Posts by Jen Jones

Jen Jones

Organize with This: Bookcases!

Storage furniture comes in endless shapes and sizes, however, when planning out storage solutions for your, sometimes it comes right down to the basics. I receive a lot of questions regarding organizing and storage for apartment dwellers, and I always resort to my favorite answer; a bookcase! In fact, bookcases are amazing storage solutions no matter what the shape or size of your home. They are by far the most versatile piece of furniture I have come across, and I just love how they can be used in just about any space of the home without becoming a permanent fixture.

Let’s begin in the entryway. By swapping out the upper shelves with a few hooks, you have an instant mini-mudroom closet. The lower shelves are perfect for holding shoes of various sizes while the upper portion can hold coats, handbags and accessories.

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Affix a few bookcases together to give them a “built-in” appearance. Then, remove a shelf or two to give your television and components a tucked away location to live.

By adding a basic bookcase to the end of a bank of cabinets or an island in the kitchen, you now have quick access to decorative dishes and cookbooks.

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Another amazing way to add smart kitchen storage is by turning a bookcase into a pantry cabinet! When the adjustable shelving is paired with jars, baskets, risers and organizers, the bookshelf provides a lot of bang for your storage buck.

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If you entertain frequently, you may find it is nice to keep a serving station set up and stocked around-the-clock. By adding a few baskets, decorative trays and bottle holders, you are well on your way to being the hostess with the mostess.

If your home didn’t come equipped with a dedicated home office, create one from bookcases! Add a desktop and some shelves between a pair of bookcases and you have an instant desk that will leave you whistling while you work. Looking for more space to spread out and craft? Two shorter bookcases plus a solid top and you will be sewing up a storm in no time!

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Bathrooms are not typically known to be grand in size, making it easy for daily toiletries to clutter up available counter space. Because bookcases are often slim, they can be tucked in behind doors and beside bathroom fixtures. Fill the shelves with towels, jars and baskets and your beauty essentials will become neatly stowed away, yet easy to access each day.

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Heading to the bedroom now and bookcases work there also! By installing a basic clothing rod a bookcase becomes a simple and sweet closet for a child. Pair a few bookcases together and suddenly you have the makings of a custom closet for shoes, sweaters and handbags galore!

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Finishing off in the playroom, a bookshelf is about as versatile as it gets for keeping special toys easy to reach and on display. Canvas and soft sided bins are great for corralling smaller pieces, while the remaining items inspire imagination during play time.

Bookcases are an obvious solution for storing books, however, they really do create inexpensive, slim, versatile and vertical storage in just about any room of the home. The best part is that they can easily be modified with paint, decorative papers and even doors. How do you make bookcases work hard for you in your personal spaces?


Jen Jones

Organize This: Gardening Gear!

One thing that I truly appreciate about living in the Midwest are the signs of the seasons changing. Waking up to singing birds each morning and watching the trees bloom always brings a warmth to my soul. It also means that I take a break from inside chores and head outside to tend to yard work and gardening tasks.

Garage Storage and Organization

I prefer to spend the first couple spring weekends organizing our shed and garage to set us up for success throughout the remainder of the spring, summer and fall months. The image above repeatedly serves as my inspiration; the adjustable shelving paired with the work surface below combine to create a super efficient storage spot. Today, I am going to focus on organizing the garden gear used for maintaining blooms and veggies during this magical time of the year.

  • Starting out with durable, adjustable metal shelving is a great way to maximize the vertical space in your garage or garden shed. Selecting shelves that adjust also provides flexibility in storing awkwardly shaped items and bins.

Organize Garden Supplies in Small Buckets

  • Galvanized bins will be your best friend when it comes to storing seed, soil and fertilizer. They are weather friendly and light weight, making them ideal for toting around the yard. It is important to select versatile, durable and easy to clean materials any time you are storing outdoor gear.

Organize Gardening Dates on a Dry Erase Calendar

  • Hang an erasable calendar above your workstation to document important gardening season dates such as best planting days, watering and fertilizing schedules and farmer’s market schedules.
  • Use oversized recycling bins to hold those larger bags of soil and mulch. Many offer a flip top lid and when paired with a scoop, they offer easy access any time the gardening mood strikes.

Sead Sorting Bins

  • Small, divided wall bins are wonderful options for sorting and categorizizing seed packets {image via iHeart Organizing}.

Shoe Pocket Garden Supply Storage

  • Not everyone has an entire wall to dedicate to garden tool and supply storage. Add a shoe pocket to the back of a door to hold gloves, tools, seeds, and insect spray. {image via The Coupon Project}

Pegboard Garden Storage

  • Pegboard is about the most versatile storage solution to any organizing dilema, and garden storage is no exception. Install a small panel of the pegboard to hang a variety of watering and planting tools.

Garden Tool Caddy

  • Keep an empty caddy nearby, which can be filled based on the task at hand. They work perfect for toting around smaller tools, seeds, rags and gloves.

Garden Gear Organization Product Picks

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Jen Jones

Organize This: Tax Season!

Tax time and filing doesn’t have to be boring or stressful.  With the tax deadline date lingering right around the corner, I am excited to share a some super simple tips for keeping this time of year as worry free and enjoyable as possible.

 

 

I have been there… Suddenly it is tax season and I am scrambling and struggling to pull together multiple document types and receipts for filing day.  Whether you have a personal accountant or you tackle the tax filing process on your own, it is important to manage multiple forms and records throughout the course of the entire year.  Although I am not a tax professional, I personally had to find ways to get my own tax system in order.  Here are a few of my favorite tax time solutions:

 

  • Find a Routine.  Don’t wait until the end of the year to look for documents and deductions.  File/document important information throughout the year during your scheduled budgeting sessions.  A few minutes every week or two is much easier than a multi-hour mad dash in April.
  • Simplify.  Don’t create a filing system that is too complicated to manage, or one that is not easily accessible as forms and documents come into your home.  Add an open top file box or paper trays to your desk with easy to access labeled file folders.  Small, decorative boxes look great and can be used to hold important receipts until you are ready to document them and file them away.  Slotted expandable folders work really well for dividing documents and receipts out by category and/or month as well.
  • Take Note.  It can be very frustrating when you are reviewing forms at tax time and you can’t remember why you kept a specific receipt or what a statement is referencing.  Keep a stack of blank sticky notes at your workspace which can be easily attached to receipts and statements with added details that may be helpful to you and your accountant on filing day.
  • Date it.  Whether it is on a wall, desk or planner calendar, take notice of important tax dates and also mark down reminders a few weeks before each date to ensure they don’t sneak up on you.  This is especially important if you are filing your taxes on a quarterly basis.

 

 

  • Need Some Motivation?  What drives you to want to work on bills and taxes?  I enjoy using that time to catch up on a favorite TV show or to listen to my favorite soundtrack.  I also file my documents in decorative file folders and containers because I don’t believe that paperwork has to equal boring.
  • Give Back to Yourself.  Keep a clipboard and lined paper in your car for donation drop-offs.  Each time you make a charitable donation, you should be given a receipt.  Attach the receipt to a piece of lined paper, and document each of the items being donated.  Also snap a photo with your smartphone for added proof and to serve as a reminder at tax time.
  • Don’t Spin Your Wheels.  Keep a small notebook in the glove compartment of your automobile to track mileage throughout the year.
  • Out of Sight, but not Out of Mind.  It is recommended to keep tax documents on hand for seven years before sending them to the shredder.  Save room in your filing cabinet by dedicating a large, labeled bank box in your storage closet to hold those dated returns.
  • Twice as Nice.  Investing in a paper/receipt scanner could save you many headaches down the road.  It is important to keep both digital copies and hard copies of your receipts and statements, as neither way is completely fail safe.

 

 

What tips do you have to get through tax season with a smile?

 

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Jen Jones

Organize With This: Better Homes & Garden’s Color Palette of the Year!

Hopefully by now you have seen the announcements and taken some time to soak up Better Homes & Garden’s 2015 Color Palette of the year.  It is SO fresh and pretty!

The moment I spotted the deep hued grays and greens paired with flirty pinks and a playful tealy blue, I found myself noticing that I already use many of the beautiful and bold colors throughout our home.  In fact, seeing them all pulled together in one inspirational photo gave me a few new ideas for upcoming room makeovers we will be working on.  Thank you BHG!

Being the storage loving gal of the group, I decided that I would pull a few fab “color palette of the year” organizational products that can be used to jazz up and organize any room in the home!  Enjoy!

 

 

bookcase | jar | filing cabinet | pouch | trays | memo set | wire basket | tote | woven basket | hanging sacks | desk | storage ottoman


Jen Jones

Organize This: A Hard Working Studio!

I really love working in a creative industry and in turn, having a creative space to work in.  Although I have a passion for creating organized and functional home offices, it took a little trial and error to really figure out how to make the most of a hard working studio.  Studio spaces are typically designed for small business owners that create, produce and distribute products.  Although no two studios are created equal and many function in different ways, there are a few common storage solutions that can create a happy and streamlined work environment.

 

Over-sized Work Surface:

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The thing that has won the biggest for me in my personal work space, is an over-sized area to work.  It is great to have the ability to spread out projects, ideas and supplies each day.  Having a large surface not only assists in creating, it aids in shipping, having meetings and even providing storage below.  To make the most of the large work surface, have it jet out into the center of the room and place comfortable seating on either side.

 

A Filing System:

Whether you are a paperless fan or opt to hold on to physical papers, having a proper filing system is a business owner must.  Set up color coded files to manage expenses, licensing, clients and other business incurred documents.

 

Easy Access:

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Crafting, working and creating can be a messy job, so the goal is to create storage that is easy to access, and easy to put away.  Consider making the most of vertical wall space by pairing decorative rods with hooks and cups.  The combo is versatile enough to accommodate a large variety of office and artistic supplies that need to be used on a frequent basis.  Pegboard is another fantastic solution for making the most of your walls.

 

Open Storage:

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Cubed storage shelves typically rank at the top of my list for just about any space I am organizing, and the studio is no exception.  They work wonderfully for holding everything from binders and magazine files to stacks of fabric to decorative boxes and bins.  They provide quick and easy access to daily necessities, while also offering a place to display the products being created and produced.

 

Concealed Storage:

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Although open storage is ideal in most studio situations, there are times when concealed storage should be considered.  Clutter can deter a creative from being able to focus on the task at hand, so there are times when it makes more sense to tuck away items that are bulky and visually overwhelming, as well as the items not being utilized on a frequent basis.

 

Memo/Idea Board:

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Pinterest is a wonderful tool for organizing ideas and inspiration, however, nothing compares to the real thing.  Installing a cork board is a great place to pin up daily ideas, tasks, to-do lists and a calendar to manage appointments and meetings.  Whether you work solo or have an entire team, a pin board will keep everyone on the same page with the vision and plans for the business.

 

Electronic Storage:

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Electronics work hard for businesses.  They scan, print, fax, label, compute… even entertain!  But electronics can also take up a lot of space, both visually and physically.  Consider adding a printer cart or electronics cabinet to house the technical side of the business in a single hot spot.  Keeping everything in a central location also helps to corral cord clutter.

 

Shipping & Receiving:

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Unless your business is completely digital, most often times shipping and receiving is involved.  And with that also comes packaging.  Keep boxes, stationery, envelopes, business cards and packaging products all within close reach of the over-sized work surface.  Whether stored in wall pockets or in pull out baskets, the ultimate solution is to keep the shipping and packaging surface clear of supplies and prepped for sending out business love at a moment’s notice.

 

 

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Jen Jones

Organize With This: DIY Storage!

I have always been a bit of a storage “junkie” as one would say.  Not only do I love the process of organizing, I love beautiful and stylish containers.  What I don’t love is the impact that storage can have on my wallet.  Therefore, whenever I take on an organizing project, my first step is to brainstorm ways to create my own storage using materials I typically have on hand.  Most often times, a little creative thinking and resourcefulness allows me to DIY beautiful solutions on a budget.  And I am always up for the crafty challenge!

I have DIY’d a lot of storage over the years, and I typically find myself reaching for many of the same items over and over again.

 

Cardboard Boxes:

Boxes come in many shapes and sizes; the boxes I find myself using most frequently are shoe boxes and cereal boxes.  Pair the boxes with paint, decorative paper or fabric, and you have a high end look on a crafty budget.

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The boxes above were given a few coats of paint and the edges were gilded with gold.  Below, boxes were covered in fabric to create a canvas effect.

 

Food Packaging:

Don’t throw away those oatmeal canisters, cereal boxes or soup cans!  They all can be upcycled as storage throughout the home.

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Jars:

Mason jar storage has gone viral over the years.  They can be used to corral anything itty bitty.  However, if you don’t have any mason jars on hand, head to the recycling bin and use any glass jar.  With a little paint, they can be crafted to look like storage purchased at your favorite home good store.  And they work great for holding anything from cotton in the bathroom to nuts and bolts in the garage.

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Pegboard:

Maybe I typed too soon.  Mason jars and pegboard may have to battle it out for title of Most Versatile Storage Solution.  I love using pegboard all over our home to keep commonly used items within arm’s reach.  Pegboard in the laundry room organizes sewing supplies, in the craft room it organizes gift wrapping and crafting tools, while in the garage it organizes utility items.

 

Picture Frames:

Pictures frames work wonders for displaying your favorite memories, but their functionality doesn’t have to stop there.  If you have a few extras on hand, or pick some up at your local thrift store, they can be used to hold pegboard, decorative sheet metal and even canvas pockets to create stylish and practical wall storage solutions.

Simple hardware can also be added to a common photo frame to create a beautiful, decorative tray!

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Crates:

Unfinished wood crates can be purchased extremely inexpensively at local home improvement and craft stores, and with a little paint and/or hardware, you can put them to work all around your abode.  Add casters to create pull out shoe storage, or cut them in half to create slim wall organizers!

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Magazine Files:

Say farewell to paper clutter!  Magazine files organize magazines, mail, school papers, books, newspapers and stationery.  Because they are slim, they can also slide into pantries and linen closets to organize awkwardly shaped items in a sleek and stylish way.

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Rope:

Thicker rope paired with thread or hot glue can be used to create baskets, while softer rope is perfect for embellishing containers and for creating storage bin handles.

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Fabric:

Fabric can be sewn into organizational pouches, pockets and baskets.  It is also the key to making recycled boxes, food containers and jars look top notch.

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Decorative Paper:

Just as I utilize beautiful fabrics for covering boxes, paper can do the same.  I also love to use decorative wallpaper, gift wrap and scrapbook paper to line bookcases, drawers and trays.

Storage does not have to be expensive to be beautiful.  Using common household items as storage is not only easy on the pocketbook, it also promotes recycling.  All you need is a little glue along with some lovely fabric or paper and you are well on your way to high end storage on a shoe string budget.