Moving…

16 Nov

Ok, for those of you who know me personally, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that we would be moving house again but we’re not. Thank goodness!

At the end of the 31 Days writing challenge, I realized that because this blog is built on a WordPress.com free site, I have limited flexibility and options for building in more features and functions in the future. So, I decided to import my TechnicallyOrganizedMama posts onto my business site here at 2OrganizeU.com. I’ll be writing over there from now on. Right now, I’m experimenting and trying out new things so I’ll hope to see you over there!

BTW, I just posted a quick video highlighting my three favorite tools for organizing. Check it out and let me know what you think…

31 Days of Real Life Organizing

2 Oct

{Update 9/25/2014: I originally published my 31 Days of Real Life Organizing series here on TechnicallyOrganizedMama. Since it has begun to grow, I’ve moved everything over to it’s new home at Homeology.co. You can refer to the updated post and links here.}

Last week I posted about whether or not your organizing measures up to what you see & read in magazines, blogs and on Pinterest. I feel strongly that you deserve to have a home that is organized, warm and welcoming for yourself and others who live and visit there. In addition, I am just as convinced that you can have that without putting the rest of your life on hold. There are lots of simple ways to start making progress towards that goal. I’m sharing what I’ve learned on my journey as a professional organizer and in organizing my own home.

31Days

I just learned about TheNester’s 31 Days Annual Writing Challenge and I thought it would be a good way to push myself to write more on the topic. I realize I’m a day late but I figured it’s better to get started late than not to do it at all, right? {a bit of foreshadowing into my second post…}

So for the next 31 days {well, 30, since I’ll post two today}, I’m going to share insights, projects, tips and tools on Real Life Organizing.

You can follow my blog in your RSS feed or follow the 31 Days of Real Life Organizing on Pinterest or you can even pin this post so you can refer back to it throughout or at the end of the 31 days.

Once it’s published, I’ll link up each day’s post in the list below:

1. How to Get Started Organizing at Home

2. Perfectly Organized

3. Oops! 9 Most Common Home Organizing Mistakes

4. Get Organized. Get Inspired.

5. How Long Will It Take to Get Organized

6. RA-RA For Organizing Paper!

7. The Four Step Foundation for Real Life Organizing & Free Printable

8. Redefining The Inbox

9. Are You a Perfectionator?

10. Get Organized in 15 Minutes or Less?

11. My Top 10 List of Organizing Myths

12. Get Organized. Get Inspired. {Useful & Beautiful}

13. 11 Reasons Your Home Organizing Projects Fail

14. Create Clutter-Free Holiday Decor: Halloween Edition

15. How To Organize Product Manuals & Warranty Information

16. What Organizing Isn’t

17. How Long To Organize a Room?

18. 10 Steps To Organize Any Room

19. 10 Steps To Organize Any Room- Part I

20. 10 Steps To Organize Any Room- Part II

21. My Favorite Containers- The Basics

22. Organizing Rules For Results

23. 3 Reasons To Think Outside The Box {Or Bin or Container}

24. Get Organized. Get Inspired.

25. Take Action On Your Paper Piles

26. Loathing Laundry?  4 Reasons We Love to Hate Laundry

27. Organizing Quickie in the Closet

28. Baby Steps for Tackling Paper Clutter

29. How Do I Get My Spouse Organized?

30. Organizing Solution for Kids Activities and Gear

31. Simplify For The Holidays

Ciao for now!

Mama DIY: Children’s Table & Chair(s)

8 Mar

For the Little Man’s first birthday, I was trying to distract myself from being emotional about how much he had grown, or how I might shed a tear each time he outgrew another clothing size.

I had no idea what to get for him for his birthday and to make matters more complicated, I have deep-rooted rules about acquiring stuff, more specifically useless stuff. We’ll chat more about that someday.  Anyway, I finally settled on the idea of purchasing a table and chairs for him. I usually go to IKEA for this type of thing and was eyeing the KRITTER or the SUNDVIK. One small problem- we now live 229 miles from the nearest IKEA! And while I love IKEA and I could always use a fix, I’m not driving 8+ hours round-trip to Charlotte, NC. While I could order a table and chairs and have them shipped, it would cost $30. That’s 50% of the total order- yikes!

So, I was itching to try out one of Ana-White.com’s plans for furniture building but forced myself to be realistic. I don’t have the time available to work with power tools in the garage with a 1 year old hanging around ;). When I came across Ana White’s plans for the Clara Table and $4 Stackable Chair, I thought it was the perfect opportunity.

I was able to follow Ana’s plans and make the table and chair {still have one to assemble} just in the nick of time. I didn’t have time to paint it but as it turns out, I’m kind of glad. He got some crayons for his birthday and demonstrated his art skills right on the brand new table top.  I wasn’t upset in the least, I love the idea of having his crayon scribbles preserved in layers of paint years down the line.

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For my next project I’m going to sand, prime and paint first, prior to cutting and assembling. I realize that I’ll have to touch up where I cut but we’ll see if I like that process better.

I used my circular saw {on my table saw table}, Kreg Pocket-hole Jig and cordless drill/driver on that pile of wood with those materials and made both the table and chairs.

Circular Saw & Kreg Jig

Supplies for Table & Chairs

Wood pile for Table & Chairs

Oh, and before I got started I made a table saw cutting jig so my brain wouldn’t explode. I’ll provide more details on that in my next post.

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Here’s a super-hot picture of me operating the circular saw and double-checking some deets on my very favorite tool {my iPad}. Though it kills me to print things I won’t need in the future, I think I’ll probably print out some of the plan on future projects.

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Some “during” shots: table cuts, chair cuts, table complete, tabletop assembled {left to right, clockwise}.

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I definitely have a healthy fear of cutting tools so I’m impressed that I was able to do this all on my own. And, I’m even more proud of the fact that I built my son his first birthday gift :D Icing on the cake? He climbs into his chair and sits to play at his table almost every day. Awesome.

Have you built anything that you’re super-proud of? Or maybe have a DIY fail you’d be willing to share? Please share in the comments.

Lose Weight. Get Fit. For Real Life?

22 Jun

Hey, there! I’d like to ask a favor. Are you trying to lose weight? Struggle to get fit? Want to know how to raise children who are fit & healthy? It can be soooo confusing and overwhelming.  Low fat? High fructose corn syrup? Artificial sweeteners? If you don’t already know, I’m a professional organizer and my husband is a sports dietitian. Being married to someone who is passionate about fitness and nutrition, I’ve always considered myself lucky to have a direct resource for getting my questions answered.

Simply. In plain English. No BS.

Now that we have expanded our family, I’ve had new questions about the ever-changing nutritional needs of a little one {and my own changing fitness and nutrition requirements prenatal and post-partum}, how we can incorporate fitness into our family life and how to give our son the skills he needs to lead a healthy and fit lifestyle.

I’ve been thinking how there may be others out there with those same questions and some of your own about growing a fit family, too. In addition, because I’ve learned so much over the years I’m continually frustrated about the misinformation, sensationalized research reporting and false advertising that occurs in the media and within the fitness and nutrition industries.

Because it is in my nature {sometimes annoyingly so} to want to share what I’ve learned {I hate wasted time & energy- mine or anyone else’s} AND my husband is soooo good at what he does, I thought why not do some more research and find out what YOU struggle with related to nutrition and fitness for yourself  and/or your family!

Is it worth convincing him to start sharing his skills and knowledge in a bigger way? Whaddaya think?

You can complete the quick survey I created here OR feel free to leave a comment below telling me what your biggest challenge or frustration is re: nutrition and fitness for yourself and/or your family.

Quick Tip: Organizing Bottles, Formula & Cereal

15 Jun

While I would love to keep our kitchen counters clear, the reality is that we’re using {and washing} bottles, formula and rice cereal constantly. My chosen method of organizing is for function first. So, I just thought I would share how we deal with having these items on the counter and keep the clutter to a minimum.  Ideally, I would store these items in an easy to reach bin in a cabinet or drawer but that doesn’t work with our kitchen configuration.

First, this spinning, 2-tiered bottle drying rack from The First Years is perfect for us. There are prettier ones like this and this but they definitely would not have met our needs with all of the bottle parts we have. Precisely why I look for function first.

We use Dr. Browns and they have the bottle, nipple, caps, collars, vents and vent reservoirs. Count ‘em- that’s 6 parts per bottle! We use 4 oz. bottles with a level 2 nipple for rice milk and the 8oz. bottles and a level P nipple for the formula.  For those of you not familiar, the level indicates the flow and we learned that flow of a level 1 was too much for the baby, so we purchased the “preemie” level.

The little label on the nipples is a little tough to see {especially when you wake up in the morning after 2 consecutive hours of sleep}. Can you see it? Yeah, me neither.

So, after washing, the 2’s go on the top of the short vent reservoirs and P’s go on the tall reservoirs. This eliminates any time wasted identifying bottle parts. And with a hungry, crying baby nearby, that’s a good thing! All collars and vent caps get paired together, 40z. parts on the top and 8 0z. parts & caps on the bottom.

Next, we keep formula, medication dispensers, dry rice cereal and measuring spoons in a basket right next to the drying rack. In order to make it a little prettier, I transfer the rice cereal into a mason jar. Everything is prettier in a mason jar. {You can see here on my “Mason Jar Love” Pinterest Board}. I don’t have a jar large enough for the formula and we go through that a lot quicker. I didn’t feel it was worth my time or potential spillage {can you say powdered gold?} to transfer it into a jar. Your mileage may vary. I keep a dedicated set of measuring spoons that fit into the bottles here, too.  This is an example of when having duplicates is very efficient. Everything we need is at our fingertips. Plus, it’s particularly helpful when you have visitors helping out.

And, while it may not be the most beautiful setup, beauty is in the eye of the beholder… and “eye” see simple!

Do you have any tips for organizing bottle parts, etc.? What have you done that works for you? I’d love it if you would share them in the comments!

Ciao for now!

Lauren

DIY Project: Sunburst Mirror

1 Jun

F-I-N-A-L-L-Y! I have completed this DIY Sunburst project I’ve been working on for over 8 months. Ok, well not really 8 full months. I purchased some of the supplies, finished 1/4 of the project, gave birth to a human, moved to another state, pretended to sleep for 7 months and finally finished it this past weekend. I originally started the project to hang over our bed in the master bedroom in another state.  And, while I would still love to have a piece to hang there, this niche {or whatever you call it} in our open-concept living room has been calling out to me {please ignore the black coaxial cable- that’s next on the list}

Niche above fireplace

I got inspiration from basically copied Shelley from Crazy Wonderful’s Sunburst Mirror DIY. I loved how substantial it was and, of course, the price tag. If you’re looking for inspiration for your own Sunburst Mirror, Pinterest has plenty here to choose from.  I’m not going to do a step-by-step because I basically followed Shelley’s post. But I’ll tell you what I did:

  • I found my mirror for $12.99 at Ross
  • Used the 18″ Shims from Home Depot as is- I did not trim them.
  • I used gray spray paint as a base coat for the pewter glaze

Some additional tips:

  • I glued my shims in groups of 5 & 7 like Shelley {It’s a great project to do while watching TV if you’re so inclined} and used my handy-dandy rubber band ball {Thanks, OfficeMax}. I made them flush on the front side by using a flat surface.  This made it a bit more challenging when it came time to glue the back side aka. uneven shim sides down to my wood flat.  So, after gluing the groups, I would recommend gluing each group together to give the piece more stability.
  • You’ll need more than 8 packages if you’re using them at full length.
  • I purchased my shims in two batches at separate times and they were distinctly different. One batch was more finely finished than the other. It was no big deal for me, I just mixed them up to make sure it wasn’t really noticeable in the finished product. It only adds to the charm IMO.

Some pictures along the way:

Aaahhhh. So glad this is finished and I loved checking this off my list- literally! Do you have any projects that you’ve been working on for a while? What’s holding you up? Anything you’ve recently completed that you’d like to share? I’d love to see it.

Thanks for stopping by and Ciao for now!

Lauren

Organizing Children’s Books

17 May Bookshelf

Was it Plato who said “Necessity is the mother of invention”? Something like that anyway. I’m a mother and I have a necessity. Turns out, lots of them. But, I digress.

I stumbled upon this need while supervising my newly mobile 8-month old crawling around his room. He has a small bookshelf filled with books. As he was trying to get to the books, I conceded that he was going to pull those books out. Repeatedly…unless I move them. I don’t want to move them because we are in a rental and I’d like to mount as few things to the walls as possible. AND I want him to have access to those books. I just want them put away when he’s done with them. For now that means Mom & Dad need to take on this task but it’s a great opportunity to teach him to organize early. And, I happen to know from experience that many parents have the same challenge organizing their kid’s bookcases.

I don’t really care what order the books are in but the lower shelf has room for taller books and everything fits right now. Plus, organizing by title is just over the top for an infant, don’t ya think? So, I just needed a way to make sure the right books returned to the right shelf. So, I thought of those colored dot stickers you find in an office supply store, one color assigned to each shelf, stick it to the book and call it done. So, off to Staples I went {OK, I didn’t really hop in the car right then and there. I added it to my errand list.}

I did stop at Michael’s while running my errands and thought some simple, colored stickers would work, too. I needed multiples of the same sticker and found these great puffy stickers. But knowing I had to worry about an infant picking the sticker off and choking on it, I decided to scrap that plan. Now, off to Staples.

I checked out their label aisle and found the dot label stickers but was hoping for something other than the standard color set. Then, I checked out Martha Stewart’s new line of products {can you say eye candy?} but I didn’t see anything that worked. Finally, I stopped in the Post-it note section. Post-it’s are my friend. They never let me down. Ok, maybe they did this time {not really} because I could only find the page markers in the Staples Stickies brand. At $2.99 for 500 page markers, I was golden!

Why these are perfect for the job:

  • low cost
  • easy to replace
  • easy to add on to the system
  • comes with 100 page markers per color
  • can select your own desired colors
  • won’t ruin the cover of the book

Since it’s nap time, all that’s left to do is label the books, replace them on the shelf and take some pics to show you {just in case you really can’t visualize it}. I’ll add one page marker to each shelf so anyone can translate this system. The possibilities for this are endless. You could also color code by age range of the book so when your children outgrow them it’s easy-peasy to pull books and make room for the new ones.

I used tape to layover the sticky note pad

Applied the sticky and tape to the book spine…

Do you have a place where you can or already do use this method? What might you label the books with?

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