Each year of blogging there’s projects that I just knocked out of the park and others that end up admittedly flopping. While I never intentionally post a ‘bad’ project, sometimes what sounds brilliant at the beginning just ends up not working out long term.

Do you ever wonder how well those projects you see on Pinterest or in magazines end up? Does the blogger still use that solution that they claimed was the ultimate life saver?

The projects I post here on the blog are always ones I’m actually working on for my home. I rarely post a project just to get something up on the blog. (My friends always ask me what I’m going to do with the blog once I’ve organized every in of our home. ‘Move?’ I say???)

Some of these projects have truly been game changers for me, making life easier, more organized, and less stressful. Others ended up not working the way I planned. Since I’m big on setting goals and taking time to evaluate what worked and what didn’t, I decided to share my 2017 top 10 blog project wins & misses with you today!

So, I looked through this past year of blog posts and pulled out the projects that were the big winners of the year and ones that didn’t work at all.

Here’s my wins & misses for 2017:

Wins

These are my top 5 projects that have really stood the test of time this year. These are the ones that make me think ‘man, I’m a genius’. Don’t worry, I’ve got an equal number of misses to bring me back down to earth.

1 Fridge Liners | These were so incredibly easy and pretty much required NO skill at all. I used flimsy cheap plastic placemats (found at Target) as the liners. Making these really quick, I barely measured the space before trimming the placemats. I really believe this is one of the best beginner DIY organizing projects on my list.

DIY Fridge Liners (wins & misses)

2 Digital Christmas Card Storage | Being a professional organizer, I really hate to admit that I don’t like getting rid of things. Well, there I said it. That includes cards. I had STACKS of old Christmas cards from friends & family that I just didn’t want to part with. The problem was that these cards were taking up valuable space in our closet and realistically I never looked at them. To appease my desire to hold on to them with my need to clear up some space in one of our closets, I stored all these digitally.

digital Christmas card storage (wins & misses)

3 Foam Board Shelves | The white wire shelving in all our bedroom closets created some storage challenges for me, especially since I store a lot of non clothing type items in our closets. It’s pretty much impossible to store binders on wire shelving without something below. These wrapping paper covered foam boards were a quick fix that I honestly thought might be temporary. Well they’ve held up incredibly well over the year and I have no plans to change them.

foam board shelves (wins & misses)

4 Tax Preparation Process | Obviously, not a fun topic, right? Well that’s probably why this one ended up on the wins list. Each year Joe & I have the best intentions of being that couple that gives our tax docs to our accountant EARLY. You know the ones who get a discount on their taxes because they turn them in before anyone else?

Between job changes, a variety of investments, home purchases, and my blogging business, not only have our taxes gotten more complex, but so did accumulating all needed documents. The process and checklist we came up with has made a huge impact come January when we’re getting our taxes together. Yes, you read that right, JANUARY. We became ‘those people’.

Tax preparation process (wins & misses)

5 Front Porch Storage | The townhouse we moved in to a couple years back is a pretty good size for Seattle, but one thing we do not have is a garage. It was a concession we gave up while house hunting in a very expensive and competitive market. We got used to it pretty quickly and have been able to easily park our car right outside our house, but we do feel the effects of not being able to store items in a garage. You know the stuff you need to store, but don’t really want in the house? Lawn mower, bikes, outdoor kids’ toys, gardening supplies, etc.

We (well Joe) upcycled two plant containers in to storage bins to hold some of Reagan’s supplies, gardening tools and bike cleaning items (Joe’s a big cyclist). Essentially, it’s the stuff that I don’t want stored in the house because we only use them outside. This was a HUGE win for us.

outdoor porch storage (wins & misses)

Misses

Now on to the ones that just didn’t work the way they were intended. I had the best intentions with these 5 projects, but in the end, they just didn’t work the way I envisioned them. Live and learn.

1 Dog Paw Mitt | Living in rainy Seattle with a big Doberman, I thought this cleaning mitt would be a life saver. It just didn’t work for us. Because of Reagan’s size (she’s about 75 lbs), I sometimes need more than one small mitt. The other problem we encountered is that we just don’t have a great place to hang it. Cute idea, but just didn’t use as intended.

dog paw mit (wins & misses)

2 Painted Wooden Hangers | More than anything, I think these were just fun! But practically, I found myself not using them the way I thought I would. Yes, they brighten up our closet, which I LOVE. But I didn’t use color coded hangers for real organizational needs. I already had a system for keeping my closet organized and incorporating colored hangers ended up being unnecessary for my needs.

painted wooden hangers (wins & misses)

3 Organizing Baby Feeding Supplies | This one just makes me laugh every time I read it. Oh this new mom was a little naive in assuming that all the baby feeding supplies would stay in nicely organized labeled bins. Realistically as time went on what worked best for us was to have ONE drawer that we threw all feeding supplies in (sippy cups, spoons, formula, teething rings, bibs) and one small station on our counter for bottles. Sometimes I cringe when I open that drawer, but I know right now this is the best solution for me.

organizing baby feeding supplies (wins & misses)

4 Labeled Paint Cans | I’m actually really glad that I did this project. We had lots of paint cans left over from our builder, as well as paint cans from rooms I painted. So, I wanted to make sure these were appropriately labeled to make touch ups easy. I’m planning on updating these by using my label maker to label each can with the ROOM the paint belongs to. Then I’ll create a google doc that lists all the details (paint color, brand, etc). These paper-y labels just don’t seem to hold up long term, especially with paint spills.

labeled paint cans (wins & misses)

5 User Manual Binders | This binder is a HUGE improvement to what we used to have: warrantees and manuals scattered all over our house. Yet, the reality is that since putting this binder together, I’ve actually never used it. Also, as my husband pointed out, most of the user manuals can be found online. Plus, the binder is literally overflowing. A project that I’d like to do this winter is to get all this information stored online.

warenties & user manuals (wins & misses)

While it’s never fun to recount the quote on quote ‘failures’, it is a good reminder to me that creating solutions that work for your home and family do take some trial and error. Some of my projects were home runs from the start and others needed some tweaking to fit for our family. Even the ones that didn’t work at all helped me to figure out what WOULD work for our family.

I’m excited for the upcoming year as I’ve got lots of projects I want to tackle!

If you’re thinking of getting organized for the new year, take a look at some of my favorite affordable organization products here. I’m not a big believer of buying your way to organization, so I choose my products carefully.

See you in the new year!

 

 





 

 

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I appreciate everyone’s continued support for Crazy Organized: visiting the blog, reading my newsletters and following along on social media. All the support has kept my little business growing for the last couple years!

(PS… here’s the most popular blog post to date!)

I’m a huge fan of setting goals and spending some time reflecting on what worked and what didn’t. And it goes without saying that I love planning. So, in effort to get a head start on planning the blog for 2018, I want to get some feedback from all of you!

Each year between Christmas and New Year’s (you know that time where no one really knows what to do), I spend a good chunk of time prepping the blog for the following year: brain storming blog posts, updating the website, getting taxes ready (ugh), and making a list of priorities for the upcoming year.

I thought it would be a great time to pick your brain and find out a little bit more about your organization style & what you’re working on for the new year.

And as a thank you for filling out this super quick survey, you’ll be entered in to a raffle for a $50 Amazon gift card!

 

You can also click THIS link to take the survey. 

 

Stop by next week when I share the results! Until then, continue enjoying the holidays and Happy New Year!

 

 




 

 

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Baskets are always an easy way to organize. Just throw a bunch of stuff in and the clutter magically goes away. (Which is a whole other issue. Trust me.) At the same time, you don’t want to clutter your house with baskets. Yes, I’ve seen homes of folks with the best of intentions that were completely over using baskets throughout their home. It’s a real thing

I went through my house last weekend evaluating my basket situation and want to share some of my favorite ways to incorporate baskets. I realize not everyone’s home is the same and not everyone’s need for storage is the same. Yet, I’ve always found it helpful to get inspiration and ideas from others’ storage solutions. So I’m hoping that seeing some of my baskets solutions will be helpful for you!

 

Toy Storage in the Family Room

I really wanted to minimize baby toy clutter around our home. And frankly I wanted to minimize the number of baby toys we had as well. Soon after we brought Declan home from the hospital, I learned the hard way that babies equal lots of stuff. That’s why I pretty much fell in love with these World Market baskets that fit perfectly under our couch.

I anticipated that it would be a challenge to find baskets that would fit, but it was a pleasant surprise that Target, Container Store and Bed Bath & Beyond all had great options. Right now I’m storing infant toys, a diaper changing station and extra blankets in the baskets.

Detergent Storage in Laundry Room

I’ve had a basket on top of my laundry machine as long as I’ve had a laundry machine. In a perfect world the detergent would be out of sight in the cabinet, but that’s just not practical. Having a basket to store detergents in are the next best thing.

Why are all my detergents in the same bottle? My husband asks this every day 😊 . Here’s my post on a little laundry room organization project I did a couple years back.

The basket was purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond at least 5 years ago. It looks like they’re no longer selling this basket, but they’ve got a lot of other good options!

 

Baby Toys in Nursery

Technically laundry baskets (they even say Laundry on the back side), these tall and slim baskets are perfect for toy storage.

 

Shoe Storage in the Entry Way

Our front entry is small so we utilize both the wall and our porch for storage. This World Market basket fits up to 5 pairs of shoes and prevents shoe clutter at the front door.

 

Dog Toy Storage

While we added a lot of baby toys to our living room we still had lots of dog toys. Reagan’s toys all fit in this Bed Bath and Beyond basket that lives inside our end table.

Out of sight and out of mind. I’m a big fan of baskets that can be hidden away when not in use.

 

Extra Clothes in the Bedroom

It never fails, we always have clothes that we don’t want to hang up or put away. I hate that I’m admitting that but it’s true. So having a pretty basket in the corner of our master bedroom is an easy way to hide clean clothes that just don’t find their way to the closet. I painted ours white and gray but it was originally a dark wood color.

 

Easy Access Baby Items

Instead of buying a new dresser/changing table for the nursery, we used a Crate & Barrel entertainment stand that we already had. Besides a quick coat of black paint, it was an easy & free solution. The only problem was there were no drawers. I was over the moon excited to find the perfect baskets at Fred Meyer.

I wanted baskets that would maximize the entire shelf since we have a lot of baby items. There’s a basket for easy access diapers, blankets, and onesies & pajamas.

Tips for Smart Basket Storage

Buy the largest basket that will fit in a space. Esthetically, it will look nicer to fill up the space. Plus, if you’re anything like me, you’ll use the extra storage! Measure the space and then start looking online

Purchase a basket because you love the size, style and function. Don’t buy it for the color. You can easily spray paint or paint wooden/wicker baskets. When you don’t have to worry about the color, your options increase tremendously!

When searching for a basket, take a look at stores that aren’t always known for storage. My under the couch toy storage and front door shoe storage baskets are from World Market.

To start out with, only fill your baskets up to 75% full. This will allow you to add more as time goes on (which is always inevitable).

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m excited to be partnering with Mom it Forward to bring you this blog post and a sneak peek at Meaning of Life, Kelly Clarkson’s new album! As always, my opinions are 100% my own!

Organized gym bag! One step closer to those new years resolutions!

I’ve been in somewhat of a workout rut lately. The Seattle rain has started up for the season, work has been busy, little Declan keeps me busy …. the list of excuses could go on and on. You know the feeling?

Hearing my alarm go off early in the morning while it’s still so dark outside leaves little motivation to get up and work out.

Too many times I’ve gotten up and headed to the gym only to realize I forgot a hair tie (I’ve NEVER been able to work out without my hair in a pony tail) or headphones (I absolutely cannot workout without music!)

Getting to the gym is half the battle! I'm making it easier with an organized gym bag!

Anyway, when it comes to the gym- I’m all about excuses.  The days that I prep my gym bag the night before allowing me to simply wakeup and head directly to the gym, I end up actually going to the gym (as opposed to hitting snooze a couple more times on my phone).

So the game plan for this winter is to conquer any excuse before it even comes up by…being prepared (and motivated)!

Organized Gym Bag

The first step was to pull out all the items that I need in order to have a successful workout. Since I like to go to the gym first thing in the morning, my preference is to shower at the gym. If I don’t, the day will go by with me still in my workout clothes sans shower. So, I bring the bare bone shower essentials with me: change of clothes, towel & toiletries.

This week's organizing project: an organized gym bag!

I keep a set of ‘gym toiletries’ in a pouch stored in my gym bag at all times: small size of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel along with a shower puff and deodorant. Then throw in a brush and a lot of extra hair ties. I skip the toothbrush and toothpaste since I brush my teeth before I leave in the morning.

Anyone else struggling to get to the gym? An organized gym bag will help!

The night before, I pack a change of clothes. Like I said, if I don’t shower & change at the gym, there’s an embarrassingly good chance it won’t happen until the evening. I use a clear travel bag to put my clothes and shoes in. So, I also roll up a towel and add some flip flops (aka shower shoes)!

An organized gym bag is getting me one step closer to GOING to the gym!

Even with everything organized and ready, one of my biggest problems is just not being motivated to workout.

Here's how I got motivated to hit the gym with an organized gym bag!

One thing that gets me in the mindset to exercise is having some great music available. Some people can watch TV or read a magazine while working out, but I can’t. So, I always make sure I have some fun tunes downloaded on my phone to get me inspired.

Kelly Clarkson’s new album, ‘Meaning of Life’, is exactly the motivation I need. I’m a huge fan of hers and have followed her since her American Idol days. She’s got a really great positive attitude and overall just an awesome role model. Grab a copy of her album here.

One of my favorite songs is Love So Soft, perfect upbeat song to get me motivated to hit the gym. It’s also got a really awesome message. This is one of her tracks that’s out on the radio already, so you may have heard it before! It definitely should be one of the first of your workout songs!

Another favorite of mine from the album is Heat. It’s another really fun pop hit with awesome lyrics! Perfect music to get you through a tough run on the treadmill.

If you’re looking for an album to get you through life … or a workout, this is your album!

Way too often I fixate on things I can’t do or things that are going wrong. This is a great album to remind me that there’s so much to be thankful for and that each of us truly owns our own destiny. Such good vibes!

Organized Gym Bag in NO time at all!

Now that I have an organized gym bag and an iPhone with great tunes to keep me motivated, getting to the gym in the morning is a whole lot easier (and WAY more enjoyable). Crank up the music and ENJOY a morning workout stress free!

Here's exactly what you need to have in your organized gym bag for a sucessful trip to the gym! There's a list of all the essentials!

Gone are the days where I had NO motivation to work out in the morning. Motivating music and an organized gym bag is what gets me out the door each morning!

Not only is the album super upbeat and perfect to get you motivated to workout, the songs are really beautifully written with a great message …. #meaningoflife!

Check out Kelly Clarkson’s social media pages:

Twitter     Facebook    Instagram

 





 

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Make your own inexpensive and easy-to-clean DIY fridge liners!

Make your own inexpensive and easy-to-clean DIY fridge liners!

It’s hard enough to keep a fridge organized, let alone clean. Spills, leaks and stains can be unavoidable. When those happen, cleaning becomes a huge chore often requiring shelves to be taken apart for a good scrub down. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time for that. Which means the spills marinate on the shelves and become impossible to get off.

So to solve this problem, I got a little crafty with just $10 to make my own fridge liners.

I found some colorful print plastic placemats on sale at Target for only $.99 each. (Regularly $1.99 a piece, they’re still a great price for this project.) To fill my fridge, I needed 10 placemats, but purchased a couple extra just in case.

In addition to the placemats, no fancy supplies are needed for this project. Just grab a pen or marker and a scissor!

DIY Fridge Liners: keep your fridge clean AND pretty!

I started with the fridge door shelves. To get the right size fridge liner, I traced the outside edge of the shelves onto the BACK side of one of the placemats and cut along the edges. Since I traced the outside of the shelf onto the placemat, my liner was initially too big to place inside the shelf. So I snipped the sides a couple times until I found the perfect size. Surprisingly this method was not only the easiest, but aesthetically looked pretty darn good as well.

Affordable DIY fridge liners that are EASY to make!

My fridge has three small shelves on each of the two doors. I ended up only needing one placemat per door (I was able to make 3 small shelf liners per placemat).

Make DIY fridge liners for all the shelves in your fridge!

I will admit, even though I think these look fabulous, this approach does make for slightly imperfectly sized liners. The alternative of getting that perfect measurement of the inside of the drawer, tracing onto the placemat and cutting to the exact measurement just didn’t seem worth it for this project.

Make these DIY fridge liners with cheap plastic placemats and a scissor!

The shelves inside of the fridge were MUCH easier to trim (mostly because the shape was an easy-to-trim rectangle). I used the same method as the fridge drawers. My fridge has two pull out drawers at the bottom and two shelves above. I needed 8 placemats for the inside of the fridge.

These DIY fridge liners are so easy to make and keep your fridge clean AND pretty!

The shelves have glass bottoms surrounded by plastic sides, so my goal was to cover the glass bottom with the placemat. I trimmed the placemats to fit right under the plastic sides. I did not use any adhesive to secure the placemat to the glass. It fit naturally and did not slide at all with use 🙂 . Plus this made it easier to remove when I needed to clean.

this quick DIY fridge liners project is easier than it looks!

Make your fridge beautiful AND easy to clean with DIY fridge liners!

After months of use, these DIY fridge liners are keeping our fridge clean and pretty!

 

 




 

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