Organizing with Kids

Ah life was sweet when it was me and my husband and our maybe one box of items we owned together- besides clothes.  We could pack up and move to another country without any problems!  I love simplicity and organization.  Then came the house and the kids and more pets and toys and baby items and things my grandmother no longer wanted, books, games, more Christmas decorations and then I finally realized why some people have attics!!!  So what is a type A Virgo mama to do?  Use her organization to get the kids and their stuff together, otherwise we would be living in constant chaos.  Now mind you my first mistake was for almost two years I still expected to live with our home being super straightened and never a toy lying about.  Then finally I realized houses are meant to live in, not to look like a magazine (even though mine never has 🙂  So here are some tips that have worked for me:

– Baby furniture/accessories.  If you know your family is still growing get some nice storage bins and label things you want to keep for future children and store it in a basement or attic or closet.  Don’t keep it in your childs drawers/kitchen cubboards/linen closets- it will get crowded and when you are seven months pregnant and nesting, the last thing you want is a disorganized mess to go through!

-Baby diapers/creams/wipes  Keep some in a nice basket or storage box on every floor or in every room where you regularly change the baby.  This can be a huge help in the middle of the night, or when you first come home from the hospital so you don’t have to go upstairs to find stuff. Also keep a set in the diaper bag and refill when you come home.  Otherwise it will slip your baby filled mind!

Now on to when the kids are older:

-Clothes.  My best friend in the world gave me bags and bags of clothes for my youngest.  As soon as she gave them I sorted them, labelled them and stored them by size.  If you do it as soon as possible you won’t have to struggle to work through it later.  It took about an hour a bag and I did it over days.  Another thing I do is keep a bag in each childs room and our room for outgrown toys/clothes.  One bag for the salvation army, one bag for my nephew and one bag for my friends with kids in the same sizes.  That way you have no excuses for keeping things in order.  When the bag is full drop it to where it belongs.  I also have a list of the basics that each of my kids need for each season and I try to stick to buying only those items.  It saves on the budget and on space and anything we are given as gifts is just a really great bonus.

Books- I love books and I am trying to pass that on to my kids.  I tend to read a book or get a library book and then pass it on or return it- remember I hate clutter!  So with kids it’s harder.  In each childs room, we have a shelf for books.  Bought cheaply at yard sales, or discount stores.  Then we have a large six cubby shelf in the kids playroom for books and games and legos.  My older child plays there, but my toddler does not yet, because it’s a room with smaller toys. 

Toys- I try to keep a rein on toys in the living room.  So my husband and I don’t trip or step on them and so they don’t look cluttered and junky.  The kids have toys in their own rooms and the playroom.  Outside toys are kept outside in a shed.  Twice a year I clean out the toys when they are sleeping and look for broken or un-used toys or outgrown toys and then give them to friends, relatives or charity. 

Pictures/keepsakes- I do scrapbooks and photo albums for each of the kids.  As well as any certificates or keepsake paper items.  I store them in an accordian folder for each kid and any non-paper item I store in a box for each child. 

Artwork- My pre-schooler brings home so much artwork and crafts.  I hang some and give others to family as gifts.  Grandmothers and aunts love to get something hand made and it makes them smile to know they are thought of.  I also seasonally change the artwork and we have an art door in the kitchen for display.  I also have a crafts box for rainy day projects and a playdough bin.  My oldest also has an art desk in the playroom for stickers and coloring. 

Yes it is a lot to try to keep organized with kids, but you will thank yourself later, when your home is not is chaos.  It helps you to keep a calm mind oh and I almost forgot I have a great mom calendar for remembering all school, sports, church and doctors apps!!


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