Category / ORGANIZATION

Kondo everything…and the little break that resulted.

iphone app color coding organization | 29thanddelight.com

Chalk it up to the the new year, Netflix, or the mass hysteria that is Marie, but the Kondo bug bit me, like so many others. I’ve been purging and organizing (something I’ve always loved to do anyway!) and coupled with the hot topic of minimalism at every turn, I’ve been assessing what’s important — not just the stuff, but the way we spend our time, our money, our energy. As a result, the minimalism mentality has spilled over into my tech life — I’ve unsubscribed from dozens of email lists, deleted 1/3 of the apps on my phone (side bar — I highly recommend the above-pictured color coding of your apps, if you’re visual like me!), and in a rather unplanned but awesomely needed move, I removed myself from most of social media.

Just weeks ago, I was managing multiple Facebook and Instagram accounts for the blog, my photography business, and my own personal accounts. I found that I was constantly picking up my phone and when I did it was often in a feeling of “what do I need to address now”. Not bringing me joy. Right? So for the time being, this break has been a breath of fresh air. I’ve changed my perspective on things being perfect or lovely enough to snap a photo and share on Instagram, and in general, I spend less time around my phone or mindlessly scrolling content. I vacillated on whether or not to “announce” the break, but that felt a little egotistical — like I assumed someone might miss me. As it turned out, I probably should have said something, judging by the emails that found their way to my inbox from perfect strangers wanting to simply know if all was well. (Thank you, by the way — you can’t tell me the world isn’t good – people you’ve never met, just checking up on you?!)  So here is my delayed explanation and assurance that YES, all is well.

There are moments I want to snap a pic or post a thought to the world, but for now, I’m fighting those occasional urges, and enjoying some time essentially cocooning a little, and prioritizing. It’s a complex and somehow very simple time right now — there are lots of happy things going on in our world and I do want to share them sometime. There is also a lot of emotion right now, tied up in the ending of a decade-long career with an employer and my team and we disband in April and all go our separate ways — coupled with figuring out what I want my “way” to be. The radio silence on the blog and social media wasn’t really planned, and it’s not forever…but in this season of a new year, a new career landscape, and frankly, a little finding of myself  — it’s so needed and I’m thankful to anyone still reading along and waiting patiently.

Wishing you all *joy* 😉

5 Little Things I’m Doing to Improve My (and My Family’s) Health

Between the start of the year (resolution/goals mindset) and the coming of Spring (well, someday! we are due more SNOW this week!), I’ve been more health/goal minded and craving some changes and healthier habits in my (and my family’s) day-to-day routines. I’ve found I have more success implementing smaller changes, a couple at a time, than trying to overhaul, getting overwhelmed (or distracted) and undoing any good I’ve done, altogether.

I’m no expert, and I don’t sell or represent any brands mentioned, but I’m feeling really good about these five little things I’m making the rule instead of the exception in my everyday:

1. packing my lunches
I’ve been trying to be more intentional about including more fruits and veggies and proteins, and not buying my lunches out (which adds up quickly) on workdays. It truly is easier to dedicate a half hour or so on Sunday nights to portion out some lunches for the next three days. I find it easiest to just eat the same thing, times three, and change it up from week to week rather than daily. I quickly realized I was burning through ziploc bags, so I ordered myself one of the Lunchbots tins (mine is the “trio large”) and I LOVE how easy it is to pack, rinse, and re-use from one day to the next. (Also — if you follow the Lunchbots instagram account, it’s full of fresh snack/meal ideas for packing adult and kid lunches, alike!)

2. switching to natural deodorant
Over Christmas, a friend mentioned loving this brand of natural deodorant and I made a mental note. Then, after another friend’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, she mentioned making the switch to a natural deodorant, and I was inspired to do the same. Ursa Major happened to be the first brand I tried and I’ve been VERY pleased. I haven’t had much in the way of “detox symptoms” that some people talk about, but I think it’s also probably easier to make the switch now before the heat season comes. I also just think this particular brand is THAT good and worth the money. I’m kind of  obsessed with it and love the smell and tingly sensation. It feels so fresh and I love knowing everything in it is SAFE. (Also — if your skin is sensitive to baking soda — common in natural deodorants — they also make a “no B.S.” version here.)

3. throwing out our vegetable oil (and peanut oil and canola oil)
A friend of mine is a nutritionist and I’ve been stalking – er, following – all her delicious recipes and posts here. When she mentioned getting vegetable oils out of your life, I was intrigued and googled a bit further. This article is a great read on why to make the switch, if you need further convincing! And this change was SO easy to do. I simply tossed what we had, bought an olive oil spray in place of Pam for nonstick uses, and the mega jar of Coconut Oil home from Costco for anything else that would normally call for oil. I find myself checking labels a bit more for instances of these oils, but I’m not overly crazy about it. Again, it’s about small steps and implementing changes at reasonable rates.

4. experimenting with natural household products 
I’ve admittedly found it a bit “hippie” in the past, but after so many new options on the market and constant new research to support them, I’ve taken a new interest in the products I bring into my home. I recently played around on the Think Dirty app to score some items we’re already using. Some passed with flying colors…and others failed miserably. So I feel like I have a good list of places to start using up and replacing sooner than later. I’ve always been rather intentional about choosing natural products when it comes to Crew, but even in that arena, as we’ve moved away from the “baby phase” it gets easier to slip up. I’ve recently purchased this body wash for his bathtime and love it (we did the lavender scent, but they’re all delicious). We also switched to Trader Joes all natural laundry detergent (loooove the smell). Easy swaps, little changes.

I’ve also been playing more and more with essential oils (I’m not loyal to any one brand, but do your research to make sure you are buying 100% pure, therapeutic grade and no filler stuff). I ditched dryer sheets long ago and now add a few oil drops to my wool dryer balls and incorporating them into rollerballs (I’m using these) and a couple DIY cleaners, linen sprays, and more (in these bottles). I’m still learning and experimenting, but I’m particularly interested in using them for allergy relief as that season approaches.

5. drinking apple cider vinegar 
This is not a new one for me, but I fall out of the habit and am being intentional about reincorporating it. I’ve been trying to cut back on alcohol, so instead of taking a glass of wine to my nightly Netflix wind-down, I pour a big glass of ice water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. A run-down of the many benefits of incorporating this (easy peasy) habit into water you are already drinking can be found here.

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Under Stairs Playspace and Ikea Algot Toy Closet

We haven’t done much in the basement in recent months (other projects taking priority!), but I’m still behind on updating what we’ve accomplished so far. This time last year we gathering estimates for tape and texture on our drywall, so we’ve come a long way! Today I’m sharing the area just to the right when you come down the stairs — the under stairs playspace and toy closet!

You can see we still need to mount the little house number “5” (Crew’s lucky number!) and trim out the faux wood so that it seamlessly connects with the wall and gives the illusion of a roofline. Crew’s favorite part of this spot is by far the ability to reach the light switch inside and turn on his “porch light”.

(By far, the tiniest room I’ve every attempted to photograph!) This space will change many times I’m sure, but for now it’s a little reading nook with his Pottery Barn chair and a couple shelves to hold favorite books. We kept it clean and simple in here with white walls, and I applied navy decal stars to give the feel of wallpaper on the far wall.

(The view looking up from that little red chair — we continued the star theme with some string lights he can plug in for a little extra magic in this space. The “Be You” sign was originally gold and I spray painted it navy to make it feel a bit more masculine.)

And the view looking back toward his little door. We did a flush mount light to minimize head bonking, and I love that the “Be You” sign is hidden until you’re all the way in here. Some stained wood arrows pointing into the space, and matching book shelving complete this little spot I’m totally giddy about.

I Want My Hat Back / Ferdinand / Love Matters Most / Not A Box / Be Kind banner

Back across from the playspace entrance is the double doored toy closet. (And for those who’ve asked, the framed print is from Smallwoods — the lyrics to “Forever Young” seemed so appropriate here!)

This closet has always been at the top of the list for the basement plan, as we saw one similar in a builder’s house we toured before building our own home.

It doubles as current toy storage on the bottom half, within easy reach for Crew…

…and outgrown toy/baby gear storage up high. It’s so nice to still be able to find our bins of infant/toddler toys when babies come to visit us, and until we know if there’s another kiddo in our future or not, this stuff is tucked neatly away.

We also have a couple of bins for things he either hasn’t quite grown INTO along with a couple Christmas and birthday gifts we were able to hide away in all the celebrations, for a rainy day when all the newness has worn off and he’s ready to play with something different.

I’ve used some Elfa products from The Container Store, but decided for this closet to try Ikea’s Algot system. Overall, we’ve been really happy with it. There are plenty of options and ways to configure what you’re after, although Page might write a bit different review about actually mounting the support pieces on which we built this all. I HAVE found that with the lidded tubs (up high) you have to line them up JUST right to get them on and off the rails — which would be frustrating for a small child trying to access bins of sorted toys, so I’m glad we kept it easy with freestanding tubs on the floor and open mesh basket drawers (that don’t come all the way off, but rather function like a normal drawer).

It is SO nice to have a spot for everything, and be able to shut the doors on it all!

striped bins / red tubs / red grommet bins

Cheers to a new year, organization, and a new indoor spot to play on days like today when it’s 2 degrees out!

Finishing the Basement: the play space

I definitely jinxed myself saying we’d have flooring in for the next post — nope, backordered, then backordered FURTHER, and the latest update is that the mill is now making a whole new run of our carpet, so yes…more waiting.

So I figured in the meantime, I can still share some updated “in progress” pictures — this time, of the play space. This little cove wraps around the bottom half of our stairwell, forming an under-stairs clubhouse spot on the right, and a closet designated solely for toys (and storing baby gear up top) to the left.

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I have since finished arranging all the components just the way I like them (we went with the Ikea “Algot” system, and so far, I’ve been very pleased!). I’ve also been slowly relocating a few toys from upstairs down here — which will be a fun rediscovery for Crew when he can get down here to play in what is (hopefully!) a couple more weeks.
toy closet in progress

We still have some work to do on the clubhouse. Since the first photo above was taken, our electrician installed both a light inside, and the “porch light” on the outside. We’ve purchased some plank style paneling that Page will rip into the shape of a house, and edge with some leftover trim we have on hand. Finally, when he builds a sliding barn door for the bottom of the stairway to help muffle some sound, his plan is to create a mini version to serve as Crew’s front door. I’m thinking a mailbox and/or a flower box of some sort is in order to make it especially homey! 🙂

PlaySpace

I’m waiting to take pics of the inside until it’s truly finished, but decorating this little spot has been so much fun! We will back soon (fingers crossed!!) with the reveal!

less stuff. more organization.

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(guest room closet before…)

I’ve been on a mission to de-clutter our home. I think (??) it started with the flex room and wanting to sell the hutch that lived in there (thus needing to find a new spot for my photo supplies). Then again, it might be stemming from wanting to get our basement under control, so we can take steps to finish it later this year. Then again, it might be that all I did for the first 6-9 months with a newborn in a new house was to just throw crap in random spots, with no energy or brainpower to organize. Wherever the motivation began, what finally kicked my butt into gear was swooning over this craft closet reveal, after planning to do something similar in our guest room closet. So yes, the declutter/purge/organize bug has bitten me HARD.

IMG_1513(…now my “craft closet”)

It’s that start of the new year thing that makes me take a fresh look at our stuff…and frankly, the maintenance and time to clean, organize, pick up, make room for, and search among, it all. We don’t NEED all the stuff. I’m also just more than ready to start really LIVING in my HOME, instead of feeling like in many ways, we’re still moving in and finding more permanent spots for things.

To get started, I’ve been tackling a few projects:

  • I hosted a Facebook “virtual” garage sale to family/friends with an album of everything I collect in my “must go” pile. (Anything not worth the time to snap a pic and post with a price can just go in the car for a Goodwill drop-off.) I like that, as opposed to a traditional sale with price haggling and strangers, I can just name a price, people can decide yay/nay and comment accordingly, I can make piles and totals for pickup, and it all leaves my house in a short, orderly time frame.
  • I’ve been using ThredUp – to consign clothes as I go through my closet. womens and childrens clothing. I’ve been less than impressed by our local consignment shops and how unorganized they are, and I love how easy it is to just fill the bags they send me and whisk off magically to the land of sell and recycle. I don’t even have to do my post-consignment-shop trip to Goodwill with the items they didn’t take. ThredUp recycles anything for me that they don’t take, and I cash out via Paypal. I just sent in my fifth bag. Ahhh.
  • As for baby clothes and gear, I’ve been able to part with a few items as we’ve found our parenting style and which gear best serves us. Several apparel items have moved out, either because they are so worn they can be tossed, they’re a bargain brand that can be donated, or we found it was hard to put on/too itchy/etc so it was never really worn to begin with. Aside from donating/tossing, any brand-name/designer things we can do without have been sent to ThredUp.

As I’ve been going through things, I’ve been doing a little online reading to keep myself on track. In particular, I liked this breakdown of five of the best-known methods for decluttering, the philosophies and personalities attached to them, and of course, links to the books written about them. Also in my search to get motivated to declutter, I came across this blog, which, while more extreme than I have the desire to go, was a pretty fascinating read, and definitely confirmed that there’s plenty around our house with which we can part.

I’ve always been weirdly excited by the idea of purging. Case in point: when the boys were out of the house for a couple hours one Saturday recently, I went wild with my free time…and organized the junk drawer. And loved it. #livingontheedge

I have been using the tools over at A Bowl Full of Lemons (her 14 week challenge is so well organized!). I also stumbled across this 52 weeks to organized checklist (each week is a clickable link to get you psyched for the week’s task). I haven’t followed either plan religiously, but it does keep me on track to tackle SOMETHING on the list each week.

One project I’m particularly excited about is to tackle photos. I found myself nodding along with this article — we are in the exact same boat — so many albums and scrapbooks that take up too much space and never get looked at. I’m hoping to scan my heart away and piece together some albums from our last eight years of marriage. Plus I love that unlike my “system” now for photos, MyPublisher will archive my images on their site and I could reprint a new book at any time in the case of a disaster.

So there is my random rambling of a catch-up, complete with “meh” iphone pictures, on what’s been going on around here in recent weeks. I’m hoping to create a couple posts of the more transformed spots in the house (an updated “before” of our basement, and my reworked guest room closet, housing all of my crafty stuff). Until then, you can likely find me creating categories on my label maker. Try not to be jealous of my coolness factor.

organizing, baby!

organizing baby

The long and short of it is that a baby…equals way more stuff.

jollyjumper

While in some areas I go crazy (as in…ALL the adorable baby boy clothes!), there are other areas I was super minimalist when it came to buying all the “stuff” (I finally caved and agreed we needed a jumper, but only now that the swing is gone – neither of which takes up a SMALL amount of space or looks very chic with the rest of the house ha – but this grin makes it worth it!).

In an attempt to keep from all the baby gear taking over the house, once Crew outgrows things, they are sorted into sell/donate, or keep, and promptly taken to the basement to be stored. There is so much stuff since his arrival and I’m constantly working to keep it under control. I love to see how others with littles are doing the same, so here’s my version of organizing/storing all things Crew-man.

crew's nautical nursery | www.29thanddelight.com

A while back I posted about Crew’s nursery. To take a little more in-depth look, here is how things are organized within its four walls.

crew's nautical nursery | www.29thanddelight.com

For the most part, the clothing he is currently wearing is divided among the dresser drawers by pajamas, tops, bottoms, and one-pieces. Socks/hats,/bow ties and other accessories have a drawer of their own, as do the muslin blankets he cuddles with at night. We designated a drawer just for burp cloths (hopefully we are nearing the end of needing those!) and another for sleep sacks/nighttime diapers.

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Any clothing he hasn’t yet grown into (and anything “hang-worthy” he is currently wearing) is hung up and organized by size — super helpful when I’m shopping for upcoming seasons/ages to know what we already have in the stash. Toys for when he’s older and stuff for his someday “big kid room” are stashed on the shelf up high, spare crib sheets and changing pad covers are in the shelving on the right, and his collection of blankets made by family and friends are stacked along with his growing collection of stuffed animals! We are hoping to have his future play area in our basement completed by the time he’s old enough to really play with these, and many other toys, but for now is his small room, they set up camp here.

As he outgrows clothes (I seem to find something just about every time I put away a load of laundry), I either choose to pitch/donate, or it goes in a hidden storage bin under his crib. Once the bin is full it gets labeled with the size ranges it contains and stored in the basement. This is easier than trekking downstairs all the time, but also keeps too-small things from getting back into the drawers.

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Just outside his door is the “kids bath” as we call it. The large section of this cabinet is perfect for stashing his towels, baby wash, meds, and the overflow of diapers, wipes, diaper pail refills, and more. (God bless Target subscription, yes??) Bath toys are stashed in a catch-all that suction cups inside the shower.

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I try and work during Crew’s naps, but sometimes we find ourselves in our upstairs landing, where he can spread out for a little playtime while I try and answer a few quick emails. Eventually, I see this space becoming more of a hangout with some beanbags and a TV, but for now it has my desk and the Ikea shelf holds some bins of toys/books for the baby man.

Downstairs, I’ve designated a kitchen drawer to all things Crew-food-related. By now, all the pumping supplies have been moved out of here and replaced with spoons and sippy cups, and of course, the ongoing supply of bottles. A couple of dollar store baskets and a divider from IKEA help keep things in their place and easy to grab. Crew is entirely on formula now, which we buy in bulk and I store in this easier-to-open flip lid container.

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I’ve been making my own baby food, and dedicated a shelf in our freezer to store it all. In general, when I make a batch of something, I divide it between some cube trays and pouches, eventually putting the frozen cubes into baggies and sorting both cubes and bags into separate bins for fruits and veggies. Super easy to grab a cube or two when we’re eating at home, or to send a pouch along to day care.

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I’ve never wanted to carry a diaper bag — it’s not really my style, and my everyday bag is a pretty large tote that I do keep a spare diaper, slim pack of wipes, and changing pad in, along with a teether and a little cosmetic bag that holds some baby meds if needed. For the rest of the things I may need on extended trips out and about, I keep a fabric cube on the floor of the car near Crew’s carseat. In here, I stash a couple toys, books, blankets, burp cloths, more diapers and wipes, and a bag of various meds. For me, this works much more easily than carrying it all on my shoulder for as often as I really need it.

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It’s still a lot of stuff – but I’m trying to keep it corralled! Anyone else have tips or tricks for keeping ALL. THAT. BABY. STUFF. under control??

our built-in IKEA Pax bedroom wardrobes!

built in IKEA wardrobes | 29thanddelight.com

My handy hubby has built several things over our seven years of marriage, but this latest and greatest project takes the cake for me…it’s our wall of wardrobes in the new master bedroom!

Even before moving, we had discussed the idea of ditching dressers in favor of some more upright vertical storage, for a less-cluttered-with-furniture feel in our bedroom.

Our IKEA Pax Built-In Wardrobes | www.29thanddelight.com

We certainly aren’t the first to incorporate the IKEA Pax wardrobe system into some built-ins, but the plan that Page put together was entirely new from anything else we saw online and perfectly fits our needs in the new room.

Our IKEA Pax Built-In Wardrobes | www.29thanddelight.com

After drawing up some initial plans and armed with the bedroom blueprints, we hit IKEA back in late summer to load up on all the pieces, selecting two of these frames in white and two sets of these doors as the backbone for our plan.

Our IKEA Pax Built-In Wardrobes | www.29thanddelight.com

With a wardrobe designated to each of us, we used the planner system in the store to pick out every shelf, drawer, basket, hook, and tray as we separately planned a layout that made the most sense for each of us. We both THOUGHT we had a pretty straightforward idea of what we wanted going in, but this step took over an hour in the store just to figure out – there are WAY more possibilities and combinations to think through than I was prepared for!

Our IKEA Pax Built-In Wardrobes | www.29thanddelight.com

Fast forward to December, when the drywall was complete at the house and it was time to put these bad boys in. Here’s Page building the wardrobe frames…

Our IKEA Pax Built-In Wardrobes | www.29thanddelight.com

My preggo contributions at this point were limited to unboxing all the smaller pieces, and swooning over the doors…

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It was hard to get the size to translate in photos, but in person, we had a moment of WHOA these are going to be huge! We planned accordingly for our higher ceilings in this room, and by the time these 93″ frames would sit on a base, they were going to be eight feet tall!

Our IKEA Pax Built-In Wardrobes | www.29thanddelight.com

Once the frames were put together, Page built bases to go underneath them, so that when the baseboard trim went in around the room, it could seamlessly wrap around these, completing the “built in” look.

Our IKEA Pax Built-In Wardrobes | www.29thanddelight.com

Next up, he went about building the center portion shelving. (The one alteration he ended up making from his original drawing was to do two rows of three cubbies at the top, as opposed to one row of four.)

Our IKEA Pax Built-In Wardrobes | www.29thanddelight.com

It’s so crazy to me how much he had to keep straight in his head as he went, making sure not only that these pieces would work out the way he had measured, but that they’d fit among the many factors in the room – existing windows and doorways, the ceiling heights, the baseboard height, etc…no wonder he was making notes like these on the boxes as he worked! 🙂

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I was able to help a little with the puttying of the finish holes, and Page gave everything a final sanding. At this point, the plan WAS for Page to prime the wood pieces, add some shaker trim around the top, and and wrap the IKEA portions in plastic, just in time for the painters to arrive the following day and paint the rest of it to match our trim. As it turned out, my water broke the day he went over to do this, and our trim carpenter GRACIOUSLY stepped in to finish up for him and keep things on track. It takes a village!

Our IKEA Pax Built-In Wardrobes | www.29thanddelight.com

By the time we were ready to be out and about the week after Crew’s birth, paint was nearly done (we are firm believers in Sherwin Williams’ untinted trim paint “Extra White” – it matches Ikea’s white well!) and we could swoon at the latest:

Our IKEA Pax Built-In Wardrobes | www.29thanddelight.com

The last steps were to put together the drawers and other interior pieces, and install them in the configurations we had worked out months before. This was a fun part and one I could help with by unboxing everything to make it go that much faster.

Our IKEA Pax Built-In Wardrobes | www.29thanddelight.com

Page built and installed everything inside, hung the doors, and voila!!!

Our IKEA Pax Built-In Wardrobes | www.29thanddelight.com

In just a few days, I’ll be unpacking and organizing these, totally geeking out…I’m counting the days and will share some pics when they are fully loaded!

built in IKEA wardrobes | 29thanddelight.com

Moving Checklist Free Printable

It’s summer…also known as moving season! We’ve done the moving thing four times in our dozen years of marriage, so I like to think I’ve had some practice! I created this checklist last time around and it has been a popular pin in the past few years. I felt it was due a little tweaking and updating. Re-sharing with you all today — I hope it relieves just a little of the stress that comes with relocating!

To download your free copy, click here.