Look at these two photos. There is a "technical" organizing error in the one on the left, can you spot it?
When you organize a space, you select solutions that work now. Some time in the future, it is likely that the solutions you selected will no longer work. The spaces in our homes are not static. They are always changing as items are added, moved, or removed. You will need to go back after a period of time to tweak/edit what you had previously organized. With good maintenance and upkeep habits, your work will be minimal (and may even be fun!).
Organize those Polly Pockets and other small dolls and accessories in a clear, snap-shut case. My favorite part of this project was watching my daughter devise her own system as to what goes where. If you empower your kids during the organizing process they will be more likely to maintain the system.
If you are a busy Mom who has introduced the Elf on a Shelf to your family, and you are anything like me, you are already running low on ideas. While Pinterest-ing, I found a 30-day calendar of ideas that "Mommy's Craft Obsessions" posted. I like it because you don't have to following it religiously but at least it gives you a starting point.
Best of luck this holiday season Elf Hiders!
Fall is quickly approaching and if you have a garden, it's almost time to pull out those mason jars!
Here are a few ideas for using mason jars for organizing small unruly items:
-In the bathroom for cotton balls, q-tips, make up sponges, and make up brushes
-For art supplies such as crayons, pom poms, and buttons
-In the kitchen for cooking utensils on the counter
-In the pantry for pasta, rice, oatmeal, and quinoa
-In the office as a pencil holder
-For cupcake wrappers
-In the bathroom as a toothbrush holder
-In the kitchen for spices
-In the workshop for screws, nails, and nuts/bolts
-For sewing supplies like spools of thread, needles, and ribbons
-As a match holder with a piece of sand paper secured above the lid for striking
-As a keepsake holder
-In the basement for leftover paint
I have two young children (ages 3 and 5). When I am cooking dinner I like to have them in the kitchen with me.
To keep them busy and out of each other's hair, I designated a cupboard as their "activity center." I asked for their help in designing the space. They told me the types of things they would like to have there and I determined how much of each category and what containers were appropriate. Getting them involved in the design gave them ownership of the space and I have found that they are more likely to return items back to their proper places when I do involve them.
On the top shelf, I used a magazine holder on its size to contain stickers (in a plastic pouch) and a folder for completed artwork they decide to keep. On the horizontal trays we have loose colored paper/construction paper and coloring books. My oldest daughter's journal is next to the horizontal trays on the right.
We have crayons, markers, and colored pencils in containers on the lower shelf. (My oldest wanted them separated by type.....like mother, like daughter.) I used another magazine holder for educational workbooks on the right. These are strategically placed somewhat out of view so the kids aren't using them as coloring books. (These types of workbooks are more for one-on-one time with me.)
This system has been working quite well. As the kids get older and their interests change, so will this space. For now we are enjoying cooking time bliss.
My family is trying something different this week as an attempt to streamline dinner-making. Saturday morning I took inventory of staple food items that were needed and I added them to the grocery list. (We use the app called "GroceryIQ" as our list. My husband and I have the list synced so we each have it accessible at all times.) In addition, I chose 3 meals that I will make this week and added the ingredients to the grocery list.
As you can see in this photo I wrote the selected meals on a wipe board that I stuck to my fridge. One requires a recipe so I clipped it from a magazine and used a magnet to attach it to the list. I am excited to try this new approach to meal planning. It is simple and takes the pressure off when the kids ask "Mom, what's for dinner?"
Legos are a great learning tool but boy can things get nutty with all those pieces and parts! There are a million ways to store and organize legos but my biggest recommendation is to KEEP IT SIMPLE. The younger the child, the simpler the lego storage system should be. Older children should be involved with the "design" of the lego storage system. Here are a few ideas:
-Keep a dustpan with your legos to assist with pick up.
-For young children, designate a play area. Lego tables are great but if you don't have the room for one you can always use a mat that rolls up and is stored under a couch or bed or use a bed sheet (the latter makes pick up even easier because you just scoop up the entire sheet and pour the legos into a bin).
-Legos don't need to be sorted for young children, unless you have multiple sets that contain different sized legos that don't fit together (in which case they should be kept separately).
-Older children like to work on projects that may span over a few days. In this case, the project of the week can be kept out on the play area and its pieces can be contained in a tackle box. (Consider giving each child their own tackle box with their name on it.)
-Older children may like their legos sorted into categories. Some children like to sort their legos by color. Others may prefer categories like "just legos", "Pirates of the Caribbean", and "Toy Story" or "heads", "weapons", and "vehicles". Categories can be stored in clear plastic shoe bins (or larger bins, depending on the size of each category). Don't forget to have a bin or binder for manuals.
Liz Bremer, CPO