Top Organizing Bloggers Family Room Tour :: Organized Books and Magazines

Welcome to the November Tour 
of Organizing Bloggers' Living and Family Rooms!
(See last month's tour of our KITCHENS.)

As a professional organizer,  I am excited that I get to share both my love of organizing with you, 
as well as the creatively frugal ideas that I use to simply keep my sanity in my own home.
Maybe you can use some of these ideas, too?

Here's my living room.

We live in a 1926 American Craftsman Bungalow 
in the heart of an Historic District in our city's downtown.
Our home is around 1700 square feet, which isn't small,
but we definitely have to be frequently intentional about what to keep
and what to sell, donate, give, or throw away.

I believe in Gustav Stickley's principle now more than ever since moving in this home last year.
He was the "father" of the Arts & Crafts Movement and Craftsman design.

It has taken us this whole past year in this house to finally reach the "simplified" point,
and actually USE most of our belongings.
We have no "extra" rooms in the house, either.
Each space is used daily.
And we love being "right-sized" to our house, finally, after 25 years of making a family.

Paper is part of modern life, as is the distributing of it throughout a home.
But left unchecked, sorted, recycled, it can quickly grow into a bigger part
of our lives than we'd like.

We only keep two baskets of reading material in the living room.
The rest of our books are kept in the bookcases in our office just off our living room.

One for magazines,

and one for books that we are currently reading.

These are the magazines that I collect, keep, and refer to often.
You won't find Cottage Living in publication anywhere anymore,
but you can find copies HERE on eBay.

Cottage Living mags are timeless inspiration to me!

The other magazine I collect is HERE at Life:Beautiful.
You may have never heard of it, and I hadn't either, until...
I happened upon it a few years ago in Wal-Mart.
Now Barnes and Noble carries it, too.
I love this magazine because it is a combination of Better Homes and Gardens,
Country Living, the Bible, Veranda, Crafting Books, Devotionals, Cookbooks,
Focus on the Family...

Click HERE to read their Mission Statement.

The other basket contains my husband's and my bibles, journals,
Kindles, and daily reference/read books.

The selection is kept simple so we can not only find them quickly, 
but stay focused on finishing those selections we've chosen for the time being.
More corners of our living room.

 (The sofa and loveseat are IKEA's Ektorp with the Blekinge White covers.)

The chest below was a gift from my mother-in-love.
It's an 1880's jeweler's chest.

Our newest addition is this 1910 Victrola, a gift from my mom and uncle.
It belonged to their grandmother, my great-great grandmother.
And the best part?


Here are some ways to help you minimize books and magazines in the living room.

It starts with asking yourself and your family some questions, like:
What do we really need to save?
If we put a magazine in the recycle bin, could we find the info contained in it online?
Do we need more than the books we regularly use to be stored in daily-use spaces?

Then, we can take action:
  • Gather all the piles of books/magazines into one place, like the dining table or onto the floor.
  • Start making decisions about what you really want to read and collect.
  • If you're behind on your reading material, schedule reading time into every day so you can catch up.
  • If you're WAY behind, scan the table of contents in each magazine, highlight only those articles you re most interested in reading, and read those just before recycling the magazine.
  • Cancel subscriptions to magazines that you are three months behind on. You may receive a refund on the unused portion of your subscription. Or you can change the mailing address and have the remainder mailed to someone you know will love the magazine.
  • Put a limit on the number of magazines you subscribe to (I subscribe to 3, but I recycle them as soon as I read them). 
  • Don't keep every issue (unless you still refer to them) of every magazine. Our home's space is finite, and so should the amount of paper in your home be. Decide on a certain # of issues you'd like to keep and recycle the rest.
  • For books, if you've passed over a certain title again and again because you'd rather read another book, it may be time to donate or sell the neglected book.
  • Topical no-fiction has an expiration date. Donate or recycle those books that are no longer relevant to current times.
  • Only keep in your living room those books that are read on a daily and weekly basis.
  • Remember, you can always quickly order another copy of a donated book (should you miss it) off Amazon, or get it at the library.
  • Pinterest is like a virtual decorating book... it saves me lots of room in the baskets under my coffee table.
  • No matter how much you acquire, it's impossible to have it all. There's always something newer and better being introduced. Be happy with what you already have.

Click on the picture below to be taken to our Pinterest Board.

See the rest of the organized living rooms in our Autumn Tour:

Follow Me on Pinterest

Organizing Bloggers Kitchen Tour :: My Kitchen Baking Zone

Welcome to the Autumn Tour 
of Organizing Bloggers' Kitchens !!

As a professional organizer,  I am excited that I get to share both my love of organizing with you, as well as the creatively frugal ideas that I use to simply keep my sanity in my own home.
Maybe you can use some of these ideas, too? Today, we’re in my kitchen.
I am one descendant in generations’ worth of bakers. Bakers that bake in bulk.
One corner of my kitchen is the baking zone.
If you find yourself walking back and forth as you bake to retrieve items and ingredients, 
you may need to re-think the location of these things.

Store items in a way that makes sense and saves steps. 
Almost all of my baking necessities are within arm’s reach in this corner.

I love having my dry goods in these glass containers. 
With a glance, I can tell if I am running low on something.

Last year, I was about to put this wardrobe mirror in the yard sale pile. 
As I added this lamp, I thought, “There must be some way to get more light in this corner!” 
I remembered the mirror, measured it to see if it would fit, and here it hangs across from the window, reflecting light and doubling my dry ingredients! 
It also gives a whole new meaning to “watching what you eat”.
I found the jars and metal scoops at Wal-Mart.

I used to have dozens and dozens of cookbooks. but got tired of trying to remember which recipe 
was in which book. So, one day, I opened them all up to the one or two recipes in each book 
that we actually liked, copied them down onto recipe cards, and now I only have a few cookbooks.

I mostly get my recipes from the internet, so I use my iPhone a lot as a "cookbook".
Yep, my iPhone!

When I see a recipe I want to try that I’ve pinned on my Pinterest HERE, I plop my phone in this vintage sugar bowl (which has long since lost its lid) and have a paper-free means of making something.

If it passes “inspection”, it gets written down and put into My Recipes cookbook.  

Let me show you the insides of the cupboards.

The top shelf holds the least-frequently used items, the pastry mat and rolling pin, cookie cutters, and icing stuff.

The middle shelf holds the smaller measuring utensils.

And, of course, the lowest shelf holds the larger, heavier measuring bowls.

This is the cabinet to the right of the one above.

Paper cupcake liners.

Sugar, cocoa, salt, baking soda, and baking powder are kept here.
These are also handy because their lids have a slide closure so I can neatly pour out the contents.

The bottom shelf holds spices, extracts, and my favorite: sprinkles.

(As you may have noticed, I put many of my ingredients in matching, see-through containers.
I don’t like the surprise of running out of something mid-measure!)
Below the spices cabinet is the utensil drawer.
These are really, actually, truthfully ALL the items in this drawer, and the only items I use.
I decided a long time ago to keep the most-used items, because the rest was clutter.

The lower left cabinet contains all of my casserole and pie dishes.
Again, these are all I use and are plenty.

The cabinet to the right of the casseroles houses more pans and necessities.

In the bottom oven drawer are Below the oven are flat and flat-ish pans.
I use the cupcake pans A LOT!

Here’s a tip to keep your pans like-new: wash them immediately after you’re done baking;
and put them in the still-hot oven to dry; this reduces rust.  

To the right of the oven, the lower cabinet door holds the oven mitts.

And a picture holder is very handy to hold recipe cards while baking.

And a silver urn is very pretty to hold tall utensils.

As you can see, the refrigerator is to the left of the baking zone, so I can easily grab the eggs, milk, and butter, which makes a nice work triangle.

I am blessed with an over-sized rolling kitchen island that was once an old kitchen cabinet, now on casters, which I topped with a butcher block table top, and placed four bar chairs around.

We eat here for most meals.
(The dining room receives some attention for special occasions.)

On the backside of the island is storage.

I keep the baked goods packaging supplies in here, furthest away from the baking corner, 
because I use these the least.

Other pictures of my kitchen.  

Across from the French doors is the pantry.  

Some thoughts I’ve gathered as a professional organizer on kitchen organization:
  • Many times, things that are stored in cupboards aren’t actually needed in the kitchen; for example, fancy china, serving trays, special occasion utensils, crystal bowls, or vases. Move these to other areas (perhaps the dining room) to free up shelf space for your more frequently used items.
  • Go through your cookbooks and remove the ones that you don’t like or use. Get your loose recipes into a 3-ring binder, divided into sections.
  • If you don’t have a separate pantry, make use of stepped organizers, sliding shelves, and turntables inside your cabinets. Baskets work well to keep like items together. Labels help the family to know where to store items and make it easier for them to help to put groceries away after a shopping trip.
  • If you are spending more than a few seconds searching for a particular utensil, then it’s time to purge your drawers of the unused items. Ask yourself what is really necessary. You may need less than you think that you do.
  • How many dish towels and oven mitts do you need? These linens typically take up precious drawer space. I suggest seven towels, one for each day of the week, and four oven mitts: two square and two hand mitts. Hang them on the inside of the cabinet door nearest to their use on hooks or over-the-door towel bars.
  • More kitchen hints HERE.
  • And a re-organized walk-in pantry HERE.

I pray that each of you will have a beautiful day making your home!

The Kitchen Tour- 
click on the links below to see the rest of our  organized kitchens 
(and make sure you're following me on Instagram HERE 
for a great giveaway --hint: it's cash!--
that starts at 8am EST 10/1/14):

Click the Organizer below to be taken to their post:


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