Monday, January 26, 2009

Bookshelf Storage

Bookshelves are great for storing books as well as other knick-knacks.

Here are some ways to create interest and organization…

  1. Alternate stacking books horizontally as well as vertically.

  2. Stack figurines or other decorative items on top of horizontal books

  3. Have photo frames in front of the books.

  4. Do not put too many tschotkes on one shelf together, disperse them to different shelves.

  5. Put similar types of books together on one shelf or in one area of the shelving.
  • Religious

  • Kids

  • Mystery

  • Textbooks

  • History

  • Biographies

  • Miscellaneous

6. You can also get holders for magazines that you are saving. We save our National Geographic magazines so we have special holders for those, but you can always get a non-specific magazine holder to make it look more appealing.

7. If you have enough space, a great way to showcase a book that you enjoy is to have it on a book stand or easel, open to maybe a favorite chapter or picture within the book.

Til next week,


Monday, January 19, 2009


Hi everyone,

I'm sorry but I am going to be volunteering for one of the official Inaugural balls tomorrow evening and have been caught up in all the volunteer meetings and so forth so there will be no post for today.

I promise to have a post next week though.

In case any of you are attending any of the Inaugural events, please make sure to bundle up. Get your gloves, scarves, hats and ear warmers. Wear layers and make sure you have plenty of water and snacks with you.

Enjoy the week!


Monday, January 12, 2009

Organizing Basics

A place for everything and everything in its place.
-Mrs. Beeton, from The Book of Household Management, 1861

It's time to start your organizing project but where do you begin?

Many people become very overwhelmed when it comes time to organizing their home or office. The task can seem very daunting. There are too many things to do. There are too many items to look through. There are too many rooms to overhaul. There is not enough time. Many give up before they even begin.

The first thing to know before you begin organizing anything is that not all of it has to get done in one day. It may have taken you years to get to the point that you are at right now, so why would you think that you can get it all done in one day or even in a matter of hours?

If you need to organize your home and there are many areas to work on, take it one room (or even one area of a room) at a time. Focus on one room per week or weekend. Start with the smallest room or even the smallest closet. Whatever you can do to ease the stress and anxiety you feel when it comes to organizing is the best approach. The more overwhelmed you feel when you do anything, the easier it is to just give up and leave things as is or in an even worse condition from when you first began.

When you start small, and actually get something finished, you have a sense of achievement and then those bigger rooms don't seem as scary to attack. Does it matter that it took you every weekend for one whole month or even a bit longer? No. What matters is, the room or area that you now have is clean and clutter free. You got it done. Be proud of yourself.

Here are the basics for getting started.

Begin with just one problem area in a room.

  1. In order to decide which area to start on, decide what bothers you the most. Is this a room that maybe has too many toys? Get out 4 large trash bags. Make a pile of what to keep, what to donate, what does not belong in this room and what to trash.
  2. If you have items that you are not quite sure what to do with, figure out the last time it was used. If it was used over a year ago (and it is not a seasonal item), put it in the donation pile. Don't think twice about it. The more time you take pondering on what to do with each item, the more time your room will look the same as when you originally walked in to it.

Go on to the next problem area...and then to the next with this same approach till the whole room has been completed.

  1. What to keep pile - keep these to the side. Donation pile - take these to your nearest donation center (Value Village, Salvation Army, etc.). Doesn't Belong pile - put these in the room that it belongs in. Trash pile - put these out for the trash man.

Keeping the area tidy with organization.

  1. Now that you have cleaned up the clutter in this room, what will you do to keep it looking this way?
  2. Figure out an organization tactic so that this is not a weekly project. However, it is certainly OK to do this type of assessment (especially with toys or clothes) with the 4 large bags on a quarterly or yearly basis.
  3. Decide the best tools to use for organizing this area. Baskets, bookshelves, toy boxes, and other storage ideas to hold items so that they don't overwhelm the space is ideal.

Put your tactics to good use.

  1. You have all your organization tools in place; now start using them.
  2. Take your what to keep pile and put them where they belong.
  3. Use your new organization tactics every day or every time you go in to this room. Make it a habit and it only gets easier.

Now that you have a room completed, hopefully you will feel a sense of accomplishment. Each room hereafter will have its own challenges but at least now you have the tools to face these challenges head-on.

Organization is not always easy but it does get easier when you practice the skills that you have learned on a consistent basis.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Odd Wall Spaces

Nail-Free Walls

Have a wall that you can't put a nail through? Try vinyl lettering; they are different and can be very specific to you (your favorite phrase, your own saying, something specific to the room you are in, etc.) and can also fill a space quite beautifully! The one below is what we have in our home. It is on a wall where the duct is behind and thus no nails can be used in it.

Vinyl lettering is so unique and therefore may be used in any area of your house to add some interest to an otherwise drab area. They can be found in many stores such as Target, Kohl's or Walmart. I got mine off of EBay. They are very easy to put up and can easily be removed when you want to re-decorate. The lettering can also be done in different font styles and colors.

Prefer your framed art or photo frames on the wall, but still don't want to put nails through them? Or you live in an apartment and can't put nails through the walls?

Try these Adhesive Strips by 3M. We got these from Lowes and they work great.

These strips hold on strongly to the wall (just press on to the wall for mere seconds). They come off cleanly and create no surface damage (if you make a mistake or change your mind, simply pull the tab to remove it from the wall without making a mark). Each hanger holds 5 pounds (if the item is slightly heavier, I would not use this - the nail would be a lot safer). Besides framed art work, you can also put up posters. We used this approach in our children's bedrooms. 3m also makes Poster Strips.

Other ideas of items to put on your walls using these strips include:

  • baskets
  • unique paper mache art
  • children's art work
  • masks
  • interesting decals


Don't want to put items up on your wall but you still want to create interest? Try adding a splash of color to just one wall to make a dramatic impact. I think this works great when the wall or area itself is oddly shaped.

Small rooms with dramatic paint can also make the room more interesting and inviting.

Afraid of color? Don't be. If you don't know where to begin, try getting paint samples from either a paint or hardware store and put some on either a piece of drywall or on a white drop cloth and tape it to the wall. This way you will know if it is something that you do or do not want on your walls; and if you don't like it, you wouldn't have sacrificed much time and effort in to it.

Another neat paint idea is to paint a wall that is a chalkboard or a magnetic board or both. This would work great in a child's room, a play room or even in the kitchen or the mud room.

No matter what you end up doing with that space you have, have fun doing it.

Till next time,


Whatever It Takes