Monday, January 2, 2012

Getting Organized

I decided that my New Years Resolution would need to be finally organizing all the stuff that I put on the back burner after we move into our house 4 months ago. I am eager to get stuff done right now because I am expecting baby #3 in June and am finally in my 2nd trimester. So if I don't do it now, it will probably NEVER get done.

I have been collecting a ton of papers and junk on our computer desk. (My husband was especially annoyed by all the clutter) So I headed to Staples and got a bunch of cute coordinating file folders and boxes to help me stay tidy and love the look.

I have a photo box of coupons to the right (I'm trying to get into coupling, but I am not very good at it yet)
And to the Left a pen Jar and file folder.
I put a note pad in the front of the folder for making notes while I'm on the computer, a few tabbed sections on the files, and in the back some folders that close up so I can take them with me to dr. Appointments or any other place I might go and accumulate paperwork.


Next I had to solve the Mail problem. We have a BEAUTIFUL kitchen, but it is always a mess with clutter. Even though we have a TON of counter space, it is always wasted as just another surface to put paperwork down on. So I got a stackable file system and labeled it to help us keep the junk off of the counter, because once it accumulates for a few days it take a long time to separate the junk mail from the stuff we need/want.

And I'm glad to say that having these two organizational tricks up my sleeve has helped me to stay motivated in keeping the kitchen clean for about a week :) So my house is far from looking like it is magazine photo ready, but it is ten times better than it used to be.


having worked in Child care for about 5 years before having my own kids, I feel like no child's play space is ever finished until everything is labeled so that you help enable them to clean up successfully. However, it had probably been about 2 years since I updated our toy labels. That is a lot of birthdays and Christmas's worth of toy accumulation. So I had a lot of catching up to do.
My labels are fairly simple.
  1. I open a word document and make 2 rows of 4 text boxes (Each text box is about 2.15" x3.9")
  2. search on amazon or google images for a stock photo of your toy or one similar. (Stock photos look WAY better than anything I could take with my own camera, and it is nice and clear for the kids to see what belongs where without having to read.)
  3. I copy the picture of the item and paste it into my text box, then I resize it to fit
  4. Type in a clear font the name of that toy. I use all capital letters because I think that is easier for small kids to recognize, but for older kids, you may want to use lowercase letters too, to help them with recognition.
  5. For some things I only need 1 label, but for items I put into a box, I need 2 labels (1 for the box so when it is empty the kids know what needs to go back in it, and the other one for the place on the shelf where the box belongs.)
  6. Print out your pages. (You can laminate them if you like, but most of them will be covered by packing tape, so they will be protected anyway.)
  7. Use clear packing tape to adhere the label to it's location. (For my size of labels, I find that I can use 2 strips of packing tape and trim the ends to be even) For kids who like to peal stuff off, use your scissors to round out the corners of the tape. Rounded edges are more difficult to peel up than square corners.
  8. If I am putting a label on a basket, I laminate the label and punch 2 holes in the top. Then I use ribbon or yarn to attach the label to the basket.
I'm not going to tell you that this makes your kids rooms clean all the time, but I will say that this makes clean up together A LOT easier. Especially when there are visitors involved with helping in the clean up.

Finally to the Recycling part-
I love having a place for everything, but I don't like paying for containers to put stuff in. So my solution is to save the boxes I get from diaper wipes or and I cover them in brown paper bags. I either cut off the flaps on the top of the box, or tape them down around the edges before I wrap the box in the paper. (I've tried using a large diaper box before, but it was too big to be strong enough to withstand the wear and tear of toddlers and preschoolers trying to sit in it and play with it.)
To make sure the paper is snug and secure I use A LOT of hot glue on all sides. It takes me a while to wrap a box and slap a label on it, but they last a long time. The box with the handle in the bottom photo is about 3 1/2 years old, It has survived the beatings of 2 kids, endless visitors and it is still strong. If I remember correctly it was a box of diaper wipe refills.
You could probably wrap a box in some strong decorative wrapping paper or decorative contact paper if you wanted, but that might not stand the wear and tear quite as well as the paper Bag. However, something I have tried doing was painting a box instead of covering it in paper. I used spray paint to give it a smooth texture and it did turn out cute. But, my paper bag boxes were stronger than my painted boxes.

What's your New Years Resolution?


  1. Hmm, I never really make resolutions- I just find things I need to work on and do it! But having said that, I think this year is to just survive and to be happy for more than 50% of the time. We'll see how that goes! ;)

    I love your organization though!! When we finally sell the house, I think I'll be borrowing a few (or all) of your ideas!

  2. Hi Bri,

    My resolution is better organization too, and exercise 5 days a week is another. I found your blog from Big Tent! You have some great ideas here.