Category: Interior

Great Organizing Ideas

Great Organizing Ideas

We all want magical, quick, simple ideas to get our stuff in order, but instant order out of chaos just doesn’t happen. We DO have some ideas to get you started, though! Once you get rolling, you’ll find that organizing not only gets EASIER, but you actually start to enjoy the process of gaining a bit of control in this busy world. You’ll also free up time and mind space. (Credits for photos in this post are listed on each photo.)

1. Think Like a Business

Look at how businesses organize their space, whether they are an office, store, or restaurant. Look where traffic flows, and what type of fixtures, storage, and furniture they’re using. You’ll find some interesting ideas that can be adjusted to work in your home, too!
Our first tiny tip: use organizers in every drawer. Even cheap kitchen utensil trays can keep cosmetics, art supplies, or a child’s items easier to find. Ice cube trays make great earring or bead organizers. Rummaging through a messy drawer to find what you need wastes time. There are ways to organize (read “save time”) all over your home!

organized drawer  first aid tubs
Rethink the placement or style of your furniture – a new arrangement or style of furniture can improve traffic flow and save cleaning time. Taller legs on a couch means you can clean easily underneath. Because of my back issues, most of our larger pieces are on casters to make them easier to move for cleaning or my frequent re-arranging. Do what works for YOU, and remember that furnishings don’t have to be expensive to work!
I needed a larger surface for my studio worktable – something light and portable so I could re-configure my studio space as needed –  and I was on a tight budget. We set a cheap hollow-core door on a 2 x 4 framework, stained it, stapled fabric over the open areas, and attached casters. Cheap, easy, and it looks super cool in my studio/tiki bar! BTW, the barrel seat/covers can come off so the barrels can be used for storage, too!

door desk   work space

2. Checklists

The best way to keep your house clean is with a checklist. Period. In our hectic lives, it is easier to handle a few small tasks a day instead of waiting to do it ALL on your day off. Even when tired, I can clean a toilet before I crash and burn for the night. Here is a page with a whole BUNCH of great printable cleaning lists to get you started: http://www.sarahtitus.com/2015/10/10/the-best-free-printable-cleaning-checklists/
When our house was for sale, we created a “go mode” list of cleaning tasks to do immediately when we got a call for a house showing. We would have never remembered half of the items without the list, and this meant the house would be spotless without worrying about forgetting something. Lists mean you don’t have to think about tasks – you just DO them. Brain freedom…and more time to CREATE!

ocean mandala adult coloring book(Want to keep these helpful posts coming? Then check out my latest adult coloring book, “Ocean Rhythms”: full of ocean mandalas in my etsy shop. There are two coloring books to choose from, lots of hand painted decor, and so much more for your home!)

 

3. Make It Easy For Others

Are there always bits and pieces of everyone’s lives strewn about your living areas? Find a space for a shelving unit or a book case, and give each person a basket (or two) in the shelves. When things get too cluttered in the room, toss everyone’s stuff in the baskets (or make them do it). For little ones, set a kitchen timer and make a game out of having them fill their basket! Having a place nearby for each person to stow items in a hurry makes it much more plausible for them to actually DO it. Occasionally, those baskets can be taken to their respective rooms and emptied, because, face it, they WILL overflow.

 storage cubbystorage bins

4. FAT Organizing

When I was an admin, my boss introduced me to “FAT” organizing, which is an acronym for“File, Act, or Toss”. The stack of papers on my desk decreased dramatically when I started using this method. When mail is opened at home, you either FILE important papers, PAY (act) the bill, or RECYCLE (toss) the junk. If you read a magazine, file favorite pics, articles, or recipes in a binder, and then toss the magazine. Getting a handle on all the paper in your home may take some time, but by tackling one pile at a time, it will get done! Keep only the paper that is legally necessary for taxes, insurance, medical, etc. Sort sentimental items and store them together.

piles of paper

5. Collections

Everyone collects SOMETHING, be it shells, rocks, books, fabric scraps, yarn, craft supplies, colored pencils, or bellybutton lint. Time for some semblance of order! Collections are better displayed as a group instead of spread around the house, and they look best in similar containers, so get creative and start fresh! Transparent bins on a shelf are great, because even if NOT labeled, you can see the contents. Dollar stores are great for cheap and colorful storage ideas. Shadow boxes are a great way to store and display sentimental items (or fossils, or feathers, or ticket stubs), and a grouping of them hung together are wonderful conversation starters.

More ideas for collections/multiples: fabric can be wrapped around small pieces of cardboard and stored on a shelf like books; use a laundry bag for a collection of sport balls; I use spice racks found at thrift stores for my paint bottles; we have a stack of six sticker-covered flea market trunks in the basement for holiday decorations. This is the tip of the iceberg…just think outside the box for collection storage.

shell collection   fabric storage

6. Make Cleaning Easier

Laundry: Pull empty hangers from closets on laundry day and hang them in the laundry room. Keep your laundry supplies within arms reach of the washer, in the order you use them. Hang or fold clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer. Set the clothes in the room they belong in, and have each person put them away at bedtime.
Cleaning: Instead of hauling supplies from bathroom to bathroom, have a set of disinfectant, soft scrub, window cleaner, paper towels, toilet cleaner and brush, etc, in each bathroom. Also, clean “on the run”! It is quick and easy to grab the window cleaner and wipe the mirror as you finish up your morning rituals, and super quick to squirt some cleaner in the toilet and give it a swish every few days than to go find the cleaning supplies and make it a chore on the weekend. Find more ways to clean “on the run” and you won’t have to find time to clean the whole bathroom at once.

cleaning supplies

7. Entry Organization

Use a small bench with storage space in it (even a repainted toy chest with some bins inside will work) to store frequently-used items that are generally dropped at the door: umbrellas, dog leashes, rain boots, gloves, shopping bags. Install hooks on the wall for each person so coats don’t end up on door handles. Also, if you have a closet near the entry, keep a broom and dustpan in the closet so you can sweep up incoming dirt frequently. Living in Virginia with all the red clay, entry sweeping is a frequent activity, as much as it was dealing with Florida sand. You want your entry to be welcoming and clean, not in disarray and chaos.

entryway storage and organization

8. Get It Out Of Your Head!

Being overwhelmed leads to procrastination and forgetfulness. With technology, we can set alarms on our phones for appointments, anniversaries, classes, and birthdays (take a few hours and input at least your family birthdays into your phone calendar). You can also set alarms for monthly chores, too. Less to remember!
I set alarms for important dates a day ahead as well as the day of in case I need to grab a present or make other event-oriented plans.
I’m a “hard copy” person, and benefit greatly from a daily journal that includes future to-dos, projects, lists, goals, and everything I need in one place. It’s called Bullet Journaling (http://bulletjournal.com/), though my version is more like “bb” journaling, as it is a bare-bones version. You can tweak the system to whatever you need for YOUR life, or make up your own style…get as creative or utilitarian with your journal as you’d like. Everyone I know who has tried the system likes it.) Get all those little post-its and slips of paper off your cupboard door, out of your purse, and into one little book. Getting to-do’s and appointments OUT OF YOUR HEAD and into your phone or in a book means you’ll have more brain space for happy, creative, problem-solving, superhero stuff!

9. Clothes

We all have too many clothes. JohnnyV and I occasionally take everything out of the closet, throw it on the bed, and do a “slash and burn”. If it doesn’t fit or can’t be altered, out it goes (donated). Stained: out. Beyond repair: out. We do keep a few sentimental items, but there is a limit. How many destination t-shirts are in your closet that your rarely, if ever, wear? If you just can’t part with them, have a blanket or quilt made. (I’ve made a few out of t-shirts, and even made a king size quilt out of my Hawaiian shirts!)

hawaiian shirt quilt

10. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

It’s true. Items hidden in a closet or drawer are most likely never seen or used, and you are probably hanging on to items you no longer need. I’m NOT talking about your tennis racket or your sleeping bag that you keep out of sight until next use. I’m talking about old trophies from your bowling team, programs from plays, seed catalogs from years past, or old magazines. If you really have a sentimental attachment to those programs, bind them and put them out for all to enjoy. But if you’re holding on to trophies to remind yourself of the good ol’ days, then take a photo of them to put in a shadow box along with some other related tidbits, and display it where you will see and enjoy the memories. If you never see it, what’s the point of keeping it?

memorial shadow box

11. Bonus tip: the best way to clean any room.

It’s a HUGE undertaking, but we actually enjoyed doing this task in our old storage shed in Florida before we moved. As you take every item from the room (or garage, or basement), you put it in one of three piles: “Keep,” “Throw Away,” or “Donate/Sell.” THEN, put things back in order, with items you will use the most near at hand and items which are used less neatly stowed away. With only three categories and a ruthless attitude, you can pare down the square footage of the items you’ve accumulated over time quite quickly (plus make a few bucks when you sell items). If you’re moving, it’s actually helpful to do this again after you are settled in your new place. You’ll find that some of the items you just HAD to keep at your last home now no longer serve you. Buh bye!

how to simplify

REMEMBER: getting organized is not a one-time event. You don’t fly through the house and, with the waving of the Organization Fairy’s wand, suddenly live a care-free, sparkling hearth and home life. Staying organized is a way of life, and if you take baby steps now to get started, you’ll be surprised by how much mind space you can free up, and you’ll also enjoy more free time. Yes, more FREE TIME! And free time is something we can ALL use to do more of the things we love!
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Eclectic Dawn

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10 Cheap Quick Halloween Decorating Ideas!

10 Cheap Quick Halloween Decorating Ideas!

halloweenporchCheap and Quick Halloween Decor Ideas

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday for decorating, as it allows for my weirdness to be expressed. Although there are lots of phenomenal and complicated DIY Halloween decor ideas out there on the ‘net, most folks need quick and easy ideas that anyone with limited time and money could create. I’ve put in alternative ideas, too. Check out the links, as many of the sites have the “how to’s” for the projects, but even without the instructions, most are easy enough to figure out. Now get decorating!

2Go BATTY!
Involves: cutting out a colony of bats and sticking them to your wall.
Why I like it: super duper simple to pull off, and has visual impact!
Cost: minimal (paper, scissors, tape).
Where I found it: http://www.madeeveryday.com/2010/10/bats.html/

bwporchClassic Black and White
Involves: painting pumpkins black or white, collecting branches, buying fake crows at your local dollar store.
Why I like it: clean and simple, almost elegant in its simplicity. Reminds me of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”.
Cost: depends on how pricey pumpkins are in your area. Cheaper alternative:  spray some old plant pots black or white and stand the sticks up in them. Sticks are free. Birds are $1 each. Where I found it: http://www.createcraftlove.com/raven-inspired-halloween-porch/

eyeflowersI’ve Got My Eye On YOU!
Involves: Hot gluing eyeballs into fake flowers. Spray paint some faux foliage and a cheap vase black, and you’ve got a creepy centerpiece that looks back at you.
Why I like it: EASY, and a great effect!
Cost: minimal, as you should be able to get the eyes and foliage from a bargain store or dollar store. A can of black spray paint is a few bucks. A cheap vase (or for a cheaper alternative, wrap a big can with tea-stained cheesecloth for a neat effect). I would definitely fill a vase with more than shown in the photo for more impact. Cheap tip: watch at your thrift stores for old arrangements full of big flowers (you can usually get a good group to disassemble for a couple bucks). Where I found it: http://www.hercampus.com/school/ku/diy-halloween-decorations

headjarHead in a Jar
Involves: putting a mask into a jar of water (for extra creepy factor, put greenish yellow food coloring in the water IF you aren’t worried about ruining the mask).
Why I like it: a great effect with almost NO effort.
Cost: most box stores have a basic “old man” mask that is fairly inexpensive. Your local thrift store should have a few jars (the impact would be even better if there were a small “collection” of these together). Budget version: use mason jars and junk store rubber critters from the toy section. Where I found it: http://howdoesshe.com/halloween-decoration-ideas/

skellybarrowDo a Little Gardening
Involves: throwing some leaves (or dirt) into a wheelbarrow along with some skeleton bones.
Why I like it: this is almost as simple as head in a jar. Move your wheelbarrow to the front yard, throw some leaves into it, and add a skeleton in disarray. Done.
Cost: if you don’t have a wheelbarrow, just pile up some leaves on the ground for the skelly. You can get “bag of bones” or skeletons from Big Lots or other bargain stores, so this is less than $20, usually less than $10 if you find the bones at the right place. Where I found it (AND the next Spider Colony tip): http://decorationlove.com/simple-outdoor-halloween-decorations/

spidersacsSpider Colony
Involves: a ball or water balloon in light colored stockings, attach a bunch of plastic spiders. If you use a water balloon, keep this an OUTDOOR decoration.
Why I like it: ICK. Spiders. In groups. *shivers*
Cost: under $10. A pair of cream-colored tights or nylons is less than $5, and you can get a whole bag of spiders from the dollar store, craft store, or other bargain store from $1 – $4, depending on how many spiders you want in your colony. Where I found it: (see previous link).

spiderdoilySpiders Who Crochet Pretty Webs
Involves: inserting crocheted doilies in a spray painted embroidery hoop, and adding a few plastic spiders, and a wrapped “food source” in the middle of the web.
Why I like it: not everyone likes scary, and this can be gussied up to “pretty”. If you’re more into “creepy cute”, then this is a perfect idea for you!
Cost: reasonable, considering how pretty this looks! Older doilies can be found in thrift stores and new ones are in craft stores, yard sales, and bargain stores. I’ve found embroidery hoops at thrift shops (much cheaper than buying new). Spiders can be found at dollar stores or craft stores. You don’t have to spray paint the hoop – you could darken it with stain for a more Victorian look, and you could add a couple of tiny sparkly buttons or pins around the edges, too. Where I found it: http://www.sadieseasongoods.com/creepy-crawly-crochet-spider-web-doilies

waterballoonsEerie Outdoor Atmosphere
Involves: stockings, glow sticks, water balloons.
Why I like it: atmosphere! Can you imagine walking into a yard full of these? Not only for Halloween, this would be a great idea for almost any summer party.
Cost: stockings, glowsticks, balloons, and more stockings. Big Lots usually has some pretty cheap, or stock up on clearance stockings when you see them during the year. Glowsticks and balloons are at the dollar store. Cost will depend on how many of these you want to put together, but I think that the more you hang, the more magical the effect! Where I found it: on pinterest, with no attribution, but looks like dailydump posted it.

wireghostGhostly Figures
Involves: chicken wire and glow in the dark paint.
Why I like it: lovely, ethereal, and very customize-able. And it looks cool during the day, too!
Cost: chicken wire (or poultry wire) can be found at hardware stores for under $20, but perhaps cheaper at a farm store. Glow in the dark spray paint can be had for under $10, but I’m not seeing great reviews. Alternative: perhaps paint them white and shine a light at the figure, or add some Christmas lights at the base. Where I found it (there’s an explanation of how they did it): http://www.wackyarchives.com/offbeat/easy-do-it-yourself-ghost.html

yardghostsYard Full of Small Ghosts
Involves: styro balls, fabric, rebar.
Why I like it: this sets a scene and tells a story with minimal effort.
Cost: this is probably the most costly on our list. Buy some old sheets at the thrift store, about $3 each. You should be able to get four ghost squares out of a large sheet, depending on how tall you want your ghosts to be. Styro balls are a bit pricey, but you can use them from year to year. Look for a multi pack to save money. Rebar is pretty cheap at your various hardware store. Where I saw it (and they have other cute ideas, too): http://www.listotic.com/16-awesome-homemade-halloween-decorations/9/

And there you have it – my top ten picks for Quick, Cheap, Easy Halloween Decorating Ideas! I hope they inspire you to create a bit of magic for your yard and home this year! I’m sure you’re wondering what have I’ve done for Halloween. Well, since I am in the midst of prepping for a show, my Halloweenization of our abode has been minimal this year, but I still included our skelly on the rusty bike in front of the house and managed to put together a new door wreath with snakes, black spray paint, cheap purple glitter flowers, spiders, and a little sign. It’s actually rather pretty! What do YOU think?
A few years ago, I found an amazing, 56″ framed farm print at a thrift store, and I “upcycled” it for Halloween, adding zombies, vultures, a UFO, and various other creepy things. I was so excited to get started, I never took a full “before” photo, but there are sectional “before and after” shots below. It literally takes up almost the entire width of our fireplace mantel, it is so huge.

  dhalloweenwreath d14zombiepainting d3a d2a d1a

And here are a few of the Autumn and Halloween-themed gifts I’ve added to my etsy shop and a very large pumpkin and scarecrow bowl that was a commission for one of my collectors. Cathy always challenges me with fun ideas!
dautumnleavetray dfalltree dotd10kitten6b dotd11dove2b
dpumpkinbowl1 dscarecrowbowl

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Until next time, keep creating!
Eclectic Dawn

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