Airing My Dirty Laundry, Literally

I’ve always been on top of my organizing and cleaning.  I admit that I pay someone to clean my house, but otherwise I’m pretty organized.  We live in a small house so every bit of space counts. We have cabinets, drawers, shelves, and containers throughout the interior of the house.  But, our garage, well, lately it seems to be somewhat of a catch-all.

Angry Husband is always working on some kind of project (Angry Kid’s room), and I tend to dump my bags of stuff on the floor of the garage.  I always have some bag with me, full of junk.  I’m notorious for having clothes, books, and toys throughout the garage in these bags.  I usually sort through them once a week or so.

But I’ve never seen our garage this bad lately, especially the laundry area.  I’m quite OCD over our laundry.  It started a long time ago, as I mostly hang dry my clothing. Then, we had Angry Kid.  I used to sell most of Angry Kid’s clothing on e-bay and other forums.  I had to spot check everything, and also hung dry most of his stuff. It started to look like a Chinese laundry in there, with junk hanging everywhere.  Luckily, I finally got a rolling rack, so it has toned down a little.

Laundry Area in the Garage

I’m presenting my unedited/uncleaned version of my garage laundry area. Can you see the chaos? There is no organization to all of this. It is a mess.  I wish we had an interior laundry area.  I’m constantly cleaning dust and debris off of everything. This is what happens when you have a husband who’s always using some kind of power tool in the garage.

Sorting Laundry

This is how I sort my laundry before washing it.  I collect all of the laundry in baskets and dump it on the ground.  We have a ton of laundry. You would think that a family of three, wouldn’t have this much laundry, right? Well, Angry Husband and I both wear uniforms, and we have an almost five year old boy, enough said!

I take this pile and sort it be colors, etc.  It works for me, at the moment.  I really need to find a better way to organize this mess.

Stuff from Angry Kid's Pockets

This is what the top of the washing machine currently looks like. Notice the cars, shells, and other random stuff.  ALL of this has come from Angry Kid’s pockets.  This kid is amazing.  I always find these “treasures” in his pockets. The water bottles are mine.  They are for my running fuel belt, completely discarded here on the washer. Obviously, it’s been awhile since I’ve used them.

Top of dryer, cleaning products

This is how the top of my dryer looks right now. I’ve somewhat organized stuff in a plastic basket.  It contains dryer sheets, miscellaneous stain products, baby wipes, and other random stuff.  I use Tide Cold Water Liquid, and whatever-is-on-sale fabric softener.  I also have a jar on top for collecting my prize. Because if you leave money in your pants, throw it in the laundry basket, it becomes my prize.

So, you are probably wondering why I’m showing off my hot mess of a laundry area, right? You know there’s a reason for this? Well, today I’m leaving to fly to Scottsdale, Arizona.  I’m meeting up with some other great bloggers for a special event. Bosch is hosting us for a Blogger Retreat called “Hamper to Hangers”.  We are going to learn some tips on how to simplify our laundry time, so we can have more time to spend with our family.  I’m all about time management.  We are also having a special treat, because organizational experts from The Container Store will also be interacting with us. We will be visiting Bosch’s Flagship Brand Gallery.

I’m quite excited to learn more about Bosch’s products, and better ways to use my “laundry time”. I can’t wait to share everything.  Oh, and I will be taking photos, that’s priority number one for me.

A New Closet for the Angry Kid

Angry Husband took vacation a few weeks ago to work on Angry Kid’s bedroom makeover.  Maybe it was highly suggested by me, for him to take off.  I just wanted it to be done, and not take six months.  I took a ton of photos during the process, so I’m going to talk about his room makeover in separate posts.  I’ve already done a post about prepping to paint the room.  We paid extra attention this time, and made sure to prep it properly.

Prepping the closetOur blank canvas. Notice Angry Kid’s un-assembled bed in the closet area.

We then prepped the paint.  Yes, it is bright orange.  I picked out probably twenty five different variations of orange before I finally decided on Valspar’s Roasted Squash. We purchased it at Lowe’s.

Valspar Paint from Lowe's-Roasted Squash

I know. The color is bright. This is the look that we were going for. Angry Kid will be FIVE in May. Perfect for a little boy.  I then had my painter work on the closet.  My painter, is really Angry Husband.  I stood behind him and commented while he painting. This is what a boss does, right? By the way, I didn’t pay him anything to do this.  Because being married to me is quite rewarding already. I pay him with my love.

Angry Husband painting the closet

We waited 24 hours for the paint to dry.  We were anxious to re-assemble Angry Kid’s room. Actually, I was tired of tripping over everything in our house.  Angry Kid wanted to play in his room, also. Originally, Angry Kid’s closet had the Elfa System filling up space.  We decided to be more practical and increase our storage in the closet by adding some Expedit Shelves from IKEA.  We’ve already had great success with the Expedit Shelves in our hallway closet.

Orange Closet Makeover

You are now probably thinking.  IKEA Expedit shelves do not come like this. How did they make vertical and horizontal Expedit shelves? We took two different types of Expedit shelves, and mounted them together with brackets.  It was super easy. You have to be careful and pre-drill so that you don’t crack the melamine casing.

Expedit 1
Expedit 2

We also took the time to secure the unit to the wall. This is childproofing 101 people. No matter how old your kid is. Please attach furniture to the wall. This is a no-brainer.  We used L-brackets.

Securing Expedit Shelf to Wall in Closet

We then re-installed the Elfa System from The Container Store.  We did not our entire original system.  We cut it down to about half of what we had.  We gave the rest of it away to a friend.  We still needed the racks for hanging clothes and putting other items up higher. I’m also giving you a sneak peek of the final room colors.  Yes, we painted the room three different colors.

Orange Closet with IKEA Expedit and Container Store Elfa System

After assembling the closet back together, we put Angry Kid’s stuff back in.  Most of this is temporary because I need to buy some more bins and labels.  This closet is also about using storage effectively.  We have a very small house and the toys and games need to be accessible for Angry Kid. Also, I don’t want to be stepping on tiny pieces throughout the house.

Finished Closet

I can’t wait to show you the final project.  We still have some things on order and other small things to do.  It’s going to be quite awesome.  And we are going for an extreme urban theme, if that helps a little.

To clean a house, is to make a mess

I typically go by this theory of things..”I have to make a big giant mess to clean anything”.  I pick one room at a time and trash it.  I dump everything out, I purge, and then I put it back. This is how I function. Angry Husband does not think like this.  He hits every room, here and there. This drives me crazy, because he likes to shove things in places, and then I can’t find anything later when I need it.

We are in the process of re-decorating Angry Kid’s room.  We pulled everything out of his room. Angry Husband really had no plan for this staging.  He just randomly grabbed stuff and put it in spaces throughout our house.  There was no rhyme or reason to where something went.  I had a hard time finding anything this week.  I got so frustrated, I went around and took some pictures of Angry Husband’s staging. I was also taking photos of Angry Kid’s room throughout the process. Stay tuned for most of those next week.

The first photo is of the Master Bedroom. Do you see the furniture. I could barely get through the door.  Angry Kid’s TV was on the bed.  I could barely get in the room, to even use the bathroom.  There is no way that I’m going to Angry Kid’s bathroom.  Have you ever seen what a four year old boy does to a toilet? It’s not pretty.

Master Bedroom with Angry Kid's Furniture

Next, we move on to the home office.  This is mostly Angry Husband’s office, as I sit at the kitchen table.  My Macbook is not good enough for the office. Angry Husband’s PC is set up in there, along with a table for Angry Kid to draw on, etc.  He took all of the toys from Angry Kid’s closet and put them in the office.

Toy Graveyard

I probably should have organized this stuff before we started the room makeover.  Angry Husband has been on vacation all week to do this project. I should have prepped my way.  But it’s really hard when I worked the entire weekend before this started.  The garage was the last place that Angry Husband hit up. You can see the randomness here and there.  Angry Kid’s dresser made it to the garage.  I literally had to pick clothes out from here.  After we put his room back together, I actually went out to the garage to get clothes, because I was soo used to going out there.  Doesn’t everything keep their clothes in their garage?

Angry Kid's Furniture in the Garage

So what have I learned from all of this? Organize while the husband isn’t home.  No matter what, we will argue over EVERYTHING during any home project.  I’m always right. This is MY BLOG! And, don’t leave stuff out in the garage that Angry Kid can see. There were things that we were going to toss, and Angry Kid found them.

P.S. I’ve polled my friends. They also believe in this mess making cleaning strategy too. Can someone tell my husband this.

Another house project begins

Pre-Closet Makeover 2010

This closet may look organized. You see the Elfa System from the Container Store and the Expedit Shelf from Ikea.  But oh no, not so organized.  It actually drives me crazy.  We are getting ready to start our next big project.  We are redecorating Angry Kid’s room.  Angry Husband is tired of the dinosaurs.

Angry Kid has a long closet, which requires three doors to contain it all. The doors do not roll smoothly.  They overlap, making the closet hard to get into.  Angry Husband took the doors off this weekend.  I didn’t even have to ask, because he knew.  I have ideas in my head. I explained them to Angry Husband. He actually agreed with me, for once. We actually AGREED on paint colors.

This closet will be the start of Project Angry Kid’s “Five Year Old Big Kid Room”. Seriously with working, life, sickness, and everything else; it should be done by May. Which is when Angry Kid turns FIVE. Scary, FIVE!

I will take pictures along the way.  I will post them.  I may ask for ideas.  But this closet, it makes me insane.

And Angry Kid, he was quite excited to have full access to his stuff.

P.S. The photo was taken with my iPhone. Because that was the only camera, I could grab fast enough.

P.P.S. I think I’m becoming an expert at closet makeovers, it may be my thing.

Our “Real Simple” Closet Makeover

I was reading my latest issue of Real Simple Magazine, about two months ago. I saw an article about re-organizing a front closet. It had before and after pictures from the makeover. I’ve been telling Angry Husband for awhile now, that I want to re-do our hallway coat closet. I knew that the space could be re-done and made more useful. At this point, it was a gathering place for wrapping paper, coats, our vacuum, and random junk. Isn’t everyone’s closet like this?

I knew that WE (Angry Husband, BFF Stacey, and me) could accomplish this project. I knew that it would not be very costly. It really wasn’t complicated, but add in very busy schedules, and that’s why, I’m posting the final results over a month later.

At the beginning of November, I posted my “before” photograph. This is when the project began. I started by cleaning out the closet. I took several items to the Goodwill and Salvation Army.

<span class=Before Picture of Closet

In mid-November, I posted some sneak previews of the paint in the closet. Stacey came over for the day and painted the closet. I’m totally allergic to paint, and doing anything creative like painting. The paint color is Valspar Jalapeño Jelly 6005-6A in semi-gloss, which is found at Lowes. We went through a gallon of paint, because the closet probably had never been painted since house was built, seriously. We took out the shelf and the bar in the closet before it was painted. We also took off the door to the closet to make it a little easier to paint.

<span class=Closet After Shelf and Bar Were Removed, Plus Paint Added

I got an idea in my head, as usual. I decided that the closet needed some lighting. Do I know anything about electrical work? Umm, no..that’s what Angry Husband is for. We went back and forth with all these complex ideas for electrical work in the closet. We ended up going with the simple route. He installed a recessed light in the closet ($15), and he tied (wired) it into the recessed lights in our hallway. You have to turn the hallway lighting on, to get the closet light to work. By doing this, we did not have to install light switches, etc…You like how I say, “We”!

<span class=Recessed Light in Ceiling of Closet

I then made a few trips to Ikea, Home Depot, and Lowes for supplies for this project. I added my own touches to the original project from the magazine. I did use the Expedit shelf from Ikea. I looked around for other “similar” shelves, but this shelf was perfect for our closet size. Angry Husband cut out some of the molding in the closet to place the shelf unit firmly against the wall. He also secured it to the wall with mounting brackets provided with the unit when purchased.

<span class=The Closet with Expedit Shelf in Place

I found a piece of melamine at Home Depot to use for the shelf. The shelf was held up and supported by pre-primed molding also found at Home Depot. The white metal clothing rod was purchased at Lowes. It was very long and Angry Husband had to cut it to size. The clothing rod was held into place with a flange setfound at Lowes. After everything was in place, Angry Husband painted the molding used to hold up the melamine shelf white (not pictured).

<span class=Closet After Melamine Shelf and Closet Rod Were Installed (Various Views)

<span class=Closet Showing the Expedit Shelf, The Melamine Shelf, and The Clothing Rod

I wanted to place baskets on the Expedit shelves like in the original picture. I did not like the baskets that they used. I improvised and took (3) baskets from Angry Toddler’s bedroom. We are in the process of re-organizing his room and toys. He had (3) perfect wicker Medium Sabrina Baskets from Pottery Barn Kids. I will do a post later showing what I placed in the baskets. I placed our coats back in the closet. I also placed my gym bag, Angry Toddler’s backpack, my camera bag, and various other items on the shelves. I still haven’t decided what to put on the top shelf. I think the vacuum needs to be accessible, so it also went back into the closet.

<span class=Finished Closet with All Our Stuff (Door Removed)

After the closet was pretty much finished, I had another idea…must modify, right? I wanted to add some hooks to the inside of the closet door. I’m always looking for my purse. I don’t know why I’m always looking for it. I now put my purse inside the closet, when I get home. Therefore, it also prevents Angry Toddler from digging into my purse. I got the rack (hooks) from Target.

<span class=Closet with Door Back On, and Coat Rack on Interior of Door

I hope this step-by-step process of our closet makeover helps or inspires someone. It took awhile to get it completed. I think I made a pretty good Project Manager. I’m not very handy, but I always have great ideas. Or maybe it’s just the Project ADD….

Spring Cleaning

I’m in the midst of it right now.

I’ve been on a roll for about three weeks now. Exactly when I started my vacation. I do this every year, without fail. I purge, I organize, I recycle, I sell. This is what Julie does. I’m pretty successful at it too. I’ve even had Angry Husband join in. I’ve sold over a $1000 worth of stuff on Craig’s List. I’ve gone to Tar-jay and bought some organizing accessories. I’ve thrown away a ton of stuff. So much trash that I had to take my stuff to my friend’s business trash dumpster yesterday. My trash was FULL.

But after going through boxes in the garage, I found the following items:

1. Outfits for our dogs. We got the dogs about a year before Angry Toddler. They were well dressed. These outfits included Halloween costumes.
2. Pictures. Of me, not soo skinny..Almost want to burn them.
3. Exercise equipment. Including my broken-in softball glove that I got in the 6th grade.
4. Bags. I seem to collect bags from the stores at the mall. (You know, the nice handled ones.)

I found a ton of stuff that either I was looking for and/or I didn’t need.

Angry Husband has been telling his partner at work about all of my cleaning, selling, etc. His partner asked if there was something going on between us. Angry Husband replied, “Nope, this is Julie. She does this every Spring.”

Trying to Organize

I’m sorry that I’ve neglected my blog for a few days. I’ve been trying to organize my house and life more. Part of my Spring ritual is listing all of Angry Toddler’s clothing on e-bay. So I organized it all last week and I did pretty good. I only had one tote full, which I usually have two to three.

I got all ready to start typing up my auctions the other night. I just couldn’t do it. I decided to subscribe to a Buy-Sell-Trade on a parenting forum. I spent all day on Thursday listing everything and pricing it just right.

I had such memories of last year going through the outfits. I remembered the events that we attending, and the places we went. I may not have the clothes anymore, but we always have our memories in the photographs. I don’t save any of Angry Toddler’s clothes, except for some small things, like Birthday shirts.

In April, we went to Legoland for the first time. We had never been there and Angry Toddler was soo excited.

Hanging out at The Little Gym in Stacey’s office. She sent me this photo. I had never seen it and never even knew she took it.
Or, the many Disneyland trips. We purchased Season Passes last year and it was one of the best decisions that we made. Angry Toddler loves going to Disneyland.

I’ve got almost 1/2 of my goodies sold. Which makes me very happy. My gardener will be happy too. I’m using the funds that I’ve made to pay him.

I encourage everyone to use e-bay, Craigslist, or other parenting forums. You might have something in your house that someone is looking for.

Organizing for 2009

I went to a seminar last night through Junior League. It was put on Jenny LeBel from Organizing Angels. She gave us a list of tips for better organizing yourself.

*Keep an Action File on your desk or kitchen counter for current and ongoing lists in alphabetical order: Bills to Pay, Birthdays, Coupons, Pending/Follow-Up, Recipes, To Call, To Do, to File, To Read, and Upcoming Events.

*Buy a Date Planner or Wall Calendar to organize your family’s life. Use a different color for each member of your family.

*Start small-Organize for 15 minutes a day-a drawer or cupboard. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming; it can be fun! And it’s very grounding.

*Sort like things together and be amazed at how many duplicate items you find! And to think you just spent more money buying another one! And you will be so happy when you find that long-lost item you’ve been searching for, for years.

*Discard junk mail as soon as it comes in; file your bills to pay in the Action File; place appropriate items in Action File daily or ASAP. Don’t let it pile up.

*Pay Bills online-it’s quick and easy through your bank.

*File Greeting card in specific file folders: Anniversaries, Babies, Birthdays, Blank, Congratulations, Holiday, Father’s Day, Friendship, Get Well, Mother’s Day, New home, Special Occasion, Sympathy, Thank you, Weddings, etc..

*Walk around your house with a trash bag and throw everything away that is obvious trash. This should only take about 10 or 15 minutes.

*Read up on easy Feng Shui Concepts-for peace and flow of your home or office.

*Clean out your closet and donate whatever you haven’t worn in 6 months or no longer fits. There are many people who have nothing.

*When something new comes in, something old goes out! This will keep you organized and inventory in check.

*Organize your clothes by color.

*Use wire shelves
in your kitchen or bathroom to double your cabinet space.

*Throw out food
in refrigerator or pantry that is out dated.

*Keep two bins under your sink
-one for trash and one for recycle.

*If space allows, give each child a spot to hang his backpack, jacket, homework, sports equipment, etc.-he/she will always know where it is.

*Organize kids’ art/schoolwork/memorabilia in plastic bins and label them.

*Organize digital photographs in computer files or create online albums (Shutterfly, Snapfish, Kodak, Flickr).

*Add all your contact information to your computer Address Book.

*Organize your e-mail and your computer documents in specific files.

*Use recycled or the back of use paper for printing when possible.

*Get rid of old magazines
-cut out the articles you want to keep; read them right away or file them in your Action File.

*Keep a Coupon file folder in your car for various stores and services (i.e. bookstores, car services, groceries, restaurants, services).

*Put all your coupons you need for the day in “Today’s Coupon’s Folder”.

*Keep another bin in your car for : Returns, Things to give to friends, extra water, things to occupy the kids while driving, dry cleaning, etc.

*Buy clear plastic storage bins for everything you need and label them: Holiday, Memorabilia, Kid’s Art/School Work, Children’s Gifts, Adult Gifts, Kid’s Theme Parties, Electronics, House Decor, Photo Frames, Warranties, and Instruction Booklets.

*Keep earrings separated in ice trays.

*Use canvas bags for groceries-keep them in the car so you don’t forget!

*20 minutes on the treadmill or out on a walk is not only great for your physical body, but is great for your mental health, attitude, and keeps depression at bay. Keep your body moving!

*Check out Professional Organizer Peter Walsh. He’s on Oprah and gives great tips!

*Watch HGTV (Home and Garden TV) shows for all the latest ideas and hints on Organizing, Decluttering, Decorating, etc.

*Read Real Simple Magazine for great ideas.

*Enlist your family’s support and call upon your friends to help or trade tasks!