Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Goodwill Hunting

Going to the Goodwill or any thrift store for that matter is quite the ordeal with a three month old. It didn't take me much time at all after becoming a mother to realize that going into any store without automated doors is pretty much impossible with a stroller. You usually wind up doing the backwards push-with-your-butt and hope you make it in without dropping your diaper bag thing which is just awkward and makes strangers feel compelled to help you out. So basically, thrift stores are a tough one to manage, especially since their aisles are usually small and you don't want to touch anything unnecessarily. So here's a little run-down of my adventure taking Evey to the Goodwill for the first time:

3:45 Debate going to Goodwill or not after picking Evey up after work and she's only been sleeping for fifteen minutes but will need to eat when she wakes
3:50 Determine I will give it a shot
3:55 Evey wakes up
4:00 Arrive at Goodwill
4:05 Take Evey out of her car seat and change her diaper on the back seat
4:10 Try to give her the extra bottle from today so I don't have to try and nurse in the back seat
4:15 She won't have it because it's colder than she's used to (ie: body temp)
4:20 Try to remember how the Baby Bjorn works and strap it on while avoiding eye contact with strangers parking their cars near by
4:25 Manage to get Evey in the carrier and off we go
4:30 Walk the aisles of Goodwill, find some sweet deals, and bounce Evey every now and then when she starts to fuss, regretting leaving the pacifier in the car while at the same time very happy that I don't have to worry about it falling on the Goodwill floor ::shutter::
4:50 Leave Goodwill satisfied with my spoils for the day and that Evey didn't start crying
4:55 Feed Evey the bottle that has warmed up a bit in the car, burp her, insert pacifier and snuggle with blanket
5:00 Head home while Evey drifts back to sleep and I plan my next thrifting adventure

So yeah, the amount of effort going into getting a happy baby in and out of the store was definitely more than the time actually spent in the store but it was worth it! I loved being able to go to the store I used to frequent all the time and the things I found were worth every second.

Now I went to the store looking for a few organizational items and I definitely lucked out but first up, some honorable mentions:

This tiered stacking thingy, not sure what it is but I debated buying it and using it in our pantry cabinet although I ultimately determined things would get lost in the back so I passed.

This file/paper organizer was a good find and can be used for lots of things other than paper.

This little organizer was cute and had four nice sized drawers that would be great for holding jewelry, makeup, or even tea bags.

And lastly these Target bins were a great find, just slightly cheaper than the store price.

Now for my finds...two fantastic kitchen organizers for only $1.50! Woot. I was SO thrilled when I spotted this under-the-shelf rack and was doubly thrilled to see the plate rack right beneath it!

Then when I got to the counter and saw that all yellow tag items were half off, making it only 50¢, well it just about made the whole adventure worth it.

Stay tuned to see how I used them in our kitchen!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Basement Progress + Exciting Announcement!

Hey guys! So I've been working away down in our basement family room trying to finally get all the junk cleared out! When I did our family room reveal back in February I mentioned how we still had a bit of a storage problem in the back that needed to be dealt with. Well here we are 6 months later finally dealing with it!

The pile of junk only continued to spill out into the living space so it was time I faced the music. All the gift wrap, git bags, ribbons, and tags got a serious purge and those that got to stay I organized onto this trash-picked thingy-ma-bob that was clearly a DIY gone wrong. See it there in the back? I have no idea what it's original purpose was supposed to be but when I saw it on the side of the road I knew it would make terrific gift wrap storage!

I organized all my gift bags into one single bag and tied it to the back of the caddy with some leftover ribbon. Then the whole thing slid in nice and neat next to my craft desk.

Now why the sudden need to purge you may ask? Well aside from having a baby and realizing she won't be a baby forever and will need a space for all her toys...we're having a garage sale! After living in this house for two years now (July 20th was our official house-iversary) it was time for a deep-cleaning. Anything we moved here with us and we never used was getting the boot! No closet, drawer, or cabinet was overlooked and it's all going this Saturday!

Moving on back into the family room, it now feels so much lighter and more functional now that everything has a place and there is no more junk corner looming in the background.

For example, this cedar chest hadn't been cleaned out since we moved in and was holding board games, faux pumpkins, and four sheet about random. Two of the sets I forgot we had so I washed them and put em upstairs in our room where they belong. The other two sets we never used so they were moved into the garage sale pile. Now that I've cleaned it out of what doesn't belong I can use it to store the board games and pumpkins and know specifically what is in there.

If you have boxes, drawers, or cabinets you haven't gone through since moving, go through them now! It feels so good to find things you forgot about but also to get rid of things you clearly don't use or need!

To the right of the chest is this closet nook that used to be bursting with junk. Now it just holds extra cardboard boxes and gift well as pieces of my brother's hotrod he's currently restoring in our garage. So yes, those won't stay forever and we can eventually turn the space into a proper toy room! That way toys can be organized and accessible and yet hidden away from the rest of the room.

To the left of the cedar chest we have Dan's drum set that he doesn't play anymore but doesn't want to get rid of just yet. For now it doesn't bother us to tuck it away in the corner but eventually when we need the space he may need to pass it along to someone who would love to use it. Oh and the hole in the ceiling is from a vent cover that fell down...gotta put that back up!

So while this room will definitely be more functional and useful when Evey's older and starts to accumulate toys, the main purpose of this room for us now is a P90X workout space for Dan and movie watching room with our projector.

As for the exciting announcement...I now have a YouTube channel! My channel name is My So-Called Home so please head over there and Subscribe to see all my more in-depth video tours as well as organization and decorating tips!

To see the tour of our basement family room click below or watch it on my new channel!
P.S. Evey makes a cameo in the Basement Tour and Channel Intro videos!

Thanks for watching!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Our Home With Baby: 3 Months

I thought it might be interesting to show you guys all the small changes that have happened to our house since welcoming Evey. While our home doesn't scream "baby!" (and I hope it never does) there are definitely touches here and there that let you know we have a baby on board. Starting in the living room, having a baby is the most evident here because this is where most people keep a big swing or a smaller bouncy seat...we have both. The bouncy seat however tends to move around the house like in the kitchen when I'm making dinner or blogging in the office.

In the cabinet next to the swing I keep diaper changing supplies and extra blankets for quick and easy access.

And as I've shown before, her carseat gets parked next to the front door so we can grab and go.

Moving into the kitchen, our "pantry" cabinet doubles as my breastmilk bag storage since it is next to the freezer. I'm currently transitioning from Medela to Lansinoh and maybe I'll do a post on that one day if anyone cares to know.

In the freezer I'm quickly running out of space for my shoebox organization and will be needing a chest freezer asap.

Next to the kitchen sink we have a Boon grass drying rack for hand-washed bottles and pump accessories. All other dishes get put away immediately, as per my daily cleaning schedule!

Upstairs in our room we still have the bassinet Evey sleeps in although now that she is sleeping through the night (hallelujah!) it may be time to transition her to her nursery. Maybe in a month or so.

And lastly we have my bedside table cleared of pregnancy books and now holding a glass of water (always!), aspirator (she hates but needs), saline drops (so great!), and a pacifier (rarely used).

So there ya have it, that's how our home has changed to accommodate baby at 3 months old (although she won't be technically 3 months until the 1st of August). When she starts to get older, plays with more toys and starts eating solids I'm sure things will continue to evolve but I'll keep ya posted.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Quick Free Guest Room Makeover

What do you do when company's coming to stay for three days and your guest room is a mess? Clean it up and add a few nice touches of course. Our guest room/office had unfortunately become a dumping ground for the past couple weeks and this was the perfect excuse to tidy things up. The before photos you're about to see were not staged but rather looked worse before I started cleaning and then stopped to snap these pics.



Once all the junk was dealt with I was able to bring up this trash-picked side table from the basement I got months ago and put it beside the bed. It's nice that there's an outlet right there for easy cell phone or laptop charging.

I left the top clear except for a water glass and put just a few books underneath.

Other side Before

And After

I moved the wooden stool from beside the bed into the corner so I could top it with a cute little yellow potted plant to give the room some life. The green and white striped throw I pulled from the living room blanket basket to add a pop of color and give another layer option in case the AC is too high for them.

We had hung the blinds months ago (I believe it was December) but never got around to hanging curtain rods and curtains which is why the blinds are hung higher than the window. The curtain panels would cover the window's edge, making it appear wider and taller so I hope we can get those hung soon.

Since this room also doubles as our office I tidied up the desk too.



I closed up the printer, pushed in the chair, hid some wires, and moved the keyboard and mouse back to free up as much surface space as possible.

So for zero dollars and zero cents I was able to tame our unruly guest room and make it guest-ready.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Organized: Fridge & Freezer Tour

The total organizational overhaul of the kitchen is still underway and after organizing my baking supplies, junk drawer, and side of the fridge, it was time to get things in order inside the refrigerator and freezer. Things weren't too bad but I added just a bit more organizational goodness to keep things nice and neat. After going grocery shopping yesterday it was high time for a tour since believe me, our fridge is never this stocked except on grocery day!

Let's take a peek shall we...

Now I believe this fridge is missing a shelf on the door but it has been this way since we moved in so we make due with the two shelves just fine. I did go ahead and label my shelves (yes I'm a dork) but I just used a little washi tape so if things need to be rearranged they are easily removable. I labeled only the shelves that remain pretty much the same and left plenty of open space for the items that rotate out on a regular basis. I also didn't label the butter shelf because let's face it, there will only ever be butter in there!

Our fridge is a standard size and works just fine for our little family but I did hate how much wasted space was being under-utilized in the back of the shelves. Things would get lost or forgotten about and I needed a better system.

So I added these plastic bins (from the Dollar Tree) to corral a few items that were consistent staples for a nice grab-and-go set up. The larger bin on the left is a perfect size and fits all the way to the back-- horray for no wasted space! I use it for salad fix-ins and it's nice to just bring out the whole bin when I'm making lunch or dinner and then put it all back in one step. 

The smaller bins on the right hold yogurts in the front and some limes in the back. I usually have lemons as well but not this time.

The top shelf holds our milk, juice, and eggs and the middle is kept as an open and un-labeled area for leftovers and food being cooked that week. We do tend to go through milk pretty quickly between lattes, cereal, and the occasional glass with dessert so the top shelf is a perfect spot. And of course Evey's milk is in the back left. That tall cup in the middle actually catches all the little water drips that seem to come from our freezer.

The middle shelf has our deli and cheese drawer (which I organized with a food container cast-off) and bread while the rest of the shelf stays open for rotating snacks like hummus or extra salad mix.

The door holds condiments, naturally. All of our jellies and sandwich supplies are up top as well as my coffee creamer and homemade vanilla syrup.

The bottom shelf holds our "salads and savory" which just means salad dressings and cooking ingredients. This shelf also holds overflow items like more juice and extra condiments.

To make all the labels I simply rolled out a strip of washi tape right onto my counter and used a Sharpie to write out each item. Then you just cut and stick.

Moving on into the freezer you can see that we are pushing the limits of this little space! I believe a deep freezer may be in our near future to hold extra meat and veggies, as well as my growing stash of breast milk and the baby food I plan to make in the next few months.

So for now, this is what we have going on:

I outgrew my one shoe box for breast milk and had to add another which, as you can see, is already full! On the bottom we have extra breads, chicken, and ice pops.

The door holds our veggies, extra butter and nuts.

And there ya have it! Just one more step closer to a fully organized and functional kitchen.

Psst...To see our kitchen cabinet tour, click here!

To see the fridge and freezer tour on YouTube, click here!
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