Thursday, January 31, 2013

Taking Advantage of Cancelled Plans

If you have been following our happy little blog (okay Bob Ross- throw in some happy little trees too) for a while now you know that the bf and I work basically opposite shifts. I'm a "teacher" and work 7:45 to 3:00 and he works 4:00 (in the afternoon) until 2:30am. This girl is clearly not staying up until 2:30am. Which means we have a phone relationship for the most part, except for Tuesdays and every other Saturday. Super cool right?  Tuesday is the day we have darts. Except this time, someone called in at Drew's work, so he ended up having to work a 14 hour shift! (mega eww!) However his super long work day meant I had a free night. I took completed advantage and cleaned the apartment, ADHD style. That's sort of how we roll around here, spastic.

I have been trying to follow my cleaning schedule, but I was home over the weekend for the wedding and things got a little out of control when I brought all my stuff home and went to bed super early Sunday night. Which left a bit of a mess to deal with. But not to fear, a night of ADHD style cleaning gets it right back into shape.

I started my cleaning spree by starting the things that could run on their own. Laundry and Dishes. I started laundry first, then popped into the kitchen. I put away the clean dishes and filled the dishwasher with the sink full of dirty ones. Yep, a full new load. Then before I left the kitchen I sprayed the counters with my favorite Method Anti-bac and headed for the bedroom.

 And then I got mad that I forgot my coffee cup from that morning….messing up my clean kitchen. Plus that milk jug goes with the trash, but if it moves to the floor it will never make it out the door.

 I put away the basket of laundry that I had gotten out of the dryer. That took just a few minutes, so I picked out outfits for the rest of the week for school. I really need to get in the habit of doing this every week.

Then back to the kitchen to wipe down counters and then sweep. I always sweep after wiping down the counters. That way its not big deal when the crumbs make their way down to the floor. Good thinkin right? I didn't mop the floors since that is on my cleaning schedule and they weren't looking too bad.

Next I popped into the bathroom for a quick laundry pick up and counter wipe down. I could have spent more time in the bathroom, but that's also on my cleaning schedule so I let it go with just a quick clean.

I took a quick dinner break for some pizza rolls and chocolate milk. Supper of champions?? By this time my laundry was ready to pop into the dyer. And I started another load. And then I went a bit crazy OCD and decided that the washer was dirty and needed to be cleaned also. It's basically still brand new but was getting like a build up of detergent and fabric softener. We just can't be having a dirty washer, it seems counteractive. I realize that I'm a crazy person and I've accepted it. But I know there are other people out there who clean their washer. Don't pretend like you don't.


I finished up with a little tidying in the living room and "entry" (which is mostly a hallway). Keeping our shoes out is probably visual clutter, but I like to be able to just pop my boots on and run out the door. So they stay where they are. I do try to keep Drew's tennis shoe collection to a minimum tho. They are big shoes and he has sooo many! Is that normal for a guy?

So much nicer to walk in the door and see this instead.

I think the spastic approach to cleaning works for me. I get things done in a pretty short amount of time and make progress in so many areas of the apartment (that's the ADHD part). I tried to get the things done that I knew would bother me. The things people would see if they just popped in, or the insane things like under the washer lid.

Does the random room cleaning approach work for you? Are you a one room at a time kind of gal? A strict schedule follower??

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Living Room Rearranging

We are very proud to announce our very first guest blogger......our mom! (applause)

I Decided to try my hand at this whole beautifying your space thing that my daughters' seem to be doing lately. This is a picture of our family room at Christmas this year. Sorry but no good before, during, and after pictures! I started out the day wanting to clean my floors. Well, as long as your are cleaning floors might as well rearrange things! So I started by moving some of the furniture out of the way in the family room, sweeping, moping, and then waxing the floor. We have solid pine flooring that we love. I thought the Merry-Go-Round pony looked really lonely on that big wall. Although I love the horse. He is from a original amusement park in the Iowa Great Lakes.   As you can see, the love seat was floating, I moved it over to the wall by the double back doors. We don't really use the doors in the winter, but we could if we wanted to. We have never used this configuration, however, the girls have inspired me to be brave.

please note jett in one of his most favorite spots
I then found an antique quilt that has been in my bedroom and I hung that on the wall where the pony used to be. We also moved the kids' senior pictures to the wall with the quilt. We put the antique treadle sewing machine on that same wall with the two chairs. I also put the "lighter" chairs which are both also antiques under the antique pony. Overall, it made a big difference in the room without costing a single penny.  There isn't much that can be done with a kitchen / dining area. I did put a chair on the end of the counter for putting on boots, so on. We switched the kitchen table and the pie safe too for a little different look. The floor is clean too!

Then, on to the living room -- rearranging, cleaning, dusting. I moved some antique quilts, tablecloths, shawls, so on to soften up my wood and more wood!

As you can see, I have a lot of old furniture and fabric items. It's a casual environment, but we enjoy it. I didn't really set up the pictures very well. But my afternoon of cleaning and rearranging did make quite a difference in how our home looks.

Well we might be a little biased since it's our mom....but still.
1. It wasn't planned, it was a floor cleaning that ended up in a major rearranging session. It's more fun that way!
2. We love the quilt having on the wall! And if you knew our mother, you would know that is super brave for her. It's so nice to display family items like that rather than having them stuffed away in a closet.
3. We love the little desk nook that was added in the corner. It's adorable! (see two pictures up)
4. She's invited to my apartment for some impromptu rearranging anyday! (hint, hint mommy!)

Monday, January 28, 2013

DIY Car Emergency Kit

We have had such a mild winter here in Northwest Iowa, that hadn't really put much thought into "winterizing" my car. Until I got hit by some idiot  person on my way to school a few weeks ago.  I wasn't hurt or anything and my poor little car will make a full recovery after a few repairs. But it did make me think- what if the accident had been more serious and my car wasn't running or I couldn't stay in my car? Luckily I could just pull off to the side of the road and sit in my warm car (which always has over a half tank of gas in the winter since I drive between towns) and wait for the police to come. But I would have been a popsicle if I had to wait outside or without heat. And so the next day I made my emergency car kit and tossed it into my trunk. It's nothing fancy and I'm sure there's more that needs to be in there, but it has to be better than nothing.

I bought a tote with a lid that locks on at Walmart. I think it was like $4.77. I also had to buy a candles, and a holder, a fresh jar of peanut butter, a package of lighters, and a bottle of water. I already had one first aid kit leftover from softball and my mom got the blue travel one for me at Christmas.

In hind sight, I probably should have done a little research about what you're actually supposed to put in an emergency car kit before I just started tossing stuff in a box, but oh well. I will be sure to update it properly before next year. ((but someone will probably have to remind me))

 I tried to find cheap boring candles, but apparently they don't exist unless you get those dumb stick ones, and there was a good chance of breaking those. So pretty, smelly candles in the emergency kit will have to do.

So I started putting things into the tote and tried to arrange them so they wouldn't jiggle all over the place.
Here's the bottom layer, nicely tucked in place.

Then the next layer:

I added in some under amour shirts that Drew was getting rid of (shhh, don't tell him!) They are nice to add for an extra layer to keep warm. (and they were free). I also have a blanket or two that stay in my trunk all the time. I think I will try to stock up on a few extra hats and gloves when everything is on mega clearance soon. 

Put the lid on, and its ready for the trunk. After winter I will probably bring it back in and a pretty label. But it's staying in my car until there's not a hint of snow anywhere and I don't have to wear mittens!!

I spent less than $10, and I know that it will be worth much more if I ever have to use it! I did add in a pair of fleece gloves that good ol' John Menard sent me for Christmas. Such a nice guy sending me gloves for my emergency kit. ((I'm kidding, Menards sends you a gift at every holiday, and they are usually pretty useful))

So are you prepared? Do you have an emergency kit in your car? What do you keep in yours??

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Five and a Freebie!

Here we are together again with our Friday Five!
We have had a great week here at creative life designs!

1. I, Shannon, got to make this beautiful binder for a customer! It was so much fun and it turned out beautifully! Hopefully she has received it at her front door by now, so I will share a few photos of this beauty!

I just love those glorious tabs and how everything is so matchy-matchy *swoon*
(order your own home management binder at our etsy shop- click here)

2. I'm going home (to my hometown) for the weekend for my bestie's wedding! Bring on a weekend of  friends, fun, and pretty dresses!

3. Niki is trying something new with her hair. Actually, just the fact that she has hair to do something with is a big deal. We are thankful each day for her current good health! Waiting for hair to grow back is something so minor, people tend to forget that. 

4. Niki made it through a crazy week at work (school) with at least one person gone each day. In a special education classroom, that's a big deal!!

5. Niki's daughter Faith, got a new coat after the zipper went out on her old one. On sale, at our most favorite store ever. Target.

And as promised, here is your FREEBIE! A cleaning schedule to help you keep on track. It's blank so you can customize it to fit the needs of your family. We'd love for you to leave a comment ((maybe your favorite cleaning trick??)) if you download. 
Here's what mine looks like:

And here's yours:

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Living Room Office Nook

Niki here! We are always currently remodeling our house. Having a daddy that is a contractor, this is the life I am used to. My hubby? Not so much.
Back to the point. We are currently remodeling our house. We have no office space. Zero. Zilch. Nada. We currently have some shelves with some office stuff in two different places in our house, and laundry baskets full of office supplies, school supplies and genealogy stuff in our bedroom. We also have a cool white desk in our living room. It used to be a black and metal cheap-o desk from Wal-Mart, But that does not really go with our living room, so when I found this guy in one of our out buildings (not out house, get your mind out of the gutter) I grabbed him.
He is supposed to be a desk for Faith (my 8 year old) to do homework, me to sort coupons and make grocery lists or the boys to color or create a Lego masterpiece. However, the only thing it is good for right now is storage. Just stuff piled on junk on top of papers. I have some things working, and some not. So lets figure this out, shall we?

First thing I did was clear off the desk and sort out the stuff. This is what I was left with:

Next we put away, threw and away and generally dealt with all the stuff from the desk. There was also a pile of Faith's stuff. I have no idea why it's not in the picture.

This is the stuff we keep in our library book box. It has the kids library books, the chapter books we are currently reading, Faith's guided reading book bag and her math flash cards. These are all things we use on a nightly basis. The bin is just a dish bin from Target. We have several, and love them.

This was my stuff. It was all put away in it's rightful home, except the coupons and recipes. Those need to be clipped and filed.

This is today's final product. The only things left are the library book box, our family picture, the coupons and recipes and my Sentsy pot. I moved the printer to the floor because it took up so much space.
This desk looks like it's ready for homework. Let's hope it stays that way!
This whole project took me about 20 minutes, including taking pictures, putting things away and having my kids "help".
Is there an area that could use some decluttering in your house? What can you knock out in 20 minutes tonight?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Laundry Area Update

The laundry room. Some people love theirs, some people hate theirs. Some wish they had their own, some wish they never had to go in there again. However you feel about it, its necessary. Maybe a necessary evil in some cases. I too have sort of a love-hate relationship with my laundry "room". I love that I have my own, since we live in an apartment, but hate that it doesn't have doors and we aren't using the space to its full potential.
My laundry area, well its really more of a closet, has some really nice storage shelves and I love that. Any extra storage that you can get in an apartment is a big deal. But it's not actually all that pretty to have just out in the open. Okay, so its not "out in the open" like its in my living room or anything dramatic like that. It's just an open closet at the back of the apartment across from the bathroom and in front of the bedrooms. I feel like I should draw a picture to explain the layout.
Anyway, here's what it looks like: (I apologize for the bad lighting in all of these photos)

So, there's nothing too exciting going on here. The shelves are relatively organized, not beautiful, but not too bad either.

But, here's what it looked like after my closet clean out. A hanger EXPLOSION!!

Those all got kicked out of my closet, with the exception of the 10-15 that were already hanging here for hanging drying clothes. Clearly they could not stay here. But what to do with them? I didn't want to get rid of them just to have to buy more hangers when we moved and had a bigger closet . Because that will be at the top of my moving criteria list--kitchen, bathroom, nice view- eh who cares, as long as they  exist? I might exaggerate a little, but seriously no deal without a massive closet.
So I packaged them up with duct tape into nice little packages to be stored. Because who wants to sort through a massive bag of tangled hangers? My insane OCD brain really wanted to put them into pretty matching packs of 10 like the come from the store, but luckily I talked myself out of it and just grabbed a handful at a time. I just put a strip of tape on either side of the hook so they stayed together nicely. I sent them off to my parents, to live with my Christmas decorations.

After I got rid of my hangers, I was back to that nice empty rod. It was just begging for me to put a curtain on it.
I thought I was being like a super genius when I grabbed this little guy at WalMart....It had the curtain and the hooks all together. Fantastic right?  *buzzer sounds* Wrong! The hooks didn't fit on my closet rod, because apparently it is not the same size as a shower curtain rod. Maybe that's common knowledge?? I just figured they looked about the same, but nope.

 So when I was at Target, I hit up the curtain section. *buzzer sounds* wrong again! Those babies are expensive and still didn't really have a nice method of having off the rod. Then it hit me, use a shower curtain with bigger hooks you silly person! So I raced walked sedately as to not look like a crazy person, to the bath department.

I found this guy:

 LOOK AT THAT PRICE TAG PEOPLE! I couldn't pass up a bargain like that! My apartment literally has no color scheme besides in the bathroom, so it worked out fine.

     But I did go with the cheap-o shower hooks, we're on a budget here. And they were the biggest, I didn't want another disappointment when things not fitting.

I did make a few changes to some things since the last time I shared my dirty laundry (area) (ha, see what I did there?)

  That clear tote holds a few that were in need of a new home. Random office supplies, external hard drive... they needed to be stashed away, but still within easy reach so I didn't' want them all the way out in the garage.
  My laminator and cricut are still there (my cricut is hiding in the back you can just see a corner peaking out under the orange purse. Don't mind the purses just tossed up there, they need to get a pretty tote or basket to live in. But purse storage is not a priority in the budget, so until I find something on mega sale, they stay unpretty.

laundry and craft supplies should obviously be stored together??

  Nothing changed over here...oxi clean in the pretty jar and my sockies in the baskets.

 And this cute little piggy holds our change that comes out of the laundry. It's just so cute!

So after a little tidying I popped up my curtain and it works great! Sorry for the dark photo, it looked even worse with the laundry light on. I can still hang my non-dryables and it doesn't look too bad. I think the curtain even helps to muffle the sound a little. Our washer is pretty quiet, but the dryer is a little louder. I love that it makes the laundry closet into its own area and not a part of the hallway. A super simple project for $12, that I think made a big difference. Now I feel a little more love and a little less hate for my laundry closet :)