Tag Archives: organization

Necklace Display Case

I discovered this nifty necklace display case at either T.J.Maxx or Marshalls a few months ago, just after we had moved into our new home. For around $15, it was truly worth the ease of taking it home and displaying my collection of necklaces. I had been pinning DIY jewelry storage ideas on Pinterest, but I was relieved have a quick and simple solution so my necklaces would not be tangled in a drawer somewhere anymore!

The display case is painted a light ivory color, has a glass “window” door on hinges, and contains a linen background with ivory pegs for hanging necklaces. It even has hooks to hang it from the wall, which I intend to use at some point, but for now I’m letting it reside on my dresser.

You could probably DIY something very similar with a shadow box, spray paint, a plate of glass and wooden frame, hinges, and small wooden pegs. I was happy to find a ready-made solution, but think of the ways you could adapt something like this to your own style and desired dimensions!

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Filed under Collections, Organizing, Storage

Home Tour Tuesday: The Entryway Hall

Is it Tuesday already? Crazy. But here goes … welcome to the Brame residence. Come on in and stay awhile! Here’s my little ol’ entryway hall in all its (non) glory. Our home is a builder basic house with its share of little quirks. Not the least of which is a funny curvature of the wall where the hall ends. The bottom is wider than the top. You can sort of see this in the first picture with the shot of the entire hall. Hmmm.

From the perspective of our kitchen and living room, looking down the hall, the dining room is on the left. (Or, if you prefer, it is on the right immediately upon entering.)

I knew that I eventually want to get a console table for the hallway, to hold miscellaneous items and pull the hallway together. For now, that dream table is going to have to wait; we are operating on a tight budget as we pay off debt, and I’m okay with that.

Not having money to buy new things has made me re-purpose those items we have. Hence, the use of two tv dinner folding tables we got for our wedding. Ta-da! Instant “console.” I added the crocheted lace runner from my grandmother to tie the two pieces together. The lamp is another item stolen from another room. Its mate is in our bedroom, but I like to have a softer light than our overhead light to leave on when we go out, so that it is easy to see when we first enter the hall when we return. The letter “B” was a thrift store find before I even met my husband. Funny how that works out, huh? The bulletin board is for storing notes and our gym’s class schedule (and most recently Christmas cards from friends). The basket in front of it is yet ANOTHER item stolen from another room. I use this one to hold keys until we put up a key-holder, but its siblings are in our bathroom, holding toiletries. Finally, the white plastic-coated wire “mail sorter” is actually a plate holder from The Container Store.

I’ve had this set-up in the hall for several weeks now and can’t imagine living without it. My keys are usually handy, as is an iPod for runs, and any outgoing mail or bills I need to remember to take with me to the post office when I make a Creative Salvage shipping run. Having a “landing strip” is an invaluable tool for staying organized on the go. I love mine, even if it is pulled together from the most unlikely culprits. Spending $0 on it was worth the sacrifice in other rooms, although I admit I’m really looking forward to purchasing new or new-to-me furniture and trimmings that will let me return the current items to their original uses.

I got the idea to create a landing strip from Apartment Therapy. If you’re not familiar with Apartment Therapy, go check out their site, but for now, here’s a video their founder, Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan created to discuss the importance of having a landing strip in the entryway of your home.

Day 8 – 20/20 Home Cure – Fall 2010 from maxwell gillingham-ryan on Vimeo.

What vision do I have for this spot in our home in the months to come? Well, I pulled together a little somethin’ somethin’ with Polyvore. Take a look!

Entry Hall

We already have the sweet branch hooks from Urban Outfitters. I am working on finding a good, simple console table. They don’t call me the Craigslist Queen for nothin’ … I’m haunting that site all the time! I would add the baskets for storage, the umbrella stand for looks and practicality, a box to hold the dog leash perhaps, and if budget allowed, a new (fun) lamp and maybe a cool lighting fixture for the ceiling … like maybe a chandelier? Oooh, that would be nice. My big dream is to get rid of the boring, bland tile and install hardwood or laminate flooring. That may or may not happen, but I added it to the inspiration board, just in case. Oh, and the wire basket for files? I already bought something similar this weekend, and I’m excited to install it!
So, then the BIG question is … paint color. The hall expands into the main living space with our living room and kitchen, however there is that small edge where the hall ends and the wider kitchen/living are begins, so I could possibly use a different color.
Which color would you use? Each color patch is an option. I’m just figuring this out slowly, over time, so I make the correct choice.
And that completes this week’s Home Tour Tuesday! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope that you’ve checked out the fabulous free giveaway I’m hosting. The deadline is this Thursday at 9pm CST, so add your comment to enter the drawing today!
p.s. I’m trying out a blog photo layout from Pugly Pixel. Isn’t it pretty? Many thanks to Katrina for being so generous with her lovely creative freebies!

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Filed under Entry Way, Home, Home Tour Tuesday

Get Organized 2012: Book Giveaway

*** This Giveaway is Now Closed***

YAY! It’s time for my first ever giveaway! Thank you for stopping by and adding your name to the drawing. I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile now and I’m excited to find out who wins!

I’ve tried to keep this giveaway as simple as possible. To enter the drawing for the books, leave a comment to this post. I’ll keep the entry open for 7 days, until next Thursday. For the full details, including eligibility requirements, read below:

Get Organized 2012 Giveaway Rules & Information

The Prize: One (1) copy of the book Organize Now! + One (1) At-A-Glance Daily Organizer Planning Notebook with two days per page.

Number of Winners: One winner.

To Enter: Leave a comment below to enter. I’d love to hear what you feel your biggest organizational challenge is. What is that one (or two) thing(s) that you keep fighting? For me, it’s paper and laundry!

The Duration: The giveaway will be open to enter for seven (7) days, from Thursday, January 12, 2012 through Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm Central Standard Time.

Eligibility Terms: This giveaway is limited to United States residents age 18 and older. (My apologies to my Canadian and International friends. I wish “contest” laws weren’t so tricky when it came to giving things away of all things!) Void where prohibited by law. One entry per email address only. By entering you agree to these terms and also to let me contact you by email to let you know if you won. Duplicate entries will be deleted.

Shipment Terms: Prize is shipped to the United States to eligible United States resident.

Winner Selection: The winner will be chosen randomly chosen by Randomizer.org. I will update this post to reveal the winner on Friday, January 20, 2012.

*** This Giveaway is Now Closed***

Congratulations to Tamara Wilson, #111!

I will contact the winner by email to get contact information for shipping. If I am not answered within 3 days, I will do another drawing for a runner-up.

ADDITIONAL INFO:

- In the case of any technical difficulties, I will allow up to one additional day to compensate for downtime, at my discretion, with sufficient notification added to this post. In addition, if I am unable to contact the winner at his or her email address, or the winner does not reply within a reasonable time period I will award the prize to another randomly chosen commenter.

- Winner is responsible for any applicable taxes on the prize.

- In case anyone from my family or hometown is wondering … yes, you can certainly be my friend or family member and enter this drawing. Only Daniel and I and ineligible individuals from outside the U.S. are excluded from winning this helpful book!

- I keep your information private. I will not share emails or anything else with a third party. Email is collected as a means to identify entries and so I can contact the winner.

- p.s. I wasn’t paid or rewarded in any way to host this. In fact, I chose (and used my own money to purchase) these books because I feel like they are truly helpful and I want to share how empowering it feels to be organized!

If you’re new to Behind Closed Drawers, welcome! I hope you’ll stop and stay for awhile. Grab a cup of coffee, and dig in. This blog recounts my journey to getting my home organized (you can get caught up by starting here for a list of my most popular and favorite posts), and I do my best to post as many hints and tips as I can that I’ve learned along the way, such as my recent series on 5 Steps to Get Organized in 2012. I’ve also just started a new Home Tour Tuesday series with before-and-afters of my projects.

To subscribe to my blog posts, you can opt for an RSS feed (the logo is in the top right-hand corner of this blog) or subscribe by entering your email address in the field provided. I won’t spam you or give your information to anyone!

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Filed under Giveaway, Organizing

A Tour, A List, and a Giveaway Announcement!

Wow. I can barely believe it. In just two days, this blog will turn 1 Year Old. I’m strongly considering making it a smash cake.

In honor of this momentous occasion, I’m rolling out a smorgasbord of goodies and new projects in the coming weeks and months. The move and the holidays took so much out of us over the past few months, but now that we’re all settled in, we’re ready to begin again with renovating and decorating and organizing. I can’t wait to begin!

I realized I haven’t shown off the new house on the blog yet, except for the office, so in honor of our one-year blogiversary, I’m launching a new series, Home Tour Tuesdays, to expose the rooms in all their bland glory and then we’ll revisit them again after projects are completed along the way.

Which brings me to The List. Daniel asked me to make a list to keep track of all the things I think need to be improvement upon in the house. The idea is to budget out into the future and pace ourselves financially. There’s just one “little” problem. The List is really, really long. Seriously. It’s so long I had to make it its own page so I wouldn’t bore you to tears in this post. We’ll be referring to and adjusting The List as we can over the next few years. As projects occur, I’ll link to them and mark them as in progress or complete.

My hope is that by the time we are ready to move out and into our first completely-ours home (as in, we bought it), we’ll have the list completed and the duplex will sell quickly to a new owner who will appreciate the updates and love it as much as we have. Fortunately for us, my dad owns the home and is in support of any renovations we will do since it will hopefully enhance his likelihood of selling his investment property.

Finally, stay tuned after this inaugural House Tour Tuesday for my very first giveaway announcement! It might be Behind Closed Drawer’s birthday, but we’re the ones giving away the gifts! Sweet.

My room-by-room tour will begin next Tuesday, but for now I’m starting things off with just a little teaser of what’s to come. I give you … our front door:

Welcome to our house! It’s not fancy, but it is home. When we walk over this threshold, we walk into a place where we work, relax, and live. There’s happy doggy paw prints scattered across the tile by the back door on rainy days; there’s dishes in the sink; there’s empty walls waiting for the money to fill them with artwork; there’s even dirty socks on the bedroom floor sometimes. But, above all, there’s love. Love and faith and family and friends and the things we’ve collected in almost two years of marriage that make the place ours. Our deep desire is for this home be a place where loved ones are welcome, where old and new friends can stop by for a cup of coffee and good conversation, and where Christ is always honored.

So, welcome, friend. I can’t wait to show you more! My initial 365 days of organization are nearly up, but each year brings 365 more. The journey is not over. In fact, with this new place of residence, it has only just begun. I hope you’ll join us as we discover what new things this year will bring.

Okay then, you’ve been very patient. Are you ready to learn about this fancy giveaway I’m doing in honor of my first year blogging?

Starting on Thursday (our first blogiversary!), I’ll be collecting entries to win this book by Jennifer Ford Berry, plus a few extra goodies.

You can cast your vote by commenting on the giveaway blog post on Thursday, and you will receive additional entries by sharing the giveaway blog post with others in your social network and posting another comment to let me know.

I’m so excited! Tell your family and tell your friends. Tweet it. Pin it. Facebook it. Spread the word. I’ve flipped through the pages of the book after purchasing it for the giveaway and let me say, it’s pretty good stuff to give your own organizational journey a kick start.

{Image credits to stoon for the frame, Ralph Aichinger for the key, and AssasinM for the bokeh background. You guys rock.}

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Filed under Entry Way, Home, Home Tour Tuesday, Organizing

365 Days of Organization: The Journey of a Little Messy Girl

365 Days of Organization – this has been my top search term referral coming up in stats for the past week or so. I know it is the tag line of this blog (after all, I was really eager to write a post each day with a new organization project when I started–oops), but I think I’m getting the hint. People have made their new year’s resolutions, and getting organized this year is one of them.

So I’m planning on making good on the search and my tag line. Now, I’m older and wiser at this point. I know I cannot keep up a blog post a day including weekends and stay sane, but my new schedule after leaving my day job has allowed me to write more (yay!) and work more on the new house (double yay!) so I have no excuses not to get in a groove and share more of what I’ve learned. In fact, with the one-year blogging anniversary (blogiversary?) of Behind Closed Drawers coming up soon, I’ve started working on some plans to improve the site and to create more valuable resources for my new friends who have found me, hoping to get organized in 365 days.

To you, my new friends, let me say: welcome. And congratulations on your new journey! I’ll be here, sharing advice, being a cheerleader, and “getting real” by spilling my guts and showing terrible before pictures that make me cringe. You see, I’m not perfect. I don’t have all the answers. I’m just a reformed messy who still has relapses (I dislike doing dishes or putting up laundry) and probably is a type 2 hoarder on her worst days (I’ve taken the test … I had to know, lol.) I just know what I’ve been through to get to this point and I want to spread the knowledge that has gotten me this far.

This blog is the equivalent of a weight loss journey of someone who does like her vegetables. Instead, it’s a the perspective of a little messy girl who, ironically, loves to sort things and organize them. I’ve been there. I’m pushing through to the end with little baby steps. And someday soon, I’ll reach my goal weight–err, organization level–and I’ll be proud to give a house tour at the drop of a hat, instead of panicking that my guest will think I’m a slob.

That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m glad you’re here.

So, stay tuned. I’ve got plans for this new year, and hopefully soon I’ll be able to provide even more content and tools to help you get organized in the 365 days that make up 2012. Big things are coming! Provided, of course, the Mayans weren’t right. ;)

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Filed under Ponderings

5 Steps to Get Organized in 2012: Sort the Major Areas You Use FIRST

I’m about to “keep it real” as I write this pre-post note. I have to admit I struggled writing this post because I felt hypocritical the entire time. In fact, I have been tweaking and re-writing it several times throughout the day, trying to get my thoughts right. Here’s the thing: though I’ve been working hard to get organized, I’m far from perfect. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t have a magic formula. I didn’t always follow the advice I’m about to give you. So part of me feels like a fool even daring to post it and say, “hey! Here’s something to help!” But I’m ignoring that little voice and I’m hoping that by posting this anyway it will be exactly what someone needs to hear, because regardless of how I feel right now, all of this is coming straight from personal experience and the heart. So here goes … 

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Has this ever happened to you or someone you know–you feel overwhelmed by the scope of your organizational needs and don’t know where to start? Here’s a hint: don’t start with your jewelry box or your baseball card collection. Those things being tidy, while nice, won’t help your daily existence too much. Today’s organizational step continues the themes from days 1 and 2 of this series, in that I’ve learned that being intentional with the process includes making specific goals for the areas I use the most. You want to get the most bang for your buck, so to speak.

Step 3: Sort the Major Areas You Use FIRST

It’s a good thing to have an organized bathroom drawer. (I know I liked mine when I had it at our old house and I first organized it; I liked it even better when it had a snazzy organizer in it.) However, if the major areas in your home are a disaster area, you’ll still feel like you’re not under control. Because you aren’t. The thing is … you can be. I promise.

You just have to be willing to go the slow route and tackle them systematically so you can feel more relaxed in your environment.

Carefully consider how you use your home on a daily basis. Where do you eat, work, relax, and congregate as a family? What cupboards do you access each day? Is there a piece of furniture on which you tend to set things down? What’s your favorite chair? Where do you fold your laundry? But mostly, which rooms do you use the most? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. They just help you create an inventory to focus your organizational efforts in the most effective way.

Don’t be afraid to create an organizational structure that is non-traditional. Forget the name of the room. Focus on how you use it, not what it was called by your real estate agent or general contractor. The goal here is to simply determine how you actually use your home’s areas. Once you know this, you’ll have a much easier time sorting, cleaning, and organizing them. Simply remove the items that don’t belong with the function of an area and move them to one where they make sense, instead.

It’s a snowball effect in reverse. Instead of starting small and getting bigger, you start big and go smaller. (My mother used to tell me this all the time when I was younger and I didn’t listen to her. I thought it was waaayyyyy better to, say, alphabetize my cassette tape collection by artist than to pick all the clothes up off the floor and do the laundry first.)

Here’s why this is a good method: it makes you feel good. It inspires you. It provides a nice, tidy atmosphere for you to then take out those drawers and sort them, one by one, without being overwhelmed. It is much easier to focus on the harder small sorting when the easier big sorting is already done.

If you are ahead of the curve and you’ve already got the big spaces fairly under control (nobody has a perfectly kept home , except maybe June Cleaver) then progress right to tackling the cupboard or sideboard or linen closet you use on a daily basis.

Bottom line? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Sort the areas you use the most FIRST. Progress gradually to the areas you use only once in awhile (like that jewelry box, or the closet in the bedroom you never use, or the toolbox in your garage.) Voila! You’re on  your way to being an organizing dynamo!

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Filed under Organizing, Uncategorized

5 Steps to Get Organized in 2012: Make Specific Goals

Just under a year ago, I set out to conquer clutter and resolved to whip my home into shape one drawer, cupboard, and shelf at a time. This post is a continuation of a series I began on Monday, sharing an overview of five steps that I have learned along the way that have helped make getting organized a reality for me. Yesterday, I talked about how to Be Intentional With the Process; today, I am tackling how to Make Specific Goals.

Step 2: Make Specific Goals

It’s funny how much like dieting, exercising, or handling a budget getting organized can be. I touched on this yesterday, and also awhile back when I compared talked about keeping a household space budget. Mostly, this is because all these things require self-control and willpower in order to bring about positive change. However, it is also because that we tend to make these things goals of ours. We can visualize ourselves 20 pounds lighter, able to hoist heavy barbells with ease and finesse, and making final payments on our student loans to become debt-free at last. The problem is, if you only visualize the end result, you’ll get lost in the daily drudgery.

That’s why experts in so many fields recommend making specific goals and rewarding yourself for reaching them in small increments. They call them SMART goals. This means they are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-sensitive

I’ve seen this used from everything from time management to weight loss and it is a good formula because it forces you to think things through and be able to track your success. To put this in perspective, consider this example:

“I want to get organized.”

Is it specific? Not really. Is it measurable? Nope. Is it achievable? Perhaps, but you’d have a hard time knowing when you had completed your goal. Is it realistic? Yes. You CAN get organized. But it is not realistic to expect that all areas of your life will be instantly organized by willpower alone. That also takes time. Which brings us to … is it time sensitive? No. There isn’t a deadline. There isn’t a goal date. You might get organized fully for one day twenty years from now, but that won’t help you this year. It will be very easy to become exhausted and discouraged when trying to reach this goal.

“I want to clean out and organize the hall closet by Thursday, so that we can fit our winter coats and easily access sporting gear for the kids.”

Is it specific? YES. This is for the hall closet. Is it measurable? YUP. If you can fit the coats and find the sporting gear, you have succeeded. Is it achievable? YOU BETCHA. Even if it takes several days and interruptions, it is a manageable task that will not be tossed aside and forgotten because it took too long. Is it realistic? SURE. A small hall closet is a great starting point for a household organizing venture.  Is it time-sensitive? ABSOLUTELY. You want it done by Thursday. You can always extend the deadline, but for now it is doable and you can step back Thursday evening and appreciate your handiwork. (I’d say now is the time to reward yourself with a nice brownie sundae. That is, if you aren’t working on losing those 20 pounds.)

This is basically what I’ve been doing for the past year. Sometimes I slip up and say vague, unhelpful things like “I need to clean up this place. It’s a wreck.” Those are the days when I sit on the couch and ignore the piles around me. (Full disclosure? This happens more often than I would like.) On a whole, however, I’ve found it has been very useful to tackle bite-sized projects that I can step back and admire after I’m done. Keeping up with this blog has been a huge motivation for me to keep up the good work, and it has also helped me make specific goals by thinking about how I could write a post about my latest project!

So, take a look around you … what specific goals can you make today that will improve your household organization?

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Filed under Balance, Organizing

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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Filed under DIY, Home, Organizing

Container Store Shopping Trip

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.

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Filed under Containers, Home Improvement, Kitchen, Organizing, Shopping, Storage

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, Nashville, TN

How was your Memorial Day weekend? Ours was hot and muggy and filled with good friends and many memory making opportunities. It began when my brother and a friend of his stopped by for the weekend, staying for a Saturday filled with movies in our living room. We made up for our sedentary day by walking in Edwin Warner State Park after church (dodging cicadas as we went) and then doing some more walking on Memorial Day when we took advantage of a free day at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens (again dodging cicadas as we went!). Monday evening we played host and hostess to a small dinner at our house with another couple (Daniel made his best and tastiest hibachi imitation. YUM.)

All the guests to our house and cleaning we did to make sure they would feel comfortable and welcome made us realize something A. MAZE. ING.

We’re almost there.

I thought it would take a year, and at the rate things have slowed down to, it probably still will, but honest-to-goodness, we’re really close to our desired maintenance mode. Shocking, I know.

Here’s what I still need to do:

  1. Sort the papers. Yikes. My nemesis. Paper. Once that is done, though, we’ll have an almost completely organized office. All that we’ll have to do is …
  2. Sort the craft and art supplies. I love my craft stuff. I’ve spent hours and many dollars acquiring all the supplies I need to do the projects I’ve dreamed up. Only one problem: I haven’t done them yet. So, after a year of trying to cram them into our limited space, I’ve come to the realization I need to find a good adoptive home for them. (If you live in the Nashville area and are interested in taking them, please drop me a line. I’d love for them to get put to good use instead of being donated to Goodwill or thrown out!)
  3. Buy some fabric storage containers for my grandmother’s china.
  4. Sort the rest of the kitchen cupboards and drawers.
  5. Sort the guest bathroom under-the-sink-area.
  6. Buy a deck box to put all our random outdoorsy tools in.
  7. Possibly add some pegboard hooks to put in our shed and organize tools that we keep in there.

And that’s it. Seven little things and we’ll be functionally organized! Sure, there’s a few odds and ends along the way, but those are the major things that keep me from truly knowing where everything is in our house.

I’m so happy to be truly living in our home now. We even have the ability to goof off and just watch tv if we so choose (we so chose this evening, in fact.)

I hope your organization goals are coming along nicely, as well.

Happy Organizing!

Andrea

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Filed under Cleaning, Containers, Organizing