ALL POSTS IN Organizing

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Organization is my middle name (well, that and Elizabeth), so I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to share our latest video – a closet makeover! Ken’s been hard at work building a custom closet solution that we designed for our master suite, and you guys? It turned out beautifully. Take a look…

What do you think, friends? It’s a vast improvement, that’s for sure. And if you’re inspired to try the look in your own home, feel free to ask any specific construction questions in the comment section; I’ll be popping in to answer any and all!

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Laundry room makeovers might not seem like a high priority for most homeowners, but for me? Huge. I am completely, madly and deeply obsessed with doing laundry. It’s by far my favorite chore (although I’m pretty partial to loading/unloading dishwashers, too), and living with a half-finished, semi-cluttered laundry room has definitely put a damper in the joy I usually glean from this chore.

And with the momentum we gained from last week’s DIY vanity project (do you love it as much as I do?!), Ken and I decided it was time we bit the bullet and finished the last remaining items on our laundry to do list. Might I add that this means our renovation checklist for the laundry room is 100% complete? What a feeling!

In case you don’t remember what the space looked like in the very beginning, let me remind you photographically (you’ll want to wash your hands after seeing this image; trust me!):

Laundry Room Makeover Before & After - Erin Loechner

The super gross before photo!

Scary, right? Of course, wood-paneling the walls made a huge difference, and just a few short months ago, the space looked like this:

Laundry Room Makeover Before & After - Erin Loechner

An in-progress shot of our cluttered laundry room.


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January is National Get Organized Month, so…yeah, I got nothin’. My clothes are all over the floor, I have mail piling up — even my dog’s toys are strewn about everywhere. (He’s really bad at picking up after himself.) But I just saw these lovely glass wall pocket organizers with zinc tags, and I thought maybe they could help me change my cluttered ways.

zinc tags and glass wall pockets

Flowers, jelly beans, pencils…is there nothing these little pockets can’t hold? If you want to get organization extra credit, you could label the contents of each pocket with chalk on the zinc tags! Pair that with a nailhead trim bulletin board, and you’d have the prettiest, most-polished desk ever. It looks like they may be sold out right now, but I did happen to find some listings for these on eBay. And if anyone sells giant versions of these that could fit clothing and/or dog toys, please let me know in the comments here.

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Yesterday was National Pie Day, so as you can imagine I had baking on the brain like crazy. I had to involve the kitchen somehow in today’s how-to, so I decided to keep the focus on beginning-of-the-year organization and pull in these functional and super-handy magnetic shelves and boards. It’s safe to say we’re all about convenience these days, and there’s nothing more suitable than the grab-and-go convenience of these magnetic accessories right within reach. They’re the perfect solution to a disheveled kitchen and empty, white wall space. I’d definitely use my magnetic boards just like designer Ana White by posting recipes, hanging often-used kitchen utensils and displaying/storing my favorite tea. What about you?

HGTV How-To: Declutter Your Post-Holiday Kitchen

modern magnetic kitchen shelves

These functional boards are easy to make; simply cut particle board to the desired length and add an extra two inches to this length for the flashing. Cut the corners of the flashing and bend it around the particle board. On the back side, hammer flashing down and bend to make flush with the board. Attach a picture-hanging kit to the back of each board in the center. Once complete, the possibilities are endless — you can hang your boards vertically (like in the picture above) or create a two-by-two box, for example.

Get the Full Step-by-Step Instructions Here >>

After making the magnetic boards, you can create ledges, shelves and backsplashes with ease. Ana dresses up hers with steel canisters, clear clothespins and metal hooks. She says the easiest way to make a non-magnetic accessory magnetic is to simply glue magnetic tape to the back. So, go crazy and get organized in the process. Put your favorite kitchen food and accessories on display.

Need some inspiration to get started? Check out some kitchen design ideas you’ll love to look at.

Which type of kitchen accessories would you keep stored on your shelves? Corkscrew? Spices? Potholder? Tell us in the comments below.

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I have a dirty little secret: My closet is a disaster. I recently moved into a new house, so my closet is a mix of half-empty tubs, laundry baskets and out-of-order hangers. Enough is enough! This weekend I’m getting organized. Luckily, we have lots of tips to help conquer that mountain of clothes and shoes  — here are some of my favorites.

Clean and Organized Closet

Determine Your Sticking Point
Figuring out the biggest clutter offender will help you maintain a clean closet.  Are your shoes overtaking the space? (My answer: yes!) Try a hanging-shoe rack or over-the-door organizer. Do your clothes overcrowd? Thinner hangers create space so you can find things easier. Feeling rushed each morning? Dividing shirts, dresses, jeans, etc. bring a sense of order and saves time.

Do It in Spurts
Can’t face a weekend devoted to decluttering the closet?  Schedule blocks of time, like 30 or 60 minutes, to devote solely to clutter-busting. Crank up your favorite tunes and set a timer.  Do it once a week and watch your closet transform.

Start With a Clean Slate
Take everything (yes, everything) out of your closet when you get started — that way that sweater from 5 years ago won’t slip through the cracks unnoticed.  Plus, a giant pile of clothes helps you face facts: Some of it has to go.

Face the 80/20 Rule
It happens to us all: the majority of your clothes are constantly waiting in the wings.  The average American wears 10 to 20 percent of their clothes. Give everything a hard look, and remove items that…

  • Don’t fit today (No more keeping it in the wings for those last 10 pounds.)
  • You haven’t worn for over a year.
  • Aren’t your color.
  • Are worn, stained or in need of major repairs.

Get Inspired
Here are few perfectly-organized closets to get you motivated:

Lori Dennis modern closet

Modern closet by designer Lori Dennis

Asian-inspired walk-in closet

Huge walk-in closet with custom cherry cabinetry. Design by Dandenberg Design

Sarah Richardson's Shoe Closet

Sarah Richardson's hall closet. Image courtesy HGTV Magazine

Get even more closet-tackling tips here and check out amazing walk-in closets here. Happy organizing!

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As the new year begins, I resolve to get organized. I usually start my new year inventorying the spaces I need to declutter and then purchasing of slew of items to help me tidy them. Since I work from home, this year I’m focusing on my cluttered office. Here’s my wishlist of pretty, colorful organizing products:

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For the past four months my kitchen has been an unorganized, amateur bakery. From creating tailgating treats and Halloween snacks to savory Thanksgiving sides and Christmas cookies, I turned my kitchen upside-down with each and every recipe. You don’t even want to see my spice cabinet, utensil drawers or pantry. They’re just pure madness! (I know you must know how I feel.) Now that the holidays are over and the heavy baking has come to a halt, I desperately need to get my kitchen under control. So, if you’re dying to start out 2012 organized and clutter-free, then you’ll love this week’s how-to.

how to declutter the kitchen

Your kitchen can easily be the most cluttered room in the house. The best way to start is to clear off the cabinets and hit one shelf, cabinet or drawer at a time. Just like any other room, items should be sorted according to whether you want to keep, donate, sell, store or toss them. It may seem painful at first, but I promise the end result will produce smiles. Get Tips and Rules for Decluttering the Kitchen >>

Is “cleaning out the garage” or “tidying up the outdoors” on your home’s New Year’s resolutions list? Don’t fret. We have plenty of expert tips to get your home sparkling clean, inside and out, with help from HGTV.com.

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Fun fact: Did you know it’s nearly impossible to find a non-ugly filing cabinet? I’m something of a paper hoarder, and I thought a cabinet would be the best option for me, but according to my many Internet searches, most of them look like they’re straight from the set of Office Space. All hope was lost, until I discovered the 5-Bin Storage Tower.

white bin storage tower

The Italian design is clean and mod, the height is a great use of space and each of the bins swivels out for easy access to whatever you tuck away inside. (The product description on The Container Store’s site also mentions shoes, books and craft accessories as possible bin fodder.) Plus, it comes in three different colors. I’m so filing my paper in the tower, and I’m so filing the tower under A for “Awesome Organization Find.”

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OK, friends, I’m going to get real with you today. Because the fact of the matter is that during a renovation, your home becomes a war zone. And because my dear husband and I can’t handle living among shambles, we’ve designated one area to unload all miscellaneous tools, paraphernalia, and… well, junk. That area, friends, is our garage. Exhibit A:

Garage Organization- Erin Loechner

The dreaded before.

Oh dear. I cannot believe I just shared that image with you. All of you. Goodness gracious. Please be kind to me, Internet. Because for the past year, we’ve treated our garage like a landfill. I’m just as horrified as you are. Trust me.

And although I dream of a glistening, organized garage someday, I know that, realistically, we’ve still got a long way to go before that day arrives. After all, we still have a full sunroom and basement renovation ahead of us, and I’m quite sure our garage will become the holding zone for drywall, beams and plywood.

Garage Organization- Erin Loechner

Yep, still embarrassed.

Still, there is no excuse to live in such utter chaos. So a few days ago, Ken and I tackled a serious clean-out extravaganza. I won’t tell you everything we unearthed, but I will say the list included an abandoned art project, half-used bottles of hand sanitizer and much, much more.

Luckily, we also stumbled upon the previous homeowners’ kitchen cabinets that we knew we’d saved for a reason. With zero investment and a few nails, Ken and I now have a fully functioning closed storage solution for paint, tools and renovation supplies. Wanna see it?
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It’s back to school time, and HGTV is here to help you create that “big kid” desk just in time for the new school year. This custom, kid-sized desk, created by feature blogger/designer Brian Patrick Flynn, is easy to put together by using plywood and stair posts to create the frame. We’re thinking the more vibrant and colorful you paint it, the less they’ll complain about homework time (maybe). Plus, to keep the kiddos (and you) even more organized when schedules, report cards and forms start flying in the door, create this simple, playful clip-art rail.

Kids-Desk-Clothespin-Organizer-HGTV-How-To

Head over to HGTV.com for a complete materials list and detailed step-by-step instructions to create both the stair post kids’ desk and clip-art rails. Then, come back and share your completed (or in-process) projects with us in the comments below.

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I have a list for everything, relying heavily on them in the planning of my daily life. But when it comes to household chores and home organization, for some reason those tasks don’t make my daunting to-do list. Instead, they get pushed to the side, only to be conquered if I have some extra time on a Saturday morning. Thank goodness guidance is here with HGTV’s Help Around the Home.

New to HGTV.com, Help Around the Home features a monthly calendar brimming with daily tips and tasks for keeping an organized home. January provides 31 fresh ideas to start the year out clutter-free and clean. There’s even a cool feature where you can send the Help Around the Home ideas to your own e-calendar.

And if you have creative suggestions to keep clutter at bay, share tips on organization, decorating and homekeeping with other HGTV.com fans.

Now to go check my packet of sunflower seeds!

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Are you always digging through your cabinets to find the spice you need? Me too. And the one I want is always in back.

spice rack

Problem solved with this 24-inch spice rack from Purposedesign which mounts on your wall to keep the spices you always need at hand. Added bonus? This rack comes with the spices shown.

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I am not a klutz but accidents happen, especially at home and a well stocked first aid kit is a good thing to have around. But I find whenever I need something I’ve got to sift through a drawer filled with creams, ointments and bandages to get to exactly what I need and hope I’ve made the right choice for the situation. I’ve just discovered a solution to all this. The Intelligent First Aid Kit has the usual elements of a kit (which are all filed and color coded) and it also has an audio component, so you get instructions to go with it. That way you know the right thing to do when you get injured. As in my last post I think this is another perfect housewarming gift that’s practical and cool.
intelligent-first-aid-kit

What’s the best housewarming gift you’ve ever received?

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 We just moved into a newly redesigned office, but before the move we were working in the most boring corporate space you could imagine: white walls, gray cubes and lots of florescent lighting. When people used to come in to pitch a show, they’d be shocked by our office. Most people think that when they come to HGTV, they are going to walk into some beautifully decorated haven. After two years of working in such a bland space, I can personally attest to how important a well designed office space is. First and foremost, a well designed space will make your employees happier, it will show them that you value them and want them to enjoy their time at work. A happy employee is invaluable, OBVIOUSLY. Second, bringing a client into a dreary uninspired space will probably make your business seem a bit, well, dreary and uninspired. Your office space makes an impression before you do and my mom always said that the first impression is the one that lasts.

So without further ado, I present to you, dear HGTV Fan, my list of the top five most awesome, inspiring, all around bestest offices in the universe…

Welcome to The Redbull Headquarters…

Yes, that's a slide.
Pingpong Teleconference, anyone?
industrial chic!

 

 

 

Lego’s Development department…Can you say Dream Job!?!?
 
 
 
Welcome to the Googleplex, where you can get a haircut or a massage, bring your dog to work, go swimming or play pool or volleyball…All during work hours!
Pool anyone?

 

 
 
Here is Mind Lab, a government ministry…That round room is all white board for you to just go and write ideas on…How Cool!
 
 
 
Last, but certainly not least is Palota…They work in old shipping containers…So smart!
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I finally admitted something to myself and I’m just going to say it now — I hate housecleaning. Now, I know you’re going to say, “Who doesn’t?” But I really, really hate it. I mean, I would gladly arrange a trip to the dentist to avoid it. The only problem is I equally hate a dirty home. Oh how easy life would be if I could afford a cleaning team to come in and make it all go away. Well, until my Fairy Godmother shows up to wave her magic wand I’m on my own.

Searching for some short cuts and good tips I found a ton of great ideas in the organizing section of HGTV.com at http://www.hgtv.com/topics/cleaning/index.html.

I also looked through a few books and found one that was stuffed with hints and tricks.

The One Minute Cleaner by Donna Smallin

The One Minute Cleaner by Donna Smallin

Three things that I picked up in my reading:

  • White vinegar mixed with water cleans and freshens almost everything.
  • The right cleaning tools can make all the difference.
  • Putting on a little ABBA to sing along to as I move through my home helps it all go faster.

What are some short cuts that you use to get housework done faster?

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