‘Tis the season for grilling, picnicking and eating outdoors! The evenings are warm and it really is the best time of the year for outdoor entertaining and family gatherings. The goal is to enjoy your company, not to spend hours preparing, cooking and cleaning up. Here are a few tips to keep you prepared for dining outdoors anytime the mood strikes!
If you cook outdoors frequently, it may be beneficial to create a secondary outdoor kitchen to prevent frequent trips inside. Whether you build something custom or utilize a nearby potting bench, consider adding a few hooks for hand towels and grilling tools, as well as shelving to corral outdoor dining supplies. An often forgotten treasure is an outdoor trash can for quick cleanups. These units provide storage below and work surface above, making the most of both space and time.
If a larger work surface is not an option, think about adding a smaller bar cart to act as a hot spot for storing frequently used dining and grilling supplies, while also providing serving surface. Select a piece that can hold up to outdoor weather conditions, wood and steel tend to be the best options. Plastic lidded bins will keep dishes and linens protected from moisture as well.
A little lattice goes a long way in the storage department with this DIY utensil holder. Although compact, the organizer packs a lot of punch with hooks holding frequently used grilling tools and a shelf for holding a grilling basket and condiments.
Create a portable caddy that can hold cups of flatware, dishes and your favorite condiments. This will keep it super simple to transfer your indoor dining to the great outdoors.
An upcycled tool box also has the ability to become handy and organized dining storage.
If you love to take last minute trips to the park, keep your picnic basket pre-packed and stocked with outdoor dishes, flatware, linens and a cutting board. Lidded jars work great for transporting side dishes while wax paper, baking liners and treat bags work wonderful for dried goods.
Stash a picnic-ready blanket in your vehicle for impromtu outdoor dining; an easy solution is to roll an oversized quilt and tie it up with ribbon.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Don’t throw away those oatmeal canisters, cereal boxes or soup cans! They all can be upcycled as storage throughout the home.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
When bathroom space is limited, it becomes important to make the most of every nook and cranny. That is not always easy when personal care products are involved. Hair tools and sprays, night creams and lotions, oral and nail care… How can you make the most of a bathroom with limited counter and storage space? I would love to just hire myself a daily glam squad to come in and take care of it all for me, but alas, I am no celebrity so it is up to me to be selective about how much I really need and use. Of course, the first step is to check dates and purge items that are old, duplicated or haven’t been used for an extended period of time. Once that is done, the fun begins! Here are a few of my favorite tips for organizing daily beauty supplies.
Hot hair tools seem to be the most challenge items to tuck away due to the heat they put off and their awkward sizes. Consider adding heat-safe canisters inside of a cupboard, drawer or basket, to safely hold the hot end of the tool and to prevent the cords from taking over the counter. Bonus tip: Claw hair clips are great for quickly keeping cords under control.
If drawer space is too tight for an upright canister, a decorative heat-safe tray tends to work equally as well. It also looks pretty whether it is left out or tucked away on a shelf.
Speaking of trays, did you know they can actually function really well as drawers? Especially when you add in a few drawer organizers to corral smaller items such as nail care and makeup. I love that each tray can serve a different function, and that many also stack to save on space.
I love shopping the kitchen for alternative bathroom storage solutions. In fact, spice racks tend to be an answer to most toiletry dilemmas. Many are narrow enough to be hung inside of a cabinet or on a wall, yet still offer enough surface space to hold multiple jars and canisters of personal care products.
A few other kitchen finds include decorative platters, cups and dishes. Pieces on pedestals offer layers of storage for smaller items such as jewelry and nail polishes. Mugs work their magic holding makeup brushes, egg crates are perfect for sorting earrings, and small bowls can store anything from bobby pins to Q-tips.
Utensil caddies are another kitchen item that I am a cheerleader for. They work brilliantly for items that tend to be transported from room to room, and for assembling kits relating to specific personal care tasks.
Just like in the kitchen, drawer dividers are crucial in keeping a tidy makeup drawer. With the force of opening and shutting a drawer, items tend to shift and become jumbled. Drawer organizers keep everything nicely divided and ensure that there is no frantic rummaging while getting ready for work.
Office supply stores are another uncommon place to look for bathroom storage. Many of the products designed for organizing desktops also work beautifully for organizing personal care items in the bathroom. Desktop organizers can hold both tall bottles and small hair ties while pencil pouches can double as toiletry travel bags.
While we are on the subject of travel, I always recommend having a toiletry bag pre-stocked and waiting in a nearby basket, drawer or suitcase.
Most of us are not lucky enough to have our own personal bathroom, and storage needs to be considered for two or more daily users. Keep products for each member of the family neatly tucked away in durable labeled bins. This prevents any confusion and prevents cross contamination of bacteria and common germs.
Technology plays a large role in many of our daily lives, and the best part is that it can be used to streamline our routines and make life a bit easier. Aside from the endless number of organizational applications for phones and tablets, there are a few fun gizmos that offer time, stress and money saving properties.
1. The Tile App uses bluetooth technology and allows you to track and locate an endless number of items that easily become lost or misplaced. Just place the waterproof Tile on/in anything from your keys to your wallet, and your phone can track down the whereabouts of the object should it go missing. As the bluetooth signal draws you closer, the Tile’s melody will play until your lost item is back in hand.
2. Charging stations have been around for many years now, however, with the number of devices that any single person or family may acquire, it is wonderful when you can find one capable of managing them all no matter the shape or size.
3. Devices and cords go together like peanut butter and jelly. Cord clips and wraps are a quick and easy way to prevent the cords from becoming a tangled mess while stored inside of your bag or a junk drawer.
4. There is nothing more frustrating than having your phone battery dwindle while out on a day trip; especially during work events or travel days where access to a power source is limited. Stay charged up with a portable power pack, which provides your battery with a boost of power at a moment’s notice.
5. Many of us make resolutions each year to exercise more, eat healthier and sleep better. Keep track of all of that and more with the help of a Fitbit. Whether you clip it on or wear it around your wrist, Fitbit tracks more than just your steps and heart rate. It allows you to pair it with your mobile device and enter your food intake, manage your sleeping patterns and track your exercises; really allowing you to analyze your daily fitness with specific detail.
6. There are many options that allow you to partner with technology to create a more efficient home, and one of the easiest ways to get started is with the Nest thermostat. Not only does it allow you to manage your home’s climate remotely from your phone, the Nest has the ability to sense when you’ve left and adjusts the temperature to avoid over heating or cooling an empty abode.
7. 2014 was declared the year of the selfie, and I don’t see it going away anytime soon. In fact, more than ever folks are using their devices to take and manage photos on a daily basis. The problem is that the photos then sit on our computers and phones and never make it into albums on the coffee table. The Canon Selphy is a wireless photo printer that allows you to send your images to be printed via WiFi within the convenience of your own home. Now that glowing grin can be seen online and inside of a pretty frame on the wall.
8. The Neatdesk Scanner is a classic, but it continuously makes my list due to the hot topic of paper clutter headaches. Even if you take all of the necessary steps to become as paperless as possible, it is inevitable that some will need to be filed away for the future. The Neatdesk is a super speedy scanner that reads and identifies key properties of each receipt or document, and indexes it away electronically. Once scanned, you can recycle the paper piles and quickly use keyword searches to locate your important documents online. With this smart scanner you can even kick the bulky file cabinet to the curb!
9. Introducing the most beautiful gadget on the market; the Ringly allows you to disconnect from your phone during the day, and notifies you when you have an important call, text or meeting that requires your attention. This is a sweet way to keep your phone tucked away during a dinner date or at the office, while keeping you connected should something come up.
10. Prop power brings the power directly to you. With the ability to wrap and form around objects, this flexible outlet allows you to set up a charging station at your desk or easily work with power tools while up on a ladder.
What gadgets have made a positive impact on your day-to-day routine?
It seems that each year I make a resolution to simplify our laundry routine. With a family of five, laundry piles tend form in the blink of an eye. However, there are a few things we have done that have really streamlined our process. For example, our dirty clothes go straight to the washer each day, we only sort out linens and delicate pieces. Over-sorting was causing multiple piles that needed attention at once and quickly cluttered our laundry zone. Another step that has helped us is to always keep extra hangers in the laundry room so we can fold and place items on hangers the moment they come out of the dryer. And finally, each member of the family has a small stackable basket that remains next to our dryer, so once the clothing comes out and is folded, it can be placed into each member’s basket to be put away.
Although over-sized laundry rooms are dreamy, there are many ways to organize and maximize a small laundry nook or closet to make it just as functional as a larger space.
The laundry alcove above is only a few feet wide, yet the storage is truly maximized to create an ultra-functional place to wash and fold laundry. Let’s take a closer look at some super simple ways to make the most of a small laundry space.
1. The optimal solution for maximizing storage is to go vertical. Consider adding rows of shelving that span all the way to the ceiling. Cabinets are a great alternative if the goal is to conceal visual clutter.
2. Create a stain removal tray. Research solutions for removing common household stains such as grass stains, wine spills, wax spots, makeup, etc… Put together a small bin or tray with a stain removal reference guide and correlating cleaners and store above the washer and dryer. This will allow you to treat the stain on the spot and increases the odds of saving your clothing, upholstery and carpets.
3. Install a hanging valet for your clothing. Whether hanging a delicate item to be washed separately or providing a place to air dry a blouse, a simple retractable rod saves space while adding hanging functionality.
4. A benefit of open shelving is that you can quickly see and access your items. Selecting wire baskets or clear bins to corral smaller products, will also take away from the guessing game.
5. Create a cleaning caddy for your home. By using a single bin or tote to transport your cleaning supplies from room to room, you cut down on the number of trips back to the cleaning cabinet.
6. Install a space saving ironing board holder on a nearby wall or over the laundry room door. Many of the amazing options also come with added storage for spray starch and distilled water.
7. Add a decorative basket to the top of the washer/dryer area for delicate items that must be washed separately.
8. Install a counter across the washer and dryer to provide a solid surface for storage and folding items straight out of the dryer.
Bonus tip: Decant your laundry detergents and cleaners into decorative storage containers to create a streamlined, clean look. Manufacturer’s product labels and colors quickly create visual clutter that take away from the esthetics of the space.