Category Archives: Home Organization

F U Pinterest: The Annual Awards

Last week, a friend came over and while talking about the horse birthday cake she was making for her daughter’s party, these words fell from her lips “Fuck You Pinterest.”

And it was like the skies parted, the angels sang and the world shone bright. We both bust out laughing and obviously it had to be a blog topic. Surely there are others who share this same sentiment. If that is the case, today’s post is for you. When I posted a tease of this blog topic on the Wired Momma FB Page, I received a pretty enthusiastic response and some readers shared sites like “Pinterest Fail” and this hilarious Buzzfeed article on picture fails from Pinterest. Both are definitely worth your time. I probably re-read the Buzzfeed one about 4 times yesterday just to keep laughing.

Today, I bring to you my top FU pinterest awards from the following categories: home organization, home decor projects, toy organization, closet organization and what else, kid birthday cakes. If you have other topics and photo nominees, do send them in (email them to, this should really be a rolling awards series. We all need a good laugh. Not to mention a reminder that we aren’t alone.

For the category of Home Organization, I bring you this book shelf fail:



For the category of Home Decor Projects – ask yourself – animal slaughter or spray paint attack?



For the category of Toy Organization, just fail and also – just REAL:


For the category of closet organization, this is my sister’s – did she even try to begin with is really the question?


Because the category of closet or cabinet organization requires more than one image because there are so many types, I offer you this from my office, I can’t even blame my kids for it even though their crap has taken over:



And finally, the annual rite of kids birthday cakes –  how about this work of art – my Hello Kitty cake that I made last November:



And finally, my sister’s son just turned one yesterday. She was actually inspired by a Pinterest polka dot cake, so she went for it:

polka not option 2

F U Pinterest.

For the most fun you ever did have, hit “Like” on the WM Facebook page – and send me your images!


Getting Organized With Some Help

“Will you marry me?” I said as I looked at the finished product.

“I get that a lot,” she said. She being Rachel Strisik of Rachel and Company.

“What? How? Who did this?” exclaimed Mr. Wired Momma as his eyes darted around the garage in total disbelief.

We both were like little Lucy Lou from Whoville, eyes starry with wonderment. Only the vision before us wasn’t the Grinch dressed as Santy Claus…the vision before us was:


This is the After. Those with weak hearts or small children should avert their eyes from the Before picture.


A mere 3.5 hours BEFORE, it looked like this:

Seriously. We are slobs.


Now that I’ve given you a peek, let’s back up and start at the beginning.

Mr. Wired Momma is impossible to shop for when it comes to birthdays or holidays. Way back in September, as I was flipping through boards of admirable homes on Pinterest (#NeverAGoodIdea,IsIt?), I stumbled upon an image of a perfectly organized garage and these words stumbled from my mouth:

You Complete Me.

Refresh your memory and look up again at what my garage looked like now that I’ve shamelessly exposed myself. And for full disclosure, I fondly think of it as my Sharage. It’s bigger than a Shed but smaller than any garage I’ve ever seen. Since we moved in back in July, our Sharage became the dumping ground. We had bigger projects to tackle but as I’ve slowly crossed those off the list, the disaster of the Sharage started weighing on my shoulders.


But seriously – I knew that if we didn’t tackle the Sharage soon, suddenly five years would pass and the disaster would just continue to grow and become a beast. And there, on Pinterest, was the solution. A perfectly organized garage. I don’t keep the inside of my home in the same state as the Sharage, so why shouldn’t the sharage also be a functional and useful space? One I don’t shut my eyes as I toss the trash in and scurry quickly away? One that I only send Mr. Wired Momma into to find something because I fear a family of fat rats is nesting under the tarps strewn on the floor.


But the execution part was the hurdle. Isn’t it always? I mean – who has the time? And where do I begin? And when am I ever going to get Mr. Wired Momma to find the spare time to go to Home Depot and buy the peg boards and then hang them and then actually hang anything on them? And should I keep going? Because this was the process I went through in my head. I had to realistically think through if this project would ever reasonably be completed by us – though we are capable of doing it – before we reach retirement age? Would our children allow us to work uninterrupted for an entire weekend?

I suppose if we SENT THEM AWAY

But if we sent them away — is THAT how we would want to spend our free time?

Is it a complicated place inside my head? Or do you get me? I think you get me. Blame Pinterest for all of it.

Then I remembered the lovely Rachel Strisik, who I interviewed last January for an organization piece, who runs her own home organizing business, Rachel and Company, and I knew she was the answer to my dilemma. So off I went to email Rachel with my secret Sharage Birthday gift idea. This was back in September. She responded promptly and we scheduled a time in October for her to come see the Sharage. During that meeting, she really took her time to ask me questions on what I wanted it to look like, she took measurements, we talked through her ideas and some options, it was fun. Shortly thereafter, she emailed me a drawing of her suggestion on how to organize the Sharage along with several of my very own pins on Pinterest to look through and tell her which options I preferred. As a visual person, I really couldn’t have made much sense out of any of it without those pins.

Now, this won’t surprise you, but I love flashy and big and dramatic and mind blowingly amazing. Does it sparkle and shine? I want it. Does it come in fabulous colors? Make it mine. Can it flash lights? Does it do tricks? Can I live blog it? It must be mine. You get the idea.

BUT this was a gift for Mr. Wired Momma (was it? Or was it for moi, you should be asking yourself). So it being a gift for myself him and him being an accountant and finance guy — he doesn’t like to SPEND money, he likes to SAVE money. But I excel at SPENDING money. But I knew to make it a true gift for him, as much as I LOVED the brightly colored Peg boards and the shapes of the tools spray painted onto the boards so we always could know their rightful home, and the gorgeous work benches, I restrained myself and kept with the economy version of a Sharage project. Rachel was so helpful and creative with how to do a lot and spend very little. The Friday before the big day, she came by with her handyman, Dan, and we talked through final details. Rachel carefully made sure she and the handy man knew who was picking up which item for the project. I didn’t have to go to Home Depot, I didn’t have to go to the Container Store, I didn’t have to do anything. #Bliss

This was quickly becoming the best gift for me Mr. Wired Momma ever. Also noteworthy, Rachel remembered every detail of everything we had previously spoken about, which was extremely useful because I remembered about 20% of it. For example, she knew I needed to pull his tools out of the house,  to create more storage space inside and place them in an organized fashion outside in the Sharage.

The day of the big surprise came, which was last Tuesday, and sure enough Mr. Wired Momma chose that day to linger in front of the house and gossip with our neighbor instead of leaving for work. Rachel’s brilliant handyman spotted him out front and instead sat inside his van, cleverly waiting for him to leave, so as not to spoil the surprise. At this point it was nothing short of a miracle that I hadn’t blabbed the surprise to Mr WM (#BigMouth).

Rachel and Dan emptied out the entire garage, gave me the chance to purge a few things that we really didn’t need and then they quickly got to work. Rachel had everything so well planned out in advance – I couldn’t believe it literally took them under four hours to hang the peg boards, assemble the shelving unit, hang extra hooks, organize what we had, LABEL every container and then put it all back together again. It would have taken me 3.5 months.

Scratch that, probably 3.5 years.

So here’s another BEFORE shot of the Sharage:


The Sharage before Rachel


The Sharage AFTER Rachel:

It’s kind of hard to believe, right?


She removed everything off the ground, she had her handy man hang the peg boards and also he added these pieces of wood with hooks for all the tools:

So simple but yet it never occurred to me.


Check out my neatly labeled storage containers. Rachel purchased all of them at the Container Store, where she gets a discount, and she labeled them on the spot.  Have I mentioned how much I adore a person who travels with her own label maker? She’s so great to work with because not only does she lack any kind of judgment of you and the disorganization going on in the space, she is also just practical. She said that with kids especially, it’s difficult to be neat but we can all still be ORGANIZED:

Labeled containers on my new shelving unit

And let’s not forget those tools that were hogging up lots of cabinet space inside my house…now they are outside my house and so very easy to find…..

Rachel herself standing in front of the completed peg board.

In the end, I can tell you that what washed over me was a great sense of relief. Here was this space, now fully functional, organized in a logical and simple manner, and it was DONE. Now comes the part where we maintain it but I’m not worried about that. Overall not only did she do this in an efficient and timely manner, it was an efficient use of my time – of which just like you – I have very little extra time to spare. Rachel and Dan spent about $400 on supplies. Dan Posniewski , who is an excellent handyman, charges an hourly rate of $50. In terms of Rachel’s time, it really depends on the scope of the project, so I would suggest reaching out to her and inquiring — she does a wide variety of home organization projects.  To me, this was money well spent. Even if you don’t have a need or have it in your budget for Rachel to arrive on your doorstep, you can still take advantage of her great tips by hitting “Like” on the Rachel and Company Facebook page or subscribe to her fabulous newsletter, which will then conveniently land her tips into your inbox. I have done both and am glad for it.

But what about the big reveal with Mr. Accountant Wired Momma? Would he even react, I wondered, because this is a man who reacts to very little (which is a nice counter balance to ahem…moi) but sometimes I’d like some reaction. He walked into the Sharage that night and just stood there, dumbfounded, as it all registered. Immediately he asked who did this and why didn’t I add a kegerator and fooseball table for him.

Never once did he ask what I spent.


Keep up with the fun by hitting “Like” on the Wired Momma Facebook page. And stay tuned for the next WM book club book announcement…..I was thinking we should schedule our next meeting for January.


Today’s Topic: Owning a Business…along with Decor & Organization Tips for Kids Rooms

I am all but certain the Pottery Barn Kids catalogue is designed, printed and distributed to make parents feel like crap. I wince when I see it waiting for me in the pile of mail. I can hear its contents of happy children and organized playrooms mocking me as I inch towards it. And yet, like a masochist, I  can’t just throw it out. I have to open it. I get sucked in. I start to wonder not only what is wrong with me but why my children don’t look that happy and that clean and why doesn’t my playroom EVER look like that? So for this week’s expert, I turned to famed Washington designer and mom of two, one just 2 months old, Liz Levin of Liz Levin Interiors and Liz Levin Nesting. Not only does she provide us with some great tips on decorating and organizing a kid’s playroom but she also weighs in on the age-old question of balancing work with life, especially as a small-business owner.

Q: Tell us how long you have been in business for yourself?

Sure, I started seeing my own clients in 2004. I hired my first assistant designer in 2007 and by last summer, I had 3 people working for me as independent contractors. My operations manager is actually my sister. I always knew that I wanted to be in business for myself, well before I had children I knew this, and before I had the kids I really  had time to ramp up and work 24/7 on building my business. I was eager to work for myself but I knew I wanted to have a career that would allow me to see my kids right after school.

Q: We’ve been talking here on WM a lot about “balancing” work and family life and so, tell us how you, as the owner of your own business, manage to draw the line and really separate your work from your home life and give each one of them time?

It is so hard. Working for yourself, you get all the good and all the bad. It is very easy to get sucked in and believe that someone’s living room is a life or death emergency but with kids, I’ve had to learn to draw the line in the sand and keep the perspective that I have to set boundaries and stick to them. I worked out of my house at first when I had my first daughter and that worked out fine until she was almost 2. Then she was very aware of me being home, I practically had to sneak to use the powder room so she wouldn’t see me and I always worried that clients could hear a toddler in the background of phone calls. Now I have my own separate office space in Georgetown and I take Fridays off as my day to be at-home.

Q: I’ve found that it’s very difficult to stick to a shorter work schedule, that it takes a lot of confidence to say “no” to people and really stick to the plan of only working your set days of the week. Do you experience this and how do you handle it?

Definitely. Initially I worried that it took away the legitimacy of my business to work a shorter week. I would have my assistant handle calls because I didn’t want people to know I was home with the kids. I really was insecure about it but I kept banging myself on the head and reminding myself that this is my business and I can do whatever I want! Where I would then get tripped up was figuring out what it is that I wanted – did I want a bigger office, bigger staff or did I want to be home more? The reality is that you can put as much into it as you want but if you do good work, then you can take time off during the week and people will respect it. In my path to discovering that and believing in that, I blew plenty of nap times on conference calls and struggled with pulling myself away from work. I also worried when I saw my team, who didn’t have children, coming in earlier than me and staying later than me. But again, you realize that you put this stuff on yourself and we don’t need to put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect and do it all.

Q: OK. I could talk to you about working and home life all day long. But we are here to also talk about what might be the end of me: playrooms. And why I want to set a Pottery Barn Kids catalog on fire after reading it. It makes me feel so inadequate in every way. How does one have a playroom that looks like a magazine?  

Note Liz's use of bookshelves with closed doors to hide kid toys and splash of color. Photo Credit: Angie Seckinger Photography

Well first, there were probably 20 stylists without any children in sight who made those playrooms look like they do in the magazine. And the problem is that we all have more toys and more stuff than we do storage. I have a small townhouse and my daughter’s room is also part playroom. The truth is we all need to purge and store. Head to the Container Store and purchase some bins that fit under a bed, I use those for storing art supplies, plastic food, and then use baskets for blocks and puzzles. Initially we had bins in the living room but we learned that the kids don’t play with  half the stuff in the bins because they can’t reach that far into the basket. Storing the toys also helps because when they haven’t seen them in a while, they will actually want to play with them. Organizers often tell clients to have more storage space than you do stuff – and this really applies to children’s playrooms. Learn to think of yourself as a toy collector and reality is that you will be adding to your collection over time. So if you purchase storage pieces that have space for more things, you will have space for them as your collection grows. The other thing I am discovering and reminding myself is that kids don’t need a room full of stuff all the time. Less is more.

Q: I love this idea of thinking of ourselves as toy collectors. Great advice! So how about colors – are there trends in color for kids playrooms – any popular colors?

I don’t really think there are trends for colors in kids rooms but I encourage my clients to look for inspiration pieces when decorating a room. One playroom I did for a client who had 2 sons was midnight blue and white with red accents. We used navy window treatments and painted a blackboard wall. It was a really cute room but it also didn’t look like a romper room. I had a catch-all room at my house where I used a graphic poster as my jumping off point and accented the room with red-white wallpaper and a red desk. The trick when doing these rooms is more about the appropriate storage. I once had a client who added a built-in window seat with a lid that opened up and they added 4 dividers inside. This was a great idea for the kids play room but then they learned the only issue was the depth – again –  like those large bins I used to have in my living room – the kids couldn’t easily reach all the way inside. So that is something to consider as you are trying to figure out storage and kids rooms.

The dining room chairs...vinyl.... Photo Credit: Angie Seckinger Photography

Q: More excellent advice and I know I regularly fall victim to thinking something is a great storage piece and then realizing it is way too deep for my little 2-year-old’s arms to reach inside. Let’s move on to talk about fabrics when decorating with kids. Any advice?

Sure. Obviously you want to look for stain resistant materials like ultra suede or leather. I often use nano-tex technology   to treat material on furniture for homes with kids or pets to really keep it stain resistant. Outdoor fabrics are now softer and I like to use them as well. I have a chair in my living room with outdoor fabric on it. Another cool way to go is vinylizing fabric. It will give it a really funky look, like vinylizing a banquette seat in a pretty bold pattern and then it wipes off easily. I saw it once in an Elle Decor magazine and thought it looked great. Since seeing it, I’ve done it for a client.

Q: Ohh – I love that idea and would have never thought of it myself. I can see how that can be funky and certainly kind of retro. How about carpets?

Dark carpets are a great way to go with children because you really can’t see anything on them. There is a company called Fiber Seal and they will come treat your carpet for you, it’s not toxic and it should last about 18 months. I put a cream carpet by my front door and used Fiber Seal on it and it really works beautifully.  You don’t have to be in the trade to use them.

Awesome advice from Liz Levin today. I really appreciated her insights not only in running a successful business while also spending time with her kids, but on how to think of ourselves as toy collectors and manage the chaos with style! For more design tips, here’s a link to 10 tips from Liz Levin featured on HGTV. Be on the lookout for more expert topics from the amazing moms living around us here in DC, and be sure to “Like” the Wired Momma FB page or subscribe to the RSS feed to easily keep up with my shenanigans and rants.

Disorganized Diva

Spoiler alert: There is a fabulous chance to win some amazing products at the end of this post……

I pride myself on cloaking my true disorganized life. Perhaps I am like a hoarder but for the disorganized? In terms of planning things, staying on top of trends or tracking the latest restaurant opening in DC, I am totally organized. I am ON IT. You better believe I was one of the first through the door at the Nordstrom Half-Yearly sale. I’d never lose track of that date. But when it comes to what lurks behind closed doors in my home? I suck.

Exhibit A: My kids playroom.

Can we even call this controlled chaos?

Somehow they still haven’t gotten the message that if they make the mess, they clean it up. When will this day arrive? Until then, I let it look like this until I can’t stand it anymore or they pull the following “Mommy, how about we go set up our grocery store in YOUR room.”

Uh huh. Because there is actually some open space in there. How about this instead: “How about you go clean up the disorganized chaos you created in YOUR playroom.”

Exhibit B: The inside of my kitchen drawers.

Am I shaming my self into doing better?

Note my failed attempt at organization in the top right hand corner – some kind of stupid holder for lids of Tupperware containers that seemed like it was a good idea when I was trolling the aisles at the Container Store. Probably some year on January 2 when I was totally committed to my New Years Resolution. Think I even know where the bottom of the Tupperware containers are that accompany those “organized” lids?

Exhibit C: My youngest’s winter clothes that she’s outgrown. Note I purchased the container from Target to store them. Note I moved the winter

At least this eyesore is in my basement.

clothes out of her room and down to the basement. Note they have remained in this kind of erratic pile since probably Memorial Day. Will I get to it before Labor Day? Doubtful.

Despite my failure as a home organizer and my secret wish to set on fire each and every Pottery Barn Kids and Land of Nod catalog that enters my home, unwelcome, and taunts me, mocks me and ridicules me as I look through the pages and wonder – WHO – WHO lives like this? And if you do and we are friends, I am declaring us non-friends until you do something about my house. Despite all of this, I still must keep track of the kids, the husband who is constantly on the road, the playdates, the docs appointments and soon enough Back to School Nights and our first PTA meeting. And the thing is, I like that kind of organization. The kind of organization I can write down.

Second confession of today: I DO NOT like to organize electronically. I’ve noticed the looks friends give me when we’re out and about, they ask for a free night for dinner or try to schedule a playdate, and I say, with my iPhone in hand, that I’ll check my calendar when I’m home and let them know.

Umm…..aren’t I holding my calendar, I see them thinking (did you know I am a mind reader? A disorganized one?)

I can’t stand keeping track of anything electronically, except email and celeb gossip.

So imagine my delight when my dear friend from grad school, who works for her family’s paper company, Blue Sky Home Series, sent me their new line of products that are now available in Target. Hello, she had me at paper. And then she really had me at Target, my home away from home. And then, in my final Jerry Maguire moment for today’s post, she really had me when I received the items and found this door hanger:

Do you love this as much as I do?

Ingenious! Goodbye worthless sticky note that falls off the door before I wake up the next morning and start packing the car and kids up for a long weekend. Hello sturdy door reminder that I can’t possibly not see as I am walking out the door. Dare me to leave the note in the adjacent photo for my husband next time we are packing up?

Turns out, Blue Sky conducted extensive interviews with Moms before developing this new line and the proof is in the pudding. These products are stylish, functional and affordable. I also really love the grocery shopping planner, with the needed items broken down by category in the store and magnetic strips on the back to hang on my fridge. My husband’s only complaint? They didn’t print the specific aisle where he could find these things.

My complaint? Perhaps he should go to the store more and then he’d know which aisle to find it….in his sleep……

So am I shamelessly plugging my friend’s products right now? Oh totally. But they are awesome, so I’d do it anyway. There are 14 products in the Blue Sky Home Series, all under $10, and all available at your local Target right now. The sampler packet I received also included the fabulous mousepad “Do Call Buy” organizer (I always need to buy something, right? Love having a reminder column for it) and the Weekly/Monthly Planner that also includes essential info pages and notes pages.

Love this grocery organizer

And lucky you, dear kittens, because you can enter for your chance to win a sampler of the Blue Sky Home Series…..all you  need to do is subscribe to my blog or “Like” the Wired Momma Facebook page….and then send me an email just telling me you want to be enrolled in the give-away. Do this by Friday August 5. Entrants can also “Like” the Blue Sky Facebook page for additional chances at winning. I will notify the winners by Monday August 15 . Winners will be announced on the Wired Momma Facebook page. I’ll also tweet it out. Email me at

Bottom line: even a disorganized gal has to have some level of organization with the kids, right? And I’m not ashamed of my love for paper products… me old school.