I think one of the most uncomfortable things about blogging is opening up your life for anyone and everyone to see. It’s kind of the point of having a personal blog, but at the same time there are certain things that you just keep under wraps. Like, say if this lady had a blog where she wrote about having an organized home, she probably wouldn’t want to take pictures of her kitchen cabinets and drawers that were in chaos, right?
This blog post is probably all the things you shouldn’t post in a home organization blog. First, the photos aren’t my best. (Sorry, iPhone, you just didn’t cut it this time.) Second, all these shots begin to look a lot like the other ones after awhile. Third, well, I’m not Martha Stewart and while my cabinets and drawers are organized enough for daily use, they’re hardly drool-worthy.
In the meantime, here they are. In the spirit of “keeping it real,” I’m holding nothing back.
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Ta-da! It’s Tuesday. Every Tuesday, I reveal a new area or room in our home. Since we’ve just moved in, for now I’m just experimenting with what I’d like to do to improve it or decorate it. Eventually, I’ll show off before and afters. (Can’t wait!) But for now, it’s just the “before” and an explanation of what I’d like to see happen in the near future.
Today we’re in my kitchen! Oh, the kitchen. I love this kitchen, but it could stand some updating to bring it up to speed. Unfortunately, kitchen remodels are probably the most expensive part of renovating a home, so I’m not sure how much I can do. I’ve been following with great interest the renovations that John and Sherry over at Young House Love have been doing. They’re pretty much making my dream DIY kitchen; I’d love for ours to turn out that beautifully.The harsh truth, though, is that our kitchen isn’t that bad. Sure, the cabinets are the most “in” color right now, but kitchen trends come and go. Yeah, we don’t have the stainless steel appliances that are in demand, but we have excellent black appliances that are in great shape and much better than any other appliances in rental kitchens I’ve come across.I dream of an overhaul that will catch home buyer’s eyes and make our duplex stand out in the crowd when the time comes for my dad to sell, but the reality is probably I will manage to add a tile back splash, new faucet fixtures, and maybe stylish cabinet knobs and hardware, and that’s it. If I’m really lucky, that renovation will include a granite counter top.
Outside of the annoying and awkward overhang on the peninsula (shown here, in our living room tour
), the most annoying things currently about our kitchen are the lack of shelves tall enough to hold cereal or cracker boxes (see above, how we store them currently as a result), and that the two lower corner cabinets are just big old black holes under the counter, with no shelving or lazy susan to help with storage. Seriously, who does that? We’re going to need to fix that issue somehow. I’m still working on it.
If you look closely, you’ll see my husband working in his native habitat.
Sorry about all the color changes in lighting. Apparently while the iPhone is great for natural light photos, photos with variances in lighting have significant color fluctuations. Sigh.
I’ve been fiddling with the idea of downloading the IKEA kitchen planner
to see what I could do with this space. Has anyone used this tool?
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So, one year ago yesterday, I posted about organizing our kitchen junk drawer. Here’s what it looked like then:
After buying an adjustable drawer organizer and paring down the contents of the drawer, it then looked like this:
And one year later, after much use, one move, and not an ounce of hasty tidying up before the new photo shoot, it looks like this:
Not too shabby. It could be prettier, tidier, and better used (hello, nearly empty space in the front left corner!) But, all in all, I’m pleased to announce the drawer organizer has worked very well for us. I need to buy some more. Now that I have more drawers in my new kitchen, we have another random kitchen tool drawer to organize!
This drawer illustrates something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Getting my home in shape does not mean it has to be picture perfect at all times. Being organized looks so pretty in magazines, but those are styled to look that way. Items are taken out to make room, colors are intentionally chosen for the best look, and only the most attractive things are kept in the shot. Don’t get me wrong; I love looking at organizational eye candy. Just look at my Pinterest board for evidence of that. However, I truly think that the best solution is always the simple one that lets me live my life more conveniently and serenely, not necessarily the one that looks the prettiest.
This kitchen drawer? It’s convenient. I can find things.
And that, my friends, is a HUGE step forward for this clutter bug.
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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!
Well, folks, it’s been three weeks since we moved into this house and one month since I quit my day job. Here’s the progress, to date:
- Kitchen fully unpacked. Still some organizing to do.
- Living room unpacked. We plan on purchasing a rug and selling our current coffee table/end table combo; for now, though, they are doing just fine holding up coffee and lamps.
- Dining room mostly unpacked. I’ve been ignoring the two upright laundry hampers that hold all the odds and ends we took out of the old house in a panic at the last hour. I should probably unpack those. Oh, and Daniel would probably appreciate me moving the broken down boxes and packing paper in a trash bag out of there. Probably.
- Bedroom has two boxes left to unpack and a ton of clothing to figure out where to put it. Maybe I’ll just take it all to Goodwill. Oh, and I am storing ALL of our wall art in the bedroom, propped against walls. Again, Daniel would probably appreciate me moving that. Somewhere.
- Office is 3/4 painted. We just have the IdeaPaint and green accents to add. Currently, it is a little crowded with all the vintage things I’m taking pictures of for my new little Etsy shop. Oh, you didn’t know I had a new little Etsy shop? Why, take a gander by clicking on this link or the one on the top of the lefthand sidebar. Please and thank you. Otherwise, and this will sound like a broken record, Daniel would probably appreciate if I put all those lovely vintagey things back in their storage space.
- Second bedroom (oh, how I love having a three bedroom home now!) is sort of our storage facility for the time being. It is mostly inhabited by stacks of books on the floor and a large air mattress for guests. One day it will be a clear floor and a real bed. And probably storage for my Etsy stock.
- Outdoors. We love our new grill! It’s grill out time in the Brame household at least once a week these days, while we stubbornly hold onto the last warm vestiges of Fall in Tennessee. I should probably rake those leaves.
And that about sums it up. Our current organizational progress is mainly of the “figure out where everything goes” category. The GREAT news is that we have only 8-10 boxes, total, that are still unpacked, and most of those are crafting and art supplies that are being stored on a huge industrial rack in the garage. We really only have 4 boxes unpacked in the house itself. So, technically, we’re pretty much moved in.
I have some Craigslisting of our furniture we’re selling to do, and I have some decorating to do, and I have some cleaning schedules to figure out, but for three weeks later, it ain’t too bad to have the house in livable condition. I’m thrilled.
My good friend, Joy, and I drove to Green Hills this afternoon to attend the Grand Opening of the The Container Store in Nashville. We were so excited; it was like early Christmas for us organization freaks. I can’t express how much I love that she and I are kindred spirits in our sense of style and appreciation of all things organizational. We wandered the store for hours, dodging the masses of people and drooling over all the shelving, kitchen stuff, office supplies, and yes, containers.
Here’s a shot of a dreamy closet I wish was mine:
Of course, we didn’t come home empty-handed. In fact, after a brief tour and demonstration of their Elfa system closet organizers, she won a $25 Elfa System gift card … and then GAVE IT TO ME. Just because she knew I could use it. Have I mentioned that I love this lady? I bought this sliding drawer system for one of our kitchen cupboards to hold cutting boards and tall kitchen-y things. Thank you, Joy. You rock.
I also bought an under-shelf hanging organizer to help with our dishes and a pot lid holder. I’m going back with Daniel soon (his birthday request. Why yes, we are pretty geeky like that), so I’m sure we’ll get more loot.
In closing, here’s a parting shot of an item I find especially appealing. My hatred of cable mess is well known to my husband. (He regularly hears me say, “I see cables! Please hide them!) So he was amused to receive this picture in text message while we shopped. Hint hint.
I discovered a wonderful thing at World Market today. Chalk board labels. No painting! No mess! I was so excited I didn’t hesitate to pick up a pack for $3.99 + tax. Sold.
I had seen similar chalk board ideas on blogs and Pinterest and Etsy. I kept tucking them away for future reference, and I vaguely recall seeing one astonished blogger excited about labels, but until today I hadn’t seen them for myself. They are so easy to use, and since I messed up several times while writing on them, I can vouch that they rinse off easily. Just a little water wiped across the label and a dab with a towel to dry and you can re-write over them. I hope this means rinsing out the canisters for new items will be just as easy.
I’m sure you can use these in 101 other ways than I did, but I placed them on glass canisters we got as a wedding present.
So, I organized my under-the-sink area and promised myself I’d not go out and buy any more cleaners after finding all those duplicate kinds of cleaners. What would be the most obvious choice for a follow-up story the next day?
Why, new kitchen cleaners to buy, of course! (I know, right?!)
I’m finally attacking the mess that is my kitchen cabinets and the crazy amount of cleaning products I have amassed. (Note to self: don’t buy anymore until you’ve either thrown out the current stash or used it all up.)
See those cabinet doors above? Behind them is … dun dun dah …
We have swatches up all over our house. I got the idea from the ever-amazing dynamic duo behind Young House Love, but I admit I got a little carried away. From the dining room to the bedroom, I had them taped up by the dozens for easy viewing in all kinds of lighting. At one point, it looked like we had decorated the wall behind our bed in some kind of abstract multi-colored pixel painting. There were that many colors up there!
We whipped out a trusty extra-fine point Sharpie and starred the ones we like at different points of the day. If a color was obviously wrong for the space, we pulled it off the wall. One by one, the swatches came down, and now just a few are competing for space.