Organize and Decorate mantel piece for free

the organized mantel

the organized mantel


VS
before

before

BEFORE
Here’s my new project now that I’ve finished the basement and the yard and the clutter is gone from the house. Now I’m going to make this rental house feel like our home until we buy one and move.

There is a natural gas fireplace with a really large and long mantel above it. This is dump zone #1 for the house. If someone doesn’t know where to put something, it goes here. No more after today.

The mantel will become the official home of some of the things that are already on it, but it’ll be organized, not haphazard.

And the #1 problem with a rental house is that you can’t put holes in the wall.
Problem #2, I did not pick the wall colours or that terrible border at the top (it’s actually the nicest border in the house, the rest of them are real “wow”s).
Problem #3, we only have so many bookshelves and all of them are full of books. The books on the mantel are for Hubby’s work and they will have to stay there because it’s the easiest spot in the world for him to retrieve them from because…opposite this mantel is our sofa.

Here’s BEFORE

what's up there now

what’s up there now

I put this picture in even though it’s really washed out so you could get an idea of the size of the thing.

free diy organize mantel beforeAcross the top of the pile, from left to right, is a CD holding gizmo for all the children’s music CDs, the nail clipping kit for the kids, my little reused wipes container of nail polish for manicures with my daughter, a badly knit bag of chocolates and a bag of chocolates (rewards for the kids).

Across the bottom, from left to right, is our wedding photo, the bandaids, gum, moisturizers, Hubby’s text books, my camera, the bug spray.

That’s just what I can see, I know there are odds and ends tucked and stuffed in everywhere too. It’s 8 am, Saturday Aug 31, 2013. I’ll show off later today

First, the wedding photo. Even though it’s a rented house, there are nails and picture hooks in the walls at weird intervals. I hung the wedding photo in the upstairs hallway where an Avon mirror used to be.

I got 5 of these mirrors on a super sale for $1 each and they’re remarkably well constructed. They have a neutral print so they’ll go with anything. There’s a nail in our bedroom where I had perched this Cross my friend made for me 2 Palm Sundays’ ago when I couldn’t make it the Church because our kids were kids. I hot glue gunned the Cross to the mirror and hung it on the nail in our bedroom.

the whole thing is about 1 foot square

the whole thing is about 1 foot square

Behind the wedding photo (danger: out of sight out of mind) was the fabric treatment kit that came with our new sofa. I put it on the shelf in the entry way closet where all those extra mittens and hats used to be. It’s only there until tonight when the kids are in bed and I look at it to determine if it’s toxic or not. If it’s harmless, I’ll use it, if not I’ll throw it out. Either way, its fate will be decided in the next 24 hours.

Found 2 DVDs and put them on the DVD shelf.

Found a highlighter and put it in that lovely pencil holder I made a few posts ago.

Found Hubby’s guitar tuner and moved it upstairs to the guitar.

Found the city bus schedule and put it with the phone book.

Found paperwork from when we moved in and had no furniture to put it on. Most of it I’ll shred but Hubby will have to go through anything work related when he wakes up from night shift.

Found the first aid book from Hubby’s training course. Put it in the bookcase.

Under all the papers were 2 Christmas coasters. I moved them to the computer table for our morning coffees.

Found a pile of notes to self. Shredded them since I’d done everything on the lists.

Took the children’s music CD’s out of their cases and put them in the CD holding gizmo. Reused the cases for some of their DVDs to which they’d broken the previous case. Threw out the paper inserts since they’re no longer relevant.

Found a grimy pair of headphones. Threw them out.

Tore flaps off bandaid box so it’s easier to get the things out and so it looks nicer.

Put the kids’ nail clippers in a beautiful empty box I got from my dad when he sent me some of my stepmother’s scrapbooking things. Well, the box originally had beautiful paper in it, but I’ve already used it up.

Added the reused wipes container of nail polish to the box of children’s nail clippers. Made a label for it in case Hubby ever needs to know.

reusing boxes, adding labels

reusing boxes, adding labels

I’m going to wash and keep the zippered pouch the nail clippers came in for a week to see if I can find another use for it, if not I’m throwing it out.

One of the little moisturizer jars was almost empty so I transferred the remaining contents to the pink pump bottle of moisturizer. My son and I get such dry skin that we need a bottle of moisturizer in practically every room in the house.

Covered an empty Kleenex box with an attempt at matching scrapbook paper for Hubby’s game controllers, kept on the mantel so as to be out of reach of the children.

Moved a very sentimental clock to the upstairs hallway where there is no clock and out of the living room where there already is one.

Hid Daughter’s makeup bag behind the decorated Kleenex box so she has to ask me for it and I can control the when and where of the mess.

Rejiggered a milk crate of boxes in the basement to not contain those boxes (for some things’ warranty, you need to keep the empty box) so I could move some of the textbooks down beside my sewing basket. Still front an center to the sofa for studying.

sewing, textbooks, fireplace

sewing, textbooks, fireplace

Covered the two outward facing sides of a box of textbooks with pretty scrapbook paper.

camouflaged box in plain sight

camouflaged box in plain sight

Put some chocolates in a wine glass (we don’t drink so who cares?)

Put the other chocolates in a small glass. Put the big bags of remaining chocolates at the top of my closet.

reuse wine glasses

reuse wine glasses

Put the various gum packets in one of those plastic dishes I got on super sale from Avon.

Put the wondrous reused pill bottle-tea bag holder for Hubby INSIDE his work bag.

And of course, took the cute little Vaseline jar off the fireplace hook and put it in the bathroom closet.

TA DA!

DIY free mantel organization AFTER

DIY free mantel organization AFTER

Turns out there was a wee bit of decluttering to do, the shredding of obsolete paperwork.

I did this all for free since I’d bought the mirrors 3 years ago and the plates a few months ago and basically spent $15 for the lot.

If you want to do the same my advice is start at the outsides that way there is no enemy on both sides and nothing falls off the end if you bump something in the middle.

It’s now 10:35 am on the same day and that includes breakfast and blogging about it.

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