Creating an Organized Home Part Three – On-The-Go

Technically this isn’t organizing a space in your home, but it is to help stay organized outside the home. That counts, right?!? In part one I talked about ways to organize your kitchen and in part two we went over bathroom organization. If you want to catch up part one is HERE & part two is HERE. For this post I will be providing tips & tricks to stay organized on-the-go.

We all know that life is hectic. Whether you work in the home or outside the home. Between school pickup, doctor appointments, helping with homework, my marriage, a career, toddler, blogging, cooking, baking, grocery shopping, laundry, & countless other daily tasks it is super easy to forget about something. Ahhh!!! Just typing all this just gave me anxiety! However, I have learned over time how to stay organized-ish and saving a little money on the way. It’s hard and I am not saying the list I am about to provide is going to magically make you captain organized, but I can say using these items have helped me immensely, so I am sharing them with you.

Tip 1: Monthly Agenda

I’m an old soul at heart. I still believe in handwriting a letter or a to-do list. I actually absorb more when I write it out instead of type. I know I could note everything on my smart phone, but what if I drop my phone?! I have definitely done that, so I like to depend on old faithful, my agenda. I’ve been using Kate Spade agendas for several years now and even converted one of my coworkers to them.

They come in a variety of fun prints, but most importantly will keep the most unorganized of people (like me) organized each day. Bonus, they are 17-month agendas, starting in August of the current year so you get 5 extra months! I use my agenda for work and home so I always know what events are coming up and where I need to be.

Tip 2: Invest in a Travel Mug

I bleed coffee. One of my coworkers actually told me that a coffee mug is a staple in my hand every time she sees me in the office. I laughed when she said it, but it is absolutely true. I use to buy Starbucks EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. but that gets SUPER expensive. I’m not going to say I don’t buy Starbucks anymore, because that would be a lie, but I do buy it a lot less now that I have this adorable travel mug.

I’m not the best morning person. Actually, I’m probably the worst. 😉 So in the evening before I go to bed I set up the coffee maker for the next day. This way I can go downstairs, push the start button, and then go back up to get ready. That way when I’m ready to go out the door the coffee is ready.

Tip 3: Setting Alerts on my Phone

I know this contradicts number 1, but my agenda can’t alert me. So I write the details in my agenda and put a generic alert on my phone to notify me of whatever it is I need to do. I always set my alert two days in advance and then on the day, two hours before.

Tip 4: Checklists

This ties in to number one. The agenda has space to write things on each day. I make a checklist for the day. I am one of those people that gets the feeling of accomplishment when I make a check in a box. Sometimes I actually will write something down I have already done just to put a check mark next to it. I know, I’m a little cray, but it really does give me a sense of accomplishment.

I write each to-do item on a separate line along with a check box. I don’t know about you, but I always feel accomplished when I can check a box.

Tip 5: Invest in a Good Pen

I am left handed and the only (yes only) 😂 draw back to that is that I would always smear the ink when I would write. And with my OCD it would bother me. But the clouds parted when I found the fine tip sharpie pen! I LOVE these pens. I have them in a variety of colors and the ink has never smeared while using them. Ever. Yay!

Tip 6: Carry a Pencil Pouch

I’m pretty sure I bought this pencil pouch when I was in college. I still use it to hold my pens but also where I keep all my coupons. That way if I stop by the store I always have my coupons with me.

Tip 7: Have a Nightly Routine

I’m not much of a routine person, but to keep me sane in the morning, I have a routine. I gather all the things I need in the morning the night before. Such as:

Get my bag/briefcase ready for work
Setup the coffee the night before
Have my travel mug cleaned and next to the coffee maker
Layout my outfit
Put my car keys & jewelry next to my bag
Sign school papers (if any)
Gather items the boys need for school/daycare

Doing these things makes getting ready in the morning almost seamless. And believe me, I need all the help I can get in the morning. 😂

Now you know my secrets of how I attempt to juggle my busy life. Again, these are the things/ways that have helped me stay organized. I hope this list has inspired you in case you are like me and struggle with organization.

Well friends, that’s it for this post. Until next time. Xo

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Creating an Organized Home Part Two – Bathroom

In part one I explained why I decided to do this series, but for all of you that hasn’t had a chance to read it, here’s a quick recap.

I am always misplacing items and then creating an even bigger mess trying to find said item. It’s a vicious cycle. Clean. Misplace item. Destroy home looking for said item. Repeat. Anyone relate?!? Well if you do, then this series is for you! I have made an effort to get more organized in life, so I am sharing my journey, tips, and tricks of how I am accomplishing this. One room at a time. Part one covered the kitchen. You can get all the details from part one HERE. For part two I am talking bathroom organization.

We recently renovated our master bathroom, so organizing it wasn’t so bad. It was actually fun. But before the renovation (click HERE for that post), we stuffed whatever, where-ever, then when I needed something like a bandaid, hair tie, or curling iron, I would make a huge mess trying to get to said item.

We don’t have a medicine cabinet or much storage space, so I had to get creative with organizing.

My favorite item to help keep our home organized is glass canisters. We literally have like 30 canisters throughout the house and they are all put to good use.

I use the canisters in the bathroom to store: soap, sponges, my makeup brushes, cotton balls, q-tips, & bath bombs.

I also keep all my beauty & skincare samples in a canister. I use to be a BirchBox member which is why I have so many. If you don’t know what BirchBox is, it’s a subscription where they send you several samples of skincare & beauty products each month. I cancelled the subscription, but by that time, I had so many samples that I had to do something with them. So in a glass canister they went.

All of the canisters (minus the one with all the samples) are housed on our open shelves. If you’ve been following a long with me then you’ll know my love for open shelves. They are a great way to stay organized in spaces with limited storage. They are also convenient and keep frequently used items in view.

For my hair ties, curling iron, and hair dryer I use command strips on the inside of the cabinet doors. It makes it super quick and easy to do my hair in the morning without making a bunch of noise. My husband is a chef so he gets to sleep in a little later then I do, so I try to be as quiet as possible. Which never really happens. My hubby says I’m like a bull in a china shop. 😂 Anyway…

I love the idea of the command strips on the inside of the door because they are right there when I open the doors and they aren’t taking up the limited space on the counter.

Side note, I’ve had the same beat up hair dryer since I was a teenager! Seriously that thing is ancient, but it works, and that’s what matters. Moving along…

A great way to keep your makeup organized is by a container with multiple compartments. I bought the one below at the container store for $15 several years ago and it does a great job of keeping my makeup organized. In one compartment I keep all my lip makeup, in another all my face makeup, and in the other all eye makeup. Doing this has made it so much easier then pilfering through a drawer trying to find my mascara.

Because the limited space in here, I keep a majority of our towels in a linen closet that is next to our boys bedrooms. But I do keep a couple in the master bathroom because it never fails that my hubby or me forgets a towel and then when one of us gets out of the shower we are yelling at the other person to bring a towel. So to solve the towel dilemma, I put hooks in the wall to hold the towels. I also use a wire basket that holds the hand towels that sits on the toilet next to my makeup container.

We also have a container that is under the sink where we keep all our medicine, supplements, and first aid supplies. I have canisters to keep all like items together. Hair care items are kept in one and first aid supplies in another.

Tip: keeping like items together in a container will help prevent clutter and save you time when looking for something.

Basically canisters, command strips, and wall hooks are the glue that keeps our bathroom organized.

Well friends that’s it for this post. I hope you enjoyed it. For part three I will be covering how to stay organized at the office/on-the-go. Thank you so much for stopping by.

Until next time. Xo

 

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DIY Fall Inspired Book Page Leaves

This is seriously one of the easiest DIY’s I’ve done to date as well as the least expensive! I purchased two books from the Salvation Army for $1 total. That’s it. A $1 DIY. Now that is a DIY that even my most frugal of friends can get on board with. Am I right?!? It definitely helped that I had all the other items on hand.

To make these budget friendly fall inspired book page leaves you’ll need the supplies listed below.

Supplies:

Old book(s)
Scissors
Acrylic paint in desired colors
Paint brush for each color
Bowl
Water
Freezer paper

Tip: I used crimson, gold, and orchid yellow paint.

Step 1: Tear out the book pages from the book(s).

Step 2: Line up several pages, then fold them in half, long ways.

Tip: Apply ample pressure when folding the pages to ensure the crease is well defined.

Step 3: Starting near the bottom of the side with the crease, cut upwards then out to make a leaf shape. I just eyed mine. Reference the picture below to give you an idea of how mine looks.

Step 4: Fill the bowl half way with water.

Step 5: Tear off about 2 feet of freezer paper and lay flat. Then Tear off a second smaller piece to cover the space you will be painting the paper leaves on. This makes the clean up easy.

Step 6: Dip your brush in the water, then dab it in the desired paint color and paint the leaf. Once your done, lay it flat on the freezer paper. Let the leaf dry for about 15 minutes, then flip it. This will prevent the leaf from sticking to the freezer paper.

Tip: For some of the leaves I dabbed the paintbrush in two or even all three colors to give them a more discolored authentic look. 

Step 7: Repeat step 6 until you have the desired amount of book page leaves.

Step 8: Let the leaves dry overnight then the sky is the limit!

I snapped a couple of photos to give you ideas on how to style them below, but the possibilities are endless.

A fall charger

Spruce up an olive bucket
 

You can also use them to make:

a wreath
name cards for a table setting
table runner
garland

I am using them to create a table runner for my fall tablescape post that will be on the blog next month and I can’t wait to show you all. Stay tuned!

Well friends, that’s it for this post. I hope you enjoyed my budget friendly DIY as well as inspired you to think outside the box when decorating your home for the upcoming fall season. This just goes to show you that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make something beautiful. If you decide to make these book page leaves, I would love for you to share it with me on Instagram! My handle is @acarriedaffairdesigns You can also message me on Instagram or leave a comment below if you have any questions. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Until next time. Xoxo

Creating an Organized Home Part One – Kitchen

I am what you would call organized chaos. I’m crazy organized when it comes to work, but not so much at home. I am always misplacing items and then creating an even bigger mess trying to find said item. It’s a vicious cycle. Clean. Misplace item. Destroy home looking for said item. Repeat. But no more! I have made an effort to get more organized in life, so I am sharing my journey, tips, and tricks of how I am accomplishing this. One room at a time. This my friends, is now a functional and organized kitchen.

I don’t know why I woke up a couple Saturdays ago with the urge to deep clean the kitchen, but I did. Then it lead to organizing the pantry, and every single cabinet in the kitchen. Maybe it was the toaster almost falling on my foot when I opened one of the cabinets, or maybe the food crumbs, or the fact that I realized I had 2.2 million cookie cutters. Yes, 2.2 million. Who needs that many cookie cutters? Wilton has probably produced less cookie cutters than what I found stashed away in the cabinets. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating. The point is, we had a lot of stuff that we never used or I didn’t even remembered we had. What was worse was the things I needed at some point but could NEVER find. I swear I asked my husband on the daily if he knew where something was. His reply was always, “Well, if you would have put it back where it went you wouldn’t have that problem.” Touché husband. Touché. But honestly he was right! I never knew where ANYTHING was because I would use it, then cram it somewhere. So with that, I am starting this home organization series.

Think of this series like a capsule wardrobe, just with your home instead of your clothes. Same concept and same feeling of accomplishment when you’re done!

The first thing I did was open all the cabinets. They were a mess! I wish I would have taken before pictures, but wasn’t until after I was done that I decided I wanted to blog about it.

Then one-by-one I pulled everything out of each cabinet and piled all like things. That’s how I realized I had 2.2 million cookie cutters.😂

After putting everything in piles I went through each one and put everything I haven’t used or had multiples of in a pile to donate. Let me be clear, I had three sets of mixing bowls. Who needs three sets of mixing bowls besides Martha Stewart?!? So I put the other two sets in the donate pile. I also put items that I hadn’t used in a very long time in the donate pile. I took the approach of,  if I didn’t even remember having it, I donated it.

While I had everything pulled out I vacuumed out the cabinets and drawers and then cleaned the insides with a magic eraser. Those things are magnificent!

Tip: Use toothpicks to reach the crud in the grooves of your cabinets then wipe with a magic eraser. Magic erasers are great for a lot of things, especially keeping white cabinets, white!

After going through all the cabinets I had a little over two bags of items ready to donate…just from our kitchen! And can you believe that half of one was cookie cutters?!? JK, but seriously…

I even cleaned out the cleaning supply cabinet and organized all the cleaning supplies using little white wire caddies I purchased from Home Goods like a year ago. Using the caddies have helped me stay organized and it’s so much easier to pull out a trash bag without knocking everything over now.

Tip: If you have a Tupperware drawer, organize them all by size and shape. If you find containers missing a lid, recycle it. I made sure to only keep the Tupperware that had a matching lid.

Once all the cabinets were situated, I started on the pantry. I found grains, cornmeal, and other items that had been expired for months. Gross right?!? So I went through everything, got rid of the expired food, put the items we had multiples of in order of expiration date, and used clear OXO containers we were gifted from our wedding to use for the cereal and other dry items. Yay for finally using them! Our containers are from Crate & Barrel, but I have found them at Home Goods & TJ Maxx for less.

Tip: Making dry foods more visible has definitely helped with meal preparation and allows me to see how much of something we have left. Like cereal. My boys eat the heck out of cereal, but I never knew we were out until I went to eat some. Thanks boys for keeping mom on her toes.

Side note, I didn’t realize my obsession with paper straws until I organized the kitchen. Because I have so many, I put them in a glass canister to keep them together. I am definitely glad I didn’t throw the canister away when I broke the lid.

I also rearranged everything in the pantry based on my height. Items that were easy to lose track are now at eye level. Also, if I had multiples of something I put the item with the closer expiration date in front to reduce wasted food.

I probably sound crazy, but it’s easy to overlook items when they are not at eye level and are not frequently used. Items such as canned beans. I realized when I organized the pantry we had 8 cans of various canned beans. See! All I can hope is that the family is ok with eating a lot of chili. 😂

After the pantry was situated, I moved on to organizing the items on the counters and open shelves. Recently I added a second set of open shelving in our kitchen, and I couldn’t be happier about the decision. Before the second set of shelves, there was a pot rack shelf that we never once used to hang our pots on. Adding the second set of shelves made the kitchen more functional. They also allow me to keep items that are frequently used, while cooking, closer to the stove.

Items such as everyday-ish spices. Before, I had to walk to the other side of the kitchen. Now I don’t have to. Even though I was focused on the items being functional, I still wanted them to look pretty. I mean, they are in the open. So for my spices I used glass jars (with a clasp seal) from Hobby Lobby.

I have never been big on labels, especially since I am always changing things up, so I opted for a cleaner look. However, I still need to know what spice is which. I’m sure pumpkin spice chili wouldn’t be a big hit. So I used a chalkboard marker and wrote the spice on the bottom on each jar.

Then when I want to change out the spice, or use the container for something else, I can easily rub the label off.

Can you see the residue of the marker on the palm of my hand?!? I am OCD about everything and had to rewrite the label 1.2 billion times before I thought it was acceptable. Even though nobody but me knows it’s there. Well, and you now.

For the cookie cutters I kept, I decided to put them in glass canisters below the larger open shelves. To stay organized, I separated them by type/season. On the left I have all my pie cutters, the middle, summer & spring cookie cutters, and on the end, Christmas and Thanksgiving cookie cutters. Now, I don’t have to dump all the cookie cutters on the counter and pilfer through them all to find  certain holiday/seasonal ones. Also, they are now close to the rest of the baking items I frequently use. Convenient and functional!

Organizing the kitchen was a huge task. It took almost a day to get everything situated, but it was well worth it!

The point of all this for me was to only keep items with a true purpose in our home, not just things for the sake of having things. It’s definitely an adjustment for me, but now I know where things are because they aren’t covered or crammed into spaces with things we didn’t need/use. The kitchen has stayed organized for over two weeks now, and I haven’t had to ask my husband once where anything in the kitchen is. I can’t say that for other rooms..but soon enough.

Next up in the series I’ll be tackling bathroom organization. Stay tuned!

P.S. Some of my favorite items to keep me organized are linked below.

Well friends, that’s it for part 1 of this series. I know these ideas are not revolutionary, but they have definitely kept me organized in the kitchen and I hope my tips can do the same for you. Until next time. Xo

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