Monday, December 3, 2012

Large and in charge rectangular Christmas wreath!

I knew I wanted something big over the fireplace. During a sale at Joann Fabrics, I bought 3 small wreaths. I had envisioned hanging them over the fireplace and putting little ornaments on them and be done with it.

Sounds boring.

Really boring.

Yawnfest 2012.

I wandered around some of my favorite stores looking for a big fat wreath. HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, Marshall's, Ross, Target, Hobby Lobby, back to HomeGoods (please Albuquerque HG, move to a place with better parking!) and you get the picture. Everything was incredibly expensive. I couldn't justify spending 100+ dollars for a large wreath. I needed to DIY.

I started with a huge 6 dollar piece of foamcore. It was about 3ft x 2 ft... maybe bigger. I had about 60 feet of garland in our stash and I purchased a box of 3 dollar mini lights at Target. I also bought a 5 dollar box of glittery ornaments.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

$2 mini Christmas trees and I'm finally back!

It's been over a month since I last posted! GAH! Big craziness here. For some reason, I was marked as a spam blog and got locked out. Took awhile to get reinstated but here I am! HOORAY! I have so much to share with you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

{31 Days} Day Sixteen: The Garage is CLEAN!

Okay, not super clean. Not gorgeously organized and color coded with matching shelving. That would be not only difficult but EXPENSIVE. This is all about EASY organization right? Working with what ya got? Well, that's what I did here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

{31 Days} Day Fifteen: I fell off the face of the earth.

Did you miss a day of my 31 Days series? Click the tab above for 31 Days of Easy Organization.

Hi everyone! This month is a really hectic month for me. Todd tends to work out of town a lot plus I'm prepping for craft fairs next month. It gets ridiculous around here. When Todd is home we end up running a ton of errands and just vegging out together. I promise I will go and fill in the days I missed with interesting content. If you see everything get out of order, don't panic.

Just a few updates here. Remember my intro post about how crazy my garage was? Well, we had Animal Humane New Mexico come pick up our leftover yard sale pile. We have our garage back! It's a bit messy. We want to eventually have space to park two cars in our garage. At the moment, we can only park one. It has been a battle to decide which side we'll park on. Now everything on right needs to be moved to the left.

Also, I got Halloween decorations! HOORAY! I had grand intentions on making decorations, but that ain't happening. My mom has mentioned that I'm getting a huge load of holiday decorations from my grandpa (remember the craft haul?) so I only bought a couple things. Next year I'll plan ahead in July for Halloween!

I promise I will be back with awesome organization. Today I'm going to work in the garage to get things situated. I want the garage clean, so we can finally spray for bugs!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

{31 Days} Day Eleven: And snap! The job's a game! aka kid organization.

Did you miss a day in my 31 Days series? Click the tab above for my 31 Days of easy organization.

I obviously don't have children, but I've been a nanny/babysitter since the last century.

You know what's funny? I meant to write that as a joke, but 1996 technically was last century so... anyway... I've been watching children forever.

I love cleaning their bedrooms and play rooms. This makes the parents incredibly happy, but I think I get the happiest. There is something about a well organized kid space that makes me smile. As much as most people think it isn't true, kids LOVE a well organized space. Have you ever been into a preschool class room? All the toys and supplies are labeled and arranged. The kids know exactly where their items are and how to find them. They know where their backpacks go, and where to put their jackets. A kid can be neat when there is a permanent place for everything.

Have you ever read The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room? It's a great book to share with your children when you start organizing and cleaning their spaces. For older kids, encouraging them to help you with an organizational system for their rooms may get them more interested in picking up after themselves. For little ones, you may need to do the work yourself. If all else fails, kick 'em out of their room for a day and get busy!

I gave you a few tips in my second day post. Here are a few more:
- Keep seasonal clothing out of sight. Put it in a plastic tub in the attic or basement or at the very top of their closet in an opaque box or bag. There is nothing more frustrating than dealing with a preschooler who wants to wear snow boots in July or shorts in December.
- If you have kiddos who want to get dressed on their own, but you're short on time in the morning, keep matching outfits in the bottom drawer of their dresser. Then in the morning you can pull out two outfits (keep the decisions down to two or else they'll never make up their mind) and see which they like best.
- Sort out their toys. Keep like play items in separate containers. Take a picture of each item (cars, ponies, play food, etc) and tape it to the outside of the container. When it's clean up time, your kids will put things in the right bin.
- Make sure your bins and baskets are on the same level as your child. It's hard to put toys away if the boxes are too high for them to reach.
- Use under the bed storage bins (the plastic/cloth kind with a zipper top) to store blocks, legos and small stuffed animals.
- Keep markers, color pencils, crayons, and stamps in separate lidded containers. That way you can control the mess factor by only giving them one type of coloring tool.
- Only keep a few toys in your living room. If you notice their toys are creeping in, make sure they know to bring them back into their room.
- If you have babies and older kids in your home, keep tiny toys (squinkies, hexbugs, etc) in containers higher in the closet. That way they have to ask you to play with them, and you can make sure they're all put away.
- Switch out the toys every couple of months. Move some lesser played with toys to the top of the closet, move living room toys to their bedroom and bedroom toys to the living room. It keeps things fresh.
- When storing outside toys like balls and sand tools, put them in wire baskets. It allows the kids to see what's inside and keeps the bugs from finding a safe place to nest/make webs.
- If your kids are crazy about sports, mount yard tool racks in your garage or storage area to hold bats, hockey sticks and racquets.
- Use a clean trash can to hold footballs, soccer balls and basketballs. Use a smaller bin to hold tennis balls, baseballs, etc. Keep everything in one area that is easy to get to.
- If they have large sports bags, use heavy duty hooks screwed into the wall. Label each hook with their name and/or sport.
- If your kid does sports, put a mesh laundry bag in their gym bag. When they change, they can throw their dirty uniforms/workout gear in the mesh bag and leave it in the laundry when they get home. All you have to do is wash, dry and throw it back into the bag.
- Keep medium duty hooks in the same area as their sports equipment to hang their cleats, sneakers and skates.
- Take the organizing to the kitchen. I wrote a post a million years about about organizing your snacks. Keeping healthy snacks within reach for your kids means less, "Mom/Dad, will you make me a snack?"

Most importantly: if you use bookcases of any kind to organize their stuff MOUNT THEM TO THE WALL! You don't want your kids climbing up the bookcase to get something and have it fall on them.

I want to share with you some really cute kid/teen organizers from a few blogs. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE click through and pin from their blog.

Adorable book slings are great for small children and don't jut out as far as a shelf or ledge.

This jewelry organizer from TaterTots and Jello would be excellent for your tween or even your little girl who loves dress up time!

Marigold from Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky! got her boys' legos all organized using two IKEA organizers. I just love that these could be multipurposed for blocks, cars, train sets, etc.

I love how Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick put her son's dress up clothes where he could see them and use them.

I hope some of these ideas help you with organizing your child's space. Also, if you're in the Albuquerque area and will spring for the materials, I'd LOVE to come over and help you clean and organize your kid's space. You think I'm kidding, but it's actually a ton of fun and would give me a great chance to write for my blog. Who knows when I'll ever have my own kiddo. :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

{31 Days} Day Ten: Never be late for a birthday again!

Did you miss a day of my 31 Days series? Click the tab above for my 31 Days of Easy Organization posts!

This year we did something pretty crappy. We forgot my father in law's birthday. I know, I know, I feel terrible! I have become responsible for all birthday cards and reminders. I dropped the ball. I also didn't send a birthday card to any of my nieces or nephews or siblings... All birthdays were forgotten and the Mother's Day and Father's Day cards were late.

I always wanted to be that person who always sends a card. We all love getting mail and cards are fun to get. I remember being little and getting birthday cards in the mail and thinking it was so cool! Between Todd and I, we have 7 nephews, 5 nieces and 1 great niece. That's a lot of remembering right there! Not to mention our siblings, their significant others, our parents, our grandparents, our close friends and other family members... it gets crazy. January alone has 10 birthdays.

So this year, I decided I will be on top of this. I marched my butt down to Dollar Tree and bought birthday cards upon birthday cards. I went armed with a list of every person who I needed to buy for. Then I came home and signed them from Todd and myself except his family and friends. I figure they may want to see his signature. I addressed them, stamped them and sealed them. I left the kids' birthday cards open, so I can put cash in them. My oldest nephew and niece get 20 dollars as does Todd's nephew because he's Todd's favorite. lol. Everyone else gets 10 bucks. Believe me, it's way cheaper doing this than buying presents. We don't live near any of our family, so shipping can get pricey.

Now I just organize them by month and mail them out at the beginning of the month. I do have some birthdays the first week of a month, so those will go out the last week of the earlier month. Does that make sense? Then all you have to do is write it on your calendar to mail out cards. You'll never be late with a birthday again! Next year I'll pick up extra Mother's Day and Father's Day cards so I can get those prepped ahead of time.

A few tips:
- Keep some blank cards and extra stamps in your pile of birthday cards. If someone has a baby or goes through a loss, you'll have a card to send without worrying about getting to a store to buy one.
- Buy your Christmas cards when they go on clearance after Christmas. You can sign and address them and put them at the back of your card schedule. It's one less thing to worry about next year. Sign a few generically in case you have an expected person on your list.
- If you need to add any money or a gift card to a card, put the card into the envelope folded side first. That way you just need to open the card inside the envelope. Less hassle is always nice!
- Don't forget thank you cards! These are easy to buy in bulk. Sending thank you notes is incredibly important especially to those who are not near by. For instance, I mailed a graduation card and cash to two kids. One sent me a thank you note, the other didn't. It was uncomfortable asking her if she got her card. My fear was the money got lost!
- Keep your address book up to date. We have friends and family who move often, so it's important to
- If you have children, keep some of their cute artwork in your card box. I can't imagine a happier grandparent to receive a piece of art in the mail with their card!

You have no idea how happy people will be to hear from you!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

{31 Days} Day Eight and Day Nine: The pantry. Again.

Did you miss a day of my 31 Days series? Click the tab above for my 31 Days of Easy Organization posts!

I'm sure you're bored out of your skull about my pantry, but I can't stop talking about it. I found that a jigsaw blows monkey butt when it comes to cutting straight lines.

As usual, October rolls around before craft fair season, so things here have been ridiculous. I'm trying to keep up! I need to prime, paint and finish cutting shelves. Then I can show you my pretty organizing skills.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

{31 Days} Day Seven: BE PREPARED! Part 1: Home Emergency Kit.

Did you miss a day of my 31 Days series? Click the tab above for my 31 Days of Easy Organization posts!

We can be as organized as we want, but most importantly, we need to be prepared! I will be sharing today about an at-home emergency kit, and later on this month I will tell you about prepping a go bag and a car emergency kit.

There is a misconception that emergency preparation is for people who are paranoid about apocalypse type situations. That's completely untrue. Earlier this year, some east coast cities were without power for WEEKS after a tropical storm. Hurricane Katrina was a horrific catastrophe that left people without food, electricity and fresh water. There are hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, wildfires... all reasons you may need to hunker down in your house without some amenities. Even a power outage or gas/water main break can throw off your day.

To prep for a "shelter in place" I want to share with you a few items to keep in your kit. We're in the process of building ours. You don't need to keep everything inside of the kit as long as your items are quick to find. Your kit should be in a place that you can get to with your eyes closed. If the power goes out and it's pitch black, you don't want to be fiddling in the attic or a cluttered closet. We have a tupperware tub that will stay in the bottom of our closet. I can get to it easily. Make sure it's well marked. Use neon duct tape or write in bold letters EMERGENCY KIT. Make sure all your family members know where it is.

Where do we start?
- First and foremost, you need water. You should have 1 gallon of drinking water per person per day. Don't forget your pets! They will need water too. You should have a gallon or two in the emergency kit but you may keep your water stored elsewhere.
These bladders are available from the Red Cross. They're one time use water storage bags. You stick them in your tub and fill them up. This is great if you have a blizzard coming that may freeze your pipes or during a hurricane.

- You will need food. You can keep it in your pantry, but make sure to have ready to eat food such as canned meat, dried/canned fruit, soups (some soups can be eaten room temp), nuts and other food that doesn't require heat to eat. Don't forget a manual can opener! Keep a spare in the kit just in case.
- Candles, glowsticks, flashlights (with extra batteries), matches, a lighter and a battery operated lantern should be in your kit. You want a flashlight for each member of the family. We plan on ordering this setup from the Red Cross store. It is a bit pricey, but it's a flashlight, charger, radio and can work off cranking, solar power and batteries.

- If you can't afford the big setup above, you need to have a small radio to listen for weather and news. Always have extra batteries.
- Cards, coloring books, small toys, travel sized games, paper and pencils and other non-power activities to keep occupied. If you lose power, you won't want to waste your phone battery to keep yourself entertained.
- Tarps, plastic dropcloths and thick painter's tape. If you lose heat during a blizzard or you're sheltering in place due to a chemical spill or environmental hazard, these are necessary. Bring your kit, family members and pets into one room and then tape off all the windows with the dropcloths and tarps. You can find plastic dropcloths at Dollar Tree in their hardware section. Big Lots has inexpensive tarps. Keep them in their package until use. Taping up windows, doors and entryways will help keep the room warm.
- First aide kit. In your kit, you should have band-aids, wound cleaning supplies, gloves, scissors, wraps, ointments, instant ice packs, instant heat packs and pain medication. I also suggest having a weeks' worth of prescription meds just in case. Don't forget meds for children and pets.
- Dust masks. If you have to leave your house, you may need these depending on the situation.
- If you have infants or toddlers, make sure you have an unopened can of formula and/or baby food, extra diapers and wipes and nursery water for them.
- Extra pet food. I try to keep an extra bag of dog food for our boys at all times. When one bag runs out, we move up the backup and then buy another bag. Once again, these don't have to stay in your kit, but should be in your home.
- A list of important phone numbers. If your phone dies and you need to make a call from another phone or landline, you will have the number you need.
- Copies of your car and house/renter's insurance policy. In case of an emergency that may damage your property, it's easier to have all the information right there instead of rummaging through file cabinets.

If you don't want to keep everything in one spot, definitely make a list and keep THAT in a place that easy to find. Write down where each item is located, so you can easily assemble your items in a timely manner. For instance, you can keep the food and water in your pantry, but everything else goes in the kit.

This doesn't have to cost you a lot of money. Almost everything on this list could be found at a dollar store, discount store or big box store. You need to check your supplies every six months. Make sure batteries aren't dead and that nothing is damaged or expired. has lots of information about putting together emergency kits. This is just my own personal list of things. You may need to tailor it to fit your needs or add and subtract stuff. I plan on adding battery operated fans because desert summers are hot during power loss. We also have a camp stove and butane for it in the garage just in case. In my three part series, I will show you how to prep a "go bag" for evacuation and to put together an emergency kit for your car. Being organized and prepared are one in the same!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

{31 Days} Day Six: The pantry goes on.

Did you miss a day of my 31 Days series? Click the tab above for my 31 Days of Easy Organization posts!
The pantry is about a 1/4 of the way finished. We ended up at Lowe's getting steel anchors and screws. It was a beast to get all the braces up! Todd did the majority of it though. He tends to get super hyper focused and won't let me help.

This pantry has been an emotional journey. I don't talk about it a lot, but I lost my dad in 2007. He was my best friend and incredibly talented at carpentry. I miss him a lot especially when I'm working on some sort of home project. I couldn't figure out how to get the screws into the drywall without studs. I texted my sister and realized how much I miss her as well as my dad and there were tears. Lots of tears. It's was a messy day.

So when Todd came home and "took over" I was pretty happy. Here's my helpful guy!

So all the braces are up. YAY! It was a total pain in the butt.

I need to cut out the shelving, make sure it fits, then spackle, prime and paint. I also need to add the edge banding to the wood and then put it all back together! ALMOST DONE!!!!

Oh, and this is what are walls are made of. Can anyone explain why there's an inch layer of weird plaster/stucco/rocky stuff on a 1/2 inch drywall? Don't worry, we didn't destroy a wall. We removed a metal plate to see where our gas line ran. Don't want to hit that!

So tonight I squeaked by on my post. Sorry! Things are just crazy right now.

Friday, October 5, 2012

{31 Days} Day Five: May your bathroom always be functional.

Did you miss a day of my 31 Days series? Click the tab above for my 31 Days of Easy Organization posts!

I'm not much of a girly girl. I don't own copious amounts of hair goo, makeup, electric hair tools and other female gobblygook. If YOU own copious amounts of gobblygook, then this may not be the most awesome organization ever. Also, this is MY bathroom. I don't share a bathroom with Todd. He has the master bathroom and I use the hallway bathroom. There were a few reasons. 1. The master bathroom is a small shower stall. There isn't enough room for all my shower stuff and leg shaving. 2. The vanity is small and Todd has a ton of crap. 3. The mirror is too high for me to comfortably put on makeup. 4. The storage is ridiculous. There's a super high cabinet and then a couple drawers... and Todd has claimed it all.

Because of the master bathroom's issues, I have taken over the "guest" bathroom. I'm pretty sure the pink shower tiles really help make it special. Either way, it's mine and I like not sharing!

A few bathroom tips:
- Make sure your makeup isn't expired. Rules vary by each item. ALWAYS toss and/or disinfect items after infection or illness such as cold sores, pink eye, etc.
- Use baby shampoo to wash your makeup brushes.
- If your drawers are wide enough, use silverware trays to organize combs, makeup brushes, eyeliners, etc.
- For those who have lots of makeup, keep a small makeup bag under the sink. You can add the palette you use for the day into the bag and then unload for the next.
- Check and make sure your meds aren't expired. You can use SOME medications a little past expiration. The longer it's been expired, the less potent it will be. We usually keep some meds a few months after expiration and then toss. Always check with your doctor. We got the advice from Todd's mom who is a nurse.
- Put your perfumes and colognes on a pretty tray on your vanity. It's decorative and functional. - Keep a small bowl or box to hold your jewelry while you shower or sleep.

Here's my bathroom before. It's a disaster, right? It's been like this for a WEEK! Oh yes, I'm so lazy.

A few things bothered me. I didn't like that everyone could see our meds in the cabinet below the mirror. It drove me bonkers. I hated that my makeup drawer was a disaster. Under the sink clutter made it hard to find stuff. With a few cheap containers, I finally got my mess in order!

I found these containers at Dollar Tree. I bought two packs and used them to organize my makeup. I keep a makeup bag now in the medicine cabinet. I can just add what I want and put it in the bag.

This is the other vanity drawer. I keep very little in here.

Here's the under the sink mess! Gross, right? (sorry if it's TMI!)

I found black locker shelves on clearance at Target. They were 2 bucks each. The plastic containers are from Dollar Tree. In the red topped one, we keep all our first aide supplies. Underneath is a container of headbands, combs and other hair stuff.

On top of this shelf is dog shampoo and their hair rake and their nail clippers. Below is a box of lotions and sunscreens. Next to that are the bathroom cleaning supplies and then my box of nails stuff. I got it from my sister and it's awesome! Each container holds files, polish, pumice stones, etc.

I put all our meds in a purple container I got on Target clearance for 5 dollars (it was a pack of two). If we had children I WOULD NOT DO THIS! It's not safe by a long shot. We have no kids though so meds can stay down there. There's a white bag on in there. Those are my fertility things, and I want to get a solid box to put them in.

So I hope you get a few ideas for organizing your mess! It cost me under 10 bucks to get this mess under control. There are so many ideas out there in blogland that are also inexpensive. Good luck!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

{31 Days} Day Four: I hope this all works out!

Want to see my other 31 Days projects? Click the tab above labeled 31 Days and follow along!

I wanted to share with you a very stupid interesting project I decided to do with absolutely no real plan a lot of thought and effort put into it.

I decided to rebuild our pantry.

When I first came up with the idea, I didn't think anything of it. I thought it would be a very quick project. I thought wrong.

First, the walls in our 50+ year old house are made of either very old drywall or pure evil. I haven't decided yet. Second, the screws didn't go through so I ended up stripping a screw... which made it so hot it burned my hand. Third: I have no idea if these will actually hold my shelving. Fourth, I have no idea if this house was built with studs. I can't find them and neither can our stud finder. We don't have plaster walls. It's just the weirdest thing ever!

I found some screws that work but are too short. Tomorrow is a trip to Ace to buy those screws and then a trip to Lowes to return the screws that didn't work.

So this is what our pantry is looking like:

And this is our kitchen:

Scary, isn't it? I HAVE TO MAKE IT WORK!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

{31 Days} Day Three: What's in the box?

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We've purged together, right? Obviously, it doesn't go as fast as we'd like. It took weeks to purge everything in our house. This included purging before even moving into our house in February. It's really hard!

There are obviously things that you still need to store. No one wants to leave their toiletries, medications and vitamins, jewelry, tools etc out for everyone to see. Of course, if you throw it all into a drawer or cabinet, you'll never find it. It gets too crazy.

There is a reason places like The Container Store, Bed Bath and Beyond and IKEA are so popular. People want their lives to be organized. It gives us a sense of control in our fast paced chaotic lifestyles. Who doesn't love walking into a room and knowing exactly where everything is? It feels amazing!

Most people think it's hard to get organized. It doesn't have to be! We purged yesterday. It may take more than a day to really get down to the bare essentials. Once you get only have what you need and only a little of what you want, you can start finding a place for everything (and everything in its place).

Containers don't have to be incredibly expensive. Places like Dollar Tree, Target's Dollar Spot and thrift shops can have almost everything you need! Here are some of my favorite containers.

A few tips from me:
- Don't splurge on cute containers if they're only going to be hidden away. Inexpensive plastic boxes work just as well.
- Try to stick to one color. Too many different colors can come off as busy and visually messy.
- Stick to one size. One size makes stacking easier and looks less mismatched.
- Clear containers help you find items quicker, but allow people to see into your clutter. Use opaque/solid color containers for personal items and clear for items like holiday decor or extra cords.
- Place a small tray or bowl next to your bed and on your bedroom vanity. This will help corral your jewelry making it easier to find.
- Be realistic. Tiny boxes are absolutely precious, but they don't make practical storage.
- Keep 'em manageable. A giant plastic tote filled with stuff is not only awkward, but incredibly heavy. Separate into smaller categories (Christmas lights, Christmas tree ornaments or winter coats, winter snow suits) and into smaller boxes. That way you don't need to raid a huge box of baby stuff just to get to a small bag of plastic cutlery.
- Sort before you buy. Get an idea of what you need instead of buying ahead of time. I'm so guilty of buying organizational items that I end up never using. If you want to buy ahead of time, save the receipts so you can return the unused items.
- Don't forget to shop the discount stores! Places like Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Big Lots and other cheap stores often have tubs and baskets for a steal.
- Think outside of the box. Vaccuum sealed bags work great for bulky items like blankets and clothes.

I hope these tips give you some ideas. I have a few projects coming up that I can't wait to show off including a pantry overhaul!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

{31 Days} Day 2: Should it stay or should it go? aka Purge Purge Purge!

One thing that I tend to do is purge. A lot. Why do you think the garage is so full? I was putting everything out for yard sale fodder!

Before you can even get around to organizing, it helps to remove any excess you don't need or want. This can be a tedious process if you let it be. It's actually quite simple if you don't think about it! A lot of times we dwell on certain items. You don't like it anymore, but you're having a hard time getting rid of it. Maybe you remember how much you spent on it. Maybe you bought it "just in case" you may need it. I like to remember this: It's a waste if it isn't used by someone! That means if you're not using it, give it to someone who will! I can even tell you who may want it!

My tips:
- Don't linger. Make snap decisions.

- If you haven't seen it in 6 months (not counting seasonal items), it goes. This applies to cookware (don't kid yourself. If you hate juicing, just sell the juicer and get an ice cream maker... you know you want to!), clothing, home decor items, etc.

- If it doesn't fit, donate it. This really goes for women. Why do we hold on to clothing that we know will not fit us any time soon? It just depresses us. Just donate it and get some clothes that fit you well. Remember: only the person wearing the item will know the size of it. It's just a number.

- When in doubt, hide it. This goes well for children and husbands. Kick out your kids for the day and go through their toys and clothes. Make sure only the clothes that fit are in the closet and dresser. Go through the toys and toss any that are broken or missing major pieces. Donate toys that are too young for them. If you're afraid they may notice they're missing, put them in a big black trash bag. Put a piece of packing tape on the bag with the kid's name and current date. If that child hasn't noticed the stuff is gone within 3 months, donate it. Do this with your husband's clothing as well. NEVER LET THEM LOOK IN THE BAG! If your child or husband says, "Oh hey, have you see my..." tell them you'll look for it and go get it out of the bag. I speak from experience. Once they see that bag, they will want everything in it and your hard work goes down the drain.

- Leave the sentimental stuff for last. Hopefully you will be so empowered by the time you get to it, you'll have an easier time making decisions! If that doesn't work, consider getting a large plastic storage tub for each member of the family. Put super sentimental items in the tub (baby's first outfit home, your medal from running a 10k). Any keepers have to fit solely in the tub. This will keep you from saving every scrap. Plus, it'll be like a time capsule for your child when they move out... and takes up little space!

So now you have huge pile of stuff that needs to go elsewhere. What should you do?
- Craigslist/ebay anything with a value higher than what you expect at a yard sale. Exercise caution by never meeting someone alone and if possible, never in your home.
- Consignment shops can help with big items like good quality/excellent condition furniture and decor, antiques and memorabilia, name brand/high end clothing, purses and jewelry. Pay attention to consignment fees/commission.
- Have a yard sale if you have a good amount of items that range from small to large.
- If you're looking to clear your home (you're moving, you're starting fresh and want it all to go) consider having an estate sale. Everything will be up for sale. Companies will help organize it for a fee.

Another option is to donate! Many charities now offer pick up options. You can place your used items out on your sidewalk and they will come pick them up. Some even will pick up from apartments!
- If you have a lot of building materials, you can donate them to Habitat for Humanity's ReStore.
- Clothing and shoes are always appreciated at homeless shelters.
- Work/dress clothes can be accepted by not only women's shelters but Dress For Success programs. Check to see if any are in your area.
- Formal gowns and suits can be donated to your local high school or church. Some students cannot afford formal attire for prom or homecoming. These can be handed out to any student in need.

So what about me? Well, we had a yard sale last month, so my purge pile is pretty small. I have this pile of dress clothes to go to our neighborhood women's shelter.

Hopefully these tips help you out a bit. I love purging! It makes room for better stuff, of course!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pressed penny specimen art.

Just be warned: For the next month, there may be multiple posts a day. I am doing the 31 Days of Easy Organization along with regular projects.

Our trip to Colorado was an absolute blast! It was wonderful getting to spend time with Todd, and Colorado is beautiful in autumn. I have never seen trees in different colors than brown and green. Autumn colors are gorgeous in real life!

Whenever we go on vacation, I like to buy three types of souvenirs. I always buy a state shot glass. It's a habit starting with my sister collecting them, and now I do as well. I also like buying postcards. I tend to buy a couple. On the back of one, I write down our trip highlights and keep it in a safe place. I'm drawn to vintage looking postcards such as a WPA-style art or retro style pictures. I hope to have a postcard from all 50 states and then have them bound in a book. It's a great little memento of our trips together.

I may wax poetic about my third souvenir choice. Pressed (or smashed/smushed) pennies are the sweetest trinkets. I adore them. When I was younger I liked them, but it wasn't until our honeymoon that I became obsessed. For 51 cents you get to choose a design and crank out your own little piece of personal history. It is getting harder and harder to find pressed penny machines. They're often found in the back of the gift shop or in a hidden location on a busy boardwalk. Even asking someone if they have them illicits a confused stare and shoulder shrug. I get a giddy rush whenever I see them peeking around the corner. I carry pennies and quarters on vacation just in case I find a machine. I just love them.

Because I've amassed a small collection in the 3 years Todd and I have been married, I decided to show off a few in art. My little penny passport was full!

You need a picture frame, foamcore board, a piece of scrapbook paper (not pictured), an exacto knife and foam double sided stickers. These help make the pennies pop from the frame. I also ended up using a different frame because the glass was glued to this frame. You'll need to remove the glass. I also added the scrapbook paper at the last minute because the whole thing looked plain. I kinda wished I had used a map style paper but it may have been too busy.

Pop out the glass, then cut your foamcore board to fit in the frame. It's incredibly hard to get the frame backpiece on but just push down on the sides to make it work. You could also just use a cardstock type paper. I didn't glue the scrapbook paper. The foamcore board was so tight it didn't move!

You'll need to decide on how to arrange your pennies. I chose a few of my favorites and did them in 4x3 pattern. I then attached the foam sticker to the back and then to the picture frame. After that, you're done!

Isn't it awesome? I'm happy to be able to show off a few of my pressed pennies. I love having things from our travels surrounding us.

{31 Days} Welcome to the Start of Easy Organization!


I'm so excited to cap off the first day of October with the 31 Days series. Every day for the month of October I'll be sharing with you many plans to help organize your house, car and life! I hope to bring you cheap (maybe even free!) projects and tips to help you make sense of everything.

The truth is, I LOVE organizing. I love organizational tips and tools. I love sorting! In fact, I just recently spent 8 hours sorting out a large popcorn tin of Legos... all because I wanted them to be split equally between my sister and myself. Yes, I'm crazy, but love me anyway.

When we lived in our apartment, we HAD to be organized. There wasn't space in the place to be messy. When we moved into our house, things just exploded! There were things left behind in our garage and in the house. As we unpacked boxes, we realized we didn't need/want certain things... and they went to the garage.

Our garage now looks like this:

Scary, right? We walk through our garage into our laundry room which looks like this most of the time.

Our pantry is located in the laundry room and was built by an idiot. There is very little shelving and a ton of wasted space. We have food on our kitchen counters because we can't fit it all in there. It drives me bonkers!

And does anyone else's fridge look like this?

Now that you've seen my disasters, you can see why we need organization. I cannot wait to start in on these projects! I hope you decide to join me in this process. I'll be going room by room showing you different ways to organize and sort. I also want to share how to organize emergency kits and your own car. It'll be a blast!

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