Category: Organization

Sewing Studio Organization

I feel I need to apologize for my absence lately. When I’m not pulling my hair out trying to customize WordPress themes (seriously, I hate WordPress at this point in my life. Just FYI…), I’ve been diligently sorting through STUFF, leading mass immigrations of toys, and leaving randomly scrawled lists of “furniture needs” in my wake.

I now have an exclusive sewing room (for the first time in my married life!) and a dedicated play room, and the two are independent of each other! You cannot imagine my relief simply knowing I can walk into my sewing room and sit down to sew without having to blaze a trail through protected Lego habitats first 😉

You see, I’ve been hired to teach a sewing class. I am still in ecstatic disbelief over it. A month ago I sat staring at an email, randomly sent to everyone in my neighborhood. “Does anyone teach or know of anyone who can teach sewing lessons for my two daughters?”

I’m not even  embarrassed to say that five minutes hadn’t even passed before I replied to that e-mail!

“I know how to sew and would love to teach a class!”

So here I am. One afternoon a week four little girls show up on my doorstep, sewing machines in tow, and we spend an hour laughing, measuring, cutting, and stitching. I will share more of our class details later, but suffice it to say we are having a blast, and I am finally in my element, both in having a dedicated sewing room and in sharing one of my beloved passions with some very enthusiastic students!

Thus, my sewing room was the first organization project I tackled. It is still far from finished, and I have a long list of oddities I “require” to perfect my little studio. Things like a stand-up table for my own machines, a rolling kitchen island to mount my ironing board to, and a clothes rack for hanging projects in-progress (something besides the lamp!).

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A dear friend snatched a treasure from a yard sale for $10. She had no idea I was stressing over where I was going to find a table for sewing lessons! She also has no idea how often I walk into the room simply to admire the details in this table. I truly can’t get over how gorgeous it is and that it’s in my house. It’s so pretty, it actually seems out of place!

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There was never a more perfect marriage between a Parisian parquet floor and an Old English pub table. I have far more ambitious plans for this table, but for the time being it will reside here and become part of the childhood memories of some special little girls.

I mentioned my latest venture to my beloved next door neighbor, and she promptly insisted I accept her sewing machine which has been sitting in a closet since its purchase several years ago! So Missy now has her own machine that doubles as a classroom machine when she’s not attempting to make stuffed teddy bears.

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God has literally showered me with blessings in the past month, and I am just shaking my head in awe as I take baby steps through each door He sets in front of me.

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I don’t know where this will take me, and I’m trying not to let my imagination run too far ahead as I bask in the joy of doing something I love. I haven’t felt much of that in the past couple of years as I’ve wondered, in the middle of school struggles and soccer schedules, what God has planned for me in this crazy life. I’ve been living at peace these past few weeks, finally feeling that I do have something of value to share.

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Get Organized in 2015!

Hello, New Year! Welcome to the year of getting organized! This is my year. I just feel it!

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I had to go to the store the second week of January. It was my first shopping expedition since the New Year has begun. You wouldn’t have even had to tell me a new year had begun; it was obvious from the headlines on every magazine at the checkout: lose 20 pounds in two weeks! Get organized with one simple trick! Refresh your home in ten minutes a day! Look younger in 2015! How to stick to your New Year’s Resolutions! Grow your hair twelve inches in January!

Every single magazine was emblazoned with something related to self or home-improvement now that 2015 is in full swing.

I agree that a new year feels like a fresh start and presents the perfect opportunity to make everything around you feel fresh and new. I’m feeling that way about my own house. We’ve lived here going on seven years now and have added children and too much random paraphernalia over those seven years.

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It no longer feels spacious and clean to me. Not that it’s dirty! Gracious, no! I am constantly cleaning and vacuuming. It’s the clutter and lack of organization that comes from having a full schedule with four busy kiddos and their invisible Lego Monster who vomits all over the house on a daily basis.

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At least that’s the only conclusion I can come to when I survey the fresh piles of Legos spilling across the floor! I mean, the KIDS don’t do it, you know. That’s what they tell me anyway… So it MUST be an invisible Lego monster…

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There are also the stacks of papers and handfuls of crayons spreading like a disease all over the table and available surfaces in my kitchen. At least the kids admit to leaving those treasures lying around; they’re drawing pictures for me : ) But seriously, an entire ream of paper in two weeks?! Are they eating it?

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Then there are the clothes. Sometimes they’re clean and waiting in laundry baskets for me to fold them, and other times I find dirty PJ’s and socks strewn down the hallway! Hello?! Who is getting dressed in the hallway? Seriously…

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I can’t be too hard on my progeny because I’m guilty too. I have stacks of magazines in various rooms, a pile of jewelry-making supplies on the living room side table, and paint cans lined up on my kitchen counter. Don’t ask me about my kitchen island; I haven’t actually seen it in several weeks. It is completely enveloped in my painting projects. And– Wait. Is that my kitchen bar?! …I don’t even want to talk about it…

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So anyway, all that clutter not only makes the house feel messy, but it is infuriating to clean around every week.

Part of the problem is lack of storage for all of our clutter-habits. We need bins for Legos (and maybe a bed for the Lego Monster since I can only deduce that he’s been sleeping on the couch as evidenced by all the throw blankets and stuffed animals I find piled there every morning!).

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I could use shelves for my magazines (although, I kind of like the look of a neat stack of magazines in a decorative place. Have you ever seen magazine side-tables? Coolest things ever! I could’ve written that blog post, by the way…).

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The laundry needs to be on a consistent rotation (and actually folded when it comes out of the dryer). And someone needs to tell these kids that it won’t kill them to be alone in the bathroom for the ten seconds it takes to throw clean clothes on… and toss dirty clothes onto the laundry room floor–or maybe even into an actual laundry basket. There’s a novel idea!

The kitchen island… well, that just can’t be helped unless/until I can build my own studio in the backyard. I’m always dreaming…

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But there’s a second factor to our dilemma…

Maybe we simply have TOO. MUCH. STUFF. It is a very large and very real possibility with six people, and I’ll be the first to admit it! I abhor clutter. It makes the house feel small and visually busy. I like space and calm. Even bookcases crammed full of books and knick-knacks sitting around and walls covered in pictures often makes me feel like the house closing in on me. When I find myself retreating to my mostly-uncluttered bedroom more than usual, I know it’s time to do some major clean-up in the main part of the house.

So off I go! Follow me as I get my house organized this year.

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What areas of your house need some attention to get the new year off to a great start? Please don’t tell me I’m the only mom with a Lego Monster hiding in her house…

 

Clean Your Garbage Disposal

This is not the how-to you’re expecting. I’m not going to tell you to make vinegar ice-cubes or obliterate lemon slices or buy those expensive garbage disposal deodorizers that always look like pretty orange candy (and I’ll bet they’d be really tempting to your toddler too if she found them anywhere near her eye level!). I’m sure those things do the trick and leave everything smelling nice for a little while, but they’re just band-aids.

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I like bandaids. I have a whole bin in my bathroom reserved for band-aids. I’m even the “cool” mom who wears Spiderman and princess band-aids–Wait. Not ALL princess band-aids. I won’t wear Frozen bandaids. Is anyone else so over that movie yet? Can we revive Tangled or Brave? I’ll wear a Rapunzel bandaid any day : )

As with anything requiring a band-aid, you do eventually have to take it off and address the wound itself or you’ll end up with an infection. So let’s unwrap your garbage disposal today because I’ll betcha it’s got an infection!

I’m going to share the REAL way to clean your garbage disposal. Honestly, I don’t know why no one has blogged about this yet (that I’ve found anyway). It is seriously SO SIMPLE. In fact, it’s so simple it’s laughable, which is exactly what I did when my Grandma told me. I laughed. Hopefully you will too ; )

Walk to your sink.

Yes. Right now. Take your laptop (or tablet, or whatever gadget you’re reading this on) with you.

Now, reach down and grab that rubber flapper-thingy that you should NEVER push through with your hands! Just a friendly reminder when you’re disposing of scraps and don’t have a long-handled-spoon handy : )

When I was a kid, I was always scared of the garbage disposal. My mom used to have me lay on the counter with my waist-length hair draped into the sink so she could wash it (women in their third trimester of pregnancy have to get creative with their tasks). I’d try NOT to think about the scissor-handed machine that lived down there just waiting to snatch my hair and chop it to bits!

Don’t laugh. Those are legitimate fears when you’re only nine years old! I still think of that almost-daily when I run my disposal! You never know what is living in the dark depths of your sink. I should mention that I also suffer from an over-active imagination…

Anyhoo…

Give that black rubber thing a tug. You may have to give it a pretty hard tug the first time you do this. I did because it was “glued” to the sink with fifteen-years’-worth of gunk! Totally not kidding. This house was pretty gunky in multiple places when we moved in.

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See? How easy was that! It comes right out, and suddenly those “dark depths” aren’t such a mystery.

Remember my mentioning “stuff living down there?” Well… I hate to say this, but flip that baby over!

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Yep. I know. EEEEWWWWW GROSS!!! You can scream if you want to; sometimes I do. The worst of it is that this looks GOOD compared to how it looked the very first time I pulled it out. My grandma and I were both taken aback by the layers of slime. And the stench! Oh my goodness. It was bad.

That smell you’re always trying to eliminate with the expensive deodorizers and cheap DIYs? Well, friends, THIS is why those solutions have to be revisited on a very regular basis. They’re just masking the smell coming from all the super-happy bacterium that have set up their life-long estates on your rubber flap ; )

Now, before you’re tempted to toss that puppy into the trash (yes, I know. That was my first reaction too), give it a rinse in hot water. You can even spray it with some Basic-H2 to start penetrating the layers of gunk. Then throw it in the top rack of your dishwasher. You’re done with that grossness! The dishwasher will take care of it for you.

Wait! Where are you going?

Nope, you can’t curl back up in your favorite chair yet. We’re not quite done here. Look again.

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More bacterial colonies encamped on the rubber gasket. Sorry, but you DO have to scrub that. I keep an old toothbrush under my kitchen sink for jobs like this. Again, get out your spray bottle of Basic-H2 or a couple drops of hand dishwashing liquid (or whatever you have handy) and scrub-scrub.

No more slime! No more nasty smell!!! Look how pretty!!! This is when I always wish I had an audience so I could show off my handiwork : )

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Now your garbage disposal has NO SMELL! You can look down inside and see how it works too, which I always find fascinating. You can also see that the innards of it are solid metal, which slime doesn’t typically stick to, which is why all those garbage disposal cleaning how-to’s are totally missing the mark.

Alright, you can leave the kitchen now. Next time you run a dishwasher load, your rubber flap should come out looking almost brand-spankin’ new!

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The white ring on mine is lime-scale from our infuriatingly-hard water. I’d love to buy a new one, but I always forget when I’m at the home improvement store since I’m usually in there buying paint or plants. Who wants to put a beautiful plant back just so she can buy a new rubber disposal cover? Not me! I’ll keep using this one and throwing it in my dishwasher once a month : )

So there you go, people, now you know the REAL way to have a sparkling and fresh-smelling garbage disposal. Let me know how nasty yours is when you pull it out for the first time!