During Project: Simplify we’ve done the the Master Bedroom Closet and paper clutter. I am still working on part two of paper clutter but also accomplished the third hot spot: children’s clothing and toys.
Tackling the children’s clothing and kids toys was easy because I am an ultra-organized mother. Not!
My Toy and Book System:
The truth is that I go through the children’s toys on a regular basis and purge in small amounts throughout the year, but especially before Christmas. If I notice something is strewn about often but seldom truly played with, it goes. Sometimes I sell the item on kijiji or eBay and other times it is donated to a thrift shop. By keeping up on purging in each small category, it keeps down on having to deal with a huge amount all at once. Books and toys can easily overtake one’s house if you aren’t careful! Since I keep on top of it, aside from a messy played in room, I don’t really have any good “before pictures”. This is as good as it gets.
Toys and books are broken down into a couple of categories:
- Main floor play area – we have a train table and a play kitchen that are played with by both. Each child has a bin for their items plus a bin for shared items and cars have their own bin. We store larger vehicles in the bottom cubbies. This is the trofast bins inside two expedit shelving units. We used to have the trofast storage system but found that the bins warped being slid in and out of the grooves on a regular basis so we got rid of that and purchased these instead. It’s working much better.
- Bedroom toys – Chloe has her doll house and John has his tool bench. Those are the primary play items in each room. Chloe has a trofast storage system in her room which has labeled bins for Barbie’s, ponies etc. John has less small items and I found that a couple of bins on his book shelf work just fine and make it easy for clean up.
- Educational “school” toys – we have started amassing quite a collection of these and honestly? They’re the ones that are played with the most. We have many Lauri products along with Melissa and Doug. We keep these in our school cupboard where they
knoware learning that one thing can be played with at a time and must be put away before another is taken out. This ensures that each item is enjoyed and the pieces aren’t lost or strewn about throughout the house.
- Upstairs books – in the library they each have a beanbag chair and two shelves of books that they can look at whenever they want. We also have library time several days a week in the evening before bed. When they pull a book out, they just put it back in a pile on the right side of the shelf and I will put it away for them as they can’t seem to get the books to stand up nice. It also helps to have a container for all the paperback books. They take the container down and can flip through it to find a book they’d like to read.
- Downstairs books – are in a wonderful rack we found at Toys R Us. I just love the way it displays the books so the children can see the cover rather than just the spine. I change these books up from the ones in the library every week or so. These are the books the children look at or read whenever they want…or the ones the grab for an impromptu story with daddy.
- School books – are on the school shelf and are for school time. Each day, the littles choose 2 or 3 books each for us to read. We also read them at other times throughout the day but they must ask before taking a book off our school shelf.
My Clothing & Closet System:
I also try to keep on top of the littles clothing. Each has a shelf in the top of their closet with a box for outgrown clothing to sell/donate. The minute something is too small, I simply toss it up into the box – no folding required. I find that fall and spring are usually the best times to sell (eBay, Kijiji, Consignment Stores) so those are usually the times that I pull out whatever is in the box and deal with it.
Both closets have double racks in them. The top rack is the original closet rack. The bottom rack is a tension rod for a shower curtain, which works amazingly!
Since Chloe has the closet to herself, current clothing she is wearing is on the bottom rack (where she can reach it) while clothing for the off season and items to grow in to hang on the top rack.
John’s closet used to work the same way but John will soon be sharing his room with Isaac. I rearranged the closet so that each boy has a rack of clothing. (I put John on top and Isaac on the bottom for now. This winter I will switch it around since John will then be 3 and old enough to start picking out his outfits a little bit). In addition to their “sell/donate outgrown clothing” box there are two other boxes in their closet. One for John’s clothing to grow in to (I try to buy ahead at the end of a season – gotta love a sale!) and one for John’s stuff that he’s outgrown but that will be passed on to Isaac.
Having this system in place doesn’t mean I never have to go through closets and inventory etc. but it does streamline the process so much and it is never an overwhelming, all day task!!
I think true organization is an ongoing process. It isn’t “getting organized so you don’t have to do anything” but streamlining it so that the whole process of staying organized is simpler, easier and takes less time. I’m better at this is some areas than in others.
What area are you best at keeping organized?