Monday, January 17, 2011

Deep Cleaning

I'm getting a little bit of a jump start on my spring cleaning to go along with all of the organizing I have been doing this month. The other day, I pulled all of the couch cushions off of the couch and revealed this:

Can you see all the crumbs that had fallen underneath the cushions! Gross! Here is a closer look:

I vaccumed everything up and also vaccumed the cushions before placing them back on the couch. Where possible I rotated the cushions to a different spot on the couch and turned them around to reduce the wear and tear. We have favorite spots on our couch so certain areas definitely get more worn out than others. I hadn't done this since we moved in almost 18 months ago.

While I had the vaccum cleaner out, I also dusted a wicker ceiling fan in our master bedroom. The dust settles into all of the cracks and crevices in the weaved wicker and was seriously an inch thick. The room feels so much fresher now and I don't have to worry about dust bunnies falling down onto our bed the next time we use it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Toy Organization

I have a system of baskets and buckets for organizing toys, but still the house tends to look like this:

The kids will help put away toys, if I ask, but I rarely ask them to because I like to have them put away a certain way. When the kids clean up, they throw everything into a big pile and call it done and it drives me crazy. I have gone through their toys since the holidays and stored away things that they are too old for and thrown out everything that was broken or missing pieces. I refuse to do any other organizing of toys as it just causes me too much frustration.

Rather than skipping out on an organizing challenge, I decided to organize my pile of scrapbooking paper scraps. This is a picture of all of my scraps of scrapbooking paper which I usually just throw in a pile under my desk.

Luckily, I received a tote for scrapbooking supplies from my sister-in-law for Christmas and it had a large section in the middle that would be perfect for my scraps. I organized all of the papers by color and placed them in the middle of the tote. It took me about 30-45 minutes to sort through all of the papers, but hopefully this will help me to be able to more easily locate certain colored papers when I am scrapbooking and also prevent me from cutting a fresh sheet when I could use up scraps.

I love my new tote and can't wait to find items to place in the remaining pockets!

I am linking to A Bowl Full of Lemons 21 Day Organizational Challenge.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Decorator in Training

This girl is definitely not going to be satisfied with just being a princess! She is an independent thinking leader who has her own opinions and ideas and I love it!

My daughter loves to look through my magazines. The other day while she was looking at my Ballard Designs magazine she said, "Mommy, I think I would like our living room to look like this."

Another incident happened recently when Randy and I were discussing some big remodel plans that we have for the house. In the middle of Randy telling me which walls we would tear down and where we would put new windows and doors, my daughter had some input as well. She said, "Mommy, why don't you come upstairs and I'll show you what I'm thinking." The girl is 3 1/2 going on 30! Seriously! Upstairs we go and she says, "I was thinking we would put a bedroom here (pointing to alcove at top of stairs) and here (pointing to another alcove in hallway between the 2 bedrooms upstairs)." I immediately asked her who would occupy theses 2 new "bedrooms", expecting to hear her say her grammy or grandma Potter. She responded, "Mommy and daddy!"

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Coat closet

Todays challenge in the 21 day organizational challenge was the coat closet. I recently cleaned and organized my coat closet (located in our dining room), though I failed to take any before pictures:( I stored away all of the kids coats and gloves that were too small and donated any items that I had not worn recently. Unfortunately, I was unable to convince my husband to part with a single one of his 9 coats and jackets.

Sadly that is not the extent of our coat storage for our small family of four. We also have an over the door coat rack which hangs on our back door and holds the coats that we wear daily in the winter. I love having this rack near the back door as it keeps everything accesible and organized.

When we are not using the rack in the warmer months we simply remove the rack and store it in the coat closet.

We also keep our shoes in a shoe organizer near the back door. Though it would be nice to hide the shoes and coats in the closet or mudroom, with 2 kids it is easier to have a space in the house to get ready to go where it is warm. This centralized location prevents us from tracking all the dirt and grime on our shoes into the rest of the house as well. In case you were wondering, my husband also has more shoes, 6 pair to my 4!

We keep all of our gloves and hats in one of the storage boxes on the top shelf and my husbands collection of baseball caps in the other. I also keep my camera and videocamera boxes and supplies on this shelf.

My husband keeps some work supplies in the bin on the floor. We use the bags on the floor for swimsuits and clothes to take to the gym or as a beach bag while boating. Finally, I keep the tv trays, though we have not ever used them to eat off of, I have used them in the past as side tables and cannot get rid of them just yet.

This coat closet is nice and functional for all of our needs, though it would be nice to have it located at either of the main entrances to our house and not smack dab in the middle of the house.

I am linking to A Bowl Full of Lemons 21 Day Organizational Challenge.

Architectural Art

What do you see in this picture?

And this one?

And this one?

Did you see the letters A, N and W?

My cousin recently received a frame with architectural letters spelling her last name. Upon seeing it, I knew that it would be the perfect gift for my sister for Christmas. I immediately began searching online and found that it would cost at least $150 to purchase one, which was way over our limit of $20. I was disappointed, but began to wonder if it were something that I could reproduce. I took some inspiration from the webpages I viewed when researching "Architectural Letters" and walked/drove around town snapping pictures of anything that looked like a letter when viewed closely.

After uploading the pictures to my computer, I cropped and edited them. I then ordered copies of the pictures. I could have made copies of them on my own computer, but just included them in a large photo order I was already making.

I went to Goodwill and picked up these large frames for $2.88 apiece.
I also purchased a piece of foam board for $2.99. I removed the contents of the frames and cut a piece of foam board to fit. I then arranged the photos for her last name on the foam board to get a feel for the spacing. Once I figured out the appropriate spacing, I stuck the pictures in place using double sided tape and a level to make sure that the pictures were straight. Finally, I spray painted the frames black to go with her decor before finally putting it all together.

I also made one for myself:

On this one for myself, I cut some of the letters thinner than others, keeping the height and spacing uniform. The one for my sister was uniform in height, width and spacing. I changed the width on the letters for my name because of limited space with a longer name and also to crop out some of the background which I was unable to crop using the stores tools for editing. I think that both methods worked well and looked nice.
Since my family only just celebrated Christmas today, I was really getting antsy to give my sister her gift and see her reaction, but it was totally worth the wait!

It was just the reaction I was hoping for, she loved it! Actually all of my family members loved it. They loved it so much that my mom and 2 sisters-in-law were asking me to make them one as well! I guess I know what to give them for upcoming birthdays or anniversaries!

I am linking to Thrifty Decor Chick's January Before and After Party.

I am also Hooking Up with Allison at House of Hepworths.

Finally, I am linking to Debbie from Debbiedoos Newbie Party here.


We have a very small kitchen, so small in fact that while standing in the middle, I can almost touch all four walls. We barely have enough room for all of our dishes, appliances and kitchen paraphernalia. I only recently converted this cupboard in the kitchen to a small pantry after packing away the baby items that we no longer needed.

The remainder of our dry goods are stored on a shelf in our mudroom.

From this picture you can tell that we really need to go shopping!
After shopping, I filled the cabinets with goods and reorganized the shelves so that like items were placed together- breakfast items, canned veggies, snacks, etc.

I also organized the pantry in the mudroom.

This organized cupboard works much better, though I still can't wait to renovate our kitchen and build a large spacious pantry!

I am linking to A Bowl Full of Lemons 21 day organization challenge.

Linen Closet

Our linen closet is a floor to ceiling closet located in the master bathroom. In addition to being the linen closet, it is also a medicine cabinet.

I had recently gone through it and thrown out medicines that were outdated and donating items that we no longer used. It definitely needed to be better organized, so I went shelf to shelf and refolded items or grouped like items together to make them easier to find. I worked at a hotel several years ago where I learned the best method for folding those tricky fitted sheets. Here is a pictorial of how to fold fitted sheets:
1: Place your hands inside of the corners. I prefer to do this with the insides out.

2: Place one corner on top of the other and pull down so that the edges line up.

3: Repeat steps 1 & 2 with the opposite corners.
4: Put the four corners together and lay on flat surface.

5: Fold the sheet into thirds.

6: Fold this into thirds.

Now you have a nicely folded fitted sheet which will stack better in your linen closet. This even worked with my thick mattress cover.
After regrouping and refolding things, my closet looked like this:

I am linking to A Bowl Full of Lemons 21 day organization challenge.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I am very lucky to have a whole 6 drawer dresser and a large closet to myself.

My underwear drawer is the most difficult to keep clean as it holds everything from work and casual socks, underwear, bras and swimsuits. I really need some kind of divider to keep these items separated and organized.

The next drawer holds all of my pj's, tanks, and t-shirts.

These bottom drawers hold my capris and skirts, and jeans.

The remaining drawers hold my work/dress pants and sweats/workout clothes.
I emptied each drawer individually and set to work getting rid of things that were damaged, donating things I no longer used, and putting the rest back into the drawers in an organized manner.

I have things separated and organized for now, without dividers, in my underwear drawer.

I pulled out several items that I had used for painting and stored them with my painting supplies. I am hoping this will motivate me to change clothes before painting so as not to ruin anymore of my clothes.

I tried on a lot of things in this drawer as I have not worn anything in here in the past 3-4 months.

I organized my work pants by color.
Unfortunately, I have piles of laundry in the basement so I may have some rearranging to do with the addition of more clothing!
I am linking to A Bowl Full of Lemons 21 day organization challenge.

Under the Kitchen Sink

Wow! Looks like somebody has a problem with shopping! We get the majority of our groceries from Sam's club so most of these are not grocery bags, but store bags from clothing purchases for the kids. I know that I should purchase reusable bags and use them whenever possible, but I really love having all of these bags to use to toss dirty diapers so they don't sit in the trash and stink up the house, putting them in my diaper bag for soiled clothes, separating wet swimsuits from dry clothes and lining small trash cans throughout the house. Obviously, I need to find a better method of containing them though! Here is another before picture after I removed all of the plastic bags:

Just your regular kitchen and household cleaning supplies and a few glass vases. I took everything out and then replaced it in a more organized manner after wiping down the shelves. The finished cabinet looked like this:

I moved the bags to our pantry and planned to take some to be recyled at the local grocery store. I was motivated to keep cleaning and moved onto the cabinets under my bathroom sinks. While cleaning I found another large refill container of antibacterial soap just like the one I had in my kitchen. I took the two bottles and dumped them together and recycled the extra container. I decided to leave the soap in my bathroom, so I had extra space in my kitchen sink cabinet. I looked around my house and found this large container that used to hold pretzels (which we bought, of course, at Sam's). I decided to smoosh all of the plastic bags into the container and place them under my sink. Here is how my cabinet looked after making this change:

I have not yet decided if I will keep the lid, put a hole in the lid or remove the lid altogether. I will have to wait to see how this functions for me and then make any necessary changes. I do love opening the cabinet now without having bags fall out all over the floor!
I am linking to A Bowl Full of Lemons 21 day organization challenge.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tupperware Cabinet

My tupperware cabinet, though large, is not very user friendly. Half of the cabinet space is inside the wall and not accessible unless everything on the shelf in front of it is removed. I try to keep the items that are not used as often in this space, but it is very difficult to keep things organized. Though I do not have a lot of tupperware, I do have a lot of plastic containers (frosting, butter and ice cream packaging to name a few) that I reuse rather than recycle.

After pulling everything out of the cabinet, I recyled or threw away all of the food containers/lids that were broken or missing pieces. I then organized all of the containers and lids by size and shape and stacked them up. Finally, I put them neatly back into the cabinet.

It is ridiculous that I was sorting through all of those lids when I ended up throwing half of them out because the bowls were missing and vice versa. I may have to invest in some of those hanging baskets to separate the lids inside the cabinet door and open up the bottom shelf so that I can get to things in the back of the cabinet without removing everything from the shelf in front of it.
I am linking to A Bowl Full of Lemons 21 Day organization challenge.