Monday, May 4

Storage Space, A Hot Commodity

The search for space in my house is a constant battle. Part of the problem is I'm way to good at collecting new things and not as good at getting rid of things. I recently got a roommate as well which means I cleared out the spare room and have to find a new place for all the furniture and items that were in there.
One idea I had was the wrapping paper storage project I wrote about in January. While the project didn't work out exactly as expected, it definitely helped to corral my wrapping paper in an out of the way area.

I've also stored some of my kitchen items on the top of cabinets in my laundry room. I'm planning to put another shelf over the utility sink in my garage.

Another area I thought of was the corner of my L-shaped hall. My hallway doesn't have a lot of space, but lately I've been thinking of places I could capitalize on for more shelf space. I began the search for a small corner bookcase or table, but most of my internet searches came up with items that were too big or way out of my price range.

The Perfect Price
When life took some unexpected turns I decided the bookcase would have to wait, especially if the purchase was going to be in the $100-$300 range. Then I got an email from Amazon. Normally I end up deleting their emails as irrelevant, but this time a small corner bookcase for $30 caught my eye and I bought it on the spot. I even got free shipping!

I got the package and put the shelf together. The finished product is in the picture to the left.

The shape is perfect, and I like that the way it's designed means I can choose to only use some of the five included shelves. I used all five though. What I don't like is how cheaply made it is. The poles are plastic and the underside of the shelves aren't "finished." I would be more upset if I had paid more than $30.

I moved the books that I wanted to display, a small desk lamp and a couple of items with the same color scheme onto the shelves. I needed something heavier for the bottom shelf to help stabilize the bookcase, I'm thinking that one of those round "garden" balls from Lowe's might be a good there. Maybe I'll find something similar next time I paint pottery with my book club. Meanwhile I've put some more books on it, those I have plenty of.

Do you have any creative storage solutions in your house?

Sunday, March 15

Influenster: Loving the #XOVoxbox

It finally arrived!
I finally received my #XOVoxbox from Influenster (it was supposed to come last month, but the poor weather up north slowed the shipping down). I'm pretty excited about everything in it!

While I was waiting on my actual voxbox though, I got free lingerie from AdoreMe (when I signed up for a VIP membership) as part of the voxbox. That deal couldn't have come at a better time since I actually needed a new basic bra.

The lingerie set I received is just what I needed. That said, I'm not overly impressed with the company. The selection of a neutral color lingerie in my size was pretty limited. However, if I had wanted something sexy or impractical for daily wear there was a lot of option. The original coupon code I received didn't work and I never got a response to my customer service query to AdoreMe. Influenster did send me a new code when I (and several other people according to Instagram) made them aware of the faulty code.

The AdoreMe VIP membership means that you sign up to receive a new set of lingerie each month, unless you choose to skip the month which must be done by the 5th. I skipped March since I don't really need to spend money on lingerie monthly, I haven't decided whether I will keep my membership yet.

Also included with the voxbox was a coupon code to Lands End. The code was for $25 off a purchase of $100 or more. Now, I don't shop at Lands End, but I remember my mom used to love their swimsuits. I did go to their website and browse. While most of the items weren't my style they did have quite a few cute clothing options. That said, I don't really have a lot of extra money right now to spend on clothes so I'll have to pass on this code.

In the voxbox were samples of Tide Pods with Febreze, Skinfix Hand Repair Cream, Colgate Optic White Toothbrush + Built-in Whitening Pen, Colgate Optic White Express White 3 oz. Toothpaste, John Frieda Beach Blonde Collection (including shampoo, conditioner and sea salt spray) as well as John Frieda Luxurious Volume 7 Day Volume In-Shower Treatment.

I tested the John Frieda products and Skinfix Hand Repair Cream immediately.

Also visible here is my
new Jawbone Up band!
At this time of year my skin and hair are so dry from the weather and the heaters. I love the Skinfix Hand Repair Cream. It really moisturizes your skin without being greasy or having a strong scent. When I need to buy lotion (in the next century) I will definitely consider Skinfix.

The shampoo and conditioner are great too, I love the minty scent and they leave my hair feeling really soft. I'm not in love with the sea salt spray, but I didn't expect to be. The result isn't the style I typically go for and I don't like a lot of leave-in hair products.

Unfortunately the voxbox arrived just a couple days after I had a laundry marathon, so I had to wait a couple weeks to test the Tide Pods. But once I had a collection of dirty laundry again I gave them a go. I've never used the pods before for laundry and the instructions on the packaging were a little vague, but it seems pretty simple. For a small to medium load the directions said to put one pod in the washer and then add the clothes (for large loads you add a second pod). I wasn't sure if I needed to wait for the pod to dissolve before adding the clothes or if it would have made a difference if I added the clothes first like I do with liquid detergent.

I'm not sure I will buy the pods in the future, I like being able to make more specific measurements that using liquid or powder detergent allows. That said, they did a great job and they are do make the laundry smell really nice. I'll definitely enjoy using what's left of the package.

This is the second time I've received Colgate products in a voxbox which is awesome, because who can't use a new toothbrush and a free tube of toothpaste? I haven't used a product specifically marketed as whitening since high school when I used the Crest Whitening Strips (and got whiter teeth before I stopped using them due to increased sensitivity). The Colgate Optic White Toothbrush + Built-in Whitening Pen and Colgate Optic White Express White Toothpaste are great. The toothbrush seemed to be really gentle on the gums and you store the whitening pen in the base which is handy.

I received these free products from Influenster, if you haven't checked them out before you should!

Thursday, January 1

Organization's Snazzy New Look

One of the perks of my current job is getting a full week off from Christmas to New Year. This year I did spend part of the holiday in Ohio visiting my dad's family, but I still enjoyed several days at home working on projects that have been at a standstill.

My home office is one of those projects. As I've mentioned before, the room basically became a storage area when I moved in. When I adopted Rowena in July and cleaned out the spare room for a new roommate in August the room became a catchall. I shoved everything that I couldn't leave in Rowena's reach in the home office. As you may have guessed the room became a nightmare.

I'm trying again to make the space more usable. One idea I've had is to get creative with the storage so that the room isn't so cluttered. Toward that goal I recently pulled the ugly gray filing cabinet out of the closet and painted it to use as an end table.

Then I took an idea I'd seen on Pinterest and bought a wire shelf at Lowe's. The idea is to install the shelf parallel to a wall to create a narrow space to store wrapping paper. Since all my wrapping paper was precariously balanced on top of the filing cabinet in the closet this seemed like a good time to try out the new idea.

As far as Pinterest projects go I wouldn't label this a fail, but I ran into a few complications. I measured the space before buying a shelf and decided I needed a shelf that was right around three feet. However, the anchors I bought to secure the shelf to the wall didn't allow for the shelf to be shorter than the space.

The wire edge is supposed to hook into the anchor, but since the anchor is flush to the wall and the shelf is maybe 1 1/2 inches shorter than the space I could only hook one side in. Then I also didn't foresee the issue of the space being even wider above the baseboards.


I made it work by using some wire and jerryrigging the anchor to the shelf with the wire. Not pretty, but it is in the closet. For the upper part of the shelf I put one anchor in the middle of the back wall and used the wire again, mainly so the shelf  doesn't get caught on something and pulled off the other two anchors.

The other problem I ran into is that since I was using anchors I needed to drill a hole into my wall first. Since I don't have drill bits for my drill (and my drill never holds a charge long enough for that type of job) I had to put the project on hold until I could borrow my dad's drill. Once I had that securing the anchors was a 10 minute job at most.

In addition to storing the wrapping paper I also used the space to store some mat board and gift bags that I have. It is definitely a handy use for a space that wasn't used much before!

I don't generally set resolutions, but I do like to have some general goals for the year. I think one of my goals for 2015 will be getting more organized and reducing the clutter (something my guest blogger, Amanda Masters, recently wrote about).

Happy New Year everyone!

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