Monday, February 28, 2011

I organize, therefore I am

There are many reasons I organize, but here are my top 5:

I like things to visually be in order, it's calming.
It's easier to put things back in their place and faster to find things.
It keeps excess out of my life with a constant purging cycle.
It makes me happy to put things in a row.
I'm an organizing junkie and bins are my drug.

But honestly, I have a PASSION for organization. I offer to organize my friends closets, who does that? Every shelf, drawer, closet, pile in my house is organized. This skill came in uber handy when we found ourselves with 500 sqft of living space, and it's just as relevant now as we spread out a bit more.

So when my basement storage was starting to just bug me, I gave it a makeover. What sealed the deal for me was Home Depot's storage bins on clearance for $2 AND in cute colors. Yes, please. They fit perfect in my wire shelves from Target. Bonus! Here's your nasty before picture:
This project took me about 3 hours total, but I broke it up between a couple of days. First I had my bins handy, and I made labels for each room. Once those rooms have completed the construction phase I'll be able to unpack. For now, they're residing in the basement and I need to find things on random occasions. Labels make life easier.
Now I've started to unpack all my old bins and reorganize them into new rockstar labeled ones. I've also purchased one more shelving unit which means i've outgrown the wall. Guess i'll move things to the other wall. Perfect. Boy do I have a lot of frames...

So here's the finished clutter-free organized project. I still have a lot of smaller bins/boxes that are empty, which is a good thing I suppose, it means there's a little room for growth down here. Those winter items will definitely fill that up later.
My grand total cost is: $120 on wire shelves from Target {$40 a piece x3, sturdy, easy to assemble, highly recommended}, $20 worth of new bins, $6 for two collapsible crates. $146 dollars. Not too shabby for ease of use and an organized basement...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

my friday nights ooze with glamour


My friday night was spent running 2 miles on the treadmill, a trip to home depot {supplies to organize the basement, $2 bins in cute coordinated colors? yes please}, then to lowes {insulation...}, then acmoore to pick up supplies for a front door wreath. Then I spent a couple of hours in front of the tv relaxing and wrapping and this is the final product:
The yellow is the same color that i'll be painting the doors. I added a little glam to this one with some feathers and pearl accents, that are so sneakily the same blue I'm so drawn to.
Anyway, happy saturday! I've got more painting, organizing, insulating and trim work to do...

Friday, February 25, 2011

the amazing morphing closet


So this nook actually began as a closet. With a strange step-up and some sliding pocket doors. It originally was part of the 1st floor bedroom that's now our dining room. Remember that wall we knocked down?

Well, the picture above was my temporary set-up. I knew we wanted to do something more built-in eventually. Something that would flow with the kitchen and act as a laptop desk/buffet/message center. For now it comfortably houses our ginormous mac which will head upstairs once that office is complete. When I do work from home, I can pop down here with the laptop and soak in the sun from the kitchen slider.

So after some sweat and blood and almost tears, here is the {semi} finished message center.
The cabinets and countertop match exactly what we did in the kitchen. I put them together and installed them myself! I even drilled the holes for the drawer hardware. Is it crooked? The reason I say the space isn't finished yet, is merely because IKEA didn't have the toekicks I needed in stock. So we'll all have to stare at the ugly cabinet legs until then...I also have to rework the wiring, which may mean having the electrician add an outlet inside the nook. I also have to find and buy some baskets/inserts for the shelves. They're a very odd and small size, so it's proving a little difficult. I'll just keep my eye out until I find the perfect match.
I taped and painted a chalkboard along the whole back wall. I like that we'll be able to write messages on here and I can keep my to-do list very accessible.
I put a cork board on the other wall, on the inside left, so you wouldn't see it when you walk into the kitchen. If I don't have order, I like to at least create the illusion. I also whipped up some new fabric-covered coordinating pushpins.
I found the accessory holders on sale at IKEA, but now that they're in the space, I might go back and opt for something that's more up and down instead of leaning out so far. The letter/bill holder is a metal napkin holder I picked up at the thrift store and spray painted.
Here's a very blurry picture of the IKEA drawer organizer and just how splendidly it works. Love it.
And for quick access to important paperwork or files, I have metal magazine holders up top along with some cardboard file holders from Target. I think they were 3$ a piece.

Well that's about it, hope you enjoyed it, I know I do, everyday! I love me some organizing.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

wreath love


So now I have a couple of my own lovely entrances and I no longer live in fear that a cute something or other will just be snatched and never seen again because in nyc, if it's not bolted down, it's free. This wreath is so easy to make, but I fear I bought the smallest wreath ever and it's completely dwarfed on my large door. Although it does fit nicely in the glass pane. I love how it really ties into the red door, but ironically i'll be painting both doors sunflower yellow as soon as the weather warms up! Ah well, i'll just have to make another...
And here is a sneak peek at the soon to be finished office nook/message center/whatever you want to call it. The nice thing is everything will tie in with our kitchen look and it's built-in. AND it's uber counter space so I can push our ginormous monitor to the back and not have blurry vision when I walk away. Oh and did I mention the storage? Because I heart storage.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

craft night oh craft night

So here it is, another craft night. Except this one won't be as quiet and peaceful. We'll have a wee bit of demo work happening right before, so there may be some cleanup going in and out of the house. The upstairs is finally on it's way to a facelift. More like rhinoplasty. We're rearranging some rooms that they really didn't think through when the addition was put on. I think a couple of stressed out parents said, ohmyword, we need more space, let's throw a couple of huge bedrooms off the second bedroom upstairs. And that was how we ended up with a completely unused bedroom/hallway. But I digress...


Well, thanks to Marybeth's inspiration, we're making one of these. If you're planning to come by tonight, bring yerself some yarn {one skein'll do ya}, some felt of your color choices, and a foam wreath. I didn't think to put the glue gun in the photo, but if you have one of those, bring it too. If not, you can borrow mine. I'm excited. I picked out my colors and already made my flowers and MB is bringing some dessert. Mmm.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

the lonely craft night that was


It wasn't all bad, Marybeth kept me company for hours! And I had to show off the wreath she made. It's incredibly beautiful AND she finished the entire thing already. I was impressed. I insisted she leave it overnight for a daylight photoshoot but she was less than willing, so I'll apologize for the blurry image. She's smart though, by the glimmer in my eye she could tell I was planning to kidnap it forever.

I took the time and made some flowers for my soon to be wreath, just as soon as I get out and get the yarn and foam wreath. It's really a great project if anyone's considering it. It takes a while to wrap the foam BUT it's so mindless you can do it while deep in conversation or sitting in front of the telly. I also whipped up a couple of felt flower headbands for me and MB. I reused some of my old headbands that were neglected for years. I think the pearl accents give it a more grown-up polished look, I mean, as grown-up as you can get wearing flowers on your head.

Monday, February 14, 2011

craft night free for all

Well I was honestly stumped on a project for this weeks craft night, so I though it would be fun to give you options. I'm going to offer a list of links, and you can choose what you would like to make. We'll also have supplies on hand for all our past projects, for any of you who missed them and have been dying to try something.

make little girl barrettes

make some chip clips or fridge magnets

try your hand at felt flowers

a new idea from marybeth, some yarn letters or words

coasters from tiles

and another new project, post it note holders

how about a yarn wreath to go with those felt flowers?

And of course, you can bring any of your own crafting that you want to work on! I think i'll be doing a little bit of everything myself...

let's hear it for new york


Well, this weekend was a great short little trip to Brooklyn. Carrie and I, along with her two girls, drove in to meet up with one of Carrie's college friends. I have to say, Jen was adorable! And sweet. It's always nerve-wracking meeting new people for me, especially people I plan to spend the next 48 hours with. All in all, it was a great trip! We spent a little time in my old neighborhood, said hello to my old apartment, had delicious food and spent hours shopping. I'm hoping the girls all had as much fun as I did. Even riding the subway was happiness to me.
The day was a bit chilly as you can see, but Sunday shaped up to be much warmer. And we've already planned a spring trip back to see the cherry blossoms at the brooklyn botanical gardens. That was always on my to-do list and I just missed out on it the couple of years we lived there.
My old neighborhood has a new Crumbs bakery, and I'm so glad it wasn't there when I was! We had some fantastic valentine themed cupcakes. I had the chocolate covered strawberry which was simple strawberry cake covered in a hard chocolate ganache. It was baked goods heaven. I wish I had gotten a picture of it for you all, what was I thinking?

Then on Sunday we grabbed some morning donuts from the Donut Plant on the lower west side. The line was insane really, the longest I've ever seen it. Well worth the wait though. Carrie dared to try the rose petal donut, while I stuck to the fabulous coconut cream filled. MMmm. You would think everyone in the city would be large and in charge, but thanks to all that walking, the calories just melt away.
After our breakfast we headed to SoHo for a little shopping. Unfortunately, I found some excellent shoe deals I just couldn't walk away from {haha, get it?}. So I lugged around a heavy pair of boots and a gorgeous pair of tan suede stilettos for the rest of the day. I bought this little mushroom strictly for photo shoots cause it's just too darn cute and I picked up the bracelet in Pearl River Mart, a chinese mecca of adorable treasures. Everyone wanted a wrought iron teapot but none of us wanted to carry it home!
I also picked up a couple of birthday gifts for some lucky ladies.
Well, I know I promised closet photos, but maybe tomorrow! I may even have to purge some old shoes to make room for the new ones...

Friday, February 11, 2011

the organized closet tutorial

Bear with me, it's about to get scary. I want you to do something for me, either physically or mentally, it's your choice. Close your eyes {or step away from the computer}. Open your closet door. All of your closet doors. Look inside, root around, try to find the floor. Not possible? Are you in the fetal position sobbing yet?

Ok, you can stop, i've hurt you all enough for today. Think about it, closets are what we LIVE out of. Every day. At some point or another we're opening those doors, pulling/heaving/tugging out contents for the day, pushing/shoving/tossing in items to the abyss. Well, maybe it's not all that bad, but if you're ready to be at peace with your closets, here's a good way to get started. I'll walk you through making yours sparkle. Who knows, maybe you'll even start showing them off to your friends. Or maybe this will just make your life feel a little more simplified and clutter/stress-free. Either way, prepare for closet zen.

Carrie so lovingly agreed to let me use her closet as our tutorial model. Isn't it lovely packed full of, well, stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. Go Carrie! Hardly any room to walk in! This must be bugging her...
First step first. Clean it out! Take everything out so you can see what you have to work with. Think of this as the perfect opportunity to clean those baseboards, or if you're feeling really motivated, give it a fresh coat of paint! Depending on the amount of time you have of course. Keep an hour free for a small hall closet, a couple of hours for a regular closet filled with junk, and up to three hours for your own personal clothes closet. You'll have a lot of decisions and organizing in there to do to make dressing every day that much easier.
There. Now we have a blank canvas. SO stop and think about it. What do you use the most? What would you like to see facing you every time you open the door? What can you do with that corner space? I personally think it's best to keep the floor as clean and clear as possible so think about storing things higher, or in labeled canvas boxes. I use open top so I can just grab and pull whatever I need without having to mess with tops/lids.

We're putting all of Carries shoes on the wall facing us, that way, they're easy to spot without having to crane your neck. Also, it takes away the unsightly sides of the canvas hanging storage compartments. Try to match your accessory holders and organizers as much as possible, that way they won't distract visually.

One huge thing I recommend is to go through all the items you pulled out. Donate anything that's out of style, doesn't fit, or really is just one hot mess {In fact, maybe you should just toss those}. Pack away any off-season clothes/shoes. These boot boxes are great storage for flip-flops and summer sandals and will easily be swapped out when it's time to put those winter boots away.
Also, grab a bin or two and pack away all the clothes, label them and put them in the basement, easily visible so packing for vacations isn't daunting. {A great tip: use old rolled magazines in your boots to keep them standing straight on shelves. This also helps the life of the boot, preventing leather from creasing and cracking.}
Another pet peeve of mine is store hangers or metal hangers. They're so bad for your clothes and really, just ugly and unruly. Toss them all and spend 4-5 dollars on a whole stack of new plastic ones. I prefer all white but i'm obsessively organized like that.
Another huge way to create space, is buy a double-hanging closet rod. This way you can hang shorter items like skirts and pants at the bottom and tops and jackets can go above. Double the hanging space for about ten dollars. You can't go wrong.

Keep large items like scarfs or hats away from the back of your door or your face-level on a wall. They can be bulky and unruly. I like to keep them in decorative baskets like these:
And now, we have a finished product. A closet that's organized, simple, clean and even color coded. I would normally get rid of any excess extra hangers, even packing them with the off-season clothes but for now, we're keeping these around to swap out with old metal/store hangers.
I realize that's a lot of info to throw at you, but if you have any questions let me know. Now go get those closets purty! {Maybe next week I'll show you all my closet...}

Thursday, February 10, 2011



to Carries house! Recently, my friend Carrie and her husband listed their house in this crazy overrun real estate market. So to get a leg up on the competition, we took to the space and made it shine. With a lot of borrowed accessories, a couple of truck loads to the Goodwill, and some new organizing boxes, we're ready to go.

The newly organized living room is cozy and warm:
Some clean and organized closets:
Natural light in the back room:
A guest room that's been cleaned and rearranged and ready for guests, wouldn't you want to stay here?:
And some random pictures for everyone to ooh and ahh over. Anyone in Connecticut in need of a home to grow into? The house should be listed next week, so if you're interested, you better jump on it!

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