Organizing 101: Declutter, Containerize, and Create a System

We have had our home listed for a few months and are actively looking for a new home in a different community, so I have been very motivated to get my home organized.  In fact, over the past year or so, I’ve probably gone through my entire house 2 – 3 times, decluttering, organizing, etc.  And to be honest, it’s probably time to do so again.  Why? Because I really like the results of decluttering.  I end up with more room for the things I truly do love and use, which also means that I end up using them more!  Did I mention it is much easier to find things now that there is less “stuff” to look through?  Decluttering also makes the rooms of my home easier to keep clean and organized after I’ve gone through them and put a system into place.  Once things have a home, it’s easier to put them away when we are done with them.  Hence, a cleaner home.  Win-win!

So where do you begin?  First, get prepared for decluttering and organizing (find out how to here).  Once you are ready to get started, there are a few things I suggest:Read More »

Organizing 101: How to Prepare for and Get Started Organizing Your Home

Hi all!  You may be thinking that this post is a little late, seeing as it is February and this type of post is typical for January with the start of the new year, but I believe that there is no better time to start organizing than now (whatever part of the year that ends up being for you).

I know that the idea of organizing a home can be overwhelming for most people, so I want to give you some Little Ways to prepare and then get started.   This is something that can be done quickly and all-at-once if you have the time (stay-at-home-mom with the kids back at school) and/or the motivation (like when you are moving to a new home), but if you are like most of us, you are super busy and have only a few minutes here or there.  If that’s you, complete one step at a time anytime you have a few extra minutes in your schedule.  If you have lots of time available, you may be able to do multiple steps all at once.

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How to Organize Your Kids’ Toys Without Them Taking Over Your Home

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and was able to visit with family and friends! The days right after Christmas day always leave me antsy to go through my children’s toys, get rid of the things they rarely play with and organize all the new toys they’ve received. If you have little ones, you know that their toys take up lots of room since they can’t have many little pieces.  I have one child who is old enough to handle toys with little pieces and one child who needs to be kept away from small pieces, so we are in an interesting middle ground.  After a few years of trying various organizing strategies for their toys, the following setup is working really well for us and wasn’t hard to incorporate the new toys received at Christmas into the mix.

First of all, our children do not have a “play room.”  I know many parents who do this and it works for them because all of the toys stay in one centralized location (and you can close the door when it gets too crazy in there haha).  I found that one room with all the toys was simply overwhelming for my children and they didn’t actually play with their toys much.  We also do not have the luxury of an extra room just for toys now that we have two children in a three bedroom home.  As with everything, find what works for you and go with it.

ikea-sofa-table

What has worked well for us is to rotate out toys.  Sometimes it is parent-led rotation, sometimes my son will ask to swap out toys.  By doing so, I find that my children feel like they’ve received new toys since they haven’t seen the stored ones in a while.  So how do I keep everything stored whether it’s being played with or put away? Ikea to the rescue! We purchased this awesome sofa table (IKEA Hemnes Console Table) and the boxes that go in it from Ikea and had it shipped to our home (along with various other furniture purchases to save on shipping) instead of driving 5+ hours to our closest store.

The baskets on the top shelf come from Homegoods (another one of my favorite stores).  They hold mostly books and puzzles, with a basket or two for the random little toys children acquire that don’t really fit into any other categories. The boxes, from Ikea, are perfect because they have lids (to contain and hide all the “mess” of toys) and can be taken out and brought to whichever room the kids are playing in at the time.  They also limit the amount of toys that can be kept – if it doesn’t fit in the container, it needs to go or something else needs to go to make room for it.  (This is a great opportunity to teach your child about donating to those who have less.)

As far as the toys that are out of rotation at the time, they are kept in clear plastic containers (that can easily be found at Walmart or Target) at the top of my son’s closet.  He also has a few bins at the bottom of his closet for some of the larger accessories.  For example, all the superhero action figures and their small accessories are kept in the box at the top of the closet (or the gray box in our living room if he’s chosen that set at the moment), but the bat cave, bat car, etc. are kept in the orange bin at the bottom of his closet because it just doesn’t fit in the clear container at the top.  If you have the room for it, you can simply buy larger containers to keep it all together, but we are working with the setup we have currently.

Another advantage to this system is that its easier to say “you have to pick up all the toys from this box before taking out another,” if you chose to do so.  I don’t usually, however, simply because I like the creativity that is encouraged by mixing the types of toys.  Maybe my son has chosen his box of Magna-tiles and his box of cars at the moment.  He may build a garage for all the cars with the Magna-tiles, for example.

toy-box

My daughter is still young, so she has less collections of toys (although they are growing), so she has a few toys in the gray boxes and then the rest are in a toy box (from when I was a child) that is in another room in the house.  I’m sure in the next year or so, I’ll begin to set up a system for her similar to the one I have for my son.

How do you organize your children’s toys? What works for you? Let us know in the comments below.

–Brandi

Over the Door Gift Wrap Organization

We are almost done with our Christmas shopping!! My secret? Black Friday shopping online.  I love the deals offered on Black Friday every year, but now that we have two little ones at home, it just doesn’t make sense for us to go out shopping on Black Friday morning.  Thankfully, most of the deals are still available online with FREE SHIPPING! (Y’all know I love a good deal).  Between that and Amazon Prime, let’s just say that we keep our postal workers busy here.  Our kids are also having lots of fun with all the empty boxes. Anyways, now that most of the packages have been delivered, it’s time to wrap presents!! While I do already love wrapping presents, the gift wrap organizer that I set up about five years ago does make it so much easier!!Read More »