Tidying The Craft Bin

I was so inspired mid-book to get to tidying, even though the author stresses NOT to do that. But I couldn’t help myself; the train got moving and who am I to try and stop it? I decided to tackle my craft bin instead of starting with clothes (like she suggests) mostly because I was working with an undetermined amount of time (nap time) so I figured my craft bin was the smallest and most manageable category to take on first. I didn’t like breaking all of her rules but I had momentum and I didn’t want to get in my own way!

This bin. It stressed me out. Also, a sneak peek of the current state of our office: horrendous. Be careful, it might eat you!

craft_bin

See, the lid won’t even fit on the bin anymore. Something had to be done. Like, yesterday.

I pulled it all out and got to sorting.

craft_mess

I also made a point to gather up my other craft items stored all over the house such as gift bags, tissue paper, cards/stationary, craft paints, etc and address it all at once.

Holy hell, it took a long time.

I thought this would be a breeze to sort it all but it was time consuming. I really tried hard to think about my current needs and not let my old hobbies or future possibilities persuade me. I wanted to focus on The Now. A long time ago? I used to make my own cards. I kept every scrap of paper with plans to use them up in their entirety. But in this phase of my life I buy the adorable cards/gift tags from the Target Dollar Spot and if I’m feeling really crafty, I slap on a piece of washi tape to fancy it up. I hope eventually Amelie/Cade and I will make a bazillion crafts together but currently our crafts are simple and uninvolved. Crayons. Random paper. Attention span of 13 seconds. I figured pairing down craft supplies is just what I need right now. I can always buy bits and bobs as projects with the kids come up. Typical of most purging experiences, I discovered a few forgotten gems that I’m excited to play with and discarded supplies that felt like items on my To Do list instead of enjoyable crafting adventures!

Initially, the bin seemed like the right choice to store everything together but I was finding that it was too big to haul out and too cumbersome to dig through. Currently they are all living in Cade’s closet (which still needs doors, by the way):

cade_closet_after

Marie Kondo emphasizes discarding before organizing and that makes perfect sense to me. It’s difficult to put any systems in place if you haven’t fully addressed what needs to stay or be discarded. For now, my crafts supplies are contained to the office at least.

Eventually, I’d like to move all of my craft supplies to the downstairs linen closet but for now, Cade doesn’t need this entire closet and things are put away in a kind of orderly fashion.

Onto clothes! Oh dear.

The Book Nook

I know it was only yesterday when I first mentioned this book but I’ve already finished reading it!

It’s true, I really can read!

THE BOOK: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

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I seriously love the cover of this book, by the way.

My feeble thoughts: Here is what I liked: I loved the Japanese lens she brought to tidying such as showing gratitude/respect for our things and our home, like thanking our handbag for working so hard for us today and all the blessings we were able to carry inside of it.

Of course, I adore her famous question: “Does it spark joy?”. It’s funny what little things spark joy for me. Currently, it’s these reusable snack bags that I have for the kids. I love them so much! I know, it’s a little weird.

I could relate to her stories and urges to tidy, especially a child.

I appreciated her main strategy: tackle by category, not by room, do it all at once (which is the complete opposite of my strategy that I declared in this post), and what category to start with first, next, and last. That was helpful and something we are actually implementing currently! Stay tuned!

Lastly, I like the word tidying. Don’t you?

What I didn’t like: I felt like she over-explained everything. I wasn’t too keen on her personal stories, even though I found myself relating to a lot of them. I didn’t love the writing, although it had a genuine Japanese voice to them, which I appreciated.

Grade: B for writing/content, A for inspiration! I could have done without the over-explaining, the meh writing, and the silly anecdotes but would have hungrily devoured more tips, lists, strategies, and pictures on how she folds her clothes. Please show me your sushi-inspired sock drawer! Yet, still, I walked away completely inspired to get my house/yard/life/mind/body in order, stat. SPARK JOY! Get rid of everything else!

Would I recommend it to a stranger on the bus (trying to make his way home)? Yes! This subject excites me so I want others to read it and take on the tidying mission with me.

What I am reading now: You know what? I never finished “Savage Girl” and I’m still reading “Stones from the River” that my MIL lent me PROBABLY FIVE YEARS AGO. It’s a good book, I don’t know what the hell is taking me so long to read it.

Wow, it’s been a minute since the last one of these, huh?

Just One Thing

Remember my Spring Cleaning “series”? You don’t? This is so ridiculous but neither did I. I always get embarrassed when I creep back through old blog posts of mine. Oh, the dumb stuff I’ve written (and continue to) during the life of this blog! And the pictures too! Makes my ears feel hot. I try not to think about it.

Anyway, I searched “spring cleaning” to reference in this post, and lo and behold – there was an entire series dedicated to it! I could write those same posts again: Clean out the purse! Clean out the car! Clean out the fridge! That’s the thing with spring cleaning. It needs to happen over and over again.

In the past few months, I’ve declared a new spring cleaning mission. I set a goal to get rid of “Just One Thing” Per Week. It doesn’t matter what – big or small – and it doesn’t matter if it’s trashed, sold, donated, or composted. I was going to write “or consumed” but upon further thought, that didn’t seem like the healthiest option.

A few weeks ago, I worked feverishly to clean up the Play Area. And even though I took four car loads of trash to the dump, I counted that as my “Just One Thing” in an effort to keep momentum.

My focus is diffused; sometimes I’m working in the office, sometimes I’m trying to tackle the kid’s clothes but mainly, I’ve been working in our garage. I think it might be a stretch, but I’m really hoping to clear enough out so we can park BOTH cars in there by winter time. It’s my pet peeve to have so much stuff stored in your garage that you can’t do the one thing garages are designed to do – “store” your car! Now, I’m one of those people. Doh.

Other things on my list:

  • kid’s clothes
  • kid’s toys
  • paper work
  • wedding dress
  • breast pump
  • craft bin

So it’s sort of spring cleaning-esque, but with an emphasis on moving stuff OUT without worrying too much about cleaning or organizing just yet. I’d like to do that too but I also recognize that my organizing efforts have been in vain because I have too much stuff. I’ve been shuffling items from one room to the next, getting nowhere.

This week I’m working to get rid of all of the scalloped edging since we replaced it with metal. I’ll be so happy when this is all gone!

edging

Has anyone read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo? I have it reserved at the library and I’m hoping to find lots of inspiration and tactics I can manage as a busy Mom. It really is hard to stay on top of the stuff with kids – the churn is massive and the time to manage it is minute!

Organizing Christmas Decor

I finally organized and packed up the Christmas decor. Same as I did for the Christmas wrap, I organized as I went. I lost my fool mind and grabbed more Christmas decor while it was on clearance at Target…which prompted me to buy an extra bin and wreath holder too. So much for “saving” money during the after Christmas sales, huh?

And after much effort, my final Christmas Bin Mountain:

bins

For years, my tree has been generic ornaments and lights…

like this year:

tree

and 2014

xmas_tree

2013 as well

xmas_tree

also 2012

tree_scaledyes, 2011 too

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and way back in 2010, when I started this blog!

PICT4761_1

I always thought it was pretty that way. But I know as the kids get older, they will get more involved with decorating the tree. It’s a special part of the holidays, especially when they have homemade treasures of their own to add. It’s one of my fondest memories as a kid. I’m happy to create a mismatched magical tree from here on out. I’m willing to “branch out”. Ha ha.

I needed a way to store these precious pieces (like this and this) as well as ornaments we’ve received as gifts with plenty of space to grow into.

ornaments

I can imagine each kid having a bin of their own eventually but that’s quite a few years out.

We got a few wintery holiday mugs for Christmas and normally I would add them to our current stash but we were running out of room in the cupboard.

mugs

I packed them away as well. I think it’ll be such a fun treat to pull these out to sip from next season, especially the mini mugs for Amelie and Cade.

And that’s it! Underwhelming, I know.

I’ve already been sucked into the next holiday. I’m not sure it’s healthy but I’ve decorated for Valentine’s Day, using a clearance Christmas tree so it kinda relates to this post?

tray

XOXO.

Organizing Christmas Wrap

Whoa, welcome to 2016! Isn’t it the perfect time to talk organization, even if it’s still Christmas related? I think so too.

So, my Christmas wrapping game started out strong.

gmas_package

But it quickly fell into exponential decay as the holidays drew closer. I ran out of steam.

I do love wrapping though. I look forward to spending time alone, listening to Christmas music and playing with pretty paper. I’ve collected lots of adorable tags, ribbon, and do-dads but needed a better system than what I was working with this past season. It was a serious mess.

The day after Christmas, I scooped up a whole bunch of wrapping goodies on clearance at Target, as well as some storage items to better organize myself for next year. I was in a Starbucks fueled craze, kid-free and hysterical. It was awesome!

It seems excessive but here is what I ended up with:

xmaswrap

The tall tupperware is obviously for gift wrap – although I’m annoyed that I have two rolls that are too long for it. Those are stashed in Cade’s closet for now.

Look at all of the pretty pretty paper. I’m in love.

xmas_paper

Much of the gift wrap isn’t necessarily holiday specific so I can use it for other occasions throughout the year. That helps justify my outrageous Target bill…

The big clear bin houses gift bags, boxes, tissue paper, and a tin.

xmaswrap3

I picked up a few new gift bags because they always come in handy for those awkward and lumpy gifts. I also pruned out any bags that I’ve been dragging into each holiday and never end up using.

Lastly, the most fun of all. This gold bin:

xmaswrap2

Tags, ribbon, ornaments galore! There was a method to the madness. I tried to coordinate these goodies with the gift wrap so they can all be mixed and matched. I have A TON so I’ll be set for a few years again before I need to restock. I must resist buying anything new next season. I must!

I’m glad I put the effort in now so come next Christmas, all I have to do is pull out these bins and get to work. It’ll be so fun to play with all of these beautiful things that I’ll most likely have forgotten about.

Next up, Christmas decor. I think I need to take it down in stages so I can organize as I go. Wish me luck and simultaneous naps…

 

Toys! Everywhere.

I’ve been trying to control the chaos but it seems like the influx of STUFF happened over night. I have a system that’s kinda sorta working so why not do what I always do and tell you about it?

A long time ago, we had a grown up hutch that stored grown up things like candles and serving pieces.

PICT4760_1Now it holds toys, burp cloths, wipes and Aquaphor too! Look how fancy:

hutch1

All of Amelie’s toys used to live in that white basket in the corner. The tiny toys sifted down to the bottom, never to be unearthed again! I knew I had to organize the madness so I bought a bunch of cheapo bins from Target and sorted all of Amelie’s toys by category.

hutch2

I don’t love the look of a hutch lined with plastic bins but this new system is working quite nicely because Amelie is able to see what she wants to play with. It’s nice for when other kids swing by too; they can help themselves and it’s easy for me to pick up at the end of the day. Cade is even starting to play. He loves emptying the bins!

I plan to replace this hutch eventually. I’m not in love with wood tone anymore and I don’t want to go through the hassle of bolting this to the wall. Amelie leaves it alone but who knows what Cade will do as he gets more mobile and starts to pull himself up. Other kids like to yank on the doors which makes me nervous.

I’m hoping all of the toys in the living room will eventually migrate to Amelie’s play area and her room once she gets a little older and prefers to play more privately. I would like to have a living room where I don’t slip on tiny plastic dinosaurs and have to vacuum around battery operated singing things. But maybe by the time that happens, I’ll be wishing for these days back again?

So that’s the inside. Since this post, we’ve acquired a few more plastic monstrosities for our yard. They are so ugly/kinda awesome.

A water table, scored for free!

water_table

A jungle thingy, also scored for free!

jungle_structure

It was grimy but I cleaned as much as I could. It’s hideous! Amelie loves it.

Although admittedly atrocious, I’m so thankful we have a few things like this now because Amelie has been playing on her own lately. This is new and so adorable. I love hearing her play pretend!

Not inspired? You have to see this play house that my friend designed and her dad and hubby built. It’s beautiful and classy and awesome! I asked if I could move in but I’m still waiting to hear back…

Mommy Wallet

My purse carrying days are a thing of the past. I throw my wallet into my diaper bag and go. Today, I’m cleaning out my wallet and taking you along for the ride! Weeeeee.

I purchased my old wallet, from Target of course, a few years back with the best intentions of paring down to something simple that would fit everything I needed, including my phone.  At the time, I thought it fit all of my criteria: cute, small, and included a spot for my iPhone. Sadly, after I put a case on my phone, it didn’t fit in the wallet!

So, I went about juggling both separately and cramming as much random crap into the spot for the phone instead. I could barely shut it:

wallet_before1

It irritated me. It was always such a mess.

wallet_before

I still like the idea of a wallet to keep in my diaper bag – but this time I upgraded to something bigger and made sure my phone, case and all, fit in along with everything else:

wallet_afterI bought this new wallet from Target too. Even though Target has lots of fun bright ones to choose from, most of them are a little young for me. I decided to stick with a simple brown one that goes with everything. My phone fits in the zippered side pocket perfectly.

Transferring everything over to the new wallet was also a chance to reevaluate what I was carrying around and organize. A fresh organized start always makes me feel better! Maybe when my diaper bag days are through, I might convert to a purse again or a cross body bag but for now, this is a great solution.

I’m sorry to subject you to this again, considering I’ve blogged about cleaning out my purse before here and here. Please don’t click through, my old blog posts are humiliating. Seriously.

 

Spray paint it yellow!

When Amelie was born, we got flowers at the hospital. It was such a happy lovely surprise. They made me feel like Amelie was so special and celebrated, you know?

I’ve been hanging onto one of the vases from that day with a plan to make it over. Ever since organizing the guest bath linen closet – which is still going strong, by the way – this little vase has lived in there. Can you spot it?

guestbath_linen_after

This one, holding extra toothbrushes for guests and my shower cap.

before_closet

I’m digging the texture, it reminds me of old school milkglass. But I didn’t love the color – a really pale pink. I happened to have leftover spray paint from my diaper pail makeover (which is also still going strong) so I got to spraying:

yellow

Yellow:

pineapple

Doesn’t it kinda look like a pineapple?

And back “home” again:

after_closetThe shelf “styling” is certainly not pin worthy but hopefully one day I can put some work into this closet to pretty it up. One day! But not any day soon.

Side note: Target has these adorable summer soy candles and one of them looks exactly like this vase! I should consult for them because obviously my vision is on point.

Anyway, back to my project. I told Hubs about my big makeover and he replied with “So, it went from pink to yellow?”

“Yeah. You make it sound so insignificant that way.”

Makeup Revisited

Last summer, I showed you my “makeup organization”. Although not inspiring for you probably, it was a little change with a big impact for me. But, it had been a while and needed a second look.

I wanted to revisit my makeup for two reasons:

  • I had started using the bathroom downstairs since having Cade and my makeup was split up between the two bathrooms. I wanted it all together again, it was driving me crazy. Eventually I want a little vanity area in the master bedroom but a desk makeover has to happen before then.
  • Ever since reading Skin Cleanse, I wanted to take a closer look at my products. You guessed it, most of them aren’t very skin friendly. Ok, all of them? I decided to start with small changes instead of starting over so I tossed a few things that were old, made me breakout, or I didn’t like.

Here is my “before” drawer. Hi, tube of Preparation H!

beforeMy “After” – some of these products are on probation…

after

Pretty pared dow, eh? Oh but wait.

My makeup bag:

bag_before

I had a helper when it came time to sort that mess out.

amelie

She loves putting on chapstick. Unfortunately, she nibbled the end and then smeared a good portion on her shirt. I can’t blame her, it tastes and smells like fruit snacks!

My makeup bag was gross and needed refreshing. MamaP spoiled me with a new one!

new_bag

It’s actually quite a bit smaller than my previous makeup bag.  It’s good that I was in a paring down mood.

bag_after1

Sorry for the crummy picture but here you go:

bag_after2

It’s all a little crammed but trust me, there’s a lot less. A few items are on probation as well. From here on out, I’m going to do my research so I can start phasing in better-for-you products. I’ll keep you posted?

Another exhilarating post for you has come to an end. Don’t be sad, there’s more coming your way so you can keep wondering why I spend my time this way.

Friday Tidbits

Happy Friday afternoon! It’s a hot one here to today and I’ve got a hot mess of a post for you.

Last night, MAJOR hail storm! Take a look at our deck:

hail

Everything was a bit tattered this morning:

deck

I have some sweeping to do but first, other business: Amelie’s summer clothes organization! Who’s excited?

You remember I organized the green dresser when Cade was my super tiny sleepy guy?

green_dresser_after_skitch

Well, turns out it was inconvenient to store Cade’s clothes along with Amelie’s for two reasons:

  • Amelie has too many clothes. They didn’t all fit in one drawer. Girl needs space! Cade needs space too.
  • I needed access to Cade’s clothes while Amelie napped. He was quite the puker! Hence, lots of outfit changes.

So, Amelie took over Cade’s drawer but as spring overlapped into summer, both of her drawers needed some attention.

Her pajamas and sweatshirt drawer before:

spring_clean_before

I cleaned out most of the winter items and put them away in her closet. I’m hoping they will still fit when the air gets colder but you never know with littles, they grow fast and sporadic. I did keep out a few long sleeves and pants because Colorado can get chilly in the summer when the sun goes down.

Here is the after:

spring_clean_after2

Because you probably can’t tell what anything is:

spring_clean_after2_skitch

The second drawer – it was tiring to dig through:

spring_clean_before2

After much pruning:

spring_clean_after

Oversharing:

spring_clean_after_skitch

I have her dresses in the closet and I’m hoping I remember to pull those out every so often. Most of her clothes she can mix and match, which makes it easy for when Dad is dressing her… ;D

Cleaning out the drawers helped me regain some sanity but also gauge what I need to purchase to round out Amelie’s summer wardrobe.

shopping

Mine and Cade’s summer clothes are next! I’ll probably blog about it so yaaaaay.