Tag Archives: organization

“pretty” storage

Several weeks ago I was featuring some organization tips, tricks, and ideas.  This was the planned Friday post.  But then Thursday happened, where an emergency room visit transpired follow by a  flurry of doctor visits.  That was by a family getaway, a 4-day work conference, some job interviews, planning a few birthday parties, and a major life decision, which has sent my blogging routine into a spiraling mess.  Luckily, I see the light and have been capturing pictures of creative events as they are unfolding.  So, perhaps a few weeks late, but here’s a start to some organization (combined with a fun thrifty, pretty, tutorial) for what was the guest room (also known as the “red room”), which is currently being transformed into the new nursery.

One of the things I loved about our house was all the character and unique built-in storage.  Here’s what I presume was an old built-in dresser.  You can see I have taken advantage of the storage space, but not in an effective manner.

One of the design elements that I took into consideration when working on this room, was the neat hardware….

Which was the inspiration for the design concepts.  Initially I was going to have the husband build some big funky drawers that I was going to cover with fabric, but then I noticed that Laundry basket sitting there all white and lonely and thought I could easily transform her into something.  The result…

A pretty laundry basket that doubles as a hidden storage area.  Best yet, the total budget for this project was a about $6 (fabric remnant, Modge Podge, laundry basket and about 2 hours + dry time).

The Process
Gather Materials- laundry basket, a few foam brushes, Modge Podge, scissors, tape, and fabric.

I taped one end of the fabric just inside the lip of the laundry basket.  Then I let the fabric hang and determined the size/amount of fabric I needed from that and simply cut the fabric with about 1-2″ on either edge of the front face of the basket.

Using a foam brush,  I “painted” the modge podge onto the naked basket, then over the fabric.  I found that Modge Podge was a little too thick, so I added some water to make it more glue like.  I started at the bottom of the basket and worked my way up.  I painted a thin amount directly onto the basket, smoothed the fabric down, and then painted over the fabric.  To keep the ends from curling or bubbling up I simply used scotch tape and secured to a dry area on the basket.

I cut a slit in the fabric where the front handle was located.  I then made wedge cuts from the middle slit towards the handle.  I then  Modge Podged these fabric wedges.  Similar to before I painted a layer of Modge Podge inside the basket, folded the fabric wedges over, and painted another layer of Modge Podge over the fabric.  The key is to contour the lines of the basket as much as possible.

Let dry for a about 4-6 hours (or if your like me you forget about it in another area of the house for a few weeks) and then appreciate your new budget-friendly, “pretty” storage!



Filed under Before/After, DIY Projects, Gift of Thrift, Inspiration, Tutorials

Functional kitchen corner {organization}

I HATE useless space.  I have a corner on my kitchen counter that was just that…useless space.  Inevitably everyday another pile grew in that corner like an unwanted weed.  What I needed was a little handyman help.

I told the husband to make something to put there that was functional, and that would hide the outlet/cords (it also happens to be the best place to charge our tech gizmos) and yet not so permanent that I can’t change my mind in 2 years.  Whose with me?

Here’s what the corner looked like before (this is the “picked up” version)

Cords, cords, and more cords.  Oh, and a spice rack filled with stale spices that are over 5 years old.  The handyman’s solution…

A custom-designed and custom-built “counter garage” (that’s what the handyman calls it).  The back is completely open, and nothing is adhered to either the wall or the counter.  The platform on top has notches cut in the back to hold our tech gizmo charging cords with out the mess we had before.  Best of all, I can close the lid to hide whatever I put in there.

So what do you put in there? A little background here.  I think I mentioned in my kick off organization post that we have no pantry, just a bottom cupboard built-in lazy Susan.  Pantry space is at a premium and well I was looking to free up some space and keep just food product in there.  Which means I needed to find a new home for the pesky toaster that leaves crumbs where ever we put it!

And secondly, our pet Weimaraner has the free reign of the house.  He’s been stellar for 3 years never stealing a thing off the counter.  In recent months we think he is feeling a little “starved” for attention, or just learning that he has potential access to more stuff during the day.  Now NO FOOD, even packaged, can remain out on the counter.  Complete containers of cinnamon rolls, loaves of bread, sandwich thins, chips, you name it needs to get stuffed away.  Oddly apples and bananas are still safe in the fruit basket.  Hmm, maybe he’s picking up the eating habits of our 2-year-old.  In any case the “counter garage” is now home to…


It’s a pretty massive storage area, that the husband, aka handyman, built with the dimensions of most toasters in mind.  His thought process was we can easily slide the toaster in and out plug it in as we need it.  The crumbs that follow the toaster are a lot easier to clean up in the counter garage than in the lazy Susan (required vacuum and completely emptying the cupboard…guess how often that DIDN’T happen)!  And it solves the solution of food lock-down to prevent dog-child from a feast throughout the day.  All we need to do is pull the door down.

If you want specifics on how to build-your-own “Counter Garage”  feel free to email me.  The handyman said it was a lot easier than he anticipated!

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Simple Storage Solution {Small Space Organization}

We have the challenge of not having a good spot to put “stuff” when you enter our house. You enter in the kitchen and all shoes and “stuff” ends up right there. The basement is immediately to the left upon entering the house. The past few years we have experimented with using the landing on your way to the basement as the collector of stuff. We did have a 3-tiered shelf at the landing to hold shoes and pet supplies. However in our recent Basement reveal I mentioned that in order to make the entry to the basement more appealing and provide more space (basement is now our family room/man cave/playroom) we removed the shelving and painted the stairway walls.

Here is the middle of the road before (after shelves removed and paint applied)- a mumbled pile of “stuff”

Here is the after… there’s at least a hint of organization

I spotted a storage solution in Country Living Magazine which I was able to find here. The solution concrete forming tubes. Since we were planning to use ours mostly for storing shoes we measured a few pairs of shoes to see what depth we needed, 12 inches was our magical number which worked well since the tube came in 4 foot sizes. These tubes are available at most hardware stores for $5-$8 each. My husband had the smaller tube from a roll of plastic at his shop.

Then we painted them with black acrylic paint and a rag. I felt that all black would be too dark for the small space so we just covered the outside of the larger tubes, and the inside of the smaller tubes leaving the natural look of the cardboard on some! You could also modge podge some fabric if you prefer the prettier side of things!

Before painting them we held the tubes up to the wall to determine our lay-out. This is a two person job as I held up the tubes and my husband traced the inside of the tube onto the wall with a pencil. He then placed the tube onto a piece of paper and traced the top 4-6″ of the tube. This would act as a pattern in cutting the wooden blocks used to attach the tubes securely to the wall.

As you can see he used 2 screws to attach the wooden block to the top of each circle pattern, and then 2 screws from the outside of the tubing into the wooden blocks.

Keep doing it until you have the desired pattern and amount of storage that you need. Here’s what you see coming up the stairs. (Please ignore the nasty adhesive remaining on the ledge from the shelving unit…it has since been removed, but I neglected to take a picture AFTER that!)

and again from the front 🙂

Total cost of this project $7.48 (I already had the scrap wood for blocks, screws, small tube, and black paint)
Total time to complete project from beginning to end: 1.5 hours

Linking to:
Not Just a Housewife
Home Stories A to Z


Filed under Before/After, DIY Projects

Announcement: a week of “organization” posts

Let me start by saying the topic of “organization” makes me break out in a sweat and feverishly look for something else to do.  Why?  Because I feel like there is never an end in sight. In our household, it’s likely that I’ll put hours and hours of work into something that will be null and void 2 weeks later.  Lastly, lost of the fun and trendy organization trends require a lot of space..I don’t have a walk-in pantry, a foyer/mudroom, or even a designated laundry room.  So while others are sharing fun little posts like these… (all sources via pinterest)

Exhibit A: Delovely Pantry with crates, and containers.
Enter my corner built-in lazy Susan and few cupboards that are just deep enough for cereal boxes.  By the way, why does every organized pantry seem to have an abundance of V8?  Maybe that’s my problem?!

Source: brownpaper–packages.com via Jessica on Pinterest

Exhibit B: An organized entrance where everyone has a place to put their “stuff,” hang their coats, drop their shoes.  Enter my back door (which is the only door used by anyone coming to/from our house) which opens directly into the kitchen with no space for anything.  Shoes, coats, stuff ends up on in the kitchen somewhere.  It seems so un-hospitalable for me to ask people to leave everything outside!

Source: lollyjaneboutique.blogspot.com via Megan on Pinterest

Exhibit C: A functional laundry room.  Did I mention that my Laundry Room/bathroom is directly off the kitchen.  It’s the only bathroom on the first floor…hence piles of laundry waiting to be washed are in perfect view for any guest entering our house!

Source: ana-white.com via Erin on Pinterest

For me organization methods need to be practical, simple and realistic.  While the idea of a completely organized house isn’t the realm of my existence, I would love to see just a little less clutter.  Sterile is not the desired outcome, so if you are OCD or overtly organized you might cringe at the “before” pictures I’ll be posting.

This week (Monday through Friday) I’m featuring a different organization tip each day that we have instituted in our household.

Stay tuned.


Filed under DIY Projects, Inspiration

Kara’s Weekly Menu/Grocery Planning {Back to Scool Blog Bash- finalle}

Today is the final day of the Back to School Blog Bash, and out grand finale is Kara who offers a super tutorial and template for a weekly menu and grocery list.  What a perfect way to make everyone in the house responsible for creating the grocery list or helping create the menu.  As a working mom it’s painful to get home from work and figure out what to have for dinner.  Truly a great tool to make life easier especially when balancing the crazy school and extra schedules 🙂  Here’s Kara- make sure to check out her blog for some blog love and fun ideas 🙂

I’m so excited to be a guest today on Fostering a Creative Life and to be part of the Back to School  Bash.  I’m Kara from Happy Go Lucky where I love sharing fun, easy, and inexpensive craft projects the entire family can enjoy.

Today I want to share an easy way to organize your weekly meal plans and grocery shopping list.  Because we all know grocery shopping is so much easier when we are prepared and organized.

To help me plan my weekly meals and create my grocery list I created this Weekly Meal Planner and Grocery Shopping List. 

Print out your own Weekly Meal Planner and Grocery List HERE
Then to keep it conveniently located on my refrigerator I made it into a magnetic notepad. 
Here’s what you need to make your own Weekly Meal Planner and Grocery List Magnetic Notepad (wow that’s a long name).
  • copies of the Weekly Meal Planner and Grocery List – I print about 20 at a time
  • two pieces of cardboard
  • three brads
  • modge podge and paint brush
  • scrapbook paper
  • magnets
  • hole puncher
Start by cutting a piece of the cardboard so it is 3 inches by 11 inches.
Fold it in half and then unfold.  Decoupage the scrapbook paper onto the strip of cardboard.
Once this is dry, wrap around your copies of the meal planner with the other piece of cardboard behind the copies.
Punch three holes through everything and place your brads through the holes.
Add magnets to the back and place on your refrigerator.
This will only be able to hold about 20 copies at a time because the brads aren’t long enough but you will easily be able to add more copies when you run out.  Just remove the brads.

I hope this project helps you stay organized and save time when it comes time to planning your weekly meals and do your grocery shopping!!

Thanks Heidi for having me.  I had a blast! I hope everyone has a fantastic school year!!  Stop by my blog and say “Hi” if you get a chance.  I’d love to have you visit.

Thanks Kara, and to all the lovely guests who posted during the Back to School Blog Bash.  Hopefully you all found some great ideas to make this years back to school transition a little easier on everyone!

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Thrive’s Wall Pockets {Back to School Blog Bash-Day 8}

Today I bring you a tutorial from Choose to Thrive and these handy Wall Pockets made from cardboard. We all need a little order in our lives, some of us might need a lot of order, don’t worry I won’t point fingers!  I chose this to feature on my last day because this would make a great way to track each child’s “stuff”…schedules, homework calendar, notes, you get the drill.

Hard to believe this was made from these simple supplies

There are many steps involved, where it might just be easiest to stop by THRIVE and check out  the full tutorial for your self!  She also provided a link to download her pattern...gotta love that!

Thanks to Nike and all the guest bloggers for sharing inspiring ways to make the back to school transition a little easier on all of us.  Good Luck 🙂

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Operation Organization from Somewhat Simple {Back to School Blog Bash- Day 5}

The thorn in my side of anything related to back to school is all the STUFF! The papers that come home, the artwork, the writing samples…they all somehow end up in a pile, then into a box to save for later, ultimately I forget about them and I have 20 boxes of papers to go through next summer, or worse yet, your mom brings over bins when you are 30 filled with of 15 years of school stuff for your reading pleasure (love you mom)! Stephanie from Somewhat Simple offers a great suggestion that is both cute and functional (girl after my own heart).

School is starting soon, and that means all those cute papers, projects and awards you little ones bring home will need a place to stay without getting crumpled or spilled on by tomorrows bowl of cereal!
Up until yesterday, all of Ethan’ s stuff was at least stashed in an expanding file folder, but then I saw Becca’s idea, and I was sold!
I made one box for each of my kids- each box has a file folder for each grade. These boxes are durable and can stack on top of each other or fit nicely in a corner on the top shelf in a closet to save space.
And they are super cute-
…So am I. Better yet, put the responsibility on the older kids to go through at the end of each year to decide their 5 most-favorite things in that folder for that school year. Looking for more ideas, or have some of your own ideas to share? Check out the Back to School Blog Bash!
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