Organizing

SIMPLE STORAGE UPGRADES

dog treat jar

Our laundry room still has a way to go before we get to the point where we “love” it. So far, all we’ve done in this room is paint the walls and replace the light fixtures…

And in the “laundry nook”…

We have plenty of hopes and wishes for this area of the house… like replacing the tile, purchasing a front-load washer and dryer and installing a countertop above them, taking out the temporary bookcase (which is from our apartment’s pantry/laundry room) and replacing it with something more functional, hanging a pendent light in front of the window, window treatments…. and all of that doesn’t even include the half bath!

Those to-do’s will come in due time, but for now, we’re working with what we’ve got. And that includes the awkward shelf over the dryer.Β Over the past few months since the above “progress” photo was taken, it has been turning into a messy “catch all” of sorts. This is better explained with a photo:

No matter how neat and tidy you try to be, you always have that one catch-all shelf or drawer in your house. The thing that’s been bothering me the most (aside from the general disorganization), was the plethora of dog treat bags.Β We give Bentley one every time he comes in from “using the restroom”, so they need to be accessible. Before I get to my ultra simple solution, though, remember when I mentioned this mud room in the new Ikea catalog?

red and blue laundry room

Well, I still can’t decide if I love the red/aqua combination for ourΒ laundry room. Something about it is so “I Love Lucy” (which I love) and then on the other hand, it may not blend with the rest of the house either. I can be so indecisive sometimes! So, to test the waters, I ended up buying a $2 canning jar and spray painting the lid apple red.

apple red spray paint

I really love this particular shade (which by the way is Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch in Apple Red)! It’s very cheery, bright, and has a slight 50’s flair to it.Β I thought this would be a quiet way to introduce red into the room. And if I end up changing my mind (again!), it can easily be painted another color.

A few coats of spray paint and some drying time later, we now have a new and much improved treat storage system:

Since I was in the “prettification” mood, I also found this small $2 tin bucket at Target and thought it would be perfect to corral the small odds and ends on the shelf.

It’s not an extravagant 10-step DIY project or anything, but it’s an ultra-simple solution to a small problem. It’s little upgrades like this that can make an otherwise messy shelf much easier on the eyes.

Since we’re on the topic of laundry (sort of), I’ve been wanting to trade in the detergent and try out a more “natural-ish” option. I’ve heard great things about making your own (my aunt does it all the time) and the Trader Joe’s brand detergent. Any other suggestions?

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28 Comments

  • Reply
    jane
    September 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    we love the kirkland brand environmentally friendly detergent from costco. it’s affordable and smells great to boot. and our clothes look great!

  • Reply
    Skye @ Neathering Our Fest
    September 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Oh I really like the pop of red! πŸ™‚ I want open shelving in my laundry room so bad. Right now I can only buy small bottles of laundry detergent because that is all that will fit in my 1980s cabinetry in there… (which really isn’t that bad since it is just the hubs and me)

    And here is a funny. I was going to tell you in a very excited manner that Kimba from A Soft Place to Land posted about that today.. but it was dishwasher detergent. Not laundry detergent. Oops. LOL! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Melanie @ Mailbox Journey
    September 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I really love the pop of color on the lid & that tin bucket. Gotta love Target!

  • Reply
    Rust-Oleum Scott
    September 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Ashley, this is quite the transformation. Amazing job and thank you so much for using Rust-Oleum to complete your project.

  • Reply
    Melissa
    September 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I love the Method detergent in the pump bottle. It’s small and concentrated so it takes up very little room, plus Method is a really great green company. I don’t even use the suggested number of pumps unless there’s a big load of jeans or towels. Plus the container is refillable and they sell large bags of the soap too (not sure where that would go, though!).

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    September 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    I love the little things we can do to make our space more beautiful! Such a good idea for times when there isn’t a lot of time!!! Thanks for the ideas!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    September 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I love the red lids! I also love the quality of your pictures. Even a messy laundry shelf looks pretty in a good photo πŸ™‚ As for detergent, I tried out a homemade recipe and its worked really well, plus it was incredibly simple. An extra perk for homemade is you can store it in prettier containers than the storebought ones:) I wrote about the detergent here (sorry there’s no link): http://theskinnerhouse.blogspot.com/2011/08/homemade-laundry-detergent.html

  • Reply
    Katie
    September 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    I second the method detergent! You use such a tiny bit, a bottle lasts for ages. I love the handy little bottle, and I also like that my clothes don’t smell like the air freshener aisle when I get them out. They just smell clean with the slightest bit of fragrance (I love the peony blossom)

    I tried soap nuts for a while (I’m sure somebody will suggest them), but they just didn’t really work for me. I SO wanted to love them, though…. Maybe I’ll give them another shot one of these days. You have to use warm/hot water to get the soapy “sap” out of the nuts, which means you have to make some detergent ahead of time if you want to wash on cold and I’m just not that organized πŸ™‚ I did it once, but it molded before I could use it all!

    How does your aunt make her detergent??

    jeez, longest comment ever! I had no idea I had such strong opinions about laundy…

  • Reply
    elaine
    September 7, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    such simple upgrades but so effective! Looks great even with those small changes :). Love the red so far!

  • Reply
    Brita
    September 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    It’s so funny that Melissa recommends Method, because I had the exact opposite experience! I used exactly how much was suggested on the bottle, and my clothes came out like I had never even washed them.
    I’ve always wanted to try making my own, but for now, I use Tide Free and Gentle. Not super-de-duper green, but better than something with dyes and fragrances.

  • Reply
    Danyl
    September 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Love the red/blue combo. Our office re-do is a red/blue combo and it’s amazing. Gullvi fabric from IKEA will soon be turned into curtain panels.

    Re: detergent – a friend turned me on to the Dugger family recipe. It costs about $10 or so to make and makes a 5 gal bucket(liquid). Her sister uses a powder mix instead of the liquid, but that recipe I’m not familiar with. Good luck!

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    September 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I swear by my homemade stuff. Stains are no match for it, and I can make a batch for under $2 (factoring in the cost of the water, otherwise it’s less). What’s more, with the right tools, you can make a double batch in under 15 minutes. I do tons of laundry, and a double batch usually lasts between 2 and 3 months. Here’s where I got it (I use Fels Naptha, for the record):

    http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/laundrysoap.htm

    Best tip I ever got: store it in a 5 gallon paint bucket; once you’re under a gallon of your old batch, you can make your new double batch any time you want.

  • Reply
    Debbie
    September 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I love the pop of color the lid gives. I’m going to have to try that out in our house since we always seem to have mason jars around. Your laundry room is so cute! Do you by chance remember what color you painted the walls?

    I have been meaning to try making our own laundry detergent. It’s super cheap (about $.05 per load I think…) but we seem to either forget to buy the ingredents when we are shopping or buy our normal detergent out of habit.

  • Reply
    Dacia
    September 7, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I really love that little hit of color! I think if you keep the main palette neutral (tans, creams, your pale blue) and just add in smaller pops of the red, it will work just fine and not be too overwhelming!

  • Reply
    belmontmedina
    September 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I’m another for the method detergent- I think it’s stellar. I’ve never used seventh generation detergent, but that’s the only kind of ecofriendly dish soap I’ll use, so my guess is the laundry detergent might be good as well.

  • Reply
    Louise
    September 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Love all that you guys are doing, you are making nice strides in your laundry area, sometimes the smallest things can change the look of a room so much!

    We use Charlie’s Soap, and buy it by the 5 gallon bucket. You only use a tablespoon a load. I like not thinking about having to buy more for at least a year (and we are a fam of 4 with one in cloth diapers!)

  • Reply
    Staci
    September 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I use Method (the blue bottle–don’t know what the scent is called!) It smells amazing!

    I like the red and robin’s egg blue… but for your house, I’d go with browns and tans for the major accessories in here, with little, exciting, sneaky pops of red here and there πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Meghan M.
    September 7, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I used a Seventh Generation powder laundry detergent and keep it in a big glass jar with lid. I switched from liquid a few months ago and I LOVE that I don’t have ugly plastic bottles all over my laundry room. Would definitely look cute atop your little shelf πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Hannah B
    September 8, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Don’t buy laundry detergent anymore! I use the Duggar recipe (http://www.duggarfamily.com/content/duggar_recipes/30455/Homemade%20Liquid%20Laundry%20Soap-%20Front%20or%20top%20load%20machine-%20best%20value). I was VERY hesitant at first, but I’ve been using it for 9 months and LOVVVEEEE it! It gets my clothes clean and works great and we have a front loader HE too! The 5 gallon bucket has lasted me 9 months and costed $10 for all of the supplies at the beginning and now I’m ready to re-fill and it will cost $1 for 9 months of laundry. Uh, hellooo!!! Definitely give it a try!!!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Horn
    September 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I just happen to be redoing my laundry room right now, too! Can’t wait to see how yours turns out. I love the red lidded jar and the bucket. I was at Meijers last night and noticed that they have some jars with red lids if you need more/different sizes. If I had red in my house, I would have bought them!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    September 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    I am absolutely loving the red lid! I’m a big fan of the red/aqua combo, which is pretty popular in the fabric and quilting world also. And really, who doesn’t love a fun laundry room?

    Let me also say, I am on the last load or so of my laundry detergent… so I’m pretty pleased to take some advice from the other commenters! I’ve been kicking around the idea of making my own, but might try method for the time being.

  • Reply
    Barb
    September 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    I use the Meyers brand and love the lavender scent. Smells so yummy!

  • Reply
    Jen
    September 8, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    We use Arm & Hammer’s Free and Clear and a splash of baking soda to each wash. It’s perfect for my sensitive skin and not too harsh on the environment, too.

  • Reply
    Jessica Z.
    September 9, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Love the pop of red. What a fabulous color! As for detergent, I have been using Crunchy Clean for over a year now and love, love, love it! You can choose your natural scent (I love Baby Bee). It’s a work-at-home family business so I feel great about supporting them, and the detergent just rocks. It’s not carried in any stores in my area (Charlottesville) so I have to order it online, but that’s been no big deal since a bag lasts forever.

  • Reply
    Krista from KJ and CO.
    September 9, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    My purse was full of paintchips when we were moving as well. I LOVE the robin’s egg blue and red combo. Very FRESH and cheerful.
    It was a smart idea to display/store the dog biscuits like that.

  • Reply
    Steph
    September 11, 2011 at 2:12 am

    I’m so glad to have stumbled upon your blog. I really dig your style and I, too, will be making over my house (gradually). Seeing what you’ve done and documented motivates me to get up and do something, too. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Lyndsey
    September 12, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    i LOVE METHOD!!! its my fav! and so easy to carry! no lugging around this huge tub of soap!!

    http://www.alovelylittleblog.com

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