Friday, July 10

Weekend organizing

I thought I'd share a few organizational projects today since that's how I've been spending my time recently.
I always take the opportunity while my mom is in town to tackle one or more long-been-a-pain-in-the-rear projects around the house. Projects that I either need physical, mental, financial, or parental help with. Wow, that includes so many things, it's a wonder I get anything done on my own.
This time, since we just moved our 3rd child in with the older two, I needed to do some bedroom rearranging. I've decided to sell the vintage dresser I've been using as changing table and clothes storage for my daughters. The drawers are difficult for little hands to maneuver and that's becoming more important as the kids learn to choose their clothes and dress themselves. Plus, three beds, 2 dressers, books and random toys are a lot in a medium-sized bedroom with multiple walls interrupted by doors, windows, and a potentially scalding hot radiator.
Anyway, my mom treated me to these great collapsible fabric boxes from The Container Store (they are having a nice summer sale) and I filled them with my daughters' clothes and slid them under the crib. Perfect fit. And easy for the kids to pull out and open themselves. My oldest "organized" her clothes box herself which has helped make her excited about the new system.
Oh yes, we used to have nice crib clothes on the bed including a lovely bed skirt, but it was removed after an unfortunate incident last year (mentioned at the end of this list). I imagine this wouldn't work quite as well if it was still in place.

I also chose to rearrange their book collection. We've had them shelved in one of those hideous stackable plastic cube things you get in college (which I did get in college) which is a safety hazard (they try to climb it) and awkward for sliding books in and out.
I was recently reminded that there's a very reasonable explanation for young children emptying out their bookshelves. They choose books by looking at the covers, not by reading the spines. After having one of those, "Ohhh, right" moments, I decided to place their books in bins so they can reach them without climbing, return them easily, and make their selections without carpeting the floor with books. It's nice to be able to conveniently cart a load of books to the other room, too.
These are plastic collapsible bins from The Container Store.

While at The Container Store, we couldn't pass up these crunch bags (which I have found very handy and sturdy enough for kids, also on sale) for storing some items in the living room.
I wanted them to have access to all of their own games and be able to put them away. That has been key in much or our reorganizing. These bags now house some of their games (the others still reside on a low shelf), and their train collection. The vintage basket is housing random baby toys.

Last, but by no means least, we finished organizing the outgrown clothes that have been nagging me for years. This was a huge project (though due largely in part to my not being organized from the beginning) and I felt a massive sense of relief when we finished.
We've been saving all decent outgrown children's clothing to pass on down the line, big sister to little sister (and to my husband's chagrin, sometimes to little brother). Every time the season changes, we have to hit the storage. For one reason, we can't store a year's worth of clothing in the dressers, and also the kids outgrow and need new sizes practically every season.
We finally sorted every item by gender, season, and size, labeled them all, and shoved them in the closet. I used small clear garment zip bags for storing small chunks of clothes-like Girls, 0-6 months, Summer-and then put 4 of these small garment bags into a larger one, labeled something like Girls, 0-6 months-2T, Summer. Making sure all labels and zippers were facing the same direction and easy to read and access, no zippers hiding on the bottom of the bag, but all right at the top where the large bag opens in case I just need to just stick my hand in and grab a few items.
Now when I need to pull out or put away clothes, I can see exactly which bag I need instead of dragging out the seemingly thousands of bags, big and small, and rifling through to find exactly what I'm looking for and then likely missing articles that could have been worn.
This summer, I was so happy to find that my baby didn't need any new clothes (thanks to hand-me-downs) and my older 2 needed very little (thank goodness they grow a little more slowly now).
I'm interested. How do you store your hand-me-downs? Or do you? If you have an idea that is far more outstanding and efficient than mine, tell me at your own risk. I may find out where you live. Or perhaps I'll just be grown-up about it and decide to pass it on to some other plagued parent.

14 comments:

moomer said...

Wow...no wonder I was tired when I came back to Texas! But it was worth it; it all looks so attractive and...well, organized!

Amy said...

Wow, that's great. I'll be anxious to hear what it's like having the kids in the same room.

badmummynocookie said...

Wow. I only have one kid. In one room. And she's here only every other week. And her room is a mess.

I had a similar system for storing the too-small clothes. Behind the bedroom door I kept one of those giant Ziploc bags. As things got too small, they got tossed into the bag. Once the bag was full or the season changed it got sealed up and stashed and the size was written on the bag with a Sharpie.

Now I have two large boxes that fit under her twin bed. One for warm weather clothes, the other for cold weather clothes. They are from Ikea, but one I managed to score 2nd hand. There's just enough room left for a rolling duffel bag for the too-small clothes, so I can easily pull them out for clothing swaps or trips to the consignment stores.

Michie said...

Thank you for this post. I just had the same "A-ha" moment about my daughter's bookshelf. I think I might have to go and get some bins for her books, and maybe her toys. I wish we had a container store around here. I'm going to have to check out their website.

Sara said...

I too had the ah ha moment about the books! We just moved in this week-- so I may hold off reorganizing books but that's a great idea! The way I organize the girls' clothes probably won't work for others because we just happen to have 7 foot lockers from when we moved overseas and since our place was freshly renovated and we got to help with the closets...we have room to store them above. But I store the clothes in stacks divided by size in 1 foot locker...though putting them in bags with labels and seasons is a great idea and I'll have to do that with the next batch of out-grown clothes. Now that we have seasons I'll have to be concerned about that!! Great organizing! And aren't mom's great for helping with stuff like that! My mom came to help us move in this week and just left! Wow-- she was a lifesaver and we are almost finished unpacking thanks to her!!

Audra said...

I am a recent reader of your blog and I think your organizational ideas are terrific! I have an almost two-year-girl and a boy on the way and we are blessed to get hand-me-downs from my sisters! I have had to buy very few clothes! Our and-me-down boxes are in large tupperwares with labels on them stating which gender and size. The problem is the boxes are HUGE and very hard to store! But not having to buy clothes is so worth it! I like your idea to separate by season as well!

About the books, I heard getting a rain gutter from Home Depot or a similar store and cutting it to fit a small section of wall and then screwing it to place is a great way to store kids books so they can see the covers!

sam enriquez said...

These Home Organization tips are great and I hope they influence me to do some cleaning myself because my house is a mess.

Jenny said...

I've got all my kids hand-me-down worthy clothes in Rubbermaid containers in the garage, which has worked fine, but it could certainly use improvement. I think the thing I really struggle with is how much clothes you really need to own for a kid each season. It seems like if you have too little, they run out too fast, but if there's too much, everything gets lost in the laundry mountain and takes ages to come back. Any ideas for me?

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