Sunday, August 30, 2015

Organization 101

I've mentioned my Aunt Deb several times before on the blog, but today she'll be taking center stage as we take her crash course on organization.

Before we get started, though, I just have to say a few things.

I have always loved organizing.  Color-coding.  Things lined up.  A place for everything and everything in its place.

I definitely get it from my Aunt Deb.  Ever since I can remember, she has been a pro organizer.  She has systems in place, labels on everything, and a knack for making it all look pretty while still functional.

She's lived in several homes, and all of them have been super duper organized from top to bottom.  I was always in awe.  I loved just walking around looking at all the organization.  It made me giddy, and it still does.

Recently, she downsized from a 2700 square foot house to a 1200 square foot apartment (temporarily, as she'll be relocating to sunny Florida soon!).  This downsize was surely a challenge, but she nailed it -- and I have proof.

I asked her if she'd mind if I shared some pictures of her work, along with any other tips and tricks she swears by.

My Aunt Deb loves to shop like I do (well, probably more), and she loves her clothes, make-up, and accessories.  She's always been super stylish and perfectly put together.

In her last home, her closet was literally a room, which was perfect for her.  She was able to keep her clothes for all seasons in there.

Her apartment closet obviously isn't nearly as big, but she's made it work.

I mean, don't her clothes look beautiful?  I love how she uses all of the same color/style of hangers.  Just makes it look so pretty.  And she has space between her clothes.  I need that.  I shove everything together and then struggle every time I try to pull something out.

When I asked her about how she organizes her closet, she gave me a detailed explanation.

She sorts by style and color.  With her tops, she first separates them into categories: sleeveless, short sleeve, long sleeve.  Second, she sorts by color.

Other categories include office clothes (dresses, skirts, slacks, suits), casual clothes (jeans, slacks, tops, and play/workout clothes.

She uses those awesome, thin, velvet-y hangers that you can find at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, T.J. Maxx, Marshall's, and HSN.  I have a set of them and LOVE them, but I definitely need more.

Aunt Debbie swears by these stacking shelves, too, as you can see in one of the earlier pictures. These make it easier to access all of your clothes so you don't have to pull a huge pile down looking for something.  It keeps the stacks neatly in place, too.

These sorter cubbies can be used for a variety of things -- anything from your accessories like scarves and purses to your shoes.

Here's one of Aunt Deb's in action:

I really should get something like that for my flip flops and sandals.  I like the idea of being able to easily see the shoes.  If I don't see them, I won't wear them.

Okay -- moving on.

My Aunt Deb actually uses a vanity to put her make-up on in the AM instead of the bathroom.  For her, the bathroom mirror is too far away.  She told me that she needs that vanity space to get ready in the morning.

Her vanity has three drawers:

1)  blush and lipsticks
2)  eye shadows
3)  mascara, cotton swabs, some brushes.

Her bathroom, though, is still quite functional.  She uses dividers and containers to keep things sorted.

Below her bathroom sinks are turntables (aka "lazy Susans") and shoebox-type containers.

Here's her linen closet, also very organized:

And her laundry area:

And her bedside table.  So pretty and quaint.

I don't have any pictures of her desk area (I can get some, though!), but -- as you can imagine -- that's also organized.  She told me that she LOVES her two-drawer file cabinet because, in her words, she's a "filing nut."  She categories there as well: income tax, medical, investments, bills, warranties/receipts/invoices, important documents, etc.

She also told me that she believes few rooms should be without a clothes tree.  For example, in her spare workroom, it holds her ironing and mending.  It can hold school bags, sports bags, etc.

See it there on the right?

Her best piece of advice?  "Bottom line -- have a container for everything!"

Her organization puts mine to shame.  I have a lot of work to do... like looking for a clothes tree - ha! (Where do they sell those things?)  I'd also love to hear what some of your best organizational tips are.

In other news, we all start our official first day of school tomorrow.  I still can't believe today is our end of summer.  Soon our Sundays will be full of menu planning, grocery shopping, lunch preparations, etc.  Yuck.

Anyway, hope the rest of your weekend is fun!


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thankful Thursday - My New Co-workers

If this week is any indication of how busy we'll be this school year, then I want out.  I am feeling very overwhelmed and very exhausted.

But I told myself to snap out of it because today is Thankful Thursday.  And even though I'm writing this past 9 on Thursday night, I'm going to be just as thankful as I'd be if I were writing it at 5:30 this morning.

Here goes...

Today I'm thankful for my new co-workers.  They are inviting, welcoming, warm, kind, and all-around helpful.  I'm not used to this.  And although learning so much in my new position has made my brain go crazy, my co-workers have been a huge blessing for me going into these unchartered and, quite frankly, scary waters.  I'm looking forward to getting to know them more throughout the school year.  I truly think they are going to make this change worth it.

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday's Over and I'm Just Posting Now

Goodness, today has been a long day.  And it's not over yet.

Today was my first official day back at work after a year at home.  Tonight was my son's school orientation night.  It's been a go-go-go kind of day, so -- needless to say -- there's no real post today. (I have a feeling that now that I'm back at work, the posts will not be daily.)

I do, however, have a fun post coming up soon about organization featuring the one, the only... my Aunt Deb.  She is the Queen Bee of organizing.  I'm telling you -- she rocks the casbah.  Can't wait to share with you some of her tips and tricks!  Stay tuned for that.

Otherwise, hope your week is going well.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Pet Peeves (probably Part 1)

I have a lot of pet peeves.

And I'd like to share some with you today.  And I'd like if you'd share some of yours.
And I'd like if I could stop starting sentences with the words And I'd like.

So let's get right to it.

Here are some of my pet peeves, in no particular order:

  • When people don't hold the door for you when you are clearly getting ready to enter or leave through said door.
  • When people don't have basic manners.  How hard is it to say please and thank you?
  • When people don't tip enough.  I'm a 20%-er.  However, I reconsider that once in a blue moon. (See below.)
  • When waiters/waitresses don't write down your order because they think they'll remember it and that it makes them look cool and then you get your order except it's not really your order because they forgot something you said since they didn't write it down.
  • When people leave their shopping carts in the parking lot instead of returning them to the cart corral.
  • When people tailgate me.  I'm a slow (read: safe) driver.
  • When the toilet paper roll goes under instead of over.  In fact, I've fixed this in some people's houses.  I always wondered if they noticed.
  • When the grocery bagger puts toiletries in with the frozen stuff.  I appreciate that he/she is bagging for me; however, I organize my items as I put them on the conveyor belt for bagging purposes.
  • People who speak in faculty meetings about something that applies solely to them and therefore waste everyone else's time.
  • Leggings worn with a short shirt instead of a tunic.  FYI: Leggings are not pants.
  • Stupid questions.  Yes, they exist.  Believe me.  I'm a teacher.
  • When cashiers or waitresses call me "honey" or "sweetie."  I'm older than you are.  But don't call me "ma'am," either.  I'm not your grandmother.
  • When people who are sick do not take proper sanitizing precautions to cover their mouths when they sneeze/cough, when they don't wash their hands, etc.
  • Bad grammar.

  • Shaving my legs.  And self-tanning.  Both are time wasters yet extremely necessary.  
  • Farts.  Farting.  The word "fart."
  • Paying bills.
  • Not having coffee first thing in the morning.  I NEED it.
  • Oh, this:

I could go on, but I don't know if anyone's still reading at this point, so I'll cap my list there... 
for now, at least!



Anyway, I'd love to hear some of your pet peeves, too!  Feel free to share below in the comments section.  Otherwise, have a good Monday and an even better week!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Funny Friday - A "Daily Affirmation"

Maybe you've seen this before... maybe you haven't.  Either way, it's worth watching now.

This little girl CRACKS. ME. UP.  And when my day isn't going well, I sometimes watch this to remind myself that there really is power in positive thinking.

(source: YouTube)

I think the clap towards the end may be my favorite part.  And -- just for the record -- I like my hair and my haircuts, too.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Busyness

"This is how you make it into some kind of a chop weapon," says my son as I sit here in our torn-apart family room watching the sunrise through our fingerprinted window.

He's playing with his Ninjago Legos (shocker, I know), and I've just woken up and gotten myself a cup of coffee.

Although we're still technically on summer vacation, the countdown has begun to our return to school.  Yup.  T minus 4 days.  Boo.

This is how I feel about it in a nutshell:

And our next few days are jam-packed full of activities, errands, and mundane tasks that have to get finished up because we've procrastinated.

And, as if our return to school preparations weren't enough, we've decided to completely tear apart our family room and give it a makeover.  Like we don't have enough to do.

We've taken down this awful, high-gloss wainscoting that covered the bottom half of the room, only to find that it was all glued on and has literally left holes in our walls.  The ceiling needed to be repainted because of all the black smoke marks from my candle-burning.  (By the way, have any of you found candles that don't give off black smoke?)  The search for the perfect wall color has officially begun, and there are pieces of wood and tons of nails laying all over between my son's toys.  (I know, safe, right?)

I have phone calls to make, a stop at D.'s school to fill out some extra paperwork, dentist appointments, hair appointments, and lesson planning to do.  We also have family commitments, doctor appointments, and birthday parties all in the next week.

But you know what?  As much as I get tired of all of these things on our "to do" list, I'm also thankful for our busyness.  We're lucky to have the opportunity to get to these commitments.  We have a home to come home to (even with the mess that it is), we have cars to get us where we need to be, and we have our good health.

There are so many people in our country and even around the world who do not have these things we often take for granted.  There will be children who come into my library who do not have basic necessities, like clean clothes, a home, or family to love.  That breaks my heart.

So, today, I'm remembering how thankful I am for all we have.

What are YOU thankful for today?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My Library - The Before & After (FINALLY!)

I still have a few minor things to finish up in my library, but the big stuff is done.
THANK GOODNESS.  Now I have to work on my beginning of the year lesson plans, a sub binder, and some book processing.

In the meantime, though, I wanted to share the transformation.  And I apologize in advance for the picture overload today.

* * * * *

You may remember what it looked like before.  Here was the circulation desk:

Boxes of books everywhere (that actually still need to be sorted) and piles, piles, and more piles.

Here it is once the clean out process has begun.

More piles.

This next picture gives me the heebie-jeebies.  How can anyone work in a space that looks like this?  It makes my skin crawl!

One of the many garbage piles.  The custodians hate me already.

One corner behind the circulation desk.

Next up was the storage room.  This was definitely an "enter at your own risk" situation.

Surprise - more piles.  And an old computer.

Printers that don't work and cassette tapes from whenever cassette tapes were popular.

Old, stinky tapestries, holiday decorations, and SpongeBob.  And somewhat of a path to get to the back of the room.

The back of the room.  Lots of random crap... most of which went in the garbage!

And then there was my office.  It was left in shambles, so it took a very long time to organize it all. Let's just say it involved a lot of Lysol.  And coffee.

Getting through the mounds of "stuff" in all these areas took a LONG time, but the AFTER pictures make me so happy!

Here's the view from behind the circulation desk now.

The library itself is a big open space (two stories tall) because it used to be a gym, so we have great skylights and a real tree in the middle of everything.  Apparently it's not doing well, and those of you who know me know I do NOT have a green thumb, so I'll be asking my father-in-law for some advice to revive it. I've killed too many plants in my lifetime. (In my house, if it doesn't make noise, it doesn't get fed.  I'm not proud of that, but it's the truth.)

The boxes of books are still in a pile, but the rest of the circulation desk is cleaned and cleared!
 The "learning" area.

My office.

Notice the Batman seat cover... aka my son's pool towel.  I couldn't get anything else to fit!  Plus, I figured this would be easier to take home and wash when needed.  Also notice more coffee.

My organized bookshelf!

I still have to get this whiteboard mounted, but it's usable for now.  The bookshelf below it houses monthly book units, seasonal books, etc.

I organized it by month and season with labels.  Nothing super fancy, but it'll work.

My file cabinet!  Woo hoo!  Folders and labels make my heart flutter.  (I know.  I'm weird.)

One last look.  

To reward myself for all the work I've been doing, I decided to treat myself to a pedicure.  Ryan Gosling also thought it was a good idea.

However, Mr. Gosling needs a mini-lesson in his use of adverbs vs. adjectives.  In this case, it should be "every day," not "everyday."

By the way, if you've ever wanted to see how unflattering your legs and feet can look, take a picture mid-pedicure.  Exhibit A.

Told you it was a picture overload today.  And while I'm at it, here's my dog.  He makes me happy.  I mean, look at those big paws!

And those eyes.  He's my baby.

Hope your Wednesday is wonderful!  Thanks for stopping by!