Thursday, March 24, 2016

29 UHeart Organizing: An Eclectic Jewelry Display

I am hoping that today I can inspire you to think outside of the jewelry box, and set up a little in-home boutique for your favorite bangles.  I did this exercise a few years ago, not the kind of exercise that helped me lose weight (or lose anything else for that matter), but one that helped me gain a little appreciation for my collection (you can see my display here).  I found that I was so much more prone to reach for a variety of pieces and actually switch things up on a daily basis.

My very dear friend, Cassie, is not only about as sweet as they come, she is also quite fashionable.  In fact, I look to her for style advice all of the time and you can bet I pried her for all of her secrets and tips during my most recent visit.  I appreciate the fact that she is always finding fresh ways to use many of the items she already has in her closet, and she shops for pieces on my type of budget.  One things that all of us can do to make the most of our existing wardrobe, is to change up the accessories that go with it.  Swapping shoes, handbags, jewelry and even makeup, can completely transform an outfit.

Traditional jewelry storage has been to keep it concealed in a box or drawer, but I say, break free!  Putting together a happy (and of course organized) accessory display, ensures that your collection is used each day.  It will also inspire you to change things up, and visiting your "shop" can become a fun part of your daily outfit planning process.

Cassie's abode is filled with color, style and joy around every corner.  I was constantly gasping and grinning as she gave me the full tour of her home, and entering her closet was no exception.  I am so excited she is here today to share her eclectic jewelry and accessory display, and I hope it encourages some of you to do something similar in your own closets.



Hello friends! I'm thrilled to be back sharing my latest organizing project with you... inspired by none other, than the darling hostess of this blog, Jen! I've had some pretty awesome experiences come from blogging (did someone say Redbook cover?! #shamlessbrag), but the genuine friendships I've made definitely top the list.

Mine and Jen's blog-paths crossed early on, and we immediately clicked. Over the years, our friendship has grown from one that centered around our love of blogging, to one that has us vacationing together with our families! Pretty crazy, considering we live 1000 miles apart and met on the Internet, right?!

Last month, Jen flew to Texas for a long weekend (remember this closet we overhauled!?), and I stuffed her full of tacos, then picked her brain on every space of my house! When she left, I had a notebook filled with tips for organizing all the nooks and crannies... including, carving out an accessories closet.



When we moved to our new house (I should probably stop calling it 'new' considering we've lived there a year now!), some organization systems moved with us... seamlessly fitting into their new space... like the pantry. Others required a fair amount of tweaking, like my bathroom cabinets.

And some I never had before, like an organized closet, with space for all my accessories! But, I hit the closet-jackpot in this house, and we have a generous walk-in with a window! (Which became my nemesis when shooting these pics for you!!) In the past, I've kept earrings in caddies, necklaces on hooks, and bags piled in a basket... which basically meant I couldn't see what I had when putting together an outfit, so I just reached for the same items everyday. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

But now, thanks to a few key (inexpensive) pieces, and stuff found around the house, I've not only got everything corralled together and clearly visible, but also created a pretty spot in my closet!

It was sheer luck that our Ikea Hemnes dresser fit perfectly under the window, wedged between the shelves... and the top became an obvious spot to organize and display my baubles. If you don't have a dresser or table top, you can easily install a shelf using a piece of wood and some L-brackets.


The fun thing about organizing jewelry, is it's already so pretty... so having it on display is like decor for your closet or bathroom! I shopped my house for pretty little trays, plates, tea cups, and bowls, and grouped like items together for easy access. Virtually any vessel can be used, it doesn't have to be specific to organizing... mine are a collection from Ikea, Target, World Market, Anthropologie, and J.Crew, that I've gathered over the years.




I thought about cup hooks or pretty knobs for hanging my necklaces, but decided on this clear peg organizer for a more seamless look. And once again, we got lucky with just enough space! It's almost like I was meant to take over Mr. SP's side of the closet for my accessories!!?? #cantfightfatebabe


And these acrylic stands are nicely weighted, so they don't topple with a load of bracelets.



The dresser top also holds items I reach for daily when getting dressed... chapstick, lipstick, sunglasses, and nail polish. The pink tube is my latest style weapon... Say Hello to Longer Legs... You can read my review of the shoe inserts here.



So that covers jewelry...now lets talk handbags!


Turns out shower curtain rings make the best handbag hooks! My favorites are the S-hooks, but any will work. My only tips when choosing yours is to make sure they open easily so you can get your bag down without a struggle, and that the ring is wide enough for handbag handles.



My trick for organizing clutches is a letter sorter or lid rack! Are you a handbag collector like me?! I have a weakness for inexpensive, colorful ones... and now I can easily swap them out to accessorize my outfit!



If you've read any of my style posts... like {Five Ways} or {Day to Night}... then you likely recognize most of these pieces! They are all in heavy rotation.




I love adding jazzy jewels, like pearl cluster necklaces, tassel bracelets, and leopard cuffs to my everyday outfits... you can find them here.


Getting dressed has always been one of my favorite parts of a new day, and now I've upped my accessories game by being able to access everything in one spot. It's like my own little boutique every morning! Thanks for letting me share, and happy dressing organizing, lovebugs!



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Hi, I'm Cassie, a DIY and design-obsessed Texas girl, and lover of travel, fashion, sarcasm and Mexican food. When I'm not hanging with my sweet and funny family, you can find me kicking the '80s out of our home, one budget project at a time, on my blog Hi Sugarplum!

Monday, March 21, 2016

51 IHeart an Organized Cleaning Caddy

Happy Spring!  I welcome this season more than any!  Although, I have to do a few cartwheels over our mild Wisconsin weather this winter.  The snow is already melted and temps have been gentle and I can feel spring working hard to blossom.  Toss in a side of extra daily light and I feel like I have been winning the spring lottery!

With the warmer temps, we jump at the opportunity to open a few windows and let fresh air take over our home.  And with that, I find motivation to tackle some spring cleaning.  And to get outside and play!

I have made some minor adjustments to our cleaning caddy and products over the years, and I haven't chatted about it in quite some time, so I thought today was the perfect day to pop in with an update.



I have tried a few caddies over the years, and by far my favorite up until recently, was a simple caddy I found at Target years ago.  They seem to bring the picnic/utensil caddy back each year (YAY), and I can always find another use for them because of their amazing versatility.  The only issue I had with it when it came to my cleaning supplies, is that I simply outgrew it as my cleaning habits and routines changed.  You can bet that it has already found a new purpose in another area of our home though...

When it comes to caddies, however, I will say that as much as I love the tin utensil caddy, not all tin/metal caddies are created equal.  I added one to our main bathroom for some cleaning items, and also another larger handled bin under our kitchen sink, and both have since broken.  So although darling, be sure to consider that tin caddies are prone to rusting, are heavy, and may not be welded in a way that the handle can "handle" the weight of the contents.

The overall goal of a cleaning caddy is to provide a one stop shop for all supplies needed to maintain each room in the home.  Aside from a few specific cleaning products that I store in each bathroom for daily clean-ups, this caddy is filled with all of my favorite supplies that I reach for during my weekly cleaning sessions.


I have been making homemade cleaners and laundry soap for awhile now, and with that comes larger packages of soaps, water, vinegar, oils, etc... Those are all stored in our laundry room cleaning cabinet, where I can head back on occasion to whip up a new batch of cleaners.  I also use the cabinet to store the mop and lower level broom and vacuum.  



Since I have begun making my own cleaners, I have definitely simplified the process over the years.  After reading mixed reviews, I stopped using vinegar as my main all-purpose cleaner.  There have been mentions of it not being friendly with certain stone counters, tiles and floors, so I decided to stop risking it.  I now purchase our all-purpose cleaner and toilet bowl cleaner, but the remainder of our solutions are still all made at home.

I know that not everyone finds time or benefit in making your own cleaners, and I totally get it.  The upside is that it can save money and you know exactly what you are cleaning your home with.  The downside is the time it takes to make the solutions and the space needed for storing the bulk supplies. 


THE CADDY:



After the last caddy broke, my new caddy requirements were:
  • Permanently attached handle
  • Lightweight
  • Size and the ability to hold various favorite supplies
  • Compartments 
  • Easy to clean

After a little hunting, I landed on this one from Amazon.




I know it sounds very Danny Tanner like, but every once in awhile I need to rinse out the caddy due to spills, leaks, accumulated dust and dirt... and this caddy even boasted small slots on the bottom that allow it to be easily cleaned and dried.  It fit every requirement on the checklist, the only flaw is that it could be a smidge deeper.  


My favorite part is actually the compartments.  It keeps things from shifting around and allowed me to easily add a few smaller elements that I use frequently.

Now, let's take a closer look at what I use to clean our home top-to-bottom.


THE CONTENTS:



The only thing I can't fit inside of my caddy, is my mop (which has the cleaner built in - read more about that here).  Everything else I really ever need is always right at my finger tips.  

Zooming in....


GLASS CLEANER


Recipe:  Our glass cleaner is made up of distilled water, a dash of vinegar and a dash of essential oil. 

How I use:  While cleaning glass surfaces, it really is all about the rags.  I start by spraying the surface with the spray mixture and follow up with the soft microfiber rag.  This does a good job at cleaning the surface and picking up smudges and dirt.  I finish by wiping down the surface with the glass polishing rag, which leaves everything sparkling and streak free.  The rags really do all of the work; I could get away with using only water but added a small amount of vinegar and essential oil because I also use this mixture for other tasks (mentioned below).

What I clean:  All of our glass surfaces, windows, mirrors, tables, etc... This solution also works wonderfully at polishing hardware and fixtures.



WOOD CLEANER


Recipe:  Our wood cleaner is made up of 2/3 distilled water, 1/3 olive oil, a dash of castile soap and a dash of essential oil. 

How I use:  Shake well and then spray on wood surfaces.  Follow with a micro-suede polishing cloth.  The oils keep the wood from drying out, while the castile soap actually cleans the surface.  The soft cloth prevents any scratches while cleaning.

What I clean:  All of our wood surfaces; accent furniture, dining table (on occasion), handrail and stairs.



EVERYTHING ELSE CLEANER


Recipe:  Head to Amazon or to the store to pick up an awesome, friendly, good smelling cleaner.  I have tried a variety of options, everything from Mrs. Meyers to Method and Honest Co., and right now my favorite is the Murchison-Hume Counter Safe in Australian White Grapefruit.  It smells so fresh and leaves the fewest streaks on our counters.  It also comes in a larger refill friendly bottle.

How I use:  Spray and clean with either a microfiber rag, a sponge or a magic eraser.

What I clean:  I use this on every other surface beyond glass and wood.  I use it on our trim and doors, face plates, doorknobs, cabinets, counters and even to touch up small spills on the floor.  


BAKING SODA


Recipe:  Fill jar with baking soda, puncture the lid to add a some holes, add a few drops of essential oil and shake.  

How I use:  Sprinkle on surface and follow up vacuum or spray of choice depending on the task.

What I clean:  Baking soda is a natural deodorizer, and it also makes a really great scouring powder.  I generally sprinkle it in the sink and then spray the water/vinegar combo and scrub with a sponge.  This leaves the sink shiny and smelling great.  I also sprinkle it on our mattresses, rugs and furniture on occasion prior to vacuuming.  While cleaning tougher areas, I sprinkle a small amount on the surface and pair it with an all-purpose cleaner and a sponge. 


EXTRAS


  • Duster: For quick dusting tasks around the house - bookcases, electronics, blinds, ceiling fixtures and fans.
  • Cotton Swabs: When paired with an all-purpose spray, I use these swabs for cleaning window and trim crevices as well as other smaller, hard-to-reach places (computer keyboards, car vents, etc...).
  • Castile Soap:  This soap is ultra concentrated, and a little bit goes a very long way.  I like to add it to the sink or to a spray bottle with water for really tough jobs.  I keep the large bottle in our laundry room, but a travel toiletry bottle is the perfect size to keep some upstairs also.
  • Essential Oils:  Some of them actually have beneficial cleaning powers, but I also love the scent they add to our home while cleaning.  I add them to most of our cleaners, our humidifiers and also use them to create room freshening sprays.  Lemon, Lavender and Tea Tree Oil are my top picks.


  • Scrub Brush:  A scrub brush is my best friend while cleaning grout, toothpaste out of sinks and stains out of rugs and carpet.


RAGS


One of my previous struggles was that I like to use different rags for different types of tasks, yet I didn't have a great way of keeping them separate and the family never knew which rag went with what product.  Ultimately, the goal was to prevent washing our patio window with an oily wood cleaner rag.  When I created the labels for my cleaning bottles (with my Silhouette as shown here), I used a color that correlated with the rags for that specific task.  #extremeorganizer

And as I mentioned above, the rags hold a lot of the power.  I know a many people swear by Norwex, which only utilizes water and rags, but I haven't been brave enough to try it or splurge on the initial expense.  But I can see how it would ring true as I see the difference just in these rags from Target.  
  • Microfiber: Soft on surfaces, grabs dust, dirt, hair and most importantly, bacteria.  It is lint free and hypoallergenic and can be used to clean just about anything with less effort than normal rags.
  • Glass Polishing Rag: Shines glass and hardware surfaces, works especially well when used in conjunction with a microfiber rag. 
  • Wood Polishing Rag: Similar to the microfiber rags, but with a suede-like finish which is extra gentle on delicate wood surfaces.
  • Sponge: When paired with spray or water, the abrasive surface works hard on tough tasks.
  • Magic Eraser: Every mom's hero!  Removes scuffs from floors and walls, removes Sharpie marker from surfaces and just about everything in-between. 


TIMER



To be sure I don't get lost in all of the fun of cleaning (HA), I try to set a timer.  Depending on my goals, I will set a timer and race the clock; sometimes to run through the entire house and other times just for a single task.  I tend to lose track of time quite easily, so this is actually one of the most important parts of my cleaning routine.


When I am done toting everything around the house, the caddy returns home right under the kitchen sink until my next cleaning session.  I keep it turned so the cleaners I use in the kitchen each day are right within reach when I open the door.



I have always found joy in a good cleaning session, so putting this together made me oddly happy.  I appreciate how quick and simple my tasks are on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, mainly because of how this caddy remains stocked and ready to go.  Also, I wanted to point out that I have been slowly moving to all glass spray bottles; I have found a few great ones on Amazon here and here.  They work really well and I know they should last me for many more years of cleaning (and labeling).

With a good routine throughout the year, spring cleaning for us means that it is now time to deal with those bigger, dirtier jobs.  Things like cleaning out the garage, washing our windows, raking the yard and doing general home maintenance are all tasks on our upcoming weekend agenda.  But if it means spring is here, then I am all in!


Let's chat cleaning caddies!  Have you tried one, and if so, what are some of your cleaning caddy favorites?   And can we talk about essential oil scents?  I think I am officially addicted to adding oils to just about everything... Do you have a favorite smell for your home?




Monday, March 14, 2016

32 Labeling 101: Canvas Bins

I always find it amusing and interesting that as the seasons change, I tend to receive the same types of questions from multiple readers.  Recently, the question has been, "How do I label canvas bins?".

I have received this question here and there over my years of blogging, but canvas bins must be totally hot right now because the question has popped up multiple times in the last few weeks.  That's my sign to finally answer this common question with another chapter to my labeling 101 series.


It is no secret that organizing and labeling go hand-in-hand. It is also no secret that I love to share my labeling tips with you. That is how the Labeling 101 series was born.

Does organizing have to be pretty to be effective? Absolutely not. But I always say, "Why not love it, have fun with it, and find ways to keep yourself motivated?" Any time that I have invested a little extra heart and attention to a project, it lasts much, much longer.

That said, when it comes to labeling, I prefer to add a little ooh, la la value. Whether it be a label made on our computer, or placed inside of a decorative bookplate or even created with my label maker, I want it to stick around for awhile and look the part.  Labels keep everyone on the same page and really are a crucial part to most organizing projects.

So how do you label canvas bins?  And do it quickly, easily and with a little pizazz?  I am sharing four different darling options with you today, and with that I am only scratching the canvas surface.


To get started, I whipped up a few label options using my printer, and one cut with my Silhouette machine out of heat transfer material.




I picked up a standard canvas bin with a small grommet handle from Target.  Although there are an endless variety of canvas bins on the market, most of these techniques should be fairly universal.



First up, name badges!  I found a small pack of these at our local office supply store.  They are clear and this specific type had a safety pin affixed to the back.


I created a label on my printer, cut it to fit the holder and pinned it directly to the front of the canvas bin.


I really like this option due to the flexibility and the fact that it is couldn't be easier.  But I wouldn't recommend this option with littles, just given the fact that it is attached with a safety pin and I don't find those to really be all that safe.

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The next label I created using my print, cut and laminate tutorial, which is always a much more kid friendly version.


Canvas bins work great for children's toys, and so do picture labels.  For this label, I used a hole punch paired with a piece of baker's twine.  I then affixed it to the bin through the small handle by tying the twine into a simple knot.  


These print and cut labels tend to be my favorite because they are completely customizable and easy to make using supplies I always have on hand at home.

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You all know I am a long time fan of the Martha Stewart Adhesive Labels (which are now back!), so image my excitement when I spotted a similar version at Target.  


These holders are designed to slide over the edge of bins and boxes, creating a quick and non-permanent labeling solution.  And again, I opted to print the label using my printer (because I am not a fan of my handwriting), however, you can quickly write out your label or use a label maker paired with tape.  Whatever tickles your fancy folks.

(Alternative label holders in SilverBlackGold & White)



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Last but not least and the trickiest of them all; the iron-on heat transfer.  


I used this type of label in our boy's bedroom closet, and they are still going strong!  However, the application can be a bit of a hassle.  The iron-on heat transfer material is found online and at some craft stores, and cuts beautifully with the help of a die cutting machine.  However, if you don't have a craft machine, don't fret!  This material can easily be cut with a simple scissors as well.  I would just recommend keeping the outline/shape fairly basic.  For this pet bin example, I decided to do a cute cut-out of a balloon animal.  I followed the heat transfer directions and used my iron to adhere the label to the front of the bin.  



I have learned after doing this a few different times that not all canvas bins are created equal.  The inexpensive canvas bin shown above has a thin webbing finish, which can melt if you keep the iron on the canvas too long.  You definitely want to do this with a thin cloth as a buffer.  On the other hand, the transfer doesn't want to stick if you don't hold the iron down for long enough,  So it is all about striking that perfect balance.  But gosh darn it, I had to include this method because it does create a stinkin' adorable label and you may find it worth the little extra time.  And if you use a canvas bin that does not have a webbing finish (similar to this one or this one), then you shouldn't have too hard of a time with this method at all.

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So there you have it, my favorite four ways to label a canvas bin.  Working on this post made me realize just what a label lovin' fanatic I am.  OK, so I already knew, but it was so much fun to get back into the label-making game.  And if you are looking for more label inspiration, you can find all of the posts in this series shown below.

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