Tag Archives: organize

Tote-ally Organized Shelves

My Dad is a very handy guy. He can take an idea, sketch it out, then bring it to life with some power tools and several trips to Home Depot.

bins 1Eleven years ago (when my parents were visiting to spend time with their newest grandbaby), he transformed an area of our basement into the ultimate storage tote shelving unit.

Suddenly, we had a place to store all of those “things” that we wanted to keep, but didn’t want sitting out all the time. Halloween decorations are, of course, in the orange and black bins. Christmas decorations are easy to spot in the red bins with green lids.

bins 3As our boys grew, the storage rack (which is EXTREMELY sturdy) became a jungle gym. They would climb up to the top and then shimmy hand over hand across the I-beam on the ceiling. It also made an awesome fort; remove a few bins and add blankets, pillows and flashlights.

bins 2Let’s talk about organization for a moment. The outside of each bin is labeled with a number using Uppercase Living vinyl. Here’s where you can really take your basement “stuff” to a new level of organization. We created a spreadsheet where each bin number corresponds with an overall category (e.g., #5 = Halloween). Then, the contents of each bin are listed on the spreadsheet next to that bin’s number. (You can use index cards for this, too.) Need to find your white Christmas lights for a party you’re having in July? Refer to your chart to find the Christmas bins (yes, there are half a dozen!) then narrow your search to see which of those six bins has “lights” listed in their contents. Now you only have to dig through one bin, not 25.

Do you use totes like the ones pictured here for storage? How do you keep them organized?


The Reveal {my home office reorganization}

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my home office re-do. Started by purging everything — even furniture — from the room and rearranged and reorganized to create a more functional and less cluttered environment. 

office montage 3I’m finally ready to show you “the reveal”…a term you’ll know well if you are a fan of HGTV.

One of the biggest changes was moving my desk (a large former drafting table) on an angle looking out the window. I now have a view of the outside world when sitting at my desk (which, these days, means I’m mostly looking at huge piles of snow).

Several of my favorite Asian pieces were brought in including three Korean chestchests and two peasant prints. (My family lived in Asia when I was a teenager and my parents, siblings and I each have a few of these colorful prints in our homes.) Propped atop one of the chests is a fun expression — Do Something Good Today — applied to a framed piece of chalk wall vinyl. The chests have lots of little drawers and cabinets, which are perfect for storing my Uppercase Living catalogs and sample words.

Office montage 2Another favorite expression — In This Home — is featured on a framed black and white photo of my three boys. The Bible shown here is the Benjamin Family Bible that belonged to my great great grandmother in 1903. One of our sons is named Benjamin…and it turns out there is a whole branch of Benjamins (last name) in our family tree. There even used to be a village of Benjaminville in Illinois,  where many of them are buried.

When I look up from my computer, just to the right of the windows, is a custom expression that says: What did  you do for somebody today?

Is your workspace (or living space) a reflection of you? Do you have the words that are important to you right there where you can see them?

Breathing Space


Shortly after dinnertime last night, I knew I had 24 hours of unscheduled time ahead of me (thanks to a blast of extreme cold weather that cancelled pretty much every activity on our family/work/school calendar). I made the impromptu decision to tackle The Office project I had been putting off for a while.

My home office is our former living room. It is the first room you see when you walk in the front door of our home. While it has “good bones,” it is often so completely cluttered that it borders on unsightly at times.

Last night I removed everything from the room. Everything. I emptied out every drawer and cabinet. I removed artwork, including the Grande Delicate Tree (shown in the picture), from the walls. I took out the rug and most of the furniture. I vacuumed and dusted the floorboards.

Ah, breathing space!

Next, I rearranged the furniture, placing my large, drafting-table desk in front of two windows for a whole new view. I brought the rug back in and worked on the lighting so that my desk area and upholstered reading chair have ample light for my ever-aging eyes.

I am looking forward to painting the walls and installing a new expression or two to complement the “new” space. I promise to post a photo of The Reveal when this project is truly finished.

(Meanwhile, my dining room – where the contents of my drawers and cabinets got dumped — looks like an episode of Extreme Hoarders, but I’ll tackle that next.)