An Updated Art Cart

As promised, I’m co-hosting today for a hugely inspirational series on Back-to-School Organization at 11 Magnolia Lane.  In their series (called Operation: Organization, Back to School Edition), they offer a little bit of everything when it comes to preparing for the school year.  My contribution today is a detailed tour of my daughter’s Art Cart.

Organize your children's art supplies in this cheerful Art Cart!

If you have art supplies floating around your house, this may be your answer to keeping them in one place.  In a few days, I’ll share a MAJOR review of several potential carts and why THIS one made the cut in our household.  I have many reasons and did all the research ahead of time for you!  So stay tuned and you’ll get to read more on that topic soon!

Washitape a trash container on the side for easy clean-up during art projects

Head over HERE and get the full scoop.  Below is the list of all the contributors and their corresponding back-to-school posts, so check those out too!

Operation Organization BTS

 

 DIY Homework Station by Simply Organized

Command Center Kitchen Cupboard by Eleven Gables

Organized Office by Dixie Delights

Kids’ Artwork Display Wall by Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss

Organizined Wall Calendar by Honey We’re Home

Wednesday 8/13 by lil’ ol ME! :)

Glam and Organized Desk Area by The Pink Clutch Blog

Glam Black & White Command Center by 11 Magnolia Lane

 

I’m heading out today for my daughter’s new school orientation.  Hoping to meet new friends and build her excitement.  Wish us luck! ;)

 

Kitchen Command Center Reveal

You may have read bits and pieces I’ve shared about my newly designed kitchen command center.  Today I’ll give an actual overview of how it’s layout is functional for us and then finish highlighting the individual details throughout the rest of the week.

BUT, it won’t be part of tomorrow’s post, because if you remember… I’ll be co-hosting with the gals at 11 Magnolia Lane and have an entirely different organized goodie to share there!  Sorry to bop you around so much from topic to topic - typically blog parties are planned way in advance, so I couldn’t help the way my projects collided this time.

Cheerful Kitchen Command Center

Starting at the top, I keep my three painted clipboards in a row.  They each serve as lists, specific and very different lists.  The left side holds my easy DIY multiple lists for multiple shopping trips (written about HERE).  This has been around for a while and is VERY helpful to me.  It’s a project I made many moons ago and is still going strong.

Absolutely the best way to organize multiple shopping trips around town!

The center board posts the week’s meal schedule (as talked about HERE).  And the right clipboard keeps scrap paper that I’ll be sharing soon at OrgJunkie (I promise you will love this thrifty organizing idea!).

Painted clipboards organize this colorful command center

The middle section keeps file folders of all things important when it comes to paper.

Hanging file folder keeps all the important stray papers in check!

Again, I’ll be showing more details about file prioritization later this week.

Cute and functional command center

To the right of my wall mounted file folder is a calendar I framed.  I painted it in coordinating fashion at the same time I learned how not to paint a clipboard.

DIY framed calendar to match command center

The bottom third of my command center is child-focused.  I wrote about it in detail HERE, which was my most recent contribution at I’m an Organizing Junkie.  This row is child-height and child-focused, specifically for our back-to-school preparation.  I wanted a place for morning routine accountability and a resource list of age-appropriate household “jobs”.

Let’s be real here for just a moment… if I had more children running around (and those plans are in the works), then I would line up more clipboards with morning routine checklists - a.k.a. one for each kiddie.  So, if you’re copying my command station, by all means, line up the charts to however you’ve been blessed with children (and then say a prayer of thanks for their little lives). :)

Child's responsibilities at the bottom of a family command center

Our Kitchen Command Center is tucked away across from the pantry.  It’s down a tiny back hall near the laundry room.  That said, I thought it a perfect place to add a cheerful color scheme to a typically un-cheerful display of lists, duties, and responsibilities.  I’m more of a neutral decorator, but this area could absorb the color in my opinion.

Kitchen Command Center stays cheerful when color coordinated

My last tid-bit to offer involves decorating around permanent objects (light switches, thermostat controls, etc.).  I had an awkward empty space below the calendar because of the light switch placement.  So, what better than to create a little fun bunting to keep in theme with a cheerful command center?  It was a happy answer to a strange interruption in the command center.  Now the area looks purposeful.

Add coordinating bunting if you have awkward spaces caused by permanent fixtures (such as light switches)

Last shot at a different angle so you can see part of the kitchen and the doorway to the left, where the laundry room is located.  Oh, and you can also see that even the family dog visits this spot throughout the day for food and water. ;)

Kitchen Command Center out of the way but central to family activities

There’s my colorful Command Center in entirety.  Don’t forget to visit again tomorrow for my co-hosting event and then later in the week for the rest of the details within this mini central station!

 

Organizing Junkie Links and a Co-hosting Event!

I’m sure you know by now that I contribute a post twice a month at I’m an Organizing Junkie.  But, yikes, I sure have been a slacker in linking up my latest contributions!  I don’t know why, because it involves a huge chunk of my time to create useful content for her readers.  So, I’ll give you a binge list of all my recent posts and let you catch up on my work, with the most recent one being this past Saturday.  Oh, and you know I love your comments, so feel free to share some written love (hint, hint).  :)

Here they are in reverse chronological order…

Back to School Kitchen Command Center for Kids

Travel Organization: Children’s Clothing Bundles

Travel Organization: Bracelets

Toddler Bib Storage

Travel Organization: Men’s Neck Ties

Organizing Keepsake Cards

Organizing Artwork and a FREE Printable

Freezer Friendly Labels

Wow, that really is a lot of published posts I’ve neglected to share with you.  Please catch up at your leisure or just look at the pretty pictures.  Either way, thanks for being loyal.  Muah!

***Also (and this is a BIG also), I’m co-hosting a really awesome collection of back to school organizational ideas this week!  I haven’t had the chance to talk much about the blogging conference I attended last month, but the best part about the weekend was getting to meet some of my adored bloggers I’ve been reading for years.  One site I love (a team of three megga talented girls) was especially exciting to meet, the girls behind 11 Magnolia Lane.  They invited me to be a part of their Operation: Organization Back to School Edition, such an honor!

Operation Organization BTS

I’ll be sure to give the link this Wednesday when my co-hosting goes live.  Until then, please meander through their lovely site and read the other co-host contributions already published (I’ll supply the links to follow below).  They’re currently offering 3 trendy monogrammed labels as a giveaway right now, so be sure to enter when you head over there (I did). :)

DIY Homework Station by Simply Organized

Command Center Kitchen Cupboard by Eleven Gables

Organized Office by Dixie Delights

Kids’ Artwork Display Wall by Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss

Organizined Wall Calendar by Honey We’re Home

Wednesday 8/13 by lil’ ol ME! :)

Thursday 8/14 by The Pink Clutch Blog

Friday 8/15 by 11 Magnolia Lane

 I’ll be giving updates on Facebook, Twitter, and my personal fave – Instagram all week long about this co-hosting event!

Happy Monday and happy back-to-school binge reading!

XOXOXOXO

 

How NOT to Paint a Clipboard {and a Few How-to Pointers}

I created a colorful cornucopia of organization in my kitchen hallway.  It includes dozens of printables from THIS back-to-school bundle.

(I know I’m beating a dead horse, but order your own 90+ pages of school organization HERE before it’s gone today!)

I turned to the ever-popular clipboard to display some of my command center lists.  Of course, they’re too boring when left alone and the colorful ones sold in stores are over priced, so I got started painting.

A funny on how to and NOT to paint a clipboard

I made some wrong moves and thought it would be more entertaining to show you how to avoid my pitfalls.  So here goes, nothing like a blog to keep ya honest!

(1.)  Don’t forget the power of a light sanding.  Although I could feel some rough patches, I didn’t think it would matter once they were painted.  Boy, was I wrong!

Sand it or regret it!

It wouldn’t take much; a light and quick sanding would do the trick just fine to avoid ugly patches on your clipboard, but I wouldn’t know cuz I skipped that part.

How NOT to paint clipboards

(2.)  Don’t use washitape as an alternative to painters tape.  Yeah, washitape and painter’s tape are not interchangeable.  I used washi to seal the edges of the metal clip part, like this…

DO NOT use washitape as painter's tape, it will destroy the clipboard!

When I removed the tape, I had ugly fuzzy patches where the surface of the clipboard was marred for eternity.

ugly marks from using washitape instead of painter's tape

See it around the edges of the clip?  Yeah, it still looks ugly if you get up close.  For the most part, I don’t expect my company and visitors to snoop closely at my clipboards.  However, if they do when my back is turned, they’re in for a surprise dose of not-so-good-looking-DIY.

(3.)  Priming is your friend.  I didn’t prime.  As a result, paint became my enemy, my it-needs-100-coats-to-cover-the-board enemy.  I lost count of how many layers of paint I swished around the clipboard, but it had to be near triple digits.  I skipped the most basic step to cut down on time.  My “short-cut” cost me twice as much work.  Take it from me, it’s not worth it for a $1 clipboard.

Quicker still, they sell prime in spray paint cans, how easy is that?!!  It would have taken me seconds to spray a layer of primer and be done, but no, I had to do it the hard way.

spray paint primer

(4.)  Brush choice matters.  I started with some fancy pants paint brush only to switch over to the cheap foam brush sold everywhere this time of year.  I though the foam brush would soak up more paint, but in the end it actually gave the best coverage (I know, because I had to paint 100 coats and all).

Burshes for painting clipboards

(5.)  Different paint, different parts.  The metal clippy thing is best covered with a spray paint made for metal.  Metal paint medium on metal structure, makes sense.

How NOT to paint a clipboard.

(6.)  Craft paint works.  Yeah, it works better than spray paint on the board part.  Or, maybe the spraying didn’t work for me because I didn’t prime.  Either way, sixty-some cent craft paint works just fine and it goes a long way too.

(7.)  Another no-brainer, don’t use craft paint on your office rug.  If you do (like me someone I know), put down a huge cardboard barrier.  I used the opened boxes from my recent Ikea trip.  I also did ALL my spray painting in our open-door garage.  No room for funny jokes when it comes to inhalation safety – take it outside, waayyyyy outside!  On the bright side, I gave myself an orange manicure (see Instagram for that joke to make sense).

Ikea boxes are good paint shields

(8.)  Give it a coat of some kind of sealer.  This also comes in spray paint version or a paintable medium like Mod-Podge.  Just coat with some kind of durable top coat to make your hard work (and 100 layers of paint) last longer.

spray a protective coat over your finish product

(9).  Display for all who enter your home to see.  Yeah, it’s just a $1 clipboard, but it took time to paint and more time looking like a spray-painting maniac in front of your neighbors… so you’re gonna wanna display those particle board puppies.

colorful command center for back-to-school organization

(10.)  By all means, wait until the very last minute to get a workin’ cuz nothing beats watching paint dry.  Not!  (Okay what era did that expression surface from?  Must be from excessive inhalation of spray paint.)

Anywho, I’ve had these posts ready for several days, but the clipboards weren’t all purdied-up for ya.  So, right before it was time to start scheduling my posts, I started painting.  Yes, that was me up late spray painting the one-thousandth layer (uh, are the layer numbers climbing or is it just me?) while getting eaten by mosquitoes and stared at by neighbors who now, thanks to my own procrastination, think I’m the new crazy lady.  Don’t wait, just don’t.

Painting clipboards for a command center

Goodbye for now.  That’s all the blunders I can share in one post.  Come back again for the final reveal and some unexpected touches to my Kitchen Command Center!  Happy Friday y’all!

 

Kitchen Command Center: Meal Planning {Part 1}

I’m not a fan of pushing products on people, but I will ALWAYS highlight goodies I think are valuable, especially when it comes to organizing and gaining control over paper clutter.  That’s exactly how I feel about this BACK-TO-SCHOOL-ORGANIZING-BUNDLE.  I don’t want you to miss the sale because when it’s gone… it’s G.O.N.E.  Order yours now (click HERE) while I take the rest of the week and weekend showing you how I put everything to good use in my new Kitchen Command Center.

Remember, there are 9 (yes, really 9!) mini bundles within this large grouping of printables.  Today’s post is just the beginning of how I’ve started using my printables.

Colorful and inexpensive Kitchen Command center to make back-to-school meal planning easier

Meal planning, ugh!  It’s a chore for me.  I’m reminded of a teenager complaining she has nothing to wear while standing next to her closet full of clothes.  I never think I have a recipe repertoire yet I have a shelf full of cookbooks.  It feels like we eat the same meal every day, three times a day but we don’t.

Here to help —> a meal planning back-to-school printable and it comes in this bundle I’ve been talking about (read more HERE).  Jen from I Heart Organizing designed this set, so you know it has trendy colors while also thoroughly organized.

I recently had the chance to meet Jen at the Haven 2014 conference.  She’s as sweet as she is talented!  (Please excuse the quality of my cell phone camera.  To answer your question, no I’m not pregnant, just a bad dress design.  Also, you should know I hate posting pics of myself, so this is a rarity to prove a point.) :)

Meeting Jen of I Heart Organizing

Jen’s printable portion totals 7 pages of meal planning goodies.  I want to highlight two of those pages now and you’ll see a few of the others later this week.

Up first, the “Family Favorite Meals” list.  I printed off a few pages and sat down with a pile of cookbooks and recipe cards.

Using my free printable to organize meal plans for the school year

Just like that highschooler who takes inventory of her closet and realizes she has enough clothing for a lifetime, my inventory revealed a surprisingly long list of likes.  My eyes were opened to how many dinner favorites we have (more than enough) and how few homemade snacks I make.  I quickly realized what food areas were truly lacking and what were not.  Surprisingly, I had a firm foundation of meals to draw upon for the upcoming stressful days school year.

Just in case you don’t believe me, here it is all filled in…

Meal planning is a breeze with a few good organizing tools

My goal of this school year is to be prepared for the “usual” (ie dinner) so that I’m less stressed during the inevitable “unusual” events that surface.  That said, meal planning was a first priority because, well, it always seems to be mealtime around here.  Having our family faves accessible will help the weekly meal planning go faster.

Next up, the weekly “to Eat, to Buy” plan and shopping list.

Organizing the weekly meals

I filled out four of these weekly schedules (to total a month’s worth of meals planned), each with different dinners for the week.  Breakfast and lunches were different for one entire week but some choices were repeated by the second, third, and fourth weeks.  On the right side, I added a grocery list of the recipes.

My purpose of creating weekly meals with corresponding grocery lists is to have a quick guideline when I need it.  I won’t always defer to these “meal maps” but when energy is low and I’m dreading the work, these will be lifesavers.

Mapping out a few weekly meal plans

I keep my meal planning lists and general outlines in a colorful folder, which ultimately resides in the Kitchen Command Center.  On the yellow clipboard you see below, I post the current week’s worth of meals.  No more trying to remember what I had planned and no more hubby asking “what’s for dinner”.  He can meander over to the list himself and get excited (or not) about whatever dish is being served.

Meal planning in color

Meal Planning {Part 2} is on the horizon as well as more highlights of the printables you will receive as a part of the Back-to-School Organizing Bundle.  If you’re not sure about ordering this set, check back tomorrow for more features but do NOT wait to order.  It’s available for a limited time only (sale ends this Saturday) and I can’t change the deadline.

Click Here to purchase

P.S. More bundle highlights soon as I reveal my new Kitchen Command Center this weekend!