Category Archives: Organize

Organizing a Mud Room


When we moved into this house, one of the first projects we did was the mud room.  It was a dark, wood paneled, poorly organized space that I knew could be better utilized.

We all secretly dream that we have this perfect space to put all of the coats, and shoes, and backpacks, but unless you are willing to give up an entire family room worth of space, it is hard to have enough space for all of the things that would go into a mud room.

The total space of this room is about five feet by seven feet.  However, the seven feet includes three feet of space that is only three feet wide, so in reality, my working space is four feet by five feet.

My husband and I built four cubbies, one for each member of the family.  We put a bunch of hooks in each one to accommodate various sweatshirts and coats.

mudroom cubbies

I added baskets under the coats to hold hats, gloves, scarves, sunglasses….

mudroom baskets

There is a bench to sit and put on shoes or the put things down when you first walk into the house.

mudroom shoes

Under this are cubbies with bins to hold shoes.  I rotate out the shoes that are appropriate for the season.

On the opposite wall is a dry erase calendar so we can keep track of the various school events, sporting events, and other activities.

mudroom calendar

Under the calendar are hooks to hold the boys backpacks.

mudroom backpacks

There is a space above the cubbies where we store snacks for lunch boxes.

mudroom snacks

I painted the door with chalk board paint so that I can leave last minute reminders, or the boys can just doodle.

mudroom door

mudroom door

mudroom door

The floor is ceramic tile because it is easy to clean up.  In the winter there is a large mat and a boot tray for snow covered shoes.

It is one small step in my battle to stay organized…
Until next time, happy organizing…

~Dawn Marie

Category: Organize

DIY Mail Organizer

finished paper organizer






I am sure I can’t be the only person with this unused space.  An organizer for all of the mail and school work seemed the perfect use of it.

counter over hang

I was so tired of the piles of paper on the counter or the kitchen table, between school work, mail, fliers for uncoming events…I just knew there had to be a better way.  My husband and I had struggled with what to do with this space for years.  We had thought about wine racks, or shelves, but never committed.  Then I came up with this.

We bought carpenter’s grade plywood, and measured for the size that we needed for our counter overhang.  Because there are four members of our family, we made for shelves.  I then finished the cabinet with the same finish as the rest of the cabinets.

paper organizer


I added drawers that are actually the bottom of gift boxes, which just happen to be the perfect size.

finished paper organizer


Then I added black drawer pulls and initials for each of our first names.

Thankfully the piles on my counter are gone and I am no longer searching for the paper with the date of the kindergarten concert…

Category: Organize

Child’s Artwork Display

artwork display

My boys are always coming home from school, backpacks brimming with creative things that they have done in school.  I have always liked displaying their work in our home, but it long ago outgrew our fridge.  I had been hanging it up on an open wall in the toy room, which is next to our kitchen.  I was using painter’s tape so it didn’t ruin my walls.  The problem, as you might imagine, is it that things were falling down a lot, because painter’s tape is created to be ‘not so adhesive,’ let’s say.  Over the years I have saved all of their Christmas crafts and I like to hang them, but they prove to be the hardest to stay because most of them are layers upon layers of their little hand prints, so they tend to be heavier when I bring them all out at Christmas time. They do NOT stay on the wall.  This year was a real batter of wills…the crafts won.  But next year, I’ve got the edge!  I saw the greatest idea and decided to try it.

artwork display

First I measured the space that I had available so that I could get the appropriate size, then I headed to Big Lots to look for inexpensive curtain rods.  I chose black so it would match the other fixtures in the room.  Then I found the curtain rings that have the little clips for hanging flat curtain panels.  I made sure to leave enough space between the rods for the larger art paper that the kids often use.  With the help of my husband we measured and hung the rods parallel to one another.  Not only is the artwork much more organized, but the boys love to come home and choose what to display.

artwork display close up

Category: Organize

DIY spice jars

spice jars

I was in Target walking around the other day, which is one of my favorite things to do, when I spied little glass spice jars with jewel colored lids and chalkboard labels on the front to write the spice on.  I loved them and wanted to buy twenty of them to put all of my spices in!  Unfortunately, at $2.99 each, that was not very cost effective, but it was my inspiration for this DIY project.

I have had a spice rack on my kitchen counter since about the turn of the century and with the few exceptions it is full of spices that I have never used and quite frankly I am not even sure what they would ever be used for!

photo 2

At the same time I have this huge mess of spices that I do use on a regular basis.  I took them out to show you, but usually they are making a mess in the little cabinet next to my stove while the virtually unused spice rack takes up valuable space on my counter.

photo 3

So, after hanging on for years trying to find a reason to use them, I parted with the spices in the spice jars and decided I would start over.  I emptied, washed, and dried all of the jars.  They had clear stickers on the top indicating the type of spice they were which I removed as well.


I bought three jars of acrylic paint for 56 cents a piece at Hobby Lobby on sale and chalkboard labels which were $3.99, but you could also use a coupon for 40% off if they are not on sale.  I also had a clear coat gloss spray paint which I used to add a little shine to the lids.

photo 3

After I washed everything I put all of the lids on a drying rack.  The darker colors definately needed three coats of paint before I was happy with the coverage.  The paint I bought had a flat finish which is why I chose to put the clear coat on them.  They do make gloss acrylics, but not in the colors I liked.

photo 5 photo 4

Once I had the lids done, I moved on to adding the vinyl labels.  I measured and marked all of the jars with a dry erase marker so the labels would be even when the jars were lined up.  They do make a chalkboard paint for glass if you wanted to stencil the labels on the jars instead.

photo 3photo 1 photo 5 photo 4

Then, all that was left to do was label them with chalk and add the spices.

photo 2

I was so happy with how they turned out.  I painted 16 jars in all and it cost about $4.00 versus the $52.00 dollars it would have cost before tax to buy them all. Yay!

photo 2spice jars



Category: Create, Organize

Space Saving Book Shelf

book shelf

So I was looking for a way to organize my son’s books, but I did not have the space for a large bookcase in his room.  I also wanted books to be close to his bed for before bed reading time.  I came across these wall files and I thought, that’s perfect!empty book shelfbook shelf


It was an easy fix for a messy pile of books!

Category: Organize