Weekend Room Declutter

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This last weekend was a BIG weekend for Ms. B. She’s making some great changes in her life and needed a fresh space to help motivate. So she came to me – fresh space worker. She told me that she felt like she was surrounded by a ton of stuff and felt very unorganized. She lives in an apartment-condo type space with two room mates in a beautiful spot located near Seattle. Unfortunately, roommate living leads to whole-life-in-room situations and that can get cluttered and messy FAST! Bring in the Nikki with her love of organizing and THIS BOOK!

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This is The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up my favorite tidying book. I took Ms. B’s situation as a perfect opportunity to implement some KonMari style declutter and organization tips. I cannot get enough of this method and how well it works with my clients and friends who have tried using Marie Kondo’s techniques in their lives. If you have not read the book PLEASE read it before trying to use it especially if you do not have assistance from someone who has experience and understanding of this method. The reason I say this is: this style is pretty complicated for some people to grasp at first, it seems simple but it is actually very hard for people to determine the meaning of “spark joy” so it’s nice to have help from a friend to talk you through it at first and work your way through the madness together!

Here are the basics.

  1. FIND YOUR INSPIRATION

Even before I knew of Marie Kondo and her gift for tidying, I always asked people before starting, “What do you imagine your life to be like, what is the perfect situation?” Some people say they want it to feel like they have nothing, the bare minimum. Others say chic, like a Tiffany’s store. Some people describe a friend who’s style is fabulous and how they hope to be more like them.

 

I asked Ms. B to go on pinterest and find a few photos of what she wanted her end result to look like. Also, to think on how that would affect her happiness. When the process of decluttering gets stressful and overwhelming I bring up the inspiration and it definitely helps keep the ball rolling. Here are some pics we looked at.

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2. START WITH DE-CLUTTER

I cannot tell you how important it is to declutter first. If all I did was help people with storage solutions I would be a Professional Clutter Organizer and I do NOT want that on my business card. Nuh-uh. And you don’t want that in your house. Organized messes just lead to messes again. You have to get down to what YOU can manage to live with and have a specific place for every item so that when you need to put things away or locate them again they have a specific home. That’s the secret.

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Here is what we started with, it actually wasn’t even messy necessarily. The problem with not tidying (declutter and organizing) is you have so much you never remember what you have or where the things you do remember are. We like to find that shirt right away and if it takes longer than a glance we think, “Oh man, it’s so messy.”

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Ouch. This is the shock moment. EVERY TIME I go through this process, and get every single article of clothing, bags and shoes in one spot, people stare for a minute and say, “Wow, I have A LOT of clothes.” Every time. And a lot of times they can start to pick out even before we begin, the items that they don’t love anymore. (The Before photos are great motivators half-way through when people feel overwhelmed, show them their progress!)

MOST IMPORTANTLY START WITH CLOTHES, THEN BOOKS, PAPERS, (KOMONO) MISCELLANEOUS AND LASTLY SENTIMENTAL. IN THAT ORDER – KONMARI METHOD

While we still have a really strong attachment to clothes we have the easiest time going through them and knowing what we can say goodbye to. Some items are harder than others but this is definitely the easiest category to dive into. It’s also nice because sometimes you can throw on the item and really get a feel for how it makes you …well …feel. You can then use these “spark joy” moments as examples of how an item should feel when keeping it later. For instance that half used notebook does not “spark joy” like that little black dress.

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Hello, shoes. (Don’t mind my foot).

There is no specific number of items you should be left with. Some people have 40 articles of clothing including underwear and essentials, others have over 100 or 200! Some people have 3 pairs of shoes by the end and others have 38 pairs. It doesn’t matter what you start with or end with, different strokes and here is why…

 

3. DOES IT “SPARK JOY?”

Does the item you are holding in your hands truly “spark joy”? We all have subconscious reactions to our environment, memories or feelings attached to items. The things that we truly love and cherish will make us feel good when we hold them. Keep in mind things that used to make you happy are different from the items which make you happy now. When you have the confidence to know yourself and discern what you choose to keep based on what truly makes you happy, that is life changing. The principle applies to all aspects of our lives, not just what we own.

 

I will never judge what a client chooses to keep or not. Some people have kept items that make me tilt my head in interest but those things REALLY make people happy and those should most definitely stay!

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These are the piles as clothing was underway. Left is the “Maybe” pile, Middle two piles are “Keep” and Right is “Donate“.

I encourage starting a “Maybe” pile at first. However, it will be revisited several times through out the tidy process and by the end there is no maybe pile left. You have to make a decision on these items and if you are still unsure at the end, keep it with confidence and move on. I don’t like the 3 month in a bag rule and get rid of it later. Keeping a bag on that space on the floor or the “backwards hanger rule” takes up wanted space and will either cause you to forget or never to actually address it. Get the process done. In the future if you finally decide you have fallen out of love with an item and you can donate it with confidence. Usually at the end most of the maybe pile is put to donate but sometimes and item clings to it’s owner and they happily place it in the Keep pile.

Here is what we ended with for keep

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Shirts in the bottom bin, Sweaters in the middle, folded scarves and additional shirts on the top right and some skirts on the left.

We also had a stack of pants we didn’t have a bin for but it was about 12 pairs of pants and shorts.

And this is what we donated!

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Just think! These are the clothes she had in her closet that no longer made her happy. They were choking up the space in her closet that could be used for items that she loved and made it hard for her to locate her favorites more easily.

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Now she finds her clothes are more accessible and has told me that she loves the feeling of looking in her closet and choosing from all of these items that “spark joy”.

We also addressed the rest of the categories in her room, we have a ways to go in the rest of the house with miscellaneous category and eventually we will also address the items that are sentimental (these are last because by then you will have honed your spark joy meter and be able to face these things with confidence).

Here are the before and afters of her papers and miscellaneous art supplies.

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Ms. B went through her books, journals, art journals and sketches, her papers like bills, hospital info, warranties, manuals and old artwork, etc. We finished with the following:

* Plastic case with important documents, a plastic sleeve with her lifetime documents and current bills to be addressed immediately

* A folder with current design work

* A Magazine bin holding sketchbooks and some lesson books for piano

* Reference books she uses for design

* Two bibles and a couple of design and prayer journals

Besides paper on her desk

* Space for her printer and laptop on the right, she designs all the time and needs those easily accessible and ready.

* The desk lamp base holds art pens decoratively in a mason jar and a smaller jar from the dollar store with her gold binder clips.

* A couple of slate coasters and this desk is ready for action!!

Under the desk are extra art frames and art books in a fabric bin and to the right of the desk tucked neat are her portfolio cases where she can add more art as she creates it at her desk.

AT THE END OF THE DAY

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GOODBYE PLASTIC HANGERS (When this process happens with me I WILL BUY you new hangers just to donate the plastic. The big thing in closet design for me is matching wood hangers they are pleasing to the eye. Plastic gives a sense of wobbliness and cheapness to the closet that your clothes don’t deserve! Look at that beautiful new closet with pride in all of it’s non plastic hanger glory!)

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We donated a trunk full of things that no longer sparked joy including 3 containers of clothes, a bag of shoes, several old purses and other random items that she no longer used. We had a large paper bag of shred and two paper bags of recycle besides. We also had two bags of trash, wrappers, containers for items she chose to keep that no longer needed their case, extra boxes, broken items, etc. It was a good day!!

NEXT TIME

We still have to get to organizing and designing the space, I never leave a job unfinished but the process of going through her room took about 10 hours including a couple of breaks for snacks and sanity. So this is a two part order for her room. Stay tuned for the final show of how the space is transformed!!

A few questions I am asked during this process —

THE BIGGEST THING I GET : “What if I need it later?”

Here’s the thing about keeping stuff “just in case”. Think of it like scotch tape at Christmas, you never know where that tape went you only use it once a year, 5 years later you have a TON of half used tape dispensers. The reason this happens is because these items are not consistently serving a purpose, they don’t spark joy and they are never put in a designated area where you can always come back to use them. These things are tiny bucks for expensive real estate that should be used for things you love instead.

 

NEVER KEEP ITEMS OUT OF GUILT OR FEAR

People like to keep things that a family member or friend passed on that they don’t really like, especially heirlooms. OR items that they used ALL the time but no longer have the need for and again the “What if I need this later?”

Negative emotions in your home are a big no-no. If your friend or family member gave you a gift, they gave it to you with the intention of making you happy, not guilty. They want you to be happy, it’s OK to say I don’t want this item anymore and donate or even give it back if you think they would want it. And the “What if I need it later?” This is a fear based sentiment. Something that you are afraid of parting with for fear of the future is the reason we are doing this. This process helps people come to realize you don’t need the negative attachments in your life, surrounding yourself with items that spark joy INSPIRES you to seek out happiness in all aspects of your life and to let go of the fear of the unknown and just make things happen. Thank the items that served a purpose once for doing their job and donate them guilt and fear free because the worst thing that could happen is you hop over to the dollar store and get another box of crayons.

 

I DON’T LOVE IT, BUT I NEED IT!

I hear a lot of : “I don’t love my toilet brush and I would love to get rid of my vacuum because it doesn’t spark joy” there is a special clause for these items. They serve a purpose, some everyday, some once a week, but without them there are tasks in your life that couldn’t be fulfilled. They help you get the job done, and in that way it’s good to appreciate their purpose. They bring joy by making your life a little easier. “Thank you, toilet brush for making my toilet clean and guests not afraid to use it.”

 

Tidy Master Closet

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When we think tidy we think sprucing the place up a bit, fluff a pillow here, wipe a counter there. But not Marie Kondo. Marie Kondo is an organizing consultant from Japan who has revolutionized the process of declutter and organizing for obsessive neat freaks everyone. I started my affair journey with the Konmari Method last year. I have organized and cleaned mine and other’s spaces over and over and still found that they cluttered up again. This Method is supposed to be the be all and end all of tidying. And so far, for me, this is true!

One of the first things I did last year was a complete declutter of all of my clothing items. Not my husband’s just mine. (Konmari states you need to address your personal things first. When we want to clean other people’s items it is because we have not taken care of our own – everything has a deeper meaning here, we need to take care of ourselves before we take care of others). Here is the before and after of how my clothing day went!

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I said goodbye to a lot of clothes! Not because I needed to get rid of them but because I sincerely did not love well over half my wardrobe. When we wear our items they should “spark joy” we should feel amazing and be able to wear these items with pride knowing we look good. The items that make us feel less than spectacular can be appreciated for what they were, thanked and donated. The glorious part of the Konmari method, is it doesn’t matter how much you have it matters how much you love it, if it sparks joy keep it and if not say goodbye. Some people may end up with 40 pairs of shoes and some with 4. The point is they are happy with what they have in the end.

Naturally, I wanted these items to look good in all of their “spark joy glory”. 🙂 So I redesigned the master closet using furniture we already had and paint on hand. I HATE wire shelves. ALL of our clothes are folded and put into the dresser except those that spark the most joy and deserve to be shown off. You can fold everything according to Konmari. It is possible, I’ve done it. 🙂

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So happy.

I took it further by putting up an Ikea floating shelf for my fancy shoes, I love looking at heels displayed beautifully. I may not use them all the time but they certainly spark joy every time I see them and touch them.

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Below that shelf I hang my favorite necklaces on the wall by the door. As I leave after getting dressed I am reminded to put on a pretty accessory for the day.

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A spritz of perfume is always nice on the way out, and the bottle looks so fancy on this DIY marble tray (tutorial here) The vases my mom gave me from Pottery Barn house spare change and cotton balls…cotton balls… I don’t know why. Moving on.

 

The drawers of the cabinet have random accessory contents and extra candles for mooood lighting. In the bathroom. I recently took baths before giving birth and those candles made it such a spa day.

The Jewelry is separated by small boxes that make me happy, of course a spot of Tiffany blue and a Kate Spade bag. The big necklace on top was almost donated, it was from my wedding and I don’t use it. The declutter lady in me said get rid of it but the “spark joy” me said keep it, I love it and every time I see it I think of my wedding and how beautiful and loved I felt.

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Mr. Man’s space. I love it.

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Randomly over the shelf against the wall I have my favorite fuzzy Calvin Klein blanket which DOES NOT like to stay folded so I placed this cast iron tea pot on top. It reminds me to be at peace and enjoy the experience of getting ready in the morning.

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Lastly a mirror on the right wall and a hamper behind the door complete the space. Simple, functional. Love it.

An Organized Car

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Getting your car together is seriously the last thing on your to-do list. But on average (and this is just a google here so don’t quote me) the average person drives 12,000 miles per year which is just over 32 mi. per day. ON THE FREEWAY that is 32 minutes, and we know the commute doesn’t just include 60 mi/hr roads. I don’t need to tell you how long a 16 mile commute can be during rush hour.

 

That is some serious time to be spending in a messy and dirty car.

 

It can really depress you being surrounded by trash and not knowing where a napkin is when you need one. Not to mention some random necessities for emergencies. Think about it: if someone wipes their nose before giving you back your debit card you’ll want some sanitizer STAT. *shivers* Moving on.

 

So here is a quick post about how to get it quick and organized with some DAISO $1.50 deals.

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Ladies and Gentleman, say hello to Daiso. This is the Japanese Dollar store. If you don’t have one in your area, no worries, a lot of this stuff can be found at a dollar store.

I bought these marvelous zippered envelopes and labeled them for all my car necessities. The neoprene envelope is for my car papers – I already had a case but vanity got the better of me and this one is purty.

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List of items I keep in my car:

1 – Microfiber: cloth (for dust, dirt, stains, liquids, etc.) and that little microfiber finger …floof. I’m calling it a floof. That thing is AWESOME for vents.

2 – Nack-ums: AKA napkins named by 3 year-old me. Because spills happen. Tissues went in here too.

3 – Work: Name badges, hair ties (for when I make the mistake of trying to wear my hair down), head band, bobby pins…toiletries 🙂

4 – Notes and Emergency $: This house some note cards, a pen and cash. $10 for gas or let’s be honest, emergency coffee.

5 – ArmorAll: I’m still not sure if it actually works to keep your car cleaner longer but it makes it look shiny after cleaning. Good for me.

 

And here is how things work in my car.

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Envelopes in action in the glove compartment. I love having these neatly labeled and handy. *sighs*

 

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There is my dying garage door opener. And yes, that is a scented tree tucked in next to the driver side cubby. (Side of the middle dash) It has a man-ly scent, as in: just walked past the husband freshly shaven scent.  Anyway, I will never hang scented trees.

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This is the middle console. I found these boxes at target in the dollar spot and they fit perfectly. I love that I can grab a couple cleaning things. The S hook hangs bags so they don’t spill all over the passenger side (see below) and stores wires so they aren’t sprawled all over the gear shift when I’m not using them.

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Confession: I put my makeup on in the parking lot before walking into work. It’s glorious. However, not so much when my brushes spill all over the passenger floor as I pull in. The S Hook keeps my bag firmly attached to the side of the passenger well and hooks neatly in the cup holder without compromising space for early morning coffees liquid gold.

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Lastly, the trunk. Umbrellas in Seattle…hahahaha. Moving on. A flashlight because I needed one recently, and the bins are for groceries to keep them for smashing my eggs or in case of a leak I can just wipe up the plastic and not carpet. The extra woven bins just provide more stability for smaller items.

 

Still on my must have list?

  • A SAFETY WINDOW HAMMER – I would adhere it to the roof of the middle console.
  • A GO BAG with glass water bottles (plastic eventually deteriorates/contaminates) and my life straws, can opener, blanket, change of clothes and shoes for everyone, batteries for the flashlight and I’m sure a few more essentials.

 

That’s pretty much it. I know as a mom I should have snacks and wipes and diapers, etc. But as a tidy lady I just can’t. Many of the items in there already went through serious necessity debate. In the end, you should take everything you bring into your car out. I have a diaper bag that has all his baby things and that goes with him. I don’t leave trash in my car anymore, I clean up stains and wipe frequently. And every time I get in the car I can relax because it is no longer on my tidy list and I can just drive.

 

Please comment, send pics and share your car tidying/organization techniques!

Enjoy. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

2016-2017 Free Floral Coloring Calendar

Coloring has quickly be come the old past time made anew for adults with what seems like millions of books being sold everywhere! I’ve been wanting to do a coloring book but haven’t the time, and I needed a calendar so voila. My new coloring calendar, and in honor of Mother’s Day I used flowers because all of us mommies deserve flowers every once in a while.

 

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You can download for you, download for a loved one or good friend and present as a gift, your kids can color the first page and give it to mommy on her special day, you can leave it black and white for some classy desk appeal. Each month has a new flower to change up the visual!

Thank you for visiting and enjoy this wonderful calendar by clicking on either of the sizes below.

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11×17 Floral Coloring Calendar

Weekend Coat Closet Cleanup

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Hello unfinished project from over a year ago. This is what happens when you get pregnant people. We just threw stuff on the ground after we had painted and ALMOST finished with the shelves and hangers. So this last weekend I busted it out. We even had a piece of wood in the garage for weeks to put up in there we have just been very busy with other projects. It called to me. I answered. Be prepared.

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Disclaimer. See those pebbles? Those aren’t rat droppings, they’re dog food from across the hallway.

That shows how much I avoided this closet.

Ok, can I just say: TILE FLOOR. We bought our house last year. I love it. But this stuff was sloppily installed throughout the upper floor (excepting the three bedrooms). COME ON. This stuff is the bane of my existence.  And the molding. Hello ugly brown that doesn’t match my style. The end is nigh.

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Again. Icky.

Yep. There is a shelf messing, junk all over the floor, winter coats that can get put away and cleaning supplies ALL OVER. I took every thing out of the closet. I cannot stress the importance, when de-cluttering and organizing, of removing all the items from the offended space. This is the only way you will really be able to evaluate what you have and what needs the boot.

 

Then if you’re feeling really crazy, buy some awesome baskets. Wire baskets. YAY! I found these for $11 on Amazon, the price may change as I believe they were $12 at one point but it’s a great deal either way.

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*shivers* I love baskets.

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I decided that the closet needed to serve three purposes.

1) A sort of linen closet with extra paper products and towels for the guest bathroom.

2) It needed it to be entryway ready to receive coats, purses, grocery bags to go back in to the car, etc.

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3) Lastly, my upstairs cleaning products. Just the usual cleaners, window, degreaser and duster. I also have my vacuum, broom and dustpan sweep in there. I had a clean freak moment and bought a new cleaning caddy in white as well as a smiley dustpan from World Market…because I needed them to match the project. I stand by my craziness.

 

And this is why. Hello, Lovely.

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So Happy.

DOLLAR LAUNDRY ROOM MAKEOVER

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Everyone wants a glorious laundry room that looks fancy and is functional. Maybe not everyone, but I haven’t met those who don’t yet! We just love throwing everything into our laundry rooms: cleaning supplies, extra large bins of liquids, towels, mops, brooms and everything else that doesn’t have a home. It can get pretty messy in there. So last week, Mrs. W  asked me for help getting her laundry room cleaned up and functional. She had a small budget because, let’s face it laundry rooms are lovely but there are other projects that call for our attention first. I love a challenge and this was the perfect weekend, dollar store makeover. Yes, please! I personally, am not a big dollar store shopper. Yet somehow I find myself there for random projects that need attention when I only have a few bucks to spend.

 

I wasted time researched on pinterest some ways to make her laundry room work, and headed to the dollar store for some pre-project shopping. Normally this is a BIG NO NO. I never shop for organizational materials before I evaluate the space and stuff. Most likely you have the bins, boxes and storage supplies you need to make your space work, especially after de-cluttering. However, in this case I wanted to get a good show of how you can really make a dollar store trip work for you and still look appealing. This lady has fabulous taste so I didn’t want it to look to cheesy in there.

I bought some bins, 2 cake tins, a bag of marbles (this list is getting funny) and some clothespins. When I got home I did a quick,white spray paint on the smaller plastic tubs on a diagonal for a cool look just to give them a fun element and break up all the teal that was going to rain down on her laundry room.

 

Here is what we headed into together.

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Hello you fabulous project.

 

First, We emptied that puppy out. EVERY SINGLE THING. This is seriously important. If you don’t get all of your items out of the space you are working in and throw it all on the ground you will never know how much you have and be encourage to de-clutter. Mrs. W said my favorite words, “Wow, I didn’t know I had so much stuff in there.” Music to my ears. My favorite de-clutter motivational speech and I don’t even have to give it.

We gave the room a good scrubbing and bribed her daughter into getting some fallen papers behind the laundry machine. She happily ran off with a quarter and later returned with three. Not sure how that happened. Afterwards Mrs. W quickly decided what she did need and what she loved compared to what she didn’t use, didn’t need and what simply didn’t belong in the laundry room. Random craft supplies, helmets and some cleaning liquids that could be stored elsewhere were booted politely excused.

(more…)

DIY – Marble Tile Tray

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FIRST DIY and this one is EASY! Let’s get started —

1 OVERALL TOOLS

 

SUPPLIES: (all of these supplies can be found at your local Lowes or Home Depot)

Marble tile ($4.49 locally for me)

Plastic bumpers (to protect the bottom of the tray – I had these on hand previously but they were about $3 for a packet that comes with 10 pieces: 4 large and 6 small)

Cabinet handles (the silver handles I bought at Lowes were $6 each but you can purchase something like it on Amazon for a lot less like these)

E6000 (usually about $6 – here is where you can get a nice sized tube for $6)

Ruler

Eraseable Marker

 

PROCEDURES

Step 1: Place your tile on a soft blanket, towel, etc. So as not to ruin the surface/counter you are working on.

 

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Step 2: Place a 12″ ruler along the edge of the tile, flush to the side so that you can mark where the cabinet handle will go. Use the ruler to align the handle to the middle of the tile and check to see how far you want the handle to go into the tile. It’s all personal preference here, but I like about an inch. If it is too close to the edge it doesn’t feel as secure to me.

 

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Step 3: Prepare your E6000 glue – be careful! When you take the cap off this stuff just oozes out the top fast – messy! Think: your morning shaving cream that continues to foam after you have put it down. So either wipe the glue till it stops oozing (it happens eventually after the initial pressure is released) or use it quickly.

 

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Step 4: Place your handles where you’ve marked with the eraseable marker and let it sit. Seriously, no touchy. It will take anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour to dry. Be paranoid. Wait an hour then come back to it. (You can even save this to your pinterest if you need something to do! 😉 )

Step 5: Come back, lightly nudge the handles to see if they’re firmly in place and slowly escalate your pressure to make sure they’re secure

NOTE: These tiles are not meant to be held by the handles they are purely decorative, always have a hand under the tile or against the sides to make sure you have extra support. Over time the glue can deteriorate and the handles might loosen – I have not had these long enough to say either way.

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Step 5: See those puppies? That’s what makes this project work. They protect your surface like nobody’s business and they look cute doing it. Bumpers. I LOVE these because they are more descrete than your average, ugly felt circle. And square. I just love squares. Paired with how perfectly you can line these little guys up with the corners and the fact that they’re slightly transparent so as not to disturb your look – Yes. Just yes.

Stick em’ on there. If you don’t have faith that these will stay you already have some glue on hand just waiting to be squeezed. Yes. I went there. Craft supplies just make me happy and tell terrible jokes.

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(Don’t mind the price tag – I removed it later)

You’re done. That’s it. Pure and simple, wonderfully crafted and ready for whatever and wherever you desire to place these in your home.

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Love it.

 

Until next time. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beginning

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When enough people tell you, “Hey, you should start a blog.” or “You need to sell this online or write a book on how to do this.” etc. you start to think …OK, sure… And that is the story of how I procrastinated starting a blog for 2 years!

So here is me 2 years later, plus one house, dog and newborn baby – writing a blog.

Sharing the in’s and out’s of my journey through de-cluttering and organization. My home is totally mostly neat and tidy in the clutter department. There is a random closet that can always use some updating and labeling. I am completely obsessed with labeling. Hold me back people. I have several clients upcoming who have blessed me with the privilege to work in their home and help them get their clutter managed. Those stories will be included in the near future with before and after photos as well as hints and tips on how to get things done!

I will also be throwing in some DIY projects, interior design, and random baby things. Because no bloggin’ mommy doesn’t talk about their newborn baby. Seriously though, hints and tips on babies – there are never enough for me. So we’re making that section happen.

Most of all – this site is for you to get some AWESOME ideas about how to de-clutter and organize your life with tips, how to’s and inspirational posts (with as little preaching as possible). I will also include DIY’s to make your newly organized abode look fantastically chic for a respectable budget. With how much my family spends on diapers I need to be creative here.

Lastly, I love graphic design! I will share freebies and downloads but of course a mommy has to make her living. I work part time but a little money to put in emergency savings is a must! I hope to one day be able to fully support my half of the household income with blogging and selling graphic design work but for now – this is it!

ENJOY!