Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pantry Organization on a Budget!

The pantry is one of the most accessed places in the entire house, so it's important to make sure that everything has a place! I was super excited to move into our new apartment because I would finally get my first pantry. Here's a look at how I have organized it: 

Everything in the pantry was contained using bins that were either on clearance or from the Dollar Tree. This entire section in the above picture was organized by spending around $30!

The large square fabric bins were from Target on clearance for around $4 each. They hold all of our larger snacks. I added Martha Stewart chalkboard tags to specify what to keep in each one.

 These are all reused jars. You can wash out your salsa and spaghetti sauce jars to store spices. Storing spices here is a lot more convenient and aesthetically pleasing than the plastic bags they come in!

To the left, I kept some Indian spices in containers from the Dollar Tree. Some of them are still in plastic because I need more jars!

On the right, I kept our some snacks for my husband's office in little buckets from the Dollar Spot at Target. They came with the chalkboard stuck on it already, and I thought the snacks would go perfectly in there. Easy to grab and go in the mornings!

Bags that contained a larger quantity of dry goods were placed in larger containers, also from the Dollar Store. Here I've kept different type of flours and lentils. Inside the most used containers I've inserted measuring cups for convenience. 

Then we had chocolates all over the place. Most of them are hostess gifts or from the husband :) It takes me months to finish a chocolate packet (ice cream finishes much faster around here) and I had too many of them lying around in their original packets. It looked really messy, so I took them out of their original packaging and put them in portion sized Ziploc bags. This made it look more uniform. At the back there are some drinks.

I didn't put the cereal in different containers because I felt it was easier to leave it in its original box. The rack is wide enough to have a double row of cereal boxes, so that's great.

This is one area I had struggled with for a long time - paper plates, cups, bowls and napkins. I found these baskets at the Dollar Tree and they keep everything really organized. Things are finally not toppling over everywhere! The chalkboard stickers were from the Dollar Spot at Target - $1 for a pack of 12. I have used and reused them many times, they continue sticking great on various surfaces.

I keep the rice on the floor because it's too heavy to put high up and reach for every time. I refill a container we got with rice once every time rather than using the fabric bag it comes in. There's a measuring cup in here as well. I've put it on a shelf riser. Underneath that, I store onions and potatoes. The box slides out very easily. 

Right above the rice is the right side of the pantry. Over here, I nailed in a couple of Wrap Organizers and they hold a lot of items. This is definitely not part of the $30 budget, but I installed it because it always remains neat and is long-lasting.

On the other side of the pantry, I hung all of my cleaning tools. Hanging them using simple nails keeps them from toppling on the floor and opens up the space in the pantry. Don't be afraid to use the wall space! There's no point in wasting it.

Finally, here is where all I keep all of our canned goods. This is another example of things never getting messy because everything has a very specific place. Although we barely ever have canned food, it's essential to keep extras in case of emergencies. We also keep shelf safe milk as backup for emergency situations.

If you add up all of the costs in total, the pantry has been completely organized from top to bottom for around $80. This beats the professional organizing systems that can cost thousands of dollars! What do you think of it? Would you make this investment?

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Apartment Living Room and Play Area Combo

The living room is the life of the home. Adults and children alike spend majority of their time in this one room throughout the day. The question is, how do we find a balance between their two spaces? Living in an apartment, there is no option of a separate play area in a different room. I've laid out some ideas in this blog post. 

Here's a look at the entire living room. Not too much of an open space but it's very functional!

This is the sitting area:

The sofa is from Rooms to Go and the chairs and rug are from Home Goods.

I just use a small ottoman with a tray on for guests. Both from Target.

Since my toddler loves to climb on the side of the sofa and play with the light switch, I kept a large sitting cushion on the bottom in case he falls off the edge. 

On the other side of the sofa, kept in a corner, are all of his toys. 

Although there are quite a few items here, they are not too much of an eyesore because they are all stored in one small corner of the room. I have stored my son's smaller toys in his infant co-sleeper, and a few larger toys around it. A large basket would have the same function.

Most people opt for using an ottoman to store their kids toys in. Sure, it looks less cluttered if you pack everything away, but here are my thoughts on why it's better not to:

1) Less convenient for the child. The child also lives in that space all day long and needs his or her own little area to play in!

2) There's always the fear of the child hurting his or her finger while taking the lid off or putting it on when they are young. 

3) Less toys fit in ottomans.

4) When cleaning up, all I have to do is pick up toys from around the living room and throw them in the bin from anywhere close! No need to go and open the lid or anything. Just pick up and aim!

5) When guests come over they understand that I have a toddler and he needs his own area. Sometimes when I'm busy in the kitchen, he's busy playing with his toys, which lets me work. If all of his toys were packed away he would probably be giving me a tough time!

6) Other children who come over love this little area.

The key is not to overdo it. More toys than this amount would make the area look too cluttered. If I get more larger toys, I will store some older ones away. 4 large toys at a time seem to be working to keep him busy.

Now for the other side of the room:

We have my son's jumperoo here. Notice how the color chosen is kind of muted compared to most baby toys. This allows it to blend into the decor a little better. He has loved it dearly for 1 and a half years now, but has grown out of it. I need to store it and replace it with something more age appropriate for him (2 years), but I'm not sure what. Do you have any ideas? A chalk board easel or teepee perhaps?

We also have the computer area in this room. We don't own a TV, so no need to worry about space for that. Finally, we have my son's old changing table at the end of the room.

I repurpose this changing table into a beverage cart if I'm hosting a party, but regularly it looks like this. On the top shelf are the hot beverage station supplies. On the bottom two are diaper changing supplies that I just pull out and use on the floor as needed. And the cute little chair on the side? His time-out area to sit in for one minute if he's throwing too many tantrums. :( Such are the ways of parenting.

Overall this is a very child friendly room and working out for our toddler! Do you have any other ideas I haven't thought of?

If you'd like links for any specific items shown in this post please leave a comment below and I'd be glad to assist. 

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Purse Essentials

A couple of weeks ago on my purse organization blog post, there was a giveaway. The winner could choose either purse essentials or stationery supplies for their prize. The winner of this giveaway chose purse essentials. I thought I'd show you what I got for her!

    These are things I feel are important for any situation:

- A compact mirror with a flat blush brush inside.
- Lip balm
- Blush
- Lip gloss
- Mascara
- Makeup remover wipes
- Nail polish remover pads
- Deodorant 
- Quarters for vending machine
- Nail file
- Mints
- Hand sanitizer
- Hand and body lotion
- Clorox to go wipes

And continuing on:

- Lint remover
- Comb/Hair brush
-Pain reliever
- Instant stain remover
- Tissues
- Hair clip
-Hair ties 

Here's what it looks like all packed up:

I hope she enjoyed her little prize and finds the products useful! She can obviously customize the pouch to her needs, taking out what she won't be using and adding anything else she needs! 

What else would you add in your purse essentials? I would love to hear about it!

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