Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Week 14 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 14 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on the Entryway/mud room.

Since, much to my disappointment, I don't have a mud room, this post focused on the entryway. If and when we ever move, however, mud room is on the list of shit we need in a house.

I suspect like in most suburban homes, the entryway is just not a part of the house I use on a daily basis, considering we mainly enter and leave the house through the garage door. So the entryway becomes a spot to welcome and organize guests and to sign the receipt for the pizza boy.

Thus the entryway contains little storage. There is a table for guests to put their purse or other belongings and a coat rack that is used mainly for guest coats. And despite being so totally awesome that we could charge a cover at the door, the piggy bank is mainly just for The Good Daughter's College Fund, currently. 

The left side of the entryway is empty, since my goal as a homeowner and host is to get people from the door and into the living spaces of the house as quickly as possible. So any purses can be set on the table, coats hung on the rack and then they can move into the living room.

I keep the coat rack near the end of the entry way to allow for more than one persons to use it at a time. One person can stand in the living room and hang up their coat, while the other is still in the entryway. And while we might be a shoe free house, I don't ask guests to remove shoes, making entry into our house quick and easy.

However, there is only little person that uses the entryway daily and that is TGD. Every day when she comes home from daycare, she hangs up her coat and backpack. We installed kid-height hangers on the coat rack that are hers alone for her stuff. She also has a bench where she can sit and remove her shoes. It is small enough that it can stay in the entryway and still be out of the way.

The main goal of the entryway is to provide a welcoming spot for guests (and I welcome the shit out of them with my cool family photos on the table and framed art) as well as a place where they can put their shit quickly before entering the living spaces of the house.

By keeping the area clutter free and organized with storage for guests, the entryway can become a place where guests can feel relaxed and happy when entering your home. 

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Campout Birthday! The Good Daughter Turns 3!

NOTE 6.23.13: I realized that I had this post all ready to go but it never got published. It must have been something about having a baby last year around this time. Ooops! 

I love birthdays. I like the planning, the decorating, the cooking, the fun. That's of course, when I am not 1000 weeks pregnant. Last year, I went a little nuts when planning The Good Daughter's party

This year I scaled back a little. Oh, I still had a cute theme and food to match, but it's hot and fuck it, if I don't want to cook a million things. So let's get this started.

This years theme was a camp party. We set up a tent in the backyard for the kids to play in. I found some camp signs online and printed them out and glued them to some cardboard. 

We had s'mores on a stick, which everyone loved. They were super easy to make too.

The Good Daughter had her own smash cake - a dirt cake, complete with a worm.

Ants on a log.

Camp decor.

For the favors, I made hobo packs filled with camp theme goodies - camp rubber ducks, stickers, tattoos, bubbles, flashlight and markers. I also had a design your own bandana station for the kids.

On the menu:
~Hot dog and hamburger bar, similar to this but not as impressive (hence no photo)
~Corn on the cob
~Chips and individual seven layer dip that was the biggest hit of the day
~S'mores on a stick
~Ants on a log
~Dirt cups

All the kids had a great time. Now I relax before I have to pop this kid out in three weeks. I think I can justify sitting on my ass for the next several days.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Week 13 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 13 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on the living room/family room. This post kicks off our six week living room/family room organization mission. 

For most homes, the living room/family room is the first room that people see when they enter your house. It is the best place to give a strong first impression. There are several organization principles you can employ to help your house appear neat and organized.

 view of the living room from the entry way

The first one is to limit clutter. I know I talk about clutter on here all the time, but it really does give me hives if the house seems messy to me. And I don't like giving that impression to anyone that walks into the house. I make sure to vacuum and pick up the living room daily above all other rooms in case someone stops in. Even 15 minutes of nightly tidying up is helpful.

The second organization principle is to have plenty of seating. We are currently lacking in seating, which most of the time is fine with our little family of 3 but as soon as guests come over, our sofa and one chair seem mighty lacking. In a few years, the plan is to upgrade the living room furniture and move what we currently have into the family room in the basement. The new seating will consist of several single chairs, sofa, love seat and possibly a recliner (I'm still fighting The Good Husband on that). Since most of the furniture we have now, save for the entertainment stand are all hand me downs or college furniture, we are past due for an upgrade.
living room as seen from the dining room

The third organization principle is to create a smooth flow to the room. We currently suck in this department too. The tv is currently on the wall where all of the traffic flows. So if you are on the couch or in the chair, everyone will have to walk past the tv to get to all the other rooms of the house. To create a better flow, I will reorganized the room and move the tv to the wall where the chair is currently. It is also really the only option for the tv since we have to work around the features of the room - the half wall, the fireplace, the patio door, etc. But once we rearrange, the room will have a better flow and be more appealing and practical.

The last big tip and this is controversial, especially if you have young kids, is to keep the kid clutter to a minimum. It is very easy to have their shit take over the room and the last thing I want to do is give everyone the walks in the door the impression we are Toys R Us Lite. When she was smaller, we had ONE basket of toys in the room but as she got older it evolved into this:

A toy area behind the chair. It is out of the way and not the very first thing you see when you walk into the room but it is still cluttered and unnecessary. With The Good Daughter getting her own Big Girl room soon, all of these toys will find there way into her room and we will return to the ONE toy basket after The Good Son is born.

Get ready for next week - the entry way/mud room! 

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Week 12 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 12 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on the family command center/launching pad.

I am super excited for this post. I have been working on this command center/launch pad it seems like forever. It was the first project in a long time that I didn't get done as soon as I humanly could. Pregnancy and a toddler I am finding are very distracting. 

I owe this idea to something I found on Pinterest, again. 

Back in February, I created our family mail station.  Basically I moved a small end table next to the fridge to put my purse and keep our home address book and Brains of the Operation, aka Household Binder. Then I installed a mail organizer. The fridge was still a hot mess.

I wanted an area where we could see, as a family what we had planned for the week and month. While I know what our week and month look like b.c I look at the BotO every night, The Good Husband is not so diligent, or aware of what the binder is actually.  So I thought having it all out in the open would be a good thing.

I started with a big old piece of foam board from the craft store and cut it down to 25"x25". I then painted it a bright color - Spring Pasture by Martha Stewart - in a cute chevron pattern.

I then bought from the dollar store, two document frames and two 4"x6" frames. I removed the glass on one frame and hot glued cork to make a pushpin board. In the other frames, I left the glass but removed the backing, to create a dry erase board. Then I used command picture frame strips to hold everything together. And let me just say - Holy Shit! - I am so thankful to have found these since hanging photos was a huge point of contention in our house since TGH is anal about nailing things into the studs and I could give two shits as long as everything just looked pretty. These have been a marriage saver.

The pushpin board I use to hold miscellaneous coupons and receipts. The other smaller frame contains a to do or note area. TGH can use this to make note of any appointments he might have, notes for me, or a list of things we need from the store. 

The document frame holds my weekly docket.  We can see at a glance what we are going to eat for the week, what we are going to clean, and what we are going to play/learn along with any notes and appointments.

The other document frame contains a blank calendar so we can see any appointments or dates in the coming weeks.

This is the first you see when you walk into the house from the garage. I have a place to put my purse, keys and mail, and to write down any important information I might need. Also when leaving in the morning, I have a space to do one final check before I am off and running and hopefully don't forget anything.

I love the sense of order it gives me to have most of our information in one place and easily visible, so everyone in on the same page and there is little confusion.

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges

Monday, June 4, 2012

Week 11 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 11 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on the dining room/kitchen eating area.

One of the things that annoy me about our house that I didn't even realize until after we moved in was our eat in kitchen/lack of a formal dining room.  {you can see that fugly garbage can I told you about here in the right of this photo. i am ashamed.}

With the space all open, it is hard to have defined areas. It helps that the dining room and kitchen are titled, but the door to the garage is right in the middle of everything and there is no real place to get ready to walk out the door. Couple that with the fact that stuff gets piled on the buffet and the table and it can create a sense of clutter quickly.

One of the ways I try and combat the sense of living with a hoarder, is to keep the surfaces as clear as possible. The photos and nic-nacs on the buffet will hopefully be one day moved to some floating shelves that we will put on the wall above the buffet or out of the room completely. For now they just add some color to the bland space.

The buffet is a hand me down that isn't really our style but for now provides a ton of storage for such a little space. Our entertaining plates and linens live in the buffet, awaiting the one time of year they will be used. I also have party supplies in there for the yearly birthday party for The Good Daughter. 

Having storage in the dining room is important for the space. Either you are eating in the room everyday like we do, or you use it a few times a year at Christmas and Thanksgiving. By having a place to store the things you only use occasionally, you allow the space to become clutter free. If you use the space daily, you also have the opportunity to keep the space clear by having a place to put the things that can pile up on the regular.

{I cannot tell you how much it annoys me that with the buffet centered in the middle of the wall, it is off center from the table, which is also off center from the light fixture. Good design tells you to have the middle of your table under the center of your light fixture but moving the table over that far feels like we are eating in the damn living room. So I try not to think about how everything is off in the dining room.}

One of the biggest challenges for us in this room is keeping all the shit we bring in from the garage from taking over the space. To keep the clutter at bay, I use one of the most helpful organization tips there is: work with your natural habits. I would love it if every time The Good Husband left or came home, he would go into the bedroom and put his stuff away in a valet on the dresser. But there is no way in hell that is ever happening b/c it is out of his nature to walk across the house the second he gets home.

However, he can keep his shit organized if given the tools he needs.

Right now his keys and wallet and work badge and whatever the hell else he brings home, goes into a container at the end of the buffet. This keeps all his shit wrangled and off the dining room table. I do need to get a better container but for now, I have got him in the habit of putting his shit there when he gets home.

It is second nature to him now and it makes for a neat and organized space. I also have chair next to the garage door so anything that needs to go out to the cars can sit there until it is put away. It also provides a place for TGD to sit in the morning to put on her shoes and extra seating for when we have company at the dinner table.

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges