Category Archives: Organizing for Dummies

House Organization Overhaul

161 days until we have a tiny human to take care of – ahhh! So what do I think about when I wake up in the middle of the night? Organizing our house and decorating the nursery of course! Ben asked me if there’s anything we could do this weekend so I’ll be less stressed. Love him!
middle_br1I will be donating my get-ready room to our baby. This was a no-brainer because it’s the most climate controlled room in the house and the quietest since it’s an interior room. My beloved leaning mirror will move to the guest bedroom.
middle_br3Pretty much all of the furniture will be cleared out of this room except for one dresser. This was my childhood furniture growing up and I plan to paint or refinish one of them for storage/a changing table. Where will all those books and the filing cabinet go? I have no clue.
middle_br2Here’s the other dresser. We’ll be adding a crib and a comfy nursing rocker of some sort. New curtains, bedding, a rug… so much to do!
middle_br4Even though this is the most organized closet in our house, it will need to be completely cleaned out (apparently babies wear clothes) and its contents transferred to the guest bedroom. No big deal, right?
guestbr5Wrong! How do I describe this monstrosity? This is our luggage/boxes of books/extra clothes/crafts/staging items/bedding/my wedding dress/junk closet. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a kitchen sink in there somewhere!
guestbr4There’s not a lot of extra space for furniture in this room, but we will definitely need to add a dresser on this wall between the doors. This will remain our guest bedroom which will definitely be needed for lots of company after baby comes. I don’t want to crowd it, but we’re running out of space people!
master_closetBen the hen’s closet in our master bedroom will need a good cleaning out as well. I would love to get everything off the floors of all of our closets if possible. Lots of this stuff needs to go live in the storage shed.
storage_shedCan you believe when we moved into our house 8.5 yrs ago that we didn’t have a single thing to put in here? We didn’t even own a lawn mower! I’m thinking an industrial shelf could do wonders for organizing this space.

The weather forecast for this weekend is rain, rain and more rain, so we’ll probably be sticking to inside organization. Wish us luck! I’ll be back next week to make sure we aren’t couch potatoes all weekend report our success.


A Book Dilemma

We have four teeny-tiny closets in our 1,056 sqft house. Luckily, we only have one pack rat in the family (hint: it’s not me). When we were planning to move, I packed up several boxes of books that have been sitting on the floor of a closet.
Last weekend I got a wild hair. I decided to pull those boxes out and put all the books in stacks, forcing us to come up with a game plan.
Unfortunately, this only resulted in there being books on every flat surface of this room for the last week (a.k.a. driving this perfectionist insane!).
One of the biggest problems were all these photo albums, journals and binders. Most of them are too tall to fit in our bookshelf, so where could they go?
I took a little inspiration from my favorite childhood book and decided that all this room needed was a little organization.
I started off by clearing out the top of the closet in that room and making room for all of the too-tall photo albums. I desperately want to find a solution of what to do with all of our printed out pics that we don’t have a digital copy of. At least for now they’re somewhat organized and all in one place!
Next, I went through and pulled out any books that I knew we would never sell in a million years – you know, like Twilight and our Bibles:)
Then I placed the rest of the books in 4 boxes and set them out of the way on our guest bed. We know that a lot of these books are worth something – Ben scanned in one of his undergrad religious books and it was selling for $40! My goal is to eat this elephant one bite at a time and either sell or donate all of these.
The most important thing, was that my get ready room went from this…
to this – whew! Perhaps putting our lives in chaos while tackling this project wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had.

Speaking of ideas… next month is going to be referred to as No-Spend April here at Staging by M. Ben jokes that the problem areas of our budget are food and me. I’m doing this partly for our budget and partly because of the challenge. I’m hoping my competitive spirit beats out my love of shopping.

Anyone have any advice on the best online places to sell our old books? Should we invest in a good scanner or mail our pics off to be scanned? Who else besides my hubby has had to consider joining BA (Bookaholics Anonymous)?

Organizing = Creativity?

I stumbled upon a fantastic blog post this morning titled Your Clutter Is Killing Your Creativity by Jeff Goins and can’t stop thinking about it.
As a child, I liked having everything in its place. I set out my outfit for the next day the night before (underwear included). I tried sleeping in my bed straight as a board so that I wouldn’t mess up the sheets. I tried to get my friends to play “tornado” where we’d go around messing up everything in my room quickly followed by “Cinderella” where we’d go back and clean everything up.

Obviously, I value organization (thanks, Dad). I just never thought about clutter and the “mess” in my life inflicting on my creativity. I spent 15 minutes the other day looking for the measuring tape because somebody didn’t put it back where it belongs. How many times has this happened? How many times have I lost my will to create due to frustration from the clutter in my life?

I went through a closet this weekend and gathered a carload of stuff destined for Goodwill. Every time I do this I feel refreshed, empowered, free. Ben tweeted, “Taking stuff to Goodwill today. By stuff I mean last year’s Target purchases.” Ouch. I think sometimes stuff = clutter = no creativity.

What can I do today to battle clutter? I’m going to list our old stove on Craigslist to get it out of our dining room. What are you going to do today?

Kitchen Organization Take 2

We found out today that Ben did not get a job in OK that he had applied for. Plan B is to put our house on the market. When it sells, we’ll pack our wagon, head back west and try to find jobs once we get there. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was tired of having our kitchen scattered all over our house.
So today I took a deep breath and started doing what I do best – organize, organize, organize! I began with the “pantry” and tossed expired stuff and grouped like items together (can you tell our grocery store had a close-out sale?).
Next, I took everything out of the rest of the shelves and brought in the 6 boxes of extra stuff that wouldn’t fit. I moved our vitamin stash and Cali’s medicine to the bathroom and filled 2 boxes with stuff to donate to Goodwill.
Oh, and I gave all the shelves a little sponge bath while they were empty. This is what happens when you have open shelving and no exhaust vent – yuck!
I tried to utilize ALL of the space – even awkward cabinet nooks.
It was like a Big Brother competition giant puzzle deciding what would fit where.
We looked at roll-out drawers for the 2 bottom cabinets, but we couldn’t find exactly what we wanted and they were super pricey.
As you can see, I made the most of the above-the-fridge cabinet as well!
The excess all went into this empty dresser that has been hanging out in our living room. It really wasn’t a whole lot and I was surprised at how much more space we had than I thought. We just have to hang the shelves above the washer and dryer and our kitchen will all be back together again like the cast of Arrested Development when the movie finally gets made – yay!

So what’s the verdict? I loved everyone’s comments on my last post, but I’m glad that I didn’t have to resort to storing our pots and pans in the stove. Any other diehard AD fans out there?


Kitchen Organization?

Don’t you hate when a project is over and you’re left with a big mess? After waiting 7 long years to get a dishwasher installed in our kitchen, you’d think we wouldn’t have anything to complain about. Houston, we have a problem!
Since our kitchen reno, our “kitchen” has actually been scattered all over our house. This bookshelf in our dining room has been housing our laundry shelf, on top of the fridge stuff and overflowing don’t-have-a-new-home dishes.
Here’s the motherload in our master (we aren’t currently sleeping in here due to the hot weather). These are all the dishes that used to be in bottom cabinets where the dishwasher and cabinet of drawers now reside.
Our bottom cabinets have a new layout with that itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny shelf in the back. Before, we had top shelves and bottom shelves that came all the way to the doors. I have one word for this cabinet arrangement… AWKWARD!
Here’s a close-up of the bottom cabinet situation. I’ve put everything back under the sink that used to be there, but at that point I just stand there biting my nails in frustration. If only my parents had sent me to Hogwarts and I could use an Undetectable Extension Charm to make unlimited cabinet space!
The only thing I can think of is to make more room in the upper cabinets, but will that be enough to fit 6 boxes and a bookshelf full of stuff? Doubt it.
Did I mention that on the spec sheet for our house it said there was a pantry? We have yet to find this imaginary pantry unless it’s hiding in the walls. I’ve never wished that it would magically appear so much before now!
I did buy two 36″ floating shelves to go above the dryer and a 24″ one to go above the washer. I plan on staging the dryer shelves with pots, pans, and bowls and treating them like extra cabinet space. Unfortunately, we used to have a pot rack which housed most of these items, so that doesn’t help with the overflow.

Those extra drawers aren’t seeming like such a brilliant idea nowadays. Has anyone else been confused about the layout of newer cabinets? Who has a Houdini trick up their sleeve when it comes to kitchen organization? I apologize for all the Harry Potter references – I’m on the last book, so bear with me!

Baskets Are Your Friend

Guess who’s back to blogging 3 x’s a week?! I finished my 6 wks of working full-time for a co-worker on maternity leave and feel like I have my life back! A little organization goes a long way at our casa. Also, I’m a sucker for baskets. These two facts led to a bathroom organization overhaul.
If you’re a Curious George and like to snoop through people’s bathrooms like my friend Christi, this is what you would have found underneath our sink. I recently cleared everything off the top of the sink, but it all had to go somewhere! I think that plastic purple box was leftover from college.
A trip to Pier 1 and $10 later, I had this simple woven basket to neatly hold all of our get ready stuff. Really it was Ben’s fault because he uttered the words “I would LOVE for you to go to Pier 1!” so that he could finish up some things at work before I picked him up.
I had been looking for a small basket made out of a similar material as these two Pottery Barn baskets I got for our bathroom closet. It really amazes me just HOW much bathroom stuff we can accumulate. It seems like I go through it a couple of times a year, but those baskets stay full to the brim!

It makes me happy now getting ready in the morning and having a “home” for everything. I doubt if Ben has even noticed. Who else out there has done a mini-organization project? Am I the only one who is drawn to the organizing section in stores like a bug to a light? What’s your favorite basket store?

I Heart Wood Hangers

There are few things I like more than simple makeovers that make a big impact! I mentioned in this post last week that I invested in some wood hangers for our guest room. After our friends had come and gone, I decided to put these hangers to a more permanent use in Ben the hen’s closet.
I have wanted to replace our flimsy plastic hangers for awhile now, but I had no idea how this small change could completely transform a closet! Here’s a before pic to give you a better idea of what I’m talking about.
This pic was taken awhile back and isn’t a close-up, but I didn’t even think to take a before pic until I was halfway through and realized how amazing it looked. I picked up this 30-pack of natural wood suit hangers at Bed Bath & Beyond for $16 ($20 – a 20% off coupon I always use there), but I’ve also seen them reasonably priced at Target and Wal-Mart.
Doesn’t it look like a fancy men’s clothing store rack? I will definitely have hanger envy until I invest in some of these for my own closet! I just can’t get over the WOW factor of what a few hangers can make. It’s polished, organized and practical (no more of those annoying hanger wrinkles to iron out). I know  huggable hangers are the newest craze, but I haven’t been too impressed.

Are you all as blown away as I am by this simple closet facelift? Any other hanger reviews out there? Besides rehanging clothes, I’ve been jumping off the couch every time I hear a delivery truck drive down our street patiently waiting for my new curtain panels to be delivered so I can continue piecing together our newly acquired master bedroom.