Posts Tagged ‘Organization’

Mudroom Redo

Posted on: January 5th, 2013 by ssteinruck No Comments

We have a mudroom between the garage entry and the kitchen. Our pantry and a small closet are also in the mudroom. I am very thankful to have a mudroom - but it's just not working for us. I've long since drooled over mudrooms I've seen on Pinterest like these...

Yum.

Our space is much smaller than these and so is our budget. So, here's where we are now.

Not bad. But not the best use of space. The small closet is to the left and I'm standing in the pantry to take this picture. The bench is never used as a seat because it's usually piled with stuff. The hooks on the shelf are not strong enough for third-grade backpacks. There are awkward dead spaces on either side of the bench. And we are always kicking the dog's water bowl, which usually sits in front of the bench. It's just not working.

We have a plan to make this space more functional for our family without breaking the bank. It's going to be great! Check back to see our progress!

 

Family Coasters

Posted on: October 11th, 2012 by ssteinruck No Comments

You know when you go to a party, and you put your name on a plastic cup so you (and everyone else) knows whose cup is whose? Well, I need to do this in my house. My kids will easily fill up the top rack in the dishwasher in one day if I don't catch them and tell them to reuse their cups.

One of my latest projects solves this problem. And as usual, I found the idea on Pinterest and shamelessly copied it. It's a family coaster tray. And my first attempt at this project was for my BFF and her family.

Problem solved...that is...if they remember to use it! Definitely making one for my crew too!

Clutter. Check.

Posted on: April 23rd, 2012 by ssteinruck No Comments

Don't you love a perfectly clean kitchen? Here's a quick glimpse into my kitchen on a busy Monday morning, after getting kids off to school and Mr. Helpful off to work. Breakfast is all cleaned up - not a crumb to be found.

Look at those clean shiny counters. No dishes in the sink. No piles...oh wait. This is what the other side looks like.

So take heart if you have a messy surface (or two or three!) You are not alone! Aside from the phone and maybe the tissues, nothing on that counter actually belongs there. Just being real. I need to find "homes" for things that just get dumped here. To be honest, the shiny island will likely be covered with school papers and lunch boxes in just a few short hours. So there you have it. Happy Monday!

Speaking of Excess...

Posted on: January 16th, 2012 by ssteinruck No Comments

We have been very productive in our household so far this year. Mr. Helpful attacked his side of our closet. I would say his half, but that would be a lie. Our "sides" are not exactly even. Guilty. Typical, though, right? Women just have more clothes. He emerged with 2 large trash bags full of clothes to donate. He even threw some clothes away, that were not worthy of donating. I could not believe the transformation when I walked in there and saw his side. Wish I had a before picture.

Then I saw my side.

Oh. Not so good. You know those pictures of people who've had half their face treated with some amazing product and the other side looks horrible? That was our closet. Ok, here goes. I'm holding my breath and closing my eyes as you look at this.

Me being "Miss Organized" could not be outdone. I had to tackle my side, which I have successfully avoided since we moved in a year and a half ago. See the moving box? Not sure what's down in there, but obviously, I don't need it if it's been sitting there since July 2010. I have several formal dresses from my skinnier days. Days when I had a reason to actually wear a formal dress from time to time. Business suits from my "real job" days - eight years ago. Bridesmaid dresses, outdated skirts, pants that are too big or too small, shoes that don't fit my post-kid feet, my wedding dress, my guitar (which hasn't been played in at least seven years), and... ugh, I need to stop. It's giving me a headache.

Mr. Helpful agreed to take the kids for the afternoon and I went to work. My method of purging/reorganizing is to make a really big mess first, and start over. I went through the hanging clothes first, and made a donate pile. Or tower, as it turned out to be. If I've had it since before kids, it's gone. Sadly, I've had some things for much much longer than that. If I haven't worn it, or make a face every time I see it hanging there, it's gone.

Next I threw (literally) all the clothes on the shelves down onto the floor. I've got to be honest, there was something very therapeutic about that. I highly recommend it. Things that were staying got neatly folded and placed (not thrown) in neat stacks back on the shelves. The rest were thrown on the donate tower.

A few of my donate clothes are actually quite nice - Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer. (That's nice to me, a Target, Khols, & Old Navy kind of gal.) So I placed them aside in a laundry basket to see if I can find a place to consign them. I may do that with some of my nicer formal dresses and timeless suits as well. Hey, if I can make a few bucks, it's as if someone paid me to clean out my closet. Score.

Of course, my time in the closet was interrupted by small children wanting to try on my shoes and dresses, and play that dusty guitar. So I had to stop for the day. Things left on my list: bag up the donate tower and get it out of the house. Find a few better solutions for storing things like purses, duffel bags, and goal clothes (the ones that WILL fit me again once I reach my goal.)

I don't have a pretty closet, with matching hangers and pretty shelves with decorative baskets. I'm ok with that. It's my closet. I spend very little time in there, and very few guests ever step foot in there. But it feels great to be able to walk in there without fearing that something is going to come crashing down on my head while I'm trying to figure out what to wear. (And please, don't call the folks at What Not to Wear on me after seeing my wardrobe. I could never spend that much money on so few outfits, like they make you do on that show.)

The 2012 purge continues!

Ribbon Storage

Posted on: January 11th, 2012 by ssteinruck No Comments

I recently spent some time in my studio (a.k.a. our dining room) taking inventory, which is another way of saying it was such a mess I had no idea what I had in there. Now it's organized. I have a lot of ribbon. I'm a recovering ribbon addict. I fully admit to buying ribbon on sale with no specific project in mind. I can't stop myself when ribbon is on sale. (Help.) There are tons of different ways to organize ribbon - some would work for me, some would not.

Source: http://minimozblog.blogspot.com/

Source: http://shannonjaredwight.blogspot.com/

Source: http://www.amazingpapergrace.com/

The system I use seems to be working, so I'm not going to mess with it. Nothing fancy. Just plastic shoebox size bins, somewhat sorted by color.

I use a pin to hold the end in so the spool doesn't unravel. Ribbon gets used to make hair bows and headbands, mostly. Occasionally I'll use some to tie a label or tag on something, if I'm trying to be all "Martha".

 

I do sell these headbands and/or hairbows (though I don't have the bows pictured). Headbands are $7. Bows range from $3-5, plus shipping. If you're interested, contact me, and we can figure out colors. They make very nice gifts and can be custom made to match outfits, holidays, etc.

 

First Purge of 2012

Posted on: January 6th, 2012 by ssteinruck No Comments

Recently, as we were getting the kids out the door for school, searching through the closet for the appropriate coats, matching gloves, etc., Mr. Helpful says to me, "That closet needs help." Yes, yes it does. So The Bear and I went to work.

Here is the closet before.

Contents include games, dog towels, winter hats & gloves, summer hats & caps, a bin of school stuff for each kid, rolling drawers of stationary and extra office supplies, coats for all seasons for five people, bathroom hand towels, four folding tables, four folding chairs, and an overflowing basket of tablecloths that we don't use. Because that makes sense, right? It might help to tell you that this closet is between our powder room and our family room/kitchen area. Not by an entryway. And though we live in the south, we originate from the north, so we do believe in wearing coats unlike many southern natives.

First step - empty contents and vacuum. Next, sort into keep, purge, and relocate piles. Refold dog towels and tablecloths. Rehang coats. Label.

I had a special helper. She was not tired, just an actress who wanted to get in my pictures! Those vinyl tablecloths are usually for outside parties or messy crafts, but they don't stay folded well. So I put a rubber band around them to hold the fold.

The kids coats that are worn most hang from hooks on the door, so they can reach them.

I had an empty bin that worked for my Christmas tablecloths. Two of them are round. Do I have a round table? Not anymore. But I do have an idea for a tree skirt, so I'm going to hang onto them. I promise that if I don't use any of these after next Christmas, they're out. Yes, they are tablecloths, but that's also "free" fabric. That's how I see it.

Hmm. I'm not loving that white basket thing on top, but it's an improvement. It's too wide to fit on the shelf itself. When I reorg the kitchen, maybe the tablecloths can find a new home in there. The coats aren't as scrunched. I actually may be able to purge a couple more, but I need Mr. Helpful to decide, since they're his. Summer hats and adult winter gear have their own bin.

Kids coats that aren't worn every day hang to the right, in order by kid. (A little OCD? Maybe.) The dog towels are folded neatly on my rolling drawer thing. (In case you're wondering, we use the "dog" towels to wipe off her paws if she's wet or muddy. Then we hang the dirty towel on the hinge of the back door until we are so disgusted with it that we put it in the wash. Classy. I know.)

Kid winter gear is in a bin on the floor so they can reach it. I have a better idea, but that is another post. The folding chairs are leaning against the left side, with the tables along the back of the closet.

And the donate pile. Coats and several tablecloths (hiding underneath). Once spring officially comes I can purge some of the little hats and gloves too. (I say officially, because although it's January, my kids are playing outside in shorts and t-shirts. I love the south!)

It feels good to sort through things. Addicting. What will be next? I'm thinking maybe the kitchen...

Have a great weekend!

Setting Goals: Using What I Have

Posted on: January 5th, 2012 by ssteinruck 1 Comment

At the start of every new year people make resolutions and have motivation to succeed at least for a day or two. Maybe even a week or a month. My personal resolutions usually involve losing weight or getting in shape, etc. Blah blah blah. Well, this year, I'm not going there. Not that I don't need to do those things. But I just don't want to announce it publicly. So if I chow down on leftover Christmas cookies, or the bottomless fries at Red Robin from time to time, I will not be judged or reminded of my failure. Just being real.

One of my goals this year is to UWIH. Use What I Have. For example, I have a ton of hand lotion. Why does one need more than one bottle of hand lotion at a time? Well, I don't anyway. So this year, I am not going to purchase any hand lotion until I UWIH down to the last drop. This picture does not include the lotions I have in my purse and my car. It's just taking up space.

I also have more perfume/body spray than I need. Mostly gifts. I admit - I have perfume that I got in high school from a high school boyfriend. Probably should throw that out. Does perfume expire? Anyway, I don't wear it much - or not often enough according to Mr. Helpful. But maybe I should. I have it. Just sitting in a basket in my bathroom closet. Why not? If I'm not going to wear it, I need to get rid of it.

Cleaning supplies is another area where I aspire to UWIH. So instead of buying a new scent of bathroom cleaner, I am going to use up the Costco size Comet I have in my stock of cleaning agents. I have a ton of Windex - we bought a big refill bottle probably 5 years ago. Guess I need to wash my windows more often. Oh how I wish this picture was all I had. But there is about that much under my kitchen sink as well. And more in the mudroom closet. And the hall closet.

The big one for me is knitting, sewing, and crafting supplies. You can never have too much, right? But if I don't use it, it's just sitting there. I really enjoy doing those things! I'm not trying to start a collection of yarn. I've bought yarn over the years with good intentions but very little time. Again, I have more yarn in another basket downstairs. And more in my knitting bag. Ugh, this is embarrassing.

With that said, I'm going to pick up my knitting needles and start. Something. Probably a dish cloth, because they are easy and functional and make nice gifts.

I am going to attempt to update you monthly on my progress. Hopefully my stash of lotion, perfume, cleaning products, and yarn will decrease, creating more space and less clutter. Use. Purge. Simplify. Succeed. Who's with me?!

 

Kids Craft Closet Makeover

Posted on: November 17th, 2011 by ssteinruck No Comments

We have a very deep closet under our stairs. It would make a great concealed desk area. But for now it houses all kids crafts supplies, a pile of tablecloths (that I never use), games, puzzles, extra school supplies, stationary, play doh and play doh accessories. It's on the verge of being a catch-all. It may not look that bad, but one angry stomp up the stairs above would send things crashing to the floor. (Anyone else have angry stompers?)

My kids love to create, color, cut, glue, tape, etc. I very much prefer these activities to watching tv, so I try to keep their supplies handy and give them different ideas to keep crafts new and exciting. They go in and out of this closet on their own, helping themselves to what they need. They are always in a hurry to get to the next thing, so "cleaning up" is more like if it's in the closet and they can shut the door, it's good. We encourage them to put things back in an organized manner, but they're kids age 7, 6, and 3, and their standards of organization are much lower than mine.

I got tired of trying to straighten the construction paper so it didn't get bent. Crayons were in the marker bin. Game boxes were missing their tops. My once neatly stacked pile of tablecloths had been stood upon to reach things on the shelf, and was now falling over, with some tablecloth edges ripped and chewed compliments of our dog. I found way too many marker tops on the floor along with scraps of paper, tracing tools, play doh crumbs, goldfish crumbs, and yes, there were a lot of dog hair clumps in there. Eww. Just being real.

It was time for a change.

I decided to make the closet storage for kid stuff only. So I emptied it. Completely. And started over.

I tested every marker. If it didn't work, I pitched it. I pitched hard play doh, fully-colored coloring books, sticker pages with 3 or less stickers on them, glue sticks with no glue left, 30 page stapled paper "books" with one scribble per page, and anything else that was broken or not up to par anymore.

I love purging. Especially kid stuff. Don't ask me to do my own closet - I'm not ready. :)

I have one of those plastic drawers on wheels things that was sort of organized with kid stuff. I emptied that too, carefully chose which items to put in each drawer and labeled them with my handy dandy label maker.

The play doh bin was purged of all dry play doh, broken tools, and empty containers. Now it closes! Amazing! Coloring books fit nicely in 2 separate bins - one has activity books more appropriate for the older kids, the other has mostly regular coloring books. The construction paper was straightened in its bin, and kids notebooks and sketch pads landed in a large red fabric bin on the floor. My stationary and tablecloths got the boot and are now stashed in a different closet (which could also use some purging...another day.)

I moved all the "grown up" games to a different closet and moved the kids games and puzzles where they can reach them better (well, the big kids can reach.) The top shelf is reserved for things that I need to ration or supervise, like extra play doh and Bud's chemistry set.

I found that black over-the-door organizer at Walmart at the end of the summer when they had all their "going to college" stuff out. It holds baggies of pom poms, foam letters, wooden shapes, sponge shapes, yarn, and other craft embellishments.

Ahh. Organization. Happiness. I'd like to add some shelves down the one side of the closet for easier reachability. (Yes, it's a word.) There's a lot of wasted space. But I need to live with it for awhile to see exactly what I want. There may be an update coming eventually.

What's your trick to organizing kids craft supplies? And do they actually keep it organized?

 

Bud's Fishing Room

Posted on: November 8th, 2011 by ssteinruck No Comments

Bud is into fishing. My parents live on a lake and fishing with Pop or Daddy is top on Bud's list when we visit. He's actually got a pretty good cast, and even tried his hand at fly fishing a few times. So that's the "theme" we chose for his room. Thankfully, Hobby Lobby also likes that theme, and finding things was not difficult at all.

Some "fishing hooks" (ha ha!) for him to hang his metals or whatever on. I think these lure hooks are so fun!

A colorful map poster (24"x36") framed in a basic black poster frame went over his bed. Sometimes before bed he will pick a country to pray for by closing his eyes and pointing to one. We've prayed for the ocean several times.

Bud had asked for something to hang his "stuff" on - like a bulletin board. But I didn't want thumb tacks everywhere, so I went with a magnetic board instead. I saw the idea on Pinterest and several places on the Blogosphere (like here) to use sheet metal in a frame to make one. I found the galvanized flat sheet metal in the heating/cooling aisle at Home Depot - a 24"x36" piece was $9.34. Though my frame was that same size, I still had to trim the metal a little to make it fit. I used some all-purpose clippers I found in the garage. JoAnn Fabrics had the perfect fishing-themed fabric to cover it at . Pulling the fabric around the sheet, I used ductape (like crazy) to secure the fabric on the back of the sheet metal, and put on the back of the frame.

The frame was a poster frame from Hobby Lobby - the same one used for the map - I just took the glass out. (If you try this, be careful - the glass broke and shattered when I lifted it out of the frame.)

Here's how it looks all together. Well, the board doesn't actually look this dark, but alas, I am not a professional photographer. I hung some of his metals on the lure hooks and put up a picture of puppies that I found (under his bed) on the magnetic board. I need to make him some fun magnets. And get him to clean under his bed.

Bud also needed some help with his closet organization. He couldn't reach things and he desperately needed some storage and shelving for his Legos, Nerf stuff, books, and miscellaneous treasures. His room was always a disaster because he didn't have a place for things. I found the adjustable shelving and clothes rack at Home Depot and the bins at Target. He has room to grow as his interests and needs change. I switch the long and short sleeve shirts from top to bottom depending on the season. His socks and undies each have a small white bin on the shelf. The hanging organizer holds his pj's, sweatshirts, and Lego instructions. He has a shoe bin at the bottom too, should any shoes actually make it upstairs.

Organization makes me happy. (Sadly, his closet never looks like this. Why is it so hard for kids to put things back in their place?!)

My sweet friend and former neighbor made Bud curtains for his room in our old house that miraculously worked in our new house too. I love the timeless ticking stripe, and with red and navy, they will hopefully grow with him.  My Aunt J gave us Norman Rockwell's Day in the Life of a Boy print when Bud was a baby, and it has hung in his room ever since. (You can get the print off Amazon here.) The airplane was a previous Hobby Lobby purchase. Not totally fishing themed I guess, but very boy and Bud likes it.

So there you have it. All three kids rooms done. Well, the Bear's is done. The others' are accessorized more than they were before. Always a work in progress! Now if I could get them to keep their rooms picked up and organized... What works for you? I welcome any suggestions of how to get kids to keep their junk things picked up. Other than cleaning it myself every day.

Kids Room Accessories

Posted on: November 4th, 2011 by ssteinruck 2 Comments

While we worked in the Bear's room, I realized that we would hear the ever-popular "That's not fair!" from our other 2 kiddos upon their arrival home from camp Grama & Pop. So, after a quick trip to Hobby Lobby (ok, I spent 3 hours in there)  to pick up some accessories for Girly and Bud, I had several other projects to juggle.

Girly is into butterflies. Her kindergarten class was the Butterfly class, so it's been butterflies ever since. And there's a reason I call her Girly. She is. Not sure how that happened, since I don't consider myself to model the girliness she exudes, but anyway... So she's into pink, purple, anything that sparkles. You get the idea. Here's what I found in my happy place, Hobby Lobby.

I used white eye screws and fishing line to hang them at varying heights. When the air conditioning/heat is on, the butterflies "fly". Very fun.

She was also having trouble reaching her shirts hung in her closet, so I added a lower rack and one of those hanging cubby things. Pink, of course. I gave her a small laundry basket for her dance costumes. Her dollhouse lives in the closet too, and all the accessories to that have their own bin. Those 3M Command hooks came in handy to hang her bags. So many bags!

Please note - the closet has not looked this way since Girly got home. But I enjoyed looking at the organization while it lasted. I have since added a pink over-the-door shoe holder, where she puts her treasures like headbands, barbies, and rocks she collects. (I know, she's Girly, but she still likes dirt, rocks, and worms. Go figure.)

She loved it! She also loved the board & batten in her sister's room. So, that's on the project list. Girly wants her room painted a light turquoise blue above the b&b. I can deal with that. I was afraid she'd ask for purple, which is almost as gag-worthy as pink in my book. On a wall - it can just be too much for me.

Check back next week for a look at Bud's fisherman room accessories! Have a great weekend - don't forget to turn back the clocks!

My First Mod Podge

Posted on: October 31st, 2011 by ssteinruck 1 Comment

Awhile back, I snagged a sturdy Lysol box from Costco. I needed a place for magazines that wasn't where the dog could get them (because she would eat anything.) So I put this very unattractive box in my studio and put magazines in it.

And it sat like that for 2 months. Functional, but ugly.

So today I decided to cover it with pretty fabric I had in my stash. Here's how I did it.

First I spray painted box so the lettering wouldn't show through the fabric.

I laid out fabric and wrapped it around the box, using binder clips and clothespins to hold it in place while I pondered how in the world to do this.

A few short measurements and daring cuts into the fabric and I had my plan. One side at a time, I Mod Podged the fabric to the box, using a lint roller to smooth out any wrinkles.

Otis was a big help holding down the fabric. (Yes, I know he's huge!)

Batah bing batah boom – I have a pretty box. It's not perfect and the pattern of the fabric is very forgiving. But now my free functional box is all glammed up.

Hmmm.... What should I Mod Podge next?!

Mason Jars

Posted on: October 28th, 2011 by ssteinruck 4 Comments

I'm on the verge of an obsession with glass jars.

        

I found a bunch of old mason jars at a local furniture store (random, right?) They were only $2 each so I bought 8. Now they sit on top of my shelf in my “studio” (it's technically the dining room, but we don't “dine”, so I moved my stuff in.)

I've started a button jar and have a few scrap ribbon jars. The others are empty at the moment, just sitting there looking pretty waiting for a purpose. Some don't have the wire that holds the top on, but I bought some 12 gauge jewelry wire to see what I can do. I know I can at least make the jars into hanging lanterns like this tutorial from Brown Paper Packages.

Any other ideas?

About Susan

Susan I am a stay-at-home mom with three great kids, a fabulous husband, a cat, and a dog. I enjoy making things (but not cooking), painting, rearranging furniture (that one is genetic), organizing, purging, and most things DIY. Thanks for stopping by! More »