Managing Photos


Before going digital, photo albums started to dominate my life.  Filing photos from the year would pile up until I would spend entire weekends managing memories.  When my life turned digital and you could even starting taking pics of your food, I started feeling guilty about all those memories just trapped in a box.  I would have some printed into albums but find they mostly just sit on the shelf and take up precious space.   Tried digital frame or cycling the photos on my monitor but just wasn’t quite doing it for me.  I finally found it.  I realized I just needed a board that I could cheaply print out photos occasionally and put up.  After awhile, I would print another batch and put them up. Since they just printed on my printer, I didn’t feel bad about just throwing away old photos.  My kids can choose and print sometimes and it has kept memories fresh and prominent without deteriorating in an old binder.

I found these amazing, tiny small magnets to put on the corners of the photos.

My husband used low cost roofing tin from Lowe’s and framed it out.  An amazing and low-cost board for all my photos.

How do you display your photos?

Kitchen Organization

kitchen image

For many of you today is your last day of vacation.  Tomorrow it is back to work and a more regimented schedule.  I rushed around today trying to get all the Christmas decorations packed away, the floors mopped and all my calendar orders shipped before the tightening of my time resumes.

One thing I like to do is clean off my open shelving in my kitchen.  I go through all my spices and condiments and throw away all the old stuff.  Seriously, when did I ever use ground coriander?

I apparently don’t need any tortilla chips for awhile.  It’s a fresh start on food for a fresh year.  It will be difficult getting up tomorrow morning but I always feel invigorated when my house is organized and clean.

I wish everyone a clean and organized 2016.



How to Organize Your Desktop

Is this your desktop?

too_many_icons_on_desktop_by_456knI think if it is, you’re not alone.  Lots of people, including myself use their desktop as storage.  It’s quick and easy to access but after awhile, looking for a file becomes an eye test. Yes, I use Google Drive and Evernote and even have a Terabyte of external storage but it is just so easy to dump that file quickly on the desktop.  I believe that if your inclination is to put things on your desktop just implement a better system.  Sometimes the system fails and not you.  Yes, you should file everything into your digital brain such as Evernote, but that’s just not always the most efficient way.

One of the best things to do is to organize your desktop into quadrants or columns or rows.  You can create the template in Word using tables.  I then shade the columns different colors to create categories.  I labeled my columns using Preview on Mac but you can do it in word by adding a text box.  I save my work and then set it as my desktop background and wah lah!

desktop background


Start dragging those icons and files into the appropriate place.


It’s pretty simple to keep my work filed in the right location.  When I have time, I often start filing my most recent work into my Google Drive.   It has kept me from the sea of files littered all over my desktop.  If you’d like a free jpeg image of the columns unlabeled, just shoot me an email at Live.Organize.Run.Improve and I’ll send one to you for free.

Happy Organizing!


Living Room Renovation

There is nothing like a remodel to test your strength, endurance, organization, resolve, marriage or home ownership status.  My husband I recently completed a living room re-do.

We started by pulling out all of the Pergo we installed when it first came out.  We thought that engineered wood was amazing when it came out, but a decade of dogs, water spills and kids left it looking worn and tired.  We had built-in book shelves that also went.  The worst part was the fact that when we pulled up the Pergo, we remembered there was some 1970’s glued-down vinyl flooring.  🙁  Back to Home Depot to rent the tile chipper.



We finally got the floor up and started laying our new “wood” floor which is just actually long plank wood-like tile.  I love the look of wood, just not the durability.




My husband, quite the handy man, stained and polyurethaned long boards that he made into new book shelves.  I can paint and tile but making those was out of my apprenticeship league.  He even made me a new bulletin board to hang pictures on rather than the 20 or so odd mis-matched picture frames.  In the age of digital media, I like to simply print new photos and rotate them once in awhile.




Then came my favorite part.  Organizing.  It was a good time to purge old books that for someone reason I think I might read again, however, I don’t think that has EVER happened.  Too many unread books in the world.  Sorted papers, old manuals, old photos and was sure to treat the signed baseballs with care and respect my husband thinks they deserve.



My top shelf: books I plan to read this year.

My second shelf: bin for bill paying, and Etsy.  Things in which to build my calendar empire.

Third and fourth shelf also contain more Etsy binding supplies with the bottom left for my few select cookbooks.  Since came along, cookbooks have kind of gone by the wayside.


IMG_4583I’m happy to report that the new living room  is now light and airy, dog and kid proof and ready to send a new calendar across the US at a moment’s notice.  My marriage survived the ordeal and the entire project only cost about $800.  We kept reminding ourselves what it might cost to have professionals do this.

We did this all over our Spring Break.  We normally like to explore some part of the world during spring break but looking around my new living room, I think it was time well spent.




Vertical Folding



IMG_4526I recently finished the book by Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  In her book she advocated vertical stacking of all clothes.  Meaning not to lay your folded clothes on top of one another but vertically so you can see everything.  Wasn’t sure if this would work for me, but I spent some time this past weekend taking my drawers and shelves in my closet and lining up my clothes vertically.  I have to say, it looked good and really made you see everything you had.  It did not take up more space but rather gave me more room.

IMG_4525I used bookends to tighten everything up and create division.  I set to work on my dresser next.

IMG_4524Everything lined up neatly and when you open the drawer, you see everything inside.  Really impressed with new/old organization tool.  I’ll see how maintaining it goes and if the system stays in place.  I’m a big fan of function.  Sometimes organization can look pretty, but doesn’t work.  Stacking boxes come to mind.  They are nice to look at but so impractical.

Spring break is approaching and my next project is to organize my girls’ room.  We were recently looking at old photos and my youngest pointed out her bedroom in the background.  She was amazed at how neat and organized the room was.  I told her that when she was little, I used to clean her room for her.  I could tell she was wishing that were still so.  She’s off to Disney World with a friend for a couple of days and I plan to surprise her with a completely re-organized room.  She’s in middle school now so not sure how long it will last.

Happy organizing.