Category Archives: Organize

Craft/Play Room Reveal

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Here we are in the Ides of March and I’m done with my project!

This was the first time I set out to makeover a complete room all at once and the first time I tried to work within a budget. Overall, I’m very pleased with the outcome. Although it wasn’t exactly as perfect as I had it pictured in my head (is it ever?), it is a vast improvement on what it was and a good starting point for improvements to be made in the future. Budget-wise? I failed. I don’t have time to tally up the damage tonight, but I think it was somewhere between $150 and $200. I’m planning to add it up and post all the nitty-gritty details tomorrow. Today is just for appreciating the pleasant space that is my craft and play room. I hope you get a few ideas for any trouble spots that may be lurking in your home. Honestly, if I can do this, anyone can.

Here are the “afters”:

I spent almost the whole first week just focusing on this closet. Everything came out and then got sorted, labeled, and put back in. EVERYTHING has a label on it. I used the over-the-door shoe holders I already had along with some covered boxes, baskets and Ziploc food storage containers. The clothespin labels are just like the ones from our clothes closet.

These are photos from Hubby and my trip to Barcelona. They were sitting in a box so I decided to showcase them in this frame I had something else in before. I’ve been to that city several times and I’m always so inspired by the mosaics and architecture and lively atmosphere. I found out I was pregnant with Boo-Boo on the day we got back so this trip was especially special.

Remember the mirror that reflected a blank wall? Now it reflects the windows and craft table. That light switch caused a spacing problem so I decided to hang it as a diamond instead of a straight square. (Thanks for making that happen, Hubby!)

I really wanted an area for Boo-Boo to be able to reach his toys and be able to pick and choose what he wanted. The four baskets have toys arranged by type. Once a week I rotate things out to keep it interesting. The books are also rotated. The toys not in use are in the second closet (along with out-of-season clothes) and the books are in the wall shelving. Those shelves, if you’ve never seen them before, are just brackets with large books on top. I’ve seen it done where they actually drill a hole in the book to make it the shelf, but I wasn’t about to puncture any of my precious books! (Props to Hubby for making these happen, too.)

Finally, my craft table is meant to be a bright and open workspace. I have a few supplies displayed in the curios above and a note board (made from ½  yard of fabric and an old poster frame) to post reminders and clip inspiration pieces. The box on the table is to keep the supplies I’m using for an ongoing project. I usually take several days to finish up and instead of leaving everything spread out I can store it in there quickly. There are more book shelves over here and a small couch for relaxing. In case we play too hard!

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Hide it in a box

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Yesterday, I talked about how I decided to try displaying some of my supplies while keeping most of them hidden away. With a limited budget, I didn’t have much money to spend on boxes to store things. I did spend $6 on clear, plastic storage boxes with lids (more about that later) and I bought new baskets for the toy shelf. This box was, however, free. Inspired by this tutorial on how to make a fabric-covered box, I decided to cover a shipping box with Contact paper.

BEFORE: Shipping boxes (brought Boo-Boo a gift from Nana!)

Following her advice, I used a box cutter to remove the top flaps from one of the boxes we recently received from Nana. I laid each side down on the back side of the paper and traced a line where I would need to cut. I left about a half inch extra. I peeled off the backing and stuck the sheet on. The great thing about working with Contact paper if you’ve never used it before is that it can be re-stuck if you don’t get it quite right on the first try as I often do. I cut a diagonal slit at the corners and folded the sides around the edges. I ended up leaving the inside plain cardboard brown. It could easily be covered or lined with fabric like the original tutorial shows. I did this one and a couple others.

AFTER: Decorative box

One month and One hundred dollars

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I’m about to get really real with you all.

One of the rooms in my house is a complete disaster and it’s driving me nuts. This room was formerly the master bedroom and currently a play space, storage space, craft space, and catchall for clutter. A few months ago, I organized my crafting supplies in the closet. At the time I knew this would only be a temporary fix. As I do more projects now for the blog, I need to be able to access my supplies (and clean them up!) in a more efficient way. I’m usually crafting on borrowed time and don’t want to spend 15 minutes digging for my glue gun or tape or that fabric I just knew I saved. (By the way, why do they always wake up from their naps when you are SO close to being finished with something?)

Moving on, there are other issues in the room that need help. There is a huge, white wall that I cannot paint but must do something with. There is that mirror that I’ve been meaning to move for, like, a year. There is the drab plastic folding table that is my crafting table. (The list goes on and on in my head.)

I also want this to be a dedicated play space with proper storage for all of the toys. We have other play areas in the living room and kitchen, but this will be the main room. With that in mind, I want the space to be bright, clean and inviting for my little darlings to play in.

So what am I doing to do about it? First, I took a bunch of “Before” snaps for your viewing pleasure. (Below them is my challenge!)

Here’s the BEFORE:

The Challenge: Make this space into a functional, organized, safe, fun room for crafting and playing. I have one month (till March 15) and $100.

Your advice, comments, and support are all appreciated!

Wipe-off Labels

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You are 30 seconds away from looking and feeling more organized. Okay, it may take you longer to gather your supplies, but I promise this is really easy.

First you need a box or bin. This is a dollar store bin but you could use anything– even a shoe box.

BEFORE: Ordinary bin

Next, use some clear packing tape to stick on a colorful strip of paper. Again this could be anything: reused mail or packaging, construction paper, scrapbook paper (like mine). Or you could skip the paper all together and just stick on some tape.

Now, you use a Vis-a-Vis marker to write your label. Remember the Vis-a-Vis? It’s the wet erase marker your teachers used to use on the overhead projector and stain the side of her hand with. (You could use a dry erase, but depending on where you use these it may get erased accidentally.)

AFTER: Bin with reusable label

Congratulations, you now look like an organization queen! These would be great for toys, books, desk stuff. It could work for a child’s sorting game or for storing your accessories. This one lives in my refrigerator. I can easily change the label to match the contents. I usually put all the ingredients for a particular meal inside and write “Thursday dinner” or whatever the case may be. It helps me not loose track of my foods and it’s convenient to reach in and grab one box when I’m ready to cook.

Clothespin organizing

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I came across this blog post about closet dividers on Pinterest a few months ago. I loved the idea, but the way our closet bars are designed there wouldn’t be space for a large, CD-sized marker.

Recently, I’ve become more frustrated by our disorganized closets. Digging through to see what is clean, what matches, and *oops* what still fits while wrangling my energetic baby isn’t always quick and easy. And I like things to be quick and easy.

BEFORE: Hard-to-Find Clothes

After staring at my closet railing for an idea as to what would fit, I realized that a clothespin would work beautifully. Using small pieces of scrapbook paper, I wrote the days of the week, covered each with a protective piece of clear packing tape, and hot glued it onto a clothespin.

Now when I’m hanging up clean clothes I just organize them by outfit (usually two per day for Boo-Boo) and hang them by the day. If I know that one day will be the really cold, for example, I can save the warmest outfit for then. This way, I’m not stuck saying “All his sweaters are dirty!” fifteen minutes before we need to leave the house.

AFTER: Quick and Easy

I decided to make a set for myself too.

Gift Bag Re-Use

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When Boo-Boo was born I got so many darling little gifts in darling little gift bags from my wonderful friends. The bags were all so cute with their little bears and trucks and baby boy motifs. I didn’t want to just recycle them, but I didn’t think I would attend enough baby showers to be able to use them up.

BEFORE: Baby shower gift bags

I quickly found a use for them in sorting the multitude of sizes and seasons I had in baby clothes. I have clothes for the near future stored in the bags on a top shelf in the closet. They wouldn’t work for long-term storage, but they are an interesting way to keep things I don’t need at the moment but also don’t want to forget about.

This would also work for shoes and accessories and perhaps speciality cooking items in the kitchen. Anything, really.

Now I can find his clothes when he needs them.

AFTER: Storage bags

Saturday is entryway day.

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Thank you for reading my special weeklong series about cleaning my house. Having a schedule doesn’t mean I stick to it every day, but it does help me keep track of daily priorities. It helps me pay attention to even the smallest parts of my house. The smallest of all the areas is the entryway, but it tends to be the most messy. I’ve tried to organize everything so that this cluttered catch-all is contained.

Saturday is entryway day.

Because of the shape of my house, it’s impossible to get a proper snap of the whole space. I tried. From the ‘before’ it’s obvious that I had food stored in my front closet. I don’t have a pantry so I thought I could make this work, but it did not. Once I re-arranged some things in my kitchen, I had more room to store coats, shoes and bags in this closet. The metal over-the-door hooks were previously turned to the outside of the door, but that was a cluttery mess. I turned it to the inside because there’s room now and I allow myself to keep one purse, umbrellas, a small bag with gloves inside, and hats on it. On the side wall of the closet is a shoe storage bag. This is where shoes we don’t usually wear stay. The frequently-used shoes stay on the outer shoe rack. One day I dream of having a bench with shoe storage underneath. It isn’t going to happen right now. The vacuum also hides in here along with my grocery store bags and a couple of Hubby’s presentation posters. On that top shelf is usually his soccer bag. He started keeping all his soccer paraphernalia inside and that’s helped to cut down on the shoes.

On the wall we have a clock, key rack and I recently added a desk mail sorter. That will hold any urgent paper reminders or outgoing mail. I put an old round table underneath. I generally dislike round tables because of their awkward shape. This one was Hubby’s from before we got married. It’s covered with two fabric scraps. An easy way to cover a round table without making a round table cloth is just layering two rectangular cloths on top. Below is a hiding place for items that need to go somewhere like books to be returned or cans of oil to be added to the car or a gift to be given. Those kind of things would previously wait around on the stairs or floor and drive me nuts– or simply be forgotten because they weren’t in my face. Two wire baskets sit on top of the round table for incoming mail and Hubby’s things. I suppose it’s because they don’t have a purse, but men always seem to have a lot of little things–wallet, sunglasses, ID badge, kufis–to keep track of.

This space is better now- there is a place for everything I need coming and going- but I do have some plans to make it even more welcoming. Keep reading to see.

AFTER: Welcoming Entryway