Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Re-Purposing A Soap Pump

I have wanted to buy a cute soap bottle for the kitchen.  Something simple but pretty that I can store dish soap in on my kitchen counter.  We don’t have a dishwasher so I find that I constantly use the dish soap in the kitchen for quick clean-up.  That means the big, bulky soap bottle always finds its way onto my kitchen counter.  It’s kind of an eye sore!  

I have been looking for a bottle to put the soap in but just couldn’t bring myself to buy one.  Then I had an idea to re-purpose a pre-filled hand soap pump that I had purchased a few months back for the bathroom.  It was clear and much smaller than the bottle I was currently using.  Over the last week, I have been washing/soaking it to get out any remnants of the hand soap.  I had a few minutes today to finish cleaning it up – removing the old label – and fill it with dish soap.  I put the bulky container back under the sink and my new sleek container on the counter.  Much better!  It’s discrete, cleaner, and re-purposed!  I couldn’t be happier.

What have you re-purposed lately?  What do you do to quell the urge to buy something new that you don't necessarily need?  Please share! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Why My Pantry Will NEVER Look Like A Pantry on Pinterest

I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest.  I love that it inspires me to be creative and tackle new projects.  I hate that it gives me this “stressed out, I have to do everything I see on Pinterest” feeling.  I guess you can chalk it up to my type-A personality!

I wasn’t loving Pinterest so much on Saturday. We did our monthly grocery shopping and when I was putting the groceries away I decided to reorganize the pantry.  In my mind, all I could visualize were these super organized pantries you see on Pinterest.  As hard as I tried, I was finding myself getting frustrated that I couldn’t make my pantry look like those I have pinned.  You know what I’m talking about – the beautifully organized, over-labeled pantries that people post with comments like “I wish my pantry looked like this” or “so inspiring.”  As I was standing in my kitchen looking at this mess (see the picture below) and wondering how in the heck I was going to get it into the pantry, I realized that I was driving myself insane.  And that’s when I realized that my pantry will never look like those you see on Pinterest. 

This had to somehow find its organized way into my pantry.
Here are five reasons why my pantry will never be a Pinterest pantry:
  1. I actually own food.  Silly huh?  But really, the pantries I see on Pinterest do not have a whole lot of food in them.  They also lack in a variety of foods.
  2. I have two kids.  They like to eat and my daughter has taken to complaining when I don’t have the cabinet stocked with her favorite snacks.
  3. I have a husband and he doesn’t always put things back in the “right” place.
  4. I have only one place to store food.  What you see is what you get.  The pantry is the only place I have to store non-perishable food.  And that means I have to get a lot in a little space!
  5. My pantry is deep.  I unfortunately have to stuff things in the back.  Even with the simple white roller baskets I installed when I was in my "pregnant nesting phase" with my daughter, things still get hidden in the back of the cabinet.  I have not figured out a way around this (yet!).
It's a work in progress.
Even though it doesn’t look like it, I am actually organized.  Everything has a place and I reorganize and reevaluate the space every time I go grocery shopping.  There is a shelf that is a constant work in progress (my oils/spices - see "hot mess" above) and I may have a solution, but that’s for another day (when my husband can watch the kids so I can tackle and finish it at the same time). Until then, my pantry is what it is and I think it looks pretty good.

After everything was put back in the pantry.
Do you have an organization project that is challenging or constantly evolving?  I would love to hear about it!

Gardening: Summer Veggies are Planted

We planted our garden this weekend.  We haven’t had a summer garden in a few years (we have been a bit distracted with babies and all).  My daughter was super excited to help plant, and the new soil looks rich and ready to produce some yummy veggies.  Tomatoes, zucchini, peas, pumpkin, spaghetti squash, an assortment of herbs, corn, and onions have been planted.

Ready to go in the ground!

Look at the dark, rich soil.
I found this awesome idea on Pinterest to create a teepee with climbing peas.  We are going to give it a shot this year.  I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Our New Kitchen “Office”

When our second child was born, we converted our home office into a nursery. Mostly nursery with some office - we honestly have nowhere else in the house to store office supplies.  My husband built some awesome vertical storage on a wall in the nursery for us to store a few minimal office supplies and equipment (plus toys).  The space was working okay but not great.  Whenever our son was asleep, we could not access any office supplies for fear of waking him up.  The problem is our house is so small, we really have no place for a traditional office!

Then, a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a great home organizing blog called IHeart Organizing.  They were highlighting a reader space where the reader created a home “office” in a kitchen cabinet.  I was completely inspired.  We had a cabinet that I was currently using to store cookbooks, a few pens, and miscellaneous kitchen items.  It was a space that could definitely be used more efficiently.   I couldn’t cram a printer into it, but I could store our highly used office supplies there. 

Here is the kitchen cabinet before ( was a mess).

I paired down our cookbooks to a few of my favorites and stored them in this cute chalkboard storage box I found on clearance at Target.  Pens and paper are easily accessible next to the cookbooks.

I put checkbooks, staplers, tape, a few miscellaneous items into these storage boxes that I also found on clearance at Target.  Coupons are stored on this shelf as well.

Envelopes, stamps, and bills are filed in a metal rack that I already had.  These are stored alongside a box of cards that I use for birthdays and other occasions.  I used old re-purposed Crystal Lite containers to store chargers that we use on a regular basis.

Our medicine is stored on the top shelf in our medicine safe along with new recipes that I would like to try but haven’t gotten around to yet.

As I have used the new {and can I say amazing} space, I realized that I did need to label the storage boxes.  I also covered and labeled the Crystal Lite containers and added a few more items (umm…like my label maker and a few awesome Martha Stewart products!).  When all was said and done, I spent about $20 on our new “office.”

Here is the completed space!  I absolutely adore it.  It is clean, neat, and practical. 

Has something on the internet recently inspired you to reorganize a space in your home?  I would love to hear your story.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Organizing Nirvana: Martha Stewart!

I purchased two fabric storage boxes on clearance at Target for a new kitchen “office” space I have been creating in my kitchen.  The only problem was I could not come up with a cute way to label the boxes without writing on or punching holes into them.  Enter Martha Stewart!  I ran across an add today for a new line of Martha Stewart products at Staples.  I had a few minutes after dinner to run over to our local Staples to check out the new products.  I was so excited to find small metal bookplates with adhesive on the back.   They would just stick right onto the box.  Super easy.  I also found a few other great products that would add to the functionality of my new “office” space.  The pantry pockets will work great to store my monthly meal plan, grocery list, and birthday invitations. I also discovered some great elastic ties that will help organize our loose power cords.  The greatest thing was, Staples is offering a $3.00 coupon if you spend $10. 

Have you recently stumbled upon a new organizing you can't live without?  I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Re-Purposed Storage: Crystal Light Containers

I love storage containers – baskets, plastic tubs, boxes – it doesn’t matter.  I like them all.  A lot.  My husband keeps telling me that buying a new storage container won’t make our house any bigger.  I know.  He’s right.  They won’t.  But seriously.  It’s an addiction!

I am trying to make an effort to reuse the containers I already have on hand more efficiently or to create storage with materials I already have on hand.  I recently repurposed Crystal Light containers.  These are the best little “boxes” and I have used them before to store teaching materials and colored pencils.  

I decided to cover a few with contact paper (which I already had on hand) and use them to store the chargers for our IPad and IPod.  It took just a few minutes and I was really happy with the final product.

I added a small label with my label maker for easy reference.

Have you recently re-purposed something for storage purposes?  How do you create storage in your small space?

Monday, April 16, 2012

In This Case, Less Really Is More

A friend of mine - who also lives in a small space - has a rule for small space living.  Whenever you bring something new into your home, you should always take something out.  For the last week, I have been moving furniture around trying to accommodate the new buffet PLUS all of our other furniture.  I realized today (as I was trying to cram a chest into a corner of my room) that something had to go.  I can’t possibly fit all of the existing furniture into our home with the addition of the buffet.  So, I had to make some tough decisions regarding what I was going to place into storage.  As much as I hate to do it, the chest had to go {sniff, sniff}.  When thinking about what I should remove, I thought about what pieces maximize storage, can serve multiple purposes, and are the most widely used by our family.  Although the chest has a lot of sentimental value, we only used it to store mementos from my childhood and it occasionally served as a time out bench for my daughter.  For now, off it goes into storage until we can find a space and a use that will warrant it a place inside our home. 

Trying to cram the chest into a corner of our room.

Do you live in a small space?  What do you do when you bring a new piece of furniture into your house?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Creating A Gallery Wall

I have wanted to create a wall gallery for quite some time.  We had pictures taken of our daughter last summer (her two-year old pictures) and then family pictures taken in the fall.  I’m sad to say that I have been storing the pictures under my bed ever since!  A few weeks ago I found a Target coupon for picture frames – by two get one free.  The coupon lit a little a little fire under me and I started looking for frames that I could use in our dining room.  I did not want matching frames, but I did want complimentary frames and frames with matting.  I ended up finding three frames at Target and another at Home Goods.  I picked up the largest frame at Michaels and shopped the house for the remaining frames.  

Here is the wall I decided to hang the pictures on:

I found a great idea on Pinterest {Picture Gallery Wall + Tutes & Tips} for cutting paper the size of the frames and repositioning these templates with painters’ tape.  Here is what the template looked like on the wall:

To hang the pictures, I used another tip I found on Pinterest {Picture Frame Hanging Tip}.  It worked like a charm and I was able to hang all of the pictures straight without making unnecessary holes in the walls.  

Here is the after:

What I love about this project is we were able to bring warmth to the dining room by simply adding pictures to the wall behind our table.  The room is more inviting and I find that I am excited to sit in the space.

Have you ever created a wall gallery?  Where did you decide to hang the pictures and how did it change your home?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Craigslist Find - A Lovely Buffet

I have wanted a buffet for years.  We are currently storing all of our nicer dishes in the kitchen, and I feel like the cabinets are busting open at the seams.  Last weekend we got lucky and found an amazing buffet on Craigslist!  It fits with our dining room table perfectly.  Now I just need to find the time to start reorganizing!

Have you every found something you totally love on Craigslist?  I'd love to hear your story!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Organizing Our Bathroom Cabinet

We have a few big house projects on our list that have been put on the back burner.  Logistics, money, and time all play in to why we have yet to tackle them.  One of these projects is our bathroom.  It is in desperate need of a remodel.  I mean really…DESPERATE… need.   We are fairly sure the entire sub floor will have to be replaced due to water damage (the floor is really soft near the tub) and without a floor there is no way we will be able to use the bathroom during the remodel.  Since this is our only bathroom, living in the house during construction will be really difficult.

In the meantime, we are making do with what we have.  The only built in storage cabinet we have is very rough looking.  The cabinet doors broke shortly after we moved in.  They literally rusted off the hinge!  So gross.  I took the doors off and put in baskets to try to organize our toiletries.  We also bought a free standing cabinet from Target to hold our towels.  Over the last year or so, with the addition of my daughter’s things, the toiletries have become unmanageable.  I thought it was time to reorganize!  I was so excited to create a new system and to try to make the space a little prettier without investing too much money or time. 

{Here is the before….}

I was wandering through Target last week and inspiration hit when I saw these cute baskets and matching containers.  The blue was close to the existing bathroom trim and paint color that we currently have.
My plan was to store everyday items in the cute baskets.  I bought four – one for each member of the family.  The plastic containers with lids would be used to store like items that we don’t use as frequently.  I also found a cute storage container with stripes that would work great for stowing away our extra inventory of soap and lotion.  I also found some great labels that would easily label the tubs but still allow for flexibility if I want to change the tubs’ contents.

 It took about an hour to reorganize and purge the cabinet.  

{Here is the after….}

The only thing that was missing was a way to conceal the items.  To give us a little more privacy, I hung a curtain over the front of the cabinet with a tension rod.  I had an old curtain already on hand, so I cut it to size and hemmed it with iron on hem tape.  Although it’s not brand new, it’s still much prettier and neater than what I started with.


Do you have a space that is in need of an organizing update?  Are you like me – biding your time until a bathroom remodel project can be tackled?  I would love to hear and see what you are doing!  

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