Thursday, June 23, 2016

59 Where I Work... Home Office Status and a Few Plans

Well pals!  This week I began my first in home client project and I am SO excited to dive in and help a wonderful family take back control of their kitchen and entryway!  Although we still have a few projects around our own home to finish up, I am really looking forward to helping other folks organize and simplify their spaces.  In fact, it has been my dream for the past six years, however, my blog and shop had consumed my time and I let my end goal drift away a bit.  Organizing is such a passion, but it is far more enjoyable and rewarding when I can work on spaces with others.

Speaking of lingering projects... We have quite a few that have been in the works for the past year.  Instead of rushing through each one to get to a big reveal day, I have decided to slow down, live in our spaces and take things one day at a time.  I can thank blogging for helping me realize that I just work better this way, and it really allows us to make better overall decisions and investments for our home.

Late last year, I decided to do an impromptu home office/playroom swap with our boys. They are all in school full time and have lost interest in Mr. Potato Head and Duplo blocks. Their playroom would sit empty all day, while I worked in a windowless cave in our home. When the boys agreed that it would be fun to trade spaces, I just started packing things up and moving things around on a whim one night. Although, I had to take a few breaks and wipe away a few tears. This move meant my boys were growing older and hitting new milestones in their lives. That I would never see their little dimpled hands dump out every bin and dig for their favorite Little People figures, or fumble as they create towers and bridges direct from their imaginations.  #slowdowntime

playroom reveal

For the most part, the furniture from the playroom fit my old office, and my old office furniture fit their playroom.  There were a few exceptions, as the two rooms are different in terms of lighting, available space, layout and functionality.  The boys' new area will become a more mature place to hang out; a place for games and popcorn with a side of Lego.  So I left them my large table and bench, and will be adding in a mini fridge and pantry.  When it came to my space, I had just about everything I needed, with the exception of an actual workspace.  We finally were able to give my favorite aqua hutch a new home, and have plans to open the wall to give me access to my under-the-stairs storage.  The desk was the missing link.

We no longer needed the large entertainment center or the TV that it held, so I sold both on Craigslist, giving me my new desk budget.

I really made sure to think about how I planned to use my office long term.  What have I liked and disliked about previous work spaces?  How could I set up a space to help me stay productive and also fit my organizational desires?  This time I decided to go full on function, and worry about making it pretty later.  So I began taping out a few desk options on the floor.

My main goal was to create a space that can offer a dual workspace.  A place to grow my team and allow for my husband and children to visit and work with me.  A place to meet with future clients and have conference calls.  Working from home alone can be so isolating, so it was crucial to change that.  And certainly I had enough room in my new, bright space for two desks?

I was almost certain this would be the route I landed on, as it had the most flexibility with the type of desk I could select.  But once I started taping things out, I was really starting to realize I only had one good full wall to work off of, and that my space wasn't as big as I thought it was.  Beyond two work spaces, I also had to account for my filing cabinet and my large printer.  Where would they go?  And then it became more and more challenging to source two desks I liked that fit my available space.  So I looked at another option.

This was definitely it, until I taped it off.  I was surprised how little space I would have, especially when the filing cabinet and printer were brought back into play.  And how awkward to work facing a corner, and if I was joined by someone, to be crowded near the secondary work area.  Not to mention, this option didn't make use of the large area in the center of the room.

Third time was a charm.

By going with a T-shape workspace, each individual can have their own private work area, facing the window.  There is room for a printer below in-between each side, and the filing cabinet also fit below the base of the T.

This layout also allows me to spread out.  I make such a mess when I work, and love having an area for my computer, and another for writing, planning, bill paying, crafting, etc... The L shape provides a space for me to easily transition from computer to blank space just by turning my chair.  It also allows me to chat with the person across from me.

I was able to find a few desk/table tops from IKEA to put together this setup inexpensively.  I didn't want to have to build and paint something, I looked for tops that had a nice and smooth factory finish.  And months and months later, I can attest that this setup really does work perfectly for me.  I wouldn't change a thing functionally but I still have some tweaking to do visually, so I will be sure to share all of the desk details once I make a few more small updates.

filing cabinet
The desk is the only item I have purchased for the space, everything else I already had and came over from my last office space.  Every last basket and bin and box and tray...

This view is my current favorite.  I love that I have a bright window and my hutch!

But beyond that, I have a few choices to make.  The bookcases don't exactly fit, however, their functionality is fabulous.

I would love to eventually build something in to make the most of the width and height of this strange little nook.  Something pretty like these make my eyes giddy.

1 | 2

I love the hutch and I love my thrift store chair, but I wonder if the two paired together are too much?  Too sweet?  Is it possible that too much sweetness can become a negative?

And the birch tree stencil.  Oy.  Not my personal favorite, but I just haven't been able to bring myself to paint over it yet.  Not until I know what I want to do with all of the walls... Covering up the stencil is going to require hours of dusty sanding, and a little hand holding because again... not ready.  I can't believe I painted it over four years ago. #sigh

We were only able to hang two of our wall system components, to add the third we will have to remove the window trim to allow enough room for the piece to slide in on the rail.  We will do that when we paint, and make sure to re-center it appropriately.

Cords needs controlling, and the printer is about to get a cart with pull out shelves and a spot for my scanner and paper trays.

Until the opening to the storage closet is created, I have a few piles building from items I use daily; photography equipment, papers, backdrops and a bucket of "to do" items.  I am debating if I want/need to door off the closet this time around, I sort of like the idea of leaving it open.

The hutch makes up for the cabinets I lost in my other space, but I just can't seem to come up with a creative way to use the wine storage area... any suggestions or ideas?

I killed my first live plant, so went faux this time around.  Four months later and it is still thriving! ;)

A few other small accessories sprinkled throughout help keep daily desk items corralled.  I removed the final wax from a candle and now use the jar for my favorite markers.

Business cards in a jewelry dish....

An acrylic organizer for items I look at frequently; books, magazines, to-do files and paint swatches.

desk calendar | file folders | acrylic organizer

And stacking trays at the opposite end of my desk hold envelopes, stamps, notebooks and stationery.

stacking trays

I would also love to install a roman shade and crown moulding.  And maybe paint the walls white to flow with the remainder of the basement, and doing something playful on the ceiling?  OK, I am getting ahead of myself now.  One day at a time....

So the space swap had a small trickle effect, but we will get there, a few small updates should make a huge difference.  In the meantime, I am just thrilled to have a window that I get to look out of every single day.  Everything else is just icing on the cake!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

12 UHeart Organizing: Creative Ways to Organize Your Home's Paint Colors

I really needed today's paint color organization tips, and will be using them as we freshen up our laundry room (which is where all of our paint is stored).  I have always been a color lover and our home reflects that; whether it is through a painted piece of furniture, our brightly painted front door or the walls throughout.  The number of touch-up jars and colors that I try to keep track of is a little insane.  Even if you have a simple and serene color palette for your home, most likely you have a variety of colors, shades and finishes in each of your spaces.

So how do you keep track of it all?  I have tried a few methods, and none have really stuck all that well.  I actually find myself googling my own blog when I am at home improvement stores, which is a nice option, but not always reliable if I have left out any details.

That said, the gals from DIY Playbook are here today to share a few different options, all of which are quick, easy and inexpensive (even free) to do!  Thanks for the ideas and the push ladies!

When it comes to home decorating, we've found that one of the HARDEST decisions starts right at the very beginning. What color do I paint the walls? When you have thousands of paint colors to choose from, it can be incredibly overwhelming! Trust us, we we've been there before.

But today, we're not going to chat about choosing the perfect paint color (we've already blogged about that topic). Instead, we're going to chat about what you do after you choose the color & paint the walls. How do you make sure that you never ever forget the name of the winning colors that you painted throughout your home? Because you put so much time and thought into choosing the absolute perfect color, we want to make sure that you have that paint color information on-hand and organized! That way you can easily buy new paint for touch-ups, or know the exact color number & sheen when you want to add a color to a new room in your house.

So let's dive right into the 4 different options we created to save and organize this crucial information.

Secret Paint Information in your Switch Plate Cover
Project Cost: $0
Time to Create: 2 minutes

I recently painted our new guest room (full room reveal here) a very dark & moody navy color (Valspar's "Dutch Licorice" to be exact). I was incredibly nervous to bring such a dramatic color into our bright home, but I'm happy I stepped outside of the box and tried something new. Because I love this color so much, I want to make sure I never forget the paint information.

So the information is recorded right in the room...

It is on the back of the light switch cover! Pretty clever, right?

I simply used a flathead screwdriver to take the outlet cover off.

Then I grabbed a sharpie and wrote the information on the back of this valuable real estate. I included the brand, color, paint color number, and finish directly onto the switch cover plate.

Rookie Tip: If you're adding this information while you're painting the space, add a small thumb print of paint on the back. That way you can always bring the cover plate switch with you to the store if you need them to match it for any reason.

Once all of the vital info was recorded, I screwed it back on and called it a day! Now if I ever have to buy more paint for touch-ups, I will know exactly which color to buy (and so do any future home owners).

DIY Paint Stick Library
Project Cost: Less than $5
Time to Create: 15 minutes plus dry time

This next idea is a great resource for those of you who may prefer to have a tangible item you can physically pick-up, refer back to, or even bring to the hardware store as a reference.

We love the paint stick library because it's almost free to create, takes up next to no space to store, yet it is a wealth of information to have on hand for the long-term! So let's first talk about the cost of this DIY project. Since paint sticks are free at hardware stores, the only expense (outside of the paint of course) is the binder ring, which costs about $2-5 for a whole package online or at an office supply store. And having a whole package of these rings in the house is super valuable because they tend to be useful in organizing just about anything (like these super easy Christmas Card books we put together each year).

To get started on this project, you're going to want to pick up one free paint stick for each paint color you'll be documenting... and if the hardware store doesn't mind, maybe grab a few extra for future paint colors you may want to add to your collection someday.

Using a drill and a pilot bit, drill a tiny pilot hole at the very top of each of your paint sticks, being careful not to break the paint stick in the process of drilling each hole.

Once you have a pilot hole at the top of each paint stick, it's pretty much business as usual for these sticks.

You should use each stick to stir the paint cans like you normally would, but instead of throwing that stick in the garbage when you're done with it, you're going to save it & set it on the top of the can's lid until the paint is dry.

Once the paint is dry, use a marker to write down the paint's information. We included the paint brand, the name of the color, the number of that color, and the sheen. However, we don't necessarily think that's the only important information that can be noted. You can also include other important details such as how many coats it took to cover the wall with this paint, what room this paint was used in, how much paint you have leftover after the project, and even where you are storing that extra paint. Heck... if you have a memory like me, there is no such thing as documenting too many details on these paint sticks!

Rookie Tip: Use the back of the paint sticks if you need more room to write necessary information!

After you've documented all of the information you want on the paint stick, you'll slip each paint stick through the binder ring.

And just like that, you have created your very own paint stick library that cost you next to nothing.

We hung our paint stick library in the garage so we can quickly & easily access it. However this library can stay in a drawer, hang on a hook inside a cabinet or closet, or even be stacked on top of your leftover paint cans.

The best part of this simple paint stick library is that you can also add more paint sticks to this collection as your paint collection grows. Paint a room in your home a new color and you can easily create a new paint stick and add it to the bunch... without much effort at all.

If you want an even EASIER version of this same concept, you can create a paint stick library using paint swatches instead of paint sticks... a paint swatch library. Simply collect a free paint swatch for each color paint you used in your home, punch a hole in the corner of each swatch, and bind them together with that same handy-dandy binder clip!

You can add the same notes that we mentioned with the paint stick library by writing them right on the front or back of the paint swatch. This paint swatch library is super convenient because you can throw it in your bag and have it on-hand when you stop at the hardware store to pick up some more paint. It's also helpful to have this information on hand when you're out shopping for home decor and want to see if that new purchase will "match" your space without having to haul it home only to realize it doesn't match and you have to take it back. #hatewhenthathappens

Tech Savvy Paint Storage
Cost: $0

Time to Create: 3 minutes per paint color

Now this last strategy for remembering and organizing your home's paint information is perfect for those people who don't necessarily need a tangible item to refer back to, but instead would rather keep this information saved via technology. And just like those last strategies, this one is very inexpensive.... FREE if we're really keeping track.

If you're not the person who needs to see/touch/hold/manipulate an actual paint swatch, then storing this information on your phone is a great way to make sure you always have it with you and always know where it is. Granted, the true colors of the paint may be a bit skewed depending on the camera quality of your phone, but this technique is the perfect way to cut-down on clutter while still staying organized and informed.

Just like you did with the paint swatch library, you're going to collect a paint swatch for each of the paint colors in your home.

For each color, you're going to lay it on a piece of paper and write down all of the facts that you need to know about this color.

Then, instead of creating a tangible item with this information, we took a picture of the swatch and notes.

Rookie Tip: It's important to use a dark marker when writing this information on the paper. This helped us see the font very clearly in the cell phone photos.

From there, you can save each paint photo to whatever venue works best for you and your lifestyle. Maybe you save each photo in Google Drive, maybe to a specific photo album on your phone, maybe on Dropbox or maybe as an email attachment.  As we all know, the techy possibilities are endless!
Regardless of where you choose to store these images, we hope you keep these photos in a place that is safe and will be quick and easy for you to find. If you're tech savvy, we love this simple idea because you'll ALWAYS have your paint information with you and will not have to store anymore "stuff" around your house.

So are you ready to get your home's paint colors organized?! With minimal time, effort, and money, you can make sure that you never ever forget the colors you meticulously chose for your home's walls.


Hey There! We're Bridget and Casey, the best friends, Chicago gals, and editors behind The DIY Playbook. Even though we consider ourselves busy girls with full-time jobs, husbands, and never ending to-do lists, we believe there is always time to add personality to our homes. On our blog, we strive to inspire our readers to inject their sparkling personalities into their own spaces with affordable and attainable solutions. We heart Instagram, can't turn down a cup of coffee, have no clue what we're doing in the kitchen, and are beyond excited to be part of the IHeart Organizing team!

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