New House to Home: January 2013            

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Take a Tip From the Wisteria Catalog

Have you seen the latest Wisteria catalog?  It's pages are full of classic pieces offset by refreshing pops of color.  I'm so glad to see some of the big catalog retailers like Wisteria and Ballard Designs adding punches of color to their traditionally neutral offerings.  Even though most of my furnishings don't come from catalogs like these, they are great sources for inspiration and the occasional splurge.  Here are a few pages from the latest Wisteria catalog.  All of these rooms have one thing in common.  Do you see what it is?  Hint - it's a quick and easy stylist's trick that you could incorporate into any room in your house today.
Cozy Rustic Living Room

Butterfly Living Room

Aloe Dining Room

Aloe Kitchen


Dining Tables

Sofas & Loveseats

Did you figure out what these pictures have in common?  Yes, all of them have neutral furniture with added pops of color, but like I said, I'm referring to something you could do to elevate your room without much effort or expense.  Give up?  Every one of these rooms contains either fruit or flowers or both.  The Wisteria catalog inspired me to head out to the grocery store and pick up some tulips and green apples for myself. 
A basic clear glass in a pretty lattice candle holder serves as a vase.

The fruit and flowers seem to add instant life to the rooms.  The best part of this stylist's trick is that it doesn't require a special trip to a home accessories store to pull it off.  I'll bet you go to the grocery store at least once a week.  The next time you're there, why not pick up a bunch of tulips and a bag of pretty fruit to keep on the counter? 

Friday, January 25, 2013

An Organized Closet for a Teen Girl

Last week I showed you a bit of the progress I had made organizing my teenage girl's closet.  I'm finally finished with the project and I wanted to share with you the results and the steps I took to get there.  This is a wordy post, so I summarized the process in the bullet points at the end.  Feel free to skip to the summary if the post gets too detailed or boring for you. 

Here's how the closet looked before I started:
It's not the worst teen closet I've ever seen, but there was definitely room for improvement.  I look at these pictures and see the majority of her belongings crammed on one side of the closet, and lots of wasted space one the other.
I decided that the best day to start this project would be laundry day.  After all, all of the clothing items in the laundry are keepers because they've been worn within the past week.  I figured that would leave me with fewer garments to sort through. 
When organizing a closet, I like to gather any supplies I know I'll need ahead of time.  In this case, I knew I would need two garbage bags (one for trash and one for items destined for Goodwill), a damp rag to wipe the shelves and a vacuum.  If I didn't gather everything in advance, I'd have an excuse to leave the work area, grab a snack from the kitchen, hop on the computer, and whatever else my mind could come up with to avoid doing the task at hand. 
Once I had my supplies, I cleared out all of the closet shelves and wiped them down, and then vacuumed the floor.  It's amazing how much dust can gather in a confined space behind closed doors.  Can you believe all of this came out of that little closet?

You never know what you'll find in a teenager's closet.  I found this sealed envelope from 2010!  Lisa has probably been thinking I'm a deadbeat for the past two years.
Many organizers recommend that you remove everything from the closet before sorting, but I left the clothes hanging in the closet even after I cleared the shelves.  Since everything else had already been removed, it was just as easy for me to leave the clothes in and look through them to determine what should stay and what should go.  You might be thinking that my daughter would be better able to make this determination, but I've found that she's not always honest with herself about what she can or will wear.  A size 8 tank top from Justice that she's had since fourth grade?  I don't think so.  Believe it or not, I found more than one of those in this mess.  While sorting through the clothes, I removed any extra hangers that I found.  There were quite a few.
 After pulling out everything that my daughter no longer wears, I sorted the remaining items into categories (jeans, sleeveless tops, short sleeve tops, long sleeve tops, skirts and athletic uniforms).  As you can see from the photo above, she was using any and every type of hanger known to man.  I replaced all of the random hangers with slim no-slip hangers in black and hot pink.  So that my daughter can easily keep her clothes sorted in the future, I purchased a package of closet rod dividers.  They were $9.99 for twelve at the Container Store. 
I dressed them up with some hot pink scrapbook paper I had on hand.  The dividers came with transparent labels, so I didn't even have to print anything out.
My next step involved sorting through everything that came off the shelves.  It was easy for me to spot the trash and items to be donated to Goodwill, so I started with these.  As I sorted through the giant pile of stuff, I grouped items that we would be keeping into piles of similar items.  For example, I had a pile of shoes...
a pile of purses...
and a pile of blankets.
Grouping like items together helped me determine how to divide the closet into zones.  It also made it easier to determine what, if any, additional storage containers I needed for the closet (none this time - yay!).  One thing I've learned over my many years of attempting to organize spaces is that you shouldn't run out and buy containers until you have purged and assessed your belongings.  Otherwise you may end up with a bunch of containers that don't meet your needs and just add to the clutter.
Once the trash and Goodwill bags were out of the room and the remaining items were sorted into piles of like items, I came up with a plan for returning everything to the closet.  I decided to put everything my teen wears on one side of the closet to make getting ready in the morning easier.  This includes purses and shoes.  The other side of her closet would house some stuffed animals, overnight bags, bathing suits and blankets. 
Are you ready for the big reveal?  Here it is...
It may not be magazine-worthy, but it's a huge improvement.  Here's a breakdown of how I organized everything:
  1. Two boxes for storing sentimental notes, certificates, cards, etc.
  2. Magazine files for storing flip flops and Toms (more about that here)
  3. Crate for purses 
  1. Crate for bathing suits
  2. Bag of infrequently used totes and bags
  3. Bag for extracurricular equipment, used daily, needs to be easy to grab and go
  4. Small crate for manuals for electronic equipment
  5. One blanket and one Snuggie (when the weather warms up, these will be moved to the top shelf and the bathing suits will come down)
  6. Several crates for stuffed animals
As promised, here is a summary of the steps I took to get this closet into tip top shape, and some lessons I learned along the way.
  • If you're organizing a clothing closet, do it on laundry day.
  • Gather all of the supplies you'll need before you start so you don't get distracted.  You'll most likely need trash bags, rags for wiping shelves and a vacuum.
  • Remove everything from the closet and sort through it all.  Determine what is trash, what will be donated and what you will keep.  While everything is out, give the closet floor and shelves a thorough cleaning.
  • Group all of the items you decided to keep into piles of like items.
  • Come up with a plan for returning the items to the closet.  Don't forget to take into consideration the items in the laundry.  Things that are used frequently should be easy to access.  Label as needed.
  • Resist the urge to run out and buy pretty organizing accessories like containers and hangers until you've purged, sorted, and measured.
  • Using one type of hanger makes everything look neater.
Hopefully with this closet makeover my daughter will have the tools she needs to stay organized. 

  • Crates, Magazine Files, Back Hangers - Target
  • Shelves on the Bottom of Closet - Lowes
  • Hot Pink Hangers - Home Goods
  • Bag Hook, Closet Rod Dividers - The Container Store
  • Photo Boxes (used for sentimental items) - Hobby Lobby
  • Pink Basket (used for manuals) - Pottery Barn Kids

Linking To:


shabby creek cottage   It's Overflowing

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special
Life on Lakeshore Drive

UndertheTableandDreaming Home Stories A2Z
Today's Creative Blog My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia  Debbiedoo's
TDC Before and After

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Better Than a Towel Rack

I first saw this image on Pinterest sometime this past summer.
Much cuter than a towel rack
original source unknown

I immediately knew I wanted to do something similar on the empty wall above the tub in my master bathroom.  Naturally, when I tried to open the link from the image, it took me nowhere.  No blog, no instructions, no original source - a total dead end.  I knew if I wanted one of these for myself, I was going to have to figure out how to make it.  That's exactly what I did, and I've got to say, it wasn't that hard.  I think I may even like my finished product better than the one in my inspiration photo.  What do you think?
I made it by taking an old shelf...
(I love this shelf, but the antique yellowish color is too similar to the wall colors in our house.  The color needed to change to make it stand out).
and doctoring it up using a few supplies I had laying around the house.
As I told you before, I'm a doer, not a teacher, so I'm terrible at giving tutorials.  I'll just give you the short version of how I put this together and hope it makes sense.   
  • Basically, I took a 1/4" thick board and used wood glue to trim it out with molding that I cut with a miter saw.  The molding I chose has a 1/4" lip that wraps around the side for a more finished look.  The 1/4" lip was the perfect size (obviously) to accommodate my 1/4" board.  My plan was to butt the trimmed out board up against the bottom of the shelf, so I had to cut the board 1/2" shorter than the length of the bottom of the shelf to accommodate the 1/4" lip on each side.
  • Once I got the board trimmed with the molding, it was time to paint both the board and the shelf.  I started the process by applying two coats of spray primer, and then finished by painting both pieces with the same paint used on the trim throughout the house.
  • When the paint was dry, I hung the shelf using drywall anchors.  I then butted the trimmed board up against the bottom of the hung shelf and secured it by screwing the center hook into the wall.  Two things should be noted.  1) The screws for the hook are long enough to go through the board and into the wall, so the board will be secure.  2) The board probably won't be flush with the shelf - you will have to caulk the gap.
  • After the gap between the shelf and board was caulked and cleaned up, I hung the last two hooks.  When determining my hook placement, I made sure at least one of the screws went through a stud.  I'm not sure this was necessary because everything seemed really secure even before I took this step, but better safe than sorry is my motto.
I'm really happy with the final result.
The detail of the shelf adds character.
Adding this little shelf above the tub brings me one step closer to one of my 2013 home goals.  Do you remember that I set a goal to add personality to the master bathroom?  This one-of-a-kind towel rack certainly does that.
These are two of my favorite prints.  I love the muted green palette and the island vibe.  I've been looking for the perfect place to put these ever since we moved in.  I think I've finally found it. 

Over the next few weeks I'll be working on adding a few more hits of personality to the master bathroom.  I hope you'll stop back to check on my progress.
  • Shelf - Tuesday Morning (about 8 years ago)
  • 1/4" Board - Hobby Lobby
  • Molding - Home Depot
  • Hooks - Lowes
  • Sailboat Prints - Target (about 8 years ago)
  • Towels - Target
  • Glass Candle Holders - Pottery Barn Outlet
  • Basket - Home Goods