Makeover Monday: Cheap & Easy Jewelry Organization

Necklaces:

Because our home has been utter chaos over the last week, I felt the need to assert some control over what I could. Ignited by that -AND- the need to do some spring cleaning, I tackled the rats’ nest that was my jewelry drawer. I didn’t want to spend any money, and use whatever I could find lying around, so I came up with this:

DIY necklace storage

A wire hanger + binder clips = necklace storage

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A Tisket, a Tasket, Bags go in the Basket

In Seattle city limits, plastic bags are ILLEGAL. You go to jail if you are caught smuggling those into a supermarket.

Not really. It’s just that stores aren’t allowed to use them any more. There’s no more “Paper or plastic, ma’am?” happening. It’s “Did you bring your bags today?” now. The choices for bagging your purchases are:

  1. Pay a 5-cent tax and have the store give you paper bags
  2. Bring your own shopping bags

Mind you, this isn’t just for groceries. It’s for EVERY STORE. You wanna drop $300 on clothes? Better fork over a nickel for a paper shopping bag. Forget your bags at the checkout? Feel the disapproval and shame of your checker as they give you dirty looks and spitefully add the nickel tax to your purchase. (Honestly, I’d pay A DOLLAR to end the harassment that is associated with forgetting your shopping bags.)

It’s a little ridiculous, but honestly, I agree with getting rid of plastic bags. They’re handy, but overall evil. Don’t let me hop up on my soapbox about the Pacific Gyre, or Midway Island albatross population

Regardless, the reusable shopping bags are a hassle. And they end up ALL. OVER. OUR. HOUSE.

Keeping it real:

Do not do: store grocery bags on hooks

The grocery bag monster hanging over a paper bag molehill.

The family who owned our house before us were OBSESSED with hanging hooks. They’re on all the doors (some doors have 2 racks), several walls, in the bathrooms…It’s a little odd, if you ask me. I thought it would be a handy spot for storing all these bags, but it just became a hanging bag monster hovering over a brown bag molehill in our closet. Annoying. A little dangerous. Inconvenient.

I hunted for a tall, not-too-deep basket at Goodwill, but came up short after a couple (ahem, 3) visits. At Ikea, I finally found this:

Storage for reusable bags: from Ikea

Knarra basket from Ikea. $14.99 for handy reusable bag storage.

It’s a little more than I wanted to spend, but hey, what price can you put on sanity?

The result? Paper AND reusable bags, living in harmony.

Get organized: stash bags in a basket.

Can’t we all just get along?

Just fold in half and tuck it in. Or, just ball it up and cram it in (which is what I’m sure will be happening after our next shopping trip).

Do you use reusable shopping bags? How do you keep them from taking over your house?

Sure-Fire Picture Hangin’

We’ve been in the new house for a month now, and I’ve learned that we’ve already established new habits. In our old house, we had one door to get in the house. This was great for organization, because I was able to create a “landing strip” for our keys, mail, and other stuff that comes in the house.

One place for keys and mail

Behold the glory of the single “landing zone.”

I’m pretty proud of this project, and should probably post before and after pics in another post.

Back to the new house: now we have a house with a front door AND a garage door. And now I come in the garage 90% of the time, which is 2 rooms away from the front door. So what happens when I come in with arms full of crap? It all lands on the kitchen counters, dining chairs, and kind of everywhere. Continue reading

A Pain in the Neck: Scarf Storage

Update:

Welcome Pinners! I had no idea this idea would go viral. Thanks for visiting my blog & check out my other well-pinned posts on Traveling with a Toddler  and Family Fitness. Also, follow me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram, or “like” the Committed Facebook page to keep up with new posts!

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I need to preface this post with a statement: I don’t want to pretend that I’m super organized. I’m typically pretty scatterbrained. Case in point: this morning I got the kiddo packed up and ready for school, strapped into the carseat, then I realized I FORGOT TO PUT ON ANY SHOES. Mmmkay? Sure, kiddo had her snacks, her lovey, a toy, extra shoes for water play, diapers, but none of that matters if mommy shows up at daycare barefoot. Sheesh.

Anyway, this post is about getting the craziness under control. As I was unpacking in the new house, I discovered that I have a TON of scarves. I felt like a two-bit magician yanking an endless array of scarves from my magic hat. Except that magic hat was actually a couple of boxes, 2 drawers, and God knows where else I was stashing them. They were a wrinkled mess and I could never find the one I wanted when I wanted it.

In the new house, I want to stick to the mantra “A place for everything and everything in its place,” in the hope of maintaining a wee bit of sanity. Now that we actually have space and tons of storage, there’s no valid excuse to strew crap around the house (not that there was an excuse in the old house either!)

Scarf storage solution

Tame the pain in the neck for under 10 bucks.

So, I bucked up and bought a cafe curtain rod at Target for about $7 (like this one). If your space is narrower, you can also do this with a tension rod. The weight of your scarves ends up being comprable to a shower curtain. (We used a tension rod in my daughter’s closet for the last 2 years and it held up well with the baby clothes!)

It took about 10 minutes to mount to the wall and hang all the scarves. Now it’s a cute blast of color in the closet and I can find that perfect scarf when I need it! Sanity preserved! Now if I can remember my shoes…

How Google Docs Cleaned my Dining Room Table

To-Do lists

To Do: Get rid of all the lists.

As you know, I’m a crazy list-maker. This is not limited to To-Do Lists. There is also the “Thank You for the Christmas Gifts” list (ah-hem, it’s MARCH), “Talk to General Contractors About This” list, “Potty Training for Dummy Parents” list…it goes on. My other problem is that these lists are written on dozens of scraps of paper and scattered around my dining room table. “Hey, Smarty, why don’t you keep it in a notebook like a normal human being?” Yeah, well, nobody’s perfect.

Well, it JUST occurred to me that I can transcribe these into Google docs. I won’t lose them. They won’t turn into soggy coasters. I will be able to eat at the table again. (Goodbye coffee table picnics!)

So thanks, Google Docs. You cleaned my dining room table. When is Google Sewing coming out? I could use a digital sewing machine.

Transcontinental Toddling

This weekend, I took my 19-month daughter from Seattle to New York. Alone. In my lap.

I had my hesitations about taking the unnecessary adventure, but it paid off. I got to see some great old friends, introduce my daughter to their children, and see a little of the Big Apple during Christmastime. All around win. Here are the packing tips that helped us survive a redeye back East, and a 6.5 hour flight west. With a lap toddler.

Carry-on luggage

With only carry-on luggage, efficiency was key

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In the Bag: The Diaper Bag Dilemma

With a 17 month-old, I’ve officially been through 4 diaper bags, with 3-4 unofficial options as well. Why? Am I picky? Am I destructive? Am I disorganized? Do I get frantic? Kind of.

The thing is, different situations call for different bags. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about! You have your big, multi-purpose handbag for everyday outings or when you need to carry the utilitarian stuff. The cute, sassy clutch works for evenings out because you only need a couple of items for the night.

Though you may not be dancing the night away and getting free drinks with your little one in tow, you may have a preference for a smaller bag sometimes.
Here’s what I’ve learned about diaper bags.

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