How to pick up Lego

This is my son’s room:

before Lego amount

before Lego amount

it’s mostly Lego. After I put away the Mr. Potato Heads and the Fischer Price castle set, all I was left with was Lego. I tested a retrieval method suggested by my aunt, a sock put over the suction intake of a vacuum cleaner.

I used my hand sized vac and a wee sock with no match.

hand vac and black sock

hand vac and black sock


I was careful to leave a little bit less than just enough sock so when the suction was activated the sock couldn’t be pulled into the vacuum.
the sock-Lego collector

the sock-Lego collector


My finger is pointing to the length of the suction intake.

He has a very dense pile carpet in his room so the tiniest pieces of Lego burrow down deep to foil feet and knees passing overhead. The sock/vac set up took care of them, even the ones I couldn’t see. I would fill the sock then turn the vac off and let the pieces fall into a bucket.

Floor!

Floor!

Obviously using a larger vacuum with a longer sock would mean this takes even less time. This method had the added bonus of filtering out the fuzz and hair from the carpet so it didn’t wind up in Lego storage.

Under bathroom sink shelf diy

What follows is a tale of two bathroom sink cupboards, they are the 2 main bathrooms of the house and as such have to store the most stuff. The primary item for storage is toilet paper as per hubby’s request. He in no way wants tp stored in our giant garage, out of the way, and replenished as needed, he wants a Costco bale’s worth in each bathroom. So I did.

Here are the before shots.

downstairs bathroom, nothing special but so much potential

downstairs bathroom, nothing special but so much potential

upstairs bathroom, the hair trimmer for the boys is in the giant red/white bag on the left

upstairs bathroom, the hair trimmer for the boys is in the giant red/white bag on the left

the full span of the upstairs bathroom from cleaning supplies to bubble bath

the full span of the upstairs bathroom from cleaning supplies to bubble bath

I made three shelves as inexpensively as possible. I bought 2 wooden dowels for $14 and cut them myself with a saw into 8 inch lengths. I sanded them ($3) then spray painted primer on them ($6) and painted them ($8). I hand painted 2 stripes at the bottom of each leg with paint I already had.

I glued 4 legs to a large tile ($0.70 on sale) with a super duper adhesive called “No More Nails” ($8) and let it dry over night.

diy shelf made with tile

diy shelf made with tile

diy shelf (5)One went downstairs and two went upstairs.

organize under bathroom sink

organize under bathroom sink

organize under bathroom sink with diy shelves

organize under bathroom sink with diy shelves

organize under bathroom sink, hair trimmer now in sewn white bags on top of left shelf

organize under bathroom sink, hair trimmer now in sewn white bags on top of left shelf

I added 2 Command hooks too to hold a few things.

Organize To-Do list

It’s all well and good to make a to-do list, but where do you put the list until you do the to-do? I have a little laptop stand right beside the office door and all I want (or have room for) on the narrow shelf are my chocolate covered almonds and my coffee coaster. No space for a to-do list.

Since I’m by the door I simply stuck a 3M Command hook in arms’ reach and used a hole punch on the to-do list to hang it up. Voilà, to do list off the laptop table but still visible.

organize to do list (and jewellery made by children)

organize to do list (and jewellery made by children)

Laundry room decor

Here’s what we moved in to:

laundry room before (washer)

laundry room before (washer)

laundry room before

laundry room before

laundry room before (dryer)

laundry room before (dryer)

Basically a giant closet with the washer and dryer in it. Not a bad deal really but it lacked, shall we say, charm and any sort of class. Now we’ve moved in, we have shelving in the basement storage room so it was time to make the laundry room a decent place to frequent. I put all the extra traveling bags I had hung up inside a suitcase and on a basement shelf.

all the bags in here

all the bags in here

Then all the hangers into a garment bag, also onto a basement storage shelf.

all hangers into a garment bag, to the basement

all hangers into a garment bag, to the basement

I removed the hanging bar, which wasn’t even screwed into a stud to reveal the shelf behind.laundry room after (4)To fill in the white wall without painting it I hung a large, blue-themed painting we had that was just hanging in the basement toy room. laundry room after (5)I got Hubby to push the washer ever so slightly further from the dryer so that I could wedge in a milk crate to store some of the laundry cleaning products.

a milk crate in between units

a milk crate in between units

I put two 3M Command hooks on the side of the dryer, one for the black bag of missing socks, the other for the delicates washing bag.

dryer

dryer

I added plants, a diy scrapbook calendar I had made, and a lazy suzan that Hubby hated in the kitchen and voilà, a decent looking laundry room.

dryer

dryer

diy birthday calendar

diy birthday calendar

laundry room decor

laundry room decor

Computer and media storage box

I started from a previous blog where I decorated tp tubes to hold rolled up wires. This time I painted a shoe box, wrapped wires in tp tubes, clothespins, and ziploc bags; all with the perfect labels so that we’d know what’s what and what’s where.

paint the shoe box a neutral colour

paint the shoe box a neutral colour

label all the cords, some in toilet paper tubes, some in ziploc bags.

label all the cords, some in toilet paper tubes, some in ziploc bags.

label the box so Hubby knows where things are.

label the box so Hubby knows where things are.

Mostly these cords are for the computers but a few are for the tablet or whatever. Anyway, as much as I would like every electronic wire in its own box, Hubby likes the “every wire in one box” method. Since he turns into a child lost in the mall without the “every wire in one box” system, I compromised and left the cell phone charger in the computer cord box.

Declutter magazine collection

I scrapbook and I get a new catalogue 4 times a year. It does add up, slowly, but adds up. I’d been using a sticky tab to flag a page with a layout that I like and could actually accomplish with my skills and paper supplies. So I got frustrated having to flip through the whole magazine to find what I was looking for, tabbed or not, that I just ripped out each relevant page, trimmed the edge, 3 hole punch the piece and stuck it in a binder. Now I only have the pages the inspire me. And it takes up less space and there is space in the binder for more!

1 in binder replaces a magazine collection.  Label the binder.

1 in binder replaces a magazine collection. Label the binder.

Childhood jewellery

My grandmother gave my sister and I some gorgeous pieces of jewellery to play dress up with. In my unpacking, I found them all. I wanted to have them out again since I had loved them so much, pretending to be a queen and such, but my kids are too young to be trusted with such things.

I reassembled any necklaces that had broken then bought two glass vases at the dollar store. I asked my daughter, who has taste in such matters, to help me divide the pieces between the 2 vases that we were going to display. This is the result and they’re in my kitchen window. I always look at them fondly.

reuse childhood jewellery

reuse childhood jewellery

Organize computer cords

I had given our computer cords a temporary home in a plain cardboard box until I could get something prettier for them.

cords before

cords before

The box made it easy to lift the whole tangled mess and vacuum underneath it. What I was looking for was a decorated cardboard box or hat box from the dollar store to coral the cords. I didn’t find one.

This morning, on my continued quest for that pretty box, I discovered that only Rona’s was open at the same hour that I was up. I found a $6 plastic box that was the right size for a power bar and a $6 can of spray paint, specific for plastic. I made the two meet.

a nice, sand-white, spray painted plastic storage box

a nice, sand-white, spray painted plastic storage box

I also had to buy a $5 drill bit, 1 and 1/8 inches in diameter, to put a hole in two sides of the box; one for the power cords and another for the router cords.
organize computer cords

organize computer cords

I tucked all the cords inside and fit the lid on so no dust would get into the box and so the whole affair was hidden.

Now I have the same ease for vacuuming but the added bonus of the colour being right for the decor and all the cords being covered.

Upcycle office organizer

I bought an acrylic office organizer for my office where I could keep all those notepads, usb keys and other odds and ends corralled. It’s made of a clear acrylic and just lacked some pizazz and colour coordination.

I keep in on my newly painted mint green filing cabinet so I kept the colour in mind when I mined my scrapbooking collection and pulled out these aqua pieces.

upcycle office organizer

upcycle office organizer

I just measured each slot and cut the paper to fit. I only applied glue (“Close to my Heart” liquid glass) along the top of the paper to hold it in place

Style candle

I was feeling oppressed by running into a metaphysical wall of clutter. I wanted to organize something, badly, obviously because I didn’t feel organized and wanted to be in control. I decided to unpack the storage box of “stuff” Hubby pulled out a few days ago.

Feeling oppressed makes me angry and angry makes me fill a garbage bag so I knew I’d be on a roll once I got going. Then future me would thank present me for having finally been so ruthless and clearing a few things up. So I threw out a scrapbook mini-album I’d made 4 years ago and never used, a board game we played once, a college poster and some cheap hex keys that came with a piece of furniture, etc.

In the end, I found a candle and decided it might as well be useful rather than stay in a box. I dressed it up with a ribbon and a circle of cardstock, then added it to a small side table in the living room.

candle, card stock circle, ribbon

candle, card stock circle, ribbon

style candle

style candle