Category Archives: Organization

New Year’s Goal: Get Organized

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My "Lazy Jo"
I was originally going to title this post "I Hate Corner Cupboards", but as one of my New Year's Resolutions is to be positive, I caught myself. I usually don't make New Year's Resolutions, but this year I've set my sights on four: (1) be more positive, (2) organize my cupboards, (3) drink more water, and (4) try to eat dark chocolate, instead of milk chocolate. This post addresses  goal #2.  I started with the cupboard in my kitchen that I hate the most, my corner cupboard. Why do I hate it? They become catchalls for EVERYTHING! Does yours look like mine? How does this happen?! Should this Lazy Susan be named Lazy Jo?! And what about the contents of this other corner cupboard?
Corner Cupboard Mayhem
Corner Cupboard Mayhem
Continue reading New Year’s Goal: Get Organized

An Opinion on Styling a Bookshelf

Bookshelf from B @ H http://bliss-athome.com/2015/01/26/grasscloth/
Love the styling of this bookshelf from B @ H
http://bliss-athome.com/2015/01/26/grasscloth/
I have been an avid reader since I was a very young girl. I have those fond memories, like so many other avid readers, of going to the local library with my mom, cloth book bags in hand, getting a stack of books. I regularly attend book festivals (LOVE the Nantucket Book Festival) or author engagements. (In RI, Robin Kall puts together marvelous author events.) I'm in a terrific book club, Reading Between the Wines, and contrary to our husbands' quips, we do discuss the books. I'm also an English as a Second Language Teacher and a Reading Specialist. I work with high school students. I do not teach them to learn to read (i.e., decoding/phonics), but rather I teach them how to read to learn (i.e., comprehension strategies). I am also a book snob. If I don't see books in a person's home or apartment, I immediately notice. Are they strictly E-readers? I wonder. Do they check their books out from the library and keep them by their bedside? or Are they simply non-readers? (Gasp!) Therefore, I feel compelled to comment on the use of books for decorative purposes only in styling bookshelves as...distasteful.
Book spine facing inward-what?! (From The DIY Playbook Blog)
Book spine facing inward(From The DIY Playbook Blog)
Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the styled book shelf at right. I love the gals (Bridget & Casey) behind the blog The DIY Playbook. I think their ideas are creative and their blog fantastic. I am not a hater. I just don't understand the concept of displaying books with the spine (i.e., the title) hidden.
www.thediyplaybook.com
www.thediyplaybook.com
Covered Books by April Foster.blogspot.com
Covered Books by April Foster.blogspot.com
I also do not like the idea of covering books in decorative paper. Okay, I love the look of the map-covered books at right creatively displayed by April Foster on her blog. Her aesthetic matches my own. However, as an avid reader, why would you do this?
From www.allthingsthrifty.com
From www.allthingsthrifty.com
You have no idea what is under the paper, you have no intention of sharing your books with others, you cannot derive the pleasure of seeing the title of a book that you read and loved, and taking a moment and basking in the memory of that experience. So as I rework my own messy, chaotic bookshelf, I do want to practice the art of styling it a bit; however, I still want, no NEED, to see the titles of the books. They are my prized possessions. They contain my journeys,  my memories, my friends, and so much more. Next post, I will share my attempt to re-style my bookshelves. Currently my shelves look like this:
Creative Whimzy book shelf
Creative Whimzy book shelf
bookcase 3

Facelift to a Multicolored Storage Cart

Storage Cart
Storage Cart

With a step daughter in medical school, a step daughter in college, and one daughter in high school, it's time to get rid of a number of things in our house. However, I wasn't ready to part with some of the items we purchased when the girls were small because frankly, they're still very functional. The only problem is that some of the items are too cutesy, as is, for my taste. Case in point, the 10-drawer multicolored chrome metal storage cart. How many of you have something like this?

Rust-oleum Spray Paint
Rust-oleum Matte Citron
Rust-oleum Pure Gold
Rust-oleum Pure Gold
Since I'm still on my spray painting kick, I decided to paint the metal frame with Rust-Oleum's  Pure Gold and the drawers in Rust-Oleum's Matte Citron. I had to remove the drawers and thoroughly wash the frame and drawers. I also unscrewed all of the knobs to spray them to match the frame. I bought five cans of the Matte Citron and sprayed approximately 3 coats over the drawers. The darker colored drawers needed a bit more attention. Like all good DIYs, things don't always go as planned. I didn't love the finished product. Then, my muse (my daughter), suggested I use chalkboard paint so that I could write on the drawers directly to label them. This is why two heads are often better than one! The project obviously took a little longer than planned because then I painted over the citron.
Rust-oleum Chalkboard Spray Paint
Rust-oleum Chalkboard Spray Paint
Plastic Drawers
Plastic Drawers
  My newly revamped storage cart will hold the marketing materials for a new job I recently started. I make regular donations to the Salvation Army, but this is one piece I'm glad I decided to hang on to!
cart 2
Revamped Storage Cart
     

Jewelry Organizer…Functional Art

Necklace Organizer
Necklace Organizer
In a recent closet clean-out/overhaul, I realized that I wanted to display some of my necklaces so that I'd remember to wear them! Inspired by other DIYs where people use bulletin boards to hang their necklaces, I decided to make my own hanging necklace holder. It was so simple. Here are the steps in pictures:
Step 1-Necklace Organizer
Step 1: Spray paint backboard
Step 2: Buttons
Step 2: Buttons
Step 3: Position & Mark Button Placement
Step 3: Position & Mark Button Placement
Step 4: Hammer Nails
Step 4: Hammer Nails
Step: Glue Buttons to Nail Heads
Step: Glue Buttons to Nail Heads
Voila!
Voila!
Functional Closet Art
Functional Closet Art
 

Revamping My Closet

There are a number of terrific closet organization systems out there, some DIY systems, and many custom closet companies. Some that come to mind are California Closets, the Container Store's elfa Shelving System, and IKEA's PAX system. Over the years,  my husband has revamped a number of our closets. When we moved into our house eleven years ago, our master bedroom closet looked similar to the picture at left and he transformed it. The pullout shoe closet was my dream.
Empty Closet
Empty Closet
Ikea Shoe Closet
Ikea Shoe Closet
Ikea PAX Closet
Ikea PAX Closet
I was in awe of my new closet, but over time, there were a few drawbacks. The shoe closet hid hard-to-reach shelve space, where I imagined giant dust bunnies were lurking. My boots were squished (or thrown in a jumble) on the limited bottom shelf. My end of the closet was just not working for me anymore. (I know, first world problems!)
What is lurking in there?
What is lurking in there?
Continue reading Revamping My Closet

An inexpensive catchall tray for keys, coins or jewelry.

Catchall Tray by Creative Whimzy
Catchall Tray by Creative Whimzy
I love collecting quotes. I don't always know what to do with them, except scribble them down in my calendar, or in little idea notebooks that I keep. It's one of the reasons why I like having a paper calendar over an electronic one. Recently I found a way to marry two desires...my quote collection with a way to make and give an inexpensive, yet personal gift to friends.
White dish from Salvation Army
White dish from Salvation Army
I stopped off at my neighborhood Salvation Army and picked up two dishes,  $.99 each. Then, using a gold Sharpie Paint Metallic Oil Based pen, I rimmed the edges of both dishes. With a black Sharpie Permanent Marker, I wrote out a quote on each tray, freehand.
Sharpie Pens
Sharpie Pens
I didn't mind that the lettering wasn't perfect, as I hope the trays are used for keys, coins, or jewelry. The whole project took less than 15 minutes. And, if you make a mistake, you can use a Q-tip or a cotton ball, and nail polish to erase your mistake. Easy peasy. Compare these to Kate Spade's 'take the cake" ring dish for $30 and you got yourself a super bargain!
Jewelry Tray
Jewelry Tray
Jewelry Catchall by Creative Whimzy
Jewelry Catchall by Creative Whimzy

A Closet Audit (or What Not to Wear)

www.carriehumphreys.cabionline.com
Carrie Humphreys, CAbi Stylist
Doesn't every fashion-minded girl dream of having her own personal stylist? I know I do. Recently I had my fashion forward friend, Carrie Humphreys, Independent Cabi Stylist, come to my house to help me with a Closet Audit.   What is a closet audit? It's basically like that show "What Not to Wear" except that Carrie doesn't make snarky comments like Clinton & Stacy did, and she doesn't make you throw away your whole wardrobe. Basically, Carrie worked with the clothes in my closet and put together 50 outfits using what was already there. She also made additional suggestions for matching or adding shoes, handbags, belts, scarves and even jewelry to complement the various outfits. Carrie likes a challenge, too. You know that shirt, skirt, or jacket that you loved when you first bought it, but have never been able to figure out what to pair it with? Carrie was able to help me with a few of my closet "orphans".
CAbi Scarf
CAbi Scarf

"Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman." ~ Coco Chanel

How long does it take?  Carrie spent about three hours at my house, going through my clothes, having me try on different pieces, matching items, taking pictures, and giving me feedback on what fit and what didn't.  I was also given a homework assignment prior to her visit.  First and foremost, I had to clean out my closet. (Carrie didn't tell me to do that, but I thought that it was time for some spring cleaning.) I organized and refolded clothes, I made a pile of clothes to be donated or consigned, and a pile that needed to be mended or taken to the dry cleaners. Then, per Carrie's instructions, I pulled out a few of my favorite "go to" outfits, so she could get a sense of my style. I also selected items that I was excited to wear this season, but that I needed help in how to mix and match them with other items. Continue reading A Closet Audit (or What Not to Wear)

Organization for Tiny Items

I have always liked tiny things. One of my friends from my graduate-school days said that it was a "Libra-thing".  She is a Libra, too.
Some of Jo's Tiny Things
Some of Jo's Tiny Things
As a card maker I have a lot of particularly tiny notions such as beads, brads, charms, playing cards, dice, and so on.  But how do  you organize these items so that you can find them when you need them? And don't lose them? I store some of my card making embellishments in round tins with windows. I also have a cast-off nail and screw organizer from my husband that works nicely.
Nail & screw organizer
Nail & screw organizer
www.papermart.com
www.papermart.com
Continue reading Organization for Tiny Items

Keep Calm & Carry This Carry-On!

I am a mess when it comes to packing for a trip. I don't know why because I actually have traveled quite a bit in my life, and I am usually an organized person.  I guess the pressure of wanting to bring just the right outfits, while not packing too much stuff, just stresses me out. Well, I have one part of my problem figured out. I have finally found a carry-on bag to end all carry-ons!
The O.G. by Lo & Sons
The O.G. by Lo & Sons
The O.G. by Lo & Sons is a lightweight overnight & gym bag. It's stylish with its lavender lining and gold accents, and it has pockets in all the right places. I especially like how there's a side zipper pocket for a pair of shoes.  I fit all of the items below in The O.G. with room to spare: my iPad, my 13" laptop, a pair of shoes, my camera, wallet, make-up bag, magazine, sunglasses, keys, phone & charger, and a scarf.  Continue reading Keep Calm & Carry This Carry-On!

Rubber Stamp Mayhem

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printer's type drawer mounted on wall
As a a life-long card maker, I've collected my fair share of rubber stamps over the years. For a long time, I could not think of a good way to store them. As my collection grew, it became unwieldy, until I happened upon this idea. (I'm sorry I can't give credit to the source because it was quite awhile ago.)  I now store the bulk of my rubber stamps in clear inexpensive box frames that you can buy pretty much anywhere. Continue reading Rubber Stamp Mayhem