Thursday, February 24, 2011

{Weekly Challenge} The Launch Pad

Week two's challenge is to create a "launch pad", an area in your home to help launch you out the door. Idealy, this would be a mud room. However, I'm not lucky enough to have such a room.

This is the tiny area I have to work with.
Nothing too special, huh? It's a small area at the bottom of our stairs and next to the front door. So, on a recent trip to Ikea we bought this coat hanger.

It's actually two put together. They were only $4.99 each! Not bad.

I love my green purse :)

We also have another small hook in the kitchen for our keys. I've had this for about a year now.

I have this horse shoe hanging above our front door. It brings us good luck.

I'm still playing with the idea of hanging a floating shelf above the coat rack. But for now I bought these baskets and have the smaller one hanging from a hook. It's just some place we can toss small things like sunglasses.

LIDAN Basket, set of 2 white
I didn't take a picture of this hanging in my house- sorry.

This is what I wish I able to do in this space:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Favorites {Be Green}

I try very hard to be "green" and use environmentally safe products. So, in my efforts to be more green I use reusable shopping bags. Not only are they much better for the environment but some stores (Target and CVS to name a few) will give you a discount for using a reusable bag have these great 5-in-1 pouches. They are small enough to keep in your glove box, purse, or diaper bag. I loooooove mine! And the prints are so cute.

This is the bag I always carry in my purse. It's great for quick trips into a store or when you forget your bags (like I always do!). It folds up into the attached pouch and comes in adorable prints!

And of course my Ikea reusable bag. This bag is GREAT! It's HUUUGE  and very easy to clean. I used it a lot last summer to haul all the sand toys to and from the lake.

It's hard to walk into a store and not find reusable bags for sale. You can buy them for as little as $.49. Not to mentions the free ones that places give out allll the time. For example, I registered at Target last year when I was pregnant. When you first register Target gives you a little goody bag filled will coupons and product samples. The bag is a cute little reusable tote that you can fold up :) I <3 that thing! Another great place I've found FREE reusable bags is at festivals and carnivals. We have many here on our post each year. It never fails that there are booths set up with people pimping their company or products. Most of those booths have free things to giveaway. I can't tell you how many free bags I've gotten from those places. Yeah, they may have some company's logo on it, but really- WHO CARES?! 

I have no shame in pimping Medicare. It's a great bag to bring my groceries home in!

Now don't get me wrong- there are plenty of times that I go shopping and forget to bring my bag(s) in with me. And it never fails that it isn't until I'm unloading my cart that I remember I've forgotten them in the car. By that time I'm not going to run out to my car to get my bags. It's just not worth the hassle. So home I go with multiple plastic bags. However, I DO make sure to recycle all my plastic bags. Soooo many stores offer plastic bag recycling bins now (Walmart, Target, HEB, Kroger, etc...). AND some stores even have incentives for recycling bags. I know at one time Target would give you a $1 towards the purchase of a reusable bag for every six plastic Target bags you sent to Terracycle. I'm not sure if this program is still in place.

I love my reusable bags and when I remember to bring them into the store with me I walk out feeling proud of myself! I've just done something good for Mother Earth *grin*.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Favorite Place

I LOVE shopping at Ikea. It's seriously my home away from home. Probably because most of the furniture in my home has come from Ikea! haha

You know what my favorite thing about Ikea is?

I love how they have little rooms set up in the store. It gives you so much inspiration. Also, when I was a child and my parents would take me to Ikea I would pretend those little rooms were my "grown up" apartment. It was fun!

Another great thing about Ikea is how family friendly the store is. They have a free daycare area for potty trained children. My preschooler LOVES to play there while we shop. It makes our trips to Ikea so much easier. Not to mention, they also have free diapers in their bathrooms and free baby food in their restaurant. How awesome is that?

So needless to say, I spend a lo of time talking about and shopping at Ikea.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Pantry

I tackled our pantry(s) this weekend. You can tell they need some help!

As you can see we have two separate "pantry" areas. The house we live in does not have an actual pantry. The picture on the left is a cabinet I purchased from Target. It's sitting next to my refrigerator. The picture on the right is suppose to be a broom closet. Instead of using it to store my broom I stuck a small shelving unit we owned in there for more food storage.

I went to Lowes and got this plastic shelving unit. It was just the right price too! I'm now utilizing all the space the "broom closet" has to offer.

Bottom Shelf: Bread maker (freed up some counter top space by moving it here), cookie cutters, and cooler bag.
Second Shelf: Stackable shelves for potatoes and onions (I'm out of onions lol) and the kids snack baskets.
Third Shelf: Canned goods, baking goods, and extra condiments.
Top Shelf: Spices, seasoning packets, cookie and cake decorating goods, and dogie treats.
**I have to keep the dogie treats up high or my Preschooler will feed all of them to the dog! lol

And now for the second pantry. I pulled everything out and wiped the shelves off. I used a plastic basket I purchased from The Dollar Store to house my bags of pasta. I want to get another container for cereal. I'd rather see the containers than the boxes. Plus, they keep the cereal fresher longer.

This pantry reorganizing took FOREVER. No joke. I got started around 1pm. Half way through I had to stop and feed the baby. THEN I realized the first shelving unit I bought was too small. I should have bough the next size up. So I stopped what I was doing to run back to Lowes. A few more distractions later... I wasn't done until near 8pm! My kitchen was the biggest disaster because of all this.

I am so happy with the end result- distractions and all!

These are my three adorable distractions!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Favorites

The Trofast storage system from Ikea.

I love this storage combination. I first saw it four years ago at a friends house. They had it in their living room for toy storage. I immediately fell in love with it. I knew it was something I wanted for my son (as the time I only had one kid). What is great about the Trofast system is how versatile it is. Ikea sells bins in different sizes and colors. So, it's something you can totally customize to meet your needs.

Last year we redecorated my preschoolers room and purchased the first of three Trofast storage solutions.
We hung this on the wall in Carson's room. It's used to store his crayons, markers, coloring books, etc...

We purchased these two pieces last night for more toy storage. Our two older boys will be sharing a room starting sometime this month so more toy storage was needed. My husband has yet to put the two pieces together (it's on his weekend to do list) but I'm very excited to get them in their room and filled with toys.

I have yet to meet a person who owns a Trofast storage solutions and doesn't LOVE it!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

If you start it... FINISH IT!

I'm easily distracted and often get off task, especially when it comes to cleaning and organizing. Most of the time my distractions have names: Carson, Brody, and Jaxson (my kids). LOL However, they aren't the only distractions. Just yesterday half way through cleaning the kitchen I found myself standing in the laundry room cleaning it! Let me explain, I went into the laundry room to drop off the dirty dish towels and rags. As I was doing that I noticed how dirty the top of the dryer was with lint and dust. Next thing I know I'm wiping the washer and dryer and sweeping the floor. Um... HELLO! What happen to the kitchen? Once my brain clicked back on I quickly finished what I was doing and went back into the kitchen.

The chore I'm famous for not finishing is LAUNDRY. On any given day you will most likely find a basket of clean folded laundry sitting in my upstairs hallway waiting to be put away. Actually putting the laundry away seems to be such a struggle for me. I'm always on top of washing and folding. Then I walk the basket upstairs and I tell myself "I'll put this away after dinner or before the kids go to bed". By the time that rolls around I've forgotten about the laundry.

I have to give myself credit, though, because on Sunday I washed, folded, AND put away five loads of laundry. However, a load of towels sat in the dryer until Tuesday. LOL

Since beginning my war on clutter I often find myself reminiscing. I do it with everything: photos, toys, clothes, and knick knacks. It's VERY distracting.

So... my new goal:



Toni at A Bowl Full of Lemons is hosting a delicious giveaway. It is a gift basket full of goodies from Dove. That basket includes:
A Dove Recipe Book
4 Sets of Dessert Recipe cards
-Cheers To You 
-Simple Desserts
-Outdoor Entertaining
Dove Brownie Mix (Truffle Fudge)
Dove Baking Bits (Mint Filled Dark Chocolate)
Java Chip Chocolate Smoothie Mix
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Smoothie Mix
Vanilla Chai Tea
An adorable teal & chocolate basket... great for organizing!
All of this is over a $75 value!

Go check it out for your chance to win :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Some of my organizing and decorating inspirations:
HEMNES shoe cabinet from Ikea

HEMNES Shoe cabinet with 4 comparment white Width: 42 1/8 " Depth: 8 5/8 " Height: 39 3/4 "  Width: 107 cm Depth: 22 cm Height: 101 cm

I would love to have this somewhere in my house for shoe storage. Currently I just have a basket in the corner of my living room that shoes get thrown into. 

What I wouldn't give to 1) have a laundry room this size and 2) have this much storage. *sigh* someday...

Don't you just love this? I hope to one day be able to have something like this for my kids. I'm sure it would only look like this once! haha

I'm not a fan of  metal in a mudroom but I like the different levels of hanging space and the fact that the shoes are off the ground. Anyone who has the luxury of living in a house with a mudroom is very lucky!

How fun is this?! I LOVE that green wall!! Ok.... so I don't have any girls so all the pink would be a no go but I love how all the shelves are adjustable and the bottom one serves as a desk. This is a great idea for a small space or for a shared bedroom. 

I have so many things that inspire me. I wish I could share them all! While most people spend time surfing the web reading about celeb gossip, downloading music, or playing games this is what I do-- I look for home decorating and organizing inspiration. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Efforts To Keep a [fake] Immaculate House

... all inspired by Becky at Organizing Made Fun.

A lot of the things Becky suggested I already do. I generally spend about 15-30 minutes each day cleaning, not picking up or putting away- ACTUAL cleaning. The things I do EVERYDAY are:
Wipes down kitchen surfaces

I'm pretty lucky when it comes to vacuuming. I only have carpet in my living room. We live in Army housing and 90% of the houses on our post have wall to wall tile. We purchased a remnant of carpet and laid that down in our living room. Between our dog, Preschooler, and Toddler a day doesn't go by that the carpet isn't littered with crumbs, leaves, and dirt.

I'll admit, sweeping doesn't happen everyday. Sometimes, I just don't have the time or plain 'ol don't feel like it! However, to make the task easier I purchased a Swiffer Sweeper Vac. It eliminated the need for a broom and dust pan. AND it cause me no back pain!

AGAIN, dishes don't get done everyday but I try very hard. If I don't get dishes washed and put away everyday they pile up VERY quickly. We're a family of five and we dirty A LOT of dishes! My dishwasher gets run at least once a day. On days that doesn't happen the right side of the sink begins to overflow with dirty dishes. Thankfully, my husband knows how much I really hate to do dishes so he'll try to help me out as much as he can.

Wiping down counter tops and the kitchen table is a daily must. I actually do this many times a day. I'm prone to accidents while cooking. Seems like a meal doesn't go by that I don't spill something. Same goes for my four year old. Seems like we can't get through a meal that half his food doesn't end up on the table. Don't even get me started on my toddler. We've been working on getting him to eat off dishes rather than his high chair tray. He'll make it through 1/4 of the meal using his utensils and dishes. Then it's like he gets bored with those and decides to dump the food on his tray and throw his spoon on the floor.

My son, Brody, eating chili
The best thing I have to help me keep a clean house is my dog, Summer! She gladly eats all the food my toddler throws on the floor during meal and snack times.

 I also have a designated 'play area' in my living room. We live in a two story home and most of our time is spent downstairs. While I can trust my four year old to play upstairs unsupervised, I can't trust my toddler. And when the two of them are left to their own devices, chaos is sure to ensue! My solution: create a play area in the living room where Mom and Dad can keep a close eye. I remind my children many, many times a day to keep their toys in the play area. This keeps toy clutter out of our living room.

Not my actual play area but a nice looking one!

I pile things up on the stairs that need to go up. That way every time my husband or I walk up the stairs we take things with us. Getting my children to do this isn't as easy as it sounds. However, when I hear my four year old walking up the steps I remind him to grab the things that belong to him.

So, there ya go! That is how I keep my house looking {fake} immaculate. Keep in mind, though, that there are plenty of days when my house looks like a toy store has exploded in it. There are days when things just get away from me and I fall behind.