My Organized Chaos: June 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Daily Sanity Savers

Organizing really comes down to one thing- making life a little easier! When life gets chaotic and hectic we don't have the time to waste on finding items, looking for items, or shuffling through the mess to get through our day. Summer is a crazy busy time for most people. You have work, kids, activities, outings, sports, and of course-BBQ's. With all this in your schedule there is little time to waste! This is where organization really keeps me sane. I know I just heard about 3-4 snickers on that last sentence. Seriously though- I would be much more insane without some systems I have set up in my house that help me day to day. Here are a few that might help in your day to day life:

Key Storage:
I used to have this huge problem with losing my keys. This caused a ripple effect into another problem I had- time management aka being on time to pretty much anything. I got to a point where people would assume I was going to be running on "Allison Time" and would be late. Sadly that was pretty much the case 9/10 times......ok 10/10 times. A huge problem with me being late was I never knew where my keys were. I had no central location to put them so they sometimes were in my purse, on my coffee table, on the counter top, on the kitchen table, etc. Heck I think I have even left my keys in the door a few times. I needed a central place to put these keys so I could easily find them. I found the garage is the best location for me. I have an attached garage so this makes this easier and safer for me. I would not recommend if you have a detached garage. I hung up with little gem (that I got at Target for about $3) and labeled who's keys went where. We have a hook for my keys, Mark's keys, spares to the cars and house, and then a hook for our family members houses. This has worked out great because on our way into the house we just hook our keys and we know when we are rushing out the door in the morning they will always be there-no searching required.

Mail and Paper De-Cluttered:
Mail and papers can pile up super fast and before you know it there is a bill due but you have to go through a whole pile to find it. Being on time for bills is important (but I didn't have to tell you very responsible people that!) and you cannot afford to miss a mortgage payment, a credit card payment, or utilities bill. Along with bills there are tons of important things coming in the mail that relate to insurances, bank information, letters and cards from family, and the list goes on. You want to make sure you are on top of your bills and papers--it helps take one more stress out of your life. In our kitchen I have set up a mail area. I set it up in the kitchen because if you think about your time at home- a lot happens in the kitchen daily and ultimately you end up spending a good amount of time there. I found the most awesome baskets from Hobby Lobby that were already labeled and ready to go for my mail. One for magazines, one for mail, and one for "stuff". I also found a really cute sign to go above it. What I noticed in our house was that mail would end up in piles in multiple places- on the kitchen table, on the kitchen counter, and on the coffee desk. Having this mail system all in one place works great to make sure I am processing my mail and getting it to the right place at the right time. If a bill comes in I put it in the mail slot and once a week I empty the mail slot to pay bills. This way I don't feel overwhelmed by working on bills every day. I take the bills to my office desk and pay them one by one. I have a holder on my desk where I label the bill on the outside of the envelope with the day it is due and the amount and I hold it until a week before the bill is due. This allows Mark and I to budget better during the month by being able to physically see the bills that will be going out of the house. The top section of the bill (part I am not sending with a payment) I file away in my drawer. (Check out my most recent post on my filing system HERE). I know this system won't work for everyone but for Mark and I it works great. I personally do not have anything direct withdrawal anymore and I don't have paperless billing. Don't get me wrong I used to have those features on pretty much every bill but with buying a new house, moving, and buying a used car this year (yes I mean since January 1st...crazy I know)-we wanted to make sure we are 100% on top of all our bills. For that reason I have all paper statements and I write checks for about 70% of our bills. So stone age of me, I know.
p.s. don't mind my owl them :)

Daily Schedule and Planner:
Anyone that knows me knows I am a scheduler. I have driven my husband nuts on many, many occasions with how scheduled I have to be sometimes. I feel lost without knowing what is coming up next and what I need to prepare for in the coming weeks. (Seriously just ask him- I am a freak when it comes to planning things out.) I entrust my ability to remembering what is on my schedule by writing down everything in my personal planner. I am an old fashioned girl in that I have to write things down to feel like I will actually remember them. I did the phone calendar for awhile and it was ok-just not my cup of tea. When looking for the perfect organizer/planner I really couldn't find one that met what I needed for my planning. So, I did the next best thing and just made my own. Check out the full blog post HERE and HERE. I LOVE this planner. It keeps me from losing my mind daily and it keeps me on top of life over all.
Friendly Closet Color Coding:
As a self-proclaimed grumpy morning person- meaning I am a huge crab in the morning until I've been awake for about an hour....or two.... I love my closet because I can really go in auto pilot mode and still walk out of the house looking at least presentable. When thinking about what I am going to wear I think in colors. Do I feel like wearing black today? Maybe purple? Perhaps green? I typically think of a color first, then pick a shirt. Sometimes I do however, think of a certain shirt first. The reason I do this is because it's much easier for me to find the specific shirt I want to wear when I have my clothes ordered by colors. I know, I know, you are thinking I have lost my mind. I understand- I will give you a minute to let that sink in..........

....better? ok! The time it takes me to get ready in the morning has seriously cut down because I organize my clothes in colors. I don't find myself looking back and forth through shirt after shirt just to find that one I am thinking about. I used to do that all the time and like I said above- it contributed to my lateness. Now in the morning as I wonder around my closet like a zombie I pick out a color...let's say tan for today, I go to the tan section which is about 5 shirts and I pick up the one I was looking for. Easy stuff! This color code system works great for shoes too! I also don't lose shirts as often either. Even gone through your closet and become shocked that you STILL own that HS tshirt from freshman year. Freshman year! With doing the color system I found that I am much more aware of what is in my closet and what is not. Like I said, works out great for us zombies.
What tricks do you use to keep your daily lives manageable? Comment on my facebook page: Organized Chaos- Facebook and let me know!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Office files update!

In May I did a post about getting ready for next tax season by organizing your tax files (Check out the post HERE). Today I decided to sit down and completely finish that project. The files worked great but I hated my sloppy handwriting I did on the labels when I was in a hurry to have my papers together. I finally figured out how I wanted my labels to look so I got to work!

Now before I talk through all this, let's go back to where I was:

Like I said, super efficient and useful but kinda ugly :)

Time to improve! First the supplies I used were:
- Label Maker
- Washi Tape (seriously love this stuff)
- Box cutter

This was super easy and I can change out the labels easily if I change my files.
--First I put the washi tape across the front of the clear file tab:

--Then I cut the tape to the edges of the tabs:

--Finally I print out a label with a clear backing on my label maker and apply it to the tab:

Success!! You now not only have super organized files (that are totally ready for tax season by the way) they will also be super cute--and who doesn't love that!! Here is my wonderful finished product! Love it!

Also- Don't forget--leave me some comments on things you want me to look into or post about! I'd love to take any suggestions!

Question of the Day:

I have questions!!
Hey all! I have been doing this blog now for a little over 2 months now and I have questions for you! What topics did you like seeing on the blog? Which ones were you "eh" over? What topics do you want to see in the future??  Tell me!!
Some posts that will be eventually coming your way:
-Garage organization
-Craft Room organization goodies
-Organization in your car
-Hidden storage
-and more! (what you thought I would give them all away? Silly readers!)
So.....Tell me what you think!! I mean it! I do this blog for me because I enjoy it BUT I love you all and would like nothing more than to make you happy too :)
Comment in this post below to answer my questions!
I appreciate it!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dust gathering items beware!

Have some junk laying around your house or garage just gathering dust? We all do-nothing to be ashamed of! However, you could be that really cool kid on the block and use some of that old stuff to create new storage solutions! All your friends will think you are super visionary and crafty.....well, maybe.

Here are some things that I found brilliant for creating organization:

1. V-H- Say what?
 I wasn't so sure about this one but after looking into it a bit- it might just work! VHS wall holders! Oh yes, pull out those out of dates video cases and put them on the wall. You would have to give the VHS box some TLC-clean them up, take out the videos, pull out the cover. (Unless you want to hang a tape of Sweatin' to the Oldies on the wall.....your call). Put things like papers, remotes, keys, etc inside!


2. Sneaky storage
Not everything needs to be on display in your house. Some items you just don't want your friends or family to see. More than that-no one likes a cluttered house. If only there was a way to store items together in a decorative way.....oh wait there is! Have books that you don't read anymore or are some you received as gifts that you never plan on reading? Make them into your own hidden storage by cutting out the pages of each book and only leaving the spine. Build a small box to fit behind the books without being seen and glue it all together! I'm in the middle of building one for myself and I am super excited to see the outcome!

3.  Oatmeal anyone?
The food we eat every day offer tons of re-usable storage! They are probably the easiest items to re-purpose and re-use in your home. Slap some pretty paper, your favorite fabric or washi tape on those left over tins and cans and you have instant cute storage. Perfect example of this- Quacker Oats bin that has been re-covered. Use it to hold pens, scissors, cooking spoons, crafting supplies, or even makeup brushes. Also- this works great with soup and vegetable cans too!

4. Who makes bundt cakes anymore? Seriously
Really though.....who makes bundt cakes? I have had a bundt cake pan for about 4 years and have never even came close to making a bundt cake. Couldn't even tell you how to start to make one.....literally know nothing about them. So why do you have a bundt cake pan you ask?....I have no idea. Until now! I'll turn it into an office/craft supply organizer! It'll get much better use in it's life doing that! :)

5. Shut out that junk mail
House updates happen all the time. Owning a home means you never stop working on your house. I don't know if I will ever get to a point where I say "I think our house is perfect in every way and I don't want to change it for the next 30 years". You will always want to change and improve something. If those happen to be your shutters then you might have another use for them! Try using them for sorting incoming mail or bills. They can also be used for jewelry storage or fabric piece storage.

6. Gardening gone glamorous
I love using items you would never even think of for storage. Image working in the garden and you brake the handle on your rake. Bummer right? Wrong! Yes you can buy a new handle and have your rake back to working order.....OR you can use the bottom of the rake for something more fun! :)  Why not turn it into a jewelry rack? It's perfect for it! Display your favorite necklaces with something everyone will say "Why didn't I think of that?!"

7. A crown for your shoes
Whenever you build a new house, do a renovation, or work on a project you always seem to end up with some extra supplies that you didn't need. I found this idea online and it is genius! Use left over crown molding for your high heels! Paint them, hang them, and tada, you have instant shelving for all those fancy and pretty heels. Love this idea and it's super easy!

What items laying around the house can you re-use for some smart storage? Have a cool idea for repurposed storage?
Share it with me! I'd love to hear it!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

DVD storage - space saver

Hey all! Part of my organizing habit is getting WAY too giddy about things that I organize or solutions I come up with-and this post is about one situation like that! I am SO excited about this one. Remember the first time you lost a tooth and the Tooth Fairy left you 50¢? It's that kind of feeling-but better! Ok, ok-call me a nerd, I don't care!

This week I ventured into the land of DVD storage. DVD's take up some serious space, especially when you have a lot of them like Mark and I. We have a really cool TV storage stand, well really it's a wine cabinet that is now a cool TV storage stand but our DVD's took up all the shelves. We love to watch movies but anymore we only use our physical DVD's maybe 10% of the time and use Netflix or online to watch the other 90%. So why have our cabinet taken up by so much space when we only use them part of the time?

Here is what my cabinet looked like before:

A mess right? All the DVD cases plus 2 DVD books and xbox controllers and TV remotes and DVD player remotes and...and...AND! Tons of stuff basically. I wanted to make alittle space so I could of course fit more stuff in the cabinet :)

Though we used the DVD books I really didn't like them because some DVD's don't have the titles on them except for some tiny tiny print on the inside of the face. So I looked online for alittle while and found the PERFECT solution. Atlantic movie sleeves. They hold 2 discs per sleeve and are large enough to hold the DVD cover too. More and more DVD's you buy are coming with 2 discs-one for the movie and another for the special features. Having 2 discs in the same sleeve helps keep these discs together. Also-these sleeves work great for Blu-Ray too!

The Atlantic sleeves come in 25 disc capacity or 50 disc capacity. It just depends on how many you wish to use. Like I said I love these even if the movie only includes 1 disc just because I can have the cover with the movie and still same space.

So how much space does this really save? A TON! Check out my stack of DVD cases and my DVD book vs. my new DVD box while using the sleeves:

See the difference? Crazy right? It's less than half the size! But I didn't stop know I wouldn't stop after that! I wanted to make sure I could easily find a DVD when I wanted to watch it. The tough part, deciding to order them alphabetically or by genre. I choose genre...but also alphabetized it within the genre. I know you are probably thinking what a freak but I will challenge anyone to a DVD finding match. I will win every time.
I had to try to figure out how I could label the sections while fitting something in there that would separate them and be the right size. Then I had a "duh" moment. I simply used some of the empty sleeves I had left over and placed colored tabs on them. Then I used my label maker to print out the titles for each tab. It turned out great! 
Drumroll please..... Here is the finished space in the cabinet:
Look at that! SO much space! Seriously, scroll back up to the top and look at the before picture, then scroll back down here and be in awe of the wonderfulness of it.
Here is where I found all the handy dandy things I used:
1. Atlantic Movie Sleeves- found HERE. Did I mention they also come in fun colors too?
2. Tabs to go on the movie sleeves to separate into categories- found HERE.
3. Super cute box I found that fit the DVD's perfectly-Bed, Bath and Beyond Clearance section.

Friday, June 6, 2014

bathroom drawers and other under the sink storage

Hey all! Happy Friday! Been organizing lately? I have! This time it was all about my bathroom. There are only so many drawers for storage in your bathroom so you need to use them wisely! Only the important items need to grace your drawers so you don't have to search and search. With moving into my new house I kind of just threw things in drawers that I might need to use often. Well...I suck at knowing what I will use often because I was like a pack rat at Christmas. I needed a overhaul so I could find things easily-trust me I walk around like a zombie in the mornings and I swear my sight is at about 50% capacity....meaning I am pretty much blind until I have coffee. So- I tore through my drawers and fixed them up!

Here is the before look of one of my drawers- looks kinda ok right? Wrong- I didn't use half of this stuff!

Step 1 to any good organizing-Make a mess:

It's much easier to put what you need back if you make piles. Separate items into:
1. Put back
2. Throw out (expired items, things you don't use anymore)
3. Move to another area (set up an area for things you use but maybe only occasionally. This is also good for items you have multiples of-an example of that I have is extra contact solution.)

Once you separate your items-set up a drawer plan. I have the set up below for my bathroom vanity- 3 drawers and two under the sink cabinets. I share this with my husband so I needed to make sure he had all the items he needed too. (I know what you are thinking-I'm super me I know).

I knew I needed a drawer for my hair items-Blow dryer, curling irons, straightener, and brushes. That took up one drawer in itself. I also organized that drawer using an inexpensive trick - toilet paper rolls! Check out my post on this cheap and pretty solution HERE!

The next drawer I knew I needed was one for my bobby pins, head bands, combs, hair ties, and styling pins. (Yes I have a lot of hair stuff. I may be obsessed). This took up the second drawer from the bottom.  BTW- some tips for organizing hair items like this are below--look at the picture to see what I'm talking about:

-use shower rings to hold all your hair ties
-keep headbands together with hair clips
-use a ribbon to hold flat hair clips together in one spot
-use a magnetic strip on the side wall of the drawer to hold bobby pins. Oh and by the way--if you get ambitious you can make your magnet strip pretty-use nail polish to "paint" the strip and tada! You have a pretty bobby pin holder! I did this of course- again to the latest episode of Awkward (which was crazy by the way! Lez-be-honest)

Finally-the top drawer. I put things that we use daily in this drawer and I put all of my husbands items in this drawer because, well, he is really tall and he doesn't have to bend as far down :)  In this I put lotion, deodorant, contact solution and case, floss, pore strips, and Mark's electric razor. We are using this drawer the most so it's important we put the most used items in this drawer.

Under the sink storage
In the past I have posted about some creative ideas to under the sink storage-check it out HERE. Another brilliant idea I thought of was re-using some office items that I no longer needed. Remember those old inbox/outbox mail slots that were often on top of desks?

I had two that I had no use for but then brilliance struck! I turned one upside down and glued it to the other- suddenly I had a shelf to put hairspray and such on and I had a slot for a small organizing bin to fit perfectly! Love it! Now my under the sink storage is fully utilized and all in it's place!

So there you have it! An oasis of organizing. The main point with this organizing is you want to limit the number of items on the counter top. It becomes cluttered and looks messy. Try to organize as much as you can in drawers but make it simple!