Posts Tagged ‘Organization’


At last count, I have 46 coffee cups on my shelf, and, I am the only one who drinks coffee. When I was younger, I began collecting them as souvenirs; an easy way to preserve a memory, and remember the places that I had visited. As I got got older, I traveled less, apparently needed more caffeine, and I started to search for larger cups to begin my morning with.

Even though travel was no longer a priority, I still liked the idea of having lots of different cups. Ever fussy, I decided the new cups had to have meaning – a saying, a symbol, or simply something that made me smile when I reached for it.
I don’t know if other people do this or not, but I decide on the cup before I make my coffee; do I want a large cup, so that I can keep my hands warm when it is really cold, a special one that was a gift from a dear friend, or my ugly Frida Kahlo self-portrait mug that makes me happy because she was so talented, but sad to think that she thought so poorly of herself when she looked in the mirror.

They all have a story, and they are all precious in their own way, but they also need somewhere to live.

Years ago, we used to have Mug Trees that sat on our counter. Mugs came in matching sets, and often the tree was made of wood, with little wooden arms sticking out on an angle to hold the handles (I guess that is why they called it a Mug Tree). But, they did take up extra room on your counter, and I always worried that they would tip over if they weren’t balanced right. I don’t want to think about the careful placement of my mugs when I am putting them away, so I never quite embraced the Tree.

Another thing I have seen, is to find a wall mounted, or ceiling hanging, decorative holder. They are usually made of wrought iron or stainless steel, and it is a nice way to show off a few special mugs, while adding a bit of color to your kitchen wall. Even a pot rack, with those “S” shaped butcher hooks, might look interesting filled with cups and mugs in a lovely large kitchen.

Have to confess though, my favorite of all, is the simple cup hooks with the safety tab. They easily screw into the bottom of a shelf, give you twice the amount of space, and will hold cups of all shapes and sizes safely. (I have been using the same ones for nearly 20 years, and they are less than a dollar each).

I am sure not everyone spends time thinking about their coffee mugs, or confesses to having 46, but however many mugs you may have, and regardless of how you store them, why not enjoy them as a collection of memories instead of just things?

Wendy E. Wrzos  http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Lovely old photograph of a Ship Mug Rack is from Wikipedia

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A big topic among my friends at the moment, seems to be their closets – not enough space, and not enough clothes. Ok, so we all know that isn’t quite true, but  I think most of us can relate to having a lot of things that are hanging up, but still with nothing to wear. We go to get dressed, and what we thought we had is suddenly too big, too small or woefully outdated. Somehow, the more room we have, the more clothes we have, but the less clothes we have to wear. Not sure if that last sentence makes sense, but you know what I mean.

Because we have to wear clothes every day, our closets are a constant source of delight and despair. So, for those days when you feel like tackling the confusion, here are a few ideas…

– Schedule a chunk of time to go through your closet. Try things on. (We all know that looking at them isn’t quite the same as wriggling into them).

– If you are not ready to give items away, but know you won’t wear them anytime soon, put them in a secure plastic bin and store them somewhere away from your closet.

– Organize according to your own lifestyle, and what you wear the most. Be honest with yourself; keep clothes that you need all of the time in the middle, right in front of you, and seldom used clothes to the outer edges.

– Use the back of the door for accessories eg. a few hooks will take up no extra room, and will easily hold your belts, scarves, jewelry and handbags.

– Invest in non-slip, slim, strong Huggable Hangers. These hangers are half the size of regular ones, allow you to hang twice as much, and your clothes won’t slip off.   (Generic versions  can be easily found online, and at most stores, for about 50 cents each). I promise, they will change your closet life.

– Double your space. Hang two railings, one below the other, for your clothes that are not full length, or, just add this Closet Doubler and it will do the work for you.

– If you have a shelf in your closet use Over-the-Shelf dividers for t-shirts, sweaters and cardigans etc. It will keep them neat, and stop things from falling on your head when you least expect it.

Finally, take a look in there every now and again, maybe you will find  something wonderful that you had forgotten about (New York Post, circa 1962)

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

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Have to confess, there was a time when you could barely see my living room walls; if I could put a nail through it, or find a gizmo to attach it to, everything  got hung up. Not sure where this obsession came from, but I think, initially, it was because my house was small, and I wanted to display my ever-growing collection of vintage hats and clothing. But, honestly, I also know that I saw my walls as an endless opportunity, a blank space just waiting to be decorated.

Years later, I continue to cover my walls; moving things around to fill a corner that needs a little something, or hanging a new item that I might find at a flea market. I justify my actions by telling myself that there is a practical side to what I do, and that I am providing homes for things that otherwise would be lying in a cupboard, unappreciated. And, with that delusional thought, here are some of my favorite “hang-ups” for you to share.

Unfinished Wooden Peg Hooks, like the ones in the main photograph (above), can be used to hang just about anything. Easily painted or stained to match your home, I have used them for handbags, coats, towels, necklaces, scarves, clipboards, belts etc. (Found in most craft stores and Flea Markets).

Safety Cup Hooks are larger than regular cup hooks, and have clever little spring-catches at the top that prevents the cup from falling off. Find them at your hardware store, or on-line. (I have had mine for over 20 years now, and they are still as good as new).

Binder and Bulldog Clips. So much stronger than you think, and only limited by your imagination. Here, they have used them to hang boots and label baskets, making a great entrance-way look organized and stylish for very little money.

And, finally, one of my favorites, the cork-board. Perfect for inspiration, miscellaneous business cards or just a few things you want to keep, but don’t quite know what to do with…..

Wendy E. Wrzos  http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

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Every Spring, when Winter has finally left, I look around my home and feel a bit disappointed.The ground outside is thawing, little bits of color are peeking out, but inside my home feels dingy and cluttered (closed in, tired, and filled with too many things). It happens every year, so I shouldn’t be surprised. Then, within days the garden comes to life; the sunshine is a little brighter, and all of a sudden there are not enough minutes in the day to get things done. I become overwhelmed with things that I “must” do.

When it’s really cold, I can’t be bothered to run outside to take things to the garage, so I put them in cupboards and onto shelves, waiting for a warm day. Eventually, after almost six months of this, my home becomes a hodge-podge of orphaned items that really don’t belong in there. Add to this, the hibernating effect of Winter, and my home becomes a candidate for prescription medication.

So, this year I’ve decided to do things a little differently. Instead of bemoaning the cold (well, I will always do that really) I have started to Spring clean my house now. I cleaned my kitchen the other day, and pulled everything out of the cupboards. Plonked what I didn’t want into the car, and drove around with it until I was forced to go out into the cold (again) and deliver it to the local thrift shop. Then, in anticipation of a not-quite-freezing day, I collected boxes of “stuff’ by the front door. One day, armed with warm gloves and a coat, I traipsed it all into the garage and put it away, tidying as quickly I could before my fingers started to go numb. 

Two weeks ago I repainted my counter-tops with new “counter-top” paint (wouldn’t really advise it in the bitter cold, it is nasty smelling and takes a few days to cure). I love them now that it’s finished, but don’t do it with young children or pets in the house with you, it’s very strong, oil-based paint and the fumes take a while to dissipate.

Yesterday I went through all of my filing, yes, all of it, and threw away more than any grown woman should have. In lieu of a shredder, I found great satisfaction in setting them on fire (safely, of course), which made the whole process seem quite exciting! This weekend, I will venture into the closet, maybe the basement and even consider painting the Living Room again. 

I know it seems like I am playing games in order to make it through until Spring, and you’re right, but truthfully, it’s fun to play games in your own home!

Wendy E. Wrzos  http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

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