Archive for the ‘Home & Organization’ Category

The Best Electric Fireplaces With Heaters For Small Homes

Tuesday, February 20th, 2024

Discover the benefits of electric fireplaces with heaters as an affordable and beautiful way to upgrade any corner. We share the top designs for small spaces.

The Best Electric Fireplaces With Heaters For Small Homes

Our family decided to install a faux fireplace in our home a decade ago, and it remains one of our best investments.

It is also the space in our home that is most remarked upon because of its unusual location. 

This fireplace is nestled in our subbasement, adding warmth to our chilly basement and a cozy corner to read a good book. 

The Best Electric Fireplaces With Heaters For Small Homes

Remarkably, after a decade of use, the only maintenance required has been replacing the fireplace bulbs after daily use, which is cheerfully glowing in our home office. I can even attest to my pom-pom garland still going strong!

Today, I wanted to share why an electric fireplace heater can be a wise investment and what I wish I had known before installing one in our house. 

What is an Electric Fireplace?

An electric fireplace is a heating appliance that simulates the appearance and ambiance of a traditional wood-burning or gas fireplace without needing a chimney or venting system. 

Instead of burning wood or gas, electric fireplaces use electricity to power LED lights and heating elements that create the illusion of flames and emit heat.

Electric fireplaces typically consist of a mantel, firebox, and heating unit.

But as we show below, they can come in surprisingly fun designs and add additional storage to your home.

How Does an Electric Fireplace Work?

Some units are freestanding and can be placed anywhere in a room, while others are designed to be wall-mounted or inserted into existing fireplaces for a more seamless look.

Electric fireplaces use electricity to power LED lights and heating elements that simulate flames and generate heat.

Some models, like ours, allow you to adjust the flame intensity and heat output for customized comfort.

The Best Electric Fireplaces With Heaters For Small Homes

Do Electric Fireplaces With Heaters Really Warm a Room?

The amount of heat electric fireplaces produce can vary depending on the model and specifications.

Generally, electric fireplaces are designed to provide supplemental heat to a room rather than serve as the primary heating source.

That said, this pumps out a SURPRISING amount of heat.

On average, electric fireplaces can produce anywhere from 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) of heat per hour.

However, it’s essential to note that the heat output can be adjustable on many models, allowing users to customize the level of warmth according to their preferences.

Additionally, some electric fireplaces come with built-in thermostats and timers, allowing for precise temperature control and automated operation.

Our unit has a dial to adjust warmth to our desired temperature. It is even possible to blow cool air when dialed down while viewing the unit’s faux flames.

This unit also offered the option just to have the electric flame on so we could create a cozy room without the heat. 

While electric fireplaces may generate less heat than traditional wood-burning or gas fireplaces, they offer several advantages, including energy efficiency, safety, and convenience. 

Electric fireplaces are an excellent option for adding cozy warmth and ambiance to any space without venting or the hassle of maintaining a traditional fireplace.

The Best Electric Fireplaces With Heaters For Small Homes

When deciding where to put an electric fireplace with heater, there are several factors to consider:

Room Size and Layout: 

Evaluate the size and layout of the room where you plan to install the fireplace. Choose a location where the fireplace can serve as a focal point and complement the overall design and flow of the space. 

Consider the heating capacity of the electric fireplace and how it will meet the heating needs of the room.

Place the fireplace in a central location to distribute heat evenly throughout the space.

Electrical Accessibility: 

Make sure that the chosen location has access to electrical outlets to power the fireplace.

Consider consulting with an electrician to ensure an older home can handle the power required to run an electric fireplace. 

In our older home, for example, it can switch off if a vacuum is also running on that same breaker. We weren’t aware of it when adding this to our home. 

Aesthetic Appeal of Electric Fireplaces With Heaters

Choose a location for the electric fireplace that enhances the room’s visual appeal and complements your existing decor and furnishings.

Consider placing the fireplace in a prominent spot where it can be enjoyed from multiple vantage points.

The only downside to this design is that it isn’t the real deal with crackling wood and cozy embers, but it’s a beautiful artificial substitute, especially for small spaces that need a little coziness.

The Best Electric Fireplaces With Heaters For Small Homes

This is how our laminate fireplace looked after assembling.

While I loved the cozy vibes of this piece, I knew the fireplace could look even better with a fresh coat of paint to brighten it up and hide its laminate wood construction.

You can read my How to Paint Laminate Furniture guide that can instantly elevates any of these fireplace options, including MINE!  

Since I wrote this tutorial, we have had this electric fireplace for a decade now, and the bulbs are the only thing we have had to replace.

To enhance this space, we added a Kamika Perry painting– an incredible local talent from South Bend, Indiana.

I can attest- this is one of our most loved spaces in our home after all these years. If you would like to explore an option like this for your home, I’ve got some great ideas!

The Best Electric Fireplaces With Heaters For Small Homes

This list offers the best types of electric fireplace options to research for your small space.

As suppliers change and move quickly in the furniture market, these selections will put you on a landing page for each style option.

Remember, you can customize any design with paint, so let your imagination go wild!

Here are a few answers to commonly asked questions about electric fireplaces with heaters:

What is the difference between Electric Fireplace vs. Space Heater?

The main difference between an electric fireplace and a space heater is their design and purpose. 

An electric fireplace is designed to mimic the appearance of a traditional fireplace, complete with a flame effect, and often includes mantels or decorative features.

While they both provide supplemental heat, this option offers a focal point for your room. 

On the other hand, a space heater is designed solely for heating purposes, usually featuring a compact and portable design.

Space heaters are portable warmth often used to heat specific areas or rooms. 

While both can help keep you warm, choosing between an electric fireplace and a space heater depends on what your room needs.

Stamped Concrete Fire Pit
Stamped Concrete Fire Pit

Can I Use an Electric Fireplace Outdoors? 

Electric fireplaces are typically designed for indoor use and may not be suitable for outdoor installation. Your best option for outdoors is an outdoor fire pit or table or propane heater.

At our house, we had a stamped concrete fire pit installed.

Between that and renovating a shed, we have created a permanently cozy spot outdoors.

Exposure to the elements, such as rain, snow, and extreme temperatures, can damage an electric fireplace’s electrical components and materials, leading to safety hazards and reduced lifespan.

How Do You Clean an Electric Fireplace?

To clean an electric fireplace, turn off the unit and cool completely.

Remove any dust or debris from the exterior using a soft brush or microfiber cloth.

For the interior, gently vacuum or brush away any loose debris, being careful not to damage the heating elements or wiring.

If applicable, use a damp cloth to wipe down the interior surfaces, including the glass front and logs or crystals. 

As most units are enclosed, we have only had to do this once. 

Finally, carefully reassemble the unit and plug it back in, ensuring all connections are secure. Regular cleaning will help maintain the appearance and efficiency of your electric fireplace for years to come.

I hope this idea can create a joyful and cozy reading corner for your home!

If you are looking for more ideas, don’t miss our incredible guide- The Best Tools for Cozy Reading With Chronic Pain that offer ideas for making this space as supportive to your body as possible.

TELL ME: If you have any experience with an electric fireplace, let us know! Would you consider this a heating option for your home?

How to Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

Tuesday, February 20th, 2024
How to Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

Learn how to paint laminate furniture without sanding! Whether you plan to paint Ikea laminate furniture or a fireplace like us- you need this easy tutorial!

Laminate furniture often has a reputation for looking cheap. Let’s be honest- that faux grain finish does not fool anyone!

However, a simple paint job can completely transform and elevate any piece in your home in a single day, and I would love to show you how.  

How to Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

Today’s painting tutorial is an excellent technique to try on new pieces.

Fresh paint can also cover up scratches, discoloration, and other imperfections on furniture you already own.  

Painting pieces to match can make a room feel cohesive. And as our decorating styles evolve, we can choose any color or finish to match where you are at NOW with your style.

What has surprised me about this process is just how easy it is.

How to Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

For today’s tutorial, we will paint the electric fireplace that I featured in this guide- The Best Electric Fireplaces With Heaters

I’m excited to share with you how to make this laminate piece look more expensive than it is with a coat of paint- NO SANDING REQUIRED.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of painting laminate furniture without sanding, including the materials you’ll need and expert tips for achieving professional-looking results.

How to Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

Here is a picture of our fireplace TEN YEARS after we painted it. There is no nick or chip in sight, so you are in wonderful hands today!

Understanding Laminate Furniture

Before diving into the painting process, it’s essential to understand what laminate furniture is and why it requires special preparation.

Laminate furniture is made of particleboard or MDF (medium-density fiberboard) covered with a thin layer of laminate. This synthetic material mimics the look of wood, stone, or other textures. 

This laminate layer can challenge paint adhesion, as it is smooth, non-porous, and moisture-resistant.

To paint laminate furniture without sanding, you will need a special primer, latex paint, and water-based acrylic to finish. You can scroll down to see the complete step-by-step instructions.

FAQs on Painting Laminate Furniture Without Sanding:

What is Zinnser primer?

Zinsser primer is a shellac based primer that acts as a versatile base primer for various surfaces, including laminate furniture.

This primer sticks effectively to surfaces without sanding, making it an ideal choice for prepping laminate furniture for painting. This is a top coat for your project, but you may need more than one coat depending on your furniture piece.

What kind of paint do you use on laminate furniture?

It’s essential to use really high-quality paint when painting furniture.

Latex paint is recommended for laminate surface painting projects because of its durability and smooth finish, and we have had the best success with the Benjamin Moore brand.

Many of our projects have stood up to over a decade of use without any need for retouching.

Can This Tutorial Be Used With Chalk Paint?

Yes, you can use chalk paint on laminate furniture, but I have yet to do this personally and can only provide instructions on what I’ve read elsewhere. You may not achieve the glossy results that I’ve shared today.

Follow the same steps I’ve outlined.

Once your primer is dry, you can paint your laminate furniture with chalk paint.

Keep in mind this paint will offer a matte finish.  

Be sure to add a protective topcoat to ensure durability, especially if the furniture will see regular use.

What Fireplace Paint Did You Use For This Project? 

This color is Benjamin Moore White Owl, the white paint we use in our home’s trim and furniture pieces. This piece from Architectural Digest showcases the versatility of the color and why it has become such a go-to white paint color choice! 

Do you have to sand laminate furniture before painting?

As we shared in this tutorial, using a product like Zinsser Primer eliminates the need to prime your laminate furniture. This bonding primer is designed for laminate furniture projects like this one and is a great option for Ikea furniture or painting laminate cabinets in your home. 

Can I Use Oil-Based Acrylic On Laminate Furniture?

We learned the hard way that using an oil-based acrylic finish on white furniture can lead to undesirable yellowing over time. 

Two dressers I had finished began to slowly turn yellow, a devastating DIY mistake that meant I had to repaint our pieces to restore the white color. 

Oil-based acrylic finishes contain ingredients prone to oxidation, a chemical process that can cause the paint to develop a yellowish hue when exposed to light and air. 

Additionally, oil-based acrylic finishes may take longer to cure and harden compared to water-based alternatives, leaving the furniture vulnerable to damage and staining during the curing process.

As a result, the finish may not provide adequate protection against everyday wear and tear, making the furniture more susceptible to scratches, stains, and other forms of damage.

I ALWAYS recommend a water-based acrylic finish or clear protective coating to prevent yellowing.

How to Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding: A Step-by-Step Guide

Materials Needed:

  1. Zinsser Primer
  2. Latex Paint 
  3. Water Based Polycrylic in Clear Satin (no substitutions- this product will not yellow your furniture)
  4. Drop Cloth
  5. Foam Roller
  6. Paint Brush

Instructions:

  1. Apply Zinsser Primer:
    • Clean the laminate surface thoroughly to remove any dirt or grease.
    • Apply a coat of Zinsser Primer to the surface using a paintbrush or foam roller.
    • Ensure even coverage and allow the primer to dry completely, usually within an hour or two of time.
  2. Apply Paint:
    • Once the primer is dry, apply your chosen paint color (see the suggestion below for my favorite white paint option)
    • Use a paintbrush or foam roller to apply the paint in thin, even coats.
    • One coat may be sufficient, but additional coats may be needed for full coverage or touch-ups.
  3. Finish with Polycrylic:
    • Once the paint is dry, apply two coats of Polycrylic in a Clear Satin finish, giving your piece a slick, smooth finish using a clean paintbrush or foam brush to apply evenly.  
    • Allow each coat of Polycrylic to dry for two hours before reapplying.
    • After applying the final coat, allow the piece to dry overnight before using or moving it.
How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com
How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

How Do I Keep Laminate Furniture Clean?

While painted laminate furniture can be durable, it must be treated carefully to prevent chipping, scratching, or other damage. 

Avoid placing hot or heavy objects directly on the surface, and use coasters or protective pads as needed.

To clean painted laminate furniture, use a mild detergent, water solution, and a soft cloth or sponge. Avoid abrasive cleaners or scouring pads, which can damage the finish of your piece. 

I can’t wait to hear how your first project goes!

Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding Furniture Ideas

Here are a few examples of furniture pieces you could try as a great beginner project for painting laminate furniture. 

This post contains affiliate links.
How to Spray Paint Furniture

Love this tutorial don’t miss these other fun painting and staining projects:

How to Paint a Kitchen Table– Revitalize your kitchen table with a coat of paint. Discover easy steps to give your dining area a new lease on life.

How to Spray Paint Furniture– Upgrade your furniture with a professional finish using spray paint. Follow simple instructions to achieve a flawless makeover for any piece.”

Stain Picnic Table Tutorial– Enhance outdoor gatherings by staining your picnic table with this tutorial. Explore the process to protect your outdoor wood furniture so you can use it year after year. 

How to Stain Wood Furniture– Bring new life to your furniture by staining it. Follow these straightforward steps to add rich color and depth to your favorite pieces.

TELL ME: Did you have success with this painting project? What has been your experience painting laminate wood?

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How to Make a Burlap Wreath (VIDEO)

Sunday, September 10th, 2023
How to Make a Burlap Wreath

Learn how to make a burlap wreath with a wire wreath frame and burlap ribbon. This beginner craft takes 30 minutes. and can be customized for any holiday.

I am all about beautiful and simple decorations for the holidays. Today’s tutorial will show you how to make a simple burlap wreath that can be customized for any holiday.

This is a no-sew, no-glue, no-cut wreath project that should be easy to create in about 30 minutes.

How to Make a Burlap Wreath

Burlap ribbon does not only come in brown. There are so many different colors and patterns to choose from.

At the end of this post, you can see how I made a beautiful fall wreath in orange burlap.

How to Make a Burlap Wreath (Pictures)

SCROLL DOWN FOR PRINTABLE HOW-TO INSTRUCTIONS WITH SMALLER PICTURES INSERTED.

How to Make a Burlap Wreath
The Easiest Burlap Wreath You Will Ever Make from MomAdvice.com

 

Before you visit your craft store, make sure to sign up with Rakuten to make money back on all your craft store purchases.

Gather your supplies. You will need burlap ribbon, a wire wreath form, mini clothespins, floral picks, floral wire, scissors, and wallet-size holiday photos.

Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial

Get wallet-sized photos printed or print them at home with a mini photo printer.

How to Make a Burlap Wreath

Now let’s begin weaving the burlap through our wire wreath form.

This is going to take a little time and practice with your first one so don’t get discouraged.

Begin by folding your burlap in half, like I have shown above, and keep it folded like this as we go.

Select one section of the wire wreath to start in.

How to Make a Burlap Wreath

Feed the beginning end through the wreath as shown above.

Leave a little loose end to tuck in or you can wire it to the wreath with a little floral wire in the back.

How to Make a Burlap Wreath

Over the outer ring, under the next, over the next, and under to finish.

How to Make a Burlap Wreath

This is the technique we are using throughout.

I am showing it to you tightly so you can see how this will work, when you do this, you will be actually pulling out the burlap a bit to give it to that bubble effect that we are going for. 

Begin right next to the previous row, within the same section of the metal wreath.

However, this time, we’ll weave in the opposite direction.

As you go along, keep pulling out the burlap to create bubbles. Move the working burlap into each section, alternating the weaving direction.

How to Make a Burlap Wreath
How to Make a Burlap Wreath

When you run out of burlap (it should be when you are about halfway through covering the wreath), tuck the end towards the back and pick up where you left off.

Again, you can wire these ends with a little floral wire on the back.

How to Make a Burlap Wreath

Finish the wreath with your holiday accessories.

You can trim any of the pieces down that were wired to help your wreath lay more flush to your front door.

How to Make a Burlap Wreath

Wouldn’t this just make the most fabulous little gift for someone you love for the holidays? I’ve provided some bulk purchasing options if you want to make more than one wreath.

Happy crafting!

How to Make a Burlap Wreath

How to Make a Burlap Wreath

Yield: 1 Wreath
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This no-sew, no-glue, no-cut wreath is the perfect DIY burlap wreath for decorating your door or gifting to a friend! Follow this step-by-step to make your own.

Tools

Instructions

  1. To begin, select a few of your favorite holiday photos that can be attached to your wreath.
    Tip: Send them to a photo lab and have them printed in wallet size.
    burlap wreath supplies
  2. Choose one section of the wire wreath to start in. Begin by folding your burlap in half, as I have shown below.
    How to Start a Burlap Wreath
  3. Feed the beginning end through the wreath. Over the outer ring, under the next, over the next, and under to finish.
    Leave a little loose end to tuck in or you can wire it to the wreath with a little floral wire (or zip tie) in the back.
    How to Make a Burlap Wreath
  4. Using the end of the burlap you're working with, begin creating burlap bubbles right next to the previous row, in the same section of the metal wreath. However, this time, weave it in the opposite direction.
    Keep pulling and forming bubbles in the burlap as you proceed.
    Move the working burlap into each section, first weaving in one direction and then in the other direction.
    Each fold should be about 4-6 inches wide. The continuous piece of burlap will naturally form a series of loops or bubbles.
    How to Make a Burlap Wreath
  5. When you run out of burlap (it should be when you are about halfway through covering the wreath), tuck the end towards the back and pick up where you left off. Again, you can wire these ends with a little floral wire on the back.
    How to Make a Burlap Wreath
  6. Once the entire wreath is covered, secure the final end with floral wire.
  7. Begin puffing up some of the folded bubbles (if desired) or you can leave them as is, if you prefer a more ruffled, rather than bubbly effect.
  8. Finish the wreath by hot gluing or wiring two floral picks on the wreath. Attach a few of your favorite holiday portraits with those mini-clothespins.
    How to Make a Burlap Wreath

Notes

You can use a small amount of hot glue, not too excessively to attach your floral pick. These floral picks can be switched for the seasons.

Looking for more burlap craft ideas? Here are a few of my most visited projects!

Crafting With Burlap

The Easiest Burlap Wreath You Will Ever Make from MomAdvice.com
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Unique Jigsaw Puzzles for Adults You’ll Fall In Love With

Thursday, August 10th, 2023

These jigsaw puzzles for adults offer unique designs in 500, 1,000, or 2,000 piece counts. This list has easy puzzle designs to more challenging jigsaws shapes.

Unique Jigsaw Puzzles for Adults You'll Fall in Love With

As soon as the weather turns crisp, we designate a table in our home as the puzzle table for the season. I love to have a puzzle that we can work on in those early morning hours with coffee or at the end of the day with a cup of tea.

Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite puzzles we’ve done at our house and some that made my wish list this this year. We have had the best time updating this guide for you.

Make sure to bookmark this list for gift-giving this year. Puzzles make incredibly unique hostess gifts, housewarming presents, and holiday gifts.

try this tutorial for a diy jigsaw puzzle mat

DIY Jigsaw Puzzle Mat

Before we dive into the puzzles, I do want to mention a few ways that we have saved A LOT of money over the years on our puzzle collection.

Three Easy Ways to Save on Jigsaw Puzzles

Find Out if Your Local Library Lends Puzzles- I can’t tell you all of the ways we have saved money over the years with our local library.

Contact your local library to see if they offer any jigsaw puzzle exchanges or if you can check out puzzles with your library card.

Life's a Beach Puzzle

Start a Puzzle Swap With Friends- One of the best ways we have saved is offering a puzzle swap with our friends.

When we have coffee together, we just bring our puzzles we have finished and trade them for a fresh puzzle.

Check Deals Sites For Deep Discounts On Puzzles- If you want to buy puzzles at a brick and mortar spot, our used bookstores offer huge savings on used puzzles as well as new.

No matter where you shop make sure that you are signed up with Rakuten and that you activate your savings before any shopping!

If you are new to the Rakuten app, this discount code should give you $30 on your first puzzle purchase! I also wrote a tutorial on how to use the app on items you regularly buy that will give you cashback rewards.

Unique Jigsaw Puzzles for Adults You'll Fall In Love With

Unique Jigsaw Puzzles for Adults You’ll Fall In Love With

Spend a cozy night with these jigsaw puzzles that are great gifts for adults AND kids.

Trade in a board game night for these fun-themed puzzles that embrace bookish themes and more in their puzzle designs.

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

500 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

Craving a quick win? These 500 piece puzzles are the perfect fit.

JIGSAW PUZZLES FOR BOOK LOVERS

Celebrate your love for books with this jigsaw puzzle collection that honors your love for reading.

JIGSAW PUZZLE GIFTS

Looking for a unique gift idea for a jigsaw puzzle lover? I recommend these jigsaw puzzle ideas and fun packaging ideas.

CHALLENGING JIGSAW PUZZLES

Are you craving more of a challenge? Try one of these difficult puzzles we have gathered for the puzzle enthusiast in your house.

Looking for more fall activities to try? Check out these fun additions to your puzzle routine!

watch these fall shows & movies while doing your new puzzle

The Best Fall Shows & Movies to Stream Right Now

download an audiobook from scribd while puzzling

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

What has been your favorite puzzle to do with your family?

How to Get FREE Kindle Books Now

Saturday, February 25th, 2023

I’m sharing my four strategies for free Kindle Books that will give you an unlimited collection of FREE ebooks. Don’t miss this if you are on a budget!

It is no secret that I’m frugal so today I wanted to share my favorite ways to read for free and on a budget. Although this tutorial is for Kindle books, I want to remind you that these strategies can also be done with the free Kindle reading app. 

As I’ve been exploring these themes on the blog and Book Gang podcast, I wanted to share some of my favorite free reading tools. 

How to Get FREE Kindle Books Now

Get Free Audiobooks and Ebooks Through the Libby App

If you want to begin checking out Kindle books, you will need to begin by getting a library card from your local library. This card number is what you will use to access your account and allows you to get these free Kindle library books and audiobooks for free. 

When you get this card, you are typically assigned a pin that you will then use to access the Libby app (learn how to transition from Overdrive to Libby with our tutorial) that allows you to search for the books that you are interested in. If you have trouble figuring out a great library PIN, a local librarian offered the tip to make your pin the last four digits of your library card so you never forget it.

You can listen to the Book Gang podcast with the Libby team as they discuss how to create an account and tag your virtual library! 

Once you have this, you can download the Libby app to borrow ebooks, digital audiobooks, and magazines from your public libraries. 

After it is downloaded, simply search for your library by name or zip code. Sign in using your library card number and PIN, and then you can browse the available materials by title, author, or subject. 

To borrow an item, select it and tap the “Borrow” button. You can read or listen to the item with Wi-Fi or mobile data or download it for offline use and read it anytime, anywhere. The item will be available for a loan period, usually two weeks. 

When you’re finished, return it early by tapping the “Return” button in the “Loans” section of the app.

Don’t forget to check your library’s website to see what other apps you have access to so you can maximize ALL the freebies. Our library,  for example, offers Hoopla, Flipster, and the Kanopy app. 

What is Amazon First Reads?

Get a FREE Kindle Book Through the First Reads Program

Many readers aren’t aware that their Prime membership comes with many free books. Of the perks offered, my favorite is through the Amazon First Reads program. You can read all about this free reading program through this tutorial that I wrote

Each month, they offer one early release ebooks for free and the selection is often pretty amazing. These books are handpicked by Amazon editors and are made available a month before their official release date. The program was previously known as the Kindle First program.

The genres of books offered in this program are diverse, covering everything from mystery and historical fiction to true crime, children’s books, and more. This program is a great way to get a first look at upcoming releases and discover new authors and genres. And the best part is, it’s available for free to Prime members.

Download Free Classic Books from Project Gutenberg

Did you know that you can access over 60,000 free eBooks from Project Gutenberg?

This is the oldest digital library collection that includes works of literature, music, and even some non-fiction texts. The project’s goal is to provide free access to literature and other cultural works, which are in the public domain, meaning their copyrights have expired or were never enforced.

In fact, many classic works of literature such as Pride and Prejudice, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland are all available for free on their site.

The project is run by literary volunteers who digitize the books, proofread the texts, and make them available for free download. You can send these books to your Kindle by downloading the book in Kindle format (MOBI) from the Project Gutenberg website onto your computer.

Then, connect your Kindle device to your computer using a USB cable and transfer the MOBI file to your Kindle’s documents folder.

Alternatively, you can also send the MOBI file to your Kindle email address (which can be found in your Amazon account settings) and the book will be delivered wirelessly to your Kindle device.

Borrow  Books From Amazon Prime Reading For Free

Did you know that you can check out up to TEN books for free with your Amazon Prime membership?  The Amazon Prime Reading is a service exclusive to Amazon Prime members that offers unlimited acccess to a rotating catalog of ebooks, magazines, comics, and audiobooks that members can access for free.

Members can borrow up to 10 titles at a time, with the ability to return titles to borrow new ones. The selection of titles in the library rotates over time, with Amazon adding new titles as others are removed.

FYI- This is NOT the same as the Kindle Unlimited paid program (another confusing element to the Amazon services). 

Willing to Pay For a Deal? Check my Kindle Deals List! 

As an avid reader, I love curating a Kindle deal list for my readers that I update (almost) daily! You can browse this list each morning, join the MomAdvice Book Club to see them posted in the group,  or get them sent straight to your inbox daily.

This list is rather diverse since I love reading across genres. If you love thrillers, literary fiction, science fiction, thrillers, nonfiction, or young adult- you will likely spy your favorite genres on my list. 

Please note, this newsletter is different than the pop-up you might see on the site.

Have any questions about reading for free on your Kindle device or app? Leave them below and I will be happy to answer them. Happy FREE reading, everyone! 

Please note, this post contains affiliate links.

Looking for ways to enhance your reading life? Try these posts!

Join the 2023 MomAdvice Book Club

How to Use Storygraph For a Better Reading Life

Learn how to use The StoryGraph App to Track Your Reading

Learn How to Use the Libby App (WITH LIBBY) In This Tutorial

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)

Thursday, December 29th, 2022
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial) Header

This homemade laundry detergent recipe can save your family lots of money at the grocery store. Try this powdered laundry detergent made with Borax, washing soda, & a laundry soap bar. Try this recipe

A homemade laundry detergent recipe can save your family lots of money. Try this DIY powdered detergent made with Borax, washing soda, & a castile soap bar.

As we look to reduce our spending this year, I wanted to revive a few of our most popular DIY projects and this is one my FAVORITE DIY projects we have done for our family. 

This homemade laundry soap has been one of our tried-and-true projects for both savings AND for getting our clothes clean even with our most sensitive skin problems. 

I made this tutorial WAY back in 2013 and have adjusted the prices to the current pricing to ensure that this is as accurate as possible. 

As you can imagine, materials pricing went up, but not as much as I had expected. 

This is still much more economical than buying store-bought detergent. To add to the cost savings, I’ve included some ways that you can make it even more economical. 

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent Money-Saving Infographic

What are the Benefits to Making Your Own Detergent?

The top question I get asked is if these homemade detergents work and if it is worth the effort. Not only does it work AMAZING,  but the cost savings (detailed below) is also worth it as we combat these rising grocery prices. 

Not only does making your own laundry detergent save you money, but it can also reduce your environmental impact. 

For example, homemade detergents have a smaller carbon footprint than store-bought detergents, simply from a plastic packaging perspective alone.  

On top of that, you can control the ingredients that go into your laundry detergent.

What Ingredients Do I Need to Make My Own Laundry Detergent?

Homemade laundry detergent is a simple and cost-effective way to clean your clothes. It can be made with just three ingredients: Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap, washing soda, and borax.

The Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap is a powerful stain remover that can help to lift dirt and grime from your clothes. It is a staple ingredient in many homemade laundry detergents and can be found at most grocery stores or online.

Alternatively, you can also use Zote, Ivory Bar Soap, or Dr. Bonner’s Castile Bar Soap as a substitute.

Washing soda, also known as sodium carbonate, is a powerful cleaning agent that can help to remove stains and brighten whites.

Borax, also known as sodium borate, is a natural mineral used for cleaning and laundry for centuries. It is a powerful stain remover and can help to brighten whites and remove odors.

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent- Supplies

How Much Does It Cost to Make a Homemade Batch of Laundry Detergent? (pricing updated for 2023) 

The current pricing on these three ingredients is:

Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar– $2.59 per bar (currently unavailable online at a reasonable price through Walmart- check on your store shelves)

Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (55 ounce box)- $4.59

20 Mule Team Borax (65-ounce box)- $5.97

One batch of laundry detergent takes one cup of the borax, one cup of the washing soda, and one bar of soap.

Using these current prices, if the total cost of the ingredients is $2.59 for the laundry bar + $4.59 for the washing soda + $5.97 for the borax, the total cost is $13.15.  Dividing this by the number of batches you can make,  it gives us a cost of about $0.83 per batch! 

If you use one tablespoon of detergent per load, it will cost you just $0.06 per load! 

If you have a particularly dirty load, you can use two tablespoons, then it would cost  just $0.11 per load.

It is possible that buying these items locally will yield even more savings versus buying the ingredients online.

Where Do I Buy the Ingredients for My DIY Laundry Detergent?

Walmart can be a great option (only purchase IN STORE to avoid those third-party online prices). These supplies are all right in a row at your local store and are located on the opposite side of the laundry detergents, over by the stain remover. 

If you don’t have success at your store, another unexpectedly frugal spot to shop is your local hardware store. 

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)

How Do you Grate the Laundry Soap Bar?

You can definitely use an old-fashioned cheese grater, but the soap can clump up and not completely dissolve in your load unless you grate it extremely fine. 

I allow my food processor to do the work for me because it is much easier to do and allows you to also double or triple your batches of laundry detergent in no time flat.

What Can I Use if I Prefer to Use a More Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent? 

One update to this recipe we will try this year is substituting our Fels-Naptha with Dr. Bronner’s Bar Soap

Although we have never had any sensitivities to the current recipe, castile soap is made from plant-based oils (olive oil, coconut oil, and hemp oil), and I think it will be a smart switch for a greener formula. 

In case you didn’t know, castile soap is known for its more gentle and moisturizing properties, as well as its versatility in a range of cleaning applications. 

It is why it is often used as a base for homemade cleaning products, such as laundry detergent, dish soap, and all-purpose cleaner.

Because it is made from plant-based oils, Castile soap is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. It is also typically free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, and preservatives, making it suitable for people with sensitive skin or allergies.

Keep in mind, making this switch will add to your cost per  load of laundry. Right now the pricing is roughly $4.50 per bar.  Even with the higher cost of this bar, it is still much cheaper than conventional laundry detergent prices. 

To save on this item, shop through the Rakuten app to get money back on your grocery purchases (including Instacart!). I’ve also written a full tutorial on how to get cash back on lots of common items you buy for your household.  

Is Homemade Detergent Safe to Use With High-Efficiency (HE) Washers?

The true beauty of using this homemade detergent is that it doesn’t have a lot of suds. You can’t use laundry detergents not made for high-efficiency washing machines because of the suds factor in many store-bought detergents. 

Thanks to the small amount of suds and the minimal amount of soap you need to wash your loads, it is the perfect detergent to use with your HE washer! You can use this homemade laundry detergent with confidence!

Is This Homemade Laundry Detergent Septic Friendly?

The ingredients in this soap contain zero phosphates and zero fillers (like montmorillonite clay) that cause commercial powder detergents to clog lines. 

I am sure other items you have lurking in your home are less septic friendly than this one, so this is a perfectly safe product to make and use.

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)

How Do I Store Homemade Laundry Detergent? 

I love to store my detergent in a glass jar, but you could also store this in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. 

How Can I Prevent Static When Drying My Clothes? 

You can use vinegar as a natural fabric softener by adding it to your fabric softener compartment in your washing machine. To use vinegar as a fabric softener, you can add 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle of your laundry.

Keep in mind, vinegar can be harsh on certain types of fabrics, such as wool and silk, so it’s best to test a small, inconspicuous area before using it on your entire load.

Personally, I have become a big fan of these wool dryer balls and love to add a few drops of essential oils to my dryer balls to add a fresh scent to my loads. This one natural homemade laundry routine that our whole family has gotten behind. 

Now that you know all about it, let’s get started on our project!

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)

Supplies Needed

1 box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

1 Bar of Fels-Naptha Soap or Dr. Bonners Castile Bar Soap (or more if you plan to double, triple, or quadruple your batch) 

1 box 20 Mule Team Borax

Food Processor

Large Mixing Bowl

Measuring cups

Jar for Storage (found in the kitchen supplies)

Coffee Scoop (found in the kitchen supplies aisle, optional, but is great for perfect measuring of your detergent)

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent- Fels-Naptha Soap Cut in Half

Cut your bars of soap in half lengthwise so that you can feed them through the shoot of your processor. 

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent- Feeding the Soap in a Food Processor

Assemble the processor with your cheese grater attachment and feed your soap in slowly and gently through the top shoot. 

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent-Grating Soap in Food Processor
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent-Grated Fels-Naptha Soap

Once all the soap has been grated, dump it into a bowl and remove the cheese grater attachment. 

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent- Switching Food Processor Blades
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent- Laundry Soap After Second Processing

Reassemble the processor with the basic blade and then put the grated soap back in. Spin it again until the soap resembles fine small pellets. Your soap is now ready to be incorporated into your laundry detergent!

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)- Pouring Soap Into Bowl
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)- Pouring Borax
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)- Pouring Washing Soda

In a large mixing bowl, combine the grated soap, borax, and washing soda. Mix well until the ingredients are well incorporated.

Transfer the mixture to a glass jar or well-sealed plastic container. Be sure to label the container with the ingredients and the date, so you know what’s inside.

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)- Mixing Homemade Laundry Soap
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)- Jar of Homemade Laundry Soap
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)- Jar of Homemade Laundry Soap

To use the detergent, add one tablespoon of the mixture to a load of laundry (or two tablespoons for heavily soiled loads). You can adjust the amount as needed depending on the size of the load and the soil level.

Store the detergent in a cool, dry place. It should last for several months if kept sealed and dry.

You now have a simple and effective homemade laundry detergent that can save you money and customize your laundry routine. Enjoy the savings and the satisfaction of making your own cleaning products!


Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Homemade laundry detergent can be made with just three ingredients! Try this simple recipe and enjoy the savings!


Ingredients:
1 bar (or 4.5 ounces) of shaved bar soap (Ivory, ZOTE, Fels-Naptha, or Dr. Bonners Castile Bar Soap)
1 cup of borax
1 cup of washing soda

Instructions:
Shred your bars of soap as shown in the tutorial above.
Mix one cup of borax, one cup of washing soda and the grated soap in a large bowl until incorporated
Store in a glass jar or well-sealed plastic container.

Love this tutorial? Don’t miss these other money-saving ideas!

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Earn Money Investing In Women With Ellevest

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The Best Libby Tips & Tricks for Using the Library App

LEARN HOW TO USE THE LIBBY APP TO SAVE ON BOOKS

Do you make your own laundry detergent? What is your winning recipe for the perfect homemade laundry detergent? Feel free to share your tips!

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent Infographic
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The Best Libby App Tips And Tricks

Friday, December 16th, 2022
The Best Libby App Tips And Tricks from MomAdvice.com

New to the Libby app from Overdrive? Don’t miss this tutorial showing you how to check out free ebook and audiobooks from your local library.

Sometimes I create content for you, and sometimes I create content for me. This tutorial and podcast episode offered the information I needed to make the switch from the Overdrive platform to Libby.

It is no secret that the topics for our podcast and website often find a way of infiltrating my daily life. For example, one of my favorite podcast episodes we’ve ever done so far was teaching people how to the Storygraph app for those interested in leaving the GoodReads platform.

Hearing from the company’s CEO motivated me to switch from the GoodReads app over to their platform. The transcription from our Storygraph became a written tutorial for new users. The truth is, since that encounter, HUNDREDS of people every month come to the site to use this as a guide for their transition to Storygraph.

My goal is to do this AGAIN, but with a free tool from your local library!

Cue the Jazz Hands!

Today the Libby team is here to help us transition from Overdrive to Libby, learn what makes this public library tool so great, and learn how to borrow and enjoy those eBooks and audiobooks with your library card.

So if you’re struggling to switch from Overdrive to Libby like me, or if you’re looking for fun new ways to use their features, today’s post and podcast are for you.

The Best Libby App Tips And Tricks from MomAdvice.com

What is the Libby App?

Libby is a free app where you can borrow ebooks, digital audiobooks, and magazines from your public library. You can stream titles with Wi-Fi or mobile data, or download them for offline use and read anytime, anywhere. All you need to get started is a library card.

How to Get Started With the Libby App

If you are just getting started with the Libby App, I wanted to provide the quick instructions on how to get started.

If you are already a user, scroll down for the Super User information that Libby has so kindly provided for our show and site.

  1. Download the Libby app on your device from the app store.
  2. Open the app and find your library. You can search for it by name or zip code.
  3. Sign in to your library account using your library card number and PIN.
  4. Browse the available books, audiobooks, and other materials. You can search by title, author, or subject.
  5. Select the item you want to borrow and tap the “Borrow” button.
  6. The item will be added to your library account and will be available for a certain loan period (usually two weeks). You can view your borrowed items in the “Loans” section of the app.
  7. To start reading or listening to the borrowed item, tap on the item in the “Loans” section and then tap the “Read” or “Listen” button.
  8. When you’re finished with the item, you can return it early by tapping the “Return” button in the “Loans” section. This will make the item available for other users to borrow.

The Best Libby App Tips And Tricks

These questions were answered by the Libby Team- what an incredible honor to share space with their team! Listen to the full episode below or check out the excerpt from today’s transcription below. I encourage you to subscribe to the Book Gang podcast to listen to more episodes like this one. Today’s show notes are located here.

If you find this episode to be helpful, your written reviews are INCREDIBLY HELPFUL to help me grow my new show.

Get to Know the Libby Experts that Answered Today’s Questions:

These three voices also run the podcast Professional Book Nerds, with new episodes that come out every Monday and Thursday.

Joe Skelley is one of the co-hosts of the Professional Book Nerds podcast and has been at Overdrive for five years. He is part of the digital book mobile team which is a truck that goes across the US and Canada that does free stops at libraries and schools and helps people get started with their library.

Emma Dwyer is also one of the co-hosts of OverDrive’s Professional Book Nerds podcast and an avid user of the Libby app. She has been at Overdrive for eight years now in varying roles, and is currently as a product trainer on the Overdrive training team, training our library partners and their staff on how to use Libby and other Overdrive products and services. 

Jill Grunenwald is the creator and the third co-host of the Professional Book Nerds podcast. She works on OverDrive’s marketing team as a Marketing and Communications Specialist for the North American public library. Her role is to communicate with  library partners to let them know about all the fun new services and features that Libby has to offer. 

This is an excerpt from today’s show. Where necessary, this transcription has been modified for clarity for written context. To reduce visual clutter, we have combined their three voices into one to make this tutorial easier to navigate today.

What is Libby and why are we replacing the Overdrive app?

“I just wanted to start by mentioning that Libby is made with love from us here at Overdrive.

It’s the same wonderful collection you’re already used to and built by the same people who have been taking care of you for a decade now on the Overdrive app.

We decided to build a new app after taking all of the feedback from users so it could be a fresh space.

Libby has all of the same amazing content that you can access in Overdrive, and actually some libraries offer even more types of content in Libby that you can’t access in Overdrive. But now we are working towards the sunset of that flagship app.

Libby is growing and evolving as new readers join and as existing readers make that switch. So still the same company you love, but with a cleaner and hopefully less confusing approach for everyone. “

Landing page for the LIbby app for new users

Regarding changes that we would like to see happen, what is the most effective way to let you know if there’s something that we’d like to implement in the Libby app?

“The first thing is, what’s really cool about Libby that doesn’t exist in Overdrive is you can contact our tech support team directly anytime, anywhere.

And in the same place, you can find help and support; we also have our Suggestion Box. So in the menu, under the help and support section, there’s a button that says Get Some Help. And then, under the Common Solutions section, there is a big button that says Suggestion Box

And you can type through and say, I want to recommend titles to my library. I like this kind of feature added. Or, I find this confusing. You can send all of that feedback through. 

If you think it needs to be done, we recommend submitting that suggestion because if you’re thinking it, someone else is thinking it. And that helps our developers see what they need to prioritize.

Are the catalogs currently identical in Libby and Overdrive with our library systems? 

“Yes, the collections your libraries offer and your digital libraries in Overdrive are the same in the Libby app. 

There are those exceptions. 

You can access more content in some cases using Libby. 

There’s that extra content available, like Kanopy, which is a platform for movies and television shows. There are things like Craftsy, which is hobbies, DIY and other things, and Universal Class, which is continuing education.”

Will my current holds and loans be moving to Libby when I switch? 

“Yes, which is awesome for those of us who keep very long wait lists.

When you log into Libby and sign in with your library card, your hold will be waiting for you on the shelf in Libby, so they’ll be right there for you to okay.”

What about those Overdrive wishlists that we have? How can we transfer them?

“So happy to say that, yes, Libby will prompt you to actually move over your wishlists from Overdrive directly using one of our smart tags.

The first time you get signed in and set up, you’ll get comfortable that first day or so.

And then Libby will send a little notification in the menu that says it looks like you were an Overdrive user. Do you want to bring over your wishlist?

I mean, how easy is that?”

Can I access my Libby app from my computer or laptop? 

“Yes. You can access Libby from a browser on your laptop.

You can go to Libbyapp.com and do all the same things in the app except downloading or reading offline on your computer.

Everything you’re doing on libbyapp.com will sync to the Libby app on your phone or tablet.” 

Can I access Libby on my Android devices? 

“Yes, absolutely.

Libby is available for Apple and Android devices through the App store and Google Play Store.

You can also side-load the app onto a Kindle Fire tablet. (editor’s note: scroll down for more information on this feature)

Additionally, you can listen to your audiobooks via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Download the Libby app on those devices.

We also have direct integration with Sono speakers. So you can listen in your kitchen while making dinner or anywhere in your house with a speaker if you have one of those.

The app experience is exactly the same if you’re on Apple, or Android, or even if you’re using libby app.com, there’s only a few differences, like downloading.

The Apple version is the same as the Android version.”

When I’m in my car and I’m using your audiobook feature, am I able to download from Libby if I don’t have the internet?

“Absolutely. A lot of people do a lot of traveling with their audiobooks, and that is one thing that is really important to people when they’re doing audiobooks.

Libby’s default is to download all titles specifically when you’re connected to wifi.

So Libby, by default, won’t use your data.

That’s a feature you can turn off.

You can have Libby download pretty much anytime you’re connected to wifi or cellular data.

Still, you can turn off the unit, like you can go into airplane mode, be up in a plane, be in the car on that long road trip, and that book is downloaded onto your device now.

This is why Libby is amazing and the superior experience.

In the Overdrive app, I’m sure many of you who love audiobooks know you could occasionally lose a chunk of your audiobook because it was broken up into multiple files.

With Libby, it’s all one clean, neatly packaged file, so you’ll never lose a part of your audiobook.”

How much storage does the Libby app take up on your phone- where to check

Are you taking up more storage on your device by using Libby? 

“Libby doesn’t take up more storage than the Overdrive app, and Libby has several different settings that you can adjust depending on your download preferences.

The default for Libby is to download all titles when you’re connected to a wifi connection to conserve any cellular data you might be using; if you don’t want to do that, you can again adjust this under settings and you can specify what gets downloaded.

You can say everything, no matter what will be downloaded, you can specify for titles under 20 megabytes, or you can have it download nothing.

You can go in and select what you want, and then specify to download things on wifi only.

That is the default, but you can ensure that that’s enabled, which is a setting I use pretty often.

Easy enough to download when I’ve got a connection and then have it for listening to audiobooks.”

Am I able to rate my books on the Libby app?

“Currently, there is no way to rate titles in Libby, but as we discussed at the beginning of this, our team and I take suggestions and love user feedback.

So go under the Menu, Help, Support, Get Some Help, and then there’s a Suggestion Box, and you can let them know you want to be able to rate books in Libby.”

How do tags work and have you guys witnessed any really cool tagging systems?

“I love tags, and I recognize that they can be a little daunting at first because, coming from Overdrive, you are used to having your history and your wishlist, and that’s it. 

What I’m about to say could be amazing and, also, scary for folks, but I always like to say that the limit to tags is your imagination. 

You can create a tag for, truly, anything. 

I create lists based on interest, so I always like to suggest tags for genres you love. 

If you are a mood reader, having that mystery, that historical fiction or thriller tag is helpful. 

You can truly create whatever you’d like. 

I also like to make ones for narrators I don’t love. So if I see their name again, I’ll likely read this one instead of listening to it. 

One of our teammates actually has a tag for gift-giving. 

Her father-in-law is tough to buy gifts for, but he’ll always read a book. 

So she picks things and pops them in his tag. 

So when shopping season comes around, it takes her five minutes, and she’s like, it’s mainly selfish because then she can spend more time shopping herself. 

Personally, I have a tag for my niece and I pull anything that I think she might like to make my sister’s day a little easier. 

I have a tag specifically for Reagan, and then I text it over to my sister every once in a while and just kind of keep it updated. 

I also have one for cookbooks. 

So I always have that handy if I’m in a recipe slump.”

How do I add my tag when I am wanting to tag a book? 

“Tags are super cool. You can create them either when you’re scrolling through the experience or if you’re in a curated list and you see something and think, “I don’t have a tag for this yet.”

It says Borrow, Play Sample (if it’s an audiobook), and Tag. If you tap on Tag, you see your existing tags or the option to make a new one. Also, the tags all live on your Shelf, so you can also make them from your Shelf.”

Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to tag your “MomAdvice Book Club Books,” if you are reading with me this year.

I did notice that you guys also have some suggestions for tags when you’re first starting. Even something like tagging Young Adult if you’re just getting right into categories and you get more inventive over time as you begin to get more comfortable with utilizing tags?

“Yes, a tag tip for people that are maybe Libby super users or just people that are really into books – you can use a tag to keep better track of things that you want to make a note to come back to or add to your TBR list.

This advice is for super users that are working, their library’s wait lists and are borrowing things all the time. I do that as well, and that can get overwhelming at times, especially if all my holds come in at once or I just have tons of books to read, which is always a good problem!

But something I’ve been relying on recently instead of borrowing something just because I do happen upon it. If it’s available for placing a hold or if I know that’s going to overwhelm me later, I’ve been using a tag to keep better track of things that I want to make a note to come back to, but I’m not ready to take any big action with.

So I tend to get like “tap happy” in Libby, placing lots of holds or borrowing things because they’re all at my fingertips, but I’ve been relying on tags a lot more so that I can not overwhelm myself with things in Libby.”

How to tag books on Libby

If I want to see all the tags together, where am I able to view them? 

“You’ll see all of your tags on your shelf in Libby.

That will show your Loans, Holds, and Tags all on your shelf, but you also have the option to click into your tags and sort through your tags on that shelf page.”

What are some unique accessibility features with Libby? 

“We’re always trying to improve and refine accessibility in Libby, and we’ve made some big improvements over the last couple of years. We do quite a bit of user testing on that accessibility to get feedback from real users with those accessibility needs. 

Libby supports screen readers, keyboard navigation, voice control, and other assistive technologies. Libby Read From Here is an ebook reading mode tailored to screen readers. Voiceover or Talk-Back Mode reads the text of the books aloud. 

You can use the keyboard to tap around Libby’s interface; we have keyboard shortcuts for the e-reader and audio player to make accessing each feature and button easier. 

We also have configurable appearance settings for ebook pages, including tech scale, background page, color, and book design. 

The custom book design lets you choose a font line spacing and other settings to really personalize your reading experience. 

For those who want to personalize their audiobook experience, there are playback speed controls for audiobook speed ranging from half the Normal Speed of the audiobook to three times the Normal Speed. 

And then Dark Mode supports operating systems or browsers that provide that option. It can be based on your phone settings as well. 

If you have your phone set to Dark Mode, Libby will automatically update to be in Dark Mode as well.”

You have a dial at the bottom of your audiobook. Is that something special about Libby and what does this style do for us? 

“I think there is an accessibility element to it. In your audiobook player, up at the top, you have your overall progress, and then at the bottom, of course, you’ve got those Play and Pause buttons. And then that, that bar underneath that has those little ticks will allow you to skip around. So there are dark, bold marks for each chapter or at a major page break.

It will also show you, at the bottom, where your notes and highlights are if you’ve made notes and highlights in the audiobook. So it is overall a slider.”

When are we going to be able to recommend our books to Libby? 

“That’s the top question that we receive. Truly, we are developing a fresh solution for this feature in Libby, and we look forward to sharing more soon.

I can’t give you a solid answer, but it is coming in 2023.

We want to ensure we’ve got all those major features that everyone is looking for before the Overdrive app is sunset.

It will involve the tagging system, so it will act a little differently than what you’re used to in Overdrive, but it will have the same end product.

But for now, you can use Libby for your reading happiness and use the Overdrive app to recommend those titles while it still exists.

Or you can go to your library’s Overdrive website. Hopefully, we’ll have that new solution up and running for all of you soon.”

When are we going to be evicted from Overdrive?

“That’s funny!

The plan is to discontinue the Overdrive app in 2023. But don’t panic – we want to ensure that everyone has lots of time to prepare.

That’s why we’ve been talking about it a lot in 2022, giving people time to use both and get comfortable.

And then, certainly, knowing that we’re not going to discontinue that Overdrive app until some of those key features we’ve talked about are offered in Libby or there’s a solution to them in Libby.

It’s not just going to vanish without any notice, so keep an eye out on Overdrive social media.”

If we want to get some additional training or support on using the app, where would we access that? 

“I am so excited to help encourage and facilitate folks making the switch. 

I host monthly getting started sessions for new and transitioning users. It’s about an hour, and we will take you through the basics. 

We point out what’s different from Overdrive to Libby, and we’ll be doing that through 2023. 

I do them with my teammate Marissa, and she is, TRULY, the Libby extraordinaire. 

She’ll take you through everything you need to know, and we’ll answer your questions live. 

We’ve got a lot of amazing people. 

You’ll get a chance to have your questions answered, get support and see what Libby’s all about. 

I would also shout out our help site. We have a specific tab called Switching from the Overdrive app. It’s right up at the top of the page. You can’t miss it!

It will cover everything we cover, anything you’re looking for. 

All of our monthly sessions are recorded. So even if you can’t attend live, we still encourage you to register to receive that recording in your inbox. The help site can be found HERE.

Questions from the MomAdvice Book Club Members

Thank you to our readers for these wonderful questions that were asked for our podcast today. These will be helpful to so many!

How to switch to dark mode on Libby

What’s the best way to manage multiple library cards on Libby?

All your library cards live in your Menu right in the center under your Libraries. 

You can tap and see all the library cards you have; tapping on the name will also switch your active libraries. 

So it’s easy to switch back and forth between all the libraries and cards you have; even with multiple library cards, all of your loans and holds live on one shared shelf. 

No matter where you check a book out, they’ll all be on the same shelf. 

And when you run a Search, you can also tap the name of the library under the Search Field and after you tap the name of your library, you’ll see all of your libraries and can easily switch between them that way. 

When you search for a book and look at the titles details list, if you tap on the little library icon next to the titles, it will show you availability at all of your libraries.

How do you put Libby on a Kindle Fire and a Kid’s Fire Tablet?

We do have some step-by-step instructions to add Libby to Kindle Fire tablets. It is a side-load because we are still waiting for Libby to be added to the Kindle Fire app store.

That’s entirely on Amazon’s approval.

It’s a super simple step-by-step process that walks you through downloading the APK files and adding them, following the steps to your tablet.

And then Libby will function the same way on an Android device. You can find the tutorial HERE.”

How do I put Libby audiobooks on my Apple Watch to listen to without my phone nearby? 

“This is a really wonderful question.

Currently, there is not a way to play audiobooks through your Apple Watch. Still, we have heard this request, especially as the popularity of Apple watches has exploded over recent years.

And so this is a request that our Libby development team is aware of and has received. So certainly keep an eye out for future developments on the Apple Watch.

Is there a way to sync my Goodreads account to my Wishlist on Libby? 

You can export your tags from Libby into Goodreads, but there is no way to bring Goodreads into Libby.

So that is an excellent suggestion and opportunity to use our Suggestion Box and give feedback if that’s something you want to see.”

How do you guys feel about the loophole of putting your Kindle in airplane mode to keep library books from returning?

“Kindle fulfillment is tricky. When you borrow a book from your library and use the, “Send to Kindle,” feature which I have to say is the US only, Amazon fulfills it.

So that’s where it breaks from Libby or Overdrive and switches to Amazon’s fulfillment.

On our end in Libby, the app has internal timers to keep everyone honest and on or offline; it doesn’t matter if you put your device into airplane mode or change the date, Libby knows. And it keeps us honest, on or offline, with copyright policies.

What Amazon does is totally up to them, but we’re respecting those publisher agreements and copyrights, in general.”

Thank you to the Libby team for their generosity with our community! To see the show notes for this podcast today, head HERE!

To help fund the work at MomAdvice, consider joining our Patreon Book Club for our exclusive buzzy books podcast (FULLY BOOKED), author interviews, and music playlists to enhance your reading experiences. To learn head to the Patreon Book Gang! The funding helps us to create quality shows and tutorials like the one you have read today.

Looking for more ways to enhance your reading life? Check out these articles!

Join the 2023 MomAdvice Book Club (and read all year with me!)

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

Learn how to use the Scribd App (when the library holds get too long)

Learn how to get a free book every dang month

Accomplish More With a Virtual Body Double

Wednesday, September 7th, 2022
How to Accomplish More With a Virtual Body Double from MomAdvice.com

Learn how body doubling can help you stay on task and improve your executive function as an adult or teen with ADHD. Get my top virtual videos to get started!

Friends, I have missed you!

It’s so good to be back at my desk after battling “the virus that must not be named.” It was just as awful as I’d expected, but we had a protocol to activate as soon as I got that positive test.

I’ve struggled with motivation since all of this, but today I wanted to share the incredible productivity hack that has changed my work-from-home life since the health chaos began.

How to Accomplish More With a Virtual Body Double from MomAdvice.com

After eighteen years of working from home, you would assume that I would have the best systems to be productive in my daily life.

You would be wrong.

The truth is, I struggle EVERY DAY and had even considered spending the money on a co-working space to hold me accountable to my work day. 

I did unlock the secret for working alone while incorporating a motivating presence in my life though and it just might surprise you.

Not only is this hack helpful for people with ADHD. It’s also helpful for anyone struggling with mental health or chronic illness. 


I want to talk about how body doubling can improve the lives of you or your teen/tween today!

What is Body Doubling?

Body doubling is a productivity strategy where someone can work alongside you to complete a challenging task. You can do these sessions virtually or in person with a friend or family member.

I want you to close your eyes and think about the thing that you have been putting off. 

Do you see a stack of bills you haven’t paid yet?

An overflowing hamper?

The refrigerator with expired food?

The basket of socks that never got matched? 

Now imagine you had a friend to do that with you.

How would this change your perception of that task? 

For many people with ADHD, the presence of someone else can be just the motivation they need to stay on track.

When I think about this, I think about ways I have unknowingly done this for people in my life. There have also been people who have come to our house that sat as I folded a load of laundry, meal prepped, or cleaned my kitchen.

In those moments, it didn’t feel so burdensome. It is, perhaps, why body doubling works so well for my work life.

Do You Need ADHD to Benefit From This? NOPE!

I have not gone through the process of ADHD diagnosis because the medications that I would use to treat it wouldn’t be an option for me with my current health issues.

In case you missed it, this is something we talked about on my Book Gang podcast with Paula Engebretson, a Certified Life Coach specializing in helping adults with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) live their best lives. 

Specifically, we discussed how many women get diagnosed at this stage in our lives and some ways to improve reading memory and focus through that.

It’s such an impactful episode that has changed my reading life and many of my listeners. 

Listen to this episode below:

Personally, I know that I display every symptom of ADHD because it runs in my family, AND I happen to live with people who have it too.

I have gotten around treatment by choosing a job that works with my brain, but hormonal shifts and brain fog have made things even more challenging. 

After that episode, I’ve been on a quest to figure out how to continue working WITH my brain, and it is through that research I discovered how body doubles work and how to use them to motivate me.

In fact, I’m using a body double RIGHT NOW to write this post. 

The best part is that this productivity hack is completely free. 

How I Use YouTube for Body Doubling

There are several excellent virtual options if you need a body double but don’t have a partner to work with at home.  

This is how I manage the work portions on my to-do list and how my daughter finds study-date partners when she needs to accomplish studying for tests.

My preferred working method is recorded sessions on YouTube (see below for some of my favorite options).  

this is an example of the breaks that are provided on screen

Many of these previously recorded sessions rely on the Pomodoro setup technique. Five-minute breaks follow these 25-minute sessions of work for recorded sessions that are, typically, two hours.

I didn’t know how motivating it would be to have a “pretend” work-from-home buddy, but I find it even more effective than anything else I’ve done for my WFH life. 

There is no pressure to make small talk, someone else is monitoring the timer for our work sessions, and it puts me in the mood to get my to-do list done. 

How Do I Set-Up My Office To Use This Strategy

I use this pop-up desk (we covered the top with this inexpensive marble paper) and set my workstation up in front of our television in our family room.

We have the Samsung Frame TV, and I can cast my favorite videos onto the television. 

If you don’t have a room with a TV, you can utilize your tablet or phone to pull up the video. 

Personally, I do find the larger screen to be more impactful while I’m working, and I love it displaying at eye level.

It helps brings the accountability aspect into focus.

How to Find a Live Virtual Body Double

Focusmate offers body doubling sessions with an accountability partner for a live, virtual co-working session that will keep you on task. They offer three free sessions a week or you can pay $5 to have unlimited sessions. 

They have shared that 95.5% of their users reported a significant increase in productivity and reduced procrastination.

You can also find users sharing live sessions on TikTok if you search for body doubles.

So I guess social media isn’t ALL bad, is it?

How We Help Each Other as Body Doubles in Our Home

If you live with a friend or family member that can act as your support group through a task, you might not need to call on a virtual double. 

As longtime readers know, my son has ADHD (you can read about that diagnosis process here when he was young), and we continue to tweak and refine what works best to help him. 

Now that he is TWENTY (how is this possible?), we still work together as accountability partners and utilize this simple to-do checklist board with our most important tasks. Our to-do list is almost identical, so we check on each other throughout the day or do these tasks together.

You can see that these are VERY modest goals because I want to honor my body and where it is now. 

I usually work much more than the time on my chart, but this allows me to check it even when I’m having a bad day.  That is the difference between a day I’m proud of and a day that makes me feel bad about myself.

Want to give this productivity hack a try? Here are some of my favorite videos to get you started!

Try These Videos For Working at Home (or Studying)

Be sure to also look up any task you need help with- folding laundry, daily hygiene tasks, or cleaning/organizing are all available with a simple search.

Want more help with that WFH life? Check out these posts!

Do you think you would try this productivity hack? I would love to hear if this has worked for you or for your teen?

Book Gang Podcast Episode 28: Use These Cleaning Hacks For A Better Reading Life

Friday, April 8th, 2022
Book Gang Podcast Episode 28: Use These Cleaning Hacks for a Better Reading Life

Dana K. White is a bestselling author who shares reality-based cleaning and organizing tips on her podcast, A Slob Comes Clean. This discussion embraces the best time-saving cleaning tricks so you can read more and focus less on cleaning. Get her advice on the best decluttering projects to pair with audiobooks. Don’t miss the “container concept” that will help reduce the clutter quickly so you can do the things you love…like READING.

Book Gang Podcast Episode 28: Use These Cleaning Hacks for a Better Reading Life

Listen to the Show:

Listen below or listen on your favorite podcast listening platform!

Mentioned in this episode:

A Slob Comes Clean

Amy’s Container Reorg

Unmissing by Minka Kent

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Montana 1948 by Larry Watson

Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Dare

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh

Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White

Organizing for the Rest of Us by Dana K. White

How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White

Dana on YouTube 

Connect With Me:

Amy is @momadvice on Instagram

Join the Patreon Community For the Bonus Content

Join Our Patreon Book Gang Today

Do you want to have the best reading year ever? 

Join the MomAdvice Book Gang for just $5 for an exclusive one-of-a-kind reading experience, and let me be your tour guide. I have selected 12 phenomenal books to read together that were picked just for you.  These are thought-provoking stories that deserve discussion, and many are hidden literary treasures. The official 2022 MomAdvice Book Club selection announcement will happen on December 1st. Your $5 membership will grant you access to the following exclusive features.

Monthly in-depth video interviews with each of our chosen authors. Learn the stories behind each of their stories and what they hope you will walk away from each of their books.

Exclusive Bookstore Coupon Discounts. Our Fables Bookstore partnership will give Patreon members 15% off ALL the book club selections for our year. This can be applied to both paperback and hardback selections. 

Exclusive MomAdvice Book Gang Podcast Episodes & Early Access Book Reviews. Your stack will be toppling over with my real-time reviews each month. These reviews are available in both audio and printable formats.  

Monthly Themed Playlists & Digital Downloads. Pair your favorite thriller with my spooky playlist. Brew some tea and listen to an instrumental mix with your favorite classic. Embrace short story songs with my favorite storytellers. The playlists are endless and digital downloads are available for your reading journals.

Sneak Peek Upcoming Content. You will know before anyone else what to expect in upcoming podcast episodes and what I’m researching for our next shows. Be bookishly curious with me and give your input for these MomAdvice Book Gang podcast shows.

This post contains affiliate links.

Shop the above (Amazon) links or shop through my new MomAdvice Book Gang Bookshop Page!! They pay a 10% commission on every sale and give a matching 10% to independent bookstores.

Book Gang Podcast Episode 28: Use These Cleaning Hacks for a Better Reading Life

Sign Up For The MomAdvice Newsletter!

More Cleaning Hacks:

Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine (Free Printable Charts) Header
Weekly Chore Routines with Free Printables

Tech-Chore Tickets Free Printable
Free Printable Chore Tickets

Cleaning Your Fridge

Clean Your BBQ While you Sleep

How to Use the Storygraph App For a Better Reading Life

Friday, March 11th, 2022
How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

The Storygraph app picks books based on your mood? This tutorial will teach you how to use this user-friendly reading app to get personalized book recommendations!

Nadia Odunayo
Nadia Odunayo

This week I had the pleasure of sitting down with the CEO and Founder of The Storygraph, Nadia Odunayo, on my podcast (MomAdvice Book Gang). 

Our partnered bookshop, Fables Books, had started a reading challenge, and we planned to work through their challenge with our listeners. The problem was that I didn’t know anything about the app, and I had a feeling that I couldn’t be the only one. 

As a new user, I wanted to document my year with the app and thought, who better to explain this than Nadia? 

You can listen to the show (read the show notes) on the embedded player or follow along in today’s tutorial that includes some of my favorite excerpts from our discussion.

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

How to Use the Storygraph App

What is Storygraph?

This reading app offers personalized recommendations with simple tracking and insightful stats. The thing that sets this app apart from its competitor is that it can offer suggestions based on your mood through machine learning AI.

The real question for many of us (including myself) is the most significant difference between GoodReads vs. Storygraph?

According to Nadia…A LOT.

Nadia said, “There are a lot of differences between our app and Goodreads, and I think it does come from a place of rather than me starting from I’m going to build a different Goodreads. It was, what do readers want and need?

You have this dashboard where we show you everything from the moods of the books you’ve read, the pace, the book size, most read authors, pages, and books read throughout the year.

So there’s a graph where you can see each month, how many books and pages did you read? But also, within a month, you can see each day how many pages you read.

So there’s a lot more detail within the tracking and the analytics that you can get just in the stats dashboard already.

Even when you come on board, even when you just import your Goodreads, I think you get to see your reading history in a completely different way to how you’ve never seen it before.”

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

How To Import GoodReads to StoryGraph?

If you are scared to import your data, Nadia offers this assurance. 

“We always say, import your Goodreads data, have a look at the stats, and then click around a bit. If you don’t like it in three clicks about, you can delete all of your account, all of your data, and that’s it. It doesn’t affect your Goodreads account.”

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

Under Manage Account: 

Step 1- Visit the Import/Export Page on Goodreads and Click the Export Library Button

Step 2- Upload (or drag and drop) the file you downloaded in Step 1.

Step 3- Kick off the import by clicking the button, and you will receive an email once your import is complete. 

Personally, I was surprised how quickly this processed all my data! Even as a seasoned GoodReads user, this took just a few minutes! 

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

How Can StoryGraph Personalize Your Reading?

The differences aren’t just in reading a book based on your current mood. You can also discover curated reading lists of book discoveries based on your other reading preferences.

Nadia shared, “We give you space to tell us what you’re interested in. So not only can you tell us your favorite genres and characteristics you like in a book, whether it’s strong world-building or good quality writing, there’s also a free text box where you can say, I want to read about found family or enemies to lovers, whatever kind of tropes you like, whatever themes you like.

So maybe you want to learn about a particular part of history or a particular country. You can put that stuff in there, and we will serve the best books for you.”

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com
where to locate a buddy read option on the app

How Do You Do A Buddy Read on Storygraph?

If you have always wanted to do a Buddy Read, this app can help you and its intelligent design capabilities.

First, it is essential to note you do need to change your settings to participate in a buddy read.

Nadia shared, “Buddy Reads is something where the default for everybody is “nobody.” You can go in there and toggle it to where friends can invite me or the people I’m following can invite me, or anybody can invite me. You can toggle it to that.”

Why?

The app is designed with a user’s privacy in mind. So, for example, you get to decide who can invite you to a buddy read.

To change this, go into Preferences and update the Community section with your preferred privacy settings.

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

Let’s try a PRETEND buddy read with our most anticipated book- Carrie Soto Is Back to show you the experience.

Once you have this updated, you can select the book you want to read, start a buddy read and invite up to 4 people to join on the read.

Don’t have a buddy to do a read with? They can even build suggestions through their machine-learning-powered reading buddy recommendations.

This feature launched in December 2021, and Nadia is particularly proud of this.

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com
this is the screen you will see once you both join a buddy read

“I think the thing that people love the most about our Buddy Read feature is you often have to have a checkpoint. You often have to say, okay, we’re all going to regroup end of chapter four and discuss.

Whereas now, if something happens that you want to remark on or you have a question, you can leave the comment at that specific point, and the comment is locked until each participant gets to that part.

So if I leave a comment at 27 pages and we’re doing a Buddy Read, and you’re on 24 pages, you won’t even get a notification because there’s no point.”

Basically, it blocks the Buddy Read from spoilers and yields a more fluid conversation.

The best part about this is that Nadia reassures us that she is only on Version 1, which means we have many more things to look forward to.

How Is Their Book Rating System is Different from GoodReads?

The biggest frustration for most GoodReads users is the inability to do half or quarter-star rankings.

With Storygraph, you no longer have to round up or down on your reviews because this is built into their design.

This is based on user feedback, in particular, bookstagrammers shared their desire to have this option in place, and Storygraph delivered.

How Do I Do a Reading Challenge on StoryGraph?

Nadia walked us through the entire process of joining a challenge on Storygraph.

“Go to the Reading Challenges page, which you can get to from either the top bar (on Desktop) or click for the menu on the three horizontal black lines on the top right (if you’re on mobile).

On the top right, there is a button that says Browse. If you click there, what you’ll see is you’ll see a page with the Storygraph’s hosted challenges at the top. We host three challenges each year.

And then there’s a filter menu where you can search for different keywords with nine categories, and you can basically go through the categories and see what you might be interested in.

So things people might be doing like a New York Review of Books Challenge, Read the World Challenge or Pop Culture (Taylor Swift) Challenge, or some popular TV show. (for example)

So you can either click through and browse the categories or filter the keywords and go from there.

Or you can also do a rainbow challenge or actually beat the TBR categories for people who are like, ‘I just want to get through the books in my house.'”

Does anyone else need a “Beat the TBR Challenge,” or is it just me?

How Do You Mark DNF (Did Not Finish) Books?

In GoodReads, you need custom tags to DNF your books.

StoryGraph builds this feature right into their app.

Nadia understood that GoodReads users had to add these books to a special shelf and that it was challenging to track WHY a user didn’t finish a book. So her response was to build it right into the product.

She said, “To mark a book as DNF is equivalent to marking it as to-read or read.

You just toggle over and mark it with DNF rather than adding a review with a star rating.

Storygraph gives you a space to add your reasoning or your reason for why you didn’t finish this book.”

What Feature Might Be Helpful For Empathetic Readers?

When writing and leaving book reviews on Storygraph, you can add your own content warnings. These content warnings don’t come just from users- they also come from authors and publishers.

Nadia shared, “When you submit a review, you can list what you think the graphic, moderate, and minor content warnings are.

And then what we do is we collate what everybody says, and we show like a smart summary of the likely content warnings.

So you can click through and see every single content warning tagged in the book, then click through and see the review.

But we also have author-approved content warnings, so authors can officially submit their own warnings. And then you can also see them side by side as well.

So we give space for readers to express what they found triggering in the book or what they think someone else may find triggering.

Because not all the time, the authors and the publishers will spot everything. But we also have a space for authors to say officially, these are the warnings.”

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com
join my book club

How Can I Use The Storygraph For My Book Club?

I asked Nadia about hosting our book club on the Storygraph, and she said that the app is designed to offer Reading Challenges and that participants can also split off into buddy reads.

She also hinted that new book club features are in the works too. I’m very excited to see what develops for the MomAdvice Book Club.

Will The App Always Be This Clutter-Free?

I did ask this question right out of the gate, and I loved Nadia’s response. 

Nadia shared, “So our number one goal and aim is to keep it clean and clutter-free. And the number one person that we’re serving is the reader, and we want to keep it that way for as long as it’s possible. 

And that means that we have proceeds from our Plus plan (see below for more details), which means we don’t have to have ads. If we ever had to have ads, we would ask the community about it. 

If you’re involved with the Storygraph on our social media, you’ll notice that we ask; we have regular polls or comment boxes because we’re essentially always getting feedback from the community before we deliver a feature. 

But, right now, we’re not thinking of ads, and we want to just focus on the product and keeping it clean and streamlined, and making sure the user experience is excellent.”

Why Are They Offering Pro Accounts & Why Should You Upgrade?

Everything is free in an ideal world, but Plus accounts are the key to keeping the app clutter-free and funding their company.

Nadia shared, “The reason Plus exists is because we’re trying to see can we stay independent and sustainable and just continuing to grow for several, several years to come.”

You can unlock many features with a Storygraph Plus membership, and readers can try this FREE without even putting in a credit card.

What features does Nadia think are the best features about Pro?

In our interview, she shared, “One of the most awesome features that we have is the Up Next Suggestions feature.

And so that essentially is a page of recommendations curated just for you from books on your to-read pile, suggesting what you should read next and giving you the reason why it changes as your reading changes….

So, for example, one of the prompts might be you’re doing really well in your reading goal, so you can go for a longer book here’s, a long book on your to-read.

Or you’re falling behind on your pages goal, here is a fast-paced book for you to read.

The other thing that people love is advanced Stats. As part of Advanced Stats, there’s a Compare Stats Page where you can compare any two time periods. So you can compare any two months in your reading history.

The other cool thing is if you are going to do a buddy read. One of the really cool Plus features is I can put your username in, and it will look at both of our readings and both of our series piles and suggest perfect books for us to read together, which I think is (if I do say so myself) pretty cool.

And there’s a bunch more, including commenting and voting on the reading roadmap.”

What Is the Storygraph Roadmap?

Perhaps the thing that makes Storygraph so unique is that you can see and suggest updates to the app in the company’s roadmap.

The transparency is refreshing, and it’s so exciting to be a part of the building process as a user.

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

Did I Make the Switch To Storygraph This Year?

I have been a loyal GoodReads user for many, many years. However, I will admit that many of the things that I wish were offered all happen to live on the Storygraph app.

Not only did I make the switch to Storygraph, but I also plan to document my journey for you based on the curated lists and to-be-read piles that Storygraph has prioritized for me.

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com
this perspective made me realize why I’m burnt out on romance

It IMMEDIATELY changed my reading life to see these charts, to know the pages I’ve read, and just what kind of reader I am.

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com
another capture from my stats

For the record, I mainly read fiction books that are emotional, reflective, and mysterious. I typically choose medium-paced books that clock in at 300-499 pages long.

I signed up for their Pro account because I’m so excited to support this woman-owned start-up business (and her team). I can’t wait to share with you what I’ve learned.

It was such an honor to do this interview, and I hope you will make space to listen to Nadia’s journey. She also shares the genre that took her by surprise, how a pages reading challenge is changing her reading life, and how she reads as a busy entrepreneur.

Do you use The Storygraph app? If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them here!