Organizing the Nursery Closet

When it comes to being organized I’ll be the first to admit that I could do a lot better. My house may look clean and uncluttered on Instagram but open up any drawer or cabinet and whoa!!

I’m definitely one of those people that hate visual clutter – it gives me complete anxiety and can make a room feel dirty even when it really isn’t. I’m guilty of piling things up or hiding them away in cabinets and drawers just so I don’t have to look at the mess because for me…as long as I don’t have to see the mess, the house instantly feels cleaner . It’s my dirty little secret that’s not so much of a secret anymore…

BUT!!!!!

The nursery is the one exception to my horrible organizational ways. It’s dang organized in there! In this post I talked about how we re-worked the closet by adding some shelves and was able to improve the storage capacity of the nursery closet overall. Adding shelves allowed us to bring in bins – to house all the tiny things – and it gave everything a home of it’s own…something I’ve learned is super important in order to be and stay organized. Just ask these girls (my real life girl crushes).

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On the very top shelf of the closet (those grey felt bins) are diapers of varying sizes. When Emie was born we had NB through size 3 diapers up there – a size in each bin. It was super helpful to have not only overflow diapers in her current size but to have the next size up as well. Babies grow so quickly and you never know from day to day when they’ll wake up and suddenly outgrow something.

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As she’s gotten older and is now in size 3 diapers, we don’t keep as many diapers up there as we did before. We have 4 bins up top and here’s what we keep up there:

  • one bin is for overflow diapers in her current size
  • one bin is for diapers in the next size up
  • two of the bins are for clothing/shoes she’s outgrown

It’s super helpful and keeps me organized to have a designated area for clothing she’s outgrown, rather than letting it accumulate somewhere else or in the drawers until I have time (what is time?) to do something with it. This has worked out really well for us so far and helps keep her room mostly organized.

For the shelves that we built we brought in fabric bins and labeled them with grey chalk board tags based on what was inside.

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The 1st shelf has:

COVERS (Boba wrap / nursing covers/ boppy covers / changing pad covers)
SUN (hats / sunglasses / swimsuits / rash guards / swim diapers)
BIBS + BURPCLOTHS

The middle shelf has:

BEDDING (sheets / crib skirts / mattress covers)
BATH (towels / washcloths / bath robe)

The bottom shelf has:

WIPES
Quick note about the wipes: I could have put them up top with the extra diapers but quickly learned just how fast we go through wipes so it made more sense to put them down low where they were easily accessible.
BLANKETS (quilts / swaddles / muslin blankets)

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On the right side where her clothing lives: everything on the top rod can be worn now – organized by color. Yes, I’m fully aware of how ridiculous my OCD is.

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Everything on the bottom rod is next size up – again with the idea that as she grows I want to have the next size up washed and ready to go. I use these slim non-slip baby hangers to save on space (they now have black/gold hangers that I totally would’ve purchased had they been available when I started the nursery!). Matching hangers is a small investment that I think is totally worth it and reduces the visual clutter.

For outfits that have a set of matching bloomers, we hang the bloomers right on the hanger with the outfit – no more digging through the dresser drawers to find bloomers to match! I credit my Mom for this genius idea.

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On the shelf above the bottom rod, we keep a few décor items and decorative pillows used for her crib that aren’t meant to be slept with plus a few pairs of shoes she wears the most.

Confession: she hasn’t ever worn those pink flats – they’re still too big! There’s usually a pair of walking shoes and those suede booties that she wears daily – but the those pink flats are adorable and looked better in photos! Lest you think my daughter walks around in velvet flats all day errrday…psh!

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The empty space below the shelves / rods on either side of the closet is utilized too. On the left we keep her hamper, a tall bin of stuffed animals that she loves digging into, and on the right we is where her larger toys go at the end of the day  currently just a shopping cart that she received from Christmas. As she grows, I see this space being used to store toys like a dollhouse, baby stroller, or toy vacuum.

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We currently don’t have any doors on her closet but it’s definitely something we want to add. I thought for a hot second I could live with that open concept vibe but no. Just no. Who do I think I am? I am too OCD for that. Doors ASAP please!

DIY Cat Litter Cabinet

DIY Cat Litter Cabinet

Aside from the new windows we installed late last year, another, more recent, addition we added to our sunroom is this cute little cabinet.

Before having the baby we attended an infant CPR and safety class where they encouraged all us soon-to-be-parents to baby proof the house before our little ones arrived. While we didn’t go overboard and totally safeguard the house, we did take a few steps towards a safer home for little Emie girl. Along with adding outlet plugs, this little cabinet in the sunroom helped conceal one of the things I was most concerned about…our litter box!

We love our cat but we haven’t ever loved his litter box – or the mess it makes and I always worried that one day in the not too distant future, I’d find our daughter using the cat litter as her own personal sand box. Now…not only is the cat litter out of reach of our almost-crawling-daughter but…I don’t have to look at it either! #winwin

Inside we keep all our kitty essentials – food, along with a few rolls of plastic trash bags for poop scooping. A clear suction hook on the door works perfectly to hold the pooper scooper too! Everything thing we need fits right inside with room to spare.

DIYing our cat litter cabinet was super simple – just an extra large cat doorfor our extra large cat – and this inexpensive Ikea cabinetor any cabinet for that matter – is all you need!

We opted for this cabinet because it’s dimensions worked perfectly for the small sliver of wall between the living room and the nursery but any cabinet big enough to house your litter box can work too!

Before putting the cabinet together, we cut out the hole for the cat door on one of the side panels using the template that was provided with the door using our Ryobi drill and jigsaw.

Once the hole was cut all we had to do was install the door. It really couldn’t have been more simple and the end result is having me wonder why I didn’t think of this sooner!

From the outside – no one would ever know the litter box was inside! Would you have guessed?

And in case you’re wondering what that thing was peaking out from under the cabinet…

It’s our robot vacuum – the Neato – or what we call her, Flo! I was able to plug the docking station into an outlet behind the cabinet and the docking station fits perfectly underneath with just enough clearance for Flo to make her way back home to charge.

This super simple Ikea hack really helped contain and conceal our messy litter box while also making our home safer for babe! Do you have something in your house that needs a little concealing – printers or electronics come to mind! Could an inexpensive Ikea hack help you too?

Of course it can!

*affiliate links used

Tips for a stress-free Move

Ok, maybe that was a lie – no move is ever 100% stress free – but I’ve gotten close! As many of you know, I’ve moved a ton… more than I care to admit, actually. In my 12 years of adulthood alone I’ve moved 10 times…10 times!!!! It almost makes me sick to think how “unsettled” I’ve been the last 12 years of my life but hopefully (I’m crossing everything I can cross) this last move (my 11th!) was my last for a very, very, very, long time! It’s comforting to know that this move was into a place that’s all OURS! It sorta takes the sting outta of having to pack and unpack one last time.

To say that I’ve acquired a few tips and tricks over the last 10 11 moves would be quite the understatement. I thought maybe I’d help a girl, or guy, out and share a few of the things I’ve learned along the way in case you’re preparing for your next move too.
Don’t procrastinate

Nothing like waiting the last minute to pack an entire house, am I right? No matter how much you try to convince yourself that “you don’t have that much to pack” or “it won’t take that long”, IT WILL. It’ll take more time, you’ll need more tape and boxes than you originally thought. Guaranteed. 
As soon as you know you’re moving – start packing! Pack a few boxes each night. Pack up all the non-essential items and live with less in the weeks leading up to your move. Pull everything off the walls, patch the holes, trust me…you don’t need that ceramic antelope head hanging while you’re in this transitional phase of life! Your house will eventually feel like a barren wasteland but in the last few days at your old digs you’ll be so glad didn’t procrastinate instead of having to pull all-nighters packing to make up for lost time.
At 2 weeks away from move day we were living with no couch pillows, 3 towels, plastic plates, 2 cups and 5 rolls of TP. And guess what? The entire house was packed and we survived. The TP situation was a little precarious there for a minute but it all worked out!
Less is more

Moving is the BEST excuse to downsize your belongings. When we’re forced to physically set eyes and hands on every.single.thing. you’ll be surprise at how willing you are to part with items you probably wouldn’t have before. If you haven’t touched it, worn it, or even looked at it in quite some time, get rid of it! Set it aside to donate, sell, or just toss it. Now’s the time!
As soon as we started house hunting I began Craigslisting items I knew I didn’t want to take with me and the items I couldn’t Craigslist got set aside for a yard sale. If you sell it or donate it before you move, guess what?! You don’t have to move it! Plus you get a little cha-ching in your pocket too.

Pack like items with like items

In the early days of packing and moving I’d go room to room and pack up the room as a whole without a thought to what I was actually putting inside the box. I’d tape that bad boy up and write “Bedroom” or “Dining Room” on the outside and thought I was the most organized person ever. When we needed to find the sheets I’d have to open 8 boxes labeled “Bedroom” before I could find what I was looking for.
So I got smarter. Or so I thought! I started writing a laundry list of items on the outside of each box as a way to inventory the items inside. But let’s get real…when you’ve moved all day, it’s the end of the night, you’re exhausted, do you really want scroll through a laundry list of items on the outside of 80 boxes to find what you’re looking for? The answer is no.
I found the reverse to be true as well. In the following days after the big move when we’re unpacking boxes, I’d see words like “paper” or “misc” on the outside of the box and say to myself “oh hell no” and wouldn’t touch any box with certain words for days, weeks, sometimes even months (!), just to avoid having to deal with whatever lurked inside.
After a lot of trial and error I found that the best approach to packing and unpacking is to pack like items with like items. But what does that mean?

For me it meant gathering all the sheets, towels, home decor glass, etc. I had scattered throughout the house in various closets, cupboards, cubby holes, and packing them all together in the same box. When I got to the new house, it allowed me to survey the entire group of items and make the appropriate storage choices going forward.

What I’ve learned over the years is that every home you move into has different storage offerings. Some homes offer more, while many offer less. Maybe in the new house you’re able to store all your towels together whereas in your previous home you had to store your towels in each individual bathroom. Packing like items together allows you to make those storage decisions in one glance. Had you packed your boxes by room, as most people do, you might end up touching your towel collection 2 or 3 different times because you’re pulling towels out of 2 or 3 different boxes. Make sense?

Pack a 1st night box

One of the most helpful things I started doing was packing a 1st night box. After a long day of moving, all you really want to do is relax and go to sleep. But getting to that point can be hard when you’ve got to go to the bathroom (where’s the TP?), you want to hop in the shower and clean off (what box is the shampoo in?), or just need to wash your dirty box moving hands (who has seen the hand soap?).
You can avoid the frustration and crankiness if you pack a box that contains all the essentials you might need on your 1st night in the new digs without floundering around to find what you need. I always pack:
  •          A set of freshly washed sheets for each bed
  •          A roll of TP for each bathroom
  •          A roll of paper towels
  •          Plates, cups, utensils (I always have a stash of paper products leftover from parties)
  •          Trash bags
  •          Band-Aids
  •          Aspirin / Tylenol
  •          Tape
  •          Screwdriver
  •          Hammer
  •          Batteries
  •          Hand Soap
  •          Shampoo / Conditioner / Body Wash / Bar Soap
  •          Any important documents
  •          A Ziploc bag of dog/cat food for your furry friends – they’ll be hungry (and scared) too!

Let the pros handle it


Moving is already a huge expense and I never wanted to pay more than I had to. For me that meant leaning on friends and family to schlepp boxes instead of hiring a moving company to do all the heavy lifting. While my friends and family were always willing to lend a hand, often times it took several trips and an entire weekend to move from point A to point B. After much convincing from my better half, we hired movers the last time we moved and let me tell you – it’s 100% worth the money. What normally would take us an entire weekend took them about 4-6 hours. We too lent a hand to the professionals by carrying down boxes and loaded up our own vehicles with the more breakable items but these guys know what they were doing, our mattresses and furniture was shrink wrapped for protection, and they got us loaded and unloaded in record time. It saved us from having to inconvenience our peeps and it saved our backs (and theirs too). It’s a small price to pay and I would absolutely do it again in a heartbeat.
Something to Remember:
If you decide to hire a team of movers be aware that they’ll be walking in and out of your home a billion times. If you’re a renter and wish to keep your carpets as clean and intact as possible, or a new homeowner with freshly laid flooring, consider asking that one person stays inside with booties or without shoes to relay boxes and such items to the team outside. That way they’re not tracking dirt or debris inside.

This time around not only did we hire movers, we seriously considered hiring a cleaning service as well. Moving out of a rental requires you to return the unit in the condition in which you received it – read CLEAN. And if I’m being honest? I didn’t really want to waste my time and energy cleaning an apartment that my heart wasn’t invested in anymore. Not to mention the horrible experience we had with the leasing company to get our money back after cleaning the apartment ourselves.
My mom and I spent an entire day cleaning that place top to bottom. We even cleaned all the baseboards and trim in an effort to get our deposit back. A week later they invoiced us $250 for a cleaning fee. When I questioned them about it, they sent over pictures of a few dust bunnies on top of the fridge and what they said were hard water spots on a bathroom faucet. And I’m not even kidding. Unreal. I fought it and eventually got them to drop the fee but it was an unnecessary headache I didn’t want to repeat. At least this time around I’ll have a receipt to show that the apartment was cleaned – and it won’t to cost me $250 either. 

Some times it’s best to leave these things to the pros and the few extra bucks are worth your sanity in the end.

Take inventory

Whether you want to be super detailed about it or just want to do a quick box count, it’s important to take stock of what you’re moving. It’s true – sometimes things get lost in the shuffle. If you do a quick count while the boxes are being loaded and another as they’re off loaded you can quickly see if you’re missing any boxes…hard to do when you’re taking several trips – all the more reason to hire a pro to do it in one! If you’ve come up a box or two short rack your brain and try to think about where it might be. Did you leave it on the porch as you were locking up? In the garage? It’s better to know what’s missing early on than after you’re moved and settled in but still can’t find the box with your coffee maker…
And speaking of losing items in transit – always carry with you any valuables or important documents you keep close by – jewelry, birth certificates, social security cards, money…etc. At the end of the day, the only one you want handling those items are you and your hunny.

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Well guys…I think I’ve done enough rambling for today! Don’t you think?! I hope you find these tips helpful. I know any move can cause stress and anxiety – I would know – but it doesn’t have to! Are you preparing for a move too? Or if you’ve moved before, what are some helpful tips we should all keep in our back pocket? Chime in below!

Check back in next week for a little house update – things are moving along over here!

How to Buy a House…and not go insane

Let me tell you – if I knew how hard (and emotionally draining) home buying was, I don’t know if I’d still go through it. #truth
I went into this process and knew zip, zilch, nada – NOTHING. It’s been a little less than 4 weeks of home buying stuff and I still really know nothing about the logistics of buying a home. But what I have learned is how to stay sane through it all. Thus far it’s been an emotional roller coaster. Was it for you too? Please tell me I’m not alone. I’ve reigned in my emotions and pulled it together enough today to put this post together with a few helpful tips I wish someone would’ve told me before going into this. Ready?
#1 – Have an Open Mind


We viewed upwards of 25 properties in just under 4 weeks. Our weekends were spent walking through and critiquing other people’s homes – so we’ve seen a wide range of things – 3 bedrooms all on different floors, anyone? We’ve heard from more than one realtor that some buyers are known to walk in and immediately walk out without really giving the house a chance. Don’t be scared off by things like paint or finishes. I don’t think I’ve walked into a single house (aside from a new build we viewed) and loved every single finish the previous owners chose. Perhaps some people could care less about such things like wall or kitchen cabinet color – but I doubt those people are reading this blog either. So let’s face it…if you’re reading this blog, then you care! But it also doesn’t mean you have to turn and run if you walk into a house and it’s painted baby yellow – or a rusty orange – because I’ve seen that too. Let’s be realistic for a second…it’s just highly unlikely that you’ll find a house you can’t critique. The good news? Most things are easily fixable.
Even things like knocking down walls, expanding doorways, or closing off those annoying “media niches”, are all relatively easy to do with a trained professional or exceptionally handy hubby at your side. Be open minded to what the space can be. Does it work for you? Does it fit your needs? Make a list of what needs to be changed now and what you’d like to change in the future. If the “needs to be changed now” list is going to cost you an extra 20k, 30k, 40k – take that into consideration when making your decision. But if all you need to do is slap on a coat of paint and change the flooring and can make the bigger changes down the line, then maybe you’ve found yourself a winner.
#2 – Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover


Sometimes when you view listings online the pictures don’t really do the property justice or allow you to visualize the layout of the space. The pictures might be blurry, the angles are weird, or they posted 80 pictures of shrubbery and only 4 of the property itself. #sodumb
When we first started looking, I’d find myself immediately crossing properties off the list for no good reason other than the pictures looked crappy so it didn’t really entice us to go take a look-see. We also heavily judged properties by their stats (rightfully so) and if a property’s square footage wasn’t as large as we wanted, we didn’t give it a second thought. As we viewed more and more properties and continually came up empty handed I found myself circling back to properties I never gave a shot because with very little inventory on the market, we were desperate.
What we found is that it’s worth it to take a look. Even if you’re on the fence. See for yourself – in person. Because you just never know. I’ve been in 1800 sq ft properties that feel like 1200 sq ft and 1200 sq ft properties like feel like 1800 sq ft. It’s all about how the square footage is used. I’ve viewed properties that looked amazing in photos but totally fell flat in person and properties that showed better in person than it did in photos. But we would’ve never known had we not taken a look.
Often times the listing agents are sure to highlight the bonus features of a property (like that extra loft space) but neglect to disclose the weird or odd (like 3 bedrooms all on different floors). Either way, it’s best to take a shot and go see the property in person – if not for anything but to see how other people live and use their space…something only a design lover can appreciate!
#3 – Don’t be a Stage 5 Clinger


On a few occasions during our search we found a property that checked all the boxes but for one reason or another, it just wasn’t meant to be. They say that you shouldn’t get attached. And you shouldn’t. Except no one gave me that memo going in and I found myself crying over the “one that got away” a time or two.
In the world of real estate, nothing rarely ever is a slam dunk. There’s always the possibility that someone will come in with a better offer, you find out the property you love is going through litigation, or a new to the market house you’re slated to see this weekend sells in 2 days. Do your best to remain as unattached as possible and if it happens that the home of your dreams slips through your fingers, don’t worry, another home will come along. Ours did!
Take it from me – don’t go choosing paint colors and ordering new furniture before the ink is even dry on paper.
#4 – Consider ALL the Variables


I think for me this was the hardest part. So much so that we ended up creating a spreadsheet to rank and compare all the properties we were considering. I know… #nerdalert.  When we started our search we cast a wide net with very little stipulations. What we were left with was a slew of possibilities and so many things to consider that it began to make my head fuzzy. Do you pick the house with the great layout but the schools in the area are less than stellar? Or do you choose the house that lacks in square footage just so you’re in an awesome school district?
Buying a house is like marrying your spouse. It’s a long term commitment and totally life changing. Aside from price, there are so many other factors you should consider. Below are things we all considered when choosing the home for us: 
Distance – sure it’s in your preferred area but maybe it’s on the outskirts of the city, boarding on a town you’ve deemed too far, not close to the highway, or altogether inconvenient.
Schools – if you’re buying a house and have a family or want start a family like us, the schools in your area will play a major role in your consideration. If the schools in your prospective neighborhood aren’t great, in 5 years would you want to send your school age children there? If not, are you willing to send your children to a private or charter school instead?
Neighbors/Neighborhood – one of the other benefits to seeing the house in person. Go on the weekend when most of your would-be neighbors are home. Is the street jam-packed with cars? Do the neighbors take care of their yard? Or is there trash strewn about and run down cars in the drive way? If you’re considering a property, take the extra step and visit it at night. Do you feel safe? All these things will eventually reflect on the value of your home should you chose to sell down the road.
Added Costs – beware! Take it all into consideration. In our area, some cities have an almost double tax rate than the rest of the County so while home prices might be cheaper, it all evens out because of the higher tax rate in those particular cities. Depending on your loan you may also be required to pay extra insurance. Some properties may also require an additional monthly HOA payment. If you’re open to both single family homes and town homes/condos set yourself up with 2 different price ranges and let your realtor know. One for homes with HOA and one for homes without.

#5 – Be Persistent & Patient


In a competitive housing market, it’s unlikely that you’ll get the 1st house you put an offer on. We didn’t. But don’t let that get you down. We put in 3 other offers and all were beat out before our 4th house and 4th offer was accepted. And you know what? I’m more in love with this house than I was the previous three. Just be patient and don’t give up hope if the first, second, or even third house doesn’t work out. It’ll happen – and when it does, you won’t even remember the others!
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I hope these tips well help you through the home buying process if you’re just starting out too. I wish someone would have given me a few pointers but I made it out the other side and wanted to pass along what limited information I’ve learned through it all.
If anyone has any other helpful tips to add be sure to leave a comment below!

The Entryway Re-do

The entryway in our apartment can hardly be called an entryway. It’s a 4’x3’ pint-sized speck of space that really has been useless…until now! Despite its small footprint, the functionality of this space really needed to pack a punch. An entryway in a home is probably one of the hardest working spaces a home can have. It’s the first space we encounter when we walk through the door and the place we unload our junk – think hats, jackets, bags, keys – just to name a few.
The problem with our entryway or lack thereof, is the tight spacing. The swing path of the front door is essentially all we have to work with. That’s it folks. We tried a few different options (as seen below) and even mocked some up in the past but none ever seemed to fit the bill when it came to functionality.

This shelf situation lasted the longest but probably only out of laziness or from being stumped as to how to solve the problem. Then one day I was just so fed up with it and took everything off the wall. As with most projects – starting with a blank slate is really the first step. It pushes the reset button on the space and allows my brain to reset too in terms of design. Without the distraction of “stuff” I hate staring back at me, I can start brainstorming on a solution that I’ll love in the end.
I patched all the holes and gave the wall a fresh coat of paint. Then I made a list of the issues.
Clutter was the #1 issue and biggest driving force behind the entryway re-do.  What I learned from the last time around that I tackled this space is that we’re not a family that can handle “open shelving”. Some are, some aren’t. We are definitely in the AREN’T category. Unless I constantly policed or tidied up the shelf, it was a constant catch all for “stuff”…receipts, business cards, candy and/or candy wrappers, change, pens, pencils…etc. It was a nightmare.
The 2nd biggest issue was ease of convenience. Over time I’ve found that unless it’s easy, kids and ahem…grown men, won’t use it. It was amazing to me how many times I found jackets strewn all over the house – on the couch, backs of chairs, on the floor (!!!!), when our coat closet was literally an arm’s reach away! Apparently small kids and grown men have trouble opening doors and reaching for a hanger to hang up their coats.
With all my issues written down, I set about to solve them once and for all and give our tiny entryway a whole lot of functionality too. What I ended up with is hooks and baskets. No more open shelves! I determined that clutter will always be but I can handle the clutter so long as I don’t have to see it J. Below is the end result – ain’t she pretty?
I installed a set of 3 hooks that people of all ages can use with ease – no more hassling with hanging our coats in the coat closet. For whatever reason, hooks are so much easier for kids and even grown men to use. The thought! We still keep additional coats in the nearby closet but for the ones we use more often, these hooks have been a saving grace. They’ll come in handy too for guests who need a quick and easy spot to store their coats while they’re visiting without having to ask where to put it. Using the hooks in our entryway have worked so well that I’m thinking of using them in the bathrooms too instead of towel bars – another things certain people in our household have trouble using!

To tackle all the other clutter that seems to accumulate at the front door, I hung up a woven basket that I picked up from the bath section at Ikea to corral wallets, receipts, cards, loose change – all of the above! As I said before…as long as I don’t see it, I can deal with it. The basket conceals the mess and is big enough to hold every day essentials like wallets and keys. I still keep my keys inside our coat closet with my purse, but for my guy who likes to empty his pockets at the door, this has been a perfect solution for him. When it starts getting out of hand, I can easily sort through the contents and purge what isn’t needed. What was once a daily battle is now something that only needs to be managed once a week. A win-win.
Once the issues had been addressed, it was time to add in some personality! My favorite part of any project. I added a couple of address numbers above the hooks because they were right next to the hook section at Lowes and I liked how modern and sleek they looked next to the almost aged look of the hooks. I painted the numbers a deep navy blue which ties in the brand new Target rug I found at Goodwill (score!). Goodwill is like Target’s clearance center in case you haven’t been lately.
The sunburst mirror added to the opposite wall lets us ladies (or guys too) do a last minute quick look when we’re headed out the door and it’s gold color coordinates with the aged hooks on the opposite wall.

Here’s a look at the new entry in relation to the coat closet that I organized almost a year ago. The systems I installed nearly a year ago are still working well for our family so now with the functionality of both these spaces give us no room to make excuses!
Making these small changes has really added so much value to this tiny space and allowed it to really work for our family. Living in such tight quarters makes every bit of real estate so valuable and when it can function the way our entryway functions now it makes the time and money spent very well worth it.

30 Day Entryway Closet Check-In & a Quick Little Project

Hi friends!
 
I’m back today to give a 30 day check-in of our entryway closet organization project and to let you in on what’s worked, what hasn’t, and how I addressed it.
 
Remember a month ago when I shared this before and after?

 

With a few organizational additions installed and some visual de-cluttering, it’s amazing how so little can go such a long way. However, as we continue along our organizational journey, sometimes things could use a little tweak, a little umph, to really take it to the next level.

This little closet organization project has done wonders for our family but after using this space for a month, I realized that one area of this space, needed a little extra organizational help.

I have a confession…

We suck at mail. We pay most all our bills online and who doesn’t get truck loads of credit card offers and junk mail? So needless to say, we procrastinate when it comes to opening and sorting through the mail and as a result, we would just shove all the mail in the inbox until it couldn’t hold no more.

See?

The inbox on the door was/is an awesome idea, and really, truly has worked wonders. It just needed a little help to help us be better at sorting the mail. My solution?

I took some generic binder clips that I had on hand, added some washi-tape to the front & back, and labeled them with a permanent marker. Now we can clip the mail with these washi-tape clips into self-explanatory categories.

 

They’ve really helped to corral the mail and prevent it from getting out of hand. So easy to make too!
 
And when we’re not using one of the clips? They easily clip to the edge of the basket just waiting to be used…like so:
 
 
The only other addition is a chevron file folder that holds all our coupons and gift cards that staying in the “Outgoing” mail box that we can quickly grab anytime we’re heading out the door.
 
 
With these 2 small additions/tweaks, our coat closet is working like a dream and we’re no longer combating a messy inbox and overflowing mail.
 
 
I love quick and simple projects like these washi-tape binder clips. I wonder where else I could employee these cuties? Any suggestions? Where would you use some in your home?
 
 
 

Cut the Clutter – Closet Clean-Out

Hey guys… and welcome to my 1st official post! Can I get a woohoo?!

I don’t know what it is about the ringing in of a new year that always has me itching for a fresh start but 2015 is no different. The day the clock struck midnight I wanted to purge like a crazy woman and get rid of all the clutter we’ve accumulated over the past 365 days and living in this smallish apartment only made this desire ever more pressing come 12:01 January 1st. Did anyone feel this way too?

January may be coming to a close but I’ve been working hard to get this place back in tip-top organized shape! One of the hardest hit areas of our house over the last year was our itty bitty coat closet that sits right off the front entrance. See for yourself:

 
Neat and clean? Think again! Over the last year we really used and abused this space, so much so that it was literally bursting at the seams. It was filled to the brim with so much junk that every time we tried closing the door on all that chaos, the door would pop back open.
 
The closet is right inside the doorway and a space we utilize everyday so it was the perfect 1st project for the new year. Since space is so limited in our apartment and because my boyfriend has 80 jackets (someone please tell him we live in California, not the North Pole), I really needed to find some storage solutions that would make this space work better than it had in the past.
 
So last week I decided to get this closet in order and I couldn’t be happier with the result! Read on to find out how I went from that disastrous before, to this beautiful, organized after:
 
 
 One of the first things I do when tackling an organization project like this is to take note of the areas that are causing problems and preventing the space from being and staying organized. Even though this space is really small, it still had quite a few problem areas.
 
The first being the blue shoe box in the upper left hand corner of the closet. In it we keep shoe polishing supplies and while it definitely makes sense for this box to stay, having it stacked on top of those other containers made getting into the other boxes a hassle. The blue bin in the upper right hand corner of the closet held extra throw blankets and for a while keeping them here made sense but when I recently consolidated all our other blankets to the 2nd bedroom closet it no longer made sense to keep blankets here as well. The other 2 major issues with this this space was the hook rail we installed on the door of the closet. The hook rail has great potential but we were using it to hold too many bulky items that would be better suited elsewhere and I think this was a major contributing factor to the door not staying closed. The last problem area in this little closet was the mail bin we have shoved all the way in the back of the closet. It was too big, too heavy and it wasn’t a great way to keep our mail or other paperwork organized.
 
 
After identifying all the problem areas, I always like to clear everything out of the space and start fresh. And when I say everything, I mean EV-ERY-THING! It really helps to see what you’re working with and get a visual for how you can utilize a space better. Once I cleared everything away I started sorting through all the junk and made 3 piles…a pile to keep, a pile to donate, and a pile to trash. From this little closet I had one trash bag to donate and one trash bag to throw away. Crazy!! That’s an insane amount of stuff shoved into a teeny tiny space!
 
Once I had sorted through all the contents I gave the closet a good scrub down, vacuum, and made a few cosmetic changes. We already had this hook rail from Ikea but I decided to give it a face lift with some leftover paint I already had on hand. Now we hang less bulky items here like our keys, scarves, umbrellas, and even my purse! Its a great little rail to unload all our items after just walking in the door. I also used the same paint to paint the edge and handles of the wicker basket that sits on the closet floor which I’ll use to hold any items that I need to return or ship out. Something as simple as paint can breathe life into items you already own and make them feel new again and the best part is that it doesn’t cost any money so long as you have the supplies on hand!
 
 
Another quick and easy fix for any closet is to change out your old plastic hangers. I’ve been slowly changing out all our plastic hangers over the last few years for these inexpensive ones from Ikea and they really just take any closet up a notch. They come in several great colors and every time I make a trip to Ikea, I grab a set or 2 so the conversion from cheap-o plastic hangers is a little easier on the wallet. As silly as it sounds, having matching hangers instantly and visually de-clutters even the messiest of closets.
 
 
To solve our mail issue, I added 2 wire baskets to the back of the door that I picked up from Home Goods and attached them using 3M Command Strips and Hooks. Paneled doors such as these are usually hollow so I couldn’t use nails to hang up my baskets, plus these 3M Command Strips save you from having to patch any nail holes which makes them renter-friendly! And the best part about these hooks, is that even for a short girl like me, I’m able to grab top basket, bring it down to put what I need in it and hang it back up, no problem. When organizing closet spaces, don’t forget to use the back of the door when you can! It’s a great way to maximize space and clean up the clutter with some inexpensive baskets and hooks!
 
 
We now have a basket for incoming mail and one for outgoing mail. I printed up some simple labels on the computer, backed them on some fun scrapbook paper, ran them through my laminator (what, you don’t have a laminator? Well…you really should! I use this inexpensive one I snagged at Target and it totally rocks!), hole punched them, and tied the on with some fun grey and white rope I found in the gift wrap section at Target.
 
 
 
Aren’t these labels so cute? Super easy too and now there’s no mistaking what goes where! Now all our mail has a fun and organized place to live and it doesn’t have to hide in the depths of our closet like it did before! And while I was at it, I made labels for all the other containers too. The 2 clear bins now hold all our loose cords and chargers and emergency kit supplies like flashlights, batteries, tape, etc. Relocating the blankets in the blue bin made space to store all our reusable bags, lunch bags, and our shoe polishing supplies. 
 
 
 
Total Project cost:
 
2 wire baskets from Home Goods – $9.00 ea – $18.00 total
2 sets of 3M Command Hooks – $3.49 ea – $7.00 total
Grey and white rope from Target – $2.99
Everything else – already owned
 
Project Grand Total – $28.00
 
And that’s that, folks! What do you think? Do you have some closets that have seen better days? What have you done to contain the clutter?