One of the first things I noticed immediately after moving to North Carolina was that monograms were everywhere! Anything with a little space could hold a monogram, and more than likely it did. Monogramming seems to be as Southern as sweet tea and you either love it or you don’t. Personally, I LOVE it!! Growing up in Ohio, I think the only thing I had that was monogrammed was my elementary school sweater. Here, I can have anything from socks to earrings and everything inbetween marked with my initials! Chances are if you live in the South, you already have at least one person to turn to if you need something monogrammed. Here in Apex, I usually run to either Marnie at Gone Stitching or Kimberly at The Smocked Shop. Both do an outstanding job! I will forever appreciate Kimberly coming to my rescue for a last minute Christmas gift. She squeezed in monogramming a sweatshirt for me as she was practically out the door for a vacation! Monogramming is not limited to clothing and accessories! I was thrilled when my neighbor introduced me to the monogrammed license plates her company makes. Here in North Carolina, cars are only required to carry one license plate in the back. The front of the car can hold a decorative plate or no plate at all. For years I had no plate, now I have a beautiful monogrammed license plate! I always know which minivan is mine!! Thanks, Marla!!
Now that my car is all fancy (at least the license plate), I can put more attention into my home. I have plenty of DIY projects that I dream of doing, just check out my Pinterest boards. Unfortunately, they take a back seat, a way back seat, to all of the other activities my family juggles each week. Before I know it another year has gone by and my projects are still waiting to be completed. Not this year! 2016 is going to be a year of accomplishments – especially in the areas of home improvements and getting my clutter under control. Since I have zero organization skills when it comes to the home, it is a very good thing that I have friends that are professionals organizers. Thankfully, they were willing to help me out!
Although I truly was aware of the disaster areas, otherwise known as my dining room table and kitchen pantry, I had no idea how to even begin to organize these places. Between the mailbox and backpacks there is so much paper that comes into our house every day and I find myself just shoving them into drawers or stacking them into not so neat piles on our table, only to be moved into a holding area (my bedroom) if we are expecting company. The shelves of our pantry are stuffed with random items, along with some food, but mostly cookbooks, aprons, and towels; however, I can never seem to find one when I need it! I have attempted to purchase some organizing materials from Home Goods or Target, but always leave empty handed as I suddenly feel overwhelmed with the thought of not even knowing where to begin or what to place where. Jennifer Gregg and Leah DeLitizia, the owners of Home and Harmony, came to my rescue. Perfect timing too as the new year was a wonderful time for me to start a fresh approach to handling the paper flow and our food storage situation in our home.
I have known these women for years! Jennifer and I have daughters that have been friends since the second grade. Leah, Jennifer, and I also spent quite a few years working together on the school newsletter and the PTA. Both Leah and Jennifer served as presidents and I was always impressed by their organized binders that they would bring to each meeting. It was not a surprise at all when I learned that they had decided to combine their talents and form a home staging and organization business. When Jennifer asked if they could use my house as a sample project I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered or embarrassed. Okay, I knew I should be embarrassed…and I was… and still am! Keep scrolling for pictures and you will see why I am just a tad humiliated. Jennifer and Leah assured me that I am not the only person who shoves things into drawers (or, in my case, closets) in order to quickly make a room presentable to guests. I also suppose we all have our special gifts that we are meant to share with each other. And really, if I was organized I wouldn’t have been able to provide such a challenging project for Leah and Jennifer. So, I think sometimes our shortcomings are blessing to others.
Anyway, back to Home and Harmony… Jennifer and Leah came over one morning. They looked around, took some measurements and pictures. They asked if I have any ideas, of course, I said no. Originally, they were just going to come up with a way for me to handle the paper flow in my house so that we could use the table for something other than displaying mail and what comes home from school in the Friday folders. They seemed more than excited to take on the pantry too. Yay!
Recently, they came back and installed all of my goodies! Things that I could never, ever put together myself. Here is a quick summary of what they did.
The Paper Flow:
They added more color to my kitchen by hanging pocket shelves – giving one pocket to each person in my home and even one for the unwanted, but inevitable bill. (We have a lot of Bills that come over – so I feel the need to clarify that I am referring to the one that is paper and that we need to pay.)
They placed a dry erase calendar and memo board between these shelves so we can easily keep track of what we have going on.
Below the shelves are hooks – beautiful, decorative knobs that are for backpacks! Yay! I will no longer trip over them as I walk through the door!
I have to say that I never even knew some of the items they brought into my pantry existed!
My favorite – shelf liners! They turned the wire shelves into a whole, flat surface – nothing can slip through from one shelf to the next! So happy!! And a shelf that expands and has ‘steps’ so I see everything that is on my shelf without moving anything out of the way! Who knew!! The organized shelves also helps me to see when I desperately need to go shopping!
One shelf holds baskets for the aprons, napkins/tablecloths, and towels. My youngest is now excited to help put things away because she knows where they belong. I guess being organized helps make cleaning more fun!
A final touch to the panty is a set of recycling bins – one for our plastic bags, one for paper bags, and one for other recyclables. Love having them out of sight and separated!
I cannot thank Jennifer and Leah enough for my cookbook shelf!! I love seeing my cookbooks out in the open! I find that I am actually using them, which helps my family enjoy a greater variety of meals. I often start to make the same meals over and over again, which is ridiculous if you have so many cookbooks or access to the internet. Anyway, I love being able to put them back easily too – without the fear of them all sliding off of the pantry shelf.
I am just so thrilled with my new things, a monogrammed license plate and a more organized home, that I had to share with y’all!
Please feel free to share any organizing tips you have tried or are excited about! Now that Home and Harmony have done this project for me, I feel a bit inspired to tackle some other areas that need a bit of attention. Jennifer and Leah, I promise to save the laundry/craft closet for you!
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Stay tuned, stay healthy, and stay Pretty in the Peak
Marianne Lindgren, MS, RD