Purging the Playroom

Each winter, we clean out the playroom and remove all the toys that are broken or that the kids have outgrown. We always try to do this before Christmas to make room for the Christmas gifts, but this year, we have another purpose.

Organizing and simplifying

We want to simplify life for everyone at our home. We are trying to live with less and just enjoy what we already have. Our daughters have toys they have never even played with, and it’s our eventual plan to use their underused playroom for another purpose. We have decided to keep their favorites but simplify what they have. Since the kids mostly play in the family room instead of staying in the playroom, it makes more sense for them to just keep their toys there.

For as long as we have lived in our home, our playroom has looked like this:

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We are planning to rework our current office to a family room. This room would be the primary hangout for our entire family, with floor to ceiling built in bookcases for books and toys. We are also keeping some of their toys in their own rooms now.

Last week, we went through the toy boxes in both kids’ rooms, and every shelf and basket in the playroom. We threw away one full bag of trash and broken toys. We filled two large bags of things for donating/giving away, and we emptied out three bins.

Here’s a picture of our purge pile in the back of the van:

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We are far from done with our playroom purge. Check back next week for our playroom plan. I hope you have a great week.

 

 

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Organizing kids’ spaces

My oldest daughter loves clothes- she loves buying new clothes, but She also loves to change her clothes. Not surprisingly, this has led to some major messing up her dresser and her closet.

Emorie’s closet really needed some Jesus an exorcism some cleaning out. Actually I’m the one who needs Jesus- opening that closet makes me think bad thoughts.


And the dresser isn’t any better.


I finally got tired of it and decided to fix it. I started by removing anything extra, non fitting, or anything out-of-season from the closet. Then, I straightened what was left.



And suddenly, all of my mean thoughts have disappeared. Isn’t that way better?

And as for the dresser.  Some of the drawers didn’t need more than a minor straightening.


But for the ones that looked like a tornado had run through them, I took everything out of them and used my trusty drawer organizers.

When I was finished, it looked like this:


I know I’ll just be refixing the closet and drawers again soon, but in the meantime, this is so much better.

What small organizing project have you done lately?

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Getting organized with Cozi

Our family is going through something of a transition, and as a result, we are trying to manage our time better and organize our lives better. 


Some time ago, I heard about an app called Cozi. At the time, I owned an Android phone and Cozi wasn’t available on Android. 

Now that I am an iPhone user, I decided to give Cozi a try. First, set up your Cozi with all your family members. You can also tie one account to the phones/devices of all your family so you can all keep one another updated. We have even synced my Cozi account with my daughter’s iPod Touch. 


This way, when you input calendar events for each family member, it color codes them and uploads them to each family member’s phone. 


Here’s a sample weekly calendar layout. See how each of our events are a different color? 


You also get an email from Cozi on Sunday nights reminding you of your schedule for the week. 


You can also upload recipes and schedule them for certain nights. Cozi will even build a shopping list of all your ingredients.


Cozi also includes a built in shopping list AND a to-do list. The type A in me is loving it, y’all. 

I love using Cozi. It has helped me to remember appointments, keep up with meals and shopping lists, and create a to do list to help keep everything straight. And best of all, Cozi is free. There is a premium version but the free one does everything I need. 

I highly recommend you give it a try.  For more information, visit the Cozi website. 

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New uses for old things: how you can use a shoe organizer in every room

Most people own an over the door shoe rack, or have at least seen one. They’re cheap, they’re easy to find, and they’re strangely versatile. 

Most of us use them just like this:

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Did you know you can use them in almost every room?


Life Hacks

You can cut them and affix them to the back of your bathroom cabinets to hold extra toiletries. 


(Source)
You can use them in your laundry room to store bottles of cleaner.


Better Homes and Gardens
Use one for extra storage in your kitchen pantry.


DIY Village
How about in your mudroom or coat closet to store winter hats, gloves and scarves?


A bowl full of lemons
How about in the playroom to store art supplies?

Or in your craft room to store your own crafty supplies?


Once Upon A Hive
I have three of these things right now. I can’t wait to show you how I’m planning to use them.

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10 ways to get organized before school starts


Some of us have only precious few days until school starts back. Others of us have a little longer, but chances are we are all beginning to prepare for the school year.

Even if you haven’t yet bought school supplies, I bet you have at least obtained a supply list so you’ll know what you need.

Today I’d like to share a few tips for getting organized for the new school year.


1. Clean out your children’s dressers and closets.

This will not only help you to be able to find things more quickly; it will also help you to see what school clothes you need to buy. When I cleaned out my daughter’s closet, I realized I didn’t need to buy as much as I thought I needed. 


2. Don’t wait till the last minute to get school supplies 

Go school shopping as soon as you get the list (if you can). Waiting til the last minute can mean some of your supplies with be hard to find.


3. Create a designated homework station

Have an area free of distractions where your student can concentrate and have all his or her supplies on hand.


4. Have a pin board or folder to display artwork or important papers. 


5. Plan and create some make ahead meals 

The beginning of a school year is always crazy but you cannot sacrifice nutrition. Make ahead some nutritious meals and all you’ll have to do is take them out of the freezer and cook them. 


6.  Start practicing your family’s back to school routine at least two weeks before school starts

No one likes waking up a cranky, sleepy kid and dragging them out of bed. To make it easier on everyone, get back into your school routine by going to bed early and waking up early before school starts back. 


7. Purchase a calendar or agenda that works for you and use it 

Write down everything and get into the habit of checking over your calendar each night before you go to bed. 


8. Establish a cleaning routine that works well for your family. 

Few can clean their whole house all at once every week. Establish a routine where you can clean a little bit each night. 


9. Prepare for tomorrow as much as possible on the night before.

Before you go to bed, get ready for tomorrow as much as you possibly can. Pack your lunch, lay out clothes, make sure your clothes are ready. Put your bag and everything you’ll need by the door. Put the coffee in the pot and set the timer. Know what you want to eat for breakfast. Mornings are stressful, but preparing for them makes them easier. 

10. Relax and look forward to the new school year. I hope your summer has been wonderful. 

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Organizing your chest freezer


The end of the school year is always an intensely busy time for us. That busyness trickles into our home and it makes things a little chaotic here. Our routines and organization gets a little lax and before you know it, our fridge looks like this:


Y’all. Every time I opened this drawer, something would get stuck and I’d have trouble getting it closed again. I got so tired of fighting with it, and with never knowing where to find ANYTHING that I decided to do something.

And in true Organized and Simplified fashion, I began by making a huge mess. I took everything out of the freezer and got  my trusty plastic in bins.

I threw away anything that was expired and put any bulk items in our chest freezer in the garage.

I categorized everything. I put breakfast items in one bin, frozen veggies in one, entrees in one, poultry in one, beef in one, etc.

When I finished, the freezer looked like this:



I can find everything I need and the drawer doesn’t stick anymore. I think I’m going to call it a win!

How have you organized your kitchen?

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Tips and Tricks Tuesday: Organize your fridge

 

 

Our summer is busy already, and because we’re involved in so many different activities, it seems we’re never home. Our fridge, which is normally organized and neat, was looking pretty bad.

I was getting frustrated because things were falling out when you opened the door. I also couldn’t seem to find anything. I was at a new dollar store which recently opened near my parents’ home when I spotted these plastic fridge trays.

They actually offered three different sizes of them, and the prices were good. Plus, they look like the pricier acrylic trays that are so common in the blogosphere. I’m all about things that look expensive but aren’t.

I bought four of the smaller size, and four of the mid sized. I plan to later buy two of the large size, but they were sold out, and that would have put me over budget. Still, I’d say that this is an improvement, wouldn’t you? I ended up spending about $30 to get our fridge organized. It’s definitely a big help because now I can see everything in our fridge and I can tell when we’re out of something.


I’m still working to organize this monstrosity of a freezer. Can’t wait to show you next week what I did with it.


How have you organized your fridge and freezer?

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Tuesday Tips and Tricks: Getting organized with one trip to the dollar store 


Have you ever paid attention to the bins and baskets aisle at your local Dollar General, Family Dollar or Dollar Tree? If you haven’t, you definitely should. 

For example, these little white baskets are 3 for a dollar. They are in use all over my house and they make excellent drawer organizers. Here they are organizing some hair bows in my oldest daughter’s dresser.


Next up are plastic chests of drawers. We use them in our bathroom vanities to give us a little more storage space inside the cabinets.


We also use the little plastic baskets as drawer organizers here as well.


Fabric drawers have many uses and are a steal at $4. Here we use them to organize our playroom.


Dollar Stores also have some pretty sweet deals on hangers. I bought the velvet coat hangers in this closet from the Dollar Tree and they have held up amazingly well.

Dollar store baking dishes Make awesome storage bins for your fridge. Plus, the glass ones are dishwasher safe. Plastic food storage containers work well for fridge bins, too.


The Dollar General stores have these awesome metal baskets, which I am using to store cleaning supplies. 


There are a number of different plastic bins available, which we use all over the house in a variety of ways.



These are just a few of my favorite dollar store organizing tools. Please comment down below to share a few of your favorites.

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Organizing solutions: Storing those toys!

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Most of us who have small children would agree: it’s very easy for toys to take over your home. Your life even! We can certainly do things to cut down on the toy clutter, such as simplifying your child’s toy collection.  Truthfully, even a large toy collection can still be organized and stored so that it doesn’t take over the world.

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One of my favorite ideas is to use hampers and vertical bins to corral stuffed animals. Not only does the tall, skinny bin store a lot of critters, it also takes up a small amount of floor space. For the win!

 

 

 

 

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Bookshelves. This goes back to vertical storage with a minimal footprint. Bookshelves will hold a lot of things and can be decorated so that they are attractive. The idea is to create a zigzag pattern across the shelves to keep the eye moving. These playroom shelves hold books and large toys, while bins stored on the shelves hold art supplies, school supplies, small toys, and paperback books. The bottom shelves hold stuffed animals and dolls, while the top shelves hold games and puzzles.

emoriebookshelf

Here is the bookshelf in Emorie’s room. The box on the top holds small toys that her sister shouldn’t be able to reach. The same rules apply. It’s a nice mixture of actual books and toys.

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These closet organizer cubes and fabric drawers live in our playroom and we love them. Actually we don’t just love them, we lurrrve them. They hold so much and they slide in and out of the cubes so well. The toys are sorted with like objects and placed into their own bin by category. The labels contain the word and the picture to help the littles know where to put them up.

These ideas are just some of the way we deal with the toy clutter. I hope I have shared some useful ideas with you. If you have any ideas that are different from mine, please comment below. I love sharing ideas and learning new things from my readers as well. Have a wonderful week.

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Hair accessory organization 

I am the mother of two beautiful little girls, and I’m convinced hair bows are taking over my house. They’re everywhere! Even Aubrey has a ton of the things and she doesn’t have much hair. 

Emorie has an Ikea Hemnes dresser. It has two little drawers at the top.

The top drawer on the left used to house her swimsuits and the one on the right housed her headbands.

Neither was a good solution. The swimsuits were always bunching up and hiding one another, and the headbands were always sliding around or getting squashed.

I relocated the swimsuits to one of the fabric bins in her closet and weeded out the hairbows that were looking worse for wear. I hung the ones she still wears on a long ribbon behind her door.

Then I sectioned off the drawers with some trusty basket drawer organizers from Wally World. These are super cheap and they are so useful.

Her headbands and hairbows are sorted and stored by color. There was also room in the drawers for her sunglasses and costume jewelry as well.

I used two divider baskets to store hair ties and clips in her vanity table drawer.

All the materials used to organize these accessories sets were already in our home. This organizational project didn’t cost me a dime.

I’m really happy with how this turned out. I hope it’s going to Save us a lot of time searching for headbands.

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