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Tackling Your Pantry

Pantries are a great invention.  We have one at my house, and I appreciate the fact that I can store all our food in one place.  There are tons of ways to organize your pantry.  Finding the right one depends all on the type of pantry you have, and your individual preferences.

Here’s a shot of one pantry I organized:

This is built-in as part of the cabinetry, and the shelves are very deep.  With deep shelves like this, my client needed a solution for the lack of accessibility.   We decided to go with baskets in keeping things grouped together and easy to get to.  We even made fun labels!  Here is a close-up:


Another type of pantry I recently organized was a walk-in.  These shelves were not so deep, and everything was fairly accessible. However, it was still very difficult for my client to keep it organized.  When its hard to keep organized, you have to change it up!  There were a lot of items on the floor that needed to go onto shelves, the shelves were jumbled and some things hard to find, and there were kitchen appliances and cookware up high that my client used on a regular basis.  Here’s a shot of that one:


These tiered spice racks are AMAZING!!!  I like these for organizing spices in pantries or cabinets.  Look at the difference it makes:


We used the top shelf for gadgets and cookware used on special occasions (such as the extra blenders)


Pantries can be a time intensive project.   However, when you can easily determine what you have, it makes cooking and writing grocery lists so much easier.  Group things together as they make sense to you, and make sure you put them back in their place after each use.  These were just two examples; there are so many types of pantries and the options for organizing them are extensive.

Have fun!  And if you need help figuring out what works best for you as you tackle your pantry, give me a call.


An Organized Kitchen

The Kitchen.  The most valued space in the home to many people.  Kitchens can be the most difficult space to keep organized because of the constant flow of activity.  Having great organization within all the cabinets and drawers is a must.

This is a “no compromise” space in my home.  Which means, I want it absolutely functional and clutter-free.  With a husband and 3 boys who eat 3 meals and a few snacks a day, I’m guessing I spend about 70% of the time I’m at home and awake in the kitchen.  So I have to love it and love being in it!

I just finished helping a client reorganize her kitchen.   This client is an extremely organized person, and upon entering her kitchen I saw no clutter.  It is absolutely beautiful and custom designed with tons of  space.  Why did she need my help?  First off, she had combined households within the last couple of years, and still had a lot of duplicates (and triplicates).   Secondly, she needed better functionality and and flow.  Functionality is the most important thing in every room, especially a kitchen.  You need to store things where you use them.

This took a lot of planning and problem solving, but we got things just right for her family!  Here’s what we did:

Pyrex dishes that were being used frequently, had been stored in a high hard to reach cabinet, along with some other things.


We brought them down to a drawer below the stove top, right at the counter where casseroles are prepared.


This client entertains often, and thus has several serving platters/dishes.  They were hard to get to, on another high shelf.  I thought the plates and bowls deserved their own cabinet as well.  So here’s what we did that cabinet:


We took another cabinet that had a few miscellaneous items hogging great space, and gave them new homes.  We then customized this free cabinet to store her serving platters with much better accessibility!  Thank you Martha Stewart!


We put all the food storage items together.  Don’t go overboard on Tupperware.  When deciding on how much you need, take into consideration how often you have leftovers, do you actually eat your leftovers, who takes them to work, etc.


Check out how much better this utensil drawer looks after we used a divider and put a few things in more functional locations:


We did the ENTIRE kitchen.  I think we left one cabinet untouched, because it was already perfect.  We completely reorganized the pantry too, but that’s for another blog post.  I loved working with this client and am so excited about the new flow she has for her kitchen!

Do you love your kitchen?

Thanks for reading!


Home Office Redesign

This week I am excited to feature a project that I’ve been working on the last few weeks.  My client contacted me in a transition of moving to working from home.  The available space in her home was her bonus room.  This room also functioned as workout room, playroom, and family entertainment room.  She needed it to continue to serve as a multipurpose room, but look like an office she wanted to come to everyday.  Tricky business; but with paint, rearranging furniture, and adding furniture and decor, we made this space amazing!

I want to add, this client is a very organized person.  Her house is picture perfect and she’s great at maintaining it.  But she needed an outside perspective for this space.  The organized can even benefit from hiring an organizer!

Now for the fun part, pictures! Pairing before and after together.  When you walk into the room, here is a picture of what you see!

We brought the couch away from the wall and to the center of the room, in front of the window.  There’s a contour table and a little space behind. The treadmill was tough because of the slanted ceilings, but we found a place for it.

The entertainment center had to be moved to where TV could be watched from the couch and treadmill (and the kids could plop in front to play video games).  Here’s a shot of it:


Below is a shot from another corner of the room, we added a cube shelf to house the toys and put it where the entertainment center used to be:


Next, is the before and after of the office nook.  We chose a fun, bright blue color to set this space apart.  Finding an appropriate amount of workspace was tricky with 3 monitors and a printer, but we did it!


And for a close-up shot of the bookshelf she’s using to house office supplies/work materials.  I love her choice in decor and all the fun touches!


And lastly, probably my favorite corner of the room, the kids’ art table!!!


Here’s a close up of the cute art/drawing utensil buckets!


We also spent a lot of time detangling and simplifying cords – behind the computers and entertainment center.  We had a lot of fun and now she is working away, enjoying her new space.  The kids love it too and are spending more time in it.  I was so happy to make this space functional and fashionable :)  Thanks for reading!


Get Organized.  Simply Live.

February 5, 2013 - 1:12 pm

Nichole Hackmann - You did an amazing job! You have definitely found your niche. So happy for you in your new pursuits. Love reading the blog by the way.

February 5, 2013 - 1:33 pm

Simple Spaces - Thank you so much! I’m having a lot of fun!

September 25, 2013 - 4:56 pm

Playroom Redesign » Simple Spaces - […] everyone can devote an entire room in the house to a playroom.  I did a multipurpose bonus room redesign a few months ago that incorporated a play area for the kids.  Go here to see how that was […]

Garage Transformation

Okay, so who’s proud of the state of your garage?  That would probably be very few of us.  Garages often become the catch all, and get overrun with “stuff.”

This happens especially when there is little attic space and no shed or storage building.  Such was the case with the space I’m featuring today.  My clients had a lot going on in their garage.  They needed it to serve multiple functions, including housing their cars again.  I loved working with this family; we worked hard and long but had a lot of fun!

Are you ready to see the before?  This is what we started with.  Behind door number one:

And behind door number two:


Okay, so we actually began by pulling EVERYTHING out into the driveway and lawn.  Cars kept stopping by asking if they were having a yard sale.

It was a long process of grouping like things, cleaning, purging, planning, shopping, putting things in place, more shopping, more purging, more sorting.  BUT, my clients hung in there and together we brought order!

I’ve paired some before and after images together, I’ll let them speak for themselves:





Remember what it looked like with the doors opened before?  Look what’s behind doors number one and two now!


Needless to say, they are enjoying their “new” garage.  Everything is labeled and accessible, and there is room for cars to be parked.  No more feeling overwhelmed and stressed when walking into this space.  There’s now more time to “simply live.”

Thanks for reading!  Who’s next?



January 30, 2013 - 10:43 am

Denise Merritt - I recognize that garage’s ‘before’ pictures. The ‘after’ ones look GREAT!!!

Trouble with toys? Switch it up!

It is every parents frustration to spend money on toys, only to watch their kids eventually lose interest and start doing sword fights with the candle sticks.  It has been mine for 6 years.  We don’t stay inside much, but while inside I like for the kids to be occupied.  I discovered a little trick that KEEPS my children’s interest in their toys.  Want to hear it?

Putting LESS toys on the shelves and switching them up.  You heard me right. Less is more in this case.  When children have fewer choices, they will be more likely to make a good choice!

Here’s how I do it

We don’t have a full-fledged “playroom,” but we devote one cube shelf downstairs to toys.  The kids also have a few toys in their rooms.  The remainder of the toys I put in storage totes that go in our easy access attic space.    One day a week, I bring down the totes and switch it up.

First we had to clean up.

Next, I take down the toys from the previous week, and restock the shelf with “new ones.”  The kids help with this simply by pulling out what they are interested in.

The toys from the previous week go into the totes and are ready to be stored back in the attic.

It usually takes about 10 minutes tops.  This week it took 20 because I was taking pictures :)  Twenty minutes of switching toys is a great investment; it yields hours of interest in toys again.  Look he’s already enjoying his toys again.

One last thing, it doesn’t have to be perfect.  You don’t have to have the same toys each round of switching.  JUST DO IT and let your kids help you pick out what they want to play with that week.  Have fun!

December 11, 2013 - 9:00 am

Organizing Kids’ Books » Simple Spaces - […] were 50 others to choose from!).  I decided to enact the same principle that I use with toys.  Go here to read my post on toy […]