Inspire — Organization

We had a great time at our Inspire (formerly More Than Moms) meeting last night! I was the hostess and COMPLETELY FORGOT to ask anyone to take pictures! BOO!

I covered seven different areas of organization, most of which, I have already covered here on the blog.  Most of what I shared, I’ve already explained in these posts so instead of typing it all out again, I’m going to direct you to several different places via links.

  1. Command Center:  I blogged about my process of organizing my command center HERE.  There are several before and after pictures.  I was inspired to do a command center by DaNita over at Delightful Order. You can see her amazing command center HERE.  I also shared a few pictures of some simpler command centers in case you don’t have much room to work with:command center 2command center 1
  2. Pantry:  I blogged about my process of organizing my pantry HERE.  There are several before and after pictures.  I featured two other pantries that are much fancier and roomier than mine:Pantry 1pantry 2
  3. Laundry Room: I blogged about my process of organizing my laundry room HERE.  There are several before and after pictures.  I received most of my inspiration from Jen over at iheartorganizing.  You can see her amazing laundry room HERE.
  4. Office/Craft Room:  I blogged about my process of organizing my craft area HERE.  There are several before and after pictures.  When I’m crafting away in my space, I dream that I’m working in Maggie’s (Smashed Peas and Carrots) BEAUTIFUL studio.
  5. Planning and Scheduling:  I featured 5 different planners that I have seen, heard about, and LOVE. I personally use an Erin Condren planner, but all of them are GREAT.
    • Erin Condren: I recommend the journal over the life planner. I didn’t really have use for all that the life planner provides.
    • momAgenda: Great if you have school age kids who are involved in extracurricular activities.
    • Paper Coterie: Has a place to journal special memories and reasons to be thankful.
    • Plum Paper Designs: Similar to Erin Condren, but a bit cheaper.
    • May Books: FULLY customizable.
  6. Organization in the Car:  I haven’t blogged about what I use to keep my car organized.  I have an organizing utility tote where I store Wet Ones, Clorox Wipes, Kleenex, a flashlight, changing pad, DVDs, and an “emergency” kit that is contained in a diaper wipe container. I got the idea for that HERE.  Here are some pictures of other ways to organize in the car:car 1car 2Car 3car 4car 5 There is a tutorial HERE on how to make this organizer for your car.
  7. Recipes: I blogged about my process of organizing my recipes HERE.

Finally, I shared that my 3 favorite organization blogs are:

iheartorganizing

Delightful Order

Clean Mama

 

 

 


My First Attempts at Couponing

So…I’ve been bitten by the couponing bug.  I’ve only done two weeks so far, but the savings have been undeniable and very motivating!  I’m always looking for ways to be a better steward of our finances and this is definitely a great way!

I would like to start out by saying that I feel a little silly writing this blog because there are TONS of great websites out there…Money Saving Queen and The Krazy Coupon Lady…to name a few.  However, I must admit…those websites can be a bit overwhelming for a beginner like me.

I went to a workshop at my church with the Money Saving Queen herself, Sarah Roe, and it was definitely enough to pique my interest and motivate me to learn more, but I still felt very overwhelmed.  Then, my friend, Kristy, made a comment on Facebook about how I should start couponing and invited me over to her house to teach me how!  I couldn’t pass up that offer!

(Sidenote:  Kristy and I weren’t technically “friends.”  Her mom was my 4th grade teacher and has been trying to figure out a way for us to meet for years.  Because of Mrs. Bailey’s recommendation, Kristy and I started reading each other’s blogs…virtually stalking each other, if you will.  Recently, Kristy sent me a friend request on Facebook, providing us an opportunity to stalk each other with more regularity 😉  I’m so glad she invited me over to her house to teach me to coupon. We can now say that we’ve met and we’re officially friends so the stalking doesn’t seem so weird anymore…ha!)

Anyway, the one hour one-on-one session with Kristy was just what I needed.  She answered my questions and made this whole process feel much more doable.  Now…here are a few of my favorite tips I learned from the workshop and my time with Kristy AND a few examples from my first two weeks..

  1. I’ve been getting my coupons primarily from 4 places:
    1. Tulsa World Sunday paper (QuikTrip)
    2. The Oklahoman Sunday paper (QuikTrip)
    3. Weekly mailer that comes in the mail every week (on Wednesday for me)
    4. http://www.coupons.com (you can often print the same coupon up to 2-3 times)
  2. Be organized!
    1. Make a coupon binder.  Mine is divided into these sections: baby, cleaning, food, office supplies, paper products, pharmacy, toiletries, and miscellaneous.
    2. Collect your coupons for each store in an envelope and write your list on the front of the envelope.  Once my envelope is prepared, I then paperclip it to the sales flyer for the particular store.
    3. Take the time to make a plan and stick with it!
  3. The MAIN goal is to try to combine a SALE, with a STORE COUPON, and a MANUFACTURER COUPON.  This was the “AHA” moment for me.  I’m pretty much focusing on ONLY buying things when I have a combination of all 3 unless it is something I NEED that week.
  4. Price Match!  If you do your shopping primarily at Walmart, you can take competitor’s ads in with you and have the price adjusted when you’re paying at the register.  I’ve even had them adjust the price for me when I don’t have the ad with me.  You can also do this at Target, but it has to be done at Customer Service.
  5. Finally, my friend, Stephanie, gave me some great advice via Instagram:  “Be very, very patient with yourself and know that you’re going to make lots of mistakes.  Hang in there, because it’s worth it!”

Now, here are a few examples from my first 2 weeks:

TARGET:

Lunchables ($1.98 each):

  • On sale for $1 each.
  • Target coupon = $1 off 2 lunchables
  • I got 2 lunchables for $1

Herbal Essence Shampoo and Conditioner ($2.99 each)

  • Target coupon = $1 off 2
  • Manufacturer coupon = $3 off 2
  • I got one shampoo and one conditioner for $1.98

Scrubbing Bubbles toilet cleaners ($3.50 each)

  • Target coupon = $1 off 2
  • Manufacturer coupon = $1 off 2
  • I got 2 packages of toilet cleaner for $5

Lysol wipes (2.49 each)

  • On sale for $1.87 each.
  • Manufacturer coupon = $1 off 2
  • Manufacturer coupon = $1 off 2
  • I got 4 packs of wipes for $5.48

*I signed up for a Target Redcard.  It acts like a debit card that you only use at Target (you can use it at the Starbucks and concession stand in Target, too!) and it automatically gives you 5% off your purchase PLUS it gives you free shipping anytime you order something from Target online!*

WALGREENS:

Opti Free Contact Solution 2 pack ($18.99)

  • On sale for $14.99.
  • Walgreen’s coupon = $4 off 2 pack.
  • Manufacturer coupon = $1 off
  • I got a 2 pack for $9.99

CVS:

Venus Razor with one refill ($9.99)

  • Manufacturer Coupon = $4 off
  • Extrabucks Rewards = $4
  • I got the razor for $1.99

Garnier Fructis Shampoo and Conditioner

  • On Sale for 3 for $10
  • Manufacturer coupon $1 off
  • Manufacturer coupon $1 off
  • Extrabucks Rewards = $3
  • I got 3 bottles of shampoo/conditioner for $5

Right Guard deodorant ($2.99)

  • Manufacturer coupon $1 off
  • Manufacturer coupon $1 off
  • Extrabucks Rewards $1
  • Extrabucks Rewards $1
  • I got 2 deodorants for $1.98

*The Extrabucks Rewards print out for you to use on your next purchase so they’re not technically taken off this total.*

*I got an e-mail from CVS for 25% off my next purchase.  I sent the offer to my CVS card so when I scanned it at the checkout, it automatically took 25% off my total.*

*Be sure to scan your CVS card each time you go into the store at the coupon kiosk.  You’ll get new coupons every time!*

So…I hope this helps!  As I’m just starting out, this is the process that helps me for now:

  1. Clip coupons and file them in the binder.
  2. Go through the sale ads and find things that I will use that I can get for a significantly cheaper price than I normally pay.
  3. Right now I’m primarily focusing on cleaning supplies and toiletries.  These are easy things to stock up on and save for later use.
  4. As far as grocery shopping, I’m sticking to Walmart.  I meal plan, make my list, and flip through my binder to see if I have any coupons AND flip through the ads to see if I can price match anything.  There are people who recommend meal planning according to what is on sale that particular week…I’m not there yet and don’t know if I will be.

Here are a few pictures to show how I’ve organized my couponing process…

This is my binder.  I have a divider with a pocket for each section.  The pockets can hold coupons I haven’t had a chance to file yet.  Each section has several plastic pages with baseball card sized pockets to hold the coupons.  Per Kristy’s recommendation, I file like coupons together (for the same product), putting the one with the earliest expiration date at the front.

This is how I organize to prepare for the shopping trip.  The envelope contains the coupons I’ll be using, the shopping list is written on the front, and it is paper clipped to the ad.  For grocery shopping, I have a menu planning worksheet that has my meals for the week on one side, the grocery list on the other, and then I paperclip competitor’s ads and an envelope with any coupons to the front.

When I write the list on the front, I also write the coupons and sales next to it so I remember what to buy and how many.  Since I’m new at this, I need all the information readily available to help me decide, once I get to the store, if I’m actually getting a good deal or not.

Also, I just flipped the envelope upside down to use it again for the next week.

Let me know if you have any questions!  I’ll do my best to answer them or I’ll direct you to someone else who might know the answer 🙂


Organized Craft Corner & Closet

As you can see in this picture, my corner of the office and the office closet were both a disaster of craft supplies. I had the organization tools in place, but they were not being used effectively. I cannot create in this type of chaos so I really haven’t been doing much. Something HAD to be done!

Voila!

When I set this space up for myself, I prominently displayed all of my academic credentials…I guess to remind myself how hard I worked to be an over-qualified stay-at-home-mom 😉

I decided to designate a bin for supplies for the current projects I’m working on. This is much cleaner than just dropping a Hobby Lobby bag on the floor or the desk. I also labeled and designated each drawer for specific supplies.

I have an entire desk drawer designated for all types of glues…you never know which one you might need! The bottom drawer contains a hodge-podge of sewing supplies.

I use the top of the filing cabinet to store the Cameo because it needs to be hooked up to the computer. The top two drawers of the drawer system contain a number of office supplies and the bottom drawer contains Cameo supplies.

I love having these two seven drawer towers. They fit nicely in the closet and hold a lot of supplies in a very organized way!

Here’s a closer look…

And the top of the two towers is a nice empty space to hold even more stuff!

I use this short, three drawer tower to hold fabric, scrapbook paper and supplies, and a miscellaneous drawer of crafty goodness. My fabric is obviously going to need a better, roomier, and more organized home at some point…SOON!

I Heart Nap Time


Delightfully Inspiring Thursday: Bathroom Cabinet Organization

Okay, so I’m really setting my pride aside and putting myself out there with this post.  Be warned: my cabinets and drawers were in TERRIBLE shape before.  And be nice:  I’m giving you an inside look to all the things I store in my bathroom cabinets…that’s kind of scary!

To start cleaning, I pulled everything out and put it into 3 categories:  keep, trash, and donate.  Once I had my pile of things to keep, I started to separate it into categories so I could decide how I wanted to put it away.

BEFORE

UGH!  Terrible, right?!?

Yes, that’s denture cleanser you see.  No, I don’t have dentures.  I use it to soak my night guard everyday…which, if you have a night guard, I highly recommend doing this.  It’s been the most successful cleaning method for me!

More chaos.  This cabinet was stuffed with every lotion, perfume, bath set I’ve accumulated over the years.

An explosion of hair supplies.

A junk drawer of supplies I use everyday…yes, including the pick.  I know that’s so 1995, but it’s the best for combing my hair after I get out of the shower!

An explosion of makeup and random jewelry…

And this drawer…well, let’s just move on…

AFTER

I found these great long, skinny drawers at Wal-Mart.  They are stackable, but they worked best side-by-side for me.  I’ve got cotton balls and Q-Tips in one drawer and lotions/perfumes in the other.  The buckets on top contain hair supplies and miscellaneous.

I gave away or threw out most of what was in this cabinet.  Now, it’s solely dedicated to traveling supplies.

A much more organized hair drawer.  The 2 little containers were perfect for hair rubber bands and clips/bobby pins.

I had WAY too much clutter on the bathroom counter so I was able to put most of it in here along with my basket for dental hygiene.

A drawer for jewelry and buttons.

A much more organized make up drawer…

And a drawer for other random necessities…

I am SO happy that everything now has a home.  As I’ve said a million times before…I am much more likely to put something away if it has a specific place.  It was also good to just pull everything out and do a big purge.


Delightfully Inspiring Thursday: Home Library Organization

I was an elementary school teacher for 5 years and managed to develop quite a classroom library during that time.  When I resigned from that position and had to relocate all of my classroom materials to my house, I had to get really creative with storing it.  I knew that I wanted to keep my entire library inside (rather than storing it in bins in the garage or attic) so I would have access to the books to read with my kids.  I had an organization system that worked really well in my classroom, so I just kept it the same way for home.  If I were to go back to being a classroom teacher, I would reorganize my books into reading levels, but I’m happy with my current system for my home.

I realized really quickly in my first year of teaching that students were not going to keep my paperback books neatly stacked on a shelf.  My sister had organized her books in her classroom so she came over to help me.  We took all the books I had and started to split them up into categories.  We ended up with 12 categories.  They are:

  • Holidays
  • School
  • Animals
  • Social Studies/Science/Math
  • Fairy Tales/Silly Stories/Poems
  • Sign Language
  • Early Readers
  • Fiction
  • Early Chapter Books
  • Character/Family
  • Favorite Authors/Series: Clifford, Amelia Bedelia, Mercer Mayer, Franklin, Arthur
  • Favorite Authors/Series: Robert Munsch, Curious George, Froggy, Berenstein Bears
Here’s a look at the whole book shelf.

We assigned a colored dot for each categorized basket and clearly labeled the front.

Each book that belongs in the basket has that colored sticker on the inside flap.  I also labeled every book with my last name.

For chapter books, I alphabetized them by the first letter of the author’s last name.  I chose a red dot for “A” and then labeled the spine of all the books that belonged with the “A’s.”  The books are only grouped according to the first letter.  I didn’t alphabetize within the “A’s.”

This system worked great in my classroom because the student’s could easily be held accountable for returning the books to the right place.  Once the system was in place, it was really easy to add any new books that I ordered.  Once the order came in, I would categorize the book, add the sticker, and place it in the appropriate basket.

You may not have this many books to start out, but I encourage you to categorize the ones you have.  You can add more baskets/categories as you collect more books.  It really has worked beautifully for me!

Also, as I categorized the books, I developed an Excel document with a spreadsheet for each category and typed each book’s title and author into the appropriate spreadsheet.  Because I was a teacher and had lots of different hands using my books, it was easy for a few of them to disappear.  Once a semester, I would print out the spreadsheets and take inventory of my books.  If there were any books missing, I would send a note home with the students with the titles of the missing books to see if any of them had been taken and left at home.  This helped me to feel like I was taking the best care of the classroom library I worked very hard to pay for and develop.


Delightfully Inspiring Thursday: Laundry Room Makeover

BEFORE

My laundry room was a messy, unorganized, eye sore for entirely too long.  I never really imagined it as a room to be decorated until I started seeing ideas on some organization blogs I follow and on Pinterest, of course.  The top of the dryer was a catch all for any manner of things that didn’t have a home.  There was no color in the room at all.  Nothing about it was a happy place.

Ugh.  Unorganized cleaning supplies and a blurry picture.  Terrible.

INSPIRATION

My laundry room is one of the places that I most often find myself being thankful.  At least once a month, while doing laundry, I pray and thank God that I have a functioning washer and dryer in my home, and that we are blessed with so many clothes that need to be washed and dried.  I know it sounds silly.  Believe me, I’m often overwhelmed by the constant flow of laundry, but, it has consistently been a chore that leads me to thanksgiving.

I was given this print as part of a Christmas gift and decided I wanted to hang it by the door in my laundry room that leads out to the garage.  This makes it the last thing I see before I leave the house and hopefully will serve as a constant reminder to live my life on purpose.  The days in my life as a stay-at-home-mom can start to feel pretty mundane and purposeless, but I know that I can be intentional in everything I do…including going to the grocery store.  You can get your own copy of the print for free HERE.  I got the idea to hang it from a pants hanger from none other than Ashley Ann.

When I saw this picture on Pinterest, it got my wheels turning about some simple things I could do in my small laundry room to maximize storage and design…namely the shelf.

DURING

I went to Lowe’s and bought two boards (48 in long x 12 in wide x 1 in thick) and asked the nice man to cut them to size.  I also bought four L brackets, a can of primer, and a sample sized container of the paint I wanted.  This all cost me about $30 (if I remember correctly).  When I was shopping for the supplies at Lowe’s, I felt like I might as well have been shopping the streets of Tokyo.  I felt totally overwhelmed and out of place, but I was motivated, so I trudged on.

I set the two boards up on some boxes in my garage, primed them first, and then followed up with two coats of paint.

Then, I bribed our good friend and neighbor with brownies to come over and hang the shelves for me.  Nick and Reuben “supervised” to make sure everything was done correctly.  Rob did in 45 minutes what would have taken Nick and me several hours and quite possibly a few trips to see a marriage counselor.

The next thing I did was make my first batch of homemade laundry detergent which I posted about HERE.

I used a scrap piece of wood from one of the shelves to make this key holder which I posted about HERE.

And finally, I got started on the decorating and made painted the canvas with a chevron pattern which I posted about HERE.

AFTER

  • I rearranged the shelves in the cabinet so the space was used more effectively.
  • I posted the “Laundry Stain Cheat Sheet” that I found on Pinterest on the inside of the cabinet door to use as a quick guide.
  • I made sure that the items I use the most often are on the bottom shelves for easiest access, including the green basket that holds all the cleaning supplies that I carry around to different areas of the house.

  • I kept the tension rod I use for hanging clothes to dry, but I moved it up a bit.
  • I saw the adorable storage baskets on I Heart Organizing’s post about her bathroom and knew they would be perfect in the laundry room.  They were definitely one of the splurges.  I bought 2 large and 2 small for about $40.
  • I did a google search for laundry room sayings and fell in love when I found this one.  Being a Type A personality, it can often be a challenge for me to allow Reuben to have fun without worrying about the mess.  I’m hoping this quote will serve as a gentle reminder on the days I feel like I might have a full-fledged panic attack if one more thing gets dirty.  I already had black vinyl on hand and used my Cameo to cut it out…so this project was FREE.

  • My ironing board cover was PITIFUL so I paid $8 for this new one from Target.

  • I’m using the basket on the left to hold the supplies for my Swiffer and Shark steam mop.
  • The basket on the right is for laundry supplies…like bleach, stain remover, and garment bags.

  • I got the adorable bird lamp from Gordman’s for $10.  I looked and looked for a little lamp that would fit in this space.  When I saw this, I knew it was perfect!
  • I use the basket on the left for random odds and ends that don’t have another home.  I’m realizing it’s important to have these types of baskets around my house to avoid clutter.  I can put the items in this basket until I find a home for them or until I decide I don’t need them anymore.
  • The basket on the right has dryer sheets, a bleach pen, shout wipes, and a bar a Fels-Naptha AKA a stain removing miracle worker.

Let me take a moment and tell you about this rug.  Because I wasn’t painting the walls in my laundry room, I knew I needed to bring in color in other ways.  I used the “Live Your Life on Purpose” print to inspire the colors of my shelves and storage baskets.  Once I had those colors in place, I searched and searched for the perfect rug.  I bought one from Kirkland’s, but decided it wasn’t really the color scheme I was going for.  Then, I decided I was going to spray paint a scrolly black rubber mat that I already had in order to bring in some color…BUT, I couldn’t find the right colors of spray paint.  I was feeling super discouraged and THEN, Jen over at I Heart Organizing posted THIS.  I felt like the heavens opened up and angels started singing when I saw the rug.  I literally ran into the office to look up the rug and the Hallelujah Chorus got even louder in my head when I realized it was only $34 for this 3×5 rug from Urban Outfitters.  I bought it right away…and quickly realized that I’m officially old because I felt SO happy about a rug.

Before, I used the top of these cabinets to store a bucket and random cleaning supplies.  No more!  I didn’t really have an idea of what I wanted so I just perused the aisles of Target, Gordman’s, and Hobby Lobby until I found some things that stuck out to me.

  • The lantern is from Target.  It was $10.  I decided to fill it up with clothes pins (100 pack from Walmart for about $3) because I felt it was only appropriate being the laundry room and all 🙂
  • The A is from Gordman’s.  It was $9.
  • I had the yellow bucket in my garage with all my classroom/teaching supplies.  I filled it with the floral arrangement (is that what that’s called?!?) from Gordman’s that was $2.

So…there you have it!  I’m D.O.N.E and very happy with the way it turned out.  My laundry room is definitely a MUCH happier space.


Project Pretty: DIY Key Holder

Jen, over at I Heart Organizing, posted a “Project Pretty” challenge last week to beautify a piece of organization or storage in some way.  Today, she is hosting a link party for everyone to share what they’ve been working on this week.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone did!

As I’ve shared recently, I’ve been working on redoing my laundry room.  The laundry room is right off the garage so it’s the first and last place we see as we enter and exit our home.  This makes it a great place to hang our keys.  I had purchased a cheap key holder at IKEA a year or so ago and had taken it off the wall as I was in the process of moving things around in the laundry room.  In a random (and pretty hysterical) miscommunication between Nick and me, the key holder was taken out to the curb with the trash.

So…instead of shelling out a few more dollars for another one, I decided to use some things I had around the house to make a new one that fits in with the color scheme and overall look I’m going for in the updated space.

These are most of the supplies that I used.  I got the fabric from my friend Karen’s gold mine of fabric scraps and I bought the hooks from Lowe’s.  I had everything else on hand.

I laid the wood on the fabric and cut around it leaving about a 1.5-2 inch edge all the way around.

I used the tacky glue to attach the fabric to the wood.  I covered the front first and then folded up the edges like I was wrapping a present.

I used my Silhouette software to make the design for the front of the key holder.  I decided to use one of my favorite verses since I’ll be seeing the key holder several times a day.

I used Mod Podge to glue down the doily and the verse and then covered the whole piece in one or two layers of Mod Podge.  I took this picture right after when it still really wet.

After it dried, I hammered a white thumb tack on each of the 4 corners to press down the fabric that was bulging up and as a little extra artistic detail.

Then I added this wall hanger to the back.

The last step was pre-drilling the 4 holes for the hooks and then screwing the hooks in.  And…tada!  This is the finished product.  Not perfect…but has character 🙂

IHeart Organizing