Archive for the ‘Organizing fun’ Category

Upstairs Downstairs

April 9, 2009

Well, hello there. It might seem from my rather conspicuous absence that I have forgotten I have a blog. Actually, the lack of blogging has been nagging me like the way that little voice inside your head pipes up when you’re contemplating eating ice cream for dinner. I just haven’t felt very blog-y.

In an effort to break the “another day, another no post” that has become all too routine, I decided I had to post before I could have lunch. And I’m hungry. So there it is then. Time to blog!  Time to share the big ta da and fruits of much organization labor over the past couple weeks.

Behold, the closet.


Yes, this is the closet that was so jammed with stuff that I couldn’t find anything, never mind actually get past opening the door.

The baker’s rack came to the rescue. Nestled inside the space, it houses so much in lovely order and there is still room for the industrial file cabinet that holds the many files I seem to produce on a regular basis. I can see and find everything in an instant.


Throughout the weeding and sorting process there were many a “so that’s where that went” and “why do I have this?” moments. What hasn’t been recycled or donated has gone into storage in the basement.

Now the basement seems to be multiplying with stuff. For every box I bring down there, four seem to grow. It’s packed again … just like last year at this time even though it’s been cleaned out twice meantime. How is that possible? Guess I know what my “once the rain stops but before it gets sweltering” spring/summer project will be.


Open storage

February 12, 2009

Beyond the sparkly new paint, the office is dressed up with my new favorite storage solution: baker’s racks.


When closet space is a premium and you have a habit of collecting office supplies, storage is tight. Well, you’ve seen the office closet. Remember, the one I can’t actually step into? Well that problem and more is being solved by two shiny industrial racks. What I love is that they can take a lot of weight and have room for bulky things like the printers, fax machine and scanner. My big workhorse printer is on this one; the other items, which aren’t used as much, are on the other.

Even fully loaded and with everything in plain site, they retain an open feeling so my small space doesn’t feel closed in like it did when I was using a too-big credenza + bookshelf. And they come complete with wheels (or stationary leg option) for added fun.

These gems came from Target online (the stores don’t stock them … at least the local one doesn’t) and were delivered within a week of ordering. Pretty easy to put together … there is one little part that supposedly smooshes (technical term) together but we (my able painter helper Lauri and I) couldn’t make that happen. Looking at it, the smooshing seems a physics impossibility. But what would I know, I never took physics. Since the rack is super sturdy even non-smooshed, we called it good.

I am already envisioning more spaces transformed with these snappy solutions … that closet could be next!

Magic Moment Monday

February 2, 2009

The magic in this Monday is in the messy …


That is what you see when you open the door to my office closet. And see is all you can do because it is now impossible to actually walk into the space. In planning the office re-do, many things have been moved into boxes for “temporary” storage in the closet. Then extra items from different rooms decided to join the fun. Added to that the boxes I keep on hand to mail presents to people and, really, it’s no surprise. Even for an order-craving, space beautifying gal like me.

But here’s the magic part … I can restore calm and order with a bit of time and clever logistics. I’m waiting for the inspiration to hit. Meantime, I’ll just enjoy the magical potential in the messy!

P.S. This topic was inspired by a new blog favorite, and her idea to host Messy Monday.

Presto change-o

December 19, 2008

You know how you can pass something a million zillion times and then, all of a sudden, on the million zillionth one time you pause? A flash of an idea jumps into your princess head, and nothing will do but to drop everything to test it out.

Behold the small cabinet in the small downstairs bathroom (guess who framed the ugly doll postcard and put it there?):


Every bit of storage is needed in that small space but I’m not a fan of see-through unless it’s a cute arrangement. Storage, obviously, does not always equal cute. So there I was, passing through as usual when the light bulb moment occurred. What if I took pretty paper and covered the inside of the glass?


Seconds later, I was upstairs pulling papers to see which one I liked best for the space. Tip: for easy and accurate cutting, you can’t beat a healing cutting mat + rotary cutter + giant, clear ruler. It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of cutting this way but once you try it, you’ll never go back to yardstick + pencil + scissors. I cut fabric this way too but with a rotary cutter reserved just for fabric. Can’t have the dull paper one pulling at the fabric now can I?

About 15 minutes later, after a bit of tucking in between the glass and wood frame then smoothing out, I had a brand-new look and clever disguise for any unmentionables!


Shelves and Sushi with Sean

April 15, 2008

Until the self-cleaning desk is invented, I’ve found a cheap and easy solution to kid desk clutter:

All the bits and pieces that used to cover the desk are now contained on simple shelves made of wood and brackets picked up at the local hardware store. Screws plus those reinforcer thingys create sturdy construction. A drill and electric screwdriver make it a quick project … well, as long as you measure straight and all. That’s not my forte, so the supply list for these shelves also included the ex-husband who had it all together speedy quick.

I imagine it would work well for adult desk clutter as well. I would try it myself if I had any open wall space in my office. Ha!

You’re probably wondering what all this has to do with sushi and Sean. Really nothing. I was just pleased that a celebrity sighting last night provided me with alliteration for today’s title. As it happened, we were enjoying dinner at a local sushi restaurant when a man at the sushi bar caught my eye. He looked like an ordinary guy at first glance but then I realized I was just a few feet away from Sean Penn. Sushi with Sean. On a Monday. At the early kid/senior dining hour. Go figure.

I thought I was the only one who noticed given the lack of hubbub in the room. Turns out that my fellow diners were playing it just as cool as I was. Only after he left, accompanied by a tall, thin woman who looked more like a handler than girlfriend, did I realize everyone was acutely aware of the star studded atmosphere. In fact, there was quite the stir when the waitress realized he hadn’t paid the bill. Neither had Miss Handler apparently. A hue and cry ensued with waitresses running out the door, chasing after the forgetful diners and the other clientele speculating that perhaps the latest movie hadn’t done well. Sean and Miss Handler had disappeared so the wait staff came back empty-handed. Snippets of conversation bounced around the room leaving us uncertain as to whether they had forgotten to pay the whole bill or just leave a tip. My guess is that he thought she was taking care of it, and she thought he was. I bet they’ll make it up next time. And maybe we’ll be there for another sushi with Sean evening.

More fun than a barrel of monkeys

March 12, 2008

Hard to imagine anything more fun than a barrel of monkeys but, hold on to your hat, we found it …


The chalkboard wall! It’s the perfect place for practicing spelling words for the weekly 1st grade test …


And for doodling.


And for menus, lists, reminders, tic-tac-toe … well, the possibilities are endless and ever so much fun. Can’t wait to get some colored chalk … ooh la la!

The best part is the impromptu creations and collaborations that this little wall inspires. Amazing what a small can of paint, a paintbrush and a short amount of time can produce.  Chalkboard walls for everyone — that’s my new motto!

Of possibility and post-its

March 5, 2008

A short respite in a week stacked with work deadlines to enjoy the possibility of a drawer cleared of overflowing office supplies …


… and to realize I have a bit of addiction to post-it notes. Clearly, I rarely walk by a cute design without buying it even though I have a supply to last decades. Anyone need 1, 2 or 10? Just let me know.


Halloween in reverse

November 5, 2007

Post-holiday packing and storing is not something to take lightly …


It is a time-consuming, physical endeavor that, this year, took …

:: 50 sheets of tissue paper

:: 4 boxes

:: 1 huge plastic bin

:: countless trips around the house; up, down, up down

:: then dozens of trips up and down the deck stairs, across the deck and down to the basement. Okay, maybe not dozens but it sure felt like it.

:: an entire Sunday morning while nursing a cold


I like to think of it as warm up for Christmas, which will undoubtedly take at least twice as long! What is that you ask? “Do I ever consider not decorating?” Nope! Making things sparkly like a holiday (hey, that’s a good title for something) is in my blood.

Decorating with kids or why I love chalkboard paint

August 30, 2007

The start of school this week included, beyond back-to-school shopping for a girl who grew nearly an inch over the summer, some spiffying of the home front. It will come as no surprise to many that furniture was rearranged yet again — K’s room and the living room. But that wasn’t quite enough to ring in the school season. So we zipped over to the paint store. For about $15 and hours of fun, you can transform nearly any surface into a chalkboard.

Exhibit 1: the preparation


Exhibit 2: second coat being applied


Exhibit 3: the finished product


You may be wondering whether it’s wise to let a 6-year-old paint with black. We had a few “oopsies” past the blue tape but chalkboard paint wipes away if you get it speedy quick. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to have extra door color paint for touch-ups.

I tell you, chalkboard paint is addicting. I have my eye on one narrow kitchen wall. After all, I have half a can of paint left!

Now that’s cute

July 9, 2007

I am rather fond of smiley faces. After all, I was around when the big smiley debuted in the 70s and would have traded my Partridge Family lunch box in a second for the white lunch bags emblazoned so cheerfully. Disposable lunch bags didn’t fly with parents both eco- and budget-conscious, so I coveted from afar.

Well, imagine my delight when I found this while zooming around the grocery store:


I know! Smiley faces on sandwich bags. Two designs. Tucked in a well-packaged, Japanese-esqe box. My heart beat a little faster. The price per bag gave me pause and I really do try to limit my use of plastic. But as you can see, the little smileys spun their magic, and I am now the proud owner of a special box of baggies. They will be carefully rationed and used as special surprises in the school lunch. Oh, and I think they’ll play a factor in favor bags for K’s next birthday. And really, when you think of it that way, they are quite economical. 🙂