Spice Organization

A friend of mine asked me how I organize my spices. Like this:

I label all my spices so I don't have to pick up a gazillion jars to find the one I am looking for. I place them in one of my pull out drawers in one of my kitchen cabinets. It makes it so easy to pull the drawer out and find what I am looking for and is a great time saver.

How do you organize your spices? What works for you? 

Happy Organizing!

Grand Prize Week for the New Year's Organizing Revolution

First I would like to say thank you to all my friends, family and followers for your generous votes last week on my playroom. All those votes help land my organized playroom in first place!!! Also a huge thank you to the "Top Organizing Bloggers" for running the challenge and the wonderful prize sponsors! They really motivated me to start the year off organizing!!

Because I won first place I am now in the Grand Prize drawling going on now! So once again please go vote for me! I am number 10 which just happens to be my lucky number! Head on over to any of the below organizers blogs to vote. While you are there take a spin around their blogs as they have some amazing organizing post and great giveaways!
 Voting ends Wednesday at 9pm PST.

Happy Organizing!

Organizing the Playroom!!

 This week I worked on the playroom. My kids are the luckiest kids in the world as we finished the basement in our new house just for them. They pretty much have the run of the basement, for now. 

Clean up time can make or break us! My youngest always needed direction when cleaning up, what to pick up and where to put it. I dreamed about the day that I could say clean up time and my boys would just do it. 

Well that day has come, after some organization happened. So let's dive right in. Here is the playroom area before me moved in. A lot of space and I knew if it wasn't organize it would be a sea of toys in no time.

In comes Ikea. I love their goodies! My husband and I went there for my scraproom and the playroom. We have a lot of Legos here.....I mean a lot! My son is a Lego engineer, and is always building so I knew I wanted a space for him to store, display, and build. So we created a Lego area.

I love the Ikea piece I picked out. It has bins for all his legos, and he can display what he has built on top. My son and I separated all his Legos by color, and gave them a bin. I then label by color so the youngest can find the color, and put the right color Lego in the bins. We even have some empty bins to grow the Lego collection. The table from Ikea is nice and wide and gives both of them plenty of space to build. 

I am currently in school to become a teacher so of course I have a school area! After school, and after snack, we come down to do our homework. Each child has a bin (labeled with their name) with a pencil, dry erase marker, eraser, scissors and glue stick so we don't waste time getting our supplies out. Next to our table I have a 4 drawers that hold our supplies, markers in one, other supplies in another, paper in one, and our learning flash cards in the bottom drawer. I use clear plastic bins to hold our coloring items, and the other two hold our school workbooks. The kids seemed to pull out coloring/workbooks when they can see them. The kids get their homework done and out of the way giving them more playtime later and I fulfill my passion to teach! Even my youngest saves his preschool homework so he can do it with the big kids! 

The next area I had to conquer was the the toy area. Before we moved we had bin after bin after bin of toys! As we packed our old house I had the kids go through their toys, and pick what they were ready to give away. They did great at this! In our old house I had used one of the Ikea Expedit bookcase and laid it on it's side. I purchased baskets and all our toys went in there. It worked for us so I knew I would be using that system again. We purchased two of them, put the baskets in, and filled them with toys. Each bin contained certain toys, and I wanted the boys to put them away in the right bins. I searched the internet for a picture of the items that belong in that bin, printed it out, cut, laminated, and tied them onto the bins. The kids love it! The picture helps my youngest one know what items go in the bin and my oldest is starting to read so he love to read the tags. When we change the toys in the bin we change the tag! It also helps when our kid's friends come over! 

I also have my DIY chalkboard table. That was such a fun project and you can go here to read about it, and see my before and after pictures. The kids love to draw on the table, and their easel is near by to continue their imagination.

What's behind door number two.....storage. We kept part of the basement unfinished for storage. In here is our old Expedit and I have filled most of the bins with toys. When the boys are bored with the toys in the toy area they can just switch out the bins. The shelves hold all of our games, some larger toys too big for the bins, and the plastic bins hold toys that we can rotate into the bins when we do a toy swap.

I love how our playroom is evolving. We still have ideas that we want to put in place but my main focus was to give my children a space of their own and organize it in a way that would make it easy for the kids to take care of their space. Clean up time is no longer a struggle
 (well we have our days here and there). 

 Happy Organizing!!!

Homemade Cleaning Solutions

I have been doing all this organizing in my home and I have been going through cleaner like crazy. That got me thinking I should share with you my favorite homemade mirror and granite cleaners.

I used to be so irritated when I used commercial mirror cleaners and my mirrors would have streaks or a haze over them. I tried so many different cleaners. I then googled cleaners and found the typical homemade cleaners that were made of vinegar or vinegar and water, or vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water. Still none impressed me.

I turned to Pinterest and found Crunchy Betty's blog where she tested several homemade cleaners to find the best. You can read her post here. She determined the vinegar, water, and cornstarch mixture was the best. So I tried it.....OMG it took away all the haze and the haze never returned, I never have streaks, I LOVE it!!! Since we have moved into our new home it is the only cleaner I use for mirrors, glass, even my windows. It has to be the cornstarch that is the magic trick, it's the secret ingredient. 

Magic Glass Cleaner:
1/4 c. white vinegar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 c. warm water
1 spray bottle

I also have a granite cleaner that I use. This house is the first house that I have had granite in and I love it. It is in my kitchen and all my bathrooms so I was going to need a lot of cleaner! I was warned early on that you need to seal the granite and that you need to find a cleaner safe for the stone. Well the granite cleaners in the store were a bit pricy so once again I turned to Pinterest and found a homemade cleaner. I love it and it works great.

Granite Cleaner
1/2 c. rubbing alcohol
2 c. water
8 drops dawn dish soap
1-2 drops scented oil of your choice
(I use warm sugar cookies, yummy!)
1 spray bottle

I use both cleaners almost daily so I double the recipe and keep a bottle on each level. Quick tip - the cornstarch will settle to the bottom of the bottle so you will need to stir it up by giving the spray bottle a quick shake. I hope you enjoy both cleaners! Happy cleaning! 

Organizing my Closet

When we built this house we did a lot of custom changes to it after really thinking about how we would use the space in this house. We decided that we had no need for a living room, and we would rather it be turned into my husbands office. Our floor plan had a living room, and next to it a small study, and next to that the family room, all on one side of the house. So if we turned the living room into and office what do we do with the study? Playroom? No we were having the basement finished and wanted all the toys down there? My office? No too small to fit all my scrapbook stuff, school stuff, wrapping stuff and more. So we asked if we could delete it, maybe extend the family room and the office out a bit.......then it came to me, I need an office supply/cleaning supply/Costco closet!!! We had the builder split the study in half. Half of the study became the walk in closet off of the office and the other half an extension of our family room.

Now some might wonder.....who needs a closet like this?? That someone is me. See I think I have an addiction to office supplies. I can't help but hit the office supply aisles in the stores looking for the newest, greatest, I have to have supply. I have a whole bin of binders - because you never know when you are going to need a binder to organize something!

My husband and I are Costco fans. Now we claim that we are not impulse buyers like Costco would like you to be but 50% of the time we are. I buy several bulk items there such as toilet paper, paper towels, Lysol wipes, sponges, and more. The items are big so where do you store them.....in my Costco closet! In our old house we store these items where ever we could find room. In this house I just walk into the closet and get what I need.

I also noticed in the floor plan that besides our coat closet and pantry there was no other closet on our first floor. Our laundry is on our second floor but I really did not want to store all my cleaning supplies up there as the first floor is constantly getting cleaned because it is the main floor we live in. Ah ha.....another need for my closet. So here it is! Ooooh.....ahhhh.....nothing special I know. It's a work in progress.

Up on the shelf is our Costco bulky items (toilet paper, paper towels, napkins). On the other shelf is more Costco items and office supplies. One bin holds all my paper another holds page protectors, and labels. I then have my file folders and hanging folders.

My small shelving unit holds my cleaning supplies. The bottom shelf is supplies I use every so often or replacements. The basket on the next shelf holds my Bath and Body soaps to be able to grab quick to replace at all sinks (we go through a lot of soap here!). The other basket holds my extra sponges.

Next shelf is all my dusting supplies, Clorox wipes and surgical gloves. That's right surgical gloves - I hate to touch meat, chicken or anything raw so I wear gloves. Top self holds my cleaning bin that I carry around with me.

On the floor next to it are more office supplies (I told you I have an addiction). One bin to hold all writing materials, one to hold all envelopes, one for miscellaneous office supplies, like paper clips, binder clips and more. The bottom file holder hold all my dividers and extra hanging file folders. 

The two green bins.....well one contains all my binders that I have as I mention earlier. The next holds all our paper supplies for  parties - plates, plastic silverware, table clothes, paper cups, disposable coffee cups and more.

And that's my office supply/cleaning supply/Costco supply closet! I am really glad I created this space and can't wait to add some more shelving units to it to grow my addiction to office supplies!!!

Happy Organizing!

Organizing My Kitchen

This week I focus on the kitchen - the heart of a home. Welcome to my kitchen!

As many of you know my family and I moved into our new home at the end of October 2012 so I have a lot of organizing to do. When you move into a new home it takes awhile to figure out where you want your stuff. I stood in my kitchen and really thought where I wanted items, what items did I use a lot, and what cabinet should hold what items.

So I broke my kitchen down in sections starting with the dishwasher side first. I thought about emptying the dishes, some times the dishes drip. Did I really want to carry dishes across the wood floor to the other side of the kitchen? No, so all around my dishwasher are my main, everyday dishes - plates, cups, bowls, serving bowls, silverware, and kids dishes. I kept the kids dishes low so they can access them. Oh and every kitchen needs a junk drawer so I have one of those too for my odds and ends items.

 I have so much space in this kitchen that while taking down the Christmas decoration last week I decided to keep all my Christmas dishes and serving piece in the upper cabinet over my double ovens. I also keep other baking items that I do not use often. The bottom drawer holds my cutting boards and cookie/pizza pans.

The other half of my kitchen contains my cooktop so I knew I wanted my pots and pans close to this area. I also made the two drawers my tools/utensil drawers and they hold my spoons, spatulas, whisk, garlic press, and more. My key in these drawers is bins - everything has a place and they don't slide around and get all mixed up. I keep my larger small appliances under the cooktop and my tupperware has a cabinet all to itself. The last drawer contains all my bags and wraps. 

My coffee maker sits on this counter so I made one side of a cabinet my coffee cabinet. My corner cabinet holds all my entertaining pieces - you know, the nice dishes you set up when your having company over to hold your cute appetizers you made!  Over the fridge the cabinet holds my small appliances, like my bread maker (yes I still have one!) and my larger serving pieces. 

 The other side of my coffee cabinet hold all my pyrex dishes. Over the microwave is my summer dishes that we use outside. My last cabinet holds all my kitchen linens, measuring tools, and my drink ware for alcohol.  

 The hardest part for me was decorating. My old house did not allow me to place items on top of the cabinets. I love/hate this feature now. I love it because I get to put cute decorations up there, and I hate it because it is a new area that I have to add to my clean list! My other problem was - what do I put up there. My theme in my kitchen is wine so I went out on a search for just a few more wine items. I used my new purchases and some items I currently had on hand to decorate.

There are still a few organization steps I would like to take in my kitchen, but organizing my kitchen to be usable and having items that I use the most at my fingertips was my goal.  

Happy Organizing!

Organizing My Scrap Room - The Details

I am so enjoying my space now that it is all organized. I almost don't want to leave it but I would miss my family! The space was overwhelming when I started. I took all the box out and put them in the hallway so I had a blank slate with just my favorite pieces from Ikea. I knew it was going to be awhile for paint in this room so I wanted to bring some color to it. I picked up all the pink bins and baskets at various stores and now just need to figure out what was going to go in them. I sat in my chair and spun around trying to imagine what I would need at my finger tips when I am scrapbooking, and what I don't use that often. I started with my big Expedit first. 

Using baskets, bins, and 3 drawer storage bins I organized all my favorite scrapbooking items, such as my stamps, punches, embellishments, stitching tools, inks, embossing supplies and more. To my left is my extra deep bookcase which I love! I almost wish I had space for another one.

The bottom holds my papers. I am patiently waiting for Michaels to put their Recollections on sale so I can grab another paper cube. The large storage holds all my albums. I am not a scrapper who works on only one album until it is done. I like to jump from book to book based on what is inspiring me. I have one empty bin so I guess I have to get scrapping another album. 

The top hold two scrapbooks that my Mom made for me, and I love to look at them over and over so I keep them accessible. It also holds my sticker binders and Cricut cartridges. Tucked in the corner I have two storage carts with more scrapbook supplies.....yes I know, I have a lot of stuff! 

Finally across from my desk I have the smaller Expedit that holds all my photos; loose and in albums. I also have a caddy to hold my remote controls and items that float around my room such as lotion and hair ties! I also have my Cricut machine that I cannot live without and my TV, and Ipod player. 

I LOVE my space!! It is my happy place and I love how I organized it. I plan on spending many hours in here scrapbooking, blogging, studying, planning, and just relaxing in a space that is all my own! 

Happy Organizing! 

Organizing my Scrap Room

If you read my earlier post on my one word you know it is to ORGANIZE! My question to myself is where do I start?? My answer was my scrap room. One reason motivated me to start in my scrap room, I knew I needed a quiet space away from my family to plan my week, menus, school assignments, weekly task, scrapbook and more.

At our old house I had a small corner of a dark, cold basement. When my husband and I began looking at houses I knew a room/space all to myself was a must. So this is how it started.....

Before we moved I took my husband to Ikea to show him what I wanted in my room. He kept telling me that there was no way I was going to fit all the furniture and all my "stuff" in that room. I guess he didn't know who he was talking to! We moved in, put my furniture together, and then piled the boxes in. You couldn't even walk in the room! I wish I would have taken a before picture. This room was last on the list to unpack as I needed to unpack the rest of the house and get us settled. So the door stayed closed until now. I spent two days unpacking, and organizing it. And here is how it ended up......

Everything has a home and it has become my happy place. I knew this room would be important for me to organize first. Now I can start the New Year in an organized space to continue working on my one word for 2013; ORGANIZE! 

Come back tomorrow and I will tell you how I organized this space. 

Happy Organizing!

Happy New Year!! Do you have your one word?

Yep.....that my one word for the year! 2012's word was change and I did that in a big way by changing my address. My husband and I moved into our new home at the end of October and as you all know after you move you have to organize everything! I also picked organize as my 2013 word because I function better when I have a plan and my day is organized. 

There will be two areas my one word will focus on; organizing my home and organizing my life. I am not sure which one will be easier! If any of you are like me I have a tornado of ideas going on in my head of how I will accomplish organizing my home and organizing my life. My strategy is to take it one day at a time and start small so that I do not become overwhelmed and give up on my plans.

Last year I printed out several copies of my one word, and laminated them. I placed them in areas of my house that I frequented such as my vanity, my kitchen, my planner, and my car. I am a visual learner and having that visual of my one word reminded me daily what my one word meant to me. It help to keep me focus on my goals. I also created a One Word 2012 board on Pinterest to place quotes or pictures that included or represented my one word. I plan on doing my print outs and I have already started my board with my one word for 2013. I challenge you to pick one word that represents what you want 2013 to be for you and make it happen. I would love to hear what your one word is. Please feel free to leave me a comment with the link to your blog or link to your one word Pinterest board! Happy New Year!