Contain Me! I went to the Container Store!

Have you ever seen a 5 year old heading into the circus, cotton candy in hand, gleefully galloping towards the big top? Well, my giddiness today would have made that 5 year old look like Oscar the Grouch. I went here:

Container Store

Cue the choir and the angels singing, please! I literally jumped out of our car and ran into the store, while my husband said (distantly in the background) “please don’t stay in here for four hours.” Well, I came out relatively unscathed and only stayed in for a reasonable half an hour.  I seriously love this store. Now, you can find a lot of the items in other stores (and I must admit that you can find similar items for lower prices if you shop right). However, there is nowhere I’ve found that has such a comprehensive collection of boxes, bins, hooks, baskets, filing systems, shelves…I could go on and on.

Please note…even though the closest Container Store is 2 hours from us and I was SERIOUSLY considering doing the storage version of ‘Supermarket Sweep’, I restrained (CONTAINED!) myself to buying only things I had either been looking for or knew exactly how I would use them when I got home. Here are the few purchases I made.

-Small baskets for guests to use in the guest bathroom. We have zero drawers in our guest bathroom so I always feel bad when people have no place to put anything. I have been looking for cute and simple baskets to bring out onto the counter to contain toothbrushes, lotion, etc. I bought 2 medium size baskets and 1 small one.

Container Store Shopping (1)

These are very simple without being plain, they match our decor and they will clean up easily if anything spills inside them. I also put a paper towel in the bottom of each one just in case, though. Sidenote: I love the bags for The Container Store…a constant reminder to ‘Contain Yourself!’ Oh! And please also note the sneak peak of the flooring we are currently laying down in the whole bottom floor of our house (that is another story for another day!). But that explains why the baseboards are off in the photo.

-A plastic storage bin for the kid’s drinks in the fridge. This is the first one of these that I’ve bought, but I know I’ll be heading back as soon as I can to get more. We usually have a couple cups in the fridge for each kid (one for water or juice and one for milk) and we wash and replace them every couple days. But they are usually spread out all over the fridge and it makes it difficult to get to other items. Problem solved!

Container Store Shopping (8)

-A lid holder for the lids to all of our pots and pans. I love how our pots/pans cabinet has two pull out drawers. However, they were always a little disheveled. Here is the before of the top and bottom.

Container Store Shopping (2) Container Store Shopping (3)

I put the lid holder on the bottom and split up the pots and pans so there weren’t so many handles to deal with when I try to get something out. It looked like a constant sword fight in there before…pots versus pans. Whose handle will win????

Here are the after pics of the cabinet with the lid holder.

Container Store Shopping (4)

Container Store Shopping (5) Container Store Shopping (7)

I feel like I’ve made 3 changes that will impact daily life and make navigating our house a much more pleasant experience. The best part is I only spent $35.  Score one for The Container Store!

~Erin

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Loving these products!

I’m excited once again to be participating in the Collectively Creative blog post, dreamed up by Kelly over at Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons! This month’s editions is ‘Lovey-Dovey’.

The Lovey-Dovey Edition Logo

To show my lovey-dovey side, I’m going to talk about products I can’t live without. I can hear you now….’Isn’t she such a romantic?’  I know, I know, home products aren’t exactly the most lovey-dovey thing I could talk about, but when your life is clean and organized, don’t you just feel lovey-dovey all over? 😉

There are not many products or items that I love so much I consistently recommend them to people. However, there are a few:

1) Paper Shredder – I’m KIND of obsessed with my shredder. I use it all.the.time.  I try to regularly shred anything I want to throw away that has any account number or other personal information. Also, twice a year, I go through my entire file cabinet and shred anything I no longer need. This keeps my file cabinet from getting ridiculously out of control.

Paper ShredderMy best tip for buying a shredder…get a cross cut shredder. This cuts the paper both vertically and horizontally so that pieces are much more difficult to put back together should you happen to have someone digging through your trash (insert creepy music here).

2) Vinegar –  I keep a spray bottle on my kitchen counter at ALL times. Vinegar is one of the few cleaning products I use and I use it everywhere….counters, toilets, mirrors, trash cans, dog food bowls, you name it, it’s probably getting voraciously sprayed with vinegar as you read this. It’s a natural disinfectant, a deodorant and a safe alternative to many of the chemicals used every day in so many households. Over at Pinterest to Panache, vinegar is mentioned as a great drain cleaner along with baking soda. Who knew that elementary school science fair volcano we all did could turn into a great natural cleaning product.

3) My Labeler – I can pretty much label anything. Clothes, baskets, bins, drawers, garage items, paint cans.  Now maybe if I label my dogs and kids, I’ll actually call them by the right name when I’m yelling!

4) My Kindle – I am one of those true converts who said I would never get an e-reader. I just love flipping through the pages, the smell of the books, blah blah blah. It’s all true, but I’ve also come to realize a few things. When you’re juggling baby #2 and don’t have a hand to flip the page, the Kindle is AMAZING!

kindleI have also recently jumped onto the Ipad bandwagon. I absolutely love this little machine too, but I’m still learning about it. One of the great things about the iPad is that I have downloaded the Kindle App and my husband and I can easily share books on our Kindle account.

Organization bonus!  Since we are now downloading a lot of books instead of buying the actual books, we are saving space and reducing clutter in our home.

6) My minivan – seriously, have you ever driven a minivan? If not, you’re missing out. They are not the best in the Colorado snow, but hardy nonetheless.

caravan

And it’s an organizers dream car! So many bins and cubbies, two glove compartments, enough cup holders for a football team and stow and go seating so the seats can completely disappear from view without taking them out of the van. We can fit ridiculous amounts of stuff in this vehicle and just took a cross country trip with 2 kids and 3 dogs and all of our stuff. Again, I am a true convert here. This was me 4 years ago…”I will NEVER own a minivan!” Hmmmm….here I am listing it on my favorite things post. How times have changed.

All of these things help me to stay organized and control the clutter in my life. They are useful, practical, reasonably priced and used every day at my house. What products do you use all the time that make your life easier?

And what else do I love? The posts listed below brought to you by some lovely bloggers all sharing in the Collectively Creative ‘Lovey-Dovey’ edition!

I Love You More Than… – (Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons)
Heart To Heart – (Pillows A-La-Mode)
Top Ten Romantic Movies of All Time – (The Thinking Closet)
DIY Heart T-Shirt – (NorthStory)
[DIY] 12 Pre-Planned Date Cards – (Inspire and Indulge)
The Love Letters – (Mrs. And The Misc.)
Valentine’s Day Bon Bon’s – (Happy Little Kiwi)
Lovey Dovey School Lunch Ideas – (Time With Thea)
Give a Fortune of Love – (Green Door Hospitality)
Kniting Hearts – (Gentle Stitches)
A little Lovie magic – (The Thing About Joan)
Sending hugs – (Cul de Sac)
Give a Fortune of Love – (Green Door Hospitality)
Will You Be My Valentine? – (A Ponytail Kind Of Day)

Break out the lists!!!!

It’s list time at my house!!!  To Do Lists, Cleaning Lists, Blog Topic Lists, Christmas Lists!

I am giving myself through the end of this weekend to get all of my lists together for the next 2 months. I’m literally making a list of the lists I need to make. It’s ridiculous.

The first thing I am doing is re-vamping my Cleaning Schedule, which I originally posted about here. I even mentioned in that post how I was planning on adding a few things, so now is the time. Here is what the schedule looks like now:

Now I will reiterate that I did NOT put daily cleaning tasks on here because it took up too much room and I actually am able to remember what I did on the current day (which is surprising considering all that is swirling through my head at any given moment).

I also want to point out that several of the items on the weekly list, we try to do more than once a week, such as dusting. The way I use the chart for these is instead of making a full ‘X’ by that task, I just put half of an ‘X’ and then complete the ‘X’ when I do the task again.

Since my original post on this, I have added several items:

1) Under weekly, I have added ‘Dog Spa’. We don’t bathe our dogs every week but there’s always something that needs to be done, such as teeth brushing, ear cleaning, heartworm meds, etc. So this is more of a general reminder to deal with the crazy dogs each week.

2) Under monthly, I have added wash windows. I just forgot this on my original list.

3) Under monthly, I have added ‘Clean Appliances’. This does not mean wipe down the parts of the appliances I can see, which is included in the weekly cleaning. It means physically pull them away from the walls and clean behind and under them. My husband and I pulled out our fridge today and to be honest, I was horrified. I will not even share pictures. My actual words were “I didn’t know we had a 4th dog.” That is how big the dust bunny (dust dog) was. I’m surprised it didn’t bark at me for disturbing it’s sleep. Anyways, that’s how this made the list.

So that’s the upgraded list. Thoughts, anyone???

As for the actual cleaning I’ve been doing, I’ve decided a winter version of spring cleaning is in the cards. I spent a good chunk of my day crawling around on the floor cleaning baseboards (check it off the list!) I wanted to check out a Pinterest tip I had pinned to my Cleaning Board here. It suggested using a dryer sheet to clean the baseboards. It not only picks up the dirt and dog hair from the boards but coats it with whatever in the world is in a dryer sheet and actually repels future dirt. I’m not sure if it really repels dirt or if that’s just a nice thought, but it was easy to clean with…no sprays, no damp rags, just scooting around on the floor with a dryer sheet.

I’m also using another Pinterest inspired cleaning trick for mattresses. I know vacuuming your mattress is supposed to get rid of dirt, dust mites, etc, but why not make it smell nice too? The tip I saw suggested mixing baking soda with fabric softener and sprinkling it on the mattress before you vacuum. Well, we don’t use fabric softener, but we do use dryer sheets. Sooooo, I took an empty bottle of Puffs. Wait, you don’t know what puffs are? Then you don’t have a 9 month old! They are the baby version of Cheerios and they come in these cool shaped little plastic canisters. I have to admit I’ve been saving up a bunch of these empty containers for ‘the perfect project’ and I found it! Today I took a container, a dryer sheet and some baking soda:

I put a dryer sheet in the container, added a bunch of baking soda and shook it up. Then I poked holes in the lid of the container and made a ‘Fresh Smelling Baking Soda Dispenser Thing’.

And clearly I put a lot of time and effort into the labeling of the bottle:

At least now I won’t be mixing it up with any Puffs!

Anyways, I just sprinkled it on the mattress, let it sit for an hour and then vacuumed. I was pretty pleased with the results. I’m sure you could also use a sachet of lavender or a few drops of essential oil to fragrance the baking soda, but a dryer sheet worked for me. Speaking of baking soda, there are about a million ways to use this household product and about as many blog posts and articles on what those ways are. I plan to write my own someday (along with a post on how amazing plain vinegar is). I love cheap, natural, effective, safe products and baking soda and vinegar are at the top of the list! Anyways, I’m a LITTLE too excited about cleaning my house, but hopefully I can keep the momentum!

~Erin