Category Archives: Organization

A Little Organization and Decluttering…

I finally got around to really cleaning out the room that will eventually be a nursery. Since we’ve moved in it’s mostly been a storage area for my husband’s things. All of his signed sports memorabilia, guitars, amplifier, pedals, jerseys etc etc. I also had some of my things in there as well. I didn’t take any before or after pictures of that space but we hung alot of his things on the walls in our basement and what was left over either went in the basement or fit into the closet in that room. So there’s only like 2 plastic storage bins of clothes in that room now and some things we got for Luca.

On to the next two rooms (which I do have pictures of). They’re still in progress so I haven’t taken after photos but I wanted to show you where it was before I started. I’ve been building my scrapbook room desk and painting in there so all of my scrapbook room things have been piled up in the guest bedroom. Not only that but I also have all of my gift wrapping supplies in the guest room and some old clothes, purses, my veil from my wedding etc. etc. Basically tons of random stuff that I didn’t know what to do with so it got thrown in there. This is seriously embarrassing to show and my sister in laws who are clean freaks would divorce me if they lived here haha.

So, the silver storage rack was moved into my scrapbook room and all of my scrapbook room things have been moved into that room. I had my old Christmas ornaments and decor from the condo (and my old Christmas color scheme) in here so that all went to the basement. The doggy Santa costumes went to the basement with all of the other doggy costumes. I went through TONS of old memorabilia of mine (old wristbands from events, letters, etc) and threw alot of it away. I’m still working on it but imagine this room with the bed completely cleared and all of the floor space cleared off. The only things left in there are in the closet which I have yet to go through. Yayy!! I’ll probably post pictures of that soon.

Here are the most recent pictures I have taken of the scraproom. It’s actually much further along than these pictures depict but you haven’t seen this stage yet. Here it shows that I have all of the cabinets in place, the support structure built, and the desk top added. I just recently finished painting it but the top looks a little streaky. My friend Rochelle just told me about some self leveling paint that supposedly eliminates the roller marks so I may decide to repaint the desktop just to make it look a little cleaner on the top. For now I’m working on organizing my things in this space. I’ve already filled all of the drawers and set up my computer and printer. I’m trying to figure out how I want to place things. Ideally, most of the desktop will remain clear so I have as much work space as possible. I need to buy some shelves and the gold picture of my grandmother on the floor in my guest room is going to be hung on the wall somewhere in my scrapbook room. So anyway, still lots to do. I also need to buy a wireless router so I can get internet in there.

Scraproom In Progress
Scraproom In Progress

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I will do some more organizing in here and then take pictures of where I’m at present day.

Cleaning and Organizing the Garage!

Ugh, let me start by saying my lower back and feet are on FIRE and I’m soooo tired from cleaning and organizing my garage. I’m still not satisfied with it’s current state but I don’t have the money to buy any of the hooks and shelving I need to get alot of the clutter off of the floor at the moment and even if I did I’m just about out of energy.

I forgot to take a before picture before putting up my first metal rack and the shovel holder on the wall so these pictures aren’t really a TRUE reflection of how bad the garage had gotten before this summer. I was seriously so excited to get all of my shovels and brooms hung up so they weren’t leaning against all of the walls. That alone made a huge difference. The metal rack is from Costco and I think was about $80. They’re expensive but I like that they’re on wheels and I can move them to clean and I can take them with me if we decide to move. They’re also super sturdy and hold alot of weight. I can stand on the shelves without worrying they’re bend or break which is nice.

I spent alot of my time clearing cobwebs, getting rid of spiders (and LOTS of their eggs *ewwww*) sweeping, hosing things down, hanging them on my new pegboard I just installed and putting things in the little white drawer unit (that was previously empty and covered in dirt) next to my metal shelving unit. I also threw a bunch of things out and consolidated things so that I was able to get rid of about 4 empty cardboard boxes when I was done. I do still have some unused space on my metal rack so I may move some things around to maximize the storage capacity but I’ll leave that for another day. I was able to move the BBQ back by the wall and toward door opening so it will be really easy to get in and out to grill. If you hover the mouse over each picture it will tell you if it was a before or after shot and as always you can click to view anything larger.



Here’s a group of befores of the third bay area of the garage.

The area that I think is the biggest difference.

After Cleaning
After Cleaning
After Cleaning
After Cleaning
Disregard the green storage boxes–those are moving to the basement and the cardboard box next to that I need to go through. It has a bunch of things from my childhood that I need to go through and didn’t feel like dealing with today lol.

In the VERY near future I plan to buy at least one (maybe 2) new metal racks. I want to put it right next to the one that’s already there so all of the stuff currently on the floor in the picture will be put up on shelves (all of our empty cans that need to be taken back to the store etc.). I need to buy hooks to hang our cornhole game boards, our fertilizer spreader and the step ladder up on the wall. The two lawn bags are garbage and will be thrown out on Thursday. But anyway….at least we can walk in the third bay of our garage right now and go in and out of that garage door with the bikes rather than trying to get them out between the cars because the third bay was too cluttered to exit out of.

The Great Pantry Cleanout and Reoganization 2014!!

I’ve organized the pantry several times since being in this home and it’s never been as well organized as it is today. Eventually, I would like to have a professional closet organization company help me out with this area of the house because the current shelves the builder put in really aren’t meant to hold much weight. They’re already starting to bow in the centers so I’ve had to try and switch our heavier items to the far sides of the shelves while putting lighter items towards the center. Unfortunately, that’s not in our budget at the moment so I’m making due with what we have. I invested in plastic food storage containers by the brand Flip-Tite. I found the first container at TJ Maxx but they only had one container. I liked it alot better than the Oxo Pop containers because when you hold the container by the lid it stays in tact. If you try to hold a Pop container by the lid the lid will slowly slip away from the container indicating an inferior seal. I found alot more of the Flip-Tite containers on Amazon.com and later found even more containers by that brand at Home Goods.

I also bought a few wicker baskets from Target for the pantry makeover. I’ve had them for awhile now and I’ve switched out the items in the baskets many times trying to get the right mix of pretty and function. These baskets work, however I wish they were taller so when filled you didn’t see items sticking out of them. Anyway here are the before pictures. (These pics were actually taken about a year ago. I don’t have a more recent before picture.) Click on any of the photos to view them larger.

Before Pantry Makeover
Before Pantry Makeover

The first thing I did was take all of my beans, soup, bouillon cubes, soup stocks, and canned tomatoes and moved those to an empty cupboard I had after my kitchen cabinet reorganization. Then, I moved all of the alcohol and infrequently used kitchen appliances to the basement. I took all of my drink mixes out of their cylindrical containers and put them all in a large Zip-lock bag to save space. Many of my dry goods like sugars, flours, quinoa etc were put into the Flip-Tite containers and labeled with removable sticky labels by Post-It. Once that was complete I grouped all of my like items on the kitchen counter and determined which groups of items would fit best in the baskets I had. Finally, I took black card stock from my scrapbook collection and a round circle punch that you can buy at any craft store and punched out circles. I then labeled them with a silver paint pen I had on hand to create labels for my baskets and hung them from the handles with green ribbon I already had.

It looks SOOOOO much better in my opinion. I have one large basket that holds almost all of my baking supplies (marshmallows, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, caramel drizzle, raisins etc. I have another basket labeled “Baking Mix” which has pancake mix, cake mix and muffin mix. I have a basket labeled “Dressing/Marinade” that has salad dressings, sauces etc. I put my bags of croutons next to that on the right and to the left of that basket I have some packets of salad dressing seasonings. The basket “Pasta/Sides” has pre-made sides like flavored rice packs, flavored noodles etc. The basket “Pasta” has dried pasta in it, all different types. Next to it are some noodles that came in a bag that I put into a Flip-Tite container, and to the right of it I have a pack of Ramen noodles that my husband likes to have for a quick snack at night. My “Snack” basket is a little overfilled and not exactly practical. I will have to figure something else out for that but right now it has some bags of chips, some sunflower seed snacks, nutrition bars, etc. To the right of that are boxed cereals and oatmeal. And get this…there’s NOTHING on the floor in my pantry anymore!!!! YAYYYY! That was a big goal of mine because both of my dogs shed and their hair would float under the door and I couldn’t vacuum easily with all of that stuff in the way.

After Pantry Makeover
After Pantry Makeover
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I used to buy too much food in bulk which frequently wasn’t used before expiration and just takes up too much space. So it’s now a new mission of mine to only buy the food I would eat within a 1-2 week period so I don’t accumulate more than I need. Also, I’m trying to eat out of my freezer and pantry and ONLY buy a few ingredients I need here or there to complete a meal. This will hopefully encourage me to use up some ingredients I already have and not spend money I don’t need to when I have TONS of food in my house. I hope you like what I’ve done 🙂

–Robin

Kitchen Cabinet Organization (as of July 2014)

Is there anything more annoying than kitchen cabinet organization? Once you think you have it figured out you scrap that idea and find a new, better way and wonder why it took you so long to realize it. Well, I can tell you that I’ve arranged and rearranged my cabinets several times since living in this house and at the moment I’m feeling pretty decent about what I have going on but there are still things I want to do.

Here is a picture that was actually taken about a year ago that shows my disfunctional spice cabinet. You’ll actually notice in the after picture that we have about twice as many items in the cabinet now than we had at that time and yet it’s way more useable space now.

Before Cabinet Organizer
Before Cabinet Organizer

To corral the chaos I bought this spice rack from Amazoncom.

Spice Rack from Amazon.com
Spice Rack from Amazon.com
Before you buy an organizer like this make sure you measure the inside space of your cabinet to ensure the organizer will fit when the door is CLOSED (that’s obviously really important so make sure you measure a few times). It was super inexpensive and Amazon has always shipped items extremely fast for me.

Now, once you have the organizer don’t just go screwing the thing into your beautiful wood cabinets because there are alot of ways to go wrong in this department. Hang the organizer where you think you would like it on the inside of the door using lots of painters tape or duct tape and then shut the door to ensure it closes. Adjust it if it doesn’t shut or adjust the shelves inside if they’re in the way. If it shuts and you think it’s good at this point try putting some of your spices inside (use the tallest spice jars you have) and put them on both ends of the spice rack on all tiers of the spice rack and try shutting the doors again. This make take lots of adjustments to get it just right. Even now, the way this rack fits inside my cupboard means I can’t put my taller spice jars on the second tier so consider which spices you want on which tier before you make your final adjustments and screw into your cabinet.

Here is the state of my spice cabinet today.

Spice Cabinet Organization 2014
Spice Cabinet Organization 2014
Spice Cabinet Organization 2014
Spice Cabinet Organization 2014

I put all of my bulk sized spices on the bottom shelf because those are the ones I access most often including my oil sprays. The second shelf has some spices I use for baking and don’t access as often as well as toothpicks and a plastic storage container that contains some prepackaged seasonings. The top shelf has duplicate spices or refill spices (like the large containers of salt/pepper etc) and extra oil sprays. In the spice rack itself I just fit as many of the small spice jars as possible to clear out the cabinet area and keep it cleaner over time.

You’ll notice that I still have some wasted space toward the top of the cabinet door.

Wasted Space at the top of the cabinet door.
Wasted Space at the top of the cabinet door.
If I’m ever feeling antsy I may try to put a magnetic strip and hang my super tiny spice jars. You know, like the mini allspice container etc? But at the moment it’s unneccesary and I have a million other projects to tackle. I also wouldn’t mind buying spice jars that were rectangular and wide. This spice rack as some extra room front to back (rather than side to side) so if I could find some skinny rectangular jars that would take up more room front to back and less room side to side I could probably fit several more spice jars on each row and really maximize the space I have and also make it prettier because all of the containers would match but I haven’t seen any jars that shape. If you see any let me know 🙂

Another one of the organization projects I’m pretty excited over is my medicine storage. Before it’s current state I had all of our medicine and vitamins stored in an old shoe box under my kitchen sink. As you can imagine everything gets jumbled around as you dig for what you need. Bottles of Nyquil tip over and leak and everything eventually becomes a sticky mess. So I went to Meijer and bought a cheap plastic organizer. I think this was around $10? I wanted something with taller drawers in it but this was all they had and I was desperate to get this handled quickly and didn’t want to look around different stores.

Medicine Storage
Medicine Storage
I labeled the top drawer “Pain Relief” and “other” because I put my dog’s medicine in that also. That has things like headache medicine and anti-inflamitory meds. The second drawer is “Stomach Relief” and has heart burn meds, acid reflux meds and things of that nature. The third drawer is labeled “Cold and Flu” and that obviously has cold medicines, immune system boosters etc.
Cold and Flu Medicine Drawer
Cold and Flu Medicine Drawer

Eventually, I will get some cuter labels but I just used what I had on hand for the mean time. Here’s everything I have under the cabinet. On the left door I have a sturdy metal basket that hangs on the door to hold my heavier items like vinegar (which I clean with ALL the time) and dish soap. I used to store those items in the basket underneath (bought from Meijer in the bathroom section).

Under Sink Storage
Under Sink Storage

It actually had suction cups on the back of it and was meant to hang items inside the shower but I just removed the suction cups. That basket is just hanging there on clear plastic Command hooks however they were a bit heavy for that method of hanging and the basket kept falling. So now I’m using it to hold sponges. The right side baskets are the same as that bottom basket and are also held up with Command Hooks. The top basket stores the opened liquid medicines that I wanted to store upright so I didn’t have to deal with leaks or spills. The bottom basket isn’t being used at this point but it’s room to grow. The woven brown basket in the back holds all of my floor cleaners for tile, hardwood, spotbot etc. You may just barely see the small light brown basket on the far left inside the cabinet. That holds my dishwasher detergent pods and my Swiffer duster and refills.

The other space I’m super excited about is this skinny little cabinet to the right of my dishwasher.

Skinny Cabinet Organization
Skinny Cabinet Organization
This used to have 3 shelves in it but they were basically useless. I removed the two bottom shelves and moved all of my trays, cookie sheets, cutting boards and pizza pans to that space and it is SOOOOO perfect for organization now. I freed up an entire cupboard that had them all jumbled up in there and they were always a pain to take out because a million trays were all stacked on top of one another. Now they’re neat, easy to keep like items next to one another and you don’t have to lift up a heavy stack to get to items on the bottom. MUCH BETTER!! One the shelf on top I have our kitchen trash bags, a scented wax warmer and in the basket behind the warmer are tea light candles for the warmer as well as long lighters for candles.

And just so I don’t bore you, here is the rest of my cabinets and the contents. I did ALOT of decluttering. I moved many of my husband’s dishware from his bachelor days, his old silverware, and some party buckets and things to the basement kitchen. I tried to think about things like putting all of the coffee cups and k-cups, teas etc in the cupboard above the Keurig Coffee Machine. The plastic storage containers between the fridge and stove, etc.

I know there are more organization solutions in my future but for now this works 🙂