HOME: HOW I KEEP OUR HOUSE ORGANIZED WITH A TODDLER

I love to clean and organize.  It’s probably one of my favorite pastimes and definitely my favorite chore.  Before Lilly, I would spend our entire Saturday morning deep cleaning our house.  Cleaning and organizing has always been my activity that de-stresses me, allows me to process whatever is going on, and it genuinely brings me joy.  

Before kids, I always used to say, “my house is going to stay clean even after I have kids.” And guys, so far that’s been manageable with one kid (I can’t say what will happen if we have more). Below are some tricks that help me keep our home organized and clutter free.

Invest in Quality Baskets

Baskets are my best friend. I can’t have enough baskets. Baskets are so good at hiding clutter. We have diaper baskets in almost every room – that way we can have quick access to diapers, wipes, lotion and whatever else a baby and toddler needs. I love to store baskets under coffee tables and on shelves because it looks pretty and it hides the chaos inside the basket. I also use baskets in our kitchen to hide our aprons and cookbooks (we just don’t have enough counter space, wall space, or cupboard space). I also use baskets in closets, under sinks, in L’s playroom – literally everywhere. I also love to leave them out in the open and fill them with magazines, books, or blankets.

Target, Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and Pottery Barn have some excellent options.  I also love the Serena and Lily ones, but those are $$$.  Here a few styles that I love: 

Pottery Barn Beachcomber Handwoven Seagrass Large Tote 

Pottery Barn Havana Handwoven Seagrass Utility Basket (I have about 8 of these all over the house!).  It also comes in a lighter shade.

Pottery Barn Metallic Woven Wool Storage – we have one similar to this in pink and it’s my favorite basket! 

Target Decorative Toy Storage Basket – we have this in pink in Lilly’s room and I love it!  

Target Large Woven Storage Basket – we have four of these in white under L’s changing table.  They are perfect for storing diapers and blankets! 

Colonial Mills Boca Raton Basket – we love this for storing L’s stuffed animals! Amazing quality. 

Tidy Up Before You Leave a Room

This is something I try to do, and it does work 90% of the time. Before we leave a room where we’ve been playing, I try and put everything away and in its rightful place. This might seem silly, but it’s so much better than spending a half hour going all around the house, picking everything up after L goes to bed. It truly makes a huge difference. Plus, we make a game out of it. Luckily Lilly is a helper so if I ask her to help me with something she is always willing and ready.

Designated Play Area

Fortunately we have a designated playroom in our house. Keeping her toys, books, and stuffed animals all in one area of the house certainly helps with keeping the rest of the house organized. And it helps that this room is separate from the rest of the house (it’s right off of our entrance from the garage and there is a bathroom connected to it. I think it’s technically a downstairs master, but we use it as the playroom). Even if you don’t have a playroom, you can set aside a space in your house for the kiddo’s toys (use those baskets!) and it will definitely help with keeping things tidy.

Always do the Dishes 

This can be an annoying task for sure, but my mom always taught me to clean all the dishes before you go to bed.  If we use dishes after dinner, I always make sure I hand wash them and put them away before we go to bed.  Most nights I do not want to do this task because I’m so tired.  But every morning I wake up and I’m so glad I did.  It truly makes a difference in the morning! 

And that’s it folks.  These are things I do every single day that keeps our home tidy and organized, something I very much value.  Hopefully one or more of these ideas will be feasible for you.  Happy organizing!

Slainte,

Shannon

HOME: HOUSE PROJECTS 2020 UPDATE

A few weeks ago I shared a list of house projects for this summer.  We are in full swing in getting these projects complete and that is such a good feeling.  We still have a very long way to go, but we are slowly checking the big projects off our list.  If you are interested, keep on reading to see what projects we have completed and what projects are still works in progress.  

COMPLETED PROJECTS

It feels good to check the not-so-glamorous projects off our list.  So far this summer we’ve been able to spruce up the landscaping, repair the chimney, and replace the roof – the top priorities on our list (and the most money sucking eeeeek).  Relaxing at night is much more enjoyable though knowing that the chimney isn’t going to fall over and the ceiling isn’t going to leak anymore.  

We chose pretty dark gray shingles for the roof and already it enhances the curb appeal so much. We think it will look so good against the (eventual) dark navy siding. Which leads me into our uncompleted list of projects.

WORKS IN PROGRESS

The two big projects we still have to complete are painting the exterior of the house and fixing the interior damage caused by the chimney.  I’m a little concerned about the interior damage getting complete because of, you know, COVID-19.  I’m just not comfortable having workers in our home while the pandemic is raging around the state, country, and world.  Eventually though the ceiling will get repaired and the walls painted and our family room and guest room will feel so clean and fresh. 

I’ve now added a few more interior projects to keep me busy (like I need any more projects in my life).  If you follow me on Instagram you will have listened to me chat about the playroom gallery wall I’m working on.  My goal with the playroom gallery wall is to find original artwork created by artists I admire and/or artists that have become friends.  So far I have five original pieces and I’m deciding on one more (blog post coming soon).

I also decided to finally start the gallery wall up the stairwell.  For YEARS I’ve talked about doing a gallery wall of family pictures going up the stairs (one of my favorite shows of all time is Brothers and Sisters and Sally Field’s character had the best gallery wall up her staircase.  Ever since then, I’ve wanted to do the same thing).  And I’ve finally decided to do it.  It’s definitely a challenging project – trying to style and organize multiple frames on an incline is not easy.  It’s like putting together a puzzle and it just takes time to make all the pieces fit.  Once it’s done, I think it’s going to really brighten up and make our entryway feel so warm and welcoming. 

I’m really looking forward to completing both those gallery walls.  Artwork brings me so much joy and helps make our house feel like a home. 

Thanks for following along on our home reno projects!

Slainte,

Shannon 

HOME: HOUSE RENOVATIONS SUMMER 2020

The joy of home ownership.  We definitely love owning a home.  A home allows us to create a space that is all our own.  But it’s also a money sucking time commitment.  Built in 1976, we bought our house in 2016.  The owners prior to us kept the house updated and modern, which has resulted in minor cosmetic changes on our end.  

For the past year we’ve been dealing with some issues with our chimney.  Long story short, our chimney base has disconnected from our house and water has been seeping into our family room.  This has caused water damage in our family room ceiling, as well as our guest room ceiling. 

We’ve had engineers, masons, contractors, insurance agents – you name it – out to our home to look at the problem and the damage it has caused.  We have finally hired a contractor who will be building up our foundation to connect it back to the chimney and hopefully fix this problem for good.  But because this chimney problem has caused so much interior and exterior damage, we have decided this summer is the summer of value adding projects.

New Roof

We were told when we bought the house that the roof would need to be replaced in five-ish years.  We decided that since we are already working on chimney and foundation repairs, we might as well replace the roof while we are at it.  We are going with dark gray shingles to better suit another project – painting the exterior!

Painting the Exterior Siding 

Our exterior siding is currently blue with black shutters and a white garage.  We’ve always wanted to paint the entire exterior navy and then replace the black shutters with white ones.  I’m currently researching paint colors and Hale Navy seems to be a favorite among many.

Painting the Family Room and Guest Room

Because of the interior water damage, we have to replace some of the drywall and ceiling and will need to repaint both of the family room and upstairs guest room.  Our family room is currently a grayish blue and the guest room is beige.  Because the family room has no windows and only sliding doors to the deck, I’m switching the paint color to bright white to try and brighten it up.  Our guest room isn’t really a guest room right now – it’s more of a hodgepodge of random items.  But eventually, Lilly will probably move in there so my plan is to paint it white for now and then later we can add some color above the chair rail. 

Landscaping

We have a large deck right off the back of the house and one of the previous owners planted some very lush gardens.  Unfortunately, the gardens are extremely hard to maintain and four years in this house has still not resulted in getting them cleaned up.  This year though we are committing ourselves to clearing out the gardens – literally everything and just mulching them.  Next year we will plant native, low maintenance plants to spruce things up. 

These are the main projects, but we are also hoping to replace our front door and purchase a comfy reading chair for our living room.  Plus, we want to finish the playroom by purchasing some fun artwork.  

Phew.  I feel tired just typing all of this out.  Although these aren’t glamorous projects, they will increase the value of the home and we won’t have to deal with any more water issues! Stay tuned for updates along the way!

Slainte,

Shannon