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Everything in it’s Place: The End Clutter Now Home Tour

End Clutter Now Home Tour

Have you ever finished organizing, or so you thought, and are left with a whole pile of things you have no idea where to put?

the aftermath

You would recognize these items instantly because they are attracted to all flat surfaces and are often found cluttering up your counters and tables.

You try to clean up but you honestly don’t know where to put these random items. Final you get fed up and throw it all in a box or jam it into a drawer!

Or you might even try to put them away and then when you go to look for said item, you can’t find it! You vow never to put away something you are “about to use” ever again.

During my recent junk drawer clean out, I re-sorted the left over clutter to a few specific categories.

The re-sort

Without a permanent home for these random items they resurface as the habitual clutter makers on our counters or stuffed in our drawers. It is time to make a home for these clutter makers! A trusted space that every family member knows where each item belongs and returns it when finished (A girl can dream).

We are not just taking about a mail basket by the door (although that is a lovely way to keep it corral until you have a chance to sort through your mail.) No we are taking about the nitty gritty of random screws, extra erasers and scribbled notes. Rough storage as some organizers call it.

I thought I would share with you the rough storage I have carved out for all these random items. These are not necessarily pretty areas and they defiantly wouldn’t show up in a home tour but these spaces are a necessity to keep the clutter off your counters. So I have officially named this the, drum roll…

End Clutter Now Home Tour

How to keep the clutter off our counters by creating a home for the clutter makers

extra

This is by no means an exhaustive list but these specific storage spaces have made a huge difference in getting rid of all the clutter, okay most of the clutter.

 

1. Donations

Creating a permanent home for items to giveaway makes purging painless. Throw items in as you come across them in daily life. Schedule a trip or a pick up by your local thrift store when the box gets full.

This could be just a generally pile for giveaways. Click here for a few options for unwanted clutter.

Previously, I had a permanent donations box in my girls’ spacious closet because the phase “growing like weeds” is so true. As of now there is box designated on the garage floor. One day it will have its own spot on a shelf when the garage is organized.

dontations

 

2. Keepsakes

There are some items you might just keep forever or at least you feel like you want to keep it for your whole life. If your favorite keepsakes items are not prominently displayed, creating a permanent home, whether in a container under the bed or a box in the garage, saves the hassle of repeatedly coming across items but never getting it in a home.

I have a few keepsake boxes, one for me, one for my husband and I, and one for each of my kids. Most of our boxes are kept in the closet so I can easily throw something in.

keepsakes

 

3. Tools

Maybe it is the full house renovation, but I am constantly looking for or finding random tools around the house. Not only does having one spot for tools play a big role in cutting down on the big tool hunt but I have a secret weapon, label.

tools

 

I previously organized our tools  but it didn’t stick until I labeled where specific items go. It doesn’t cut out hunting for a tool entirely but it knocked it down by good 90%.

tools labels 2

 

4. Projects

Often while organizing we come across items that automatically induce the phrase, “I need to…” fill in the blank. We have have projects to do that we often don’t have time for. Why not create a permanent home for them?

Mine were pilling up in the kitchen, until I got sick of looking at the mess and transplanted them to the top of the dryer. It might seem like a weird place for piles but I want to keep them out and easily accessible and since I do laundry almost everyday it seems like the perfect place.

projects

If I had a dedicated laundry room, I might rethink this decision. But since our laundry is in the garage it keeps the projects out of the way without being swallowed by the rest of the messy home projects that take over most of the garage. Sometimes I stash returns out here too. Although most of them time I try to put them right in my car so they are ready for a quick stop if need be.

Full disclosure. I straighten this up for the picture. It was a mess of bags until I hunted down a box to sort things out and make it a little more presentable.

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5. Change

Please devote a jar for change. It is easy and oh-so life changing.

You don’t have coins floating around? What do you have that is always spilling out of your purse or pockets. Create a dedicated container just for that, whatever the change represents for you. My spare change container is right next to my jewelry.

Change container

 

6. Long-term Recycling

Things like e-waste, batteries or glass bottles sometimes wait around for a time before they are taken to be recycled. Why not make a home for them until it is time for those errands?

End Clutter House Tour

 

7. Office supplies

I know this is a no-brainier for some of us but if you often find office supplies scattered through out your home you might need to make two repetitive areas for office supplies in your home.

Simple things like paperclips, rubber bands and post-its have a home in both the kitchen junk drawer and back on my desk. This makes it easy to put away your supplies no matter where you are in the house.

office supplies

 

8. Current Papers

We could easily devote a whole series about paper alone, in fact I have, (read more in depth about organizing paper here). But for now if you have a stack of paper to-dos or scribbled notes scattered around the house create a permanent home for paper to be processed whether it is a tray or file box create a trusted place until you sort through it.

Action files

In my action files box, which I use to keep track of everyday papers, (Read more about how I use my action files here), I  have a “Pending” file where I stash paper if I am not able to conquer a task right away.  I can sort through the pending folder weekly and take care of random tasks like checking balance on a gift card and recording events on my calender all at once.

I also have a place to store papers I need to file in my long term file box which is now hidden out of the way in my linen closet which I now call my filing cabinet. 2 points for the pun. Since I had to downsize my previous desk, the linen closet and hall shelves house lesser used office supplies.

With a “To File” folder in my action files I can postpone my filing to every other month instead of trying to stay on top of it weekly.

Long term files

 

9. Kids’ Work

Keeping track of kids’ paperwork has become an ever evolving process as the girls enter new stages of their school career. This is what is working for us now.

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Next to my action files, I have a letter tray from Ikea for the girls’ work. Each girl has two cubbies, one for their homework and one for papers they are currently working on. There always seems to be a craft they are not finished with yet. These cubbies have to be cleaned out often!

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The bottom cubbie is my mailbox for permission slips to sign and graded papers to admire. The girls also have a space in the hall to hang up papers they are especially proud of along with the cork boards in their room. 1st graders and kindergartners create a lot of paper! *Read more about how I organize kids school work keepsakes here.

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I felt in limbo after moving until I slowly carved out dedicated spaces for these clutter makers. Clearly defined areas make such a difference in feeling organized even if it is just a general area that is tweaked as you go like my garage.

Now when we have a 10-minute pick up everyone knows where items belong and sometimes even returns them to their home!

What are your clutter makers? What did I forget?

 

One Year In

Kitchen-1-yr-in_thumb.jpg

One year ago this month we moved into a fixer upper.  I have logged close to ten thousand hours watching HGTV episodes so I figured I was totally prepared for the overhaul.

Note to self, it takes longer than an hour to redo a kitchen. Even after one year in to this journey it still feels like we are plugging away on projects without being any closer to a finished house.

After living with with plywood for counter tops, the realities of a full home overhaul began to set in. It was about that time I first shared with you my long list of projects. if only to reassure myself that I would soon be checking these projects off with a quick click of the mouse. If only getting them actually finished was that easy!

But alas, our counter tops were just installed last month and the yard looks like it has never been touched (it has!).

So for my own sanity, it is time to revisit my original to do list and hopefully cross a few things off the list. I plan to reread this post often on those days when the projects seem never ending! Progress has been made!

All the before pictures were taken while we were in escrow.

Front Yard

Front

 

  • paint and remove shutters
  • replace aluminum windows with double pane windows
  • change the size of small rectangle bathroom window to make it look more updated
  • Install 2 gates on each side of the yard
  • make driveway smaller and replace with greenery on both sides
  • take down chain link fence and gate
  • build retaining wall to expand front yard
  • add planter to the top of the driveway in front of the house to soften the house and add privacy
  • add exterior lighting, mailbox and house numbers
  • remove old, random cable wires
  • repair rain gutters
  • plant shade tree in front yard

Front 1yr in

I know it looks like nothing has been done since the original update last year, but see that white gate in the right corner of the photo.Yes, that is new!

We, and by we I mean my husband, has done a lot of back breaking work that doesn’t get fully conveyed in photos. As it turns out concrete is a lot harder to demo than drywall, trust me on this one. It is nothing like our 1 day demo of the kitchen walls.

In case you need convincing not to try it on your own, here is just 1 of the 7 truckloads hauled out from the yard. This pic is via Instagram, I am at @space4living if  you want to follow along.

blocks

 

Backyard

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  • remove palm trees and plant small fruit trees on small slope
  • take down antenna
  • create proper drainage for the east side of house
  • repair support for neighbor’s fence
  • build new fence on west side of the yard
  • take out old tree roots
  • install sprinkler system and grass
  • build patio cover one day
  • update AC unit and create a screen to hide it

Please note the new fence, lack of palm trees and giant antenna missing from the foreground because other then that I know it looks worse. One highlight is our friend Charlie the dog who was visiting us for the day. Hi Charlie!

backyard 1yr in

 

Kitchen & Dining Room

 

Dining room before

 

  • demolish old kitchen
  • install new white cabinets and appliances
  • install cork floors
  • decide on material for counter tops and get installed
  • install under cabinet lights
  • hire electrician to install outlet for microwave cord
  • add quarter round at the base of cabinets to cover space between cork floors
  • install cabinet hardware
  • install light above sink
  • re-install crown molding above garage door
  • decide on a curtain solution for sink window
  • buy bar stools
  • add counter supports for breakfast bar on the island
  • caulk and touch up paint on baseboards, actually we have to do this in all the rooms
  • finish venting microwave to attic
  • DIY chandelier (like this glass bubble chandelier or this mason jar chandelier) for above dining table
  • hang curtains cut apart left curtain using this trick from Young House Love since I only have one panel for each window
  • continue reclaimed wood around the side of the island (tutorial coming soon)
  • Install new entry light

Okay here is where it gets fun. Three cheers for new counter tops! And if you ever need any tips about living with plywood and contact paper as your counter tops, just shoot me a line. It is not as bad as I thought, plus very customizable for a few buck at Target.

dining room 1yr in

 

Kitchen 1 yr in

 

Kitchen 1yr in

 

Living Room

kitchen and diningbefore taking down half wall.

  • remove wall to open up living space
  • replace sliders with French door
  • add new crown molding and baseboards
  • scrap and re-texture popcorn ceilings
  • add door for utility crawl space in skylight
  • paint upper part of skylights
  • clean fireplace and possibly paint bricks white
  • paint French door, they are still just primed
  • hang art
  • figure out a good layout for the furniture, maybe a new couch (coming in 2 weeks!)
  • have the large carpet cut and edges bound so it looks like a real rug
  • maybe add shelves or a bookshelf somewhere in the room

Living space 1yr in

 

Hall

hall before

  • take out hall closet to expand girls’ bedroom
  • install cork floors
  • install baseboards around AC intake vent
  • add art or a gallery wall
  • paint door frames
  • upgrade light
  • build a book shelf in random open space of hall linen closet
  • put up carbon monoxide and smoke detector
  • upgrade hardware on doors
  • change out bedroom doors for 6 panel doors
  • Make new cabinet doors for upper shelves of linen closet

Hall 1 yr in

 

At the end of the hall there are two linen closets. Unfortunately this is the best “before” picture of the strange opening with no shelves or cabinet doors. Notice the cabinet doors above the giant  are uneven and practically falling off their hinges.

Hall bookshelf before

 

I love the bookshelves we added using this tutorial from Bower Power. It houses a mixture of books and office supplies to make up for the loss storage space when I sadly had to downsize my large armoire desk. We still have to fabricate cabinet doors for the two upper shelves to conceal our stored papers and games.

 

bookself progress

 

Hall Bathroom

IMG_3510

  • tile bathtub
  • install new vanity
  • tile floor
  • expand narrow door way
  • install and center new sink and counters
  • get tub overflow repaired
  • upgrade bathroom fixtures
  • paint
  • paint medicine cabinet
  • add baseboards
  • install curtain rod
  • install hardware on vanity
  • take out crazy octopus light and install new lights flanking the mirror (temporary light is up now)
  • hang up and frame mirror
  • hang another piece of art above toilet

Hall bath progress

 

 

This bathroom has gone though the biggest change since my last update, maybe it is the stripes. Let’s just look at the previous progress picture.

 

bathroom progress

Check out that octopus light.

 

Master Bedroom

master- good size

  • paint and install carpet
  • paint and install closet doors
  • remove random cable lines
  • shorten ceiling fan
  • DIY some type of headboard
  • hang up curtains and replace paper blinds
  • hang art
  • build small desk to replace the large armoire (found a cheap one on craigslist to use for now)
  • Buy new pillow shams so it is not so matchy, matchy.
  • Maybe install crown molding down the road
  • Update green dresser with stain or paint

Master Bedroom 1yr in

 

Master 1yr in (2)

 

 

Master Bath

susie3

  • replace shower pan with tiled shower
  • extend the size of the shower
  • install new vanity
  • tile floor
  • expand narrow door way
  • install upgraded sink and counter
  • update lighting
  • update and frame mirror
  • paint framed mirror, maybe a dark gray to match counters, I’m still deciding
  • upgrade bathroom fixtures
  • paint
  • install vanity hardware
  • install sliding barn door for master bath
  • eventually install glass shower door
  • buy new trash can
  • Install small shelves or vintage cabinet for extra storage

1 yr in1

 

 

Girls’ Bedroom

Bedroom 3- smaller

  • install carpet
  • paint and install baseboards
  • paint closet
  • fix ceiling fan
  • hang curtains re-hang curtains (it turns out dyed fabric fades quickly even when not in direct sunlight)
  • hang art
  • install shelf above girls’ beds
  • fix drywall repair above bunk bed
  • paint and install closet doors or explore different options

Girls room 1 yr in

For more details about the girls’ room check out this post about downsizing.

 

Third Bedroom Nursery

bedroom 2- small

  • replace wood siding with drywall
  • replace carpet
  • paint and install baseboards
  • paint closet
  • finish unpacking the rest of the boxes
  • paint and install closet doors
  • fix ceiling fan
  • come up with a general plan for the room overall
  • hang curtains

babys room 1yr in

For more details about bring the nursery together, check out my Baby on a Budget series here, here and here.

 

Garage

A garage full of kitchen

  • recycle or dump demo trash
  • get new water heater and platform
  • craigslist a few items still left over from demo
  • paint doors
  • figure out solution for lighting, a light switch by the garage door
  • add shelves and storage (we have only done this on one side)
  • get new garage door opener
  • install drywall
  • create a laundry space and move washer and dryer next to each other
  • sell, giveaway, or trash unused building materials (once all other projects are done, ha ha!)

Garage 1 yr in

 

There is some semblances of organization on the other side of the garage but we still have quite a ways to go in here.

Garage shelves 1yr in

 

To keep things in perspective, this is what my living room looks like right now, a tea party on the fireplace, school on the coffee table and baby paraphernalia strewn about.

real life

 

Well lived in and perfectly unfinished  just as it should be. I often need to remind myself to enjoy the journey instead of getting so caught up in crossing the finish line.

In all honesty, I have been enjoying making this house our own…on most days. Watching HGTV is still more fun, though.

Any house renovations on your to-do list? or HGTV shows to get through?

Motivation comes in Mail order Packages

Stitch Fix Review

Sometimes we all need a little motivation to get through the mundane tasks of life. Rewards can give you that little push you need to work through the “blah” days. These boosts don’t have to be big. It can be as simple as sitting down and reading your favorite blog once the laundry is put away or treating yourself to Starbucks after a full day of cleaning out the garage.

My little June is almost 6 months old, and since this is baby #3, I’ve navigated the shedding of pregnancy pounds before. I knew I needed to start getting my reward in order to help give me that extra motivation.  A boost to my wardrobe is the perfect "carrot" to kick me into gear.

Enter Stitch Fix. I have been wanting to try Stitch Fix, the “Netflix service for clothes,” but I couldn’t justify the price since I hardly ever pay full price for clothes. I decided multiple weeks of lacing up running shoes deserves a big reward. At least that is what I am telling myself.

Stitch Fix Review

If you haven’t heard of Stitch Fix, it is a mail order service where a personal stylist sends you a box filled with 5 items to try. When you sign up, you fill out a questionnaire to help the stylist get a better sense of your style, your budget, and how you like clothes to fit. You can even link up a Pinterest board filled with your favorite outfits to show more of what you like.

You have three days to try on the clothes and decide what you would like to keep. The cost is $20 for one box to be sent but that amount is credited towards your purchase if you decide to buy something. You also get a 25% discount if you buy all 5 items.

I was a little skeptical of how well the stylist would pick out clothes that I would like, but I was so pleasantly surprised. I can’t wait to show you!

Before we get started I have to say I am so not a style blogger, you could tell by my modeling alone, but I thought this was too fun not share. Next time I will enlist a 7 or 5 year old photographer which will most likely produce better pictures then these. Now on to my first Stitch Fix box!

First up, skinny jeans. They were soooo comfortable and I was surprised by how well they fit. I never considered myself a skinny jeans girl, but I instantly took a liking to them.

IMG_6596

 

They initially fit perfectly, but when I wore them the next day, by lunchtime they had stretched out too much and I had to keep pulling them up. Wha, wha. I was bummed I had to return them. I wish I had a size smaller to try on.

Next, the blouse. Even though I would have never picked it out in the store, I loved the neckline and sleeves plus all the colors. It would match so many things I already own!

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I was back and forth on the pattern. In the end I decided to return it because I wasn’t in love with it. Plus the “dry clean only” tag sealed the deal.

I loved the dress right away. It is such a pretty color and so light and airy.

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I can’t really put an exact finger on why I decided not to keep it. Maybe it was because I felt like I was in pajamas or because the undershirt made it feel bulky and left a funny line right at my hips. Maybe I am more picky then I thought.

I was kind of sad this one didn’t work out. Even the three year old I babysit said, “I can’t wait till I am Miss A so I can wear that!” So cute.

The next one was a lovely grey sweater. It is so soft and perfect for our mild winters.

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I love this sweater but I have one just like it; same style and color, see what I mean? Almost identical! Bonus points to the stylist for finding something I already own!

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If only it was a different color I would have kept it in a heartbeat!

The only thing I didn’t like in the box were the earrings.

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You can request to have jewelry included and you can specify the type you prefer. I do love dangly earrings but these just aren’t my jam. The texture of the silver reminds me of the ‘80s.

My favorite part of box was the little outfit card. The cards style each item in the box with things you might already own.

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Obviously most of the items in the box already paired together so it was fun to see new ideas of how to wear them. It was like an outfit you’d see on Pinterest except with clothes you already own!

All in all there were some positives and negatives about Stitch Fix.

The Perks

  • Having stylish clothes picked out for you
  • Getting a surprise box of clothes on your doorstep
  • Easy return envelope to drop in the mail (postage is included)
  • Outfit suggestions to push me out of my daily workout clothes/stay-at-home mom uniform. I am even sitting here typing this in an outfit inspired by my Stitch Fix box!
  • If you refer a friend you get money off your next order!

The Drawbacks

  • Not being able to try on multiple sizes.
  • Limited time to return the package. You have 3 days to mail it back which is fast to my indecisive self.
  • The price. This is definitely a service that I do not always have room for in the budget. It is fun as a reward and an indulgence for a job well done or a birthday treat.

I did notice after my last closet clean out, that a few quality pieces have been staying around much longer than in my younger days when I was just trying to keep up with the trends (some even get made into pillows). So I don’t mind paying a little more for timeless pieces that will be with me for the long haul.

The final tally: I didn’t keep anything from this first box. After all my raving, each item didn’t work for one reason or another. They say the fixes will get better after you review each item on their site. I am looking forward to my 2nd box, which I have already scheduled, to include some keepers!

How you ever tried Stitch Fix before or a service like it? Any keepers?

This is not a sponsored post. I purchased the Stitch Fix box for myself and the opinions are my own. This post does contain referral links for new sign-ups that would give me a small credit towards my next box if you choose to sign up through the link at this time. Happy shopping!

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