This page has moved to a new address.

Scattered Squirrel

Scattered Squirrel: April 2012

April 30, 2012

Making It Work: Bathroom and Linen Storage

One of the biggest hurdles in a small home, is making the space work for you and your family.   Often times it seems like the hardest working rooms are often the smallest, or most ill equipped for the functions they have to serve.  In our home, the bathroom was no exception.  Because of the way the lighting was done, we took out the over the toilet storage tower, so that it didn't feel like you were showering a dungeon.  :-)  Which left only the small cupboard in the vanity for storage.

With four in the home, and only the one bath, this presented quite the storage and organization dilemma.  We tried installing a cheap medicine cabinet in place of the mirror, and it worked... kind of, but the mirror part was so small and it had to be hung so high up it didn't work for Liam.  With the home going on the market, I replaced the cheapo medicine cabinet with the original mirror.  We lost some storage, but not really enough to make much difference.  For a while there I also had a shoe organizer hung on the back of the door.  This worked fairly well for corralling items, but it was also kind of awkward.  We couldn't open the door all the way, it didn't look very nice, and I didn't think it would work with potential buyers wandering through the house.  So what's a girl to do?

Added to that is the awkward placement of what I call the linen closet.  It's at the far end of the hallway by the boys room.  I won't complain too much, at least there was one, but it was so far away from the flow of the main area that it just wasn't functioning as it should.  And it was hard to keep neat and tidy.  So, lets add that to the bathroom dilemma.

And lastly, which turned out to be the solution.  I have the cupboards above our washer and dryer.  When we first moved in, Liam was a year old, so this became my cleaning product storage.  It was great to have it up and out of the way, not to mention made my life pretty easy when it came to keeping house.  Throw in a load of laundry, stock the caddy with the supplies for the day and away I went, but the time the washer was done, so was I.  Transfer over the clothes to the dryer, put away the cleaning supplies, and DONE.

Aside from the cleaning supplies it's also been home to my craft supplies, we used the top shelf for storing not often used items, and generally wasted the space.   Which brings me to the solution.

I had an epiphany one night while giving Liam his bath.  I had to walk all the way down the hall to grab the towel (he was 4 by this point, and he sang to me the whole time I was out of the room)  It would have been so much nicer if the towels were closer to the bathroom.  Sure, my craft stuff (that I was hardly using) was right at my finger tips, but the towels were so far from the bathroom.  Light bulb moment!  Why not store my craft stuff in the "linen closet" and the towels above the dryer?  That lead to more thinking, more tweaking, and then we had a system that functioned soooo much better for our family.

The cupboards over the washer and dryer became home to towels sheets, face clothes and spare blankets.  (sorry for the picture quality, these were the only photos I could find of these spaces for before shots)  And the "linen closet" ...

Sooo much better right?  It turned out to be a great storage closet.  My craft supplies fill one shelf, spare storage containers, baskets and empty boxes fill two more.  The computer towers are Travis's, he's a tech, and likes tinker with computers when he has the time.  I actually moved those into there from our mudroom closet, and move the cleaning supplies into that closet.   That made sense too, since that's where I store our vacuum and mop.  And that empty shelf... well it was great to not have filled the closet.

This system worked for the most part, and then we found out we were moving, and I had to rethink alot when it came to getting the house ready.  So, some changes happened.  Here's what we have now:

Packed up a lot of stuff, and moved the spare blankets into the linen closet.

Still have some extra storage containers and boxes for electronics, and I removed the bottom shelf to allow the hampers to slide in, and get them out of the hallway!

Moved the laundry detergent and fabric softener into the cabinet.  Also have room for dish clothes and towels.  Top shelf is for extra sheet sets and pillow cases.

Here we have bath and hand towels on the bottom, excess bathroom items on the top.  Close enough to the bathroom to easily grab them when needed, but not taking up realestate in the bathroom.

Popped cotton swab, cotton balls and bath salts into pretty clear jars, corralled them on a tray on top of the toilet.  They add a little sparkle meets functions feel.

And the vanity cupboard.  It hold everything we need on a regular basis.  And there's room to add a little more if need be.  

And there you have it!

What about you?  Have you had to think outside the box, or room, for meeting storage and organizational needs?  Do you have a hard working room that's a little on the small side, or lacking in functional storage?  How did you tackle it?

Labels: , , , , ,

April 27, 2012

Playing Hooky and a Free Printable

Wow!  It's finally sinking in that the big push to get the first round of packing, the major cleaning, and all that other fun stuff is over!  I can breathe a little easier, spend a little more time focusing on non-move related items. Don't get me wrong, my stress level is still waaaaay up there, I think it will be until we sell and move.  I'm continually reminding myself of all the reasons why we're putting ourselves through this.  But, with the stuff inside my control being done, I am turning my attention to revamping some of the systems I have in place right now.  If anything good came from that frantic rush to do everything, aside from making our home ready for sale, it was that I found many things that just weren't working.  And, being the dork that I am, I took notes!  I kid you not, I would actually stop what I was doing to note a problem area or an idea.  A little on the compulsive side, but I didn't want to forget anything, and if I hadn't I probably would have.

Armed with this new knowledge and insight I have decided that it's time to refresh my Home Management Binder.  I need to work up some new cleaning systems, and other home management type things.  I'm going to share the whole process with you, including ALL the printables!  Since the house is finished and I don't want to mess with things too much, I figured this was a safe project to tackle, buuuuuuut, I didn't really want to think about it today.  In fact, I'm kind of sick of thinking of house stuff, and I need to take a much needed step back before I drive myself crazy trying to keep everything perfect every moment of the day.  So, I'm playing hooky from house thinking today, and working on something equally, if not more, important.  It may seem a little backwards, but I'm starting my project with the fun stuff.

As you know, we're moving, not just to a new town, but to a whole new area, the Lower Mainland of BC to be exact, in a vague kind of way.  There is soooooo much to do there.  So many wonderful new things waiting for our family to discover.  And while we'll be living a little ways away from the West Coast, we're still close enough to enjoy all it has to offer, like two, yes TWO Ikeas, (with a third on the way?)  But I better not get started on the shopping side of things (there's a used bookstore in our town!  eeeeeeek, and according to Travis when you go shopping the stores actually have things on their shelves, and you don't have to climb over and squeeze around all the stock in boxes, I don't know what that will be like!  lol)   And that's it for the shopping stuff.

My REAL focus, the one that really gets me giddy with excitement is all the things we can do as a family.  Parks to check out, beaches in the summer, a trip or few to the ocean .... the list really could go on and on.  Most of what I've been looking up is stuff I can find on line (most charge admission, I'm still hunting up the free stuff) The big ones topping my list are:

Stanley Park

Vancouver Aquarium

Science World

Greater Vancouver Zoo

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Vancouver Whale Watch  (this one I'm torn on, I would loooooove to go out and see the whales, but I'm also of the mind that wild animals should just be left alone)

Vancouver Maritime Museum

Museum of Vancouver

Vancouver Police Museum

H.R. Mac Millan Space Center

And oh so many, many more.  These are just some of the things I found while looking online.  I know that we're going to find a ton more things to do.  We'll find our favorite parks and free activities, and the more time we're there, the more we'll add to our list.  I can't wait to start exploring, and I want to be able to keep track of the places we've been and the places we want to go.  So, I'm adding a whole new section to my HMB, the Family Fun section.  And since I was playing online tourist today, what better way to start off the section than with a list of places to go!  Here it is:

free printable home management binder

The form pretty much explains itself.  I have a spot to put in the location, the address, admission fees for Adult, Youth and Child, whether or not it would be a day trip, if it's an indoor or outdoor activity, and would we go again!  Always important, especially if it's something you have to pay for.  If the kids don't enjoy themselves, why go again?

Did you notice that part about the day trip?  Stay tuned for a few printables that will help make day trips a breeze!  Up next week, I'm also going to share our linen/bathroom storage solutions, and I haven't forgotten about the mudroom before, during and after reveal.  I'm just playing hooky from that stuff today!

As always, just click the caption to get our own copy :-)  And please remember that all the printables offered here at the Scattered Squirrel are for personal use only.  If you would like to use them for something other than personal use, please shoot me an email (email addy is on the right side bar) and we can work something out!

I hope that you all are having a fantastic day, and wish you a wonderful weekend!!!

If anyone knows of any other family friendly places to check out in the lower mainland, I would totally love it if you would leave a comment and let me know.  I cannot wait to get down there!!!!

Labels: , ,

April 25, 2012

Next Time I'll Know Better ;-)

Do you ever have one of those moments when you realize you have vastly underestimated something?  When your stomach seems to drop out of you, adrenaline begins surging, and you fly into a tizzy in a desperate attempt to compensate for lacking of planning?  That was me at 9 am this morning!

Today was our first realtor's tour, and I thought I had everything well in hand.  I did most of the cleaning last night, leaving just my usual morning things, plus the floors to worry about this morning.  I figured, not a problem, I could breeze through that stuff.  The floors didn't really need to be cleaned, just a quick go over to get foot prints up off them and make them shine.  

Ha ha ha ha .... was the joke ever on me this morning.  Liam and I were up around 7:30 this morning.  I don't like mornings, or rather, I don't like busy mornings.  It takes me a bit to reach functioning level.  This morning was no exception to that.  I was up late last night, Liam is sick with a bit of a cold, our Teen also has a cold, and I'm starting to feel under the weather.  So, I was really dragging my butt this morning, but I was managing to putter around, Liam must have been feeling tired too, because he was taking his time over everything.  It's a very yucky day up here, it's snowing!  And it really is just one of those days to curl up with a hot drink and get all cozied up with the ones you love, not running around cleaning an already clean house.

Around 9, I got Liam to get dressed so we were ready to head out the door as soon as our realtor called to say she was on her way.  I decided to wash my hair before tackling the floors and breakfast clean up.  No word of a lie, I was just getting ready to rinse out the shampoo when my phone rang.  I was hoping it was Travis, calling before he headed out on his shift, but no .... that was not my luck today ... it was our realtor calling to tell me we were number three on the tour, and they would be here in 20 minutes!  TWENTY MINUTES, and I still had floors to sweep and mop, breakfast stuff to clean up.  I hadn't even brushed my teeth yet.  So I flew into a tizzy, flicking on lights, turning up the heat (she said to do that to make it feel cozy) I was trying to sweep, mop, and dry my hair all that same time.  I was sooo not ready for it to happen quite that fast.... my mistake!  A BIG mistake.  But what can you do?  Fifteen minutes later, I got the call saying they were heading our way, I quickly ran around opening drapes, grabbed a clip for my hair(didn't have time to brush it), got Liam dressed in coat and boots, and out the door we went.  There were already realtors in our driveway when we left.  

So, Liam and I went for a walk, and not even ten minutes later we watched all the realtors leave!  Oh my goodness, so much stress and rushing for TEN minutes of their time.  And you know what I discovered when we got home?  I forgot to open the blinds in our room.  I forgot to take the garbage with us when we left, I opened the drapes on two of the three windows at the front of our house, but on the the third one the drapes weren't fully open.  My wonderful son, went behind me turning off lights, even though they were supposed to be on, and his cereal bowl, glass, and my coffee cup were sitting beside the sink, not in it!  Oh, and I had the washing machine going, because that's what I do, I throw a load in first thing in the morning.  And OMG I didn't even notice until we got home that I didn't sweep under Liam's bed.  You could see toys and a stray sock under it, from all the way down the hallway.  

And now that it's all done and over with, all I can do is chuckle about it, and make a note to get EVERYTHING done the night before.  

In other news, Travis was home for a couple days this week.  That's one of the reasons I haven't been on here.  I didn't want to lose even a single moment with him.  The boys both really enjoyed having him home. I don't know how much more of this commuting stuff we can take.  I was told the house will sell faster with us still in it, but I think we might have to find a compromise to that.  Aside from how hard the commute is on Travis, Liam really isn't handling all the changes well, especially not having his Daddy around, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that the house sells fast ... I don't know what else to do.  I'm brainstorming right now.

Have you ever had one of those moments that seems to throw everything into a whirlwind?  Or one of those "why didn't I think this through better" moments?

I hope that you all are having a fabulous day!  

Labels: , ,

April 19, 2012

Not Myself Today

This is one of those random posts I warned you about!

I just received and email from Chapters Indigo, about an awareness campaign called "Not Myself Today".  The idea behind this campaign is to allow people to show their support for improving mental health in Canada.

I just wanted to pass the word on.  I do believe that this is an area that needs more attention, not just in Canada, but all over the world.  Our mental health has such a forceful impact on our daily lives, and too many times we over look its importance.  So,I thought I would share the site with you all, check it out if you want too.

Not Myself Today

I hope today finds you all well.  For now I'm off to slave away with the yard, walls and windows.... perhaps, one day, my arms and shoulders might forgive me.  :-)

April 17, 2012

Show and Tell

I am so sorry I haven't been on here more.  I have written a hundred blog posts in my head over the past week, (I think I need to find a good voice memo app for my phone) but sadly they never made it onto the comp.   It was a CRAZY busy week, dealing with the aftermath of a small bathroom reno, plus all the packing and reorganizing of things.  I was horrible at taking before pictures, honestly, the thought just never crossed my mind until after.  But, all the rush and hard work paid off.  The realtor came through today, and aside from scrubbing down a few more walls, getting the windows cleaned and painting the mudroom and bathroom, we're good to go.  Those last few things I can take care of this week, and next Wednesday our little home will be going onto the market!  Oh my gosh!  I keep pinching myself, I cannot believe it is honestly happening.

I thought I'd throw up some pics I took yesterday, show you all what I've been up too.  So, here we go:


Nothing much changed here.  As you can see, Liam had just finished up a snack, and I had been working.  Wondering where I put dishwasher?

I slid it into the pantry.  Makes everything seem much more open.  And to the right, you can see our sticker free fridge!  Those were a pain in the butt to get off, and some little man and I had a loooooong talk about where stickers really belong, and that if you feel like you need to hide something you've done (like hanging your artwork over the stickers on the fridge) than what you really need to do is come talk to Mom or Dad and let us know.  


I actually have some before pictures here.  Be very aware that they are BAD!!!  I was sorting, packing, organizing and cleaning all at the same time.  Yeah, I know that's not the way to do it, but I kept getting WAAAAAY ahead of myself, and then circling back around and then repeating the process.... it made for a bigger mess than was needed.  

Oh yeah, this was REALLY driving me nuts.  Everything was in chaos.  Of course, this was right in the middle of the packing, sorting, organizing, cleaning, this ISN'T what it started like!  lol

This side wasn't so bad.  My little helper was hard at work watching something on tv.  lol

And the afters:  

 Not much changed in this first view.  I put away the stuff on the couches, (should have straightened up the curtains before taking the picture!  ha ha ha My little helper again.  He had a blast "helping" me take the photos.  I did find a new home for the laptop Travis and I share, with out a dedicated office space, it makes it hard to figure out what to do with it.  

 And here, the bookcase is gone!  I relocated it into the mudroom closet for the time being.  It's holding painting supplies tools and odds and ends waiting for a box.  That corner now looks sooo much better.  Nice and open.  I debated removing the toys we allow Liam to have out here, but they're contained in the drawers and a basket, and the truth is, we do still have to live here while we're selling, and it's much easier to have them have their own home out here, then play the back and forth game with him dragging them out from his room.

Here we have the new "office/craft" shelf.  The printer there will get packed up soon, then I'll move the items from the top of the shelf onto the lower shelf.  For now it'll have to do.  Oh, on a side note, this shelf is now deemed the evil shelf!  To make the printer fit on it, I removed the back.  It's old home was in our mudroom, but I swapped it out with the larger more imposing one.  When I was moving it, I forgot about the missing back, AND I forgot that shelf is removable.  The end result was that my foot and the shelf got up close and personal, and I've spent the last couple of day hobbling around.  (no bones were broken during the meeting, however bruising most definitely did!  lol)  And I learned a very valuable lesson:  slow down and save a foot!  lol

Here we have the "Office" area.  Our side table was the perfect height to go over the printer, and I'm playing with some ideas for making a skirt for it to hide it away.  the shelf on the table is a left over piece from a different side table.  For now, it allows me a place to store the keyboard and headphones.  (Yeah, I'm a little weird, I don't like typing on the laptop, I prefer a good, old-fashioned, ergonomic, wireless keyboard lol)  Behind the chair you can see my packing kit in the green bag.  It's a lot smaller now that the first round packing is done.  The microwave stand needs a little tidying up on the bottom, but other than that, it's pretty much the same.

So, there you have the main area of the house!  But wait ... I'm not done yet!  Want to see the rest of the house?  


Not much to say about this one, it's a hallway.  I am working on a post about our laundry/linen/bathroom organization, so I'll share more photos of those another day.


And here was the source of most of our stress Easter weekend.  We put in a new surround in the bathroom.  I'm totally in love with it.  Rather than the creamy, faux tile paneling (yeah, I said paneling) that was there before, this bright white surround looks just so fresh and clean. I still have to replace the yellowing caulking along the faux tile paneling up top, but for the most part this is done.  

Here's the vanity area!  I took down our old, small, cheapo medicine cabinet and put the mirror in.  I sacrificed storage space for pretty, but the medicine cabinet was starting to fall apart.  And there is still room under the sink.  I'll give you guys a peak at that in another post.


Ok, part of the room won't be seen in the pictures.  Our Teen has very kindly asked that we try to keep him out of the blog, and I try my best to respect his wishes.  And, having a 5 and 13 year old sharing a room is just one of the many reasons for this move!  lol

Liam, showing off his bed.  He was pretty proud of that, because he helped me make it, and put the teddy bears neatly in the corner.

He's really happy, can you tell?  And yes, the tv is opposite his bed, but we have a strict, no movie rule at bed time.  Their closet is about as good as it can get right now.  Our Teen stores his cherished items on the top shelf, along with old school work and notes that he's saving for studying for finals.   Gaw!  Still can't get over how grown up he is now.  

And lastly, the toy storage.  Lots of instruments in this house, I can't complain though, music is a wonderful thing!  That shelf in the bottom corner was just waiting to be taken apart, and packed up.  


Before:  It's the most over looked room in our home.  We're only ever in there to sleep, so often times it gets to play catch all too.  I was already working on a post about this, and how I know something in our home wasn't working right when our room was slowly filling up with this and that.  It's something I don't have to worry about at the moment, as all the overflow got packed up, but it is something I've made a note of for our new place.  While we only use our room for sleeping, it would be nice to have a room that's just ours, and not for anyone or anything else.  I know Travis feels the same way.

Those blinds were through out the whole house, and they are just too heavy for the size of windows.  They drove me batty when we first moved in, because they were a pain to pull open.  With little direct light coming in, just twisting them open wasn't enough.  Eventually they all came down, most came down on their own!  lol  These are the only ones left, and I left them in here because we don't use this room during the day.

Pile of stuff!  And laundry waiting to be put away.

Closet, needing some tidying up.  The towel on the bottom left there is hiding Easter goodies.  

And the after.... soooo much better now.

I moved the bed over to the other wall.  And now I am really noticing the lack of a headboard.  Just another project I never got too, but I will in our new place.

Night stand is all tidy now.  The coffee can has since be removed, it holds spare change.  Lots of pennies (I'm  thinking of using them in a project since they're just going to get melted down when we take them to the bank)

The closet, and our old baking cabinet has found its way back into our room.  Access to our hot water tank is through our closet, and with the house going on the market, I thought it would be best to keep the access to it open.  I took out one of our shelves, and am using the armoire as it's replacement.

A peak into the closet.  So much neater.  I still have to put the bed skirt on the bed, and wash down the walls, but at it stands right now, this area is done!

And that concludes the tour.  I realize that I didn't include pictures of our mudroom.  Right now, it's a hodge podge of stuff, and I'm still working on prepping the walls for painting.  I did take before pictures though, and I even took some the other day at the point we're at now, and when the painting and final declutter is all finished, (by next Wednesday) I'll post all about it!

After the chaos of the past week and a bit, it's nice to just sit, and enjoy the open, clutter free spaces!  

What about you gals?  Have you tackled any major or minor organizing projects?  How do you feel when you're finished?  

I hope that you all are having a wonderful week so far.  I'm off to work on some stuff for my HMB.  Now that the house is mostly done, I'm hoping to get a few printables done up and get my HMB in better order.  Any requests???

Labels: , , , , ,

April 13, 2012

Small Project and a Printable

Wow!  I am tired!  The house is slowly getting there, bit by bit.  I'm loving watching everything come together, though I still feel overwhelmed by the amount of work to do.  I have to keep reminding myself that step one is to declutter and pack up all the non essentials and get the house organized for showing.  Step 2 will come later. I keep getting ahead of myself in my head, and that does nothing to help my stress level.

Today, my mission is just the main area.  Getting it tidied up.  I think it is really going to go a long way to helping me feel more in control once I get the living room and kitchen/dining area all put to rights.  Wanna see what our dining area has been like for the past week?

Behold the chaos of renos, packing, cleaning ... UGH!

I told you I'd keep it real for you!  lol  Yeah, the table has been acting as catch all, desk, temporary home for items to get packed, and well... a general mess.  The kids have been loving this because it means dinner time is a picnic in the living room.  Not ideal, but I will say this, it's had the effect of turning dinner time into family fun time.  This Mommy, however, is ready to start eating at the table again.  To do that, I had to tackle a few other areas too.  I needed to repurpose the desk from here:  and that meant moving more things around.  I'm REALLY going to have to rethink where to put the printer.  I can't pack it yet, because our Teen still has to have access to it, and I know I'll have things that I need to print.  I'm toying with some ideas.  And the book shelf that was holding all my craft supplies is getting a new home in the boys room, possibly.

To deal with the MESS!  I started by putting things back where they belong, or finding new temporary homes for them.  The bathroom stuff got put back into the bathroom, even though I still need to paint in there, I decided that it was best to get each room functioning again.  I can clear it out again when I'm ready to paint.  The tools got rounded up and I put them in the addition, I'm sure I will need them all again soon.  The rest was just damage control.  I moved out everything that wasn't needed at the moment, (like the empty boxes) and packed the items that were waiting to be packed.  All in all, it was an easy project, and I feel TEN times better for having it done.  It didn't take long, I sort of puttered through it.  I needed to take a day to just take my time.  I'm burning out pretty quickly, and that won't help in any way, shape, or form.  And here is what I am left with!

Yep!  Now I am a happy Mommy again!  The table is cleared off, the floor is not only clutter free, but mopped clean.  As you can see I packed up some of the office stuff to make room for the microwave.  I'm still undecided on whether it's going to stay or if I'm going to move the whole lot out to shed.  We hardly use the microwave, but I will wait and see on that one.  I do need to address the sad excuse for a window treatment.  It was one of those, "Quick, I need something for the windows!" fixes.  Since the dining area is in the kitchen, I'm thinking that I might make something to match the kitchen window.  Perhaps a cafe style treatment, or something . . . I don't know.

Next up for tonight is the living room.  I have two book shelves that need new homes, and some more packing to do.  Little projects.  And while I'm thinking about it, I'll add taking before pictures to my to do list, lol

Aside from moving stuff, it's life as usual here.  Which can be really hard to keep going with normal stuff, when there are sooo many projects waiting for me.  Staying organized with my time is really important as I talked about yesterday.  One of the things I use help me out, is a meal plan.

free printable home management binder kitchen

I just fill it out every Saturday night, and I'm set for the week.  I don't think about meals, just check the list and set out what I need.  It's been such a HUGE help.  If you would like a copy of your own, just click the link under the picture!  :-)

Now I'm off to try to figure out the book shelf issue, and get dinner started!  I hope you all had a great week, and I wish you a wonderful weekend!!!

Labels: , , , , , , ,

April 12, 2012

Budgeting Time!

We started the yucky part of this journey at the beginning of the week.  Travis is already down in our soon-to-be new home town, and he's already working at his new job.  That last weekend he was home was a busy one, and it really made me realize how important it is going to be to budget my time during this process.

Sounds kind of weird to be talking about budgeting time, but I believe that it is just as important as budgeting our money.  Change is hard; big changes even harder, and everyone reacts differently to them.  On top of the move, our boys are dealing with Dad not being here and Mom being a crazy woman on a mission.  While our Teen is coping rather well at this point, Liam is feeling really out of sorts.  So much activity in the house, big brother went back to school on the same day Daddy left, Mommy frantically trying to get everything done as quickly as possible ... it's a lot for a little guy to take in.  It's times like these, that the kids need more from us.  (Why does it always seem to be that they need more when you feel stretched so thin?)  And I don't want either of them to feel lost in the chaos.  To help combat this, and to also help me stay on task when I need to, I've started budgeting my time.  When I plan out my day, the first thing I do is set aside time for the kids.  Liam is at home with me all day, so I schedule in play breaks, outside time, and probably his favorite, I figure out what he can help me with.  He loves to help, and this way, I can accomplish what I need to, and still be spending time with him.

Our teen gets home at 4pm, just in time for me to be wrapping up and getting dinner going.  I make it a point to be available to him as soon as he gets home.  Some days he wants to sit and talk, most days he just wants to decompress on his own.  But I'm there if he needs me.  I try to keep projects to minimum during the chaos that ensues between 4pm and 8pm.  We sit and eat together, we clean up the kitchen together, and the kids know that I'm theirs until bed times.   I make sure that whatever I have planned to do between the time Liam goes to bed, and the time our Teen does, is something I can do while hanging out with him.  Our Teen is usually doing his own thing, but I like knowing that I'm there if he needs me.  He's been handling everything really well, but I know that he has his own worries and fears and insecurities about moving to a new town, starting at a new school, making new friends ... if we could spare him that, we would.  On the other hand, he is totally excited to be closer to his grandparents and aunts and uncles, and he's super excited about all the new things we'll be able to do.

Since Travis's schedule isn't set in stone yet, setting aside time for him is a little more complicated.  He calls when he has a moment, or we might spend a few minutes texting back and forth.  Taking time out to grab those moments with him are so very important.    We're the kind of couple who like spending time together, so being apart is not something we enjoy.  Those little "interruptions" are most welcome to me.  They remind me of what I'm working towards, and why I'm spending my days go, go, going from sun up to sun down. They bring me joy, make my heart happy.  I make sure that I take the time to connect with him when we have the chance.   It might mean interrupting something else, but that's ok, because we NEED those moments.

Aside from making sure I have time for the kids each day, and allowing for interuptions, I plan out my projects really carefully.  I pick a focus and stick with it for the day.  That way I don't have too many of those moments my husband call my "OOOh Shiny!" moments.  I pick either one kind of job, like washing windows, or a room and that's my focus for the day until it's done.  I made up a list of everything that needs to be done . . . ok, I admit it, I have more than one list lol, but I'm only working on one right now.  It lists all the big projects, and I pick one each day.  When that one is done, I move onto to the next one.  And I'm getting pretty close to being done the list.  

And last but not least, I make sure to make time for me before I go to bed.  It might be vegging in front of the tv, or reading for half an hour.  Usually it's just enjoying the quiet before turning in.  Catching a few moments to decompress is important for my sanity.

And that's how I do it!  I looked at what I NEEDED to do.  Time with the kids, and time with Travis come first.  End of story, they are what matter most in this world to me. Next up, was the MUST DOs, or the house projects, because the sooner we sell, the sooner we're all together.  Daily cleaning and cooking are scheduled in there too, because they are things that must be done.  And I'm happy to say that the end of the craziness is in sight. I only have a few more projects to finish up and then it's all just maintaining it from there on out.  Thank Goodness!  lol

I will be back later, either tonight or tomorrow with some posts and pictures about the projects we've done so far!  Until then, I wish each and everyone of you a very fabulous day!

How do you handle stressful and busy times?  Do you "budget" your time?

Labels: , ,

April 10, 2012

Missing In Action

Hi there Everyone!  I'm so sorry I've been missing these last few days.  It was a busy long weekend here.  On top of the Easter holiday, it was also Travis's last weekend at home before starting his new job, and we were tackling a couple big projects that need to get done before we list the house.  It was BUSY!  In between the projects we tried to carve out as much family time as possible, which meant a couple of movie nights, plus a whole morning off of work, for Easter.

And now, we're at the part I wasn't looking forward too.   I don't mind packing and cleaning by myself, I don't even mind doing the painting and finishing up the projects on my own, but I miss my husband!  And he's only been gone for a few hours, lol   But, it will all be worth it to move!  Or so I keep telling myself. :-)

So, what kept us so busy.... we put in a new surround for the tub, patched a couple holes in the walls, packed more stuff, and Travis and the boys hauled it all out to the shed for now.  Cleaned up the deck and the yard, scrubbed walls, rearranged our room, made BIG messes everywhere, (renos suck at times) and shopping.... I think we had to hit every hardware and paint store in town to get all the supplies we needed.  That was a painful experience.  Thankfully I had already decided on an off white for the bathroom and mudroom, and that was an easy pick.  I'm not going to fiddle with testing a few different colors, I picked one, and that's what it's going to be!  A little crazy, but I figured there isn't too much room for error with a white.

Anyway, that's what we've been up too, aside from cramming in lots of family time with the boys.  So, what's up for me this week .... more wall scrubbing, more packing, more organizing, and then, hopefully, a visit from the realtor to tell me what else to do, where to focus our energy, and to get the ball rolling on getting that for sale sign put up!  Woo hoo!!!!

I will try to get a few more posts up with some pictures of the projects we did.  Taking pictures was the furthest thing from my mind this weekend, so most of the projects are missing good before pictures.  Sorry about that, I just didn't think about it until half way through.

For now though, I'm off to get more stuff done, and I think Liam and I will be making a donation run later on.  I think that is my favorite part of this process, seeing the things we no longer need, love, or want leave the house never to return.  I've been as ruthless as I can, and have managed to collect a few boxes and bags to go to new homes.  :-)  That makes me soooo happy!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and I wish you a fantatstic day today!!!

Labels: , ,

April 4, 2012

Organizing our Information

No, I haven't forgotten that we're in the middle of a total house reorganize.  I am feeling the effects of going hard at it for days on end, and am taking things a little slower today.  I've got three rooms in various states of needing my attention, and I plan to get to them later on today, but for now, I'm turning my focus to how we organize our information.  This way I feel like I'm still doing something productive, but my poor, weary body can have a rest for the morning.

I spent some time this morning going through our Home Management Binder, and I realized that I really need to update it a little.  I can only update it so much before we move, as I won't know what needs our new home will have, but I can tackle the worst section right now, which is the one I have set aside for the kids.

My "Kids" section has three subsections, one for each child, plus one for party and activity ideas.  Inside each child's section is where I keep school info.  Liam's is full of preschool activity ideas and our Teen's is full of info from his school, a list of his classes and teachers, a list of no-school dates, etc.... Right now, the school information is just written on some lined paper, and it's a little bit of a mess.  With a school change coming up for our Teen, and with Liam starting Kindergarten in September, I decided it was time to get these sections organized.  So, I whipped up a couple of printables that will allow me to have all the information I need at my finger tips.

I included a section near the bottom for the typical information the school requests for field trips, this way I'm not having to dig out Care Cards (medical cards) and all that other stuff.  For the Elementary School Info Sheet, I included a spot under the teacher name and contact info for any classroom info that would important to have on hand, such as food restrictions, volunteer days, etc...  On the Middle/High School form, I made sure to leave extra space in the class section for semestered and quartered classes.

Grab your own copy below, just click the links under the pics!

free printable home management binder kids

free printable home management binder kids

I'm also working on another sheet that will be where I can keep track of important school dates, and no school days and what not, but for right now, the school info was more important.  I have to say, I'm already loving having all this info on one sheet, in an easy to find spot.  Of course, now I want to organize even more in this binder of ours!  Maybe that can be my focus once I get to the house to point where I can't really do anything else until the sale.... Boy I can't wait for that, and on that note, I probably should get to work on some of the smaller projects.

Please take the time to let me know what you think of the printables!  I would love to hear your thoughts.  Are there any other printables you would like to see?  Let me know, I'll see what I can do.  Until then, I hope you all are having a FABULOUS day!  Talk to you soon!!

Labels: , ,

April 3, 2012

Heart of the Home

Large projects intimidate me.  I tend to spend oodles of time planning them, thinking about them, searching for inspiration for them... in short, procrastinating!  Why?  Well, the problem is, I never know where to start.  I get stalled before I even begin.  I'll go round and round in circles until I'm dizzy, and still no where closer to the end goal.  Or I'll jump in without giving it enough thought, and end up with a project that takes five times as long as it should.  And now, I'm staring down the biggest project I've ever tackled:  getting our home ready for sale!  The moving part doesn't bug me, I've been down that road quite a bit in the last 6 years, but selling our home... WOW!  That seems so HUGE!

I know that a well organized home will show well, and that's something I can easily tackle now.  It's good motivation to get to those projects that I've let slide by.  But, where do I start?  Every room needs a fresh organized solution.  Especially since I'm not organizing just for the sake of order in the home, or to make day to day life easier, but to show our little home to the best of its potential.  After much back and forth, and walking room to room taking mental notes, I decided that the best place to start is the heart of our home: the kitchen.

Like the rest of our home, our kitchen is tiny, but it does have a pantry, which is its saving grace.  Though, as the before pictures will show, how we (and by we I mean me) utilized the space wasn't exactly the best.  It worked in theory, but in practice it was another thing.  For now, I'll let the pictures do the talking for me.

  Just a few issues here ... lol

Firstly, though it was working for us, the stuff on the counters, above the cabinets, the armoire turned bakers cabinet, all add up to a cluttered mess.  Functional yes, show worthy ... nope!  (excuse the dishwasher, it was working hard that day)

Even more eye clutter here!
So, let's see ... problem areas in this direction are pretty in your face too.  Too many things hanging on the fridge; too many things on top of the fridge ... oh my.

Dishes cupboard, formerly the pantry

So, the problem with this area is that it's not something most people would do.  When we got our portable dishwasher, I decided to take out the bottom shelf of the pantry so that I could tuck the dishwasher away when we were done with it.  And it made sense to have the dishes stored above it, to make unloading easier. This is one of those things that in theory, worked great, in practice, it sucked!  We hardly ever put the dishwasher away, it's too handy as extra counter space, and well, the photo below will show you the problem we had with the pantry stuff's new home ...

Pantry Cupboard, formerly dishes cupboard

Yeah, NOT a pretty sight.  It was a daily chore to keep it organized, and as you can see, I sort of gave that up.  It just wasn't working.  We either needed to put in a lazy susan, or come up with a better idea.

Baking Armoire

Just a peek inside the armoire to show that it was indeed a hard working item.  Not as neat and tidy as I would like, but our Teen had just put away the dishes, and he doesn't so much care about what our cabinets look like on the inside.  lol  Oh well!

And now, with a little elbow grease, a whole lot of decluttering, and packing away the non-essentials and the extras, here is where our kitchen is at now.

No more armoire.... big difference.

Most of what was stored in the armoire got packed.  I kept out the items I know I'll use between now and moving day, but to be honest, I'm going to be too busy to spend a ton of time baking.  (Don't worry, I have another home for the armoire already, and I plan to put it to good use.)  A few other fixes; I removed everything from above the cabinets, limited the number of cooking utensils to one urn, and moved the spices we use most often to above the stove.  (the cake on the stove top won't be there much longer lol)  I have an idea for the microwave that I'll explain in a moment.

So much nicer!

This part was a no-brainer, just remove the stuff from the counters.  The only things left are the kettle and paper towel, and of course the dish washing stuff, which will be getting a container to hold it, and then I can tuck it under the sink when we have people coming to look at the place.

No more catch all on top of the fridge.

I cleared off the top of the fridge, and the front and sides.  It's hard to see in the photos, but all that is left on the front is the calendar, my cleaning schedule, a pen holder and a clip for important notices and such.  The stickers all over the front still have to come off, but I need to pick up some more cleaner for that.  lol  When it comes time to show, I can quickly remove the items on the front and store them away until the showing is done.

Bottom of Pantry 

Here is the pantry turned pantry again ... everything is soooo much tidier than in the corner cupboard.  The space at the bottom is my idea for the microwave.  I'm thinking of putting the bottom shelf back in and storing the microwave in there.  We don't use it much this time of year, so really it's just sitting useless.  My other thought was to just clean it and store it in the shed with all the other "ready to be moved" items.  I'm not sure yet as I'm also thinking that it might be a good idea to store the dishwasher in here for viewings  .... anyone have any thoughts on this?

Top of Pantry

And here is the top part of the pantry.  There is plenty of space here for a well stocked pantry.  I'm going to try not to stock it too full so that potential buyers can get an idea of the space.  I haven't labeled anything as yet (the old labels need to come down)  it's not even on my to do list at this moment.  Wanna see what I did to the cupboard?

Dishes and baking!

The rest of the dishes were in the dish washer when I took this, but it gives you an idea of how it's all set up.  The dishes really do work much better in here than the pantry items.  The top shelf is pretty empty.  I just don't have anything to keep up there other than my hand mixer and the liquid measuring cups.  This cupboard makes me smile every time I open it!  It caused some other shuffling of items in the kitchen, but in the end, I'm thrilled with how it turned out.

So, now that I've decluttered the kitchen, what's next for this space?  Well, we're replacing all the handles on the cabinets, I have to clean under and behind the stove and fridge, and umm... did you happen to notice the lack of window covering?  I need to come up with an inexpensive idea for that.  Windows coverings are not the strong point in this house.  When we bought it, all the windows had those faux wood blinds, and they became safety hazards, as in, to pull them up you really needed to wear a hard hat.  They were too heavy for the size of the windows, and over time they broke!  It would have been ok if they let in light when just twisted open, but with very little direct sunlight coming in, they made the home seem dark in the middle of a sunny day!  And that is pretty much it.  We'd love to paint over the "antique red" (I call it pink) walls, but there are other areas in the house that need attention first.

Any thoughts you'd like to share?  Is there room for imporvement?  What would you do with the microwave?  Any ideas for inexpensive window coverings?  I would so love to hear your thoughts and advice.... I'm fastly running out of ideas.

I hope that you all are having a wonderful day.  I'm off to tackle yet another room.  Wish me luck!!!

IHeart Organizing

Labels: , , , ,