Thursday, January 29, 2015

14 UHeart Organizing: Organized Camera Gear

This week I am thrilled to introduce you to another set of contributor newbies.  And yep, you read that correctly.  I did type out set.  As in the perfect duo of DIY gal pals.  Say hello to Bridget and Casey, the fabulous blogging pair behind The DIY Playbook.

Bridget and Casey's projects have been spotted multiple times here on iHeart, so it was only natural for them to join the team!  I love their energy, style and passion for home blogging.  Which includes sharing organizational tips!  I especially appreciated their recent post on staying organized in a small home.

They are here today to share their tips for organizing their photography equipment.  And I spy the cutest camera bag around... here they are now!

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We are definite photography rookies and are totally learning as we go, usually having little to no clue what we're actually doing, but we really do enjoy the photography part of blogging. Taking photos for the blog is a challenge (to say the least); it’s actually a lot of work (way more than we ever anticipated), but we really LOVE it and we love chasing that “perfect” shot. However, the one thing we do NOT love about our photo adventures is the disorganized MESS that our photography stuff usually is. We are here to help guide you in finally organizing all of those camera trinkets so you can stop worrying about finding that you need and start focusing on getting that perfect shot!


To begin, I dumped out the contents of my previous camera storage and was surprised at some of the stuff I found that I had no idea I still had! Look at this mess.... cords, USBs, lens caps, batteries, extra batteries, the charger, the camera's receipt, business cards, the camera manual, a warranty... why can't I ever seem to find these treasures when I need them?! Although I was glad I finally found some of these valuable items, I realized that I did not need to lug all of these camera accessories around with me as I traveled with my camera.


The first thing I did was sorted these accessories into two piles. One pile consisted of the items that I needed to store in my new camera bag because they were essentials in day-to-day photography. The next pile was all of the stuff that was important but was not necessary to carry around on an everyday basis (like the receipts, software, warranties, etc).


Sorting these items immediately cut down on the clutter and made organizing my camera accessories a lot more manageable. The extra "stuff" that I didn't need to carry around with me went in a a labeled box that I put in my desk. Now, all I had to do was organize the remaining photography essentials in a way that I could quickly grab 'em & go!

The items I found worth keeping organized and being stored within my camera bag are:
  • Lens - Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens
  • Battery Charger and spare battery
  • External Hard-drive
  • USB cord
  • Business Cards



That's where an effective camera bag came into the picture. I received this camera bag for Christmas (I actually added it to my Christmas list after Jen recommended it here on iHeart Organizing!). This one has plenty of storage and stays organized because it offers such specific compartments and zippered pouches- but any bag with lots of compartments will do the trick!



Each item that was left in my pile was given a specific place in the camera bag to call "home". Giving each camera essential a specific place to live will help me keep the bag organized.... even when I'm in a rush!


Within the bag, I kept the USB cord in its own compartment so that it won't get tangled with other items in the bag. However, if you have more than one cord in any of the compartments or if you want to keep those cords from knotting and becoming a hot-mess, we highly recommend this easy, super affordable method. Cord + Clothes Pin = Cords will never tangle again... we promise!


Compartments are key when organizing your camera bag (or really any bag for that matter!). The thing we love about this specific bag is that the compartment size is up to you and can be easily changed as your camera needs change. With these velcro inserts, you are able to create the size/amount of compartments that fit your priorities. The bag came with three velcro inserts, I ended up only needing two, which created three equal parts in the bag. The neatly separated three-part space allowed me to store while also identifying exactly where everything should return to after being used. Now if we could figure out how to do this with our purses!

But my work was not done just yet. Usually when I take my camera bag out and about, I hate to have to lug around a purse too. ....Holy bag lady! Because I still had some unused compartments in my bag, I was able to consolidate a few of my purse must-haves into the camera bag's extra compartments. I add my wallet and a few snacks into the bag because hangry isn't a good look on anyone.


Now, my super organized camera also doubles as my purse and I only have to worry about one bag on my way out. #winwin


Since my camera accessories are now finally consolidated and organized, I can stop worrying about finding my equipment and start focusing on getting some beautiful shots.



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"Hey There! We're Bridget and Casey, the best friends, Chicago gals, and editors behind The DIY Playbook. Even though we consider ourselves busy girls with full-time jobs, husbands, and never ending to-do lists, we believe there is always time to add personality to our homes. On our blog, we strive to inspire our readers to inject their sparkling personalities into their own spaces with affordable and attainable solutions. We heart Instagram, can't turn down a cup of coffee, have no clue what we're doing in the kitchen, and are beyond excited to be part of the IHeart Organizing team!"

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

19 Reader Space: A Clean & Simple Coat Closet

Today's reader space is the story of how less is more!  Sweet and simple coat closet storage at its finest!


I have been checking in on Deme's blog, House for Five, for a few years now.  I love her style and approach to working on her home.  In fact, she has made quite a few appearances around here over the years as well.

What struck me about today's coat closet project, is that her before image looked just like a hundred other entryway closets I have seen.  Underutilized.


Right?

Another thing I loved is that with some very simple updates, she was able to make a HUGE difference in how her family utilized the closet.  Here she is now to talk about how a little rethinking got her a long way! 


Any superstar tips for keeping your entryway closet organized?

"Take the time to build new habits. The kids were used to tossing their stuff onto a pile and going along their merry way. It took awhile to teach everyone to use the new system, but after a few days and consistent reminders it was like second nature.


The other key for us has been to keep evaluating and tweaking. We had a pretty solid plan going into this project, but once it was all set up we found that all the smaller winter items like mittens, scarves and hats were still littered all over the closet floor. The simple addition of some wire baskets quickly solved the problem. We also have to give it a regular purge and return any rogue sweatshirts and ball caps to the bedroom closets."



What items did you find were essential when organizing this space and why?

"Hooks, hooks, and more hooks. The biggest issue with the closet's old layout was the single rod for hanging clothes that was beyond the reach of our little ones. Anyone who couldn't reach a hanger just chucked their gear onto the growing mountain of the closet floor. It's amazing how effective the addition of a second row of hooks at kid level has been for us. The kids have plenty of room to hang their coats and bags, and they don't need our help to take care of their belongings.


The lidded boxes on the top shelf were also a game changer. One holds off-season clothing items, another holds on-the-go items like sunscreen and various refills for the car (wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.), and the third holds some of our most frequently used tools (tape measure, level, hammer, etc.). Having these items contained but accessible has been fantastic." 



What did you do to go the extra mile and "make it pretty"?


"Originally I had grand visions of wallpaper or a bold wall treatment for this space, but I realized our gear had plenty of color and pattern on its own and didn't want anything too distracting. So, we carried the same wall color that's in the rest of our entry and living space (Irish Mist by Behr) onto the closet walls. We gave the trim a fresh coat of crisp white paint, and we left that lovely natural stained wood shelf for some warmth. I shopped the house for storage items and containers that were easy on the eyes and in the end we ended up with a great mix of open and concealed storage."


What items did you DIY to stay on budget?

"This was a pretty simple DIY project that's easily doable in a weekend. All it took was some minor demo, a little patching and painting, and few pieces of trim. All things my husband and I knocked out together."



How has this project impacted your life for the better?

"This small corner does a big job for our family. Before we could never find what we needed and there was a lot of frantic scrambling as we tried to get everyone out the door. Important things were lost in the abyss and there was a lot of junk taking up precious space. Clearing out this closet and a few minor changes to make this space actually work for our family's needs has made all the difference in (mostly) smooth goings and comings from our home."

How about a side by side view?


I have always been a lover of hooks.  In fact, I have rails of them all over our home.  They are especially fabulous when kiddos are involved.  It is so much easier for them to hang items on hooks.  Use them in the entryway, their bedrooms and even for their towels in the bathroom.  You will be glad you did.

And I am sure Deme is glad that she did!  Her closet looks so much bigger!  I guess a cleaned out space will do that.  But a few other items stuck out to me as well:
 
  • Adding matching boxes creates a whole new visual impact to the closet.  Not only is the clutter concealed, but things will be much easier to find in the future.
  • Deme painted out the closet so it would flow seamlessly with her home.  It is always a giant win to paint your closets.   I mean it, the odds are in your favor, you really can't lose.
  • Deme added trays to protect those floors!  Smart move because winter is gross.
  • By removing the closet doors, her entrance most likely feels much more grand!  Another reason why I love to do this?  Removing doors holds everyone so much more accountable to take care of the area.  Now if someone were to toss something on the floor, it will get seen much quicker!
  • As much as I love a pretty wall treatment or fancy wallpaper, I think it is great that this project really came down to removing doors, painting, and installing hooks.  Visually, Deme was right that less is ultimately more!
  • Those little hat and mitten baskets!  So, so cuuuute!  And practical, but did you see how cute they are?
  • Her family can easily maintain the new space, and their days are now running smoother!  That is always my favorite part!

    You can read the entire story behind the coat closet transformation over on Deme's blog here.  A huge iHeart thank you goes out to her for sharing a sweet and simple transformation that anyone can feel confident taking on!  It is posts like these that make me side eye my own closets!



    *  All images courtesy of House For Five
     
    ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life, big or small.  They can be anything from an organized drawer or cabinet to an entire room.  Please submit your story and photos to iheartreaderspace@gmail.com, and I would heart to feature them right here on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited.  Please include a description of the project and how it has changed your life or routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!
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