Friday, September 30, 2011

A Dose of Reality

This is a super busy week for our family, so I'm sticking with something simple today. I will have a FANTASTIC new closet (yes, I've done it again!) to reveal to you next week, once the chaos of this week passes!

So here goes...

I'm puttin' it out there...

*takes deep breath*

Yup. That's our toy room. Most days. We do put everything away in it's proper place like 2-3 times a week, but it takes quite awhile because the girls aren't very good helpers yet...too distractable! Many nights when we do the "toy round up" before bedtime, they just get tossed in the toy room, to be dealt with later. 

And you know what? I'm okay with that. It's not one of the main rooms that we "live" in all the time, so the mess isn't in my face, and I'd much rather spend my evening tucking my children in bed & enjoying some quality time with my husband. It's all about Priorities.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quick Tip Tuesday - Unavoidable Clutter

There are probably people out there who will totally disagree with me, but I think it's okay to set up small spots around your house that become catch-alls for random, unavoidable clutter. There are rules though...

1) Contain it. Use a small basket, a tray, a pretty bowl.

2) When the container gets full (or preferably, before it is full...perhaps once a week, every 2 weeks, once a month, whatever), empty it! Put the "random" items away.

Here are two examples of where I have these stations set up:

This pretty blue bowl sits atop the clothes dryer in our laundry room. It's a great place to put stuff that comes out of pockets or buttons that come off in the wash.
This red bowl resides on top of our microwave. Our kitchen counters are a big hot-spot for clutter, so I try to put anything small enough in this bowl to reduce the amount of crap stuff piling up, so we can keep our counters clear! The contents of this bowl are much more random, usually things stashed quickly to keep out of reach of little hands....currently: some blocks that need to be reunited with the rest, a pair of earrings I brought downstairs but forgot to put on before church, and some hair bows that our dog kept attacking...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Favorites - Fall Decor

I'm debuting a new blog segment today, called Friday Favorites.  Each Friday, I'll be sharing some of my favorite things...they might be organizing projects, decor, crafts, recipes, anything is fair game!

Currently, I've got Fall on the brain. It's my absolute favorite season. Other than rainy days, I love pretty much everything about Fall - the scents, the colors, the cooler weather, the natural decor, harvest. I'm a big fan of natural, somewhat harvest-related decorating - pumpkins, acorns, leaves, berries. I'm not a Halloween fan - we do costumes & trick-or-treating, but I don't decorate for Halloween AT ALL. I don't understand why anyone would want to put witches & ghosts & bats around their house!

So here are some of the Fall decorations I'm loving:

Adorable Button Tree from Color Me Happy

Simple - wheat in jars with vinyl letters!  From Choose to Thrive

LOVE pumpkins on candle pedestals!  From Becky Higgins

Painted Dollar Store frames & scrapbook paper!  From A Diamond in the Stuff

Fabulous pumpkin topiaries from Brassy Apple

Elegant candles with acorns from Favor Girl
What is your style for Fall decorating?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My First Feature!!

Holy Guacamole! My favorite blog, IHeart Organizing, has featured me today! Go here to check it out!

IHeart Organizing

I'm so thrilled, I'm seriously going to have to get up & dance or something....too much excitement to contain!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quick Tip Tuesday - Reusing Boxes for Drawer Organization

A great & super cheap (as in, free!) way to organize drawers is to reuse boxes you may have lying around your house. There's no rule that says something has to be "pretty" in order to be organized. Of course, if you want it to be pretty, that's fine too - glue or mod podge some scrapbook paper on the boxes!

Pictured below is the main office supply drawer in our desk. I used old checkbook boxes & boxes that thank-you notes came in - easy peasy! They're a great size, small enough to group "like with like" (one of the main organizing rules) & easily maneuverable so you can find which configuration best fills your drawer.

And...welcome to my sock drawer!  I just have a couple shoe boxes in there, so I can sort between athletic socks, dress/neutral-colored socks, and cute/fun socks.

Just a couple examples!

How have you utilized boxes in drawers in your home? Share some examples!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cute Jewelry Storage!

Earlier this week I promised you details of my recent jewelry display project!  So here's what happened.

I was out digging around in the garage a couple weeks ago & stumbled upon this lovely wall hanging: came from my just-out-of-college time when I was living in my very first place, all by myself & was desperate to have stuff on the walls so it looked like "home". Pretty sure I bought it at a garage sale, and it hung in my bathroom because the frame matched my sage green shower curtain (that we still have in our main bath - hey!).

But the picture is SO not my style. Then I had a brilliant upcycling idea - I was in the midst of redoing our master closet & had been wanting to create some sort of "thing" to display some of my jewelry. I'd seen so many cute ideas on Pinterest, and I knew this frame would be perfect!

So I cut some chicken wire to fit the frame, spray-painted the front side of it white, and secured it in the frame by bending these little metal tabs down. This pic shows the back side of the wire, which is why it's still metal-looking.

Then I measured & pre-drilled 6 holes for screw-in cup hooks. Ignore the metal rod...I balanced it on our towel rack for this picture!

Lastly, I nailed a couple picture hangers to the back, since it had originally hung vertically & I switched it to horizontal.

Then I popped it up inside our closet, and hung my jewelry from it!  Cute cute, right?

Have you had any brilliant upcycling ideas lately?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Master Closet Redo - Part 2

I'm skipping Quick Tip Tuesday this week, because I'm way too excited to show you Part 2 (completion) of our Master Closet project!  To see the first part of the transformation, click here.

Here are the changes I've made since the first post:

1) I painted the interior of the closet a light beige color that we had leftover from other areas in our house. I think colors are super fun in closets, but chose to keep this one neutral for two reasons:
a) this closet is usually wide open and
b) we may someday change color palettes in our bedroom & I probably won't want to repaint the closet!

2) Because the closet is so deep, and therefore dark when you're looking for clothes inside it, we needed to add some lighting! I nabbed an under-cabinet light that we had lying around & screwed it to the inside of the closet's door frame...voila!

3) I made myself a cute jewelry hanger and popped it up on the wall. Details on this little project will be coming on Thursday!

4) Decided to nix the basket of padded hangers that I never use, and replaced one of the others with a matching brown one. I got these 3 as a package anyway, and figured they might as well live in the same location.

5) Hubby suggested we remove the door from the closet, since we keep it wide open 99.9% of the time anyway, and it blocked half of the window. I agreed, and off came the door! On a trial basis, I threw up an extra curtain to see if we want one there....but I'm not completely sold on it. Nobody really ever comes in our room except our kids, so I don't know that we need to "hide" the closet. Plus, it's all cute & organized now...nothing to hide!

The shoe organizer that hung over the door has found a new home in our house...someday you'll get to find out where!

So here's the finished product:

Dark, Smushed, Unfunctional Before   vs.   Lighted, Functional, Cleaned-up After!

What do you think?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Back to School "Mantel"

If you're wondering why mantel is in quotes, go read this post.  :-)

Now that school has started again, it just felt funny to have my summer display still up. We're not exactly going to the pool or beach anymore, we're watching the school buses drive by & going to football games! So I did a quick switch up over Labor Day weekend, using this adorable subway art, and here's my current display:

I didn't want to put too much effort in to it since I'll be putting up fall decorations in about a month or less (which is totally my favorite season), so I simply rounded up some basic school supplies to help convey the theme!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Under the Kitchen Sink

Let's take a look under my kitchen sink, as it looked a couple weeks ago:

Yikes. Cluttered. I started by taking everything out, including the linoleum the previous owners had set in there 20+ years ago that was curling up. Then I sorted through stuff & decided what didn't need to go back in - like a full ice cream pail of plastic lids (our recycling service doesn't take them but the local school can recycle them) and a handful of chemical cleaners I no longer use. And yes, we do have child locks on these cabinets!

Ahh...clean. Except for the woodwork around the cupboard, which I'm now noticing really needs to be wiped down!

Then I cut a new mat for the bottom of the cupboard using some leftovers from a vinyl floor we recently put in our laundry room/main floor bath. Looks spiffy, right?

Then I replaced the items I deemed worthy of under-sink space, basically dishwasher detergent, a roll of paper towels (we don't use them often, so I just keep one roll under the sink), trash bags, an empty ice cream bucket for more lids, a plastic basket with extra dishwashing stuff, and our recyclable paper box. There's also a bottle of bleach & a kitchen fire extinguisher tucked behind everything on the left side...rarely/never used, but available if needed!

Much less scary!  :-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Quick Tip Tuesday - DVD Storage

Alphabetizing your DVDs will save you a lot of time when you're looking for a movie to watch. It also gives each movie a "home", instead of just being shoved in to a cabinet (or shelf or basket) and creating movie chaos!

However, I do not alphabetize our kids' movies. They are stored in boxes with labels - one is for Disney & Pixar movies and the other is all the misc. kid movies like Baby Einstein, Veggie Tales, Elmo, Carebears, etc. You could totally alphabetize yours if you want, but we rotate through these often enough that I'm okay with "tossing" them in a box, as long as the box has a general category on it. That & my kids can't read yet anyway - ha!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Master Closet Redo - Part 1

Our master closet has never been super functional. It measures 42 x 51" - that's right, it's deeper than it is wide! Previous owners had installed shelves along the back wall, a clothes rod in the front, and then another clothes rod running perpendicular to it way up toward the ceiling. Not the greatest use of space, so something had to be done.

Here's a before picture from last spring after I'd done some clothes decluttering...I was way too excited to get to work on this last week & forgot to take a before picture until I'd emptied the first clothes rod. :-)

Here's after emptying the first clothes rod, so you can see the shelves on the back wall.
We'd been making the best use of the existing space by using the top shelf for some of Hubby's clothes (he'd reach over the rod), the bottom shelf for my pants & sweatshirts (I'd crawl on the floor under the hanging clothes to reach them), and the hard-to-access middle shelf held rarely used stuff or items that needed mending.  Fun, right?

It's best to start with a clean slate, so I emptied the whole closet and got to work.

And here's the much more functional after!

I took out both clothes rods & reinstalled them one on top of the other (I did have to cut the top one to fit, since it was 9 inches too long). The top rack is for Hubby's clothes and the bottom one is for mine...though is he granting me a little bit of room to hang my dresses from his. How nice of him, right? He finally has room to hang up all of his polo shirts for work! No more wrinkles from being folded & squished in a dresser drawer.

I nabbed this plastic shelving unit from the basement to store our pants & sweatshirts. You may recognize it from an earlier post about our front hall closet, before the built-in shelves were installed. We also have room to tuck our small weekender suitcase between these shelves & my hanging clothes.

One of these hooks was on the wall already, and the other I stole from the back of the closet door because we never use it there. There had been hooks all around the closet many years ago & I could still see the holes where they had been (they'd only been painted over), so I simply screwed it back it! Now we each have our own belt hook.

Here's a shot toward the ceiling. The upper shelves were existing, and I definitely wanted to leave them in! And yes, that's an access panel to our attic...though we have a giant one in the hallway so will probably never need to use this one.

These four baskets are kind of mismatched, but they fit perfectly up there & nobody but us (well, and now all of you!) sees them so I don't care. The first basket holds extra accessories like a sentimental hat, fancy purses, double-sided tape, etc. The next basket is currently holding some items that need mending, but might become a donation station. The next one holds some of Hubby's once-a-year seasonal clothes (like a Christmas ugly sweater, a shirt used only for a Halloween costume, etc.). And the last basket holds extra padded hangers...which I might be getting rid of anyway, because I don't really like using them!

The shelf on the right holds a bunch of shoe boxes. I still need to make labels for them so I can tell from the floor what's inside them without taking all of them down! I haven't decided if I should take pictures of each pair of shoes, or just use words.

And now for a before & after, side by side!

I love it so much! I'm not a fan of doing laundry, but I've found myself excited to do it this week because I can't wait to hang up our clothes! I'm sure that will wear off, soon.

Now you're asking "Randi, why did you call this part 1?"  Well, I have more plans for this space! It really needs a coat of paint, and not just because I think it would be fun, but because the existing paint is really old & when I took out the shelving it left gray cement/plaster spots where the supports had been. Go back & look at the pictures, you'll see them.

We also need to hook up some sort of lighting for inside the closet, because it's dark in there! That will help Hubby out in the mornings, since he's usually digging for clothes while I'm still asleep.

I've been wanting to make some sort of jewelry thing to hang my necklaces from. I have a really nice jewelry box but most of the necklaces I wear don't fit well in it, and I think inside the closet would be a good location for them.

And who knows what else?!  I guess you'll just have to look forward to Part 2!