get organized: craft storage solutions!!

I think craft organization is tricky for a lot of people. If you take your crafting seriously, chances are you have a lot of supplies with lots of little pieces and it can be hard to keep it all together and neat. Plus, I don’t know about you, but after I painstakingly finish a project, I hardly feel like cleaning up at all, let alone mess with some intense organizing system. I just want it to be easy and accessible.

And because part of getting the office cleaned up and into shape was getting my crafting accoutrements under control, I thought it’d be fun to share my organizing systems for the products that I have. I spent zero money doing it this past weekend and I feel like I know where everything is and it’s in system that makes sense but isn’t uber demanding. Win win!

Craft-Organization-Promo

Paper: When I buy colored/patterned paper, I usually go for the 12×12 sheets. It makes big cuts easier, but I often end up with scraps that are not small enough to just trash but not big enough to store with my full sheets. So, I cut off all the straggling pieces and put them together in a magazine filer to store. We bought these bright green ones from a Crate & Barrel outlet a while back and it works perfectly. I also use this filer to store any 8.5×11 sheets of paper. My big 12×12 sheets are kept in a large folder to keep them nice and flat.

Craft-Organization-11-copy

Craft-Organization-13-copy

Fabric: Fabric is another tricky one. Most times I end up with big cuts (1 yard+) and smaller scraps that I want to keep. I used to keep them all in a tote bag together, but it was bulky and impossible to see what all I had. So, I decided to separate them by size and use two different storing methods.

For larger cuts of fabric, I fold it nicely and use pants hangers to store them in the closet. You end up with less wrinkles and it’s much easier just to flip through and see what you’ve got.Craft-Organization-2-copy

For smaller pieces, I found this awesome cassette tape holder from Goodwill for just 99 cents!  I just fold up the fabric scraps, put them in the slots, and I can easily see every piece! Almost every time I go to Goodwill I find a cassette holder similar to this so it’s definitely a viable option for anyone interested! This could easily be hung to the wall, which I might do down the road, but for now, just the having the organized storage is enough.

Craft-Organization-17-copy

Ribbon: It’s kind of in the same vein as fabric. I store my rolls of ribbon in these boxes from Hobby Lobby. They’ve got a removable dowel inside to hang your rolls on and a window with a slit so you can just pull and cut. I bought them about a year ago, purchasing them one at a time with a 40% coupon on each one to bring the price down from $7.99 to less than $5.00.

Craft-Organization-(7)-copy

For scraps of ribbon, I use a glass jar for storage. It’s pretty easy to see what’s in there, and even though it’s not perfectly stored, I’ve never really had a problem getting anything out.Craft-Organization-15-copyPaint: I love me some craft paint! These little tubes of color get me every time I’m at the craft store! To make it easy, I just stored them in a plastic shoebox bin. They fit perfectly and it’s easy to grab the whole box and go.

I keep my paint brushed in an old coffee can that I covered with some bright orange paper. They’re always in the same spot and it’s easy to grab whatever brush I need. (Another totally free project!)Craft-Organization-(5)-copyRandom crafting: I also used the plastic shoebox method to store some miscellaneous craft supplies such as stamps and ink pads, crayons, map pencils, and glitter. They are things that I use but don’t have a lot of so storing them together makes the most sense.

Stationary: Some people might not consider stationary to be a craft but I’m a big proponent of hand-written letters and a funny card on your birthday so I thought I’d throw it in as well. I used these labeled cardboard boxes that I got from Wal-Mart over four years ago! They’re still in great shape and are perfect for storing cards and envelopes.Craft-Organization-(4)-copyI also keep any user manuals or product information for things we buy a third labeled box. I always know exactly where it is which makes finding information quickly a lot easier. Craft-Organization-(10)-copyAnd that wraps it up. Craft organization doesn’t have to be super rigid and extensive (unless that how you roll!). I find that easy groupings and using what you’ve got is more than enough to keep your crafting heart happy!

How do you store you hobby supplies?

take cover! we’re tackling the office!

It’s the same no matter what apartment we’ve lived in. The office area is always a disaster and it’s never felt done. My biggest home related goal is to get our apartment, 816, whipped into shape and 100% complete before the summer. That way we have at least one solid year of living in a finished space before we have to pack up and move again. But before we start diving into the depths of paper stacks and craft supplies that currently fill our office, we should really reveal the damage… whatever. The worse the before pictures the better the after ones will look, right? Right?!

The primary function of this room is to store all of my craft supplies and holiday decorations and it serves as the primary workspace for Josh. All those papers on the random table in the middle of the room? Yup, that’s his students’ work, so you can imagine that we have a lot of papers going in and out of this space.

The Office - Before 1

Also, you’ll notice there is basically no design to this room. It is a beige box with no art, color, or even curtains. (Don’t worry, though. All of those are on the list!)

The Office - Before 2

If you can remember our “keeping it real post” from last summer, you’d know that the box in the corner below hasn’t moved an inch! It’s full of the art and frames that I wanted to fill the walls with.

The Office - Before 3

On the bright side, we did get our family calendar up, and a new addition is our House Savings Goal tracker! That’s right! We’re saving up to buy a house in a couple of years and this is just a fun way to keep us motivated to save! I also couldn’t resist snatching up that adorable Lego Darth Vadar print from iHEARTbricks on Etsy. It’s titled “Everyone’s a lover sometime” and it’s Vadar on a bicycle with some flowers! We’re Star Wars nerds in this house, so I just had to have it!The Office - Before 4

So, as you can very plainly see, we’ve got our work cut out for us. And it is my goal to get this room done before February! There, I said it. It’s out there. Now, I’ve got to make it happen!

Here’s our Office To-Do List!

  • Go through and organize all of my craft supplies in a logical/sane order.
  • Whip up some DIY curtains for the lone window
  • Literally fill the walls with all of our fun art/posters/nerdiness
  • Sort through and determine the necessity of everything in this room!
  • Implement some systems to make Josh’s work easier in this room
  • Add a fun and bright backing to the little book case

Just six “simple” tasks standing in the way of an awesome office. Here we go!

Is there a room in your home that always feels undone? Let’s tackle it this year!!

an ornament storybook for your special decorations!

Well, it’s finally the Friday before Christmas and I’m just in time to share the final project on our Christmas To Do list: creating a story book for our special ornaments.

Ornament Book Promo

We try to add at least one ornament to our collection every year that has a significant meaning or connection to our little family. Sure, sometimes I buy little random ones like an owl and these cute metal drink glasses from Crate & Barrel to fill out our tree, but my favorites are the ones that have a story behind them.

So, I fired up photoshop and created a template for each page going inside the book. Even though I really loved the idea of having an actual book made for this, I wanted to make sure it could be easily updated with new ornaments, so I chose a red mini binder from staples and also picked up some page protectors to keep my pages looking pristine from year to year.

Ornament Book - Solemateys

I chose deep jewel tones for the pages to keep it on the traditional side but still a little unique. I grabbed a cute free font from dafont.com (this one is Learning Curve) and typed up a little explanation of the ornament and the year we got it for each one.

Ornament Book - Golden Snitch(Yes, I’m an adult and I love Harry Potter. We both do actually! It’s amazing and awesome and I’m not afraid to admit it!)

I still need to create a nice cover page, but I am so in love with how it turned out and I can’t wait to keep adding to it every year. It will be really neat to share with our future kiddos and maybe even pass down.

Book Photo (3) copy

Do you have a way to remember your special ornaments and decorations? I’d love to hear about them!

get organized for the holidays! {free printables!!}

I don’t know about you guys, but it is a yearly tradition for me to catch the “holiday bug” around the end of August. I just can’t help myself. Fall is my favorite season and I start to crave the warmth and excitement of the later months. And since my husband is faster than me (and also very apt to catching the decorating-crazed look in my eye), I get my holiday high from preparation rather than having to explain why exactly I’m putting up the Christmas tree in September before he has me committed.

My pride and joy as of late has been my Holiday and Party Binder. Its. Got. Everythinggg and it makes my heart happy. Today, I’ll give you a short run down of mine (to help you with yours!) and some free printables so you can get started too! Let’s go!

  • The first tab is dedicated to “Birthdays!” I’m a big believer in birthdays and try my darndest to make sure all my family gets, at minimum, a nice card. Here, I keep a calendar of all family birthdays and a gift planning worksheet.
  • Next up is the “Upcoming Holiday” Tab. With the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas (which get their own), I lump all holidays into one tab. Here, I keep our “Traditions Checklist” and also any decorating and party planning worksheets. Once the holiday is over, I’ll replace the worksheets with new ones for whatever holiday is next. Pretty Simple.
  • The next two tabs are “Thanksgiving” and “Christmas”, respectively. They both contain recipes (we have a different menu for each), menu planner, house guest planner, party planner, and a tradition checklist.
  • “Christmas” also gets a Christmas Card List, a Gift Planner, a General Gift Planner (for hostess/boss/secret santa gifts; we put together a few of one gift to have on hand), and a Gifts Received List (so we can be sure to send out Thank You’s!).
  • A tab dedicated to “Traveling” helps me keep trip itineraries and packing lists organized.
  • The last few tabs contain extra blank sheets, sheets from past years, and, at the very back, I keep an “Inspiration” tab. Thanks to Pinterest, this tab is largely unused, but I do have a few magazine pages I save for reference.

Now for the free stuff!

Here are my Gift Planning Worksheet, my General Gift Planner, and my House Guest Planner so you can start your own holiday binder (or add to the one you already have, you savvy thing!). These printables are uncluttered, work for all holidays, and won’t jack up your printer ink bill. I am hoping to get the rest of the planning sheets mentioned available to print, so stay tuned  for more.

When it comes to the holidays, do you get an early start or are do you love the later December scramble?

get organized: 5-minute outdoor storage solutions

I tackled our outdoor closet this week as a part of the Home Organization 101 Challenge over at A Bowl Full of Lemons. (It’s actually garage week, but we don’t have one so… yeah.)

To be fair, it wasn’t horribly full or stuff, mostly just supplies left over from moving in and other painting projects. We threw a wire shelf in there to create a little storage but it was not organized by any means.

Obviously, not a lot of thought was put into this closet, but in our defense we’ve only lived in 816 for about 3 months.

And on a horrifying side note, all of the planting stuff in this picture is no longer in use because, yes, my tiny little succulents died. Whomp whomp. I, along with a nosy black bird who attacked my plants, are to blame. Maybe “let’s try to not kill a plant this year!” will become a TLC tradition.

But, back to the matter at hand.

My goal for this space was to get things organized by category and spend as little dough as possible. Here it is now:

A quick trip to the Dollar Tree and $3.00 later, we were in business.

The caddy sitting on top holds all brushes, putty knives, and other miscellaneous tools.

Below that, we have a shorter round bin that holds the smaller paint and stain cans, as well as putty.

And, one more shelf down, we have another short bin to hold all spray paint cans. This was the biggest improvement. Because the wire shelving has large gaps, the cans would fall straight through. Now they are all grouped together and easy to access.

It literally took me 5 minutes to complete this project, but it made such a huge difference. Huzzah Dollar Tree!

Done any quick organizing tasks lately? What are your best ‘under 5 minute’ organizing tips?

get organized: keep it clean!

“Chores are awesome!” – said by nobody… ever. But what’s the point of putting all of this work into our new apartment if it’s too dirty to enjoy? This is the argument I have in my head as I work to convince myself to clean. But maybe making a cute cleaning schedule will add a little more incentive? (Maybe not but it’s worth a shot!)

Chore schedules are definitely things that are unique to each household. They can range from non-existent to super structured and it’s up to you to decide what works best for your home. Josh and I are somewhere in the middle and I thought it would be fun to share our cleaning system with you.

I whipped up this custom little chart in photoshop:

It has everything that needs to be taken care of separated out by ‘weekly’ and ‘monthly’ items. The idea is to use this chart on a monthly basis, utilizing the five columns in the ‘weekly’ section to designate the weeks of the month.

All you have to do is put a check mark next to the completed task, and you’re good to go. It’s flexible enough to work with your schedule but structured enough to make sure you clean!

I just popped this bad boy into a frame and used the Command Photo Hanging Strips to hang it in our laundry room. I use vis-à-vis markers to check things off. At the end of the month, I can wipe it clean and start over! Effective yet cute! (Sorry for the dim photos. Our laundry has no natural light!)

How to you organize your cleaning schedule? Do you have a daily list of things to complete or just do it when it needs to be done? Share below!

Link Parties:

Little Inspiration’s Create and Inspire Party

tutorial: quick & easy DIY jewelry display frame

Happy Monday everyone! Today I’m sharing a super easy, super quick jewelry display frame to showcase all of your baubles! Seriously, it’s so simple I half considered titling this post “projects you can tackle in the time it takes your husband to tackle some frozen ground beef.” (True story).

Let’s get started!

For this project you’ll need:

  1. Cork board – I bought the thickest roll I could find at Hobby Lobby. I used my 40% off coupon to bring the price down from $15 to $9 and I still have plenty of cork left for some future projects.
  2. A large frame – I got this gold frame from Goodwill for about $5. How big of a frame you need depends on how much you’re trying to display so, just use your best judgment for that.
  3. Fabric – This is where you can really customize your own. Bright, bold patterns? Sure! Maybe you want to match your existing décor. Go crazy! I bought this fun, wavy fabric from the Wal-Mart clearance section for $2.00/yard.
  4. Hot glue gun, scissors, and thumbtacks will finish out the supplies.

First, remove the glass from your frame and use it to cut the right size corkboard. I simply traced and cut with scissors. For thicker cork board you might need to use a knife to carefully cut.

Since I was definitely not planning on using the art inside the frame anywhere else, I used hot glue to attach the cork board to thick cardboard. This gave my cork board a little more strength and width for the push pins to hang on to. If you’re using an empty frame a piece of foam board would work perfectly behind the cork.

Flip your board over to cut an appropriate size piece of fabric. Pull the fabric taught and secure with hot glue. I made sure to pull the fabric tight against the board so that there wouldn’t be any sagging down the road.

To get the corners down smooth I cut away the excess fabric to make sure it would lay flat.

Just pop that bad boy in the frame and hang!

I hung mine in our walk-in closet to make it super easy to grab an accessory after getting dressed.

And here’s the finished product! Easy-peasy! I don’t have a whole lot of jewelry, so I was even left with a little space to pin cute quotes or maybe even some outfit inspiration and I love it!

How do you store/display your jewelry? I’d love to see creative and fun solutions! Share below!

we’re not cool enough for this bookcase

A few posts back, I told the tale of our first ever trip to IKEA. It was pretty awesome and we got some really exciting stuff for our new apartment (1313).

Well, today I’m sharing our new completed bookcase, an IVAR combination from IKEA. This particular piece comes in unfinished, plain pine. Not exactly our style, but the shape is unique, functional, and stylish so we went for it with plans to hack.

I wanted to go with a bold color like navy blue to really make it pop against our apartment-dictated beige walls. It was Josh’s idea to leave the shelves the natural pine color (finished with polyurethane) and have the side support pieces painted. So, we combined the two and now we have a really hip feature in our living room.

The reason we fell for this bookcase is because it meets our joint general criteria for home purchases. It’s functional: the three-level shape gives us a dropping zone by the door but also lots and lots of shelving for our books and media. And it’s stylish: it’s a unique shape, it’s open, and the extra space would actually allow me to style it, not just pile our books in.

Once we got it standing upright, I set up my own little accessories bar to make styling a little easier. Since we’re still in the process of unpacking, it was really easy just to set all of my décor items in one spot.

And here is our IVAR bookcase all styled up and lovely:

I got these bright green magazine files from a Crate and Barrel Outlet to round up a few magazine and smaller books (like the vintage cookbooks my aunt got me a few Christmases ago). Chalkboard labels from bugaboo on etsy add a little flair and make things easy to spot.

We also have a game shelf now! All of our board games are out and easy to access.

All of our DVD’s and most of our CD’s are stored in these clear acrylic units from the Container Store. They efficiently organize our media without being visually obtrusive. Yes, visually obtrusive. I went there.

I’m so in love with this bookcase. And when you compare the IKEA stock photo:

With our styled-up hacked version:

I think you’ll understand! It gives bright pops of color with plentiful storage and even a new special spot for our rat, Scribble. It makes us look cooler then we really are.

a preliminary list of projects for our new home

I’m a planner. There’s no denying that. So, even though we aren’t living in our new apartment full time (hopefully before the middle of June it’ll be official!), I’ve been making lots of plans for our new digs.

Today, I thought I’d share the list of future projects for our new apartment broken down by room. Some of the tasks have inspiration links attached. I’ve been getting a lot of ideas from Pinterest and other awesome blogs and I cannot wait to get to the action!

Here’s what’s on the docket:

Living Room:

  • Accent wall behind couch. Maybe fabric wallpaper?
  • Living room gallery wall. (I love the layout of this one!)
  • Buy large shelving unit for books/display/board games/etc
  • Curtains + new curtain rod for window
  • Buy lighting and side table for couch

Outdoors:

  • Create an al fresco dining area
  • Plant something (and keep it alive!)
  • Hang festival lights

Dining Room:

  • Floating shelves with hanging wine glasses
  • Buy new dining table and chairs
  • Rug for under table?
  • Create chandelier from CB2 Whirly Candleholders

 Kitchen:

 Bedroom:

  • Buy new bed and dresser (possibly second hand and refinish?)
  • New night tables?
  • Art/mirror/etc. for above bed

 Master Closet:

  • Necklace frame display (like this one!)
  • “Inserts” for shoe shelves (to keep my heels from falling through)

 Office:

  • Hang up lots of art.
  • Closet work station for Megan (like this or this?)
  • Paint desk (Maybe blue?)
  • Create a gift wrapping station
  • Organize all craft/hobby supplies (finally!)

There are some purchases on the list but also a lot of DIY. I’m hoping to get organized right from the beginning and find a home for everything but also make it beautiful. Why shouldn’t your living space be awesome, right? So, stay tuned to watch these projects unfold!

Home Goals 2012


image

I saw this little gem on Pinterest from The Nester and I thought it would be a really great idea to make an actually list of things I want to accomplish in our home this year. Of course, we still live in a relatively small apartment, so I’m definitely limited in the changes I can make. But my husband and I are both incredibly similar when it comes to home design (thank goodness, right?). We both ache for change about every 6-9 months. (I did mention my adventures in making over our bedroom this summer right?)

So, this list will outline a few of the cosmetic changes I would love to see happen in our home this year.

1. Change up our photo wall. Right now our small gallery wall is 100% dedicated to photos and memorabilia of our wedding. It has been unchanged since I put it on the wall and I’m ready for a little mix up. I’m thinking about changing up the layout, adding some different frames (possibly in a different color?), and adding some different things in the frames.

2. Style up the coffee table. The coffee table is definitely considered one of the most used drop zones in our home. At a glance, you’ll see stacks of magazines, an old basket for keys and such, and my laptop (which serves as our TV for movie nights and such. It always feels cluttered and I’d like to take the time to dress it up a little. Maybe a new basket for out-the-door necessities or a tray to hold some books and coasters. Also, a few fun pops of color would look really great.

3. Purge! I’ve been on an organizing kick for the past month or so, getting all of our documents in order, but I’ve also been eyeing quite a few things that need to go. I’ve always craved a home filled with meaningful items and necessities rather than a home cluttered with things to collect dust and never be used. While, there isn’t really a whole lot in our home that doesn’t get used regularly, I still want to go through and make sure that our belongings are important to use in function and/or meaning.

And there you have it. So far I’ve established a few good resolutions and now a list of goals for our little home. I’ve got quite the busy year ahead of me.

What about you? Do you have a list of things you’d like to get done in your home? Or any other aspect of your life, for that matter? Join in!