Thursday, October 30, 2014

20 UHeart Organizing: A Clever Kid's Book Caddy

My gal pal, Cassie of Hi Sugarplum, is a superstar when it comes to creating high-end trendy looks, on a shoestring budget.  She also has a love for bold colors, so I always get excited to see what she is up to and I just lovity love her style (in both home and fashion).  She is stopping by today to share with us her super savvy solution for corralling her daughter's favorite reading materials (but this could totally work for little boys and adults as well!)  Take it away Cassie!

Hey there, friends! I'm excited to be back over here on Jen's gorgeous blog...a place of so much creativity and ingenuity! Not to mention, she's got some of the sweetest readers around! Speaking of readers (how you like that segue?!), my daughter recently graduated to 'chapter books', and all of a sudden, she can't get enough of books and reading time!

Obviously, this makes a mama's heart happy, and I want to do everything I can to encourage her. When we created her Big Girl Room, we carved out a secret reading nook, but her room was lacking in bookshelves. I looked around online, and fell instantly in love with this Land of Nod book caddy...but didn't love the $150 price tag! #ouch Plus, it's a little too big for her small room.

So I decided to get crafty and create my own out of a bamboo drying rack! It's available at various retailers, but I picked up this one from Container Store.

A few quick coats of bright yellow high gloss spray paint, and a book caddy was born! Oh, and did I mention it was only $20!? #score

It's sturdy enough to hold her heavier hard-back books, but still folds up and tucks away when you need a tidier space.

Each week, she loads it up with new favorites, then has them all at her fingertips. I love to see what books she chooses, as well as the other treasures she stores in it. I'm thinking of making another one to hold magazines in our family room.

Do you remember the Little Miss series? These were mine as a child, and I still remember my grandfather reading them to me. I love that she wants to hang on to them, even though her reading level has grown.

We currently keep the book caddy near her art center (which I cleaned up for pictures, don't be fooled into thinking she's this tidy!), so it's a whole corner of imagination and creativity!

Is there anything better than seeing your kiddo voluntarily reading? Or the peace and quiet that comes with it?! ;) Thanks for letting me share! I'd love to hear how you corral all the books in your kid's rooms.

 "Hi, I'm Cassie, a DIY and design-obsessed Texas girl, and lover of travel, fashion, sarcasm and Mexican food. When I'm not hanging with my sweet and funny family, you can find me kicking the '80s out of our home, one budget project at a time, on my blog Hi Sugarplum!"

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

24 Reader Space: Cuckoo for this Closet!

It has been awhile since we have taken a look at a beautifully organized walk-in closet around here.  Well, today's eye candy of a closet will make up for the months we have been without.  Totally worth the wait!

When it comes to marrying function and fabulous, Julia from Cuckoo 4 Design is an all time champion.  She recently gave her walk-in closet some glitz and glam and now it shines brighter than any star in the closet universe.  I just love every last blingy detail and I couldn't wait to show how some simple touches can make a huge impact.  For many, the walk-in closet is one of the first spaces that is seen in the morning.  It can make or break your day, so giving it a little attention will go along way in more ways than one.

What is the main function of your space?

"It is my walk-in closet and I also store our linens in it.  My husband and I are fortunate enough to each have our own walk-in closets, which is a major plus in our small home.  You don't come across such a great feature too often in a standard sized suburban home. But my husband's closet is an entirely different story and job, I don't know if I will ever go there.  But never say never, right?"

Any superstar tips for keeping it organized?

"Now I don't know if it is a superstar tip but for me the key is to not overdo it when I organize because I know I can't keep up with it when I'm in a hurry. That's why I didn't label the boxes. I know I wouldn't keep up with relabeling the frequent change in content (ain't nobody have time for that).  I love hurrying through my house and packing things away in a rush.  So the fastest and easiest way is key for me to keep something "somewhat organized".  The boxes have a clear plastic window and I can see what is in them which works great for me.

One of my favorite tricks to make it look bigger is the floor-mirror behind the clothing on the far wall of the closet.  You can read and see more about it here."

What items did you find were essential when organizing the space, and why?

"The most important items to me in my closet are the Ikea boxes that I placed on the upper shelves. They play a huge roll in making the tiny closet look less cluttered.  Can you imagine having to stack all the seasonal clothing and sheets that I need to store in there on all the shelves?  I've been there and it wasn't pretty.  Stuff starts to tumble down, I got angry, shoved or threw it back up.  On top of it I'm short and stacking stuff up high isn't all that easy even with a ladder.  I keep a small foldable step ladder right beside the dresser now and whenever I need something I use it and pull the particular box.  So much easier!"

What did you do to go the extra mile and "Make it Pretty"?

"Since my husband and I are always considering moving one day, it was in no way reasonable for me to throw out perfectly fine wire shelving.  The type of shelving that is so hated in the design community but functions quite well if you ask me.  So I tried to work with it and to come up with a solution to draw your eye away from that said shelving.  That's when I thought about wallpapering the ceiling to draw your eye up."

What items did you DIY to stay on a budget?

"I pretty much always try to work with what I have first, that's why I painted the existing boxes. Some of the boxes had to get cut down to fit on the shelving.

I also painted the cheap Ikea light fixture and wallpapered the ceiling."

How has this space impacted your life for the better?

"I once again love walking into my closet to pick out what I'm going to wear.  It's a delight to finally not have to search for a particular piece and purging has created so much space for me to feel like I can breath in that tiny dark space again.  Well now it's not dark anymore because I smile every time I look at my bold ceiling and light fixture."


And if you love this closet, you will also want to pop over to Julia's blog and check out her graphic coat closet here.

I love that Julia recognizes what works for her when it comes to organizing.  Do I love a good label when it makes sense?  Absolutely.  But she recognized that they don't work for her in this space, so she skipped them.  The lack of labels doesn't mean she is not organized, in fact, she is most likely more organized now that she uses the boxes to corral different types of belongings.  It just shows that if it doesn't make sense in the terms of time and long term maintenance, don't do it for the sake of doing it.  Instead, she used clear faced boxes which allows her to see the contents from below.

And let's take a moment to focus on the functionality of those pretty painted boxes for a minute.  I couldn't agree more that tipping stacks and piles of linens and clothing can cause crabbiness and flusters.  The boxes streamline the look, keep like items together and prevent any toppling, tipping or mixing of piles.  Simple and effective.

We always talk about adding mirrors to rooms to bounce light and expand the space, same effect works in small closets as well!  Such a great tip!

Nothing in this closet is too fussy or complicated; simple hooks to hang necklaces, a clear tray to hold jewelry, boxes to conceal accessories, painted storage boxes to add a little color... And my guess is that the small personal touches will keep Julia motivated to maintain that amazing space.  And can you imagine strolling into the closet and catching a glimpse of that off-the-charts incredible wallpaper on the ceiling?  That graphic statement is so playful and unexpected, I couldn't love it more!  Now I am eying up all of the ceilings throughout our home... enter evil laugh here.

One last bit of motivation to go the extra mile when working on a space, check out Julia's closet before and after:

You can find Julia's closet makeover here, and stick around to tour her beautiful home here.

*  All images courtesy of Cuckoo 4 Design

ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life, big or small.  They can be anything from an organized drawer or cabinet to an entire room.  Please submit your story and photos to, and I would heart to feature them right here on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited.  Please include a description of the project, including any costs, inspiration, and how it has changed your life and routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!
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