Friday, July 22, 2016

4 UHeart Organizing: Serving Up Creative Outdoor Storage

The reason I initially fell in love with blogs is because they offered me ideas and inspiration and motivated me to think outside of the box.  My favorite posts are always those "Why didn't I think of that?" kind.  The type that offer up a completely smart solution, with just a bit of creative thinking and a few simple steps.  Of course, reading blogs with pretty pictures, relatable moments and stories, life hacks and product recommendations are also big winners for me, but there is just something so wonderful about inexpensive and smart little tweaks that anyone can do around their home.

Courtney has been a regular around here for years, and she always receives a thumbs up from me in all areas of her blogging talents, but I especially adore her ability to turn something ordinary into something that is both darling and extraordinary.  She is one smart cookie, and she is here to share her most recent patio update which may spark your own light bulb moment.

Summertime and the living is easy! Well, actually nothing could be further from the truth. We are mid-move and relocating after nearly ten years in a home is a bit bananas. The project I am sharing today was born of necessity. The only space we have put together is the outdoor patio of our new home. That has allowed us to relax and enjoy while we work on indoor projects. But the only time we have a second to breathe is in the evening when it cools off and we need a blanket. I really wanted to find something that would store my blankets and also provide us with some other function. So with very little, I created some outdoor storage that now acts as a side table and a serving tray when we entertain. And it's all thanks to a laundry hamper!

I am thrilled to not only have the storage for my blankets, but now I have an end table to set down a drink or style just for fun. This entire area is covered so that makes this project possible. It would be great for any covered area, a front porch or indoors. I am not sure it would hold up well under direct heat from the sun. So let's get started! It's super simple.

Step #1: Look for any laundry hamper that provides the look you want. The reason I went with the laundry basket is that it has the height I was looking for. And it just so happened to be this pretty color which goes with our color scheme out here.

Step #2: Pick up a round wooden disk from Home Depot ($6) and two handles ($3.50 each). And that's it!!! You will also need some white paint (or any color you choose). I used paint I already had at home.

Step #3: Place the handles in the desired location and make a dot in the center of each hole. This will tell you where to pre-drill your holes.

Step #4: Use a drill to attach each handle. I chose to pre-drill the holes and then unscrew them. I just like to know that it all works before I go to the trouble of painting. You could skip this step and drill after the disk is painted. Totally up to you.

Step #5: Apply two coats of paint. You will also want to add a coat or two of poly-urethane to protect the paint

Step #6: Once the paint is completely dry, add the handles. Allow the tray to set overnight before placing anything on top just so the paint doesn't stick.

And there you have it! A side table as well as storage for blankets or anything else you can dream up. You could even store toys in here if you have little ones.

And now when the sun sets I can now cuddle up with the blanket. So nice to have it right there.

You can also remove the tray and use it for entertaining which I love to do. I love the way the gold handles play off of the white tray.

So while we may be knee-deep in boxes and packing, we do have one place to hang out and relax. I honestly can't function unless we have one area pulled together. Are you that way? Hope you can find a spot indoors or out to create a little extra storage the next time you spot a laundry hamper. And as always, thank you to Jen and her sweet readers for allowing me to hang out here today.

Hi! I'm Courtney, the author of A Thoughtful Place. I am a mom to two and passionate about home decor, DIY, fashion, gatherings, and the occasional life lesson. I love finding simple and accessible ideas for infusing style into all aspects of life. While an average day can often be hectic, A Thoughtful Place hopes to inspire you to find beauty and style in each and every one.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

25 Ten Favorite Products, Storage Solutions and Hacks We Use and Love Every Day

I was recently going through my daily routine and thinking about the things that help me out the most on a daily basis.  Not necessarily anything ground breaking, but things that we use every day that also makes our lives feel a bit easier and run a bit smoother.  I am also asked frequently which systems we still use and love just as much today as we did the day I posted about them.  I thought it would be fun to round up those items, and then have you all chime in with your personal favorites as well.


Let's start with the beginning of the day.  When it comes to ironing, I will press specific dressy shirts quickly after the wash/dry process, however, everything else goes straight to my closet.  A lot of my tops, blouses, shorts and skirts ultimately have some wrinkles when I pull them out in the morning.  Instead of dragging out the bulky ironing board and waiting for the iron to heat up, I have found this steamer to be a much more convenient and quick option.  I just keep the space saving pad hung on the back of the bedroom door, and the steamer is ready to go in seconds (which I store in a bedroom drawer).  This quick tool prevents me from attempting to de-wrinkle with my hair dryer...

I also love to use a compact steamer when I travel.


Next up... This little brush finds its way to my hands for a variety of tasks, but I use it daily on our bathroom sinks after morning tooth brushing sessions.  Random Personal Fact: For as much as I prefer things clean around the house, I have it stuck in my mind that the messier I am while brushing my teeth, the cleaner I am getting them.  We always have a case of toothpaste sink in our bathroom, as well as the main bath where the boys brush.  A little water paired with this brush and the sink sparkles in seconds.


Another cleaning tool I use every. single. day. is our Dyson cordless stick vac.  We have had this buddy for years now, and it helps me combat daily pet hair and crumbs.  Not only does it go from hard floor to rugs, it also can lay almost flat to get under hard to reach areas.  My favorite feature is that it easily transitions to a hand vac, perfect for those quick cleanups (corners, drawers, stairs, furniture, etc...).


Heading back to the bathroom for a moment... Attaching basic ribbon loops to our towels is a simple "hack" that I am grateful for on the daily.  We have been towels-on-hooks people for years now, and these little loops prevent the towels from slipping off of the hooks (because when kids are involved and quickly hanging things, those things also quickly fall to the ground).  I think you all know by now I am easily amused, but this one truly gets a thumbs up and is basically a free upgrade anyone can make.


These bins make my list in just about any organizing post, but that is probably because I use them more than any other type of storage bin or basket in our home.  They are light weight, perfectly sized and inexpensive, making them ideal for our fridge, freezer, pantry, linen closet and under bathroom sinks. I can't rave enough about how hard they work for us all over the house.


It's probably no surprise that my planner makes this list.  The reasons are pretty obvious; I keep my life details scribbled on these pages.  I use my planner pages to set personal goals, keep track of deadlines and appointments, to hold business cards and invitations and even a few of my favorite family Instagram photos.... I would surely be lost without it! (Cover is the Kikki-K from a few years ago, but here is another similar option).


When it comes to stations around the home, there are a few that never let me down.  First up, our shoe cabinet.  I can confidently say that this is the best piece of storage furniture I have ever purchased.  Although my kids still need reminders to actually put their shoes away, getting them to do it couldn't be easier.


We have two family paper management systems, one for us (in my office) and one for our boys.  This charging cabinet is used daily for posting memos, responsibilities and schedules, as well as sorting specific paperwork and charging electronic devices.

Just above the cabinet is a supply drawer with pens, pencils, paper and other office supplies, all which are also used daily by all of us.  A single cabinet and drawer really receive a lot of love and attention, yet it is all concealed in a really wonderful way.


Also in the kitchen, we opted to utilize turntables or 'lazy susans' in our corner cabinet.  I had no idea what a difference these would really make in organizing our frequently used kitchen items.  I find myself smiling every time I just give it a spin and I am able to easily grab what I need.  In fact, I have just begun to really nail down our fridge organization, and another turntable made its way there as well. And our large corner base cabinet has large dual turntables/carousel for our pots and pans.  I am already thinking up ways to use these in more areas around our house, I am a superfan!


With five folks living in this house, we have to do laundry on a daily basis.  One thing that has really helped us in general is cutting down on how much we separate/sort (we only separate whites, linens, cleaning rags and delicate items).  In our case, over-sorting caused too many piles form in between loads. From there, having a specific sorting basket for each boy is a sanity saver for us all.  The clothes are sorted and put on hangers straight from the dryer, then placed into each individual boy's basket and placed in their bedrooms to be put away.  They then return the empty baskets to the laundry room with any spare hangers and the process then plays on repeat.


Each one of these systems and products has proven beneficial to us on a daily basis in terms of saving us time and headaches.  Now that I have shared my favorite daily products, storage solutions and tips, I would love to hear all about yours as well.  What would you be lost without?  Are there certain areas of your home that work really hard for you, so you don't have to?  What small life hacks have you made that bring you moments of joy each day?  Don't keep these tips to yourselves, sharing is caring my friends!
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