Adventure Awaits – Nursery

After we found out we were having a boy we nailed down our nursery theme fairly quickly. I had been thinking about it probably from the moment I found out we were having a baby. If it was a boy we wanted to go with a Travel Adventure theme incorporating air (hot air balloons), land (maps), and sea (compasses, and sea creatures). I love how the nursery turned out and can’t wait to see our baby boy grow in this room.

Side note: If it was a girl I was leaning toward a Secret Garden theme – maybe someday. 

Our Little Adventurer

I made this sign using pallet wood, paint and paint markers. It hangs on the outside of the door entering the nursery.

Reading Corner

The READ letters on the wall are maps and the arrow points down to the bookshelf. This will be a perfect nook to raise a little reader.

Nursery Details

Adventure awaits our little one with dirigibles and hot air balloons floating in a cloud-filled sky, plus nautical details above the changing table. We cropped the picture here because the corner piece is the first letter of our baby’s name, which we were keeping secret until he was born.

More details

Displaying some of our favorite books on the wall. Our colors pallet includes dark sea green (teal), grey and pops of orange.

5 Common Clutter Problem Areas & Solutions

Before-and-After-Pantry-Organization-Clutter-CountdownLast week I presented a workshop on decluttering at a local library. The library is conducting a yearlong series on resolutions and organizing was part of the agenda! Some great ideas came out of the workshop and I was excited to see everyone so engaged and offering their own suggestions along the way!

We first talked about the importance of setting your goal. Your goal should be the overall vision for why you want to get and stay organized. Here is a worksheet that you can use to help define your goal. Once you have a goal, I’d recommend saving it electronically. By keeping it in a place you use frequently like your computer, smart phone or tablet, you can refer back to it often as a reminder without having to worry about a physical piece of paper to track down.

Next, you’ll want to compile your list of organizing projects (or objectives). Use this worksheet to jot down your list and then rate them on a scale of 1-5 based on how each impacts your day-to-day life. The objectives with higher scores should be prioritized first.

5 Common Problem Areas & Solutions

Mail Clutter

Problem: Mail comes every day and we all get so much junk mail it can become overwhelming. We often just do a quick glance through for things we’re interested in and then throw the rest on an ever growing pile.

Solution: Create a daily routine for sorting mail. Keep a trash can or shredder in the place where you typically read the mail so you can readily weed out the things you don’t need to keep. File the rest into a “To-Do” folder and a “To-File” folder and check those files weekly to clean out.

Kid’s Paper Clutter

Problem: Kids come home with a ton of papers from school, some things are deadline based and require action, and others may be artwork or other precious keepsakes.

Solution: Invest in a refrigerator command center with pockets. Keep a pocket for “To-Do” items and “To-File” items, similar to your mail files. Make sure to note any important deadlines on your calendar. As you complete items from the “To-Do” folder, move them to the “To-File” folder to recycle them. For keepsakes like artwork, keep a plastic file box with folders for each year (1st Grade, 2nd Grade, etc.) and drop those treasured items into the appropriate folder.

Entry Way

Problem: The entry way is the gateway to our homes and can be a source of stress due to the various items that clutter the space. Shoes, bags and coats pile up, as well as seasonal items like umbrellas and mittens.

Solution: Get a shoe cubby! I like cubbies better than other shoe organizers because they are easily accessible and the shoes are visible so everyone can find what they are looking for easily. I like to put a mat next to, or on top of, the shoe cubby for wet shoes. Hooks make it easy to hang coats and bags instead of having to deal with hangers. Invest in baskets for seasonal items like gloves and scarves in the winter or small items like swim goggles in the summer. Label a basket for each family member so they can keep all their items in the same place.

Toys

Problem: Toys, toys, everywhere! They have a habit of overrunning the entire house!

Solution: Create designated areas for toys in each living space where they are used and include baskets or a chest to store them in. This will make for easy tidying at the end of the day. For large scale toys like doll houses, train sets, etc. establish a home base where they need to stay or go back to at the end of play time. Encourage your kids to help pick up their toys but understand that some days will be easier than others and sometimes you’ll have to tidy on their behalf or let things stay messy until they pick them up.

General Storage/Pantry/Drawers

Problem: Out of sight, out of mind. We don’t take time to organize the things people can’t see but we struggle when we can’t find things easily.

Solution: Containers, bins, and a label maker are your best friend! Group like items and always toss or recycle what can be thrown. Once you get these areas organized, be mindful of putting things in the right spot, and not stuffing things that don’t need to be kept in drawers.

Remember, the most important thing is to recognize that no one is perfect and that it takes effort and routine to keep up on clutter. If you tidy daily and schedule a one-hour organizing session on your calendar each week, it can be very manageable.

Finally, don’t forget to ask for help! You can’t be expected to do it all alone. Get your family on board for doing their part and recruit friends for larger projects!

Crafting Corner – Organizing for Small Spaces

My husband and I live in a small, one bedroom apartment which generally is enough space for us at this time in our lives and which we have enjoyed decorating. That being said, due to the size we are forced to multipurpose certain areas including our dining area which is also currently serving as a place for my husband to study (he is in nursing school) and to nurture his hobby of painting these amazing miniatures, which he clearly has a talent for.

Warhammer Minis-small

These are necessary functions in our life and right now, the communal space of our dining area is the only option we have, but the mess that can accumulate from the multiple activities taking place in this space is often the bane of my existence. If the dining table isn’t covered in papers and books for studying, the miniature materials are escaping from the confines of their designated space. The table is almost never clear, and we are constantly shifting things around to make space to be able to eat together.

The before pictures below depict the space in one of it’s more unruly states but this is a common occurrence in our home. Starting from the left, the book shelf has become flooded with extra items from school projects, to painting projects, books and assignments; the items are a disheveled hodge podge. Paint bottles are everywhere and there is no good place for them to be both accessible and tidy. The top right picture shows how these materials are spilling out onto the table and bar stools. And finally the lower right picture shows how boxes cannot be contained to the corner and are creeping out into my lovely “dining room”.

Painting Station Before - small

As an organizer, I couldn’t have this and thankfully my husband consented to letting me sort and move items around to create a better system for this shared space. First, I started emptying the space and matching like items. There were a lot of small bits in random boxes that I could easily group together and consolidate. I was able to move a large storage box from the desk top to a shelf below which opened up the space on top of the desk for spreading out during painting projects. Next (and this is by far my favorite addition) I bought a clear wall rack for the paints. This actually wasn’t able to hold all of the paint but a good majority of it, and the rest of the paints are stored below the desk. This way, my husband can keep the paint he’s using on the rack and store away those he doesn’t need at the moment. The rack not only looks orderly, it makes for a nice colorful backspash to his work station.

I reworked the bookcase, and added some storage boxes, leaving room on the top shelves to display some of his finished work. And due to the consolidation of items, everything fit inside the desk/filing cabinet and in the corner without spilling out.

The table still needs to be used for studying, so I got a canvas storage tote that we can easily clear papers and books into and store below the table when it’s time to eat.

Painting Station After - Small

This project took a full afternoon to complete but I’m so happy with the result. I purchase just a few plastic storage bins, the magazine files for the book shelf and the paint rack; spending less than $80 in total. The paint rack was the most expensive item at $50, but it was well worth the cost. Now I can enjoy a clean and organized space and everything has a place for easy upkeep.

DSC_0659

Much better right? If you have a small space that you could use some help organizing, I’m happy to help! Check out my Happy Spaces page for more information!

Maximize Organization for Your Small Bathroom

Bathroom Organizing

Just because your bathroom is small, doesn’t mean it can’t be perfectly organized and functional. The key to any organizing project is identifying the space available and using it to it’s full potential. Three sneaky spaces you shouldn’t over look when trying to get the most out of your small bathroom are:

  1. Above the toilet – this is the perfect space for a small cabinet, hanging shelves or an over toilet standing shelf.
  2. Under the sink – this space can easily become over run with junk stuffed away out of sight. Organizing under the sink with containers, dividers, and baskets will help keep everything in it’s place, easy to find, and wont leave you with the dangers of falling items every time you open the cabinet doors.
  3. Behind the door – this area can be overlooked because we often don’t even look behind the door unless it’s closed. You can use hooks or hanging bars here for towels and robes!

Bonus: Use containers for all your small items like Q-Tips, bobby pins, hair ties, etc. These will easily fit inside the drawers, under the sink or in your storage above the toilet and will both decrease clutter and save you time when searching for what you need!

Here are a few of my favorites from the container store: Under the sink mesh drawers, acrylic canisters, style station (counter top, or under the sink).

Organize Your Junk Drawer in 6 Easy Steps

Organize Your Junk Drawer In 6 Easy Steps

The dreaded junk drawer. Everyone has one, mine isn’t even a drawer it’s a Rubbermaid that I keep on the top of my refrigerator that I call my “crap box”. These are necessary evils in the effort toward keeping a clean and tidy living space. But sometimes the junk drawer becomes so full and overwhelming it completely loses it’s ability to be a useful addition to your organized home or office. Here are 6 easy steps to organizing your junk drawer and regaining the function behind it.

1. Start with a clean slate. It’s easier to not include something back into a clean space than to try to maneuver around all that junk. Empty the drawer completely before attempting to organize it.

2. Throw away any unused or unnecessary items. In particular paper items tend to clog up  the junk drawer causing frustration as they fall out every time you open it. If you’re handing on to coupons that expired six months ago, toss them out!

3. Line the drawer with festive paper. Use contact paper or craft paper to line the bottom of the drawer. This is an optional design tip that will help you want to keep your drawer in order so you can enjoy the pop of pattern or color every time you open it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Buy inexpensive organizing trays, or craft your own if you’re looking for a fun DIY project. Here are some good ones I found on Pinterest! Plus if you use clear organizing trays you’ll be able to see your fun drawer lining from step 3. To maximize your organization, double up with stack-able containers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Group related items. Now that your drawer is clean, decorated, and your organizational containers are in place. Group items that should be put back in to the drawer with related items. For example, office supplies like rubber bands, tacks, and pens; or beauty supplies like nail clippers, filing boards and bobby pins.

6. Consider using containers with lids to keep small loose items together. You can label the containers so you can easily find what you are looking for. I love an excuse to label something!

Once your drawer is organized the best way to keep it that way is to do regular check ins. It’s likely to accumulate more “junk” once it’s cleaned out so revisit the drawer once every month or two and follow these 6 steps to keep your junk drawer in order!

The Power of Tidying

papers-262731_1280It’s nothing ground breaking, you’ve probably read 100 times on Pinterest and other organizing blogs that the key to keeping your home clutter free is tidying, and it is completely true. This is the number one thing I recommend for staying organized. Some people swear by a 10 minute power tidy, others say a pre-bed time tidy is the way to go. It really doesn’t matter when or for how long, the key is doing it.

Much of the time we spend cleaning, whether at home or at the office, is putting things away. Personally, I like to put things away as I’m finished with them, for example, washing prep dishes while the dinner is cooking, but sometimes that just isn’t feasible. Here are my top 2 tidy tips to help you build a habit for tidying:

1. Leave a clean work space – throughout the work day my desk fills with papers, to-do lists, notes, magazine articles, etc. When the end of the day rolls around, it would be easy to get up and leave these things cluttering my work space but we all know coming in to a mess the next day isn’t how we like to start a day. I take less than 5 minutes at the end of each work day to tidy up my desk. Even if it’s just stacking the items into a neat pile to sort through the next day, leaving a clean and clutter free space makes for a more pleasant and productive return.

2. Everything has a place – There are a few important items that we never want to lose, keys, cell phone, purse/wallet. These are things that we always have when we leave the house and if we misplace them, stress and tardiness ensue. For these high priority items, choose a home base for each and before bed each night make sure they are in their homes and easy to find the next morning. I have a key rack by the front door and any time I enter the house I put my keys there. This way I’m never searching for my keys. I also make sure that my laptop is in it’s bag next to my purse before I go to bed so I don’t waste time with it in the morning, or worse forget to grab it on  my way out.

I typically do my tidying at night so that I have less to deal with in the morning but anytime of day will do depending on your own personal schedule and what works best for you. Adding a tidying habit to your life, will help reduce the stress of searching for lost items and keep your home and office clutter free!