Monthly Archives: April 2014

Kids’ Clothing Storage Part 2: The Logistics

As you’ll see in my first post of this 2 part series, “Counting the Cost of Kids’ Clothing Storage“, I am NOT for keeping everything.

But since it is often essential to store clothes, here is what works for us. I am a visual person who hates sorting. Therefore, I tend to store things in such a way that I only have to sort once a season. And since I am often pregnant, I store things in a way to access heavy boxes while pregnant.

- I keep most smaller sizes since I can fit 4-5 sizes in one tote and would NOT feel like shopping with a new baby and umpteen little kids in toe. (Though I pitch all stained clothes)

-For larger sizes, I keep the higher price items like dresses, coats, jeans, and shoes.

-For larger sizes, I toss or give away most pjs, a lot of the shirts, socks, and bibs because they are often worn out anyway. (Since my kids only have 5-8 outfits each, we wear things out!)

Here are the storage methods that work for us.

-I rotate the next 2 seasons of clothes into AN EASY-to-get-to tote that contains all 4 of the kids’ upcoming clothes so I can quickly grab any needed items out in the months before switching over. (This also helps me evaluate what I need). I keep a list on the box so I can reference it.Logistics of Kids' Clothing Storage  photo 2-7

-I keep upcoming clothes, clothes they are growing out of, and the shoe tote on easy-to-get-shelves in the basement so I don’t have to stack and unstack the heavy totes while pregnant. (These shelves are sold for $20-$30 each at Menards) Completely worth it.

photo 1-8

- I store multiple sizes in one tote but ALWAYS divide the sizes so I can rifle through them quickly without mixing them up.

  • For smaller sizes, I keep all my items for each size in 3-4 gallon size storage bags so I can just  pull out the “NB sleepers” bag or “0-3 month Dresses Bag” as I need them. (I also use gallon size bags for trips to divide up kids’ outfits. A $2.28 box of 45 bags can save SO MUCH sanity!)
  • for larger sizes, I just break up a cardboard box and ‘build dividers inside the sealable plastic tote.

Logistics of Kids' Clothing Storage 3      Logistics of Kids' Clothing Storage 2- I DO NOT keep a box in the kids’ room to yank out outgrown clothes like I used to. Because I have 3 kids in one room, it ended up that everything just got too mixed together in the ‘outgrown box’. I’d have to resort it – which I hate so then I’d procrastinate. It is much easier to just switch the next size or season at ONE SINGLE time. (Then I can’t procrastinate because they need the next size or season!) Immediately packing everything away and moving everything in means minimal sorting.     (I HATE sorting though so this is more a sanity saver then probably a good idea, and it does get annoying the last month before they are fully ready to switch.

- Since I’m on the subject of clothing storage, my husband and I keep our off-season clothes in a dresser. IT IS SO FAST AND EASY to get the items we need! No lugging out boxes, just pulling open a drawer!

There are some ideas that work for us!

-Verity

Kids’ Clothing Storage Part 1: Counting the Cost

Counting the Cost:

Cost of Kids' Clothing Storage Picture 2

Kids’ Clothing Storage SAVES money, but it also COSTS money.

Like anything else, you need to determine:

Savings vs Cost

I added up that each of my clothing totes saves me $100 of clothing that I would otherwise replace sale clothes or at Goodwill clothes.

Also, I have to store each of those clothing totes an average of 3 years. So on average each tote saves me $33 a year.

(Most people will have to store their clothes longer since most don’t have a new baby every 17 months.)

However, it also costs me storage space, sanity, and stress. 

I didn’t put a dollar figure on how much storage costsme, but I gave myself a maximum storage tote number to stay at.

Here’s how I decided HOW MUCH to Keep:

I decided that I only have a place for 26 plastic totes in my basement.

(Photos, Tableware/Kitchen, 4 Christmas, Linen Closet Overflow, 2 Books, Special Toys kids will grow into in next couple years, Craft/Sewing Box, 4 totes for my husband’s teaching business, Formalwear, Kids’ Shoes, Maternity clothes, 2 Nostalgia, and only SIX storage boxes for the kids’ clothing).

From looking at this list, I’m thinking I should pare down some more on the other stuff too…

Beyond that, I start running out of room in the basement.

That tells me that -

-I don’t have space for keeping much extra AT ALL

-I need to fit multiple sizes in one box

-Items that won’t be used for longer periods SAVE ME LESS (My son just outgrew 4t pants, but it will be 5 years before another boy [if I got pregnant now with a boy - something which my girl-friendly family genetics make less then likely] would wear them so it will only save me AT MOST $20 a year to save his 4t clothing. However, my daughter just outgrew her 3t clothing, and my next daughter will wear it next year. It will SAVE me $100 to store a box of those clothes.)

Cost of Kids' Clothing Storage Picture 1

 

I hate sorting and figuring out clothes, and my husband has repeatedly offered for me to just buy new for the kids each year, but from this chart, I can see that the saving a percentage is still worth it to me.

In the end, I came up with some methods that saved us the most with a lessoned burden of kids’  clothing storage. Check out my next post on the logistics of kids clothing storage.


-Verity

 

A Mother’s Time

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about aalice 1 copy great quote taken from Lewis’s Screwtape Letters in which a senior demon teaches a junior demon how to tempt people. 
 
This is relevant for anyone, but I immediately connected it to mothers.
I don’t have ‘a right’ to get a lot accomplished in a day. Every moment is a gift. My children are not stealing time from me when we have a ‘bad’ day, and I don’t have the minutes I want to clean up or complete a project. Every minute is a blessing. I should be thankful for the minutes I have to do projects (or train little hearts) – not feel victimized over the minutes that must be used for unplanned activities.
“My dear Wormwood,

Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury…. Now you will have noticed that nothing throws him into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him.   It is the unexpected visitor…or the friend’s talkative wife… that throw him out of gear. Now he is not yet so uncharitable or slothful that these small demands on his courtesy are in themselves too much for it. They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen. You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption ‘My time is my own’. Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours. Let him feel as a grievous tax that portion of this property which he has to make over to his employers, and as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties. But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birthright. 
You have here a delicate task. The assumption which you want him to go on making is so absurd that, if once it is questioned, even we cannot find a shred of argument in its defence. The man can neither make, nor retain, one moment of time; it all comes to him by pure gift; he might as well regard the sun and moon as his chattels….

When I speak of preserving this assumption in his mind, therefore, the last thing I mean you to do is to furnish him with arguments in its defence. There aren’t any. Your task is purely negative. Don’t let his thoughts come anywhere near it. Wrap a darkness about it, and in the centre of that darkness let his sense of ownership-in-Time lie silent, uninspected, and operative.

Your affectionate uncle,
SCREWTAPE ”

(In Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis in Chapter 21)
I think this is a primary struggle for all Christians – and especially mothers because interruptions and time-sucks are simply an hourly thing. I’m so glad that as a Christian, I can recognize that God is as in control of the interruptions as He is in control of everything else in the universe!
-Verity

Power of the Catalogue

An older man once recounted the first time he’d seen a catalogue.

He was a child, and he and his brother spent hours pouring over the Sears Roebuck catalogue – realizing for the first time all the things they ‘needed.’’

sears catalogue picture

Sears was a forunner in the art of advertising. It came before Keynesian economics, before the average western child received piles of presents every Christmas, and before Americans become fat on clutter.

However, Sears pinpointed on a powerful advertising technique that has only been perfected through the years: the catalogue.

Today a toy catalogue came in the mail. My first response was to set it aside for the kids. This would be fun to look at after their naps I figured.

But then I flipped it open – hundreds of toys were beautifully arranged across the pages. Scene after scene of dolls, cars, toy buildings tantalized even me – as a parent to purchase these wonderful little imaginary worlds for my children to enjoy.

photo 1-6

It was an odd feeling – standing in the sleep silenced house and recognizing the pull of the book on myself (who I consider to be somewhat well-practiced in resisting consumerism.)

It helped me reflect on how catalogues, like all advertising, work to instill a need in us.

Catalogues portray the object in the best case scenario

Lights reflect off of jewelry, toys are arranged in life-like poses, and lets not even talk about the models.

Catalogues portray mass amounts as ‘normal’ and even necessary

A single platter in a set is pictured with all the pieces. A stylish shirt is shown with expensive new boots, leggings, and $200 worth of jewelry.

In any store, there is still a realization of the amount. In a catalogue, not so much.

In a store, I can hand an object to my child and say, “You can only play with one toy at a time. It’s not responsible to get so much stuff.”

But in a catalogue, it’s pictured as part of a whole. My kids would be thrilled to pieces to get a $10 family doll set, but in the catalogue, that is pictured with $75 doll house, the $15 neighbors, and the $25 minivan.

I still remember flipping through the American Girl catalogue as a child. I knew I’d never have all the furniture for my favorite doll, but I still longed for it and consequently looked for what deals my allowance could afford! (And judging from the HUNDREDS of 18 inch doll pieces of furniture on Craigslist – so did thousands of other little girls.)

Catalogues portray an image as the object itself.

For adults, we long to be as sexy, smart, and desireable as the models. For children, they want to be having as much fun as the pictured kids.

Unlike items in a store, catalogues can be kept near us – to tempt us again and again.

As soon as I can I toss catalogues in our house. I don’t think there really is such thing as window shopping – that’s just a name for pre-shopping. I’ve found that the longer a catalogue hangs around, the more likely we are to make a purchase.

I realized that 20 minutes of fun looking at the book with my toddler/ preschool – aged kids would pass, but the lingering discontent and lessons learned would not.

photo-17

So I threw away the catalogue and when the kids got up from their naps, I did not have a fun catalogue to occupy them. They had a snack, looked at their books on the couch and then went outside and played in the backyard for an hour and a half until baths and supper.

They had a great afternoon. They were content and not confronted with a whole bunch of unneeded things.

-Verity

 

photo 4-2

Make a Toddler Gift Book

My kids and I recently discovered an easy craft to make for their preschool-aged cousins. It is inexpensive, very fun to make, and looks nice when it’s finished. It is also a great teaching tool for 1 to 4-year-olds.

Thought most of the crafts on this blog are complements of Lydia, I do usually keep card stock, markers, and glue sticks on hand. (AIthough I did not have a glue stick for this craft since our last one was partially eaten and then left to dry out by some short, unidentified culprit.)photo 2-2

With these couple of items the kids and I make cards for friends and family, and we decided to make a special book for their cousin. He has some learning disabilities, and his special ed teacher had suggested a book that would teach the correct uses for his mouth, hands, eyes, and legs.

I think it’s also a great book for one and two-year-olds to teach their different body parts.

Supplies: nine photos, glue stick,

card stock (3 black, 1 yellow, 1 blue, 1 green, and 5 white)

1. We took pictures of the kids doing the different actions. Most of the pictures in the book are staged. This was actually super fun. (15 minutes)

2. I sent the pictures to Walmart online photo center.
(10 minutes)

3. A few days later picked the photos up when I went shopping.
(5 minutes)

4. I stapled my colored card stock (1 black, 1 red, 1 green, 1 yellow, 1 blue) into a book formphoto 3-2
(5 minutes)

photo 1-2

5. I have the kids color white card stock which I used as mattes for the pictures.
(10 minutes)

6. I typed out simple uses for each body part and printed them on white card stock .
(5 minutes)

7. I cut the kids’ pictures into four identical rectangles to put behind each photo. I also cut apart my typed words. I use the paper cutter because I have a good quality one that cuts card stock though scissors would have been fine.
(10 minutes)

8. Finally we glued them altogether.
(10 minutes)

Here’s the final book.

photo 2-4  photo 1-4

photo 1-3  photo 2-3

photo 3-3  photo 1-5photo 4-3  photo 2-5

photo 3-4  photo 4-4

Total cost: under $2

-Verity

Teaching Children Flexibility

Some kids are more OCD then others.

My children are fairly flexible, but in a few areas…not so much!

It drives them CRAZY if they don’t get to sing every.single.word of any given song.

Here is how we talked about the important lesson of flexibility.

Object Lesson: Noodles (Spaghetti or Lasagna), water, pot.

(I’d suggest starting to heat water ahead of time or this object lesson will take awhile!)

Hold up the uncooked noodle.

Say, “Sometimes we don’t like things that we have to do. We get angry and break up because we are upset!!”

(BREAK Noodle)

Bring kids into kitchen. They can sit on a chair or stool a safe distance from the stove.

“But God allows us to have things happen each day until we can learn to be flexible. He lovingly allows things we don’t like – like having to pick up our toys or share. These things teach us flexibility.”

“Sometimes these things are uncomfortable  – like punishment or shots.”

(Put noodle into boiling water.) “This noodle is in an uncomfortable situation, but it will soon be flexible. It will be a better, more useful because of the hot water.”

DISCUSS: Let kids come up with situations where they can be flexible while the noodle cooks.

ACTIVITY: At the end we practiced singing a song, and they could not start singing until I pointed to them. I tried to make it into a game though it was still an effort on their part, they tried to be flexible and not sing until pointed at.

So there is simple lesson on flexibility. I couldn’t think of a good Bible verse though I wish I had. What ideas can you think of?

-Verity