GARAGE ENVY…A LOOK INTO THE GRACE’S GARAGE

The Graces are a family of four that are super active in pretty much every extra curricular activity known to man.  Just to name a few…tennis, baseball, football, soccer, golf, fishing, duck hunting, water sports, biking, mo-peding, basketball, oh & there’s even an equestrian in the family too (sweet Anna)!  Needless to say, their garage is the catch-all place for all the extra curricular supplies!

Let’s meet the Graces…

Phillip & Melanie…cutest couple ever 🙂

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And then there’s Garrett & Anna…the cutest 9 yr old twins I think I’ve ever met!

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Now let’s take a look at the Grace’s garage…before I worked my organizational magic!

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As you can see…everything was pretty much just stacked, leaned or thrown on whichever wall was convenient!  Organizational magic had to happen.  So, I decided to get crafty with the power drill & install an Elfa System from The Container Store, with Phillip’s permission, of course. 🙂

Here we are, midway through the installation.

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Getting creative with a little chalkboard paint & the old refrigerator!

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Now for the big reveal…Garage envy at its finest

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Not only a place for waders, but a place to hang extra coats!

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Tennis racket organization!

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And my FAVORITE part of the garage…a chalk board refrigerator I created!

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As you can see, the Graces are functioning at a higher level of organizational capacity these days….

As I always say…

Keep It Functional.  Keep It Simple.  Keep It Beautiful.

A Pantry With A Purpose

One thing I love about being a professional organizer, is getting to meet & develop relationships with new clients.  It adds an extra element of satisfaction to get to know them & develop an organizational system in their lives that allows them spend more time doing what they love instead of having anxiety over cluttered or unorganized areas of their homes.  Recently, I was fortunate enough to meet & get to know a special client that came with an extra special story.  Her name is Michelle Woolverton & she is truly an inspiring woman.  Over the past six months, Michelle & her husband have had a lot going on to say the least.  They have adopted the most beautiful, precious & loving little girl from China.  How amazing is that!!!  It truly touches my heart to hear stories like this.  And not only to hear it, but to experience it & see the happiness on a child’s face that has just come into a family that is giving her more love & affection than any child could ever want…well, it brings a happiness to my heart that is indescribable.

Before we get into how I helped the Woolvertons get organized…let’s meet Sholey!

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Sholey is quite possibly the most loving toddler I have ever met.  As I organized, she would peek around the corner with her baby doll in one hand & a bag of cheerios in the other, and she would insist on giving me multiple hugs & kisses!  And to be honest, every time I hugged this precious little angel all I could think about was the fact that she didn’t have a family just a short time ago.  How amazing are the Woolvertons for taking such a leap of faith to give this adorable little girl the family & love she deserves!!!  Here are a couple of photos of the Woolvertons when they traveled to China to get Sholey…

These are of Michelle & her husband William, her daughter & son-in-law, Ashley & Shane, and her son & daughter-in-law, Colby & Bethany.  AND, OF COURSE, SWEET SHOLEY!

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As you can imagine, the Woolvertons have been one busy family over the past several months!  With all the excitement, Michelle has let the pantry/laundry area get the best of her.  This area serves multiple purposes.  As you walk through the laundry room, you enter into a good sized area that serves as a pantry, scrapbooking/craft room & basically a catch-all area.

Let’s take a look at the before photos…

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Okay…now for everyone’s favorite part…THE AFTER PHOTOS!!!

Introducing…A Pantry With A Purpose!  Food storage…Scrapbooking/craft area….Catch-all area!!!

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Take note of the organized cookbooks & Food Network Magazines you are about to see.  They were once taking up valuable space in the kitchen cabinets, so I moved them to the pantry to give the kitchen cabinets some much needed extra space.

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Now there are at least two entire cabinets in the kitchen open for kitchen necessities!!!

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Until next time…

Keep It Functional.  Keep It Simple.  Keep It Beautiful.

The Jeanne Project: Part 4 – Getting Crafty In The Craft Closet!

As I’ve organized my way through Jeanne’s house, I’ve inevitably stumbled upon many little hidden piles of random things that didn’t have a home.  The more places I organized, the more piles of “things” that just kept popping up everywhere!  In general, I try my best not to live a life of all absolutes.  I truly believe that every situation is different for every individual, however, there is one absolute (or rule) that will always stand true for every client, regardless off the organizational task.  It’s not rocket science, but if this little rule is not implemented…true, functional organization will never take place.  Things may get organized, but they won’t stay that way for long.

Okay, so here it is.  LeAnn’s golden rule of organization…

EVERYTHING MUST HAVE A HOME!!!

This is a non-nogotiable!  And preferably the “home” should be labeled!  It sounds so elementary, in fact, the simplicity of this concept often causes people to underestimate the power of it.

Now, let’s get back to Jeanne & how I found homes for all of the random, little piles that were popping up around me like landmines.  As I started collecting & sorting through the randomness, I found that most of these piles consisted of things that I would consider “crafty”.  Paint, glue, labels, markers, stationary, and the he list goes on.  To Jeanne’s credit, she had a closet that she had started trying to keep things like this organized in, but in the midst of life & no labels, it eventually got out of hand & turned into one of those places that was packed so full of junk that she did’t even want to open the door & face it anymore.  So, after cleaning this closet out completely, I decided it would be the perfect place to house all of the crafty odds & end I had collected from throughout the house.

For the first time in history, I didn’t take a BEFORE picture!!!  I know…it’s completely unacceptable! 😉  By the time I realized this, I had emptied the entire closet!  So, instead of piling it all back in I just took a picture of the empty closet.  Good enough, I guess.

Here it is…
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After going to Target & getting some cute containers, or should I say “homes”, here is the transformation that took place.

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Craft closet complete…for the next & last stop of the Jeanne Project, we’ll be taking a look into Jeanne’s bathroom for a round of Medicine Cabinet Marvel.

The Jeanne Project: Part 3 – Jett’s Playroom & It’s Magical Makeover

Here we are at the next stop of the Jeanne Project.  This part of the project was a magical adventure that lead me through the girly, girl world of her little fashionista, Jett.  Being the mom of two little guys, I never get the chance to indulge in the fairytale land of pretty princesses dressed in pink!  So as you can imagine, organizing Jett’s playroom was a special treat.  Now, let’s talk about Jett for a minute.  I absolutely LOVE this little cupcake!  For those of you that don’t know her, she’s a beautiful, smart, witty little three year old that warms that hearts of everyone she meets.  She’s a take charge, I know what I want kind of girl…& that in and of itself is a winner in my book!  😉  With a Daddy from Sweden & a Mommy from right here in the Red, White & Blue, Jett is an international toddler that will take your heart by storm.

First, let’s meet Jett.  Then, we’ll meet her playroom.

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See…I knew you would love her.  Jett is a busy girl that loves to play, & she was in need of a little help getting her playroom in top notch order.  Basically, she had a room full of toys with no rhyme or reason & without any special touches.  Also, she loves doing art, but she didn’t have a desk for creating her masterpieces.

Now, if you’ve been reading my blog, I bet you can guess what’s going to happen next.

In the spirit of fairytales, let’s take a look at Jett’s playroom BEFORE Tinker Bell flies in & sprinkles her special pixie dust…

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This is the closet that was being used for a storage.  Mostly for stuff that needed to be in the attic, and yes, of course, I moved it there. 🙂

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Okay…pixie dust sprinkled!!!  Let’s take a look at the AFTER photos of the magical transformation!

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Do you remember this lonely little wall from earlier???  That’s where I installed her new desk/shelving unit.  It’s Elfa from The Container Store.  The desk & shelves can be rearranged to fit her as she grows.

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Let’s take a closer view of the details…details are important.

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And look what I found at The Container Store.  “Jet” paperclips for Jett!!!

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If you remember, this piece of furniture was on a larger wall & was awkwardly sticking out in the way.  I moved it to a smaller wall & added some art that Jeanne had framed for Jett.  If you look closer at the world map, it has a heart on Arkansas & a heart on Sweden.  So sweet I can hardly stand it!  Then I added some really cute organizational bins for her toys & a few of my own touches to make it feel extra special.

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Notice the globe, animal canisters & love box?  I put my crafting skilzzzz to good use & hand crafted each of them to make the perfect little space.

You can find these glass canisters at Hobby Lobby for about $4.00 each.  Then I just glued an animal to the lid & spray painted it!  LOVE!!!

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I found this LOVE box at Michael’s for $6.00.  I painted it & put chevron paper in the bottom to make it the perfect place for Miss Jett’s sunglasses & jewelry.

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As for the Dr. Seuss globe, you can find the details of how I made it on my blog under the “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” post.

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One thing I particularly love is the wall where we displayed Jett’s own art.  Heather Owens, of Georgia James Creative, is responsible for this perfect idea!  A while back, she helped Jeanne pick out some of Jett’s art & had it mounted in the perfect white frames.  I think this should happen in every toddler’s room.  Awesome job Heather!

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I also made some letters to display Jett’s name with the chevron paper I used earlier.

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And for the last wall, I added a very inexpensive heart canvas from Hobby Lobby just to brighten things up a bit.

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I saw you peeking in that closet on the last pic.  Here it is…the closet you saw in the “before” photos.  All cleaned out & organized into the perfect place for all of Jett’s toys that were cluttering up her room before!

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Finally, a place for all of her art supplies!

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I almost forgot the new basket I got for all her balls & sporting equipment.

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If you’d like a quick photo tutorial on the canisters & the letters, here you go:

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Letters

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Jett’s playroom is complete!  Next stop…I’m getting crafty in Jeanne’s craft closet!

The Jeanne Project: Part 2 – Laundry Room Drama

Jeanne’s Laundry Room Drama:

The fact is, no one likes spending any substantial amount of time in the laundry room.  And for this there are many obvious reasons, but I’d like to point out one, not so obvious reason that I think you’ll find groundbreaking & enlightening…well, maybe just funny & entertaining, regardless, you’ll start viewing your laundry room in a whole new light.  So here’s my theory friends…your laundry room is a passive-aggressive, attention starved, bully.  Kind of like that mean girl that’s always staring you down & giving you passive-aggressive compliments like,  “Oh hey, you look better than you’ve looked in a long time!”  Yeah, you know the kind I’m talking about.  The ones that build you up just to tear you down.  I mean think about it, every single time you walk into your laundry room she’s staring you down, looking at you like you’re just SO unorganized.  Glaringly antagonizing you by making you feel like you’re constantly behind & will NEVER get caught-up.  Then, just as you’re getting all the laundry washed, dried & folded, here comes someone with more dirty clothes just to be piled-up in what, if only for a mere second, was once you’re nice, clean, oh so “caught-up” laundry room.  And you know what happens next…here she comes again, rearing her ugly, passive-aggresive head & bullying you until there is so much animosity that you finally give up.  You let her (your laundry room) win.  You do what any normal girl would do.  You start ignoring her because it’s just too stressful & simply not your style to engage in such childish behavior.  Then, as time goes by, your laundry room starts to claim victory.  She’s fooled you into believing she has the upper hand.  And as uncharacteristically of you as it is, you actually start to believe her.

Here’s where I, THE PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZER, steps in.  I have the ability to look at a space & immediately give you the skinny on why it’s controlling you, why it’s working against you, & why it’s causing your Feng Shui to fizzle.  The answer is really quite simple.  What you’ll notice is that the reasons your space is bullying you have a striking similarity to the mean girl & her motives.  Like the mean girl, she (your space) is lacking in her own identity.  She doesn’t feel very stylish or put together, which leads to a very unbecoming host of self-confidence issues.  Her only defense is to constantly tear you down with her contrived effort of making herself look good.  And to be completely honest, when you walk by her every morning wearing your amazing Scarlet outfit, her jealously goes through the roof.  All she can think about is how perfect you look & how her clothes are just messy & scattered everywhere.  And how if she only had some stylish labels to wear, she would feel much more organized & put together.  And you can guarantee, when you walk back in the door that evening, there she will reside, lurking & waiting to pounce with her passive-aggressive behavior, trying to make you feel as if you are even more behind & unorganized as ever with your laundry.  Just a little something she calls sweet revenge.

As “The Organizer”, this is the point where my assistance becomes crucial.  Just when you can’t deal anymore, I bounce in all sunshine & skinny jeans, look the mean girl laundry room straight in her face and say, “GAME ON!”

All great organizers have very tactical strategies when it come to projects like this.  And my strategy is simple, yet extremely effective.  I take the high road!  Instead of putting the mean girl laundry room in her place, I extend an olive branch.  I help her transform into what she’s been dying to be all along.  I dress her up in stylish, eye-catching attire & give her all the beautiful labels she’s been dreaming of for years.  She finally starts to see her self worth and feel a new sense of functionality & pride.  And best of all, the animosity quickly starts to disappear.  She realizes that she really likes you & starts trying to cultivate a relationship with you.  A relationship where she is working with you as opposed to against you.  When you walk in the door, she provides a system that fosters you in keeping your laundry room organized, functional & beautiful, as it should be.  Laundry room drama disappears & all are happy in laundry land.

A look at the mean girl laundry room before her transformation:

The photo below is where Jeanne stored her dirty laundry.  And that unevenly hung shower curtain rod is where her beautiful hang-to-dry clothes had to live while they were drying.  Not good.  Not good.

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Now, I want you to remember the first photo you saw.  The one with the tennis rackets  & uneven bar.  What you’re about to see is that same exact wall.

WAIT FOR IT…………WAIT FOR IT……………

A  transformation to pure laundry room bliss…

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And these labels!  Oh how I love thee, beautiful labels!  Just imagine a laundry room where everything has a home!

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And that sad uneven bar for hanging clothes…HELLO, how happy is this new one???  And who doesn’t love reading positive words of inspiration while doing the laundry???

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Now her cleaning supplies & dryer sheets are snug as a bug in a rug in their pretty new home.  They’re so proud – just look how they’re glowing!

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Jeanne also needed a community calendar to make sure she & Oskar were on the same page with their busy lifestyle.  Well…she go it!  With an added bonus of a chevron magnet board for displaying any important memos.  Oh, & please take notice of the keys hanging there saying, “Here we are, you’ll never lose us again!”

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If you remember the the photos of the cluttered drawers before, I found endless amounts of hardware & batteries.  I made a new home for them as well.  These plastic, divided containers work perfectly for storing things like that!

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As a professional organizer, I sincerely care about my clients satisfaction & the efficiency of my work.  So I’ve implemented a little thing I like to call the “ROC Test”.  ROC stands for “Random Organization Check-up”.  I love doing these!  Sometimes I like to just show up for an unannounced visit (I only do this with my close friends – because I can) and do a little checkity-check on how the organizational system that I implemented is working.

I’m proud to say that when I sprung a ROC on Jeanne, she passed with flying colors!!!  Look at how she has kept her laundry room in total order.  When I saw all those dirty clothes living in their proper home, I could hardly contain myself.  She is no longer being bullied by her mean girl laundry room.  She’s in the driver’s seat now.  Watch out!

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As I come to a close in this extra-long, laundry room post, I’ll leave you with my exact thought on this project…

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Until next time…

Keep It Functional.  Keep It Simple.  Keep It Beautiful.

Xo, LeAnn

The Jeanne Project: Part 1 – Closet Makeover

Over the past few weeks, I’ve taken on a project to help one of my nearest & dearest friends, Jeanne Johansson, get organized.  Jeanne is a passionate person who puts a lot into whatever she is doing.  She’s an amazing mother & wife, as well as, a the owner of a very stylish clothing boutique in town called Scarlet.  I’m sure a few of you have heard of it.  🙂  Scarlet is thriving more than ever & with her being the “girl in-charge” she spends much of her time making it all the things that everyone LOVES!  She’s also very involved in the community with various non-profit organizations, which even adds to her busy lifestyle.  To say the least, Jeanne is A BUSY GIRL!!!

After Jeanne organizes clothes all day, the last thing she wants to do when she gets home is organize her own closet.  So, I decided to put my organization skills to work & make her closet into an organized & stylish oasis that she will want to wake-up to every morning.

Here’s what I started with…

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Jeanne not only likes to get dressed in her closet, but she like to put her make-up & jewelry on in there too.  Before I started, she just had make-up & jewelry lying around on the floor in make-up bags.  As you can imagine, it was not easy for her to find anything she needed.  So, my first goal was to figure out a way to make her “closet” transform into a beautiful “dressing room” instead.  My second goal was to get rid of the huge chest of drawers that had been crammed in there & was serving absolutely no purpose but to take up valuable space.

After a little thought & preparation, here is what I created…

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I found this white inexpensive chest at Ikea to serve as her new jewelry & make-up chest.  So perfect!  I’m kind of obsessed with it!

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For the top of the chest, I found things around Jeanne’s house that were functional & meaningful.  For example, the charcoal glass container…that was the first present her in-laws from Sweden ever gave her AND she now uses it to put small pieces of jewelry in that she wears often.  How perfect!

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And the OMG tray!  OMG…how cute is that!

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And the black & white theme…well…that’s all me because black & white are my favorites. It’s the perks of being the organizer, right?  haha 😉

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And remember the large chest of drawers that I so quickly removed???  I put up inexpensive shelves from Home-Depot to make the perfect place to display all of her fabulous shoes!

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If you remember from the before pictures, her shoes were crammed into the small shelves on the other wall of the closet and around the top shelf of the closet.  That is now the home where she displays all of here beautiful bags that were previously hiding in other closets.

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So, now every wall, rack, shelf & container is a “home” for something.  There’s no guessing or just blindly putting things where they don’t belong.  All of the clothes I removed from the chest of drawers, I put in clear drawer containers from The Container Store & labeled them as well.

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And who doesn’t LOVE large, beautiful books about fashion?!?!  This just adds the extra element to make Jeanne’s new dressing room a true reflection of her!

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This mission is complete.  Next stop…Jeanne’s laundry room.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

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One of my favorite stories to read to my kids is the Dr. Seuss classic, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!  Even as an adult, I always seem to find it inspiring.  And as many of you know, I also have a love for globes.  Something about a globe just seems to add a touch of color & classic style to any room.  So, I came up with an idea to incorporate my love for these two things into one really fun project – An Oh, The Places You’ll Go Globe!

Here’s what I started with –

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Photocopies I made from our Oh, The Places You’ll Go book

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Mod Podge

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And the Oh, The Places You’ll Go globe is complete!

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And always remember……

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Looks Can Be Deceiving…Especially Behind Closed Doors

The new year is in full swing & I’ve got organizing on the mind!  January always seems to put me into an organizational frenzy. Okay, I can’t lie…I’m in an organizational frenzy every month of the year.  🙂  Although I love to organize things, sometimes I let certain areas of my home slip through the cracks.  I tend to do this more in places that are pretty on the outside, or places that I’m sure no one will be looking inside.
For example…MY BATHROOM CABINETS.  My cabinets are probably my favorite part of our master bathroom.  Simply because I love the way they look on the outside – glamorous mirrors with black wooden circles in the frame.  However, looks can be deceiving, right???
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When you open the beautiful doors it looks like a bomb went off!
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So, I separated all my junk into specific categories, & headed off to The Container Store & Staples to find the perfect organizational supplies for this project.
Here’s what I came home with –
Lucite shoe storage bins in 3 different sizes (The Container Store)
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 Slide-out shelf organizers (The Container Store)
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Martha Stewart printable labels (Staples)
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 And there you have it…Messy To Miraculous!!!
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It almost looks as pretty as the chandelier…well…maybe not, but it definitely compliments it better this way!
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My rules to organize by –
Keep It Functional.  Keep It Simple.  Keep It Beautiful.
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A TJ Maxx Kitchen…Don’t Let It Happen To You!

Anyone who knows me well, will tell you that I love to organize things.  And yes, while this is true, the thing I like to organize the absolute LEAST is my kitchen.  It’s just not my idea of fun, and to be completely honest, I just don’t spend a ton on time there.  However, over the holidays I had some time off work & actually spent more time there doing things like…well, you know…like being all domestic and stuff. 😉  During this time of domestic bliss, I realized that looking for something in my kitchen was like LOOKING FOR SOMETHING AT TJ MAXX!!!  Pure disarray & discord!  If & when I even found myself motivated to do something in the kitchen, by the time I started trying to find everything I needed, I was over it before I ever even got started.
Ready or not…something had to be done.
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There are a lot of different variables/rules to be considered when organizing something in order to make it functional, however, for me there is one rule that will not be broken no matter what the project is.  It MUST look appealing to the eye when I’m finished.  If it’s makes your life easier AND looks pretty, your odds of keeping it organized will dramatically increase!
Here’s what I did to make boring canisters say, “EXUSE ME, BUT HAVE YOU SEEN MY NEW LABELS!”
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And there you have it!  No more TJ Maxx cabinets!!!
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If your worried about emptying a bag of something into a canister & then not having the cooking instructions that were on the bag later.  Simple.  Just cut it out of the bag or box & slide it inside of the canister.  If you don’t like the idea of keeping it in the actual canister, you could even cut it out & keep them all in a recipe box.
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Where do the spices go???  Move them to a large drawer if you have one.  They’re so much easier to find than if they are stacked in front of each other in a cabinet.
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Here’s my motto on organizing –
Keep it functional.  Keep it simple.  Keep it pretty.
And………..
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Hello World!

Welcome to my blog, LeAnn’s Loves!  A new year brings new beginnings, so I’m doing something that I’ve been thinking about for awhile now…creating a blog! Over the past year, I’ve started reading & following blogs more than ever before, and what I’ve noticed is that a lot of my inspiration & creativity come from the sharing of ideas from others. Reading other blogs has actually given me a more open & positive perspective on many different things in life…& I LOVE that!  For me, it’s proven itself to be a way of learning & trying new things that I might not have thought about before.  So, here I am world, starting my blog in hopes of sharing back!
What will this blog consist of, you asked? 🙂  Anything & everything!  My goal is to archive my thoughts, my ideas…basically anything that I LOVE! I want to document pieces of my life that inspire me or that I think might inspire someone else.  This won’t be a blog of endless rambling about certain topics that I like though. That’s definitely not my style & you definitely will not find that on this blog.  Nope…not here!  🙂  You can mostly expect to see photographs with short explanations of things that I love or things I have created.  Some of the things that make me a very happy girl (other than my precious family & friends, of course) are decorating my home, organizing, art projects, home projects, photography, fashion, travel, food & inspirational quotes.  So, there you have it…those are some of the topics you will find here!
As we start another exciting year of life, I hope I can inspire or bring positive energy to myself & others by embarking on one of my personal goals of 2013, creating my blog, LeAnn’s Loves.  Who knows what the future holds?  If I don’t take the opportunity to do it today, I might not get the chance to do it tomorrow, right?
Below is one of my favorite quotes, but I often forget about it.  So, for 2013 I have made it my screen saver so I will remember to apply it to my life more often.
marcus-aurelius-happiness-quote
Here’s to a healthy, happy & prosperous 2013!  Happy New Year!!!
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Hope you will want to follow along…
XOXO – LeAnn