Monday, 11 July 2016

Keeping Squirrels Away from Garden Pots

This isn't so much an organizing post, per se, as it is a practical idea for how to keep squirrels out of your gardens and flower pots.  You organize your garden every year, plant your seeds, invest your heart and time into your garden, now you have to preserve it so you can enjoy it for the entire growing season.

I've been finding dug up dirt and holes in my flower pots around my deck and this isn't the first year this has happened.

My pot has some herbs that aren't that big yet so there is ample space for the squirrels to get in for digging and storing their food, and just to be pests.

I've researched many ideas of how to keep squirrels out and most of them are temporary that need to be reapplied after rain (like cayenne pepper, for example).  I wanted something permanent that didn't compromise my garden.  Adding stones would take away growing space.

I recall reading somewhere once that using plastic utensils in the garden, upside down, would keep pests, deer and other creatures out of gardens.  So I thought I would use this concept in my pots for the smaller creatures.

I went looking for bamboo skewers I knew I once had in my house but then remembered I must've thrown them out because I never use skewers.  But in my hunt I came across plastic spoons I had put in my craft space.  I bought these spoons at our dollar store but because they have the sharp edges I don't like using them as spoons. 

So I cut them into sporks and along with some plastic knives I found, stuck them handle first into my gardens.  The knives have the serrated edges pointing out.

This has created a space that maybe isn't the most attractive but it is functional for keeping squirrels away.  You can use clear forks for a less obvious approach.

This method will hold up in the rain, does not need to be reapplied, is pet and children friendly and doesn't cost more than a dollar or so.  Win-win-win!

Have you ever used something unconventional to keep away pests?  

I would love to hear some ideas of how you keep away squirrels or mosquitos or any other pests.  Please comment below.

Update:  it's been about a month since I added sporks to my garden box.  I  have thyme instead of squirrels now.  I'm happy this worked.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Storing Water Bottles Better

How to Store Water Bottles

I have a narrow cupboard (9") that houses our few water bottles....and they always fall over and get in the way (can anyone relate?).......well they used to but not anymore!  Yey!!!!

Photo courtesy of Where It Belongs

I had a friend ask me how to handle the water bottle storage solution and then this idea hit me.

Most water bottles have a handle or a carabiner or some hanger on them, not all but most. All of mine do.  So I used that handle with some Command Hooks (0.5lb rating each) and hung them inside my cupboard door.

And most cupboards have space between the door and the interior shelves.  Even with shelves that almost touch the door, there is space usually if you position above/below the shelf and the door is a great space to store spices, bottles, oven mitts, etc.

Photo courtesy of Where It Belongs

They are not so wide that the cupboard is inaccessible.  I still can get out the things I need to get out.  This would work better on a wider cupboard or on a pantry door.

Before taking the backing off your sticker, hang the bottle up by doing a "dry run".  You want to ensure clearance from any shelves, the sides, affecting closing, the tops and bottoms.

If you like ideas like these, please like my Facebook page as all my blogs are posted there and you'll never miss a tip.  

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Overhauling your Space...Sometimes

Sometimes your space needs a complete overhaul..

Here is an example of how our space wasn't really working for us.  So we DIY'd it with the help of Ikea.  (in case you do not know, DIY stands for Do It Yourself)

We had wall to wall furniture, the fireplace we never used was taking up so much inefficient space, the toy organizer looked untidy contributing to visual clutter and the server cabinet was just one more piece of furniture to add to the wall that didn't match, while it was very useful and had a great purpose for the "less used" items (e.g. vases, candles, etc).

What you do not see here is the dining room table which followed the server on the wall...that whole wall was a steady stream of mismatched furniture.

For months we decides to plan a different system, something probably from Ikea.

Then one day, I just started removing the fireplace, piece by piece, while my husband was at work.  That's how most of our projects get started, then we are compelled to finish them. 

Over the course of the week, we removed the fireplace and the 63 year old framing of it (that was the hardest part).  They constructed things so soundly 63 years ago.

We drywalled, mudded, primed and painted.

Then my kids and I took a trip to Ikea.  This is the BESTA system, which is very good quality.  We have soft closing doors and push to open drawers.

And this is the "almost" end result. 

We have since gone back to Ikea and bought an AS IS BESTA tv bench, and disassembled it to us the top of the bench as a computer desk, and 2 table legs from AS IS.  Any other "real" desk would've been too wide, leaving an edge for knocks to the heads, bruises to the thigh.

Now all the "stuff" (flower vases, candles, seasonal decor) that was in the server, is up in the upper cupboards, all the toys are in the bottom 8 drawers (love this part), my computer is no longer on my kitchen island (which frees up space there), we have some nice things on display behind the glass doors that the children cannot and do not touch, our TV is lower now, there is a shelf for decorations or play space for the children under the TV, the perfect system for our house.

And even though this is "more" furniture than what we had before, it makes our living room look bigger, more functional, cleaner, and just an all-around great space that we enjoy being in.

And you may ask, what about toys that do not fit in the drawers - well, she neatly set them in front for the next day.  And we rotate our toys while we are not playing with them too.

The top shelf over the "desk" is a great spot to put stuff out of reach.
Sometimes a quick organizing job isn't what you need.  But the new system is well worth the investment!!!

Penny for your thoughts?

Sunday, 20 March 2016

It's Gardening Season

Gardening is about time management, organizing, planning and getting a jump on the process!

If you are in planting zones 2 or 3, it is time to start your seeds so they are hardy plants by planting season (mid-May).

With a gardening period that is relatively short, getting organized and starting early, will give you home-grown food earlier in the season and then well into Autumn.

Gardening suppliers and experts have made it easier than ever.  So I've put a few pictures and information together to help you get this done NOW and stay organized for next year.

With a little help from my daughter, we used the Jiffy Peat Pellets.  I pre-planted all my flowers and veggies in 1 tray.  I do not have large gardens so 72 pods was more than enough (although I did fill them all just so we could choose the strongest plants).

In about 2 hours, we watered, "fluffed", planted and labelled.  Well worth the time, in my opinion.

For labels, I used toothpicks with labels.  I had to tape the labels to the sticks as they were stock I was using that had lost their adhesiveness.

Standard gardening labels/sticks/pegs would be too high for these greenhouses so this is our temporary solution until we transfer to the garden.

Then I categorized my seeds (bottom left picture).

There are still flowers to see in May, directly into the ground, and vegetables to do the same.

My labels are difficult to read but they say:

Flowers to sow early
Vegetables to sow early

Flowers to plant in May
Vegetables to plant in May

Then I will grab my flower and veggie seed stack when I'm putting in my garden without having to sift through the pile of seed packets.

And then I store all my seeds in an air-tight plastic container during the winter months.

So, are you ready to get the smell of soil, seeds and SPRING into your senses?!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Signs Make the Difference - Posters at Home!

Now that you've purged your house (many times) and are ready for your garage/yard sale, you need a good sign.

I love having garage sales but they are a lot of work and traffic is the key to selling all your goods!

Having the right signage can make your sale/event even more successful.

How do I know it's the road signs that drive traffic?  Because at this event from the picture below, a volunteer polled the traffic and about 80% (rough number) said they came because of these signs.

So how did I make them?

The signs are attached to plastic saw horses and corrugated plastic boards hold the bristol board.  I used twine to attach the corrugated boards to the saw horses.  I used a screwdriver to puncture holds in the plastic.

For bristol board, use bright pinks, yellows and greens as they gather the most attention because they do not look like most signs on the road.

Here's the fun part!

And rather than using your own handwriting, create a Word document with all the information you want, on a simple 8x10 format.  If your signs are long, like mine were, using Portrait orientation but if you want to put the signs width ways, use Landscape orientation.  That would depend on what you need to put on the signs for information.

Here's the key!!!  Do NOT put more information on the signs than you have to.

People driving can only read a few words - so put arrows and symbols as often as possible and signs frequently along the path.

Another key point:  And get your arrows going in the right direction!!

Next save your document, then print it to PDF (or save to PDF, depending on your computer).  Here's a screen shot from a Mac if you aren't sure how to do this.

Then open your PDF in Adobe Reader (or whatever Adobe software you have). The free basic Adobe software is usually fine.

Then in the print setting, you play around with the size, until the poster will be the size of your boards (as in this screenshot).

Now cut out the print outs, tape them together, and tape or glue (not white glue) them onto your poster board.  You need to cut out the print outs, so you can see the colorful poster board underneath.   

Note:  Buy the poster board, because it is that color that attracts eyes to your signs.

There is your quick little tutorial to having the best sale/event you've ever had!

You can do this for 50/50 draws, school fairs, anything you could use a sign for.

Making posters was never easier!  Don't these signs just make you want to have a sale tomorrow?!?!

Friday, 26 February 2016

Pantry Update

Even the most organized people still have to keep organizing. Staying on top of the little tasks is very important. So today I re-reorganized my pantry. It was pretty organized but now it's even more organized and I'll tell you a couple of simple tips to make it a little bit easier for you.  

I took everything out of their original packages where it makes sense.   I had 2 diaper genie refills in their plastic wrap.  Not only is this untidy but it takes up more space.  You may think how does plastic wrap take up space but if you stack something underneath of it in the plastic wrap gets caught then things fall when removed and you have to pick it up and reorganize anyway. 

I had a large Costco sized box of popcorn packages. That box was taking up a lot of space and it was hard to tell much was in the box.  So I went to my inventory of organizers and found a simple drawer organizer that fit everything perfectly.  

I also have a large box of oatmeal packages. I did not have a drawer organizer that would fit well so I cut the box down to a reasonable height so you could see how many packages of oatmeal was left.  

While I was tidying everything up I was thinking about my upstairs pantry and what needed to be refilled. I was able to bring up two kinds of rice and fill my containers in my Lazy Susan.  I also brought up some oatmeal, some pepper and other things that were getting low.  

Then I set aside a couple of cans of ham that I recently bought that I do not like for the food bank. This is always a great opportunity to assess what should stay in your pantry and what should go.

I have bought a lot of coffee recently and it had ended up on two different shelves so I put all like things together. The coffee filters are stored with the coffee.  

All cleaning supplies are stored together. I took all the toilet cleaner out of its box and placed neatly on the shelf. It just fits better that way.

This is my final product and it looks nice and tidy again but I expect in about three months I'll have to do this again. 

It only took 10 minutes. Can you find 10 minutes in your day??

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Outgrown the Bibs but not the Bobbles

My children refuse to keep bibs on, and so they should.  They are 2 and 4.  But I continue to remove stains from their clothes often.  And so I should, they are 2 and 4.

I recently discovered a great way to avoid the bobbles staining their clothes and it's as simple as children's aprons.

And they can wear an apron, just like Mom (well, my apron has 2 butterflies on it and a ladybug).

Bibs are for babies but aprons are for big girls...and don't forget boys.  Some of the best chefs in the world wear an apron!

Easy to wash, easy to wear (for anything, really) and easy to replace (or sew) if required.

Do you have any other solutions that you use for keeping the Bobbles off the kids' clothes?  I'm always looking for suggestions and discussion!