May 26, 2015

Organizational Drift

Once upon a time, my kitchen cupboards were organized.  Then two things happened.  One, we let three years go by without changing a thing.  Lots of stuff happens in three years!  Glass measuring bowls break.  You get a new (larger) crockpot as a Christmas gift.  Your husband helps you put away clean dishes somewhere other than where you normally put it away (where IS that casserole dish?).  You have a baby.  Which brings me to number two.  Once Connor started crawling and pulling up, suddenly everything needed to be rearranged and locked away for the sake of baby-proofing.

Not that this has gone quickly, but every week or so I manage to get one more cupboard a little fixed up to make room for baby items and keep sharp and breakable things behind child-locked doors.  Our lower-level lazy susan was the most recent to get a full overhaul.  Here's my process for decluttering and reorganizing in the kitchen.  *Fair warning: lots of unedited pictures in poor lighting follow.

First I completely empty the space to be organized.

Empty susan.

This allows me to see exactly what I'm working with.  You can see the lazy susan held an assortment of bowls, measuring cups, colanders, and some odds and ends.

Gotta get worse before it can get better.

Next the space gets a good cleaning.  I am so grateful that the trays on our lazy susan are plastic.  Makes it super-easy to clean them with a soapy cloth.

How did this manage to get sticky??

Then I take stock of what I have and think about what would make sense to live in the space.  In our case, I decided to make the top shelf all about blending.  I was tired of our blender and all things protein smoothie cluttering up our countertop.  Plus its attachments were scattered throughout our kitchen- some in the pantry, some in the island.  Now the most frequently used blender parts are front and center on the lazy susan and our counter is no longer covered in protein powder dust on the regular.

The view.

Smoothie powders and blender cups.

We decided to use the lower level for items used in cooking, plus the large blender attachments.  Now our large measuring cups and bowls and colanders are arranged in order from most to least frequently used since the lazy susan only opens in one direction (thanks to baby-proofing door locks).

Measuring up

Not a strain (see what I did there?)

So much better!  My next step will be relocating an iced tea pitcher and a couple of glass serving bowls.  Maybe I can find some time to get to it next week?  Ha!

Apr 22, 2015

Life on Baby Time

I realize it's been more than a hot second since I last posted.  Since I finally had a few minutes to rub together, I decided to give you a "life on baby time" home tour.  I have desperately been missing blogging and finally decided it would be better for me to throw something together in a few minutes than spend a couple of hours photographing, writing, and editing a post.  Photos literally took me 3 minutes.  I just marched around the house and snapped.  Nothing was straightened or adjusted, and the photos are unedited.  Consider that fair warning.  Come see what our life is like now with a mobile 8 month old.


Come on in.  The hydrangeas have been picked over by tiny fingers.  You can see a leaf on the floor by the vase, and Stanley the Squirrel has been unceremoniously tossed under the bench.  See also: spit up on the rug I noticed after I took the photo.  Overall this space has stood up pretty well to baby.  Connor loves using the bench to pull up on and makes a few stops a day in this area to just investigate things.

Dining room?

The dining room is to the left.  You can see it's been pretty much completely taken over by baby stuff and mess.  The ladder shelf had to go (too unstable and offered too many ways for little fingers to get pinched) and the pack n play hangs out there instead.  Crazy vinyl tablecloth is under the booster seat to save our rug from further damage caused by flung utensils and food.  The curtains remain closed almost constantly because, yes, that is a breast pump you see on the kitchen table.  The dining table is covered with a weird mix of baking dishes that need to be relocated to an as-yet-undetermined less baby-accessible location, and printer mess (mine needed to be replaced about a week ago).

More mess.

I've managed to baby proof most of the hutch, but it still isn't really styled.  You can see the random extension cord snaked over the top instead of hidden under the hutch.  Fortunately Connor can only reach the bottom two shelves for now, so I've moved all of my table linens down there and some infrequently used baking supplies corralled in rattan baskets.  At this point Connor isn't tricky enough to pull the baskets off the shelves, and there's not enough clearance for him to pop the lids open.  I'm guessing we'll need to redo it in a few months when he gets stronger, or we'll learn the joys of cleaning flour and corn starch out of carpet.


The rug that lives in front of the sink is in the wash, and there's a pile of baby feeding stuff to the left of the sink and a container of kitchen-specific baby "toys" on the right.  Other than that our kitchen hasn't changed much (yes, of course we baby proofed all of the lower cabinets).  It just doesn't get cleaned as well and as frequently.  Pretty sure you'd see crumbs on our range and fingerprints on the fridge if you look close enough.

Here's the living room.  It's covered in baby toys- the lower shelf under the TV, the box next to it, hiding in front of the grandfather clock, on the coffee table, on the side table (yes, baby likes to play with a foam roller), on the floor.  Our TV has grown since last year; somehow Steve convinced me we needed a larger one.  I find it to be way too large, but there's almost always Sesame Street or something similar going on it now, and Steve and I usually watch a show on Netflix while we eat dinner after Connor's gone down for the night.  So even though I don't like the looks of it, it functions very well for our family's needs.  Steve built risers for our couch in the fall because we had more and more difficulty getting off it safely with a baby in our arms as Connor got heavier and heavier.  The risers are still raw wood, which looks terrible.  We were thinking of covering them in leather, but right now they just look funny.  We've also discussed getting a more baby-friendly coffee table, but for now we just supervise closely when Connor's around it.  And frankly, he's skilled enough at pulling up and getting back down now that we don't really have to watch that closely.  I also hit a new milestone in life: the spring decorations on top of the piano got left out so long last year that they are now season-appropriate again.  I rearranged things a little bit using items that had to be moved off the bookshelf.

The hallway.

Aside from the addition of a baby gate to separate Connor and the dogs when they're not being closely supervised, this looks almost the same.

Guest/baby bathroom.

Our guest bath gets a lot of use these days.  In reality, the tile doesn't look creamier than the tub, as it appears in this photo... the whites are very cohesive in person.  You can see evidence of baby stuff in the shower (there are some toys on the tub floor as well).  I'm happy to report that our DIY bathroom overhaul is holding up pretty well.  Now that it's been complete for almost a year, there's a couple of areas on the bead board I'd like to recaulk, and we still haven't gotten the matching extended shower head.  But both Steve and I have showered in here on occasion and we both think it's a very nice bathroom.  The tile and shower curtain going all the way to the ceiling makes it feel much larger than it is.

Blurry nursery.

I feel I need an extra apology for this blurry photo.  There was a baby asleep in the crib when I took the photo, and he has super-sonic hearing for anything that sounds remotely metallic (like a camera shutter) so I didn't dare take more photos for fear of waking him.  This room is wreck at the moment. The crib has been lowered twice in a month and I haven't bothered to reattach the crib skirt.  The rolling cart is holding outgrown odds and ends and there's a giant pile of additional outgrown items behind it on the floor and on the other side of the chair (hey rock n play).  The changing area looks a little worse for wear as well.  The paint chip orbs I made fell apart not long after Connor arrived on the scene.  We hung a Star Wars alphabet poster from our friend Rachael, which Connor loves so much that he regularly knocks the bottom part of the frame down.  He also loved the mirror so much that he figured out how to pull it off the wall.  So Steve nailed the frame to the wall.  And Connor pulled it down again.  So now it's just a blank wall full of nail holes.  The bins in the top of the closet have been working pretty well for storing outgrown and not-yet-grown-into clothes, but it's been tricky to keep up with them since Connor has changed clothing sizes 7 times in 8 months.  I feel like I am constantly rotating clothes into and out of his dresser changing table.

The office.

I rarely use our office anymore.  During the day, the dogs get free run in this area and the back half of the hallway.  We removed my leather chair (it was getting too saggy to type comfortably from it anyway) and replaced it with a rolling office chair that I had to bring home from work last June.  Our reading area has been taken down to make room for an extra dog cushion and more floor space for puppies to run around on.  My side of the desk is covered with random projects I haven't gotten around to doing for several months as well as our new gargantuan workhorse of a printer.  I also need to rethink my paperwork filing system because having an extra person in our family has created a shocking amount of additional records.  And because I know somebody will wonder, the green thing and the bowl on the floor are the dogs' food bowls.

The master bedroom.

I actually have some *pretty* photos of the progress on refreshing our bedroom and making it less precious, but this is what it has looked like for the majority of the last 4 months or so.  Bed unmade because of early baby wake-ups.  Connor's doorway jumper in a pile on the floor for easy access when I just need him to hold still for 10 minutes so I can get ready for work without worrying about him.  Vitamins and wrinkled sheets and cords galore.  Maybe the pretty photos will show up in another blog post one day.

Master bath.

First off let me say that our linens are not dirty like they appear to be in this photo.  I should've flicked the lights on before I snapped the photo, but I didn't, so you get an icky photo.  I hate it when towels look janky on towel rods.  Our towels have looked janky for months now.  Twice a week we get new towels out, and they look pretty for the duration of your shower, and then they get used and flipped onto the towel rod as fast as possible and look janky again.  There is actually less stuff piled on our bathroom counter than there normally is.  And not pictured here is the aftermath of a leak we had to our bathroom skylight in January.  After 2 tries we finally were able to find the exact source of the leak and stop it, but we've got a ton of drywall that will need to be replaced above the lights in this photo.

I didn't take any photos of the exterior or garage because sleeping baby, so here's the quick update.  The garage doesn't "look bad," but good luck if you need to find anything in there.  It's a hodgepodge of tools, paint stuff, lawn things, baby stuff, things waiting to be gifted-sold-donated-returned-rehomed, exercise equipment, classroom supplies, and boxes. Outside, our paint job is holding up really well.  There's a couple of trim spots around doors and windows that could use recaulking and a fresh coat of paint, but otherwise things look good.  I *think* all of the stuff I planted in the front yard and back yard overwintered.  And the bleeding hearts and coral bells on the north side of the house not only overwintered but are thriving (the ferns and everything in the window boxes were not so lucky).  Our lawn is a terrible wreck.  This was our third winter in this house and the mildest one in the PNW in years, so our lawn is a bumpy, mossy, dandelion-infested pit right now.  The faucet at the back of the house is still working great but we haven't gotten around to fixing the one at the front of the house.

So there's a peek into our house with an 8 month old in the mix.  Overall I feel like we are becoming a little smarter about what makes sense for us to have in our house with a baby here too, and we are definitely not pushing as hard to do things just for the sake of making it pretty.  What changed about your home once you had a baby?

Oct 25, 2014

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie...

I'm not a mouse, but this story starts in a similar manner.

Now that our little man Connor is here, I've started rethinking more areas of our home.  Right now Connor sleeps in our bedroom with us.  We are planning on transitioning him to the crib in his room soon, but having him in the bedroom with us for now has gotten my mental wheels turning.  Babies are messy, and little boys are even messier.  And from what I understand, they don't make messes in localized areas, even when advised to do so.  Our bedding is beautiful (to me at least), but the giant comforter is not easily washed.  It's too large to fit in a washing machine drum, even a front-loading Star Trek-esque one like ours.  Which means we're rolling the dice on making an unplanned trip to the laundromat every time we have that baby in the bed with us.

He's sleeping... like a BOSS.

Last spring Steve and I started talking about updating our bedding for temperature reasons anyway- the poly fill of our comforter was nice and toasty in the winter, but much too warm from May through September.  And after three years of use, the fill was a bit deflated at the top edge and had sunk down into the lower corners.  So we decided to start searching for new bedding.  Our requirements were: easy to wash, hypo-allergenic (down fill makes me sneeze and itch), natural fiber (poly fill can make us sweaty), work with our existing sheets and wall color, and not cost an arm and a leg (hello, maternity leave!).  We decided we'd look for quilts and see what we came up with.  This time around I was also looking for something decidedly less fussy than what we had.  Not that I disliked it, but just that our style has evolved since we purchased it and so has our lifestyle.  I was hoping to trade elegance for ease.

How it was.

I ended up finding a quilt Steve and I both liked on Target's website.  It had good reviews, a trip to my local store confirmed that it was soft and a nice weight, and it was on sale.  Bingo.


And then as long as we were getting a new quilt, we might as well replace the down-alternative blanket we've been using that had grown increasingly lumpy with each wash....


So now our bedroom looks like this.  Please ignore the dust, piles of stuff on our nightstands, and non-matching pillowcases.  I have a baby, it's not like I have time to style photos for this blog.  Puhleese.

The raw edge makes this more modern than your average quilt.

Love the edge on that blanket!

Which got me thinking.  Steve and I love the new quilt and blanket.  But now everything else in the room seems too formal.  And plain verging on monochrome since there's no loud print on our new quilt.  Plus our lamps.  They aren't exactly our style (even though we both love Tiffany lamps), they take up so much room on our nightstands, and they're really heavy and fragile!  I can just imagine Connor walking in there, grabbing the cord, and knocking himself out with one of those- you know, once he's walking.  I mentioned to Steve that I liked the idea of having wall lamps, and he was immediately sold.


Which got me thinking.  If we had wall lamps, we'd be able to actually have some organization in place on our nightstands.  And maybe some pretty things, too.

Which got me thinking.  We'd have room to hang some art on either side of our beds.

Which got me thinking.  We'd be able to introduce more color to the room to add visual interest and warmth.

If you give a mouse a cookie....  She'll end up making a collage on polyvore and wanting to refresh the whole bedroom.

Awww yeah!

Challenge accepted!!