Friday, June 3, 2011

34 Oh Billy! Concealing Cabinet Chaos

Our main bathroom is a whopping 25 square feet.  Yep, that is about it.  5'x5' of tiny.  And with a family of five and a itty bitty linen closet down the hall {that houses a vacuum and medications}, getting smart about adding bathroom storage was a necessity.

So, as you may recall, we popped this super tall and slim "Billy" cabinet in, just across from the potty chair {yes, that's what we call it in this home full of littles}.

It's crazy the amount of storage that little shelf created.  So much storage that originally, I couldn't even use it all and just found place holders and fillers.  L O V E when that happens right!?

But something wasn't jiving.  All that "open" shelving with stuffed piled in, made the room feel really cluttered.  Most likely because the room is only 25 square feet.

Not to mention, while watching the Nate Berkus show one day, I learned a very disturbing fact.  That any toothbrush left out in the open in any part of a bathroom, will snag insane amounts of poo germs each time the toilet gets the ol' flusharoo.  EEEW.  Time to conceal things a bit!  If not for the aesthetics of the space, then for the health of the fam! 

So, that's exactly what we did.  We went back to our my favorite store and found some cabinet doors for the face of the Billy.

So now, all of our linens and toys and toothbrushes are away from floating germs.

And the room, as small as it is, actually felt instantly bigger with the new doors in place.  So a quickie couple of minutes to install the new doors, caused for multiple wins in the space!

A before and after?

And for those wondering, those white flowers on the wall are not staying where they are.  They also create too much eye noise in the itty bitty room and conflict with the new glass door.  Hey, we don't know if we don't try.  Plus, it will be a great excuse to get out and photograph some serene nature shots to put in their place!

What other quick and easy fixes are making you smile?  What about other great space saving tips for super small spaces?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

20 You Asked: Favorite Organizing Book

Although I get boatloads of questions each day {sorry if you are waiting a response, you will get one, I am just a smidge behind on emails at the moment}, one of the most popular questions is, "What is your favorite organizing book?"

Before I get to the answer, I will say, the internet is an AMAZING thing.  Seriously, I can't imagine life without it as it has offered me the opportunity to meet insanely creative and inspiring individuals in blog land.  And the addition of Pinterest was a serious game changer.  Life will NEVER be the same.  Endless amounts and eye candy and motivation and inspiration and talent.  And the best part is that you can scour the web for hours {or days?} and not pay more than your monthly internet bill {unless you hit up a local WiFi joint with free internet, at which point you are getting 100% free yet priceless inspiration!}

However, no matter how great the internet is, it just doesn't compare to a good book or magazine.  When given the choice, I always pick a paper version for my dose of inspiration any day.  Even if it's one I have looked at so much that the pages are literally falling out.  Something about curling up on the couch, basking in the sun or taking a long car ride with a sack of books and magazines by my side, is actually one of my absolutely most favorite things to do!

Now back to the question.  What is the book I reach to most?  Well, it's stored amongst a pretty good collection of books in the living room....

And out of them all, the winner is: RealSimple: The Organized Home.


Now I will say, I look at A LOT of organizing books for ideas and solutions, in fact, I have somewhere between 15-20.  But this is the one that gets the most love and attention.  Here are some of the reason's why.

It goes room by room throughout the entire home {including those smaller areas like the pantry, coat and bedroom closets, the medicine cabinet and entryways}:

For each type of space, there are incredible, bright full page photographs.

It also offers just the right amount of advice on storage/organization:

It talks about the basic supplies that make a room top performing and effective:

It also offers room by room "Simple Solutions" to common storage dilemmas:

It even talks about optimal furniture pieces that make the most sense in a space!

I have scoured this book at least a hundred plus times and I still find something new each time.  Something new that pops out at me.  Something new that inspires me.  Something new that pushes me to get another project checked off the ol' list.  It really is my bff book.

Anyone else share the same passion for a good book, organizing or any other subject?  What's your fav read?  Any other organizing book suggestions that give you your recommended dose of motivation?

P.S.  I haven't been paid or perked by Real Simple, just responding to a common question with a completely honest answer.  Looking for another FANTASTIC organizing book, check out this post here.

1 IHeart: Blondies Shop {and a GIVEAWAY!}

In last week's sponsorship post, one of my incredibly fantastic Etsy shop sponsors, Blondie's Shop, offered up a $15 shop credit giveaway!  The giveaway is being extended through 9:00 p.m. central time, Friday, June 3rd, so make sure to pop on over to the original post and enter to win the wonderful giveaway!

Thanks again to Heather with Blondies Shop for continuing to show her love and support of IHeart Organizing and for offering up a generous giveaway!!  Don't forget to take a minute to stop by Blondie's Shop to take a peak at the lovely selection of handmade stationary, the sweetest way to send anyone some special thoughts!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

6 Reader Space: Creating Closet Candy

It seems to be a trend sweeping across the nation.  Closets turned into awesome zones.  Like completely functioning rooms.  Let's face it, most homes have such limited space, that sometimes a closet is a way to maximize square footage!  And today's reader shows us just how she did that.  Twice!

Rachel wrote:

Dear Jen,

Three years ago my family of four moved into a ranch home built in 1952. With closet space at a minimun, I am always looking for ways to stay organized and maximize every square foot we have! We have no garage, no basement, no laundry room, no pantry, and very small closets throughout our house. It is a challenge to find room for everyday items like cleaning supplies, paper towels {I usually buy one roll at at time}, toilet paper, and everything that accumulates when you have two elementary aged kids! When I add in my sewing machine and art supplies, it sometimes feels like we are busting at the seams! In our den we have a closet that we used as storage {all those boxes that take forever to unpack} until last summer. It was then my husband built a sewing nook so that I could finally have my own little space. It was GREAT...for a few months. It quickly became unorganized, accumulating things, fabric, projects, and supplies that I didn't know what to do with. Finally it was unuseable...
It was about this time that I realized we were not using this space to its fullest potential. At 54 inches wide and 34 inches deep it was one of the biggest closets in our house! I measured and thought and thought and measured. One day I thought...what if we could turn this area into a laundry nook? It was a big project, and with no power, light, or washer and dryer hookups in the closet it was going to be an expensive transformation. One that we would have to be fully committed to. No changing our minds! It took...oh...about a second to convince my husband. He was as thrilled as I was to get the washer and dryer out of the kitchen. Yes, it was next to the stove in what could be a super great breakfast area.

We would have room in this closet to stack and full size front loader off we went!
Step two was figuring out what to do with all the STUFF that had accumulated in this big closet. Using your blog as a great source of inspiration, we took full advantage of our hallway coat closets...we have two! We took some time, sorted and condensed, and were able to move what we needed into one closet. The rest of the stuff was packed and put into our attic while some things were packed and sent to Goodwill. It was a super easy decision on what to do with our newly empty coat closet...turn it into a cloffice!

I wanted a space for my sewing and other crafty supplies. The kids wanted a homework area. My husband wanted a spot for the family computer so we would leave his work laptop alone.  Ummmmmm...that's a lot of stuff crammed into a 4 foot x 2 1/2 foot out! We had to dig deep for this project and we were on a serious budget. I started shaking paint cans, trying to find the one with the most in it. We settled on Restoration Hardware Silver Sage. It's the same color we have in the Master Bedroom, but we didn't have to buy paint! I also had left over chalkboard paint from another project. We recycled the wood from the former sewing closet and I managed to find a few old cans of stain and polyurethane. We were set! When we were ready to put it all together, I went through all of the items in the previous sewing area and had to get rid of a lot!. No worries though! I saved what I needed and got rid of the fluff! The cubbies and top shelf are devoted to my sewing machine and supplies, fabric, and craft paint. The desk is just for the kiddos. I mounted a bulletin board with their practice schedules on it along with some fun family photos. There is a hanging organizer on the opposite wall with plenty of notebook paper and rulers. I keep a pencil jar stocked with sharpened pencils for homework. Under the desk I have a large drawer set on wheels filled with scrapbooking materials. In the center is a woven basket with wrapping paper, tissue, and gift bags. On the right side is a 3 drawer organizer with more sewing supplies. All of this is super organized, but hidden with a skirt I made for the desk. Our new area is family friendly, super organized, and we love it!

With everything now out of the closet in the den, we were ready to move on to the second part of the transformation...the laundry nook! We purchased a new washer and dryer and stacked them. I had enough room for a small shelving unit to put beside them. We didn't want anything permanent to make maintenance to the machines easier. The shelves are on felt pads and they are super easy to slide in and out. Behind them I mounted the iron and ironing board to the back wall. This has been a wonderful use of space! My husband and I are beyond thrilled...It is so nice to have our washer and dryer behind closed doors!
Anyone  who does work to their house knows that one project always lead to another! We are currently working on turning the extra space we now have in our kitchen into a breakfast nook. I am excited about having an eat in kitchen and a place where the family can gather while I cook dinner. Thank you so much for your inspiration during these projects. Your blog is a wealth of knowledge that everyone should take advantage of!


Pretty GREAT life changing story right?  Seriously, I just love love love when people don't settle with the original layout, plan and design of a home, and think about ways to make better use of the space provided.  Perfect example of that!  By using a perfectly sized closet for laundry instead of a "catch all", she just gained an entire laundry room plus dining room!  And how great does that laundry closet look?  SO ORGANIZED and tidy and it looks like she has the right systems put in place to easily maintain it to boot!

And oh I adore that "cloffice".  Chalk board paint?  Genius!  And the skirt below to hide the computer tower and scrapbook cart {which can cause eye clutter}.  Super smart.  And the great storage above for her sewing supplies, up out of kiddo's reach!  Rachel has some mega space planning talent!

Thanks so much to Rachel for taking a moment to write and share her incredibly inspiring story!  Who else has been making the most of spaces, by completely switching rooms around?

{Pssst, don't forget to head over and link up your projects over at our monthly link party!}

ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life.  Please send your story and photos to and I would heart to feature them right here, on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and un-editted.  Please include a description of the project, including any costs, inspiration, and how it has changed your life and routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!  More Info HERE.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

258 IHeart: Kaiser Kreations & a GIVEAWAY!

You know what really makes my heart smile?  When I find a really great product, that is really great quality and GREEN!

Kaiser Kreations is a family run business...they are a family of 8 {almost 9!} who loves to create, and they have always enjoyed sharing with others what they make.  Their desire is to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in their kids while they are young, and starting an online business has been a great start!

Chris, along with her 6 kids, go hunting at thrift stores for the sheets that they use to create things.  The 3 boys help with the cutting and the 2 girls help with the sewing {one daughter is only 2!}.  They each take turns packaging orders and going to the post office.  It truly is a family affair!

Today, I am featuring a product called the Sammy Bag.  All sammy bags are made from reclaimed vintage sheets...there's nothing more fun and fabulous than turning an old sheet into something new and usable!  The lining of the sammy bags are also reclaimed vintage sheets.

These pretty bags are lightweight, yet the fabric is strong!  They are perfect for market runs, toting around kiddos belongings or library books, organizing your vehicle belongings, the versatility is endless!

And using reclaimed materials has provided the Kaiser family with an economical way to creatively make money!  It is also teaching their kids the value of working with what you have instead of always buying new.  LOVE THAT!!!

Not only is this family clearly talented and AMAZING, they are also feeling pretty generous!  Yep, that's right, this week they are partnering up with me to giveaway three Sammy Bags!

Aren't they just the prettiest totes ever?  And I can't express how smitten I am over anything handmade!!

Here are the details:
  • This giveaway is for a chance to win three Kaiser Kreations Sammy Totes {2 small 11"x14" with a 36" shoulder strap and one large 14" x 15" with a 40" shoulder strap}  
  • Please ensure I have your email or blog address so I have a way to contact you when you win!
  • Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
  • Giveaway is open from Tuesday, May 31st through 9:00 p.m. central time Monday, June 6th and the winner will be announced right here on Tuesday, June 7th!
 Who is ready to WIN!?!
  •  Leave a comment stating, "IHeart Sammy Totes" and for fun, let me know how you would put the totes to good use if you win!

A special THANK YOU to the kind family at Kaiser Kreations for the opportunity to host this giveaway! 

And their generosity doesn't end there!  From now through Monday, June 6th, if you head on over to their shop and spy something you love, just enter "IHEARTORGANIZING" in Notes to Seller at checkout and you will receive a 20% refund!

Good luck everyone!!

19 May Challenge: Project "Projects" {PARTY!}

Time to get your boogie woogie booty shaking self to the iHeart Organizing Project Link Party!  That's right, we all have been plugging away all month on a variety of projects, big and small, and now we get to share all of the fun and inspiration and ideas and successes with everyone!  I have been waiting for this moment all month!

This month I made a list of projects I wanted to get done {and shared a freebie printable with you} and it definitely was a hefty one.  No way could it all be done in one month, however, I am not disappointed in the list of accomplishments we were able to check off the ol' honey do checklist!

We really put our efforts in getting the boys settled in their new digs before we start tearing up half of our home.  If you recall, we started out with some too huge bunk beds in a too small space:

I decided that the stripes on the one wall work working any longer because it required the wall to be a focal point, yet the layout of the room wasn't conducive to that with the boys now sharing the space {it was originally done as a nursery for one with the bed center of the striped wall}.  We also decided bunk beds just aren't our bag.  Big, clunky, hard to make, hard to snuggle and climb and console our little man in the middle of the night if a bad dream is had.... so we asked the Craig if we could list the beds, and started painting over the stripes....

Then we re-taped new stripes all around the entire perimeter of the room:

We painted in the stripes and pulled the tape!

I then installed the new beds, painted some existing picture frames red and hung some airplane art:

To really make the room shine, a new light fixture was added:

And because of the new layout, we also updated the functionality of their closet, installed a bookshelf, added dowels and spruced up some canvas bins:

Of course, there are all sorts of things to wrap up in the space from installing additional shelving in the closet and adding closet doors to installing their new wall map.  But in one month's time, the room went through quite the transformation!

But enough about me.  As much as the boys just get giddy excited about their bedroom, I have been looking at it for a month straight and can't wait to see some new projects!  That's where you come in.  Let's make this the biggest link up party yet!

And a button for you:

IHeart Organizing

Have a lovely week!

I decided a little challenge would be fun! This month we are getting all those projects done! Any project big or small counts! Wanna join? Take photos and blog about your awesomeness as you go! I am hoping to do a giant, "We did it!" celebratory post where we can all link up our project completing success stories at the end of the month!

0 IHeart: SweetSeat Giveaway Winner!

A virtual hug goes to #283, Kelly, who was selected using as the winner of the SweetSeat Giveaway!

So many thanks to the great folks at SweetSeat for hosting such an incredible giveaway!  You can visit SweetSeat's website here.