Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hang Your Flip Flops

It's summer time, and I can't stop buying cute flip flops in every color of the rainbow.  I've gone a little overboard because my kancles have finally disappeared after giving birth, and I can now wear regular shoes.  For thin shoes, it can be easier to hang them than stack them on the floor.  The folks over at ebpot have a nifty tutorial on how to make flip flop hangers from wire hangers.

I like the way you can flip through your flip flops on a rack rather than a shelf.  Look at all the flip flops you can store in a small footprint (pun intended).

If you'd rather buy than build, Container Store has some off the shelf solutions.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wine Crate Shelves

I'm doing some serious nesting these days as I'm about to give birth to my first son in one month.  My husband and I are super excited, and I've been spending the last few months figuring out how to decorate the new baby's room.  I spent a lot of time window shopping, and quite frankly, I'm disappointed with most of the options out there on the market.  The cool stuff is outrageously expensive, and the affordable stuff is so generic.  I want something with character that's affordable, and after a few frustrating months, I resigned myself to making some of the smaller decorative furniture myself.

I knew I would need some shelving solution for all the baby accoutrements I will be accumulating.  Somehow, I became obsessed with wine crates and wanted to make some kind of storage unit out of them.  I scored a bunch of wine crates on Craigslist for $5 each.

I found these angle slots at Home Depot that would make the bookcase-like structure I was imagining.  These are typically used for industrial shelving in garages and warehouses.

I evenly spaced out 3 boxes and placed one of the angle slots on top.  

Next, I drilled holes in the crates where I would attach the crate to the angle slots with bolts.  Then I slipped in the bolt and secured it to the angle slot with a nut on the other side.  Helpful hint - make sure you don't drill into the nails that are holding the crate together.

Repeat on all boxes on all four corners.

If you're handy with a drill, it will take less than 30 minutes to make this unit.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pimp Your Ride

Cars only move me in the literal sense, so I don't pay much attention to most cars on the road around me.  But this car demanded my attention with its bold design and contrasting colors.  Goes to show how powerful design can be when it is used deliberately.  You cannot deny the presence of this car, and the color palette and patterns tells you what this company is all about - fun, modern and sophisticated.  It was compelling enough to make me visit their website, which is just as exquisite as their cars.

I think most people underestimate the power of design and how it can affect your mood and inspire you to do more.  I was having a ho hum day running errands when I saw the van, but it made me smile and perk up behind my wheel.  It got me thinking how I can bring an element of style and fun into the most mundane things in my life.  It's easy to get bogged down with the drudgery and routine of everyday living, but even a small, beautifully design object can bring  a little joy to your day.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Lonny Office Makeover

The latest issue of Lonny has a great article about their office make over.  Decorating an office that is functional, beautiful and inspiring can be quite challenging, and Lonny gives some great tips on how to pull this off.

Establish a focal point.
Make every square inch  count.
Design your office as if you were designing your home.
Define work spaces.
Fill your office with things you love.
Balance style with function.
Make it your own.
Keep it tidy.
Get your creativity flowing with an inspiration wall.
Install adequate lighting.
Maximize your workspace

Check out the latest issue for more information and inspiring examples.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Vintage Storage

We spent a glorious Sunday morning at the Alameda Antique Fair, and it's a good thing I only brought $100 with me or I would have came home with a truck load of cool stuff.  It was my first time there, and I was amazed with all the wonderful, vintage items for sale.  There is something for everyone - cute little decorative items for a couple bucks to high end antiques for thousands of dollars.  Being the organizing geek that I am, I was drawn to all the vintage storage solutions ranging from wooden boxes to metal storage lockers.  This is what I would have bought if I had the space in my house.  Pardon the poor quality of my phone pictures.

Apartment Therapy just posted a great piece about using such pieces in the home.  Makes me want to redecorate the house with a vintage industrial theme.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

$50 Closet Makeover

My client had a very unusual closet in her studio apartment.  It was almost the size of a small bedroom and had great built in shelves and cabinets.  Unfortunately, you had to go through the closet to go to the bathroom.   Her disorganized closet was such a huge source of embarrassment that she sometimes forbade her boyfriend to go to the bathroom.    As a full time student, she didn't have a lot of time or money to devote to organizing her closet, but she knew she couldn't live with her chaotic closet anymore.  We decided to spend most of her organizing budget on my time and spend $50 on supplies.

The first thing we bought was a double hanging rod for $12 to add more hanging space.  Woven tops went on top, and skirts and jeans went on the bottom.

Jeans used to be kept stacked on a shelf in the cabinet.  We hung them on hangers for easier access.  By having all the tops and bottoms close together, it was easier to mix and match her pieces when she got dressed in the morning.  To save money, we used existing hangers.

Next on our list was a $5 belt hanger.  This hanger kept her belts neat and tidy without getting tangled.

Jewelry was formerly scattered  through out the apartment.  We consolidated everything in a $19 jewelry organizer.  This is one of my favorite jewelry organizers as it is very affordable and compact.  It's double sided too. 

My client didn't have a dresser, so we took advantage of a built in cabinet for underwear and other personal items.  After sorting and purging, we containerized like items in random cardboard boxes she had in the house.  To create a more decorative, cohesive feel, we covered these boxes in $5 contact paper.  We also bought two $3 shelf risers to take advantage of vertical height.

I did make one "donation" to the project.  I had some shoe racks at home that I no longer needed and was happy to give them to my client. These were pricey wood racks, but you can buy very sturdy, affordable shoe racks for less than $20.

My client is thrilled with her new closet.  Every item has a home, everything is neat and orderly, and she now encourages her friends and boyfriend to use her bathroom.  She has described this process as life changing.  I can't ask for a better compliment.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekend DIY: Pottery Barn Inspired Wire Wall Baskets

Make your version of a Pottery Barn Wire Basket for a fraction of the price.

Courtesy of Attempting Aloha

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Organizing Online Inspiration:

My craft board at

I am constantly on the prowl for new organizing and decorating ideas.  Most of my research is done on the internet, and while there is a wealth of inspiration online, I had a difficult time organizing all my bookmarks to keep track of everything.  My browser bookmark was exploding with too many subfolders, and it became increasingly difficult to browse.  I tried other online options like but didn't like their interface.  Since most of my research focused on beautiful pictures as well as practical information, I wanted a way to visually organize my bookmarks with a picture representing the URL.  Luckily, I came across which does exactly the visually organizing I was looking for.

Pinterest is a visual pin board,  a place where you can create collections of things you love.  People use Pinterest to collect and share all sorts of things like wedding inspiration and recipes.  The easiest way to pin an item is to use the Pin It bookmark. This is a special button that lets you grab an image from any website and add it to one of your pinboards. When you pin from a website, Pinterest automatically grabs the source link so they can credit the original creator.

Pinterest also allows you to browse other member's boards, and I find myself frequently looking for ideas on these boards instead of Google image search.  The boards are carefully curated with absolutely breath taking  images and smart comments.  I have auspiciously stumbled upon amazing new sites and blogs through these boards created by fellow members with keen eyes and great taste.

Here's a board I created to collect ideas and products to redecorate my bedroom.  I've been obsessed with an creating an opulent Chinoise look, and this board helps me keep focused on my end goal.

My bedroom inspiration

Friday, April 8, 2011

Weekend DIY: Craft Organizer

Believe it or not, I once bought the Pottery Barn version for a client.

Copy Cat Crafts

Friday, April 1, 2011

Weekend DIY: Bathroom Organizer

Cute and affordable.  A touch of industrial and shabby chic.

Liz Marie

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Huge Jewelry Organizer

I love chunky, junky jewelry, and I'm always looking for a way to put them out on display as they are too beautiful to be hidden away in a drawer.  I have made a smaller version of this padded jewelry display before, but since my collection has grown, I was looking for something bigger with more impact.  Luckily, I already had all the materials on hand, and it only took me 30 minutes to complete this project.

I re-purposed a mirror I made to stage my last place for sale.  The 20"x40" frame came from Goodwill for $14.99.  I bought a piece of plexi mirror for $20 and cut it down to fit the frame.  As a temporary mirror, it did the job,  but the silver behind the plexi mirror began to peel, and the mirror began to warp slightly, making it look like one of those carnival mirrors.  The batting and muslim came from my quilting stash.

I cut the fabric and muslin slightly bigger than the mirror.  You'll need this extra fabric to wrap around the mirror.

Next, I wrapped and taped the fabric to the back.  Be sure to pull the fabric taut so it doesn't sag.

Place the wrapped mirror in the frame.  I got a kick out of the original price of the frame:  $158.95.

I didn't have any brackets to hold the mirror in place, so I improvised by bending some nails in place.

Flip over and enjoy your work.

Now comes the fun part - hanging your jewelry.  I had extra T-pins I used to hold the jewelry in place.  This was a super easy project, and the best part was that I didn't have to spend any money as I already had the materials.  Now I have to figure out a place to hang this where the cats won't to swat at the jewelry.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Organizing Tip: Organize your Car

Many of  us spend more time in our cars than our homes.  Some of us have long daily commutes.  Others use their cars as mobile offices for sales call.  Moms shuttle their kids to school and numerous after school activities.  Considering all the time we spend on the road, its no surprise that clutter and trash tends to accumulate in the car, usually on the floor.  Here are some products and strategies to keep your car tidy.

Back seat organizer

This organizer comes in many variations, but they all do the same thing - provide a convenient place to stash your stuff and keep it off the floor.  This is particularly helpful with kids as they tend to have lots of stuff to distract themselves in the car.

Stash Your Trash

Talus Litter Bag
This is another variation of the back seat organizer designed specifically for trash.  As a cheap alternative, I slip a plastic grocery bag around my stick shift.  When it gets full, I slip it off, toss is in the trash and slip on a new one.

Office organizer
Auto Express Desk

This handy office organizer sits on the passenger seat and  is perfect for sales people who visit many clients during the day.  The hinged top opens up to provide a work space for a laptop.  Handy compartments hold files and office gadgets.   It's a desk on the go.

Trunk organizer

Some of us use our trunks as external storage lockers, which is perfectly acceptable if you have sales samples or weekly sports activities that require lots of gear.  To prevent your items from rolling around and getting damaged, keep them contained with a trunk organizer. 

Tidy the car when pumping gas:  It only takes a couple minutes to fill the car, so take this time to clean the car.  Toss out the trash, pick up items from the floor and put them in their proper place.  The car is actually a very small space, and you will be surprised to see how much you can accomplish by the time your tank is full.

Keep a trash can in the garage: For many families, the garage serves as the main entry and exit point of the house.  Keeping a trash can in the garage makes it easy to quickly rid the car of trash.

Don't leave the car empty handed:  Anytime anyone gets out of the car to go in the house, they need to grab something and either put it away in the house or throw it away.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wishful Wednesday: Dream Pantry

I wish I had a pantry like this.

Design Sponge

Beautiful Labelling

I usually rely on my trusty label maker for quick labeling as I appreciate the instant gratification. The labels aren't beautiful, but they do the job.   If I had more time, I'd probably try something more decorative.

Chalk Board Paint

Make erasable labels with chalk board paint. 

Glass Etching

Customize glass storage jars with glass etching.

Free Printable Labels

There are many artists out there who have generously donated their talent to the general public with free labels.  A quick Google search on "download labels" yields some beautiful labels.  Simply download, print and afix with a glue stick or double sided tape.