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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My five favorite apps for organization that I use daily! 

These are my 5 favorite apps to get and stay organized on my iphone!

Throughout the years I’ve teetered between digital and paper organizational solutions. Although there’s something so amazingly gratifying about crossing off an accomplished task, I tend to be more of a digital gal. At the same time, I try to limit the number of organizing solutions I have on my phone. I find that when there’s too many solutions, none of them actually solve the problem.  So here’s my slimmed down favorite apps that help me stay organized:

 

Favorite Apps for Organization

Google Calendar

Everything is in my Google calendar. EVERYTHING. Changing from paper calendar to digital may take some getting used to, but I’ve found the benefits to be huge. One of my favorite features is the ability to send calendar invites to friends and family. That way everyone is in sync. One unique way Joe & I utilize Google calendars is to claim dibs on our car. We live in the city and have one car, so it’s helpful to be able to send him invites for my events when I need to use the car. Google calendars also come in handy for reminders. Joe & I have a reoccurring calendar invite to remind ourselves to take out the trash each Thursday. We’ve lived in our same house for 3 years and if it weren’t for that calendar invite reminder we’d be overflowing in trash.

 

ToDoist

I’ve tried lots of to do list apps … lots. For the last two years I’ve been using Todoist. I like the clean sleek look and ability to customize according to how I categorize my tasks. I can set reoccurring tasks, for example, creating a gorcery list every Friday before I grocery shop every Saturday.  There’s capability to see just the tasks I need to accomplish today or look ahead to see what I need to do for the next week. Filters allow me to see just the tasks I need to accomplish on my computer or who I need to call.  I can even put special labels on tasks to be accomplished before vacations.

 

AnyList 

I use AnyList specifically for grocery shopping and meal planning. I can import receipts I find online and the app magically adds the ingredients to the grocery list. It’s pretty amazing. There are other apps that have this same functionality, but the selling point for me was that I can share my grocery list with Joe. Throughout the week we both add things to the list that we’re running low on before I go shopping on Saturday. There’s a free version of this app as well, but I pay an annual fee of $12 ($1 a month for extra features). For me it’s a small price to pay for needed convenience.

 

Dropbox

I wasn’t always hooked on Dropbox. It seemed so basic without a lot of bells and whistles. I tried some of the newer storage apps but found that the simplicity of Dropbox was actually what I needed. Dropbox looks and feels a lot like ‘My Folders’ on my laptop: super straight forward. I use Dropbox for a couple different projects. Photo storage for Declan and Reagan: I like to save every photo we take and try to spare all my Facebook friends from being inundated with a zillion photos of my kid and dog. But the lucky chosen few relatives get unlimited access to every photo I take compliments of Dropbox. I can share individual folders with whoever I want. I also recently digitized my Christmas cards utilizing Dropbox. Joe and I also share a folder where we store important house, car and tax documents. My rule of thumb is to upload any documents that we may need and couldn’t easily get from somewhere else (for these types of documents I typically use Dropbox from my computer).

 

iScanner

I was just about to purchase a big clunky scanner when a friend introduced me to iScanner. This app scans papers and saves them as PDFs. I can automatically email the PDFs to myself or anyone. A surprising fun feature is the ability to attach PDFs to each other.  I use this weekly to keep track of my blogging expenses, but also for important medical, home and tax documents. Once I scan the docs, I can easily upload to my Dropbox account.

And that’s it. Yes, I have other apps on my phone (Facebook, Amazon, Instagram, Pinterest, the list goes on), but these are my favorite apps. The ones that constantly keep me sane during my crazy days. What are your favorite apps? Leave us a note in the comments!

Get completely organized and paper free using your phone and these top organizational apps. Here's our top 5 favorite apps to get completely organized!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The smartest way to store your Christmas cards: digitally! 

The smart way to organize your Christmas cards: digitally!

As soon as I found out I was pregnant I started nesting. Right away. Like THAT day.  And I started on the Christmas cards. We’ve got great storage space in our town house and I definitely put to the test. Lots of Container Store bins line our closets, several of which were storing a decade of Christmas cards. Now I love Christmas and love giving & receiving Christmas cards. I also hate getting rid of anything. You can see the problem arising!

The reality is that after the month of December, those Christmas cards don’t get looked at again. They’re just taking up valuable space in the closet. I knew I should get rid of them, but I just couldn’t do it.

So instead I compromised with myself. I got rid of the physical card, but stored copies digitally on Dropbox. There’s a variety of digital storage options available. My go-to is Dropbox, mostly because I’ve used it for quite a while so I’m very familiar and it’s folder system is very similar to that of a PC.

Get rid of your piles of Christmas cards, by storing them DIGITALLY!

I already had my cards stored by year, but if you didn’t, that would be the first place to start. It may be difficult to discifer which year each card was from, so you’ll have to decide if it’s worth it or not.

I found this project to be a lot easier (and less time consuming than I expected) largely due to the fact that I only used my iPhone (no computer needed).

Using a white foam board as a back drop I took a picture of each card one by one. For most of the cards I only took a picture of the front, but there were a few where I also took a picture of the back/inside.

Before I took any pictures of cards, I snapped a photo of the labeled ziplock bag that I was storing each year’s worth of cards in. This helped organizez my photos on my phone and made it easier to upload to Dropbox (more on that below).

Once all the photos were taken, I logged in to my Dropbox account on my iPhone. I added a folder titled ‘Cards’ and made sub folders for each year.

To add my photos I simply opened up one of the sub folders, hit the + key at the bottom of the screen and selected ‘Upload Photos’.

I selected all the photos that followed the photo of the bag marked with the appropriate calendar year. Then hit ‘Next’.

Depending on how many photos you have, it could take a couple minutes to upload.


Once the photos are all uploaded, you can rotate and label each one. I decided that extra step wasn’t worth it to me right now, but you may want your more organized!

I was so happy that I took the plunge to digitalize these and definetely have been enjoying the extra storage space! It’s now becoming an annual project each January (along with prepping birthday cards for the year).

Step by step tutorial for organizing your Christmas cards digitally!

 

 

 

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