Friday, April 20, 2012

Working With Whatcha Got

For months now I've been looking for ways to organize our life.  Before our life got so crazy (i.e. both parents working 40+ hours a week away from home, daddy in school 4 nights a week, 4 day a week single-motherhood, etc. etc. etc.) I could deal with the disorganization.  I had time to muddle through the morning looking for my keys or searching for that one pair of jeans that make my thighs look skinny.  Then everything changed, and after spending weeks and months underwater, I finally realized that one of the main problems was a lack of organization. 

One of the things I hated was that everything and its brother ended up on my dinning room table.  My purse, Turtle's diaper bag, the mail, shopping bags, the PJ's Turtle wore to grandma's that morning (or god knows which morning), no less than four pairs of shoes of all sizes, and during the winter at least three jackets and/or cardigans. 

Exhibit 1

Exhibit 2

This began to grate on my nerves.  Especially on the weekend when I'd have to push everything off in order to have a simple family meal and made it hard to pack the diaper bag in the mornings without fighting with half of my house.  For a long time, I've loved the look of a beautiful Pottery Barn style "mud room". I've dreamed of having an entry way were shoes, bags, mail, etc. could be dropped and one could shake off the outside world before entering into the sanctuary of our home.  Unfortunately, when you are moving from an 800 sq. ft. apartment, every house looks big and I neglected to hold out for my mud room. 

But I was determined not to let reality get in my way.  So, I started looking around my house to figure out how I could work with what I had.  My first thought was to move the dinning table into the "formal dinning room" off the kitchen (which had since been used as my craft room) and make the little dining nook into the mud room.  But with more thought, and input from Daddy Turtle (who's exact words were, "isn't that going to look weird?!?!") I decided that might not be the best idea.  Then I thought about using the formal dining room where my crafts were, but that seemed to out of the way of the flow of traffic.  Plus it's carpeted and if you're going to have a place to kick off your shoes it seems better to do it BEFORE not ON the carpet.

Then one day out of the blue, I saw it... this tiny unused doorway between our kitchen and our formal dining room.  It's right near the side door where we enter through and wasn't being used for anything other than the trash can.  In fact it had been blocked off with a baby gate for months and no one had even noticed the loss of that doorway. 

So, I started sifting through the images I had collecting on my Pinterest boards of beautiful "mud rooms".  I knew I wanted somewhere to sit and take shoes off/put shoes on, a bin of some kind to wrangle shoes because it's delusional to even think they would get placed neatly on a shoe shelf in my house; a shelf of some kind to put baskets or boxes filled with hats, gloves and scarves; and hooks to hang things like purses, keys, and the random baby carrier.  Something like this.  Only in a space approximately 34" wide and on a shoe string budget.

Then, one day while window shopping at IKEA with my friend, I found it.

$20 baby! Booyaa! And this past weekend, Daddy Turtle hung it for me.

I told him I "probably" wouldn't post this picture, so shhhhh! But how cute is that?! I couldn't NOT post it. Turtle wanted to be right by his side the whole time (i.e. under his feet).

Once the self was up, I started moving things around... an ottoman we were using as a baby gate in the living room became my bench, and a fabric bin I had in the other room became our shoe wrangler.

The next day I added a little piece of art my bestie gave us as a house warming gift and some boxes for the top.

There's still a few other things I'd like to do to the area like getting a smaller bench to make it feel less bulky and I have a couple sturdier hooks I want to mount so that the diaper bag can be hung up as well, but for $20 and a vision, I think it's not too bad. And it really does make things easier to organize, and on a busy, hectic, pre-caffeine morning, that can make the difference between retaining my sanity and losing it!

Have you had an "work with whatcha got" projects lately?


Granggie said...

that was encouraging!
So need to work on some organizational skills!

Thanks Bonnie!

Granggie said...

Hey Bonnie!
You have inspired me to REALLY get organized! I have played at it way too long and it's time to get serious!