… Start Here!

posted by Andrea | 10/20/2014

Welcome to – my online “home”! 

I’m so happy you stopped by (and I hope you come back again!) 

It’s nothing major at all, but as I was making some of these small tweaks, I realized that I’ve never done any sort of “instruction manual post” about all the in’s and out’s of my website.


About My Blog:

Andrea Dekker is a brand, a business, and a blog that focuses on simplifying REAL life for real families with real budgets, real schedules, real homes, and real lives.

I started this blog (formerly known as “Simple Organized Living”) back in the summer of 2010, and rebranded to in April of 2013. You may read more about the rebranding process here –> part 1part 2part 3, and part 4.

My hope is that will be a resource to motivate, encourage, and inspire YOU to continually make small positive changes in your home, your family, and your life. 


Searching My Blog:

In my opinion, there’s really no point in me blogging about various topics if you can’t find what you want to read about… so I’ve worked REALLY hard over the years to create several simple ways for you to search my blog and quickly find the content you’re looking for.

If you’d just like to browse around, you can check out my entire blog archives here.

If you’re looking for posts in one particular category, you can click here to scroll through the various categories I’ve blogged on over the past 4 years.

If you’re looking for a specific recipe, head on over to my Virtual Recipe Box and you should find what you’re looking for.

For everything else, the fastest and easiest way to find whatever you’re looking for on my blog is to use the handy search bar in the blue navigation menu towards the top of my site.

search bar

All you need to do is type in whatever you’re looking for (I typed in “DIY Cleaners” for the purpose of this example) and click “search”. It should only take a second or two to populate a whole bunch of resources from my blog.

diy cleaner results

If it doesn’t come up with anything, you could try rephrasing the search (like typing “Homemade Cleaners” instead of “DIY Cleaners”) but usually, if it doesn’t come up with anything, that means it’s a topic I haven’t posted on yet.

In that case, feel free to shoot me an email ( and let me know about the topic you’d be interested in learning more on. If it’s something others have also requested and something I feel confident I can write about, I’ll almost always start drafting ideas and put it in my list of upcoming posts.


Using The Navigation Bars:

I currently have 2 “navigation bars” on my blog. The brown navigation bar is at the very top of my site — it provides links to all the “extras” on my blog, not any of the blog posts.

brown navigation bar


Then there’s the main navigation bar — which is the horizontal blue bar directly below the Andrea Dekker logo. There are 5 main categories for my blog: LIFE, HOME, FOOD, FAMILY, WORK.

main navigation bar


My main navigation bar also has 5 different sub-navigation menu to hopefully make it super duper easy to find the type of posts you’re looking for. If you mouseover or click on any one of the main categories, a list of sub-categories shows up below the main categories for more specific content.

sub nav menu

And at the very end of every post, you will see different links for “Filed Under” and “Labels”. If you click on any of those links, you’ll open a listing of posts with the same category or tag.

So, for example, if you searched for DIY cleaners and then clicked on one of the post titles, you will probably see these links at the VERY END of that post.

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 3.08.24 PM

The links above are not clickable, but in the live post, you could click on “Frugal Living” to then be taken to a huge listing of all the frugal living posts I’ve written over the past 4 years.

Saving and/or Printing Content from My Blog:

I’m often asked if there is an option for printing or saving content from my blog — and while I use to have this option, I have removed it as the plugin was slowing down my site AND I personally don’t encourage printing my posts as it’s just extra paper clutter. Sorry!

If you would like to save information from my blog to reference later, you might consider Pinning a post to Pinterest.


If there’s a house project, an organizing tip, or a recipe you want to save for later, simply mouse over any of the images in the post and click on the red “Pin” button that should appear in the top left corner of the photo.

pin button

By clicking on that Pin button, a Pinterest window will appear on top of your current window with the image and title of the post. It will allow you to choose what Pinterest Board you save this post to as well as share it on Facebook or Twitter.

pinterest board


Saving and/or Printing Recipes:

As I mentioned above, I don’t encourage printing excess paper; however, I do totally understand why you might want to print or save a recipe. There is something about having the physical copyright there in front of you that seems to eliminate error (at least for me!)

Because of that, almost all the recipes on my site are also formatted as a Google Doc and can be easily saved or printed with one click of your mouse. Simply scroll down to where the recipe begins in the post and click on the {print recipe} link to open just the recipe in a separate window.

print recipe

It’s formatted like a recipe card so if you do want to print it out, you can then cut it out and glue it onto a recipe card or put it in your recipe binder.

recipe card

You can also save it to your Google Docs (if you use Google Docs).

And even if you don’t want to save or print the recipe, this is still a really great way to view the recipe without all the photos or sidebar information from my blog. This is how I personally cook from my blog because there are fewer distractions and I don’t need to scroll down to finish reading the recipe.


Sharing Content from My Blog:

I’d love for you to share content from my blog with anyone and everyone you think might benefit from simple living (a.k.a. everyone!) 

All you need to do to share my content is scroll down to the end of each post and click one of the social media buttons (whichever platform you want to share from). 


social media

Using My Sidebar:

Yes, there are several advertisements in my sidebar (which, allow me to provide everything on my blog completely free to you) but there are also TONS of valuable resources in the sidebar.

For starters, I’ve recently highlighted the most commonly questioned clutter hot-spots and categorized all my blog posts about each specific areas — which means you can read ALL my advice on paper clutter, emotional clutter, clothes clutter, kids clutter, and electronics clutter simply by clicking on the links in my sidebar (or the links below)!

The sidebar also has a list of my most recent posts from all my categories if you just want to catch up on the “current news” and a list of my most popular posts if you’re interested in what everyone else is interested in 🙂

recent and popular posts

One of MY favorite things about my sidebar is… my list of “Favorites” (big shocker!)

Towards the bottom of the sidebar, you’ll see several images with titles below the image. Each image links to one of my favorite posts or group of posts (see below as an example of some of the images currently in my sidebar.)

My goal has always been to update these several times a year — but I haven’t done it as much as I like. Either way, it’s still fun for me to highlight a few seasonal posts or other groups of posts I think might be of interest to you.


Stay Connected With Me:

If you have a question about a specific post or want to share something related to a specific post, leaving a comment on that particular post is definitely the best and fastest way to get my attention. I’ll see that comment come through immediately and can quickly respond when I have a free moment.

And whenever I respond to your comment, you will automatically get my response emailed directly to your inbox.

Also, if you check the box next to “notify me of all follow-up comments via email” you will not only get an email when I respond to your comment, but also when anyone else leaves a comment on that post. So if you want to stay part of the discussion, you can check that box. You can unsubscribe later via the “manage the subscriptions” link.


If you want to connect with me OUTSIDE my blog, Facebook is probably the best way as that’s pretty much the only social media outlet I hang out on.

And if you’d just like to send me an email… please, do so!


More About Me and My Family:

Here’s the link to my full “about page” with tons more information about me, my family, my blog, my VA work, etc.


Here’s the link to our full farmhouse tour (which I update as we make more progress).



More Resources:

If you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, I’d love it if you subscribed via RSS Feed or via email using the box below!


Also, if you’re on Facebook a fair amount, you can like my page to get all the blog updates that way.

My Complete Archives (well over 1000 posts since mid-2010)

All my blog Categories (a simple listing of every topic covered on my blog)

My Virtual Recipe Box (hundreds of simple, frugal, family-friendly recipes)

My Services (just in case you’re interested in hiring me!)


I’m sure there’s something I’m forgetting to mention… but as I mentioned above, I’ll be updating this post regularly as things change. 

If there’s anything you have a question on or can’t figure out, or if any part of my blog isn’t working properly for you, please leave a comment or send me an email. I’ll do my best to answer your questions or fix the issues ASAP.

Thanks for your continued support!


Filed under: WorkBloggingMisc.

Leave a comment


  1. Moin


    I love your site and i visit almost daily. I am also fan on your facebook. Keep it up dear.


    Andrea Reply:

    thanks so much!!


  2. Christine


    I found your blog over 3 years ago by googling “oil cleansing” and I’ve been reading ever since!

    I love to have things organized, labeled and easy to find…my biggest pet peeve is wasting time searching for something! I feel finances should be easy as well, so I read thru your post explaining how you pay for everything with your credit card and set up automatic payments for bills etc. and I was intrigued. I thought about it for a few months and…..

    Well, this year I began doing just that. Only using my credit card (not debit card) and setting up every bill I could as auto pay. I don’t think I can express to you the relief and anxiety doing this has eased! I used to get soooooo stressed BEFORE going thru my bills, check register, bank account. I would end up a depressed mess and mad at myself most of the time because I’d forgotten to pay a bill, it was late, I was charged a late fee, etc. etc.

    I pay the cc bill in full every month and now I feel more in control of my finances than I EVER have. I also actually save more money now. I realize the big debate with credit cards, but my bank debit card has been compromised 3 times in the past 4 years! I don’t even carry it with me anymore.

    I do have to be more mindful of my spending because it is easy to just “whip it out” or “add to cart”. haha!

    Thanks for the “tip” if you will because it has made my life easier, simpler and, I have peace of mind.

    **As for the oil cleansing, I’ve been using it ever since and my skin is awesome! I used to have blocked pores on my nose that I hated and would use alcohol or peroxide thinking it needed to be dried up, but the oil has cleared them up. Turns out I was stripping the oil so my skin over compensated! Thanks again!

    Very sincerely,
    Chris Macdonnell


    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — thanks so much Chris!
    I was actually JUST talking about this with Dave the other day — how credit cards get such a bad reputation and how it’s currently “cool” to say you don’t use credit cards. In actuality, the only thing bad about credit cards is when you don’t use them wisely.
    Credit cards have helped us dramatically simplify our finances (as you have witnessed too).
    I wish credit cards weren’t viewed so poorly!

    Also, I’m so glad the oil cleansing method is working well for you too!
    Thanks again for your kind words!


  3. sandina


    wow – This looks like a great site!


  4. Mary Burkett


    please make correction/change to mailing list. I do love your emails etc.
    my previous email address:
    my current email address:

    please make change as soon as convenient to you. Thanks and God Bless you


    Andrea Reply:

    just wanted to let you know that I did make the changes but you’ll still need to “approve” them. an email should have come to you today with an approval link. once you do that, you should be good to go using the new email address 🙂


  5. Mary


    I’m a huge fan of you and your website 🙂 Keep up the good work! m.


  6. Garnet


    I have a folder on my browser bar titled “Day Start”. Once I finish my coffee, wash/dress, day planner review, am stress-free and ready to start the day, I right+click the folder and “open all”.

    My emails, money accounts, social networking, research updates and your blog open in tabs. I start at the left and review each tab, finishing anything needed. By the time I get to your blog, I’ve made decisions and am completely clear-headed.

    Whatever you’ve posted for the day + whatever resource I may want from a previous post based on what I just learned from the other tabs has always started my day with something interesting and helpful.

    I did learn a few things from this post and wanted you to know you make a daily difference in my life. Thank you for spending your time doing this. 🙂


    Andrea Reply:

    WOW — I’m so honored to be included in your “Day Start” folder 🙂


  7. HeLoart and Haven


    Love your blog, and appreciate all the work you do to make it easy to navigate! There have been numerous posts of yours I’ve re-read. The categories and search bar are especially useful, as you’ve done a very good job at tagging your posts appropriately 🙂 Those little things DO make a difference. I don’t often re-read posts from other blogs, as they are just often too hard to find again.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much! I’ve worked really REALLY hard at making it super easy for people to find what they need to find here on my blog!


  8. Sheri


    I would love to re-read your very first post. Was it the square foot gardening post? I was thinking there was something before that.


    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Sheri — I don’t really have a “first post” because when I was getting ready to launch my blog in August, I already had about 60 posts ready to go. I just scheduled them all for random PREVIOUS days (throughout June, July and August) so I would actually have some content on my blog when it went live. So there’s no “This is my first post” anywhere 🙂


  9. Siobhan


    I thought the side bar seemed different when I looked back this weekend. Your posts about getting organized at night and it’s not magic it’s maintenance are helping me to get things in order around my home. If you have any other advice on what helps to motivate you to work in the evening even though you may be tired, I’d love to hear it!

    Thanks again, your blog is a great resource!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Siobhan — glad you noticed! And glad you’ve been enjoying many of my posts… I always appreciate your regular comments!


  10. Jane


    I’ve been with you almost the whole time and I loved this post and learned from it. I also love that I can go back to the archives and follow your blog from the beginning in chronicalogical order or I can go to the papr clutter links all in one convenient place. I’ve said it often and mean it everytime – I love your blog, thank you for what you do!!! Keep it up!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jane! I appreciate your loyal readership so much!


  11. Paulette


    Hi, Andrea! Thanks for this post as I learned several new things. Off topic, just wanted to let you know that I use your virtual recipe box often. For example I’ve tried your baked ham and cheese sandwiches, your pumpkin delight cake, blueberry buckle (Saturday night) and the combination boxed brownie, cookie bars. No kidding…everything I’ve tried gets rave reviews. I know I can always count on your recipes being delicious. As I’ve said before, LOVE your blog!


    Andrea Reply:

    Yay — thanks Paulette! And although it’s probably not that surprising, I also use my own virtual recipe box several times a week to look up the different recipe on our menu plan!


  12. Caroline


    I’ve been reading your blog for nearly three years and I DID learn something! Although that’s probably more from me not paying attention to links you have available within posts.


    Andrea Reply:

    haha — well glad you learned something new, even after 3 years! thanks for your loyal readership!


  13. Organize 365


    🙂 I HAVE been noticing your sidebar changes the last few weeks. I LOVE them all!

    I had never seen your cut and paste social share information before. I need to go check that out.



    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Lisa 🙂