September 16, 2014

Don't Forget To Shop Your House First


Ok, ok. Yes, today I'm talking about this home office of mine. Again. If you've been reading for over a year since the move in, you've seen this space take its overall shapeaaaaaand you've seen me make little changes here and there. I think that's totally normal, for any space. If it doesn't work, by all means - change it up until it does!

This house is a good size, but there are space challenges. Some rooms were big and empty, with the need to be totally planned out. Like the master closet. What was once this


Is now this


And there are awkward little spaces too, like the spot at the bottom of the stairs. After some thinking, I decided to build a few floating shelves. It went from this to this…

To this…

And not that long ago I talked about making the most of your small spaces. I have random tiny spots around the house where I've tried to carve out meaning and organization, like the coffee bar in the kitchen…

Or my cheap solution to my lack of a mudroom…

Or making the most of your under sink space…

Even making the most of a tiny 1960's linen closet…

I could go on and on about the small spaces I'm working on around here…but let's get back to this corner of the home office…

*cringe*

Just looking at that photo. Ugh! Stresses me out. This is the back, far corner of my home office. At some point (read = need more money), this office will be completely built out. I have big, beautiful dreams for this little office loft. In the meantime, however, I have to work with what I have. That means it needs to happen on a budget. How do I make this happen? I shop around my house first. Always.

In a matter of 30 minutes, this awkward corner went from this...

To this…

Better, right? Or is that just me being hopeful? ;-)

Again, this...

To this…

The small black folding table used to be in Aiden's room, before his new desk arrived. With the grace of God this little table fit perfectly between the end of my desk and the corner of the room. I couldn't believe it! I had the additional rolling cart just collecting dust down in the garage…

Seriously, it was almost on its way out to Goodwill. Adding the 3rd rolling cart, I was able to organize more items into drawers and out of sight. I labeled them with washi tape and my label maker…


The folding table gave me a good amount of new surface space too, which is where the printer is now as well as a few other office supplies that I wanted to move off my computer desktop…

Speaking of my desktop, I had these 2 little pretties sitting here for a long time…

While they were helpful, I needed more workspace so I moved one off the desktop altogether and left this one here…

It contains the items I find I use most of the time. The rest didn't need to sit out in the open, so away into drawers everything went.

I also re-arranged the contents of my Martha Wall Manager so that I could put all of my "inbox" items into the first hanging file…

Everything is still at my fingertips, but not taking up desktop space.

It's amazing what a difference that small change made. Just adding the 3rd rolling cart and folding table -- again, that I already owned and were sitting in the garage -- it free'd up so much desktop space…

And then the improvements spread over to my desktop as a result, as well.

And it didn't cost me anything! Friends, before you run out to the store to grab solutions, look around your house first. See if there are items not being utilized to their full potential, or items not being used at all. Don't be afraid to move things around or try something different…remember, you can always move it back to the way it was previously if you aren't happy. No commitment!

What I love about living in this office space and moving things around? I'm getting a better feel for the permanent build-out of the space. I definitely like the wrap around desk idea…gives me so much work surface space. But I clearly need a lot of cabinets with doors. Don't even get me started on the moving boxes full of photos and scrapbooking stuff. Yup, in the garage! One day they will see the sun again.

Have a great day peeps!


September 11, 2014

A Door For Charlie

Apparently this is my week to share random topics. And this one might just take the cake = how I installed a cat door for Charlie. I know, right? This is an earth-shattering tutorial everyone needs to pin for future use. But this is a real World problem people. If you have an outdoor cat, you can probably relate to this all too well...


Unless, of course, you have an indoor cat. Yup, we're one of "those" families that allows our cat outside. Trust me, I occasionally hear the sad tales and warnings from the neighbors. While I would love to keep him in, he's got a mind of his own. He was a stray that we adopted from the shelter, so he already had a taste of the outdoors. And hey y'all….he's an Arkansas natural state native. He's a little bit country, enjoys the outdoors, hunting and fresh air.


And I love the fact that he doesn't use a litter box. ;-) Because that means it's one less thing around here I need to clean.

Anyway, the issue of not having an official cat door was a big one, believe it or not. I found myself sometimes tethered to the house not knowing if he would need to leave, in the event he was inside napping. Or if he would want to come in for food / water, in the the event he had been outside for a few hours. We do keep him inside at night, but since there isn't a litter box in the house, he needs a way to get in and out during the day for potty stuff.

Putting a cat door into a door isn't an option right now. Every door on the back side of the house is a glass french door. Eventually, after the kitchen remodel, there will be a more permanent solution … who knows maybe the future pet door will be big enough for a dog (or 10). For now, with the nicer weather, I had been letting him come and go from a kitchen window…

I took the screen out and he would hop onto the front patio chair to get in and out. Look at this guy, he even modeled his exit process for us this morning…



This wasn't going to work for the long term because he was tracking dirt in and onto the kitchen counter, which is on the other side of this window. I also didn't like leaving a front window open to the public all day long. This window faces the front yard. And of course there's the bug factor. But if there was ever a positive on the list of negatives, it's that I can now officially beat Mr. Miagi at catching flies. Just added that skill to add to my Linked In. Totally endorsable, right?

I did some research into cat doors and found this…

It's a cat door that can not only be installed in a door, but also a screen door. Genius! And it was really easy to install.

The kit comes with a template for making your hole in the screen. I chose this window in the kitchen that faces the pool…


I removed the screen and used the template to cut the hole…


Once the hole was cut, I added the front and back pieces with the included screws…

It even comes with screw hole covers which give it a cleaner appearance...

Done!…

This cat door has a 4-way locking system, so we can choose for him to only come in, only go out, not come in at all or let is swing both ways for him to come and go as he pleases.

(Btw, I'm not getting paid to mention this cat door - just sharing this little project with you guys!)



I have it tucked behind the candles and think it blends in pretty well…

Charlie has officially made his first entrance into the house through the door and seems ok with the change.

If you are interested in buying a cat door like this one, I added it to my new Amazon shop. Yes, I finally figured out how to set up a shop of recommended items! Took me some time because I'm not very tech-savvy.

As a side note: don't worry, this isn't going to be a shop I'm pushing on you guys in order to a profit. I see this as a way for me to help connect you to the products I'm purchasing or using … and can officially recommend. And you'll be able to easily click through to the product and order, instead of searching around online if you don't have the free time for web surfing. Will I make money when you order? Sure…but it's pennies, trust me. I won't be retiring anytime soon from blogging, my friends.

My shop is on the sidebar and I'll be adding more items all the time!

** cough cough compartment organizers cough cough **

Oh, this is happening today too! Blog post coming soon!…

Outdoor lighting. 2 words I thought would never cross my lips. Yay!


September 10, 2014

Cleaned & Purged Playroom!

First week of school? While some exhausted mommies recovering from a long summer would run their rear ends right to a spa. A gym. A coffee shop. A quiet book store. Their local Target.

A bar! Anyone?? Be honest!

What does this mom do? I tore apart the playroom. I couldn't wait! *insert evil mommy laugh* Literally, that week leading up to school starting I would curse that room when I walked through. I'd taunt it. I'd give it the stink eye. I even flexed my muscles at it now and again….waved a few trash bags in its face like they were my pom poms. 

This playroom….I love this space…and love that the kids love it even more. But boy did they love on it a whole lot this summer. It was overdue for a serious clean-up / purge session. So the first week the kids went back to school, the day Natalie stayed for "it's your lucky day" (pre-school lunch), I spent my entire 5 kid-free hours going through every last toy, game, and stuffed animal. Now that it's once again clean, organized and pretty, I thought I'd share some updated pics with you guys…

And for any new blog readers (mwuh!), I'm linking to projects I've completed in this space in the event you too are organizing your playroom now that your kids are back in school. 

I have to admit, this space is working really well! Why? It's the baskets, the wall system, and keeping the toy inventory under control. Everything has a place to live. Maybe it doesn't always end up where it's supposed to be, but when I walk through at the end of the night and there are a things lying around, it's a quick clean-up. It doesn't bother me to pick up this space…doesn't annoy me because it's easy. That is why it's working.

Don't get me wrong, not everything I plan out around the kids works so well. This space? It does!

I purchased the wall system from Pottery Barn last year. The wall used to be empty…

This blank canvas was begging for this piece! It works so well and offers a ton of storage. Those cabinets below aren't even full…

I went through each basket on these shelves, purged toys I didn't see the kids play with all summer, and put them back up. Easy! I made these chalkboard labels (on the cheap) last year too! And they are still working very well!…

I moved their table under the window so they have more natural light for coloring, crafting or having a snack…

I've noticed moving that table helped with the flow of the room a little better. Their play table, that used to be under the window, is now near their art wall. And it works better here because now the kids can get to all 4 sides, instead of just 3 as it had been pushed up against that window wall…

Can't wait to see what pieces will hang here this year…

The post about the art display wall is here

The 2 built-ins that flank the windows hold extra toys and labeled mesh bins with even more toys. May look like a lot, but we have really pulled back on the mesh bins...

With 3 kids, different ages and stages…there are going to be a lot of toys. I think we've done a good job paring it down to only what we play with. It's so nice to walk through this organized space now. You can see this main walkway here behind the couch…


And my other favorite view?…

The Goodwill was pretty happy!

Now that the space is clean and organized, I'm going to work on updating the framed photos scattered around the room as well as bringing in some fall decor. I can't wait to start decorating for fall!

Have a good day!