Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Tidying Up Tuesday: Amelia's Room

Another late TUT post, but in my defense, I spent yesterday morning at the boys' school helping out with their Read-a-Thon. So Amelia's room had to wait until today.

The biggest issue with Amelia's room is of course that she is only 4, and it's hard for her to clean up by herself. My goal was to simplify her room as much as possible and make clear places for things to go.

Her room isn't too messy in this "before" photo, but hopefully you can see that the farm and other toys (to the left of the play kitchen) are just sitting to the side, without a true assigned spot. The play kitchen food is another major issue in her room; it contributes to a lot of the mess simply because there is so much of it.

In this photo of the pile of toys, you might notice in the background the furniture from the boys' room. Ryan is putting up the trim this week, so we cleared everything out of their room and put it in the living room. It was a million times easier because the room had been KonMari'd and everything had an assigned space. We just moved the assigned spaces out to the living room. 

The "keep" pile. Unsurprisingly, Amelia wanted to keep pretty much everything. 

Sorting through toys is hard work!

I wasn't 100% sure of how I wanted to organize everything, so I brought it all into Amelia's room and started grouping things into piles to see what might fit on the shelves. This is what that looked like when we took a break for lunch.

Finished product: the shelves have "figures" (My Little Ponies, farm animals, etc) in one cube, Barbies in another, a "random" cube, and dress-ups in the last cube. Two of the shelves have stuffed animals in bins.

I bought small bins to contain the play kitchen food and accoutrements. That should make it easier to clean up. The baby dolls and accessories take up the rest of the space under the bed.

I love Dollar Store bins. They are perfect for storage. No expensive bins needed; cheapo ones work just fine!

Having Amelia's room so well organized will make it easy to move her into the living room when Ryan puts the trim up in her room. I better get cracking on our room! It's a disaster, to put it mildly.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Tidying Up Tuesday: The Boys' Room

I did Tidying Up Tuesday on Wednesday this week. My sons were home from school on Spring Break, so I decided to tidy up their room with them today. A friend of mine asked if I was sure I wanted them around when I tidied their room. Her reasoning was that it is way easier to get rid of stuff when the kids aren't around, and she's not wrong! However, my experience with their clothes showed me that when the boys feel like they have ownership over the organization of their things, they are more likely to keep them organized.

I still snuck some stuff into the trash bag and giveaway pile when they weren't looking.

Here's some before photos:

The cubes are nice, but the stuff on top has gotten out of control. And inside those cubes? Chaos.

This art table takes up a lot of floor space, and is pretty redundant now that the craft table is organized and kept clear for drawing.

I made the boys pull everything out of their room. Benjy decided that we would sort the toys on the carpeted section of the living room, so it would be soft to sit on. All the toys went there. As they moved stuff to the living room, I dusted the cube shelves and swept the floor of their bedroom.


I told the boys that they didn't have to feel obligated to keep something they didn't play with, regardless of who gave it to them. Benjy is much better at this than Sam is!

The final "keep" pile. They are showing their feelings about how much they now have to organize.

Figuring out where to put things.

I let the boys decide where they wanted the cubes to go, and they actually agreed that they wanted the same color cubes next to each other. It was a miracle that they were able to make that decision together and not turn it into an argument.

We labeled each shelf and each cube with its contents. The things that were once piled on top of the shelves are now in a laundry bin.

I asked both of the boys (separately) if they thought they'd be able to keep their room clean now, and both of them said yes. They have done a great job of keeping their drawers nice and the craft table clear, so I have confidence that they will be able to keep their room organized, too.

Next week: Amelia's room! But I am in charge of an assembly at the boys' school that day, so we will probably do Tidying Up Wednesday again.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tidying Up Tuesday: Cupboards

You may recall from my post on my books that we have three sets of nice cupboards under our bookshelves.

They look nice on the outside, but on the inside...

This cupboard actually wasn't too bad, once I took the photo albums out and got them on the bookshelf.

As always, I took everything out of the cupboards and piled them up in the living room. I also included the three-drawer cart that was 2/3 of the way dealt with on paper day, because it had a lot of things like paper clips and tape that I knew I'd be moving into the cupboards.

I also included this box that lives on top of our fridge that holds batteries and A LOT of random crap.

 I wanted to get office supplies into this cupboard, because I can never find tape or batteries or paper clips when I want them. Pulling the heavy box down from on top of the fridge is also a pain. So after another trip to the dollar store, I had some handy bins for my office supplies.

This cupboard has tape, batteries, the stapler, envelopes, and light bulbs. I had five rolls of scotch tape because I could never remember if I had any in the random box, so I kept buying more. Now it's easy to see what I have!

The other two cupboards mostly held our games. I love board games, but no one else in our family does except Amelia. So I was really honest with myself about what games we would actually play in the future, and got rid of the rest. I even got rid of some of the Clue games in my collection (but not all of them, I'm not a monster).

Kids' games. The green bin is for games without a box, like Slamwich, and decks of cards.

"Grown-up" games. Stacking the games on their sides instead of on top of each other is AWESOME. So much easier to get out what you want without messing everything up.

This was a smaller project, as they go, but one that I felt really helped me get organized and stop resigning myself to clutter. It also directly addressed things that were frustrating me: the random box on top of the fridge, and never knowing when I was running low on office supplies.

My little helper fell asleep while I was cleaning up.

Next time: It's Spring Break next Tuesday, which means the boys will be home all day and can help do their room! It's going to be a nightmare, I will tell you that right now. It'll be an all day project, and at least one of us will cry (probably me).

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Tidying Up Tuesday: The Bonus Room

When we bought our house, it had an unfinished storage room off the living room that we used as a catch-all room for stuff we wanted to keep but didn't really use. When Ryan re-did our living room, he finished off the bonus room, but kept it as a slightly distinct room from the living room with a pair of barn doors. We still used it as a catch-all room.

Remy's litter box, and a bunch of other random stuff

The kids' craft table, always a disaster

As I mentioned last week, as I did the sheets and towels I had Ryan move the black shelf into Amelia's room. That opened the space under the loft bed, so he moved the craft table into that space.

The stuff of nightmares

Remy's litter box is now on the opposite side of the room. Lucky we have a tolerant cat.

I straightened up our living room, and started moving things out of the bonus room into that space. I immediately made a pile for recycling, which was mostly Benjy's hundreds of discarded drawings. The kid goes through paper quickly.

Remy was excited that the top of the freezer was cleared off

So... many... crayons...

The craft table is the biggest issue in the bonus room, and the biggest issue with the craft table is that the kids leave their markers, crayons, papers, and everything else out instead of putting them away. But to be fair, a lot of the drawers of the craft table still had my stuff in them. It was time to clear everything out, sort it, and designate a final resting place for everything.

Crayons, markers, and colored pencils now have a labeled box (hooray for washi tape!). Honestly, when it came to sorting through all of those I was so tempted to just throw them all away and buy new art supplies. But instead I sharpened all the colored pencils and sorted through the dead markers. It took FOREVER because we don't have an electric pencil sharpener. We will as soon as I can get to Walmart, though.

The drawers are now labeled, too.

The finished space under the loft bed.

Amelia enjoying the fruits of my labors.

The only thing left to do is buy a small recycling bin for this room so Benjy can put his used papers directly in there. I think that will help him clean up after himself so the space never gets cluttered up again.

Next week: the living room cupboards