Sunday, November 25, 2012

Operation Declutter 2012: Class Notes

After 4 years of undergraduate and 4 years of graduate school, plus a year as an Extern, the amount of "class notes" I've accumulated is RIDICULOUS.  This picture was taken a couple of years ago, so imagine all those binders, plus several more that I accumulated over the next few years, all brimming with class notes.

Since I rarely ever go back to the class notes (because I have no idea where anything is in the binders), they have sat on the bookshelves since the class ended. 

However, I knew there were things inside those binders that could one day be useful, so I decided to take the time over this "break" to finally do something about the situation (and no not the Jersey Shore "Situation").  Enter my new best friend:  

Its a Fujitsu Scan Snap 1300i.  My sister and I actually did a little research to find a scanner that would work well to decrease our "paper clutter situation" but didn't cost an arm and a leg (we decided to split the cost of the scanner).  It scans about 12 pages per minute (12 ppm), and scans both sides at the same time (duplexes), is Mac AND PC compatible (a must for Heather and I to share) and has an option to make the document you just scanned searchable (OCR).  This was all foreign language to me a few weeks ago. #notreallyasnerdyasIthoughtIwas #I'manerdwhoamIkidding

Update: The scanner does do color scans, and you can alter the quality of the scan to save on file size.  I saved all of the files on my computer and barely noticed a dent in my available space.  The scanner can hold 10-20 sheets of paper at a time, but there is an option to "continue scanning" after the current scan is done, so each PDF can be up to 1000 pages long.  There is a more expensive version of this scanner that has the capability to feed up to 50 pages, but the scanner costs ~$190 more, so we decided price overweighed convenience for our purposes.  Additionally, the 12 ppm is NOT with duplex considerations, so it actually can scan 24 ppm.   The only issues I had with the scanner were usually because I missed a staple so it misfed.  It shows the last page saved so you can be sure you aren't missing any pages being scanned and restart the scanning process at the appropriate location.  This scanner also has the capability to scan pictures at high resolution, but I haven't utilized that option yet.  

So we bought the scanner from Amazon and I used my Discover card to get free one-day shipping!  I took it out of the box, and after a few hours I had already scanned what I needed and was ready to get rid of this: 

It was a few binders worth, but I was addicted. #rehabforscanneraddiction

So I set up shop at our kitchen table and scanned/sorted away!

I brought every single binder I owned upstairs.

I had to remove staples and post-its from the notes to get them to be "scannable" so I created a little pile in a dish to keep all the staples and post-its corralled.

And before long, my pile had turned to this:

Holy paper. My pile of filled binders was slowly starting to get smaller...

...with Bentley keeping guard.  The good news was I already had a bag of binders to get rid of!

 A few days later with some free time dedicated to sorting and I accomplished this:

I did NOT scan all of these papers, but maybe a 1/4 or less.  There were definitely things that I did not need and couldn't believe I kept this long.  It was time.

Plus I now had a few (dozen) binders to get rid of.  This isn't even all of them!

And I'm not the only one who is happy about getting rid of some clutter! #furkidaddiction

We bundled up the paper into paper bags for recycling and dropped them off at the recycling center.  One part of clutter off of the list and now the scanner goes to Heather for a bit!  It was a great idea to split the cost since we don't both need the scanner sitting at our houses.  #Scannersharedcustody

With one type of clutter gone, it's time to tackle the next!  I'm thinking some of the "clothing clutter" is up next.

What kind of clutter are you tackling?  I've even found a few more types of clutter to add to my list!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Blonde to Brunette: Ikea Laminate Dresser Hack

Hey y'all!  I'm Heather: the older, much wiser sister that Lindsey often hints at as having an organization obsession.  I snuck into Lindsey's blog to bring you one of my latest DIY success stories.  Here's the low-down on how I took my decade old Ikea dresser (from the sale section no less!) and transformed it from eek to chic.  Enjoy!

I've had this little piece of furniture since my undergrad days and surprisingly (after moving it approximately 7 times) it's still in decent shape.  When I began tackling my spare bedroom, I contemplated donating/selling it, but decided to give it a makeover and keep it in the space.  The picture below gives you a better idea of the scale of the dresser.  Don't worry.  I keep my clubs in my storage space now :)  You'll also notice below that the dark charcoal paint sample didn't make the cut.  Yep- I've painted yet another room in my home "greige."  Grey + beige = the color of most of my house. #Iamafraidofcolor.

I considered painting the dresser white and changing out the hardware, but the more I looked at it, the more apparent it became that changing the drawer pulls would make it look awkward.  (The screw holes are way too far apart.)  Then I started thinking more critically about the color....  I'd been a blonde myself my entire life....up until about a year and a half ago when I took the plunge and asked my stylist to turn my hair from uber blonde to "darkest brown."  I felt instantly more sophisticated :)  I thought the same logic would naturally then apply to this dresser. #notanormaltrainofthought.

Linds and I got to work removing the handles, being mindful to place the screws together in a small bag so that I wouldn't lose them.  The metal legs I simply covered in frog tape to protect from any rogue roller strokes.

Next, we primed the dresser to make the paint more adherent to the laminate.  We applied two thin coats of Zinsser primer 24 hours apart.  I found that a small sponge roller worked best; just remember that oil-based paints are difficult to clean unless you enlist the help of mineral spirits.  

The primer does an AMAZING job.  But it smells.  Bad.  #openthewindows or #useafacemask.

Next came paint selection.  We used Rustoleum Painter's Touch Metallic. 

This is how she looked after two coats.  If ORB qualifies as a color, I'd call it my current favorite. Fancy, huh?

And here she is after a total of 3 coats....

Brunette = instant glamour.  Love the makeover.  What are you guys hacking from Ikea? Anybody else jumping on the brunette train?

Buildables: Headboard Turned Wall Art

Our basement is a typical basement with very few windows and large wall spaces with nothing on them.  I wanted something light and airy, yet large enough to fill a fairly large wall, all on a small budget.  I saw the "Squared 2 headboard (queen) plan" at Ana White and thought I could make it into a statement piece for the wall.  I followed the plan exactly as written for the upper portion of the headboard (other than screwing two 1x2s together to make the 2x2s because I couldn't find any 2x2s that were square), used my Kreg Jig to join the boards from the back side (against the wall), primed and spray painted and hung all 2-3 pounds of it on the wall with two "picture" hangers.  Overall it was quite easy!

The headboard turned wall art costed around $30 total, and I believe I finished it in the same weekend (completed it over a year ago and it's still hanging in the basement!).  I recommend laying it out on the floor like a puzzle prior to assembling to see how well pieces are fitting and what parts may be easiest to put together first.  The cuts were a little time consuming, as was connecting the pieces together, but I think it was well worth it!

You can see my "Brag Post" on Ana's website here. I may or may not have had a minor heart attack when Ana herself commented on this build.  Doesn't even matter to me that not a single other sole commented on it.  

Speaking of comments, feel free to leave a comment below! I would love to learn a little about who is visiting the blog!

You may recognize the pillow in the center of the couch from this post.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Over-the-Door Scarf Display and Storage

I admit it: I'm addicted to scarves.  I even have a self-imposed limit of 2 new scarves per year.  And come November, I had already hit my limit for the upcoming Winter season.  The problem with a scarf addiction?  Storing and getting access to the scarves.  I had stored them in boxes, in pull-out drawers, and on the rings that they came with over a hanger, but every method resulted in me only wearing one or two scarves since they were the easiest to get at.  Not to mention, I wasn't very good at putting them away.  Meet my scarf collection:

Aren't they pretty? My newest additions are the snow leopard at the bottom of the picture (Target) and the tan scarf with purple and beige stripes in the bottom right (Banana Republic Factory Outlet).  Love them.

So I got to brainstorming about how to better display/store my scarf collection and decided to use this:

My over the door hook storage that I have had since undergrad.  I've used it for towels in the bathroom, purses in my closet, and hanging clothes to dry.  To say it's been versatile is an understatement.

So I grouped like scarves together (similar colors) and hung them up on the back of our entry closet door with anywhere from 2 to 5 scarves per hook.  Voila!  Easy access and storage!

So easy to do and once again I used what I already had! No more digging through boxes or wrangling several scarves to find the one I want.  I've worn several of my scarves already this year (despite the fact that it has been in the 40's - 60's for temps in November.  I'm NOT complaining!).  It's also much easier to put them away at the end of the day!

Looks like I might have some more space even for another scarf or two! Must restrain myself.

Do you have something in your house that you have used for multiple purposes over the years?  

Guest Post: Personalized Toy Chest

Craigslist find turned personalized 
toy chest for a baby shower

Guest Blogger: Emily McClimon

I was invited to a baby shower a week or so ago. Actually, what I mean is that I was invited to the shower over a month ago, but the event was last Saturday. Which also means I had an entire month to find a gift for one of my best girlfriend’s new baby boy. But, of course, I waited until about three days before to start thinking about it.

I’m an avid craigslist visitor. It is very rare that more than two days go by without me checking out the new listings under the “for sale” section or the latest “garage sales” in the area. Often, I use my phone app to view the site multiple times a day. It’s quick. It’s easy. I get my fix.

Well, my sister (also invited to this baby shower) happened to beat me to it that day. Grrr! She found a listing for an old wooden chest $10. The light bulb went on in her head, and she called me right away with the idea of making the boring wooden box into a toy chest for the baby shower. Brilliant! I wish I could take the credit, but at least maybe I can claim that the brilliance runs in the family.

Here’s a picture of the original piece. (I almost forgot to get the “before” shot, and had started painting the top right side of the lid. Ooops! You still get the idea.)

 We ran to Hobby Lobby to get some letters to put the baby’s name on the chest. My friend knows she is having a boy, so they already decided on a name: Nicholas. It was a good thing we double-checked with her on the name and spelling, because for some reason I had Nathan stuck in my head instead of Nicholas. Serious disaster averted! Can you imagine showing up at the baby shower with the wrong name on the toy chest you made. Eeep!

I had seen the baby’s room and knew the colors were blues, and grays with little pops of orange and green. Elephants were kind of the theme. Very cute.

We also spotted these and decided to pick a couple up ($0.75 each). So adorable, we couldn't resist!

Then the BIG decision of which colors to paint. After some debate, we decided on: Juicy Cantaloupe and Pebble Grey.

Time to get to work!

We stuck a wrapping paper tube in the lid to hold it open while the paint dried. I’m sure there are 100 things you could use instead. This was just there and convenient at the time.

Our husbands helped us cut off the beat up bottom edge of the chest and put on some trim. (We married some very handy men. And they must really love us, because this was about 10PM the night before the shower when we enlisted their help. Crunch time. I guess they don’t really have much choice in the matter, but there wasn't too much grumbling.) We also thought wheel casters would be nice for easy mobility when the chest is heavy and exploding with toys. I don’t have kids, but I can imagine you would want things to be as convenient as possible.

Front view with trim and casters on.

Rachel (my sister) and I painted the letters while the boys did their thing. Group effort J

After we let everything dry we attached the letters with a nail gun for the finished product. And we decided to sneak in a little blue and orange striping along the bottom trim. Gives it a little something.

So total cost was only about $25 for the chest, paint, letters and casters! Left us a little extra to spend on helping her find a couple toys to start filling the chest J We didn't end up using the little blue elephants we bought, so we put them in the chest too in case our friend had something else she could do with them in the baby’s room.

Here’s a picture at the baby shower with a few of the other gifts as they started to arrive.

It ended up being the talk of the shower! And we got to help her move it into the baby’s new room, where it worked perfectly.

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How cute is that toy chest? I like how they painted it in the colors to match the room to make it even more personalized!  I'm even more impressed that they did most of it within 24 hours of the shower! Good job Emily and Rachel! And husbands too! 

Thanks for sharing your transformation Emily!  

Do you have a Craigslist find that you personalized for your home or for a gift?  

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Email to submit your entry!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Quick Tip: Canvas Stenciling

Wall art can be expensive if you want to fill a large area.  Improvise by buying a large canvas (frequently on sale at Hobby Lobby or Michael's), a stencil, and a can of spray paint!

I bought this stencil (also from Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon) and used a can of gray spray paint I already had.  

Iron Lattice Wall & Floor Stencil

Helpful tip: Use spray adhesive on the back of the stencil so it doesn't move on you. It won't adhere permanently or ruin the canvas if you press down lightly once, remove the stencil, then place down again.  I actually used the same "spray" for several passes with the stencil, so mildly "tacky" is plenty for the purpose of this project! 

I love working with canvases.  They are easily repainted or you can cover them up with fabric, or there are plenty of canvas inspirations on Pinterest! One of the ideas I've seen on several Pinterest boards uses puffy paint or glue to write a quote or personalized message.  The entire canvas is then spray painted one color.  I have seen similar tutorials with stickers to make unique subway art!

Have you ever spray painted a canvas?  What other ideas have you seen or done?   

Operation Declutter

Now that my I've gotten through the last tests of 2012, it's time to conquer my list of things that I've been wanting to tackle for months!  One of the areas of my "To Do" list that has been bothering me the most lately is clutter.  There's something about piles of paper, junk drawers, and crammed closets that is starting to get on my nerves.  It was never a huge problem for me in the past, but I think I'm finally hitting that point in life where less is more. With some upcoming time off from rotations aka "work", I'm determined to attack some of my worst clutter sources.

I may be the only one with that last bit of clutter, and I think I'm going to tackle that clutter with some deep cleaning, but that's another post in itself.

Since today was my first true "day off" I couldn't wait to start! I began attacking my paper clutter (class notes and receipts) bright and early with the help of a new purchase (details to come later in the week), but I think to put it simply, I'm smitten!

Anybody else have big plans for the end of the year or other types of clutter you are wanting to tackle?   Or do you have any tips for how to cut back on clutter?