SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks











{August 19, 2014}   Mini Project: Whiteboard Redo

In a valiant attempt to avoid lesson planning and paper grading, I’ve been working on projects around the house. My favorite was my bathroom. Lately I’ve been working in the utility room.

My utility room is an awkward little space between the garage and kitchen. It has a full sized dryer, a stackable washer and dryer (dryer conked out years ago but washer works!) and 2 little cabinets above the big dryer. All that is on one side. On the other are a small pantry and a utility closet turned pantry.

I’m dying to paint. My pantry shelves need work. But there’s only so much I can do.

I’ve reorganized the mess out of the pantries and laundry stuff. And, if you’ve been reading, I’ve been revamping things I’ve already had in order to decorate that room. My green scrapbook paper seems to be the unifying element, since I’ve been using it for everything.

Several years ago, I picked up a small whiteboard on clearance at Michaels with the grand design of writing my objectives on it. Ha! I can barely fit a readable “I (the learner) can….” on that board. So I brought it home and eventually hung it near the pantry. Occasionally I’ll leave notes for Grizz or the monkeys, little reminders, etc. The monkeys draw lots of silly pictures on it.

But I never dressed it up.

And everything else is getting cute.

Time for a quick project?

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I painted the frame a green that matched my standard paper. Then, I used a heart punch with black paper to add interest in the corners. Finally, I “monogrammed” it using a polka dot green scrap stack letter. I decoupaged to seal it, them hung it horizontally (it was vertical before.)

I goes well with my other utility projects and it serves a purpose.

Do you dress up your utility room?

~ Katie

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{January 5, 2013}   Making Progress

2:30 Saturday…I’m sitting on the couch with “reality” tv playing.  Mt. Washmore, freshly cleaned and piled in baskets, stares at me as I drain my third pot of coffee so far today.  The kitchen isn’t clean by a longshot.  The living room is a wreck.

But I see progress.

My utility room is straightened.  I’ve organized the cabinets in there.  The tops of the appliances are clean.  And my old friend, Precious, gave me a brilliant idea for my nonfunctional dryer: store my orphan sock baskets! Woo hoo!  Easy access when I’m emptying the working dryer!  (thanks, girl!)  I repurposed a cake pan lid to line the bottom of the cabinet underneath my store-bought detergents (Scent-Away for hunting clothes) and moved my Kleenex stockpile to the hall closet, along with some random candles, empty plug-ins, and store-bought room sprays (thank you, amazing coupons!)  A few cleaning things have relocated to the cabinet under the kitchen sink, which is still pretty organized.

All that is left in the utility room is to pull out the appliances and clean from behind them (ugh), which for some reason takes the power of She-ra.

Part of why I’m drinking coffee and watching Bravo TV.

The problem with cleaning a room is that another room takes a beating.  My kitchen is the next room past the utility, so guess where things landed in the de-cluttering process?  Thankfully, I filled another donation bag as well as the waste basket.  But the kitchen counters still took a hit.

Monkey 1 unloaded the dishwasher for me and I’ve already started another load.

I put away everything from one countertop and wiped it down.  All I need to do to that counter still is restock the towel basket and empty the dish drainer.

Things left to do:

  • Clean out “junk” drawers
  • Clear counters
  • Clear table
  • Clear top of fridge
  • Wipe down surfaces
  • Sweep floor
  • Mop

I’ll get to it.  I may even post “after” pictures.

I’m realizing my house may not be clean by the time I go back to school.  But I’m making progress.  That’s got to count for something.

~ Katie

 



It’s 9:30 in the morning on a Saturday.  Grizzly is out hunting down dinner.  The monkeys are still tucked snug in their beds.  I’m on my third cup of coffee, a load of laundry is drying, I’ve already made a batch of laundry soap, and I have projects on the kitchen table (clearing out space to continue to re-purpose the hall closet project).  I look around myself and think, “What a hot mess!”

Because in my projecting and tackling Mt. Washmore this week, things are out of place.  Christmas still hasn’t made it to the attic.  There is laundry to put up.  There are dirty dishes in the sink.

Who lives like that?  Ugh!

I go back to work on Monday (didn’t win the Lottery over the break, darn it) and I hate going back to school with a dirty house.  The monkeys did a nice job in their bathroom the other day so it’s down to maintenance in there.  The spaces bugging me most now are the kitchen and utility room.

My utility room is a small, tight, cramped space.  Over Thanksgiving Break, I organized the pantries, which are part of the utility room.  All I need to do to them is some re-stocking.  There is a cabinet over my functioning dryer that needs organizing, especially since I’ve repurposed a new container for my laundry detergent (yay me!) and the top of the dryer is a wreck.  My functioning washing machine is part of a stackable unit (the dryer doesn’t work) and on top of the non-operational dryer, I need to go through the Laundry Fairy’s collection and put things away from up there.

My kitchen is pretty well organized the way that works for me.  So it’s just a matter of cleaning at this point.  The only organizing I need to do is in the “junk” drawers, which I’ll tackle one drawer at a time.

It sounds like a lot, but I bet I can get everything done in just a few hours.  And then I can go back to my projects.

What will you tackle today?

~ Katie

*Side Note*

Yesterday, someone accused me of hoarding (the same person who taught me Cool-Whip bowls make good cereal bowls.) I do NOT hoard.  I REPURPOSE.  My projects today have been a cute pencil holder from a Ball Jar Craft Kit using an old can and I repurposed a snack mix container to hold my laundry soap.  They’ve turned out really cute and USEFUL.  I’ll post pics later.

I’m sticking my tongue out right now, by the way.



{January 5, 2013}   Organization: Orphaned Socks

Round basket mandelette

 

The other day I discovered a blog that addressed one of my big time-sucks:  Mt. Washmore.  I’ve started involving the monkeys in the laundry process and am proud to say they collected a hamper-full of clothes today during a ten-minute tidy and they sorted the entire mess themselves.  Monkey 1 now knows where the laundry soap is located and how to operate the washer.  He also knows how to transfer a load to the dryer.  This shaves about fifteen minutes off my chores already.

 

This lady’s blog addressed some other laundry simplification strategies.  For example, after drying, she stacks clothes according to their final destination before folding.  Too cool.  And in her laundry room, she has one of those plastic drawer set-ups and uses two of the drawers for sock orphans.  I love this idea but I am space-challenged in my utility room.

 

Enter waste-not, want-not, use what you got!

 

For a few years, I have thrown socks into a pretty wicker basket while processing laundry.  Then, once a week, usually on a Sunday while catching up on my DVR shows, I sort socks and the orphans return to the basket.  That evening, socks are in some semblance of order, by color, or style, or what grey is on the foot (toe and heel, whole bottom, none).  Unfortunately, the monkeys scavenge the basket through the week, not caring if their socks match exactly, and it’s a mess by the time I get back to it.

 

It’s not working.

 

I’m about to try something new with my orphaned socks.  Instead of the one wicker basket sitting in the middle of my living room, I have two medium-sized utility baskets.  One will be for white socks and one for all the others.  My plan is to stick these in my repurposed hall closet.  When I’m putting towels and linens away, I can pull these out and situate socks.

 

I guess it’s still not ideal, but at least it’s a little more organized.

 

Do you have a Mt. Washmore monster?  How do you tame it?

 

~ Katie

 

 



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