Laundry Room/Pantry Organizing Updates

*This blog post contains affiliate links for your convenience. These are some of my absolute favorite homekeeping products!

If you have been following this blog for a while, you may remember my previous post about our laundry room/pantry organizing project (seen here). After my beloved washing machine broke yet again, we decided it was time to bite the bullet and upgrade our washer and dryer to new, more efficient models. As much as I loved our old top-loader, I did feel a bit guilty with a non-HE washing machine here in this awful California drought. Once the new washer and dryer came in, my old organizing shelf had to go. That prompted a few reorganizing plans. I am so happy now with our ultra-organized space! It is a tiny little multi-purpose room, but it works so well now!One of the first things I updated was our pet food storage, seen in the bottom left corner of the photo below. I ordered one container for cat food, and one for dog food (and labeled each). It works great, especially since they are on wheels and can hold everything from the big huge bags of pet food.

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My husband built me this awesome organizing cupboard in the extra space for all of my cleaning/laundry supplies, and our recycle bin and garbage bin. Having those two things behind doors is great with a toddler and dogs. Next to the new cupboard (which he made out of leftover fence boards!), I have my brooms, mop, duster, and rug beater all hanging on this organizer. I also dedicated a spot on the side of the cabinet for the things my husband always seems to be looking for: a clipboard and the lint brushes. Now that they have their own designated spots, that seems to help cut down on a lot of searching and confusion! I got the clipboard and the small white bins on the top shelf at the dollar spot at Target! Every time I go to Target, I always cruise through there to check for any cool organizing supplies, or little wooden toys that would be great for toddler busy bags. It is my favorite part about going to Target. 🙂 Above the cupboard is one of my favorite cleaning devices, my LittleGreen carpet and upholstery cleaner (so easy to use and works really well!).

I labeled all of my small bins with my LetraTag and these labels. I may go overboard labeling everything at times, but it makes such a difference in keeping things organized! On the next shelf, I have my favorite cleaning basics in clear jars, my favorite stain treatment, Nellie’s All-Natural Oxygen Brightener, and a basket for my wool dryer balls. Below that, I have a jar of dog treats, anti-bacterial wipes, and a basket of some of our favorite teas (my husband is more likely to grab a bag of tea instead of a soda if he sees the tea out on display and looking pretty).

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Inside the cabinet, there is a shelf above the trash/recycling cans where I store more cleaning supplies and refills, including my microfiber cloths for my Swiffer mop! I found the two cute WASH containers on clearance at TJ Maxx, and the turquoise bin was from the dollar spot at Target! In the binder, I keep all of my housekeeping and gardening checklists, and a collection of magazine articles with fun family ideas in Southern California, for great weekend day trips.
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Next to the new cupboard, I ordered an over the door shoe organizer to organize all of my cleaning products (a great Pinterest-inspired idea that I’ve been meaning to do for a while!). I also ordered some fresh cleaning cloths since our old ones were starting to fall apart. Amazon Prime is so amazing…you can find just about anything on there for a great price!
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On the inside of the other door, I got a multi-hook over the door hanger on clearance at Ross, that works great for hanging my herbs to dry, and I also use this spot to hang our calendar.aliciainwonderlandblog
The shelf that used to be in the laundry room got moved just outside it, into the kitchen for a bit of extra storage. I put a lot of work into decorating that shelf, so I made sure we were still going to use it! 🙂
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Originally, my husband planned to install doors over the pantry cupboards. Then we got busy with more urgent projects, and I realized that as we added a few more things in here, it would be a bit too crowded with doors. So I just covered up the ugly central heating unit with a burlap curtain. Next to that, I have our ironing board (nice because it is extra wide), and hanging organizer. I made two spray bottles that I spruced up with this contact paper, one for plain water, and one with a vinegar/water mixture (a great, natural wrinkle remover). I have one bottle from Home Depot and one from Lowe’s. The one from Home Depot wins, hands down. The one from Lowe’s barely works already.aliciainwonderlandblog

On the other side of the heater cabinet, I have my vintage washboards hung for easy access if needed for spot cleaning (and just decor too).
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On the side of the dryer, I used some magnetic clips to hang up some of my frequently used cleaning/gardening lists and stain treatment chart. I got the magnetic clips at the dollar spot at Target (pretty sure they still have some of these available). The strange looking magnet is a recycled magnet from a hard drive that my husband had since the dollar spot magnets were not strong enough to hold up multiple laminated sheets (I laminate all of my checklists that I use often using this laminator and these sheets).
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Below our Ikea fold-down table (which is never really folded down), I have our triple sorting laundry hamper. I have chalkboard signs on there for hand-wash, lights and darks (another Target dollar spot find!). Next to that (on the left) is our rolling laundry basket. This is one of my favorite things because it helps me roll the clean laundry out of the laundry room when I want to fold it all elsewhere (usually in the living room so I can watch TV while I fold). Great for days when my back hurts, or when I have had medical restrictions about lifting anything heavy. Originally, I had purchased a similar laundry basket elsewhere, and it broke within the first couple of days. This one has been amazing, and is really heavy duty.
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Previously, I had our lone socks hanging on a piece of twine, but I upgraded them to this cute little display with an antique washboard. One important thing to note…hot glue did not keep the clothespins on the washboard, but super glue did the trick.
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Still love our pull-out pantry drawers!
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My husband is notoriously bad about remembering to bring reusable bags with him to the grocery story when he makes a quick run. Even if I had him some before he leaves, somehow he still forgets them, so we end up saving a lot of paper bags. 🙂 Thankfully, I always end up needing them in the compost bin or for kindling, etc. I gather them all up and store them in this “wasted” space, in front of the electrical panel (such an annoying location for that panel). I also keep our vacuum and attachments stored here.aliciainwonderlandblog
I have a piece of twine nailed to the wall that I use as a tiny indoor clothesline. Perfect for air-drying cloth diaper shells! Below that, between the Ikea table and the washer/dryer, I have our clothes drying rack. I have gone through many poorly made clothes drying racks in my life, and this one is so well made and holds so much!
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Previously, I had some plain burlap curtains that were actually from the laundry room at our old house. At our old house, that window was on the back door, and somehow the curtains got really dirty after we had a party one night. Burlap is really difficult to wash, so it was time for an update. I actually got these adorable vintage potato sacks for free via Craigslist, and turned them into our new curtains! They are even from a farm in our home state of California. 🙂
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Below the window, I hung these three little metal buckets for tossing in miscellaneous odds and ends that turn up with the laundry, such as coins, lint (I save lint for the compost bins), etc. I actually got this great idea from ABowlFullofLemons.net! I made homemade chalkboard labels for those buckets (instructions here). I originally hung those buckets up with 3M damage free hooks, but I soon realized that those hooks work fine in our entry room with the eggshell finish paint, but they do not work at all in our kitchen or laundry room, where we have semi-gloss paint on the walls. So I replaced those hooks in the laundry room with some standard, screw-in hooks.
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31 Day Clutter Purge

In October, I started the 31 Day Clutter Purge from ABowlFullofLemons.net. I actually had to spread my own purge across two months for a few reasons (my dust allergies are really bad, organizing with a toddler is pretty difficult, etc.).

While I thought our house was pretty organized before, the challenge helped me take things to the next level. Some things were previously organized, but have had trouble staying organized, such as my son’s and husband’s folded clothes. I realized that while I may know where things belong, my husband does not always know or remember my system. I spent a lot of time labeling things which has really been helping tremendously.
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My nightstand drawer was already pretty organized, but it had gotten filled up with my son’s toys and other miscellaneous items that shouldn’t have been in there. A while back, I made some little boxes for this drawer, origami style with stiff scrapbooking paper. They have worked really well for quite some time now. I also use jewelry boxes to organize my rosaries, lotion, lip balm, etc. (no actual jewelry in the jewelry boxes here).aliciainwonderlandblog

I did a massive purge on my table linens. I had a huge collection of vintage tablecloths and cloth napkins. We recently got a new dining table, so I purged out all of the tablecloths that no longer fit our table. I also went through and got rid of everything that had stains that would not come out. Since I was able to pare down so much, I was able to organize our linens in the dining hutch drawers, which was a huge accomplishment (previously they were stashed anywhere I had extra room, all over the house).
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Our kitchen is pretty small, so keeping each cabinet well organized is important. I did not actually purge much from our kitchen (I already had done that a few months ago), but I really like how I reorganized things. Some of that included setting up our beverage station, with everything we need for juicing, tea, coffee, espresso, and my soda stream (which we use with fresh lemon or lime juice from our garden).
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Previously, this was just my baking supplies in this drawer, and my knives and cutting boards were elsewhere. Once I realized I kept bringing the cutting boards over to this area (it is located next to my largest burner on the stove, the one I use most), I relocated the cutting boards and knives next to the baking area.aliciainwonderlandblog

Everything I use most when cooking all kept together: compost scrap container, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, measuring supplies, pens, chalk, and our knives.
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Previously, I had the spices in our pantry but I freed up some drawer space so they are more accessible. Most of the herbs I use come from our herb garden though. The drawer is lined with the rubber liners from Ikea to keep everything in place.
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I finally crossed an idea off my Pinterest checklist and organized my cleaning supplies with an over-the-door shoe organizer. This has been so amazing!
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I purged a TON of my old shoes and clothes. With the empty shoe boxes, I organized all of our son’s clothes that he has outgrown, hopefully having them ready for another little one at some point.
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Ignore the ugly popcorn ceiling. That is in our closet/storage room, and removing it from that room is low on our priority list. 🙂

I have so much more to share from my two month long organizing adventure! I will be sharing a few rooms in more detail in future posts. It feels so amazing to have gone through this whole process. I definitely recommend trying it in your home!

Clearing out Clutter & Chaos

You know how in the show Friends Monica was obsessive about cleaning and organizing, but had that one locked closet where she stashed all of her junk and clutter? That’s kind of what our closet room/storage room has turned into lately (our house has no garage, no basement, no useable attic, and no closets. We have a bedroom designated for all of our storage). Our house is usually clean and organized (despite having a toddler and four furry kids which makes keeping a clean house a lot more work). My one area of weakness lately is paperwork. I had gotten so behind on keeping organized with all of the receipts and paperwork for my business expenses, just shoving things in boxes and drawers to deal with later. As we approach the end of our extension for our taxes, I started going into panic mode recently trying to get everything organized. I quickly realized that this prolonged procrastination of organizing my paperwork made several things go missing.

I decided that it was time to do a major purge on the whole house. I started tackling area by area, as we looked for the papers we needed to locate. Even though things were organized and labeled, it was still neatly organized clutter that we don’t need, taking up valuable storage space in a house with very little storage. This pile in the photo below is our donation bags and boxes that Salvation Army just picked up yesterday, along with all of the paperwork that I still need to organize in a better manner. Luckily, just a few days after I started my massive reorganization/purge project, a 31 day purge project started over at ABowlFullofLemons.net! I have been going to that blog each morning to find a daily theme for purging and organizing, and adding it to my routine. Breaking it up bit by bit has really helped! There is also a great Facebook page set up for the 31 day challenge, where lots of readers are sharing pictures, tips, and more. It has been so incredibly helpful!

I will be doing follow up posts soon, showing some of the changes I have made, and how I am reorganizing everything! For anyone who may have been wondering why I have been silent in the past week…I apologize! I have really been trying to focus on the tasks at hand here. 🙂 I’m finally just about finished with my tax stuff too. 🙂

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On a side note, I sorted my donation bags and boxes after I took this photo for easier itemization. I even had a few things labeled. The men that came to pick up my donation were super appreciative that my donation was organized. It helps them a lot and it is apparently something people rarely do. It only took a few minutes too!

Conquering The Paper Clutter Organizing Challenge

It seems like ever since we bought this house that we have been drowning in paperwork that needs to be saved for reference. We have a pretty good system for keeping mail organized when it arrives (seen in this post), but anything past that point started turning into piles of paperwork throughout the house, driving us nuts. I started out trying to add it in with my little desktop file folder holder (seen behind the stack of binders below), but that quickly filled up and got disorganized. I decided to try harder to get all these papers and manuals organized, put away, and still easy to access when needed.

I divided everything into three binders, leaving my file folder box for it’s original purpose: business contracts, tax documents and business related receipts.

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I started with the binder I will use the most – my Home & Family binder. The first section has all of my printed cleaning checklists printed out and organized. I love the Martha Stewart cleaning checklists…so helpful to keep on hand!
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After that, I made a section of papers that I reference occassionally with gardening information, like instructions for the potato planter and the soil tester.3

The last section in this binder is a bunch of ideas for fun things for us to do as a family on the weekend. I put in clippings from local magazines, lists of ideas we have come up with, and fliers from local attractions. This should help us think of something we would like to do each weekend, and better stick to our plan of one day of working on projects and one day of fun each weekend.4

The next binder has all of the baby related paperwork. The first section has all of the reference paperwork that I got while I was pregnant. There is first aid info, breastfeeding resources, etc.5

Next is a section with all of the receipts from our major baby purchases, such as stroller, car seat, crib, etc. I want to make sure we have all of these together in case we have any problems with anything.6

Last in this binder is a section with all of the baby product manuals.

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The last binder has all of our important records, documents and manuals for all of the other things around the house, such as appliances. The first section has our most important records: marriage certificate, title and insurance paperwork for our house and the one we just sold in Texas, etc.
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Next is a section with important health records. I made sure I kept all of the paperwork from this pregnancy in case we want to reference it with a future pregnancy. I also have another sheet protector with important vet records (our dog Stella was named Skittles by the adoption agency but we renamed her).
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Next is important paperwork and records for things around the house, such as the chimney and care instructions for the kitchen counters.12

Next is a section with important records about our cars.
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Lastly, I have a section with manuals for all of the non-baby related items around the house. I further divided them into categories such as small appliances, kitchen appliances, garden, and misc.14

Hopefully this should help keep things better under control!

What’s In My Bag Part 2: My Diaper Bag

I posted part 1 yesterday (here), with what I keep in my purse. Today I am showing what I keep in my diaper bag, and how I keep it all organized. When we bought all of the stuff we needed for the new baby, things like crib sheets and other items came i these thick plastic pouches with snap closures. I kept all of them figuring I would find a good way to reuse them. Once I started putting everything together in my diaper bag, I realized those clear plastic pouches would work great for keeping the diaper bag organized. I use them to keep together the components for our cloth hybrid diapering system. I also have another pouch for a change of clothes for the baby and some extra little accessories.

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1. The changing pad that came with the diaper bag.
2. Diaper changing wipes.
3. Peepee Teepee.
4. Gdiaper travel dirty diaper bag.

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5. Biodegradable inserts for hybrid diapers.
6. Extra cloth diaper shells and snap in liners.
7. Extra outfit and accessories for baby.

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8. A great Burt’s Bees travel set that a friend gave us as a gift. The little bag contains lotion, diaper cream, baby wash & dusting powder.
9. An extra set of disposable breast pads. I normally use my organic cotton washable ones, and carry an extra set in with the baby clothes, but these are an extra backup in case I forget to replenish the cotton ones in the diaper bag.
10. Nursing nipple cream. Not my favorite cream, but I keep the one I use more on my nightstand. This one is okay and good in a pinch.
11. Organic cotton nursing cover.
12. Pacifier wipes.

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13. I always try to bring my stainless steel water bottle with me everywhere I go. If I go somewhere and forget my water bottle, I get very thirsty very quickly because the little guy nurses so much. Just in case I forget my favorite water bottle, I have this folding water bottle tucked into the diaper bag that can be filled up anywhere.
14. Small nose suction bulb that opens up for cleaning.
15. Dye-free infant acetaminophen.
16. Gripe water.
17. Bottle of ibiprofin for me in case my pelvic bone pain flares up while we are out somewhere.

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18. A couple of reusable shopping bags. I usually toss one in my purse, but I always try to keep extras in the diaper bag.
19. Small stroller hook. The larger one is clipped to the storage compartment on the stroller, but I like to keep this one in the diaper bag in case I need it.
20. Organic cotton swaddle blanket.

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A closer look at the change of clothes and accessories that I keep on hand for the little guy. Everything is organic cotton. A onesie, footed pants, a hat, socks, little mittens, and an extra set of breast pads for me.

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Everything fits in nicely, even leaving extra room in case I want to toss in the Moby Wrap.

Experienced moms: how did I do? Anything I am missing, or am I pretty well-prepared for anything? So far I feel like I have everything I could possibly need for now.

What’s In My Bag Part 1: My Purse

Before our baby was born, I figured that I wouldn’t really need to use a purse anymore, and would just make the diaper bag my go-to bag. After a few trips out running errands, I quickly realized that was not the ideal setup to keep me organized. For quick trips into a store, or somewhere like church, a big diaper bag is just too much to carry in and really not necessary. Plus, there are a few stores that we frequent that have baby changing areas (Nordstrom, Buy Buy Baby, etc.), but most places we go do not have a place to change a baby’s diaper, leaving me to do diaper changes in the car anyway. Plus, when the diaper bag is down in the storage compartment of our stroller, it is a little frustrating and cumbersome to get at anything. When you are trying to quickly get out a burp cloth, pacifier, or wallet, it is just way too much hassle.

To solve my dilemma, we found a purse that matches my diaper bag, and can be worn over the shoulder or cross-body. I wanted something easy to clean, ample room to hold a variety of things without being too big, and be hands-free. I absolutely love my purse and the matching diaper bag, both from Marc by Marc Jacobs. I try to keep my stuff pretty well organized so everything is easy to find. This is my purse organization system. The only part I really want to improve is the loose pile of coupons, mostly for baby stores. I know I bring a lot of things, but I love being prepared for just about anything! Part 2, what’s in my diaper bag will be coming tomorrow.
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1. Organic cotton Winnie the Pooh stroller toy, to keep baby E happy and distracted in a pinch.
2. An individually wrapped cleansing cloth in case of a big cleanup emergency (this one was saved from Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill).
3. Burt’s Bees organic cotton burp cloth.
4. Pacifier, pacifier clip and holder.
5. Hand sanitizer.

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6. Mini manicure set.
7. Pack of tissues. I used to have a Shemergency kit, but somehow seemed to have lost it when we moved. I may order some refills from some of the items, but for now this is all that remains.
8. Mini measuring tape, perfect for planning purchases for the house and organizing.
9. Mirror.
10. Face blotting papers.

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11. Band-aid dispenser.
12. Forehead fever scan. Was part of a great baby care package from my husband’s work.
13. Alcohol swabs.
14. Folding scissors.
15. Mini Swiss Army knife.
16. Cough drops.
17. Benadryl in case I have a food allergy emergency.
18. Dental floss.
19. Burt’s Bees Hand Salve.
20. Safety pis.
21. Bobby pins & hair ties.
22. Double stick fashion tape.

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23. Wallet.
24. Keys with a tiny lip gloss.
25. Tiny hair brush.
26. Small lint roller.
27. Mascara.
28. Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer.
29. Burt’s Bees lotion.
30. Trial sized moisturizer with SPF since my husband usually forgets to wear sunscreen.
31. Gum.

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32. Rosary prayer booklet.
33. Tiny rosary in little egg container.
34. “Cross in my pocket.” Was my grandma’s.
35. Small notebook and pen.
36. Cell phone.
37. Granola bar for my husband. I usually keep another one for myself as well, but we need to restock my dairy-free/soy-free/egg-free/gluten-free bars.

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A closer view of my tiny rosary and the “cross in my pocket.”

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Everything fits in here pretty well! Most of the tiny items go together in a small zippered pouch. I keep the frequently used small items (like mascara and lip shimmer) in the zippered purse pocket. There is a pouch for my phone and one for my keys as well.

See part 2 with my diaper bag here.

Entry Room Updates

We recently went through and made a few updates to our entry room to get it even more organized than it was before. 🙂 You can see more details on the previous post here.

Here is the new layout…a few items were shifted around to make room for the armoire, and a few new smaller items were added as well.

Alicia in Wonderland Blog - Entry Room Updates

Alicia in Wonderland Blog - Entry Room Updates

I had this white armoire in storage at my parents’ house, and we realized that it would be perfect in our entry room since there is no coat closet in this house. At first I did not think it would work out well in this room since the floor is sloped (to allow the house to be handicapped accessible – the entry room used to be a porch with a step). However, my husband was able to use some shims to keep the armoire level, and we love finally having a “coat closet” in our entry room.

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Inside the armoire, I put my box where I keep all of my gloves, and other miscellaneous items that I always seem to be looking for in a hurry when leaving the house.  On the same shelf is my hiking backpack, with all of our supplies for us and the dogs when we go on a hike.

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The armoire is the perfect spot for my husband to hang all of his black jackets as soon as he gets home, which has been helping keep them pet hair free. I also hung an old sweater organizer that I was no longer using, which makes a great organizer for shoes of a variety of sizes. The similar hanging shoe organizers never seem to work for me since they only hold standard size shoes. Using the sweater hanger allows us to fit in all of the shoes that we use the most often, including a couple of pairs of small boots.

The cross is something I have had for a long time, and was excited to find after it having gone missing for a couple of years. 🙂

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I added a couple of things to our entry table organizing: hand sanitizer for every time I come home from running errands (my immune system has gotten very weak after so many months of bed rest), earplugs (my husband always seems to be looking for a pair when he is working on loud projects), and sunscreen in the basket (he is bad about remembering to put some on before he goes out).

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Umbrellas, a parasol for sunny days, rain boots, and my gardening boots.

Alicia in Wonderland Blog - Entry Room Updates

I found the little cream scalloped box shelf at a thrift store, and it is the perfect spot for my husband’s sunglasses when he gets home. We put up a cute hanger to hold my favorite sunglasses. We have started using the chalk boards to keep track of our to-do lists and lists of projects around the house. We keep all of the important lists in our organizer app (we use Cozi on our phones and online), but it really helps us keep motivated to see the lists of projects written out right on the wall. We love crossing items off the list. 🙂

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More room tours coming soon!