mysemiorganizedlife

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My Ode to Ikea

 

 

 

Oh, Ikea…how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  One, your crazy frugal pricing.  Two, your seemingly endless options.  Three, the organization potential in every aisle.  Four, the impossible to pronounce names of your merchandise.  Five, the acrobatic carts that can roll in any direction.

In all seriousness, I LOVE Ikea.  If you are a home or organization blog reader, chances are you’ve heard of this store and how the simple systems can help you organize and decorate your home.  You may have seen the many Pinterest boards and blog posts showing off creative Ikea hacks.  And, if you are anything like me, you can really only drool over the items on virtual display, because there isn’t an Ikea near you…at all.

The first time I visited an Ikea, I was speechless…and so excited.  What a cool store this is!!  I want to come back all the time!  But, sadly, it was almost 3,000 miles away and in another country.  We were visiting relatives and friends, and we were back every few years, but since we were traveling, our ability to bring things home was limited.  Each time we visited, I stuck to things that could be packed flat like plastic tableware and collapsible storage bins.  But, I yearned for more.

Then, recently, when on vacation, I visited my first Ikea in the U.S.  In the parking lot, I asked my daughter for a favor.  I said, can you please be patient for mommy while we are in this store?…It is one of my favorite places.  No lie.  It is.  We spent over an hour and a half wandering the aisles and picking up what could be stuffed into our already overflowing SUV for the six hour drive back home.  (She did pretty well.  She spent a chunk of time giving us tours of the various rooms on the upper floor as if she were a host on HGTV.  Then, she found the fake computers and proceeded to do some “work” while we looked around.  Pretty cute and kept her entertained).

For less than I thought it would cost, I was able to replace some items we bought several years ago from the other Ikea and add a few more items for our kitchen (mostly).  Since we didn’t have a ton of space in the car and I have already put their storage bins and drawer dividers to use, I didn’t buy a whole lot more.  Though I enviously looked at the spice racks that I have used for a multitude uses other than storing spices and the rail system with your choice of hanging doo-dads to organize pretty much anything–I knew I didn’t have a clear purpose for them and didn’t want to buy them just because I was there and other people had done cool things with them.  Though, to be honest, two of the spice racks made it to the cash register with me before I surrendered to logic and told the cashier I didn’t need them.

Here are just a few of our purchases from that day:

For the kiddo.  I adore these plates.  Super easy to store and use.  I replaced the old model oval shaped plates with these new round ones.  Love that these have an edge to them.  I also bought the bowls.

For the kiddo. I adore these plates. Super easy to store and use. I replaced the old model oval shaped plates with these new round ones. Love that these have an edge to them. I also bought the bowls.

Food storage containers.  There are MANY options at Ikea, but we chose these because they are a bit sturdier and have a steam vent.

Food storage containers. There are MANY options at Ikea, but we chose these because they are a bit sturdier and have a steam vent.

We bought a few of the small round plates in this finish a few years ago to replace a few broken ones from our large set (not bought from Ikea).  Looking around for other replacements we stumbled upon these rectangular ones in sets of 4.  After using them a few times, I wish I would have bought another set and just replaced all of our old larger round ones.

We bought a few of the small round plates in this finish a few years ago to replace a few broken ones from our large set (not bought from Ikea). Looking around for other replacements we stumbled upon these rectangular ones and picked up one set of 4. After using them a few times, I wish I would have bought another set and just replaced all of our old larger round ones.

drommar-cake-decorating-set

And something fun for the kiddo and me to play with as we continue our cake baking and decorating adventures.

We got a few other things including a bathroom rug, a metal colander, new round cork trivets, new dish scrubbers (so inexpensive here!), straws, and some other odds and ends.  Nothing too big and mostly replacements or additions to Ikea items we already had.  I told my husband that we’d be in trouble if we lived near an Ikea because I’d spend oodles of time and money there.  He didn’t seem to see the problem with that–which is why I love him.  He tolerates and usually supports my organization habit.  He even found a desk system that he likes that we may have to get a hold of sometime soon.  And, the good news is that I may not have to wait a few years until I step foot inside an Ikea this time.  They are opening one only 3 hours away from us!  (I know that still seems like a crazy distance to drive just to visit an Ikea, but I do have friends that live there to visit as well 🙂 ).  And, I can always order online if I feel like I want to pay the shipping.  But, I really do love to visit the store in person.  There is something about the piles of everything, the bright lights, and the endless possibilities that get me every time.  Oh, Ikea, if only we could have a more permanent relationship.  I guess I will just have to settle for renewing my love for you every so often–unless of course you’d like to come to my home town.

Is there a store that you love to visit, but only have access to at certain times or in certain locations?  Does it make the place more special because you are not able to go as often?

 

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There’s a Reason It’s Called Semi-Organized

Hello All!  Well, everyone that reads or stumbles upon this at least.  I follow an organizational blogger named Jen at I Heart Organizing and have been for a while.  If you haven’t found her on your own yet, be sure to check out her blog.  It is pretty cool.  One of the things I like about her blog is that she keeps it true to life.  While she showcases the beautiful projects and areas she has created in her home, she is never shy about showing us the chaos that sometimes envelopes her house or the projects that have gotten put on the back burner or spaces that she just simply hasn’t had time to tackle yet.  In a brilliant blog post about the difference between every day life and blog posts, Jen tackled a reader’s comment about how the pictures on the I Heart Organizing Blog make her feel “depressed rather than inspired.”  I felt for Jen in that moment, and it seems she really took that comment to heart.  Check out her post linked above to hear her eloquent response.

Reading her post made me think about my own little blog here.  I must confess that when I first started this blog, I didn’t tell anyone I was writing it.  I took a while before I shared it with my husband–then I told my mom about it–and I finally got the courage up to send a link to one of my best friends–who lives in another state.  None of my close friends that are close by (or really anyone I knew) even had a clue that I wrote a blog.   Around my 50th post, my husband gave me a shout out on his Facebook page saying he was proud of what I was doing here (still makes me smile)–and that is the first time folks I knew really got a good look at what I write about–if they happened to be friends with both of us and chose to follow his link.  So, mysemiorganizedlife is still sort of semi-secret.

And, I almost wrote a post about WHY no one knew this little corner of my life existed, but decided against it.  After reading Jen’s post, I feel now is as good a time as any to do so.  So, why the secrecy?  To be honest, I was afraid.  I wasn’t really afraid anyone would judge me harshly for anything that I post about here–because I have really sweet friends.  What I was afraid of was that if they read my posts, they might think I would judge them.  That I would find them lacking, because I write about the things I am trying to do to keep my world in order–emphasis on trying (in case you didn’t catch that).  I didn’t want them to think that every time I entered their home or their car or heard about what they were doing in their classrooms or with their own children that I was assessing them somehow.

And, a comment a good friend of mine made the other day reinforced that uneasiness.  I took my kiddo over to play with her kiddos.  She was worried that she hadn’t had time to clean up the house before our arrival.  I honestly didn’t care.  My kid was super jazzed about playing with her kids (and their guinea pig) and wouldn’t notice if it was “clean” or not.  And, I was simply grateful that the kiddo got the chance to play with other kids–she craves that in the summers.  The state of her living room floor, or whatever, would not phase me or even really register on my radar.  But, she did seem to be worried, at least a little.  She said, “but your house is always so clean and neat.”  I am here to tell you my dear that that is a huge misconception. (The fact that she said this to me as I was shoving things in my trunk and shaking out the towel we keep under the kiddo’s booster seat which was full of who knows what so that the grownups could all pile in my car should have been a little bit of a clue :).

Does my house always look like a Better Homes and Gardens shoot?  Far from it.  Could you quite frequently find baskets of laundry needing to be put away or toys scattered upstairs and down or items lining the counter tops.  Heck yes.  Because we LIVE here.  Is it pretty easy for me to pick things up and have them tidy when I know guests are going to arrive?  Heck yes to that too.  Because I have attempted to put some systems in place and dedicated spaces in our house to make tidying up easier.  It may be a whirlwind of activity for about an hour (sometimes less), but it’s easy.

By that same token, have I misplaced my keys 3 times in the last week?  Yup (totally not following my system of clipping them to my purse.  Seriously, I should know better).  Do I regularly have to go back into the house after heading to the car because I forgot something.  Yes, again (because I didn’t plan ahead like I know I should).  Has my daughter (or myself) gone to bed at her normal time at all this summer?  Um, nope (because it is summer and we’re busy having fun).  Have my carefully crafted habit charts I just wrote about a few weeks ago been ignored a bit more than they should be?  Unfortunately (because with just one kiddo it is easy to fall out of the routine and just pick up and go do stuff.  Plus we’ve had lots of changes to our schedule with visitors, etc.).

So, why even try to put these systems into place and write about them at all?  Because as I have stated on this blog before, this blog is in part just for me.  It is a way for me to record my goals and to help me hold myself more accountable.  These are all things I desperately want to do and to have work (which is why you see me revamp things from time to time), but sometimes I fail. Epically.  And that’s ok too. I learn from my mistakes and try again.  That’s just part of life.  Plus, I love to organize.  It’s something I’ve done since I was small and something I will continue to do the rest of my life.  It just makes me feel happy to see a space that is used well and is tidy.  Whenever I feel life is getting a bit much for me, I know a quick cleaning session of putting a room back in order will brighten my spirits.  Some of us are just weird that way.

I guess my point here is the same one I think Jen was making.  Those of us who blog (from the well known to the little known) try to put our best foot forward in the world.  We want to share our successes with others and learn from each other.  It is a community.  I have never read a homemaking, organization, crafting, etc. type of blog that set out to make people feel bad about themselves.  Most of the time people are just sharing their great ideas with others.  Really, blogs are a way to connect with others, to showcase your talents, and to maybe inspire others (and maybe even yourself)  to try something new.  Plus, she seriously does keep it pretty real.  She is not shy about showing off the not so pretty as well.

I would like to challenge home bloggers out there to do what Jen did and what I am doing here below.  Post a few picks of the chaos behind the scenes.  Show people that it’s not all glamour shots and sunshine.  As a blog reader, I know I appreciate hearing about both the every day as well as the isn’t this the best idea and prettiest thing ever.  Thank you to all of the bloggers out there who have inspired me and to all of the people who have taken the time to read one of my posts.  Have a lovely week all!

And just to share some craziness around my house.  This is what it looked like earlier this week…and a few days after that.  But, knowing I have company coming in a few days, I can easily pick it up and have it back to looking presentable fairly easily.  Enjoy the mess and the success!  Below are just a few of our spaces.  Our kitchen was a disaster for a few days due to cooking and baking projects in preparation for the July 4th holiday.  I’d show you a before and after, but the after got done just as guests were arriving, so no time to even grab a quick pic.  Sometimes it’s down to the wire, but I was so happy with the way our decorations and food turned out–even if I wasn’t able to share with anyone but our holiday guests.

The crazy before picture.  This was mid laundry and mid projects.

The crazy before picture. This was mid laundry and mid projects.

This is a few days later.  All ready for company.

This is a few days later. All ready for company.

Can you tell I just made a few runs to the store for refills of some of our bathroom products?  Honestly, it did look like this for the better part of a day, because I just didn't have time to get stuff put away.  But, that's life!

Honestly, it did look like this for the better part of a day, because I just didn’t have time to get stuff put away. But, that’s life!  We all survived with a little clutter for a few hours.

Shiny and ready to tackle the day!  Everything is back where it belongs.

Shiny and ready to tackle the day! Everything is back where it belongs.

 

 

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