DIY Nail Polish Storage

I’m a little obsessed lately with nail polish. I’ve always like a good manicure (which I do myself), but growing up an avid nail biter meant my nails always looked awful. However, last year, I took a month to battle my bad habit, and things are still doing well. Now that I have longer nails, it’s much more fun to keep them polished.

However, breaking the nail biting habit is costing me a fortune! I love polish now. 

My collection before was housed in a plastic shoe box. It quickly outgrew the lid and was starting to spill over the sides. Not only was this messy, but it was awful when the only polish I wanted just happen to be on the bottom of the box (which was always).

Nail Polish Storage_Before

So in an effort to organize my linen closet, I used some scrap wood to build some nail polish storage boxes. The structure was as basic as it gets, and to make them quickly, I only used nails to hold everything together.

Nail Polish Storage

I built 3 basic boxes, like the above, and one slightly special box that holds tools.The tool box was split into two compartments, one side for tools and the other for clear polishes and treatments (i.e cuticle oil, base coats, top coats, etc). I reach for this box most often since I keep all the files in there so I made the front a bit lower to make it easier to identify and remove from the shelf.

Nail Polish Storage

Since I used scrap wood, some of the boards were bowed and knotted. Each box needed quite a bit of wood filler. I set the nails and filled all the seams.

Nail Polish Storage

After a heavy coat of wood filler, I spent a day sanding them. As you can see in the picture above, many of the seams were very uneven. This didn’t really bother me since I was making these out of scraps for free, but it required a lot of sanding to clean them up.

After wiping them free of dust, I applied 2 coats spray primer and 2 coats of white satin spray paint. Since it’s likely that polish may leak, I also applied several thin coats of Satin Poly. It won’t help if a whole bottle spills and dries in the box, but it will help me clean up a quick leak. I also like the sheen of satin poly on a project like this.

Nail Polish Storage

There is a 4th box, but it was still drying when I took these pictures.

The last step was to add some label holders. I purchased 2 packages of chrome label holders from Staples, Martha Stewart collection. Unfortunately I can’t find a link to the product online, but I found plenty of them in store. They come is a brushed chrome color and I used my magic ORB spray paint to darken them. They attached with double stick tape, so there is no hardware to deal with.

Nail Polish Storage


Nail Polish Storage

I split the boxes into color families to make it easy to find any polish. I have a Red/Pink box, a Blue/Purple box, the Tools box, and an Other box.

Nail Polish Storage

They easily stack in the linen cabinet and actually look pretty nice. I also like that there is space to add more boxes in case my collection continues to grow.

Nail Polish Storage


Project Cost Breakdown (for all boxes):

Wood/Nails (Already Owned/Scrap Wood) = $0

White Spray Paint, Spray Primer, Spray Satin Poly (Already Owned) = $0

Labels (Martha Stewart @ Staples) = $8 (I think they were about $4 a package and I bought 2)

ORB Spray Paint for Labels (Already Owned) = $0

Total Project Cost: $8

Garage Organization – Magnetic Paint Brush Bar

Ah Mondays :sigh: usually I don’t like you so much. However, today? Today was a really great day which I’m taking as a sign that year 30 is going to be amazing. I can’t even say that I did anything all that ‘great’, it was just a really wonderful and productive day.

I got a good nights sleep which makes all the difference in the world and woke up without an alarm clock. I even had time before work to take my pup out for a walk, workout, take a shower/makeup/yadda yadda without racing around like a crazy person. I was able to get out of work a little early so I had time to take care of some errands and finished buying all the birthday/mother’s day gifts for this month. 

I even had a lucky little friend hang out on my car this evening while I was running errands. He held on for dear life and travelled to each stop with me before finally flying free when I was on my way home.

Instagram Ladybug

Lately with work I haven’t been getting through my list of house projects, but I did tackle one easy organizational task recently in the garage.

Now that I have most of the workbench/storage installed in the garage, I’m starting to shift to decor and organization. The shelves have helped a lot in keeping things clean, but the smaller items are getting lost in the clutter.

I’m also finding myself with quite a bit of empty wall space. 

Magnetic Paint Brush Holder

I do plan to install some shelving above the workbench in the future, but in the meantime I needed something to organize my paintbrushes/spackle knives/etc. I waste a lot of time searching for these supplies so I wanted to find a way to keep them all in an easy to access area. So I purchased a metal magnetic knife bar via Amazon. It’s for holding culinary knives in the kitchen, but since it’s basically a big magnet, I thought it would be functional in the garage as well. Plus it looks fancy…and my garage could use a little fanciness. Ha!

MIU France Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Holder, 20-Inches


Installation was a breeze and within minutes I had the bar securely attached to the wall. I took about a dozen pictures because I like shiny things because the paint can reflection was killing my shots, but you get the point.

Magnetic Paint Brush Holder

…and it’s working perfectly to hold all my painting supplies.

Magnetic Paint Brush Holder

I have to say I’m pretty impressed with how it turned out. I can easily grab what I need and I never have to worry about losing that paint key again (I misplace that sucker ALL THE TIME).

Magnetic Paint Brush Holder

What do you guys think? What type of indoor organizational tools have you brought outside? I think I need some girly touches in this space. It’s feeling a little…umm…manly. I get that Garages are typically a ‘man cave’, and I don’t want to paint my garage walls pink or anything, but there’s a small part of me that wants to chuck a bucket of glitter at the wall. It needs a little sprucing up…there’s something a guy wouldn’t say about his garage.

DIY: Organizing Printed Photos

Growing up I never thought I’d see the day where printed photos were out of style. While sorting through pictures recently, I realized that I barely have any from the last decade. Why? Everything went digital and I stopped printing them when I could easily save them to disc. I also recently realized that my children will never understand the link between cassette tapes and pencils…oh wait…they won’t know what a cassette tape is. I feel old.

Part of decorating the Spare Bedroom involved cleaning out a few shelves full of random photographs. They were tucked into the pages of photo albums and piled into stacks. They aren’t organized in any way. In an effort to both organize and decorate, I tackled the photos. We’ll leave the records and my grandmother’s vintage Polaroid camera for another post (although it wasn’t vintage to her). I also have her pea green rotary phone, but I digress…

Organizing Photos

As I was organizing the photos I realized the photo albums just aren’t working for me right now. They take up a lot of space and the full albums were falling apart. I have a lot of picture that mean the world to me and they deserve to be treated better than this.

Organizing Photos

That little pup was my first love. She passed away in 2005. It still makes me cry to talk about her and it took  me three years to work up the courage to get another dog.

Organizing Photos

This collage was for my grandmothers funeral. The two largest pictures were from my grandparents wedding day, married about 64 years. She passed away the same year my beloved pup…it was a tough year.

Organizing Photos

Wow, I wasn’t planning on turning this into a share fest of passed relatives, sorry about that.

While some pictures are framed, most are stuffed into boxes. In reality the boxes didn’t even close. Organizing Photos

It took a few hours, but I was able to pull all the pictures out of the old albums and sort them into new white boxes that I picked up for $2 each at Michaels. Simple, Clean, and Stackable!

Organizing Photos

Unfortunately I underestimated how many old pictures I had and needed one more box. Since it was 10pm and I’m impatient, I didn’t want to wait until Michaels opened the next day.

Enter the SHOEBOX!

It’s ugly and boring, but it’s the perfect size and sturdy. So I grabbed some leftover white duct tape from the photo light box project and some wrapping paper.

Organizing Photos

I kinda sorta love it.

The duct tape covered up all the blue and has a great texture. The wrapping paper was clearance paper from Target this past Christmas. I loved it because it doesn’t look remotely holiday, just beautiful.

Organizing Photos

Organized Photos

I may need to buy some more shoes instead of photo boxes this weekend!

…like I need another reason to buy shoes…

How To Store Your Favorite Magazine Recipes

I already shared my love for ripping apart magazines to create inspiration books; but I also have a thing for ripping out stacks of recipes from every magazine I can find. It’s a great way to find delicious recipes, but storing those loose pages is a nightmare.

Magazine Recipe Storage

Every month the stack gets bigger and bigger. I can’t find anything in it and there’s not much luck that I’m going to flip through that stack for dinner ideas. Granted some are small enough to cut and file in my Recipe Box, but others are not as convenient. I used to write them up on individual index cards, but let’s face it, that’s just painful and tedious.

So I came up with another way to keep the recipe intact, easy to file, and the pictures gets to remain with the recipe (BONUS!).

Start with a recipe you pulled out of a magazine/newspaper/brochure/newsletter, etc.

Magazine Recipe Storage

Get an X-acto blade (or scissors) and a blank index card.

Magazine Recipe Storage

Using the blade, cut out the recipe and a section of the picture.

Magazine Recipe Storage

Unfortunately most won’t fit perfectly on the card. Luckily, it’s easy to fix.

Magazine Recipe Storage

Find a convenient place in the recipe and cut it in half and secure to the card using a glue stick or tape. I usually use tape, they seem to hold up better.

Magazine Recipe Storage

On the back of the card, I tape the picture. I try to do this with every recipe so I can easily flip through the pictures instead of the reading through the recipe. We eat with our eyes first anyway, right?

Now would be a good time to make a note on the card about where the recipe came from. This is especially helpful if you are a blogger and want to properly source the recipe in a future post.

Magazine Recipe Storage

Now, my magazine recipes are the same format as all my other recipes and can be easily filed in my recipe box. Where I’m now much more likely to flip through them instead of just leaving them in a file or cabinet somewhere.

Magazine Recipe Storage

Magazine Recipe Storage

Developing A Whole House Cleaning Plan

It’s that time of year again. The time when we decide that our houses are far too messy to be considered a home and we get the overwhelming urge to throw everything away and start fresh.

Just me? Oh, okay.

I am not a ‘neat freak’, not even close. I like my home to look lived in, but clutter overwhelms me and stresses me out. On the flip side, I don’t like cleaning in general…so the concept of having to constantly clean the entire house stresses me out. It’s a no win situation. So to improve my stress level and keep me sane, one of my goals this year to keep things clutter free and develop a cleaning strategy. (You’ll eventually pick up on the fact that by day I work in project management if I continue to refer to strategies in cleaning. Sounds about as exciting as budgets, business plans, and proposals). 

Yes, I could probably hire a maid. But I would be embarrassed to have them come over to a dirty house, which defeats the point when I feel the need to clean for the maid. I also don’t want to pay someone else to do something that I’m completely capable of doing myself.

As a 2012 Goal, I’m launching…

Operation Clean House Banner

Maybe that should read, Operation ‘Maintain’ Clean House since that is actually the hardest part. Either way this is a big one on this years goal list. As usual I have several steps to the process that should make it as painless as possible.

  • Create Attack Plan
  • Deep Clean each room
  • Purge unwanted/unnecessary things
  • Yard Sale
  • Donation additional items
  • Maintenance

(You see the whole project management thing now, don’t you?)

So here we go…

Attack Plan Banner

Making big goals achievable is all about breaking them into smaller tasks, so in this case, I’ll break everying down by room. I have broken my house into 15 areas, so that each area can be repeated twice a month.

To make the plan even easier, I start from bottom top. I have a three level condo and by going bottom to top means I don’t have to drag the vacuum or supplies up and down the stairs as much.

Day of the Month Room to be cleaned
Day 1/Day 16 Foyer
Day 2/Day 17 Den/Cardio Room
Day 3/Day 18 1st Floor Bathroom
Day 4/Day 19 Backyard/Porch
Day 5/Day 20 Garage
Day 6/Day 21 Dining Room
Day 7/Day 22 Powder Room
Day 8/Day 23 Living Room
Day 9/Day 24 Kitchen
Day 10/Day 25 Office
Day 11/Day 26 Spare Bedroom/Hallway
Day 12/Day 27 Spare Bathroom
Day 13/Day 28 Laundry
Day 14/Day 29 Master Bedroom
Day 15/Day 30 Master Bathroom


For the fist 15 days, each room gets deep cleaned. Meaning in about 2 weeks my house should be completely deep cleaned from top to bottom (or in my case, bottom to top).

What is involved with Deep Cleaning?

The first time around it may take a while to finish the room. My trick is to set a timer for no more than an hour and push to finish in the allotted time. It will force you to make quick decisions. Ask yourself if you really love something or really need it, otherwise trash it or donate it. Start the general sweep, and get all the things off the floor. Continue by wiping down all surfaces, vacuum, dust (don’t forget fan blades and tops of tall furniture), sort through drawers/closest/cabinets, and clean mirrors/windows. (Tip: Speed cleaning burns crazy calories which will benefit that ‘Get In Shape’ resolution nearly everyone has on their list).

What happens to the room on the assigned day?

After the first 15 days, the house should be in maintenance mode. Now each day I should have to spend only 20 minutes or less to dust, vacuum, straighten and clean the mirrors/windows. The cycle will continue each month in the maintenance phase unless I have the extra time to dedicate to a space (like when I need to purge the fridge/pantry periodically, etc).


It seems complicated when I type it out, but it really is quite easy. Aside from some light straightening in the evenings, each day focus on only one room and the whole house should stay in order. Hopefully this will help me maintain my sanity, and stop the constant stress cycle of walking into a messy house.


What tricks/tips do you have for keeping your home organized/clean on a daily basis?

Staying in Vacation Mode when Going Back to Work

Vacation is over and work started this morning at 8am. I suppose it’s both good and bad news that my boss is now on vacation. Good because it will be somewhat quiet this week, and bad because I’m his out of office coverage. Catching up on my own inbox will be a challenge, it doesn’t make it any easier to be responsible for someone else’s at the same time.

I’m struggling a bit on how to keep that relaxed feeling from vacation while blending back into the workplace. So I came up with a few goals that I hope will help me stay relaxed and motivated.


Keep up with the morning walks for Baxter

I used to walk the little pup when I got off of work, but with the heat lately that has been a challenge. If he doesn’t get a walk, he becomes a little terror no matter how many times I run him up and down the stairs. So while I was caught up on sleep, I started walking him in the morning. It’s been foggy and cool each morning which makes it perfect for a walk. I’m going to try and keep it up now that I’m back at work. It will let me take some deep breaths of fresh air before work and I don’t have to worry about Baxter turning into a little evening gremlin. 

Schedule my workouts

I recently starting the 30 Day Method by Tracy Anderson and it’s key that I do the workout everyday. It’s a great way to zone out at the end of the day and dance out all the stressful energy.

Morning Meditation

It only takes 5 minutes for meditation to make a difference. In general I’m good at meditating, but I’m bad at doing it regularly. So I’ve downloaded an app to my phone that times meditation and plays a light chime when time is up. If I keep up with the morning dog walking, then it should be easy to sit for a few minutes when we get home.

Be Presentable

Ok, this is an odd one. I’m a telecommuter and work from a home office everyday. It’s very easy to just roll out of bed and work in my PJs, and comfortable too. However, you feel like a slob when you realize it’s 5pm and you’re still in your PJs. Since getting my haircut, I’m going to make a bigger effort to get dressed and fix my hair everyday as if I was going to a office. I think it will make me feel better about myself each day and more motivated to be productive.

Get back to Lists

When I’m really relaxed, I’m a total Type B personality. I go with the flow, but when I’m working or stressed, I swiftly move to Type A. I LOVE lists! They make me happy. Unless I’m on vacation, I list a lot of my life. I have specific to do lists for work, home projects, finances, workouts, eating, etc. I’m a list junkie. It takes a lot of stress out of life when you don’t have worry about forgetting the little things, because they’re on a list!

There you have it, 5 ways to reduce my stress as I blend back into the daily grind.


How do you stay in vacation mode when you go back to work, any tips?

Kitchen Cure Summer 2011

Last fall I took part in the Kitchn Cure with Apartment Therapy and it did wonders for my Kitchen. During the cure I cleaned all my cabinets, appliances, dishware, freezer, pantry, refrigerator, etc. In fact, it worked so well that I want do another one this summer. While the kitchen is technically clean, it’s unorganized and I have a few design projects that I want to do, just to clean things up. The official Kitchn Cure takes place over 4 weeks and I’ll be following that same plan if they host another online cure this Fall, but right now I’ve made a few adjustments.

My Summer version is going to be 5 weeks long since it includes a few building/design projects. This post will outline my plan for the next 5 weeks and then I’ll be back later this after noon with some pictures and an update from Week 1. 

The Plan…

Week 1

  • Deep Clean! Meaning that all shelves needs to be washed and organized. Old food/supplies dumped and bottles wiped down. (you know you have some salad dressing dripped down at least one bottle. This is the time to wash it off and make everything look pretty)
    • Clean out Refrigerator
    • Clean out Freezer
    • Clean out Pantry

Week 2

  • Deep Clean/Purge Continued!
    • Clean out all equipment, tools, gadgets
    • Deep clean all appliances (except the fridge since it was done in week 1)
    • Purge unused equipment, tools, gadgets

Week 3

  • Clean/Fix
    • Scrub all cabinets of grime (especially those over the stove)
    • Fix caulking around the sink
    • Fix any missing grout/caulking on the countertop tile
    • Touch up paint on walls and cabinets

Week 4

  • Install/Fix/Clean
    • Install Baseboards over Kitchen Kickboards
    • Deep Clean Floor Tile Grout
    • Stock up on great pantry staples, refresh herbs if necessary
    • Update Recipes, finish sorting recipe box

Week 5

  • Install/Beautify/Celebrate
    • Install Pendant lighting over sink & table
    • Create pantry list, hang in pantry
    • Paint cabinet knobs
    • Host celebratory party/BBQ


Anyone that wants to join in, please feel free to speak up in the comments. Please feel free to link to your blog if you’ll be posting updates or you can link to Flickr if you’ll be posting progress pictures.

My progress will posted on Flickr page as well.