The best laid plans…

I put off writing a lot because I feel like it isn’t good enough.

Not the writing, mind you – I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about my writing style or abilities.  I know that my audience understands me and that my points come across, so I don’t fret over every silly word.  I mean the content.  I read all the homemaking, DIY, crafting, parenting, etc. blogs.  I have a Pinterest account.  I see the wonder that seems to be everyone else’s creativity and resources and while I absolutely LOVE the project-sharing and inspiration that comes from these blogs, sometimes I think they come with a side of inferiority complex.

When The Fiance and I moved in last week, everything just kind of got placed into the pantry in the most haphazard way, just to get it out of boxes/grocery bags, and get it on the shelves.  To say that it needed organizing is an understatement.   Of course, as we prepared to make this move, I’ve pinned every beautiful pantry in the blogosphere to my Pinterest, planning and scheming in my mind’s eye how I would arrange ours.  I have a few things in mind, and this morning I was itching to attack the disorganization.   So, I went into the kitchen and started pulling all of the things off the shelves and putting them on the countertops, ready to clean, beautify and containerize my heart out.

Once everything was out of the pantry, I turned my Pinterest-trained eyes to the pantry itself.  Hmmmm… it could use a paint job.  What color do I want to paint it?  Am I going to start painting now, when I have 2 boxes waiting to be unpacked in the Master Bedroom?  Hmmm… I have a fair amount of jars and baskets, but they don’t all match, color or style.  Could I spray paint them to bring cohesiveness?  What about the mismatched styles?  Hmmm.. Canned goods are supposed to be on a lazy susan, right?  Didn’t I see that pinned?  But I don’t HAVE a lazy susan.  How could I possibly organize the cans?  Hmmm.. I asked The Fiance for a Silouette machine for Christmas, but it’s not Christmas yet.  What will I do about beautiful labels?

Talk about FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS.  Oh no, I have so much food all over the counters.  However will I make it beautiful?!

Snap out of it, lady.  Patience has never been a virtue of mine, but it’s one that I need to learn.  Yes, yes – One day I will have accumulated all of the things I have in my head that will make my pantry a place that makes angels sing whenever it’s opened.  But to do that, I’ll need planning.  And time.  And to be cost efficient – it has to be over TIME.  What on earth will I have accomplished by running out, buying hand-made artisan paper to line the walls, 45,195 of the exact same shape container, and painstakingly making the same number of matching labels for all of those containers in a single day?  Will I join the ranks of the Pinterest greats?  Will you, dear reader, canonize me and share, link, pin, tweet, and bookmark my post?  Probably not.

I will have a pantry that still feels like it could be tweaked, an empty wallet, and I’ll be too tired to make dinner tonight, so I’ll have a cranky family who has Chinese for dinner.  Over time, those things are all doable – accumulating the containers at the Thrift store and Flea market will be a much better option than running to Target today.  Stumbling upon the perfect pattern for the walls will be a delight and a joy, when it happens.

As I stood there in the kitchen, The Fiance walked in and I frowned at the pantry and said “This isn’t going to be blog worthy.”

He looked at my pout and said, “Okay, so it’s not blog-worthy.  You can still put it all back in a more organized way so that the pantry is more functional for you.”  Ahhhh, my voice of reason.  There’s a reason why not very many men have Pinterest accounts, ladies.  If an organized pantry was my goal, I’ve met it today.  If having the most awesomest pantry in all of blogland was my goal – I need new goals.

So, my offering today is a simple one.   I spent 20 minutes reorganizing my pantry today.  It’s functional and organized and for my family, it’s GOOD ENOUGH.

How about you?  Do you find yourself Paralyzed by Pinterest?  Tell me what you’ve done (or are planning to do) so we can celebrate, no matter how big or small the victory is!

How to start fresh with organization when you move (part 1)

This is going to be in 2 parts.  The first part is here, in Florida – as I am packing on this end.   The second part will be from The Atlanta House when I am setting up a new household.  

So, the countdown to The Atlanta House is in full swing. The Fiancé is holding it down in Atlanta, painting and prepping for our arrival, and Monkey and I are in Florida, packing our things in preparation for moving day.

I’ve taken this opportunity to reevaluate our organization, what has been working for us, what hasn’t been working for us, and how things will change with a different living arrangement. I’m going to share some of these tips with you today.

1. Purge as you pack.. This seems like advice we hear a lot, but the implementation is usually not as easy. Well, let’s make it easy. There are no other scenarios other than moving where you are literally faced with every single thing you own, so now is the time to make some decisions.

Next to each box that I pack, I place a second box — the goodwill box. As I empty each drawer, cabinet, and closet, I envision The Atlanta House and how those objects will fit in to the house in my mind, as well as their use when I get there. The Fiancé and I have some duplicate items, so we’ve previously discussed who’s toaster, microwave, etc. stays. Therefore, these are a no-brainer. Other things such as sheets… I’ve been keeping three sets of sheets in each bed size, and either donating additional sets, or evaluating their usefulness as fabric for other projects.

For my closet, I sat on the bed as the decision maker and clothes folder, while The Fiancé and my Monkey took care of all the things that involved moving. Monkey pulled all of my dresses, one by one, out of the closet, and I evaluated them from the bed, either having her hand it to me, to be folded and packed, or having her hand it to The Fiancé, to be folded and donated. Once we’d been through all of the clothes in the house, The Fiancé had many bags of clothes to donate, which he took up to Goodwill the next morning and brought me back a receipt.

2. Reevaluate where you want to store your belongings.. This has been crucial for me here in Florida. I have had to be very creative with the storage space available to us in our small little home, and thus – some items are stored in rooms where I might not necessarily store them if I had more room available to me. There are also those little things that stray from their like items, such as the lotion that manages to make a home next to the bed, or the DVDs that meander to a tv in a room that isn’t where they belong, etc.

To address this, I’ve started 4 different boxes, labeled for the rooms where I ultimately want things stored in The Atlanta House. For my purposes, I have Bathroom, Family Room, Master Bedroom, and Dining Room.  Bathroom – because that’s where items tend to migrate away from in my household.  Family Room because in The Atlanta House, we will be combining the Office(s) with a living space, which is different than either of our set ups at the moment.  The Master Bedroom because in my current set up, I do not have a dressing area/make up area in my bedroom, but in Atlanta I will.  And Dining Room because my teeny tiny little Florida House does not have a Dining Room.  My Dining Room furniture is currently in storage and all of the things I would typically keep in the Dining Room are sporadically stored throughout the house as I have found space for them.

With this set up, I will avoid the unpacking of items in a room I do not ultimately intend for it to wind up.  That way, as I am packing my bedroom closet, instead of packing my tablecloths from the top shelf into my bedroom boxes, they can go straight into the Dining Room box, to facilitate easier unpacking when we get to our destination.

And finally..

3. I have packed all of my baskets, storage bins, containers separately on their own.  Why?  Well, I have many different baskets, bins, jars, totes, boxes, etc… And they are being utilized in a way that makes the most sense for the space that I have here in Florida.  The spaces in The Atlanta House are much different, so I figure when I unpack – having all of the storage containers in a central location will allow me to assess each space and shop from my own collection as I go about organizing our things.

I love starting fresh and having an opportunity to fine-tune the organization in my home..

How about you?  How do you handle moves?

Desk made for 2..

So, The Fiance and I both work from home.  We’re also both video game dorks.  With that comes a need for 2 work spaces and various gamer-intricacies.  For example – my monitor is 32″…  and The Fiance rolls with 2 monitors that are 27″ each.

Small desks won’t cut it here.  Also, we don’t really want to be segregated from the rest of the family (read: kiddo(s)) if we are on our computers, because we both spend a greater-than-average amount of time sitting at the computer.. For either work or pleasure.

Beautiful, but this won’t work for us. (Photo Source: Young House Love)

And finally – I didn’t want a side-by-side-looking-at-a-wall-or-out-a-window linear configuration for a number of reasons.

  1. I’d really prefer not to have my back to Monkey or the rest of the family when I am working.. it’s not very conducive to conversations.  It also encourages little eyes over my shoulder when I’m on the internet and I’m not a huge fan of that.
  2. I didn’t want my family room to be the background when I am using Skype to connect with a client.  It takes away from the professionalism a bit when  you see my child hopping around in the background, playing Wii.
  3. I’d really rather see The Fiance’s face when we’re both at the computer, as opposed to his back or the side of his head, etc.

So, I went internet hunting for a possible set up that would could DIY.  We originally saw this in IKEA:

GALANT series from IKEA, set up as a 2-person workstation.

This had a couple of problems.  First, it was $610 for that set up.  That’s a bit steep.  Also, I don’t really like the legs at all.  And finally – it has ZERO storage.  I’d be paying $610 for a funny-shaped table.  No drawers, no shelves, nothing.  So, we continued to hunt and brainstorm.

Then I came across a post on IKEA Hackers.  The guy who posted it turned some IKEA Expedit units into the support for a desk and used Vika Amon Tabletops to build a super big workstation for two!  There are many things to love about this.

Isn’t this great?! Look at all that space! And the storage! (Photo Source: IKEA Hackers)

First, I already own those exact IKEA Expedit pieces.  In my bedroom, I’m sporting (2) 2×4 and (1) 2×2 units.  We talked about it, and The Fiance would also like a 2×2 on his side, so we’ll need to buy one more, in addition to the table tops, but that brings us from $610.00 down to about $112.  Considerable savings!  Plus, it just looks so much better and HOLY COW, the storage!

I’m most definitely excited to bring this together.

Do any of you have to balance two workstations?  How have you solved this?