File it Away

This past weekend, we didn’t work much on our to do list.  That’s not to say we didn’t work.  We just didn’t work on noticeable, blog worthy projects.  Instead, we loaded up some of the dirt pile Craigslist responders wanted.  Ben worked a little more on digging out areas and leveling out the back yard.  We cleaned, organized, Ben baked, and I spray painted a few things.  Yesterday you saw one of those things, faux billy buttons.  While organizing my office, I pulled out an empty, ugly brown file drawer just like this one.

I bought at the thrift store, oh, two years ago and never used.  It was five bucks and I figured I could use it for something.  Well, I figured out that something.  For the last few months, I’ve been storing the boys’ wet bath toys in a cheap metal bucket on the vanity shelf.  I didn’t like that the ugly toys were left in the open.  So I checked to see if the toys would fit in the drawer.  They did, so I dug around my stash of spray paint in the laundry room, coming out with a can of primer and another can of metallic silver paint.  A quick scrub with a rag, a light coat of primer, two coats of silver, and a few hours to cure in the sunlight, I brought it inside.

To prevent rusting of the inside, I popped in a cheapie plastic bin before loading the toys in.

That creepy eye belongs to Woody from Toy Story.  You’re welcome.  Toys are still easy to get at sitting on the bottom shelf (next to a basket for toilet paper and soap), but out of sight.

As you can see, the vanity isn’t finished.

We still have to build the false fronts, then repaint the whole vanity.  I should probably dust it sometime, too.

Please tell me you buy things from thrift stores and don’t use them for months or years.  Where/how do you store bath toys?

P.S.  You’ve gotta love Montana weather.  This summer has been hotter and drier than most, with no measurable precipitation in September.  We’re ready for a change.  Yesterday was clear, sunny skies with near 80 degree temps.  Last night, Montana treated us to a beautiful sunset.

This morning started with rain and quickly turned to snow.

Big, slow falling flakes, too.  I feel like a kid again.  Our first snow day.  Welcome.

Vincent told Everett, “Look at the snow on the deck.  It’s not watching where it’s falling.”  That’s right, snow does not discriminate.

I had plans for today, but maybe I’ll sit back, relax, watch a movie with the boys, and drink hot chocolate.  Yes, that sounds perfect.

Gimme a Giveaway Winner: Norwex & Drawerganization

Raise your hand if you’re happy today is Friday.  We’ve got a birthday party planned for a certain little boys I know.

A whole hand.  I can’t believe it.  We’re both getting so old.  Haha.  Sara GB should be pretty happy, too, because she’s the winner of the Norwex giveaway!

And now for a little drawerganizing.  Because this house needs so much.  When my blog BFF Jen and her adorable family visited in August, she brought me some adorable labels.  Chalkboard labels for my spice jars, in fact.

So I peeled those puppies off the sheets and stuck ’em to my spice jars.  Then they sat that way while I tracked down a chalk pen.  Well, tried.  After stopping at four different stores, all rumored to have said chalk pens, I gave up.  Instead, I bought dry erase crayons, hoping they’d work.

Luckily, they did.  No smudging or easy wear off, but clean off with water.

And now we know what spice we’re looking for right away.  If only my handwriting were better.  Though I do have the best writing in the house.  Which isn’t a challenge considering I live with men.  Haha.

Another quick drawerganization started at the thrift store.  I spotted a chrome silverware divider for a buck ninety-nine.  When I see cheap organizers, I try to find a use for it.  Then it hit me, organize the friggin’ bathroom!  At home, I plopped our toiletries, vitamins, toothbrushes, and toothpaste in there and it made me smile.  Sure, it’s nothing fancy or super pretty, but we can fin what we’re looking for.  That’s all that matters, right?

We’re organized and ready to party.  What do you have planned for the weekend?

In the Kitchen: Baby & Toddler

Our readers out there with children know all too well that kids have a ton of stuff.  Toys, strollers, clothes, shoes, diapers, and movies.  Well, kid clutter extends into the kitchen, too.  Why can’t manufacturers make more collapsible, easily stored, square items?  I don’t know, but personally, I find it annoying.  Anyway, I’m here to share a few tips on storing bottles, formula, sippy cups, plates, bowls.

Tip number 1:  Keep plates, bowls and silverware at toddler height.  This limits the “No, I don’t want that one” argument Vincent and I often had.  Instead, he can pick out his own bowl/plate/spoon/fork without arguement and he can help empty the dishwasher by putting his items away.  We also keep cloth napinks his drawer for easy, eco-friendly cleanup. 

Tip number 2:  Keep one small cabinet of cups, bottles, formula, and other random kitchen items.  Using a small cabinet limits the amount of accumulation, while keeping the ugly out of sight, but close at hand.  Store the most often used items on the lower shelves and less often used on the higher shelves. 

Tip number 3:  Invest in a few “cleaning faces and hands” only rags.  I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to have my face wiped with the same rag used to clean the chicken parmesan mess.  Just sayin’.

Glass Container Sale: Part Deux

If you recall, Hobby Lobby had a 50% off sale on all glass items a couple of weeks ago.  On my first trip, I left with a few canning jars, a small apothecary style lidded jar and a tall glass container for spaghetti.  When I returned home, I realized the tall jars would be perfect for our pantry, so I went back to buy 6 more.  Add a few pretty labels and we were done.

Well, in that same trip, I picked up the larger apothecary style jar and another footed, covered container for our main bathroom.  I filled the largest with soap, the medium with cotton balls and the smallest with Q-tips.

This is the bathroom our guests use, so I wanted to keep some often used items out to limit searching.  And I love that everything is white and pretty. 

We haven’t had any visitors since this addition, but I hope it is useful.  If not, I still don’t mind looking at them.  What about you?  What do you do to make your bathroom more guest friendly?

Mission: Organization

Project: Pantry

Technically, our pantry never was unorganized.  If you know me, most things are organized.  That’s not to say things can never be more organized.  Ever since I saw a fantastic pantry redesign on House of Smith’s, I’ve been itching to change things up with our pantry.  Over the weekend, I got a metaphorical bug up my butt and started changing things up. 

Here is the before:

Yeah, not super great.  Most of our grocery shopping is done at Costco, so everything is in bulk and a little tricky to store.  I will admit, we are lower on some of our supplies shown in the after photos. 

Ben and I started by throwing out everything that was past its prime or giving it away.  I grouped like items together and made a shelf for each grouping. 

The bottom shelf has cookbooks and potatoes, leaving room for larger items to be stored after a Costco trip.  All canned, boxed and bagged dry food items are on the same shelf along with baby food and formula.  Then we have a baking shelf, including flour, sugar, and chocolate chips.  Cereals and soda joined the baking party.  Finally, the top shelf has alcohols, large serving platters, straws, paper plates and coffee supplies.

Lucky for me, Ben got in one of his deep clean moods after this!  I love when this happens.  Ben becomes a cleaning machine.  He removed all the screens and windows (our window panels can be removed to leave a huge opening) and cleaned every piece.  Then, he took everything out of our refrigerator and scrubbed down every surface.  It’s like we have a brand new fridge. 

As if cleaning windows and refrigerators wasn’t enough fun, Ben also removed everything from both bathroom drawers, vacuumed and scrubbed the insides.  Yes, I am one lucky girl.  Then I went through all the contents.  I threw some things away, donated others, and organized the rest. 

And our drawers are clean, too!

So, that was our fun-filled weekend of cleaning.  Have you deep-cleaned or organized anything recently?