Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Hallway Closet Project

For those of you Friends lovers out there, you'll understand the following reference... I have a Monica Gellar closet!  I know what is in there and where everything is, but pretty much no one else can find a thing!!  Usually this is no problem, but with the 2 months of colds and illnesses we experienced and midnight trips to the closet to find medications, I realized that I needed to do something so that I'm not the only one who knows where things are.  When you open the doors, here is what you will see...

So I exaggerated a little, it's not quite as bad as Monica Gellar's closet, but there is a lot going on in there.  I decided to tackle it one step at a time.

1. Organize those Meds

The medicine shelf is a disaster and as 2 year old B continues to grow, it is also within reach of small hands.  I decided to clean out the meds and move them up a shelf to keep them out of reach of curious toddlers.  First Nick and I went through all the bottles and tossed* what has expired and what we don't need or use.  Then I made groups of like meds.  Here they are in their groups just waiting for a storage tub to be placed in:

*When I say tossed, I mean dispose of the meds in an environmentally safe way.  We threw away the vitamins, but recycled the vitamin bottles.  All the other expired and unneeded meds (prescriptions, pain relievers, allergy relief, etc.) we kept in their bottles and containers and took them to a pharmacy where the pharmacy will dispose of them safely.  If you are curious about how the pharmacy disposes the meds safely and which pharmacies take expired medications, check out this website:

I also had Nick make a baby dosage table with weight and amount of Tylenol, Benadryl for allergy, and Benadryl for severe allergy needed to add to the Kids & Baby Meds tub for a just in case I am having an emergency and can't think straight moment.

2.  Clean up the Towels

We have so many towels and we hardly use them.  It was time to decide what towels to keep and what to get rid of.  Take a look at the next picture to see how we narrowed our piles of towels to just the ones we need and use: 

If you need a comparison, take a look at the before picture at the top of this post!
If this looks like very few towels it is because the towels we are currently using are in the bathroom and these are just extras... and some of the extra towels were being used to mop up yet another basement flood at the time of this photo.  We also keep the girls' towels in one of their closets.

3. Everything Else

Just like with the meds, I took out each item on the bottom 3 shelves and the top shelf and either placed them in a like pile, threw them away, or put them in the Goodwill pile.

Next I found a place on the shelves for the items and put them back in the closet.  Seeing where the items will go and how much of each thing I have will help me figure out what type of storage container I need to get:

4. Everything Needs a Home

Ah yes, the fun part... storage!  I have to say that I'm pretty sure one of the reasons I decided to organize the hallway closet was to have an excuse to buy storage containers.  Here is a list of what got a home and where I bought the tubs and baskets:
  • medications - The Dollar Store 
  • light bulbs - Hobby Lobby
  • cleaning supplies - Hobby Lobby
  • linens - Target
  • odds and ends - Target
  • thermal devices (yes, we have a whole basket full of things to keep our muscles and ourselves warm!) - Target

I also bought shelf dividers to keep the items that don't go in tubs or baskets separated, but when I started to put them on the shelves, they scraped the shelf liner (see #5 below) and I ended up with holes in that shelf liner that I had already wrestled to put on, so I ended up only using them for the top shelf:

5. Line the Sheves

I've never lined shelves before, but one of my favorite daily blogs, iheartorganizing, always emphasizes how the added touch of shelf lining can just brighten up an area and make you feel good when you see it, so I decided to give it a try.  I had a love/hate relationship with that shelf liner and it was partly due to the uneven shelves that are in that closet, but in the end I think it added a nice finishing touch.

After looking at lots of shelf liner online, I ended up getting this adhesive shelf line/contact paper at Target.

6. Label It

I'm not a big labeler, but I knew that if this closet didn't get labeled, then nothing would get put back in its place and I'd be writing another blog post in a few months about my re-organization of the hallway closet.  It turns out, though, that I had a blast labeling.  I labeled in 2 ways:

The first way was to use mini clothes pins to attach labels to the medication, thermal devices, and odds & ends tubs.  To make the clothes pins pretty, I had originally planned to use washi tape, but then I came across the new patterned duct tapes and I really liked some of the patterns, so I went with duct tape to cover the clothes pins.  

Then I wrote the labels on business card paper that we've had forever, glued those cards onto pretty scrapbooking paper and tada...

The other way I labeled was to label the items that sit directly on the shelves.  I decided to buy chalkboard labels and a chalkboard pen to make the labels with.  They turned out pretty cute and Nick actually thanked me for labeling everything so that he now knows where to put things back and what is what (he could never figure out which towels were rags and which ones were the nicer towels).

It took me the whole month of March, but it is ALL done! 



As I added that last picture, I noticed the tube of toothpaste that a certain 2 year old must have added to the closet as I was doing the finishing touches - that little sneaker!

It feels so good to have that space organized.  I keep opening up the closet and admiring the calmness of it!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Organizing Ideas

As baby M was peacefully napping in my arms and 2 year old B was sound asleep in her room, I spent a quiet afternoon engrossed in the Better Homes and Gardens website getting all kinds of fun organizing ideas.  I came across a slideshow of free printable storage labels and although I don't know if I'd label everything, I liked a lot of the organizational ideas.  I thought I'd share some of my favorites...

1. Magnetic Menu Board - Keep a list of dishes on magnetic labels under headings and then mix and match on a magnetic calendar board to plan meals.

This seems like a lot of work to make, but for a person who loves to plan meals ahead of time, this system looks like so much fun!

2. Shelf Labels - My next home project is to tackle our hallway closet so I was intrigued by the idea of labeling the places where items should be so that those items will always make it back to where they belong.

3. Weekly Wardrobe - Back when I was working full time I used to try and lay out my clothes for the week so that I could save the time searching for clothes in the morning and sleep a few extra minutes.  Once 2 year old B starts school I can totally see laying out a weekly wardrobe for her.  I love the idea of putting hooks on the closet to hang the outfits.
Pinned Image

4. Clear Canisters for Beauty Supples - I not only love the clear canisters, but I love the idea of putting them on a cute tray to keep them in one place.

5. On the Go Bags - So you're never left scrambling for a snack or activity!

6. A Place for Everyday Things - I have already started to try and organize something like this in my house.  I'm not so much for the labels, but I like the idea of dividing items.  I have a tray I keep these things in and now I need to find a way to divide them.

7. One Basket Per Person - A great way to keep shoes, hats, scarves, etc. organized and easy to find.  Ooh, and I could designate one basket for the on the go bags (see #5 above)!

Not too bad of a way to spend a lazy afternoon!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Weekly Menu: Back to Normal

With things relatively back to normal around my house, I decided to pull out some favorite recipes that we haven't had for awhile and throw in a new one while I'm at it.  Here is what we ate this week:

1. turkey tacos and peppers
2. spinach and brown rice tomato soup (this was the new recipe) and paninis - So this one didn't turn out very well.  It has potential, but I followed the recipe to a T, even though Nick and I questioned its methods.  The recipe says to add the rice to the soup 5 minutes before serving.  Well, that made for some crunchy tomato soup!  If I try this again, I will cook the rice before adding it to the soup.  It was pretty inedible.
3. meatball sandwiches, Caesar salad
4. homemade fish sticks, kale, bread
5. spinach and chicken quiche, broccoli as a side

The things I love about quiche are that I can make them ahead of time, I can put whatever I want in them, they make great left overs, and they remind me of home.  Here is the quiche recipe that my mom still uses and that I now get to make:

veggies and/or meat of your choice
3/4 cup Bisquick
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp. butter

1. cook up any ingredients that need to be cooked (I use 2 chicken breasts, but my mom likes to use 1 lb of bacon)
2. spray the pan and layer the veggies and/or meat with cheese (I go... chicken, spinach, cheese, chicken, spinach, cheese)
3. beat the bisquick, eggs, and milk in a bowl and then pour the mixture into the pan
4. slice the butter and place it on top of the mixture...

5. bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes
6. let cool for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven to let it set completely

The final product...

Well there you go!  Hope everyone else had a relatively normal week!!