Restore Order in Your Space

Cork Planter Bookend Set

Cork Planter Bookend Set

There’s nothing wrong with a little spring cleaning, and Daily Candy has just the thing to bring renewed order to your living space. This month they featured 23 great ways to organize and restore order to areas in your home, and what wonderful items you can buy to accomplish it. They’ve even gone the extra mile by providing where you can buy these items online, AND how much they cost!

Enjoy this really helpful information and let us know if you have any other great ideas for restoring order at home!

Flip! For Decorating

A page-by-page, piece-by-piece, room-by-room guide to transforming your home.

Flip! For Decorating by Elizabeth Mayhew

This week, you MUST check out Flip! For Decorating by Elizabeth Mayhew. It’s a wonderful book that illustrates great design ideas for transforming spaces in your home! The motivation behind the book is using inexpensive and already existing items in your home to create the room of your dreams. We use this same philosophy in every home that we reshuffle, refresh, and organize. The book also features great before and after photos, time-saving reality checks, handy shopping tips, and easy informative sidebars that provide quick solutions for a jolt of style.

So do yourselves a favor and CHECK THIS OUT! And if you already have, let us know what you think.

Evening Routine Ideas to Jumpstart Tomorrow

 We have talked about the morning routine and how it’s a great way to incorporate your goals into the beginning of the day.

But there’s another part of the day that I love, and that can have great benefits for you at a cost of only 10-30 minutes each day: the time right before you go to sleep.

Just 10-30 minutes before you go to bed, try going through an evening routine that can make a huge difference for your morning.

Each person’s evening routine will be different, but here’s a sample routine that’s based on something I’ve been trying, with some other  good ideas that most people can use during the evening:

  • wash any dishes, clean the counters
  • pick up so that you’re greeted with a clean house in the morning
  •  turn off all electronics and review your day
  • read yourself to sleep

You will of course modify this to fit your needs, but you can see some of the most important elements: you’re cleaning up so that the house is beautifully clean when you awake, you are reviewing your day and planning for the next, and you are prepping your stuff for the next day so you don’t have to do it in the morning.

Create your evening routine today and get a jump-start on tomorrow!

An Organized Car

Does that sound like a fictional novel or an independent film title?  Your car does not have to look like a closet, snack bar or office on wheels.  There are so many organizational items for cars being sold today it is crazy!  Really, you could buy them all and still have a disaster car if you don’t have a system of order to begin with.  So, this is a list of tips and tools that work for me (if they work for me they will work for you).  Believe!! 

First of all, this is a list of must have items for EVERY car:

Tissues, wet wipes, first aid kit, sunblock (soccer), bug spray, glass cleaner (smudges on sunglasses…boo), chapstick, Advil, hand sanitizer, gum, granola bars, napkins and straws.  This might seem extreme, but it is such a GOOD feeling to be READY FOR ANYTHING!

Next, is staying organized!

This Case Logic Back Seat Organizer is a life saver for today’s families, who spend hours and days (or so it seems) driving from one activity to another.  This is a great place to keep granola bars, water bottles, books and any other goodies your kids need close at hand and clearly visible!

I should also mention it makes you a much better driver…you can actually focus on the road and not the traveling restaurant you were once forced to run!!

Most adults can do a pretty good job of staying clean, but kids know just how to destroy a car in 30 seconds!  So, the key word is MAINTAIN.  At the end of each day, when you come home everyone must take their “stuff” out and put it where it belongs.  I can be a bit over the top, but I have a dustbuster in the garage and vacuum the car every other day (seems to be the magic number for crumb accumulation).

 

The Mountainsmith Modular Hauler is a great way to keep items you do not use regularly in the trunk of your car.  An example of how this can come in handy is having a change of clothes for kids, to avoid frustration and to be prepared for food spills or after school activity outings.

Folding Seats and Blankets are another essential for a family involved in many activities and sports.  There are so many mornings you walk out the door and think you have everything, but wait….ouch!  You are standing in the cold for an hour on a wet soccer field shivering (I know the feeling).

Now that you are ready for anything you can not forget the potential emergencies that could stand in your way.  While the world is getting smaller by the day, it can feel HUGE if you are stranded in the middle of nowhere!

Emergency Kits are essential and you can make your own or purchase one from www.beprepared.com.  Items that you should always have in an emergency kit are:  jumper cables, tire pressure gauge, fix-a-flat, reflective safety vest, roadside reflectors, flashlight, batteries, auto escape hammer, cat litter or sand for traction, and flares. 

Spring break is here and summer is around the corner, so now is the time to get your car ready for some serious travel!

Where do you put your guests’ coats?

One of the greatest features in a home are CLOSETS!  You now have storage and there is an added bonus when you have a hall closet.  Well, you move in and decide that closet will be for guest coats ONLY and you will get really nice hangers to show your guests their coats have a prestigious location to call their own when they come over.  Fast-forward 2 to 3 years and all of a sudden your closets are overflowing and the kids rooms and playrooms are maxed out and you realize….that hall closet is EMPTY.   Yay, again!

We all know that the hall closet is really the place to throw things when guests come unexpectedly or you have run out of storage space in all of your other closets.  There are a number of space-saving tools you can use to maximize this very useful nugget of space.

Clear out all things that do not make sense in that closet.  Board games need to go to the kids’ rooms or the playroom or living room.  Remember to donate any outdated outerwear.  Properly storing your items maximizes your space and time.

Low plastic bins are the best way to store boots and cleats.  An umbrella stand is a great way to store baseball bats, tennis rackets and even wrapping paper; this makes it easy to find what you are looking for and nothing falls out of the closet when you open the door. 

Cute storage boxes like these from organize.com add a pop of color to your once drab family containment center (aka hall closet).  You can even take it to the next level by painting the inside of the closet a fun and bright hue.

Being organized will also help you get out the door faster!  Hanging sweater shelves will add a lot of space for things like scarves and mittens, baseball caps, balls and gloves and make it easy to see and grab.  A hosiery organizer is a great place to store the little things that get lost easily like sunscreen, bug spray, batteries and first-aid items. 

When trying to maximize space, don’t forget to look at ALL of the available space…like the door!  Adding a couple of hooks on your door will create a nice place to hang your bags and hats.  If you do a lot of gift-wrapping there is a great over-the-door gift wrapping station from www.organizeit.com.

Get inspired and get organized! 

Photos courtesy of Real Simple and Martha Stewart

Mudroom Advice

Assess, Measure, Plan, Purchase, Install
  
So, you want to incorporate a mudroom into your home…where shall you put it?
 
Step1 — Define your storage needs. What do you REALLY need to store in this location (essentials)? What things are convenient to have available when you walk out the door (handy)? What items do you use only occasionally or seasonally that might be stored elsewhere (seasonal)?
Step2 — Assess your storage area. What spaces do you have for storage? Can you add furniture to the room or hall you want to use? Is there wall space for hooks or cubbies?
This mudroom locker from StacksandStacks.com is a great solution if your kitchen or laundry room is near your main entryway and you have a corner that can be filled. 
Step3 — Measure and plan. If you can not build out a space for a mudroom, think creatively.  Is there room for a second rod or an over-the-door organizer in your hall closet? Will a chest of drawers fit in the kitchen corner? Can you hang hooks in the hall?
Country Living has a great example of how a couple of hooks and an interesting bench can work as a “hallway mudroom”.

If there is no way you can fit a mudroom “in” your house, you always have the option of your garage or carport.
familybalancesheet.org has a great idea for using a blank wall of your garage as your mudroom.  This way your “stuff” is not the centerpiece when your guests arrive!
 
A mudroom really is a mom’s friend.  With a little creativity, you can find a spot for the trail of “stuff” that follows your kids home every day!
 

Mom’s Love Mudrooms


Is someone always in trouble for tracking in mud or snow?  Are there shoes or bike helmets in random places of the house?  For people who don’t have garages or carports for these items, a mudroom is a great solution.

What is the most frequently used entrance to your house?  If it is the front entrance, the design will be something quite different from what you would have at a rear or side door.  If the entrance is from the garage into the house, an area inside the garage near the door can be used.  If there is an entryway or utility room inside the door, that is a wonderful place to create a mudroom.  Even a well thought-out corner can be tremendously useful.

Moms especially love mudrooms.  It’s reason to exist is for storing everything that cannot be stored in the main house (muddy shoes, wet clothes,large and bulky sports equipment, backpacks, bags, purses and seasonal coats).
This area and these items should always be easily accessed coming in and out of the house.  And, honestly, they are hard to decorate around!

Although the mudroom is a utility area more than anything else, it is essential that it looks nice and inviting.  Add pillows, a  plant, a durable rug and a  foot mat at the entrance to rub muddy boots on .  For a personal touch, add photos.  Small touches will make you want to keep things tidy and organized, right?
Bring on the mud!
Images via Crate & Barrel
Tomorrow we will tell you HOW to plan and design your mudroom!

Kids and their Closets!

It’s a conundrum!  children’s rooms are usually small, often shared and generally lack in built-in storage.Yet, kids’ rooms are host to out-of-season and outgrowing clothes, surplus toys and even household overflow!  You would be amazed at how much kids crave and can maintain order, so help them create a nice space they can manage. 

The solution:  Sort, Simplify and store!

1.  Make “stay”, “donate” and “consignment” piles.  Once you have sorted put the donation items in your car so they are ready for your next errand run.  

2.  ALWAYS try to see things from your child’s perspective.  Go ahead and get on your knees so you can see how kids see things.  Hanging shelves and closet rods within their reach will be so much nicer for them and their sense of independence. 

Organizing the closet this way helps divide the space so the bottom half is their go-to area and the upper half (shelves or an additional bar) is ready for next season.  

3.  Hanging cubes and over-the-door shoe racks are great ways to store a number of items in a small space.  Hanging sweater shelves can be so convenient:  each shelf can hold an outfit for every day of the week or hold t-shirts and shorts for easy viewing. 

4.  Hooks and peg boards are another great way to add organization and style to a kids’ closet, or even their room.  This is a great place for belts, hats, sweaters and backpacks.  Check out these adorable letter hooks from thisnext.com.

One added bonus to having a lower closet bar, particularly when using an Elfa system, is the shelf the rod hang from.  A perfect place for shoes.  Which leads me to…

5.  The floor of the closet!  All of a sudden you have blank space…to keep storage bins, baskets or cubes for toys, art and any other item that does not need to be within reach.  Benjamin-Moore has a very innovative way to keep track of the contents in those bins: use chalkboard paint to paint squares on your plastic bins, so you just erase the label when you need to repurpose that bin!

Order and organization is such a gift to give your child.  Their room or closet should not be a showroom.  It should be a place where they can find what they need and enjoy what they have!  Remember:  Don’t get overwhelmed…Sweet Abode is always here to help.

Closet Mania

Did you know that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time?  With that in mind, it is time to organize your closet!  Discardia.com has a fantastic tip:  Hang all of your clothes with the hanger hook facing you and when you wear that item you put it back with the hanger facing the right way.  After 6 months, anything with the hanger hook facing you should be donated or sold. If that does not seem like an option, just tag the hanger with a twist-tie or ribbon.

There are so many different closet organizers, gadgets and kits these days there is truly no reason why you should feel bad about your closet!  Now, if you don’t have the time to stay on top of your closet organization you know you can always call on Sweet Abode for help.

After you have decided what stays in your closet, you need to make sure your system is fully functional for your needs.  We all know you can go to The Container Store and get a new Elfa system set-up that will be beautiful and functional.  But, for some that may not be an option and that is where all of the great new gadgets come in.  A 11 closet doubler rod from Wal-mart adds an extra layer of room where you can put shirts on top and pants on the bottom.

Matching hangers add  a great sense of order to a closet in a matter of minutes and without spending a great deal of money.  You can pick up the traditional plastic ones next time you do a Target run or get the Bumerang 8 pack of hangers at Ikea for $4.48.

There is nothing like a great tie or belt rack to maximize the unused wall space in your closet.  You can even use them for necklaces.  I find the Accessory Mate for $23.99 at www.organize.com is really unbeatable with its shelf you can use as a valet; this is a real find for those of you with limited space!

In order to save time when getting dressed in the morning, sort everything by color and sleeve length.  doesn’t Natasha-Michelle’s image just bring a smile to your organized heart?

Shoes can be neatly stored at the bottom of your closet or in over the door or hanging shoe bins…there are so many options. This image from O Magazine shows you how you can be creative with your space, furniture and belongings…decadence should never be underrated! 

Just remember what a nice feeling it is to open your closet and know what you need is easy to find!

What does Reshuffle mean to you?

To Merriam Webster, Reshuffle means to reorganize usually by the redistribution of existing elements.  To Sweet Abode, Reshuffle means to find something in one place of your home and make it work somewhere else.  It is so important to keep in mind: what does it mean to make a change to a room, a space or your whole house? 

Reshuffling is a simple concept where you use existing furnishings and shop in your home for hidden treasures.  It is also a transformation of your space within 1 day and at no cost to your wallet or the environment. 

1.  Start by thinking of how much better the traffic and light can flow in the room.  Is there balance and functionality in the space?  If not, how can you mix the different pieces you have so there is a better stability.  When there is an imbalance in the room you have too much lumped together on one side and a blank wall on the other.  If you have too many pieces in one room there is probably a new, happy home for it in another room.

2.  If you are just tired of looking at the old, dingy sofa or chair why not just recover or refurbish it?  There is not always a need for new.   There are so many fabric stores open to the public these days with tons of price options.  If you are crafty, you can make your own slip covers and if you are not you can have your local upholsterer do the work.

3.  Another great way to add new life to a space is by using your photos and art.  It can be as simple as framing a favorite artwork or photo.  You can even frame a piece of really cool fabric, wallpaper or wrapping paper.  Hang a group of pictures together or blow up a favorite picture and hang it as the focal point of the room.  Don’t be afraid of framing!  You can find used frames at  local thrift shops or be on the lookout for craft store sales.

4.  There will come a time when you will need new pieces to mix in with the old.  At that time, just look for green choices first.  Secondhand stores like e-bay, Craigslist, freecycle.org and thrift stores are a great way to find unique additions to your home.  There are also many eco-friendly materials being offered by sustainable vendors.

Change is good!  If you want to spruce up your space don’t be afraid to reshuffle and redesign!  All it takes is what you have and a little creativity.  In the end your home, wallet and the environment will thank you!