Back to School Organization (on the news!)

Hi friends!  I was on the Fox 5 San Diego news again this morning!  Talking about one of my all time favorite subjects: Back to School Organization baby!  You can check it out here.  I’ll be back soon with a full post on this beloved topic.  :)

p.s.  If you missed us on the news last time you can see our segment on Sibling Love here.  Yes today was just as intimidating as it was the first time around!  But the topic helped put me at ease.  :)

Organizing solutions (my way your way)

Hello hello friends!  I’ve rounded up some serious organizing eye candy for you today.  Woot woot!  (You know I mean business when I break out with a “woot woot!”)  I have been so inspired lately with fun organizing solutions that are similar to methods I already have in place so of course I had to share them all with you!  Enjoy!
You’ve all seen my craft space several times.  It has been so nice to have a set cupboard for the kids to keep all of their art supplies.  But if a cupboard is nice…
how fabulous would a whole armoire be?  I love that most used toys can be stored low for little hands, art work is displayed on the doors, and at the end of the day everything can be closed up and hidden.  Genius!

I also love the idea of keeping an “art tray” nearby stocked full of pencils, scissors, markers, etc. so that supplies are always within reach.

I’ve shared how I store my jewelry.  Necklaces hang on hooks on the wall and everything else is crammed into a small jewelry box (so excited to revamp this system after we move!).
Here are a few other fun ideas…
Use simple mini hooks to hold necklaces.

Or try multiple jewelry stands!  I love that everything is out on display here.  I think I’d wear my jewelry more if I could see it all!

I’ve always kept my nail polish in this simple divider.
But what a fun idea to use an old spice rack?  Or a new one.  :)
I love seeing creative organizing solutions.
A simple book from Hallmark has helped me keep track of birthdays and organize my cards.
But how cool is Jen’s solution for organizing cards?  Categorizing just makes me smile!  This way you can stock up on cards and always have one ready to go if you are short on time.
It’s like having your own mini Hallmark right at your fingertips!  :)
In the past I have used a simple trash can to corral wrapping paper.  This was especially handy for me during the holidays when I set up my Christmas wrap station.
But how simple and fabulous is this solution?
Cup hooks holding dowels make smart wrapping paper storage!
Labeled Ziploc bags for kids’ clothes each day of the week has been a lifesaver for helping us plan and lay out weekly outfits.  Mornings have run much smoother since we implemented this little system!
But if I had the room…
I LOVE this solution too!  Hooks on the closet door with a simple paper label for each day of the week.  You could also add the hooks on a blank wall in your child’s room.  So smart!
In my linen closet I store cleaning supplies in labeled bins.
But I think next time I organize cleaning supplies these lined wire baskets with labels are calling my name.  So stylish!  About as stylish as toilet paper and cleaning supplies can look if you ask me.  :)
And you’ve all seen our makeshift mudroom on a wall in our garage.  It has worked well for us, but I love the following solution even more…
All you need for this is a shelf with some hooks and a hallway!  A perfect place for kids to drop off shoes and backpacks.  And a happy place for the family calendar to live as well!
YEA!  So many fun organizing solutions.
Hope this post made you as happy as it made me.

Staying organized during a build/re-model

Hello friends!  I have had a similar question pop up a few times so I thought I’d take a minute to answer it today.  Some of you have e-mailed me asking for suggestions on how to stay organized during a build or home re-model.  Well.  Let me tell you.  This has been my toughest organizing challenge EVER!  It is unbelievable the amount of STUFF you have to keep track of when you build a house.  I’m sure going through a major re-model is the same.  I constantly have books, receipts, sketches, and samples all over my house.  Until just last week we had a bathtub sitting in our garage.   :)  It can be a bit overwhelming keeping it all under control!  I’ve shared most of these ideas before, but I thought a post with everything in one place might help.  So!  Here are a few things I’ve done that have helped me stay organized throughout this process…
1) Corral your “inspiration.”  A process like this begins with looking at LOTS and LOTS of inspiration photos.  Pinterest is the best way to organize your inspiration pictures on-line.  If you’re getting ready to build or re-model and don’t have a Pinterest account I would highly recommend getting one!  My architect was amazed at how many photos I had on my computer showing him exactly what I wanted.  It made both of our jobs a lot easier!  My Pinterest boards started out fairly organized (exterior of homes, bathroom, kitchens, etc.) but as the building process became more time consuming I just started dumping all of my pictures onto one happy board titled “Creating my House” which you can see here.  :)
Before I started this process magazines were piling high on every surface!  

I bought this magazine holder from Ballards to keep them all in one place.  I wanted them in a central location that was easy to get to since I was referring to certain pictures so often.  Another alternative is to just buy a big basket to hold all of your magazines.

What to do with all of the pages you are tearing out of magazines?  I went to my happy place (Martha Stewart supply section of Staples) and picked up a binder and a large accordion file.

Then I sorted all of my inspiration pics into piles…

labeled each room…

and filed away!
2)  Use binders and notebooks to organize your sketches and notes.

I bought tabs and organized all of my cabinet and built-in sketches by room. 

 Then I labeled a spot in my time management notepad “new house” so that I have a place to jot down notes and to-do’s as they pop up.

3)  Use file folders/boxes to hold important papers that are house related.

We don’t have drawers in our current house for files so I just bought a simple crate to organize random house related papers.    
Pick up some file folders.  Fun colors are a must.

Then organize away!  I initially started this file box for papers for the kids but lately have added several folders for new house forms as well.  

4)  Have a set location to hold all of your house related items. 

I have our house and landscaping plans in big baskets hidden behind the living room couch.  Find a location that is easily accessible because you will be pulling these out ten times a day!

Next to our plans I have everything else house related.  Files, binder for sketches, plans, paint swatches, etc.  Oh.  And throw in some diapers and wipes for good measure.  :)    

As far as larger samples go, a closet or specific place to house them all would be lovely.  We don’t have room for them.  Or for much of anything which is why we are building.  :)  
For months I had samples all over my living room floor.  

Now that I’ve picked out all of our tile and counter tops I’ve moved most of our samples to the garage.

A few other things that might help:

5)  Keep a bag in your car with a tape measure, a notepad and pen, and a pair of shoes that you don’t care about for hanging out at the job site.  Every time I visit our new house I have these things handy!

6)  organize e-mail folders in your inbox for specific house related e-mails.
I have separate folders titled: 
– cabinets (all of our cabinet sketches and e-mails regarding cabinets)
– design sketches (all of our random design sketches)
– yard (every e-mail about landscaping that I need to save)
– finish work (e-mails on finish work)
– inspiration pictures (e-mails including pictures I’ve sent)
– finances (e-mails pertaining to finances) — although I don’t have much in this folder.  Unfortunately I can’t give you a lot of advice on how to organize the finance component of building because that is Kenny’s job.  He has spreadsheets galore going on to keep track of it all.  While I love the design aspect of this project, the finances are one area I am more than happy to turn over to him!

 Like I said before, this beast has been a hard one to stay on top of.  :)  I hope a few of the things that have helped me stay organized throughout this process helps some of you as well!

Shoe/Coat/Backpack organization

Hi everyone!  Popping in with our third post for re-run week!  I have to say that I’m having fun pulling up past posts.  :)  And I have had such a productive week!  So many new house decisions have been made and I am getting really excited.  So thank you for being supportive of the re-runs.  :)  I’ll share a new house update next week with the latest.  Right now I’m sharing a past post on how I organize my shoes in my current house because I spent some time today finalizing the design on my new mudroom.  To say I’m excited about that space would be a huge understatement!  Since I have been thinking a lot about shoe/coat/backpack organization I thought it would be fun to re-visit what is working for us now in our current house.  Which as you know, does not have a mudroom.  :)  I truly believe you can turn just about any little wall, nook or whatever you can come up with into a nice dropping spot for shoes, coats, etc.  I hope this post gives you a few ideas!
I dream of having a mudroom.  A big beautiful mudroom complete with lockers and shoe drawers.  And in our next house, I will hopefully have more room than I currently do to make that happen.  But for now, the only place for shoes, coats, and backpacks is in our garage.  I shared how I organize our shoes a while ago when I did a post on garage organization.  That was working ok…but a little something made me decide to re-think things.  And that little something would be the new mini van.  Since I’m now a mini van mom (sad how easily that rolls off my tongue these days) the new ride is taking up more space in the garage than the old one leaving no space between it and the shoes.  Luckily the van beeps like crazy every time I park so I am able to avoid hitting the shoe rack, just not able to avoid the beeping van headache that often follows.

Plus having our shoes this close to the door always resulted in a messy pile of shoes just waiting to be tripped on.

Plus I bought the girls new summer flip flops.  And flip flops this cute just seemed to need a fun new home!  Plus let’s face it.  I was just in the mood to organize something.

I didn’t do anything major, but just a little rearranging made a huge difference!

Wa-la!  I bought one more shoe rack and moved all of the shoes from the front of the garage to the side under the racks we use to store garage tools, coats and backpacks.  As cute as the mudroom I’ve designed in my head?  No.  As practical as the mudroom I’ve designed in my head?  Definitely.

Do you love how our coats are mixed in with yard tools?  Ha!  Lovely I know.  If we were planning on staying in this house longer, I would have put in a new rack and separated things better, but I’m still holding out hope that we’ll find a house we love sometime in the near future and this set up works great in the meantime.

I decided to bring down all of the girls shoes from their bedroom to free up more space in their closets. Most of mine and Kenny’s shoes are in our closet other than our “slip on quick and go shoes” (Uggs for three months out of the year and flip flops for the other nine)

 Speaking of flip flops, this fun little basket is a new home for ours!  So easy for the kids to grab and go AND easy for them to keep picked up and put away.

All boots fit on the top shelf.  Want to see my secret for keeping boots standing up straight and tall?

Floppy boots bother me so I’ve always just stuffed a few paper towels in them!  When Jen posted on her shoe organization, she mentioned using magazines for her boots.  I loved that I wasn’t the only person bothered by floppy boots!  And magazines are another great solution!
 Want to see my favorite part about my new little shoe system?

When the kids come home from school, the van door opens, kids step out, and immediately put their shoes away on the rack.  They empty backpacks and hang them along with their jackets.  The “after school mess” is taken care of before my kids even enter the house!

No shoes come in the house, no shoes in front of the door to trip on.  I had to snap these pictures so quick to catch Ellie in action!  Luckily she’s so used to me taking pictures of every mundane thing we do she didn’t even question why I was running around snapping pictures of her taking off her shoes from all angles.  All par for the course around here!  :)
Our Bougainvillea vine, while beautiful on the outside of our garage…
always creates a lovely mess for me on the inside of our garage.  I have to sweep the garage out at least every other week.  So worth it though.  I just love that vine!
 Then I bought a new rug that matches the one in my kitchen to complete my little project.
Now that my shoes are out of the way it feels like the mini van was made for my garage!

See what I mean…rollin’ right off the tongue…

Organizing pictures on your computer

Hi everyone!  I thought today I’d share how I organize my pictures on my computer.  You may remember that I ended my relationship with iphoto a while back.  As much as I have loved my new Mac, I just couldn’t ever figure out a system on iphoto that worked as good for me as the system I have been using for years.  And that’s the thing about organization.  It’s really just about finding what works best for YOU.  So I went back to my old system.  And I have fallen in love with my old system all over again because I had a chance to see what else was out there.  And it’s so true that you never really realize what you have until it’s gone.  {tear}

(I can just hear Kenny singing Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” right now.  He sings that song to me whenever I say anything even remotely sappy.)

Moving on.

I know this system won’t work for everyone, but it may give you a few ideas of how to organize your pictures on your computer.  It will be especially helpful if you share a lot of your pictures on a blog.  Which I do.  :)  So here’s what works for me:

When I open the folder on my computer marked “PICTURES” multiple folders pop up:

(**If my pictures of these folders are hard to read, just click on them to make them bigger)  
I use a simple folder system for organizing all of my pictures.  I love folders.  My brain likes to see things laid out this way.  On the first row, I have a folder for each year.  Then under those folders, I have random folders for pictures that are grouped together for a certain purpose (Project Life pictures for the girls, Kole’s scrapbook, Digital Scrapbooking supplies, etc.)
Now let’s click on the folder “2011” — 

Inside the folder for each year, I have a folder for each month.  At the top I also have a folder called “pictures to organize.”  When I download my pictures (I usually do this each night because I take pictures every day) all of the pictures go straight into this folder.  I don’t have time each night to organize all of my pictures, so this folder is a resting spot for my pictures, but not their final destination.  
Now let’s click on the folder “July” — 
Inside each month I have one folder for blog posts and one folder marked “randomness” which is basically just every picture for that month that I want to keep but don’t end up posting.  It works the best for me to organize my pictures by blog posts because that is how my brain remembers where my pictures are located.  If I want to develop a picture of Kole brushing his teeth for his scrapbook, I remember that I had a post called “copy cat” with pictures of my little man brushing his teeth in July of 2011.  If I can’t remember the exact month, I just pull up my blog and the date I posted will tell me where that picture is stored.  If you don’t blog, instead of a folder titled “blog posts” you could just categorize your pictures similar to how I do for posts – by whatever common theme they have (4th of July, El’s birthday, painting the wall, etc.).  
Now let’s click on the folder “July Blog Posts” — 

Here I have a folder for each post I did this month (in order).  I try to be specific about what pictures are in each folder to help me find pictures in the future.  
Now let’s click on the folder of my previous post titled “Lots of Stuff” — 

All of the pictures from my last post!  And that is where my folders finally stop!  I know.  It’s folders, inside of folders, inside of folders… but this system has worked for me for so long.  I just love having my pictures so nice and tidy in their happy little spot where they belong.  :)

This system also makes things easy for me when I’m about to develop pictures for my kids’ scrapbooks.  If I’m working on Addison’s book for the months May through August, I just go through each blog post folder for those months and each month’s “random” folder and pull any pictures that I want for her book.  I move them to the folder on my main page called “PROJECT LIFE”, make any collages I need to and then send them off to be developed.

BTW – some of you have asked me how my albums are coming along since I haven’t been posting pics of them.  Well, they’re not.  I had great ambitions of getting so much done this summer and now I’m laughing at myself for even thinking that would happen!  This summer has been so busy.  But it’s ok.  I’d rather spend this time making memories with my kids.  I’ll record those memories later when they’re back in school.  I’ll also shower, prepare meals, and do laundry when they’re back in school.  A few other things that have also taken a back seat this summer!

So I’d love to hear your thoughts!  What works for you with picture organization?  Anyone do anything similar to what I do?  No?  Am I the only crazy folder lady out there?

I can live with that.  :)