Friday, January 19, 2018

The best closet ever.

Well hello there! Ready for the weekend? We have some fun plans. The snow started melting today and should throughout the weekend so that's an extra bonus. We saw The Greatest Showman today and it was fantastic. We've heard so much about it and it exceeded my expectations. 

I mentioned earlier this week that I've been an organizing fool lately. It's been fun to figure out how our spaces work and what functions best. I purposefully waited to do this because I didn't want to put in all this work to find out later we didn't use the everything like I thought. Of course it will still change over time, but for now I'm thrilled with how it's coming together!

This closet was a doozy. It's my favorite in the house. (Do normal people have a favorite closet?)When I shared our mud room/laundry a couple months ago, I told you I was most excited about the closet we added in the room. A closet JUST for cleaning crap. Hello! 

But it quickly became our dumping ground, which I was OK with knowing I'd get to it eventually. Here's how it looked the night I started:

It held tons of stuff but wasn't functional at all. You can see one of the vacuums (I keep the other one in the basement where we have more carpet) lived outside the closet which isn't dreamy at all. 😂 There was obviously no room for it. We had quite a few things I wanted to fit in this closet:

  • utility stuff like batteries and light bulbs
  • cleaning rags, sponges and the like
  • cleaning supplies
  • vacuum, brooms, swiffers, etc. (we have a lot of these because I use one for different needs)
  • ironing stuff -- boards, (we have large and small ones) and iron
  • wrapping items like paper, bags, ribbon, etc.
  • carpet cleaner machine
I quickly realized not all of this was going to fit, more on that in a minute. 

Here's another look at what we were dealing with:


Good times!!

As I do anytime I start an organizing project, I took every single thing out of the closet. First goal is to purge what we don't need anymore. 

This is where it got hard for me. I mention the Konmari method every time I organize something, because it changed my life for the better. I've gotten VERY good at letting go of things. Very good. But I discovered I have a weird thing with cleaning supplies. I couldn't let go of them!

And look how much we had!:

What in the world? Here's one thing I've learned since moving in this house -- from this point on like items will live together. At the last house I had a cabinet I built in our laundry room that held all of our extra cleaning supplies and paper items. 

When we moved I was appalled at how many cleaning supplies we had, because they were out of site, out of mind. Keeping them down in the basement in a cabinet I rarely opened didn't work. We bought more of stuff not knowing what we had. 

I used to use mainly one cleaning brand exclusively around the house -- I have concentrate I would mix up. I don't know why I got away from that and we ended up with so many bottles of stuff, but I know a big part of it was not having it all in one spot. 

I've learned people! No more. But I stood there literally frozen in front of it all, having a hard time letting it go. I kind of smacked myself out of it (figuratively) and went back to what I learned with the Konmari method -- do I LOVE the product and (my addition) does it work well? 

I was able to start going through items and first decided what I didn't even like. I had a lot of carpet cleaning stuff and I've only found a couple that really work well. The rest went away. I had three cans of a cleaner that were filled in various amounts. I kept the one that was the most full and donated the rest. If I never used it -- it was in the donate pile. I was able to whittle it down to a third and stuff we actually USE. Actually a third of that is just empty bottles I plan to use for the concentrate.

Another item I struggled to let go of (and it is so silly) were cleaning rags. We had WAY too many. They multiply in dark closets. And again it was hard for me to let go of them, which is just weird. I stood there thinking, "Why are you being weird about this? They're rags!" Again, I got myself in gear and sorted through them: 

Overall I didn't get rid of much other than rags and cleaning stuff. One thing I easily put in the donate pile was the bag of vacuum attachments that I've kept for eight years and never used one time. Gone!

It was more about figuring out the space than anything. I started on the side where I hung the ironing boards and iron:

The little board on the bottom is for shirt sleeves. It's awesome. The smaller one is a favorite and I use it more than the large board. It's from IKEA and is great for quick items. I also use it when I'm hemming drapes with fusable webbing

One of the biggies in here was the wrapping stuff. I really wanted it to live in this room because I'm usually running out the door with a gift and needing a bag or tissue paper. More often than not I'd stop and buy something. I thought about organizing it out in the open (we have a large wall over the folding table I could have used for this). But I really didn't want to have it out -- I want to keep the room clean and streamlined so I preferred it tucked away. I looked into all kinds of ways to do this (I was out of floor space) and then came across this pegboard and components at IKEA:

It fit perfectly on the wall and it holds a ton! I have gift bags of all sizes, tons of tissue, tags and banners, tape and then ribbon and pens and random stuff in the hanging bag. LOVE this thing!! It is great:

And it's completely out of the way. I wanted to keep my wrapping paper in here as well but was out wall and floor space. So I grabbed a couple of these plastic jobbies from IKEA as well (we use one in the pantry for plastic grocery bags) and hung them on the back of the door. Not gonna lie, it pained me to put holes in the door. But they are solid wood so I can (fairly) easily fill them if I ever decide to move these:

You can see how I built the big blackboard here! Those are only two bucks each, but if you don't have a store near you, they're available here too. 

There were a couple things I didn't end up putting in here and those were light bulbs and batteries. I put the extra metal shelf (also from IKEA -- bought them when we moved in for $13) in the garage by the door. So we can easily access them when needed. I was thinking of what we reach for most -- I grab cleaning supplies way more than light bulbs. 

Here's how it came together:

Everything has a place and I love it!! And I'm loving the double doors. It's so nice to be able to open them both up and have full view of the closet. We have them in a bedroom upstairs too and although they take up floor space, I really like them. 

Do you spy the outlet? I had one added so I can charge that little vacuum. It's great for little messes and quick cleaning in the kitchen. I just have to find the charger now. ;) 

Here's what this side was pared down to:

I use (affiliate) those Sterilite bins everywhere. (You can see them in the linen closet here.)

Not bad considering this is where I started (I had two shelves on that side before)!: 

It is such a lovely feeling to open a closet and find exactly what I want! AND it's even nicer to have a place for items we used to just throw in there. ;) 

These are my two biggest tips when purging and organizing -- even though it's a pain sometimes, taking everything to ONE location really does help. You see the multiples you have and it's easier to let things go. And think hard about what you love and use. It helps me focus! 

Have you been working on closets? Cabinets? Under the sink? Tis the season! 



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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Hanging shelves in the kitchen

Hey hey! My late owl-ness has kicked in HARD on these shorter days. Goodness, I cannot get my mojo going till evening everyday, hence these posts getting later and later. It drives me crazy and it's worse than ever lately. 

I've been organizing like crazy when I get into gear lately! The bug has bitten me and I've gone through a bunch of stuff. I finished up the mud room closet, the area under the kitchen sink and now I'm working on getting my closet under control. I'll share those areas with you soon, but for today I wanted to show you the shelves I hung in our kitchen awhile back. 

We had a spot that called for an upper cabinet in our plans, and when I was looking for a place to add shelves (because I love them in a kitchen), I knew that was perfect. It's right by our fridge and I had the cabinet removed and a sconce added on the wall. The wall was bare for a couple months but I finally got these up!

I knew I wasn't going to be able to get both brackets into a stud (if you're going to put any kind of weight on shelves you need to make sure they're in a stud or you use a really good anchor). I found these at the hardware store -- they hold up to 100 pounds. I knew my shelves wouldn't be close to that even with dishes, but I usually over compensate with something like this:
Regular anchors are either screwed or inserted into the wall and when you add the screw they open up a bit on the other side of the drywall to hold them in place. Toggle anchors have a mechanism that actually flips open and then braces against the back of the wall. So they are your best bet for anything really heavy. I used similar anchors (made for exterior) when I hung our window boxes on the old house years ago. They stayed put forever!

These are particularly great because they are self-drilling. No need to use a bit to start the hole off like usual: 

They were SO easy to get in the wall. That pointy end makes it quick and simple. I used my drill:

I got frustrated though, because when I added the screw, it just kept turning and wouldn't tighten. Whether you're in a stud or an anchor -- your screw will get to a point where it will get tight and stop turning. That's when you know it's secure. These just kept turning. 

I finally read the instructions and realized you have to keep turning for the toggle to open up in the back. It takes a few seconds but eventually they will tighten up. Just a little heads up for any of you that use them. :)

Someday I'd like to add thicker shelves, but for now I just used inexpensive wood. It's just thick enough that the little detail at the end of the brackets overlaps nicely: 

I found these shelves at the Crates and Pallets booth at the Haven Conference last year. They generously offered to send some my way when I needed them. I love that they're simple and a little more industrial than what I used in our last kitchen. As I've said a few times, I'm craving a simpler look in this house and loving it! And I think all rooms need a touch of black so I knew that would work even with the other metal tones. (They come in a variety of sizes, I used the 12 inch.)

You don't have to match all your metals -- spaces are a whole lot more interesting when you don't!:

I just used what we have to fill the shelves -- our everyday dishes are here and the top shelf is more for display: 

I haven't even begun to organize the kitchen cabinets, so what we keep on there may change with time. (As usual, I will add a list of sources at the bottom of the post!)

I'll share a proper tour of the kitchen soon! Still some little tweaks I'd like to make first. But getting these up and the island counter stained and sealed has finished this space off beautifully: 

I stained these in the same color as the island!

Our accent lighting in this room is my favorite -- I love to have the cabinets lights on or just the sconce above the shelves:

I firmly believe open shelves will stand the test of time -- and I find them to be very functional. Even if you don't use them everyday, they are still a pretty way to break up a lot of cabinets in your kitchen. I love them!:

Have you incorporated shelves into your home? I had them in our kitchen and basement kitchenette in the last house and will do the same in this one too. I'm on the lookout for the perfect thick wood for these shelves to chunk them up a bit -- I would love to find something old to use. 

For now I'm thrilled to have even more pretty storage in the kitchen! If you have any questions, let me know! 

Some affiliate links included for your convenience!:
Brackets: Crates and Pallet
Anchors: Most hardware stores, I found mine here
Large glass jars: Walmart or Target
Island pendants: We got these through the builder but these seem to be identical
Brass sconce: Again, not our source but you can find it here!
Island stools: Target
Large cutting board: IKEA