Tuesday, July 28, 2015

the perks of being an organization freak

Hello, my name is Michelle and I'm obsessed with organization.

Organization makes me smile.
It calms me.
It is second nature to me.

For you fellow organization freaks, you get it.  You know what I mean.  You're my people.

For those of you who are skeptics, or just don't have the Organization Bone (I'm sure there is one, right?)....well, I'm guessing you wouldn't be here based on the title of this post.  But if you are, how sweet are you?  Reading my little blog just for the fun of it.  :)

So maybe I should get to the inspiration behind today's post, and what pulled me out of the almost one-year drought of writing here.  Each summer, I make a list of projects I want to do around my house.  All of those little things that I have no time to do throughout the school year, and finally get to do during some of that much-needed down time.

Lots of this year's list included cleaning and organization projects....and I'm checking some of those things off my list this week.

Yesterday's project:

Organize my Junk Drawer!

Everyone has a junk drawer, right?

That Drawer of Randomness.
The Pit Where Unwanted Items Go to Hide.

Here's what mine looked like yesterday morning....

Keepin' It Real for you all.
(and now I'm slightly embarrassed)

So the first step, as with any good reorganization project I do....empty EVERYTHING out of the drawer.  

And, as I've learned through years of organizing....as I touched every item, I put it into one of three piles:

1- Keep in this drawer
2- Relocate to a different area that makes more sense
3- Trash/recycle

For the items that I was going to keep in the drawer, I also grouped like items to come up with a game plan of how I was going to put it all back together.

One group happened to be "paper items"....like coupons, menus, pamphlets, reference pages, product info, etc.  So I grabbed an accordian file from the amazing Target Dollar Spot, labeled the sections, and filed away what I didn't recycle.

Speaking of the awesomeness of the Target Dollar Spot....which is always my first stop when I enter my favorite store....

I bought these a couple months ago, knowing that I'd find a use for them....for a DOLLAR people!

All my little clips, rubber bands, and wet wipes fit nicely into this square one.

I had a few partially full boxes of candles, and a few other random ones...plus some match books found in different drawers.  Now they're all in one place thanks to this cute little container.

And the best part is that both of these plastic boxes come with clear lids!
(Seriously, Target isn't paying me to say this....I just LOOOOOOVE Target!)

I had a few more groupings of markers/pens/pencils that needed places to go.  I put the pens and pencils in my desk drawer where I'd need them, and the Sharpies and dry erase pens went in this drawer.  Since those are the only writing utensils I need in the kitchen.

I had one organizer that I took from a different drawer where it wasn't really needed, and used it to corral my Sharpies, and a few other small items.

But....I needed something for my dry erase markers and mini eraser that I wanted to keep in there because the drawer is right next to my dry erase calendar.

I didn't want to spend ANY extra money on this project (all of these items were ones that I had stored for months in my craft closet)....so I made a box!

I cut the top off a pasta box that was going in the recycling anyway....

Next, I covered it with this adhesive drawer liner I got at....yes, the Target Dollar Spot.
(Note: It was one of those "3 Dollar" items-- but still a great deal in my opinion!)

Here's the finished project....cheap and easy!  :)

And here it is with the dry erase board materials, and a few other small items that needed a "home".

So, once everything had a "home", I cleaned out the inside of the drawer, and lined it with more contact paper (same design, but different color).

Finally....time to put everything back in the drawer!  

The back of the drawer

The front of the drawer

The finished project!!!!  This makes my heart happy.
Seriously, I've opened this drawer to peek inside almost every time I've gone past it.

And since every other organization project I've done like this has remained organized and pretty, I'm sure this one will last, too!

So I'll leave you with my top five reasons why I spend time on projects like this....

1. You save time- you don't have to search for things you need! 
2. You don't keep things you DON'T need....because if everything has a place, then you don't have place for "extra stuff".  In other words, you won't become a hoarder!
3. You save money- you won't buy items you don't need because you can SEE what you have.
4. By using items you already have, you save money and exercise your Creativity Muscles.
5. Once you start reorganizing/decluttering, it becomes addictive.  And you want to find more projects to do.  Okay...maybe that's just me.  But I bet I'm not alone!!

Here's evidence of that....right after I finished this drawer, I reorganized my desk drawer!!

Hope this inspires a few people to dive in, join the Organization Club, and have fun with it!

Monday, September 1, 2014

pacific northwest trip....part two

If you didn't already read my last post about the first two days of my trip to Seattle and Olympic National Park....go here.

My favorite day of the trip may have been described in that post, but plenty more fun was had in the second half of my trip, too....

Day Three- Vancouver

Since we knew ahead of time how close we would be to the Canadian border, my sister and I made sure to get our passports renewed before the trip.

Out with the old...in with the new...

Being from Michigan, I've been to the eastern part of Canada a few times, but that was also before passports were required.  I've always wanted to see Vancouver, and this was the perfect chance.

It was a long drive from our hotel in Washington (just south of the national park) up to Canada....plus the long wait at the border (about an hour)....but finally around lunchtime we made it to a small town across the border called White Rock.

If you've seen the TV show "Psych"....this is the location of the Psych office (where the two main characters work), which is actually the town museum.  The front window on the corner was covered with the "Psych" window...probably to make it easier for consistency when filming over the years.

The shoreline and pier near the building are two locations they used to make it look like they're in Santa Barbara, since most of the show is actually filmed in Vancouver.

 When we were there, the tide was really low so there was a larger shore near the water.

This boardwalk, right in front of the "Psych Office" was definitely in some episodes.

Thanks to my nephew who loved "Psych" from the beginning, I've watched all of the seasons over the past couple years. When we found out how close we were going to be to filming locations, we "had" to stop.  :)

The town of White Rock is built on pretty steep terrain....they have some seriously steep hills going up into those neighborhoods...but I bet everyone has great views of the water!

Next....we traveled through downtown Vancouver (SOOOOOO congested- it took forever to get through the downtown area) and finally made it to one of our destinations for the day.

 We saw that this was one of the most popular attractions in Vancouver, so we had to see why.

For the price of admission, you can walk the main 450 foot long suspension bridge and a separate "Cliff Walk" that both cross hundreds of feet above the Capilano River.  There's also a fun "Treetop Adventure" where you walk shorter suspension bridges that connect trees, and lots of other activities available for all ages.  If you like outdoorsy stuff  and are not afraid of heights, this is a great place to visit!

When you start on one side.....you can't really see the end of the other side!  So fun.

Looking down on the river from one side...

And the other side....I had to hold on to the side because of how shaky that bridge gets.  Taking a picture  while you're on the middle of the bridge was pretty risky, but I had to try!

Going through the "Treetop Adventures"....bridges and stairways connecting huge Douglas Fir trees.  One thing I loved about this place is how much they were dedicated to protecting nature.  They figured out how to build all of these bridges and structures around the trees, so they were not damaged in the process.

Stopping for a break on the other side of the big bridge....looking over at people crossing it.

On the Cliff Walk....a little easier to take photos because the structure was suspended but not shaky.
The perfect spot to get a clear view of the huge forests and mountains in the area.

Looking down below to the river....and you may even be able to spot a waterfall down there.
Kind of gives you perspective of how high we were.

After a filling late lunch, we left this park....and drove to another. :)

If you've traveled to Vancouver, you probably visited Stanley Park at some point.
It's a huge park outside of the downtown area, spreading out for 1000 acres of nature goodness.

Not knowing much about where to go in this huge park, we just picked one "end" of the area to park and just started walking. 
English Bay to the left of the boardwalk where we started walking

 If I ever go back, I think I'd park closer to the forested/nature trail area so that I could enjoy more of those trails.  By the time we got to that area, we had already walked for a LOOOONG time, and we knew our parking meter was going to expire soon if we didn't turn back.

Lesson learned.

We did get to walk the forest trails for about 45 minutes, so it was better than nothing.
So quiet....you wouldn't know that you were so close to a large city.

This was the "Lost Lagoon" that we stumbled upon while hiking the trails....it was so pretty there!

One other lesson I learned from this day.....bring water when hiking for hours.
I know....that probably seems obvious....but I forgot.
When we got back to the car, my hands were swollen and I was getting lightheaded-- dehydration is not a pretty thing!

After the long day outdoors, and the long drive ahead of us....we once again crashed almost immediately after getting to our hotel that night.  Luckily, we thought ahead and crossed the border at a different spot on the way back...shorter lines!

Day Four- Portland

Our first stop of the day was actually Kalama, Washington.  As we were driving down the highway, I saw the name of the city on a sign and remembered something from my "research" while we were in Forks two days earlier.  We stopped here....
Okay, Twilight fans....recognize this place?  It's the outside of "Forks High School" from the movies.

Yep....I was that crazy fan who was in an empty high school parking lot taking pictures and saying "it looks just like in the movie!"  And no...I'm not a teenager. I just sometimes act like one.  :)

Finally, we arrived in Portland (where my sister's friend lives) and she took us to one of her favorite places in her new city-- Washington Park.

Going along with the theme of the trip.....beautiful scenery, and lots of hiking opportunities!

It was in the high 90's and muggy that day, so unfortunately it was very hazy.  Which meant we couldn't really get a good view of all of these volcanoes, which on a clear day you can see from this spot.

Luckily, I had seen most of them (Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Mount Hood) on our travels the days before, so it wasn't a huge deal. 
I just didn't get a good look at Mount St. Helens, which I was hoping to see.

Oh no....I guess I just have to go back someday.  Such a bummer.
(sarcasm font is needed)

Hiking through the woods in the park was the only way we could somewhat escape the heat, but there was no way around being hot and sweaty that day.  I did remember to bring a huge bottle of water though!!

Portland is dubbed the "City of Roses"....and they had this free rose garden you could go through right in the park.  It was definitely the perfect place to "stop and smell the roses".  ;)

They also have a Japanese Garden and Zoo in the park, which I've heard are great in their own right. However, they both had admission prices and with the limited time we had, we decided to go with free places on the last day of our trip.  

 A few close up shots I got of the pretty roses.

I'm proudest of this shot....only because I have a crazy fear of bees.
Look closely at the center of the flower to see what I mean.

After spending a long time in the park, and stopping for lunch, we drove to the Columbia River gorge and the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States. 
Apparently, Multnomah Falls is also the most visited attraction in Oregon.

I couldn't even get the entire waterfall in one picture....it's just that tall.

It's not the widest or loudest waterfall I've ever seen, but definitely the tallest.
And being able to stand on a pedestrian bridge and feel the mist from the falls was pretty cool.
Which felt great on this crazy hot day!

Looking down off the bridge onto the Lower Falls.

 And finally....our last stop in Portland was at Rocky Butte.
It's actually an extinct volcanic cinder cone that they turned into a city park, as well as the perfect spot to look down on the city of Portland.  

Kind of like the Space Needle is to Seattle, the Rocky Butte is to Portland.  Only it's not a building.  And not as tall.  And it's free.  And there isn't a wait.

Which was the perfect way to end our last night....a simple spot to look out on the city.
And just as the sun started setting, too....

Again...hazy day meant we couldn't see all of the mountains in the distance as we could on a clear day.

The top of the observation area was a fun spot for kids to run around....one kid was doing laps.  :)

Mount Rainier is out there....somewhere....hard to see through the haze!  :(

Good night, Portland!

And goodbye, Pacific Northwest......I miss you already!