Posts tagged ‘Organizing’

August 13, 2012

Makeover Monday::This and That

by heatherkp

Today’s just a few misc. makeover projects from both our move and clients.  The first is an example of a hall closet that contains some linens and a lot of “medicine closet” items that don’t fit into the bathroom.  We didn’t buy anything for this project, just sorted through what was there, relocated some items to other areas and switched things around into containers that were more functional for each type of item.

We relocated all the cleaning products to the kitchen that were spread between there and the hall closet.  This cleared up the whole top shelf for bathroom and linen related items.  We used appropriate sized containers to hold hand towels, wash cloths, extra personal care items, medicines, make up and first aid items. 

We were able to easily fit all the household cleaning supplies under the sink.  We utilized on container to hold products that could be taken room to room for cleaning in other areas of the house. Moving along to my own house, I fell in love with this chandelier in our Dining room immediately!  Unfortunately I don’t think it had ever been properly cleaned.  And by properly I mean dis-assembling it by removing each crystal and soaking them, wiping them with a soft cloth and brush to get off the years of grime.  This took me almost 4 hours and there are almost 350 crystals but what a spectacular difference it made!

Finally, this is our master bedroom before and after.  It’s a small room and we are not able to fit our one large dresser in here but everything else works well and I love the serene blue of these walls which is almost the EXACT shade of blue we had painted in our MD living room before we left.  I love this room!

July 30, 2012

Moving Monday::Kitchen Basics

by heatherkp

We’ve finally landed in our new home.  It’s been a LONG haul and a very much anticipated transition with bumps and curves along the way that no one could have anticipated.  We’ve been “in” the house for just a week now and we are quickly coming to love it.

We feel very lucky to have found it, it’s pretty much exactly what we were looking for in a fantastic location.  After living in a house in MD that was big but still didn’t fit our needs and then not having any space of our own we feel like we’ve found just the right size which includes a new studio space for me to create art and textiles and a workshop for my husband’s tools and business.

Now to share with you some of what we’ve been doing in the house and some tips on organizing your way through unpacking.  Start with the basics!  Last week I mentioned some supplies to have on hand to make the transition easier but the next step should be to get your Bedroom(s), Bathroom and Kitchen set up.  These are the first areas I unpacked since I wanted to be able to really start using the space.  I got the clothes in the closets (removing all the wardrobe boxes from the picture), next came unpacking luggage into our dressers and linens and toiletries into the linen closet and bathroom.  With these practical things out of the way we could find clothes to dress and go about our normal routine.  May seem obvious but man did it feel great to put clothes into drawers and closets after living out of luggage for quite some time!  But I’ll share closet organization in another post…

Next I focused on the kitchen.  I had 20 boxes of kitchen, dining room and bar supplies!  We have a small house built shortly after WWII and the kitchen is a galley type with no pantry.  I have 1 curio and 1 china cabinet to fit all our non-essential dining items and I was quite concerned that I wouldn’t be able to fit it all in the cabinets!

Somehow I managed, with room to spare (not much).  I started by really thinking about how I would use each zone of the kitchen and since it’s not eat in I wanted the dishes and silverware to be easy to access from the dining room (which adjoins the kitchen).  I determined which items I wanted in each cabinet and drawer (roughly) and then started the process of unpacking and putting things away.  As I came across the inevitable items I’d forgotten about and didn’t yet have space for I set them aside on the dining room table.  I also mentally reserved space in certain spaces for these and other larger items as I worked through each box and cabinet.  Since I don’t have much counter space our microwave, toaster and mixer are the three items I knew I would have to keep out.  The rest of the small appliances went into the cabinets.

I had certain organizing pieces/tools I used that are flexible and can be made to fit various configurations, like baskets,  that hang from the shelves (below) and risers (above), these can be great help if you have tall cabinets and in some situations they can almost double your useable space.  I find that containing smaller items (like lids, spices, utensils etc) in baskets or bins makes the space easier to keep tidy and it makes it easier to grab what you need and return the rest without disrupting everything around.

Finally there were the cleaning supplies under the sink.  I wish I could tell you the name of this contraption that I used, I’ve had it for ages and the great thing is that the “shelves” snap in place and can be configured around pipes and other obstacles.  I’ve used it in the last 2 houses and it’s a great organizing tool (I’ll see if I can find it and post a link soon).

Overall I had to be flexible and re-think how I organized quite a few things since I use to have a pantry and a lot fewer drawers.  These cabinets are also much deeper than I was use to, which makes for extra storage but I will have to move things to get to the less used items.  That’s okay with me.  Each person has to customize their space to their needs and that’s the fun of organizing for me, finding a fit for each person’s specific needs and desires.

PS…I have no garbage disposal in this kitchen and that white bin on the top left is my compost bucket:) fits perfectly!

July 21, 2012

Silent Saturday::The Move Begins

by heatherkp

July 2, 2012

Moving Monday::Living like a Gypsy

by heatherkp

I haven’t said a whole lot about our move for several months now because we have been in a holding pattern.  We have been living like Gypsies honestly, going from place to place…and were settled into a lovely furnished home downtown Charleston for May and June.  We found it too difficult to search the real estate market and make the necessary new connections in a new city living an hour away so being in a temporary furnished place for a short period really allowed us to make the  get to know the city and get down to business.  The time there came to an end yesterday and I will always have fond memories since it’s time spent really getting to know the city on foot and in person.

Onward we move though and we packed it all up over the last few days for our final temporary stay before we settle into the new place we found.  After looking for several months and at over 30 places (the rental market right now is extremely competitive!) we are VERY excited about this home, it has everything we are looking for and it’s in a fantastic location.  We are renting and we found a real estate agent who was super helpful but we also put the word out to anyone and everyone we know and scoured the papers and craigslist.  In the end, we found something through word of mouth. I’m now in the process of setting up all the utilities, TV, internet etc.  Next we will line up a truck for moving day and try to enlist whatever help we can get…it feels like we are down to the final stretch!

I have to admit that we have been lugging around so much (i.e. too much) stuff over the past 8 months living in various locations and taking trips back and forth to here and there…I have had my moments where I just wanted to toss it all out for a more simple life but I didn’t because as organized as I am, I love my stuff!  I will say that after moving so much around for so long, I have learned to edit more quickly and more often.  I have many hobbies that require stuff like knitting, sewing, cooking, gardening, reading and more so I doubt I will ever be living a super minimalist lifestyle.  If you have ever lived somewhere temporarily with the majority of  your stuff in storage you probably know the feeling and just know, you are not alone and you will have certainly learned some valuable things about yourself before it’s all over.  I have learned to keep things sorted and separated by category (in bags, boxes and bins), to stick to some kind of regular routine and pattern, edit often and a bit more ruthlessly than I use to, get good rest (because all this moving is exhausting) and probably most importantly I have learned to be flexible and make due with what I have where I am.  I also make a lot of lists and check and double check where I’ve put things, especially if its a very important item.  We have traveled with a portable file box and our fireproof safe box for certain important things and this gives me peace of mind, it’s really a scaled down version of my normal system.

Have you ever lived like a gypsy?  If so did you love it and what did you learn?

All this moving

June 18, 2012

Makeover Monday::Kitchen Edition

by heatherkp

Disclaimer:: These photo’s are not very good and I apologize, I think those of you who regularly read my blog know that I’m normally a much better photographer.  These were taken with  my new phone and I’m still getting use to the settings.  Okay, on with it.  This project was in a very small home (just over 800 Sq’) in the historic Byrnes Down neighborhood.  The homes in this neighborhood were built in the 40’s as “war homes” and their sizes reflect this historic fact.  This particular house is the home of 2 adults and 2 kids who love to cook and entertain but their very limited cabinet/cupboard space has made it challenging.   In the 4 hours we worked, we tackled 6 of the 8 cabinets in the kitchen.  These 6 cabinets must hold ALL the food and dishes.  The remaining 2 cabinets are under the sink and above the refrigerator.

Above the sink-Open cabinet

Because this is an open cabinet (i.e. dust will accumulate etc) I wanted it to be filled with frequently used items that were not cluttered looking so we opted for glasses and a few serving pieces.  The top shelf contains seasonal and less used items.

Dishes and Glasses

The daily china and smaller glasses stayed in this cabinet.  Less frequently used barware was moved to the dining room and a shelf riser was installed to double the amount of short glassware and coffee mug storage.  Again the top shelf contains fine china and less frequently used items.

Lower Storage Left

The opposite side of the kitchen (this is a galley style kitchen) only contains 4 cabinets.  This side has a trash can that lives in front of one side so the left had to store less frequently used items such as larger serving pieces and small appliances/accessories.  Whenever possible I like to use containers to keep like items together, this makes it easy to locate the items when you need them and know exactly where to put them away.  We took advantage of the tall space to use another riser for canned goods.  A few frequently used utensils hang on the inside of the door since there are only 2 drawers in this kitchen.

Lower Storage Right

This side (of the oven/stove) holds the cooking items and every day items used to make the kids lunches.  By corralling all the wraps, bags, foil etc. into a door mounted unit these items are now easily accessible without bending down and digging through the cookware.  The deep cabinets allowed for this good size unit to be installed and the other door can still be used if needed.  Doors are a great place to store things when space is tight.

Food Storage Upper Left

All the food staples need to fit into two cabinets less than 30″ wide.  The other drawback to these cabinets is the lack of shelving, with only 2 useable shelves in each it was necessary to bring in shelf risers to accommodate more storage.  The client may install additional risers or shelves in the future to fit even more in but we decided to work within boundaries of only purchasing 4 items (2 shelf risers, one stepped spice rack and the inside the door unit for the foil etc). The top shelf contains baking goods and other less frequently used foods.

Food Storage Upper Right

Lastly the upper right cabinet contains the more frequently used breakfast and snack foods as well as pastas, rice and other staples on the top shelf (where a step stool can be used to access them relatively easily).  When its constantly necessary to use a step stool I recommend finding a small collapsible one that can be mounted on the wall or slid into a tight space for easy accessibility.

Shortly after leaving this client she sent me this email:

“So excited to use our organized kitchen! Thank you Heather!”

As with all organizing projects it’s important to re-evaluate how well the changes you made are working for you.  I will follow up with this client to tweak things and be sure the “system” is working for them.

June 17, 2012

Sunday Savings

by heatherkp

It’s Sunday again & it seems that it’s the only day have been posting recently, I’m hoping to change that this week.  Okay, so this week there are loads of savings on electronic gadgets for Fathers day which may or may not help you with organizing (depends on what you really Need).

To start things out with a different listing, lets take a look at what Dollar General has.  Go to their website for your local weekly circular, what I’ve posted here is for the Charleston area. There are an assortment of storage boxes (brand unknown) from Medium storage to “sweater”-12qt and shoe boxes.  I always prefer clear boxes so you can see what you’ve got and those shoe size boxes come in handy anywhere from the kitchen to the bathroom and anywhere in between-unlike some people I do NOT use them to store most of my shoes, just those that are rarely worn.

$6 Storage Totes (20 Gallon)

$3.50 Sweater Boxes (12 Qt)

$1 shoe boxes (6 Qt)

I admit that I have a perchance for Target (am I sounding old for using a word like that?-I’m not old, just like to shake up my vocab occasionally)…so you may see them here every week as long as they have something organizing related on sale.  This week it’s storage bins and shelves. This type of heavy duty wire shelf can easily be modified with the addition of corrugated plastic sheets cut to fit each shelf so that things don’t fall through the slots.  They are great for garages, basements, sheds, attics or any other “industrial” space.

Hefty clear latching storage bins

Metal “wire” shelving

Corrugated plastic sheeting (don’t get me started on located a recycled version of this stuff! Apparently it doesn’t yet exist…& it should!)

Seems like it’s a bit slim pickings this week but both Bed Bath and Beyond and the Container Store are carrying sales over from previous weeks so just look back to last week to see what they had that’s still on sale!

Related articles

June 3, 2012

Sunday Savings

by heatherkp

I’m starting a new feature inspired by my time sitting and reading the Sunday paper and all the inevitable sales/coupons and flyer inserts.  I’ll share weekly deals (based on local Charleston, SC ads) for all sorts of organizing and design related products on a regular basis.  These deals may be different for your area so please check the links before you head out to buy something and please only buy it if you NEED it (use what you have first)!  So let’s get to this weeks deals!

Staples is offering a BOGO deal on Sharpies, who doesn’t love a bright assortment at hand.  I use sharpies for everything from note taking to color coded file labeling, labeling contents of ziploc bags and more.

The local weekly ad (Charleston area) features several Martha Stewart Home Office organizing products and a coupon for $3 off your purchase of $10 or more in these products.

Over at Target this week’s ad features lots of basic storage containers on sale.  As I always tell my clients, don’t go buy a bunch of storage containers to “get organized” but if you already have things that you need storage for then go for it.

Kmart is also running sales on containers and I personally love the line of Snapware containers they carry.

The Container store’s current sale is all about travel so if you have any trips planned now’s the time to check out their deals on luggage/bags, travel size containers and other travel essentials and goodies.

I love this “Pack This” list on sale for $4.99!

For those heading out for a road trip this Modular Organizer is a great way to keep things tidy by category or for each traveler.

…and this metallic bag by Baggallini is great weather you are heading out of the country or just out to the store!

If you see a great deal on organizing products this week either on line or in stores, please leave it in the comments below for others to enjoy.  Happy orgainzing and saving this week!

May 14, 2012

Makeover Monday::Year Long Transformation

by heatherkp

When I left Maryland I tried to wrap things up with most of my clients as best I could or pass them along to other organizers.  I had one client though that was making very good progress on her own and we had discussed before leaving the possibility of my continuing to work with her “Virtually”.  We began working together in one room tackling the transformation of the guestroom into something more comfortable for guests and also creating a functional work space where this client could work on the computer and her family genealogy projects.  When I arrived the room and walk in closet were crowded with many years worth of papers (personal, financial, you name it) mixed in with the genealogy papers.  Together we set to the task of sorting through these papers and deciding what to keep, what to toss and what category the keepers fell into.

Entrance to room

Guest Bed

Desk

Walk in closet shelves (all clothing that was hanging here was relocated)

As you can see from the before photo’s things were a bit of a jumble.  We worked together on average twice a month for a few hours each session.  Along the way as we began to see progress and as room was created we started to discuss the clients vision for this room.

  • How did she want it to feel and look?
  • How did it need to function in their day to day lives and for the guests who frequently used the room?

I discussed all of this with the client and asked her to gather some inspiring images to share what she liked.  We ended up working from one particular photo for the rooms inspiration.  Before things got finished the room actually looked worse!  That’s pretty common with almost any organizing project.

Things were pulled from the closet to sort through and this stained glass lamp served as inspiration for the color palette in the room.

The paint color was chosen and the room got a fresh paint job.

Furniture was re-arranged and cherished accessories were sorted through to select the ones to be used and displayed in the room.  This was roughly how things looked when I left Maryland in November.  I knew my client had her work cut out for her but I also was confident in her progress and motivation to complete this project.  So, we embarked on monthly phone coaching calls where she and I would “work” through her goals, progress and obstacles along the way.  I was very excited to see her progress when I returned to Maryland this past month.  Based upon what I had heard had been done in my absence, I knew she had done a great job.  This is what I saw when I returned!

A big part of this rooms re-designed focused on the function as a guest room for musicians and a genealogy office.  I also wanted to help this client use and appreciate the sentimental memorabilia that tied into the overall theme of the room and were too beautiful to be shoved in a closet!   Several stained glass lamps are being used and the violins and other musical instruments are now on display.  Furniture was relocated out of the room and the gold chair was brought in from another room. The primary color palette inspiration from the lamp worked well with most of the accessories and furnishings the client had on hand.

This desk is much more proportional to the room and was the only piece of furniture purchased.  The client loves it, I love it!

The closet got a transformation with the installation of shelves built to fit the basket filing system we created for the genealogy files.  In this case the client wanted to be able to pull out one family’s papers to work on at a time and she wanted to be able to work on them in this room or other areas of the house.  The final detail will be putting tags on the filled boxes.  No filing cabinets in sight!

The client has a bit more genealogy filing to do to complete this system but this part of the task will be something the client can easily handle on her own.  I know this because I see how incredibly far she has come in the past year of working together and in the past 4 months of her working with me on a coaching only basis.  Way to go!  I love to see these kinds of transformations, they can be so self motivating as the clients see how much progress they have made.  Working with clients virtually isn’t for everyone.  I only recommend working this way with specific clients who are interested in doing much of the work themselves, they have clear and specific goals encompassing a specific project and are very self motivated.  If you think you might be a candidate for working with me on a “virtual” coaching basis, send me an email and we can set up a free phone assessment.  What transformations have taken place for you in the past year?

 

April 2, 2012

Makeover Monday::His & Hers Walk in Closet

by heatherkp

This was a case of a beautifully designed closet that just wasn’t functioning so well.  Without calling in anyone to redesign the closet or purchasing anything new we made do with what they had and re-organized some things so that more of what was needed fit into the closet in a neat and tidy way.

His and Hers Before

Her Side Before

His Side Before

About 4 hours later (mostly working by myself on this project) I had this closet finished.  On her side I sorted tops, bottoms and long dresses and jackets by clothing type and color.  I re-located less used special occasion items to a second guest room closet, created drawers designated for specific items such as hats, jewelry, belts and lingerie.  This freed up space for the client to use other bedroom furniture drawers for items that should not be hung such as sweaters, other knits and casual/frequently used items.

On his side I sorted full suits by season putting the warmer season suits to the front since we are shifting towards summer (at least here in the south).  This client also has quite a collection of bow ties and suspenders which I hung on a multi section hangers (often used for scarves or pants).  Again I sorted shirts and pants/shorts by type and color leaving suspenders attached to several pairs of pants in this case.

We got rid of almost everything on the floor and many of the decorative boxes and items cluttering up the shelves.  We used the shelves for shoes (both in and out of boxes and drawer bins), bags, hats (on the top shelves) and photo albums.  She liked keeping these albums in the closet but if she needed more shelving space she could remove them to another area in the future.  The closet is a nice space to keep photo albums if you have the room and you can always pull out a few at a time to have on display in a more public room of the house.

His and Hers After

Her Side After

Her Side After

His Side After

Tip: Store items that are not needed often in the back of deep corner shelves in containers that are easily pulled out.  For example shoe; a shoe shining kit. Label the edge of shelves so you know what’s hiding in the back of each.

January 13, 2012

Freaky Friday Organize It Roundup

by heatherkp

A quick post in honor of GO Month and the first Friday the 13th of the year!  Here’s a round up of some very clever and unusual organizing ideas and products.

Source: superuse.org via Adonna on PinterestCD Spindle Bagel Storage

Pencil Storage

Source: 3.bp.blogspot.com via Heather on Pinterestst    

Cord Control; Simple yet brilliant.

Stuffed Animal Storage; unusual and clever!

Another great use for CD Spindles!

Source: epbot.com via Heather on Pinterest

And for all those flip flops!

Hope you have enjoyed some unusual and clever organizing ideas!  Happy Freaky Friday the 13th!

I keep track of these images all in one place over at Pinterest.  Won’t you join me there?