Tag Archives: organization

My Kids Live Here

3 Jul

A few days ago I was perusing Pinterest, not really looking for anything in particular.  I started looking at the home decor pins and then, out of sheer curiosity, searched “kids rooms”.  I scrolled through the various pictures of themed bedrooms, incredible one-of-a-kind beds and rooms with things like swings, slides and rock walls (my kids would never sleep!)  I began to think about my kids bedrooms and my friends kids bedrooms.  How eclectic they were, even when they had a theme.  These catalog rooms as I like to call them, are unrealistic!  I cannot imagine giving my kids one theme, for instance.  “Oh you like cars?  Ok, we will have a car shaped bed that you will only use for a short time, car bedding and fancy curtains with car tiebacks.  Maybe we will paint a road on your floor too.  Oh and you can’t hang anything on your walls because I have meticulously placed car artwork and that is all that can be hung.  And don’t take out any toys.”

I know the majority of these rooms are staged by designers . .  . but they set unattainable goals for parents wishing to give there little cherubs their dream room.  A room that the kids will be so enamored with they will just sit on their perfectly made castle-shaped bed and stare at the walls, smiling for hours.   As parents, we want our kids to have everything.  We want them to be cozy and happy.  Maybe we, even if secretly, want to one-up that snooty mom from the PTA who brags about her kids and how they have beds shaped like tree houses or pizza or whatever.   Maybe we want to be that Pinterest mom or dad.  The one who blogs about there immaculate home and pins pictures of perfect rooms and fabulous DIYs that never go awry.

Maybe not.  I don’t have that dream of having the”perfect” home.  My home is perfect for my family.  It’s not fancy or designed to belong in a Better Homes and Gardens spread.  I know I’ve shared pictures in the past of the boys rooms when I’ve done projects in them, but I wanted to share my lived in real rooms.  I didn’t stage them for you, I didn’t take out all their toys before I snapped the pictures.  These aren’t fake rooms, these are real rooms that belong to real boys.  They did clean their rooms last night, so at least you don’t have to see Big A’s dirty laundry all over the floor or the entire contents of Little C’s books shelf scattered across the room because he was looking for a specific book.

First, here are the “catalog rooms” for comparison:

Where are the stuffed animals?  Blankets?  Anything?!

Where are the stuffed animals? Blankets? Anything?!

Notice the only objects in the room and on the walls fit the nautical theme

Notice the only objects in the room and on the walls fit the nautical theme

See what I mean?  kids don’t live in these rooms!  Not unless they are extremely OCD and never leave a single out of place ever.

Here are the boys lived in rooms:

It's a bedroom a kids can actually go in!

It’s a bedroom a kids can actually go in!

Notice the lack of a theme?  Well a few years ago it was loosely Star Wars.  About a year and a 1/2 ago I painted the Lego Ninajas for the wall.  For his birthday I painted the creeper from Minecraft. . .  so it’s a mishmash.

He’s got his own style, you know . . . that of a 9yr old boy!  He hangs stuff on the walls with tape, usually leaves his soccer uniform on the floor, stinky socks and all.  On the little wall shelves hang various medals from sports and school.  A few trophies on the ledge.   There are birthday balloons left over from his party a few weeks ago.  This is not a catalog room.   It’s my son’s room.


Look, stuff hanging on the walls!

Look, stuff hanging on the walls!

A cluttered mix of toys and things.  So, so many things in this room

A cluttered mix of toys and things. So, so many things in this room

Little C’s room went from baby to big boy.  He sleeps with just shy of a thousand stuffed animals, his “guys”, and way too many blankets!  His bookshelf is a cluttered mess!   His cubby is supposed to  have more of those nice colored buckets in it to hall all his toys, but the kids like to load them up with stuff and take it upstairs or into another room.

There is no theme in his room.  When we switched to big boy, I took Little C to the store and said “pick out what you like”.  He chose the reversible blue comforter, the green curtains, and he has bright orange sheets you can’t see.  The art on the walls I painted of all his favorite characters.  No theme.  Not catalog.  Just real.
















Now, you want to see the BEST comparison?  Hehehe!  Playrooms.

Catalog playrooms are laughable.  There is no play in them!

Kids, sit on that sofa and don't move a muscle!

Kids, sit on that sofa and don’t move a muscle!

Stark, bare, no toys . . . I’m sure they are all hiding where nobody can see them.  But playrooms should have clutter!  They need kid-made art on the walls!

I'm sorry Timmy, you aren't allowed to play with those toys.

I’m sorry Timmy, you aren’t allowed to play with those toys.

Why do they show a playroom where the kids cannot reach the majority of the toys?


Ok, you ready for this?  THIS is our playroom:

The only thing up high are their piggy banks and my movies

The only thing up high are their piggy banks and my movies

There are Legos EVERYWHERE!  You know what is really funny?  They just cleaned this room 2 days ago!  I’m not crazy obsessive about this room.  The way I see it, this is the one room where the boys run the show completely.  Their bedrooms need to be cleanish because otherwise they can’t have sleepovers, I can’t vacuum and the dog can’t sleep with them.  The playroom, while I do make them clean it, is always cluttered and rarely spotless.  It’s not for show, it’s for play.

My kids art work graces all the walls in their playroom

My kids art work graces all the walls in their playroom

We do use cubbies, but we don't feel the need to hide our toys either.

We do use cubbies, but we don’t feel the need to hide our toys either.

What’s my point here?  My point is this: Don’t beat yourself up when you flip through magazines or Pinterest or even most blogs.  It’s all for show.  The rooms are staged, there is no living in them and there are definitely no kids!  When you want to redo a room or organize a room, just think what will work best for YOUR family?  Can my kids reach the highest shelf?  Is it so themed that they will lose interest in that character/show/movie etc in a few months?

Thanks for visiting my lived in home!


30 Days to Organized- Day 9

11 Jan

I needed copies of some old check stubs last night.  I went to the desk where we keep all the important papers and paid bills etc and THIS is what I found: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAjust a massive stack of bills and statements tossed into a drawer in the desk.  I cannot find anything in this mess!

Ironically, the messy drawer has little metal lips inside so you can use hanging file folders.  So . . .  USE FILE FOLDERS!

We hold onto paid bills, bank statements, receipts etc for 7 years.  I know if sounds excessive but that is the statute of limitations in our state.  You should always hang on to receipts and paid bills, including medical EOBs and insurance payments for the entire amount of time allowed in your state for collections to take place.  That way if there is ever any question as to whether or not you paid, or you received payment . . . you have proof.  Once the window of time is closed- in our state 7 years- you can shred away.

I made a folder for each of the following categories:

  • Bank statements
  • Credit cards
  • Auto
  • Medical
  • Receipts
  • Pay stubs
  • Taxes
  • Utilities
  • Personal

Once the folders were in place, I went through and filed everything, and found 3 more piles of crap that needed to be filed!  But now that it’s all in place, if I need to find something, I know just where to look.




30 Days to Organized- Day 8

11 Jan

I was planning on spending the day with my good friend Laundry . . . but then a human friend called and asked if I wanted to go outlet shopping!  Who can say no to that?  So I was gone almost all day, I only bought 2 things, and I accomplished VERY little.  But it was fun and the kids had   blast running around outside between stores.

I did manage to organize our craft cupboard and the drawer that Big A refers to as “his drawer”.  It’s basically an extension of  the craft cabinet.

If you do as many arts and crafts as we do, your storage may also look a bit like this, and need an overhauling: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  








Craft cabinet in total disarray, Play-Doh, cotton balls . . . you name it.  Same was happening in the drawer . . . stickers, paint, pencils, paper . . . how could we ever find anything in these?  Seriously!

I started by taking EVERYTHING out of both of them.  I threw away empty packages, half-done projects and anything I had held onto thinking maybe we would do a craft with it and after a year or more it still sat there.

Once the trash was gone, I took out some containers-here come those lovely wipes boxes again!  I sorted all the like items- stamps and ink pads in a Ziplock bag, google eyes in a bag . . . you see where this is going.  Especially all those little items that have a tendency to spill and end up everywhere. . . . they need to be stored in a way that you won’t end up with little pom poms all over your house!








Look at all those neat little bags filled with fabric, popsicle sticks and cotton balls!  The large bin has bags of themed foam stickers, pipe cleaners, beads and yarn.  Play Doh is all in the little caddy.  You can actually find things in here now!

And the over stuffed drawer? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGlue, pencils, paint brushes and Little C’s “magic paint”.  I keep the regular paint in an old Clorox wipes container, I can fit 4 or 5 water color sets in one of those.  I LOVE reusing containers!  Saves so much money on storage!

Lesson I learned in the process if cleaning our craft cupboard is that we don’t need to hold onto EVERY little scrap.  Also that my boys are much more likely to engage in arts and crafts on their own if they can access the items easily.  So, I cleared all the excess off Little C’s easel and created a Creation Station!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADry erase crayons for the white board, paper, crayons, coloring books, tons of stickers scissors and construction paper.  They can create at the easel, or take the tote to the table or playroom or wherever.  I want to inspire them to be creative!

30 Days to Organized- Day 6

8 Jan

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASorry for the late post tonight, folks.  My evening turned into a Lego building marathon . . . and I enjoyed it very much!  Now the kiddos are in bed and I can show you all what I worked on today: My little corner of the bathroom.

We have one full bath in our house, and one half bath.  If the half bath were on the same floor as my bedroom I would probably keep all my junk in there, but it’s not.  So 4 people share one full bath.  4 people keep their junk in one full bath.  4 people tend to all try to get ready in that one full bath at similar, if not the same time each day.

A while back, in an effort to keep as much of my “girly junk” off the counter as possible, I bought these cute storage baskets and mounted them on the wall.  It worked great . . . but eventually I realized that they had become catch-alls for anything and everything that ever made it’s way into the bathroom.  Match Box cars?  REALLY?

Today my job was to take out all the items that didn’t belong and only use them for what they were originally intended for-hair supplies and lotion.

I’m quite proud of myself, actually.  I managed to throw out a lot of items I had collected in these bins that I thought I might use and never did.  Headbands that turned out too small for my big noggin, ribbons that I thought I might tie in my ponytail (what am I, 6?) empty bottles of lotion I never threw away . . . you get my drift.

I even found a pill bottle that was the perfect size for all my wayward bobby pins!  I am constantly leaving them all over the house, drives my husband bonkers!  (might actually be the reason I do it sometimes-insert evil laughter here)  In the end, they came out looking like this:


Wow!  SO much better! Note the mountain climber-type hook on the basket there with all my hair ties on it?  Thank you Pinterest!

Now I was on a roll and decided to tackle my make up.  Scary in there, let me tell you!  I don’t wear makeup daily, so there was a lot that just needed to be thrown out!  Makeup expires, collects bacteria etc and can lead to breakouts, amongst other things . . . eew.

I keep my makeup in a little Rubbermaid deal with 3 drawers.  Works great until I get lazy and start tossing everything in there.  The top drawer was a tangled mess of jewelery . . . necklaces all tied in knots which is bad for the links.  All the jewelery went in this fancy contraption I had sitting empty on my dresser.  Ready for it?  It’s called a JEWELERY BOX!  Holy crap, when did they start making those?  Har har har.

So after the jewelry was all freed from is Rubbermaid prison, the top drawer was designated for hair clips and barrettes.  The bottom 2 for makeup.









And here is the after:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wow, all the drawers open again!  Imagine that!

30 Days to Organized- Day 4

5 Jan

Today is my slightly lazy organization day.  Why?  Because I had spinal injections Thursday and then decided it was a GREAT idea to organize my playroom the day following.  Smart, I think not.  So what am I organizing today?  My Pinterest boards!

I love Pinterest.  I love finding cool home decor ideas, fun craft projects, funny Ecards and adorable pictures of puppies and kittens sleeping in odd positions.  It’s slightly addictive and I find myself having a hard time finding the things I’ve pinned later on . . . where is that great chicken soup recipe I pinned 3 months ago?

What are your boards?

When I first started out on Pinterest I had maybe 6 boards.  Now I have 27.  Too many?  Probably, but I needed more categories so it didn’t take an hour to find something I wanted to try.  I currently have My Style-for cute clothes and hair styles and make up tricks, For the Home-everything inspiring for home decor, DIY-every project I like that I will actually try, Food to Try-duh, recipes I want to try, Big A Goodies-things like Lego instructions or cool stuff people have made that he and I enjoy exploring together, Little C Goodies-same premise- things I know Little C enjoys or something I think he might like for a gift, Parenting Stuff-a VERY broad spectrum of cute parenting quotes to live by all the way to fun games and crafts to do with kids.  That board NEEDS some reorganization!  Holiday Awesomeness- holiday themed crafts, decoration ideas, holiday cooking.  Wrong Way Dummy Dolls- anything cool I find that has my beloved nesting dolls (crafts, fabric, cool sets of the dolls etc) Puppy Stuff-filled with fun toys and DIY projects for my furry friend.  Birthday Goodies-this is where I keep all the great birthday party ideas I find.  My Honey Do List-anything I want my husband to build.  Most of which he most likely never will, but a girl can dream.  My Thin Pins-anything exercise related for workouts to try etc.  Life’s Little Tricks-all those great DIY soaps, laundry detergents, cleaning tricks etc to make life a little easier.  Bwaahaahaas- Funny pictures and ECards, which I honestly don’t ever look at after I pin them so I could probably get rid of that entire board all together, but I don’t.  Science Day- Fun experiments to do with the boys.  Geekery-all those great Star Wars themed pins, book worm pins etc.  Again, another board I never look at after I pin to it.  Girly Goodies- cute pink and fluffy things I want to do with or for my nieces.  Gifts to Make- DIY projects that I already know will make a wonderful gift for someone in my life.  I’m pretty sure the Girly Goody Board can pop right into this one.  Animals- apparently all animal related pins that aren’t dogs.  Hmmm . . . delete?  Elfie- all the Elf on the Shelf ideas I find, easily held in one great spot instead of floating around in the holiday board where they were too hard to find.

Even as I was making this list, I was able to delete 3 boards that I realized I no longer needed.  It may not be decluttering my house . . . but decluttering my pinboards helps Pinterest be more manageable and therefore more likely to actually be used.

So, how do you declutter your pinboards?

First rule to use when you are pinning: Is this useful?  If it’s a recipe, craft, tip for making something easier or a product you like then the answer is yes.  I used to have a board called “If I Had a Million Dollars”.  I realized that all it was was a giant list of things I was never going to have, therefore making me less grateful for the things I DO have.

Second rule, when it comes to recipes and crafts or home projects: Is it something I’m ACTUALLY going to try?  I found that I was pinning so many crazy and fancy dessert recipes, then one day realized that I NEVER make desserts!  And I can’t eat gluten, so why am I pinning all these?  All they are doing is making it harder for me to find the recipes I actually want to make!  (pinning on an empty stomach will do that to you!)  Same goes for crafts and other DIY projects- if it’s something you don’t think you will try, something that will cost you a small fortune or something that is totally out of your level of capability, why pin it?  I found myself pinning some amazing sewing projects to make clothes.  I don’t sew.  No seriously, not a sewer.  So why am I pinning these sewing projects?  Or those crocheted Yo Gabba Gabba characters since I have never in my life picked up a set of crochet needles?  Hmmmmm.  Delete.

Am I saying you have to totally over think every item you pin?  No, not at all!  But when you start finding that it’s getting harder and harder to find a recipe or craft you want to try, it’s probably time to clear out some pins!

This post actually took me a lot longer than it should have because as I was typing I found myself deleting pins I didn’t need, putting pins in other boards and removing boards all together.  So, mission accomplished, my Pinterest account has been organized!  Your turn!

30 Days to Organized- Days 2 AND 3

5 Jan

Thought I had already given up on my 30 days of organization, did ya?  Well I fooled you!  HA!  Actually, my playroom organization took 2 days, partly because the boys were getting into the “toss” and “sell” boxes and digging stuff back out, and partly because it was a big undertaking!  Playrooms are a wonderful thing for a mom . . . the toys get played with in that room more than other room in the house, you don’t have toys that live in your living room 100% of the time, and if the playroom gets messy it’s not as bad as your living room or kitchen, you can just shut the door instead of tripping all over toys in the main living areas.  That being said, playrooms also bare the most clutter, junk and disorganization.  Well, at least mine does anyway!

Step one for me was sorting.  Sorting out broken toys, Happy Meal toys, books we don’t read or have outgrown, coloring books that are all colored up etc.  I had a “toss” box and a “sell box”.  Obviously the toss box was for anything that was not worth keeping or trying to sell.  The sell box was for anything my kids have outgrown or just never played with that was still in nice shape.  I put some of the nicer items on Craigslist, and the ones I didn’t feel like trying to sell-stuffed animals or books- went in yet another a box to be donated.  If they are in nice shape, I’m sure some poor child would appreciate them very much!

So after the purge, this is what my playroom looked like:









Haphazard, toys and games on their shelves but no order, the bookshelf was such a disaster that if someone took a book off they would most likely all fall off on top of the unsuspecting lover of the written word.  A vacuum cleaner, I’m not even sure why that was being stored in there!

So, what did Momma Dummy do?  I labeled, I bagged, boxed and otherwise organized.  All the puzzles came out of their poorly constructed cardboard boxes.  I cut the picture off the box that showed what the puzzle was, glued it to a Ziploc freezer bag and put all the pieces inside.  Then, being a wise a resourceful woman (wink wink) I took a bucket from kitty litter that I had sitting around waiting for a new purpose, put all the bagged puzzles inside and covered the plastic container with paper.  I used my trusty spray adhesive to  affix the paper, labeled the new tote and voila!  Puzzle storage!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf they made these containers in various sizes, I would probably have an entire house full of repurposed kitty litter containers!  I wanted to put the games in one as well, but the game boards didn’t fit, so I just reinforced all the board game boxes instead and put them back on the shelves.

For the cluttered up book shelf, I took all the smaller books that tend to get lost in the shuffle or fall behind the shelf and made book boxes for them.  I used cereal boxes to make book boxes, and after doing so was kicking myself for not having done this YEARS ago!  All you do is cut a right triangle out of the front and back panels, then cover the box in paper.  I made 4 of them and put all of Big A’s chapter and early reader books in the first 2, and then Little C’s Little Golden books and Dr Suess books in the other 2.  The stand up nice on the top shelf, take up the same amount of space as the books did on their own, but not they won’t be falling all over the place.




I will say, one of my big pet peeves is those books that are too large for the bookshelf.  They always end up in a giant pile and then nobody reads them because they can’t see what books they are.  So authors of children’s books, if you are reading this . . .Please make your books smaller so they fit on the shelf!  That is all.  (side note-this is NOT all of the books my kids own.  They also each have a bookshelf in their room FILLED with books.  We love to read in this house!)

For the rest of the toys, Little People, Playmobil people, super heros, action figures, dress up clothes etc a fabric bin was labeled in which each item will now live.  They all have a home labeled with both a word and a little drawing because Little C is only 3 and he cannot read yet.

Little C insisted on posing for this one!  Aww, isn’t he cute folks?





But if you look past the darling little ham standing in front of the cubbies, you can see that I have all the bins labeled-Little People, Playmobil People, Hats-only because the hats don’t fit well into our dress up container and they get crushed- Playmobil parts-like the swords and cannons and whatnot, and then the last bin is labeled “random” because it’s all that stuff that we don’t have enough of to each have their own bin.  Toy phones, Nerf guns, echo microphones, yoyos . . . that little crap kids love and moms hate.


Now you can see the lack of puzzles taking up the entire right side of the built-ins.  Only the wooden puzzles and larger floor puzzles remain on the shelf.  All the games fit nicely onto the lower left shelf, under the large castle and 2 pirate ships.  We have one row of VHS tapes-yes, we own not one, but 3 working VCRs- one row of children’s DVDs, and then larger cars, trucks, and play buildings that don’t fit in the cubbies.  I’d say mission accomplished for days 2 and 3 and a HUGE hooray for a much more manageable playroom!  Yippee!

30 Days to Organized- Day 1

2 Jan

I am not what one might an overly organized person.  I am a mom of 2 boys, 2 obnoxiously destructive cats, a dog that will eat ANYTHING and a husband who works a lot of late hours and long shifts.  So if my house is a little cluttered, a little bogged down by my craftiness and my children’s imaginations then that is just the way it is.  And I’m also not one to make New Years resolutions.  That being said, this year I want to start out fresh and slightly less cluttered.  I am challenging myself (and you if you want to join me) to organize one area of the house every day this month.  I think I can handle it, and I think I will be surprised at what I what I find laying around that we either don’t need, or that we’ve been looking for or totally forgot we even had.

Day 1-The Walk-In Pantry.

I dove right in and totally forgot to take a before photo . . . but imagine it having looked something like this:

DSC_0298_2810x4264(this is just an image I found using Google Image search, so I’m very sorry, I do not know the source of this image)

My goal was to have it look something like this lovely pantry found on Pinterest:


Well, maybe a happy medium, anyway.  I wasn’t planning on spending any money on the pantry organization, so all those cute little containers and can holders were totally out of the question for me.  But you get the idea.

First problem was the unbelievable amount of items stored in the pantry that have no place being in there.  Examples: wrapping paper, gift bags, craft supplies, toys, nail polish, clothing . . . I’m not kidding.  Our walk in pantry had become a catch all for crap we didn’t feel like putting away.

I threw away an entire bag of CRAP such as craft projects that didn’t work out or fell apart immediately.  I took all the snacks -fruit snacks, cookie and cracker packs, individual oatmeal packs, tea mixes and granola bars-out of their boxes and put them in tupperware containers that we destined for the trash as they no longer had lids.  Snacks in a container, beverages in another and so on.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Things the kids can help themselves to like granola bars, drinks and crackers I placed on the bottom shelf.  My expensive gluten free snacks we placed on the top shelf because it really frosts my cookie when they eat all my special food and then I don’t have anything to nibble on.

The top shelf is still a bit of a mess, but that is because we are growing crystals and they need to be undisturbed for 3 more days.  Once those are done I can tackle that pesky top shelf.

We keep the adult board games in the pantry on the top shelf because when they were in the playroom the kids were losing pieces and they too up too much space on the shelves.  The next shelf down is cereal, tortillas and pastas, then rice and baking goods.  Next shelf is the bread, oatmeal and drinks, then canned goods.  Bottom shelf, like I said before, is snacks and then potatoes, onions and cat food.  Notice how I used shoe boxes and tupperwares instead of leaving all those differently shaped cardboard boxes in there?  Those drive me crazy!  Plus this way we can see what is in each container, and when something is running out.

Again, it’s not nearly as fancy and organized as the on I found on Pinterest . . . but it’s a far cry from an episode of Hoarders!