Organize Simplify Create Design

It is perpetual, living life and keeping it simple. Peace of mind comes from having a place for things. As I watched "Horton Hears a Who", with my grandchildren I thought about no matter how "tiny" the thing, it deserves a home. So I live by the old adage, a place for everything and everything in its respective place...

About Me

My photo
Houston, Texas, United States
Ten things I am or have been: 1 Wife, 2 Mother of five, 3 Grandmother of 16, 4 Hair Dresser, 5 Bookkeeper 6 Bank Teller, 7 Scrapbook Store Owner, 8 Reporter, 9 Gardener, 10 Photographer,

Thursday, July 29, 2010

If you have a pedestal sink in your half bath...

Half baths are small, they are meant to be. But it doesn't mean we have to put up with inconvenience, especially when we have a pedestal sink. For a guest bath, you may want low light for parties, and there are lovely little lamps on the market and a bounty of candles, but no space to put any ambiance light at all. There are numerous decorative wall mount shelves that can be out of the way but hold this type of thing. I chose this because it matches some other lamps and iron I have in my home. My central theme is bringing the outdoors in and the half circle design with leaves helps hide the cord for the "sassy" lamp and gives me a place to put a votive and some hand lotion.
You may want to use a small fern stand for this same purpose.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What am I supposed to do with this half bath Mr. builder?

Many homes these days are built with one or more half baths. They come in handy for guests and make nice private places in our master baths. At times even full baths now host a pedestal sink, commode and shower... with absolutely no storage whatsoever.

Personally, I wanted a pleasantly decorated space to offer my guests when the need arose. But mine had the pedestal sink, no cabinets, an oval mirror and was stark white.
My solution was to faux the wall, I went dramatic even if it was a small space, I played with color. I used an eggplant basecoat and a green and gold glaze faux I did with a sponge.
I replaced the oval mirror with a nice wood framed mirror, replaced the faucet with a bronze oil rubbed version, along with the tissue dispenser and found this little pair of metal crates with hinged lids (Hobby Lobby) to seat silently at the base of the pedestal. See what I store there in the photo below.
The bins are large enough to hold a roll of paper towels, basin and toilet cleaner, glass cleaner, Pledge, and room freshener spray. The top one holds extra hand towels. My bins are heavy enough that I don't worry about my visiting little ones being able to access cleaning supplies, but if they were present 24/7 I wouldn't store here.

The photo to the right shows a wooden magazine rack and a stepping stool for my grandchildren to pull to the sink when needed. They can reach the sink, soap, towel and light. Works good for us.

The last photo shows a cabinet I chose to hold extra tissue. My guests can easily see where the extra is if needed.

Hope these ideas help you with your half bath storage.
I will share my master bath potty area soon.
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Monday, July 26, 2010

More about ceiling storage

Is working with wood kind of like working with fabric? I have sewn since my teens and I always have a fabric stash, so it makes sense that men would have to store wood for future projects. These ceiling holders have served well to hold sheets of plywood, extra left over wood flooring, extra cabinet shelves not currently in use. Stored inside the garage, out of the way, stored flat to avoid warping. Perfect solution for the woodworker in your family. Anything flat can be stored in this fashion. Home Depot or Lowes sell these items, they are near the Hyloft storage systems that we talked about last week.

Friday, July 23, 2010

If you go to Louisiana

We lived a good portion of our raising children life in the heart of Cajun Country! My husband hails from a long line of southerners and loves his southern comfort foods. He also loves hot peppers and spice! He thinks I'm "hot" that's why we are still together! :)
I love the natural flavors in food, but I also have studied herbs and spices to learn what seasonings will enhance those natural flavors.I grow a lot of my own peppers and herbs as well and have learned how to dry them.  So what does this have to do with organizing you may ask?
Confession: I alphabetize my spices.
When you see how many I have you will see why. There are a multitude of spice racks out there,  so you choose what is best for you, judging on how many you want to store and whether or not you like them out on the counter or not. I prefer these acrylic storage racks available at The Container StoreHerbs and spice have a limited shelf life too so keeping them out of direct light is important to me.

So here is a view inside my spice cabinet. Yes, I'm obsessed.
Hint: There is enough room behind these racks to store extra spice for refills. Behind the large containers I have seldom used items. I always try not to store things where you have to constantly shuffle items to find what you need. Things you use all the time should be in clear view and within easy reach. 

One of my favorite cookbooks, Talk About Good!

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Cooking without herbs and spice is like missing the sunset

In my youth I skipped through the garden, sat in tree houses and ran through the wheat, in my teens I sat on the porch and ate fresh tomatoes from my father's garden, watched my mother baby her plants and turned cartwheels on the grass, as a mother I produced my own produce and gathered annuals for my yard, as an empty nester my green thumbs throbbed and my garden replaced races from soccer fields and church camps, and late night chats with children. My garden pace is slower now, but I once heard the best fertilizer for the garden is your shadow. I love our little piece of heaven on earth!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ceiling Storage

Lord knows I'm not a minimalist. I too have accumulated, lots of stuff. I have good storage in my home, but we still have overflow, or things we want to keep but don't use all the time. We found these great ceiling storage units by Hyloft at Lowes Home Improvement Center that hold the ice cream freezer, coolers, folding camp chairs, fryers and many other miscellaneous items my husband or I needed to store. The units sell for around $46, they are very sturdy and worth every penny. If you do not have a Lowes near you, google Hyloft, I know Amazon, Home Depot and numerous other online stores carry them.

Note to Erin: If you wanted to store baby items you are not using, collapse them or dismantle to a manageable size and store them on the ceiling. I would recommend bagging or boxing to keep the dust out. Label well on the bottom so you can easily see where things are.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Got Hair?

No matter the quantity, color, or texture of hair, we all want to enhance our coiffure and we need tools to style it. Organizing products and tools for beautifying hair does not have to be an agonizing challenge. This organizational item for storing hair styling implements is one of my favorite discoveries!
The great thing about this idea is that there are so many different offerings on the market to store kitchen utensils. I chose this style basket that I picked up at a Pier One sale years ago. Mine has a great little handle I can grab when I'm ready. On a picnic table there is room for knives, spoons, forks, napkins, maybe salt and pepper or in some holders even plates.

In my personal arsenal of hair implements, I have a hair dryer, three curling iron sizes, and my Baby Bliss flat iron, which is similar to a Chi! It depends on my mood and where I'm going for me to determine which tool I will need. My loot also includes a trusty Bic Lighter for lighting candles, in case I'm only headed to my Jacuzzi bathtub!

You may not have as many implements as I do, but you could store your gels, mousse, and hair sprays along side the tools for easy, at your fingertip storage. Products will not be toppling over every time you open the cabinet and everything is in one spot for simple easy convenience, tucked neatly away on the shelf.

"Doesn't this make you wanna curl something?" :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Share our success!

Yesterday I was poking around and found Blog Frog! If you look on the left bar there you will see a button that says "My Community". I created this so each of you could share your organizing before and after photos. Pose questions and tie it all to this blog. So go out there and join and let your voice be heard. Sounds like a great way to share!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Other ideas for using floor space under bottom shelf pantry

I found some white wire racks that are stand alone shelves, along with some that clip to the shelf above. I utilized each style in my pantry. The hanging ones come in handy for things I buy occasionally and don't get a container yet. (they have to earn one, lol) I also keep the different types of trash bags on these, one style for each size trash can I use. By the way, have you ever used Grippers? I love those things! You know when you throw something in the trash and the top slips off the lip of the can and slides into the trash can? I hate when that happens. Especially in the kitchen. Well, the makers at Hefty must have known about that annoying problem, because the Gripper is like a rubber band that hugs the top of the can until you are ready to empty it! So I reserve these bags for the kitchen trash, perfect for 13 gallon cans! Love that!

So after that little bonus blurb, back to pantry staging.
The stand alone shelving I found at WalMart. I use them to stack canned goods or bottles that will not fit in the Candensor. I love baskets, they are so versatile and add a decorator touch wherever they stay. Sometimes they just sit there and look cute! It is especially helpful if they are used to store things too! The little baskets hold some wood chips for my Cameron Cooker, and snacks I keep on hand, mostly for grandkids. The 100 calorie packs go here in case I need a snack! :)

If you have trays, oven racks, large cutting boards or in my case this large lazy susan, the wall on the side of shelves is a good place to keep them stacked, and since you are using the floor space they don't topple over ever time you walk in.

I think I have a bad case of "Blog Doubt"...
I hope somebody is out there? Please leave your comments so I know somebody is there. I'm not sure if anyone is interested in my grocery shopping list that works in any market?
I love your ideas too! Thanks!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Not enough room inside the pantry?

Make use of the door. Racks that hang over the top of the door are available, but I prefer the mounted type. I find this is a great place for my vitamins, Koolaid or Crystal Light, nuts, dried fruits which I like to store in inexpensive plastic containers with lids. These fit perfectly inside the rack I purchased from Lowes. I like to keep a box of Ziploc sandwich bags and snack bags right in the middle section, that makes for handy grabbing! I also have some old Tupperware containers that house baking soda, baking powder, taco seasoning, Lipton Onion Soup mix that adds such flavor to gravy, chili seasoning and Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix. If you like herb teas, those boxes fit nicely in these racks too! The truth be known, I have too many tea selections for my Tupperware bin. Ooops!

Seriously, what are we supposed to store in those dark corners?

These handy dandy Copco 9" Turntables are the perfect solution to pantry corners. What else are those corners good for? These little "lazy susan" things have a non slip surface and spin easily. I like to store oils and vinegars I don't use often on the top one. Sweet stuff is housed on the next one, Hot stuff on the next, and back-up condiments on the bottom one. Nobody wants to find out there is no Ketchup when the burgers come off the grill! Right? I'm telling you these little spinners are the best thing since builders put corners in our pantries. lol
Rubbermade and Oxo also make turntables. Choices, choices, choices!
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Wasted space under the bottom shelf of your pantry

The bottom shelf of most pantry's leave a large space below. In most instances it is wasted space. One way to add extra storage is to purchase Sterilite Drawers. I keep backups of products I use all the time or that are specialty items that I have purchased. The bins shown here house Popcorn rice that we usually bring from Louisiana. We love the flavor so we can store extra in one of the drawers. I keep jello, pudding and some baking supplies here such as chocolate chips and cococut when I have them on hand, mostly during the holidays.
The two straw bins with leather handles I keep potatoes in one and onions in the other.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The VERY best way to store canned goods ever!!!

Several years ago I discovered Shelf Reliance.

The company specializes in storing food! When I saw the Candensor and Cansolidator storage system I immediately got out my tape measure and calculator. What is so great about this system? The design reminds me of the soda can dispensers that you have seen and perhaps used inside your refrigerator to dispense soda. The nifty shelves are designed to rest on your shelf with the depth you request. When you assemble them, you decide on the width according to the can size you need. They snap together very easy. They are made of white sturdy plastic and come with labels. Blanks are also supplied in order to write in your own foods.
These dispensers keep all of your like foods together, for instance vegetables. At a glance you can see when you are out or getting low. The oldest can gets used first, so your food is automatically rotated! How cool is that? There is no shuffling of cans in the back versus cans in the front, no toppling cans that were stacked on top of one another. I love this system. Uses every bit of shelf space and you do not end up buying things you don't need.

You can get it here....

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pantry Organization (Inside)

When the door is opened this is what you will see.

At this point we are only dealing with containerized foods. Before purchasing containers assess your needs. Make a list of things you normally have on hand. Then guesstimate how many pounds, cups or other measure each item needs, list this to the side of each item. Include all dry goods, flour, cornmeal, sugar (brown, white, and powdered), artificial sweeteners, (if you use them), macaroni, spaghetti and other pasta, cereals, (dry and cook types), dry beans, breadcrumbs, croutons, popcorn, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, chips, coffee, teas, snack foods, rice, ice cream cones, chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts,cocnut and other miscellaneous items you need to store.

Just so you know, I do not purchase a lot of prepackaged foods like Hamburger Helper or other processed foods. However, if you use these you need to either leave shelf space for them or decide to place them in a container. Again all of these items will need to be placed together so we know when its time to go shopping.

I purchased Tupperware containers to store the majority of my pantry items in. A Tupperware representative can help you decide which containers will serve your needs best. I chose Modular Mates by Tupperware because I wanted to fit them to my shelves and desired a uniform look. Purchase pieces based on what you need to store. Please note that if you are unable to purchase Tupperware that there are all kinds of inexpensive storage containers on the market. WalMart has a huge section of Rubbermaid containers, Sterilite and other no-name brands, The Container Store houses a plethora of storage options and don't forget thrift stores or dollar stores. Don't forget to measure your shelving and note the container size, so you know how many you can stack. It is best to find a container that fits the shelf front to back, so nothing gets stored in front of something else. If you have very deep shelves buy some shelf risers or use some boards to boost the back up so you don't have to shuffle a lot of things to get to the item you want. Bear in mind that if you purchase see thru containers that you can easily, at a glance, tell if you are getting low on something. Keep a little magnetic notepad on the side of your refrigerator to list things you are out of OR I will also share my tried and true grocery shopping list that works for any store you shop in! This can be thumb-tacked to the inside of the cabinet or on the wall of the pantry to list things as you use them up. Then when you are headed to the store, grab it, fold it and GO!

When I open my door my light comes on and turns off when I'm finished! My husband installed this cool little switch that replaced the regular switch inside. It's nice when you have your hands full and need to see. Plus it saves on those ever rising energy bills.
Keep in mind as you build your storage that you should try to keep all your baking products together. All the flour, all the pancake mix, and cornmeal. Then a place for snack foods like chips, crackers, and maybe pretzels. Then containers for dry cereal, cooked cereal like oats, or in the south "grits" ! :) Then all the beans, all the pastas, you got it!
Now turn on that light and get going! :)

Organize the Pantry

Cooking can become a nightmare if you are ready to fix a meal and don't have all the ingredients and can't find anything inside the pantry.
I created this website because friends, family and neighbors are constantly making comments about my habits! They even make fun on me at times! :)

I am fortunate that my house came with a corner walk-in pantry! However, the methods and products I use to keep things orderly can be applied to any situation, be it cabinet, flat wall pantry, shelving, or a purchased freestanding unit you want to use for additional storage space.

So lets have a look...