Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Seed Organizer

I've decided to organize my seeds for spring planting.  Hard to believe that spring is a few months away since we just got a foot of snow here on the weekend!  

I used to keep my seeds altogether in a cardboard box.  I'd take the box out to the garden and it would get damp or wet sitting in the grass or on the ground. The seed packages would end up scattered all over the inside of the box because it was too big to hold the seeds.

This spring, I will be trying out my new solution...


I've used old Huggies wipes containers to hold the seeds upright.  This should also work better because the containers are plastic so they can easily sit on the ground or grass without having to worry about them getting wet or damp.  


I've split the seeds into two containers.  The first container has the garden seeds, sorted alphabetically.  The second container has garden seeds (approximately the last quarter of alphabet) and flowers and herbs.


I sorted the seed categories alphabetically and used small bits of card stock to separate the categories (eg, carrots, corn, peas...).  I labelled the card stock categories with my labeller to easily locate the categories.  Now instead of hunting to find my seed package, I will be able to find the one I need quickly!

How do you organize or store your seeds?

As Always,
Sandra

Monday, February 27, 2012

Utensil Holder

Here is the red flower pot that held utensils that we used for cooking... 

 
The poor container was always falling over because the base was not wide enough to hold the longer utensils.  One small bump would send it across the counter spilling utensils on the floor.  Here is my new solution...


I made our new container out of an infant formula plastic container (refillable tub).  I removed its lid and carefully cut off the little hinges that used to attach the lid to the rest of the container.  Next, I laminated a piece of pretty red paper.  This way I could easily wipe off spills or clean it since it is near the stove.  I attached the laminated paper with double sided tape to the container.  Voila!  I now have a pretty, easy to clean and sturdy utensil holder!  

As Always,
Sandra

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Diaper Bag

The diaper bag in our house is always being reorganized.  As the kids' needs change, things get added or removed.  I try to keep the diaper bag stocked and ready to go at all times.  This way, we can just grab it and go.  Usually, all I need to add are baby bottles and sippy cups and we are out the door!


I got our diaper bag a few years ago from Babies R Us.   I find it works really well for us.  If we need more room in the bag, it has a zipper you can unzip that expands the bag for a little more room.  We've packed a lot of stuff into this poor bag and it has held up for almost 3 years now. 
 

Here is a list of things we keep in our diaper bag currently:

Diaper Changing:
- Diapers
- Pull ups
- Wipes
- Wet Ones (in case of diaper changes where there is no place to wash your hands after!)
- Diaper rash cream
- Bags for dirty diapers in a dispenser
- Bag refill for bag dispenser
- Toilet seat covers
- Change of clothes for each kid, in a cloth bag
- Changing pad 



I keep a change of clothes for each kid in cloth bags.  I used to used zipper storage bags but they would always fill up with air and I'd end up with a lot of wasted space in the diaper bag.  I found myself always opening them to squish the air out and then resealing them.  With cloth bags the clothes stay together with no wasted air space.


Each kid gets pants, a shirt, and a pair of socks.  My youngest gets a small toque, just in case.  I also pack a sleeper for my youngest.  That way, if we are out late, I can always change him into his pj's so he is ready for bed when he gets home. 

Eating:
- Bibs
- Spoon
- Fruit snacks
- AVENT formula container with snacks
- Water bottle (for me or to refill sippy cups as needed)




Since my youngest no longer drinks formula, I use the formula container for snacks.  I find it nice because you can just shake out what you need and there are less chance of spills.

Medicine and Such:
- Tylenol (in a zippered bag, in case of leaks)
- Band aids
- Shampoo and lotion (in a zippered bag, in case of leaks). Weird addition to the diaper bag, I know.  Sometimes our day trips turn into overnight trips and I find it handy to have an option to bath the kids before bed.
- Extra zippered bags for soiled clothes
- Thermometer
 

I like having our diaper bag always stocked.  This way, I don't have to try and remember what else is needed right before leaving the house.  I always forget something if it's not ready to go!

What are your must have's in your diaper bag?  

As Always,
Sandra


IHeart Organizing

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Microsoft OneNote

Currently I'm using Microsoft OneNote 2010, and loving it.  Before OneNote, I had papers and lists all over the kitchen table, in the office and so on.  I'm working at getting all my lists, ideas, and notebooks entered in to the computer so I can get rid of a lot of paper.  It is very freeing to throw away (recycle) all that paper.  I'm sure my kitchen table thanks me!  Do you use any computer programs to help with organizing?

As Always,
Sandra

Friday, February 24, 2012

Organizing Idea Binder

I've made an organizing binder for ideas and projects I'd like to complete in my home... 

 

With this binder I can easily store a few pages from a magazine and recycle the rest.  I can now get rid of stacks of magazines I have been keeping because I wanted to try an idea from one page out of them.  In my binder, I have also included some internet printouts with a few ideas from some websites I would like to do at home.  

I used Microsoft Excel to make the labels.  IHeart Organizing has a great article on how to make labels.  (I love her site!)  I'm excited to use my new binder since it is easy to add and change the contents!

As Always,
Sandra

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Utensil Drawer


I use simple white utensil holders to organize our utensil drawer.  Using my label maker, I made easy to read labels for each utensil's spot.  I placed the labels near the bottom of each white divider so you can easily see where they go without having to open up the drawer all the way.

I keep the kid's facecloths for washing up after meals in this drawer.  I find best to have the cloths in this drawer because it is close to the sink for washing up.  How do you organize your utensils?

As Always,
Sandra

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kitchen Counters

Here are a few things I keep on my kitchen counters....


I find we eat a lot more fruit if we see it often.  So I try to keep fruit that lasts longer, like apples and oranges, on the counter instead of in the fridge.  I use this three tier platter from IKEA.  I like it because it is easy to clean.  You can even take it apart and wash it in the dishwasher if needed.


Usually, I keep the white drying rack in one sink.  It's out of the way, and ready to air dry dishes anytime. 


The brown drying rack has a white baby bottle drying rack on top of it.  In our house, we use a lot of bottles and sippy cups.  I find it easier to hand wash these items rather than throwing them in the dishwasher.  After the bottles are washed and fully dried, I put them away in a cupboard to minimize clutter.


I used IKEA containers on the side of the kitchen cabinets for plant hangers.  I love the way these containers brighten up our kitchen!


I received these canisters as a wedding gift a few years ago and they are great homes for pasta, rice and flour.  Another essential at our house are cookies!  The clear cookie jar has a sealing lid that stops the cookies from drying out.  I like the fact that it is clear so I can easily tell when it needs to be refilled.  


By the stove, I like to keep cooking utensils within reach.  I've had the white containers for years, and don't even remember what store they came from.  The red container is a flower pot I re-purposed to hold smaller utensils.  I like the color this small pot adds to the kitchen, but the poor thing is always getting knocked over, spilling utensils everywhere!  I'm hoping to create a new solution this week to solve my problem!

What do you keep on your kitchen counters?

As Always,
Sandra

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kitchen


Almost 5 years ago, my husband and I moved into this 1970's bungalow house.  Moving from a condo to a detached home located on an acreage, we were excited!  I knew we had taken on a challenge but I knew we could make this house our home.  At that time, we took on some pretty major facelifts to the inside of our new home.  Gone was the old smelly, dirty carpet and we replaced it with new laminate flooring.  The whole upstairs got a new coat of paint.  We didn't stop there...

The kitchen received most of our attention.  The picture above was a photo of how the kitchen looked before we bought the house (sorry for the poor photo quality, it is the only pic I have).  Once we moved in, the one thing I wanted to change above all else was the cabinets.  I've never liked oak very much, and the stain that was used on the cabinets made them look orange in color.  The peach paint color on the kitchen walls seemed to intensify the already orange looking cabinets. 


The cabinets were outdated and closed off the kitchen from the dining room.  As soon as you walked into the kitchen from the front entrance you were running into a cupboard that split up the two rooms.  The floor was a mix of stained hardwood flooring in the kitchen and cracked tile in the dining room.  


The attached dining room felt small as the kitchen counter and cabinets seemed to take over the room.

I'm lucky to have a husband who has very similar taste to mine and who is not afraid to take on a remodel.  And remodel we did...


In the end, we designed a kitchen that flows and fits our needs.  The fridge was moved. New cupboards, counter top, and back-splash.   




Our dining room now has space and we can easily expand the kitchen table to seat eight and still have room to walk around comfortably. 


We added a pantry to the other side of the patio door to balance the cabinets around the fridge.  Now an area that was just wasted space on the other side of the patio door stores my baking supplies.  

Just to recap, here is the before and after!  

Before

After

Our kitchen is now more open, functional and pretty!  My kitchen is forever a work in progress, but I think that is half the fun!  Since the kitchen and dining room is where our family spends most of our time, I want to have the space as efficient as possible.

I am forever rearranging and changing around the items sitting on my kitchen counter.  I move things around to find what will give me the most usable cupboard space and what makes sense eg. cooking utensils close to stove.  I'm trying to make the space look as pleasing to the eye as possible and yet make it functional. 

Comment and share your kitchen ideas and upgrades.  Up next... my ideas for kitchen counter organization.  Stay tuned!

As Always,
Sandra

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Beginning...


Thank you for visiting Simple is Pretty!

I love organizing and want to make things simpler in my life.  I want to share with you ideas and tips to make organizing easy, pretty and fun in your own life.  I have always thought of myself as an organized person, and so have others around me.  I want to improve my organizing and look to a future of becoming a professional organizer.  I'm constantly looking for ways to improve my own house and the ways I do things.  I hope to inspire you to try some projects for yourself.  

I have felt the feeling of frustration searching for something and not knowing where it is because the item does not have an assigned spot or location in my home.  I have heard that organizing can save you many minutes throughout your day by saving you time hunting for wanted objects around your home.  

I know how much calmer and satisfied I am when I walk into a clean, organized home.  In my own home, I feel at ease and relaxed when thing are organized.  I get a satisfied feeling seeing my kitchen counters clean and decluttered.

I will share with you tips and inspiration I collect.  I hope that you will also share your thoughts and ideas with me. 

Thank you for stopping by 'Simple is Pretty'.  I look forward to sharing with you soon!

As Always,
Sandra

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