Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Weekly Challenge - A Bowl Full of Lemons

As you know, I completed MOST of the 21 Day challenge from A Bowl Full of Lemons.  I kind of slacked off a bit on posting my accomplishments on the last couple of days because I actually did other areas that what was assigned and just got too busy to post.  But once things calm down again around here, I'll post them.

I'm attempting Toni's next round of challenges.

Go on over and check it out.  Should be fun!  Wish me luck.

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Organization Series

So I know I've been slacking off on posting and completing the challenges from A Bowl Full of Lemons.  I have been doing organization and cleaning, it just hasn't necessarily been what is assigned.  Work has been insanely busy the past week and I've been worn out from the stress and motherly duties.  Enough of the excuses....I've found another series I'm going to attempt. 

Organize Your Life over at House of Grace.
Organize your life
Here's to good intentions!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rub a Dub Dub

Taking a small break from the organizing posts to share a bit of a "duh" moment with you.  Those of you that have little ones at home may find this useful or interesting enough to give it the 'ole college try.

As you probably know, I have two boys, one is 3 the other is 5 months.  With both of my boys I never use or have used a baby bath to bathe the little ones.  When my boys were very little (i.e not squirmy) I always used a plastic bowl filled with water to give them baths.  As they became more mobile I've found this doesn't work so well.  I have used those baby bath's before when my siblings were little (they are 10 and 19 years my junior so I've got experience!) but never really liked them.  I can't really pinpoint why, they just never were very helpful for me.  Plus it's extra junk lying around after they've outgrown them (and until you decide to take action and finally get rid of them).  I've also tried just putting them in the kitchen sink, but both of my boys have super-baby strength and it's just hard for me to hang on to them and try to wash them.

So, finally the light bulb went off. I decided to give my 5 month old a bath in the bathtub. However, I didn't just plop him down in there because I couldn't imagine that being very comfortable for him.  So this is where the genius came in, I folded up a big fluffy towel and put it down first in the tub, then laid him on top of it.  I don't fill the tub up to wash him, I turn on the shower and use our handheld shower head to rinse him off.  Works like a charm and he has a blast kicking and wiggling around while I wash him.  If you don't have a hand held shower head, you can use a cup to rinse them off, works about the same.

Now, be warned, the number of loads of towels to wash does increase a bit, but for me, it's worth it!  You could hang it up to dry, but I'm a little bit of a germ-a-phobe so I use a new one each time...silly, I know!

You all have probably tried this or thought of this before, but it was new to me and it works great so I wanted to pass this along.

It's the simple things in life that get me excited!

Let me know if you try it and if it works out for you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day #16 - The Fridge

As you may have noticed, I skipped yesterday's challenge.  It was organizing your meds and I completed that with the Medicine Cabinet overhaul, so instead I cleaned and organized our DVD's.  I didn't take any pictures because I did it on a whim, but I promise I didn't slack off yesterday!

So on with today's challenge.  I actually cleaned my fridge a few months ago, but it was good to clean it out again.  The fridge, freezer, stove and laundry area are places that I feel get neglected (at least around here they do) and generally I only remember to do a deep clean once in a great while.

I tried to maintain some order with baskets and a stacking shelf.


How many cartons of sour cream does one family need?  And how many do you think are least one.

After a little purging and cleaning, my fridge now looks like this:

I realized moments after I took this picture that the milk on the second shelf had expired!  Oops.  Good thing we had a back up.

We sure do have the condiments.

Basket for our biscuits and sweet rolls.  On the weekends we usually fix a bigger breakfast around brunch.  I know it's not the healthiest, but it sure is tasty. 

Veggies like tomatoes and peppers are held in a basket within the veggie bin.

Other condiments are in a small basket to keep them contained.  I told you we have a lot of condiments.

It's actually a little humorous at how much I really do use baskets around this house. I can hear my Sister-in-law snickering.  If only she lived closer, I would basket-ize her house!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 14 - Bathroom Cabinets

Okay, so it is a good thing Toni gave us this challenge today because I told you back on Day 4 that I was going to tackle my master bathroom armoire.  Then came this burning desire to paint the coat closet and the laundry room.  So this went further and further down the list.

But it's not escaping my wrath tonight!

Here was the before underneath our master bathroom sinks:

We pretty much just threw stuff in the cabinet after we completed our remodel.  We always seem to try to finish everything up the day or two before we have house guests.  Which means we are running around trying to clean things up and sometimes stuff gets shoved in the most opportune places....much to my dismay!

Not much really changed here, however, guess what I found hiding out this cabinet?  My dolphin necklace my high school boyfriend (who is now my husband) got for me when he visited Germany the summer between our Junior and Senior year in high school.  This has been missing for at least 3 years and I was sick thinking I had lost it in our multiple moves across STATES....but there it was....just sitting in a ziploc in the back of my master bathroom cabinet.  I have NO idea how or when it got there.  The hubs is putting our 3 yr old to bed (usually my job unless D gets into trouble as he did tonight), otherwise I would have went whooping and hollering down the hall!  I really cannot believe I found it...this organization challenge ROCKS! :)

Okay, so back to the afters.

Sorry for the black paint.  I was going to put contact paper down, but I just ran out of steam for tonight.  I did find some really cute contact paper for under the kitchen sink (which I'll share on another day soon), but this bathroom will just get boring 'ole white.

And if you remember this terrifying site.

Here it is now.  It actually is a lot better and I did throw a bunch of stuff out.  I just have too much.  Hair products and make up are to me like shoes are to other women.  I have way more than I need, but I can't stop buying more.  Guess no one really is perfect.  Bummer.

 Top shelf holds all of our travel items.  We do travel quite a bit either for our jobs or to visit family, so this much space really is necessary.

Middle shelf holds all of our my stuff like hair products, lotions, hair dryer,etc.

Towels and some medicine
Feminine needs and TP- the necessities!
Well a few more items checked off the mile long To Do list and an ecstatic Mrs. ALO for finding my necklace!  Whoo-hoo!
So how about you?  Have you discovered any long lost treasures during this challenge?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 13 - Medicine Cabinet

Today sure was an easy one, thank goodness since it was me against the kids!  Sometimes it is truly a wonder how any mom can get anything done when they have little ones on their heels.  Guess that's why we wear a cape under our clothes.

So here is the pitiful before of the bathroom on our main level, right off the kitchen:


So I began going through everything and checking expiration dates.  I also decided it would be best to group items together and take what I could out of it's original box, especially the adult cold medicine.  We go to the same medication every time we get a cold (Nyquil, Dayquil, Sudafed) therefore we really didn't have any use for the packaging.

In came my velveeta boxes again.  This medicine cabinet is shallow and these boxes fit perfectly!  I covered them with scrapbook paper and added some labelling on a couple of the boxes.


You will notice some of the creams on the second shelf are in the plastic cup that comes with your laundry detergent.  I love using these to corral small items in tight spaces too!

Right- After
Open space!  The top has eye care supplies, middle shelf is our first aid section for cuts and scrapes, bottom holds bigger items.  Since we live in a 3 story home, it's easier to have some of our necessities in this bathroom and saves us a trip up and down the stairs if we forget to de-stink-ify ourselves! Would hate to work up a sweat before we can get our deodorant on. :)

And there you have it.  Nothing grand, but I got rid of a TON of outdated medications and gained some much needed space.  A little order in the bathroom.  Now I'm off to continue with the laundry room.  Almost done!  As soon as a few goodies arrive in the mail, I can present you with the final reveal.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 12 - The Spice Cabinet

Yay!  I completed this during the pantry organization challenge.  See here.

So, it will be back to work on the laundry room tonight.  Thanks, Toni, for giving me an easy one today!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 10 - The Laundry Room

Well I knew this was coming, I was just hoping it would be on Saturday so I could spend the weekend on this challenge.  Not because I have this huge spacious laundry room with loads (get it..haha) of storage, but because I have this:

I've told ya'll before how much I despise my laundry room when I was dreaming of turning this into a pantry.  But that isn't happening any time soon.  We've done nothing but remodel since we moved in 3 years ago and this summer the hubs and I were looking to give our piggy banks and backs a break.  Okay, mostly his back, but I try to help when I'm not pregnant or busy keeping the kids occupied while he breaks his back! :)

So, back to the reason I wanted this challenge to come on the weekend.  I am itching to paint and really brighten this space up.  I told you when I did my closet makeover that I wanted to do a pattern on the wall.  I still really want to do that....and what better time to do a COMPLETE makeover than when you've got everything out and cleaned.  Since I do work full time, evenings are pretty busy and that leaves only the weekend to really tackle the big projects.

Therefore, I leave you with this in process shot....
It's not going to be as bright as I hoped, but that's okay.  It's taking forever, but I think it will be worth it.
Can't wait to show you the final reveal!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day #9 - Toy Organization

Today's challenge is all about toy organization.  I actually tackled this one over the weekend, but neglected to get any "before" pictures.  My Sister-in-law and Brother-in-law decided it would be fun to bring BIG toys for the boys.  Oh, how I love thee!
See the nice big play house...yeah, I love my in-laws!
I have plans to put some type of storage on either side of the window to help get some of the toys up off the floor. But for now, the table sits in one corner and D's tool bench sits in the other.

In order to make room for the new, it was out with {some} of the old.  My kids are 3 and 4 months, so some of the toys D has outgrown are being held back for T.

We are having a family yard sale this summer, so it's given a bigger push to get rid of stuff and get it done now!

I went through all of D's toys and organized his most favorite toys in the toy bin.  I created labels with my Silhouette (have I told you enough just how much I love this thing).  Since he's 3 and can't read yet, I used pictures and words for the items that belong in each bin.  I still have a few more labels to make, but most of them are taken care of.  (Sorry for the crappy picture, my camera was taking blurry photos.)

This room is really a formal dining room, but we ain't formal folks (hehe).  It functions as a toy room for now and I have plans (imagine that) to convert into a den once the boys get older.  My plan is to add some french doors once they get bigger - glass and young-ins don't mix well- so for now it's all open.  Plus, this helps me keep an eye on them.

This room is very much a work in progress, but for now, it has a little more order.

Day #8 - Coat Closet

Howdy!  It's about time I got this done.  I decided to really tackle my coat closet...I mean REALLY tackle it.  We have a spot in our kitchen that we drop our everyday shoes, jackets, etc.  It's kind of a small mud room/space, but we enter and leave through the garage which is right off the kitchen, so it made the most sense.  Our "official" coat closet is next to the front door, but again, we don't use it that much so it's primarily been used to store jackets and out of season shoes as well as extra TP and paper towels.  I can assure you it hasn't been really evaluated since we moved in...ummm....almost 3 years ago. 

Proof this has been very neglected, I found:
- my prom dress from senior year (why exactly have I moved it across 3 states and not bothered to get rid of it before now...I have NO idea!)
- a nice steel pot
- a baby carrier (like a Baby Bjorn).  I could have totally used that baby carrier the past 4 months.  I didn't even know I had it! 

So I removed EVERYTHING, cleaned and painted the closet with some paint I had on hand. I was going to get really ambitious and stencil a pattern on the back, similar to what Jen did over at I Heart Organizing, but I decided the returns weren't worth the investment.  I'll save this idea for another area in the home.

So here is the big reveal....

Oh my gosh, space!

A good place for the vacuum instead of just shoved in!  Hats, gloves all sorted by person.  Labels will be added, but for now, it's organized.

I had this bushel basket in the basement and thought it was a fun way to store the paper towels.  Sure is an upgrade from a diaper box!

I want to do something fun with the TP too, but I haven't came up with anything I like yet, so for now they are just stacked next to the paper towels.


What do you think?  Was it worth the effort to paint?  I sure think it was...I love it!