Toothbrush Board Mount — Pinterest Successful Project!

Well…. I’m sure you’ve all seen them.  There’s tons of pictures out there…. All over Pinterest!  How do people organize their toothbrushes…. Let’s take that one step further…. How do you organize toothbrushes for at least SEVEN people PLUS their flossers?  We’re talking at LEAST 14 spots.  Pretty darn sure they don’t make toothbrush holders that big!

Anyways, I decided to give it a try.  In our house, the toothbrushes for Ed and the kids are used in the 1/2 bath by our back door.  This is because people are usually rushing out the door for work or school right after breakfast and this is a good location for me to help supervise the smaller ones.  We needed something.  I had toothbrushes crammed in a tiny little jar…. half of the time I was confused as to who’s toothbrush belonged to whom?  I know…. not good!  Something had to change.  In my quest for organization, I decided to give this Pinterest project a try.

I found a stud right close to my mirror (PURE, dumb luck!) and I screwed a piece of cedar fencing material to it–which I have had hanging around the garage for years.  If I ever wanted to take this thing down, I would only have two small holes in the wall from the screws.  It hung there in the bathroom for a couple of days until I got all the supplies.  The funny thing was this…. Ed NEVER once asked me why there was a board screwed to the wall in the bathroom.  I think he was simply too scared to even ask what kind of hair-ball idea I had this time!  A couple of days later, I finally found my hose clamps and 1/2 pint canning jars.  I used very short screws to screw the hose clamps onto the post.  I was only able to fit seven on there, but since I usually brush my teeth in my bathroom, and Mattie is still very little, that’s OK!  I have one for Ed and six children.  This way, they know where their stuff is and can put it right back when they’re done!  So far, no toothbrushes have been left out on the counter!  I’m sure that will change when the novelty wears off, but at least I will know who didn’t put their stuff up!

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This is a close-up. You need to tighten the hose-clamps as tight as you need them BEFORE you screw them into place, otherwise, it will not hang where you want it to.

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Another view…. Seven in a row!  The names are only temporary.  Until they learn where their jar is.  I didn’t want to put names directly ON the jars, as I know they will need to be washed every so often!

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One final close-up!

It was so simple and so easily done!  When Ed saw it, he even thought it was a “nifty” idea!  So, I would have to say that this Pinterest idea, IS A WINNER!

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Our Laundry Method–for NINE people!

I all too often, as I’m sure many of you do, find myself wishing that I had an AMAZING laundry room like this one on the left!  One filled with TONS of room, counters, folding tables, built-in ironing boards, and wash basins.  Some even have those fancy little desk areas in them!  I wonder if they really use those rooms for laundry or if they are just for show and tell…. really!

However, I don’t!  I live here on Earth.  We have what’s called Real-Life, and it sure as tootin’ isn’t that type of a laundry room.  It’s a real work room.  If I had a dime for every load of laundry washed, my husband could retire as a rich man.  So, I find myself wondering often about different ways to do laundry.  I’ve tried many, trust me!  However, there is a method that I have been doing for a few years now, and it is simply the easiest for our family of nine!  It has become even more easy since the purchase of a few more little wire shelf units and a drill.  I’ve always been told, that if you don’t have the floor space, go up.  It is so true!  It’s amazing how good things work when you can get them up and off the floor!  I was so tired of not having room to do my laundry  IN MY LAUNDRY ROOM!  I would always wash and wash and wash, then bring all my loads into the family room to fold.  Man, was that a nightmare!  It would sometimes sit in there for days, OR worse, my kids would get a wild hare and start throwing clean laundry at someone or burying themselves UNDER the laundry in an effort to hide themselves, and before I knew it, it was either a Mount Everest, or a Tsunami wreck in my family room.

So without further delay, I am going to show you my laundry room in all it’s working glory…. please don’t mind the paint… someday I want to change it!  Also, don’t look at the nail holes that have been filled but not repainted over yet — I’m terrible at finding studs…. Lots of “Oops!” moments!

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This is a taller shelf…. I put the empty baskets up there when they are not in use. The spray wash, laundry soap, and dryer sheets are kept on the lower shelf for easy access.

The laundry soap is kept on the shelf for easy access.  I just refill it as needed.  I also keep the dryer sheets and the spray wash right on the same shelf.  I’m trying to help the kids to know that if a stain does get on their clothes, that when they take it to the laundry room, all they  need to do is just grab the stain spray and spray it right then and there, before putting it into the laundry piles.  It is a work in progress, and I believe it will take many years before I see any fruits of my labors.  Laundry can be a full-time job if you allow it to be.  One thing that helps is to make sure you don’t have more clothes than what your kids can wear.  We’ve been blessed with a lot of hand-me-downs.  Every so often I go through things and get rid of the unrepairables and take out the duplicates or the unused clothes and send them to the donation pile.

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This is our spare sock basket… When I have spare socks, I just put them in this basket. Every so often I go through it and have a sock matching party. It has helped out a lot! I’m so amazed at how easily socks get lost!  The green paper is a basic washing instruction list for the kids… in case they have questions!

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With three shelves, I have room for 9 different piles if necessary. Three to a shelf. I can also use hangers to hang clothes on these shelves if I need to hang something up!

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Just another view… again, don’t look at the nail holes… ahem! You can see some of the hooks on the other wall. I have two sets of those and they are used for clothes that need to be ironed or air dried!

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There’s another shot at it. No fancy iron closet but this works for us. It’s easy access and works great.

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More shots of the upper shelf unit holding baskets.

Over the years, I have acquired these baskets either at Walmart or the DI, rather cheaply.  I have one for each ROOM in the house–it lives in that room’s closet so as to not be seen–plus I have three extras.  Ed and I are the only ones that have our own baskets.  I have two sets of boys that are nearly the same size and share rooms, since they share clothes, they share a basket.  On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, each basket is to be brought to the laundry room for washing.  In case you’re wondering, there is a chore chart that assigns a child as a laundry helper — so each child gets the chance to take a turn helping with washing and sorting end of things as well!  Hopefully they’ll learn to do it right!!!

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Here, all the baskets have been brought down and the clothes piles have been put in their baskets. I should say that each basket has a name on it written in marker. If I find shoes out, or belts or any other of their miscellaneous belongings that belong to the kids, they get put in their basket as well. At the end of the day, it all goes to their rooms.

When the clothes are washed, they are folded, IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM, and placed on these wire shelves I’ve installed–I know they are not custom built-ins, but this has helped me out so much!!  I never knew how nice it was to have a place right there to put folded clothes on. The hooks on the walls are for shirts which need to be ironed or anything that might need to air dry.  When they get done in the dryer, all ironables go on the hook to be ironed on my iron day… usually on a Tuesday or Thursday, when I don’t have quite as much washing to do.  When the baskets are not in use, they sit above my washing machine.  When the clothes are all folded for the day, each child’s pile is put in their basket and sent to their room at the end of the day with any other of their other belongings that might be hanging around.  Each child is responsible for putting up their clothes and making sure their basket goes back into their closet.  We usually do sheets on Thursday, and play “catch-up” on Saturdays.  In essence, my laundry machines usually go every day of the week, when I’m on top of things.

So this is how things work for me!  Tell me how things work for you and if you feel like giving this method a try, let me know how it goes!  Hang in there!!!

Front Room Repurpose!!

So…. my small little 10×10 room got a repurposed overhaul this weekend.  I found this hutch on the classifieds and fell in love with it!  I, however, had a dinky little loveseat in my front room that really served no purpose, other than for my children to throw the cushions off from it!  So, the lady selling this hutch wasn’t getting any bites on it.  So, I asked her if she would be willing to give me one week to see if I could sell my loveseat, so I could purchase the hutch.  She did, and on the last day…. I SOLD MY COUCH!!!  Now, I know I was thinking of turning this room into a homework room, but since there is a lot of music in our home, I wasn’t completely opposed to turning it into a music room, exclusively.  It just needed something!  Well, it still needs a few things, but those will have to wait for a bit.  I am wanting to find a small rug and then put faux wainscoting on the bottom third of the walls.  How did we do?!?!?!  Now, I just need to get back to figuring out how to deal with the homework area and the sewing area….. and, I had better stop there…. at least for a while!

So here is the BEFORE picture:

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And now the AFTERWARDS:  Or IN-BETWEEN phase!

Sorry… I should have had all the lights on as well….

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Our music hutch! I can store LOADS of music in the bottom. Which is what I have desperately been needing!

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Goodness! I didn’t realize I was blurry! But we moved the piano to the other wall. It fits on this wall just a little bit better than the hutch wall!

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Ahh! There with the pretty lights! I NEED lamps! I have lamp issues…. I am always looking for lamps at the DI… I just took the rocking chair out of another room and it fits great!

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Room for lots more music in the bottom. This is just what we use on a more regular basis. In the drawer, I can fit all the penny whistles, recorders, metronome, band music, pencils, pens…. It is PERFECT for my needs!

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View from the front entry…. A little blurry as well. Some day I will learn how to take a picture! I just need to save up now and find me a rug for the floor and perhaps, I might do the faux wainscoting on the bottom third of the walls. Who knows! It might take another eight years! But I think we can be happy with this, now, useful room!

Dilemma!

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See this?  THIS, is my dinning table!  THIS, is moments before dinner is served!  How did it come to this mess?  This is homework from FIVE children.  We even cleaned some of it up before we took the picture!!   THIS, makes dinner time a complete nightmare!!  Where and what do I do with all this stuff, while we pause for dinner, since it is not finished??  I have had quite enough of this!  I know, school is over in one month!  Something should have been done MONTHS ago!!  How did I go these past eight months with this chaos?

My solution?

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I have an otherwise useless, small front room that is too small for anyone who wants to come and visit.  It, right now, is just being used as the music room.  It has a piano, two violins, two guitars, one clarinet, one trombone, and a handful of penny whistles and recorders in it… I know!  Frightening!!  So, I am toying with an idea!  Could my front room be turned into an organized homework station/music room for my kids?  Could this space be utilized into a working, organized station?

OR…… better yet…….

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….. This might work out the best!  Could I convince my husband to make a half wall, such as in this photo, with a counter overhang between my family room and my dining room?  The homework could be on this counter… I could even use it for my sewing space, which I am always looking for!  This idea would allow me to keep all the musical instruments in the front room, since they really need to be able to stay in there for their practicing anyway!

Stay tuned!!  Something is in the works!  Please feel free to share any of your ideas with me!  Hopefully we’ll have a reveal here in the next few months or so!

Dry Goods Storage Bins!

Insightful Tip #1

After my last little baby was born, I realized that my life was spiraling out of control in a downward pile of unorganized messes.  I have been trying very hard, the last few months, to try to restore some order to my home.  After all, we are told to “organize every needful thing..” and to prepare a house of order, right?  I am taking this saying literally to myself.  I refuse to be the one that is always forgetful, late, and unprepared…. Boy howdy, this is going to take some doing!  We’re talking about 37 years of well…. not so much organizing and preparedness!  I guess I don’t want my children to go down the same path I took.  I wish I could say I have “31 insightful tips for organizing  your home and everything in it…” but remember, this is Amy that is typing…. I don’t even think I can come up with half of those 31 insightful tips.  So I decided I would just start posting about the things I use and do to help organize my family of nine, and we’ll see how far we get!!  I am hoping for at least 10 ideas!  After all, big families are usually organized… right?

Today I am going to start off with my most favorite!  I use flour like a candy shop uses sugar!  These dinky little counter canisters you place on top of your counters can’t hold enough to even make it worth my time to use them.  The only one that works for me anymore is the salt container!   I ended up breaking more fingernails with the 5-gallon buckets and the big lids than I care to mention.  I know, they have the gamma lids…. but I simply could not fit a lot of those containers in my pantry.  They were too wide.  I  was always having to use this little tool to flip the regular lids off…..if I could find it since my kids liked playing with it so much.   I was desperate for something big enough to hold my dry goods in, yet wanting something super convenient!  Perhaps it is a little TOO convenient!  I’ll explain that later on….

I searched the web all over trying to find what I could use…. I looked into cooking supply stores and good grief!  They were outrageously priced!  It was then that I happened to stumble upon the next heaven-sent item… and I truly mean it is heaven-sent!

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Rolling….. pet food containers!

Brilliant!  You’re supposed to empty your dog or cat food into these bad boys for storage.   Well, we’re not exactly eating dog food here at our house… at least 8 of us aren’t…. (2 yr old is the exception…. ahem….little stinker) but it was the perfect solution.  I paid roughly 18 dollars for each one on Amazon and got free shipping! (I used some of our tax returns for the purchase) and bought 5 of them.  Flour, Sugar, Oats, Cornmeal, and Wheat!   I can fit roughly a 25# bag plus half a more bag into one of these bad boys!  I love that fact that they have wheels.  I just roll them on out of the pantry when I need to use them heavily, and then roll them back in when I am done!  The lid is hinged and it opens up easily and widely so that I can get in there with a big scoop and get what I need!  Perhaps that is why they are a little bit TOO convenient…. many a concoction has been made by my little 2-yr old when he decides to be mommy’s little chef.  He can get into them far too easily, but I just have to remember to make sure the pantry door is fully closed, or else locked… AND he is getting much better at not playing in my flour and sugar as he is getting older!

Happy Organizing!

DIY Cell Phone Charging Station!

Like many of you, we only use cell phones…. and YES…. I HATE having cords visible on my book shelf.  There’s no room for them in the kitchen, so we have to store them on our bookshelf in our Family Room.  I started looking around today for a cheap and inexpensive charging station on Amazon…. AGHHH!  Nothing cheap…. and nothing that people would highly recommend!

Enter in CHEAP OLD cubby box I bought at Ross YEARS ago!  I simply drilled some holes in the back of it large enough for the chargers to go through.  I took some small thin pieces of paneling I had lying around and cut it so it was a tight fit and then glued them in.  I used those pieces as a divider between the three different phones to create three different slots for phones.  If I would have had a safe, small power strip, I would have mounted it to the back; however, I didn’t, so you can still see the power cords, but it looks nice enough I really don’t mind.

Now, if I hadn’t been dead-beat tired already from the morning, and if I wouldn’t have so much willing help, I would have taken the time to drill the holes lower so they were less noticeable, sanded them smooth, and painted them to blend in…. perhaps someday I will still do that….. sure!  someday!!  I have so many projects saved for after the children start school again, that I don’t think I will EVER get them done!  My focus this time was easiness and SPEED!!!

I challenge you to look around and see what you have that could be repurposed into something quite useful!