Kansas City Kristal

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Uggh.  I have been dreading this one.  All month long.  Actually, I have been dreading this one for 2 years.  I have outgrown most of my clothes over the past year.  There, I said it.  I admit it.  I can see it.  Everyone can.  I have passed the pleasantly plump stage and I am officially fatter than I have ever been.  I am miserable in my own skin.  I have no kids to blame it on.  No excuses.  According to some posters, that means I should get rid of almost every piece of clothing I own.  Ain't happenin'!  I know I have too much stuff.  I have made HUGE progress in just 1 day of tackling the master closets (couldn't work on it yesterday at all) which has required me to attack the office closet (currently housing my summer duds, long dresses and too-small pants) and the disaster area spare bedroom which is the go-to dumping ground because no body ever stays overnight here.  That makes me sad that we are so old and fat and boring that we don't have parties anymore where people have to stay the night. : (  Oh, well, I guess there are worse things.  Anyway, this a** is getting back into those pants, so they are staying.  It's not that I haven't purged anything.  I flung over 20# of crap and a big bag of clothes out of here just in the past week.  Baby steps.  I hate to admit how bad I have let it get out of control around here, my dirty little secret....but I also hate seeing these posts where people show their supposed "master closet" and they have like 3 pairs of shoes and no pants are visible.  I know you are hiding your messes, people!  Where ARE your pants?!?!  I have taken pictures of my hot messes and I am posting them on the internet for everyone to see, judge, laugh, cry, shake their heads, forward to their friends, whatever!  I am not too proud and it doesn't look like that now and I already aired my dirty laundry, so it can't get much worse than that!  So here are some very scary before pictures.  (I can't believe I am about to do this.)
BEFORE--My closet and dirty clothes piled on top of basket of clean laundry to put away, shame on me!
DURING--who knew this cute chair was under those huge jeans and sweater!?!?!?
Actually, I had been thinking about trying those slim hangers, but couldn't find any that I felt were affordable until the other day.  I found 10 cute black and pink ones at Big Lots for $5, so going to give them a try. 

FOUND:  Missing Socks!  I think I matched up about 100 pairs today!
 The good news is that both my husband and I have a lifetime supply of socks.  We NEVER have to buy socks again, or cleaning rags, or draft dodgers and we can make a whole colony of sock monkeys if we want to, so there!

AFTER:  My closet, even a perfect spot to slide my slippers!  Most of the shoes I currently wear are hidden by the chair in this picture.
AFTER--Oh, looky, I can close the doors!

Now on to my DH's closet....
BEFORE--DH's Master Closet 

Awww, he's such a good sport.  I guess I would be to if someone was going to clean up MY mess!  I actually like keeping his closet and drawers up better than my own.  Don't have to think about anything, can just DO it.

AFTER--His Master Closet
 I changed up a few areas that I like what I did.  He had an old hanging shoe rack, the kind with the clear plastic loops (see left of white shelves)  His shoes are big, so only one shoe fit in a slot and a lot of slots were not being used so I was going to re-purpose the whole thing but then I decided to take his swimming trunks and workout shorts out of the middle shelves to make more room and rolled them up and stuck them in the "shoe rack."  (So we are ready for a last minute cruise or indoor pool....)

I wound up doing that with all of the shorts I could fit and put the rest in a plastic bin for storage.  Moved his short sleeved stuff all over to the left of his closet and put all the winter stuff as easy to get to as possible.  He prefers his gray or blue t-shirts, so I moved all of those from his drawers to the shelves.  I wasn't trying to recreate the wheel, so I just left them folded how he had them and stuffed them in there.  I also separated his long john pants on a shelf and his long john shirts, as he is wearing those daily now for his new job with the railroad.

  Then I went ahead and was able to get most of his sweaters in the closet, folded.  Put jeans together, then workout pants, then dark dress slacks and finally, khaki pants in the back.

I'm really pleased how it turned out.

Then I started working on his drawers.  The white socks were so crammed in there I couldn't open the drawer!  So I dumped them all out, he selected his favorite style of white sock and we matched them up and put the rest of them in a storage bin to access later when he needs "new" socks.

AFTER--Sock Drawer

AND he has an empty drawer! (Um, we are experiencing technical difficulties, so please excuse the layout of this section and repeated pictures.)

Then, I ventured in HERE.....(I can't believe I am really going to show you this!)

BEFORE--Spare Bedroom

BEFORE--Spare Bedroom

BEFORE--Spare Bedroom
In all this mess, I guess I forgot to take a picture of the actual closet.  It is pretty small and now holds the hubs camo, suits, my short dresses and sorority stuff that I occasionally need to wear since I'm on advisory board for Sigma Kappa at Northwest Missouri State University.  The closet also has out of season shoes....although I am thinking about moving the shoes....

I found these dear old soles....
My favorite Calvin Klein shoes that I had to retire : (
Took their picture so I could always remember them....sniff, sniff.
AFTER--Spare Bedroom closet

AFTER--Spare Bedroom Closet

AFTER--Spare Bedroom Seasonal Shoes--Boots are in a different area...

Can't wait to wear these this summer!  Cutest shoes, ever!
DURING--Disaster Area Spare Bedroom--not perfect, but getting there, on the floor: more clothes to donate, quilt that needs cleaned and a couple of odds and ends to find a permanent home for.  This room is now my dressing room or "staging area," got my scarves all in the same place and on a hanger, jewelry and accessories are in here and it looks 400% better, doncha think?

All of this organizing the master closet meant I also needed to address the closet in the office...

BEFORE--Office Closet--really not too bad--right?

AFTER--Office Closet.  I did put my colors together, although I was kind-of already doing this.
I have a few more projects that I am working on for the Groundhog Day Organizational Challenge Recap!  Please check back here on February 2nd when I reveal my AFTER vs. AFTER-AFTER pics and some tweaks and some new projects, hopefully some new ideas and inspiration!  My goal is for everyone to have some accountability and link up and show us how you are doing!  Good job everybody!  This has been so much fun!  I've learned a lot, I feel like I've made new friends and made a TON of PROGRESS!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 18--Kristal's Keepsakes

I was a little perplexed when I saw the challenge for today. I have a (mostly scrapbook) crafting basement which does need some tweaking in the organizational department. Toni at A Bowl Full Of Lemons
(oh man, I am figuring this linking and blogging stuff OUT!  Go me!) hinted at photo organization, so I am kinda thinking the craft room is going to be the project for this weekend.....so I thought, how do I do just keepsakes for today?  So I read through the people who have already tackled it and looked for ideas.   I think it's Kristy, over at Mom 2 Maya who posted about her daughter's keepsakes and how she had saved a note she put in lunch every day in 3rd Grade....so I gave her some ideas about making a keepsake of that for her to give her daughter when she leaves home....It got me thinking about a similar project I did last year to save my Christmas pictures, Christmas letters, cards, etc.  I LOVE what I did and plan to do one of these every year, so thought I would share that with you here today.
Overall Project--Used Christmas ribbons that I wrapped presents with and the ornament is a gift tag that went with some of my wrapping paper.

You may already know that I pick a different Christmas Theme every year.  Ya, I am THAT GIRL!  I usually try to plan the theme a year ahead so I can pick up my thematic wrapping paper, ribbons, special ornaments to commemorate the theme/year, etc. at the after-Christmas sales.  But sometimes, something happens that makes me change the theme.  This happened in 2009.  (That also happened this year, but that's another story.)  My husband and I got an AMAZING deal on a last minute cruise in 2009 (we LOVE Vacations To Go.com) but it happened really fast and we got back close to Thanksgiving and I was just inspired to change the theme from "A Homespun Christmas" to "A Caribbean Christmas!"

This is the "Christmas theme" that I used stickers to stick on the back of a photo Christmas card I received.

So, we put up my smaller tree (easier to decorate with what I had, since I was switching to something non-traditional) and I added in my small blue tree (I call it my Dr. Suess tree, it has a curvy trunk--DH hates it.) and also a small pink tinsel tree that I thought was cute at Big Lots after-Christmas Sale the year before (they have the best sale, got that baby 90% off, I think it was 50 cents.)  My mom came over after we decorated and took some pictures for us for our cards and I happened to find a template with a blue, a pink and a green tree!  Too perfect!
Our Christmas Card, 2009
This was a pretty card from Fidelity Investments, which I wouldn't normally save, but it had a beautiful quote on the front and the back was even pretty, so I added it to the book and embellished it a little, too.  Notice I hole punched the corners of everything with a small snowflake punch.
I added Christmas Letters and the left side are samples of my wrapping paper, so I can recall how pretty my packages were before they got ripped open!

The left side is a pre-made journaling spot that I attached to the back of a photo Christmas card and the right side is a picture of a souvenir ornament and rhinestone "ho ho ho" that I got at after-Christmas sale!
This is an envelope I made to hold a large Christmas Letter.  Attached to the plain back of a Christmas card.

Here is the envelope closed, with two brads and some cute green gnarly yarn.  Seriously, where do I come up with this stuff!?!?!  I'm pretty proud of this one!

This is the back of my little Christmas Keepsake.  This is a card we received from my cousin who got married on the beach in 2009, so I flipped it around and made it my back page.  So this is pretty from either side, as I have it hanging in my scrapbook basement so I can recall the tropical sun in my dark basement ; )
What did you do with your Keepsakes, today?  I can't wait to see everyone's post!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 17: The Mail

So, paper is my downfall.  I love paper.  Now, don't get me wrong....I don't have a problem with junk mail and putting all paper possible in the recycle bin...but I have a lot of papers I want to read.  Fliers of houses that are possibilities for some client or another, or a new listing I liked, or showing sheets I need to fill out feedback for the sellers/agents.  Receipts, to-do lists, recipes to try, coupons, craft projects to make, wrapping paper, packing paper, tissue paper, gift bags, journals, lists, magazines, and then there is the SCRAPBOOK PAPER and my *purple paper collection*  Oh yeah, and the Mail: bills, invitations, newsletters, newspapers (I love the Kansas City Business Journal) magazines, cards, letters/notes (do you ever get any of these anymore?)
Since I love paper so much and have been on a search for cute file folders for the past 7 years....I had just picked up some new cute ones at Michael's, 4 for $1 dollar and 3 for 1$ at Target Dollar Spot.  I've been thinking about a command center for a little while.  I have a couple of projects in process for this in our household, so you will have to get by with just a few pictures of what I completed tonight.  I'll post more when I finish the rest of the project.  So, I went around my house and gathered everything that I thought could work for a command center like what Toni at abowlfulloflemons.blogspot.com made.  Here were my options:
BEFORE--Selecting my "Command Center."  Purse and shoe folders are from Michael's, set of 4 for 1$
I decided on this, which doesn't look like much, but it helps the file folders stand upright when I put them in front, like the next picture....
DURING--Command Center--Blue/Green/Teal folders from Target 3 for $1

My files in this basket are currently:  "IN" 
                                                        To File
                                                        Ideas (things to consider, build, read, copy, try, etc.)
AFTER--Command Center

In my little white plastic desk organizer I have a notepad that we make our lists on.  A pair of scissors, a black Sharpie (since I'm starting to note when I open something....thanks to the blogger who posted that idea, sorry I can't remember who you are) and a blue and a pink Sharpie for my husband and I to write on the calendar with.  Check back later to see how that project turns out!  I have also added stamps, envelopes, address labels and a plain notebook if you need more space than the "list" paper.  Outgoing mail simply sits in the front of the first folder so we can easily see it and run it out to the mailbox or to the post office.  I'm going to try putting our GPS's in here (we have 2) and I usually have both in my purse, doh!  Not sure if that is going to work or not, but going to try it, then hubby can use his when he wants to.  I am also going to try putting greeting cards in here and monthly folders with appropriate cards in them.  My address book is in my phone, but I think I'll keep the old book of addresses in here, too.  I think total cost for this was less than 8$
Teal basket 1$ at Big Lots
Folders 3$ worth
White plastic desk organizer either given to me from my Mother or picked up at a garage sale for less than 1$
Card organizer purchased at 1/2 price books for 1$
Clear snap folder with black trim from Dollar Store 1$ (I put my address labels, stamps and envelopes in it.)
Scissors and Sharpies and pens I had.
List paper 50 cents, after Christmas sale at Gordmans

I think this is going to work pretty well for us.  Thanks for making it one of the challenges, Toni!


Ok, so I have had off and on success with posting the little pictures like the one above for the 21 day challenge at A Bowl Full of Lemons. I was able to do it on my second day of blogging and then I have been trying ever since and couldn't get it to work again until now. Am I the only one? I was able to do it this time in the Edit HTML mode, by posting the code. I have tried it this way before though and only get the actual text/code, no link or logo. I don't know, but glad it is working right now!

Day 16--The Refrigerator

I KNEW this was coming.  We had Taco Monday and had my mom over to watch the Bachelor, so I had a ton of bowls stuffed in all over my fridge from taco leftovers....what a perfect night to have leftover tacos and get that stuff out of my fridge and take my pictures and CLEAN IT OUT while all that extra stuff was outta there. 
BEFORE--The Fridge
BEFORE--The Fridge Door
It's kind of like the Ark: margarita mix--two-by-two, two mustards, two bbq sauces, two soy sauces, two Italian dressings, two cocktail sauces, two lime juices, two lemon juices.  Obviously not sure of what I had at home while I was at the store....not anymore!
BEFORE--"Droppings" in the "Ark"

I had a brown, goopey mess hiding under the bottom shelf, behind my produce drawers.  Chocolate fondue?  Cola?  I don't know for sure and I wasn't curious enough to test it out!  Or sick enough to take a picture.  Took the first half of American Idol to soak it out of there.  I tackled this job on the commercial breaks.  I am not normally an Idol watcher (The Bachelor is the only show I am dedicated to!)  But doing this during the commercial breaks and just one section at a time, worked out nicely and it really wasn't such a chore.  I was really bummed and a little perplexed of what to use to clean out my refrigerator since learning about TOXIC CHEMICALS from Toni at abowlfulloflemons.blogspot.com  I mean, what was I going to spray in there with my FOOD and then shut the door???!?!?  Not something I would have even worried about or considered just 2 weeks ago.  But, my Shaklee products should be here VERY SOON!  Like, tomorrow, people!!!  I seriously can't wait to clean my oven with the Scour Off!  And clean my porcelain sink, and mop my floors...and...!!!  So, I used my "LA's Awesome" cleaner.  It says non-toxic, no bleach, amonia, etc....and it is a concentrate that you dilute, so I diluted it to 10 to 1 for general cleaning and thoroughly wiped down everything with hot water first, so it was kind of just a quick disinfectant and hopefully not too potent in there...I mean, I don't THINK it's gonna blow the door off, or anything...anyway, here are some after pictures:
AFTER--The Fridge
AFTER--The Fridge Door
Obviously, I grouped like items together after wiping everything down and washing the shelves in the sink.  I did add a couple of baskets, which I never would have thought of doing in the fridge until seeing Toni do it.  She is just so cool!  That woman is changing my life!  How about yours? 
AFTER--small basket of Tabasco, (two) small syrups and lemon and lime juices.
Holy cow, all my jellies are together?!?!?  How did that happen!?!?!  It's the little things, isn't it?

Day 15: Medicine/Vitamin Storage

BEFORE--Medicine/Vitamins Storage

An easy one!  Not much to do here....tackled this with my Medicine cabinet.  We do have a small supply of vitamins and supplements in the kitchen and this cabinet did need a little tweaking, so here is the before....
BEFORE--Medicine/Vitamin Storage
AFTER--Vitamins/Medicine Storage
I have his and hers vitamins on the small lazy Susan (what I used to have my spices on before we moved into this house and I got the BIG one!  I still have my cocoa and baking soda and baking powder here.  This is kind of my "baking cabinet."  I have my measuring cups, some Pampered Chef items that aren't frequently used, sugars and extra flour storage, lemon juicer, strainers, sifter.  Here is each shelf:
AFTER--Vitamins Storage.  This is a deep corner cabinet, flours and sugars are stored to the right....
AFTER--Measuring Cups/Measuring Bowls and Strainer.  I wiped down these shelves, but this picture doesn't look like it?!?!
AFTER--Additional supplements husband doesn't take, (just reminded him they are in here...) Salad Spinner from Ikea--love it, and meat ties for Rotisserie and cooking product--GT Express 101 that I haven't used yet, need to try it out--my present from our Gunter Family Dirty Santa.
AFTER--Pampered Chef Stones and Cake Pans
 I couldn't remember for sure what the bottom item was, since the box wasn't marked.  I knew it was my muffin pan or my mini loaf stone...so I stamped a cupcake on it and wrote "muffin pan" on the box so I don't have to climb up and pull it out to check when I am looking for either...So that's the end of the Vitamins/Medicine Storage!
I needed an easy challenge because I had some other projects that I have been working on.  I did find some cabinet hardware to replace on the desk my husband built in high school.  I love how it turned out.  I thought I had a before picture, but can't find it. ; (  Here is how it looks now.  There are two large file drawers, so I got the large "cup style" pulls for the bottom and the coordinating smaller ones for the 4 top drawers.  $28 total for all 6 handles.  A little more than I wanted to spend, but the "cup style" pulls were all too small except for this one and a galvanized silver one from Martha Stewart that was a little too industrial for my taste. 
AFTER-- New desk hardware and hubby likes it, too!
I replaced a toilet seat.  Didn't intend to do that, but our toilet seat had the metal attachments that looked nice when we installed it, but now is discolored from the chemicals I used to clean the toilet, I guess.  I found one made in the USA that has plastic bolt locks that you can easily remove the entire top and easily clean for less than $10 at Lowe's!  I also found some foam "washers" (Made in USA) that are supposed to prevent slipping and sliding toilet seats....for under $3 when I was looking for replacement toilet bolt covers.  Now my toilets look great and don't slide around!  Can't see those rusty bolts anymore, either!  So, since I've been introduced to Toni and Shaklee products, I've been doing some research and really thinking about all those chemicals in my house....I had not heard anything about Shaklee until finding her site and started researching Shaklee and I love that they are A+ rated on Better Business Bureau (for more than 20 years...) and products made in the USA and good for the environment in several different ways!  And they are REALLY affordable! Cheaper than anything else, really!  Win-Win-Win-Win! (I'm excited, can you tell?!)  I was thinking there were a few products that I wanted to try and as I thought about things and looked into the products, I thought, I might want to give these as housewarming gifts to my clients that move into a new home.  (I am a Realtor and many moving companies will not move household chemicals.)  How great to give a gift that they need, that is good for our world and that is good for their new home environment!?!?  So, (drumroll, please....) I decided to sign up to be a Distributor with Toni's Team!  I have been furiously using up the cleaning products I have (a lot inherited from clients moving over the years...hate to see things go to waste...) and intend to take what is left over and donate it to a women's shelter and get those chemicals out of MY life!  My Shaklee products shipped today, so I can hardly wait to try them out and let you know what I REALLY think!  I can't wait to clean the oven!!!  I never thought I would EVER say THAT!  All of these chemicals have been really weighing on my mind as I go through the different daily challenges from Toni at abowlfulloflemons.blogspot.com...."gee, do I really want to use these chemicals in my refrigerator, in an enclosed area with my food?"  And seeing all the pictures from throughout my house, chemicals under every sink....it makes me sad and not even something I was attuned to just 2 short weeks ago....amazing! 
BEFORE--Just some of the Toxic Chemicals lurking under my sink!  Yikes! 

I also took the child-proof locks off of our bathroom cabinets.  We don't have real kids yet, and soon all of my TOXIC CHEMICALS will be outta here, so off they came!  Such a simple thing and my husband even commented about how glad he was to have those off!  We've only been here 4 years and I can't tell you how torn up my hands are from those stupid things.  Sheesh!  I guess it's what we get used to, but so thankful for the changes happening in my life in 2011 ("Money-Eleven!")