Tag Archives: small house organizing

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!


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

make a small room feel big

10 Ways to Make a Small Room Feel Big

We have 6 people living in our 900 square foot single story home. *

Our Living Room is essentially a hallway.

And 3 of our family member excel at making messes.

However, when people walk into our living room, their usual response is one of surprise and usually the comment. “Oh, you have a nice house.”

I attribute this in part to my long-running efforts (helped by my mom and mother-in-law and innumerable blogs) to make our living room feel roomy and spacious.

Here’s what I’ve used and a couple things I hope to use someday:

make a small room feel big

1. Hang Curtains High

Hanging long light-colored or sheer curtains will make the ceiling feel taller then it really is.

2. Dark Floors Drop Away

We have a white ceiling, neutral walls, and dark mahogany floors. The result is a feeling of openness. (Though if you have kids, I can’t say that dark floors are easy to upkeep…at all). They show every scratch and speck.

3. Solid Colored Matching Furniture

Patterned or furniture in a variety of colors is harder on the eyes. Multiple pieces in the same color have a calming affect. (Especially if it is a neutral color that blends with the walls.)

4. White or Light Walls

When we first moved in, we had the brilliant idea to paint our living room DARK forest green. While it was very striking, it felt VERY tiny! When it was repainted 3 years later, it felt like it doubled in size!

5. Mirrors Double Feeling of Space

I situated 2 large mirrors across from our single window to double the light.

photo 3

6. Get Rid of Clutter

Other then pictures on the walls, I’ve gotten rid of all decor and I’ve tried to store as many utilitarian items in nearby drawers.

7. Light Colored Curtains and Furniture

Light colored pieces will blend in with walls.

8. See-Through Furniture

My only piece that kind of does this is the high chair since its legs are so skinny.

9. Light

photo 1

We installed another light in the center of the room. Before that they just used lamps that gave off dim attempts at brightening the space. (ugh.) We also have bright sunlight-type of lights above the dining room table.

10. Quick Clean up System!

By the jumper you’ll notice a basket, that’s where I throw any toys that the kids leave in the living room. ThenI just pick up the basket and carry it into their room. Voila! Clean living room! :-)

I am by no means saying that my house is Better Homes and Gardens worthy. (What person with 4 children under 5 could attain that??), but by using these tricks, I am saying that our living room, the main room we eat, play, cuddle, tickle, do preschool, fold clothes, relax, do computer work, talk on the phone in, organize, feed baby, and umpteen other things in, usually feels clean and calming – even with 6 people!


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!


Minimalist Preschool Boy Wardrobe


It is fun to get lots of clothes with the first child however, once you start having multiples, you start to get sick of so many pieces to sort and wash!

With my kids playclothes, I dress them in mostly jeans. Then it is very easy to match shirts. The goal is to be able to change your child in the dark and have it match – because everything is mix and match. (Though there are a few exceptions with my daughters who like play dresses.)

My son’s core wardrobe colors are blue, red, dark green and black with a little brown.

5 play shirts (Long sleeved T-shirts in Winter; short sleeved in summer)

4 pair play pants (3 jeans & one other color that matches all his shirts) (In summer there are 3 pairs of shorts and 1 or 2 pair of pants)
Picture1 pair dress pants (2 would be better – a khaki and black)

4 dress shirts

3 play hoodies (Our house is cold)

2 nice sweaters

Play shoes



Dress Shoes
12 pair Socks

7 underwear

4 pair pajamas (he only needs 2 but the summer pajamas stayed upstairs with the winter pajamas per his request.)


A coat for the season

In the picture, not all his clothes were in the drawer. He has 2 more shirts and 3 more pairs of jeans then pictured.


That’s it. Most of his clothes are kept in a three drawer dresser. (There is way more space in there than he needs.) The top drawer holds his socks and underwear as well as diaper and changing supplies ( for the 18 month old and 2 month old).

The middle drawer holds his 5 play shirts, one polo, and all his pants.

The bottom drawer holds his sweaters and pajamas. He puts his own pajamas away, and I have not made him fold them so for transparency sake, the drawer looks like this.


His shoes and slippers are on a low shelf system in his room, and his boots are by the back door in the kitchen. His hoodies hang on a hook with his sisters’ hoodies on the right side of their closet. I probably need to come up with another place for them since 8 hoodies on one hook is a little impractical.

The closet holds the 18 month old’s entire wardrobe, all 3 of the kids’ shoes, all of their dress clothes, extra blankets and sheets, and the preschool boy’s special toys (in hutch).

I also hang some upcoming outfits (gifts usually from relatives on the far right because if I don’t, I tend to forget about them!

The closet has been easy to maintain because the little ones can’t reach their clothes and the preschooler is fairly particular about his things going back on the hutch. (Mostly because it’s the one spot the girls aren’t allowed so it ensures his toys’ safety.)

That’s it. We do tend to wash clothes every day or every other day which may be a dealbreaker for another family, but a minimal wardrobe works very well for us.


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
-Kitchen Cabinets
-Bathroom Cabinets
-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.


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

The Many Ways to Declutter


Some of us our born ‘tossers’ and some of us are not. My son takes after me – whether it’s apples, toys, books, sticks, or kleenexes – more is more to him! I see him either marrying an incredibly organized woman someday or being on a hoarders show.

He’s like this though because he sees so much potential in EVERYTHING. He’s optimistic, imaginative and eager to make the most out of life – with anything and EVERYTHING he can find.

Why get 2 apples when you can get a bucket?

Why take two toys to bed when you can fill your bed to the point of not being able to lay down any more?

I have learned to love this about him. However, I don’t want him to end up struggling through clutter someday so he’s learning decluttering methods (about at the same speed as me sometimes), but I am an enthusiastic teacher!

Decluttering 101 

1. Just Toss
The fact is, this is the easiest. I know it’s not always the best for the environment, but sanity is sanity. If you have space in the garbage can this week, but will have a Goodwill box sitting by your door for a month before you get to the thrift store to donate – just bite your lip and do it!

I used to hate throwing anything away that could be reused, but when it came down to my family’s well being or my donating it rather then tossing it, I began to change my perspective. It’s not right for me to make them walk around my thrift store donations until I can get over there.

Also, if something was a gift, the giver is much less likely to see the item in the garbage can then given away.

Someday, I’ll have everything under control enough that I don’t need to toss as much, but for large purges, just do it. It is also harder to dig something out of the trash then to pull it out of the donation box!

2. Donation

  1. Thrift Stores
  2. Sentimental Items can be given to family members.
  3. Church. My husband brought a lot of his theology, counseling and commentary books to church for our church family to pick through after he finished seminary. Most members had vastly smaller libraries then we did so it was a blessing to them. He also brought his old sound system set that was better then the church system.
  4. Consignment Stores and Websites give you store credit for donated items.

3. Sell
Pick an amount that any item is worth selling for. (My amount is $10.) If it’s not worth $10 on eBay, Amazon Market, or Craigslist, it is not worth posting it, dealing with prospective buyer correspondence, packing it up, sending it, and dealing with seller feedback.

4. Use Up or Give to the Kids to Use Up!
I used to save EVERYTHING that had any sentimental strings at all. I’d save food items until they went bad, body washes until they smelled funny, and stationary products until the kids pulled them out and destroyed them.

I have now realized the joy in just using things up! Not only to I get to use them — but then they are gone to make room for other wonderful things.

-I just used up the beautiful gift store tablet I was rewarded last year for team leading at my husband’s seminary.

-I just threw away the blue koala that I had as a baby because the kids yanked the nose off and lost it…somewhere, but I did have the joy of watching them play with it for 6 months prior.

-Soon I’ll throw away the stuffed duck my mom brought me when I was on bedrest in the hospital that I dressed in my little preemie boys’ onesie and set on my nightstand to remind me of the little baby I hoped would soon wear that onesie. For now though, the kids are playing with it every day.

-I let the 2 year old and 3 year old play with old jewelry for several months and finally just threw it away. Yes. A lot of it was sentimental. The Easter necklace I received at 13 – my first ‘grown-up’ necklace that was now missing multiple pearls, the giraffe shaped earrings that I loved at 12 but would never wear as an adult, the Africa-shaped necklace from a friend, a few other hand-made pieces by friends that never matched my style but were too ‘special’ to toss all brought my children HOURS of enjoyment before finally being pitched as they were broken (in ways that only toddlers seem to be able to come up with).

I recognize that ‘getting rid of stuff’ is kind of basic, but the heart behind letting go of stuff is something I’ve been learning in the last few years. It’s not a natural thing for me to hand over a 29 year old blue koala to my little kids, but I’m realizing that the importance of ‘letting go’ of things is bigger then ‘stuff.’

Decluttering has been a spiritual journey for me. Letting go is part of moving forward. It’s an appreciation for the past blessings without being tightfisted over them- so I can open my hands to reach for what God has next.


How to switch out seasonal clothes FAST! (And de-clutter your kids’ closet.)

This is the time of year where many of us need to dedicate some amount of time (hours or even days!) to switching out our clothes, and the clothes of our family members for the new season. I don’t know about you, but every time I used to do this, I would think there must be an easier way to weed through the clothes my kids have outgrown and to track down those that will soon fit them. There are several different methods, and I’m sure we’ll share other aspects of this in future posts, but for now, I have a simple method I have grown to love and I’m excited to share it with you today! :-)

In the weeks leading up to “the big switch,” my kids often outgrow a significant number of clothes. I also start to buy the clothes for the next season. What do I do with all these clothes?Lyd Clothes Organizing

Ta da! Announcing the “Too Big” and “Too Small” boxes!! This has made our life SO much easier! When I notice something is too small, or no longer works for the season, I simply toss it in the “Too Small” box. Similarly, when I buy something new, I wash it and toss it in the “Too Big” box so it is ready to go when needed.

Thanks to these 2 trusty boxes, I kept my kids closet and dresser de-cluttered all summer and when it came time for “the big switch,” it took me approximately 15 minutes for 2 kids! J When I had time later, I sorted them into their appropriate boxes in the basement.


          Here’s what I did: My husband and I went to IKEA and found a 3 pack of collapsible boxes that lined up perfectly on the top of my kids’ closet. I used scrapbook paper, a fun scissors, and a hot glue gun to make cute signs for 2 of them. The other box I laid sideways to hold pack n’ play sheets and pads.

That was it! Just a few minutes, and you can have a de-cluttered kids room and an easy switch to seasonal clothes! :-)

- Lydia

3 Kids in a 10X10 Room

Our house has 4 bedrooms, but we’ve decided to put all three of our kids (3 years, 2 years, and 1 year) in the same room.

Why? They love being together, it keeps their toys in 2

Picturelocations (their bedroom and the fairly well-organized

play room downstairs), and it helps me to keep their stuff down in numb

er since there is less space to put it.

This won’t last, but for now it works best for our family.

Here is how we organize their bedroom:

There is one single big box under their bed with lots of misc toys. I try to keep it at 3/4s full. If it gets over that, it’s a signal to get rid of stuff. I used to also keep toys on their low shelves, but I’ve since stopped. With all the clothes and bodies in one room, it’s best to have toys in one locationBooks are kept in one basket. I try to rotate their books.

Door Hanger: I wrote an article about my love of over the door shoe hangers. This is also a great spot to put a full wardrobe of toddler clothes!
When the baby gets a little bigger, I’ll hang another shoe hanger on the wall next to the door and organize her clothes that way too.
Baskets: Two baskets are enough for the baby’s clothes, shoes, and accessories.Dresser Drawers: Serving their normal purpo
se.Outgrown clothes: I have a covered basket in the bottom of the closet. (Not Pictured)Hanging Clothes: Clothes that are brand new and soon to be grown into (because otherwise I forget about them), Sunday clothes, and some play dresses.

The toddlers have bunk beds. Ikea sells a toddler bunk bed that would have made a smaller blue print in the room and fit them until they were 5, but the big one has worked fine for our purpose, allows them more personal space, and I covet the under-bed storage.The baby sleeps in a pack n play which I sometimes roll to the end of the bed during the day to open up more floor space. My 2 year old does not want the baby to sleep down there though because of privacy.Picture

Personal Space: No one is allowed in anyone else’s bed unless invited. Also, any toys in their personal space is off limits. This doesn’t always work, but it works 95% of the time.I also put a curtain on the lower bunk for when the two year old wants to escape from her semi-wild older brother.


Shelves: This is perfect for a preschooler to put away and get his own shoes.
Baskets with clothes: Baby shoes can go anywhere. Why not in with their socks and hats?
Shelf Basket: Works great for little kid shoes. We could easily fit 12 pair.

Changing Station:We were given a low, three drawer dresser that is a great height for changing. The top drawer has diapers, creams, wipes and misc. The bottom two drawers hold preschool boy clothes. I think I could actually fit them into 1 drawer, but he has a drawer completely devoted to PJs while he learns to put them away. (Not there yet, but we’re working at it.)We keep extra diapers and wipes in the bottom of the hutch in the closet.

So, this is our 3 kids in 1 10X10 room. They love it, and we like it for now too. They love to go in and play on the floor together, sit up at night talking (not my favorite part), and get ready for the day together. ( I do close the door as we get ready to keep the 80 pound dog out; we don’t have space for him too.)

I hope it’s keeping them close in more ways then physical closeness.

- Verity