Pantry Organization

Hi Friends!

Spring is here and that means Spring Cleaning! I typically do all that stuff in the FALL (I know, I’m such a *rebel*) but this past Fall was more about getting the house clean enough to host the holidays and not much more. I have more than made up for that this Spring!

*Spring* cleaning (no matter the season) usually involves making a MUCH LARGER MESS and then decluttering and putting what remains back in a tidy manner. Most of the house is currently in that LARGER MESS phase, but now that the first project is complete I have some motivation to keep going!

When I say “first project” I certainly don’t mean the first one I started. I started with the linen closet, got frustrated, started the pantry, got sidetracked, went back to the linen closet, dabbled in some clothes clutter, went back to the pantry, FINISHED the pantry, and now I’ve got my eye on the front coat closet. But the PANTRY!!!…

It’s EMBARRASSING to look at the *before* pictures. I didn’t want to post any but I feel like it can be helpful to others.

It might not be obvious, but when I look at the *before* picture I can see some level of organization going on. Like items were together, cans were contained on a large tray, and kid snacks were reachable. But it was chaotic and cluttered. Lots of things didn’t have a home so they were just shoved in front or in bins where they didn’t belong. Nothing was labeled so how could I expect anyone else to keep up?!

Even though it took a lot of dedicated effort and a solid week of having my kitchen look like a BOMB went off in it (for real though, the process is anything but glamorous – see photo below!), I’m so happy with the results and now I feel like I can tackle even the messiest closet in my house!

There are FIVE things that made the biggest difference to me in terms of functionality. I’m calling them game-changers.

  • ONE: The OXO Pop Canisters. They are air tight. They are easy enough (and FUN!) for kids to use. They are clear so you know when something is getting low! They can be pricey so I put off buying them for a long time but they are totally worth it. I would even pay FULL PRICE, they are that good! If the cost is holding you back, I would highly suggest buying one or two for your most used pantry items (think cereals and kid snacks). Then, if you decide they are awesome you can buy one or two at a time and build up your collection. Mine are all from The Container Store or HomeGoods. There are usually some fantastic deals online too so try here, here, here, and here.)
  • TWO: The Can riser. This was easily one of the least expensive things I added to the pantry and made one of the biggest impacts both aesthetically and functionally. Previous to the pantry makeover, everything was contained on a large tray. While the tray kept cans and bottles centrally located, it made things difficult to see and everything at the back was forgotten or expired. No More! And did I mention it expands to be wider and accommodate more cans if necessary?! It does. Mine is the MEGA size one which is big enough for cans and the regular one is perfect for spices. There are acrylic options available and ones with silicone padding but I like the look of this simple (and easy to clean!) option. It’s also really sturdy so I’m not worried about weighing it down with lots of products.
  • THREE: The Lazy Susan. This goes hand-in-hand with the can riser. I could have purchased a second riser and called it a day but this baby called out to me from the shelf at HomeGoods and is working out beautifully so far. The size here was KEY because my shelves are 18″ deep. Plus, it adds another texture and design element which I love. I don’t need to see what’s at the back of the shelf or reach around things because all of the jars and bottles are within reach. BONUS: It’s apparently super fun for kiddos to spin around to get the Peanut Butter. Obviously I can’t link you to HomeGoods but they were still in stock at 2 different locations the other day (in multiple sizes AND metal hardware options!). I also found the SAME ONE on Amazon and Walmart! There are plenty of similar less expensive options out there too!
  • FOUR: The Gravity Can Feeder. This is something that is marketed for canned goods, but we use it for beverages. There seems to be a variety of drinks in our house at all times and we usually end up with 3 of these, 6 of those, 4 of this flavor and 2 of that, etc. Traditional drink dispensers are designed to hold a 12-pack of the same drink, and every time you take one out a new one rolls forward. The organizer we have now fits 12 drink cans on each level and essentially allows up to 9 different types of drinks on the rack. This is perfect for all those odd leftover cans that used to hide in the back of the pantry for YEARS at at time.
  • FIVE: Labels. This little chalk marker now lives in the pantry. I wrote directly on all the clear containers and I used black gift tags from the craft store (love these on Amazon!) for the baskets. I promise, it wipes off every container AND tag easily if you mess up! Nothing in the pantry was labeled before so you either had to know what each basket was meant to contain or you had to look inside and make an educated guess. (Want to guess how often the hubs and the Kindergartener took the time to look in a basket and make an educated guess before they put something away? The answer is NEVER). Now everything is labeled and it helps keep us all accountable. Bonus points for teaching the kiddo to read cursive! If you’re going to organize your pantry on a budget and can’t swing adding all things shiny and new, I highly recommend labels!

In addition to these 5 game-changers, my ELFA over-the-door organizers from The Container Store have been used since day one in this house and are a great way to maximize space. If I didn’t already have them before the makeover, I would have absolutely included them in my top FIVE! I also think the shelf liners made a big difference. There are a lot of options available but I used these from The Container Store since they are already cut to size. They just help things stay upright without having to replace all the shelving.

I’ve had a few people ask for a step-by-step *guide* but I think it’s different for everyone depending on what space you have, your budget, how you work best etc. So instead, I’ve just compiled a quick checklist to cover the basics and MUST-COMPLETE tasks! It’s okay to do them out of order or go back and forth between steps (ex: empty one shelf at a time and declutter as you go) but if I skip any of these steps, I won’t get the same results!

  1. Empty EVERYTHING from the pantry.
  2. Declutter. Throw out expired goods, donate food items that you know you will not use, and remove anything that doesn’t belong!
  3. MEASURE. MEASURE. MEASURE.
  4. CLEAN. Take the time to sweep the floor, dust the shelves, and give yourself a fresh start. If you plan to paint, wallpaper, or update the shelves – now is the time!
  5. GROUP like-items. This will help you get a better sense of how to arrange things, how many containers you need, what to put on your LABELS, and if you’re over-shopping (or under-shopping) in any one category.
  6. LABEL. (EVERYTHING!) This will make things easier to find but also help keep everyone accountable!
  7. Do it ALL AT ONCE. This doesn’t mean it has to be completed in an hour, a day, or a week. But don’t organize one section or one shelf and pat yourself on the back. Chances are, you won’t be able to maintain it! The #konmari method isn’t for everyone but I understand why Marie Kondo says to tackle everything in a category at once.
  8. If it’s not maintainable, it’s not actually organized. It’s the biggest mistake I’ve made in the past and it is SO important. You can clean, categorize, contain, and label to your hearts desire – but if you know you won’t take the time to open that box of cereal and pour it into a pretty clear container when you get home from the grocery store, don’t torture yourself! If you want your kids to serve themselves snacks after school, try to stay away from heavy glass containers on high shelves! Make it work for YOU!

I know when a space is working for me (for us as a family) when it STAYS that way. If it starts turning into a mess then it’s just a disorganized space that happens to look pretty for a hot minute. If you *think* a space is organized and it’s starts to get a little chaotic, take a step back and address the issue. Sometimes all you need is a little tweak to get you back on track. Move it to a different shelf, change the container, make the label more specific, etc. Don’t be afraid to edit the space a bit over the first few weeks or months! I will definitely be posting any updates over on Instagram or in my Instagram stories (behind the scenes and updates aresaved to my highlights!) so check-in with me over there!

Serena & Lily Favorites and Sale Picks

I absolutely LOVE Serena & Lily. You can go all out with a very serene and beachy vibe or you can sprinkle items into almost any other style with ease. Their products are gorgeous, functional and HIGH quality. I feel like it can be a bit over budget sometimes and there are many other places where you can get that look and feel without the price tag. I mean, why spend $198 on a sheepskin rug when you can go to IKEA and get the same thing for $30? Am I right?? That being said, there are a number of things that are either hard to replicate, don’t have the same quality, or I just plain prefer from Serena & Lily.

For the next few days, you can shop Serena & Lily for 20% off the whole site during their Spring Design Event! Sale ends Monday 3/25. Use code: INSPO

I’ve rounded up my sale picks for you! Some of these items I own, I love, and would buy 100 times over. Some of these items are things on my wish list (but I have a massive amount of decluttering to do before I will allow myself to purchase!!). I tried to keep this list to some of their lower cost items. Everything pictured above ranges from $46 – $398 with the discount!

  • Baskets: These La Jolla Baskets are probably my favorite baskets of all time. I love organizers of all kinds and my house is FULL of baskets. The La Jolla baskets are a beautiful decorative element alone but they are SUPER functional. For me, they are laundry baskets and a place to corral our clothing donations. I’ve seen look-alike options at places like HomeGoods and they are just not the same.
  • Stools: I’ve wanted this Teak Step Stool for years and I might finally pull the trigger during the sale. When you have small children and it’s necessary to keep a step stool out at all times, this looks way better than the plastic ones. My kiddo no longer needs a stool but we do have plenty of visitors so I’m sure I can find a way to justify the purchase. The Dip-Dyed Stools are used Every :: Single :: DAY in our house. I mentioned them in a favorites video on YouTube several years ago and I love them even more now. I will say, the 3 legs makes them less sturdy than others (read: please don’t stand on them). However, they are comfortable to sit on to do my hair, my makeup, my daughter’s hair, etc. I usually sit on the tall one and rest my feet on the short one because I’m one of those people who is incapable of resting my feet on the floor. Using these stools has been life changing.
  • Pillows: I don’t actually own any Serena & Lily pillows but they are completely my style. I love them! There are plenty of styles, textures, colors, sizes, shapes, etc to choose from that you could easily find ones to go with just about any home decor style. ( Navy Monogram | White)
  • Lanterns: The Whitewashed Hurricanes pictured above would be beautiful on a back deck or patio and even inside on a table or a little floor vignette. I’m so happy to see so many lantern options in all my favorite home decor stores lately! I’m digging these lanterns pictured above too.
  • Kid’s Furniture: I’ve always loved how the adult sized Riviera chairs and barstools look. They give a very Parisian café vibe. I also love how they have come out with a mini version for the kiddos! We just updated our playroom furniture but I might have purchased the Riviera Play Chairs and Riviera Play Table if I had seen them first. Très Chic!
  • Art: Serena & Lily has an incredible selection of original artwork and prints. The piece pictured here is gorgeous “January Buds” – very ME. It’s featured as nursery decor and there are a bunch of sweet images for a sweet babe’s room but I could place this floral print in just about any room. I’m obsessed.
  • Chairs: There are at least 8 different chairs I would love to have from Serena & Lily. They know how to do chairs well. Director’s chairs have been around in design for a long time. They’re classic and so are stripes. Enter the striped Director’s Chair. Use it indoors or out. You just can’t go wrong.
  • Beach Towels: Serena & Lily textiles are just plain good. I could link you to the beach towel here and just leave it at that. Just plain good. But I’ll just add that I love having a big stack of matching beach towels and these are soft, absorbent, big, and -buzz word of the day- QUALITY. They are also perfect to double as a blanket if you dig that whole sitting at the beach (or just outside) on a cool evening.

I would also love to throw a new dining set, some amazing lighting (in love with this sconce), and a new rug for the living room into my online shopping cart and I might have to try out their linen pajama sets!

Do you have anything from Serena & Lily that you love? Are you shopping the sale? Leave a comment below!

Mini Fall Home Tour

Even though most of the leaves on the trees here are still green for some reason, it’s definitely *finally* starting to feel like FALL! Halloween is just around the corner and this is the time of year that really kicks off an entire season of family, friends, decorating, comfort food, fantastic fashion, and all things cozy! It’s my favorite!

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I decided to show off some of the spaces and vignettes in our home. I love me a good vignette and have them all over the house, and I’m constantly re-arranging things and tweaking them. As far as I’m concerned, nothing is ever finished (or perfect). As soon as all the Halloween stuff feels *just* right, Halloween will be over and I’ll cycle in all of the Thanksgiving items. (rinse, repeat).

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The framed skeleton hiding in the back was a DIY art project I posted about YEARS ago. I just printed an image and soaked it in tea to give that aged look. You can check out that tutorial here. (I really need to go back and update those photos! Don’t judge!!)

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I’ve always tried to keep the majority of my seasonal decor looking like it fits in with the rest of my neutral AF home decor. I think one of the reasons why I love this particular decorating season is because most of the seasonal stuff doesn’t look out of place next to the everyday decor. There are even a few things that I’ve truly thought about keeping out year-round and a few other things that ARE year-round items and look like I pulled them straight out of the Halloween bin. Again, don’t judge me!

Of course, ever since I became a Mom there are a lot more *cutesy* seasonal items I’ve added to the mix, but I try to keep that stuff in her areas of the house. Did you guys see the picture on Instagram of the table that SHE styled?? She selected the things she wanted, set them up on her table, and then hid underneath so there would be a creepy hand in the picture. Prop stylist in the making, perhaps?…

This is what her little table looks like now. Well, not at the moment because I’ve already changed up the books a little and my mini stylist likes to change out the decor as much as I do! But, you get the idea. It really does stay some variation of this – maybe not as tidy, but definitely not just for show!

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Our bar cart is the one that everyone and their Mama got from Target years ago. If we had the space for it, I’d throw a tray on top of a gorgeous sideboard and make that my bar “cart” or do a barmoire (bar+armoire) but for now, this baby is always styled for the occasion and I’m not sure I’ll ever truly get rid of it!

EXACT bar cart | Similar bar cart here| LOVE this one!!

“Poison” drink stirrers | Champagne Flutes | Drink Dispenser

This little terrarium was super easy to make and I already had most of the pieces on hand. The glass is actually an ice bucket (if you look closely you can see the word “wine” ) and I thought this would end up on the bar cart but it didn’t look quite right.

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I seem to have a thing with skulls. There are at least six or seven throughout the house.

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There are also a lot of decorations in storage somewhere that I’m just going to have to do without this year. But I’ll keep updating spaces and I’ll try to keep up with the changes either here or on Instagram. My desk-turned-console-table has already been re-styled no less than 3 times since taking these pictures and I don’t think I’m done yet! I think part of this is because these little styled areas of my home are real, living, breathing pieces of our everyday life! I use the candles and move them around as I do. We read the books (or play word-find with our learning-to-read 5 year old). We actually use the marble dishes, boxes, and trinket bowls. I LOVE fresh flowers and would put them on every surface of the house if I could afford it – I don’t just buy them for a picture and move on with life. And once I place decorations, I live with them for a day or two and edit as I go. That’s half the fun!! (And yes, my coffee table really looks like this with books, and candles, and breakable items. If you stopped by right now, there might be a couple toys and an old cereal bowl but don’t you dare roll your eyes and say it’s just for show because I’ve got a Kindergartener!!)

That’s all she wrote, folks. Let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading!

Catherine Calligraphy

 

Dreaming of: New Bathroom Tile

Happy New Year! Taking down the Christmas decorations has me re-thinking our home decor and itching to fix up a few things around the house!

One of the rooms that needs fixing up at our place is the powder room on the main/middle floor. I hate the yellow walls, the {last-century-style} shiny brass fixtures, and the lighting mostly. If all of that changed, a new mirror would be nice too. But I can live with all of those things because they are functional and it’s a rental. What I cannot live with is the tile floor. The grout is cracked or missing in places {to the point where the plastic spacers are visible}, a few of the dingy “white” builder-grade tiles are cracked, and the tile beneath the toilet is stained from what I can only assume was a leak at some point? It just grosses me out! If the owners don’t want to replace the tile {since we are renting} then we will have to fix the grout on our own at the very least. {Any suggestions?!} But, if I had my way, this small space would be perfect to throw down some HEX tile. Why? Because I’m in love with it and I’m dying to use it somewhere, that’s why. Plus the small footprint = major impact and lower cost…lower than using it in a large space…it’s not super expensive but it’s also not the cheapest material available.

Noir Hex - the tile shop

Tile - BlackHexFloor Mandy Milks

I just love how it looks in this bathroom belonging to House & Home Magazine art director, Mandy Milks. And even though the space isn’t finished yet, this bathroom over at House*Tweaking {one of my major blog crushes} is looking fantastic already with slightly larger tiles than Mandy’s. I can’t wait to see how it looks when it’s all done!

So I started browsing the usuals – Houzz, Pinterest, Decorpad, and various other resources for inspiration. I found tons of pictures of gorgeous tile but not all of them linked back to a place that listed the actual tile resources! Apartment Therapy must have heard my thoughts because they rounded up some resources for me!

Tile - Capree Kimball Bathroom Tile

Capree Kimball’s Bathroom on Curbly | Tulum Tile from Cement Tile Shop

This Tulum tile is the first picture in the article. It reminds me of this fabric that I talked about in this post on possible fabrics to reupholster my ottomans. I love a bold design in a super small space like a powder room. I’m sure our home owners wouldn’t want to do something quite as bold as this or some of the other tiles featured in AT’s post but it won’t stop me from dreaming! You can read the full Apartment Therapy article here and keep reading to see a few more fabulous tile options that I’m loving.

Tile - Home-Depot-The-Makerista-Hex-Tile

The Makerista’s Master Bath via her post on The Home Depot’s Blog, The Apron
Home Depot Tile: White | Antique | Black

http://iiiinspired.blogspot.com/2014/03/decor-black-and-white-graphic-patterns.html

https://homes.yahoo.com/news/trend-alert-patterned-tiled-bathroom-floors-black-white-150000298.html

Tile -Helgerson Bathroom

Jessica Helgerson’s bathroom design via The New York Times | Circulos Tile at Cement Tile Shop

{apparently I’m really into black and white cement tiles?…}

I’m not sure how it would look since the flooring right outside the bathroom is hardwood, but the wood plank tiles intrigue me as well.

In the end, I think a timeless classic will be the winner. Something that will stand the test of time, will coordinate with the traditional features in the rest of the home, won’t outshine the 3 other bathrooms in the house that are not updated, and will be great for resale value. *Fingers Crossed* that we can get this done sooner rather than later! What tile would you love to use in a super tiny powder room?

Catherine Calligraphy

Getting Ready for Halloween

The end of September is near and I’m getting ready for Halloween. Avery was just a little lump of a tiger {she was Aubie} last year for Halloween at 3 months old. But this year she can walk around and is a little more aware of what’s going on which means I’m excited to see her reaction to it all! When it comes to holidays, there’s something about having a kid that gives me back the kind of excitement I had when I was a kid. We have plans for a trip to the Pumpkin Patch and I’m researching costume ideas. I also decided to locate our Halloween decorations…and had no luck! I was in a slight panic last week thinking that the tub of Halloween stuff was donated with the last trip to Salvation Army. If the plastic skeletons that hang from our front tree didn’t make it, then I’ll be okay. But the actual home decor that’s a little more chic {and expensive} is what I’m worried about. Not to mention I’ve been collecting it since before Chris and I ever started dating so it would take me a long time to build back up to what I had before!

Should the old stuff be truly gone forever, I need a backup plan. So I started thinking ahead to how I can quickly and cheaply add some new decorations this year and I came up with a few ideas. I was inspired by this picture I found on Houzz.

CitySouthern Halloween Decor Ideas

See the skeleton picture reflected in the mirror? I saw that and thought – that would be great to hang on the wall for Halloween! I began searching Etsy for a skull print and there are tons of options. This one seems to have similar qualities to the inspiration photo with it’s sketched look and antiqued paper.

Skull Artkurka Etsy

It’s a really reasonably priced little print which makes me happy. And I’m sure I have an empty frame I could use. But I’ve got the DIY bug and I don’t want to just buy an aged-looking crisp piece of art. I want something that looks and feels like a page from an antique book, or was hanging on the wall of creepy haunted mansion. Maybe it was salvaged from an abandoned asylum? It’s Halloween afterall! So…I decided I’m going to DIY it. For FREE! I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out but at least I know I’ve got etsy as a backup plan!

And because I love a good happy ending, I found the box of missing decorations when I cleaned out the entire garage this past weekend. {There was definitely an embarrassing happy dance in the driveway for all the neighbors to see.} I can’t wait to start putting them up!

So when do you put up your Halloween decorations? Comment below, and stay tuned to see how my creepy skull print turns out!

Catherine Calligraphy

 

 

UPDATE: My artwork is complete! To see the tutorial for my DIY Project, click here!

I Can’t Decide on Fabric

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen this picture. It’s an ottoman that I reupholstered once upon a time in a far away land where I had free time that I took for granted didn’t have a kid yet.

Ottoman Instagram

The light blue chevron doesn’t go with anything anymore. I should take that back. It goes with the one blue accent wall in our living room. {That I did not paint. That I do not like. That I have finally decided to paint over.}

Since the wall is getting painted, it’s time to RE-reupholster the ottoman. And to reupholster it’s twin that I never got around to. Or maybe I just knew that the chevron wasn’t quite right and wouldn’t last so I was saving myself the future trouble of removing all those staples?? I’m not really in love with the curves of the x-base on these ottomans anymore either but using them is cheaper than replacing them so I will gladly spend a few dollars on the fabric. Especially when the retail price for just ONE of the ottomans I fell in love with on One Kings Lane is about 5 times the price I paid for BOTH of the ones I already have!

Ottoman - X base inspiration

{Ottoman, currently unavailable}

Back to the dilemma: I can’t decide on the fabric to use to reupholster my ottomans! We are still rearranging the furniture in our house so I’m not even sure if they will stay on the main floor or move upstairs to our bedroom, but the colors in both areas are the same {and neutral…shocker} so whatever fabric I choose will go with the rest of the room either way. I’m very into geometric prints right now and I’ve always had a thing for ikat prints. {haha, i-kat…I just noticed that. yes, I’m weird and my nickname starts with a “k” even though my full name starts with a “c”. complain all you want but The Dutchess Kate does the same thing and I don’t hear everyone complaining about her!}

I couldn’t find any upholstery grade fabrics at local craft stores or cheap online fabric retailers so I started looking at Spoonflower because I can find the pattern I like and then order the type of fabric that I need. If you haven’t ever looked at Spoonflower you should – it’s kind of like Society6 in a way. All these artists submit their designs and Spoonflower will print that design on a range of fabrics for you! Each artist will tell you if you are allowed to sell products using their design or not so it would be a great resource for an etsy shop owner too.

I’ve been loving a few fabrics with triangles ever since I saw this Nate Berkus fabric at Calico Corners. So I searched for triangles and came up with these that are similar:

Fabric - grey and cream triangles

{ one | two | three }

I also found some prints while searching for triangles that had a more Southwestern vibe. I certainly don’t think my house currently has an overwhelming “Southwestern” vibe to it but I keep finding myself drawn to the patterns and textures.

Fabric - Southwestern

{ four | five | six }

And there were a few that had a burlap look but I’m not sure how they would look and feel in person.

Fabric - burlaps

{ seven | eight }

Swiss Cross designs have been a bit of an obsession lately. {Did you see my new bedding? You can buy it here.} These are some of the options I found for swiss cross.

Fabric - Swiss Cross Natural

{ nine | ten | eleven | twelve }

And of course, this black and white one is the opposite of my bedding so that would be pretty cool in the master bedroom.

Fabric - Spoonflower - kleababy crosses white on black

{ thirteen }

I have to keep in mind that the legs of the ottomans are a very dark wood so I’m not sure that a black background is the way to go. But I might still drape a sheepskin over top like you see in the first picture. With the new fabric the sheepskin would be there to break up the dark colors and to add a layer of texture where as it is currently there purely to cover up as much of the blue as possible.

So if those were your options, which fabric would you choose? Alternate suggestions are more than welcome! Thanks in advance for voting and I will be sure to do a full reveal when I’m done!

Catherine Calligraphy

 

FALLing for Nate Berkus

I am at Target a lot. No really, a LOT. I often end up with lots of things in my cart that weren’t on my list. I often walk around the store and think it over while I get the necessities, then put some of the other things back because I don’t need them. More often than not, the things that I can’t live without are part of the Nate Berkus for Target collection. The new items for Fall are no exception. It seems there are many pieces that I just cannot live without. My design asthetic has always  been all about the neutrals and right now I’m loving black, white, gold, and mixed wood tones, with lots of textures. I think Nate must have read my mind because that pretty much describes the line. Take a look for yourself and see if you don’t just FALL in love with it yourself! {And snag up some of last season’s Nate items on clearance before they are all gone!}

Nate Berkus for Target Fall Collection on City Southern

 

Lamp | Faux Fur Stool | Gold Vase | White Vase | Wood Bowl | Baskets | Mirror | Table