These first couple weeks of summer I’ve been trying to get back to square one in this crazy, chaotic house of mine. Yesterday was supposed to be a paper purge day, but alas, I was in one of those sentimental moods and having a hard time parting with my kids’ hard work. Part of the reason for this is that I’m not sure what I have and what I don’t have. And I want to make sure I have a nice sampling of their work from the beginning and the end of the year for comparison. So first, I need to collect everything in one spot and then I can purge away knowing that I’ve captured the right pieces to represent the year.
Since paper purging wasn’t going well, I ended up reorganizing some of my kitchen cupboards and finally emptied one of my craft cupboards so that it could actually hold kitchen items. As I mentioned in this post, the goal is to move the craft stuff to the playroom. Oh that playroom….progress is still on hold until I can get a handle on the chaos around me.
In the meantime, I’ve asked another friend to share some of her best organizing tips with us. From the moment I met her, I could tell she had the organization gene running through her veins. Here’s what my friend Beth pulled together for us…
Hair Accessory Storage
This was my very first Pinterest idea that I actually copied…. take an empty silverware organizer from Target ($15) and turn it into a hair supply organizer. My hair dryer goes in the wide slot that you would put plates. My straightener, brushes and hairspray goes in the spoon, fork, knife slots.
I definitely need to use this tip. These caddies are the perfect holder of all things. I’ve just recently started using one on my kitchen counter to corral magazines, sunglasses and sunscreen. I’d also like to add some bug spray to this bin and have it outside with us while we are in the backyard for easy access.
I’m hoping Target still has some of these left because I’d like to get a few more to go under my sinks for cleaning supplies, sponges and washcloths…and now hair supplies! These caddies are just so versatile.
Hygiene & Medicine Products
This is how I organize my hygiene/medicine products. These containers fit side by side in my linen closet. Each drawer is labeled with specific items. You can organize these any way that fits the needs of your family. We also keep it up high so the kids can’t get into it.
Every child’s closet should have built in organizers. As you can see, it has two levels, shelving and 4 drawers. The current season is down low, the off season is up high. There is a pull out laundry basket, which is awesome! My daughter does not need a dresser in her room because she has the four drawers for socks/underwear, pajamas, t-shirts and soccer gear.
Pantry & Kitchen Cupboard Organization
This is one section of my pantry. The pull out baskets are filled with kid-friendly snacks. It sure does make it easier for preparing backpacks. The kids can grab something healthy when I ask them to grab a school snack.
These are two of my pull out drawers in my kitchen….one on top of each other.
Left: Yes, I know it is bad for the environment but we use paper plates for breakfast and lunch. I also store those mini circular Glad containers and its lids. I keep all of my many chip clips in a Tupperware for fast access too.
Right: Easily accessible sandwich/snack bags for lunch making. My kids love straws, so I keep those at their level. I also keep kid cups in these drawers too….all for the kids I guess!!
This is where it all happens. Everyone needs an office work space in their kitchen. It is nice and tidy now because it’s summer, but during the school year this space is utilized for red school folders, permission slips, teacher notes, calendars, etc. As you can see, it is cleared of all that stuff! Just the way I like it!
The black organizer is where we keep our checkbooks, envelopes, gift cards, school phone books, city book, etc. Stamps are stored in the mini drawers toward the bottom.
The three slot organizer is stored above the desk in the glass cabinet. I have three kids so this works perfectly for my family. I keep classroom info for each child in the slots (curriculum night packets, notebooks, homelink letters….because I need the answer key that’s on the back. Apparently, I can’t do math from 3rd grade and up so I need those sheets to double check answers. (Me neither.)
And finally, my very important, most used files.
This is how I do it:
Each person in the family has a file. Inside the large file folder are individual files that are labeled: school (ie: edline password, MEAP scores, etc), medical (well visit sheets with weight, height, etc), sports (extra curricular stuff).
I also have a file for important receipts. I try to go through this file at end of year. I keep some house files in this section…things that I need through the year, like: lawn service, bug control, appliance receipts with warranties. I also keep my teaching files in here in the back. I have a large file for my important documents: teaching certificate, evaluations, contracts, interview stuff, portfolio stuff.
We keep all other files in the basement! I keep these files upstairs at the desk because I know I go to these often.
Beth also took a moment to answer some of the same questions I asked my sis-in-law.
How do you tackle paper piles?
I try not to create big paper piles…the key is to go through it every day. When I see a field trip slip I send it back the next day. I don’t ever want to be “that parent” who forgets.
If I do have a paper pile, I usually tackle a little at at a time.
How do you avoid clutter?
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I can’t even be around clutter. It makes me edgy, but let’s face it….I work full-time, so sometimes the clutter is inevitable. I involve my kids! They must help pick up because I know they are old enough and can handle the task. As for their rooms. They each have a drawer or drawers that build up with junk. We go through about four times a year. We make three piles: keep piles, throw away piles, Salvation Army piles. I do the same for clothes. We go through at the end of each season. I am known for giving good clothes to friends with kids younger than mine. I love doing that for my friends.
Cleaning, laundry schedule?
Ugh! This is a hard one….but it does get done…
Cleaning - I do main level one day and upper level the next day! That system seems to work.
Laundry - I do all sheets every other weekend, my clothes on the weekends and the kids clothes and towels throughout the week.
I use Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean my white wooden blinds. It smells good and it really gets the dust. I do that about 4 times/year.
Thanks to Beth for all these wonderful tips. It makes me feel more organized just reading them! And with that, I will continue on my quest to conquer clutter!! Hopefully I will get it together enough over the weekend so I can share the system I’m using for kids’ schoolwork.