Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Television Cords

Okay, so this isn't exactly "organization" so much as "decoration", but it was really bothering me and I thought I'd share it with you! (Also, let's hear it for two posts in two days! **applause**)

We had a similar situation with our television when we moved. We had it in a large black armoire, similar to our old computer desk. But, again, it wouldn't fit in our new living room arrangement.

So, we got this cute little accent cabinet from Target.

It's not an entertainment center, and in fact, it warns against putting a television on it, so if you decide to do this--do it at your own risk!

I measured our television and I also looked up the weight online and we decided it wasn't a big risk for us. Our only problem was that the back of the cabinet is solid so there is no place to thread the cords through so we could plug them into the wall.

My husband drilled holes in the back of the cabinet. I asked him to make them high up so that when your sitting or standing, you wouldn't be able to see the holes. However, I didn't think that suggestion through all the way, because had we put the holes low, the cords would be hidden behind the box instead of climbing up the back of the cabinet. That's totally my fault (and why I'm not a designer by trade)!

Oh well..what's done is done and now I had to come up with a solution.

At first I thought of colored duct tape or washi tape...but I didn't want this to be permanent in case we got a new box or anything in the future.

Then I had a great idea! A tension rod fits back there I bought one for each shelf and then I needed to find something to cover the holes. I couldn't find a valance that I liked and I don't sew, sooooo...I was walking up and down the Target aisles and found the perfect solution: placemats!

For each shelf, you simply need one tension rod, and two placemats (depending on the size of your shelf). I tried a couple of different types of placemats, and I found that a solid color or one with a tessellated pattern would work best. If you get one with a border or a large picture, you will see where the line breaks. Tessellation (where the pattern is repeated with no gaps) will camouflage the line and make it appear to be one long piece of fabric! Also, try to pick a fairly stiff fabric so that you avoid wrinkles.

Once I decided on a look I liked, I simply folded the placemats over the tension rod and made sure they were lined up nicely and viola! All hidden and pretty.

What are your cord solutions? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Desk Cords

Part of the moving process has been to unplug everything, pack it up, move it, unpack it and try to plug everything back in. Before you can plug everything in, you have to make sure you have all the right cords...and believe me, that box was a nightmare!

We used to have a black computer armoire that held all of our equipment, supplies & cords. It was beneficial in two ways--being black, it automatically camouflaged all of the cords and equipment; and being an armoire, it had doors! So when I had company coming over, I could easily & quickly close the doors and the evidence of my disorganization was safely hidden away.

When we moved, that piece of furniture just didn't fit in the spot we had designated for our "office". So we went to Ikea and picked up a nice white corner desk. But it doesn't have doors. And it's white.

Which brings me to my current dilemma.

The desk sits in the corner of my kitchen/dining area and it's open to the whole house. So, the most likely spot to get cluttered is also the most visible!

So, I spent some time reorganizing it and really focused on the cord situation. I have a lot of things plugged in under there, and it's hard to tell which cord is which without spending several minutes trying to trace it back through the tangled mess to find out what it actually goes to...and trust me, I have unplugged the wrong thing before!

This is why I am so in love with my label maker. I'm sure there are other ways of doing this, but I had fun with it and so because of that, it actually got done.

Here's what I used:

My label maker,

a cable tie kit that I got on sale,
and a pair of scissors.

First, I looked around my work space and figured out what I had that was already plugged in. I have a router, a monitor, a tower, a cable box (for my phone/internet), my phone, a printer, an external hard drive, a pencil sharpener and a CD player.

I made the labels run vertically, so I could read them easier. I wrapped the top of the label around a small zip tie, and then I replaced the back of the label so the whole thing would hang more like a tag and not just stick to everything. Then I trimmed it and attached it to the cord.

Once I labeled all the cords, I went through each cord and gathered the extra length and just wrapped another zip tie around it so it was somewhat contained, instead of just laying around in a jumbled mess.

I also added these cool clips to the back leg of the desk to help gather the cords in one place to help hide them from view.

 It's not perfect, but it's better than it was!

Take the time to tame the cord mess and you will save yourself a lot of headaches in the future!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

In Six Minutes

I have no concept of space or time.

Before I moved, I couldn't tell you if 1200 square feet was big or small. I didn't know if an empty bedroom could fit a queen or a twin...I had to measure everything to get a mental picture. It just doesn't come naturally to me. 

I'm the same way with the concept of time. I have no idea if a task will take 5 minutes or 55 minutes. I naturally work better according to task lists rather than schedules. 

Which is why I'm also a procrastinator.

Often I'll avoid a task because I've imagined how much time it will surely take and I'll decide I'll do it later "when I have time". 

Or I'll do just the opposite. I'll see that I have an extra 10 minutes so surely that's enough time to get tasks A-Z done before I have to leave for work/church/home! Next time I look up at the clock half an hour has gone by! And now I'm late. 

I'm trying to be more mindful: more aware of my surrounding, more aware of people I'm with, more present in general. 

So last night I decided to fold the extra large load of mixed laundry that's been sitting in the dryer for two days. I've put it off because I've been busy and tired at the end of the day. I figured I'd do it...when I had the time.

But after dinner I decided to just bite the bullet and get it done. I headed to the laundry room armed with my iPhone, put on one of my favorite podcasts and started folding. I folded towels & clothes and hung up some shirts. Then I looked in the washer and saw that my son still had wet clothes in there. I put those in the dryer for him and then grabbed my iPhone and the laundry basket to go back in the house. 

That's when I noticed it. 

My podcast had only played 6 minutes. That's all it took for me to do something I had put off for two days? What's wrong with me??

So I walked in the house, took another two minutes to put everything away and then sat on my bed and wondered, "Why have laundry & I been enemies all these years?"

What do you put off? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

An Updated Planner

I'm so excited about my planner updates! When I cleaned out my purse, I also reorganized my planner and I thought I'd do another planner tour and tell you about my favorite feature now--my Nate Berkus pencil bag!

This bag is so much better than my other one. I had the ARC plastic zipper pouch, but it wasn't big enough or stretchy, so it was always breaking open and my stuff would fall out. This is made of a canvas-like material and has two zipper pockets! And my favorite feature--a strap on the back so it slips right onto my planner and I'm set to go! I explain all about it in the video below, but here's a pic for you:

After I did the video on Tuesday, I spent some time really thinking about my color-coding system. I was only using my pens to color-code items written on my calendar & to-do lists. It occurred to me I really need to utilize this better! I got some post-it notes that coordinate with my pens, so I plan to use them according to my categories: pink for home, orange for school, etc. That way, as soon as my eye lands on it, I'll know what category it's in! It was kind of a "duh" moment for me...LOL

I also updated my daily/weekly list, and while I was at guessed it: I color-coded it!

Like before, I have my dailies listed on both sides: morning & evening. Then, my weeklies are split up: Mon-Wed on the first side, to coincide with my week on two pages spread, and Thu-Sun on the other side. I also added a top border to when it's closed, it's easily visible!

Check out my updated planner tour (minus the new list) here and leave a comment!

Monday, April 7, 2014

To Keep Sane

It's been a long time coming but I cleaned out my purse today. It took me an hour or so! I had tons of crumpled receipts, gum wrappers, pens, coins, etc. During the last three months I've been so go-go-go that I just shoved stuff in and went on my way! I swear it weighed 15lbs. But during this move, I stopped using my purse altogether and just took my wallet with me because of all the junk! You know what happened? My wallet got so full of crumpled receipts, gum wrappers, pens, wouldn't even zip closed!

So this morning I cleaned it out, emptying every nook & cranny and only put back stuff I need. I use a make up bag to carry emergency feminine supplies, headache & allergy medicine, deodorant, etc. Then I have my planner and my wallet. That's about all that's in there now!

It's amazing how that physical clutter can cause mental clutter. I lost a good 5-10lbs, and I gained back my sanity this morning! 

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Happy Mess!

I'm taking a quick break before I dive into organizing my new kitchen. I know I just did a pantry video, but I will have to update you after we settle into our new place! My baskets don't fit quite the same, so I'm scouring Pinterest for new ideas. I'll let you know what happens!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Move: Part 2

I am so excited to take a chance to completely start over and organize new spaces! Since I posted that I was starting the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge, we decided to move across town. I have been furiously chucking bags and making donate piles and haven't had a chance to update the blog in a while. But as soon as I'm all settled I'll post some moving & decluttering tips! I can't wait to share my new home with you!