Containing Cord Clutter: A MOS Organizer Review

Okay, it’s time to get real today and talk about some of the not-so-pretty parts of our house.

Like this.

UGH.

Corey and I have quite a few electronic gadgets that we use all of the time in our living room, and unfortunately the cords for keeping them all charged and ready to use are less than easy on the eyes. We both have laptops, and Corey also has an iPad that we like to be able to have charged at any time, so that leads to quite the mess of cords next to our couch, and I don’t know about you guys but I’m not a fan of the tangled up cord look.

Luckily, we’re able to hide the majority of them behind our curtains, which means that they aren’t too visible most of the time. But what happens when we actually want to use them? We have to go digging around behind the couch to find the plug, and that usually means that everything gets pulled out from behind the curtains and we have a big mess on our hands all over again.

It also means that we usually just leave the cord hanging on our couch, which leads to this super-cute look.

It gets old. Fast.

So, when I got an email from MOS (Magnetic Organization System) asking if I wanted to check out their cord organizer and review it, I jumped at the chance. You guys know me – I don’t do a lot of reviews, and when I do it’s only if I’m truly excited about a product, so you’ve gotta know this one is good.

Basically, it’s this cute little aluminum guy (they also come in white and black) that is magnetic and holds all of our cords in one place. It’s a simple concept but it makes our lives oh-so-much easier, and I’m a big fan of it. They even send along these cute little color-coded tags that have magnets in them, just in case your cords aren’t magnetized. This means that when we’re done using a plug, we can just toss it back on our little MOS and it’ll stay there, nice and out of sight, until we need it again. And we no longer have the cord-hanging-over-the-couch look going on, which makes me very happy.

The other cool part? It comes with a 3M adhesive circle that you can stick to the back of the organizer so that you can attach it to the wall (or the side of a desk, or wherever you want it) so that you don’t have to take up your table space if you’re limited on room!

This little guy has definitely been a huge help in keeping our cord craziness a little more contained, and I no longer have to spend five minutes digging around the couch to find my laptop plug when I need it, which is fabulous! I’m definitely a fan.

How do you keep your cords contained?

Disclaimer: The people at MOS sent me an organizer to review, but all the opinions are totally mine, and I wouldn’t be talking about it if I didn’t actually use it and love it! 

February Organize-A-Thon: Your projects

It’s Tuesday, and February is officially over (thank goodness!), and that means it’s time to link up YOUR organization projects from the Organize-A-Thon! Corey and I got a ton of stuff done around our house, like corralling our paper, adding some storage to the kitchen, cleaning our bathroom drawers, and organizing the garage to prep it for some work soon. I’m feeling pretty pumped about what we got done, and I know that at least a few of you followed along because I’ve seen posts popping up!

Now’s the time to share. Feel free to link up ANY organization project, even if you didn’t technically do it in February or as a part of the Organize-A-Thon. I just want this to be a nice, big collection of organization goodness.



I’m excited to see what you guys did, and please oh please link up a project or two. This is my first time hosting a link party, and I’d hate to be the only one partying over here all by my lonesome.

Enjoy!

February Organize-A-Thon: The Garage

Can you believe we’ve made it to the last week of the Organize-A-Thon already?

For those of you following along at home, I’m hoping that your house is feeling as organized as ours is. We started off in week one by tackling our paper organization, then we took on the kitchen, and the drawers in our bathroom. And this week? We’re taking on the biggest project of ‘em all – the garage.

OMG.

I can’t believe I just showed you that. Considering the fact that we just organized this room last year in the Organize-A-Thon, it’s a bit pathetic that it looks (looked!) like this. Okay, more than a bit pathetic. It’s downright awful. It was so bad, in fact, that this is what the path looked like to get to the refrigerator out there (which we use on a near daily basis):

There are no excuses.

Let’s just chat about how we made it better, okay?

This was the only project this month that we didn’t tackle in an afternoon – we probably could have, but instead chose to take a couple of days to knock out the garage. On the first day, we decided to just get it to a manageable point…by getting rid of all of the trash.

And this is what it looked like once we cleared out the stuff that we absolutely needed to get rid of. Insane, right? Some of it had gathered up just because we were lazy, but most of it was stuff that Corey’s mom had given to us after she fished it out of a dumpster…and we really didn’t need it. Stuff like awkwardly sized old countertops and building materials that we could never find a use for. Luckily, our garbage people pick up just about anything, so we tossed it out on the curb and were good to go.

I’m a bit shocked by how much of the insanity in there was just trash – the main reason we hadn’t cleaned it is because it had gotten to a point where it felt completely unmanageable, but it only took us an hour or so to get all of the trash out and it finally started feeling like maybe we would actually get it all done at some point in our lives. We also quickly rearranged all of the Christmas decor so that it was a little more consolidated and all in one spot – out of the way!

After we had it to this point, we took a break and decided to come back to it another day. So, this past Saturday we finally got back in there and finished up. All it took was a bit of rearranging, some organization, and quite a bit of shop-vacuuming, and it was (finally) looking oh so much better.

There’s just something about a clean and organized garage, isn’t there? I just love knowing I can walk in there and grab what I need at any time.

Side note: see those stumps? They’re from our old peach tree and have been hanging out in the garage for a while waiting for me to find something brilliant to do with them. I’m on the verge of coming up with something amazing – I just know it!

Hopefully soon it will be even less cluttered in here – we’ve got some furniture listed on Craigslist, so that should help a bit. As of now, the organization system is that we’ve got all of our Christmas stuff and the extra furniture/decor that we’re not currently using pushed off to one side…

…and on the other side we’ve got stuff we use a little more often, and this credenza that’s patiently waiting for us to have a spot for it (more on that in a second). In the meantime, it’s doing a great job holding some of our not-used-on-a-daily-basis cooking supplies that we don’t have room for in the kitchen.

I know this isn’t the most exciting or revolutionary organization project ever – but there’s a reason for that. You see, I could have gone all out and spent a bit of money to get some pretty storage in here complete with labels and maybe even some paint. But, you see, this major clean-up was just step one in what will be a very long (and big!) project over the next year (hopefully) or so.

That’s right – this garage won’t be a garage forever…we have full intentions to turn it into a second living room/media room. We aren’t going to fully convert it (the garage door will stay on), but we plan on building a wall in front of the garage door with some storage behind it for Christmas decorations and whatnot, then converting the rest of the room to a fully functional space for us to hang out, play games, and to eventually be a space for guests to stay once our upstairs bedrooms are being used by kids. My sister and brother-in-law did this in their house, and we absolutely love how it turned out, so we’re excited to tackle it as well.

We don’t know for sure when we’ll really get going on this project, but we definitely want to get the wall built and start saving up for carpet within the next few months – it may just take a bit longer to actually get it furnished! Since I don’t have much organization eye candy for you today (aside from that kind of mind blowing before and after up there!), I thought it might be fun to share a quick peek at what we’re thinking for this room once we get around to converting it. We’re still a ways off from making any firm decisions, but we’ve been planning this for a while so we’ve got a pretty good idea of what we’re thinking – and it looks a little something like this:

(Sources, starting from top left; Carved wood coffee table via West Elm, Sedgwick recliner via West Elm, Shag rug via Urban Outfitters, Hexagon side table Via Urban Outfitters, Either/or convertible sofa via Urban Outfitters, Hemnes storage unit via Ikea, Paint color is Hale Navy via Benjamin Moore)

The room will probably have a bit of a mid-century-modern feel, and will be on the masculine side since, while I forbid the use of the word “man cave,” it’ll be used mostly by Corey for video game time so I can re-claim the main living room. I figure he deserves at least one room in the house with absolutely no floral print if he wants it, right?

We plan on super dark, almost black walls to create a nice cozy feeling, plush carpet (and maybe even a shag rug if I can’t talk Corey into it!) and a sleek sofa that can be converted into a bed for overnight guests. I’d like to incorporate a lot of textures (hence the brass table, textured wood table, and leather chair) and keep the color palette relatively simple and neutral-ish (tans, calming blues, blacks, etc.). I’m pretty excited about getting started on this, and I’m really hoping we can get going on that wall sooner rather than later!

So, that’s my story of why this last organization project was more cleaning than organizing, and I hope it’s an acceptable excuse – I refuse to pour any money into this room unless it’s getting us closer to the end goal, so getting it clean and ready to be worked on is a great first step, I think!

And with that, we’ve reached the end of the Organize-A-Thon. I don’t know about you, but my house is feeling much cleaner, and I’ve been good so far about keeping everything up! I definitely got the organizing bug out of my system for now, and I’m ready to start focusing on some other things around the house – like maybe finally finishing up those chairs that are in the garage waiting for me!

Don’t forget to come back next Tuesday for a link party where you can share any and all organization projects you linked up! I’ve never held a link party before, so don’t leave me hanging.

What have you been organizing lately? Anyone have a converted garage and love it (or hate it)?

February Organize-A-Thon: Bathroom

There’s just something about an organized home that makes me really happy. Maybe it’s actually being able to find things without having the contents of an entire cabinet fall onto my head, and maybe it’s just the peace of mind of knowing that behind my pantry doors things look nice and pretty. I don’t know what exactly it is, but it’s a wonderful feeling.

That happy feeling I get when things are organized is exactly why I put together this little Organize-A-Thon – and I’m excited to be back this week sharing what we did to make our home a little less cluttered. I’ll give you a hint – it involves those pesky, impossible-to-keep-clean bathroom drawers. Is it just me, or are the bathroom drawers the hardest place in the house to keep organized?

But, before we dive into that, let’s do a quick recap for anyone who isn’t all caught up with the good ol’ Organize-A-Thon. I started this last year as a way to help me get some clutter under control at the beginning of the year, and I loved it so much that I decided to make it a tradition. It’s a pretty simple concept – each week, Corey and I tackle a new area of our house that’s in need of some organizational love. Then, I come back here to report how we did. It’s a great way to keep me accountable and motivated to get things done, and hopefully it can provide a bit of inspiration for those of you who need to get some de-cluttering done in your own home. I hope that at least some of you are playing along at home, because once it’s all said and done I’m going to set up a link party so all of you can link up with the amazing projects you did to get your house organized, too! It’s not too late to join in – even if you don’t get something done every week for the whole month, one organizing project is better than none, right? So far, Corey and I have taken on the paper clutter in our house and several spots in our kitchen.

Okay, now that we all know what’s going on, let’s get to chatting about what we did this week. Like I said before, I’m awful about keeping my bathroom drawers organized. There are so many things I use on a daily basis and I’m constantly grabbing stuff out of them, and for some reason I just can’t be bothered to keep them nice and tidy. What’s worse is that over the last year and a half that we’ve lived here, my drawers have slowly become more and more stuffed-to-the-brim with things that I don’t even need. Which means that when I was first starting this project, this is what I was working with in my bathroom:

Ugh, right?

I’ve gotten embarrassingly complacent about the insane mess in these drawers and cabinets mostly because I really only have a few key things that I use on a daily basis, so I would just grab what I need, use it, and close the drawer as quickly as possible without thinking about the mess. But, luckily, this Organize-A-Thon is just the kick in the rear I needed to get this mess under control, so it’s looking a lot better now.

Before I got started, I gathered up all of my organization supplies. I had a few extra baskets and containers laying around the house that weren’t being used, and I also bought a couple of cute blue baskets from Target and a roll of shelf liner to keep things nice and clean (and cute!)

Then I, of course, dumped everything out of the drawer and onto the ground. Only way to see what you’ve got, right? I decided to take it one drawer at a time rather than tossing it all out at once so it didn’t get too overwhelming.

Because, um, one drawer was overwhelming enough.

Once I had everything on the ground, I went ahead and lined the bottom of the drawer with the shelf liner.

Then I got to organizing. I was able to toss out quite a bit of the stuff that was in the drawer (a lot of it was trash, including a couple of completely empty containers. Seriously. I’m that lazy, apparently).

Once I had the stuff I didn’t need out of there, it was a pretty quick process to put things back in the drawer in an organized manner. I used a long, skinny container that used to be in our pantry to corral my curling iron and straightener…

…then I just put in the rest of the stuff for this drawer! I decided to use this drawer for the things I use on a daily basis (like my makeup, hair stuff, etc.), and it was pretty easy to finish it up since my makeup and hair supplies (like bobby pins, headbands, etc.) were already in bags. I used one of the blue baskets to keep a few other things like my Clarisonic, perfume, and deodorant from just floating around in the drawer.

Ahh, so much better!

One of my favorite parts of this drawer? That little hanging basket – I got it from Ikea, and it hangs perfectly on the edge of the drawer (the drawer has no problem closing with it there) and keeps some of my smaller stuff grouped together while still saving room in the bottom of the drawer. Love!

Then, it was time for the other drawer. This was pretty much the same routine as before: dump it out…

…line the drawer…

And put it back in!

As you can see, I was able to take a lot of the stuff that had been in this drawer and move it to a different place in the bathroom (our linen closet). I had a few different jewelry boxes in there that weren’t being used at all (because I try to keep my jewelry on display now so I wear it more!), so I tossed them into the closet where I can still access them if I need them, but they aren’t taking up valuable drawer space.

Finally, it was time to tackle the space under my sink. There actually wasn’t a ton of stuff down there, but it was a complete mess organization-wise, so it still needed to be taken care of. I was running low on shelf liner at this point, so it’s a bit…interesting, but it works, right?

Once I had everything dumped out I pretty quickly realized that what was under here was mostly extra makeup bags that aren’t being used right now. I didn’t want to get rid of any of then (they’re fabulous to have around!), so I just tossed all of them into the biggest one and zipped it up, so they’re nice and contained but still easy to get to. Then, I just put everything back into the cabinet in a slightly-more-organized manner.

I used one of those wire shelf things in the back, not because I really need the extra space, but so all of my bottles and cans are easier to access. When you have a ton of little bottles in a cabinet like this it can be really difficult to see them all, so I’m hoping that having a few of them elevated will make them easier to see and easier to get to. We’ll see how it works!

And with that, I’ve got a much more organized bathroom. It’s made it much easier to get ready in the morning, and I’m hoping that I actually keep up with keeping it like this!

Anyone else find it impossible to keep your bathroom drawers organized?

February Organize-A-Thon: Kitchen

It’s week two of the February Organize-A-Thon, and I’m feeling like my house is way more organized already! I’m pretty thrilled about sharing this week’s projects, because instead of just taking on a small section of the house, we took on a pretty big project – the entire kitchen!

Okay, I exaggerate a bit.

We didn’t organize the whole kitchen.

But we did a ton of little projects in there that all added up to way more organization, so I’m counting it!

Before I share, though, let’s make sure you’re all caught up. Every week this month, Corey and I are tackling one organizing project and sharing it here on the blog – we call it the February Organize-A-Thon. I’m hoping that some of you will do it along with us and come back at the end of the month to share your projects at the link party we’ll be hosting. It’ll be a good time. Promise. Last week, we organized the paper in our house and now I can actually find things when I need them, which is fabulous.

What did we do this week? We organized the pantry, added organization for our measuring cups and spoons, AND switched up our spice storage. It’s pretty amazing.

Let’s start off with the pantry. I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I am awful at keeping my pantry organized. I have a ton of baskets and food containers, but I’m not good about actually keeping them full, and I usually just toss stuff back into the pantry when I’m done with no thought whatsoever about if it makes sense there. Making dinner in my house is always an adventure because it takes half an hour just to find the ingredients you need (again, may be exaggerating…but just a little).

In the name of full disclosure, I’ll go ahead and share what my pantry looked like before. If you’re prone to disorganization-induced-stress, don’t even look because this may send you into panic attacks.

I’m ashamed.

But! I redeemed myself, so just stick with me because I promise it gets better. The first step to any good organization project is to empty out whatever area you’re organizing. Which means that within the first five minutes of my project, my pantry looked like this…

…and my kitchen looked like this:

That’s a lot of food, right? Is it normal for two people to have this much food in their pantry? Again, I’m embarrassed.

Once I had everything out in the open, I started going through it. There was some stuff in there that was expired or would never be used (like the bacon-flavored-popcorn someone gave us recently…gross? or amazing?) so all of that had to go. Then, I went through and found things that could be moved into food storage containers, since food packaging always takes up way more room than the food itself.

I also did what I could to make things prettier. For example, we have this giant chip box that holds the snack-sized bags of chips we keep around for lunch:

And it’s seriously ugly and the pictures on it seem to make the pantry feel much more visually cluttered. So, I grabbed some wrapping paper and got to work, and soon it looked a little more like this.

Much better.

Once everything was either consolidated or thrown out (if it was expired), I started to put stuff back up. I knew the only way I’d ever keep things organized was if I had a system, so I organized things on each shelf by purpose.

The top shelf holds extras of things (rice that won’t fit in the container, extra boxes of cornstarch because we have so much that we’ll never need to buy it again – how does that happen?) as well as things that don’t get used very often. Keeping the not-often-used stuff up there should be hugely helpful, as now the only things in the bottom shelves will actually be items that I’m using on a regular basis.

From there, I’ve got a loose organization system – pasta/infrequent baking stuff at the top, stuff for breakfasts and snacks next, food we typically use to cook dinner, then on the bottom we have chips and frequently-used baking supplies. Like I said, it’s not a very strict system, but it makes things much easier to find, and it keeps the shelf clutter to a minimum!

As you can see, I also utilized some baskets we had laying around the house to keep things together – one of them holds near-empty bags of chips, one has bagels, etc. It helps group all of these things together and keeps those awkwardly-shaped items from taking up way more room than they should.

Can you be in love with a pantry? ‘Cause, even though it’s technically still not very pretty, I’m just a little bit more in love with mine now that it’s nice and clean and I can actually see my food again. What a novel thought.

Next up in the Great Kitchen Overhaul of 2013 is measuring cup and spoon organization. I posted about this idea on Friday Finds a few weeks ago, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it so I knew we had to replicate it in our kitchen.

The first step we took was to add some cork to the back of the cabinet door – I heard from a few of you and from the original post that metal measuring cups tend to make a lot of noise when you open and close the door, and since I’m not about to replace my stainless steel measuring cups with plastic ones, I decided I needed to muffle the noise. We found this roll of cork at Target for something ridiculous like $2.00, and it was a breeze to cut down to size and install with some spray adhesive.

Then, we added some paint sticks that we grabbed from Lowe’s (I think different stores have differing policies on this – ours will just give you a handful if you ask, but you may have to pay at some places), and spray painted them gray, just to add a bit of pretty.

If you decide to do this project yourself, I wouldn’t recommend using the paint sticks – they’re so thin and such a bad quality that they split very, very easily. If we were doing it again, we’d just suck it up and buy some wood to use instead. Once they were installed, we screwed in some little hooks and, just like that, we had a much more organized way to store our measuring cups and spoons!

I’m pretty obsessed with how much easier it is to find these now (they were just stuffed into a drawer before, which got really annoying really fast!), but I have to admit it’s taken some adjusting. I’ve scared myself multiple times when I open the door too fast and they all swing towards me – I feel like I’m being attacked by flying measuring cups! But, I’m sure once I use it a little more I’ll get used to it and, you know, not fling the door open like a crazy person.

While we were dealing with this cabinet, we also decided to change up the way we organize our spices.

Hah. I say “organize” like there was actually a system to it before.

We bought those baskets forever ago thinking they’d be perfect for organizing our spices, but they’re awful for it – the large gaps are the perfect size for spice jars to slip right through, and it was almost impossible to actually find anything in there.

So, um, yeah. They had to go. As you may have seen, we repurposed them in the pantry and they work perfectly for that. But what about all of the spices?

We finally caved and bought the Ikea spice holders I’ve been drooling over for a while now (they were also featured in a Friday Finds!), and I love, love, love them. We only bought nine for now, we but like them so much that I think we’ll go back and get at least one more pack of three.

We used these for our most-frequently-used spices, and I love how it puts them on display and makes them much more easily accessed. As of right now, we don’t have any sort of labeling system for them, but it’s pretty easy to tell them apart. If it starts to get confusing and we end up with cinnamon in our enchiladas instead of cumin, I can always go back and label them later. But for now, I like ‘em just the way they are.

And, since we had more spices than could actually fit into our tins, we tossed a few different baskets into the cabinet to corral them and make them easy to access when we need them. And this is a way cuter solution than the wire basket hot mess, no?

I’m incredibly excited about these little changes, and so far it’s already made a big difference in making our kitchen more functional and less headache-inducing. That’s always a good thing.

Whew, three projects in one this week – talk about getting some bang for your buck! And the best part is that all we really had to buy was the spice organizers, a couple of cute baskets from Target (we already had most of them, but grabbed the red and yellow ones for a few bucks each), and the cork/hooks for the back of the cabinet. All in all I’d say all three of these projects cost us less than $30 and they may change our lives. I’m not sure – it’s too soon to tell.

Did you organize anything this week? Anyone else been making things easier to access in your kitchen?