Saturday, August 3, 2013

A few Updates to the Child Bedroom

It´s been quiet around here lately as we are trying to enjoy our summer as much as possible.
I did however get a few small updates to our son´s bedroom done.

When I last showed you this room it looked looked like this:


Soon after moving in, we put in carpet scraps to reduce the noise that was being heard by our downstairs neighbour.

And then we moved furniture around and called it a day…. until this month. It was finally time to make a few changes to room to make it a little more playful.


Here are a few of the things we changed:

1. Paint:

One wall got painted in a dark teal to add a little more color and contrast to this room.


2. Furniture:

We got my brothers old high bed and new bed sheets. i am still searching for a nice set of bedding that will fit into the room better, but for now the navy sheets and bedding work out just fine.


We also changed the placement of bed and wardrobe.


3. Accent color:

I covered the toy box behind my son´s desk with green wrapping paper so it can serve as a “shelf” for pens.

I covered the cushions of our story-time armchair in new fabrics.


(Both fabrics I got inexpensively at Ikea). The chairs are still from my childhood.

So, what is left to be done?

1. We need a real rug/carpet to cover the floor.
2. I would like to create some kind of art station/desk area, as for now, paints and art supplies are all over the house.
3. I would like to add some artwork to the walls or create some kind of board so my son can display his creations.

All in all, these small updates cost less than 50$ (Paint, Paint Supplies and Fabrics).

Sunday, April 21, 2013

4 Tips to organize small kitchen cabinets

A few weeks ago I shared how I organized our small collection of dinnerware.


Inside you can see  one of the items that has helped us stay organized with such a small amount of space:

1. Additional cupboard shelves

As you can see, I have purchased small shelves to give us more usable space. What´s great about them is that they are easily “moved around” and they assist in avoiding piling things on top of each other (which usually translates into a disaster zone sooner or later).

In our remaining cupboards I have used these same shelves. I used one for our pantry and baking supply cupboard and another one for our spice and breakfast cabinet.


2. Lunchmeat containers

These I actually discovered by accident. I got one on sale for lunchmeat and disvocered right away that they were far too large for our tiny refrigerator (meaning I couldn´t use them for their intended purpose).

At first I planned on returning them, but then I had a different idea. 


Instead of using them for the lunch meat and cheese, I simply added them to my baking supply cupboard and added oats, corn flour, soup noodles, farina and sweet rice to the different compartments. 


As it turns out, this idea was great. Not only does it look much more organized inside the cupboard, but this is actually very space saving. Each compartment can be accessed very easily and its contents are easily visible.

Once I discovered how well this worked, I went back the next week and got one more box for my breakfast things. I love to eat  homemade nut butters with fruit and therefore usually have an assortment of nut flours, nuts and seeds on hand.


3. Cheap organizers:

When moving into this apartment I purchased 2 small trays/organizers for 99 cents each.


The first one holds our spices (due to lack of space we only keep the bare necessities on hand) and another one for baking powder, yeast and vanilla sugar (in Germany those come in small packages). Again, we keep a minimum at hand.

However due to these trays sliding out easily I can assess in a second if anything is needed and what I should avoid buying at that time.


4. Large Containers for Pantry Staples

Some pantry staples come in larger quantities, such as flours, sugar, pasta and rice. For those I have purchased a couple of larger containers. Again, everything becomes easily visible and also easily accessible.


I have actually used the containers in the back for both – flours and homemade cake and pancake mixes – depending on what I have been baking.

Our cupboards might not be the prettiest cupboards in the world, but they do serve us well and we were able to keep them pretty organized.
For us, the often-cited keys to organized cupboards are working very well. By keeping everything easily accessible, by giving everything its own place and by reducing the amount of items in pantry and cupboards, keeping them organized turned out to be rather easy.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Organized kitchen cabinets

This weekend has been quite productive so far. I got this year´s supplies for the veggie garden, I cleaned, built a space ship with our son, and relaxed a lot.

I also took some time this morning to re-organize our cupboards. Actually, our 1 cupboard (since that´s how many we have available for our cups, water glasses, cereal bowls and plates).

Here is what I worked with:


Luckily, that´s also all we have with regards to dishes.

Step 1)

Remove everything from the cupboard.

Step 2)

Re-assess and purge. I didn´t purge anything because I don´t have much anyway.

Step 3)

Put everything back into the cupboards in a way that makes sense.

Step 4) 

After some time, re-assess if this is really working.

By the way, it is possible to create a nice dinner table with such few dishes Zwinkerndes Smiley

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Is it really more we need?

I have shared my list of goals for our apartment with all of you. It contains some larger and some smaller projects with the final goal of making our apartment more fuctional for all three of us.

In the beginning of the year I therefore created the “plan” of tackling each of these projects 1 by 1. Some of those projects entailed spending money – others didn´t.

Here are just a few of the larger ones: 

1. A shoe cabinet

Originally I had intended to get some kind of shoe cabinet for our entry way. As I was tackling other smaller projects, I finally realized that I had a perfectly good shelving unit standing in our bedroom which was filled with purses (which can live in the hallway just as well) and some Christmas Decor (which could be moved to a less accessible place). 

So by simply re-arranging some things, I found a great solution that may not have been the exact look I was going for, but it was free.


The cabinet I had originally planned on getting wasn´t necessary anymore and the 130Euros stayed in my pockets.

2. A TV stand

I am still on the edge with this one. We don´t have real storage in the living room. Our TV sits on an old shelf (that is not very stable) and which has not enough space to house all of our needs. As mentioned several times before, we do not have a lot of paperwork, pictures or office supplies, but what we have sits on our desk, the living room window sills and on that very same TV shelf.



These items would fit perfectly in an Expedit unit (2x4 cubes) which in white costs 69 Euros here in Germany. As said earlier, I am still not sure what I will end up doing, but waiting will for sure give me enough time to really consider this purchase. I might even find a cheaper solution.

3. More shelving for the kitchen

Something else I contemplated getting on several occasions was another shelving unit for our kitchen. Again, time had me think about whether this purchase was really necessary. 

Is our kitchen relatively small? Absolutely! Could I use some more shelving? Again, yes! But could I also purge and rearrange what I actually do have in the kitchen? Sure enough. That´s another option. And since this one will cost a lot less, I  have decided on making the space I do have work more efficiently for our needs.


Sometimes we feel as though we need more organizing aids in form of shelves, baskets, organizers and all those other items available in stores. We feel as though all of those aids will magically reduce our messes. But is this really true?

Sometimes, when we think things through long enough we suddenly find more economical or better fitting solutions, sometimes we will realize that a supposedly perfect solution for our problem areas, isn´t that perfect or even necessary at all.

Again and again, I realize that reducing our stuff is more often than not the way to go. By reducing the number of things we own, we need less things to store all of that stuff. We are much more organized and keeping things organized is easier as well.

So next time you really need that new shelf or storage container, think twice. Maybe instead of spending time at a store buying organization solutions we should spend that time purging and going though our stuff.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A little bench for the hallway and 100 Posts

 A couple of weeks ago I found a little table at our town´s antique fair. 


It had seen better times, but overall it was in good condition and I liked the lines.

Can you see its potential? With its curvy legs and strong built it was the perfect candidate for turning it into a little bench or stool.
Especially since the top “tiles” weren´t really my taste anyway.


A few days later I went to the home improvement store to gather my supplies:
  • Fabric
  • White Paint
  • A Paint Roller
  • A Sponge for buffing up
  • Foam

I already have an upholstery stapler.
This weekend I finally got work, by first roughing up the wood and cleaning the stool.
Next I added 1 layer of paint …


… then a second layer …


… and finally a third layer of white paint …


Patience is key. I started on Friday night, added the second layer on Saturday morning and the final layer on Saturday afternoon.
Next, I started thinking about how to add the foam and fabric.


As you can see from the above picture, I initially thought about just adding a small pad to the top, but then I decided on taking the fabric all aroung the stool. I forgot to take a picture, but I simply added another layer foam the size of the entire stool to the top. Then I added my fabric, flipped the stool over and started stapling.


Here is how the stool looked like mid-way through. Unfortunately at that point all of my staples were used up and I had to wait to get new ones.


Finally, after another couple of days, I was able to get more staples and to finish the foot stool.



Linked up here:
- Pinterest Challenge at YHL
- Pinterest Challenge at Bower Power

Monday, January 21, 2013

Updates to the Living Room

 This week I only have a very small update to our place to show you.



Yes. I got a small coffee table for my Birthday! And I am so happy because we finally have a place to put something to drink or to play games.



Of course, for the last week our living room has stil looked like this a couple of times, with the table pushed to the side ...

Next week I´ll have more updates for you.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Organizing the Paperwork

Today, I would like to write about our paperwork and about how I organized it. 

Throughout the years, I have tried different systems for organizing all of our paperwork. Some of them worked well, others not so much. 

One thing I learned from filing things in binders, in hanging file folders, in regular file folders in magazine holders, and lastly by jamming all of our new mail in a box is the following:  

I hate to whole-punch stuff. I am not sure why. But if a punch is involved, my files are going to sit there for a while waiting to be put away.
I also don´t like binders too much, as once they start to fill up, they become heavy and impractical to use. 

With our move to the new apartment came a whole new bunch of bills and papers that needed to be organized and put away. Since my 2 binders were stuffed to the rim and not working for me, I temporarily placed everything new in a box. There was a little problem though: Each time I needed to review something or find information in there, I had to go through the entire thing waisting time searching. 

So looking over my freshly-made list of projects, I decided to tackle the paperwork and bills next.
Here is what I started with: 

    • A bunch of letters stuffed into a box
    • A bunch of large envelopes with insurance policies and the like
    • 2 big binders full of our documents
    And here are the steps of thought I went through:

    1. I really thought about the different systems I had used previously and which types had worked best for me (meaning paperwork was filed on time and my husband could find things easily).
    2. Next I decided on either hanging file folders or something similar.
    3. After that, I thought about all the different types of documents we use and the number of folders we would need.
    4. Then I researched prices and found these:


    5. Lastly, I went about organizing all of our paperwork again, purging were possible and creating categories with sub-files. I placed household bills in one color of folders, investment and retirement account info in another color of folders, and so on. In the end, I had about 6 or 7 different categories with differing numbers of sub-folders.


    6. For now, I placed these folders in the same box as I previously used for the loose bills right onto our desk in the living-room. Once I tackle the whole living-room storage situation in a few weeks or months, I will remove them from plain sight.


    What I like about these folders:
    • They fit a lot of differently-sized paper
    • Each bill, account or household member has its own folder
    • Folders can be transported easily if needed
    • When filing new paperwork I can just get out the ones I need
    • No whole-punching required
    • I can add to this collection or re-arrange it very easily

    So what do you think? I hope this system gives you an idea on how to file your own paperwork more effectively.

    Take Care!