Monday, January 21, 2013

Revolution Challenge-Office turning into Playroom

A Bowl Full of Lemons

Here we are at week four of the Organizing Revolution hosted by and a few other organization bloggers.  I've organized more in the last three weeks than I have in the last three months! 

This week was the most challenging for me since it involved other people and their crap stuff.  In September of 2010, we moved in with my in-laws and they moved out 3 months later.  I've been trying to make it our home ever since.  Changing the formal office/den has been argued about the most.  It seemed everyone had an opinion about this space that was no longer being used on a daily basis since the in-laws moved.  We didn't need it as an office space since husband's office is in the basement and mine is in the kitchen.  I suggested using it as a playroom and was head butted with strong opposition from several parties.  So I went along my merry way and organized toys and books the best ways I could.  Fast forward two years, another baby and several curse words about toys everywhere later, and the transformation begins!  In a perfect world, I would have painted the walls some fun color like red or yellow or green but since I've had little to no help doing this, it's still white (and still has several small holes in the walls). I have no pictures of the adult office, just pictures of before I really started making it a kid friendly space when most of the toys were just stored in here.  I do know that I've moved out about four boxes of stuff my in-laws left and my husband's cigar box know, the one that won't ever be displayed anywhere but must be kept because it's important! 

A lot of organizational tools but still chaos!

Great shelving but still chaos!

I took all the fabric bins I had (about 20 total!) and organized the toys into most of them.  My original toy storage is the black cube with fabric bins.  I've moved it to several different areas around our house.  Imagine all thse toys spread throughout a living room, kitchen and dining room! 

toys separated by category

small toys in cardboard containers

All the toys have their own space.  I had to find a way to label all of these to where my one year old couldn't pull off the labels.  Stickers and velcro wouldn't work.  I found some white iron on patches that I cut in half and wrote on using Sharpies. 

Labeled by category

Organized on shelf.  The lower shelves are one year old friendly.

I couldn't use bins to corral the dominoes (a.k.a. bricks), Mr Potato Head, Army guys, spools and threads and little animals.  I've been saving cardboard containers from formula and lemonade for a while (see last week's post).   I decided to wrap scrapbook paper around them to contain each of these.  

little toys all contained and organized

I used labels to stick on each lid.

Now to contain other small toys and games.  Little Legos, puzzles, Bristle Blocks, magnetic blocks, toddler puzzles and kids' artwork from school.  I found these bins at Costco and Michael's.  Each kid can take the bin they need and go play at the table. 
Baby boy's puzzles.  He drags this tub all over the house.
Magnetic blocks.  Dog likes to chew on these when they are out.
Bristle blocks.  Loud curse words when you step on one of these without shoes on!

Each puzzle is put in a ziploc bag with it's picture.

My oldest is a Lego fanatic but the small pieces get everywhere, especially in baby brother's mouth!

We still need this space for some office storage so the upper shelves are for paper supplies, bills, books, journals and other non-kid-friendly stuff.  The bottom shelf is for bigger toys. 

Now for the another wall of the room.  The black cube still is in use.  Each kid has a tub of their own toys that their siblings "shouldn't" play with.  Also the bigger toys that didn't fit anywhere else live here.  The five and three year olds got desks for Christmas.  I found or made them some fun desk accessories.  This wall is never this organized but I wanted the picture to look nice. 

This little corner holds baskets of one year old friendly stuff.  He can get them out or drag the baskets all over the house. 

The artwork for the walls was left from the in-laws and added to by my husband who thought this room should be the adult-only area on this floor of the house.  I've convinced him that this stuff needs to be in his MANCAVE.  He has agreed.  The African pig's head and the Impala goat head have been relocated to our living room. The paintings have been relocated to the dining room and the map is going to the donate pile. 

The top of the dresser is the home for all of the internet, computer and phone connections. The drawers have extra office supplies, printer cartridges, paper and other stuff the kids can't have access to without adult supervision because the dresser is unstable.  The printer is on a small table next to the dresser.    The computer is on the table in the corner.  None of this is organized or kid friendly as I would like it to be but I'm tired of nagging asking for help to get it done.  Maybe if this (50 yr old) dresser falls on one of the children, it will get changed out!   

Here's the updated artwork for two of the walls.  The posters are covering the holes left by the previous wall dwellers. I bought the alphabet art canvas at Hobby Lobby last week for $30.  It was mismarked...bummer for them, yay for me!
Posters I got from a book set.  Alphabet, colors and numbers.
Broncos Super Bowl pennant and art canvas

Five Senses bulletin board art hanging on the wood bracket that held the map

Shapes and colors bulletin board art on one of the French doors.

Now this room is somewhere all six (hubs, myself, 3 kids and the dog) hang out in almost every evening.  Our five year old son plays on the computer.  Our three year old daughter draws pictures or plays with Legos.  Our one year old son wrecks havoc where ever possible.  I play with the littles and relax with the dog.  I know this room will be used to it's fullest potential as our kids get older and are able to maintain the chaos.

Thanks for looking.  Go to this link and vote for me.  I am currently at #32.  Look for the alphabet picture above.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Revolution Challenge-Closet

                              A Bowl Full of Lemons

I have several closets that need cleaning and organizing but the two I'm choosing for this challenge are both opened and closed several times a day.   Here are my before and after pictures of the hanging sections of each closet.

overstuffed and messy
All of our coats were jammed into this closet.  Five people with several coats made it nearly impossible to only pull out ONE coat or keep others from falling on the floor.  The kids' coats often fell on the floor or got stuck inside one of our coats. 

Only my husband's coats and vests
  The laundry room closet was not being used efficiently so I moved my coats and scarves in next to where I hang my purse and diaper bag.   Now it is used everyday for MY stuff.  I love having a place that only I use...even if it is a closet! 

 I hung the kids' coats on hooks in the laundry room so they could reach them when they need.

   Next up came the shelves in these two closets.  The coat closet was just ridiculously full of random stuff.  It was like a bunch of people just decided that there was no better place to put things than in here.  No rhyme or reason why such stuff gathered here!  
the most random of stuff
Playdoh and accessories bursting off the shelf.  Gloves and hats in the red bucket that only adults can reach.  a basket of random things...batteries, electrical timers, extension cords, tv cables, surge protector strip, rubber hooks, a fishing reel???

stuff removed from top shelf
Halloween buckets that we don't need year around access to.  SEVEN empty formula containers.  I'm planning on covering them with fun paper to make extra canisters for my kitchen.  A plastic bat and a big triangular piece of foam???  ODD for a coat closet!

shelves reinvented

I put all the Playdoh and accessories in a basket for easy transport.  The batteries and electrical supplies found homes in existing plastic tubs.  The black and white boxes ($1 each at Michael's last week!) will hold gloves and hats during the off season.  The purple tub on the top shelf holds the kids' tv gaming equipment that they are too young for and we don't use yet.  The turquoise boxes hold my fun paper supply.  The air freshner....well, this closet does hold my husband's coats and boots so it is needed!

Laundry room closet shelves
I moved the plastic shelving and baskets from the floor to the shelf in this closet.  It adds a lot more organization.  Now I can put some of my purse and bag collection here.  All of it won't fit and I really don't think my husband knows HOW MANY bags and purses I have.  (side note:  I just got two new ones delivered today!)  Also on these shelves is extra dog bacon, our sidewalk chalk collection and extra cleaning supplies.  The bottom portion of this closet holds my kids' laundry baskets, my ironing board, a step stool and our Swifter.

Here is the last section of the closets makeover.  Again, more random stuff.

floor before

floor after
The red tub was going to the trash because the lid broke.  I repurposed it to hold long toys such as stick horses, baseball bats, toy bow and arrows and toy guns.  The teal baskets hold our winter boots. I have a small folding table I use for sewing, a baby gate and a small step stool on the side.  Now there's room for the vacuum. 
Glove and hat station
I moved the hats and gloves from the red bucket and in one of the cabinets in the laundry room to this shoe organizer hanging on the laundry room door.  Each kid can grab what they need and go.  This had shoes in it but I was the only one that would put shoes in it.  I decided it would more useful for gloves and hats.  Now the kids can put their shoes in the cabinet. 

Here's to no more skeletons in my closets!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Revolution Challege-Kitchen

A Bowl Full of Lemons
We moved into this house two years ago.  It has a fabulous kitchen with tons of storage space and nice upgrades.  When I started this Revolution Challenge, there were a few cabinets I wanted to clean out and organize.  Little did I know that a few small jars of cookie decorations would change my whole plan! 
 Here are my before and after pictures of my original plan. 
Food Saver accessories, plastic utensils and the Vego Matic found new homes from the top shelf.
Plastic utensils are in the fun orange box on the bottom shelf.  I had room for my new plastic serving plates and bowls I got from Walmart for 48 cents a piece!
 My new mixer I got for Christmas (in September!) and some random lunch bags and contact paper.
Relocated the lunch bags and have room for my reading tote bag.

And now for the the EXTRA KITCHEN ORGANIZATION that fell into my lap this week.
We have this wonderfully upgraded kitchen that is a pain in my ass sometimes.  We have four side by side floor to ceiling slideout pantry drawers that seem wonderful until you actually live with them!  I didn't take before pictures because I didn't plan on organizing these. 

almost the death of me and my pantry
Two little jars of cookie sprinkles (that I didn't even know were in there) fell of the shelf and got stuck behind the drawers in the tracks of the lower cabinets so they wouldn't close.  AWESOME!  I couldn't reach them as I've reached behind and retreived other items in the past two years.  I had to take everything out of the cabinets so my one year old wouldn't have access to it and make a bigger disaster.  My husband had to take the two cabinets out to get the little jars out before we could close them.  So a mad dash to IKEA (with three kids five and under!) to find some solution and sanity is restored.

cream and sugar; baking supplies

spices and decorating supplies

upper right cabinet with spices, baking and decorating supplies

lower right cabinet with almost two empty shelves

upper left cabinet bottom shelf holds our kids' medicine and tootbrushes

upper left cabinet with teas and coffee; medicine and kids' hygiene supplies

lower left cabinet with pasta and extra condiments
 I was able to throw out a grocery bag of expired food.  I relocated my zip loc bags and foil to the cabinet next door to my pantry.  Also found a better spot for the random lunch bags from the cabinet across the room.