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3 Tips to Contain Cup Clutter

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Just like those pesky cords, cups can be a thorn in my side. Especially during the summer, when hot weather plus thirsty girls means our cup collection seems to multiply across the whole house.

In an effort to keep cups easy to reach for those little hands (did I mention I have 3 thirsty girls), I moved the cups to a lower drawer.

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In the past, I have banned plastic cups from my house, but since they seem to just reappear, I decided I need to keep them in their own little regulated area. This drawer is where we keep the lunch pails, so it is already a designated kids’ drawer. It’s a nice deep drawer, so it has been working pretty well as the new home of our cup collection.

The problem started this summer when the girls decided they needed to grab a new cup each time they wanted to take a drink of water. We wound up with a collection of half-filled cups of water all over the house. Lots of cups = lots of dishes.

In honor of my “house of cups,” here are 3 ways to organize and combat a full blown cup invasion.

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1. Keep Cups Out and Accessible

Lindsey, blogger at The Pleated Poppy, uses an old-fashioned cup dryer kept out on the counter to keep cups at the ready. She found hers at World Market for only $15.  She painted it pink. So cute

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I shamelessly stole the idea to use in our kitchen. I bought glasses from Ikea because I am a big fan of real glass over plastic. I figured at 88¢ it wouldn’t be a huge deal if we broke a few.

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I liked the idea of this cup dryer, but in practice it didn’t quite work for our family. It takes up a lot of room on our counter and doesn’t get to the heart of the issue, too many dishes! We still end up with a high ‘cup to person’ ratio in our house.

Maybe you could assign a certain hook for each person? Although I liked the idea in theory, I still needed to keep searching for another option.

2. Create a Permanent Home

My favorite option so far to curtail extreme cup usage is a simple, re-purposed candle holder.

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Each person has a designated spot to put their cup back when they are finished with it. My husband likes giant tumblers for water, so no getting rid of plastic cups entirely. But my girls have been loving the ‘fancy glasses’ as they like to call them.

It takes up a small amount of space on the counter so it can share the same area with the fruit basket.

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3. Keep Cups Where You Use Them

A few magnets and plastic cups are all you need to copy this idea from Made and keep your cups right where you use them.

cup magnets- Dana Made It

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If we had a fridge with a built-in water dispenser, I would definitely have to try this idea. Be sure to click over to Made if you are interested, because Dana gives some ideas for those kiddos who can’t help but to pull the magnets off.

What have you tried to keep your cups corralled? Do you use a bin in a cabinet, throw them all in a drawer, or put your kids in charge of dish duty?

The Unintended Consequences of Stitch Fix

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This post could also be called, The Only Stitch Fix Review You Will Ever Need or Way Too Many Words about My Stitch Fix Experience. Let’s just say that I am not officially sold on the idea. It’s been a while since I shared my 1st Stitch Fix experience, time for an update!

If you have never heard of Stitch Fix, it is a mail order company that sends out 5 items picked out for you by a personal stylist. The boxes are shipped to you as often as you’d like. You pay a $20 styling fee for each box you receive, but if you buy anything from the box the $20 is credited towards your purchase. You also get a 25% discount if you purchase all 5 items from the box, and a $25 credit towards future purchases if you refer a friend.

I usually try to purchase most of my clothes on sale, so I was initially hesitant about the $20 “styling fee.” Still, having a real stylist send you picks sounded like a fun idea to use as a special treat. During my pregnancy and postpartum, I socked away my clothing budget each month for the purpose of refreshing my wardrobe once I lost the baby weight. I used signing up for Stitch Fix as the carrot on the stick to get me out the door and moving.

I reviewed my 1st box and was smitten with the idea, but sadly found no keepers. When I received my 2nd Stitch Fix box, I was not impressed. Whomp, whomp.

I was ready to chalk it up as a wash and even write a negative review after I received this accessory I thought at first glance was a free gift; like the kind you get when you buy cosmetics at the department store.

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But this was no free gift. I still don’t know how a clear plastic pouch with polka dots could be $38. What! I was really disappointed with this one.

I was tempted to cancel my Stitch Fix account right then, but I did get the pair of jeans that I loved from my 1st Fix, now in the right size.

They fit great. I love them, and they have quickly gone into full wardrobe rotation. I even did a happy dance over them that my daughter captured.

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I will wear these jeans for years and would have never picked them without Stitch Fix. But has it been worth the $20 styling fee?

Besides my new favorite jeans, the three other items in my 2nd box were just as underwhelming as the overpriced plastic pouch. For instance, this striped shirt was cute and comfy, but I was swimming in it. Maybe a size smaller would have looked better.

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For me, one of the biggest downfalls of the Stitch Fix service- there is only one size to try on. I don’t believe having multiple sizes would really be feasible with this type of service but it feels like a waste of a $20 styling fee when I get something that I like but in the wrong size. 

Then there are some items that have one thing off, like this cardigan that was cut to flair up at the belly.

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I love the color, love the softness, love the faux scarf look, but the changing length hits right at a self-conscious area which would always bother me no matter how much I loved the rest of the cardigan. Plus I felt the $58 price tag was a smidge too high.

Then there are some pieces that are just way off, like this dress.

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I felt too frumpy; plus pale skin and pale yellow don’t play well together.

In conclusion, my 2nd box was only mildly successful because of the jeans. I decided I would give Stitch Fix one more try.  Three tries seemed fair. Then something strange happened.

While waiting for my 3rd box to come, I started noticing clothes in the store that I normally wouldn’t even give a second glance.

I found this dress that looked eerily similar to the Maxi dress I returned from my first Stitch Fix box, however the price tag was much friendlier.

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I wear it, I love it.

That’s about when my 3rd box arrived. It did not start off so strong.

Stripes on my thighs, nope. Boxy yet asymmetrical tank, no thank you. Green jeans that are even tight on your knees, oh no. This picture doesn’t look quite as bad as those jeans felt by the way.

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I returned it all. But it wasn’t a total loss.

For instance, I love the cut and feel of the gray shirt from the 3rd box but not the price, $44 (but –$20 credit from the styling fee would make it $24).

At Old Navy, I found this very similar one in light blue. To be fair it is not as soft but the $9 price tag was a perfect fit for my lifestyle (baby spit-ups and carpool).

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The funny thing is I would have never picked out this shirt to try on. Thanks to Stitch Fix this shirt is now a go-to in my wardrobe. I feel put together while still able to run around after kiddos (i.e. get sweaty and not ruin my $44 shirt).

The bottom line: Because of Stitch Fix I updated my wardrobe, but not necessarily with clothes from Stitch Fix. For me, the priority was to find pieces that fit both in size and budget.

Maybe it was the style cards that came along with each shipment, admittedly my favorite part, which provided the styling inspiration.

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Whatever it was, Stitch Fix’s unintended consequence was more shopping.

This was contradictory to the initial benefit that drew me to the service in the first place; new clothes without having to go out clothes shopping and more importantly without having to try on clothes in those hot dressing rooms with grumpy kids. I might be a rare exception, but this service just inspired me to go shopping!

There are certainly much cheaper ways to be inspired: shopping with a friend, browsing Pinterest style boards, and fashion bloggers of course, (Kendi, J and Ms. Quirk never disappoint). But, I surprisingly found Stitch Fix to be very effective.

I’d read reviewers touting the benefits of trying on things you would never pick out for yourself. But since I had never been one to shy away from a new trend or a different style, I wasn’t expecting to be wowed.

But to prove me wrong the Stitch Fix stylist threw in this little ditty.

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I am smitten with this blue striped dress and would have NEVER tried it on in a store.

This dress won me over! So, it is with starry-eyed wonder I profess that Stitch Fix is fabulous. But just to be fair, we all know the lack of judgment that goes along with a crush, so let’s look at the numbers one last time. Numbers don’t lie (or is that hips?).

Total spent on 3 boxes from Stitch Fix:

Box 1 -  $20 styling fee

kept nothing

total = $20

Box 2 -  $20 styling fee

kept jeans $78 – $20 styling fee credit + tax

total = $82.35

Box 3 -  $20 styling fee

kept dress $54 – $20 styling fee credit + tax

total = $56.55

Grand total $158.90

So is $159 worth it for a dress and jeans? In my book, no; not when there are 5 people in my family to clothe. But was it fun? Yes, absolutely, and the hidden bonus was a few budget-friendly outfits because of it. Would you like some more numbers for proof? Sure!

Money Saved by not buying Stitch Fix (but all items purchased thanks to the stylist inspiration):

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light blue shirt $9.20 vs Grey shirt $44 = $32 saved

Pink Maxi dress $23 vs Blue Maxi dress $88 = $62 saved

Grand total saved $94

I might try Stitch Fix again for a special occasion like my birthday since it is always fun to splurge on some special pieces. But until then, I’ll keep scouring the clearance racks.

Is your birthday coming up soon? Click over on this link if you are interested in signing-up for Stitch Fix because if this review didn’t convince you to join, I don’t know what will. Did I mention you get a $25 referral credit if you refer a friend?

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

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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?

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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…

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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%.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

 

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