Monthly contributor post from Kristen at Celebrate Every Day with Me:
Can you breathe easier when things are clutter-free? Organization does wonders for the body, mind and spirit. But what nobody tells you when you have kids is that clutter becomes a battle for the next 18 years. All the baby gear, toys, school supplies, clothes, shoes . . . legos. Did you ever think your arch enemy would be a tiny piece of plastic?!!
We recently built a house and the clean slate gave me the opportunity to rethink the ways in which we organize. I looked at where our messes tend to be, where we need a plan and how I was going to implement one . . . or several.
I started from scratch and asked these questions:
- What are the biggest categories of our clutter?
- What rooms tend to be cluttered most frequently?
- What drives me crazy about clutter?
- Are there dedicated places for things?
- Have I made things easy to put away?
Here are 6 ways we keep organized as a result:
Where do I keep the baskets? The baskets are on the bench in the mudroom. It is out of the way, yet present enough not to be forgotten.
How often do the kids empty them? It really depends. The kids will occasionally grab things as they head upstairs. I remind them as well. If the baskets get really full, it becomes mandatory. And every so often, I hide a treat in the bottom of the basket so that if they are emptying it on their own, there is a reward.
2. We have a system for walking in the door and putting things away.
Coats, backpacks, shoes and right now, all the winter gear. I was very deliberate about how this would go and I designed a locker system to fit our needs. I searched Houzz and saved pictures of mudrooms I liked. Then with our builder, I showed him the components I wanted from the different photos.
Here is what worked for our family: a basket up top to store off-season items, hooks for coats and backpacks, a place for shoes and the built-in bench. We ended up adding a higher round of hooks last minute because my husband’s coats were dragging on the bench and I will never regret that! Each locker now has five sets of double hooks.
The only thing we could have improved on is the width of my husband’s locker. He wears size 14 shoes and it is a bit tight for him to get two pairs side by side. Other than that, our lockers fit our family’s needs perfectly.
3. We store all of our games in one place.
In our last house, we had some of our games in the hall closet, some in the basement and some in the storage. That is no longer the case. I found this gorgeous (albeit beat up) armoire at a garage sale for $5. It was one of those things that caught my eye driving by and when we were at the house and the seller said $5 because she just wanted it gone . . . well, my husband came on his lunch hour to help move it.
But what I love about it most is that it holds all of our games. No more games spread out here and there. You want a game? You go to the game wardrobe. . . and then you put it back.
4. We have one place where our kids’ books are kept.
I love that both of our kids enjoy reading. But I don’t love when books are all over and messy. With our old IKEA cubed organizer, I have made a dedicated place for books. Aside from what the kids are reading at nighttime, this is where you find all the kids’ books in the house. (I have something similar in my office for my books.)
A great idea I read about but have yet to implement, is a book drop for returning the books. Maybe a basket or bin nearby where the kids can put the books when they are done with them. The point being that if it is easy to put away, they are more likely to do so. I also like that I can see how much and what they are reading.
5. A colorful 10-drawer cart holds supplies for our little artist.
Do you have an artist or crafter? My daughter loves markers, colored pencils, crayons and all those sorts of creative, artistic supplies. Not to mention paper, and lots of it. She is always drawing, coloring and everything is usually everywhere. This 10-drawer organizer cart has been wonderful. It belongs solely to her and it is up to her how to organize it. Plus, when it is full, she needs to reassess what she is keeping.
6. We have a set of shelves dedicated to Lego creations.
You knew it had to come back here, right? In the last house and in my mom’s house (where we lived while building), there were legos on every surface in my son’s bedroom and often sprawling out into other areas of the house.
We improved that situation by giving my son a set of shelves that is dedicated to Lego creations. When he builds something and wants to keep it together for awhile (like all the Lego Movie Sets), he can house it on his built-in shelves. Now, any bookcase would work. We just happened to make use of some dead space and create these shelves for him.
And there you have it. That is how we are keeping organized with kids in the new house.
Leave a comment and tell me your tips for great organization.
Kristen of Celebrate Every Day With Me is a fun-loving mom to two kids who keep her busy and laughing. Add her great husband and the Lord to the mix and her life is one fantastic (and sometimes crazy) adventure. She is a former youth leader, professional wedding and event planner and has a degree in Christian Thought/Christian Ministry. She loves long lists, diet soda and playing jokes on her husband.
Kristen is the author of Teach Me To Serve: 99 Ways Preschoolers Can Learn To Serve & Bless Others. On her blog, you’ll find fun ideas for children’s activities, creating memorable moments and party planning.