The perfect place for sheets!

I have been trying to organize my bathroom closet for months now. For some reason, I just can’t get it where I want it. I finally realized that part of the problem is that I hate the way our sheets look in there. We have a few sets and one of them is a super soft and comfy, fluffy set….but they’re huge! They were all crammed in behind the towels and would topple over. Believe me, I’ve tried the fancy folding…I just can’t get it right. And I usually just want to do it fast and get it over with. So, long story short, my towels decided they didn’t want to deal with the sheets as their roommate anymore. My solution???? Under the bed sheet storage!

Sheets - Under the Bed (1)I bought a rolling under the bed storage bin and my sheets fit perfectly. It also had a lid that can open halfway from either side so it makes it even easier to access the sheets.

Sheets - Under the Bed (2)Sheets - Under the Bed (3)And the best part for me is how the towel shelf in my bathroom linen closet looks!

Linen Closet - Towels

So I’m loving under the bed storage now. I already store my wrapping paper under the bed and I just moved my holiday decor under the guest bed, which you can read here. I love using storage that is otherwise going to waste. The bonus is that I can’t see whatever is under there!

Sheets - Under the Bed (4)

~Erin

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Kid’s Craft Organization

I had way too much fun with the organization for this post.  I had a 3 drawer plastic drawer system where I kept all of the kid’s crafts in addition to a couple of small plastic bins for the overflow. It was a good system, it was an effective system, it was a small system. The problem was that, as my older son got, well, older, he used a bigger variety of craft supplies. And now I have a 1 year old who is also capable of scribbling, flinging finger paint and lovingly tearing up every piece of paper I give him. So now I need more supplies….and a bigger place to put them. Well friends, I have found the perfect place. Who remembers when I did a 15 Minute organization on my den cabinet? The bottom half of the cabinet ended up empty and was just waiting for the perfect organizational project. I moved the CD cases elsewhere and freed up the whole cabinet for my new Craft Storage System!

I knew I wanted a good way to store construction paper so that I could easily grab any color I wanted for the kids. I also wanted the kids to be able to reach it. Before, a search for one piece of construction paper resulted in a giant rainbow mound of paper on my floor. Enter the office organizer…

Kid's Craft Organization (2)

I was a little giddy when I realized that we had this organizer in our office and it was currently empty, awaiting it’s organizational life mission. So I spent a ridiculous amount of time separating our construction paper by color and ta-dah!

Kid's Craft Organization (3)

I put this on the top shelf of the den cabinet and used the bottom of the cabinet to stack several craft items, such as a travel craft case, a box of stamps and ink, and a large markers set.

Kid's Craft Organization (4)

I purposely left space in this cabinet for future craft kits that I know will magically appear in our house.

I still had a million other craft items though and needed a place for them. I decided to use the original 3 drawer storage system for 3 categories: Paint, Coloring Books and Play-Doh. It’s amazing how Play-doh seems to breed when you’re not looking and suddenly you have a litter of little Play-Doh containers.

Kid's Craft Organization (1)

I had also acquired a collection of craft idea books and seasonal craft papers, along with sticker sheets and scraps of construction paper, which I know I’ll absolutely use so I can’t throw them away, right?  I needed to organize these and I shopped my home office once again. I had a small file box that wasn’t being used effectively so it became home to all of these loose papers. I also busted out a few of my favorite organizing tools…file folders, my labeler, and some pretty decorative tape.

Kid's Craft Organization (6)After a little labeling, here is what I came up with:

Kid's Craft Organization (7)

Kid's Craft Organization (8)

The first section is for craft books, then I have a folder for each major holiday that we do crafts for. Keep in mind, this is different than my Holiday Organizing books that I made for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween. Those books include some craft ideas and photos, but the craft folders pictured here are for coloring pages, holiday cutouts and the actual items needed for the crafts. I also have a folder for sticker sheets and another folder for the construction paper scraps.

By the way, I know I’ve mentioned my little ‘helpers’ before, but I just had to share a photo illustrating how I usually organize around my house.

Kid's Craft Organization (5)It’s not easy, but it’s fun!

Anyways….I wanted a good way to organize all of the little craft supplies that end up tangled in a giant crafty mess. I have 4 clear storage boxes which I grouped items into and labeled the boxes.

Kid's Craft Organization (9)

I also had a storage ottoman that was underutilized, but so very cute.

Kid's Craft Organization (10)And it just so happens that the storage boxes I had fit upright in the ottoman.

Kid's Craft Organization (11)So now I have all of our craft supplies perfectly organized and there is even room for more! I’m so excited to have this project done and to be able to craft without drowning in a pile of felt and googly eyes. 🙂 And my favorite part is the construction paper!

Construction Paper Holder - B&Y

~Erin

Kid’s Bathroom Organizing

So I am back from another couple days of travels with the kids. I took both kids to Phoenix for 4 days to see my family and to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday! We are back, unpacked, laundry going as I write this, and it’s good to be home!

A couple weeks ago, I got frustrated with the state of my kid’s bathroom closet. It looked like this:

Kid’s Bathroom Closet

Now, overall, it’s not horrible. It’s a really big closet and the kids don’t need too much stuff in there. But there was one shelf that was awful!!!! It was…the everything shelf!

Medicines, bath toys, cleaning supplies, lotions, shampoo, diaper bin bags…pretty much everything that wasn’t a towel. So I actually spent a while looking for some medium size bins to organize. I had a couple big bins and also those little plastic baskets, but nothing in a medium size. Then one day, I was walking through the garden section at Walmart and they randomly had a tiny clearance shelf with the perfect size baskets! I scooped up 6 of them (3 for the kids bathroom and 3 for mine).
Here is the after!

First I took everything out of the closet and cleaned the shelves, then put the towels and extra bathmat back in nice and neat.

After that, I did the purge! I think I literally threw away half of the stuff that came out of the closet. Between packages, duplicate items and a couple expired medicines, the trash can was overflowing.

With half the stuff gone, I divided everything into piles. For the 3 medium bins, I decided the categories were:

-Bath Toys – I try to switch out the bath toys so the kids have something new to play with and it also gives me a chance to clean the ‘out-of rotation’ toys and let them dry completely.

-Extras – This is for the extra bottles of lotion and shampoo I’m not using yet, as well as the replacement bags for the diaper bin.

-Misc – This is for powder and a couple of other items that just didn’t fit anywhere else.

Then I took a large shallow bin and placed 4 smaller baskets inside it. Then each basket became it’s own category, such as ‘teeth’, ‘first aid’, etc. I labeled the front of the shallow bin so each baskets contents could be easily read.

-Last but not least, I took one more small basket and labeled it ‘Daily Use’. This is for the stuff I use very often with the kids, such as vitamins, allergy meds, and nail clippers. The toothbrush and toothpaste are in the bathroom drawer, so the stuff in the basket is everything I want to keep out of reach from the kiddos!

I love how clean it looks. It also looks pretty empty, but I rather have extra space than cluttered space!

Lessons Learned:

-Keep your eyes open when you are looking for something specific to help you organize. Sometimes you have to look in unexpected places (like the clearance shelf in the garden section) for the perfect organizing tool.

-Try to be patient when looking for supplies. It took me a couple weeks to find the perfect bins, but they work sooo much better than anything else I could find and they made the actual process of organizing a lot easier.

-A labeling machine can be your best friend! It also helps others navigate your house when you have guests, babysitters etc.

Happy Neatening!

~Erin

Just a beginner

So in my journeys through blog land, I am constantly coming across cute diy/craft projects I would love to try. The problem is that I’m not very crafty. I try my darndest and usually disappoint myself, but I get an A for effort. I have oodles of scrapbooking stuff, but it sits mostly unused…It’s sits well organized, but still unused. I also have a plethora of yarn, material, paint, and other stuff I just ‘know I’ll get to someday.’ Because I WANT to be crafty. I mean I desperately want to be!

So, I’m taking baby steps. Today’s project was finding a cute and cheap way to store plastic trash bags in my bathrooms. Up until now, they have just been shoved under the sinks, only to have me find that they have somehow grown and multiplied and now take up about 80% of the space. I had to get these under control!

So I took two empty containers I had been saving for just this sort of thing (one was a powdered Gatorade container and one was for powdered baby formula).

My plan was to cut one small hole in each lid so I could get the bags out and then cover the bin with scrapbook paper. Easy breezy right? Well, I hit a couple of roadblocks:

-First, the diameter of the cans was bigger than my scrapbook paper so the paper didn’t fit all the way around! I thought to myself: “Not only is this under my bathroom counter, but if I turn the uncovered part to the back, no one will see right? Well, in theory that is correct. But I just couldn’t bring myself to leave my first craft project so sub par.  So I cut an additional strip of paper to cover the blank areas.

-New problem! Now there were two visible seams on each container. Again, I could have just turned them around, but no! I needed a way to cover them. So I took some ribbon and glued it down the length of each seam.

-Ta da, right? Well, no. Now the space in between the ribbons looked weird and empty so I needed to add something. So I found some scrapbooking letters I had and personalized a little bit.

-Now for the lids. I thought I was soooo smart. I was going to use up the rest of a can of textured spray paint we had to paint the lids since they were either bright white or bright purple. So I started spraying. Well, one of them got a giant pool of spray paint in the middle and then I ran out of the paint when the other one was halfway done. After the paint dried, the ‘pool’ didn’t look so bad so I used that lid. I just used a different white lid for the other one and it doesn’t bother me.

So here they are!

Bag Holders – Before & After

A homemade, cute and essentially free place to store my little trash bags! And after one day, my husband said “I already used your little trash bag holder thingy”.

Cute and useful!

More projects to come!

~Erin

Where did July go?

So it has been almost two weeks since I posted something. It is aaaahmazing how quickly time goes by. We got to Georgia and then it’s been a whirlwind ever since. We spent almost the whole two weeks working every day (regular work and then the big Atlanta Gift Show). By the time I got home each night, I was so exhausted and still had a ton of other work stuff to catch up on. However, I did have a couple free hours here and there to do a few other things!

My sister-in-law and I have been running around preparing for the arrival of her first baby! We’ve been creating registries and also making the obligatory trips to both Target and Ikea. I LOVE these two stores. They are great for so many things, but one of the best things you can find at them is storage. We bought a Closetmaid Shelf at Target:

She is going to set it up and then decide how many of the cubicles she wants to put fabric bins in. Have I mentioned before that I am obsessed with Closetmaid shelves? I’m not sure that I have. We seriously have them everywhere in our house. We have a bunch of the 2 cubicle units and some have fabric drawers and some don’t.

-We have one unit in our mudroom to hold shoes.

-We have 2 stacked in our living room for toys. Three of the shelves have fabric bins and one is for books. We just secured the two units together so they don’t topple over. We have a full crew of kids and dogs in our house and I’m amazed that there are actually items we don’t have to screw into the wall. It’s craziness!

-I have another unit with drawers in the guest room closet. Right now, these bins are filled with toys since this room is also our playroom. My future plan is to completely redo the guest room. I am going to buy two more bins that just stay empty and when guests come, I will take the toy bins out and put in the empty ones so guests have a place to store things and unpack a little.

Speaking of the guest room, I found some great inspiration at Ikea!

May I introduce…..the Lidan baskets!

These things are so absolutely cool. They are made of a soft pliable material so that you can actually change the shape slightly. However, they are still strong enough to hold a variety of items and I think they would be great for both a bedroom and a bathroom. Here’s an inspiration picture I found using the sets of 4 baskets:

I am just picturing these awesome little creations holding hand towels and potpourri in the bathroom, magazines and extra blankets in the guest room.  Loving it! One disappointment though. I didn’t buy them because I thought I would run the idea by my husband and then just pop on over to the online store and order them. (Big ‘wrong answer’ buzzer sound) They don’t sell them online, you can only get them in the store! I guess I’ll be scurrying back to downtown Atlanta before we head back to Colorado. 🙂

I think it will be worth it though. They have the look and feel of something you might find at a boutique type home store, but without the high price tag. I love that kind of find.

Here is another item that is making me think outside the box for the guest room:

This is the Malin Band throw blanket (sadly also available only in stores) and it’s making me want to expand on my original thoughts for the guest room. I don’t think I ever would have chosen the colors green, teal and gray for our little Colorado mountain house, but the colors on this blanket were so rich and calming, I’m thinking I could ‘throw’ a little seaside into the mountains. What do you think?

~Erin

Compartmentalize!

So the things I’m loving this Thursday are compartments! Now clearly I love storage and organizing, but I especially love the fact that every little thing gets to have its’ own space. I love pretty much anything with organized compartments, drawers and hidden spaces. Here are a few examples:

Tackle Boxes!

I use tackle boxes for lots of things in my house. My husband uses them for the obvious:

But I use them for pretty much everything else. I store scrap booking embellishments in one. I have extra office supplies in one. I store earrings in one. I have actually put all of my jewelry that I am taking on our upcoming trip into one little tackle box!

They are great because they come in so many sizes. Many of them have adjustable compartment sizes and a lot of them stack or click together for easier storage. I just saw this idea on Pinterest:

If I wasn’t already completely packed for our plane ride, you can bet I would be getting one of these snack boxes ready right now! This will be a must have for our next road trip 🙂

I also love Backpacks. I’m bringing one backpack on the plane and it has everything I need: toys/ snacks, diapers, extra clothes (for all 3 of us!), blankets, books, computer, bottles/ cups, bibs, my purse, headphones and the list goes on! I can’t believe how much I fit into it! And our backpack has about 7 different compartments so everything will be relatively easy to get to.

More compartments!

This backseat organizing system is seriously amazing.

                I totally love this idea. Lazy Susan style storage truly makes the most out of any space!

I love that this drawer is pretty much hidden. It’s great for large flat items, kids items, or things you don’t use very often. And it maximizes space that would otherwise go unused.

Basically, you can win me over with any compartmentalized storage option…big or small. When everything has a place, it let’s me function so much more calmly and it also makes clean up so breezy!

~Erin

Kid’s Space – 1/2 Closet, 1/2 Play Area!

I’m so excited to share my most recent organization project….my kid’s closet! We are very lucky that the house we moved into has a ridiculous amount of storage. Whoever built this house was desperately afraid of running out of closet space, so we have benefited from that paranoia! Our kids room has a walk in closet with great shelving and a window for natural light. Love it! Our kids just don’t have enough clothing to necessitate this kind of space. However,  we do NOT have a separate playroom for their ridiculous amount of toys. Soooooo……we decided to use the top half of the closet for their clothes and storage and make the bottom half a mini playroom for them. Yea! Here are the shelves in the closet:

Right Side of Closet

Left Side of Closet

And here is what we did with the bottom half of the closet. Our 3 year old, Evan, is the only one old enough to play in it right now, but he absolutely loves it.

This is his tent fort and a football that holds all of his stuffed animals (except the 4 million animals that are on his bed).

There are 2 bins here, one for trains and one for animals. The top shelf has a basket for blocks and his ‘Alphie’ robot. He loves (I mean loves) this toy. This was a gift from Evan’s Aunt Maria and family (shout out!) and it’s great. Highly recommended!

The left side of the ‘play closet’ has a mini rocking chair (family heirloom!) and a magnetic board from Nanny and Pap (also a favorite!). Notice the very subtle subliminal message on the board. The boys’ laundry basket is also here.

The right side has a Lego table, car racey toy thing (technical term) and a shelf for books. The basket under the Lego table holds additional Legos and I got the basket at a dollar store…score!

Now that’s the fun part for Evan. Here’s the fun part for me 🙂  First, I took all of the non-toy items out of the closet. Then I sorted through and organized the clothes. Here was the process:

-Separate everything into piles: keep, donate, sell

-Then I went through the keep pile and put all items that I wasn’t using for a while in one place. This included things my older son had outgrown, but my younger son would not be in for a while. These were separated by size and placed in bags or bins for storage (and labeled of course!).

-Then I separated the leftover keep pile into short sleeves, pants, long sleeves and outerwear.

-Then I decided that my younger son, Owen (we call him O-Man) would get light blue and dark blue hangers and my older son, Evan (we call him Ev-dog) would get green and white.

-Then I re-arranged the bars in the closet so that I could put O-Man’s stuff on top and Ev-dog’s stuff on bottom. Here are their clothes!

That was the longest part of the project by far! Then I moved onto organizing everything else.

I found some cute baskets somewhere in my house and put them in here. Since there are so many shelves, we aren’t going to use them all, so I added some photos of the dogs!

Shoes…and more dog photos!

Baskets and bins gathered from around the house! These will be used for mittens, hats, sheets, and extra baby wipes.

A personal and sentimental touch. This is a beautiful decoration my sister Kelly (more shout outs!) brought us from India when I was pregnant with Evan. I hung it by the window in the closet.

So excited about this one! I had a pile of blankets that didn’t fit nicely into any bin I had. They always fell off the shelf and if you wanted to get one, you couldn’t do it without making a mess. I hung a bar from this shelf and just hung them up. Easy! Love it!

This is the left side of the closet now. I love how open the space is and how everything has a home! You can barely see it, but at the top of this photo is a plastic bag filled with clothes. Those are the next size up for my younger son. He is growing so fast that I wanted to keep them accessible. When I take them out, the current clothes will go into that bag and a new label will go on.

Also, I hadn’t mentioned the drawers yet, but the bottom 3 are used for larger toys for Evan since he can reach them. The upper two are hats and swimsuits.

This is the right side of the closet now. I had an extra square of space so I just hung up an old Chutes and Ladders board on the wall! This was actually my husbands game when he was younger. My son has the new version and loves it so I thought it would be so neat to have this hanging up as art!

Now you may notice that the walls are blank and I don’t yet have any fancy labels for my bins. Well, that will eventually come. But for right now, my favorite part of this whole project is….it only cost $3.00! The only thing I had to buy was a couple packages of plastic hangers. Everything else I already had. This has been a great project for both me and the kids. We can now all use the space effectively and enjoy all of it’s functions. I’m elated!

Lessons Learned:

-Don’t be afraid to use a space for something other than it’s original intention.

-Shop your house before you shop the stores.

-Using personal touches in organizing and decorating will make a house into a home and a ‘Good Space into a Great Place’. Write that one down people! Should I just trademark that phrase now? I think I will.

Have you all had any successful organizations lately? I would love to hear about them! Til next time…

~Erin

The Office Reveal

Well the office reorganization is finished….for now! I made a lot of changes and I can’t believe how much more calm of an environment it is to work in. Here’s the breakdown:

Remember this?

Ok, so I couldn’t see the top of my desk and my shelves were completely non-functional. I had some decent ideas going on with the shelves, but none of them were working right. My drawers and cabinets were a mess and I hardly used the space at all. Time for some changes!!!

First I took every single thing off the desk, shelves, out of drawers, etc. As I looked around, I realized how much unnecessary stuff there was. I had a huge box of stuff that didn’t belong in the office at all. And then another box of stuff that just needed to GET OUT OF MY HOUSE! I realized I could have literally opened my own office supply store (how many pens does one girl need?) so I got rid of a lot of stuff I didn’t have a real use for. Clutter be gone!

After I got rid of all unnecessary items, I reevaluated what I needed access to most. In this case, it was folders for work, my stapler, my shredder and better access to files. Those were my priorities. Let’s take a tour of the new digs!

Top Drawer – Before & After

Most of the stuff in my top drawer I didn’t use regularly (wait, are you saying I don’t need constant access to 6 rolls of packing tape???). So I designated this area as a place for my most frequented supplies. One basket is just for ‘mail’ and includes my address stamp and labels, letter opener and stamps. Then there are a couple of the other usual suspects. Notice the stapler is no longer there. It is on top of the desk now because I use it all the time.

Bottom Drawer – Before & After

Wow, this bottom drawer was a disaster. I didn’t use a single thing in this drawer on a regular basis. Correction…I didn’t use a single thing in this drawer…ever. Useless stuff out, file folders in! I took all of the stuff which was previously housed in harder to access storage and put them hanging files. So much easier to reach and sooo much prettier to look at!

Desk Cabinet – Before & After

Ok, so this cabinet technically didn’t change a lot. But let’s keep in mind that some of these boxes were previously stacked elsewhere in the office. Now all of my envelopes and blank folders are in one place. Should have done THAT a long time ago.

Desk – Before & After

I really have nothing verbal to add here. The picture says it all. Clearly I needed to just get that stuff off the desk and put it where it belongs. 🙂 Note the addition of the file cabinet which also gave me a great place to set my shredder. Yeah!

Shelf – Before & After

Ok, here’s the big change, so take note. At first glance the actual shelf organization doesn’t look much different between the before and after. It really looks like I just got stuff off the floor. However, what you might not know is the function of the space. In the before picture, I had stuff for my regular day job and then… a lot of other useless fluff. In the after picture, I not only have all of my day job stuff, but I have 4 drawers for extra office supplies, I have folders for the new Neaten Your Nest Organizing business, I have a file cabinet for all of my personal files and I have all of my scrapbooking supplies! I cannot believe how much I was able to fit into this shelf! It is amazing to me how using space efficiently can change your life. Not only was I able to use this space so much more effectively, but I was able to clean up several other areas of my house. Before, I stored my craft supplies in my room. I stored my personal files in my closet. I stored misc papers on my kitchen table. I stored extra office supplies on my kitchen counter. So the before picture at the beginning of this post isn’t completely accurate. Here is what the ‘real’ before picture should look like:

And here is the official ‘after’ picture:

I love, love, love it! It’s easy to use, easy to clean up, and let’s admit it, a lot easier on the eyes than the ‘before’ picture. Now I have a clean office, a clean kitchen counter, a place to hang my clothes in my closet, a place to access my craft supplies easily and a place to be efficient. I could not have asked for more in this reorganization. I would say that it took me about 7 total hours, which includes cleaning, purging, filing, shredding and reorganizing. I probably spent an additional 1 1/2 hours just staring at the space to figure out what I needed to do.

Lessons Learned:

-Don’t put off an organization task because it seems daunting. Large tasks can be broken down into a series of smaller tasks and be made much more manageable. Also, progress encourages you to continue so just get started!

-Create easy access to the things you use the most. This will save you time and sanity!

-Consolidate! There’s no need to have office supplies in 4 different rooms. There’s no need to open mail in one place and sort it in another. There’s no need to make a pile on the stairs, to be put in the room on a box, to be filed later. If you can consolidate like items, you are MUCH more likely to keep them organized and clean.

-Take time to look at a space. Even if you feel like you’re not being productive because you are just sitting there, you will actually save a lot of time because all options are carefully considered before you dive in. This was absolutely invaluable in this project!

So I’m going to take some time to live with all of the changes and see what works and what doesn’t. I also plan on revisiting this room to ‘gussy it up’ a bit. I’m going to eventually get some fun wall decor and make it just prettier to look at. But for now, I’m going to be uber excited about how much an improvement I have made. I actually love working in the office now!

~Erin

My life in plastic

When you have kids, everything changes. One big change I’ve noticed is that everything is plastic! Plastic tables and chairs, plastic toys, plastic bins, plastic trays. And it all gets dirty, dirty, dirty! Play-doh, crayons, food, mud, and all sorts of things I don’t want to mention.  And how do I clean up this assortment of messiness? Well, not with an assortment of cleaners, that’s for sure. Almost exclusively, I use plain old vinegar and water to clean. Now I have several other novelty cleaning products, but vinegar is my cleaner of choice. Here’s why:

-It’s a natural cleaning product, none of the harsh chemicals found in most cleansers. This is a great quality when you’re constantly cleaning kid’s items!

-It is also a natural disinfectant. It can be effectively used against bacterial, mold and mildew. While it won’t kill all bacteria (for certain areas, such as cutting boards used for meat, I still don’t use plain vinegar), it is extremely effective as a basic cleanser.

-It has so many other uses. How many of your other cleaning products can you use to soothe a sunburn AND make a baking soda volcano?

-It is oh-so-cheap, which I oh-so-love!

Anyways, I keep a bottle of vinegar in my kitchen and also in my bathroom for daily upkeep. It works great on all those plastic kid’s items so I always keep it full!

Speaking of plastic…if you have small children, chances are you are familiar with these:

My kitchen looks like Rainbow Bright swooped in and swapped most of my ‘real’ dishes with hers. So many small pieces can cause an organizational headache. So I decided to re-organize my kids dish cabinet. Here is the before:

Kid’s Dish Cabinet – Before

Now it wasn’t completely horrible before. I could still get to everything. But there were certain things about it that were so inefficient and I hate that! I also have a baby who is just about to start on bottles, so I needed to be able to access bottle stuff AND toddler dishes. So here is what I did:

-I got rid of stuff I didn’t use. Now this seems obvious, but there were a few things I couldn’t let go of for the longest time, like that cute cup with the kid’s name printed on it (but leaked when you actually used it) or the spoon that was part of an adorable gift set, but that was completely flat, so it couldn’t be used as an actual spoon (it was really more of a cute stick).

-I put hooks on the cabinet door for bibs.

-Instead of a silverware basket, I switched to a cup as a silverware holder. Well, it’s technically a can covered in scrapbook paper. (idea from http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/)

-I then just did a basic organization of everything that was left.

Here is the after:

Not only can I get to stuff for both crazy kids, but it looks nicer, uses the whole space well, and I got the bibs out of my ‘dish towel drawer’! This took about 30 minutes to do and has such a great impact already!

Lessons Learned:

-It’s not always necessary to keep things just because they were gifts. If they are not functional or you don’t like them, then dig deep and find strength to get rid of them!

-Organize up! Maximizing vertical space creates more places for things. For example, when I got rid of the basket of silverware and switched to a can, I created space for teething rings and pacifiers.

-Small projects can make a room so much more functional. By concentrating on a small area that you use a lot, you can create a much more organized environment without investing a lot of time.

My life in plastic is so much nicer now!

~Erin

Charge it please!

I know that charging stations have been the ‘it’ gadget holder for numerous years now. I just never ‘pulled the plug’. Ha, ha. Plug.

Anyways, I knew that I needed somewhere to store 2 phone chargers, along with camera batteries, a USB cable and a charger for my new Kindle (which I love!). However, I didn’t want to invest the money in one, so I decided to re-purpose a storage box I already had. Now I might cut holes in the back to make it an official charging station, but for right now, I’m just using it to store my cords. The good thing about this little project is that I moved a bunch of other clutter that was on my kitchen counter and now the cord box is really the only thing that gets to stay (aside from a small basket for the actual phones). Here is what my kitchen counter looked like before: 

I took all of that stuff away and replaced it with one smaller box. And here’s what’s inside!

I love how compact it is and that every cord has it’s own place. And nothing else is allowed in the box! Now we always know where the cords are and they don’t get tangled or lost. It’s perfect! I’ve seen charging stations for well over $100. Maybe someday I will invest in a nice wooden one for my cords, but right now, the compartmentalized box (that I originally only paid $7.00 for) works great and it didn’t cost me a thing to re-purpose it. Sometimes organizing solutions are right under your nose and you just have to think outside the (charging) box. Was that the second bad pun in this post? I think it was.

~Erin