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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

31 Reader Space: Sweet & Simple Organizing

You all know I am such a sucker for a great before and after!  And although I often feature larger projects and room makeovers, it is also important to get back to the basics and highlight those sweet and simple organizing projects that make a big difference!


Reader, Gretchen, is a stay at home mom and army wife, so they are constantly on the move, and she is always thinking up creative solutions for staying organized through it all.

Since she had a slew of great projects {you can find them all on her blog in the "organizing" tab}, I asked if I could feature a few, and she happily said, "YES!"

Project Number One:  The Linen Closet!

"I've had some baskets and bins that held all of our "Stock" items for a while. It usually looked like an insane mess and made my head hurt to look for anything.


So I went out and got a over-the-door shoe organizer and put it on the back of the door. I love it because everything has it's own specific pocket and everything is labeled! No more digging for razors or band-aids." 


  
Project Number Two:  The Fridge!

"You know how it is. Things are never where you need them to be. Perishables get lost in the back never to be seen again until a thick coat of something green has grown on them. Yup... not pretty. 

So I went to Walmart and bought a few of these awesome plastic bins with handles on them. 


Each has a purpose...

We have a bin for dairy {cottage cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, etc.} and a bin for cheese since we don't have a cheese drawer... A bin for Lolli's snacky things. She knows if it's in this bin, she can have it.  Unless it's right before dinner of course.


A Bin for my snacky things. The day can get crazy busy for me and its amazing to have things set out and ready. No more shoving a cookie in my mouth just to keep the Hunger Monster at bay."
Project Number Three:  The Pantry!

"The pantry in our new on-post housing is considerably smaller than what we are used to. All of our food would get lost in the back and expire simply because I didn't have it organized. Not anymore!! I bought a few baskets at a discount store and hid everything that wasn't exactly... pretty.
 I also had some dish stands from IKEA but they would always slip through the slats in the wire shelving. So I got some self-stick tiles {38 cents a piece} from the hardware store and stuck them to the shelving. No more slipping and they remove easily when it's time for us to move again.
To reduce the amount of boxes and free up some space in our pantry, I made mini snack bags and used a basket on a lower shelf to hold them. Kids can get their own snack and I can recycle the boxes!"



  • Gretchen is familiar with moving and I adore that each of her systems are things anyone can do in any home, big or small.  They will be adaptable in any space they head to in the future.
  • Although most would consider housing miscellaneous toiletries in a bin as being "organized", Gretchen knew it wasn't working for her.  She would rummage through the bin to find specific items and that was slowing her down and frustrating {I understand that as much as anyone!}.  The over the shoe door organizer allows her to categorize her belongings and uses vertical space, freeing up her shelves!  Now, she {or anyone in her fam} can quickly find anything, because it is all nicely labeled!
  • Speaking of labels, I really like how Gretchen secured the labels and that can be easily updated, making this a system that can stay versatile for years to come {and in future homes as well!}
  • Using pull out baskets in the fridge is simply genius.  Easy for her, easy for the kids.  How often have things gotten easily lost in the back of the fridge.  The pull about baskets will save her from tossing out forgotten foods and make it easy to find just what she is looking for!
  • I adore how she uses the baskets for different categories and that she has one that the kid's know is OK to snack from.  We have done something similar and it's always been a huge convenience!
  • We have also been a fan of pre-packaging snacks in the fridge and the pantry, as it's much simpler to snack healthy and portion control.  Not to mention, no prep needed when running out the door to a play date or sporting event, or for the kid's when their tummy's start rumbling.
  • Isn't the pantry before and after just awe inspiring?  I could gaze at it for hours!
  • I adore that she used sticky tiles to create a temporary solid surface on those grated shelves!  This allows her to use organizers to stack and more effectively manage her pantry!
  • Woven baskets are so great in pantries since they nicely conceal visual clutter, yet categorize contents and easily allow you to grab a basket vs. digging through shelves of items.
  • She also used clear storage in her pantry, which will always allow her to see what is remaining before a grocery trip!

A special THANK YOU to Gretchen for stopping by today with her great tips {you can find more and follow her blog here}!  I adore that Gretchen prides herself on being thrifty and resourceful, and that she finds solutions that she can take with her and use in any space they head to next!  

Let's chat about super simple organizing tips that have been huge time savers for you?  How about organizing projects that have worked well for you, no matter where you have lived?


ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life.  Please submit your story and photos here and I would heart to feature them right here, on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited.  Please include a description of the project, including any costs, inspiration, and how it has changed your life and routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog! 

31 comments:

  1. I'm in love with this post! I'm an Army wife as well and I loved to keep things organized and fit with the space. Always moving can be a bummer when you finally get your place the way you like it and then it's off to the next duty station!! I will for sure have to keep tabs on her blog. Love it! :)

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  2. Wow! These ideas are awesome! Going out to buy a couple of shoe organizers asap.

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    1. I use the clear shoe boxes at Walmart for my packs of seasonings and also for my bag of beans so my baby doesn't get into them.

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  3. Tons of great ideas - thanks for sharing!!

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  4. Love these ideas--especially the basket in the fridge for the kids. This could save me a lot of headaches. Maybe :)

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  5. I'm in love with that pantry make over! I really love those little baskets. And the fridge bins? Brilliant! Bravo!


    http://youaremy-sonshine.blogspot.com

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  6. I love the idea of using the tile on the wire shelving! I have a closet that has the same issue and this idea will totally solve many a problem areas in there! Thanks for sharing - it is often the smallest detail that is the biggest help!

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    1. Plus, the tile just looks nice, too!

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  7. The fridge basket idea is awesome. WOW, thanks for sharing all of these great tips. :)

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  8. Being an Army wife myself for 17 years now, I completely understand how things can get unorganized with every move. Awesome ideas. Love this.:)

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  9. I love shoe organizers! We use ours for mittens and hats in winter and flip-flops and sunhats in summer. Each person in the family gets a row...her fridge basket idea is wonderful! I love the idea of having one for kids to get their own snacks.

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  10. I love the pull out fridge baskets, would anyone happen to know where they are sold ?

    Thanks,
    Antonia

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    1. I got them from Wal-Mart about a year ago... They might still have them!

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  11. I also love the floor tiles on the wire shelves! Genius and hella-cheap!

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  12. I love your ideas and appreciate organizational skills. The fridge baskets and wall hanging pockets really inspired me.

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  13. I have been thinking of putting up one of those shoe organizers on the inside of my bathroom closet door - I had originally planned to use a clear one but since I was going to label it I guess an opaque one like Gretchen's would work too. Anybody else have an opinion on which one? :)

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    1. I was originally going to use the clear ones too. But seeing all that stuff in the pockets would make my head spin. If mess bothers you like it does me, go with the colored one. :)

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  14. just ran across your blog - I love it! so many great organization ideas, and so much fun!

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  15. I just sat down to take a little break from my afternoon projects and to read a bit of the iheartorganizing blog. I was so excited to see this post! I project I just finished was hanging a clear shoe pocket organizer on the door of my linen closet in the master bathroom!! Our doors are extra tall so I used 3M command hooks to put it up. So far so good! I am using it to store the extra supplies like toothpaste, shampoo, body wash etc, that I like to stock up on. Now I can see what I have, I won't overbuy and I know what I need to replenish. I love the look of the colored organizers, but skipping the labels and getting a good visual will be ok with me. I have a few pockets left over so I am going to use them to store washcloths and hand towels. If I roll them up they fit perfectly! Thanks for sharing, I can't wait to see what you do next!

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  16. I have done the same thing with clear shoe organizers in my pantry, I love the transparency!

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  17. Very nice feature story!!! Good for you!!!

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  18. Awesome ideas! Love the fridge organization... need to work on that in our house.

    By the way, I wanted to share my very simple tip on ribbon organizing:

    http://enjoyerofgrace.blogspot.com/2012/08/tip-of-day-ribbon-organizer.html

    It's not earth-shattering, but a good idea I think! :)

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  19. OMG! That sticky tile idea is absolutely BRILLIANT!

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  20. Any idea the comoany (mainstays, Rubbermaid) on those refridgerator bins? Too many online, was hoping to narrow it down!! :) want those for organizing categories for lunch packing (Having them pack their own!)

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  21. Scratch that! Found them! They are mainstays. Not online, but seems to be at most stores. Now off to go find them with UPC on my phone in case they are somewhere weird..l cuz I have never found them before! And I love to wander the bins! :)

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    1. I was just going to say that I think they are Mainstays... glad you found them!! We use them for so many things around the house :)

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  22. Great ideas! Since I started following you Jen, it seems like organization posessed me! I have a list the length of my arm of all the areas I need to reorganize :) I've gotten so many inspiring ideas from your blog! Gretchen definitely know how to organize too!

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  23. I love the shoe pocket idea for the bathroom! I am bad at remembering to add to the shopping list when we run out of something, so that's a perfect "inventory" management tool.

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  24. I LOVED this post! I look forward to reading more.

    New follower
    http://stillstanding86.blogspot.com/

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  25. This is why I LOVE your blog!!! I love the over the door shoe organizer idea for Stock items. Thanks!

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