Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Garage Progress and My "Go To" Organization Process

Heeelllo everyone! I thought I'd give myself a little study break and pop in for a quick post. I've missed blogging the past week or so and really felt the urge to sit down and write...so here I am! By the way, thank you so much for those of you who wrote notes of encouragement here and over on Facebook after my last post. It's always so great to feel the love after "getting real" with things going on in real life...so thank you!

I've been mentioning it here and there for a while now, and I've been itching to chat about it, so let's chat about it - the garage (cue the scary music)!!!  I'm not done nor near "reveal" status yet, but I've learned that you guys like the "get real" and "in progress" posts just as much as the ones chock full of pretty photos, so I wanted to give an update about where I started, where I'm at, and where I'm headed!

The garage has been THE problem area in this house pretty much since the day we moved in. For some reason, we I just couldn't keep this space clean and tidy. In the two years we've been here, I think we have done an empty-it-all-and-clean-it-out 4 or 5 times; and each time it slowly slides back into a complete state of chaos. Add to our already messy garage my latest mission to purge our entire house of every last unnecessary item, and the garage had gotten completely out of control in recent weeks. For someone who hyperventilates at the site of clutter, it was a space I was embarrassed of, loathed being in, and even hated thinking about dealing with it. These horrible iPhone photos don't really show how bad it was, as I stopped to take these after I had already been working in the garage for a few hours. Still, you can somewhat get a sense that our garage was a total mess, filthy, and completely dysfunctional and disorganized. 

Garage Before-001
Garage Before-002

A few weeks ago, I had finally had enough. It had gotten so out of control that we couldn't even move around in the space and it felt dirty and dangerous for all of us to even be in. Plus, I had purged and organized every other spot in this house, and the garage was last on the list. For someone who genuinely LOVES to organize and rarely gets overwhelmed by tackling clutter, this one had me stopped in my tracks. It took me a good few days to get up the energy and motivation to start...but once I did, I was off and running and I honestly wish I had done it sooner.

A lot of sorting, purging, sweeping, and re-organizing later, here's where we are at now! I'm going to chat about all the organization systems I've used in here in some future posts, but the true turning point in getting this garage organized was applying the systems I use INSIDE our home to organized the OUTSIDE of our home. Inside our home, I utilize bins/baskets and wall storage like crazy in almost every room in our house. Bins and baskets keep like items corralled and easy to find, while wall storage keeps things off the floor so that there is free and open play/work space. Applying our inside systems to the outside seems like such a "duh" statement, but it really was a lightbulb moment for me. For the first time ever, I feel like we have a space we can and will maintain!

Garage Before-003
Garage Before-004
Garage Before-005

As I've been out working in the garage...sorting and organizing...pulling everything apart and putting everything back together...I've spent a lot of hours reflecting and thinking as I go (what else do you do as you sort through various-sized wood screws??)! As I thought through all my organization projects I've tackled, it occurred to me that I use the EXACT same process to organize every space I work on. This isn't a system I sat down years ago and hashed out, it's just a process that I follow time and time again and it just seems to work for me every time. 

I know that getting started on big organization projects is one of the hardest things to do. So I thought this would be a good time to tell you a bit about how I go about organizing a big mess such as our garage. You can already see this process in action here, and if you go back through some of my other organization projects, you'll see the same patterns emerge!

Garage Before-006
Every organizer I know, follow, and trust starts in the same place: empty it all out, sort and purge. I know it's awful...and I know it means your big mess will get even bigger and messier, but you have to know what all you have, what all you need to store, and how it needs to be stored before you can go any further. By all means, work in manageable sections, creating piles and categories as you go, but the only way to get a space truly organized is to pull it all apart and get it all sorted into categories that make sense to YOU!

Once you've pulled everything out, purged items you no longer want/need, moved items to their rightful homes, and categorize/organized what is left, analyze the space, your budget, your current storage options and your emerging storage needs. Plan out how to move forward with the space, identify what items you need to make that happen and THEN GO SHOPPING for the exact items you need. Resist the urge to shop first. I know it's fun to go out and find all new pretty storage systems, but you'll have a much more efficient organizing project and better results if you sort/clean/analyze first and shop for just the right items next! In the case of my garage, I new I needed some sort of bins to hold like items. I needed the bins to be durable, inexpensive, and most of all, easy to hose down and clean up when necessary (this is the garage after all!). Old-school crates were the perfect solution! Second, I knew I also needed a better way to store our most-used tools and supplies--they get left laying out on the work benches way too much, leaving us with no work space. Our exposed beams and ample wall space made pegboard an obvious solution. For just about $30 total (bins and pegboard and hooks), I was able to get exactly what I needed to get this space functioning in a way that works for our family.

With your new supplies in hand, now it's time to setup your space...put all those new bins or baskets or storage systems to use. Spend time finding the right homes for all the right things. Make sure things are easy to get to (and put away!) and things are placed in a location that makes sense (put the battery chargers near the outlets!). Move things around, experiment, and get creative until you have the space FUNCTIONING just as you need it to. This is where I'm at right now with our garage. I've done steps 1-4. After years of a poorly functioning space, it is now clean, organized and functioning just as we need it to. Now that the function is firmly established....it's time to decorate!!!!

It's really easy to get sidetracked with the fun and pretty stuff like labels and paint and pretty details, but I have found that it's best to leave that to the very last step. It's better to have a functioning space that's not decorated than a still un-organized space with pretty labeled bins. Once the space is working right, then you can focus your energies on making it perfectly you! That's what I'm going to be working on in the next week or so. All the hard work in the garage is now done, so now I can have fun playing with colors and design details that will make it a fun space for me to be in (and one I will want to keep clean!). Once I have those pretty details done, you can be sure I'll be back here with all the final details for you! But just remember when you see the pretty end result, a ton of "ugly" time and effort and work went into getting it that way long before it was even close to pretty!

Oh! And you might notice that this is a "one sided" tale of my garage. Do you want to see the other side? 

Garage Before-007

Gasp! That is my pile of "treasures" found all throughout our house during my Great House Purge. It looks better now as I've already sold off a lot of the furniture, but I've still got a long way to go in getting this pile gone. Lots of Craig's Listing and garage sales in my future!

Alright - time for me to get back to the books! I'm sorry I have no pretty pinnable images for you today, but I hope there's a few little good nuggets info here about how to tackle a big organizational project. It's not fun or easy, but it sure is awesome when it's all said and done!

Have a great Wednesday, friends!


Friday, July 18, 2014

Up To Lately

Hey Everyone! Sorry it's been a little quiet around here lately. A bunch of things have added up, resulting in my radio silence, so I thought I would pop on really quick today to 1) let you know that I'm alive and well! and 2) fill you in on what I have been doing (since it obviously hasn't been blogging ;)


I've been channeling my inner-Elsa lately...and no, not because I'm shooting ice from my finger tips or running around a gorgeous ice castle in the best princess dress Disney has ever created. Rather, I have been letting stuff go like crazy around here (and humming the tune every step of the way!). My Great House Purge continues, and I feel like I've really turned a corner. Not a cabinet, closet, drawer, or shelf has been neglected, and I've finally gotten rid of stuff I've been holding on to for way too long. My garage is now full of cast away items, and the house is feeling so.much.lighter. It has been so freeing to let go of stuff I've been dragging all over this world for the past 9 years!

Admittedly, purging the house has been a little more time-consuming than I would have liked. And while sometimes I am super good at juggling a million projects, for some reason, this purging project has taken all of my efforts and my full mental capacity. And unfortunately for you guys, sorting through my cloth napkin collection isn't exactly photo/blog-worthy. The good news though? I am almost done. Our garage (the final frontier!) is almost completely cleaned and sorted through...the only thing left is to get rid of the mountain of "treasures" I've un-earthed along the way. 


Besides just the time and energy required to purge our whole house, I've also been in a pretty decent crafting slump. There are times when I run around like a chicken with its head cut off because I have too many projects in my head and not enough time to get them all done. But then there are times, when nothing sounds fun or exciting, and my creative juices just aren't flowing...moments when I would really rather sit in front of the TV instead of at the sewing machine. This happens to me every now and then; and I've learned in moments such as these to not fight it, but to take it as a cue to step back. So that's what I'm doing. I haven't felt like sewing or painting or crafting...and that's okay...because I am so rarely like this and I know with a break, the creative energies will be flowing again soon. I can't say I've been doing absolutely nothing (as I do have some fun final room reveal coming up!), but my project-ing rate has been pretty low of late! 


So, Megan, what happened to that quilt-a-month challenge? Funny you should ask! Well, I thought I was being so clever in doing a "two for one." You know, sew up a ton of blocks in all sorts of colors, split them by warms and cools to make two separate coordinating-but-different quilts. I had this awesome plan for my "Ice" quilt that turned out to be a major fail, and I had to take it all apart. I haven't really experienced a quilting fail like this one, and it totally took the wind out of my sails. My problem is that I have trouble starting a fresh quilt when there is one sitting here, staring at me, waiting to be done. I know I should just put it away for another time and move on, but it's nagging at me. So until I resolve/finish this one, I don't feel like I can move on to the next one. I'll spill all the details when I finally finish it and post it here for you to see..but man, it's such a total bummer when you have a great plan that turns out to be not-so-great :(


Last but not least, in the coming weeks I will need to take a (little) step away from my fun and addicting hobby (crafting and keeping up this blog!), and put some time and energy toward my "real life career." I've been a group-exercise instructor for 13 years and a personal trainer for 8. No matter where we live and what I'm doing, I keep my certs current so I always have the option to teach/train if the circumstances permit. Well, my certs are up for renewal, and I'm super behind on my continuing ed (like I am every.single.time!). And this time, instead of just taking some classes and checking the proverbial boxes, I'm taking the opportunity to sit for a new exam to get all my credentials in line, with the same organization, on the same schedule, blah blah blah. Why am I telling you this? Well, for the next few weeks, some of those hours I would normally be spending here on the computer editing photos and writing posts will need to be put toward studying (uug!). In all honestly, I'm not really in a mental place to think about fitness stuff, and I'm not teaching/training (and probably won't be for a little while longer), so it 's frustrating to have to step away from my fun stuff to take care of this work stuff. But, I'll never forgive myself if I let these certs lapse (and it's just not a good move financially or logistically!)...so I gotta do what I gotta do. For the next month or so, the books will take a higher priority than the blog...but I promise to do my best to keep all my balls in the air and pop in here at least once or twice a week!

Phew! I'm glad I sat down to write this post. I hate disappearing on ya'll with no explanation! I hope you all have a fantastic weekend. And hopefully, fingers crossed, I'll have time to get my studying done AND edit some photos for you! See you next week!




Friday, July 11, 2014

The Carry-It-Call Tote - @My Daily Bubble

With summertime in full swing here in Eastern NC, we're spending a good bit of our time beach-side and pool-side. Dragging everything we needed in tow started off as a big headache. Instead of hitting up the stores for the perfect beach bag, I turned to my craft stash and found everything I needed to make the ultimate tote.

Carry It All Tote-001
Carry It All Tote-004

Reversible, water-proof, and extra large (to carry all those fluffy towels!), this is the perfect bag for lugging wherever your summertime adventures take you!

Carry It All Tote-003

In just an afternoon and with minimal, easy-to-find supplies, you can make this perfectly customizable bag too! I'm over at My Daily Bubble today with the full tutorial!!!

I hope you all have a great weekend. See you next week with another room reveal and (hopefully) some project reveals....if I can get myself away from the pool and back to my sewing machine here soon ;)




Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tiled Planter Box

The great house purge continues, and so does the un-earthing of treasures and supplies bought for projects that were never gotten to! (Enter from stage left: a planter box from HomeGoods and a leftover sheet of gorgeous tile purchased at a yard sale!)

Tiled Planter Take 2-001

Toward the end of last week, I was cleaning off my front porch when I came across this planter box. I actually bought it almost two years ago when I was searching for a planter to make my Chic Tiled Herb Garden (below) - one of my all-time favorite projects.

Tiled Planter Take 2-002

At the time, I opted to use the square planter instead of the rectangle one; but I loved the shape and size and versatility of the rectangle planter, so I never returned it. When I came across it last week, I remembered I also had an extra sheet of tile from the same project tucked away in the garage. After some brainstorming and fiddling around, I came up with a plan to (finally) give the rectangle planter an overhaul. After a few DIY hours this weekend, my square planter now has a very be-jeweled little sister!

Tiled Planter Take 2-003

I'm not going to repeat the full tutorial here, because I essentially did almost the exact same thing I did to the bigger planter, sans the wood shims. Essentially, I primed the planter and then gave the edges and shorts sides two good coats of white glossy spray paint. Once dried, I taped off the top and painted the inside blue (see more of that below). I then applied the tile to the two long sides, using tile glue, and grouted the tile with white non-sanded grout (which, by the way, was the only thing I needed to buy to complete this project!).

Tiled Planter Take 2-004

One of my favorite parts of the original tile planter was the turquoise inside, so I repeated the same touch here (the blue is Martha Stewart Lagoon). I just LOVE that full expanse of tile across the front and back of the planter - so pretty! And my favorite element is the exposed tile edge across the top of the planter. Just love the nice clean edge with the tile and grout!

Tiled Planter Take 2-005
Tiled Planter Take 2-006

Just like the original, this project was super easy and super gratifying because the results are just SO stunning!

Tiled Planter Take 2-007

Although they look lovely on our porch with our turquoise chairs, these planters actually live inside in the dining room, where they get great light and add a bit of sparkle to the space. I really love how they coordinate but don't match.

Want to know a fun fact about the plants in this new planter box? 

They were actually from a sympathy basket at my Mom's funeral back in January. I've kept them alive all this time and now I have finally given them a proper home! Hmmm...don't look too hard at my basil though, it clearly needs water! Ooops!

Tiled Planter Take 2-008

I'm LOVING finding projects right inside my own home. I'm keeping myself busy, saving money AND cutting clutter all at the same time! That's a win-win-in in my book!

Tiled Planter Take 2-009

Hope you're all having a great week! I'm trying to strike a good balance between summer fun and my project to-do list and not doing a very good job - seeing my little guy discover the joys of swimming pools and beach sand is just too exciting. I've got some good things in the works though, so check back here again soon!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Funky & Modern Big-Boy Room Reveal!!

I am so excited for this room reveal post. For one, it seems like FOREVER since I've done a room reveal post because I  haven't really quite "finished" off a few of our few remaining spaces yet. AND, this room has been one of my all time favorites to work on, so I am excited to get all the photos up here in one big ol' post!

If you're new around here, earlier this year, I set off to give my (now) 3-year-old son's nursery a big-boy makeover. Not only were we ready for a less-baby/more-little-boy room in general, we were all pretty done with the whole owl theme. I loved it for a good long time, but when I was done with it, I was really done with it. Here's is where we started. If you want more details about the nursery, you can see the full nursery reveal HERE.

Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-001
Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-002

After toying around with a lot of ideas and a lot of different directions, I finally settled on a funky, modern and fresh space that would (hopefully) grow with our little guy. I planned to give it a subtle jungle theme, but only in ways that could be easily swapped out when we both tired of it! HERE was my plan for the space:
Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-003
Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-004

The final room doesn't much resemble the mood board in its details, as I made some different choices along the way based on fun finds, thrift storage purchases, and random projects...BUT I still love creating a mood board so I have some direction to follow, and it keeps me on track for the overall feel and look of the space. 

If you're a regular reader, then you have seen my progress along the way, but now I'm going to show you how the entire room came together! (Psst - If you're looking for links to the tutorials, I have them all down at the bottom of this post for quick and easy reference!)

As you walk into the space, the first thing that greets you is Henry's "big boy bed," which was actually my sister's old bed, still in perfect condition. I hemmed and hawed a lot about painting it black as its wood color doesn't match the other wood pieces in the room, but I decided to keep it for now. I love it's quaint little charm.

Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-005

I combined colorful sheets with a bright white coverlet, funky throw pillows, and a wild green quilt I made myself to create a whimsical display. Above the bed, a rhino head surrounded by an old mirror frame packs a graphic punch!

Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-006
Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-007
Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-008

As you move around the room from the bed into the far corner of the room, you'll find one of my favorite spaces in our whole house - our reading nook. Complete with an overhauled rocking chair, a new-construction ottoman, a made-over credenza, updated window treatments and new art, it's a cheerful and comfy spot to spend the afternoon reading books with my little guys!

Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-009
Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-010
Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-011
Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-012
Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-013
Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-014
Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-015

On the wall right inside the door, is Henry's dresser and hutch, which was given a fresh new life once we ditched the changing pad and diaper pails! Now bright accessories, some jungle friends, and pics with Mommy and Daddy make for a welcome sight from both the bed and the rocking chair!

Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-016
Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-017
Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-018
Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-019

Sorry for the picture overload, but I just love all the big elements, as well as all the small details, in this room! Sometimes I finish a room and think, hmmm..."I missed the mark somewhere" or "something needs tweaking," But this space came together almost effortlessly, and I am just so thrilled with the final result. That almost never happens to me, lol!

Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-020

I DIYed pretty much this entire space! All the tutorials are included below for your convenience! Be sure to check them all out as there are some great projects in this space you may have missed!!!


Customizing Roman Shades

Wild Wooden Animals

Wild and Colorful Bedroom Hutch

Dipped Elephant Feet

Green Color Block Credenza

Rocking Chair Makeover

Mid-Century-Modern Ottoman

The Quickest and Cheapest Pillows Ever!

Pillowcases from a Body Pillow

Wild Green Quilt

Zippered, Quilted Pillow Sham

DIY Drawer Organizers

Small Projects, Big Impact!

Reading Nook Reveal

And a few other sources (if I missed anything, let me know and I'll get back to you!)
  • Wall Color: Frost by Behr
  • Bed - from my parents' house
  • Multi-color sheets - Target
  • White coverlet - Marshalls
  • Large wooden elephant - HomeGoods
  • Animal artwork - Zeppi Prints
  • Glass lamp with dotted shade - Target
  • Wood box book ends - Target
  • Yellow rhino and elephant bookends - from my parents' house
  • Round glass lamp - Target
  • White tree sculpture - Marshalls

I hope you all enjoyed watching this room come together as much as I enjoyed putting it together. This room also marks the last full room makeover in this house. Sure, I have some finishing up and tweaking to do in other spaces throughout the house, but there are no more huge overhauls left to do here, which is kind of a strange feeling! But don't worry, I still have plenty of room reveals to show you - there are quite a few spaces I just haven't gotten to photographing yet. Stay tuned :)

For this room, though, I'm calling it Mission: Big Boy Room complete!

Henry's Big Boy Room Reveal-021

Later this week, I'll have a second take on one of my all-time favorite projects. This is one of those "it turned out better than expected...again!!!" so don't miss it!!!


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