Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Clean Out Your Fridge Day!

That's me.  Do you see my joy?  (My four
year old took this picture... she'll be so
happy I included this one.)
So... I actually missed the holiday by a day.  I was out working yesterday and time just didn't allow for it.  Plus, one step leads to another, and well, it was just easier to leave to my weekly cleaning day.  Mine is Friday.  Most people like Fridays.  I loathe the cleaning on Friday, so I enjoy them a bit less than perhaps you do.

(What?  She hates cleaning?!  She's an organizer?!) - that may have been you...

Scrubbing down the drawers.
Yes, I hate cleaning. Organizing is not cleaning.  I totally Internet dictionary link you for the difference:  cleaning  organizing  Did you see the definition 3 of cleaning?  It says "killing". Sometimes I feel like it kills me just a little inside.  So, in conclusion, I like to organize.  I will totally wipe of a pantry cabinet before putting your canned beans on it, but you get to clean the floor later.  :-)

Why am I'm so happy?
So, I digress from the happiness of the holiday.  It's clean out your fridge day which does border on cleaning and organizing.  One, I did have to get out a toothpick and pick away at the orangish grime that was lurking in the back corner of the fridge.  But two, I got to decide how I could more orderly put back all my condiments... should I alphabetize, or put kid friendly ones together, color coordinate, or just totally go nuts and put my mustard and worchestershireshireshire sauce together?  The possibilities were truly endless.  (heart-flutters!)

My husband was taking pictures.
Not sure why he thought you might
want a butt shot, but here it is
for your enjoyment.
I admit, I'm not home for the holidays, so my fridge is way on the empty side.  I pulled all the shelves (except the bottom) out in the morning before leaving for the day, so they could warm up.  Upon returning, I washed those down with hot water and soap and some vinegar based cleanser.  I arranged the shelves back, wiped down the sticky jars and bottles, and placed them back in the fridge.

Upon finishing cleaning the fridge, there was the pile of crumbs and crud on the floor to deal with.  Of all the chores I loathe the most, it's cleaning the floor that makes me the most cranky.  Maybe because it is always last.  I even got a Swiffer Wet Jet, because the lady in the commercial looked so happy when she was done, I thought it would help.  I don't think they make it 100% clear what's in that cup at the end, but I beg to bet it's might be more than coffee.

Finished!  (Why yes, that is a 5 lb. bag of baby carrots in there.)

Anyways, hope you had a great Clean Out Your Fridge Day, too!  Send me some pictures!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fresh Start in a New Home

I had the absolute pleasure of helping a new homeowner create a look for her new pantry (this is a HUGE pantry) in her 4-day-old-home.  Check it out!

R. wanted a clean look... she has lots of categories of snacks, nuts, raisins, granola bars, etc. that she wanted accessible for her 5 and 7 year old.  We gave her lots of eye-level labeled bins to do so.  R. had plenty of room for this... don't plan on doing this in a small pantry.

On the next shelf up, we placed open bins to contain like items... rice, pasta, vinegars, and oils, to name a few.  We placed the lids on the shelf as a place holder (and to keep the clean color-line there).

Cans, stocks, soups, and sauces were grouped together and placed accordingly on the shelves.

R. wanted a place for her girls to get their own breakfast, so we placed the cereals in easy to open, easy to pour containers on the bottom shelf.  The girls were so excited to see (and happy to not have to deal with flimsy boxes).  You may notice the boxes at the end of the shelf... those are boxes that are either unopened, or overflow on the snapware containers.  R. promised that in the future, her family would only have 5 open kinds of cereal!

Here's the overall look of this shelf.  Thanks R.!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Church Nursery - Part 4 of 4: The Results

Here are the results!  Make sure you view Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 first...

We loaded 84 boxes into the nursery in all.  That's 84 buckets, one label for the front, and one for the back... plus all the other labels, and that's a lot of labels!

Adding matching buckets, and coordinating (black and white) homemade clipboards made the nursery have a clean look.

We added the new coloring sheet filing boxes to the counters in the three oldest classrooms.

Everything was neatly placed INSIDE the changing table and the changing table can actually be used solely as a changing table!

Labels were added to the outside of cabinets to contain larger toys.

At the nursery director's request, we wanted to create a system to keep the toys cleaned on a regular basis.  Thus, she added a cleaning bucket and towel to be kept in each room.  On a rotating schedule, the toys will be cleaned, rinsed, and dried overnight.  The next day, the next rotation of staff will replace the toys in the correct bin.

Also, at the director's request, we created a standardized way of putting tools away.  This way each rotation of staff, despite what class they are in, will know where the tools are.

One classroom did not have the cubbies where we could put the standarized black and white tubs.  We used the Sterilite Latch Boxes (of various sizes) in this cabinet, instead.
Remember the cribs that were filled with large toys in the "before" part?  Check out how they can now be used for slumbering children!
Finally, we made sure we had a labeled place for a first aid kit in each room.
This project took a total of 4 working days (approximately 5 hours each) plus shopping and prep work.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Church Nursery - Part 3 of 4: The During

Once we looked at it and discussed it (Part 1), and prepared for it (Part 2), it was time to work on it... thus, Part 3!

We're in!  We piled everything in a (not being used at the time) classroom and got to work filling the bins.

Play-doh, diapers of specific sizes, dot markers...

sidewalk chalk...

... and new crayons!!!
We took all of the plastic balls, toys, little people, and "food" and gave them a bleach bath, through rinse, and dried them on towels overnight.

If you give your toys a bath, be sure to "stir" them while drying every now and then so that you aren't pooling any water in one space (note the legos that are upside down...)

The next day we sorted all the toys based on age appropriateness and what they had in their rooms. 
(Do they have a kitchen?  Are there baby dolls available?)

Mega blocks, for example, were distributed evenly to three different rooms.
Once the bins were filled, we distributed outside each room, and then started filling the rooms in a standardized way.  This way, when a nursery worker goes from one room to another, things are easy to find.  (Check out Part 4... coming soon!)
We hung the new clipboards, too.

And started to fill in the cubby spaces.

Part 4 is coming soon... check out our conclusion!

Remember, you can always email me if you have questions you would like me to research or ideas you would like me to share!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Church Nursery - Part 2 of 4: The Prep

So after we looked at the existing nursery (see Part 1:The Before), I sat down with the nursery directory to go over budget, expectations, and times that we could work.

Because it is a working nursery - meaning there are people in and out of it all the time, we had to dodge that a bit.  I did as much prep work as I could at home, and then we moved in (and hid in an unused classroom).
Step One: Fight with label maker (apparently my roller was sticky, because after I cleaned it (and printed the label, "HELP!", in desperation) it worked.
Prints lots of labels.  One item that we decided the "older" classes needed was a place to store coloring pages and construction paper.  For three rooms, we made labels, folders, and file boxes.

I needed some crafty help - in the name of my friend, Brandi.  She's handy, crafty, and just the right person to help me make eight (!) clipboards for the classrooms.  Thanks to a few tips from Pintrest, check out how well they turned out! 

Also added some crafty little pens (a pen, some electrical tape, and a fake flower) so the pens in the nursery wouldn't "run" off accidently.

All different, but all black and white, to match our Container Store boxes.
5 Walmarts (I love the Sterlite Modular Latch Containers) later I had all my boxes and got set to label...

...and label...

... and label ...

... and stack ...

... and stack higher ...

... and to try to get creative in how I photographed my stacking ...

... until I was done.  Then it was compression time, time to stack within stacks, so that it could all fit in my car (with my and my 2 assistants... er, kids)

I was 100% looking like a container hoarder when we loaded up Sunday night to begin work Monday morning...

Tune in next time for Part 3 of 4: The During!