use what you have!

I am a big believer in repurposing items in my house.  Often just moving items from one room to another can make all the difference and maybe even serve a much better function.

Case in point....a couple of years ago my grandmother gave us two short bookcases she wasn't using anymore.  They were the perfect size for a kid's room, but really only one could fit in Caleb's room because of the furniture layout.  So we stuck one in there and it now houses his growing book collection, and the other one took up residence in our master bedroom (if only to mask the fact that our current furniture does not adequately fill up all the space in there!).  I put some books on it, but it was always kind of an odd piece in the room, like it didn't really belong there.

Meanwhile my kid just had his second birthday, and his "playroom" (a.k.a. one of the corners of our living room) was getting out of control with toys, even though only about half of them stay out there at any given time.  (I'm also a big believer in switching out my kid's toys every week so our living room doesn't get taken over.)  Yesterday I rearranged all the bookcases in the house so that every book had a place on a shelf; this left that second bookcase in our room completely empty.  And even more odd-looking.

And then the ephiphany came.  I don't know why it took me this long to figure it out.  Presenting the new and improved "playroom."

I don't have a "before" picture, but just imagine all those toys, books, etc. being either stuffed into that single red storage bin or just stacked up beside it.  Now when it's time to clean up, there's more places to put everything and it won't be as cluttered.  My son does a great job with cleaning up but it always helps him to have an actual spot to put something.  And that box on top of the bookcase used to have three mini photo albums in it; it was so sturdy I didn't want to throw it away, so now it's a book and small toy caddy.  Maybe one day I'll cover the flowers up somehow.  :o)  Either way that part of our living room makes more sense now.

You may notice that the "not enough furniture to adequately fill the space" problem also exists in our living room.  For now, our cheap or free furniture works just great!

Now in the kitchen, I had an issue with cookbooks.  I recently got rid of some I wasn't using, but I still had a good dozen out on the counter, plus my huge recipe binder with all the recipes I've printed off the internet or clipped from magazines.  I also don't have a "before" picture of this, but just imagine a long line of cookbooks, spines facing out, and falling over whenever you go to take one out.  Oh, and also imagine pens flying everywhere.  We have a cute basket we got as a wedding gift that's the perfect size for a magazine holder, but I wasn't really using it for that.  It had been sitting in our guest room pretty much since we moved in to this house, and all it had in it were some old phone books.  I took it out of hiding and put maybe four or five of my cookbooks in it (basically the ones I use the most), and loved it.

I re-organized a cabinet in the kitchen to house the rest of the cookbooks to keep them out of sight when they weren't being used.  I found a ton of pens when I was moving all the cookbooks, and found a pretty rectangular vase leftover from one time my husband sent me flowers.  Perfect size for pens and a skinny pad of paper.

So now cluttered has become this.

And now that corner of the kitchen makes me less grumpy.

This little bit of organization also helps distract me from the fact that we still have white countertops and white cabinets.  Which show every speck of dirt or food and never look clean to me.  I'll stop myself there before I go on.  :o)

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