Thursday, March 5, 2015

17 UHeart Organizing: The "Gift" of Beautiful Storage

Raise your hand if you find joy in wrapping up a darling little package and bringing extra joy to someones day.  Whether it is for a birthday, a holiday, or "just because", the act of gift giving never gets old.  It doesn't take much to make a package special, but a few key items tend to go along way.  Ever since organizing my own gift wrapping station, I have found I am much more prepared to gift at a moment's notice.  I love having a few special giftable items on hand at all times, as well as a stock of blank cards, versatile papers, scissors, tape and decorative embellishments.

Courtney, my wonderful friend from A Thoughtful Place Blog, combined her love for wrapping up a pretty package with her organizational talents to give her wrapping hot spot a little update.  I love how a few small changes completely refreshed her beautiful space.  Take it away Courtney!

Hi, all! I’m so excited to be hanging out here today. I feel like it’s been too long. I have been soaking in all of the kitchen inspiration from Jen and hinting to my husband that we should panel the ceiling. Not sure he is picking up on my hints. But today I am talking about gift wrapping. My very first job {when I was just 11} was helping to wrap gifts during the holiday season at a quaint little book cottage. Sad to say the book cottage no longer exists, but my love for wrapping does. We have an upstairs laundry room and I have always stored gift wrapping supplies in it. But like with so many spaces, over time it began to fail me and it was high time I did something about it. I kept it very simple and love how convenient it’s been. Hoping you can take away some easy ideas to incorporate into your own space.

Here is the finished outcome. It’s not a major overhaul, bit it is like I have stepped into a whole new room. Don’t you love when little changes have such a huge impact. To fully appreciate how I organized this room, we need to take a step back to the before.

First and foremost, over the years, this cabinet had become a catch all and was years of unused ribbon. I even spy a music box from when I was little. Can anyone tell my why it’s in my wrapping cabinet? So random!

So here is a better breakdown of why this space was no longer working for me. You can see from above I couldn’t even open the dryer door all the way because of the way the cabinet was situated. I shake my head at why I lived with it like that for so long! Scary. By the way, the white cabinet was a target purchase made over 12 years ago when we first got married. Our home had no bathroom storage and I had it in our first master bath to store towels. It’s an expensive piece, but when mom is the only one opening and closing it, it holds up very nicely! To start this overhaul, I took absolutely everything out and purged. Boy did I purge. If I didn’t love it . . . it was gone.

By simply rethinking things, I was left with so much more space in this room. I turned the cabinet {long overdue} and now I can open my dryer door. Yes, I am laughing at how silly it seems, too. But more importantly, I was able to get rid of the basket that was overflowing on the floor. I moved the wrapping paper to a plastic bin in the cabinet after removing the shelves.

Because I purged so many things I hadn’t touched in years, I was able to relocate the ribbons to one drawer and extra tote bags to the other.

I think I purchased this Ikea rod and plastic bin system over five years ago and never used it. It was hiding in this room, too! So I hung this baby up and things are so much more organized. I love that I can grab gift tags, scissors, and tape so easily.

And a little shopping hint. When you pop into your local Michael's next time, look at the bins that hold $1 ribbon. Such cute finds. I love to use patterned ribbon on my brown craft paper.

Keeping tags and pens handy is such a treat. I just wrapped up my dear friend’s birthday gift and it was actually a pleasure to walk in and grab what I needed and have a place to put it back.

I added two removable hooks to the wall so I could hang the totes I used the most. I also love that I can easily spot if I am getting low. I choose to pick these up on sale when I see them, too.

The flowers on top of the cabinet are actually part of my wrapping supplies, too. You can see here how I use them for wrapping.

I honestly want to just hang out in here. Isn’t it funny how powerful a little rearranging can be. It’s a breath of fresh air to get rid of all the items I didn’t need and truly start over. What about you? Are you a big fan of wrapping? Do you have a designated spot for all of your goodies?


"Do you believe in love at first sight? I sure do because when I first stumbled upon I Heart Organizing I immediately fell in love with Jen's mad organizational skills. I think we all long for a calm, organized, well styled life. I am the author of A Thoughtful Place blog where I dish on all things related to decorating, organizing, entertaining, and of course DIY-ing! To be quite honest, working on making my house a home is my happy place. It fulfills my need to be creative and I love sharing ideas {both big and small} with my readers. Along with my blog, I am a contributing writer to House of Fifty and have recently started my own decorating firm, Casey Grace Design, LLC, with my talented sister. I call Orange County, California home where I live with amazing husband and two children. At the end of a busy day, I love to enjoy an ice cold beer on the front porch with my hubby while we watch our children ride their bikes or run around. Life is sweet and I am thrilled to be a part of the IHeart Organizing Team."

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

22 Reader Space: A Prudent Pantry

The first time I spotted today's reader space, I instantly yelled out, "YUMMY!"  And not because of the food that was pictured...

First, I will completely admit that I have a bit of pantry envy going on right now.  A walk in pantry would be a DREAM.  My in-laws have a large pantry with counter and appliance storage and it is straight up heavenly.

But beyond the excitement that I have over all of the space that Melissa has to play with, I really appreciated how she really took her pantry space to the next level.  To me, there are two phases in organizing.  Phase one is the practical phase.  Clearing out the space, purging, sorting, assessing... Phase two is the fun phase!  Painting, projecting, labeling, putting your personal twist on things.  This is a phase that sometimes is overlooked, but to me, it is a key part of the organizing process.  It is the part that will ensure you LOVE the outcome.  And it will also be that motivating factor to maintaining all of that hard work from phase one!

Melissa has a gift for making any organizational project beautiful.  She shares her stories over on her blog, A Prudent Life, and I always find myself hanging out there for awkward amounts of time when I visit.  What can I say?  I am a fan!  And her pantry had great bones to start with, but she wanted to organize it and give it a makeover.  She opted to focus on her pantry while participating in a past One Room Challenge, and the result is simply stunning.  She is here today to share more details, and I have a feeling you will find a love for pantries that you never knew you had...

What is the main function of the space?

"Going ALL the way back three years, the first function of the space was to sell us this house! We weren’t planning on building right away, but when we stumbled upon this floor plan with this pantry, I knew we HAD to make it happen! A few weeks later, our old house was sold and we were building.

Then over time, the pantry lust wore off and we took it for granted, which means it turned into a clutter zone. The primary function of the space is now pretty storage for food and entertaining items."

Any superstar tips for keeping it organized?

"Yes! The number one thing for me always comes down to labeling. When items have clearly defined homes, they tend to find their way home more often. Number two is making the space look great. When a room is beautiful and a reflection of me, I want to keep it that way. Functionally, two spaces could be exactly the same, but if one is pretty and one isn’t, my natural tendency is to keep the pretty space tidier. I’m sure that isn’t true for everyone, but you’ve got to go with what works for you!"

What items did you find were essential when organizing this space and why?

"The right containers made a huge difference for me. For 15 years, I haven’t wanted to “waste money” on matching containers for things like sugar. It always seemed like it was going to be SO expensive to buy enough of them. As much as I’m obsessed with some of the decorative touches in our pantry, hands down the best money I spent was on the Flip-Tite containers. Because they are flat-sided and stackable, they don’t waste any space. Plus, they are more simple to open and close than any plasticware I’ve ever seen. Since I LOVED them so much after buying a few, I kept going back for more. Making the grocery list is easier when you can quickly see if you need tortilla chips without digging the bag out of a basket. I use those containers daily and they were well worth the investment!

All that gushing aside, the 'right container' for your project doesn’t have to be a splurge. The white and gold bins that look like metal are actually plastic bins from the Dollar Tree that I spray painted to match the color scheme of the room. The gold 'coffee' and 'recipe' containers were the steal of the century at IKEA. The larger one was dented so the whole set was on clearance for $2! A coat of spray paint and a couple labels later and they are perfect. No one but me (and all of you!) will ever know the back of my extra K-Cup storage is dented."

What did you do to go the extra mile and "make it pretty"?

"Oh my, I may have gotten a little out of control with this part!!! I touched pretty much every surface with the goal of making it prettier! My very first decision in the space was to add white penny tiles as a feature wall. It was the highest cost part of the space, but I think it adds great character to our newer construction home. We always try to save on most projects so we can splurge on things that make a big difference like this.

We also added crown molding, cabinet hardware, new lighting and of course, the big chalkboard wall!"

What items did you DIY to stay on a budget?

"There was SO much DIY going on to stay in budget! The biggest DIY task was the installation of the tile wall. I did it all by myself, which was an amazing feeling. We saved a TON over having a professional come install it. It did take some time, but I just pulled up Gilmore Girls on Netflix and let them distract me from how sore my arms were by the end!

I also realized how much savings you could get by purchasing items in silver and gold-ifying them yourself. The light fixture and cabinet hardware were purchased new and then immediately painted. For the hardware, I wrote a separate post about how I saved 84%."

How has this new space impacted your life for the better?

"Let me count the ways! Seriously! On the surface, it’s easier to find what we are looking for, and the space is fun to look at. We’re also wasting less food and money because everything is organized. We know what we have and aren’t buying duplicates.

But more important than that, it is indescribably awesome to have a space in the house that feels like a true representation of me. I’m sure all of you can relate that decorating a home is a long process. We’re always tweaking things, or rearranging, but I’ve never had a chance to plan out a room and make decisions based 100% on my designs. Bless my husband, I know he thought my ideas were wacky a few times along the way, but he gave me free reign within the budget and didn’t even freak out when I painted the handles of our refrigerator gold. In the end, all my crazy ideas came together into something fabulous. So as silly as it sounds, my pantry makeover gave me a huge confidence boost!" 

And there you have it friends!  Another feel good organizational makeover is in the books!  That tile is beyond incredible.  But the heart that Melissa put into this pantry is what really captivated me.  She really paid attention to important details, touching everything and creating a cohesive feeling within all of the organizational and decorative elements.  She did a great job pairing splurges with saves, dollar store storage and penny tiles work beautifully together.  And we can't ignore the chalkboard wall!  The dramatic black paired with the beautiful golds and whites really creates a great balance in the space.  Clear containers help with quick inventory and prevent food waste, while the open shelves keep everything easy to access.  Especially because it is all so nicely labeled.

A virtual high five paired with an iHeart hug and a thankful smile goes out to Melissa today for sharing her sweet and inspirational pantry project.  You can always find more details and sources within her post here.  She is participating again in the next One Room Challenge and I can't wait to see what she does next! 

*  All images courtesy of A Prudent Life
ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life, big or small.  They can be anything from an organized drawer or cabinet to an entire room.  Please submit your story and photos to, and I would heart to feature them right here on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited.  Please include a description of the project and how it has changed your life or routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!

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