TV that you can (kinda) see, but in our case, it just had to be that way as we could not drill into the wall or cut a hole or some such. But Steve covered the cords up the best he could for his picky-about-cords wife, using one of these. Double yay for Steve!

Kathryn Bechen home organizing


We have added pull-out-drawers to almost every home we have ever lived in and they are worth every penny, I think. Similar style, but ours are on a track. My back thanks me as it is now so easy to get my new little crockpots out. Speaking of which, we bought two of these just $27+ crockpots recently and they are such a great size for two people. I can make two different main dishes at a time or put potatoes or a veggie in one and a main dish in the other. Love this size!

Kathryn Bechen Arizona home


I hope some of my ideas from our little Arizona home will help you organize your own home, and life, as you see fit. Have fun!

Come back soon to see our new-to-us streamlined living room, and a great new way to organize your important paperwork that you'd need to evacuate your home in an emergency.

Stay healthy, happy, and enjoy organizing your home!

Kathryn :)

P.S. My new Maximizing Your Small Space book is now available as an audio if you prefer audio over reading a paperback book or Kindle eBook.


bottom of page