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Linen closet refresh

As I mentioned last week, I spent half a day re-organizing our linen closet and the boys’ linen closets. You can see my original organization here and here. I decided to re-organize them because J figured out how to unlock the child proof handle on the door and I decided that all of their medicine and anything we didn’t want them messing with needed to be moved.

Thus, their linen closet is now storage for towels, beach towels, spare sheets, and items like shampoo and toothpaste.

And then I purchased a bunch of new plastic drawers and re-organized and sorted through all of our medicine and the boys for our linen closet:

It is a lot easier to find things now and it gave me an opportunity to purge old make-up, etc. and get everything cleaned back up!

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Re-organizing a linen closet in an hour

So if you remember about a year ago I re-organized the boys linen closet in their bathroom. I have successfully managed to keep it organized. I have been staring out our linen closet in our bathroom for a few weeks trying to manage how I was going to straighten it out. Here is the before:

re-organizing a linen closet/cupcakes and commentary I had some basic organization with a few plastic drawer containers, but it basically had just gotten out of control.

When I organize there are three basic things that I have found that lead to messiness (and a lot of this is based on my favorite Bernstein Bears book “The Messy Room”…I am such a weirdo, I know!):

1. Lack of storage. When there is no baskets or buckets to put things they just get thrown anywhere.

2. Hording. I had broken clips, thrown into a basket, that were twenty years old. Seriously.

3. Lack of an understood system. If there is no collective understanding of where things are supposed to go, then anybody putting them away puts them anywhere.

And that is how I turn organization obsessiveness into a helpful set of notes for you. HA!

Okay so here is how I re-organized. I will show you the after:

IMG_1699Ta da! Major change.

Here is what I did:

1. I first pulled everything out of the closet. I vacuumed the floor and wiped the racks with a Clorox wipe. I also wiped down the door and baseboards. Don’t forget to use the hose of your vacuum to clean any cobwebs from the ceiling area.

2. I took a big garbage bag and threw away all old containers, yucky hair items, etc. I gathered up all old pill bottles in a big ziploc and put it up in our laundry room in our safe disposal container (it has batteries and lightbulbs…okay bear with me) to be safely disposed of. Make sure you remove any identifying labels of prescription bottles.

3. Bottom row. Towels, hand towels, basket for washcloths.

4. Next row up: My make-up tray (which I had previously cleaned out. I just straightened it up a bit). A drawer container that I first threw away any random items, and cleaned up. On top of the drawer container I had two old aqua containers (that are an office supply item that I got a long time ago from Target for a dollar) that I used one to put taller medicine bottles in that wouldn’t fit in the drawer and the one behind it had the over 30 brand new razors I found. I guess they were running a special at sometime?? And then next to the drawer is our spare set of sheets.

4. Next row up. So there is the large drawer container in the middle that holds all of our medicine items. On top of that I have what I call the “allergy/injury bin”. It is a bin that has benadryl, band-aids, and other items that if needed quickly I could find fast. To the left of that I made use of an old nintendo holder that my husband had stuck out in the garage (okay I hid it out there). It was an awesome find because it has dividers and looks pretty sleek…I know you can’t see it well in the picture, but the first divider has bar soap, the second has rubbing alcohol and a bag of cotton balls and the third is for the q-tip box. Okay to the right of that is a large basket, containing:

Travel ItemsTravel items. Remember in my travel post I stated about having ready to go travel items. While I collected them all and put them in this basket for easy transfer to a bag for travel. I found FOUR travel toothpastes under my husband’s sink. Just saying.

5. So top row. I found these two rectangle baskets in the garage. For full disclosure, I have asthma and have a nebulizer that I have to keep on hand. So the brown basket has that with all of my supplies in it, so I can reach it quickly but the cords aren’t falling all over the place as you may have seen them in the before picture. The orange basket I lined the bottom with a plastic garbage bag and put all of our bathroom cleaning supplies in it.

6. And of course the very bottom of the closet has a pop up hamper and a small trash bin. This hamper is for towels and linens only. I told you I was crazy organized right? I have a specific hamper in each linen closet for towels and linens. In our closet-closet I have our clothes laundry hamper and then in the boys linen closet they have a small hamper by the towel hamper for A’s clothes. J has a separate hamper in his room for his clothes because he gets changed more frequently and it’s easier to toss things in there. If that doesn’t tell you about my love of organization I don’t know what does!

7. Oh and that paper on the door? That’s our cleaning schedule. Told you I was Danny Tanner. 🙂

*Two side notes: First, I didn’t spend any money doing this (in fact I found a dollar in change), I found all the bins from ones we were not using in other places of the house. Second, it took me exactly an hour…the time of J’s nap that day in the morning.

Happy organizing! 🙂

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Linen Closet Purge

I realized the boys’ linen closet had gotten a little out of control:

So the other afternoon I dumped everything out of the closet:

Among other things, we had over fifteen pillowcases, several sets of double sheets (and we don’t have a double bed anymore), many MANY old beach towels, random plastic wipe holders, soap dispensers, and lots of old medicine.

I sorted through everything and made stacks of attic, toss it, and donate it.

I read a great article on how to tackle quick closet cleaning and thoughtfully donating items that you can find here.

Also, if you are planning to get rid of old medicine, make sure you dispose of it properly (flushing it down the toilet or tossing it in the trash is not it). Most cities have information on their government page on times and places you can get rid of old medicines. For example, our city’s police force does a drive where you can drop off old medicines that they will then dispose of, so they won’t get into the hands of children or trickle into a water supply.

In addition, the boys’ linen closet has to double as a tornado shelter (it’s the most interior room of the house), another reason why I wanted to clear the closet out. Usually if we have a tornado warning I am throwing everything out of the closet, which is not really a good approach to using it intelligently. I also took the opportunity to buy a few things that I realized I needed for the boys. Mainly new towels for each of them, infant washcloths, face washcloths for A, and new sheets for A.

I also re-organized their medicine and put it safely out of reach of A since he can now access that closet on his own. So here is the completed closet:

As you can see I kept it pretty bare. The boys have towel racks in the bathroom for their everyday towels. Also, the bottom rack of the linen closet pops up and out, so if we do have a tornado warning I can quickly pop up the rack, remove the hampers and it will fit one adult and two children safely.

I was pleased with the result! I eventually would like to purchase new hampers for the base area, but these are quite beneficial as A understands which one is for his clothes and one is for towels.

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Weekend Adventures

On our three day weekend, I did paper shredding, laundry, linen closet cleaning, and study straightening, all of which are super exciting adult tasks that I did not take pictures of. Ha! However, here are some of the actual exciting parts of our weekend…

I finally got the chance to wear my new boots! Although this picture makes it look a lot colder than it actually was:

On Saturday we celebrated my Dad’s birthday by going to Mellow Mushroom and then back to my parents for cake and presents:

On Sunday we went to church and then B headed to cub scouts with A, and J and I went searching for a family of turtles:

We did not find the turtle family, but we did see a blue heron catch a big fish, and collected some leaves:

And then A had a basketball game Sunday night:

The boys started out Monday by dragging out all of their tsum tsums and playing tusm tsum vet:

And then B and A started working on A’s pinewood derby car:

And tomorrow we’re back to work and school! And basketball games! And cub scouts! Is it the weekend, yet??

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Boys’ Bathroom Update

Here is the before:

Bathroom before

And here is the after:

Boys' Bathroom: CupcakesandcommentaryWelcome to the boys’ updated bathroom!

Basically, my plan was to update the room to what I had originally envisioned it to be, when I bought the shower curtain and shower hooks four and a half years ago. The colors that I used to update it were all based on that curtain and hook pattern, and what I love most about it is it will transition as the boys grow. Eventually the animals will move out, but the color scheme can stay.

Boys' Bathroom Update: CupcakesandcommentaryThe canvases were both A and I’s creation. The elephant one we did when he was little with finger paint, and I traced and painted the elephants over. The geometric one we created just using painter’s tape and lots of coordinating colors. The shelf items included a plastic pitcher for holding bubble bath, a container of bubble wands (because they constantly fit over them in the tub), my vintage rubber duckie (that’s right it’s a Sesame Street original), a clock, and a little set of robot wheeled bowls.

Boys' Bathroom UpdateCan I just stop for a minute and say the shower curtain rod replacement may have been the most challenging thing I attempted? The broken rod left a dime size hole in the wall that I had to fill and repaint. AND I didn’t realize upon my purchase that the screws would position differently for a circular towel rod versus the rectangular one.

One of the things that I have learned with A is to change slowly. The first thing he asked when I was re-doing the bathroom is that I not take out any of his “stuff”. So that’s why I kept the shower curtain, and several other pieces:

Boys' Bathroom Update: CupcakesandcommentaryLike our friend the giraffe toothbrush holder

Towel HolderTheir hooded towel holder

MonkeyAnd the little monkey soap container, that contains no soap.

My big projects were the signs by the hand towel rack:

Wash your hands signThese are vintage frames that my Grampie made. I spray painted them white and then created and added the picture hand wash reminders for the boys.

And then my wall sign:

Wash this wayI have an odd knack for creating songs from songs for the boys. This is a reference to that and my husband and I’s quirky sense of humor (it’s a take on Aersomith’s Walk this Way if you are not hearing the song in your head yet…there you go. You’re welcome).

Wash this way signIf you look at the picture close you can see I matched the blue to the blue shower hook, and then created an ombre effect by just adding white before I went to each next letter.

What cracked me up about this is my 7 year old nephew said “wash this way? There’s a certain way you are supposed to wash?” HA! The irony. Then he decided I should get a sign with an arrow pointing to the shower, so people completely understand they are to wash this way. Reason number 670 why I love that kid.

Now let’s look at the wall stripes:

DIY Wall Stripes I got the idea from watching an episode of Sarah 101 on HGTV and I thought…wall stripes! I can do that! There is a very subtle difference, but it is a lighter green, darker green, lighter green, and then a taupe. I am going to eventually repeat the darker green under the taupe, but honestly I was tired! And it looks good for now. I varied the tape dimensions so there are wider and smaller lines in between.

The wall stripes were not super difficult, the biggest obstacle is getting them straight and getting the paint to not leak through the tape. My Dad has a straight edge that was my Grampie’s that we used with a level to mark straight lines all the way across with a pencil and then I taped along the lines. It is 100% a two person job to do that.

The other tip my parents gave me (that I didn’t do because I ran out of paint before, but you should do it!) was to paint over the taped lines with the wall color and let it dry and then paint your colors. It will create a seal so you will run less chance of having the paint bleed through. Super smart! I had a bit of paint spread, but nothing major. However, I am a bit of a perfectionist with that stuff and went back and hand painted the stripes and wall so it wouldn’t show.

So now just a few organizing updates:

IMG_2630I bought a new toy holder because ours had gotten yucky with bath scum and picked up a whale cover for the tub faucet because our other faucet cover would never stay on.

Amazingly the boys favorite part of the update was their new rug:

RugSeriously. It is a really boring color, too! I went with one that was easy to vacuum, wash, and would just blend in. It is also memory foam and both boys had a fit over it (“It’s my turn to sit on the rug!”).

About a year ago I posted about organizing the boys’ linen closet and I wanted you to see that I updated that just a bit:

linen closetBy adding new larger bins and moving their medicine and humidifiers to the top shelf.

Linen closetThe bottom is relatively the same, but the organization that I did has kept up! Yeah for us!

So that’s it! Two things that were out of the budget that I would like to do eventually is to frame around the sink mirror and get one of these sweet pictures to frame and add.

Oh and just in case you are wondering here is my product list!

Wall Color Paint: I used a leftover gallon of paint that I had from when J’s room was painted, which means I am truly not sure what the color is. It was a light mint green from Behr if that helps!

Dark Paint Stripe: Behr Vineyard

Lighter Paint Stripe: Behr Grassy field

Taupe Paint Stripe: Valspar Oatlands Subtle Taupe

Wash this Way Sign: Hobby Lobby Chipboard Letters, Paint Color: Amsterdam Acrylic Sky Blue Light (mixed with pure white to create ombre). I also spray painted the letters first with white to completely cover the cardboard color. I attached them to the wall using first painter’s tape to position them and then command strips to keep them in place and not damage the wall. Again I used a straight edge and level to make sure they were in line.

Shelf, Towel Rod: Target

Baskets, rug, shower basket and faucet cover: Target

All shelf items from Target, except for rubber duck and bubble wand container

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Super A’s Bathtime

One of Super A’s favorite things to do in the evening is take a bath. It could be because it’s a 100 degrees out (not joking), and so going outside has hardly been easy lately. I’ve never really had a summer where I’ve longed for fall (I’m definitely a warm weather person), but this year I am done. The worst part is knowing we still have probably two more months of this weather. The funniest part about Super A taking a bath is watching him run around in his little towel robe afterward. I bought this primarily for the pool and beach, however, he found it in our linen closet and decided that it would be a good bath robe. As seen here:

Super A’s “cheese” smile.

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Mama with a Camera

I was super excited to read the next post from Erin Cobb’s blog series that I have been following. This series was entitled “Be Different” and was all about focusing on the different moments than the standard shots that you get at birthdays, holidays, etc.

When I was thinking about the “different” shots I first tried different angles of our little cupcake.

My result was a little bit too much of a fishbowl effect…and not really different than other pictures I had taken before.

Later as I was getting ready for work, and our little cupcake was sitting on the counter helping me get ready, I realized I hadn’t taken a picture of him sitting on the counter helping me get ready before.

We have a routine where I do my hair while he sorts through all of my make-up brushes. I set him down on the floor and then we went to grab my camera. I placed him back up on the counter and got ready to take his picture, but then I realized what would be really different is a picture that actually has me in it. One of the things about having a first born is you try to capture everything they do and I don’t want him to look back at all of his pictures and it looks like he lived alone!

I placed him back down on the floor and then tried to figure out where I could safely put the camera to take a timer picture. The linen closet seemed to be the best spot. I placed it, turned the timer on, and quickly placed my little helper back on the counter right before it took the shot. I know that my best pictures happen serendipitously because this is what I found when I had time to check the pictures later…

(Yes I did remember to take the camera out of the linen closet.)

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