{Guest Post} The Year of Organization Part 3

Hope you all had a great weekend!  I cooked and cooked and cooked.  🙂

Let’s just say .. I made an amazing Cinco De Mayo dinner that was out of this world!  Complete with Mango Margaritas and fiesta dance music! 🙂

Back to the topic .. Sally’s guest post part 3.

You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.  Today she is talking about her biggest project from her Year of Organization — the Arts & Crafts Closet.  Read below! 🙂


The last and biggest project that I did during my Year of Organization was our Arts and Crafts closet. This project was the catalyst for all of my other organizing projects and my main reason for contacting Jennifer in the first place.

It took the most time and thought process to make the most of the space.  This closet was initially used to store our miscellaneous kitchen appliances that didn’t fit into our kitchen cabinets.  I was finding that the older the kids got, the more art supplies I acquired, and it really got bad when I found Pinterest!

I was keeping our supplies in the buffet in our dining room, but it was not working well.  So I decided to trade places, and moved the kitchen appliances to the buffet and the arts and crafts supplies to the closet.  {BRILLIANT!}

I don’t have a picture of the closet with the kitchen appliances, but I do have a picture with all of the arts and crafts supplies jammed in before the organization began.

Closet Before

Closet Before

ONE BIG MESS!!  I knew that we needed to find some type of shelving system for the best organization.  So after recruiting my husband (who did all of the hard labor,) we took out the hanging rod and installed some wire shelving.  I laid all of the supplies out and categorized them on direction from Jennifer and this is what we came up with….

Closet After

Closet After

Closet After

Closet After

Arts & Crafts Closet Closeup {It is BEAUTIFUL!}

Most of the storage is from Staples (The Really Useful Box) and I also upcycled some containers (coffee, sour cream, etc) to hold markers, crayons, scissors, etc. for easy access.  We still have a lot of art supplies, but because of the organization we use it much more often because it is easy to get to.  I love that we can also store our board games at the top of the closet so we don’t have to worry about losing pieces.

Does my closet always look perfect and organized? No way! Sometimes little hands find their way in and pick and choose what they want, and sometimes we are in a rush to clean up before mealtimes, but overall it has been a great improvement over where we stored the supplies before.

I believe that organization has been a work in progress for me, some days I do well at sticking with what we have in place, and some days I find piles everywhere for items that need to find a home.  It takes time to maintain organization and it needs to be a priority to work well.

I think it is important to strike a balance for where you are in your life when it comes to organizing. Would I have loved to have decorative fancy boxes and gorgeous paper lined shelves, of course, but not at the point I am in my life with my family’s needs.

This is more of a functional organization rather than aesthetic and I am happy with that.  {What is it I say: function then fancy} 😉 Once my children are grown and in homes of their own, then I will have the time (and patience) to work on making it more aesthetic.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing a few of my organizational projects and my hope is that they inspire you to find the right balance for you and your family’s organizational needs.

Sally Sosler Jamie Ball Photography

Sally Sosler
Jamie Ball Photography

Sally Sosler is a photographer located in Orange County, New York. You can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SallySoslerPhotography or at her websitewww.sallysoslerphotography.com.


I couldn’t agree with Sally more on several points!

  • It won’t always be picture perfect because organizing takes time every day.
  • Having a system in place makes it easier to keep up.
  • It doesn’t have to be gorgeous and fancy.  If you want to take that extra step, then by all means!
  • So long as the items have a home and you know where to find them and store them, then the system works!

Thank you Sally for sharing those projects with us!  What do you think of the transformation?

Clearly, I love it! 😉

Until next time…


Guest Blogging for The Charlotte Moms…

I’m guest blogging this week over at The Charlotte Moms talking about ways to maximize storage within your home by utilizing furniture.

The Charlotte Moms

It is a 2 part series; please feel free to drop by and check it out! 🙂

Using Storage To Maximize Furniture | Pure & Simple

Organizing with Furniture & Baskets | Pure & Simple

Part 1:  Using Furniture to Maximize Storage In A Room

Part 2: Using Furniture to Maximize Storage In A Room

Until next time…


Guest Blog Roundup…

Is it Wednesday already?  Where has the week gone?!  I’ve been a little quiet this week as I’m spending some time regrouping and decluttering.  Yes, even the organizer needs to declutter. 😉

I wanted to round up a few guest blogs in case time is on your side and you wanted to check them out:

{1} Jessica, from Savvy Southern Parent, asked if I would guest post about organizing.  I wrote so much she broke it up into two segments! 🙂  I guess I can talk for days about organizing.

Part 1: How to Get Organized When You Are Overwhelmed and Feel Defeated By The Piles

Part 2: How To Get Organized When You Are Overwhelmed

{2} I’m blogging over at SouthPark Magazine this week about Organizing Your Long-Term Storage Areas

Organize Your Long-Term Storage

{3} I’m sharing some organizing “tools” to organize your closet over at The Charlotte Moms.

Tools To Organize Your Closet

{4} I asked my dear friend, Cheryl Luckett of Dwell by Cheryl, for some decorating tips regarding my bathroom.  She wrote an awesome post complete with pictures and suggestions.  Slightly embarrassed that it is so boring and bland. 🙂

Decor Tips For An Apartment Bathroom

You might see a few more cameos on her blog here and here.


While you are there be sure to leave some blog loving.  All bloggers love comments!  {really we do} 😉

Lastly — my new blog and IG friend Mari from Crab+Fish wrote this awesome post about thrifting.  If thrifting is something you enjoy, then hop on over and check it out. 🙂

And don’t forget — if you are on IG, feel free to follow me.  Besides posting drool worthy thrift finds, I like to take snapshots of my day to share with all of IG. 😉  Sounds fun, right?

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

{Guest Post} How To Organize Your Bathroom…

I’m guest blogging over at SouthPark magazine.  I’m in the mood to redo my bathroom which inspired my post:  Bathroom Organizing with Style & Function.

Be sure to drop by their website to read the full post. 🙂

I also ran across this great story on Houzz yesterday:  Decluttering — How to get the help you need.  I thought it might be of interest if time is on your side. 😉

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

{Guest Post} The Year of Organization

Foodie Friday will return soon … I promise.  But today I have a real treat for you … a guest post from Sally Sosler! 🙂

Sally and I met over email.  She is my email pen pal; we talk all things family, organizing, and geography.  I love that she is from New York!


Sosler FamilyJamie Ball Photography

Sosler Family
Jamie Ball Photography

I have to admit, when Jennifer asked me to do a guest blog, I was feeling nervous.  What do I have to share with people about organizing?  But here I go; this is my journey to “The Year of Organization”.

At the beginning of 2012, I was feeling quite overwhelmed with the state of organization in my house and life.  I am the mother of 2 children, ages 4 and 2, and the wife of a self employed husband who works long hours.  Although I wouldn’t call my house dirty, a lot of projects had been neglected.  I decided that this would be the year I got myself motivated to make some changes.  I sat down at the beginning of January and wrote out my New Year’s resolutions all based around a more organized household and life.  I deemed 2012 “The Year of Organization”.

I typed up my resolutions and made it look nice and put it on the kitchen cabinet closest to my sink, that way when I was washing dishes I would be reminded of what my resolutions were.  It was funny how many people commented on seeing it, and that also made me more accountable.   My husband was completely on board and relieved.  Since having kids he had noticed the decline of organization around our house, but was understanding of how much hard work it is to raise 2 kids.  (He was happy that he didn’t have to bring it to my attention and then get an earful from me.)

To get started, I found a ready made cleaning schedule that I could tailor to my home at www.motivatedmoms.com. I loved having the list each day so that I could check off what had been done.  That was truly the first motivating step for me in my organization process.

I also spent some quality time online seeking out some organization blogs to get inspired.   I had never followed a blog before, but I was amazed at the mass of amazing information out there about organizing.  As part of my organization, I was also determined to cut out any unnecessary computer time, as that would take away from time with my kids as well as keeping my house in order. It was just a plain waste of time!  So finding the balance between getting the information, but not getting log jammed with information overload.  Somehow I found my way to Jennifer’s blog and decided I would start following.  As you all know, she has so much energy and enthusiasm in her blog posts, so I enjoyed sitting down to read them.

I had decided that my first major project was to do a complete overhaul of my children’s arts and crafts supplies.  My husband would argue that we have enough supplies for a small preschool.  They were taking over the buffet in our dining room and shoved where ever I could find room.  But since my kids were getting older, and getting into everything, I decided I had better do something fast so that I would not find that my walls were being used as canvases with the easily accessible crayons and markers.

In April, I got the courage to send Jennifer an email about the 3M hanging bins that she had used in a commercial contest.  She seemed so friendly and out going, and someone I could sit down and chat with about organization.  I explained to her how I wanted to move all of the arts and crafts supplies to our hall closet which had been used for our miscellaneous kitchen appliances.  It made sense, since the buffet was much closer to the kitchen and the closet I could keep kids out of.  I was amazed at the detailed response she sent back to me, down to specific recommendations and links to things she thought may work, as well as some tips on how to make the organization process less of a headache.  And then began our e-pen pal friendship and my road to organization.

Over the next few months, I worked on a handful of projects in addition to the arts and crafts closet including a linen closet clean out and a bedroom closet organization (which has inspired another friend to get on the road to being organized).  Jennifer has been such a great supporter throughout and has certainly inspired me to be a more organized and better me.  My husband and I still have some other major home organization projects on our list, but if you talked to us last year, we didn’t have a list, so even that is an improvement.

In my next post, I will be showing you some before and after pictures of the arts and crafts closet, the bedroom closet and the linen closet.  And I will also talk about some of the challenges I faced while organizing (especially with kids) and what has worked well for our family.  I hope you will join me again in my journey through “The Year of Organization”.

Sally SoslerJamie Ball Photography

Sally Sosler
Jamie Ball Photography

Sally Sosler is a photographer located in Orange County, New York. You can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SallySoslerPhotography or at her website www.sallysoslerphotography.com.


There is nothing that melts my heart more than reading this.  🙂  Thank you Sally for sharing!  I cannot wait to see what the next post holds!

Will 2013 be your year of organization?

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

Making Sense of Holiday Photo Madness…

Merry Christmas Eve! 🙂  I was recently approached by Jennifer Hellickson about writing a blog post about organizing digital photos.  Jennifer read one of my guest posts over at The Charlotte Moms! 🙂   She works for a PR company and one of her accounts is Photobucket.  I must admit that I had not heard of Photobucket until she mentioned the website.  I poked around and found it be very easy on the eyes. 🙂

Making Sense of Holiday Photo Madness

The holidays are upon us!  It is a time of celebration and get togethers.  A time to visit with friends and family that you see once a year.  Time to capture those moments to remember forever.  I’m sure the camera is charged and the memory cards are empty in full anticipation.

As the season comes and goes, take some time to organize your digital photos.  If you took the time to snap them, then take some time to organize and appreciate them.

Decide what you would like to do with the pictures.

Do you want to create a holiday scrapbook?  Perhaps print them and share in a family album.  Another idea is to pick the best shots and blow them up to display in wall frames.

Create an organized system for storing digital photos on your computer.

Step 1:  Delete pictures that are blurry, fuzzy, or unattractive.  Pick the best nature shots and delete the rest.

We take pictures to create memories.  Memories of the people in our lives.  Nature shots can add a layer to the memories, but pictures are better served if of people.

Step 2:  Create folders to help organize all those images.

Start with a folder for each year.  Then create a folder for each month.  For example, you will have a folder for 2012 of which contains 12 folders for each month.  Rename the months: 1 January 2012, 2 February 2012.  This will help when searching and arranging.

Step 3:  Within each month’s folder, add folders for different events.  For example, Timmy’s Birthday, Sarah’s Dance Recital.  Place all pictures into their respective folders.

Step 4:  Backup your photos onto an external hard drive.  Photos take up a lot of memory on your computer.  Be sure to back them up in a safe place either online or with an external hard drive.

Photobucket is an option for backing up photos online:

  • Backing up online via a dedicated photo site allows you to add an extra level of security when safekeeping your digital photos
  • You can organize as you upload, and also have the ability to share albums links with others via email, social media sites and embed in blogs for convenience
  • Go with a place that’s trusted & reliable: Photobucket host more than 10 billion images from 100 million registered members, who upload more than 4 million images and videos per day from the Web and connected digital devices.

Step 5:  Print your favorite ones (see above)!

Be sure to enjoy your pictures after you have taken them.  Make sure you can easily find them when you want to retrieve later.  Make sure they are safely stored.  And lastly, reminisce about Christmas’ past.  Laugh over the hair styles and fashion choices.

Photobucket Stories is a method for doing something with your pictures:

Happy Holidays!

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

Fort Mill Magazine {Podcast}…

I love reading local/regional magazines.  I also love reading magazines that are visually appealing.  Fort Mill Magazine is one of those “pretty” magazines.  🙂

Don’t get me wrong — they have great stories in the publication as well.  😉

Fort Mill Magazine Fall Cover

I attended the Fort Mill Magazine Contributor’s meeting last week.  I can officially say I am apart of the Fort Mill Magazine team. 🙂 I will be writing organizing articles for their magazine (out each quarter) and for their blog.  Ya’ll know how much I like writing about organizing. 😉

I also taped my very first podcast with Tracey Roman (Editor-in-Chief) & Emily Wyatt (Asst Editor) last week.  Here it is! 🙂

Emily took a picture of me afterwards.  Thought I would share .. 🙂

After my podcast taping. 🙂

Fort Mill Magazine Website:  http://fortmillmagazine.com/

“Like” them:  http://www.facebook.com/fortmillmag

Tweet them:  @FORTMILLmag

So .. what did you think of the podcast? 🙂

Until next time…

{Guest Post} Pam’s Cheeseball Recipe…

Do you remember Pam Sultzman’s Guest Post a few months ago?  Well, in case you missed it … check it out here.

Pam was kind enough to send a recipe over as well.  And what great timing … the get togethers and socials are piling on the calendar.  If you are looking for an easy and tasty cheese ball recipe, then look no further!

 3 in 1 Cheese Balls

From the kitchen of: Pam Sultzman 

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • Minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Finely chopped pecans
  • assorted crackers
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, room temperature

Note:  To keep hands and countertop clean, spoon cheese mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap. Working from the underside of the wrap, pat the mixture into a ball. Complete recipe as directed.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, cheddar cheese, milk, onion and Worcestershire sauce until fluffy. If a smoother spread is desired, process in a food processor until creamy. Divide into thirds (about 1 cup each). Shape first portion into a ball; roll in cracked pepper. Add the blue cheese to the second portion; mix well. Shape into a ball; roll in parsley. Add garlic powder to the remaining portion; mix well. Shape into a ball; roll in nuts. Cover and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator and let stand 15 minutes before serving. Serve with crackers.

Recipe Cards professionally prepared by Pam’s Pantry: pamspantry@carolina.rr.com www.pams-pantry.com

Until next time…

{Guest Post} Why Donating to Goodwill is a Good Thing…

Check out my guest post over at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont’s blog! 🙂

Here is a little teaser:

Wake up call #1:  We all have a little too much “stuff” lingering in our lives.

Wake up call #2:  Just because you paid $100 for that lamp doesn’t mean you should keep it … Especially since you don’t even like it.

Wake up call #3:  Recouping your “investment” in anything is highly unlikely unless it is uber-name brand!

Wake up call #4:  It is much easier to donate than sell.


Check it out! 🙂

Until next time…

{Guest Post} Pam’s Pantry

Guest post for everyone today!  Pam Sultzman from Pam’s Pantry!

I met Pam for coffee a few weeks ago, and we gabbed for hours!  She helps people organize their recipes {which I love}, as well as runs a virtual assistant business!  She is sharing tips on how to organize your recipes! 🙂 Thanks Pam!


Organize Recipes Once & For All

For many cooks, “recipe collection” is defined as a pile of cookbooks, magazines, yellowed news clippings, computer printouts and spattered note cards that requires patient sifting when looking for that recipe you know you have somewhere.

I came into my new career in a way that is familiar to many these days: I was laid off in 2004.  I had some time on my hands, so I took control of my own recipe collection.  After weeks of sorting the recipes by categories, typing, printing and laminating them to keep them clean, I was ready to put them in my new recipe box. I loved it, so I thought others might as well!!

I enjoy helping others so I started doing it for other people, charging $1 a recipe.  I also put together recipe books for families, often including personal pictures and stories, and fundraisers for schools, churches and organizations.  I especially like doing heirloom recipes because it is so important to carry on your family traditions.  My clients hand me their collections, usually in a shoe box, and I take it from there.

Tips for the Do It Yourselfers:

  • Gather all of your recipes in one place.
  • Divide the recipes into categories that make sense to you and your family.
    • The more detailed you are, the easier it will be to find a recipe.
    • Make a category for family favorites; recipes to try; family heirloom recipes and handy hints and cooking tips.
    • Throw out any recipes that are incomplete or illegible.
    • Purge the recipes you think you’ll never cook. Be honest with yourself. (♥ this suggestion!)
  • Go through your cookbooks.
    • If you only cook a few recipes from a book, save only those recipes and donate the book.
  • Organize the cookbooks you are keeping.
    • Arrange them by title or author.
  • When you try new recipes, mark the book with notes that will help you find it in the future.
    • A recipe journal works well for tracking these recipes, or take a card and fill out the recipe name plus the cookbook and page number where it can be found.
    • File the card as you normally would in your collection of recipes.
    • You no longer need to search through or remember which book had a certain recipe, just look it up in your recipe card system.

Tips on controlling that overwhelmed feeling:

  • If you are having trouble getting motivated – consider getting a pal to help you.
  • Start small – just do a little bit at a time.
    • Don’t feel you have to do the job all at one time, it should be an ongoing process.
  • Don’t get distracted – following through is important to keep on top of the situation.
  • Pick it up only once – find a place for it.


Pam is a vendor at numerous craft shows where she sells recipe boxes, small kitchen utensils and dip mixes.  She also does home parties.  If you would like more information on how she could help you, please visit her website or send her an email.

Pam Sultzman
Pam’s Pantry
Let Me Organize Your Recipe Collection Today!



What is your favorite way to organize recipes? 🙂

Until next time…