Showing posts with label Storage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Storage. Show all posts

Friday, October 5, 2012

Kid's Activity and Craft Area Upstairs

The last few days, I've made some changes upstairs.  I've been moving furniture and placing items in different areas.  One new area I've created is a kid's activity and craft area on our main level.

Normally, the kids would color, play cards and make a mess on the kitchen table.

I needed a new solution because it was such a pain!  We would have to clean up their books and crayons for meals and snacks multiple times a day.  Since the table is large, crayons would roll across the table and soon the boys would be chasing them and crawling all over the table.  I also have my laptop on the kitchen table so it got a little crowded.

I wanted an area that the kids could access when they want and push their own chairs in.  Currently, when they want to color (which is about 10 different times a day!) I have to push their chairs in for them.  HUGE pain!

The newly created activity space is by our back door.  We hardly use this door, especially in winter.

If we need to get outside, we usually use the patio door that is a few footsteps away instead.  So far this space is working well.  I can see them and keep an eye on them from the living room and the kitchen.

I used 2 IKEA tables we have had for years.  The kids were using these white tables downstairs with their kitchen set.  They are triangles and are the perfect size for them.  A separate table for each boy is working well.  Fights are reduced since they each have their own space to play.

These chairs are the right height, inexpensive, and don't match.  Every time I walk by the chairs, I giggle inside because they look so odd to me.  Maybe no one else notices how they don't match, but it definitely bugs me!

Each boy has a basket of things to do.  My youngest has washable crayons, coloring books and a set of picture cards.  My oldest has crayons, dry erase crayons (the dry erase crayons are great, they don't dry out!), coloring books, stickers, and card games. 

Things to Improve/Change:

1. Get matching chairs - not only are the chairs different colors, they are also different sizes.

2. Curtain - this small window can let in a lot of light since it faces west.  A curtain will help my oldest boy see his coloring book easier, and stop the blinding sunlight.

So far I'm loving this new space.  I'm saving time and my sanity because their mess is now contained to an area and not all over my kitchen table!

As Always,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hiding my Garbage!

I hate looking at garbage!  I was tired of looking at the garbage can in my kitchen.  My garbage can was located at the end of the cupboard in the kitchen (bottom left in picture below).  It was the most convenient place for it, and really the only place for it in our kitchen.


In the pic above, the brown garbage can closed off the hallway connecting the kitchen to our front entrance.  Plus, I hated seeing the garbage bag sticking out the top.  We needed a new solution!

I emptied the cupboard in between the dishwasher and the fridge in preparation of installing the new garbage can.  My husband did the install, but it was super easy, with just a few screws.

I found this pull out garbage can at Bed, Bath & Beyond made by SimpleHuman.  It has a huge bucket that fits more than my previous one because it is square.  The bags I bought from Costco for my old garbage can fit this one nicely!  Which is great because I still had a full box of bags to use up.

I also like the fact that the garbage is now right near the sink and dishwasher.  I can now easily scrape off plates in the garbage and they go straight in the dishwasher.  No need to take a few steps across the kitchen anymore.


What I love the most is the garbage is hidden.  I don't have to look at it any longer!!!  What are your garbage solutions?

As Always,

Monday, March 19, 2012


I'm lucky to have generous in-laws who gave my husband and I hand-me-down clothes for our two boys.  My youngest son is now 1 year, so I've decided it is time to start getting a handle on the mounds of clothing in the boys' rooms and our basement storage room.  Along with the boy clothes, I received lots of girl clothing from my sister in-law.  She gave us hand-me-downs before we found out we were having our 2nd boy. 

I had packed all the girl clothing I received from her into vacuum bags to save space.  I stacked the bags one on top of each other in the storage room under the stairway.

I brought all the bags out to sort and I was amazed to see just how much clothes we had tucked away in there!  Not to mention, the Rubbermaid tubs full of clothes in the boys' closets.  YIPES! 

Here is my plan:

1. Separate "my" clothes from hand-me-downs.  I will be giving the hand-me-downs back to my sister in-law so she can give it to another family member.  I hope to be selling "my" clothes in a garage sale or baby sale later this year or we will be passing them on to our friends.

2. Organize clothes by size and type (eg. 6 month sleepers).

3. Bag up the clothes for my sister in-law to take on the weekend.  

4. Vacuum seal and store "my" clothes for a few months until ready to sell.

My sister in-law visited on the weekend and we were able to cram all the bagged clothes in to her vehicle to take away.  I'll admit it was hard to see the tiny baby clothing leave, but great to have more space.  Also, GREAT to know the clothes will be helping out another family!  

As Always,

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hallway Closets Part 2

I've started tackling the first hallway closet.  Now, on to organizing the 2nd closet.  Get prepared, this is not pretty!  Here are the before pictures...

Definitely not pretty!  This closet houses all of our cleaners, soaps, mops, etc.  Usually, I label every container with masking tape and a sharpie.  Not pleasing to the eye, but it was getting the job done.  

After evaluating this closet, I have discovered I'm a collector of cleaners!  No one needs this many different cleaners!  I have cleaners for the vehicle, shoes, floor polish, glass, bathrooms, and the list goes on.  My goal for the next 6 months is to use up what I have and stop purchasing more products and adding to the madness!  Most of the cleaners are categorized by type and housed in cardboard boxes. 

I live on an acreage and usually keep on hand items my family will use in the next few months.  I don't have a store right down the street to pick up items readily.  I shop sales and stock up on items if they are a good price and purchase what we will use up before the expiry dates on the product.  In the end, these products have a home in my closets for a few months till they are used.

In the closet, one of the wicker baskets held batteries and the other held miscellaneous items like picture hanging supplies, small screw driver set, super glue (all the weird random stuff that a junk drawer collects and I use about 1 time a year). 

The Rubbermaid tubs held personal care products like extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, contact solution, body wash and soap for the boys.  One of the tubs holds sheets for covering vegetables up in the garden in case of frost.  The diaper boxes hold air freshners, candles and miscellaneous items.

Here is the after...

Using more of the Real Canadian Superstore (RCSS) baskets, I was able to corral many of the items and reduce the clutter.  On the very top shelf, I used 3 baskets to hold extra cleaners, hand soap, and Lysol wipes.

The cardboard boxes holding the cleaners got a facelift with pretty paper on the front.  I'm hoping to get rid of some of these boxes once the cleaners are downsized in a few months.  But I had to do something to spruce them up a bit in the mean time.

The battery basket got a new label attached with a simple green ribbon...much better!  

Here are the before and after pics again for a comparison...



Much easier to find things.  I'm so happy to get rid of the old diaper boxes!  In a few months, this closet will look even better once I use up cleaners and make simpler cleaning solutions.  But so far this change is so much better!

Does anyone else "collect" cleaners??  (I know it is hard to admit!)

As Always,

IHeart Organizing

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hallway Closets Part 1

I've decided to undertake organization of the hallway closets next!  The two closets are semi-organized.  They definitely need some attention.  I can usually find what I'm looking for but my husband gets frustrated.  I can't blame him.

Here are some before pics for the 1st closet...

Not very pretty, I know!  This closet is nearest to the bathroom.  We don't have a closet in the bathroom so all the bathroom linens and supplies go in this closet.  I also keep our extra pillows, bed linens, and blankets in this closet.  I keep manuals and warranty information for our electronics, tools, and such in white banker's boxes.  Currently, I have 4 of these boxes full! 

I had been storing our medicine in our medicine cabinet in our bathroom until I saw Jen's post at IHeart Organizing on storing medication.  I had no idea that the bathroom is probably the worst place to store medication.  So since reading her great post, I have moved our medication to this hallway closet.  I put the medicine in clear plastic shoe boxes until I can pretty it up a bit.

At the bottom, I keep extra diapers, baby wipes, toilet paper, and facial tissue.  I also have reused some empty diaper boxes to hold our extra shampoo, lotion and other personal care products.

I made labels for all the containers I wanted to use on excel and printed them out on white letter paper.  Then I cut out each label and laminated them.

Then I cut the labels out one last time.

I attached labels for the towels and linens by hole punching the label and tying the label onto the shelf with green ribbon.  Now we can easily tell the difference between the double and queen size linen.

I moved our more readily used medicine into a clear plastic shoe box.  I placed pretty paper in the inside of the box so it would hide the contents and clutter.  

Behind the shoe box, I put all of our extra medicine and vitamins in a basket.  I used these storage baskets I purchased from Real Canadian Superstore (RCSS) a few weeks ago to store most items.  I attached most of the labels to the containers and baskets with velcro.  I made sure to always stick the same side of the velcro to the container and the same one to the label.  This way I can easily make changes to the contents of the containers later by switching the label.

I put all the first aid supplies in a green IKEA box.  It was high enough to hold things like the bottle of rubbing alcohol.  I stuck the label on the box with a couple of glue dots to the metal label holder on the box.

Here is the after picture of the 1st closet.  I was able to get rid of one of the manual boxes so far, hoping to get rid of another in the near future.  The diapers and pullups are now in light brown Rubbermaid containers at the bottom of the closet.  Baby wipes and toilet paper are now in RCSS baskets at the bottom.  

The closet definitely looks better than it did, but I know I can still do better.  I haven't given up, I'm just taking a little break to brainstorm some new solutions.

Here are the before and after pics again...



My next post will feature our 2nd hallway closet.  Click here to view Hallway Closets Part 2!

Do you have any closet transformations or storage ideas?

As Always,

IHeart Organizing

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,