“Getting Organized” is boring

Let’s face it, the process of getting organized is kinda boring. Paper cuts and shredding and making decisions is just blahhhh.

Which is why reading about organizing is so much more fun. You don’t have to get your hands dirty. Or make any effort whatsoever.

So I have a love/hate relationship with organizing posts because yes, they’re inspiring but also the crazy side of my brain takes over and I think that I need to read a whole book, the entire series, the finished space before I can begin myself. My brain thinks I need to figure out where they got everything, create a new board on Pinterest, and it just spirals.

Maybe you can relate.

So instead of sharing my own step by step organizing process (which I don’t actually have) I’m just going to work on my own space.

Along the way I might share some posts but only to hold myself accountable.

This year I’ve set the goal to declutter, donate or consign 1,000 items. After letting go of 1270 items last year, I’m lowering my goal a little in consideration of what I’ve already done.

I could probably accomplish that goal in 2 days if I counted individual papers or emails but instead I count a full paper bag of shredded papers as one item.

Here’s what I’m working on this month:

  • picture frames
  • filing in the office
  • gardening pots and containers
  • flower vases
  • owners and operation manuals

Kitchen Update

It’s been awhile since I blogged about my kitchen, mostly because it’s small, I’m not planning on remodeling anytime soon and I’d rather NOT spend much time in there. But after getting a few new Christmas presents and bringing in some much needed color, I thought an update post was in order.

Also, I just cleaned it so this is photographic proof.

My only tip for cleaning the kitchen is to start in the corner that no one sees. It’s really easy to start on the end that’s visible from the living room and then ignore those hidden corners. Work backwards.

For me that means this corner by the fridge:

Kitchen 2014_03_08 (02)

From right to left I have:

  • a bright tray that holds my reusable water bottles
  • the toaster
  • my new Cuinsart blender
  • a teal basket for the extra blender parts

I really love these water bottles and picked up a second set of 5 because I go through 3-5 each day. Instead of filling them up every hour, I just dump any leftover water in the sink, put the lid in the small teal tin and then refill then before bed.

20131105_123648Also, they take 25 seconds to fill from the fridge water dispenser so I do calf exercises from my personal trainer 🙂

The next piece of counter top is the coffee corner. Mom and Dad gave me a Keurig for Christmas so it’s in the corner (these suckers are heavy!) with accessories nearby.

Kitchen 2014_03_08 (03)From right to left:

  • ceramic strawberry that holds tea baskets for loose tea
  • basket for K-cups which is empty because they’re on order
  • Coffee ceramic that holds tea bags
  • Keurig
  • round basket for my teal coffee cups (set of 4)

I like having all my coffee and tea together, the drawer underneath the toaster has more tea bags and individual servings of local honey.

Next up is sink adjacent – because my sink is at an odd angle, it’s hard to have much here.

Kitchen 2014_03_08 (05)From right to left:

  • ceramic strawberry strainer that’s holding sugar packets
  • green ceramic basket, currently holding tomatoes
  • teal drying mat with my blender in pieces
  • Pur water filter

I find it handy to keep the water filter right here instead of in the fridge. When full it only fills 2 water bottles so I tend to use it for cooking or refilling the Keurig.

Behind the sink we have another odd triangle:

Kitchen 2014_03_08 (12)So behind the sink there are a few of my bike collection, with one basket holding onions.

The other sink adjacent corner is more practical:

Kitchen 2014_03_08 (11)From right to left:

  • small ceramic pitcher for my scrub brush
  • red basket for dish soap, hand soap, sink stoppers and sponge
  • red heart shaped ceramic for scrubbing towels
  • kitchen scale, currently holding garlic

Right next to the stove I have 2 teal containers from Target, I think they’re for plants but I use them for cooking utensils:

Kitchen 2014_03_08 (10)And behind the stove within reach is a basket of cloth napkins and hot pads and a white caddy with plastic utensils and paper napkins:

Kitchen 2014_03_08 (09)And then the clean counter at the end of the kitchen:

Kitchen 2014_03_08 (08)There you have it, my organized kitchen – well the counters at least! I’ve been able to downsize most of what I’m storing in the cabinets so once I fix a lower cabinet with better storage I hope to have a tutorial for you!

Organizing at Home : Media

Recently I made a big switch and decided to get rid of all of my DVD cases. I’m keeping the movies but displaying them all is not necessary.

I took all the DVDs out of the cases and then gave away the cases on Freecycle. I sold the 3 DVD towers that used to be in the living room here:

DSC_0044I used a few tools to organize the discs, based on the type of movie. Since I collect a good number of TV series those are all in Case Logic black cases – including several DVD sets that consist of multiple movies. There’s also a smaller case full of kid’s movies.

It looks like this:

DVDcaseThis is not my case, it’s a stock photo from Amazon because I’m too lazy to photograph mine.

The majority of the movies went into double sided case logic sleeves alphabetically and, since I needed some organization I used card stock cut down to size and then used wishi tape along the top:


Then I added clear labels for the letters:

20131109_155403and added the discs:

2013_11_15 (02)The first case took most of the DVDs so I didn’t need much more space for the rest.

20131109_175156So the second container (boxes from Ikea) got my Wii accessories

2013_11_15 (01)Love this! Saves so much room.

Building Some Storage

The Master Bathroom has been “in progress” for close to a year now.

Since before I tore up the bathroom floor or took out the sink, installed the new floor or installed the new sink, I had this project in mind. I was not sure how I would execute it because I didn’t have exact dimensions until the sink was installed and the bowl could be measured.

Here was my inspiration:


Now, the only problem with this source is that it’s in a foreign language and doesn’t trace back to a site with directions. Bummer.

So I studied it. And stared at it. And looked at my butcher block which had a similar design. It took a few nights but I sketched out the design I wanted and then started writing out the wood cuts.

Here’s what the bathroom cabinet was like the first… 4 years I lived here:

2011_06_04 (04)When we took out the cabinet and counter top the back splash tore up the drywall pretty bad. Knowing that we were going to cover it up saved us the trouble of fixing it. I purposefully chose a 3″ tall baseboard with top grooves, then a 32″ tall bead board panel and is capped off with 3″ tall chair rail. This gives me a total of 38″ – just over 3′ – which more than covers the damage to the drywall.

Keeping in mind the height of the chair rails I decided the shelf should be shorter for a few reasons. #1 is that I would hate to scuff up my pretty new white trim. #2 the shelf would be distracting to the clean lines of the trim and #3 I need space on top for a hand towel to hang.

This shelf was so tall the hanging towel holder wasted half the space on the top shelf. Also, the outlet was hard to reach behind the shelf.

2013_12_23 (05)It was nice for a temporary piece but not ideal. So I sold it for $25 and made the piece I wanted! Here’s what I ended up with:

2014-02-08 Master Bath 05As you can see, I have the same tiered thing on the top (I think I bought that for $1) and it holds my makeup brushes, plastic rounds with my earrings, hair clips and q-tips. On the top shelf is also my glow in the dark jellyfish and some candles. See how the shelf is low enough not to catch the towel on fire when I light a candle? Important, that is.

The second shelf has my towels, a basket with hand towels and a basket with hair dryer, curling iron, etc.

The bottom shelf is tall enough for my dirty clothes basket and another basket with bath mats. It’s conveniently right outside the shower stall:

2014-02-08 Master Bath 06I made a second shelf for the space between the sink and the toilet:

2014-02-08 Master Bath 08This shelf is both shorter in height (by a few inches) and in width. Still there’s enough room for these baskets, the bottom one has all of my wash cloths and the middle basket has hair brushes, gel, etc.

2014-02-08 Master Bath 02Here’s looking back at the other corner (from the shower). We still need to install the baseboards and beadboard. You can see the damage to the drywall on the wall behind the toilet. Ignore the toilet paper, once the bead board is installed I’ll add the new holder.

This post is getting a little long so I’ll create another one with specifications on how I assembled those shelves.

Still, the bathroom is looking so much better, more open and easier to navigate!

Office Update

Back in November I began NaNoWriMo for the 7th year and was pretty confident about finishing a new novel by the end of the month. But then I was quickly sidetracked by anything that I could find as a distraction. Unlike previous years I never did go back to writing, allowing myself that “failure” as I focused on other things.

Here’s what I did.

First up, I emptied the office of everything I could which meant everything except the desk. Then I crawled around the room on my knees, caulking the baseboards that we installed years ago, then painting them, then going back along to touch up the wall paint. Then I grabbed my step stool and touched up the paint along the ceiling too.

Oh and the white paint on the window sill paint had not covered the primer well so I touched that up as well.

All that was fine. It felt good to “finish” the paint and I even had AT&T come out and repair my phone jack. They replaced the yellow cover with a crisp white one so it doesn’t look so 80s.

It was nice to have the room “clear” of all the normal stuff and I stacked stuff up in the guest room so I could go through it all and sort.

Since the guest room was pretty empty to begin with and I had a nice big queen bed, I had space to go through everything. I found books by the dozens that I could donate and began giving them away on a book exchange site. The remainder of the books went to the local library.

In all 141 books left my office in about a month.

20131223_114026Then I went through the office supplies, often spread out in many different places. I found a few hundred pens I could donate, printer paper, blank journals and note cards and gave them away on Freecycle.

Next I went through the boxes from electronics and pared things down. Found boxes I could recycle, papers I could throw away, things I could downsize.

The file cabinet I was using has not been used in ages so I put it up for sale and got it out of the house. The Ikea bookshelves went into the dining area and are holding an endless supply of boxes for photos, clippings, decor and china – all of which I’ll need to make decisions about soon.

So I went about restocking the office – slowly – bringing back in only what I need and will use.

The desk remained so I simply set up the monitor and a new keyboard to make the best use of space. I would like to find a wireless mouse or find a better port system for all my USB enabled devices.

2014-02-08 office 09The closet shelves

Even after donating loads of printer paper I still have 6 reams unopened. They’re neatly stacked up here so I can break into a new pack when needed.

DSC_0064Using the wood magazine holders from Ikea, I organized my colored paper that I use for client notes and business planning. Turning the holders on their side makes it easier to get the paper out:

DSC_0065This shallow basket holds my label makers – it’s shallow and open so I can get it out quickly – if you make your tools readily accessible then it’s much easier to actually, you know, use them.

I found the basket above and used it to collect my mail when I was on my 3 week road trip in the fall. I decided to re-purpose it to hold filing.

DSC_0063Next up is the white storage box that holds all my batteries – I’ll have to show you how they’re organized some day.

I used some of the white boxes from Ikea that used to be on my bookshelf for CDs and my business cards.

DSC_0062The top shelf is a little tricky to stock because while the Banker’s Boxes fit there easily, the height makes it hard to get boxes down and thus clutter tends to accumulate. Right now I’ve got the two file boxes (labels pending), some empty boxes and that’s it.

DSC_0066I’m also adding boxes to hold my client gifts and my camera equipment.

Bookshelf for storage

The second part of the mini closet makeover is the bookshelf which is older and not in great shape. The finish matches the desk, however, so I’ve decided to keep it for now.

DSC_0148The bottom shelf holds my flatbed scanner and underneath is a spare laptop cooling pad (which is broken). The middle shelf holds my file folders and hanging file folders, all unpacked so they’re easy to grab and label and my new laminating machine.


The top shelf has my remodeled Ikea organizer (now with labels!) as well as all my business binders.


The top of the bookshelf has (l to r) Post-it Notes storage, wishi tape, pens, colored pencils and dry erase markers:

DSC_0151What else is in the closet?

My 2 zebra striped pop up tables are stored in this closet, they fold up really nicely.

I moved in the green footstool for seating, the dogs like to sleep here when I’m working in the office and it’s a convenient place to sit while shredding papers or laminating.

2014-02-08 office 01In this left corner of the closet I store my tripod and lighting kit for shooting videos (see the light hanging on the clothes rod?). Since most of my videos are staged in the office it’s a handy place to keep everything within reach.

Tucked into the right corner of the closet is my shredder which is hiding a whole bunch of cords from the power strip that I need  to clean up

2014-02-08 office 03Furniture in the room

After making such big changes to the room, I chose not to bring in the bookshelves again. Instead I kept the desk (because it’s too big to go anywhere else) and the desk chair. On the desk is my printer, desk lamp and extra monitor.

2014-02-08 office 05

I kept just one bookshelf in the room, this tall, skinny one from Ikea. It’s filled with boxes and my journals (which I’m still sorting through slowly). The file box on the floor has all of my tax paperwork and the cardboard box is for collecting my receipts via Shoeboxed.

DSC_0154Finally, the 2 red chair have migrated in here as well – I’d like to replace them with an overstuffed chair but that’s low on my priority list right now. It’s a convenient place to sit for my videos and the dogs tend to like perching up here while I work.

DSC_0152The Walls

With the exception of my big laminated 2014 calendar not much is up on the walls. Just the pin board behind the desk and a few bulletin boards with notes for my current business projects.

Right now I’m really liking how empty the room feels. I still have a ton of papers (always) that I’m referencing for clients or projects. Half the time I’ll just sit on the red chairs and write with the heater keeping the room toasty warm. Jackson’s older bed is in here as well because I like to have the dogs nearby so I can keep an eye on them while I work.

It’s a far cry from the office I was working in last year which was stuffed floor to ceiling. With so many books gone and reducing my papers and office supplies, It feels like I have more space than ever.

Another Office Remodel

Okay, I know you’re thinking I’m crazy but this time it’s not my office. Since last April’s remodel in Arizona, I’ve been itching to do another project start to finish. So when the chance came to dog sit in Pittsburg for the week I insisted on having a project.

Any project.

Otherwise I’d pack up 5 dogs in my tiny Toyota and take them home.

Instead, Mom decided that it was time to revamp her office. So Mother’s Day weekend we started cleaning stuff out and stocked up the desk in the front room with all the office supplies we could find. By Friday when I arrived she had the room mostly empty and then it was time to patch holes in the wall, take down hardware and prep for paint.

20130607_214033We started cutting in and rolling on Friday night once the texture patches had dried. Mom chose a blue in the same shade as her guest room to go with the darker blue carpet.

Here’s the room the night before carpet was installed

DSC_0648and after carpet:

DSC_0656Once the carpet was in on Wednesday I really got to work. First I dragged in the blue bookshelf. And the CD tower. Then the file cabinet. Then unpacked and assembled the new Ikea bookshelf and desk.

Then: trouble.

The tall bookshelf I was planning to use was too long to get through the door frame. So plan b. I moved in a shorter bookshelf and finally a few chairs.

DSC_0687Then came the fun part! I started stocking the room again with all the things Mom wanted at hand. The new computer got hooked up at the desk, the old computer too. I brought in craft stuff, office supplies, books, CDs, cards, picture frames, some toys and it all started coming together.

I even installed the shelf above the closet doors for Mom’s hat boxes, rehung the curtains, brought in a plant and covered the chair with a soft blanket for the dogs.

Throughout all of this I refused to send Mom any pictures or hints, even when I changed the furniture arrangement. Here’s the final product on Saturday morning with fresh flowers on the bookshelf:

DSC_0689the desk:

DSC_0680the new desk got 2 computers set up:

DSC_0669the blue bookshelf and chair:


The CD tower behind the door:


Tall wardrobe tucked into the far corner:

DSC_0675It was a fun project to complete but so, so many hours. The old computer desk was taking up too much room and literally falling apart:

20130607_143119And before the big clean out the room was overflowing with too much stuff:

DSC_0179Now, it’s a relaxing and calm room with fresh paint, plush carpet and organization:


Completely New Closet for Under $100!

Once my closet was painted, lit up with new lights and clean, it was time to restock!

First up was this cool white organizer, I’ve had it for ages and it keeps moving around. I filled the drawers with scarves, bathing suits, belts, gloves and wraps. Lots of little things that are easy to get lost in the corners of the closet.

Closet 1Hanging next to it is my awesome hanging organizer, which spins and is so useful! It was a gift so I have no idea where you’d find it or how much you’d pay. I filled a few of the spots with flip flops (which I only really wear in the garden or in hotel showers, I promise Georgia!) and the cubbies are holding my pants. Jeans on top, khakis and black, gray and blue pants on the bottom. Boom.

In the middle of the closet are the dog’s crates. It’s summer so I took off their cute crate covers (to encourage the air to circulate so they don’t overheat).

Closet 9On the right side of the closet I have my new suitcase (the old one was filled with clothes to donate) as well as long hanging clothes like dresses:

2013_05_11 (01)Now for the top… I used the gray paint on the shelves to help them stand out a little. After putting in all the white boxes it didn’t stand out too much. I filled 6 organizers from Ikea before picking up 3 more. From left to right I filled the organizers with painting clothes, (3) sweaters, shirts, jeans, pants, shorts & capris & skirts.

2013_05_11 (03)

2013_05_11 (04)On the shelf below I’ve got all my shoes on a few ClosetMaid shelves:

Closet 2

2013_05_11 (05)I like having the shoes off the floor because Nixon is a little thief who steals my shoes all the time and even sleeps with them:

DSC_0045I filled up 2 large suitcases with clothes and shoes to donate and while I still have to bring in my hooded sweatshirts and sweaters that zip or button, it’s looking much better:

Closet 5The final element I added was a new, bright rug from (where else?) Ikea which was being discontinued and on sale for $20!

Closet 3Which means my total costs were:

  • lighting: $30
  • second shoe rack: $15
  • curtain wire & clips: $16
  • 3 additional clothes boxes: $15
  • paint, accent paint, organizers: free, already owned
  • rug: $20

Total: $96

So there you go – a completely new master closet which I love, for under $100 and a week of work!