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

Reuse old shirt into child’s nightgown

I found this blue shirt on Hubby’s side of the closet and wore it as a pajama top for a little bit until it revealed its age and developed a few holes. I like reusing things so I got Pinspired by

http://www.itsalwaysautumn.com/2013/11/13/easiest-pajamas-ever-10-minute-nightgown-up-cycle.html

This is how mine turned out.

Reuse shirt into nightgown.

Reuse shirt into nightgown.

Use child's shirt to get an idea for measurements.  Place on top of inside out adult shirt.

Use child’s shirt to get an idea for measurements. Place on top of inside out adult shirt.

Cut arms down to size then shirt out into dress shape.

Cut arms down to size then shirt out into dress shape.

Declutter sentimental baby clothes you’re saving

Since I had to pull everything back from the wall to let the carpet dry in my basement craft room, I can’t craft in there! I have a small backlog on scrapbooking some pictures that I want to get at, so I thought I would move some of the things into the basement closet under the stairs, just cram it in there for a day or two.

Turns out, it’s already crammed.

The weight bench is in there, taking up half the space, waiting for us to buy a house and get a gym room or gym corner.

The other half of the space are the air mattresses and sleeping bags we slept in for almost a month until the moving truck got here with all our stuff

AND 5 ENORMOUS, GIANT, STUFFED BAGS OF BABY CLOTHES!

5 bags and 8 years (combined) of baby clothes

5 bags and 8 years (combined) of baby clothes

Oh no non no no non no. That will simply not do. I was under the impression that I had 2.5 bags, one for each kid and one in the works. How deceived I had been, well, by myself so it doesn’t really count. Still, time to downsize.

As the kids were growing I was already getting rid of clothing, some to my niece, some to my nephew, some to the trash, some to the consignment store in exchange for bigger sized clothing. I kept some (or a lot) because the baby years pass in a blur and all I remember is a little bit of “ahww, how cute” and poop.

Going through the clothes again, some pieces went straight into the trash because the only memory they conjured was sleeplessness and poop.

Some I couldn’t remember my kid wearing or what I wanted to remember with it so there’s a bag’s worth on kijiji. If it hasn’t sold in 1 week, I’m donating it.

Limits
1- One bag, per kid for ages 0-5
2- One bag, per kid for ages 5-10
3- One bag, per kid for ages 10- move out because you’re finished high school.

The hard rules
1- The kid had to have lived in that piece of clothing for an extended period of time so the happy, cute fuzzies were properly cemented in long term memory storage.

2- The piece had to be uniquely cute to the kid in question or they did something super memorable in it.

3- The clothing has to be in good enough condition that it could be used by potential grandchildren. Even if the item fit rule(s) 1 and/or 2, if it had an unremovable stain, I threw it out.

4- When you’re all finished, let pass an hour or two then go through all the clothes again.

After
I hammered in a nail in one of the 2x4s under the stairs, not any load bearing ones; put all the sleeping bags in one of those black bags and hung it up, out of the way.

Put the 2 single sized air mattresses in the other black bag and hung it up too.

Put back the 2 bags of sentimental baby clothes in the see-through, zippered quilt bags.

Took a picture of the baby bathtub we used for the first 6 weeks of each of their lives then threw it out.

I’ve decided I want to keep 2 puffy winter coats for emotional reasons and these take up more space in the bag than a bunch of clothes. This is ok so long as I keep to the One bag per kid rule. The coat is a priority so other things will have to go.

60% of clothing gotten rid of

I have to be careful because my daughter's not 5 yet and this is all the space I can use.

I have to be careful because my daughter’s not 5 yet and this is all the space I can use.

Organize kids’ school (art)work – the One Box Rule

One box. That’s the rule. One box, one folder per year, per kid, from daycare to grade 12.

The reason for this is very simple; you’ll look at it.

If you keep everything, or just a lot, there will be so much that you’ll blow a fuse in your brain and never look at it again, only too happy to pass it all along to your kid when he/she moves out for college.

My daughter will be starting preschool next month and my son will be in kindergarten so for now I can fit all of their stuff in one box. When they start getting more years under their belts I’ll buy a second box for my daughter.

Up until now I had been filing my son’s things in an empty box, not a terrible system but this is one of those things you spend the money on. I bought a bomb resistant box and hanging legal size folders with labels from Staples. Blue folders for my son, purple for my daughter. Today’s morning project was to turn the box of stuff into two slim folders of stuff.

It’s not that hard actually.

Art and work from one daycare and 2 preschools (we moved in Jan of this year).

Art and work from one daycare and 2 preschools (we moved in Jan of this year).

Dang it, the text I added onto the photos isn’t large enough to see. It says “This pile was in this box and will be downsized to these two folders.”

I kept a few notes from teachers describing his character and the things he liked to do. I kept a few pieces of artwork that showed his talents and interests, and I kept a few pieces of alphabet/math work to show how smart he is already.

One folder for the daycare, one folder for the 2 preschools.

One folder for the daycare, one folder for the 2 preschools.

See the 2 slim blue folders at the front of the box? That’s all I needed to keep. The box that had been storing the paperwork now holds the paper garbage.

Organize bathroom countertop for free …or one cheap plate

Organized! (After)

organized bathroom counter top, functional for a family with toddlers

organized bathroom counter top, functional for a family with toddlers

The cheap plate I’m referring to in the title is on the lower left corner of the counter top. Sadly, I did not already own this somewhere in my “it might come in handy” collection and I did have to buy it. I got 6 of them from Avon for $6.99. I’ve got another one on the kitchen sink to hold all the brushes and sink plug, but that’s another story.
Before

this is what we've got to work with/against

this is what we’ve got to work with/against

“Holy toothpaste Batman, what happened here?!?”

The two washcloths in the painted clay pot went into the washcloth basket, a little to the right and out of sight of the photo but on top of the toilet and right beside the shower. These cloths were for the wee one’s faces, but why should they be special? Their face cloths can go with the rest of them.

The clay pot was removed to a display ledge at the top of the stairs to hold and hide the extra strong moisturizing cream my kids need. If I see it front and center after I’ve left their rooms to kiss them goodnight, then I remember to come back and hydrate them.

I added my second crochet box.

The soap came out of the cheap appetizer dish I bought at a super sale at Zellers 10 years ago (it’s been coming in handy ever since. I knew it would when I bought it or I wouldn’t have spent the money) and into an actual soap dish. That soap dish used to be for the bar of soap in the kitchen, but that bar disintegrated into shards and got turned into liquid soap in a pump dispenser.

Well, you know what the two crochet boxes are for.

The kids’ toothbrushes and special fluoride free toothpaste were put on the cheap appetizer dish on the other side of the sink from my toothbrush and paste. That way they won’t “accidentally” play with my toothpaste.

I reclaimed toothpaste for Hubby and myself using this technique https://erythrocyte.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=3384&action=edit&message=6&postpost=v2

The four toothpastes in the bulk pack that Hubby put on the counter were put away. Not “oh shit, where can I cram these?” away, but “THEY FREAKIN’ BELONG IN THE TOWEL CLOSET, THE LITERAL WALL THEY ARE LEANING UP AGAINST” away.

Hubby’s sampling of deodorants went onto the cheap plate along with his broken mug toothbrush holder. I removed the travel size mouthwash bottle from the mug and put it in his travel bag (in the towel closet, we each have our own shelf to boot!). This made space for his toothpaste tube in the mug.

The mouthwash. I bought these 3 little glass apothecary bottles when I was 13 and going to yard sales on my bicycle. I loved them, so medieval potion like. They’ve been useful over the years, holding beads, home dried herbs, but they’ve never been so prominent like they deserve. And they’re labeled “mouthwash”.

I updated a mini-flower vase cup with glue and food colouring to become my toothbrush holder: how to https://erythrocyte.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/diy-seaglass-toothbrush-holder/

I just heard one of my “napping” kids go pee and exclaim “ooooh” at the nice, organized counter top. They can still brush their teeth all by themselves, Hubby doesn’t have to wonder where all his stuff is, he can still dump it exactly where he found it. It isn’t a dream bathroom for adults only (yet). But it sure is nice!

How to Declutter and Organize Tools (part of my basement challenge Week 2)

Garbage day is now Tuesday due to some holiday and the garbage bin is beginning to bulge. That’s how I know I’m doing it right.

This post’s focus is the tools. We aren’t contractors so we only need a basic amount to keep a house in good repair ourselves. In case you’re wondering: BASIC = VERY LITTLE.

The tools were jumbled in one big box and two smaller ones. I hadn’t gotten around to decluttering the tools in our previous home since there was one tiny closet in the living room where we just tossed them all. Tsk tsk.

Before

it was actually this amount X 2 of extra boxes of tools that I had to declutter

it was actually this amount X 2 of extra boxes of tools that I had to declutter

this box was full of tool stuff

this box was full of tool stuff



The tools

-threw out 1 of 2 hex keys sets
-threw out 1 of 2 screwdriver head attachments (THEY’RE NOT ALL GOING TO COME IN HANDY and we live too far away from my brother to give him the extra sets.)

-moved the polyfilla from the junk drawer upstairs to the tool box downstairs and brought the painting hooks I found in the tool box upstairs to the junk drawer

-threw out a 2 foot piece of extension cord with no plugs and bare wires at both ends

-found a set of curtains in the tool box. Moved them to the curtain shelf in the linen closet where there was room for them because I’d given two old shower curtains to our babysitter who just got her first apartment.

-dumped out the jumbo sized vitamin C container of nails. Threw out every bent and rusted one. Kept 10 in each size. My rule is if you haven’t found a use for it in 6 months, throw it out, but these nails had survived 6 years!

-found a bag of misc screws, etc that had been stored near an unknown chemical can. Threw it all out and washed my hands twice.

-threw out the box of old phones. Yup, we had a small box of phones that were in various stages of not working well. We were poor in our previous province and had to keep things like half broken phones in case the one we had broke thoroughly because we literally could not afford a new phone. Now we can because we moved West so Hubby could get a full time job.

-I moved any screws that were stored in a paper bag into a see-through Ziploc bag so we’d know what we had.
-I rerolled any rolled things that had come undone (weather stripping) and taped the end down, put in Ziploc bag if it fit.
-threw out big Ziploc bag of curtain hardware from some hardcore, industrial curtains that we removed as soon as we bought our last house. Kept 2 L brackets.
-threw out an unopened “hold-your-flashlight-to-your-hardhat” attachment because it belonged to Hubby’s previous roommate and Hubby has no use for attaching extra weight to your head.

After

labeled tool accoutrements

labeled tool accoutrements

3 boxes, that's it.  All labeled.

3 boxes, that’s it. All labeled.

containers I repurposed: The empty Costco size vitamin C bottle, a metal box for alphabet fridge magnets, baby wipe containers, small and regular sized Ziploc bags, diaper boxes (they’re really sturdy for heavy tools), empty jam jars, a small soap dish box, a very sturdy Lancome cosmetic box that my grandmother gave me, and an empty film canister (if you know what that is).
-then I labeled, labeled, labeled

The giant moving box is empty, garbage amounting to the size of 4 full diaper boxes was thrown out and now I know what we own and we only own useful things.

Crochet soap holder & body scrubber free patterns

One of my favourite things, using the things you have to improve your life.

I found this lovely soap holder http://woolykicks.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/image11.jpg?w=650&h=870 and decided I needed to make a bunch. I also branched out and made crochet body scrubbers.

Everyone has soap, and most soaps are aromatic. I need a moisturizing soap like Dove and since I like to experiment too, I try each new scent. My bathroom closet smells very nice.

I googled patterns for soap holders and found this; more functional than pretty, but they’ll do. You could go really fancy with proper crochet yarn and ribbon and little flower accents. I’m not that gal.

When Hubby saw me start to crochet this he got all excited: “Is that a scrubby bag you put the soap in to really scrub your body?!?!?” “Not this particular model, this is a sachet, but the next one I’m making is for body scrubbing as well as display.” Apparently I am filling a void in his life; cool.

http://priscillascrochet.net/freepatterns.html (she’s got LOADS of free patterns for all sorts of things).

Soap Saver http://priscillascrochet.net/free%20patterns/Bed%20&%20Bath/Soap%20Saver%20or%20Sachet.pdf

Despite having the correct size hook, or at least I think I do, maybe a Canadian 7 is not the same as an internet 7, when I followed her pattern my scrubber was humungous. So I downsized it. Twice. The first pattern is if you want to put the bar in horizontally, the second for putting it in vertically.

Materials: Size 10 crochet cotton thread, I used The Original Sugar’n Cream; the 100% cotton yarn every dishcloth on Earth is knit/crocheted with, I think I could squeeze a third soap holder out of the skein; Crochet hook size 7

Horizontal
Starting at the bottom, ch 15.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across; ch1, turn. (14 sc)
Row 2: Sc in each sc across; ch1, turn. (14 sc)
Rows 3 – 8: Repeat row 2.

Working in rounds from now on…
Round 1: Sc in each sc and in the sides of sc all around piece; join with a sl st to first sc. (25 sc) Do not turn.
Round 2: Ch 4, *skip next st, dc in next st, ch 1*. Repeat from * to * all the way around; join with a sl st to the 3rd chain of beginning ch 4. (21 dc and 21 ch-1 spaces) Do not turn.
Round 3: Work 2 sc in each ch-1 sp around; join with a sl st to first sc. (42 sc) Do not turn.
Rounds 4 – 7: (Repeat rounds 2 and 3) 2 times.
Round 8: Repeat round 2.

Ruffle
Round 9: Sl st into first ch1 sp; ch 4, work (dc, ch1) 2 times in same space; (dc, ch1) 3 times in each ch1 sp around, join with a sl st to 3rd ch of beginning ch 4.
Round 10: Sl st into first ch1 sp; ch 1, sc in same sp, ch 2, (sc, ch 2) in each ch1 sp around; join with a sl st to first sc. Fasten off.

Finishing
Crochet an 18” cord (or use 18” length of ribbon). Weave cord or ribbon through the ruffle row of dc. Pull up a loop for hanging in the back of the piece (opposite the cord ends) and secure so the cord won’t pull out. Insert a bar of soap. Pull cord or ribbon tight, gathering ruffle, and tie a bow.

Designed by Priscilla Hewitt
Copyright © 1998

To put the soap in vertically
Starting at the bottom, ch 11.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across; ch1, turn. (10 sc)
Row 2: Sc in each sc across; ch1, turn. (10 sc)
Rows 3 – 6: Repeat row 2.

Working in rounds from now on…
Round 1: Sc in each sc and in the sides of sc all around piece; join with a sl st to first sc. (16 sc) Do not turn.
Round 2: Ch 4, *skip next st, dc in next st, ch 1*. Repeat from * to * all the way around; join with a sl st to the 3rd chain of beginning ch 4. (14 dc and 14 ch-1 spaces) Do not turn.
Round 3: Work 2 sc in each ch-1 sp around; join with a sl st to first sc. (28 sc) Do not turn.
Rounds 4 – 7(13): (Repeat rounds 2 and 3) 2 times for sideways bar, 5 times for vertical bar.
Round 8(18): Repeat round 2.

Ruffle
Round 9(19): Sl st into first ch1 sp; ch 4, work (dc, ch1) 2 times in same space; (dc, ch1) 3 times in each ch1 sp around, join with a sl st to 3rd ch of beginning ch 4.
Round 10(20): Sl st into first ch1 sp; ch 1, sc in same sp, ch 2, (sc, ch 2) in each ch1 sp around; join with a sl st to first sc. Fasten off.

Finishing
Crochet an 18” cord (or use 18” length of ribbon). Weave cord or ribbon through the ruffle dc row. Pull up a loop for hanging in the back of the piece (opposite the cord ends) and secure so the cord won’t pull out. Insert a bar of soap. Pull cord or ribbon tight, gathering ruffle, and tie a bow.

(Left) Hubby's Ivory soap bar in sideways in his personal body scrubber.  (Right) My Dove bar in vertically to hang in my clothing closet.

(Left) Hubby’s Ivory soap bar in sideways in his personal body scrubber. (Right) My Dove bar in vertically to hang in my clothing closet.

If you’re going to use this as a body scrubber soap holder, then you can collect up soap shards in the sachet and use them all up. Myself, as indicated in a previous blog, make liquid hand soap out of the shards at that point.

Declutter toys- the Halve It rule

“It looks like a bomb went off in here!”

This be the rallying cry of despondent parents everywhere before they threaten to throw all the toys in the garbage if the kids don’t clean up, then suspend the kids’ television privileges for a week because they did a piss-poor job of cleaning up, then just tidy up the playroom themselves. Parents shove the books back in the over stuffed bookcase, pile the toys in the rounded over toy boxes and throw out 3 broken crayons.

stock photo, thank goodness

stock photo, thank goodness

The cycle will repeat exactly tomorrow.

The problem of course is that there are too many toys. You can’t just take a bunch of toys and throw them because it will probably cause loud, petulant tantrum problems. Do it by halves once the children are in bed/school/out for the day.

Blocks
Blocks, megabloks, Lego, etc are the easiest. Sit thyself down in front of the pile of blocks with two boxes. Place one blue 2×4 block in one box, and one 2×4 blue block in the other. Red 4×4 in one box, red 4×4 in the other. Etc. Place one box of blocks in the trunk of your car and donate promptly.

Doll clothes
Fewer dolls means fewer clothes strewn about. In my daughter’s case she only has 2 Barbies, one long haired, one short, so she’d know if one went missing. But she has 3 little baby dollies. You’ve even seen some of them in blogs about doll clothes. The bigger one and one smaller one stayed. The other one vanished into a box.

You’ve seen your children play with the dolls, you know which clothing they always wear because you’re they one that always has to do up the buttons. Anything the dolls don’t wear, into the box.

Your child doesn’t think it’s “cool” for a doll to wear a bandana, no matter how well hand stitched; the box. Into the box with anything fiddly, and any piece small enough to get lost (a preemptive strike against a futile and frustrating search later when she “NEEDS” it), then; one shirt in this pile, one shirt in the box.

Vehicles
Toy cars and trucks, half and half. The kids still have plenty of cars to play with and won’t notice that many more of them are gone. You’ll just notice that the toy box lid closes. Stay away from the Thomas the Trains.

Colouring books and colouring implements
Check the implements for damage, broken crayons are trash because it is a law of childhood that no child shall ever make use of a broken crayon. If the pencil crayon is too short for me to hold when I’m colouring with the kids, I toss him too.

Flip through the colouring books, if every page has been marked on, even if there’s still plenty of Angry Bird or Mickey Mouse to colour, throw it out. Another childhood law, only pristine pages can be coloured. Check all the markers. No mark = trash.

Broken toys
They’ve already been removed from your children’s toys consciousnesses anyway. Car with wobbly wheel, Barbie dress with lace torn off (trust me, you’re not going to fix that), plastic firefighter that leaned on the heater, got disfigured and became a pariah from normal play- THROW OUT. The Grinch movie that has been so loved it’s been scratched beyond playability, toss it. It’s a popular Diveo (as my son calls DVDs), you can replace it once it’s missed. A novelty Christmas special you can’t stand, into the box.

Collections
If half of the rock collection disappearing would attract notice, go with a third. Same with stickers.

Dress up clothes
We have a bin of these but there are a few pieces that never get worn. I think they’re clever pieces and why wouldn’t any kid be pleased as punch to wear them, but heck, I don’t understand all the laws of childhood so into the box.

Books
This one is my weakness, but the laws of physics state, in a round about way, that I have to be able to live in my space so we can’t keep them ALL. Again, sit thee in front of two big boxes and the pile of books. Book never read, never looked at, The Donate Box. Book read seldom, story a bit too gruesome, moral lesson deplorable; The Box. Bad poetry, story deemed as “silly” by kids, even if you love it; Box, car trunk, deserving local school.

Toy rotation
To make cleanup easier for them/me, to keep novelty novel and to help them play, I rotate the kids’ toys. Let me explain that last one because it’s scientific. If kids are bombarded with too many choices, their little brains go bang and they come whine at you that there’s nothing to do. Less is more.

After I’d downsized the dolls, clothes and furniture, Daughter was dressing and taking the remaining three little ones for a walk in the park. Before this, I honestly thought she had no interest in dolls because she never played with them. I guess she just had too many to chose to use.

If you find you are rotating the same batch OUT of circulation a lot, maybe just rotate it into The Box.

Odds and ends
My daughter saw me file my nails once and of course wanted a nail file of her own. The next Avon sale I got her one for 39 cents. She filed once or twice then left the thing lying around to be stepped on. Novelty worn off, into the trash. Son got a “flick the ball into the cup” toy at a birthday party. After he’d played with it for an amount of time I deemed as “enough” (right around the time I was talking to myself “where am I going to put all this sh-t?”), into the trash.

A toy they couldn’t share if their lives depended on it, BOX. That’s for your sanity.

Bedding
The operative word here is TWO. Two fitted sheets, two sheets, two pillow cases (well, four for me, I like to double up), two summer blankets, two winter blankets. The rest, in The Box.

Movies
Same as the books really, but easier to do. Not watched, not watched much, questionable moral lessons, annoy the piss out of the parent all equal The Box.

Stuffed animals
Oh boy, this is a toughie. Again, sit thine arse in front of two boxes. Loved and played with = stays. Not popular, no matter how much YOU love it or how much guilt it’s dripping in because of who gave it, be strong and In The Box. Trust me, the clean playroom will fix your emotional trauma better than any therapist.

No guilt, just tidiness.

It’s also a good idea to go through this exercise before every birthday and Christmas.