Monthly Archives: December 2011

Friday Finale

Wow. This week has been incredible. Spending time with family is near and dear to my heart. I think seeing the looks on my nephew and niece’s faces as they played with wrapping paper and their new toys was my favorite part by far!

Now Daniel and I are back home and we both felt refreshed and ready to get back to work. Funny how when you are doing something you truly love, work is something you can’t wait to do. There’s cleaning to be done (hello, refrigerator I neglected for over a week), but it will get done and life will return to normal.

I picked up some new vintage finds over the holidays, so I am going to be listing them in my Creative Salvage shop over the next week. I can’t wait to show off the colorful 60’s canisters I found that can be used to help organize a kitchen, craft area, or home office! I’ll be taking pictures of them and adding to them to the shop very soon.

In the meantime, here’s a few things that caught my eye this week the few times I was online:

 

 

 

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New Years Goals

This is the time of year when all of us start evaluating the past and looking toward the future. I have a habit of taking a notebook in hand and going into a quiet spot by myself to sit and write and reflect.

There have been years when I didn’t make goals, but this year I was inspired by a post by Vanessa over at Thrift Core to blog about three goals for the new year, so I thought I’d post a few goals here. If it’s public, I’m more accountable, right?

Here goes:

  1. Get our new house cupboards and closets organized by 2013. We’re already well on our way, but our townhouse’s cupboards and closets were in much better shape. Gotta whip these new ones into shape now that the rooms are all unpacked!
  2. Shift to being a creator more than a consumer. There’s nothing wrong with being a consumer, of course, but I’d love to know I use my creative abilities at least as much as I appreciate those of others. I don’t want to just read, admire art, buy vintage, and enjoy fine dining. I want to write, make art, sell more vintage than I keep for myself (that’s one great thing about having an Etsy shop … I can still do the shopping I enjoy, but I don’t have to feel guilty about it!) and cook more than I eat out at restaurants. I’ve already started on out this process, but I’d love to look back a year from now and see that I had intentionally shifted my focus. That would be lovely!
  3. Work on getting my home routine down pat. I’ve discovered one thing that has helped me focus on the work at hand when working at home is to intentionally set a schedule ahead of time and follow it. I don’t need to follow it to a T, but I do need to use my time wisely, and for some reason if Daniel and I talk about what we need to get done in a day, we are more likely to do those things than if we just wing it.

There’s more, of course, but these are the three I’m most wanting to focus on this year. What are yours?

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Friday Finale + Etsy Organizing Love: Hello, 2012

Is it Friday already? Ka-razy.

This year I am very blessed to spend time with Daniel and my extended family for Christmas, so I am looking forward to that already. If you are blessed in a similar way and find yourself with some time to browse, here are a few things online that caught my eye this week, followed by a lovely treasury full of organizational goodies over at Etsy.

And now … some Etsy Organizing Love:

‘2012..Time To Organize! ‘ by Maddenphotography


Vintage 1960s Wooden Na…

$15.00

Black and White Key Rac…

$17.00

New Years Resolution – …

$25.00

wooden suit hangers. Se…

$16.00

Perpetual Calendar, Wal…

$12.00

Vintage Italian industr…

$38.99

Vintage Small Industria…

$10.00

Weekly Planner Chalkboa…

$54.00

Desk Organizer CRAFTING…

$59.00

COUPON ORGANIZER – Love…

$34.00

Yellow and White Pencil…

$14.00

unique journal -handmad…

$200.00

LINOCUT PRINT – Radiohe…

$22.00

Retro Globe Lamp

$52.00

Desk Accessories in Ash

$360.00

Ribbon rack organizer …

$29.99

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

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This Isn’t About Organizing

This is about life. My life.

A lot’s been going on lately, and that’s amazing! That’s fabulous! That’s great! Honestly, I can’t believe I’m living the start of the life I always dreamed I’d have. Somebody pinch me quick. (Ok, not really, that hurts.)

I have so many interests and being able to pursue them is a little bit giddifying. That’s a word. I just made it up. Giddifying = making someone giddy like a three-year old who just won a big fluffy unicorn at the fair. Kinda like … this.

So, it’s giddifying to me to have access to my arsenal of craft supplies, my newfound interest in organic/natural/non-toxic cleaners, and the time to dabble in art, reading, writing, ‘rithmatic. Scratch that. I dislike ‘rithmatic. Unless, of course, we get to talk in dollar signs. Ever heard of being a “Scanner?” That’s me. I have multiple interests and I Cant. Pick. One. Everyone says “pick one.” But that’s like telling me I can only have one ingredient out of the entire chocolate cake recipe. Just one?! Pshaw! I want ‘em all! I want the Whole Dang Cake, thank-you-very-much.

Sometimes I wonder though, if I’m shooting myself in the foot. I mean, is it even possible to make a good life like that? Can I really do it all and stay sane? I think I can, but I admit to being scared that I will fail at some or all of the things I attempt and then will wish I had just gone ahead and “picked one” to see through to its end. (I mean, this blog post just proves a point: I’m writing about something unrelated to organizing on the blog I started to write about … organizing.) And I’m also scared that people around me will think I’m nuts and not take me seriously.

Still, there’s something in me that loves embarking on a new venture and seeing where it goes and what I learn along the way, and I’m getting that itch to explore uncharted territories again, so you never know what will happen next!

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The Things That Clutter

You know what I’m talking about. Those things that find their way to surfaces in your home and just don’t want to leave. Sometimes clutter happens to the best of us.

Really, clutter awareness is the best way to keep things under control, so your cleaning day is more of just tidying up and doing household chores than, say, digging through the piles to China … err … your bedroom floor.

Watch out for these culprits I’ve identified:

Packaging

You unwrap a present, open the cardboard surrounding your new tube of toothpaste, grab a piece of chewing gum, etc. What happens to the package? Does it immediately go in the trash or the recycle bin? EVERY time? Yeah, didn’t think so. I’m the worst at this. Seriously. The worst. I open things and leave their wrappers and packages behind as I go. Somehow I have yet to train myself to deal with wrappers and packaging on the spot. I’m working on this big time right now.

Junk mail

If it comes through that front door, you’d better have a plan for how to deal with it, pronto, or else it sits on the kitchen table. You have to excavate just to find that coupon you wanted from last week. For us, Daniel tends to confiscate the bills and important documents and I’m left to deal with the sad junk mail. So here’s what I’ve learned to do. I walk into the house with my new batch of junk mail and I DON’T PUT IT DOWN. I literally sort through it immediately and tear up all those credit card offers, toss the mailers (I mean, really, do you read them? I don’t), and filter the items I do want to read. Then I read them RIGHT NEXT TO THE TRASH CAN. And toss them. Junk mail is no longer the master of me! I’m even thinking of adding a surreptitious shredder next to our entry hallway landing strip. Convenience is your friend.

Clothing

Oh, this is my worst enemy. I can’t tell you how many times I have washed the same load of laundry multiple times simply because I couldn’t remember if that particular hamper on my bedroom floor was clean or dirty. I actually kinda like DOING the laundry now that I have my lovely little homemade detergent. But it’s not just the laundry; clothing also piles up in the living room, where we have apparently decided that the side chairs are perfect clothes horses. We toss our jackets there when we come home, and then they don’t leave until I get frustrated enough to put them in the coat closet. I read recently that the best way to deal with this is to just not lay things down “for now.” Just go ahead and store them where they belong. You know, like … the closet. One of these days I’ll get the hang of this.

Projects

Do you have them? Surely I’m not the only one. I’m scared I’ll lose track of where I’m at in the process so I leave it on the table. Or the coffee table. Or the couch. Or the end table. Or the floor. Or the dresser. These are craft projects, art projects, writing projects, research projects (books and books and books!), and work projects. Lately, this has been Etsy listing projects. I’ve got to have the items close by to write the listing and edit the photos for closest color accuracy, right? Um. Wrong. I should have an area set up specifically for this activity. It’s in the works as I type this.

THOSE HORRIBLE BITS AND PIECES OF UNIDENTIFIABLE THINGS YOU ARE SCARED YOU ACTUALLY NEED

Yes, this deserved all-caps. I am screaming this in my head! I’m sure you’ve had this conversation. “Honey, what is this?” (Waving random tiny piece of oddly shaped black plastic around. It is vaguely reminiscent of one of those furniture-in-a-box IKEA pegs. Or maybe it’s a connector for something electronic. Or maybe it’s …. heck, you have no clue what it is.) Honey doesn’t know, either, but suspects it goes to something. Like that old VCR in the garage. Maybe. So, random bit of who-knows-what gets either put in a pile of other random bits or thrown in a drawer or handed to Honey, who promptly forgets to do anything about it and so it stays put in his/her pocket. Which you discover on wash day. Oh, boy. Aren’t those little unidentifiable bits fun? To quote my junior high self: NOT. So, get your good self a simple Ziploc bag and start storing those bits and pieces in one spot. Choose a place to put said Ziploc bag. AND KEEP PUTTING BITS THERE. Eventually you’ll find the bit you need. Until then, at least you know where to put it.

Mementos & Photos

That ticket stub from the movie you went to on your first date. The letter from your mom that got you through a tough time at college. The really cute bow from the gift your best friend gave you. The tickets from your flight to Paris. The key to your first car. The fortune cookie fortune promising you will get the wish your heart most desires. This one is important: get a box. A nice sturdy, attractive box you will put on a shelf in a closet or your office, so you will use it.¬† If you find a memento in a drawer or some random nook or cranny, put that sucker in the memories box. One day, it would be even better to put frame the ticket or put the key in a shadow box. Make a scrapbook for the stubs from museums and shows. Tie the letters up with some baker’s twine and store them in the box, to read at a later date when you need some encouragement again.

Old Electronics

This is closely associated with those nasty bits and pieces, but with old electronic equipment that is outdated, you probably have the whole item. Things that qualify: your old cellphone, that printer from the late 90s that is gathering dust in your garage since you’ve replaced it … six times. (Better get rid of the others, too.) Old headphones and earbuds that you’re not sure if they work or not. Broken CD cases. Now, I’m not saying get rid of your CD collection (I guess I’m old school. I still buy CDS.) I’m also not saying throw out that record player or cassette tape deck, if you actually use them. Key word: USE. But items you replace on a regular basis need to be thrown out, recycled, given away, or taken to a collection point that can distribute them to people in need. For instance, you can donate cellphones here to help troops call home. Oh, and a special item of note? If you can’t find the charger anywhere, please just get rid of it. Please. I’m begging you. You’ve been eying that new smart phone or iPod, anyway.

Change

This is not the good kind. This is change of the coin variety that falls in your couch cushions, behind your dresser, in the laundry room, under the loveseat, on top of the bathroom counter top. For change I suggest two things: first, find an attractive little bowl to deposit loose change in when you find it in your pockets or around the home; second, invest in some paper coin rolls. You will be amazed how quickly the change adds up when you take it to the bank. Or, just treat yourself to a movie.

Which of these is causing problems at your house?

Image: Amy Burton

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Digital Organization: Blogs

Today I’m returning to the topic of digital organization. My first post on the topic was directed toward my email Inbox, but today I am turning my attention toward keeping up with all the blogs that I follow.

I love writing, and I love reading blogs. It seems like every time I find a new blog to follow it connects me with others and keeping up with them all can become overwhelming. For awhile, I subscribed to most blogs by having them sent to my Inbox, but that got old fast. The more connected our world gets, the more I want my Inbox to be set aside for just my friends, family, and important business contacts so I don’t see 5,000 unread emails staring at me each morning. Or better yet, I’d rather just see my loved ones in person or speak on the phone.

I had tried using RSS subscription services in the past, but they always seemed so clunky and I couldn’t easily browse them like I thought I should be able to do. Reluctantly at first, I dabbled with Google Reader. That dabbling quickly became my central hub for tracking all of the blogs I found and enjoyed.

Here’s why I like me some Google Reader:

  • Sorting – I can sort by newest, oldest, or “by magic.” I’m not exactly sure what “by magic” does, but it came up with a post full of human interest and lots of photos of people doing family things, mixed in with some DIY and hairstyle tips. So maybe it sorts by content? (A quick check online indicates it works a bit like iTunes Genius … it shows you content similar to the feeds you check the most. I think it got it right in my case, too.)
  • ¬†Access – There is a frame on the left-hand side that keeps up with all my feeds, alphabetically, so I can skip right to the one I really want to read if I’m not in a slowly browsing kind of mood. Or you can hide them all with a quick click of the button and just browse away, based on the sorting method chosen.
  • Playtime – You can view your items in “Reader Play”, which, instead of a vertical read, shows up as an item-by-item timeline, similar to how you would view digital photographs or iTunes music in browse. It has a black background, instead of the usual white background.
  • Suggestions – Browse for Stuff > Recommendations is brilliant. While it did suggest many blogs I already follow, that just goes to show it really works. And yes, I’ve added blogs this way.
  • Simplicity – Despite my love for new technology, I’ve become an old fuddy duddy in that I like my tech simple. I don’t want a million new ways to do things, I just want one way to do things quickly, easily, without hassle, and without too many visual distractions. Google Reader does this for me. I love it.

So, here’s a screen shot from this morning’s feed:

This was from a “Sort by Newest,” and it showed my feed from Design to Inspire’s newest post. You can see that on the left is my lineup, as well as browsing options. Across the top is where I can mark items as read, sort my feeds, etc.

Here is a sample of viewing in “Reader Play,” sorted by Magic:

Uh, hello. Star Wars snowflake tutorial? Sign me up!

And that’s about it. I just keep rolling the scroll wheel on my mouse and can browse all my favorite and new favorite sites at my leisure. Now the only problem is keeping my list pared down to the essentials and not wasting time. But that’s another post.

Until then, have a lovely day! And go sign up for Google Reader so you can keep all your favorite reads in one spot. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be hunting for that lovely RSS feed logo on each blog you visit and clicking away, happy in the knowledge that you can visit at any time you please simply by signing into Google Reader when the time is right for you.

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Laundry, Dishes, Paper

These are the three things that are my nemeses. I have won battles, but the war is still going strong.

2012, please bring me systems or solutions, or just plain self-motivation to get them done in a continually ongoing and efficient way. My year of organizational endeavors is almost up, but those three things still mock me from the counter or bed or hamper or office desk every time they pile up and become the Goliath to my David.

I’m claiming the victory as mine!

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Filed under Cleaning, Home, Kitchen, Laundry, Office, Paper

Friday Finale

Do you have holiday plans this weekend? I’m going to be spending some time with friends and preparing for the week ahead. Christmas is coming in only 9 days, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to enjoy the company of family.

We are already looking forward to the new year and Daniel and I are continuing our efforts to fully get organized, despite moving this year. I am so excited that our downstairs of the house is almost completely set up as of the time I write this. I even added a new “landing” strip in our entryway today that was comprised entirely of items we already owned. Cheapskates for the win! I hope to post about it soon. For now, though, here’s a brief list of things that caught my eye this week:

  1. Several magazines have released their new organization issues. I just picked up my January copy of Better Homes & Gardens. It’s not online yet, but they have articles to share that are similar in nature. Here are 17 Ways to Make Organizing Fun.
  2. Hidden Water Pools? Sign me up!
  3. If you want to share your Christmas photos with some extra flair, why not make them into a View-Master reel?
  4. Make a lovely little printed nativity.
  5. Oh, and in case you didn’t hear, the baby sloths are coming. And they are either creepy, or adorable; take your pick!

Enjoy! And have a wonderful weekend.

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Pinterest Can Help You Organize!

Have you discovered Pinterest yet? The wealth of cleaning, organizing, and home decorating knowledge to be found in this social networking site is astounding. I’ve collected sources for organizing help from all across the web and compiled them together for future reference.

Here’s a screen shot from just a portion of what I’ve gathered:

Here is a sampling of my favorite finds …

- Use a magazine holder to store canned goods in kitchen cupboards! From PBJ Stories.

- Hang kitchen cleaners in spray bottles from an adjustable shower curtain or tension rod. From A Thousand Words via Apartment Therapy.

- DIY Bathroom pocket holder for small items. From The Complete Guide to Imperfect Housekeeping. (Or, just use a portion of a cheap Wal-Mart hanging plastic and fabric shoe organizer. That’s my thought. I’m just lazy like that.)

- Use a multi-tiered pants hanger to store rolls of ribbon. From the Creating Keepsakes Blog.

See what I mean? There’s a plethora of information out there, waiting to be found, and full of pictures for visual learners like myself.

If you like this sample, I encourage you to follow my organization pinboard on Pinterest, along with those of others, to keep abreast of new ideas I find along the way!

 

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HGTV and Etsy – HGTV Treasury Challenge 2011

I wish I had cable. I’ll have to wait for this episode to arrive on the web, but stay tuned, ’cause HGTV’s Design on a Dime show on December 10 at 8p/7c will feature Etsy!

Now, I’m new to being a seller on Etsy (shop at Creative Salvage for fun vintage stuff, toot toot!) but I’ve been a buyer for several years and an admirer for quite some time. Even our wedding save-the-dates were from Etsy. So, I when I read this post today on HGTV’s blog, asking Etsians to contribute treasuries based on HGTV themes that they might feature on their blog, I pounced.I love helping promote the excellent eye (vintage pickers!) and handicraft (artisans!) in this amazing Etsy community. I couldn’t resist.

We rent, so apartment nesting is near and dear to my heart. That’s why I hunted down some lovely vintage, industrial, and charming items to add to my treasury, which I called “For Rent: Home Sweet Apartment.”

So, without further ado, here it is! I hope you will stop by and check out each of these shops. I would buy everything in this treasury if I had the funds. Enjoy!

‘For Rent: Home Sweet Apartment’ by creativesalvage

These items add a fun vibe to the standard white-box rental, while at the same time providing essential function. It’s a little bit natural, a little bit industrial, a little bit retro, and a whole lot of sweet.


11×14 Poster – Home Swe…

$20.00

KITCHEN BULL by toro le…

$540.00

Industrial Letter Tray

$45.00

Bookshelf Industrial Pi…

$135.00

Pyrex Mixing Bowl Set -…

$65.00

Incense Firewood Night …

$9.75

modern wall clock – mod…

$57.00

Perpetual Desk Calendar

$27.00

Croft House Coffee Tabl…

$735.00

abstract painting- fine…

$200.00

Eco-Friendly Household …

$20.00

Apple iPhone 3G/3Gs Woo…

$9.99

vintage wooden library …

$265.00

Countertop Makeup Organ…

$75.00

Vintage RCA Victor Radi…

$59.00

Embroidered Hoop Art, S…

$68.00

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

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