Archive for the ‘Organization’ Category

Closet Envy

Perhaps it’s the bipolar weather that we’re experiencing, where I was in shorts and flip flops on Saturday and then we woke up to an inch of snow this morning; perhaps it’s the fact that things have been upside down and sideways this last week; or perhaps it’s because I realized an entire tower of the Fireman’s pants fell down at some point in the last few days, causing a major jam in the closet door that I haven’t even thought how I’m going to tackle yet.

I have organizing closets on the brain. I’ve been in and out of my seasonal clothing bin more times than I can count in the last few days, but I’m not at the stage to commit and pull warm clothing out (ya know, because it might snow again). I’m sure that when I do, I’m going to do a huge clothing purge from my winter clothes and try to reorganize the whole thing again. Am I the only one who dreams about having a walk in closet? No? Excellent. Here are a few of my favorites from over the years:

closet1I love how airy this feels, even though it’s narrow and long. The ceiling packs a great punch of color to complement the white cabinetry, and those angles around the window? Lovelovelove. Oh, & PS: it has a rolling ladder. Sold.

closet2Um. Drooling. Is there anything I need to point out about this one? I not only adore the built ins for the shoes, but I love the variations in the heights of the hanging spaces. And the glass topped island? Gorg.

closet6This one is just so simple and sweet & I love that it’s just out in the open.

closet4There’s definitely something that I love about a closet with a window of some sort! This one just pours light in, and that ottoman is to die for!

closet5I love how the over the door space was utilized as well, which makes the upper part so perfect for seasonal things, or chunky bags that wouldn’t fit anywhere else.


And just because everyone needs to have a whimsical closet, I give you this. Seriously, the most fun one of all!

After looking at all of these, I’m definitely itching to get ahold of my closet now & revamp it (again)!


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I’m nesting.

Not pregnant. Just nesting.

I think that it’s the fact that its St. Patrick’s Day and our expected low tonight is in the negatives. Or the fact that I still can’t see out of my windows due to snow. Or maybe it’s the fact that this is the longest winter of all time and I’m trying to do as many inside projects as I can before it warms up and I move outside.

Regardless. I reorganized our linen closet since the last time (sorely needed) & did it for under $10. I still absolutely love the shelf liners we made last year (also a Spring Fever induced project), but we were pretty much shoving stuff in there for the last few months.

2014-03-17_0005I mean, really.

I was at the Family Dollar when I happened upon an entire aisle of plastic bins (all $1!) & grabbed a bunch of them. I then cleaned out the closet and pared down a lot of what we had & grouped like items together.

2014-03-17_0002The best little bin of all was this:

2014-03-17_0003It snaps together & holds all those little samples of toothpaste, deodorant, Kleenex and chapstick that are always floating around. It fit perfectly inside this basket:

2014-03-17_0004With the rest of our travel items. I have OCD, hear me roar.

Honestly though, it makes it so much easier (and not only on the eyes), when everything is together with things they belong with. It makes putting things away easier & finding them even easier.

Also, see: OCD.

2014-03-17_0001It may not seem like a huge difference to you, but to us it’s huge! Also, ignore the big piece of wood to the left.

And please tell me I’m not the only one who’s losing their mind over this weather!!

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I like big projects; messy projects. But I also like the small spaces that you wouldn’t usually think about: like under the bathroom sink. By the way, the whole time I worked on this little spruce up I was singing “Under the Sink Sea.”

You’re welcome.

It was absurdly simple (why didn’t I do this sooner?) and took me about 20 minutes (+ paint drying time). Here’s what it looked like before:

IMG_4910I wish that I could say we had some gorgeous doors hiding that hot mess, but what you see is what you get. Which was fairly horrific. Since I’d already redone the whole bathroom, added more art, and painted the bookshelf, you’d think I would have tackled this thing before. But alas, something shiny must have drifted by. Originally I thought about adding a tension rod with a small curtain, but after getting under there and looking at the placement of the sink, I don’t think it would work/even look good. Who knows though, I change my mind on a daily basis.

Joann’s was having a crazy good sale on photo boxes (5 for $10 vs. $4 a piece? I’ll take 5, thankyouverymuch), so I picked some up with the intention of using them around the house. I can always use pretty boxes for storage! Once I cleaned the space out and wiped it down, I was ready to restock. I used one box to hold stuff that would need to be replaced more often instead of taking up space in the linen closet:

IMG_4929Because am I the only one who is halfway through my shower before I realize that I’m out of shampoo? Didn’t think so. Another box was added for lady things, and then our first aid box (thank god, because it was really irritating my OCD by sticking out of the bookshelf), and a small basket for cleaning supplies.

IMG_4980Now that everything is grouped together and it’s not such an eyesore, I’m much happier. Oh, and for an extra touch of whimsy, I took our wastebasket and spray painted it white (as it turns out, you CAN spray paint when it’s 1 degree outside, although I don’t recommend it) and then wrapped with some yarn that I had.

IMG_4982Easy, right? It looks so much better, and for only $4.30, I’d call this one a win.

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Taking down the Christmas tree is literally the saddest day of my year. Our house isn’t sparkly anymore, but I made sure to keep our mercury glass and berry set up out. When I was putting all of our ornaments away, I realized that I was running out of room in the one box that I allow myself. I then remembered that I ended up getting a box to slide under our bed to hold the rest of our seasonal decorations (which aren’t much), and there was room in it. So, I bagged up our garlands and labeled them, and then found a smaller box to hold some of the smaller decorations.

2013-12-29_0001Once that was all put together, I added in some of the bigger stuff to the box, and VOILA!

2013-12-29_0002Once the bulkier stuff was taken care of, I put all of the tree balls in ziploc bags and stacked them. I honestly don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner. They’re all plastic, so it’s not like they’re going to break (plus they’re from Walmart and I’m not super attached to them). Some of the bigger and more fragile ornaments were stored individually.

2013-12-29_0004I have a stacking container that I use to hold the flatter and smaller ornaments, and it fits perfectly in the big box. One of the weirder pieces to store was this:

2013-12-29_0003But it was easy to find a plastic base (the top of an old ornament container), to tape to the base of a solo cup. Toby Keith wins again!

2013-12-29_0005Once it was all packed in, I actually had room left over. That has never happened. Ever. Tell me, how do you store your Christmas decorations? I’d love to someday be able to have them in under the bed boxes, but I’ll deal with this tote for now.

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Wrapping Station

I actually almost finished my Christmas shopping this week. It’s truly a miracle…but I can guarantee the few things that I haven’t purchased yet will be put off until the last minute. Just like my daddy taught me :). Since we’ve got presents starting to get stacked up, I set up this easy little wrapping station the other day. I find that it’s so much easier to get everything wrapped quickly when it’s in the same place.

2013-12-15_0002Since we moved our Christmas tree to the other side of the room this year, we had to move a small bookshelf out, so I used it in here (covered with a super easy runner) to help corral some of the smaller stuff. The square basket used to live in our closet, and is the perfect size to hold our wrapping paper, and the other basket is an old laundry basket that now has a variety of jobs.


An old tray holds some festive washi tape, present tags, and a small painted jar holds scissors and tape. I love those big tags in the right side; I’ve been using them on a ton of presents!


That basket has all of our Christmas bags, boxes, some tissue paper, and a few bows, and the clear box has all of our ribbon. It has helped me wrap tons of presents this week already, and its something that I’ll be repeating next year!

Do y’all have a wrapping station? How is it working for you!? Dish!

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Packing Shenanigans

Packing. It’s the bane of my existence. I literally put it off until the very last minute because I know it’s going to turn my whole house into a disaster zone. When I went to California last week (two weeks ago? I’m still loopy from the time change), I only took a carry on and my camera bag. Mostly because a) I’m super broke and can’t justify $50 of bag fees for 2 days, and b) my sister has a slight addiction to clothing (and shoes. and jewelry. and purses.), so I knew that I didn’t need much.

As far as how I packed, it was fairly easy. I wrote out an outfit list for every single day that I was there, then pulled all the clothes and selectively purged from there.

clothesThis is what I ended up packing for 2 [techincally 4 because I included my travel clothes) days. Aaaaand this is what I actually wore:

didntwearSo basically, I could have brought half of what I did and been very happy with it. I kind of forgot what 80 degrees feels like, so 3 sweaters was a little bit of overkill. I pretty much wore just tanks, pants and sandals the whole time I was there. For jewelry, I did the same thing, but then ended up just piling everything into a pouch and calling it a day:

jewelryBut as you can see, I wore one necklace out of all of that, wore hoop earrings every day, and borrowed my sisters bracelets. So that was pretty much a wasted space as well. Since I was doing carry on only, I had to be really selective about what kind of liquids I brought on the plane.

IMG_4191I used to throw my massive make up bag in my suitcase along with another bag holding all of my toiletries, but since I created new make up organization, I no longer have that problem! This is all that I ended up taking with me: deodorant, small jar of face wash, skin potions, toothpaste, Nivea moisturizer (I swear by this stuff), powder, spot concealer, eye shadow, liner and mascara. I know that I don’t wear much makeup at all, so I grabbed what I thought I might use (and actually used it all, yay me!).

Shoes, though. I probably could have rethought the shoes a little bit, but a girl’s gotta be prepared.

shoesOrdinarily, I don’t bring running shoes, but we were hiking the wetlands one morning, and I knew that my sister wears shoes 3 sizes smaller than me (seriously!? WHYYYYY!??), so I really had no choice. I always put my shoes in bags when I travel, and over the years I’ve collected these awesome Sephora bags to hold them:

IMG_4197So I bag up my shoes and lay them in the bottom of the suitcase. I then rolled all of my clothes up in bundles and snuggly fitted them into the bag. I used small stuff to fill in the cracks and gaps, and VOILA! All that stuff fit in a carry on sized bag.

Oh, and as far as what I wear on the plane, I always dress in layers. I’m either freezing or melting, so I know that if I layer up, I’ll be happy either way. Also, when I’m flying coast to coast, the weather is never the same (especially when I’m coming home), so I have to be prepared to freeze!

2013-11-13_0001I love my skinny black pants from Old Navy (I got them 3ish years ago, and wish I’d bought more than one pair), and wearing zip up boots is easiest when going through security. Oh, and see that tan bag in the background? There’s my carry on! In retrospect, had I known how much I was going to be jerked around and running through airports, I would have definitely packed in a rolling bag.

So there are some of my best packing tips! Anything to add?

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Utensils Galore

(I got home late on Monday from California, and I’ve been trying to reacclimate myself to New Hampshire for the last few days…I promise that I’ll be back soon!)

Remember last week when I mentioned that I was on a organizing and crafting spree? Well…it manifested itself all over the house. I started yarding stuff out of our kitchen cabinets like there was no tomorrow. The best part? The Fireman’s cousin is moving into our complex, so most of the stuff is going to him. It’s like having my own personal Goodwill. I’m so excited to clear excess furniture and implements out of our house and into his bare bones apartment (literally, he owns a bed, dresser and TV. Kid needs my help, obviously).

While cleaning out, I came across our utensil drawer…


Um, yeah. Sorry about that. Apparently I really need to go to the store and get some more baskets and drawer organizers, but I was trying to do this on cheap (ok, for free). I cleaned it out and found stuff I forgot we had (also, we didn’t need 3 ice cream scoops, but guess who does!?). I moved some of the baking stuff to another drawer to live with the frosting stuff, and then busted out two baskets I had on hand (leftovers from the bathroom bookshelf makeover). I tried to organize stuff together, and the added things back in as I went.


Better, right? Not perfect but it’s getting there. And yes, that is a basket full of beer and wine accessories. Can’t make this stuff up. I’m on the hunt for more cheap baskets and drawer organizers!! Do you have any tips or tricks for me?

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Bookshelf Styling

Ok, here’s my disclaimer. I literally have no experience with styling bookshelves. But for some reason (I’m a gigantic book nerd, there’s your reason), we have about 9 bookcases in our house.

IMG_5572DIY Media Console

IMG_3986Office Bookshelf

2013-09-30_0007Closet Bookshelf

IMG_3909Bathroom Bookshelf

Not pictured: a small bookshelf that I packed to the gills this weekend with books that I need to read. Nerd alert. But I clearly am having a secret love affair with bookcases. They’re so versatile…I mean, in my house we use them for everything from actual books to shoe storage.

Most of what I’ve displayed above isn’t exactly “styled,” but I always try to incorporate a few things into every bookcase: a picture, something green or naturey (usually one of these truly excellent Target succulents), a small DIY, and something meaningful. I always try to vary my heights as well…so if you have some low lying things, you need to add some taller objects to balance everything else out!

So, a few months ago, when our landlord gave us a less than 24 hour notice that they were doing a walk through of our house with the fire chief (something about codes), I threw together this bookshelf in our hallway. It was part of our furniture jumble that used to hold the TV and DVDs, and it had been living empty in our hallway since then. So, I shopped our house and threw everything together on it.


So here are our components…instead of a picture, I put the Fireman’s Firefighter of the Year award up, the fakey plant is up there, and the little jar of shells is from our trips to Peaks Island. And that funky geometric blue thing? It’s my DIY, made off of this blog post…it was kind of a pain, but I love how it came out. It tends to float around the house a lot. As for the other things…they’re pieces that also tend to float around. I found that gigantic shell for a dollar at Goodwill (a dolla makes me holla, honey boo boo!!), I DIY’d those tissue paper flowers last Easter, and the green vase was from our Relay for Life event, and it’s full of some fantastic disco balls. I added the books to give some height to the shells, and voila! Instant styled bookshelf!

Please tell me that I’m not the only one with a strange need to style every bookshelf I come across!! Share yours!!

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About 3 weeks ago, I had the brilliant plan to refinish the bookshelf that sits in our bathroom. Except that, you know, life gets in the way blahbity blah, and before you know it, its been 3 weeks and it’s still sitting in our living room half painted. Not that I know this from first hand experience, or anything.

I actually finished it yesterday and I’m waiting for the paint to cure today. But while I waited, I decided that something had to be done about the storage situation. I like dry shampoo (like a lot), and it tends to make a dry film over everything, so I decided that I wanted to get a little bit more of closed and streamlined storage. (Oh, and beware, this is only a part of it, I may have run out of time last night, blahbity blah).

2013-10-21_0001On the very rare occasion that I wear makeup, it’s usually just mascara and eyeliner, but when I shoot weddings and attend things that make me have to look like a human being, I do tend to go all out. So, I have literally a million and one pieces of makeup that were just sitting jumbled in an oversized cosmetic bag that I never seemed to be able to find the bottom of. I dumped it all out and sorted it by subject (no OCD over here, no siree), and then put everything in one of these bad boys:

2013-10-21_0002I found it was easiest to sort by skin, eyes, and lips/extra brushes…

2013-10-21_0003I then put my OCD to good use and labeled everything up with some Martha decals:

2013-10-21_0004Done! I’m super excited to be able to actually see what I have (there was a little bit of duplication). Oh, and I did purge a little bit. I guess I can afford to buy new makeup when it’s been around for 2 years. (Okay, I have an eyeshadow that might be 5 years old but its the best colors ever and I love it)

The second thing that I tackled was our first aid kit mess. We have a tendency to misplace bandaids and then think that we’re out (only at the most convenient times, like when I’ve sliced a chunk out of my finger or something equally awesome), so I needed to get everything in one spot.


I was able to take everything out of that bag (that I may have owned for over 10 years), pare it all down, and put in in this Tupperware box. Oh, and I added more bandaids. You’ll never know. Also, we do have our medical bags in the house during the winter, but most of the time its easiest to have one place where everything belongs so we’re not rummaging around.

So there are two easy organizational updates! I’m so excited to put the bookshelf back together tomorrow so that we can make our bathroom look habitable again!

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Organizing with Martha

Once again, I utilized my girl Martha’s awesome Staples line to help me with a little project at home. You may remember this shelf of books from our media console:


Well, since April, it now looks like this:


Yeah…when I cleaned out our office closet, the textbooks and notebooks got sent out here…the rest of the shelves are full as well. This is what happens when you have two EMT/firefighters that live together (oh, and you can’t forget the 15 books from the Fireman’s military fire training). So, what I realized is that the last time that I went to look something up in an old notebook, I had to literally pull every one out to find the specific subject. Pain in the butt? Yes. Easy solution? Yes.


The next time I went to Staples, I picked up one of these packets. I then proceeded to pull out all the notebooks and figure out what the subjects were and labeled the tags…


And then I just tied them onto the notebooks, so that they face out and I can easily identify which is which!


It literally took me 3 minutes to do, and it is going to be so much easier now to find what I’m looking for! And since they’re so tiny, they aren’t very obvious!


Martha, I wish we were BFFs. Because then I’d get a discount on your entire Staples line :). Have you used these tags for anything? Seriously, so versatile! I’m already thinking up my next uses!!

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