OMG shoe storage.

We’ve all seen it. The front door shoe pile. You come home from work or play and immediately take off your shoes, right? Everyday you add another pair of shoes to the mix, or maybe family or friends stop by and before you know it, your entryway looks like this:

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In our home, we have two locations to collect shoes. The front door is where many of our friends and family leave their shoes and the back door is where we store our shoes. To tame our shoe pile problems, we brought in two different storage solutions.

The Ikea bench near our back door is our traditional shoe storage solution. These benches are common in mud rooms and entryways. Just search Pinterest for “shoe bench” and you will find many ideas for your own shoe bench solution. The best part about a shoe bench is that you can sit down to take off or put on your shoes as well as store shoes, all in one place.

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If you are interested in a more creative idea for shoe storage, why not try a bookshelf that shows off your shoes as well as your friends’ shoes? In our foyer, we took a more creative and decorative approach to storing shoes. We wanted a way to display shoes that is fun and looks like it belongs in the foyer. Enter our Ikea Lack bookshelf:

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And when we do not have shoes filling every shelf, our bookshelf serves as a fun way to display my favorite heels. A beautiful pair of shoes = art.

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Do you have a fun or creative way to store your shoes? Tell us about it!

Have a great week!



The Space Between

In our home, the kitchen and living are open to each other. You can stand in the kitchen and see into the living room and vice-versa. The open space great for entertaining, especially for get-togethers focused around sporting events. You can stand in the kitchen enjoying a few delicious treats and still see into the living room to watch the game. It’s a win-win!

A few years ago, we painted the wall that connects the kitchen and living room. But there was a blank space still left between the two rooms. Here is a photo taken right after we painted the wall in between the two rooms. (Check out that crazy couch. 🙂 )

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Earlier this year, we added a functional organizing area between the kitchen and living room to connect the two spaces.

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BJ and I looked at several options for this space before finally deciding on this Ikea Hemnes sofa table. Here are a few of the tables and benches we considered.

 

 

 

Threshold™ X Console Table Threshold™ Fretwork Console Table

Threshold™ Storage Bench with Slatted Doors Unfortunately, with these tables and benches we encountered two deal breakers. First, the tables and benches weren’t wide enough for the space and second, they didn’t offer enough storage. Our goal for this space is to connect the two rooms and still be functional.

We chose the Ikea sofa table because it met our criteria for the space and it also looks great with our Ikea Hemnes coffee table, and our kitchen island. The white really stands out against the blue wall and dark cherry kitchen floor.

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To make our sofa table more functional, I added these large chalkboard crates from Target. We’ve divided the crates into my mail, BJ’s mail, coupons and take out menus. These are items that we traditionally store in the kitchen, or that we inevitably pile up on the kitchen island making it unusable. With the large milk crates, we can store all of our mail, menus and coupons so they are easy to find and tucked out of the way of our daily kitchen use. If you are looking for a DIY alternative to these crates, you could find old milks crates and paint them with chalkboard paint. We decided to go with the option at Target because they were exactly what we were looking for.

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On the top shelves, I added some of our colorful coffee table books, and added a tray on each end for BJ and I to store little odds and ends.

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Our mail bins even have their own bouncer. Don’t mess with Zoey.

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Now this is a fully functional and fun space for us to enjoy. What area of your house to could benefit most from a functional space like this one?

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Craft/Project Room Madness

I’ll admit that I created chaos in our craft/project room. My grand plan was to organize this room as I put away our Christmas decorations. And then it rolled around to the end of March and instead, the Christmas decorations were strung all over this room. Yikes!

Time for an intervention.


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As with any room that becomes a catch-all, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed about diving in to organize the madness.
Last weekend, I finally broke down and started cleaning and throwing things away.
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It took a few hours, but after I was finished, all that remained in the middle of the floor were a few empty boxes and a bag of trash. (Insert sigh of relief)
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I still need to do a little more work to organize this closet, but it is better than I found it Saturday morning. I sorted and put away all of Christmas decorations and then I went one step further and sorted and put away our other seasonal decorations. The Halloween decorations are now stored in their own plastic bin. Our vases and vase filler were also organized in to their own bin. It no longer feels overwhelming to enter this room to look for something.

Mission accomplished.
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How do you tame an out of control room? Do you dive in and don’t emerge until it’s clean or do you manage the madness little by little?

Showing Our Home Some Love

Yesterday, we went to the first stop on the book tour for Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love and attended the panel session for their new book, Young House Love, 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love. We also had the very awesome, yet very brief, opportunity to meet them when they signed our copy of the book. BJ scored the award for most awesome amazing husband when he left the panel session to snag a place in line so we could get a (very limited) copy of the book. Best husband ever!

Here is our copy:

And… confession… I was super dorky and nervous when I met Sherry and John. I was so excited to tell them that they inspired me to write this blog and how I really enjoyed their blog and projects. I kinda got a little shaky and instead of calmly signing BJ and my name in their book, I think it probably looked more like scribbles. But with all the dorky, nervousness aside, I was super-inspired when we left the book show and I was so glad we went to hear them speak and got a chance to meet them and get a copy of their book.

So what’s makes a book signing with your favorite home improvement and DIY bloggers complete? A trip to Ikea, of course. We left the book signing with me super inspired and recapping the entire presentation for BJ (We tried FaceTime while he was in line, but it didn’t work. Boo.) The great part about all the things that John and Sherry mentioned in their panel session is that we are actually in the process of trying to show our house some love for an upcoming reappraisal. With financing rates as low as they are, we are hoping to take advantage and get a new lower rate on our loan. Part of the process is to have the house reappraised since we are on the edge of a few financing rates.

Sherry and John’s advice during the session was invaluable and some of it I definitely needed to hear… such as “design and use your house for how you live.” It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting your house to look a certain way because it’s what you think other people will like, but you should design your home for how you live. You’re the ones that live there every day and call your house your home, right?

So with a reappraisal on the horizon and me still inspired from the panel session, here is our “Show Your House Some Love for the Reappraisal To Do List.” Or at least that what I’m calling it.

1. Weed the garden and replant the potted mums

In September, I planted mums in our new pots out front and they looked great until the frost came in and killed them. They looked so pretty after they were planted. It was a bummer they didn’t stand up to the cold temperatures. I tried covering the pots with blankets on the nights they called for frost but it didn’t keep the cold from getting to them.

Today I went back over to Home Depot and picked up some new mums to replace the brown ones on our front porch.

2. Spruce up the loft so it looks like we use the space

Our loft is one of those challenging spaces that were not really sure what do with. But after listening to the Young House Love presentation, we decided to use the room for how we live. Here is the loft in its current state:

My master plan is to use our college alma mater’s colors in a tasteful way. While we were Ikea this weekend, we picked out some Poang chairs with blue cushions and I’m now on the search for some yellow-gold chevron fabric so I can make curtains and pillows We are also going to hang some photos of the stadium and campus. The idea is to make this space a movie/game area inspired by our college. But it has to be tasteful. We’re not about to plaster our school’s logo on the wall with a ginormous vinyl graphic and call it done.

While we were at Ikea, we also found our future loft entertainment/storage center:

3. Organize and clean the spare bedroom and BJ’s office

I haven’t talked much about our spare bedroom or BJ’s office because they weren’t much to talk about. After we moved in to our our house, the spare bedroom and BJ’s office quickly became the two rooms that we stuffed everything into and then ran out and shut the door behind us. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

This weekend, we conducted a major overhaul of the spare bedroom and BJ’s office so they are presentable, usable rooms in time for the reappraisal. And we want to finally use those spaces for the way we live instead of just stuffing them full of items we don’t want to deal with.

4. Finish the crown moulding and baseboard projects

Last year, we started putting up crown moulding in the living room and kitchen and here is where we left off:

We also ripped out the trim in the dining room when we tiled the floor last year and we haven’t had enough time to replace what we tore out.

The remaining crown moulding and baseboard are now purchased and ready to sand, paint and install.

That’s our list! This week we are going to jump in and try get the list accomplished before we have the house reappraised. It’s time to show our home some love. Wish us luck because it could get crazy around here!

The Blanket Basket Acquisition

When you’re a cat owner/lover, you quickly learn that your stuff, is really your cat’s stuff. Your original purpose for items when they come into your home may not stay that way for long.

Take this basket:


We bought it with the intention that we would use it for blanket storage. Now that we have a bigger couch, we can have extra blankets available for guests or to snuggle up with on a chilly evening.

But since this is really “Zoey’s house,” as we often joke, our blanket basket is now Zoey’s basket.

But that’s why we love her. She is a keeper and definitely brings joy into our home.

Does your pet claim particular items as their own?

Spring Forward

Spring is in the air at our house. Despite the snowflake lights still hanging on our banister, I’m in full Spring-mode. Tonight also marks the beginning of Daylight Saving Time. Don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed tonight!

I couldn’t be more excited to lose an hour of sleep. Seriously, I’m not being sarcastic. I’m looking forward to more daylight for evening walks and bike rides.

Another sign that Spring is on it way is in our flower garden. Check out what’s coming up already:

The hyacinths I planted last year survived! I worried they wouldn’t come back because I bought the flowers fully grown and then planted them around late April when it was still a little chilly out. I’m excited to see that they made it through the winter and now they are coming up and getting ready to bloom.

The tulips that I planted last year are also coming up. I noticed this little guy today while I was checking out the hyacinths.

Another sign that Spring is in the air is my latest organizing project. The first official day of Spring is still over a week away, but I’ve already got a jump-start on my “spring cleaning.” Remember at the beginning of 2012, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to get organized (closets, bathrooms and kitchen pantry)? I finally started on the pantry. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m happy with how it’s turning out so far. I realize that it still looks a little cluttered, but it’s better than it was. I will spare you the “before” photo. It was messy, so use your imagination. 🙂

I would love for our pantry to look like this:

Maybe some day.

In the meantime, I’ve been collecting Target gift cards like crazy lately so that I can buy more OXO vacuum-sealed containers. I love these containers! And no, I’m not getting any endorsements from OXO.

I hope get all of our pantry items (minus canned foods and individually package foods) into OXO containers.

Did you notice our fun star Post-it notes? Okay, they are a little hard to miss. I ran out of paper in our labeler so I’ve used these Post-its to label the containers. I actually think I like them a little better because I can also add the serving size and Weight Watchers Point Plus values.

I’m still collecting Target gift cards, so I will keep you updated on my progress. It will take a while to get our entire pantry into OXO containers, but I will keep buying a few here and there as I get more gift cards. Unfortunately, it seems like they never go on sale.

Once I get the pantry organized, my next room is the laundry room. It’s kinda drab now. This is one of the only rooms in the house that we didn’t paint. As you can tell, this shelf and wall are not very exciting. And the explanation for why there are so many containers of fabric softener; they were on sale. I also got a $5 Target gift card for purchasing two Downy and Tide items, so I stocked up.

You can also see the top of our very old washing machine in this photo. We will probably keep our washer and dryer until they die, so it might be awhile before I can really get this room looking like much. I would like to add a folding table, but that will have to wait until we buy a front-loading washing machine. As most homeowners know, you never run out of things to buy, or projects to do when you own a house. But that means there is always something new and exciting going on!

So before I wrap up this post, I’ll leave you with this photo. I caught Zoey sun-bathing and looking cute this afternoon.

Also, I’m going to try to post more regularly so check back on Tuesdays and Saturdays of every week for new posts!
Have a great weekend everyone!

Winter cleaning

It’s that time of year again. Time for spring… err… winter cleaning.

This year I got a head start on my spring cleaning and now I’m calling it “winter cleaning.” As part of my new year’s resolutions, I want to get organized. I started with my scary bathroom drawer and moved my way around the house. So far, I’ve cleaned/organized our closet and now I’m moving on to other locations in the house. My next stops are the laundry room and kitchen pantry.

All of this organization mania started a few weeks ago when I received this in the mail:

I love the Container Store. I would also love to go there and buy an Elfa system for every closet in the house as well as the laundry room. But for now, cleaning and self-organizing will have to do.

So as promised, an update on the closet. Here is the before and after for our master closet.

Before:

After:


It doesn’t look like this yet… but it’s still a work in progress. We are getting closer!

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I spent a few hours just sorting through and getting rid of clothes I no longer wear. A local non-profit will be in receipt of our donations in the near future. After I eliminated the clothes I no longer wear, I start organizing and folding the remaining clothes. For the non hanging clothes, I folded and neatly arranged them on the shelves and then I organized the hanging clothes by color and type. Finally I organized the shoes and scarves and then, I could see the floor again! Hooray! Now I won’t feel as stressed when I walk into the closet every day. I can pick out my clothes in a more welcoming environment.

While I’ve been cleaning, BJ has been busy working on the crown molding project. He made it all the way above the kitchen cabinets before running out of molding. Another trip to the home improvement store is in our future. We also need to pick out new baseboards for the dining room, so the timing worked out well.

So far, our 2012 has been full of cleaning and home improvement projects. Even Zoey is excited to see the progress!

That’s her serious face.

Well even if Zoey isn’t excited, we certainly are. I can’t wait to wrap up the dining room and crown molding projects.

We have some big plans for this year. Here are some of the things we would like to do in 2012:

1. Cleaning/Organizing the garage
2. Cleaning/Organizing the laundry room and kitchen pantry
3. Towel rack projects for master and guest bathroom
4.  Decorate the loft area

And I’m still working on my resolution to blog more often. So much to do! More updates to come.

2012 New Year’s resolutions

My 2012 New Year’s resolutions:

1. Get organized (closets, bathrooms, laundry room and kitchen pantry)
2. Finish projects we started in 2011
3. Blog more often

Resolution #1: Get organized (closets, bathrooms and kitchen pantry).

This year, the holidays came and our organization methods went out the window. The current state of our master closet is scary. Yikes!

Organizing a closet is easy, but the problem lies in keeping it organized. The organization needs to be functional. If it’s difficult to keep something organized than it’s not worth it. My organization methods have failed in the past because they are too difficult to keep. So I went to Pinterest for some inspiration. Here is what I found:

 

Here are a few of my favorite ideas for closet organization:

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We spend every morning in our closet. I want it to be a place where we can go and feel good starting our day. I love the idea of putting a chair or a rug in the closet. It makes it feel like another room in your house instead of just a place to store your clothes. Hopefully we can find a way to make our closet both functional and welcoming.

Next on the list is the bathrooms. I always struggle with keeping bathroom items organized. I start off so well, but after a few weeks my drawer looks like this:

I waste time digging around to find what I need. The frustrating part is that I only use half of the items in this door. The other items are in there for storage because I use them occasionally. There has to be a better way. So again, it’s off to Pinterest for inspiration.

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I bought a few blue flower pots at Ikea to start an herb garden. The pots are sitting in our kitchen and have been there for almost a year. Perhaps, I could use them to organize our bathroom instead.

I would also like to organize our pantry and laundry room. Here are some of my ideas for organizing these spaces:

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New Year’s Resolution #2: Finish Projects we started in 2011.

After Thanksgiving, December flew by. We ran out of time to finish the floor in the dining room before Christmas. Now that the holidays are over, we should have more time on our hands.

The crown molding is also on hold until we have more time. Hopefully we can finish this project soon.

New Year’s Resolution #3: Blog more often. 

My New Year’s resolutions will keep me pretty busy this year, so hopefully that means more posts to read. I will keep you updated on our progress!

I’m off to start on our closet and bathroom!

Happy New Year!

Shelves and new projects

The shelves are up and the wait is over!

As I posted a few weeks ago, there is a large purple wall in my office that was a blank canvas. Originally, I wanted to hang a photo collage on the wall. But after looking at photos of other home offices and thinking about it, I decided I wanted to do shelves. Before I found the floating shelves at Ikea, we were going to make our own. I would’ve been a lot of fun to make our own, but the Ikea shelves turned out really well.

Remember the blank purple wall:

And our fabulous find at Ikea. Floating shelves!

Prior to the shelf install, my rendering of what the wall would look like included three white shelves. After some thought and measurements, I decided  on two shelves for now. I can always add a third which would be lower to the ground.

Putting up the new wall decor was more difficult than I thought. The shelves came with metal braces to hold them on the wall and then you put the shelves on to the metal braces and screw them into place. Seems simple, right?  The truth is, it was not easy to measure, level and hold the brace with only two people. The brace was flimsy and I couldn’t keep it still.

One of the issues we ran into was the lack of studs in the wall. So our solution was to use anchors to make sure the shelves are stable and we do not wake up one night to the sound of everything crashing in the office. Those little white holes in the wall are anchors. They look like big white plastic screws with holes where the smaller metal screw goes. Evidently those little suckers can hold up to 75 lbs!!!

After we got one shelf up on the wall, we used it to measure where we were going to put the second shelf. We used a very sophisticated method: Post-it notes. Hey, it worked! The fancy red arrow on the wall is our Post-it. Now BJ can no longer tease me for having millions of them (another post for another time). In time of need, the Post-its came though.

Here is the finished product with both shelves on the wall.

And thanks to the anchors, even with the decorations, they are still solid! (I always worry)

Now I just need to do some rearranging, hang some more pictures and my office will be complete! For now 🙂

With the temperatures outside cooling off, BJ and I are getting into home improvement project mode. There is a wall in our kitchen/living room that we are planning to paint blue as an accent wall. In a few weeks, we can finally start painting. It’s been too warm to open up the windows while we paint. We are also going to put up crown molding in the living room and kitchen to hide some wires from our ceiling speaker install. It’s going to be a busy fall for us! Here is a preview of our upcoming projects:

Painting the accent wall:

And crown molding to cover our speaker wire:

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Sneak preview: the shelves are up!

All the cool kids are doing home improvement projects on Friday nights. What did you do tonight?

So because it’s late and it’s been a long week, I’m not going to dive into how we put up the shelves tonight. I will update you on the start to finished process in my next post. But as promised… here they are:

I apologize for picture quality. There is not much light to work with in my office.  I usually work with just my desk lamp at night. The glowing ball of light in the corner is my paper lantern light.

More pictures to come. I will some better shots in the morning. 🙂

In the meantime… goodnight all! Check back soon!