This is one of my favorite organizing ideas for under sinks. You can buy these lazy susans almost anywhere and they are great for creating order under your sink. Be sure to measure your space before you buy--they come in a few different sizes. Also, clean out under your sink beforehand and get rid of any excess cleaning products, etc. When you need to reach in and grab something, just give it a spin to find what you're looking for.
I know that Christmas may not be on your mind right now because we still have Thanksgiving to get through. However, if you really want to be organized now is the time to start thinking about Christmas cards. If this is something you like to do I would start to think about what kind of card you will send, what will be the picture, etc. Do you need to hire a photographer or take the kids somewhere to get their picture taken? A friend of mine has a great stationery company and she can design your Christmas card for you. If you order now you can get 15% off the cards and free shipping. I think she if offering this until November 15th. Another idea would be to offer someone personalized stationery as a gift. I love her designs! Check out her website at www.daninotes.com.
Today I am making a challenge to you to make a quick trip through your house and gather seven things that you have been thinking you should get rid of or donate, put them in a bag, and then put them directly in your car so you will forget about them. Try to do this every Sunday--don't give it much thought or time. You can let me know what you got rid of and I will do the same.
As we all know choosing a paint color can be a daunting task. So many people make the mistake, I think, of choosing a color and then finding the accessories to match. I recommend that you find a piece of artwork, material, or an accessory that you love and the base the paint color on that. Here are some pictures that I found on oohdeedoh.com of a little girl's room. I love how they based the primary color scheme of the room on the Babar posters. My kids have the same posters in their rooms and I went with the primary color scheme as well. I went with more of the yellows, blues, and greens, and used red as accent colors. I will put pictures in my next post but my boys are in the middle of destroying their room at the moment.
I love using textured art on walls. These rosette plaques are sold at a store in Mt. Pleasant, SC called the Sitting Room. I have bought one and haven't hung it yet because I am waiting until I can buy the others so I can hang a grouping. They look great against a darker colored wall and really accentuate the trim and molding in a room.
Do you ever feel that your house and life are being overtaken by toys? I think most moms of young children often feel like this. Whereas some of us are lucky enough to have a play room that is set off from the main part of the house, others of us are not so fortunate and have to deal with children bringing all of their toys into the main living areas of the home. Of course this is ok until you feel like you live in a toy store. I recently helped a client who was feeling like the toys were taking center stage in her home and wanted to do something about it. Most of the toys were finding their way into the breakfast room which was the main space you saw upon entering the house. She wanted to win back this room back as a place for her family to congregate for meals instead of at the narrow and crowded island in her kitchen. We decided to 1) take the train table out and put it away temporarily because her son rarely used it 2) push the dining table back into the center of the room, and 3) scoot the kids' table into the corner. We weeded through the toys in the room, got rid of some, and found space for the rest in the kids' bedrooms and on a toy shelf in the den. To facilitate craft projects we made a kind of arts and crafts center using the drawers in the chest in the breakfast room. We placed a basket for toys under a table on one side of the room. The client has said that the kids were actually excited about having a place for the family to eat and congregate. They can use this room for art projects and homework and can play now in the den and in their own rooms. The only thing I would change would be to find a slightly bigger table for the kids so they could use it for art, homework, and as a surface to play games.
I am fortunate enough to have several friends and neighbors who are extremely talented and crafty. I have already mentioned my friend Grace who is the founder of Sam and Bellie and who designs the splat mats and other great items for babies and kids. Another one of my neighbors, Kari, is also very talented. Besides being a mother of three, a yoga teacher, organizer of the Blooming Art shows that raise money for art programs in public schools, she is also the owner of her a holistic organizing service called Sacred Spaces and a great DIYer. Check out her most recent creations--paint cans covered in beautiful paper and ribbon to be put to good use instead of being thrown away. The one with the flowers she gave to me for my birthday and I can't wait to use it to organize some of my office supplies. The other one she made for her daughter. This is such a great idea. Way to go Kari!
Here is the picture of my electrical box--the only substantial magnetic surface I have in my house. It's in the laundry room and I've used it as an area to display the kids' art from school. They love looking at it when they walk in and out of the back door and are very proud of their creations. Have a great day and a safe Halloween!
This is just for fun. I took this picture about a week ago of the morning glory blooming on our fence. This is a different type of morning glory from most in that the flowers don't fall off at the end of every morning. My friend's mom gave us the roots from her garden, my husband planted them late spring and they bloomed all summer and just got better and better. The vines are on their last leg now, which makes me sad, but I thought this vine was such a wonderful addition to our fence and if you like it you can try it on a pergola, trellis, arbor, fence, etc. I will have to get more info about the specific type and growing instructions--my husband is the gardener.
My kids don't really have an area that's set aside for a playroom although we do have a bonus room/study/playroom where they hardly ever go. As preschoolers I've found they tend to hang out right where we are so that means in the den, kitchen, and breakfast room. All of the art projects take place in these areas and this is why I think that a splat mat is an essential tool that provides a great work space and easy clean up. Here are a few pictures of my kids and their friends having fun with play dough on the splat mat I purchased from my good friend and neighbor who designs them. They can be purchased at samandbellie.com.
This subject I am sure will merit many posts because it is something that moms of little ones struggle with day in day out. What do we do with all of our kids' beautiful drawings and or scribbles? If you are like me, my kids bring home something every day from preschool. Some of these projects are more creative than others. If it is truly something I don't foresee treasuring or if it's covered in glitter, I toss it as quickly as possible without my kids seeing. We also have an area (it's actually the magnetic cover of my electrical box in the laundry room) where we display the art of the week or the season. In each of their rooms I have a box on a top shelf where I put all the other stuff. Eventually I try to weed through this, some of it will go into a scrapbook (nothing fancy, just glue or tape it in) and some of it I will frame. Here I've highlighted a few products I love for preserving artwork. The Pottery Barn Kids Stinson frames (unfortunately for me the red are no longer available) where you can easily slip a piece of art in and out are a fantastic idea. Land of Nod makes cute cables that can be put on a wall for displaying art in a room or playroom. Petite Picasso is a great company that can take your little one's masterpieces and preserve them in book form. This company also sells really cute gifts with an art theme. I love their fat colored pencils and their art "go fish" game. Visit petitepicassobooks.com for more info.
My husband and I were both literature majors and as a consequence we have many a book around our house. The majority of my French books are in the attic, but we have a library of hardbacks in our study and a freestanding bookshelf in our upstairs hallway as well as bookshelves in both kids' rooms. I am often rearranging the shelves so they look tidy and not junked up. I definitely think that shelves in a main living area should have other things besides books, but I think a shelf of just books can look interesting too. In our so called library I have arranged the books by category--most of them are hardbacks. In the upstairs hallway, however, I have just rearranged them by color. This is a recent trend I've read about. I do think that this arrangement is pleasing to the eye although it might make finding a book a little more difficult. What do you think? I think it looks great, seems a little OCD, but it did only take me ten or twenty minutes to do my shelf. The first two pictures are from Rainbow of Books group on Flickr.com, the third is from chezlarsson.typepad.com, and the fourth one is mine.
This is my bookshelf--ok a few are out of order, I'll edit and get back to you. Where are people finding pink books?
Recently I have discovered a wonderful website, Etsy. Through this website you can buy handmade goods from sellers in just about any category--home decor, jewelry, art, etc. It is somewhat similar to Ebay, but all the goods are made by DIYers trying to sell their products via the internet with no overhead costs. The search functions are truly unique. One of my favorites is how you can look for anything using just color as the search word. Today I have highlighted a few products I found that have to do with home organizing. Many of the sellers repurpose materials found in their house to use for storage, decor, etc. To find these products, go to etsy.com and enter "storage containers" as the search word. Oh yeah, the prices are extremely reasonable. I especially love the storage container fashioned out of 70's wallpaper.
OK, we all know how hard it is to keep kids' shelves organized and looking neat. These two pictures are from a project I worked on recently and they show my general organizing principle of keeping like with like. This makes clean up much easier--it's hard work, but I have been working with my kids about putting stuff back where it goes. The two boxes on the shelves in this picture jazzed things up a bit and I got them at Marshall's. I also think it's fun to rearrange shelves now and then depending on the changing interests of the kids. My four-year-old likes to collect things like rocks, shells, sharks' teeth, etc. I am constantly looking for the right containers to store these collections and haven't found them yet. I would like the container to be clear and plastic so they can easily see what's in them. Let me know if you have any ideas...
My husband's aunt is truly a superwoman. She is a mom to twelve-year-old twins, a fabric designer, political activist, awesome cook and entertainer, and an amazing decorator. Her taste in fabrics and design is much to be admired. Below I highlight a few parts of her house, but wanted to focus on the clever way she uses the long hallway that connects the front and back of her house. She has put a long row of hooks for the many jackets to be hung and above has displayed a collection of her kids' hats they wore when younger. This is a great alternative to a crowded coat closet and the hats really give the space character and tell a story. I also love the classic style and how she has hung pictures in her dining room and den.
I am now a stay at home mom but in my former life I was a French teacher--I have my B.A., M.A., and A.B.D. (next step to Ph.D. in French literature). I love teaching and miss it but in the meantime I am enjoying operating a part-time home organizing and design business. Contact me for more info if you are interested!