Dream with me…

While I’m on organizational hiatus, want to dream with me?
And by dream with me, I mean can I take advantage of people who have a skill I lack majorly?
Landscaping.
I’ve sought out the help of a friend who actually knows what to do with flowers and plants and I can’t wait to hear what she has in mind, but since I’m bored and my kids are (trying to) nap and I don’t feel like cleaning, I thought I’d throw this out there for people who enjoy this sort of stuff.
The house we moved into was taken care of at some point.  Our backyard’s entire exterior is lined with raised flower beds (now, er, weed beds) and our massive deck used to be nice in its time (now it’s falling apart and has no stain left).  And then there’s this bed along our walkway (the walkway was also probably nice in its time, but someday we’re going to have to tear it up, too…sigh).  It needs help in a desperate kind of way.
We’ve done bits and pieces to our yard here and there since moving in, but the problem is that we lack the time to really devote to tearing up our yard and putting it back together.
We also lack the whole creativity thing.
So for now, we’re (and by we’re, I mean me – my husband thinks I’m crazy, as usual) tackling our yard one project at a time.  I’m sure all we’ll get to this year, considering the whole birthing-a-baby-in-June thing, is this one area.  But I’ve been saying for two years now that I was going to tackle it and I haven’t.
WHAT can we do here?  We have a lot (and I mean a lot) of rock in this bed.  Two summers ago I decided to try my hand at digging it up and it took me a few hours to get maybe 1/20th of this space dug up.  The rock just goes and goes and goes.
And then there’s the issue of what to plant.  I have no idea what looks good together, what works well together.  What would look good in front of our house?  What color bark/mulch/whatever you call it do we put down?
Do you see how clueless I am?
Basically I want to dig up most of what’s here, including all this rock, remove those awful railroad ties and start fresh.  I just need help with the whole “start fresh” thing.
So here it is again, the whole thing.  Try not to wince.  Anyone?  I would welcome even one tiny suggestion.  :)

This preggo needs to put her feet up.

I’m totally on organizational hiatus.  Just thought I’d throw that out there since I said I’d post a space a day until I was done.  Not gonna happen right now.  I’m sick – like FLU sick, I think – and think I made myself so much sicker than I would have otherwise been by trying to stupidly tackle cleaning out the basement for like six hours yesterday.  I went from just sick to can’t-get-out-of-bed-or-move-a-muscle-without-crying-and-subsequently-hacking-lungs-out sick today.
I think this pregnant woman needs a break!  I still have a few spaces to tackle – like our laundry room, upstairs bathroom and finishing the clear-out of the basement space.  But I need to take some days off and prop my feet up…and feel a little sorry for myself.  
See ya on the other side*!
*the other side being WELLNESS, FOR ONCE.

Zone 7: Kitchen

Sorry, I took a sick day yesterday.  Yep, sick again!  Imagine that!  I got my week and a half reprieve from the last cold and I’m on to the next one.  Fun stuff!
This one took me forever.  A testament to how disorganized I am, I’m sure.
I didn’t even bother with before pictures because I knew this post would be WAY picture heavy anyway.  So you’ll just have to trust me that it was crazy disorganized.  
I actually love my kitchen.  Even though it’s too small for an island and closed off (I normally love open kitchens) and not all “fancy” with stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops, I still heart my kitchen.  I love the cabinets, I love the open shelving even though I struggle with what to put on the shelving.  I especially love my giant window in front of my sink.  Someday we’ll make it fancy, but for now it’s perfect just the way it is.
There she is!
Now should we dive in and see what got reorganized?
Don’t judge the handwriting ’til you’ve tried it, folks.  Seriously.  I don’t have gorgeous handwriting by any means, but it’s sure a whole heck of a lot better than this!  Writing on the top of baby food jars that have been painted with chalkboard paint is TOUGH.
I wanted to get rid of the whole spice-jars-on-a-shelf thing.  Every time I opened up that spice cabinet and tried to reach for a spice in the back, inevitably a few jars would come crashing down on me.  This freed up a cabinet and used an extra drawer that was empty anyway and ended up being exactly what I was looking for in a “spice cabinet.”
 That was my old spice cabinet (well, the bottom shelf at least).  Now it houses my broths and a few other random things, like my hubby’s obsession: Cholula chipotle sauce.    
I spray painted the lid to that beef broth jar since it was an ugly bright blue and made my own chalkboard labels.  I’ll post a little how-to later.  I used a ton of these chalkboard labels in this kitchen project.
 I have a little basket for seasoning packets and all my cooking oils and wines and vinegars have to go on their side because they’re too tall.  Sad face.  
Below that cabinet is a magnetic knife strip.  This one is courtesy of Target and was on super special one day.  So it ended up being quite cheap, but I think Ikea is typically the go-to place for these.  We just don’t have one of those ’round these parts.  Double sad face.  I loved getting the knife block off the countertop and this keeps my knives out of sight.
See?  You’d never know they were there if I hadn’t told you!
Below that cabinet are my pots and pans and cutting boards.  I eventually want to do this little tension rod trick from Better Homes & Garden, I just couldn’t find any that would be short enough to work in this space:
I bought a pot lid holder which made a world of difference for this cabinet!  I highly recommend.  Mine came from Tarjay and was pretty reasonable – I think $8?
 This is my baking cabinet.  I used the spice jars from my spices and removed the labels (soaking in hot water for a few minutes and then taking steel wool to the jars is a super easy, quick way to do this, FYI) so I could get rid of all the ugly various boxes and bags that held things like baking soda, baking powder, arrowroot powder, corn starch, etc.  Then I used the chalkboard labels I made.  Again, don’t judge.  So tough to write on!
I’ve also got my coconut flakes and cocoa up here since I use them a lot in baking. 
 On the second shelf is raw sugar, xylitol, coconut oil, honey and tea.  Things I use a little less frequently.  And the tea?  Well, I didn’t really know where else to put it, so it took up residence in my baking cabinet, oddly enough.
 Up on the top shelf are cookie cutters and food coloring and candles and other cookie/cake stuff.

 These big containers are on the countertop under my baking shelf and hold some other things we use a lot.  Is it terrible to admit we use sugar a lot?  Er, I mean we never use sugar when we bake!

Nuts are a favorite snack around here and whole wheat flour is a staple – so we buy it in big time bulk!

 Here’s my utensil drawer.  Just a few days ago it was a random drawer filled with indistinguishable items – so many that I pretty much had to dump the whole drawer out to find anything I needed.  I bought that organizer dirt cheap from Home Goods and it made a ton of difference.  And there were totally toys in this drawer when I cleaned it out.  And candy wrappers.  And other equally embarrassing things that I’m clueless about. 
Here’s my boring old silverware drawer.  Nothing special here.
Next to that is our towel/napkin/dish rag drawer.  Again, nothing fancy or interesting.  Except that it took me three full years in this home to realize that this drawer should be for our towels and rags and the drawer you just saw should be for silverware.  Up until a few days ago, those drawers were flip-flopped.  We had a gigantic drawer for a small thing of silverware and a tiny drawer that was almost always impossible to shut because it was so full of rags.  Sometimes reorganizing is good just because it challenges you to re-think things.  I left it that way for three years just because it’s what I knew and it didn’t occur to me to do it any differently.
 Here’s our gorgeous under-the-sink area.  Heh.  Okay, it’s pretty ugly but without a big chunk of change to burn on one of these systems, I have to live with the fact that it will always be ugly under my sink.

PS – Yes, that is totally mouse poison for anyone who noticed.  Once upon a time we had some mice take up residence in our basement and I am so terrified of mice and especially of mice in our kitchen that our pantry and under-the-sink area (BOTH CHILD-PROOFED!!) get a helping of mouse poison during mouse season.  Blech.

 I hung my duster and mini broom and gloves.
This is our cleaning basket.  It houses all our cleaners and rags.  
 We have an abundance of drawers in our kitchen, so that’s why some of them look so empty.  I don’t have enough stuff to put in all our drawers.  I wish I could say the same for our cabinets!  Anyway, that’s our “junk” drawer.  Paper clips, pens, highlighters, sharpies, scissors, tape, you get the point.  
This is the kid drawer.  I bought all those baskets from Target’s dollar aisles and they were almost made for this drawer!  This is a new addition to our kitchen and I’m in love.  We used to have plates and bowls in one drawer, sippy cups in a cabinet and silverware with our silverware.  I much prefer having it all together like this.
I finally bit the bullet and bought a bunch of matching glass tupperware.  I was so tired of all the mismatched plastic stuff that I never feel good about putting our food in and I really wanted a matching set.  It just seems so much easier to organize this way. 
  I’ve got all the matching items stacked on the top shelf (along with Ben’s little bento box-type lunch box you might see in back).
 And the lids are all housed in this basket on the bottom shelf.  You might see my baby bullet system back there.  It’s just waiting for a new baby to feed.  :)
 This cabinet holds appliances that I don’t want on our shelf (toaster oven, crock pot, blender, yogurt maker, food processor, etc).
And another one holds smaller appliances like a can opener (it’s too ugly for the countertop, maybe someday I’ll get a matching one I can keep out because I admit it’s a total pain to have to go digging in cabinets every time I want to open a can), small food processor, rice cooker, strainers, tortilla press, etc.  You might see the foil and saran wrap and stuff up there.  The plan is to get one of these that’s big enough for all of that stuff, but The Container Store is out right now so I have to be patient and wait.  
 This is another boring one, and a little embarrassing.  We have super mismatched glasses.  And a lack of them, at that.  This is obviously our cup & glass cabinet.  
 I call this our Dave Ramsey drawer.  Calculators, a pen, my coupon organizer and that famous credit card sleeve Dave gives you to get them out of your wallet!
 Here’s a close-up of our open shelving.
Under the open shelves is my mail sorter ($10 at Home Goods, woot!).  I love this thing!  Our keys go in one drawer, random little house things go in the other and Tim and I each have our own mail slot.
 And this is my home organization binder.  I’ll make a post about this at some point because it changed my life.
 Here’s a page from inside.  Love this thing!
 This is my little cleaning schedule I made months ago that stays on my fridge to remind me what to clean everyday.  I wish I could say I followed this religiously.
Phew – that’s it!  Thanks for making it to the bottom (if you did)!  

Zone 6: Bathroom & hall closet

Moving right along, it’s time to tackle the downstairs (AKA the master) bathroom.  
We don’t technically have a master bathroom in our house which is quite a change for us as every other place we lived in before buying this home had an attached master bathroom.
It’s a pretty small bathroom but once we get some tile on the floor instead of the current laminate (white laminate against a white vanity/toilet and tub?) I’ll be pretty happy with this bathroom.  Someday I’d love a new faucet, but that can wait.  
I deep cleaned the bathroom last week and then took alllllllll (and I do mean alllllll) the contents of the vanity out and spread it all over the floor to organize.  I might be a hoarder stockpiler.  I used to play the CVS/Walgreens game like crazy a few years ago and I still haven’t used up all my stockpile from that time.  I haven’t even stepped foot inside a CVS or Walgreens in months and the last time I did, it wasn’t to get free product, it was just for some baby tylenol.  I’ve even given away a bunch and still have a stockpile left.  Unreal since almost all of it was free or nearly free.  
Anyway, I’ve had all that stockpile on shelves in our basement and since we’re cleaning out our basement to try to faux finish it, I wanted to clear off those shelves and bring everything upstairs.  I started with baskets under the sink.
I have a hair basket for an extra shampoo and conditioner, hair product and brushes, then a body basket for body wash, soap and deodorant and finally a face basket for face wash/cleanser, eye makeup remover, face lotion, etc.
I did a quick reorganization of my makeup drawer since it had gotten a little out of control and messy.  Nothing fancy, just used a drawer organizer to separate things out and a few little containers in back for my clips and hairbands.  
  Then I tackled the hall closet outside of this bathroom.
It had gotten pretty bad since the last time I organized it.  Which is exactly why I’m labeling every last thing this time.  I don’t ever want to get disorganized again!
Here it is today:
The shoe holder houses my hubby’s hats and belts up top, my blow dryer, curling iron and straightening irons and then all our travel goodies we gather along the way.  I finally labeled these pockets so we can grab whatever we need when we’re packing really quickly.
The two blue baskets up top have yet to be labeled, but those are my stockpile of shampoos and conditioners and body washes.  One shelf has all our medicines in baskets (don’t worry, this door is child-proofed and we chose a higher shelf), another has our towels, hand towels and wash cloths and the top shelf is boring old toilet paper.  
And finally, my collection of candles and nail supplies needed a home, so they got, respectively, a random vase and Rubbermaid-type container.
All the baskets came from the Dollar Tree at one point or another.  Love me some Dollar Tree.  :)
The end.  Now off to continue the never-ending kitchen project.  I swear I will never get my kitchen organized.

Zone 5: Linen closet…plus a little pregnancy tidbit

This is another boring one and there’s no fancy organization going on here.

I tackled the linen closet during my last pregnancy, and I’m sad to say that even though I didn’t take a before picture this time, it looked almost as bad as this before picture from the last pregnancy:

Almost.  But it wasn’t quite this bad.
A few baskets for things like batteries and light bulbs and other random household stuff (like wood markers and those little felt pad things you stick on chair legs when you have wood floors).
The following is my pathetic attempt to be like Martha.  Why do I even bother?  I can never be Martha.  
 This picture and a description about folding up all the sheets and pillowcases in a sheet set and sticking them all in one of the pillowcases is on her website, but I failed miserably at making mine look this this.  Oh well.
I made labels for blankets, pillowcases (that don’t belong to sets) and random sheets so that we can hopefully, in the future, keep this closet from ever getting bad again.  That’s my whole objective with this whole reorganizing mission: label EVERYTHING and give EVERYTHING a place so that there’s no excuse to ever get disorganized again.    
In other news, I’ve been getting a whole heck of a lot of “You’re huge!” and “That’s one big belly!” and “That baby sure is getting big, huh?” comments lately, so I think this baby must have had a growth spurt.  Or maybe it’s just all the vegan desserts I’ve been making…
You’ll see here that Adalyn’s favorite activity is crawling through my legs over and over.  :)
I’m feeling alright.  Huge.  Very pregnant.  Lots of aches and pains.  There’s definitely no forgetting I’m pregnant these days.  This baby moves, too!  Wowsers!  Even Tim commented this week about how much earlier he feels like we can see and feel this baby.  I mean, at 26 weeks I can already see the baby’s body parts moving across my belly.  Never happened with either of my other kids this early.  I think I’ll have my hands full with this mover & shaker.  
I’m starting to get really anxious to know the gender.  I’m waiting, of course, but the anticipation is starting to really get to me.  What is this little one growing inside of me?  Will the girls outnumber the boys or the boys outnumber the girls?  Eeeeeeek!

Zone 4: Master bedroom makeover, FINALLY!

You might remember that a year ago (literally – a year ago yesterday – how wild is that?!), I said I wanted to redo our master bedroom.
I put it all out there, revealing our long-neglected master bedroom.  And our dirty one.

I said in that post that it was going to take me a long time to redo our bedroom and I obviously wasn’t kidding!

It was pretty bad.  You might recall some pictures like this:
We had a newborn rooming in, which was the reason for the changing table.  But the old dresser that was falling apart at the seams and the bare floor and the darkness of the room and the BEDSHEET FOR A CURTAIN?   Just not working for me.  
Over time, we made some improvements.  I bought some old but solid dressers on Craigslist for a whopping $25 and refinished them.  We also got a rug, though it wasn’t exactly what I wanted.  So here we were, in progress (beware: I don’t sugar coat – this is real life and this room was messy)
This still wasn’t working for me.  I liked the black bed and curtains when we moved in, but with the gray walls, our room was always so dark.  I suppose that’s okay for a master bedroom, but I was just ready for something brighter and lighter and more fun after years in a dark master bedroom.
I blogged about ideas I had over the past year herehere, and here.   
I see and admire all kinds of gorgeous neutral rooms on Pinterest and the blogosphere, but in all honesty, it’s just not me.  I’m a color girl!  I wanted color.  So I took to Pinterest for color schemes (and other ideas).
Here were some of my inspirations.  Click any picture for the source, if there was one available.
So I knew my color scheme: gray, aqua, yellow and white.  And I knew I wanted sheer panels behind our bed.  
Then I went shopping.  The fun part!
And I came home and unloaded everything, eager to get this done as quickly as possible.  It ended up being a lot more involved that I was planning for, but as I keep saying, totally worth it!  Let’s look at the before and afters, shall we?
 I got the mirror for ten(!!!!) dollars at Home Goods.  It had a little damage, but nothing that I cared about (a few scratches on the mirror which are barely noticeable and a little crack that was easily fixable with wood glue).  It was off-white, which didn’t work for the room, so I taped it up and spray painted it my favorite Krylon Blue Ocean Breeze.  
That love notes box on the dresser was a gift I made for Tim a long time ago, and works out perfectly now since it was also sprayed Blue Ocean Breeze.  
The rug is leaving a lot to be desired now.  There’s so much white in the room that the cream rug doesn’t even make sense. We have a huge gray rug in our living room that will be moved into our master bedroom sometime this week.  Unfortunately, it’s the size of our entire floor, so we have to move all the furniture in the room out to do it.

Okay, back to business.
I just love how much brighter our room is now.  The sheer curtains made a big difference.  I am all about the sheer lately!  I cleared away all the clutter and took the picture off the wall because we’ll be needing that space above the tall dresser for our flat-screen TV which will be getting installed very, very soon!  The candle holder on top of the tall dresser was actually something I bought almost a year ago for the sole purpose of this bedroom.  The problem was that it was the wrong color blue.  I wasn’t sure how it would turn out spray painted, but I decided it couldn’t hurt to try.  So I sprayed it with the Blue Ocean Breeze a few times and it worked out perfectly.  I was sort of shocked it was that easy.
 Ignore the one panel on the window.  I didn’t buy enough clips to hang both panels, so I have to go back to the store to finish this off.  Whoops.  
The wall hangings started out pretty hideous.  This was another buy that I made with the purpose of this bedroom makeover, but they sat in our basement for months and months until I finally figured out how to use them.  
They were these hideous pineapple pictures and they were on clearance for $3.00 each.  I knew that I couldn’t get a black frame that size for that cheap, and I knew that I could stick fabric inside of them when I finally decided on the bedroom colors, so that’s exactly what I did.  
I found both of those fabrics on clearance for $1.50 a yard, and all I needed was 1/4 of a yard, so this ended up being one heck of a cheap project and the fabric matched perfectly.  

The yellow and turquoise pillows are from Target and they were $30 for all 4.  The dark gray pillow that I fell in love with was from Home Goods (pretty much my new favorite store) and it was about $15.  The quilt was also a Home Goods score and for a King, it was only $49.  I was floored!  The cheapest white quilt I found at Target was $80.  And I like this quilt even more than any I saw at Target.  
I got the idea for the lamps from Young House Love in the picture I posted up above.  We have a tiny master bedroom and a King sized bed.  Because of the way our room is shaped, this is really the only arrangement that works, and that puts our bed in this small little nook of the room.  We never had room for real bedside tables, which is why, as you’ll see in a minute, we had an old, antique fold-up table on one side and some Rubbermaid containers on the other.  It’s all that would fit!  So we only had room for a lamp on the antique table, and it wasn’t a pretty one to begin with.  When I found the ones above at Home Depot online for only $33 a piece(!!!) and they had great reviews, I immediately got in the car and zoomed over to pick two up.  I’m not in love with the cream lampshades and those will definitely get replaced here soon, but you get the idea for now.  I’m thinking these shades from Target would be good since I need more gray elements in the room and they’re crinkly like the curtain panels:
I hung the curtains behind our bed after being inspired by many rooms like this on Pinterest.  We don’t have a headboard, don’t have the time to make one at the moment and don’t have the money to buy one, and I was honestly so in love with the romantic look of sheer panels behind the bed so much that I didn’t care at all about not having a headboard.  I still need to enlist Tim’s expertise to build a wooden header to go at the very top of the wall and hide the tops of the curtains/curtain rods like Young House Love did in their master bedroom.  I’ll post some final-final pictures when everything here is said and done.
I just hung some small shelves to the wall to serve as our bedside tables.  With the lamps above us, we don’t have a need for much except maybe a candle and our cell phones, and since space is so limited, this ended up being perfect.  I was really happy with the way it turned out.  They were each only $5 or $6 at Target, too, so it was a really cheap and easy solution.
(Yikes)
So, in case anyone notices, I know the curtain panels aren’t even at all.  I got the wrong size rod because I’m skilled like that.  Will fix that mistake today.  :)
And that’s that!  Our new, bright, fun master bedroom.  I’ve never been so happy with a project I tackled on my own than this.  Addie’s nursery is a close second, but this one takes the cake.  It may not be everyone’s style, but it is exactly what I envisioned, and that happens to me…oh…never.  
The cost breakdown of this makeover was a lot more than any other makeover project I’ve done, but I still think it’s pretty small in the scheme of things.
Dressers – $25 (Craigslist)
Paint supplies to refinish them – $20
Mirror – $10 (Home Goods)
Yellow candle – $4 (clearance at Walmart)
Rug – $15 (Craigslist – dirt cheap)
Quilt – $49 (Home Goods)
Pillows – $45 (Target & Home Goods)
Black frames – $6 (Some sort of thrift/discount store)
Fabric inside frames – $0.75 (Walmart)
Curtain panels behind bed – $20 (Walmart)
Curtain rod – $4(?) (Target)
Lamps – $70 (Home Depot)
Shelves for bedside tables – $10 (Target)
Candle holder I spray painted – $4 (Semi-local store)
Clips to hang curtains from – $24 (Target)
Can of Krylon spray paint – $4 (Walmart)
Grand Whopping Total:  $310.75
Everything else here I already had and wasn’t bought with the intention of this makeover, so I won’t count it.
Let me know what you think!

I’d say we’ve come a long way from this:

to this:

Zone 3: Fridge & Freezer

So this is pretty no-frills, kind of boring.  In fact, I feel downright stupid posting pictures of my fridge and freezer.  But, hey, it’s organized!  
Freezer before:
Freezer after:
Basically I just cleaned everything out, threw out what was bad and sorted the rest.  Baskets for bread & potatoes, lunches and snacks, veggies and fruits got their own drawers and the bottom two shelves are basically for crap food.  :)  Like, um, Totinos pizza?  Hubby gets blamed for that one.  
The baskets got labels.  See?  So boring.
Fridge before:
Fridge after:
This got cleaned out, too, and I finally put all those wooden boxes that Melissa & Doug toys come in to good use!  Fridge organizers!  
The bottom shelf is my leftover shelf.  It used to be our milk shelf since we drank like 6 gallons a week (I don’t lie) but now that we’ve given it up, it frees up tons of space in our fridge!  Yes, I mostly use jars for our leftovers because I have like 8 million of them and because I haven’t shelled out big bucks for glass tupperware, which I really, really want at some point.  
I organized the door, too, but forgot to get a picture so you’ll have to take my word for it.
I have to say, organizing & cleaning the fridge out is one of those really rewarding projects because suddenly you can find anything you want in your fridge!  I let my fridge and freezer get out of control before I finally clean it out.  You know, so out of control that you find a bunch of bad food in the back of the fridge because you just couldn’t see it?  Yeah.  Guilty.  All the time.
So tomorrow I have a really, really fun reveal!  Come back and check it out – I’m SO excited about how it turned out!

Zone 2: Reorganized playroom – a $30 project!

Like I said yesterday in my post about my reorganized pantry, I’m tackling a zone a day on the blog.  Today, I’m showing off the new playroom that cost me almost nothing to redo.
Let’s take a look at the old playroom first so we can see how far we came.
I’d say pretty far, but I’m biased because I’ve had to stare at this brightly colored playroom for years.
I mean, it was a fine playroom.  Colorful, that’s for sure.  Good for a boy.  But I was tired of it and I wanted something lighter (not so in-your-face colorful) and more appropriate for a girl and a boy.  So with the help of a friend, Craigslist and some dollar stores, I turned it into this for less than $30 (not including gas – I’m not that exact!).  
It’s not perfect, but I love it and the kids love it (well, Addie pretty much couldn’t care less, but Ben walked in the room and went, “Ooooooooh!” which was all the approval I needed).

The rug was free thanks to a super sweet, generous friend who passed it along to us.

This bookshelf was free to us.  My grandpa made it when I was a little girl (meaning it’s solid wood and one sturdy piece of furniture), I painted it last year to go in Addie’s nursery and now, it’s a “general store.”  The last thing I plan to accomplish to finish off their store is to build an awning, similar to this one from Design Dazzle:
The kids have a ton of food, so I wanted it organized – more for me than them, if I’m being honest.  It was driving me crazy!  One day last week we went through all the kids toys and we separated them out into organized piles and took pictures of each pile.  I quickly & easily added some text to each picture in Picasa to label it, then printed them off on cardstock.  Easy as pie and great for little ones who can’t read yet.  So that’s what you see here.  All of these bins came from Target’s dollar aisle, but the blue ones I got months ago and they don’t have them at my Target anymore.  
The sign was just something I whipped up in Gimp (I wish I had more graphic design skills, but basic is all you get from me), printed on cardstock and stuck in an old frame.
That’s Adalyn’s side of the built-in bookshelf.  I got the blue baskets at Dollar Tree.
And labeled them all.

That’s Ben’s side.  I got those baskets at Target before I got smart and figured out how much cheaper they are at the dollar stores.

Oh, and the white sheers?  Those were free.  I just shopped my basement for those and that alone made a huge difference!

They’re all labeled, too.

The bookshelf was a free Craigslist find.  Now that we have a van, we can take advantage of the free stuff people don’t need anymore.  Hey, I’m not too proud to take someone else’s junk!  Better for the environment too, right?  And much better for the pocketbook.  We secured it to the wall and filled it up with the kids’ books.  Well, and ours, too.

Another pending project is to add beadboard to the backs of this bookshelf.  I’ve been seeing that a lot in the blogosphere and love the way it looks!
Last week, we realized that we pretty much never watch the TV in our living room.  It’s a nice, big (enough) flat screen, but we do 95% of our TV watching right before bed in our bedroom on a teeny, tiny…computer monitor.  The only time our TV gets used other than sports for Tim is when the kids watch PBS or a movie.  So I thought, why not try to find an old TV on Craigslist nice & cheap and just put it in their playroom?  Then we can turn our living room into a sitting room, which is what it pretty much is anyway, free up more space (our living room is pretty small) and hang our flat screen TV in our bedroom.  The kids don’t have free access to this TV any more than they did in our living room, so it seemed like a win-win.  The TV stand was another free Craigslist score this week and the TV was $10.  My mom & dad gave us their VCR/DVD combo player when they got a new one and she gave me all our old Disney VHS’s, so we’re pretty set!
Here’s their little reading/TV watching area.  I’ve been drooling over these Pottery Barn Anywhere Chairs forever and a day, but I don’t know that we’ll ever be able to justify the cost.  Maybe someday.  :)
That’s our new playroom!  Like I said, it’s not perfect.  It’s not as coordinated as my crazy brain would love it to someday be, but I really couldn’t be happier.  It feels like a brand new place.  It feels a little more grown-up and since Ben is a little more grown-up now (sob!), it all works out.  For $30, I call this a WIN!
PS – In case you didn’t notice my new blog header, I’m combining my business blog & my personal blog because trying to keep up two blogs is just…um…too much.  

Organized frenzy.

I think I’ve mentioned a few times here how absolutely crazy my nesting has been in the past week or two.  I had it with Ben and Addie, and right around this time with them both, but I think this one takes the cake.
And I totally blame Pinterest.
How can you stare at all these gorgeous, organized spaces and not want yours to look like that, pregnant or no?
So I finally got to work, hit up some dollar stores for baskets and storage units, tore the house apart, sorted into piles and made labels.
The destruction that ensued during the organization process was, well, unreal, as documented in instagram pictures.

  
I’m still not totally done, but as I watch everything come together, I know how worth it this all was.  Hours of work, hours of shopping, hours of scouring Pinterest for ideas…it all made for one heck of an organized, pretty house.  And that makes this nesting gal happy.  
And exhausted.
Phew.
I’ll share it all here because what would be the fun of getting this organized if I can’t show it off, right?  I’ll tackle a zone a day, starting with the pantry today.  
Our pantry looked like this months ago:
It was a hall closet (and a messy one, at that).  
This house doesn’t have a pantry.  And I do a lot of bulk shopping.  Azure Standard Co-op is the only way I can reign in our grocery budget while eating healthy, so all those bulk items really needed a place to go.  One day it hit me that we should add coat hooks in our mud room and take advantage of this closet by turning it into a pantry.  
Hubby went to work on tackling this project and before long, we had a pantry!  But it was kind of ugly and disorganized and over time, just got uglier and more disorganized.  So I pulled every last thing out of the pantry, gathered up some baskets, printed off labels and wound up with this:
I’ve been collecting every last glass jar we’ve brought into this house for the past few years because I knew I  needed a good solution for storing all those bulk baking products, grains, beans, etc., that I get from Azure.  But I didn’t want to shell out mega bucks for glass containers.  Although someday, when (if?) money is no object, I will own these and love them:
And these:
But for now, I really heart my canning jars and the purpose they serve.
I got most of the black baskets from the dollar store since I was not about to drop $5 a piece on baskets when I needed about 50 of them for the whole house.  Besides, the ones at the dollar store (especially Dollar Tree – these black ones came from Dollar General though) are awesome and perfect.  A few of them I got at Big Lots (like the blue containers on the top shelf).
I store some bulk things on the bottom of the pantry floor, like my Biokleen dishwashing detergent that I also get from Azure (I’m a brand pluggin’ fool today, eh?).  At some point I’ll get a pretty little container for that, but for now, just pretend it’s not an ugly brown box.
I got the labels for free from the amazing blog, Sissy Print.  I edited them in gimp (I’m all about the FREE!) to fit my needs and I can’t tell you how much I love them!  Labels just make me happy.  And pretty labels?  Happier!  Hubby totally rolled his eyes at me when I told them how happy pretty labels make me.  He’s like, “Um, I’d take some masking tape and a permanent marker and that’d work for me.”  
Silly hubby.
I also prettied up some of my bulk counter containers.

I got the big flour container at Target a long time ago, the sugar and coffee containers from Walmart, also a long time ago, and the tea container is just a random vase.  
Well, that about sums it up!  I couldn’t be happier!  This project was a pretty long one when all was said and done since our pantry started out as a coat closet, but it was worth it times a million.  
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