Thursday, May 28, 2009

Organizing 101 -- Part 3

Ok, everyone! You're doing great!! You've cleared the clutter from your first space.

Now for Simple Organizing!
A Place For Everything, and Everything In It's Place

{I really would love to have a mud room! Someday! :) But in this home I have a deep yet small coat closet. Keeping my family's needs for coat, shoe, backpack, puppy, & purse storage in mind, and not wanting to spend much money, here's what I did! A basket for shoes keeps the pile off of the floor. Matching hangers work for big and little coats. Locker baskets for each family member's gear go on the shelf with a little tag showing the initial of each name. Hooks on the wall hold puppy gear. Too simple!!}

Keep your family in mind. Think about how your family uses the space. Make it easy for them to use your organizing system. For example, if items are always tossed on an entry table, use a system that enables your keys to be tossed into a pretty dish on the table. If your kids can't reach the hangers in the coat closet, install a few lower hooks for them to use. By keeping things simple and going with a system that works for your family & how they use the space, you'll ensure success!!

{I've never had my own master closet before! Our philosophy is that no matter the size of the closet, all of our clothes must fit inside it and the dresser. No more room, no more clothes!
Here I have "like" items together. All pants together, all tops together, all dresses together. And then organized by color. It makes finding my blue shirt so much easier! Sweaters are in insect free bins above, and purses line the shelf on the other side!}

Keep "like" items together. For example, in my kitchen I have just glassware in one cabinet, just dishes in another. Coffee & tea items including mugs, filters, scoops, sweeteners, etc are in their own little cabinet over the coffeemaker. By assigning each cabinet a specific "job" I have made it easier to find, use, and put away things in my kitchen.

The same thing works for just about anything in your home. Keep magazines in one holder & when it's full tear out the pages you want to keep, file them, & recycle the rest. Gardening things are placed together on a shelf in the garage. Keep it together!

{Puppy gear is stowed on hooks near the door where we take her "out"}

Keep items where you use them. Make it easy on yourself! If you always play games in the family room, why hide the games in the basement? Put them in a pretty basket and enjoy! This is the idea behind my "Coffee/Tea Station" above. By keeping all the coffee things where I use them (by the coffeepot), everything is quickly handy and easily accessible, and I'm not digging all around the kitchen for things on a daily basis!

K.I.S.S. -- Keep It Simple Sweetie!! Organizing a space does not have to cost a lot or be complicated! In fact, simple and low cost or FREE is best!

Don't feel like you have to have expensive bins and baskets in order to really be organized. Often, just placing an item neatly away in a space is enough. But if you have little things to corral, or items to separate into "like" things, sometimes you need a little something extra to help you stay organized.

Think about what you need for the items you're keeping and the space that you have. Then first look around your house for organizing options! Check thrift stores or dollar stores for baskets and plastic bins. Don't like the color? Just spray paint! If needed you can use a cute label or tag to help identify the items inside.

{This is my kids' playroom. They can easily and quickly put toys where they go with these inexpensive bins and wire shelving from T@rget. The bins each hold a different type of toy. Inside the bottom of the hutch holds dress up clothing. Just because it's a kid space doesn't mean it can't be attractive for the whole family!}

Stay Organized!

Once you have a place for things, everyone should know where to put them away! Every member of the family needs to be involved! Even quite young children can pick up toys or their shoes & toss them into a basket.

Make keeping this space neat & tidy a good habit! Getting organized is great, but keeping it that way takes just a little daily effort. It may only take a few extra seconds to hang a coat on a hanger or peg rack instead of tossing it on a chair, but it's so worth it!

For those things that don't get put away immediately during the day, we like to use a "10 Minute Clutter Cleaning" (click to read) method each evening to make sure the house gets picked up and the clutter stays under control.

The more you see and get used to a neat space, the more you'll want to keep it that way!

Beginning next week, I'm going to show you easy ways to tackle your clutter "Problem Areas" that you have mentioned to me! I'll be giving specific tips and be using lots of great pictures to help you out! :)

Happy Organizing!!!

ps---Thank y'all SO MUCH for all of your well wishes while I wasn't feeling my best this week! I just am so thankful for this blog community and all of the wonderful friends I've made here!! You're the best! :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sorry Y'all...

I know I promised a fun post today, but I'm still recovering from a bad UTI/Kidney infection. I had to go to the ER on Sunday afternoon, and am still not doing very well. So, today I really need to rest up. I hope that you have a good day, and till next time.....

Monday, May 25, 2009

Organizing 101--Part 2

"How To Get Started!"
Before we can actually organize, we first have to get rid of our clutter!

Wow! What a great response to the Organizing 101 series!! I plan to address those clutter issues that you are dealing with throughout this series. But first things first! I think for many of us the hardest part of getting our home organized is just getting started!


Before you do anything else, Take Some Time For Evaluation:
Get a notebook and pen and write down your thoughts regarding the following:

1) If you haven't read my last post, take a minute or two to do that. Determine what your home's clutter could be a result of. This will help give you insight to the start of the problem.

2) How do you want your home to feel? How do you want your life to be?

3) Where are your home's organizational "Problem Areas"? This could be an entire room, or sometimes just a smaller area like a countertop. List them all. Next to these spaces, write down your answers to: How does your family really use these spaces?

These answers will give you insight on how to come up with a system that works for YOUR family!


Choose one of your "Problem Areas" to begin in. I would suggest starting with the smallest space/job first. Not only will this be easier to get your organizing skills going with, but it will give you great satisfaction when you're done & motivation to do the next job!!

Don't think about ALL the organizing that you have to do in the house, just focus on the one small task at hand. (*this is especially important for women like me who get overwhelmed easily & freeze up, only making the problem worse!)


I guarantee that if you objectively look at the objects in that space, much of it is not needed.

Make 2 piles: "Get Rid Of" & "Keep". Trash will immediately be put into a wastebasket. The "Get Rid Of" pile will be for donate/sell items (you will sort that at the end -- keep your decisions now focused only on whether you'll get rid of or keep the item). Only keep what is beautiful, useful & ACTUALLY USED, or loved.

Now, this is where I'm going to get tough, people!

I think that getting rid of the clutter is the most important step in the organizational process. I also believe it's the hardest step for people to actually do. This is where you have to detach yourself a bit and think objectively. And if you have trouble with letting things go, this is where you ask your friend to be the "tough guy" and challenge you if you really NEED the item. Not WANT the item. Not think you'll use it "someday". But do you NEED it?!!

Only you can determine what you really need to keep on in your home. But think back often to your evaluation lists. Does having extra clutter around help you reach your goals of how you want your home and life to feel? Does keeping these clutter items help you with how your family uses this space? Will hanging on to so much ultimately bring you peace or stress?
Think about this if you're having trouble deciding if something goes or stays.

Once you've gone through the entire space, take a look at your "Keep" & "Get Rid Of" piles.

Quickly look at that "Keep" pile to see if anything else in there could be added to the "Get Rid Of" pile. I'm sure that a couple things you weren't sure of before can make their way over there!

Next, go through the "Get Rid Of" pile and sort into "Donate" or "Sell" items. Immediately bag up the Donate items and place in your car trunk or call an organization to pick up. If you are going to Sell any items, then right now determine when your garage sale will be in the short future or get them listed on Cr@igslist.

Congratulations!!! You did it!!! :)

On Wednesday I'll give you the next installment of the Organizing 101 series!
Come back tomorrow for a fun post :)!

Again, if you have any questions about problem areas in your home, or spaces you'd like to see mentioned in this series, let me know in the comments section! I plan to go over each of your issues starting later this week!! :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Organizing 101

As a former "messie girl" turned "organizing enthusiast", I know first hand how living a life filled with clutter can affect you, your family, & your home! Because my passion is helping other women Create Welcoming Homes, I'd like to start a series called:
Organizing 101 ~
"A Place For Everything, and Everything In It's Place"
I grew up with the 2 neatest, most organized parents who ever existed. How I was so messy as a teenager was beyond them! Even as a young wife and mom, I struggled with keeping control of the clutter in my home. It's not that I didn't have a CLEAN house. Oh, I cleaned and scrubbed, washed and folded, dusted and's just that I had these little piles....piles of clutter! It's not that I was a "pack rat" either, although I had certainly married one which didn't help. My problem came from being un-organized!
Do you relate? Feel overwhelmed by the clutter in your home? I'd like to share what I have learned through the years here with you!! :)
photos from Google images

Clutter can be a result of several things:

1) Procrastinating ~ not taking care of things immediately or in a timely manner. This can include waiting to go through the mail, not putting laundry away, & tossing papers in a pile "for later".

2) Trying to "do it all", all by yourself. Let me tell you now, it just can't be done! You need the help of EVERY family member!

3) Feeling overwhelmed ~ You're so overwhelmed by it all that you figure adding one more thing to the pile won't matter. Or, you get so overwhelmed that instead of taking action, you do the opposite and "freeze up", unable to even start a small project.

4) Being a perfectionist! It's true! You feel you have to have the time or energy or space or special bins and labels to "do the job right". You end up thinking, "Without these things, why bother?" And when you do start a clutter cleaning project, you drag everything out & make an even bigger mess than there was to begin with trying to do a job "perfectly"! Then you get sidetracked or overwhelmed, and are stuck.

5) Holding on to objects for the wrong reasons.

Clutter Results In:

1) Drained Energy ~ It literally feels like you are being dragged down. It sucks the Peace out of your life.

2) Drained Time ~ Your family wastes precious time looking for keys, library books, a pair of shoes, even the chocolate chips! Time better spent feeling at peace, spent together, spent actually doing something productive with what you are looking for!

3) Drained Bank Account ~ You'll end up spending more $$ if you know you HAVE an item and can't find it, or FORGET you have an item and purchase a duplicate.

4) Children who may end up living their lives with disorganized habits as well. Habits that could affect schoolwork, family time, and in the future, jobs and home lives. {*in my opinion, if nothing else will get you to stick to keeping out the clutter, this thought should!}

Are you feeling overwhelmed by clutter? Do you have a certain area in your home that tends to collect the clutter? Do you want to know how to organize a specific place in your home?

Share it in the comments! And I'll do my best to address these things in this series!!

Next time, I'll share "How To Get Started!" :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

There's Something About Stacey

My friend ALVN from WhisperWood Cottage ( go check out her amazing junkin' skills and gorgeous photos!) has tagged me for a "6 Things About Me" meme!
So, here goes:
  1. My middle name is Michelle (at least it was until I made my maiden name my legal middle name when I got married!).

  2. I just love blue hydrangeas! Hydrangeas, roses, peonies, ranunculus, tulips, foxgloves...all favorites of mine!

  3. I love Nantucket!!! The weathered shingles, cobblestone streets, beautiful gardens, beaches where you can daydream and collect sea glass...I love it all!
  4. My drivers license lists my hair color as "blonde". Which it obviously is not...except if you're the DMV guy who just fills in that answer by himself and prints out my license that way...then makes excuses that it really does look kinda blonde and won't change it. humpfh.

  5. I love blogging ... but for some reason haven't told anyone I know that I have a blog!

  6. And Surprise -- Very very soon I will be announcing the Grand Opening of my new etsy shop "haven"! Fresh Classic Style for the home!!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mindless Fun

Find me on Polyvore

I just spent the past bit goofing off on! Seriously mindless & seriously fun!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fun Chalkboard Paint Project

I had the best time at the Raleigh Flea Market this past Saturday! One of the treasures I found was this beautiful old picnic basket! I have been searching for several years for just the right picnic basket, and was so excited to find this one and for a great price, too!

I have had this project in mind for years, just waiting for the right picnic basket to come along:

It involves the picnic basket & guessed it!....Chalkboard paint!!!!!!

I painted a couple of coats on the inside of the lid. This way when you lift the lid to get out your goodies everyone can see your fun message!

I used Chalk Ink markers made just for chalkboards (found @ Michael's or on Amazon) to write about the fun things you do on a picnic! This would also be cute for writing your picnic menu, or a quote or love note!

The cool thing about these Chalk Ink markers is they don't smudge, so the writing doesn't come off till you clean it with water or a little ammonia based cleaner! Perfect for this project....your message won't be erased by the yummies in your basket!

No lid on your picnic basket???

Just get a small chalkboard, drill 2 holes in the top of the wood (or just use your trusty hot glue gun!) and tie it with ribbon to the front of your basket!

Easy-peasy lemon-squeezey!!!

Tuck in some pretty fabric to line your picnic basket, and fill with:

mouth-waterin' yummy goodies
pretty vintage little plates you found thriftin'
some binoculars for bird watching
a frisbee or bubbles or deck of cards
a good book or magazine to gaze at
a couple of plastic grocery bags to hold dirty dishes on the way home
and your camera to capture the memories!

My girls are home on track-out (they go to a year-round school....9 weeks tracked in school, then 3 weeks tracked out...all year round....yes, they get additional holiday breaks, and yes we LOVE it!) so I'm heading to the kitchen now to pack a yummy picnic lunch for the family!

Isn't this project fun?!!
Let me know if you try this too!

ps--Thank you SO much to everyone for the dear birthday messages y'all left me yesterday! It totally made my day :)!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

You're Invited!

Welcome, Dear Friends!! Today is my birthday, won't you come to my party?!! :)

It would be so wonderful to get together with y'all!
So come on over to The Blessed Nest!

We can sit in my garden surrounded by roses.....

....and eat SWEET cupcakes with pink icing & drink some lemonade!

amy atlas design

We'll spend hours laughing and talking,

and before saying, "See you soon!"

everyone can fill a goodie bag with yummy sweet treats from

The Candy Bar.....
amy atlas design

I'm so glad that you could come to my party today!!! :)
It does the heart good to be among friends!!

ps--I'm planning a fun project to show y'all tomorrow! So come on back and visit some more then!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Creating a Welcoming Home for Spring!

Ahh, Spring glorious Spring! The time of year for fluffing our nests, saying goodbye to winter's chills, and welcoming the sunny days ahead!

Here are a few ways we can welcome this Spring into our homes using the 5 senses:

Sight -- Enjoy the bright, cheery colors of spring by spreading touches of spring color around your home! Add some fun accessories in citrus colors, or the color of your favorite flowers. Exchange darker colors in your home and wardrobe for those that are light & bright! Watch the children playing in the backyard! See the bees a-buzzin' around the flowers, and praise God for His creativity when looking at all of the different flowers and plants bursting forth from the ground! Clear out that clutter and do a little Spring cleaning for an instantly more beautiful home! Write a little note on a chalkboard saying, "Welcome, Friends!"

Sound -- Take some time to slow down and enjoy the sounds of Spring! Listen to the falling rain. See if your family can identify birds by their songs! Open the house windows and let in some of nature's music along with that wonderful fresh air! Remember that you set the tone for your home, and use a peaceful tone of voice! Be sure that your family hears an "I love you" from you at least once every day! Play some upbeat music to encourage a good mood while doing your seasonal cleaning!

Taste -- Go and pick some fresh strawberries straight from the farm, then make a yummy dessert! Share some lemonade with a friend on the porch swing. Hold the first outdoor barbeque/cookout with a top your own burger bar, and invite another family to join you! Start an herb garden and use the herbs in your recipes. Have a picnic! Treat the kids to a treat from the ice cream truck & go ahead and treat yourself too while you're at it!

Touch -- Put away those sweaters, and pull out your Spring wardrobe! Place crisp, cool, cotton sheets on your bed, and a lighter coverlet as well. Add some linen napkins to your table settings for meals. Walk barefoot in the grass. Get your hands in the soil and add a plant to your garden. Give your loved ones an extra hug!

Smell -- Light a fresh smelling, and lighter scented candle every day for a soothing atmosphere! Notice the air after a rain. Actually take the time to smell the roses! :) Fill your home with the scent of a fresh baked fruit pie! Chase the musty dust bunnies away with a good Spring Cleaning! On sunny days, open the windows to air out the house! Bring a bouquet of flowers inside and enjoy the lovely scent they bring!

I hope that y'all are enjoying SPRING! What do you just love to do in the Springtime?!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Vintage Rules!!

Today The Blessed Nest is Going:

Since several of you were asking me about the blue cabinet in my master bedroom (in pic below), and were wanting to know more about it, and where do I find my fun antique pieces, I thought I'd share some of my "wisdom" for getting your own "fun finds"!

Here are my "Rules For Finding and Using Antique/Vintage Pieces":

You can find them almost anywhere! From flea markets, to fun little shops, to a relative's attic, to a garage sale, to a thrift store, to the curb next to the trash can! If you are interested in adding some character to your home, and are drawn to antiques or a fun flea look, then have fun & shop around!!

The more you get lookin' & shoppin' the better off you'll be because you'll know:

What to look for. You'll start knowing when things are priced about right, too high, or when you're getting a great deal! (Thrift stores & garage/estate sales often have the lowest prices. Antiques stores & shops are often highest, I think. But know your stuff! Sometimes these shops can yield more unique items & sometimes for a great price!!)

If getting the "real deal" vs. a reproduction is important to you, you'll also start to recognize the difference, and the quality of items as well.

Don't be too quick to judge! A piece that most people might pass by could end up with a fabulous new life in your home! We bloggers all know what a good can of spray paint can do! If you're drawn to an item, see what you could do with it! Maybe you won't use it for it's original purpose at all, but it could look great and function well for you given a new role! I have lots of pieces that I've "re-purposed" and given a new job in my home.

Everyone loves the small little things that you can find when junking: old doorknobs, silverware, books, transferware, and even tinier bits & baubles! And they are certainly fun to add to your decor (and often inexpensive enough for most of use to buy!). But to make more of an impact, I would encourage you to:

Choose Statement Pieces! A statement piece is a larger piece that really becomes a focal point of a room or a wall or maybe just a vignette. These items are NOTICED and can really "make" a room!! (Like the giant chalkboard in an antique frame in my kitchen--pic down below) (or the blue cabinet in my bedroom)
These are pieces that you LOVE, and I guarantee you'll gain a bigger and better impact for your space with a statement piece than you will with lots of cluttery tiny things.

Where's it gonna go?? Some people say that if you love an item you should get it, even if you don't know where you'll put it. I say, that's a sure way for it to end up in the garage!

Think about where it could go in your home. You don't have to have a specific decision right there at the garage sale :), but the truly best pieces are ones: that look great alone or in groupings, & can work in various rooms of your home in various ways!
(For example: a great old dresser could be an entry table, a dining room buffet, or actually be used in a bedroom as intended!)

Choose items based on what YOU LOVE, not what is "in". Just because everyone is going gaga for a certain item in all of the blogs and shelter magazines doesn't mean that you have to love it too!

Think about YOUR style, what works for YOUR family, and what YOU LOVE and go with that! In addition, don't be worried about what anyone else will think of an item if YOU love it!

Around 8 years ago or so, I bought a really cool bench made from an old door. I LOVED it!!! It was going out of my decorating comfort zone at the time, with all of the chippy deep faded pink and cream paint, but I had to have it! I placed it in my home's entry, and every one of my friends wanted to know "when are you going to paint it?"!! They were shocked when I said I was leaving it as is, but NOW they all love it and want to know where I've placed that piece every time we move!! :)

Actually use and love your fun finds!! The best way to enjoy your new find is to use it! Give it a fun new purpose and enjoy (like my Pepsi crate turned garden magazine holder!)! And then take a picture and blog about it so the rest of us can see too :)!!

ps-- I got the blue cabinet at a local antiques store. I don't think that the paint is original, it's been painted over several times. The glass in the door does look old with it's bubbles! I can use it in lots of ways in lots of rooms, and I LOVE it! :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Birthday!!

Today is my little one's 7th birthday!!!

I can't believe my "baby" is 7 years old!! Doesn't seem possible! :) I am going to be busy today with her classroom "party", and getting her family party ready for tonight! Gotta make a pink cake fit for a princess, and get the decorations set for my special girl!

I hope that y'all have a wonderful day today & give a hug to someone you love!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Fun Weekend & Fun Finds

We went to the Biltmore this weekend for some relaxing family time!!! The Spring flowers, especially the azaleas, were in peak bloom! I thought I'd share some pictures with you!

The girls were getting sillier and sillier!

One of the kids took this pic of me and Hubby! They did pretty good :)!
(Check out that crazy wavy humidity hair on me!! :)

Everything was SO beautiful! We just loved wandering the Gardens!

We had a great time together! We toured the gardens and the Biltmore house, went to the children's petting barn, and also did some local shopping!! The prices were pretty high in Asheville, in my opinion, but I managed to snag a few vintage treasures anyway!!

So I thought I'd join in Rhoda's Today's Thrifty Treasures party!

I got this fun old galvanized tin seed tray! Love the slots on either side of the handle for a label!

I also found a pair of decorative wood pieces that (so the dealer told me) came off of a mid 1800's dresser. They'll get a nice coat of paint and be hung at our new house....when we get one! :)

A 1950's globe and a fun Florida tea towel with pink flamingos on it (!) round out my fun finds!

I hope that you all had a great weekend!
I have some fun posts planned this week, so come and visit again!