We have 4 children. We also run several businesses and have a myriad of hobbies. Things get very disorganized very quickly if I do not stay on top of things. Thus, bins, baskets, tins, labels, tags and drawers are of high priority in our household. Today I am going to show you a bit of the “behind-the-scenes” and how we keep our family organized and out of a constant chaotic mess with these organization tips.
Labels and tagging can range from very, very simple and utilitarian (labelmaker!!) to very ornamental (clay tags for plants!) to quite crafty and custom (Create your own stamps!). Currently, I use all of the above, but tend to land somewhere in the middle for my everyday organizing. My favorite label? The chalkboard tag. I have created my own chalkboard “stickers” out of Silhouette chalkboard vinyl, and was prepared to make more when I stumbled upon this great deal. 50 chalkboard labels…precut with holes for$1.97. For less than $2.00 I can organize ALL of our cubbies and I do not have to break out the Silhouette!
- Various Tins, Bins, Baskets and Such
- Photo Storage Boxes (I use them for many things other than photos!)
- Chalkboard Tags
- Fine Tip Chalk Pens
- Copper Wire, String or Ribbon
Let’s start with organization tips for the “little stuff,” shall we? These cute little tins are front and center because they are adorable AND because they hold the “little bits” I was always looking for and could NEVER find. The chalkboard tags were written on with fine tip chalk markers (I love these from David Tutera) and attached with copper wire.
A. Envelopes. You might think these are for letter writing, but think again. We need envelopes for SO much more in our family. Sending last minute money for a teacher present, corralling cut pieces of paper “money,” stashing pictures to send to Grandma later…the list goes on and on and on. I was always looking for envelopes, so now they have a dedicated spot. I pick up various sizes in varying amounts at the thrift store or on clearance for pennies and they get stashed in a tin for the kids.
B. Combs. Oh my goodness, boys. They hate doing their hair and I was always running back from the driveway (waiting for the bus) to the bathroom, grabbing a comb and fixing their hair. I finally wizened up and bought them in bulk from the dollar store. I keep this tin full right by the door and my trip is shortened significantly. Also — they can never say they “can’t find” a comb.
C. Pencils. See them in the back? Talk about driving me banana-pants! Everytime it was time for homework, nobody could ever find a pencil. Red pen? SURE! Markers? Of course! Pencils? NOPE. Now, this bucket stays full of pencils no matter how many they lose.
D. Change. Coins and Dollars, nothing big. We have several of these “change depositories” throughout the house, but this one is specifically for the kids. When I find money on the floor (no matter who it belongs to), it goes in the tin and the boys can earn money from the tin by doing chores. It is a lot easier to tell them they can go get X amount of money from the jar than to constantly be pulling out my purse.
E. Hooks. We never have enough hooks. I always buy them on clearance and keep a tin of them. We are still new to this house, so before hanging hooks, I gauge where we need them the most. The best indicator? Where do piles of sweatshirts, coats and towels accumulate? Once there is a pattern, I add a hook. This process has not yet found an end. I am hoping someday we will reach our “hook capacity” as a family.
A. Mama’s Cubby — random stuff of mine that I need to put away. The kid’s are never allowed in this cubby.
B. Listen bucket — CD’s, Tapes and the like. This is our art room and also our wrestling and dancing room — all require good music.
C. Batteries. WARNING: Store batteries in their original packaging or cover ends with electrical tape for safety. We do the latter and keep a little planter with various batteries so that the kids can reload batteries when needed without a giant search and rescue mission. Little Haeger planters (like the one pictured below) are my favorite quirky storage containers.
D. Extra throw rugs to replace dirty ones at various doors. I found out early in motherhood that those little rugs are worth their weight in gold catching dirt. Whenever I would go to wash one, inevitably the little guys would track mud in the house. Now no rug goes in the wash without a replacement picking up the slack. I buy them on clearance at Target for $2-3.
Bottom Row: My favorite row! The chalkboard tags label the initials for each child and the cubby boxes are empty. Why? For half-completed projects. I was finding that the biggest source of “stuff” in this room was art projects and craft projects that were not quite finished yet. They weren’t ready to be thrown away and they were not ready to hang up. They were just there in mid-stage driving me crazy. I finally made the simple realization that we needed a place for these projects. Each kid gets a bin and when the bin is full they have to clean out the projects, finish them or throw something away. Why did I wait so long to do this?
Adjacent to the horizontal cubby are two vertical cubbies and a small “art cart.” The art cart holds art supplies for the kids only and they are allowed to use them at almost anytime without help from adults. One supply that is not on the art cart? Glue. Also…glitter.
Gym: Shoes, socks, weights, etc.
Sport: Soccer jerseys, baseballs hats– whatever season we are in.
Photos: One box full of random prints — all sizes that need to be organized further.
Art and Craft: Stuff for the kids that they aren’t allowed to get themselves.
Stamping and Such: Additional craft supplies.
Boxes include jewelry making, pens and pencils and craft paints.
Ribbon and String: For presents and crafting. The kids get really creative with string!
Library Books: This box is empty unless library books are coming in or need to be returned.
Fix It Kit: Bandaids, Vaseline, tweezers and other injury related must haves.
Use It Or Lose It: The first of the month, everything in this box gets thrown away or donated. It houses all the little junk you don’t know what to do with. If you don’t use it or put it in its place within a month — we don’t need it anymore.