Thursday, May 30, 2019

My Husband's Clothes, part of my Massive Memorial Day Organizational Palooza (Part 5)

For the full weekend's schedule and links to the other parts, see Part 1.

His Dresser

Odd socks
One of the smallest drawers contains socks that have temporarily lost their mates. A cardboard box separates the kids' socks from the adults' socks.
Athletic socks and Acorns
If you've never heard of Acorns before, they're like bedroom slippers except that they have a leather bottom. They need to be kept out of the dog's reach because he will chew and destroy them. Sometimes my husband forgets to stow his Acorns away, so I added a label in the bottom of the drawer where they go using white masking tape.
Labeling is important
Loosely folded shirts
In order to try to reduce the amount of time I spend on laundry, I've stopped folding in the Marie Kondo way - shown above is what I think takes the least energy for my husbands shirts. Fold once in half, hamburger style, and done.
Pants and pajamas
In an effort to spend less time on laundry, what I've done above is to fold pants once in half and be done.
Shorts and swimwear
Zip-ups and sweatshirts
Sweatshirts are really bulky. There was no room in his wardrobe/closet for these.

His Closet

We have a medium-sized wardrobe that we originally purchased from IKEA that serves as his closet. It contains his work clothes (suits, dress shirts, and dress shoes).
Card-shaped things
I used a small wooden box to corral card-shaped things such as ID badges.
Sentimental items
My husband's collection of foreign currency is now stowed inside of a 4" x 6" clear photo container from The Container Store. A caddy now holds small miscellaneous items (think rings and spare change).
Dress socks and cufflinks
He already had the cufflinks box, but I added a sentimental bandanna to the bottom of this shelf.


The favorites
The rest
Keeping all 41 neckties in his closet didn't work well because they took up too much space, making the whole thing crammed. I separated out the 11 neckties I thought he used most frequently and put those on his tie tree. The other 30 I neatly stowed in a small dresser drawer.

Entryway Closet, part of my Massive Memorial Day Organizational Palooza (Part 4)

For the full weekend's schedule and links to the other parts, see Part 1.
Zoomed out
This closet is 4 feet wide. Our jackets are hanging to the left and right of the handing closet organizer. Since the right side of the closet is easier to access (because of how our doors are situated), I put our most frequently used jackets on the right side.

On the top shelf are my hats and the baby's shoes. Since she can't put on her shoes by herself, I didn't think they needed to be kept within her reach.

On the floor of the closet on the right-hand side are the boys' shoes and my shoes. One the floor of the closet are my husband's shoes.
Hanging closet organizer
Within the hanging closet organizer, from top:

  • My husband's hats, as well as flashlights (for walking the dog at night)
  • The dog's items (see below)
  • Winter children's items, like mittens
  • Winter items for my husband and I (like gloves)
  • Extra coat hangers

Dog items
I am using a small white box to keep the pets' medicine corralled. I am using an even smaller blue box to keep the dog's brushes and comb corralled.

The Kids' Shared Sleep Room, part of my Massive Memorial Day Organizational Palooza (Part 3)

For the full weekend's schedule and links to the other parts, see Part 1.

The Kids' Beds

For our home, it made sense to have the kids sleeping in one room, and playing in another. That way, they wouldn't be distracted by their toys during naps or at bedtime, nor would they feel lonely at bedtime. Also, it avoids the problem of having them wonder which room their toys are in - now, all of their toys are in one spot, their playroom.
Boys' beds
Baby's crib and changing table
I hung the curtain rod and those curtains during this Memorial Day Weekend Organizational Palooza.
Panoramic view
I really love the color of their rug in this room.
Simple bedding
To keeps things simple, the kids' beds have a fitted sheet and one blanket that's easily washable. I stopped doing top sheets after a trip to the Netherlands - my hotel didn't have top sheets and it made so much sense to me (they just had a fitted sheet and a duvet). Top sheets just get rumpled and/or un-tucked.

The Boys' Clothes

Zoomed out
Zoomed in
In the upper baskets shown above are my oldest son's shirts and pants.
Middle drawer
In the middle drawer of the three-drawer caddy are my son's underwear, swim suits, and socks. They are divided using clear containers from The Container Store.
Crib sheets
Why so many crib sheets? Because the boys need to take them to their preschool for naps (their preschool has cots).
Baskets on floor on left

The top basket has my younger son's shirts. Note that they are not folded. I am hoping that this choice to not fold his shirts reduces the time I need to spend on laundry.

The middle basket has his pants.

The bottom basket has fitted twin sheets. Why not store sheets in the linen closet? Because our linen closet is exceptionally small, and because it made sense to me to store theses sheets near where they'll ultimately be used.
Shorts, baby blankets, and changing pad covers
A small hanging closet organizer

I just got this hanging closet organizer from IKEA and I'm now using it store blankets and bulky items (i.e. sweatshirts).
Hanging items
For each boy, I picked two "fancy" short sleeved shirts, two "fancy" long-sleeved shirts, one bathrobe, one long-sleeved fleece, and one vest, in addition to two sweatshirts (the sweatshirts are folded in the small hanging closet organizer mentioned above). By "fancy," I mean something that they can wear to a semi-formal event such as: picture day, weddings, church, or parties.

The Baby's Clothes

Changing table
 The changing table houses most of the baby's clothes.
Top drawer
The top drawer houses the baby's shirts, shorts, pants, and casual dresses (her one "fancy" dress is hung in the closet). This drawer holds a lot more stuff when that stuff is folded in the Marie Kondo style than if the stuff were just laid down like I have done with the boys' clothes.
Bottom drawer
The bottom drawer houses the baby's sweatshirts, her footie pajamas, her bibs, her burp clothes, and her socks. Her shoes are stored in the entryway closet, just like the boys' shoes.
Under-bed bin
Her swim clothes are stored in a clear plastic bin from The Container Store that goes under her crib. Although I have room to store more such bins under the boys' bed, I think that space looks cleaner being empty.
Top shelf of closet
On the very top shelf of the closet, I have put the baby's extra wipes and Diaper Genie refills. Since our pantry is very small, this makes more sense for us.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Kids' Shared Playroom, part of my Massive Memorial Day Organizational Palooza (Part 2)

For the full weekend's schedule and links to the other parts, see Part 1.

Overview, the After Photos

Area by Area


for art supplies, boardgames and puzzles
Containers, various sizes

I had all of my containers handy, Marie-Kondo style, in order to be able to pick the correct size for each thing. I would "try on" a couple of different sizes for each thing.
Kids' art supplies, pre-organization
My goal was to keep all of their art supplies in one room. Previously, there were some in the entryway closet, some downstairs in the gaming area, and some on top of my dresser.
Top shelf
Items that required adult supervision - like puzzles and boardgames with easy-to-loose pieces - were placed on the top of the closet. The yellow folder containers Lego instruction manuals. The blue container holds a children's sewing kit. The clear large container holds colored construction paper and keeps it safe from moisture or getting bent.

Excess items were also placed on the top shelf: crayons, and Play Doh.

My goal was to put the items that need adult supervision up higher - the higher up they are stowed, the more adult supervision is needed (read as: the kids can create a big mess without an adult). The lower down in the closet organizers you go, the more the kids can just go wild with the items.
Hanging closet organizers
I need to find a better labeling solution, but you get the idea:
  • Left organizer, from top: glue, sidewalk chalk, watercolors, crayons and coloring books.
  • Right organizer, from top: acrylic paint and workbooks (needs adult supervision), markers, aprons, Play Doh implements, and Play Doh.
An odd-shaped closer for sure
This closet is an odd shape because it has stairs below it. So, you can kind of tell in this photo, but there isn't much floor space on the bottom - only five or so inches (just enough for their beach toys basket).
Midway Play Doh organization
The Play Doh tools in the plastic bag are going to be sequestered in the attic. If the kids ask for them, then the items can be traded back: they give me an item to go into the attic in exchange for an item to come back out of the attic.

The problem with the solution above is:
  • That's too much Play Doh for the kids to drag to the dining table at once - it's heavy even for me to lift. They are only allowed to play with Play Doh on the dining table because it has a tendency to get stuck to everything, like carpets and furniture.
What was my solution?
  • Use a small bin for Play Doh in active rotation, and when it becomes dried and needs to be tossed, then I can grab some for this excess, to be stored on the top shelf until needed.
Post-organization Play Doh

Crayons and drawing implements
So, for some reason, the kids had what seemed like 1,000 crayons. I think it's because they're easy to get (go to any restaurant and they'll give your kids some). I put a normal amount of crayons in a quart-sized Ziploc bag along with some other drawing tools (pencils, erasers, etc.) where the kids can easily reach them, and put the excess on the top shelf.


for books by category, and some toys

Orange and pink labels

Green labels
I used colored labels to divide the books by categories:
  • Non-fiction (fat green labels)
    • Nature, animals, science
  • Stories (fat orange labels)
    • Perfect for bedtime - think "The Cat in the Hat"
  • Christmas Stories (red dots)
    • Most of these are fictional, and while I could keep them in the attic, my oldest child likes to read them at any time of the year
  • Bible Stories (green dots)
  • Perfect-to-share-with-a-baby (fat pink labels)
    • I hesitate to call these "baby books" or "girl books" because my three-year-old son likes some of these books too
Picture labels
Tilted so I can fit in more
Make it seem intentional
 As you may have noticed, this is actually two vertical bookcases turned sideways and stacked. The foot parts of the bookcases looked awkward, but they're the perfect shape for my son's bow and arrow set.
Toys and books
Zoomed out


for balls and stuffed animals

Stuffed toys
Balls and soccer cones

Bulky Items

from Zords to a Doctor Kit

Cleared-off top
Previously, I'd kept their Zords on top of this piece of furniture, but I now think it looks cleaner to store them inside (except for the largest one which doesn't fit).
I actually tested three different containers to find one that was the best size.

I put a few of their Transformers into the attic. Just like with their Play Doh tools, if they ask for something back, I will get it from the attic in exchange for putting something else into the attic to take its place. Some people call this a "toy rotation." Once my kids outgrow their toys, I'm planning to donate most of them, but save a few either for sentimental reasons or in case I host visitors with children.
Piggy banks
I used to store books on these ledges, but the children couldn't reach them easily, and I'd always forget that they were there when I'd go into the room to get a book for storytime. I ordered a few prints from Etsy that I plan to frame and put here later.
Zoomed out

Handyman Area

workbenches, anyone?

Two workbenches
This Easter, the boys' grandfather generously gave them each a workbench. The problem is that my oldest son is already a bit old for these toys (he's too tall), and isn't very interested in tools. Plus, these workbenches take up a lot of physical space. Since we used to have a similar item and donated it, I'm not sure how long we will continue to own and display these. A wise friend of mine limits her children's toys to those that represent a current interest - in her case, her daughter loves baby dolls and has quite a few, even though the total number of toys she has is very manageable. In my friend's case, toys that don't represent one of the child's current interests are frequently offloaded. I didn't realize that Easter had become a gift-giving holiday - for prior years, the boys would only receive candy from their grandfather. I will try to remember to touch base with him before next Easter so that if an item arrives, it makes sense for our specific kids and home.

Speaking of these workbenches, although I used to store the tools on the built-in hooks, I think it looks neater with all of the tools put away each day, plus part of the fun for the kids is to arrange their workbenches and hang up their tools each time.

Baby-friendly Area

look, Baby, it's all your stuff

Right inside the door

Some items in the toy room are not baby-friendly. So, I put my baby's toys in the very beginning of the room, to hopefully attract her attention and steer her away from the toys that are not meant for her. Of course this is not meant to be a replacement for adult supervision.

The Baby’s Toys Dresser

a good fit for a great dresser

We have a dresser in our living room that serves to hold some of the baby's toys and also to direct foot traffic around our wall-mounted TV.

The bottom drawer serves as a doll bed
Although I would love to have a proper baby doll bed for these dolls (which were also Easter gifts from the kids' grandfather), I would rather save money and space by doing this.
A drawer of the baby's toys, unsorted
Overly sorted toys
Normally, I think the more organizers, the better, but in this case, adding a small square-shaped organizer actually made the space look more cluttered and disorganized to my eye.
The winning solution