Monday, 14 October 2013

Office Overhaul: Part 2

Wow! A few days ago I didn't think there was going to be a Part 2 to my office for a while.  I have been lacking all motivation and inspiration.  For some reason yesterday I just wanted to finish my second draw in my desk.  Not sure why.  Maybe I wasn't feeling well. But I just did it.
I decided for this draw for this draw I would make up the dividers.  This was so there would be a bit more colour and also it's a lot cheaper.  I raided my box collection and came up with some boxes that would fit.
I cut them to the right height.  And arranged them in the draw. 

Next came the covering.  Now with this I really went out of my comfort zone.  Usually I would either cover them with all the same paper so it would match. But I decided to live on edge. Maybe I really wasn't feeling ok. A choose three different patterned paper.  I was worried that it would look stupid.  But it seemed to work well. 
So I covered them all. I tell you what. .. give me a large box to cover any day.  These were so fiddly. Anyway if you have seen my posts in the past I just use two strips of paper crossed over. And then glue them to the box.

So one down,  I don't want to know how many more to go. But I must say once they were all finished I was really happy with how they turned out.  And I'm also so happy that I took the plunge made  them different and not all the same.

I still have spare space in here but I still have a lot of organizing to do in my office.  Next I really want to sort the cupboard out.

Watch this space.  What have you done that was totally out of norm for you but it totally paid off? Mixed patterns?  Painted something red  when you normally like white? Please share!  I'd love to hear your stories!

Organized By... Renee

Friday, 11 October 2013

Pantry Paradise

Today I opened my pantry and said ok I'm going to reorganize this right now.  And that's what I did.  This was at breakfast time. I have been thinking about it for a while now. But every time I just closed the door again. There were two main reasons behind it being done again.
1. The top shelf just wasn't working.  Because it's so high I was just throwing things up there and it was getting lost.
2. My 3 year old daughter likes to help herself to the snacks and tends not to eat other food. So these needed to go to a higher shelf. I do have a child proof lock on the door but don't use it as it annoys the hell out of me and tends to keep me out of the cupboard not the girls. 
So this meant that everything needed to come out.  Once everything was out I gave the shelves a wipe over.  I like to think that I have a clean house but I never realise how dirty it is until I move something. Of course anywhere there is food, things get twice as dirty twice as fast.

So I started with the top shelf.  I thought the easiest way to keep things organized up there is to use buckets.  Two big ones that can be taken out and brought down to a lower level.  Then put back. But I needed to store things that aren't used very often.  The first thing that came to mind was my cake making supplies.  I don't make cakes every day. Only a few times a year for birthdays .  But when they are needed they are there.

So I put them in the bucket on the right. The left bucket is empty at the moment.  My whole kitchen needs an overhaul so this will be filled with something when that happens.
Inside the bucket from the back is my piping bags in the tin.  Then in the little container is food colouring, sprinkles and patty pans. Then at the front is some lolly bags left over from my daughter's birthday party. Now it's all contained and stored in an out of the way place.  Before it was taking up prime pantry real estate.

Next down is the snack boxes. I no longer have my label on here. I took it off when I added the second box. The box on the left is the box with the dividers.  The box on the right doesn't have any dividers as I use this for snacks that I have a lot of the same thing.  I must say I really love my snack boxes.  They work really well.  And they are holding up pretty well considering they get used every day and they are only covered with wrapping paper.

So next down is really what I would call the cooking shelf.  On the right is different oils.  Next door is spreads like peanut butter and honey etc. Then the next thing at the front is the breakfast cereal. 

Now behind the cereal is another container. This has cooking things that I hardly use.  But I do need to keep for those special occasions.  In the past this stuff has always ended up at the front and always got in the way. I'll see if this works better.

Under this is a stock shelf.  Juice, cooking supplies and baby food.

Then another stock shelf. This one has flour,  sugar, dried fruit and nuts.

I love these containers.  They are the decor range that you can buy from just about every where.  Woolworths have them on special every so often.  I love the labels.  They just click onto whatever size container. When you want to change it you rub the writing out with an eraser and write on it again with a pencil.  I've used them for years and have always worked great. And they are easier on the budget.

Last shelf has the potatoes and onions.  Also in the black bag has plastic shopping bags. And yes I fold my plastic bags.  They are so much more compact and easy to store that way. Who else folds their plastic bags?

I labeled as much as I could. I didn't make up pretty labels because some of the labels were going onto the containers and others straight onto the shelf.  So I just made up labels with my label maker and stuck them straight onto where they needed to go.  Simple as that.  I also think an organized pantry is beautiful in itself.  Am I alone on this or do you agree? 

Im really happy with how it turned out.  I didn't take long either.  I didn't have to sort through a lot of stuff.  There wasn't anything that needed to be thrown out.  When I do my shopping list each week I usually go through the pantry and fridge/freezer and sort everything out a bit. I see what is left over from the week before and try and use it up the next week.  This really saves throwing food out.  I do plan meals for the week. I have a white board on my fridge.  I write on there what the meals are for the week. Then I just rub out the ones we have already had.  But I decide each day what's for dinner that night. So now this will make the whole process easier.

How do you do your meals?  Are you a planner or do you wing each night?

Organized By. .. Renee

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Project Recap: Has my organizing worked?

This post is all about looking back at projects that I've done and seeing if it's worked with every day life.  Sometimes you organize something and it looks great but then life gets in the way. After a while it ends up chaotic. But there are also the times that these areas have been used every day and they work great! They look pretty much the same as the day they were done.  This makes me feel very happy.  I love opening a cupboard and looking at it and it still looks orderly.
So let's take a look!  Now the before pictures are the pictures taken after they were first done.  The after pictures were taken today.  I didn't do any tidying up.  I opened the cupboard and clicked. Also they have obviously been in use for different times.  Some have only been done recently.
With any organizing it's trial and error.  Some of these spaces are working great! Others need some tweaking. Just because it's not working  doesn't mean I have failed or hopeless at organizing. What I did might work great for someone else but it doesn't work for me.  And that's ok. Everyone is different.
I do think that after a while you get to know what works for you.  For me containers work really well.  It contains everything and when putting everything away all you need to do is toss the items into the container and you are done.

So first up is my en suite bathroom.  I still smile when I open this cupboard.  This cupboard gets used every day.  My 1 year old daughter also loves to pull things out of this cupboard on a very regular basis.  It's easy to tidy up and maintain. 

Next is the bookcase in the playroom.  Its working well.  The four big containers on the bottom work great.  Its easy to clean up for me and my girls.  I added a couple of things. It was so great to have the  space to put it.

One of the most important places in a home to keep organized is that space were everything is dumped when you  first walk in the door.  For me this is my kitchen bench.  I made up a basket for this purpose.  I put my keys staight into here and any papers or mail. I made it on the small side. This is because of the lack of space it makes me go through it regularly. This might not work for everyone but so far its working great for me.  I did add a small box. I found that I always seem to have small things hanging around like stray buttons etc. I keep these in here.  I always know were to find them and they don't seem to get lost.

Then there is girls bathroom.  When I did this there wasn't much in here but it was a complete mess.  I was really interested to see how this cupboard would go with my daughter pulling everything out every day.  I'm happy to report that it hardly takes any time at all to whip it back into shape every day.  It works great.

After that was the laundry.  I still love this cupboard as there is so much storage.  It has been working pretty well.  But this is one space that needs some tweaking.  I've changed some of my laundry products.  So I need to get in there and change things around.  Watch this space for a post about this soon.

My next project was the start of my office.  I have done one draw and I have lost all motivation and inspiration. The draw is working well.  But I'm not really happy with the look. I think it looks flat and boring. One day a light bulb will go off and I'll get it all done in one day. I wouldn't say this one is a failure because it does work really well. 

So then there was my 1 year olds wardrobe.  This space is working fantastically.  When I did this I hung more of her clothes up as this freed up more space in her draws. I love the colours in here when I open it.

Last but definitely not least was my broom cupboard.  This is still only new, but so far so good.  I have added to my collection of boxes but there was plenty of space for them. This space will definitely be tested soon as I would like to start on my office cupboard.

My tips for organizing a space.  Hopefully a successful one is...
• always empty out the whole space first. It's much easier to start with a blank canvas. Most often when you do this things really get changed around.  If you leave things in there then you tend to work around them and then you will probably end up in the same situation.
• think about what you use the space for the most. How can I improve it's function?
• what things do I need to help keep it organized and easier to use?
• when putting everything back,  put it back in way that you would do every day.  Not the way they do in the magazines. Sometimes it might not look pretty but if it works,  that's the most important thing.
• label,  label,  label!  When something is labeled it's makes putting it away a lot easier especially for other members of the family. Even for me there are spaces that I have organized myself and I still use labels to make sure I put everything back in the right place.
• ok now I'm going to sound like your mother. I'm sorry.  If you get it out put it back. I don't have some magical trick to keep things in the right place by themselves.  YOU have to maintain it. For me I like to toss so containers work great.  I tend to stick to smaller containers so I only toss a few things into a container. And it keeps the mess to a minimum.
• most importantly,  if it doesn't work change things around.  It doesn't always work the first time as I've shown you. 
I hope you have enjoyed looking at my triumphs and failures.  And I would like to wish you all the best of luck with all your projects.  What is your favorite organizing tool?

Organized By... Renee

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

All Hooked Up

Recently did a post about organizing my broom cupboard. I promised a post about my big green box that finally has a purpose.  Well here it is!

Years ago I was given this green box.  Until now it has never had a purpose before.  It's nearly been thrown out a few times. But I always kept it for some reason.  And I'm really glad I did! When I was sorting out all my spare containers mixed in with the mess was all my spare 3M command hooks and picture hooks. Really. .. how am I supposed to find anything? I have organized these in the past but obviously it hasn't worked. So I hope this will.

I gathered all the hooks and bits a pieces together.  Then put them into families. 
Because this box had been sitting for a while I took out all the dividers and gave everything a good wipe over as it was a bit dusty. 

Now the fun part! I put the dividers back in where they were needed. And put my hook families into their new homes.

Now as you can see its not just all hooks in here. The is also spare 3M command strips and spare key rings.  I know I have enough key rings there to last for the next 20 years.  But one day when we went down to bunnings they had a special going. I think is was $1 a packet (4 key rings in a packet). So we got a few packets. There really isn't anything worse than a stray key. So now I have them on hand for when the need arises.
Also in here you will see some little containers.  In these are picture hooks with nails that are quite sharp and small in size as well.  So I raided my collection of containers and found these. They are containers that came with dummies I have bought. Great for small things.

Now the only way this was going to stay organized is if it was labeled. So out comes the label maker.  I was going to put the labels straight onto the box but the green  colour is quite dark and I would have problems reading it. And that kind of defeats the purpose of having labels in the first place. And of course I wanted to make it a bit pretty.  It's a great box and very useful but it isn't pretty.  I did think about covering the bottom with coloured contact but that would mean a trip to the shops. I wasn't keen on that idea as the budget for this project was $0. Maybe I might do this at a future date. So really the only way I could pretty it up a bit was with labels. 
I cut out pretty paper into strips.  Then I put the labels onto the paper.

I just used sticky tape loops to stick them on. It costs next to nothing.

There it is! This will make hanging something up so much easier and more pleasant.  Do you have your spare organizing things organized?

Organized By... Renee

Saturday, 21 September 2013

The Boring Storage Spaces

I think just about everyone has one of cupboards or rooms that is used for 'storage' but really the only thing being stored is a mess. Well maybe the exception to this is my mother.  Every corner,  cupboard, even the garage is organized. But mum is retired and has a bit more time on her hands. She also is really disciplined about putting everything back. This is definitely where I got my love of organizing from. Mum has always loved pulling a cupboard apart and putting everything back  in a more functional way. And her hobby is collecting glass jars. Big and small.  She mainly uses them in her pantry.

Back onto subject. My disaster zone. My disaster zone is my broom cupboard.  It has a door so it's easy to pretend it's not there. But no more! The secret is out. It is time to get this space sorted!

In this space I wanted to store my broom, mop, duster and all my spare containers and little boxes for organizing projects.   So I needed shelves.  One shelf at the top is nowhere near enough.  That's why we are in this mess now. I can't go putting up shelves as I rent.  Then I thought about the shelf I already have in the garage.  I measured it up and it was a perfect fit.  Yay! And no I didn't steal that shelf.  Because then I would be fixing one problem by creating another one.  So off the Bunnings (my favourite store). I got the same shelf for $15. Yes it's just plain galvanised steel,  but I didn't want to spend a fortune on a fancy shelf.

So out comes everything.  When organizing I find it so much easier to start with a clean slate. While it was empty I also gave everything a good wipe over. I think that's an important part because everything looks so much better if it's clean as well.

The shelf came as a flat pack.  Now last time I put this shelf together it took me about 2.5 hours. This time it took me about an hour. And yes that was following the instructions both times.  Well because that's what we women do right?

In goes the shelf into the cupboard.  I was so excited.  I always get excited when I get more usable storage space.  Are you like that or am I the strange one out?

Now it's time to sort through everything. I'm a collector of boxes.  When I buy something the box it comes in gets the once over. I love making up dividers out of old boxes and covering them with wrapping paper.  It's much easier on the budget.  And whenever I want to do a project like that,  do you think I have the right boxes? So I keep the ones that are sturdy and usually small in size. I sorted through all my precious boxes. And I did throw a few out. And I fit them all into one big box. All my plastic containers went into a spare red basket. I have four of these baskets which are cardboard covered with fabric. These live under my tv in the cabinet.  Not sure why I have 5. Its a bit of an odd number.

So starting on the top shelf.  Yes it's empty!  I didn't have anything to put there. I do love it when that happens. It's great not having so much stuff that every inch is covered.  So if I ever need to find a new home for something I have the space. So I took a picture of it because I LOVE having spare space. Ok that's a bit strange too. It's really coming out today.  Oh dear!

So next down is a green box. Now this green box I was given years ago.  And I've been carting it around ever since and it's never been used. It's nearly been thrown out a few times. But no more.  It now has a purpose.  And that is to organize all my hooks for hanging pictures and other bits and pieces. Watch this space for a post about this soon. Next to that is just an empty basket yet to find a use.

So then is all my wonderful containers and boxes.

Now when I put the shelf in the cupboard I put it to one side so that I could fit my ironing board in there as well.  Up until now my ironing board has been living beside my fridge. Now it has a proper home.

On the door I was so excited about hanging up my broom, mop and duster.  So I got some over door hooks from my collection and hung everything up. Then stood back and admired my work. All finished! So I closed the door. wouldn't close! Sometimes I really hate my doors as there isn't much room for over door hooks.  So into my collection I went. And I had some different ones. And they worked!  Happy dance! Ok I'm really finished. 

Im really happy with this space.  It's not really pretty but it works really well.  I have some other areas to sort out still, so the spare space in here is really going to come in handy. One area I really need to get stuck into is my office. I have started it but that's it. So a lot of the things that I'm currently storing in there will probably find a new home in here now.
So there is still lots more sorting to do but now I'm motivated to do it because when I organize another area I have spare storage space. 
What are your disaster areas? Are they hiding or in plain view?

Organized By. .. Renee

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Pink Pink and More Pink: Girls Wardrobe

Having two girls there is a LOT of pink around here. But I don't mind at all.  It's such a pretty colour.
Well this morning was one of those times when I open a cupboard and think to myself ok today I'm organising this.  Do you organize on the spur of the moment? I do all the time. And this time it was my 1 year olds wardrobe. 

So I started by clearing everything out except the hanging clothes.  They were already all sorted.  But on the bottom was boxes of old clothes and shoes stacked on top of the boxes. Top shelf was just bits and pieces every where.  Old nappy bag that has gone in the bin.  It has done a fantastic job through two babies but is now falling apart.  There was also art supplies for my 3 year old.
Starting on the bottom of the wardrobe I put a bin for shoes. They do get tossed in and it's still neat and tidy and they can't stray.  Next to that is another bin for spare nappies and wipes.  When in use these live on the top of the chest of draws. So that was pretty easy to tidy. 

The top of the wardrobe took a bit longer. The boxes that were on the bottom of the wardrobe were full of old baby clothes.  So I got rid of some of the clothes. Some needed to go in bin, others I have given away. So these clothes now need something nice to be stored in.  I didn't want to spend a fortune on pretty boxes.  But I still wanted it to look pretty.  In the past I have always used old nappy boxes to store all my old baby clothes.  They work well and are usually the right size to put in the top of a wardrobe. So I decided to stay with what works.  I just got some wrapping paper and covered the front and down the sides a bit.  I didn't bother to cover the whole box as I won't be taking them out very often (probably the next time will be when I move house) but still want it to look nice when I open the cupboard.

For the label I laminated some pink paper.

 I attached it with sticky tape loops on the back.

 Then I wrote on the front with a white board marker so when I need to change it it's easy and cheap.

So thats the three boxes taken care of and I'm so happy how they turned out! The fourth box is a special  box. I call it a memory box.  It has things like my daughter's ID band from the hospital when she was born.  Cards from when she was born and birthday cards.  Her baby book etc. I'm yet to decorate it. I want to make something really pretty with her name on the front. Not sure what I'm going to do yet.

So there it is. It's all very pink and girly. But I love it every time I open the door!

With everything I organize I always try to think of the best way to do it so it stays organized and it's practical. Otherwise it kind of defeats the purpose.  How do you go with maintaining your cupboards?

Organized By. ..Renee