Tip{py} Tuesday…Roll top desk, here I come!!!!


Well, Spring is finally in the air!  (At least, where I’m at…I’m sure there is snow still falling somewhere 🙂 )  After my kids had the entire week off last week because of snow and ice, the weather has turned.  Birds are chirping, mittens are unnecessary, and I’ve got the urge to do some serious Spring cleaning.  I have the urge, but that doesn’t mean that it still isn’t overwhelming at times.  I saw a facebook post of a friend of mine the other day where she talked about a strategy she learned on www.flylady.net.  Definitely check the site out if you haven’t before, she has tons of great info, tips, and recipes, really just all things domestic.

The tip my friend shared from flylady is that you can tackle clutter by focusing on different “zones” so it’s not as overwhelming and you’re not trying to tackle it all at once.  She suggests setting a timer for 15 minutes and focusing on that area only for those 15.  Her rationale is that you can do anything for only 15 minutes, even the worst chore.

So for me one of the worst chores has always been going through paperwork and cleaning my desk.  That’s why I was so happy when I inherited my grandma’s roll top desk.  I had an easy way to hide all my foolishness.  So, that was the zone I decided to attack with my first 15 minute test.  Here is the desk closed up before I began (Even the top had extra clutter on it)…

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and here it is open…(I can’t believe I’m showing you this)…

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I literally would cram stuff in there and slide the door shut…But today I was going to dive in and fix it…15 minutes isn’t that long, right? I took a swig of coffee, found a great station on Pandora, and set my timer.

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Papers were shuffling, pens organized, garbage set aside, I was feeling good.  DING, DING, DING!!!!  What?!?!?!  The timer was going off and the 15 minutes was up!  I was not done but I was making good progress.  Here is my trash pile and my progress after 15 minutes…

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It might be hard to tell, but it was actually looking better.  No way in heck I was going to stop now! I decided to set the timer for 15 more and try to finish it up…Here is my trash pile after that 15 minutes, 30 minutes total…

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And here is the desk cleaned up.  Still has stuff in it but much more organized.  Hey, I actually use this it’s not just for show 🙂

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Sp overall, the 15 minute approach is a great success (thanks flylady).  The time flew by and I’m happy I got rid of so much junk.  Now my desk is closed because I’m not using it, not because I’m hiding a hot mess.  Have a great day!

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Tip{py} Tuesday…kids’ clothing storage!


Okay so today I’m going to share something I did at my home to organize our kids’ clothing. That said, in order to share I will be including pics of my son’s room. *Disclaimer: I did not pick it up first! I took the pics as-is; it was a crazy morning. Try not to judge 🙂 Any illusions you had that my house is always clean are about to be shattered. Don’t say I didn’t warn you 🙂

Our youngest’s room is on the small side and we were struggling in our new house to fit all the furniture we needed in his room. We had his bed…

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His train table

train table

And no room for much else. Here is a panoramic of the whole room.

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A nice room, just not tons of space. We didn’t really have anywhere to put his clothes. I was at Target in the dollar section and I saw these clothes hangers. They were only a $1 and the size of each of the sections made them work perfectly for stacking clothes.

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When I am really on top of my game and organized, I will have each section designated for a type of clothing. PJ s in the top, then t- shirts, then long-sleeve, then pants, for example. It was a space-saving option that was also cost-effective. Win-win! Hanging shoe organizers would work really well too.

Mommy Moment Monday: Home Organization Tips


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Today was a great day. I had MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) this morning and was able to connect with some great moms. Not only did we have our Thanksgiving meeting (which meant Thanksgiving themed brunch) it was also a round robin with 7 different speakers on 7 different important mommy topics; and I was a speaker! Luckily I did not talk on time management since I was a few minutes late because I realized I hadn’t used the restroom yet this morning. However, I did talk about home organization. Between three kids and nine therapists the file through my home weekly, I feel a constant need to make my home presentable. They are constantly on the ground or sitting out our dinning room table for work. I never want them to feel like they are uncomfortable sitting down due to the state of my home.  A few of the tips I shared, I have already shared with you all; and a few are new. Either way, here is a round up of some mommy tips we use to keep our home organized (noticed I didn’t say clean, hehe.)

1) Sock basket. This was one of the first posts I did back in February of this year. We still employ it now. In our home, like most, my children were forever pulling apart their matching socks and ending up with three socks. They would fuss and draw out getting reading in the morning because there were only three socks left. First off, they only have two feet, so why are we worried about three socks? We have enough socks to cover the feet we have. We will worry about the one sock later.  You can call it lazy, but I like to think of it as a teaching lesson. So I instituted the sock basket.

2) Kids kitchen storage basket; another post from earlier this year. I like to teach my children independence and that mom or dad or anyone else for that matter, does not always have to do things for them. My children are old enough to ask for a snack or a drink and I felt time they were capable of getting simple things on their own. I bought two cheapo baskets from Walmart and placed them in a kitchen cabinet low enough they could access it. In addition to the baskets, I had the kids start emptying the dishwasher on a daily basis.

Up onto that point it was sorta hit or miss. Again, I felt my kids were getting to the age, or past it, where they are able to help around the house. I had seen to many friends start having to fork over a portion or their paycheck to pay for their children allowance. I wondered why they waited so long to institute chores. Then I had a light bulb moment- they didn’t have to be chores if you simply instill in them they are household or family responsibilities. I feel that if you start a child early on household responsibilities they will grow up knowing they are helping out their family instead of feeling like they reserve some type of token or rewards.

So not only do my children unload their dishes and the silverware (I take out the sharp objects) they are capable of getting themselves a glass of water or a small snack. Warning: If you have younger children they will follow lead and do what their older brothers and sisters do. At one point I thought my fridge was leaking. I called out maintenance who informed me it was not my fridge, but my very intelligent and highly observational 20 month old who was coping what their older siblings were doing by getting herself a cup and trying to reach the button the water dispenser. Ugg.

3) Do not but the cute colored totes. Don’t do it. Walk away! I know they are cute with their fun colors that match the holidays but I bet you anything once you pack it all away and go next year to pull it out, you will have forgotten what you put in there. This same suggestion also goes hand in hand with clear Tupperware. Buy clear containers. For me- out of sight is out of mind. Whether it is the left overs from a month ago or rebuying the same decorations as you did last year, if you cant see what is in the box, you forget it is there. I throw out all my colored Tupperware. It was time, we got them as a wedding present. We invested in a Costco sized collection of clear contains for food storage. It has cut down our grocery bill. Now I can see what I have left over and what halfs of fruit or veggies I have and use them in a new dish. My fridge has never been so clean or organized.

But still have those cute colored 5 gallon totes for storage? I do. In order to use them and not pitch them, I bought a package of page protectors. I wrote out an inventory of what was in the tote and slipped it in the protector. Last I taped it on the tote. This works awesome if you are in the military like us and move frequently. We have learned that most moving companies don’t always want to repack those totes into their own boxed. Most times they will just take a quick look and tape them shut. We even had one company repack them with packing material and put it back in our tote. Makes moving and getting organized a whole lot easier.

4) Ditch the toy box. It is a toys death. Basically, when a toy hits the bottom it will never see the day of light again. It seems to be the small pieces, the broken toys and the outgrown toys that float to their depths. Which is great when you need to purge, but not so great for those expensive toys you bought her for her last birthday. Instead use smaller more manageable sized boxes for storage.  We repourposed our toy box (which was actually my toy box from childhood with a broken lid) into the dress up box. Most of her dresses, skirts and other bigger items go in there. Her smaller items like Barbies, Legos and baby doll stuff. Of course they are in clear totes with labels. The labels are words and photos. Words are great for early readers. It encourages them to sound things out. The pictures work great for the younger non-readers. Seeing a photo of a lego on her lego box helps her match them up and see what she has. Some might think it is a little OCD, but I think it is just common sense. Here is a peek at her shelves with smaller baskets.home organization

5) Table top organization. When you start having people, not family, filter in and out of your life on a daily basis, they do eventually become like family. There finally came a point where I told my children’s therapists to stop asking me for a glass of water and start helping themselves. I showed them were the cups where, how to get ice and press the button for water. Ok, maybe not that detailed, but I showed them around. They were coming into our home almost 20 hours a week and honestly I didn’t have time to stop every 5 seconds and answer their question where the pencils where. Finally, one day it hit me. I just need to create a way where my kids and their therapists could be independent. I seem to like that words a lot. So I drove  my happy self over to the local goodwill and stock up on the most disasterly hideous looking wide mouth vases I could find. Why? Because no matter the color in the store, they were all getting spray painted a uniform color of silver to match my decor. And to make my idea more awesomer was the fact that they were so disgusting they were deeply discounted. When it was all said and done about a hour later, I had a very cheap (I already had the basket in storage) and effective supply basket for the kids. There is a vase for all the remotes, pencils and sharper, markers, a few coloring books, wipes and a one for randomness. Another warning: said 20 month old from #2 will watch older siblings and find the only paper she can (which happens to be her brothers report card which was three weeks over due), climb up on the table, grab a nice brown marker and color all over the paper.
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Hoped some of these tips helped you. I know they have helped me and saved me time.

Tip{py} Tuesday: Spend the Money and Buy a Purse Organizer


Gah, it’s only Tuesday and I could stand to get a little tippy. This is going to be a incredibly long month for us. So I need all the help I can get to stay on track and organized. To help me with that is a amazing little product I seriously have waited a few years to get. Even when it’s precious self arrived, I refused to open the box because I wanted to savor the feeling that I bought it and it was mine…. And then Hubs told Bug to rip open the box because he thought I was being silly. Bug took my box and ran through the house with it. After hunting him down I finally got my precious.

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I stalked Etsy for quite some time before settling on this perfect little product. I admit, I attempted and failed, I reproducing it myself. Not once, but twice. It was a disaster. Finally, I realized this was another project I was capable of doing, but wasn’t capable of doing it right or to the perfectionism I wanted and expected.

I think, I first actually found this product on Pinterest a few years back. I fell in love with the camera purse hybrids, but they were all to rich for my blood and their styles were nothing I lusted over. After I saw some very manly and uglfied camera inserts, I realized a insert was what was needed since it would fit perfectly in my purse and still be the cute purse I loved and carried. I had just was gifted a AMAZING leather Coach purse and had no reason to not use that beautiful thing.

Once I tracked down the origin of the pin (see people it pays to make sure you include the source!) I was able to make contact with the seller and a week later, I had a perfectly customized camera purse insert from Martliena on Etsy. The customer service was amazballs. She was on top of every message I sent her within about a hour. So for all you instant gratification like people out there (including me) she is fabulous with feedback.

The product itself is just as amazing. It was made to fit inside a purse I already had and originally bought to use just for this purpose (sorry Coach purse, your on vacation until further notice). As a added bonus, I went on a trip a week later and discovered this insert fit perfectly into my backpack (that also on a daily basis doubles as my diaper bag!). Bonus! Inside the insert is a slit for a ipad, planner, table, book or whatever you feel needs to be in there. For me- I have placed my ipad, tablet, planner and notebook at one time or another. It also includes two outer pockets for phones, pens, makeup ect. However, my favorite part is the dividers! There are two removable dividers in the insert. Along the walls of the insert are heavy duty strips of velcro, which mimic the strips of heavy duty velcro on the divider tabs. This way you can make the sections as big or little as you want. My camera with lens attached, extra lens, wallet and a few other items along with my planner and Nexus 7 all fit perfectly and protected.

This is a must for everyone. Its one of those items I look back and think what did I do before I had it. Oh wait, I had smushed crackers, lost cell phone, open tube of lipstick and a cracked tablet screen. Yup, life changing product.

Tip{py} Tuesday – Craft Room Storage


photo-6Eventually I will be bringing you a round up of DIY fall crafts you can do with kids. I have mine slaving away right now working on some to make our home home fall festive. But until we are done and I have more coffee I decided to bring you some tips on organizing your craft room. Since I had to dig out some supplies for the fall projects we are working on; I decided to show you around my craft room and ways I try to pretend to be more organized.

The first thing I did when creating my craft room (or craft closet or craft desk; where ever you can carve out a little spot of yourself) was congering up some storage. I bought one of those $18 book cases at Walmart and was able to assemble it in a hour or so. But I hate run of the mill products and decided to use some fabric I bought in bulk, by mistake, to line the back of the shelf. You can’t tell much from the first photo, but the back of the shelf is a pink and white lattice pattern. I am sure there is a way to pull off the backing and line the back after assembly, but I suggest doing this step before hand. I had to add a little hot glue in places to help hold the backing to the shelf since the fabric was a little thicker than the length of the small puny nails supplied to attach the backing.  After assembly I filled her up.

The first shelf consists of all my ribbon. I bought a cheapo tension rod at Walmart and slid all the ribbon that could fit on it. Then stretched the rod to fit the lenght of the shelf. If I was smarter, I would have bought two tension rods and moved the shelf one peg hole lower in order to fit two rods on the top shelf.

The next shelf holds all my bulks of fabric. In order to have them all prettiely displayed, I cut up the free flat rate shipping boxes from the post office and wrapped my fabric around them. I have also seen people by comic book cardboard backings for the same usage. But I’m cheap and wanted instant gratification (Amazon would have taken to long).

photo-5My Third shelf houses my overflowing basket of fabric scraps. I do a lot of sewing and a lot of messing up! Instead of throwing out my unfinished crappy project, I rip the seams out and keep the scraps. I also have a random collection of lace doilies. They come in handy for projects to add a special handmade touch. You just don’t see them used much anymore and I love the vintage appeal they give.  This shelf also houses my Washi tape collection. Its puny I know, compared to some of my friends, but that stuff is not cheap! So I hoard it and use it only on special projects.  I was able to get the glass container for $6 at Walmart in the kitchen storage section.

photo-4On the bottom shelf is my sewing machine, books and random supplies, so random I have no idea what is even down there. I stole the curtain I made for another project and adapted it to fit here to hide the mess. What is funny is that the curtain isn’t even sewed with the machine. The hems and pocket for the tension rod are created with No-Sew. Sometimes I just don’t want to whip that big boy out for smaller easier projects.

I won’t show you the inside of my craft room, I will show you a few storage features I use. Most were formed from looking around my house and finding items I no longer used or wanted to change anyways. I told you; I’m cheap!

photo-3 I bought this from Ross and originally used it above my kitchen sink to hold my scrub brush, dish soap and other kitchen stuff. However, we moved into a new home where there was no room for it and it was just sitting in my storage closest. So…instant and free craft paint holder.

photo I often feel like a criminal, but I love collecting the free paint chip samples. They are so pretty and colorful and come in so hand for so many projects. I used them both on my moleskin calendar hack and my DIY butterfly mobile projects. I simply bought a little contain from Walmart and store them in color order.

photo-1 I love upcycling items and this is no different. I shared with you my storage solution earlier this year for all my random pens and markers. This container is what is left over from the Crystal Light packets.

photo-2 Lastly, is my Sharpie pen collection. After the mason jar craze, a bunch of parties I went to used them as sliverware holders, drink cups and more. I asked the hostess if I could have or buy them (for cheap!) after the party ended. However, you can buy them in bulk at Walmart for about $15 for 8.

 

I’d love to see what you all have come up with for storage solutions in your office or home. I’m always looking for new ways to make myself believe I am a organized person!