Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Keep it Hidden

In this post I talked about how to prepare to not let toys take over your home. Concealed storage is an ideal way to make it seem like your kids' toys haven't overrun the house. It's an easy trick that will work even if you have an animal cracker zoo under the couch.

Here you go:

DIY Storage Ottoman from Soul Style

Large ottomans provide so much function and style to a room. They can be used to prop up your feet, store toys or blankets and serve food in a tray. 

 Small & Colorful Storage Ottomans from Design*Sponge

Not only is this nursery cute and colorful, but with the help of the small storage ottomans, it's also very calm. 

Great Accent Ottomans Under a Console from House of Turquoise

I love this setup for multiple reasons: 1) the ottomans provide storage and extra seating, 2) it's out of the way  and 3) it allows parents of young kids to display items that are out of reach! I also love this color combination. It's so vibrant!

an Ikea Expedit as Window Seat from Ikea Hackers

This Ikea hack (turning an Expedit on its side) is a great use of space. It also, of course, provides great storage underneath with the woven baskets. 

Ikea Expedit with Dresser Drawers from Cape 27

This Expedit uses two dresser double drawers and two dresser single drawers to provide storage as a dresser/changing table. This would be great in the living room to hide away toys and display some pretty, child-friendly pieces. 

Ikea Billy Bookcase with Cabinet Doors from Ikea

Last but not least are the Ikea Billy Bookcases with cabinet doors. A few of these would look great as a built in with decorative pieces and books on top and kids' toys on the bottom. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it provides several options (a little heavy on the ottomans I know). Do you have any other ways to conceal toys in general purpose living spaces?

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Back Story on my Unorganized Home

I don't have an impressive story about why my home has never been organized. As stories go, it's rather boring, but, I suppose, it shows what happens when you just let things go.

In February of 2008 Nick and I moved into our house. At the time the basement was unfinished; the house had three bedrooms, two bathrooms and about 1400 finished square feet. The previous house was about 900 square feet with three bedrooms and one bathroom, but it also had some extra storage out back. A small storage shed and about half of a one and a half car garage were packed full of Nick's things.

Nick accepted an offer on the house in mid-January with closing at the end of February. We had to really speed up our home search, so we wouldn't be homeless come the end of February. We spent so much of our free time searching for a new house, that we had limited time to pack up the house and get rid of some things.

When we moved we rented the largest truck we could get from the local Budget office. We packed that full; then took several trips with our cars and a borrowed pickup. Nick had no idea how much stuff he had until we moved, but he wasn't in too much of a hurry to get rid of anything.

We unpacked once we were in the house, but we didn't really organize things. In fact, it took over a year for Nick to go through all of his things. Then I looked at what we had left and vaguely thought I should do something with it, so I shoved it in a closet and there it sat until recently.

Like I wrote, it's a pretty boring story, but it explains how we ended up with an unorganized house full of stuff we don't need and don't use.

Do you have an impressive story about why your home is organized or unorganized?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Planning an Organized Wedding

Three years and one month ago I married the man of my dreams. In honor of this rather odd anniversary, here are some planners to help keep things together:

The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner
from Amazon

The number one wedding website shares worksheets, checklists, etiquette calendars and answers to frequently asked questions. 

A Bride's Book
from Amazon

This book is an organizer, journal and keepsake. Jot down your memories as you plan for your special day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How to Prepare for a Stress-Free Holiday Celebration

On Monday I shared what I've learned are the most important parts of the holidays for me. After that revelation I knew it would be important to keep the stress level down in my home, so I came up with an action plan that will help.

Lists. I wrote lists of who to buy gifts for, what gifts to buy, what Christmas crafts I want to do and the materials I need for those projects. I then created a spreadsheet to check off my progress.

Christmas Cards. I'm going to mail my cards on December 1st, so I've added it to my planner. This means my cards will need to be designed and ordered by Monday. My address list should be up to date. If your list isn't, you should quickly get that done.

Deep Cleaning & Organizing. I'm deep cleaning and organizing as much as possible this month. Come December, basic cleaning should be enough to keep the house together. The time I save not cleaning will be used to get gifts ready and relax.

Decorating. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and I love to decorate. However, this year I'm going to be a little more relaxed about decorating. Instead of putting tons of lights up on my house, we're going to just wrap the porch railings. Inside I'll take a similarly restrained approach. (I'll also assess our need for the large amount of decorations I have.)

Next year I plan to use this post to remind myself to adequately prepare for another stress-free holiday. Also, throughout the year I'll write down gift ideas as I think of them.

My strategy boils down to planning, preparing and making time for myself. Do you have a holiday plan of attack?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Embracing the Best of the Holidays

It seems that each holiday season is always more stressful than the previous year. I put too much pressure on myself to make it memorable and better. It wasn't always like that. As a child it was so relaxing because there weren't any expectations. I've been thinking a lot about how to have a stress-free holiday as an adult.

When I think about my ideal celebration, I imagine a Cleaverish celebration. Snow falls softly all day long and a fire crackles by an immaculately decorated tree as my family and friends laugh, listen to Christmas music and sip cider.

But in reality, despite growing up in South Dakota, I don't specifically recall a Christmas with snow. It's not that we never had snow, we did (although there were a few dry Christmases). Snow just wasn't the most memorable part, and we didn't even have a fireplace.

What I do remember is spending a snow-less Christmas in Arizona with my grandparents. (It was my Grandpa Jack's last.) I remember my cousins, brothers and I sorting all of our presents under the tree. (The next day they were mixed together again.)

The perfect Christmas of my daydreams isn't the one my memories are made of; it's something much better. It's memories of my family, and if I remember that, my holidays will be less stressful. It's not about lowering my expectations. It's about realizing what makes me happy, and stress isn't one of those things.

On Wednesday I'll have a more concrete post on how to prepare for the holidays.

Friday, November 4, 2011

October Accomplishments

October has been a busy month, but not so with the blog or organizing projects.

During this month:
  • I've had the opportunity to spend two nights and three days in the most expensive "hotel" I've ever been to--the hospital. The food sucked and the bed was lumpy.
  • On a much more exciting note, Nick and I celebrated our third anniversary on the Mayan Riviera at the same resort where we honeymooned.
  • Nick, Claire and I spend two weekends visiting my parents. Nick got to hunt, Claire got to play with Grandma and I got a little work done.
  • I've worked on (but not finished) several organizing projects around the house. Planning the space, searching for the right materials and finding the time to do the work is a little difficult.
  • I made a Christmas gift and project list. I'll share some of that on Monday in a post about planning for the holidays.
This month has been stressful and expensive, so I plan to spend November being mindful of everything I'm thankful for. (That and doing a lot of organizing!)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Well-Organized Family Room

On Monday I shared my dirty little secret, which wasn't scandalous at all but something I'm a bit embarrassed about. The most commonly used room in the basement that Nick and I are anxiously waiting to use again is our family room. Because we'll need to reorganize Claire's toys when we move back downstairs, I've been researching organized family rooms on Pinterest. Here are my favorites:

Our family room already has a built-in entertainment center and bar that will really help us organize everything. Because the storage is built in and lined on one wall, this room looks so calm.

I love the built ins surrounding the fireplace. It really brings purpose to the fireplace and TV, while it provides storage and minimizes the impact of the TV. This is an ideal solution when a TV has to be above a fireplace, but based on the height of the fireplace, this isn't an ideal place for the TV if one has options. It seems as if TV watchers would have kinks in their necks. The combination of open shelving and closed cabinets and drawers make the side functional and beautiful.

This built-in window seat would be the perfect addition to a family room that could use a bit more seating and storage and a lot more personality.

We don't plan to add or upgrade our family room, but it's always fun looking at inspiration for my dream family room.