The post about bathroom storage

Remember in this post when the shelf under my entryway table went from this:

…to this:

Ever wonder what happened to those baskets? No? Well I’m going to tell you anyway 😉

Sure, they looked a little dingy in that spot, but they are nice baskets. In fact, they were the baskets that started it all since they were the first “pretty baskets” I ever bought (from Target, circa 2008 or so). And now the baskets hold the toilet paper in our two bathroom cabinets.

Not exactly a “promotion,” but isn’t it funny how dingy these baskets looked out in display they looked under the entryway table, but how fancy they look when they are holding toilet paper? Funny how that works, huh?

In our guest bathroom, the area to the right of the toilet paper basket used to be overflowing with towels. One of my main goals when I was pregnant was to free up the cabinet before the baby was born. I knew that we would need the space for her bath stuff, so I needed a new spot to put the towels.

Our solution (which we just barely got finished in time) was to add a cabinet over the potty.

We had a really hard time finding something the right size within our price range. We got a quote at an actual cabinet store,which was $500+ for ONE CABINET. Really? Really?!? That is completely ridiculous!!

So of course, we went the DIY route instead and bought an unfinished cabinet from the Home Depot for around $80. We also tried spray paint stain for the first time. And by “we,” I mean Nick since I was very pregnant at the time and could not breathe in the fumes. He gave it rave reviews (remember, this is the guy that hates to paint). He found it much easier and quicker to use than regular stain, and I think the results turned out better too (much less drippy and better at coating evenly).

Since the unfinished cabinet we purchased was actually a kitchen cabinet, we felt like it might be a little too deep and worried that if it stuck out too far, people might bump their heads when they were *ahem* doing their business. So Nick actually took the cabinet apart, sliced off a couple inches from each of the side boards and then put it all back together. This made the cabinet a bit more shallow, the way most bathroom cabinets are. It looks pretty good, although the inside cracked a bit (I think from us pulling it apart), so I think I will eventually cover the inside with a pretty shelf paper to disguise the crack. I will show you the inside once that is done…but for now you can just imagine. It is a cabinet that holds towels.

Once it was up on the wall, we both decided that we probably could have kept the depth as it was when we bought it. You’d have to sit uncomfortably far back in order to hit your head. Oh well, you live and learn. Eventually we will add a similar cabinet in our master bathroom and we won’t cut it down. I would also like to add a shelf underneath the cabinet (like this), so it gives off more of the “bathroom-vibe” and I can put pretty things on it 🙂

So that freed up space under the sink for all of Kate’s gear. Its not really pretty, but its functional:

This is called working with what you already have. The green storage box was part of the set I got for her closet, and the tan colored storage organizer actually came free with one of the many formula samples I have recieved. Color me excited about that!! 🙂

At some point I may try to buy matching baskets and make this area a bit more attractive, but with a baby so much changes so frequently in terms of what we need to store, so I will wait until I know what this space will need to hold on a more permanant basis.

One more storage-related area to talk about in the guest bathroom, and then we will move on to the master bath. I don’t quite know how it has happened, but in our four years of marriage, we have accumulated quite the toiletries selection. I think its a combination of Nick’s travel seasons as a recruiter, many stocking stuffers over the years, and the fact that our dentist gives us each a toothbrush, travel-size toothpaste and floss after every visit.

So I actually got this idea from my in-laws, who very cutely assembled a little “concierge basket” (like you’d get at a hotel) for us when we went to stay with them for the first time after we were married. It even had a little note welcoming us to the Jones Bed and Breakfast and to let the “front desk” know if we needed anything during our stay. Very cute 🙂 So now I have copied their idea and grouped all of our toiletries into a basket for guests to use whenever they come to stay with us.

Now lets move on to the master bathroom. As I mentioned in this post, these bamboo adjustable drawer organizers have changed my life. I love having a little compartment for everything. We have one for the drawer we share for our daily necessities like deodarant and toothpaste.

The drawer below it is all of my “beauty essentials.” I’ve had this little makeup caddy since I began college and it has served me well. I purchased the organizer to hold my hair products last year. Just another example of how having a designated spot for everything keeps things neat and easy to find.

The cabinet underneath Nick’s sink holds our other toilet paper basket. I also purchased a matching basket (different size) to hold random things like Q-tips, aloe vera, cotton balls, etc… But the middle section wasn’t very functional.

I’ve had that clear caddy since college, and it never properly held our cleaning supplies the way I’d hoped. They never fit into the little slots, which meant I would just balance everything on the caddy, and then anytime I needed to pull something out it’d all come crashing down. It was so frustrating that it made me never want to clean (yeah…let’s say that was the reason… 😉 ). The blue plastic bin is also leftover from college and held all of our medicine. Most of the time though, big bottles didn’t fit and were just stacked on top of the box.

A few weeks ago I purchased these sliding metal storage baskets and look at how nicely everything fits now!

The cabinet below my sink holds our towels (but as I said before, one day I would like to add a over-the-potty cabinet for the towels). I also have these purple and blue storage bins from college that hold nail polish and other “beauty items.” I will probably upgrade these to pretty baskets one of these days. (Man, writing these posts really isn’t doing me much good, it just keeps reminding me of more baskets that I want to get. Target is calling my name…)

I also have a basket for clunky items like my hair dryer, hair spray and hair gel:

So there you have it. The post about bathroom storage: DONE!

Can I just take a moment to toot my own horn and say that I am proud of myself for living up to the challenge I gave to myself to devote an entire week to posting about ORGANIZATION. I have had all of these posts in the back of my mind for a while now, so I am happy to finally have shared them on the blog and be able to check them off of my to-do list. Truth be told, I have another post in the works about kitchen organization. I have pictures taken and everything, so I am really hoping to get ‘er done this weekend. And while writing all of these, I thought of another organization topic I could address: how we have dealt with all the inevitable items that come along with baby (the swing, the Boppy, the chair, the toys, etc etc.) So be looking for those two posts coming up in the near future! We have family coming into town this weekend, so I’m not sure if it will be this weekend or not…we’ll just have to see how motivated I am tonight (and how much I want to procrastinate from cleaning the house!).

Have a great Labor Day weekend, everyone!

Advertisements

The basket post

In this post, written in the last few days before my sweet baby girl was born, I told you that my nesting took form in the organizing mantra “Everything. Must. Have. A. Basket.” So here’s the basket post I promised you. I can’t say you are going to gain much from this post other than “Wow. This girl has a lot of baskets.” But I just like having my clutter contained in baskets. Don’t judge.

Once I saw how awesome Kate’s closet looked with all her matching baskets, I wanted the same for our closet. We had three beige-colored canvas bins that we got off of our wedding registry. I really wanted to get more, but sadly, I could not find the same ones at Bed, Bath and Beyond. So, I decided to give the three bins a new home in our guest bedroom closet and start over with new, matching baskets in our closet.

It actually worked out great because our guest bedroom closet had recently gotten a lot more cluttered due to relocating items to turn our “junk closet” into Kate’s closet. Most specifically, all of our board games took over the top shelf. So I was able to fit all the games into these canvas bins. So now when our guests come, everything looks nice and organized and non-intrusive.

So then I bought these brown storage baskets from Target for our closet. I wanted to fill the entire top shelf, which meant buying a ton of them. Which is probably the main reason I got these specific baskets. They aren’t really the most attractive, but they are some of the cheapest ones Target carries.

They hold old t-shirts, old purses, my maternity clothes, backpacks and other odds and ends. But of course, I couldn’t stop there. Of course not. Don’t mess with the crazy 9-month pregnant lady on a basket craze.

Nick has always folded his jeans, khaki shorts and undershirts on a shelf in the closet. So I wanted to contain the stacks to bins. Nick told me repeatedly he did not need bins for this. I went ahead and got them anyway 🙂 There was no stopping this pregnant lady.

There is one last area of basketland to show you (well, at least for today… tomorrow I will cover the bathrooms, and guess what? There are more baskets there too! Go ahead and get excited!) But for today, one last look, this time in our hall closet. Another catching ground for random junk I don’t know where else to put. So lets put all of it in matching baskets and call it organized!

I love these baskets the best. They are oh-so-cute. I need to get a few more to fill out those bottom shelves.

And just to illustrate my point: See next to the picnic basket where we have my massive collection of workout gear (the purple and black and yellow things…I don’t even know what to call them, if that’s any indication about how often I work out.) Looks kind of junky and random, huh? Well, it wouldn’t if it was in a basket! I need to head to Target and get a couple more pronto 😉

One basket holds “weather items” like umbrellas, scarves, mittens, etc; one holds all of Lucy’s gear (leash, travel food bowl, medicine, toys, etc); and two hold random household things like placemats, linen napkins, etc.

These smaller baskets hold retired dish towels that now serve as rags, and some random bed linens and tablecloths. Again, I really want to get a couple more of these and put the rest of the stuff on these shelves in baskets too. Am I crazy? Nick thinks so… you probably do too. Remember, you promised not to judge!

So I think I will quit while I am (maybe?) still ahead. That’s it for today. Tomorrow I will be back with bathroom organization!

A girl’s best friend…

I’m back with the third installment of Organization Week, which focuses on jewelry organization.

So here it is. Every last set of earrings that I own is in this picture:

Most specifically, inside this box:

I got this pretty decorative wooden box as a wedding gift. I love it and wanted to make it useful. So I searched high and low for a jewelry organizer that would fit inside. Guess what? It doesn’t exist. At least, not that I’ve found. So I had to improvise.

I am sure I got this idea from some blog (this was actually in the days before Pinterest! I know, can you believe that day even existed??). I bought three of those flexible plastic ice cube trays and stacked them. Now every earring has its own spot. No more searching for that matching earring in a big tangled mess!

I used to store my necklaces in the compartments too, but I found that I wasn’t wearing them very often because they were in the bottom tray and I just wasn’t seeing them. Soooo…remember my post on the tie rack Nick built in our closet?

I decided that I would like something similar on my side of the closet to hold all of my necklaces and belts. So Nick made it happen 🙂

It is a fairly simple concept: a block of wood and hooks to hold the necklaces. But it is oh-so-nice to have them out of my jewelry box, where they would get tangled, and out on display. Having them out where I can see them when I am getting ready in the morning persuades me to wear them more often (I am admittedly not the best when it comes to remembering to accessorize, as you can probably tell from the fact that this is, indeed, ALL of the necklaces and belts that I own.)

But I am trying to wear more jewelry, as evidenced by my recent purchase of some bangle bracelets. And when I realized they didn’t fit in my jewelry box well, I asked Nick to add a peg that I could slide the bracelets onto.

We majorly improvised, using cheap foam brushes like this that we already had on hand. We cut off the foam part, and drilled the wooden peg into a block of wood.

After a quick paint job, I had a designated spot for my bracelets, all in under an hour!

And with that, we have made it through Day 3 of Organization Week! On the plate for tomorrow…your favorite and mine, BASKETS!!! 🙂 🙂 See you then!

What’s in my drawers…

So this is more of a “what’s in my drawers/cabinets” post more than anything really inventive or enlightening, but I’m nosey and like to see what’s in people’s drawers, so hopefully most of you do too.

Remember yesterday when I mentioned that we had to add a new shelf in the pantry to hold our vases in order to make room in the laundry room cabinets for baby gear? Well, this is the post about that + how we have utilized all the extra storage we added to the laundry room back in 2011.

Here’s what we started with when we first moved in.

One measly open shelf. That combined with the fact that we had the world’s tiniest pantry really made me twitch. I had no where to put anything! Yuck, yuck, yuck. So we added closed storage to the laundry room so I could store things like the crock pot, dog food, and laundry detergent away out of sight.

So let’s have a peek inside those drawers, shall we?

The first side holds laundry and cleaning supplies. I haven’t added any baskets or inventive storage solutions, but I love having the space to keep everything nice and neat.

Pre-baby, the other side was home to vases, candles and a letter holder. But I soon realized I would need that space to hold all of Kate’s feeding gear. So Nick built a top shelf in the pantry for the vases, and I relocated the letter holder to the hall closet (a post on that later this week). So the cabinet went from this:

…to this:

Things will shift around as she grows and her feeding needs change, I’m sure. The top left shelf has all the free formula we have received in the mail. I have held on to it “just in case,” but I am proud to say that I have been able to exclusively breast feed for six months and am still going strong! That was a major goal of mine, and I am so glad that I’ve been able to do it, even while working full-time. It has been an amazing experience for me. It is so much quicker and easier than preparing formula, provides a lot of snuggling time, and has helped me lose all my baby weight and then some (FAST!). Not to mention, its FREE. Totally rocks. But I digress… I am planning to give all the formula to a friend eventually (once I know for sure that we will not be needing it). I will be so glad to gain even more shelf space once that’s gone.

I’m also able to use this cabinet to hide a lot of the unsightly (yet essential) baby gear things, such as the bottle sterilizer and the bottle warmer. We have a basket for all her bibs, and the bottom left side holds her bottles and the dishwasher baskets. The bottom right shelf holds all of her plastic dishes, which will probably get moved into the kitchen once we need them (which will be soon! We have just started introducing solids through baby-led weaning).

The big cabinet holds bulky kitchen items such as the crockpot, punchbowl, cupcake carrier, etc. The bottom shelf holds Lucy’s dog food and treats. And now for the entire reason I chose this specific cabinet…

The JUNK DRAWER!! Everyone needs a junk drawer. You have to have a spot for the things that don’t “go” anywhere else. When we first moved in and I realized I did not have an extra kitchen drawer that could serve as my junk drawer, I knew this would have to be remedied fast. I try to keep this junk drawer realitively organized with one of those bamboo drawer organizers. I love these things (you will see more of them in future posts as the week goes on). It gives everything its own little “home” so its not all just cluttered together.

Once I had put everything in these cabinets/drawers, I realized (oh glorious day!) we had an extra drawer that wasn’t being used. It took me a while to figure out what to put in there (what a glorious problem to have!), but finally I decided it would be a good place to store nice shopping bags that we plan to reuse. Maybe other people do this, but we’ve always just had ours in a messy pile in the pantry, so designating this drawer specifically for these bags has been revolutionary for me. They stay so much neater and are super-easy to grab whenever you need one. And when you don’t need them, they are out-of-sight, out-of-mind.

So there ya go. That’s what’s in my drawers! Tomorrow I will be showing you how I organize my jewelry, including a really awesome built-in storage solution Nick created for me. Stay tuned 🙂

Pantry love

If 2011 was all about decorating, then 2012 has been all about ORGANIZING!! One of the best parts (for me at least) about moving into your “permanent” home (versus a rental) is that you can start implementing organization solutions. When you are living somewhere temporary, you have to be careful about buying too many baskets or drawer organizers, because what might fit in one space wont fit in another. So once we finally settled in our “real” house, I slowly started organizing each space. By nature, I am an organized person. I don’t usually accumulate clutter–if I don’t need it then I get rid of it. So all of these projects were a lot more about making things more functional and “pretty” than about decluttering.

So without further ado, I would like to declare it ORGANIZATION WEEK on this here blog. Yes, in an attempt to blog more, I am breaking this down into five separate posts, and will post one each day this week. So keep checking back!

First up, my most recent and favorite organizing project to date. The pantry!

So let’s take a walk down memory lane and remember what we started with. In this post, I shared with you the world’s smallest pantry.

This is what the pantry looked like when we first moved in. I didn’t even attempt to organize it, because I quickly realized we would have to think of a new solution. Nothing was fitting and it was driving me crazy. We are are not the types that “stock up” on groceries. We usually just have the basics (salt/pepper/oils/spices, etc) and whatever we need for that week. And it was clear that not even our basics were going to fit in this pantry.

So the first real project I had Nick do in the new house was to give me some additional shelving in the pantry.

He added shelves to both sides, so that each shelf now forms a “U” shape. And this improvement has served us pretty well over the last year and a half. The main thing that I have to have in a pantry is the ability to see everything. I do not like having things stacked in front of/on top of each other. So this extra shelving provides a little more space to put things so that everything has its own “spot.”

So that was then. Organized enough to not drive me crazy, but not really very attractive. And this is now:

The first step we did a few months back was to buy a spice rack (from the Container Store) to hang on the door so that it would free up another shelf in the pantry for other things. I also bought a little holder to go on the door to hold chip clips and my Crystal Light water bottle flavoring packets.

Then, during maternity leave, I grew very accustomed to my every other day (or so) trips to Target. They have the best shopping carts for baby carriers, which meant that it was one of the few places I could go that didn’t make me nervous. And something about Target just makes me happy immediately when I step inside. Its so bright and happy, so full of exciting possibilities of things to buy in every area (clothes and shoes for me, clothes and shoes for Kate, home decor stuff…organization stuff…) It was during these trips that I became very familiar with their pantry organization section 🙂 And so I slowly started buying a few of their containers during each trip. They helped ease the pain of having to return back to work. You think I am kidding, but Nick actually really did use that as a way to make me feel better when I was crying about having to go back.

Truth be told, these are not cheap. I did not do my research before I started collecting these. There are versions from Walmart, IKEA and Bed, Bath and Beyond that are more affordable. But I bought them slowly over time and spent pretty much all of my birthday money to buy the remaining containers I needed. Because pantry containers really are my idea of an exciting birthday present. Really. I am that crazy.

I found these chalkboard label stickers on a daily deal site called Zulily. I got them for a pretty good price, but I did not get enough, so now I am actually in the process of painting the same shape onto the containers with chalkboard paint. I am hoping that will turn out to be a more permanent solution (since some of the stickers are already getting a little ratty from when I have to remove them to wash the containers. So far the painting is turning out nicely, so I will let you know how it goes.

I also purchased some wire baskets from Target to hold bulkier, individually wrapped items like chips, popcorn, poptarts and granola bars. Its really nice to have the snack foods displayed with easy access rather than squished into a corner (and often forgotten about). I have been surprised how much space you save when you get rid of the big granola bar boxes and just group the bars together in a basket instead.

Nick also added another shelf to the very top of the pantry (let me tell you, we are squeezing every last bit of possible storage opportunities out of this space!). I needed a space to store all of my vases, because their previous home in the laundry room cabinets is now home to all of Kate’s bottles/bibs/plastic plates, etc (more on that later this week). This was a good solution for the vases since they don’t need to be accessed very often.

So lets call that “phase two” of the pantry process. I still would like to beautify it a bit more. Just like everyone else in Pinterest-land, I am dreaming of a painted/stenciled super-cabinet like this one of these days.

I think I am well on my way, now I just need to put in the sweat equity to complete the look with paint.

 

So there’s the pantry. Check back tomorrow for more organization week!

Sweet Kate of mine

Its crazy to think that the last time I posted about Kate, it was her birth post! She’s grown just a bit since then:

I’m so glad I have done the monthly pictures because I love looking back and seeing how much she has changed. And of course, I couldn’t stop at the monthlys, so here are her weekly photos so far:

I take absolutely no credit for this idea. It was an absolute total copy of YHL’s weekly photo project for Clara (this post explains step-by-step how to do it).

I really thought that I would feel sad as she got older. The first few weeks I dreaded the next day because that meant she was another day older. But, seriously, it only gets better and better. I loved her from day one, but it wasn’t until she turned about a month old that it became the overwhelming, all-consuming love you hear moms talking about. (Probably because it took me a month to really get to know her).  I always thought the things I heard people say about a mother’s love were cliches. But now I realize they are completely true. Every love I have ever had pales in comparison to the love I have for this little girl. So many women stop me at Target or wherever when I am out and about and tell me that I will love every stage. And so far, they are right. I am not sad that she’s getting bigger, because there is always just another fun thing to look forward to. Every day I get to see a little more of her personality. It is so fun. I really had no idea how great it truly would be.

So that’s where we are now. 5 months old and loving it. She’s rolling all over the place, smiling, laughing, sitting up (nearly unassisted), trying to crawl, starting to play with toys, “talking” (we even heard a “Dadada” today), and wearing me out! Which is just how it should be.

Showered!

This has been a crazy busy summer for us. My sister is getting married next weekend, so life has been consumed with wedding planning, projects and showers. After a shower in Houston hosted by the groom’s family one weekend, the next weekend I hosted a shower for her in Dallas at my cousin Andrea’s house. I can’t decide if hosting a shower remotely is better or worse. I felt more stressed because I had to transport everything from Belton, but hey, at least I didn’t have to clean the house! I didn’t take many pictures because I was too busy, but here are a few details.

I designed the invitations to match the wedding invitations (which I also designed, but we’ll save that project for a post-wedding post). Her wedding color is a blush pink so the theme of the shower was basically shades of pink.

I ordered pink poms from the same Etsy shop that I used for our gender reveal party.

I was very excited to find these napkins at Target, because the varying shades of pink matched my theme perfectly! The whole inspiration for the party was this cake. Each layer of the cake was a slightly lighter shade of pink than the last (the picture doesn’t really do it justice!).

I also framed some pictures that I took the day they got engaged for the table display.  I found the frames at World Market. I just discovered how awesome that place is. For some reason, I always was under the impression is was mainly a grocery store, I had no idea how many awesome home decor items they carry. I know, I’m way behind.

I also made her these “Thank You” cards as a gift. They match her wedding invitations. Just an aside: throughout all of this wedding prep, I have really grown to love Vistaprint! It is much easier than trying to find somewhere locally to print. I’ve been pretty impressed with the quality of their printing, and the prices aren’t unreasonable.

2012 might go down as the most exciting year ever, because not only did I have a baby and my sister is getting married, but Nick’s brother and sister-in-law will be having their first baby in October. So, right after I finished with the wedding shower, it was time to get in baby shower mode! Nick’s aunt hosted this shower, which gave me the freedom to just focus on the little details, which is more fun for me than being in charge of the whole thing. I may have gone a little crazy, but its my first niece…so I’ve gotta spoil her, right? 🙂

I designed the invitations to match their nursery color scheme which is purple, grey and white. Thanks to Pinterest (the source of all good ideas), I decided to make it a “book shower’ where each guest is asked to bring a book instead of a card. I included a card explaining the idea with the invitation.

I love the idea because you will most likely spend at least $3 for a card that will probably be thrown away. For just a few more dollars, you can buy a book, sign the inside and it will be a keepsake for the baby.

I wanted a way to display the books at the shower, so I asked Nick to build a tabletop bookshelf. We googled, found a picture of one we liked, and he built it based on the picture. I wish I could find the picture, because seriously, I am so impressed. It looked exactly like it. But alas, that image is not turning up on Google today. So just trust me when I say, the boy’s got skills.

After he was done building, I got to work painting. I wanted it to match their nursery, which is this one from Pottery Barn Kids:

So I painted the base grey and then found a stencil that resembled the dahlia on the bedding. I lucked out and found these Martha Stewart stencils at Michael’s, that were a very close match!

As a gift, I also purchased a personalized pillow from this Etsy shop. I was very impressed with this shop because when I sent the picture of the PBK nursery, the shop owner actually purchased a matching pillowcase to use as the back fabric so it would be a perfect match. It turned out so cute.

I was in charge of games for the shower so we had a little baby trivia game where Bryan and Rebecca competed to see which of them knew the most about babies. I made the “mom-” and “dad-to-be” paddles for them to hold up when they knew the right answer.

The winner (and it actually ended up being a tie) got a “New Parent Survival Kit” that I put together.

It contained:

Diaper changing kit:

  • Newborn diapers
  • Rubber gloves and tongs
  • Butt paste
  • Baby powder
  • Hand sanitizer

Soothing baby:

  • Baby wash/shampoo/lotion
  • Wash cloths
  • Socks
  • Pacifiers
  • Music

And when you think you just can’t keep going…

  • Lifesavers
  • 5-hour energy drink

I also made little keepsake cards for the guests to fill out while they were opening presents: 

We put them all in a glass jar labeled “Wishes for Baby” so baby Dawson can read our notes to her one day.

We also hung up all of her cute little outfits on a clothesline (with clothespins that matched the purple patterned theme, of course!)

So that concludes my busy summer of shower hosting. Now I will leave you with picture of Kate with each of the guests of honor.

With my sister (this was actually at her Houston shower):

And with her Aunt Rebecca, who she met for the first time at the baby shower: