Tag Archives: organization

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Sister Bedroom – 3 girls in a 10X10 room

As we talked about our new house, one definite was that it was time for the 3 girls to have their own room.

They share a 10X10 room which houses all their clothes, a reading spot, (usually) 3 girls sleeping (though the 22 month old is temporarily sleeping in the play room), and their toy baskets of favorite toys.

Colors:

I chose some consistent neutrals such as the white furniture (that I hope will stay constant despite their changing tastes.)

They chose their wall colors (though I admit – I got the lightest and most neutrally tinted colors I could convince them of). The psychological effects of colors is a super interesting study, and I wanted calming warm tints in with their color choices for the simple pragmatic reason that they’d be more cheerful!

They also have their fun bedding from grandma and picked their colors on their baskets.

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Organizing:

Their clothes all fit in the closet.photo 2

  • The dresser holds diaper supplies in the top drawer, socks and undergarments in the second drawer and PJs in the bottom drawer.
  • The baskets hold their play clothes and shoes
  • Their sweatshirts hang on hooks on the side of the dresser and side of the closet

Their favorite toys are in the baskets at the end of their beds and they have to keep their ‘favorite’ toys down in number to fit in the baskets. (Yes, I do have to confiscate the baskets some nights because as I tell them, they are ‘abusing the privilege of having their toys baskets in their beds …”)

Their Own Spaces:

The picture holders above their beds allow them a spot to . (Refer to article on how we made them and cost break-down HERE)photo 3

Each girl gets her own favorite toy basket and no one is allowed in anyone else’s bed without her that person’s permission. (Not that that always happens, but we are working on enforcing the right to personal property…)

The two older girls are religious about their favorite colors right now, and the baby pointed to the yellow paper when I gave her a choice of colors – so that’s how we got purple, pink, and yellow.

Themes:

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SISTERS became the main theme because they are all learning to be thankful for each other right now. (Yes. We totally did a ‘photo shoot’ for the pictures in their room. It was a perfect Friday afternoon when we were supposed to be doing other things)

Butterflies because I saw this super cute idea of paper butterflies flying around the room. (Isn’t it CUTE!!??)

And yes…I talked the girls into the themes. If they’d had free reign, they would have picked

‘princesses.’ I feel like one of the hardest things as a parent is to allow them to be themselves while directing them to be more. 

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They play princesses, make up stories about princesses, save up (usually) for princess dolls, and beg to watch princess movies.(And my kids watch a grand total of 1-2 movies a week so it’s not like they are getting a ton of influence.) I decided that a room that surrounds them with beauty – simply because it’s objectively beautiful and not necessarily magical or royal would be a good reminder that they don’t need to be princesses to be beautiful. I also wanted to play up the beauty of sisterhood, unity, and family love.

The room is usually light filled, and they do spend a lot of time in their. I hope they have a lot of great memories :-)

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- Verity

Hair Storage Pic

Easy Hair Accessory Storage

Looking for easy hair accessory storage?

Ponytail holders, clips, bows, headbands, brushes… it all adds up—to a lot of little items to work around and keep track of. I love my daughters immensely and I truly love doing fun, new hairstyles on them, but the amount of hair clutter reached a breaking point for me last summer. I spent a ridiculous amount of time on Pinterest searching for some great way to organize their hair supplies and still keep them out of the way. You see, I have 3 children sharing a very small bedroom and counter space is limited. I never did find the right idea for us, but through a series of concepts, I’m EXTREMELY pleased with what I did scheme up.IMG_3405

I went to Dollar Tree and bought a 4 pack of these cute bins. They are small, but not too small. Notice it was a 4 pack. My grand total investment in this project was $1 plus tax!! ☺ I decided to use all 4 of them: 1 for brushes, 1 for ponytail holders, 1 for clips and barrettes, and 1 for headbands.

 

Next, well, I enlisted my husband to hang them, so I’m not a lot of help in the details, BUT what he did was easy! He simply put a screw through the center of each bin and lined them up on the wall. He used dry wall anchors to ensure they wouldn’t rip the drywall over time.

 

IMG_3404Start to finish: About 10 minutes.

Cost: $1 + tax + screws and drywall anchors = CHEAP!

Finished product: AMAZING!

 

Seriously. These make me SO happy every single day, I can’t even tell you! I love having plenty of space for other things on my changing table, and I love that I can see and quickly grab the exact item I need when I’m trying to do my daughters’ hair. I highly recommend this easy hair accessory storage concept. ☺ 

It is so nice and easy! Hair accessory storage right at my finger tips!

-Lydia

PS: Check out the organizing system in Verity’s kids’ room HERE

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Cut Your Christmas Decor Take-Down in HALF!

A few years ago I started using an easy trick that cuts

my Christmas decor take-down time in half!!!

(-And also helps with set up next year!)

Here it is!! TADA!!

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I realized that if I just gently take down the garlands/wreaths/swags (WITH THE ORNAMENTS AND LIGHTS STILL ON) and put them each in their own garbage bag [which I re-use year after year], I wouldn’t have to re-decorate and re-pack all the ornaments and lights.

-The Lights DON’t tangle because they are already spread around the garland

- The ornaments (most of ours are plastic) are padded by the garlands/swag/wreath or whatever I’m packing up.

-Everything I need to put the garland/swag/wreath back up next year is all together!

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Then I stack the bags (about 5 to a tote and stack the totes in the basement.

image(This year, I got organized and listed on the outside of each tote what I’d packed inside.)

Of course if you have a lot of glass ornaments this may not work as well.

I estimate I save at least an hour and a half on take-down and another hour on set-up next year, and it helps a lot with trying to keep track of everything with four little kids ‘helping.’

So there is my tip. :-)

-Verity

Our Minimalist Toddler Closet

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We are prime candidates for a minimalist toddler closet!

Soon we will have 4 children in a 10X10 room!

(I’m so excited, and so are they! They love the idea of the baby sleeping in their room with them!)

In preparation, I made some major changes into their closet.

Our old closet was really cute but impractical and definitely NOT a minimalist toddler closet.

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The new closet has 9 identical baskets.

- Each Child Has Their Own Toy Basket

- Each Child Has Their Own Clothes Basket

- A Joint Shoe Basket

(The 3 Drawer Dresser has a diaper/cream drawer, joint sock drawer, and joint pajama drawer. Sunday clothes are hung on the child-sized fuzzy hangers, each child has a hook on the left to hang 2 hoodies)

I’ve become very obsessed with hyacinth baskets. Their metal frames are durable, but the hyacinth weave is light-weight enough for the kids to lift easily. (Even though the five-year-old’s toy basket is kept above his head, he can lift it down multiple times a day.)

The kids helped put up the shelving, and they enjoyed filling up their new baskets.

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Each child has about 5 play outfits so there was plenty of space.

When we fold clothes I can bring them out to the living room where we are folding together, and the kids can help put their clothes into the baskets.

photo 5So that is our new system. It’s not really the classic system you see, but it is working perfectly for us, and I would say that it is minimalist! Toddler closets are a fun project too, and it was fun to have the kids help! :-)

-Verity

 

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.

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- 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:

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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.)

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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

 

Our Toy Decluttering System

Pretty much all moms get frustrated with toy clutter.

I thought a group toy box under their bed and some additional personal toys kept in their own personal spaces would be okay, but we ran into a couple big problems.

(1) No one took responsibility for the clean up of the ‘group’ toys and (2) each hoarded so much in their personal space, they couldn’t fit it all in!

I’ve downsized enough that I did not want to get rid of more of their toys at this time. (Though maybe in a couple months…) However, I did need to remove them from the stress of every day!

A friend said she had taken away all but a few of her kids’ toys until they learned to be responsible enough to clean them up.

This seemed like a great idea. Here’s how it worked for us.

I taped numbered cards on the floor and let each child pick out his or her favorite 10 toys.

Here are pictures of the toys that they picked. photo 1

The top picture is of my 4 year old son’s toys.

photo 2Then my 3 year old daughter’s toys. Yes. She loves dolls.

photo 3Finally the 18 month old’s.

The rest went into a big box which I hid away in the basement.

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If the child wants a toy from the box, he or she has to trade one of his or her ‘special ten.’ The only one who has done this has been my oldest. The girls don’t seem to remember the other toys even exist.


I also took the opportunity to pick out a few car toys that stay in the car. This was a brilliant move! 

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In the last 2 months, my son has ended up with more like 20 toys. He’s proven himself responsible and always cleans them up. Since he wants to keep his 20 toys. the system has motivated him to be more responsible! My 3 year old still has about 10 which fit easily in her personal basket, and my 18 month old has about 7. Toy clutter has become almost nonexistent.

 

Beyond this I keep toy sets locked in two cabinets, but I’m the only one with access to them.

There you have it! This is the system that has worked for us!

-Verity

Prepping for Baby When You Already have Toddlers

Yesterday Lyd and Matthew welcomed baby #3!! She’s super cute.

The birth helped motivate me to get moving on a post I’ve been meaning to write about our last birth.

Having a four-year-old, two-year-old, and one-year-old, I gave the birth of baby number four a lot of thought. Here are some of the things I did, and my feedback in retrospect.

Freezer Meals.

PictureI had collected about 20 freezer meals ahead of time from my freezer meal swap and had also bought about 12 frozen entrées. The bought items were for the week after the birth because my husband does not like to make my premade freezer meals.

In retrospect. The freezer meals were great though neither my mom nor my husband liked using my them. For some reason they found them too confusing. They liked the store-bought items or making their own things, or buying fast food better. It probably depends on your husband or helper.

However, after I lost my helpers and needed to forge on my own, I was very thankful to have those freezer meals!!


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Pantry Prep.

I purchased all the pantry goods we would need for the next month after the baby was born. This included snack items for my husband work lunches and extra items the kids could be handed during the month to make things easier. Many of the kids’ items were not items I would normally buy, but I was willing to make the extra investment to help the transition!!

In retrospect. I think I might do my shopping for snacks a month ahead of time from now on. Having all the snacks sitting there ready and not needing to worry about them on the weekly shopping trip was wonderful. However, we did tend to go through more snacks because we had so many!


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Communication.

Because my husband was taking a week off work and then my mom was coming for a week, I wanted to help them know what food was available, what chores the kids were used to doing, and the schedule the kids were used to. I posted a couple of papers on the fridge so they would have that information.

In retrospect. I’m not sure if they even looked at the papers. However, prepping the papers a month before the baby was due was a huge help to me. I was able to make sure the kids knew their chores ahead of time, and worked to make their chores and schedule more like clockwork. (At least as much like clockwork as you can have when you’re working with a preschooler, toddler, and a mini toddler…)


Cleaning Prep.

My best effort was to get a new slipcover for the couch. Our old one was falling apart, and I realized that that would be a location I would be spending a lot of time with the new baby.

Second best project was cleaning out the fridge and freezers. This helped a lot with keeping food organized, communication going with whoever was working in the kitchen, and helping me get back on my feet.

Third best thing was that I was able to be caught up on laundry. Then after the baby was born I simply needed to have my husband throw in one load each day, and then I folded and put it away. This helped everybody stay in clean clothes even in a huge transition time.


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Older Kid Prep.

Three little ones 4 and under required some thought. I saved some new toy sets in the top of my closet for them for during the time I’d be breastfeeding.

In retrospect. This worked great though adding 5 toy sets along with a new baby was frustrating. I might try disposable items like coloring pads or glow sticks next time – things to occupy them for the first initial few days – then throw away.

Prep I Wish I had Done.

Funny how things feel different when your hands are full!

WAY more decluttering. If I could have two baby free days now – I’d get rid of half our stuff!! (sigh…). I wish I’d gone crazy pre-baby.

More toys and school supplies inaccessible to kids. We had a school drawer that was working great, but now the kids kept getting into it (while I was off with baby. :-P )

Breaking down on older kids’ character issuesBEFORE baby. Having a child who gets too wild is annoying when you have 2 hands to separate and protect smaller siblings, but it’s dangerous when you are tied up with a baby.

So, that’s the summary! I hope it helps if you have a baby on the way!

-Verity

Staying Organized After a Baby – The Kid Cabinet

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Sometimes you need a blessing.

Breast feeding a newborn with older toddlers playing around you is like being stationed in a war zone with your hands tied up with ropes.

You sit and try to relax so the milk lets down and it will go faster while they tear up the house before your eyes.

I needed a blessing!

My blessing came in the form of a cabinet I found on Craigslist. After an exchange of emails, the very kind owners offered it to me for free.

I realized that was generous though I didn’t even realize how generous until I got to their house and saw how nice the cabinet was.

An hour later my husband helped me unload it into our spare room (baby/school/office/picture room), and the next week my mom (a super organizer) helped me organize it, and voila! Sanity was restored!

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The very top shelf holds scissors, superglue, and paperclips.

The second shelf holds all their preschool books, and baskets on the third shelf store their math u see blocks, flash cards, wooden magnet letters and writing utensils.

The cabinet also locks – which is great because it keeps the kids out and everything organized. Yay!!


The bottom of the cabinet holds activities for the kids to do while I breastfeed, some DVDs, as well as their growing collection of hardcover children’s books.

(We just set a budget for me to buy books for them!) My favorite find so far is called the Brave Young Knight by Karen Kingsbury. It teaches that inner character and faith in God is more important then winning a competition or being the best at something.

Now when I need to feed the baby, I just let the 4 year

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old and 3 year old pick one or two things from the cabinet. An hour later, the sets go back in the cabinet, the baby is fed and order was maintained.

Activities that have worked for us are the Melissa and Doug wooden letter game, lacing cards, Leapfrog Letter Factory, Disney Princess dominoes (Like dominoes but pictures instead of dots), simple puzzles, Melissa and Doug wooden magnet dolls, wooden train set, small doll houses, blocks, and coloring.

So if  you have a new baby and have toddlers or preschoolers to occupy or if homeschooling needs to happen with a newborn, a closet or cabinet could be your sanity saver – it was for me!!

- Verity

Organizing: Prime Real Estate

A few years ago I started implementing one of my FAVORITE organizing concepts. I’d never read about it before though it is probably completely common sense to the naturally organized (and a total revelation to the not-so-naturally organized).

The concept is to realize some parts of your home are “prime real estate” and others are not.

Examples of ‘prime real estate’ around the home.
-Entry way table
-Countertops
-Kitchen Cabinets
-Bathroom Cabinets
-Nightstands
-Living Room End Table

‘Prime’ areas are areas you have easy access to and use often during the day.
PictureThe items you use every day should be in the ‘prime’ areas. The items you use rarely should not be in the ‘prime’ areas.

Example 1: Kitchen counters are prime real estate. The items left there should be used every day. Although the $400 Kitchenaid mixer that you use once a month looks cool, it is getting in the way of you doing what you actually need to accomplish on the countertops every day – like make school lunches, dry dishes, etc.

Example 2: An entryway closet is prime real estate. It is a good spot for items you need on your way out the door.

When a ‘prime’ area keeps getting unorganized, it could be that it’s loaded with rarely used items.

PictureExample 3: Kitchen cabinets are prime real estate. Most people use them every day.  My turning point was the day that I packed up the cool springform pans I used about once a winter, the whole fondue set we use only  for New Years, and all the silverware that are for special occasions. I needed to keep these items because I did genuinely use them, but I felt like they were wasting space in my small kitchen. I filled one single plastic box, labeled it clearly, and put it in any easy to access spot in the basement.

I was SHOCKED at how much faster my work became in the kitchen. Even though I’d had ‘room’ for the items I removed, clearing up my kitchen gave me space for speeding up daily tasks I performed every day.

Here is an example of prime real estate using my entry-way closet. It’s fairly small so I have to make sure the items stored there are only the ones used often.

In the first picture, you can see that I have way to much stored in there. Actually, I just needed a spot to store outgoing items. (Returns, items to take to church, random items to send…)

Random bags littered the space. However, they could easily be condensed into a drawer.


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Actually, the solution was just clearing out a single drawer that contained 2 baby carriers and a sling.

I never use those items as much as I intend – especially in the winter time when it’s easier to snuggle the baby in with blankets into his or her car seat and and carry it all out to the car.

This freed up space for outgoing items.

Hats, mittens, scarves, jackets, and all of my husband and my shoes (except the 2 we were wearing when the picture was taken and his hunting boots) are all easy to access.

The carriers went downstairs with the luggage. I will reevaluate in a few months when I have a baby to carry around, but for now I don’t need them.


Here is a picture of the finished outgoing drawer.

The whole project took me about 10 minutes, and the closet looks SO MUCH nicer. Moving rarely used items out to better contain the often used items makes out getting-out-the-door routine SO MUCH FASTER!

- Verity