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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How to stay organized 

Last week, we discussed why it is important to be organized, and how being organized positively impacts your health. This week, I am going to share some tips for getting organized, but also maintaining it.

  1. Sort and purge

The first step to getting organized is to pare down and simplify. I like to make three piles- one pile of things to keep, one pile of things to trash, and one of things to donate.

2. Categorize, categorize and categorize

I like to dump everything into a really big pile and sort it into piles with like objects. Then, store all the like objects together in a bin or basket…. and pop a label on it.

Make sure the label indicates exactly what’s in the basket or bin, and that nothing else gets put in to the basket.

3. A place for everything

Use some boxes, containers, or bins to corrall your newly “categorized” items. Make sure you have a specific place to put everything.

4.  Regularly re-organize

Keep a regular “maintenance” schedule so you can make sure you’re staying organized. If something isn’t working for you, restructure it to meet your needs and then try again. Go through your bins and baskets regularly to correctly put away things that might have gone into the wrong basket. Throw away things you no longer use or need. Donate things that you don’t use anymore.

6. Pick up and put away

This is where we struggle in our home. When you get something out, return it to its proper spot when you’re finished with it. Grab a basket and walk around your home before bed each night, and pick up anything you see that isn’t put away. I feel a little silly writing that since it seems like a given, but it’s definitely something we struggle with here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our tips for cleaning and organizing your home!

 

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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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Real life: 6 lifestyle changes I’m making right now

As you know, my family is currently experiencing a difficult time. We are adjusting to our new normal and we are honestly just doing the best we can. I want to take some time today to share some lifestyle changes I am currently making.


1. Bible reading and faith


I got out of my routine while out of work, and my walk with God has suffered. I am trying to read His word and pray daily. I was doing really well with this, but then I just…stopped. I am trying to let go of the excuses and stop going through the motions and just be.

2. Be more present


I’ve got a bad habit lately of disappearing in my smartphone when I don’t want to talk or when I’m not feeling up to par. Lately I’ve started putting away the phone after 5 and just spending time with my family. It’s amazing how much being with your family can lift your spirit.

3. Get some exercise each day


I have been trying for awhile now to exercise each day, but I got out of practice. Now I’m doing at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. I don’t always want to or feel like it, but I always feel better when I’m done.

4. Change my diet, change my life


I have been doing Trim Healthy Mama for almost two years now, though I did stop for a bit shortly after my dad died. I ended up gaining weight and feeling pretty poorly. Now I’m back on track and feeling better.

5. Read more books


I love to read but often wait until long breaks from school to read anything, citing lack of time as an excuse.  I have decided to read for a few minutes each night, no matter how long it takes me to finish it.

6. Slow down


Too often, I feel like I am in a hurry. I feel like I am always on the go and I never stop and rest. I’ve decided to take a moment here and there to just be silent and just…be. It’s amazing what we notice when we aren’t too busy to stop and take a look around.

What changes are you making in your lives this month?

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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:

                            (Source)
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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Back to school: how we save time in the morning 


Preparation is key to a less stressful morning. Do Anything you can do ahead of time to get yourself prepared for the next day. Some people are far better at this than I am, but I still want to take the time to share what works for us.


1. Use an agenda to be more organized overall

I like to read my agenda the night before to make myself aware of any to do list items for the next day, and any appointments or meetings we might have. This way I don’t have any “surprises” and I know what I’m facing (for the most part) when walking out the door.


2. Get your clothes ready the night before. 

I like to lay out everything I’ll need AND make sure it’s ironed the night before so I’m not scrambling in the morning. This includes workout clothes and my work outfit, down to undies and shoes. I do this for my kids’ clothes as well.


3. Use grab and go breakfast items. 

I like to make several breakfasts ahead of time and freeze them. Then I just grab them, heat them and eat them. It saves a lot of time.

4. Put everything you’ll need by the door. Then you can just grab it and walk out.

5. Pack lunches the night before so you aren’t scrambling to do it in the AM. 

6. Unload your dish washer at night so you can put your dirty breakfast dishes in the dishwasher before you leave. 

7. Check your bags the night before to make sure you aren’t missing anything you need. 


Lastly, don’t forget to say goodbye to your loved ones!! I hope this list has been helpful! What do you do to prepare for your day the night before?

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Tips and Tricks Tuesday: How I use my agenda to be more organized

As we prepare to go back to school, I am trying to make sure I’m as organized as possible. There have been cooking days so the freezer will be stocked with healthy meals, there have been closet and dresser cleaning days, and now I’ve purchased a new planner as well. I was enjoying bullet journaling, but it wasn’t the best use of my time. 


I looked at pricier planners like those designed by Erin Condren and Emily Ley, and while I liked them, I wasn’t sure I could justify spending $60 on an agenda I’d only use for a year and a half. Enter the Day Designer by Blue Sky.


Cute, lightweight, and only $20. The front pages of the agenda contain spaces for setting goals and creating a plan for accomplishing those goals.



It also features both monthly spreads and weekly spreads. I have started color coding my calendar entries: one color for each family member and a separate color for church activities.

I use it to record activities and appointments for all four of us, plus work and blog stuff for me.


Each calendar has a space for a to do list, setting goals, and reflection.  


I use the weekly spread to track habits and set three main goals. There is also space to record things you’re grateful for.


I also track fitnesss plans, blog posts, and plan meals. A weekly to do list is included as well. 


There are also blank pages in the back where you can do whatever you like. I use them to make lists, plan blog posts and record important dates:




I like to use sticky note pads for my shopping lists and things that are subject to change, such as Christmas lists and thrift store shopping lists.


Each night before you go to bed, reflect on the day, but take a peek at tomorrow. What do you need to do? Where do you need to be? Looking at your agenda each day ensures that you remember what you’re supposed to do and where you’re supposed to be.

How do you use your agenda to simplify your life?

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A much more organized pantry


Our pantry used to be very well organized, but we got a little lazy.


And then we got even lazier. Things weren’t put away, things weren’t paired down and thrown away, and things were just…chaotic. 


It was definitely time to do something about it.

I decided to take everything out and assess the space. While it was empty, I gave the room a good cleaning.

I then decided to categorize everything and organize it as according to category. 


I also used some smaller baskets to house fruits and veggies, and two wood crates to make a shelf for my cookbooks. 



I moved some items out of the pantry that didn’t need to be there. 


When I was finished, I had a much more organized space. I love that I can see everything and I know where everything is. 


The space functions so much better for us now. 

Our printer is currently on the brink of death so as soon as I fix it, I’ll make new ones. Then this pantry will be complete.

What space makeovers have you done recently?

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Tips and Tricks Tuesdays: Where to buy bins and baskets


Organizing is a huge part of my life (and my income) but it can be expensive. I want to share some cost effective ways to get organized. 

1. Shop your home


You’d be surprised what bins and baskets you may have around the house. I have several that I am not currently using, so I always look through those before I buy anything new.


2. Target, HomeGoods, Dollar General, Big Lots

Those are just some of my favorite places to buy bins and baskets without breaking the bank.

Just look at Target’s current offerings:


Hobby Lobby has a nice selection, but they are pricy. They do have frequent sales and coupons, so if you’re a HL fan, you may want to watch for those. HomeGoods and Marshalls have lots of high end choices for a fraction of the price. 

I bought these cute metal baskets from Dollar General.


I’d steer clear of Dollar Tree baskets though. They’re not very big and they often don’t hold up well. They do make nice drawer organizers, though. 


3. Make Something

I have covered diaper boxes with fabric and also with twine and rope. I have covered shoe boxes with fabric and paper, and then embellished them with book plates. Get creative! You’d be surprised what you can upcycle. 

Organization is life-changing, but it doesn’t have to be a budget breaker. I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Tips and Tricks Tuesday. Have a great day.

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate AddictThe Turquoiseaquifer and HomeA Place of My TasteThe Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My PinterventuresThe Lady Prefers to SaveThe Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish CottageBluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential MommyChristine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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