Container Store Inspiration

I just got my most recent Container Store catalog in the mail. I thought I would share with you just a few of the glorious organizing items I’m coveting!

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I love these little scarf hangers that are available in fun, bright colors. Scarves, yes! But what other great ways could these be used? Holding jump ropes maybe? Or necklaces? Ties? Bungee cords in a utility closet? They seem like a great, versatile and reasonably priced product to me!

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The Container Store has an assortment of these Linus cabinet organizers. They have ones that are perfectly sized for a ‘coffee station’ with stirrers, creamers, etc. The one pictured above is holding seasoning packets. I can see them being used for kid’s snacks in either the pantry or fridge. They would work great for separating craft supplies or bathroom items. Or even in the laundry room to hold dryer sheets, a bowl for change or other small items.

Container Store Elfa Garage System

Container Store Elfa Garage System

Can my garage please look like this, please?????  My husband would love this.

container 3These little drawers can be mounted under a sink in the bathroom to create sturdy pull out drawers in small spaces.

container 5I think I will definitely be buying one of these saran wrap/ plastic bag holders next time I go to the Container Store. It’s such a great idea to keep all of these items organized and it is free stannding so you don’t need any hardware.

Container 6This gift wrapping cart is great for so many reasons! Ribbon holders, slide out drawers, caster wheels and a place to hold the rolls of wrapping paper.

container 7I absolutely love this 80 pocket accessories organizer. The top part buttons so that you can put a hanger inside it and hang on a hook or you can button the whole thing right to a closet rod. Perfect for earrings and bracelets!

You can find similar items at other stores, but I love the Container Store for inspiration. It just makes me want to re-organize everything all at once!

~Erin

 

It’s Neaten Your Nest’s One Year Anniversary

Exactly one year ago, I wrote my very first post for the Neaten Your Nest blog. I had no idea where the blog would take me or any of the career opportunities I had dreamed up in my head. As I sit here today, I still have no idea where Neaten Your Nest will take my life, but I do know that I’m loving the experience, the challenges, the learning and the adventure I’m getting out of blogging and setting up a business.

Here are few things I have truly loved about this process:

1) I have gotten to ‘meet’ so many amazing people through the blogging world. Though the amount of information is overwhelming, the bloggers I’ve been able to connect with have inspired me in ways too many to count! I have learned about patience, motivation, creativity, creating the life you want, connecting with your family, amazing recipes and inspiring stories. Check out my blogroll page for just a very few of my favorites!

2) I have learned sooooo much about organizing. The wealth of information available has helped me think outside the box when it comes to organizing. I have found great products, clever tips, and beautiful inspiration.

3) I am absolutely enthralled with Pinterest! It has been a great resource for blog ideas, inspiration for my life and it helps me keep some of my many thoughts and projects organized. You can find me on Pinterest here.

4) The blog has kept me motivated to pursue a dream and, in some ways, it also holds me accountable for following through. Just having an audience helps spur me to action every day.

Here are some things that have been not so glorious in the journey:

1) Writer’s block….There are days when I will just stare at my computer, the words ‘New Post’ taunting me as I try to formulate even one sentence that pertains to my topic.

2) Comparison to others. Since there are so many great blogs and websites out there, I am constantly questioning if what I am doing is good enough, do my posts make sense to the reader, have I interjected just enough humor to make people smile a little, do my pictures look ok (this is my biggest struggle!)? It is a hard lesson to learn that comparisons only defeat you and your purpose.

3) Technology!!! I have gotten a fleeting grasp on a few aspects, but I still have a long way to go. HTML code what? I would love to feel like I have mastered a technological skill set, whether it’s web design, Pinterest, photo manipulation, or anything really. But with the constant upgrades and additions to everything technology related, it’s hard to keep up!

The good thing about the bad things is that I am not alone. The more I talk to people, the more I realize that everyone struggles in some areas, no one is perfect and we can all be amazing in our own ways.

Here are a few of my favorite and most popular posts from the last year:

So what does the future hold for Neaten Your Nest???

~Better photographs to showcase organizational processes, products and more.

~An increased focus on ‘green’ topics. Look for new info under the Green Nest page!

~A focus on organizing the business side of NYN. Look for posts on the business of blogging, files, marketing, etc.

~Features from other bloggers who have expertise in areas where I am lacking!

~Additional Pages and Features here on the site, such as the upcoming ‘Mindful Nest’ series, where we talk about the mental, emotional and other health related benefits to being organized. I will also be working on the ‘Nest Egg’ series, where I talk about financial organization.

If you have been a reader of Neaten Your Nest over the past year, thank you so much for all you do. Your readership makes this whole process worthwhile. If I can help someone or inspire a bit of organizational creativity in this hectic life, then I am doing my job. If you are new to Neaten Your Nest, Welcome! I look forward to sharing many more ideas and stories with you for years to come. Thanks!

~Erin

The perfect place for sheets!

I have been trying to organize my bathroom closet for months now. For some reason, I just can’t get it where I want it. I finally realized that part of the problem is that I hate the way our sheets look in there. We have a few sets and one of them is a super soft and comfy, fluffy set….but they’re huge! They were all crammed in behind the towels and would topple over. Believe me, I’ve tried the fancy folding…I just can’t get it right. And I usually just want to do it fast and get it over with. So, long story short, my towels decided they didn’t want to deal with the sheets as their roommate anymore. My solution???? Under the bed sheet storage!

Sheets - Under the Bed (1)I bought a rolling under the bed storage bin and my sheets fit perfectly. It also had a lid that can open halfway from either side so it makes it even easier to access the sheets.

Sheets - Under the Bed (2)Sheets - Under the Bed (3)And the best part for me is how the towel shelf in my bathroom linen closet looks!

Linen Closet - Towels

So I’m loving under the bed storage now. I already store my wrapping paper under the bed and I just moved my holiday decor under the guest bed, which you can read here. I love using storage that is otherwise going to waste. The bonus is that I can’t see whatever is under there!

Sheets - Under the Bed (4)

~Erin

Mommy, what can we label?

So my 3 year old came up to me holding my labeler today and said “Mommy, what can we label?” A kid after my own heart, I tell ya.

Labeling (1)

Well, mini-me organizer, I’ll tell you what we can label…everything!

Here are just a few things I label around here:

Bathroom organizers:

Labeling (2)File Folders:

Labeling (3)Spice Jars:

Labeling (4)Fridge organizers:

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Jars for pantry items:

Pantry Jars (3)

Labeling obviously helps me keep things organized. But it has a few added benefits:

-It keeps my family organized. When we are all on the same page about what goes where, it makes it easier for us to put thing where they belong.

-The labels help my older son learn to read. He loves typing out the word and hitting the ‘print’ button on the labeler. And he loves being able to put his own belonging where they go. As my younger son grows, I have no doubt he will love to read and learn just as much!

-It helps house guests keep your house the way you want it. I have to admit, I sometimes stealthily follow guests around making sure things are in their right places. I try not to, but I can’t help it! When things are labeled, I tend to ease up a little because my systems tend to stay in place.

-It helps to unclutter my mind. When I don’t have to think about where things go, I don’t spend time worrying about it nearly as much. I just put things where the labels tell me to put them!

-It takes less time to clean a room when everything has a designated space. It also takes less time to put away groceries, do laundry, file papers, pay bills and countless other tasks. And who doesn’t want more time???

~Erin

 

Contain Me! I went to the Container Store!

Have you ever seen a 5 year old heading into the circus, cotton candy in hand, gleefully galloping towards the big top? Well, my giddiness today would have made that 5 year old look like Oscar the Grouch. I went here:

Container Store

Cue the choir and the angels singing, please! I literally jumped out of our car and ran into the store, while my husband said (distantly in the background) “please don’t stay in here for four hours.” Well, I came out relatively unscathed and only stayed in for a reasonable half an hour.  I seriously love this store. Now, you can find a lot of the items in other stores (and I must admit that you can find similar items for lower prices if you shop right). However, there is nowhere I’ve found that has such a comprehensive collection of boxes, bins, hooks, baskets, filing systems, shelves…I could go on and on.

Please note…even though the closest Container Store is 2 hours from us and I was SERIOUSLY considering doing the storage version of ‘Supermarket Sweep’, I restrained (CONTAINED!) myself to buying only things I had either been looking for or knew exactly how I would use them when I got home. Here are the few purchases I made.

-Small baskets for guests to use in the guest bathroom. We have zero drawers in our guest bathroom so I always feel bad when people have no place to put anything. I have been looking for cute and simple baskets to bring out onto the counter to contain toothbrushes, lotion, etc. I bought 2 medium size baskets and 1 small one.

Container Store Shopping (1)

These are very simple without being plain, they match our decor and they will clean up easily if anything spills inside them. I also put a paper towel in the bottom of each one just in case, though. Sidenote: I love the bags for The Container Store…a constant reminder to ‘Contain Yourself!’ Oh! And please also note the sneak peak of the flooring we are currently laying down in the whole bottom floor of our house (that is another story for another day!). But that explains why the baseboards are off in the photo.

-A plastic storage bin for the kid’s drinks in the fridge. This is the first one of these that I’ve bought, but I know I’ll be heading back as soon as I can to get more. We usually have a couple cups in the fridge for each kid (one for water or juice and one for milk) and we wash and replace them every couple days. But they are usually spread out all over the fridge and it makes it difficult to get to other items. Problem solved!

Container Store Shopping (8)

-A lid holder for the lids to all of our pots and pans. I love how our pots/pans cabinet has two pull out drawers. However, they were always a little disheveled. Here is the before of the top and bottom.

Container Store Shopping (2) Container Store Shopping (3)

I put the lid holder on the bottom and split up the pots and pans so there weren’t so many handles to deal with when I try to get something out. It looked like a constant sword fight in there before…pots versus pans. Whose handle will win????

Here are the after pics of the cabinet with the lid holder.

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Container Store Shopping (5) Container Store Shopping (7)

I feel like I’ve made 3 changes that will impact daily life and make navigating our house a much more pleasant experience. The best part is I only spent $35.  Score one for The Container Store!

~Erin

Loving these products!

I’m excited once again to be participating in the Collectively Creative blog post, dreamed up by Kelly over at Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons! This month’s editions is ‘Lovey-Dovey’.

The Lovey-Dovey Edition Logo

To show my lovey-dovey side, I’m going to talk about products I can’t live without. I can hear you now….’Isn’t she such a romantic?’  I know, I know, home products aren’t exactly the most lovey-dovey thing I could talk about, but when your life is clean and organized, don’t you just feel lovey-dovey all over? ;)

There are not many products or items that I love so much I consistently recommend them to people. However, there are a few:

1) Paper Shredder – I’m KIND of obsessed with my shredder. I use it all.the.time.  I try to regularly shred anything I want to throw away that has any account number or other personal information. Also, twice a year, I go through my entire file cabinet and shred anything I no longer need. This keeps my file cabinet from getting ridiculously out of control.

Paper ShredderMy best tip for buying a shredder…get a cross cut shredder. This cuts the paper both vertically and horizontally so that pieces are much more difficult to put back together should you happen to have someone digging through your trash (insert creepy music here).

2) Vinegar –  I keep a spray bottle on my kitchen counter at ALL times. Vinegar is one of the few cleaning products I use and I use it everywhere….counters, toilets, mirrors, trash cans, dog food bowls, you name it, it’s probably getting voraciously sprayed with vinegar as you read this. It’s a natural disinfectant, a deodorant and a safe alternative to many of the chemicals used every day in so many households. Over at Pinterest to Panache, vinegar is mentioned as a great drain cleaner along with baking soda. Who knew that elementary school science fair volcano we all did could turn into a great natural cleaning product.

3) My Labeler – I can pretty much label anything. Clothes, baskets, bins, drawers, garage items, paint cans.  Now maybe if I label my dogs and kids, I’ll actually call them by the right name when I’m yelling!

4) My Kindle – I am one of those true converts who said I would never get an e-reader. I just love flipping through the pages, the smell of the books, blah blah blah. It’s all true, but I’ve also come to realize a few things. When you’re juggling baby #2 and don’t have a hand to flip the page, the Kindle is AMAZING!

kindleI have also recently jumped onto the Ipad bandwagon. I absolutely love this little machine too, but I’m still learning about it. One of the great things about the iPad is that I have downloaded the Kindle App and my husband and I can easily share books on our Kindle account.

Organization bonus!  Since we are now downloading a lot of books instead of buying the actual books, we are saving space and reducing clutter in our home.

6) My minivan – seriously, have you ever driven a minivan? If not, you’re missing out. They are not the best in the Colorado snow, but hardy nonetheless.

caravan

And it’s an organizers dream car! So many bins and cubbies, two glove compartments, enough cup holders for a football team and stow and go seating so the seats can completely disappear from view without taking them out of the van. We can fit ridiculous amounts of stuff in this vehicle and just took a cross country trip with 2 kids and 3 dogs and all of our stuff. Again, I am a true convert here. This was me 4 years ago…”I will NEVER own a minivan!” Hmmmm….here I am listing it on my favorite things post. How times have changed.

All of these things help me to stay organized and control the clutter in my life. They are useful, practical, reasonably priced and used every day at my house. What products do you use all the time that make your life easier?

And what else do I love? The posts listed below brought to you by some lovely bloggers all sharing in the Collectively Creative ‘Lovey-Dovey’ edition!

I Love You More Than… – (Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons)
Heart To Heart – (Pillows A-La-Mode)
Top Ten Romantic Movies of All Time – (The Thinking Closet)
DIY Heart T-Shirt – (NorthStory)
[DIY] 12 Pre-Planned Date Cards – (Inspire and Indulge)
The Love Letters – (Mrs. And The Misc.)
Valentine’s Day Bon Bon’s – (Happy Little Kiwi)
Lovey Dovey School Lunch Ideas – (Time With Thea)
Give a Fortune of Love – (Green Door Hospitality)
Kniting Hearts – (Gentle Stitches)
A little Lovie magic – (The Thing About Joan)
Sending hugs – (Cul de Sac)
Give a Fortune of Love – (Green Door Hospitality)
Will You Be My Valentine? – (A Ponytail Kind Of Day)

Pantry Clean Out

Just because I was traveling for most of December and January, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t organizing! I managed to find a couple of projects at my in-laws house. This is great because it allowed me to do something I love doing (for some reason!) and it also kicks me up a notch in the daughter in law department, I think!

My first project was the pantry. This was something my mother in law asked me to help her with just to make things a little easier to navigate. Like most pantries, everything was already grouped by category and the actual placement of things made sense. However, a few bins and a couple of organizational tweaks made it a lot easier to actually access all of the food. Here is the before photo:

Pantry - Nan and Gary - Before (1)

You can see that it is a large cabinet with 2 doors and the cabinet is fairly deep. This is a blessing and a curse. It’s great because you can fit more in there. It’s difficult because you can’t get to the stuff in the back easily. One great feature is that each door has built in spice holders so that helps to rounds up all those pesky little jars, bottles and boxes.

Steps I took to organize:

1) Take EVERYTHING out.

Stuff was everywhere. I was a little overwhelmed because I knew I couldn’t leave someone else’s house in that kind of disarray for long, so I had to move fast! And of course I had my usual assistants helping me out with this part of the project:

Pantry - Nan and Gary - Before (5)

As everything came out of the pantry, it went into its’ category on the counter or into the trash. We actually threw away a good amount of stuff. It’s a good idea to go through the pantry every few months and get rid of anything that is expired (bean dip from 2007 anyone?) or that you know won’t be used (I scored an unopened box of Crepe mix from this cleanout!).

2) Evaluate the current storage options.

-There were several shelf organizers already in there so I decided to work these into the plan. Shelf OrganizerThere were also those great built in spice racks on the doors so obviously those would come into play. On the bottom shelf of the pantry, there were about 8 clear plastic canisters for storing things such as flour, sugar, etc. There were actually a couple that could be combined from 2 into 1 canister and 1 was empty, which gave me another storage option for something else.

 

canisters

3) Divide the pantry into zones.

Like I said, it was pretty much divided up before I started, but there were a few things that needed adjusting. For example, the top shelf had already been drink mixes and spice packets so that stayed. But I made sure it was JUST drink mixes and spices packets. The other zones included canned goods, pasta and rice, cereal/breakfast items, baking items and desserts. The bottom shelf was for bulky items and misc things.

4) Decide what storage containers to buy.

Because of the shelves, spice racks and existing storage, I didn’t really have to buy much, but there were a few things that needed to be put into bins to make them easier to access. So I went to my favorite store in the world, Target, and bought 7 plastic bins and a plastic Lazy Susan.

Storage box

lazy susanThe picture of the bin above shows the clear version, but I actually bought the green ones and I got 3 different sizes. The bins were between $4-$5 each and the Lazy Susan was $8 so the entire cost was only about $37. This was probably my fastest trip to Target ever….seriously a record breaker because I can spend hours in there.

5) Put everything back in the pantry. Here are just a few ways I organized everything on its way back in:

-I used the Lazy Susan for drink mixes on the top shelf so that you could access what was up there.

-I used a couple bins for loose items, such as bags of rice, popcorn and a few other drink mix packets.

-I also used a couple bins to separate larger items such as cake mixes and pasta boxes.

-We grabbed an empty bin from the basement to hold extra salad dressing, peanut butter, ketchup, salsa and a few other items on the bottom shelf.

-The clear plastic canisters were reorganized to hold all of the baking items (such as flour) and a few misc items such as an open bag of popcorn kernels.

Here is what it looks like now:

Pantry - Nan and Gary - After (1)

Here’s the thing about pantry’s. Even when they are completely organized, they can tend to look cluttered because of the variety of colors, boxes, sizes, and types of containers. There are a ton of pictures on blogs and Pinterest right now with these unbelievably gorgeous pantries. I hope to have one someday. But the thing to remember is that it’s not if your pantry can make a great Pinterest photo. It’s that it’s organization works well for your life, makes it easy to find things and make grocery lists, and that you’re happy with the final product.

Now get started and throw away that 6 year old bottle of salad dressing in your pantry! :)

~Erin

House To Do List

I have been working on a list of things I want to get done around the house. As I made the list, I realized it was quite extensive! I have decided that I would like to go through and do a basic organization on EVERY part of my house by the end of the year. Now I realize this is super ambitious since it is the holidays and we plan on traveling in December. However, I want to get everything organized so that I can start the year fresh with my New Year’s Resolution. Yes, I already have my resolution ready and waiting. It is to add a little color to my world. Currently my life is filled with bland, blah, neutrals.

I’m serious, my color palate is lacking any variety. My clothes, paint colors, linens, makeup, everything is a tad boring! So in 2013 I’m going to spice it up. But before I do that, I need to clean everything out. Purging is the name of the game.

Anyways, my to do list is long and kind of confrontational. When I look at it, it’s like it’s taunting me. There are so many things I can’t even pick one so I just stare at it, then add to it, then stare at it some more. I decided to make it more manageable by splitting it into categories. They are:

-15 Minute Projects – these are projects that can be done in 15 minutes or less (obviously).

-Small Projects – these are projects that I anticipate will take longer than 15 minutes, but less than about 2 hours.

-Big Projects – This category involves things like construction, painting, shopping for a piece of art or furniture, etc. It includes anything that will take a long time or cost money.

I typed out all of the projects on excel and printed them. I used green for the 15 Minute Projects, orange for the Small Projects, and red for the Big Projects (see I’m getting more colorful already!)

I used abbreviations for most of the rooms of the house and then listed the project. For the master bedroom closet, I split it up into manageable tasks such as ‘go through shirts’ or ‘go through purses/shoes’. That way I could put more tasks on the ’15 Minute’ list.

Then I cut them into strips and put them into labeled envelopes.

There are approx 60 projects altogether and it turns out, there are about 20 projects per envelope. The good news is that 1/3 are 15 Minute projects. My plan is at least once per day, I will randomly pick a project from the ’15 Minute’ envelope. Or I will have my handy helper pick one out….

He picked out ‘clean the master bathroom drawers’ tonight. So that project is off the list!

The bad news is that there are approx 20 items on the big project list. That means a lot of time and possibly a decent investment to complete the list. So I’m going to focus on the 15 Minute and Small Project envelopes first and get the momentum going. I’ll keep you posted on the projects as they get completed.

The ‘Great Listing’ continues!!!

Trick or Treat Neat

I am so excited to be participating in a new collaborative blog post project called Collectively Creative. This project was designed by Kelly over at Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons. The concept is for various blogs to write about the same general topic on the same day. However, the individual posts will vary widely in their actual subject matter.

This month’s topic is, appropriately, Halloween!

I have always loved Halloween and I spent days and days racking my brain to come up with a way to combine Halloween and organizing. I present to you….. (dramatic pause)……

The Trick or ‘Neat’ Halloween Ideas Folder!!! (I’m picturing wild applause and unrelenting anticipation from my readers)

This handy folder is going to contain all of my Halloween ideas, inspirations and reminders for many (Full) moons to come.

Here’s the basic setup:

-I have made sections for various categories, such as crafts and food.

-I have made a title page for each section.

-I have used clear plastic sheet protectors for everything and I have left extra empty protectors at the back of the folder for when I add to this next year.

-I plan to keep this book in the plastic bin with all of my Halloween decorations.

So let’s get this crazy holiday organized! I’ll break it down by section:

~Craft Ideas

-Kids Crafts – I found some kid’s Halloween craft ideas online and I printed them several to a page. They are just photos (no instructions) because they are fairly simple concepts and I can figure out what to do just from the photos. I plan on adding new ideas each year, but it will be a great reference for craft night with the kids or Halloween parties.

-Coloring Pages – I like to search online for free coloring book pages for various holidays and themes. I usually try to find new ones, but I decided it would be good to have a stack of pre-printed ones that I could just copy if I wanted to. I have about a dozen coloring pages printed and I actually printed them 2 on a page. I do this because I like having a half-page coloring sheet. That way, I can put it on a piece of construction paper as a `background if I want to and they are also easier to store or hang on the fridge because they take up less room. I am going to copy a bunch of these for a little Halloween get together we are having next week so I am already using them!

I also took the ghost from my coloring page section, cut it out on black felt and then Evan and I covered it with cotton balls to make a 3-D ghost. I put a copy of the coloring page as well as a photo of Evan’s finished ghost in the binder so that I would remember this idea. It was fun, quick and cheap!

-Adult Crafts – This section is more for me. :) I found a few ideas for some Halloween decorations (such as twine covered mini pumpkins) and put them in here. There was one project (Mod Podge Halloween Blocks) that I wanted to have the exact process on hand for, so I printed the instructions and put them in this section as well.

~Food

-Food Presentation – This section is for clever ways to present your food on and around Halloween, such as salsa or dip in a carved out pumpkin or ‘googly eyes’ on plastic cups.

You can also see that there are several places where I just wrote a couple notes next to the photos.

-Appetizers – This is for Halloween themed pre-dinner dishes such as a pumpkin made of carrot sticks.

-Desserts and Treats – Now this is the section that Halloween is made for. There are so many creative and cute treats that looks like pumpkins, spiders, ghosts and more. Besides, you’re supposed to have treats at Halloween right? There are a million Halloween dessert ideas out there, so at some point this section may need its’ own binder!

~Decorations

-General Decoration Ideas – This section is going to include photos of our decorations as well as inspiration photos for future decorations.

-Party Decoration Ideas – This will be photos of our party set ups or inspiration set ups for future parties.

~Photos

-Previous Kid’s costumes – I wanted a cute way to display photos of the kids’ costumes from previous years, so I am going to laminate them and hang them on a string (like a photo garland). I really like the idea of being able to see these every year, especially Evan’s second Halloween when he was a spider and he had these long fabric spider arms dragging on the ground as he learned to Trick or Treat. Since I don’t want the photos to get bent in storage, I am putting them in the Halloween folder so they stay flat. Look for photos  of this project later this week!

Tip Alert!!!!

-I created the cover and section labels on powerpoint using fonts I found at Font Space. I just recently started using this site. There are lots of font download sites, but this one is great so far. There are literally thousands of free fonts to choose from, it is easy to search by category and they even have fonts that contain different borders, pictures and embellishments. It’s FANTASTIC! I did some searches for reviews on the site and saw a lot of great things. So while I can’t officially promote this because I haven’t had a ton of experience with it, it has served me well so far and I completely recommend it. Some of these fonts will soon be making appearances on my labels at home.

-I also reorganized my Halloween pins in my Pinterest folders. I have general Boards for Food, Desserts, Crafts/ DIY, and Holidays (check me out on Pinterest here). However, I realized that I had Halloween related items on all of those boards, which is incredibly inefficient. Knowing me, I would be looking through the Holidays board on November 1st and see an awesome Halloween idea. So I made a separate board for just Halloween items, which you can see here. Most of these pictures were actually printed and put into the book, but the Pinterest board allows me to share it with others, which I love.

So I’ve got my book to reference and add to for future Halloweens. I have also decided to do this same type of thing for every major holiday. It’s the project that keeps on giving! :)

Now here’s the fun part. Check out all of the links below to see who else is participating in the Halloween edition of Collectively Creative! These are great blogs year round so make sure to keep tabs on their tips, recipes and ideas.

Also, make sure to keep an eye out for next month’s edition of Collectively Creative. Again, thanks so much to Kelly over at Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons for allowing me to be a part of this!
~Erin

Bin there, done that

What a horribly cheesy post title, I know! However, I do want to show you my quick bin labeling I did in the kid’s room. It wasn’t fancy, it wasn’t hard, and it didn’t take long….my kind of project!

I have pretty much everything that belongs to the kids in either baskets or bins. Even their books are in bins because it is easy to clean them up and then it doesn’t matter if the books are upside down or backwards. And it’s really easy for even a 3 year old to organize and clean up this way. Funny side story, Evan was all ready for bed, head on the pillow, lights out and he says “mommy, I need to get out of bed”. “Why?” I asked. He said “I need to put my dinosaur away”. He had spotted one plastic dinosaur on the floor, so he got up, went into the closet and put the rogue dinosaur in the ‘Animal Bin.’ I’m seeing the organizing gene getting passed on!

Anyways, the bins were all separated and organized, but not labeled. I wanted to label them for 2 reasons:

-If I had it my way, every item in my house would be labeled.

-It makes things a lot easier for when the grandparents come to stay and are looking for something specific.

A lot of my bins have little clear pockets for labels, so that made life easier. I wanted to add just a teensy tiny bit of dimension to the labels so I printed all the wording on translucent paper and then just cut out plain cardstock to go behind the wording.

I just created the labels in Powerpoint after measuring the actual size of the clear pockets. Then you just create a shape in PPT and can double click on the shape outline and size it correctly. Someday, I will get one of those glorious label machines that you can do all sorts of fancy stuff with, but for now I love my Powerpoint.

Then I just cut out the labels and slipped them in the pockets:

They are not cutesy or intricate or even pretty. But they are functional and will do for now.  Now, I have seen some adorable labels in blogland with photos of the items in the bins for kids. I chose not to use photos of the contents though, for right now. My 3 year old has an insatiable love of words, letters and books. He is quickly learning how to spell various words and having his stuff labeled this way will just encourage his love of reading (I am hoping). That being said, I think photo labeling is adorable, colorful, creative and I might go this route as the boys get older and the toys get more intricate with more pieces. I might end up with 400 bins and a cute, colorful picture might serve us better. I found a great source of inspiration for photo labels at The Cottage Home:

How cute are these labels that just Velcro on to the storage bins?!

For now, my bins are blandly labeled, but easy to organize. It’s all about the process until I have more time to make it pretty!

~Erin