Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Big Purge, Closet and Bedroom Edition

This weekend was very productive! We are on a roll right now with home organization! Starting with the kitchen pantry renovation in January to now our bedroom organization, we're doing our Spring cleaning early. We've hit our bedroom, Ava's room, and our guest room!

Ever since we moved into our house 3 years ago, it's been a whirlwind to say the least. I was in my third trimester of expecting Ava when we moved in and then after she was born, our life has been on hyper speed! We spend so much time in our bedroom because it's a big room. Ava likes to play in our room while we fold laundry, read books, or get ready in the mornings. It's almost another family room to us! When she was a baby, she slept in a co-sleeper next to our bed. Her diapers, books, and so many toys have been in our bedroom. Then before her first birthday, she transitioned sleeping in a family bed with us. We never used her crib in her room! Eventually, we packed up the co-sleeper and converted her crib to a toddler bed. Well, that didn't work out so well. Being so little, she still needed to sleep next to Mommy and Daddy. And recently, her legs are so long that they hang off the side of her small toddler bed. The family bed has been amazing for the ease of night nursing and bonding for all three of us after we were separated during the day.

But lately, in our seemingly shrinking queen-size bed, I regretted not heeding Aaron's suggestion for a king bed before before Ava was born! We finally decided to take the plunge and buy a king bed! Aaron researched memory foam beds, which made it easy for me to pick which one I liked best from his short list. He's the researcher in the family. Last weekend, he drove to Cincinnati to the nearest Ikea store and he got a new king bed frame, matching night stands, sheets, a new lamp, and even the kitchen cabinet hardware which we wanted forever too. We saved so much money in shipping. 

Ava's first night in her big bed!
With the new king bed in our bedroom, we moved our queen bed to Ava's room and our old bed frame moved to the guest room. This way we can lay down with her until she falls asleep and she has a big sleep surface so she's comfortable. She was so excited! We bought her some new princess castle sheets today and plan to get her a cute pink and girlie comforter. For now, we made it up for her so she was cozy and she really enjoyed it! Aaron is setting up her toddler bed without the side rail like a kid-sized day bed in the basement playroom for her to read books our lounge. I promise to post pictures of our bedroom when we finish the purging project in there! Aaron bought a new dresser to match the bed so we moved a dresser from our room into my closet, which meant we had to move some white cubes from there to the inside of my closet. We've moved so much furniture around the entire house and the whole purging and shifting has been a big undertaking! It's going to be great to have it all finished. And finally our bedroom will have some style again!

With the madness of our schedule, I haven't had time to reorganize my closet. I did a complete overhaul! Clothes were shoved into shelves, folded neatly but still it was a mess. I had maternity clothes in a lower, accessible shelf and summer clothes were still close by, even though it's winter! Last night, I went through everything! I moved my maternity clothes to the top shelf, in hopes that one day I can use them again if I get lucky to have another baby and in the same season. I made massive Goodwill donation piles with old shoes and bras that don't fit, thanks to pregnancy. The pile of orange and gray ExactTarget t-shirts was shockingly huge when it wasn't shoved in randomly. Now everything is folded and it makes sense for how I need to use it. I did the same thing for my kitchen, making functional zones so why not use the same philosophy for the closet.

We're lucky to have his and hers walk-in closets. It has been great! Aaron has teased me when he sees my closet because it was a total disaster zone. Today, he secured my white storage shelves in place for me and I went through everything!

I still have to sort through a dresser and the top of this cabinet that now in my closet. I moved my purses from the under bed storage bin inside the bottom part of the dresser in my closet. Doesn't that make more sense?! It feels good to get organized and purge! Aaron purged anything in his closet that he hasn't worn in a year. Together we had four donation bags that we dropped off at Goodwill today and moved things that belong in other parts of the house!

Aaron's parents gave us a closet organizer for our guest room, which Aaron installed a week ago. So finally we have an organized closet for our guest room. Since a developer built our house, we didn't have anything in our closets, not even poles to hang clothes.

I will continue to post more pictures of the bedrooms when we wrap up the big purge and organization!
I purged 2 full size bags!

We moved this from our bedroom to my closet. Jewelry and perfumes on the top.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Kitchen Pantry Transformation

BEFORE: Free-standing shelves and piles everywhere!

BEFORE: Lots of wasted space.

Step 1: Fresh paint
I'm so excited to share our new kitchen pantry! We moved into our house three years ago and I was thrilled to have a pantry after leaving our small condo in Chicago! When we moved in, we just put our free standing shelves inside and started piling things in it, with the intention to making built-in shelves in the future.

I'm really thankful for Aaron's handy work and home project skills! He took a few days off of work early in January and spent a couple days on our new kitchen pantry. It's made such a big difference! Our pantry is organized and everything is so accessible.

I really like shopping in the bulk bins at Whole Foods for our whole grains, dried beans, seeds, and other ingredients, storing them in stacked plastic containers. In the past, I had trouble seeing and accessing everything and would buy something that I didn't need. The new shelves make it so easy to see what we have stored in the pantry!

Our Costco membership comes in handy for my bulk cooking for my freezer meals exchanges. It's nice to have extra room to store my larger items like brown rice and whole wheat flour! Here's how the project unfolded.

Step 2: Building the shelf supports.
Day 1: Planning/Unloading - After Aaron sketched out the plans, we removed everything out of the pantry and into the kitchen and living room. While we were dismantling, we threw out expired food to start with a clean slate. We had everything out for the several days while this project was underway. That evening, Aaron made a final shopping list of the building supplies he needed for the project.

Day 2: Shopping/Painting - Aaron went to the store and bought building supplies such as paint and boards. He cut the MDF boards and painted the pieces white so they would be dry the next day to install.

Step 3: Shelves are built!

Day 3: Installation/Organization - I was so excited to come home from work and see the project was complete! Aaron installed three shelves, leaving the tallest height for the top and bottom shelves. We had a plastic drawer container for loose items like party supplies, ziploc bags, and our reusable shopping bags. We store tall and heavy jugs like white vinegar that we use for house cleaning. We use the second floor area for our recycling and dog food storage bins.

Budget:  The project was very affordable! Aaron used MDF instead of solid wood. But the white paint effect makes it look really nice. He bought longer pieces and cut them to his specifications. We bought a nail gun, but he will use that tool again for future project. In the end, we spent less than $200! It's well worth it! Having pantry items clearly visible and accessible makes it easy to do an inventory of what I have on-hand so I don't over-buy items. That's another way an organized pantry saves you money down the road.

I'm thrilled with the finished project! I love seeing the white space in the pantry and extra room! I'm definitely a happy wife!

AFTER: Organized!

AFTER: View of open bottom area for recycling and dog food.