Simplify My Space

September 11, 2010

Communication Station

So, in all honesty sometimes I feel as if I am running out of organization tips. But when I start to think of all the wonderful products available to us, I realize how silly it was of me to think that ideas could just "run out". Another reason I have been delayed in writing is that I have started an additional business. Opportunities to sew just keep coming my way. So far I have complete several custom jobs as well as sprit wear for babies and toddlers. But I assure you that I'm not giving up on my blog or my passion to organize. My husband actually asked me tonight if I had to give one up, which one would it be? At first I was a little frustrated that I might have to, but remembered it was just a random question to test my most recent desires and drive. But all I answered was " I don't want to have to choose." And I really don't right now, thank the Lord. I love doing both and its even that much more exciting to have two options of what I will do for the week. Its also been absolutely rewarding and humbling to see God work in both businesses. When one project is complete, or almost complete, I begin to pray for provision in my next steps. Even it's only sewing one outfit for the next 4-5 days, I feel His love and support in even my small little business adventures. It's really amazing.
I received a hand-me-down magazine of Good Housekeeping and came across a good article concerning setting up a Communication Station in your home. Keep a note in the back of your head that although they use wall and desk space, you might not have that kind of space if you live in a smaller home, condo or apartment. These same tips can be applied for over your pantry door, the side of your refrigerator, in an office space, or mud room. Also remember that wherever you place your communication station, it needs to be in an area of your home that EVERYONE can see and utilize. It does no good in a place where only you can see and get to it. The main objective of a communication station is to relieve some of the stress that you may be having and share the load. Just a small personal example... In our first year of marriage I would easily get frustrated when my husband would forget an event or double book. Well come to find out, the calendar that was on the side of the fridge was not easily visible enough when walking in and out of the kitchen. So, he suggested moving it to the front. Well, you would have thought we had been going to a counselor once a week with the reduced amount of arguments about scheduling that that occurred after that! So, make it visible for everyone, and if you have kids that you would like to get involved, stress the value of ownership in their little space. Allow them to make their name tag and draw a picture, and always make it accessible for them. Now here is the awaited link to the article. Enjoy!

Happy reading! And as always, thanks for following.


July 31, 2010

Do you have Kitchen Cabinet Clutter?

When we moved into our current, and first, home I was most concerned with setting up and determining the layout of my brand new kitchen. There is a way to go about unpacking in an organized fashion so that 6 months down the road you don't have to rearrange everything so that it makes more sense. To me there are a few definite spots for specific items. Such as...
  • Drinking glasses need to stay close by the dishwasher, sink or refrigerator
  • Flatware goes in a drawer close to the dishwasher for easy unloading
  • Pots/Pans/Pyrex Dishes/Cookie Sheets go in lower cabinets by the stove
  • Plates hover around the stove top and try to be in close proximity of the dishwasher
  • Trash Bags go in a cabinet or drawer close to the main trash can
These might seem like common sense tips to some of you but you would be surprised when you see some kitchens that I have walked into. Please know that its hard to envision every kitchen layout and have these points make sense. Just think about your habits and natural instincts when you are in the kitchen. Your opinion and preference may differ due to your background and where your mother put these things. What I'm trying to say is that these tips are suggestions that I keep in mind when organizing a kitchen.

As usual I like to suggest a few favorite products of mine. They are basic ideas that can go a long way in every kitchen.

4-Sorts are PERFECT for pans/baking sheets/muffin pans

Here they are again... Mesh Stacking Shelves

Lid Organizer

Bakeware Dishes in two 4-Sorts

For deep shelves its best to use pull out drawers such as these. When purchasing a pull out drawer just make sure the drawer will sufficiently carry all the weight that will be applied. Product Descriptions should inform you of how much weight it will hold. Click on the link below the picture to read more about individual products.

(These can be found at multiple locations)

These suggestions are great for heavy duty pots and pans but if you have a unique space or shorter shelves check out the white mesh drawers in the previous blog about bathroom organization. Normally kitchen cabinets are built really deep so remember to install something that allows complete access and visibility, whether it be with a drawer or shelf.

Depending on you space, you might be able to utilize these handy products as well. They are wonderful for many unique spaces.

Thanks to Shannon, a new reader of this blog, for emailing me about needing help in the kitchen department. This post was designed to help you out Shannon. I hope you all enjoy it.


June 22, 2010

Creating a "Bathroom Beauty"

Lately I have been interested in coming up with ideas to maximize the space behind closed cabinets. Specifically bathroom cabinets. There are a lot of options out there but there are very few products that I recommend. Lets just say that these products are "staple" items for many spaces.

Ok, so first things first. Pull out everything underneath that sink or linen closet and start with a clean slate. And I mean literally take a wet cloth and wipe it all down. Who knows how long it's been since you have seen the bare shelves, so take advantage of it and do it the right way from the beginning. Second, throw away all the trash, donate the "unwanteds" and set aside the "keepers." Now that you know what you are working with, you can better tackle the project.

Most cabinets and linen closets have at least 11" (front to back) shelves. Which means that you are losing a lot of visual recognition and space with your small items. I consider perfume bottles, lotion bottles, and hair products small items that commonly get lost in the mess. When you clean out your cabinets you will probably have old/empty lotion bottles from many, many months or years ago. I love finding old Bath and Body Works Christmas lotions from years past, makes me laugh. You can probably relate.

My personal solution is taking about 5-10 minutes to install pull-out drawers. Depending on your space you may be able to install a few side-by-side or on multiple shelves. When measuring the space for pull-out drawers ALWAYS take into consideration the cabinet/door frame, hinges, plumbing and knobs. The last thing you want to do is bring something home and be disappointed because you forgot to consider the plumbing in the very back of the cabinet. If anything, take as many notes and measurements as possible. It's crazy how much we can forget from the house to the store. Here are a few good examples.

These drawers are sold at The Container Store and come in multiple different heights, depths, and widths. With all the size options, you are sure to find a solution for your space.

I also want to point out that within a few of these drawers are dividers that keep the bottles from shuffling and falling over. These dividers are cheap and can normally be found in most stores (Wal-Mart, Bed Bath & Beyond, TCS) in the kitchen department with other utensil dividers. Here is a different view of each drawer. You can see the impact of these dividers when organizing really small items.

Lastly, if you have a large amount of vertical space but can't afford to install more shelves check out wire stacking shelves. You can even place a shelf over the drawer to really maximize the height in the space. Every cabinet and linen closet is completely different so feel free to ask me about your specific situation. Or, if you live in the DFW area I would love to come take a look and do it for you. Click here for a link to the stacking shelves.

I would love to hear your questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Have a great week.


May 17, 2010

Outrageously Organized in May

This month I have had the pleasure of speaking about my passion of organization in front of a group of fiesty women in Gunter,TX. I was able to share many "how to's" on cleaning out your closet. In review, here are a few points that were discussed.
  • Create 3 Piles - Throw Away, Donate, & Keep
  • Clean, Contain, & Repel all seasonal items being put away -Space Bags, Cedar Sticks, Clear Plastic Bins
  • Sort through your hanging clothes - Remember ROYGBIV- White/Gray/Black/Brown
  • Add a closet rod doubler to increase short hang space
  • Shoe Boxes & Divider Shelves are great for organizing shoes
  • Use Canvas Bins and/or Decorative Boxes for Purses, Scarves, Hats & Gloves
  • Drawer Dividers can make a huge impact to any drawer
  • Utilize the wall behind your closet door for hanging necklaces on hooks
  • Small Tool Organizers are perfect for earrings, bracelets, and small misc. items
  • Find a Hamper that fits your style and habits
  • A small Trash Can will prevent small pieces of trash being left on the shelves and floor
Something I wanted to highlight throughout the presentation is that many of the items needed to organize a closet can be found at The Dollar Store and Wal-Mart. I was really encouraged when I heard that The Dollar Store in Gunter was sold out of clear shoe boxes, hangers and boxes. You have no idea how HAPPY that makes me.

Not only did I gain publicity for my business but I enjoyed presentations from other experts concerning gardening and soil treatment. This group of women, Girlfriends Unlimited, have quarterly events highlighting different speakers and a wide range of topics. If you are interested in joining Girlfriends Unlimited Gunter at their next event just find them on Facebook. I will be attending their next event Thursday, July 29 from 7p-9. It's a great way to meet wonderful women of all ages.

April 12, 2010

Spring Cleaning & Organization

Spring is such an inspiring season. Trees are blooming, new flowers are popping up, and the weather welcomes an afternoon walk or an evening stroll. But as with all things, we have to take the bad with the good. Not only is it a huge time for allergies and sinus pressure but its a reminder that your yard, flower bed, refrigerator, garage, and closets could all use some TLC to be ready for another year. In addition to the inspiration that Spring is giving you, I also wanted to pass on a little motivation to get your home singing with the birds. This checklist doesn't include every cleaning and organization product that you need, but a few that will make the biggest impact in each space of your home.

1. New Sponges
2. Mop/Broom - Its a good idea to invest in a new mop and broom
on a yearly basis, its worth it for as much as you use it. Or should use it. : )
3. Bucket
4. Cleaning Caddy

1. New Toilet Brush
2. Sorted Laundry Hamper - By now you have a pattern for laundry. Find a hamper
that compliments your pattern. Ex: Lights/Darks, With wheels, Removable Liner to carry downstairs/upstair.s
3. Under Sink Organizer - Clean out those Q-tips and hair bands that never made it to the canister or trash, then organize what is left.
4. Drawer Organizer - Measure your drawers and make a list of what is inside them. Shop for an organizer or individual organizers that fit in the drawer perfectly and that divide what you own.
5. Vanity Compartments - If you use Q-tips and Cotton balls every day it would be a good idea to invest in some sort of jars/canisters that can sit on top of you vanity and still look nice.

1. Closet Rod Doubler - Moving into spring and summer you might be packing away the winter pants, dresses and skirts that take up the long hanging space. Adding a closet rod doubler will increase the amount of short hanging space in your closet.
2. Boot Box/Hanging Device - If you have more shelf space a boot box would be your answer,but if you have some extra hanging space the boot shapers would be suitable. Check out this link to get an idea of the boot shapers that I am referring to. Boot Shapers
3. Bins for Scarfs/Hats/Winter Purses - Finding canvas or wicker bins with lids is suggested. A lidded bin will keep dust out until next winter comes around. These same bins can also be used for baseball caps, flip-flops, summer scarves etc. when winter comes back and its time to make the switch.
4. Wall Mounted Hooks for Necklaces - If you have a walk-in closet you probably have room for one of these. It keeps your necklaces untangled and out of a drawer.

1. Upper/Lower Cabinet Organizers - Although everything behind cabinets is hidden, it helps your sanity when "what's behind" is organized. Pull out drawers, lid organizers, and divider shelves make a world of difference in every kitchen.
2. Drawer Organizers - Even the junk drawer should be sorted and organized. Trust me, it can. happen. At most it will take you 15 minutes to go through all of your misc items.
3. Recycle Bins - If you have room in your pantry, place recycling bins labeled plastic/aluminum/paper. If you are grossed out by having it in your pantry, the garage would be the next suitable location.
4. Garbage Disposal Freshener - Every disposal needs some freshening up, go to your local food market and check the cleaning aisle. If you can't find it there check out this link. Garbage Disposal Freshener

1. 2010 File Box - It's a good idea to have a box for each year.
2. File Folders - Color coordinate your files with red, green, blue, yellow, white etc. folders. Put all your personal files in green, place your taxes in red, medical documents in the blue etc.
3. Charging Station - Everyone has several ipods, MP3 players, cameras, and phones now, so why not have them all in one place?
4. Magazine Rack - On the wall, floor, or book shelf, a magazine rack is usually helpful. We all have a subscription or magazine that we like to keep.
5. Letter Sorter
6. Paper Trays

1. Storage Containers - In order to hide the nasty paint cans and chemicals, buy a dark colored plastic bin and place it high on a shelf.
2. Bicycle Hooks - Whether you have vertical or horizontal space, get the bikes off the ground.
3. Tool Box - Do you have a decent tool box that allows you to find the tool you need every time? Or do you need to rummage through rusty bins and drawers to find the right one? It's nice to have a new and clean tool box that will sort the nails, screws, and large hand tools, so go out and buy yourself and/or your husband a handy tool box.
4. Sports Equipment Storage - A large basket or bin will do the trick just make sure its kid friendly and allows them access without damaging your vehicles or walls.
5. Auto Organizer - These aren't very common but let me tell you, they are AWESOME. Check out the links below to see a few ideas.
Organizer #1 - Multiple Options (
Organizer #2 - Mobile Office (Container Store)
Organizer #3 - Family Vehicle Organizer (Container Store)
6. Key Hook - Label your keys and hang them where they can be found.

The checklist seems a little overwhelming at first glance, but take it a day or week at a time. Honestly, you can do most of this in a weekend. It's just a matter of DOING it. Trust me, I am the same way with yard work. It takes some motivation to get it done but it ALWAYS feels so good when its finished.

As always feel free to email me with questions. There are several places to shop for all these products but I can give you an idea of where to start. Just let me know.



Back in Business...

To: My fellow readers
From: A Busy Mom & Organizer

Please, Please, Please forgive me for neglecting you. I have been caught up with the daily tasks of cleaning, changing diapers and organizing an entire house that I abandoned my role as a "blogger". I promise to pick up the pace and get back to informing and inspiring you to be an organized individual. With that said, stay posted. A post will be coming shortly about Spring Cleaning & Organization.

Happy Organizing.


February 9, 2010

My Most Recent Organization Project

This past weekend I worked with a local client to transform and organize their master closet. They were in need of some serious professional help to prepare their home to be put on the housing market. My work was done on Friday and the home had its first showing on Saturday. By Sunday a contract was pending. Yay!

Here are a few interesting before and after pictures.


1. 2.

3. 4.

1. Built In Drawers
2. His Side
3. Back Wall
4. Her Side


1. 2.

3. 4.

1. Built in Drawers
2. His Side
3. Back Wall
4. Her Side

Before I made this closet look organized I had to create chaos and pull out most items that were once on the floor and on the shelves. Clothes were sorted into "throw away","donate", and "keep" piles, while hanging clothes found a home with other like items. I like to sort shirts and skirts by color then organize from shortest to longest. The pre-existing space did not accomodate for his or her amount of shoes therefore a few products were bought to bring sanity to their shoe collection. These clients were on a budget, so for under $60 the entire closet was organized (2 shoes racks for each person and 2 dividers to sort her binder/portfolios.) In between his side and the built-in drawers was a bare wall where I decided to hang a full length mirror (slightly seen in "his side" pic) to add volume to the closet and really catch the eye of the female viewers. (Come on, what woman wouldn't want a full length mirror in THEIR CLOSET. I have to stand on a chair or the tub to see the bottom half of my outfit. : ) Summer clothes and less frequently worn items were hung on the 3rd level while purses were placed in previously owned containers. And like every closet that has it's odds and ends, each item eventually found a suitable home. What once was a cluttered catastrophe became a spacious haven for home buyers.

If you know of anyone needing some assistance in getting their home organized and sold, please let me know. The organization and tone of a home can make a huge impact on home buyers.

Please feel free to make comments! I always love hearing from you.