SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks

{August 20, 2014}   Monkey Spaces: DIY Organization

The little monkey is growing up quickly!  She decided recently that she’s outgrown Tinker Bell, along with a lot of her books, toys, and decor.  Her papaw promised her a new headboard and footboard if she kept her room clean for a month. I think she’s doing a great job! She’s picking up toys, books are shelved, dirty clothes are hampered, and she’s making her bed daily!

I’m hopeful she’ll earn that frame she wants.

While cleaning and reorganizing, we moved a lot of things around, including her dresser and bed. We dismantled the desktop computer and removed the old-fashioned school desk, creating great space. She still has “room for activities” yet her space looks more tween appropriate.

One thing she showed an interest in was a set of shelves in the garage. Yo Yo’s sweet husband, the Fireman, and I built them many years ago for Grizzly’s diecast collection. Once we moved, they didn’t really go with our new direction, so we put them in the garage, where the got dirty and became a dumping ground for crap.

I measured the shelves, measured the wall, and realized it could be done. The shelves were built for 1:24 model cars, though, not books and games and toys.

We stacked several books on the shelves, but there was a ton of leftover space. Monkey put some of her Littlest Pet Shop and Lego sets in canvas bins on the shelves. Her awesome 31 totes are too tall. I had an idea, though.

Soup can organizers!

She picked out stickers and paper and pretty duct tape for her organizers.

I envisioned labeling them for her arts and crafts, but she snatched them up as soon as the decoupage was dry!

Another goodie we have on hand this time of the year is the oh so versatile shoebox. I decided to cover one to match her other organizers. She can keep some of her other little toys in it.
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I glued the paper down, Scotch taped it in place, and then sealed with decoupage. I think it was a great idea and it fits on her shelves.

I haven’t taken a photo of monkey’s organized shelves, mostly because it’s an unfinished project! But it’s a fun one.

How do you organize your kiddos’ spaces?

~ Katie

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{August 17, 2014}   The Laundry Fairy

There is a laundry fairy at the House of Cheaptitude.  She’s the one who finds the Lego’s, the forgotten receipts, and the candy wrappers that are left in pockets. She often finds pennies and quarters, never enough to get rich, but loves it when she finds dollar bills and one time? She found a twenty.

The laundry fairy is so busy with her chores on Mt. Washmore that she doesn’t have time to out things away immediately. And we end up with a ridiculous pile on top of the dryer.

In the past, she had a small basket, but that got out of hand. She had a piggy bank, but it was regularly robbed by monkeys for concessions at school. There are some neat projects on Pinterest involving boards and jars, but our wall space is so limited in the utility room that they’re not practical.

Of our efficiency apartment sized stackable washer and dryer, only the washing machine works.  The dryer has become a magnetic memo board. I decided to create a “bucket” for the laundry fairy and hang it from that useless dryer.

I consulted my soup can collection to find one that wasn’t too awfully big.  The point is to put crap away before there’s much!  To punch holes for hanging, I filled it with water and froze it (Pinterest tip!). After that, it was easy to hammer a nail in the sides.

I went back to my stash of scrapbook paper I’ve been using in the utility. I traced the edges of the can, trimmed the paper, and glued it on using a rubber band to hold while drying.


Once the glue was dry, I added a layer of decoupage.

Next, I labeled and decorated it with some cute scrapbook stickers.
I re-punched my holes through the paper so I could run thin black ribbon through as a hanger.

And presto! The finished product:

It hangs from a command hook on the old dryer. It’s working really well since it’s small and gets emptied frequently!

Is there a laundry fairy at your house, too?

~ Katie

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{August 16, 2014}   Repurposing: Wine Cork Keychain

Over the past several months, I’ve been spending a little more money on my fermented grape juice. It started out when Jeepnmom came to visit back in May, and it’s since continued. Pricier wine includes corks. So I’ve developed quite a little collection, positive I can use them for something.

Pinterest seems to be a hoarder’s dream. There are ideas for repurposing any and everything. I didn’t have enough corks for the bulletin board or mail holder, and it would take a while before I accumulated that many, but I did find an idea that appealed to me, and I had all the stuff on hand.

Keychains from wine corks! How cute are they? The idea is to include a little tag as a reminder of where you drank the wine.

Here is my version:
This was while it was in process. I used hardware from a picture hanging set and plain old school glue. It was easy to work into the cork. I let it dry 24 hours and added a keyring. And now my Sarraco cork from Jeepnmom has a new life.

An added bonus to this keyring? If you drop your keys in the water, they float!

It’s a cute, quick little project that repurposed something I loved into something practical.

What have you repurposed lately?

~ Katie

{August 10, 2014}   Reclaimed Spaces: My Bathroom

Back in the fall of 2007, my little family moved from our first real home to SoBo, to rent my in-laws’ old house.  Grizzly painted Monkey #2’s bedroom and that was it. Monkey #1 liked his aunt’s mural, and Grizz was satisfied that since he was the one who’d painted everything, nothing needed to change.

A lot of things changed this spring. And with those changes, I felt the need to mark my territory. I did some work outside, revamping a plant stand, replacing the welcome mat, etc. Easter weekend, the kids put out knockout rose bushes while I ripped out ugly hedges and planted impatiens. It was a start. But I wanted more.


My house has never completely felt like my own. Very few things have changed since we moved in, and that aggravated me. Especially my master bathroom. In an ideal world, I could tear out everything and start over. Unfortunately, in the real world, I’m just a teacher, scraping by. I didn’t have the money to re-tile anything (ugly 70’s yellow!), let alone replace the sink, etc. My dear friend, Pioneer Woman, has an amazing eye, as well as a love of research, so I recruited her to help me revamp my master bath.


Picture this odd brownish color with yellow stuff in a teensy bathroom….

There was nothing to be done about the yellow tile. We would need to paint and play up a nice color scheme. We discussed lilac, blue, green…nothing struck my fancy. Then Pioneer Woman created a board on Pinterest dedicated to my bathroom. Grey. Grey would maybe work.


Which meant shopping.

We went to Wal-Mart and Belk, before finding the perfect shower curtain at Kohl’s. The shower is the first thing you see….


Perfect. And a happy color scheme.

The grout in the tile was pretty fugly, so Pioneer Woman convinced me we could color the grout and, with help from Google, recaulk.

By no means is it perfect. Well, her CDO kicked in, so the caulk is, but the grout? Not so much. It is prettier than it was, though.


Grizzly had a small can of paint base, and the Queen of Cheaptitude loves free. Painting was on hold while waiting for the paint to be tinted, but planning certainly wasn’t. I unloaded the cabinets and started organizing.

I like to repurpose, and always have tons of junk around. On Pinterest, I found some really great ideas on organizing bathroom cabinets with small baskets. However, I have quite the collection of shoeboxes and fabric.


I couldn’t find my hot glue gun, so notice the staples in the fabric? I have quite the collection of lotions, I discovered. (The fabric was supposed to be my cousin Melissa’s flower girl dress for my wedding – 16 years ago!)

I also have an obsession with “hair bobs” and can never find them when I want. Remember when I containerized Monkey #2’s hair stuff?

I used some pretty scrapbook paper, an oatmeal carton, and now can find elastics any time I need to put my hair up.

I also saw cool cabinet door organizers for brushes, flat irons, hair dryers, etc. Most of them are PVC pipes cut down. I don’t collect PVC, but guess what I do have? Enough soup cans to sink the Titanic again.

It’s attached to the cabinet door under my sink with Command Strips, and using a spaghetti sauce can, it was the perfect size for my round brush. I used coordinating paper to cover some wooden craft frames that I happened to have on hand.

Pinterest also led me to use an open wooden cube as a toilet tissue holder. Michaels sells them in sets of 2, so I spray painted both a cheery yellow. One is hanging on the wall, while the other is by the toilet. I also had some small wooden shelves left over from Monkey #1’s nursery (I admit to hoarding tendencies) which I painted yellow and hung above the toilet.

With the bathroom being so miniscule, Pioneer Woman and I had a hard time deciding what to do about towels and such. There isn’t much wall space and I’ve chosen smaller items for decorating. On a trip to Hobby Lobby, we found some cool hooks, which I papered, added iron on monograms, and decoupaged.


They’re so much cuter after…
And perfect for the towels.

The paint was finally ready, and I’m not going to pretend I did a professional, or even a good job. Grizzly made fun of my dollar store tools, but you know what? I got the job done and didn’t ask for help!


I used a lighter shade on the walls, and darker for cabinets and trim. Forgot to take those pictures!!

I repurposed some vases and jars to hold q-tips and such. On the window sill, I have a graduated set with those yellow and clear glass rocks, just as decoration. Pioneer Woman found a pretty yellow sheer at Anna’s Linens that we’ve just scarfed as a curtain.

My bathroom is finally mine. Girly, but not too girly. And the darker colored paint scheme, rather than making the room feel smaller, has really opened it up! Between Pioneer Woman, Pinterest, Google, and me, it wasn’t outrageously expensive, and I was able to work on it in my spare time. There are a few touches left, but I’m happy, and it’s organized!

What’s your latest DIY home project?

~ Katie

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