Tuesday, January 17, 2017

14 Organized Entertaining Cabinets & Drawers

When I have a series of projects to work on, I always start with the smallest/easiest first. Then as my momentum builds I take on the more intense areas. This month I hope to tackle four different areas of our home and our messy dining drawers were the least intimidating of the four. Our son is receiving a whole new closet, my husband has hours of tool sorting ahead of him (with my help of course), and under our laundry room sink is a blank slate that needs some thought out storage.


Just as I predicted it, I started emptying the messy drawers and impulsively decided to tackle the two cabinets below at the same time. Wait, if I predicted it then I guess I really wasn't all that impulsive. Or else I just know myself that well. Anyway, all of the drawers and cabinets serve similar functions in storing items for entertaining, parties, outdoor dining and specialty food dishes/utensils. The last cabinet also holds our pitchers and decorative vases, so I also tossed that one into the mix. The cabinets themselves weren't really all that bad (still wish I would have taken a couple before shots of them), but needed a small amount of help to add in some order and categorize all that was happening in this area of our dining room. 

With each of the spaces we are focusing on this month, I want to walk through what the process looks like as I go.


The very first thing I did with these drawers and cabinets is empty every last item out onto the nearby table. Knowing that the cabinets here are quite shallow, I was shocked at how much I was actually storing inside of them! My Jenga-Tetris-esque skills are strong. Shield your eyes friends!


Do you like my abundant fruit filled bowl? Ha! #thegrocerystoreiscalling

Messes like the one above excite me! Not in a want to keep it all scattered out on the table forever kind of way, but more of a can't wait to categorize and purge sort of way!


So, that is exactly what I did. I broke out my handy laminated labels and started picking through the entire pile and sorting things down accordingly. 


I touched every last thing and really forced myself to make note of the when each item was last used. Some things were hard to put into the donate bin, but anything that I wasn't putting to use frequently, that was a duplicate, that was broken, etc... went bye bye. It is such a freeing feeling! Everything else was placed into loose piles with similar item types.

With the cabinets and drawers emptied out, I took exact measurements of both (L x W x H). I then looked at the categorized piles on the table and counter and made a shopping list of storage ideas that would best handle the items. I knew I wanted one drawer to be lined with organizers to prevent another jumbled mess from forming, while the other was purged enough to offer some looser flexibility. I also told myself that just because something lived in a drawer for the last year, doesn't mean that is where it makes the most sense long term. I ultimately decided to put some of the party items below into a cabinet and move some of the entertaining pieces up from the cabinet to a drawer. To do so, I would need to find some boxes or bins to now hold the smaller loose party items inside of the cabinet. 

However, before heading out to the store in search of storage pieces, I grabbed some matting board I had on hand and painted it to match the other cabinet interiors in our kitchen (like the charging station and coffee cabinets). By painting the board (foam core also works quite well), I can put a temporary bold backing in and give the cabinets a more polished look and feel. To do this I just cut the board to size, grab a mini-roller and apply a couple coats of paint. Once the board is dry, the cabinet shelves hold it in place in the back of the cabinet.


I also cut a couple pieces of gift wrap to add to the bottom of the two drawers. It was trying to curl a little, but once items were placed on top it flattened out. #details


Both of these upgrades were inexpensive and easy using materials I already use and keep on hand, and always make a noticeable difference with my projects. 

I found a couple of organizers at Target (wide & thin); some light weight lidded bins for the party supplies and drawer dividers for my cloth napkins and utensils.


The napkins previously took up an entire drawer on their own. I took the time to neatly fold them all and place them inside of a couple of bins and now they only take up a half of a drawer!


They are also easy to see and pull from when the wine and dine mood strikes!


Some napkin rings, seafood tools, and chopsticks are sorted in the remaining organizers.


I reused a couple organizers I found in the jumbled mess and paired them with a couple of other small serving pieces. The best part is there is room to spare and also a bit of flexibility!


Worlds better! I can't wait to open these drawers the next time we have guests or serve up our Sunday brunch! Oh! And those Table Grace cards were the most special gift from my friend, Grace. They are so beautiful, you can read all about them here.


Onto the cabinets below! 


Everything in here is pretty straight forward. The lidded bins are the ideal depth, lightweight and semi-transparent. 


I began by sorting down items on the table that we use for parties and for when the boys have their friends over. The categories are pretty basic and everything should be quick and easy to find.



I made the labels by combining some old Martha Stewart labels I purchased at Staples a couple years ago, with my gold font and clear label tape printed by my label maker (these labels also coordinate to the labels in the electronic cabinet next door).


The rest of the cabinet holds our ice cream dishes, specialty barware, cake stand, popsicle molds, ceramic egg crates and our cocoa mugs.



And the white metal bins are the caddies we utilize when entertaining outdoors or hosting a party.


The final cabinet is very basic and a fine place for all of my oversized pitchers, cloches, and vases.


I super wish I had taken a cabinet "before" picture too because it would have been almost as good as the drawers. Oh well, the afters are still reason for a little celebration! And I will also celebrate that I did a little more than I initially planned. Even if I sort of planned it.

Alright, Parker's new closet is halfway installed and I am already absolutely thrilled with how that project is moving along! More before and afters to come!

Friday, January 13, 2017

30 Good Reads: Where I Find My Organizing Inspiration

I just completed my first of four organizing projects for this month, and I can't wait to photograph it and share it with you! As I initially sat down to plan each problem area and went through all of the whys and hows and thoughts, I found myself reaching for my organizational library. Before I started blogging, there was no such thing as Pinterest. The majority of the ideas I found and utilized were from the pages of (gasp) books and magazines! And no matter what technology continues to throw my way, I will never stop loving a beautiful book or a glossy magazine. I find endless amounts of pleasure just flipping through tangible pages and taking in all of the advice and visual inspiration. In fact, I am an extremely visual person. I am sure there are a lot of really wonderful books that teach organizational principles, however, I find I am much more likely to hop off of the couch and tackle a drawer or closet immediately upon seeing a beautiful photo of one.


So, as I grabbed for my big stack of books, I thought that I would take a moment to share my favorites with you. The common thread between each of the books/magazines I am featuring today is that they are all filled to the brim with gorgeous imagery that correlates to a plethora of tips, tricks, advice, strategies and solutions for organizing every last nook and cranny of your home.
      
Unfortunately, some of the books and magazines on my list may no longer be available to purchase online or on newsstands. I didn't want to leave them out of the running though because I have noticed that on occasion publishers will release updated printings, and older versions and copies may be found at second-hand bookstores or are still available through sellers online.

Isn't it fun to find out what makes friends, family, and fellow bloggers tick? Well, these books are my vice and love language and receive my attention all year long (but even more so in January). Above and beyond the helpful tips and mighty imagery, here are a few more reasons these books and magazines stay within my reach at all times.


REAL SIMPLE THE ORGANIZED HOME


Real Simple, The Organized Home was one of my very first organizing books. The cover is damaged and the pages are falling out, but it remains one of my all-time favorites. Last year an updated version hit newsstands in the form of a bookzine, and it is equally as wonderful.

Real Simple's photographs are right in line with their name; simple. And that is what I love about them. They are clean, and therefore inspire me to clean!


Both versions of the book will take you room-by-room and not only share ideas and tips for each space, but also identify the basic building blocks to put together a highly functional and easy-to-maintain home. 


Bonus: Flip to the back pages to find common items that are challenging to let go of, and some guiding principles to aid you in your quest to living with less.


MARTHA STEWART


Although Real Simple was my first organizing book, Martha Stewart was my first organizing idol. She was the queen of making organization look beautiful (not sterile or boring). Oh, the details! Painted pantries, decorative label holders, collected canisters... Who would want to mess up any of those lovely systems? I grew up watching Martha on television, and I am still in awe of her tips and craft products and kitchen gadgets. Good Things for Organizing is another room-by-room format, sharing storage solutions for just about anything a space can hold. And the rooms featured are relatable and look lived in, not just staged in a studio.


The Martha Stewart Organizing bookzine also includes storage solutions, in addition, it offers quick life hacks like adding grommets to your kitchen towels and rubber gloves so they easily hang on hooks under your kitchen sink. You name it, there is a solution for it!


GOOD HOUSEKEEPING


I know not everyone feels the same, but I truly find pleasure in housekeeping. That said, I also want to learn how to do it more efficiently and effectively. I received the Good Housekeeping Simple Household Wisdom book for Christmas, and it has been a wonderfully quick read complete with tested tricks that are sure to save time and sanity. Did you know dishtowels were deemed the most contaminated spot in the kitchen? Swap those out daily friends! And that you should never use clothing stain remover on the carpet? #guiltyascharged Are you loading your dishwasher with all of your dishes facing inward? That is where the spray is the strongest. Page after page of endlessly helpful tidbits of information.


This year I also picked up Good Housekeeping's bookzine titled Get Organized! I figured if they had such good household tips, I had to know what their thoughts were on organization.


I absolutely love that these pages are filled with EASY solutions, some that can be done in 8 minutes or less! And with that, they don't offer any more than 8-10 simple tips for any given area. This ensures I don't feel overwhelmed or discouraged to tackle my bedroom closet or my overflowing desk drawers. So approachable and motivating!



STYLE AT HOME


I think that I am meant to be a resident of Canada (heck, a few hour drive and I suppose I could be!). Their designers and editorials for interiors are the ones I find myself seeking out more than any others. Hello! Sarah Richardson! Come and decorate my house, please! Style at Home Magazine, thank you for sending me a digital copy of your pages every month! You do color SO right! 


I am truly madly deeply in love with how Style at Home does white, I love how they do color, I love the finishes they showcase and the fresh and clean feeling their spaces emote. So when I found out they released an occasional special edition issue solely focussed on organization... Wowza! My heart burst into a million little fluttery hearts.


And these magazines are everything I hoped they would be and more. Colorful organization paired with real life tips that blend seamlessly with the decor (always my personal goal). Everything from setting up an effective workspace to maximizing your kitchen cabinet space, they have it covered. It also looks like they have a newer issue I haven't personally flipped through yet, but it was just added to my shopping cart! I am grateful that you can purchase all of their past special edition issues here, I wish more magazine publishers offered that option to their readers.


STORAGE MAGAZINE


I don't think I have missed an issue of Storage magazine in the last 8+ years! And of course, the magazine has a special place in my heart since they gave us a huge multi-page feature a couple of years back. I had the personal pleasure of working with Better Homes and Gardens for quite a few years, and they really have an impeccable eye for amazing interiors and the specific details that make a house a home. I especially appreciate when they focus on the organizational details that help a home run smoother. 


I have personally learned quite a bit from this magazine; the clear shoebox drawers under our kitchen sink have been working hard for us for many years now, and switching all of our towel rods to hooks has been life changing for our kids (and ultimately for us as well). This quarterly publication packs a lot of punch with solutions for every room in the home, garage included, as well as hot new storage and organizational supplies that are designed to simplify daily life. These types of magazines always feel like a splurge, but they are generally ad free and I learn from them so I try to justify it every couple of months.


BETTER HOMES & GARDEN'S ORGANIZE YOUR HOME


I will never forget the day this book showed up at my front door back in 2013. I locked myself in the bathroom for hours, shriveling up like a prune in the bathtub while I scoured every last page. Although I have read this book cover to cover multiple times, it is still one I reach for quite frequently. I especially appreciate that they call out some of the trickier items that need to be purged, with advice on how to dispose of them, and/or the best locations to donate things like books, old cell phones, prom dresses, etc...


The pages are filled with motivational quotes and quick hits, and this book taught me that labels don't solely have to be made from white and black labeling tape, that beautifully lined drawers make an impact and why clear acrylic organizers will always be my favorite. I also find it helpful that they will show a full room view, and then break it down into smaller details and strategies.


CLEANING BOOKS


Cleaning and organizing go hand-in-hand, and often times folks will resolute to organize spaces around their home, and also to make some changes in the cleaning department. Whether it be to make homemade cleaners, to implement 15 minute daily pick-ups, or to deep clean one room per month, there are a few books that can offer you some guidance.

The Organically Clean Home and The Naturally Clean Home are my homemade cleaner bibles. I have quite enjoyed making my own cleaners over the years as there is something so wonderful about knowing all of the included ingredients while saving money and packaging. And with the help of these two books, no matter what the mess, I can find a remedy using items I already have on hand. One of my dear friends, Becky, is about to release her next book, and I am counting the minutes! The girl is a cleaning genius!

Not only do visuals of organized desks and closets inspire me to get off my tush and work some magic, sparkly counters and sink fixtures and bright white baseboards motivate me to go clean something! 


Real Simple Cleaning certainly shares how to make your counters glisten and keep those baseboards white, as well as tips for maintaining household appliances. The photography is stunning and "clean" while the tips are easy and straight forward. Want to put together a solid cleaning kit? This book will help you out with that as well. Now when you go room-by-room to organize, you can add a little extra sparkle to your projects!


REDBOOK!


Shameless plug starts in 3...2...1... 

I have learned so much over the years, whether it be through reading and research or trial and error, and I now get to share my favorite tips and tricks monthly as part of an amazing collaboration with Redbook magazine! You can find me on the front pages of each issue, tossing around extremely simple and doable ideas. I have chatted about tips for organizing under the bathroom sink, putting together helpful caddies for around the house, solutions to create the ultimate command station and tips for DIY'ing darling storage boxes. This month we re-created solutions from our boy's playroom while adding in a couple of new elements and ideas! This opportunity has been so much fun and a whole new way to share my love for organizing with the world!

__________


Some people collect mugs, others collect baseball cards and vintage tea sets, and I collect organizing books and magazines. When things in my life start to feel a little overwhelming, opening these pages brings me a great sense of calm. And generally all of our organizing projects stem from one of two places; I either grew really frustrated with a particular system and decided to deal with it on the spot, or I saw an amazing picture that sparked a new idea.


What inspires you to take on a new organizing project? Are you a need to read about it or need to see it type of person? What organizational or cleaning books should I add to my list?





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