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Organizing kids stuff ....advice?!?!?

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teeghan posted 3/18/2014 20:30 PM

I have lived in a battered women shelter with my kids until last week. We finally moved into a two bedroom apartment and my son has his own room and my 7 year old daughter shares with me and sleeps in my bed. She is too scared to be alone so the two bedroom worked out fine.

As I am unpacking now, I am trying to figure how the best and cheapest way to organize kid toys. As you know they have tons of small parts to toys etc. then the second issue is getting the kids to STICK to the way things are organized.

Any advice in how you guys organize their stuff ? I hate clutter and I want to make sure it is done right the first time. I so not wont to unpack and then have to keep putting things in different organized techniques. My kids are the worst for not wanting to pick up after themselves. They are 7 and 9 and yes they know if they do NOT keep it organized then
I will donate it to a kid who will enjoy it and out it up. Please help for ideas :)

Thanks. I will even take ideas for other parts of house too including clothes, shoes, papers, kitchen stuff etc.

Thanks bunches. We are really enjoying our new home :) even if small it is our own place and a fresh start.

thisissogross posted 3/18/2014 23:19 PM

Hi teeghan! Glad you're moving forward and doing well. I do not have kids, but friends have bribed me to help them organize their homes, apparently I'm good at it (who knew, I just thought I was annoying). So, keep the no kids thing in mind but I say: containers containers containers! The cheap plastic colorful ones in varying sizes. You could get stickers to make them appealing to your little guys, maybe? Also, think UP, do they still make those hanging corner nets for stuffed animals? And how about those over the door shoe storage things with all the different compartments? No reason not to use those for toys. In my experience, containers really do help. Good luck

[This message edited by thisissogross at 2:31 AM, March 19th (Wednesday)]

little turtle posted 3/19/2014 08:16 AM

We have one of these:

Each bin has different things in it. Action figures. Mr Potato Head stuff. cards. bugs. cars. I helped the kids organize it the first time and told them to put the items back in the bin so they can find it next time. You could put labels on the front too.

We also have storage containers that are drawers. And some other containers with a lid. I've tried to teach my boys (6 and 7.5) to put everything back in the same place. It has been working for the the things that have a place to go. The rest of the toys are put away wherever and that tends to be where the mess comes from.

All of the games are up in the closet. They have to ask to play. This has cut down on losing game pieces!

Other stuff:
Clothes - wish I could help you there. I've got too many that don't fit yet I keep them in my closet.
Shoes - I have a rug under the kids coat rack near the door. Shoes go there.
Papers - I try to file them somehow as I get them. Bills in one place. School papers in another. And recycling.
Kitchen stuff - My kitchen has only 1 drawer in it. So I bought 2 of these and stacked them (no wheels):

I have towels, foil/wrap/mitts, miscellaneous office supplies, school papers, storage container lids...

The best bet for cheaper ideas would probably be pinterest or a DIY site. I hope at least some of these ideas will give you things to think about as far as what you could do in your new place.

I just did a quick search on pinterest... I think I'm going to have to try out some of these ideas for myself!!! Thanks!

nowiknow23 posted 3/19/2014 08:32 AM

Congratulations on your new place, teeghan!

Two tips that worked really well for us -

Under bed storage containers. My DS was a HUGE Lego guy, while my DD was really into horses with lots of little tack pieces - saddles, bridles, etc. They each had a container that fit under their bed. They are long and flat and relatively cheap - under $10 each. They look like this -

Over the door shoe organizers.If you can find one with clear pockets, you can see what's in each pocket. Your kids will be able to reach the lower few rows. You can keep things that need supervision in the upper pockets out of reach. I also use one in our coat closet to keep mittens, hats, and scarfs wrangled. And you can put one on the back of your bathroom door for hair ties, brushes, etc. They look like this -

[This message edited by nowiknow23 at 8:33 AM, March 19th (Wednesday)]

tushnurse posted 3/19/2014 10:05 AM

The door hangers are great, and hold a lot of stuff, and are much cheaper than the containers.

I am sure financially you don't have much extra fundage for containers. I used lots of baskets. I would get them cheap from Garden Ridge on clearance, they would be a bit battered, but that was ok cause the kids would batter them even more.

Try hitting up your Salvation Army and Good Will stores for containers too.

tushnurse posted 3/19/2014 10:17 AM

The other thing that I used a lot of esp when they were clothes and toys that were being stored until the next kid used them was empty paper boxes. They were free, and plentiful through work, and have lids and are strong.

GabyBaby posted 3/19/2014 10:20 AM

empty paper boxes

OMG yes!
They're uniform in size, very sturdy and hold a surprising amount of stuff.

We use them for a lot of things around the house.
I line them up and stack them on their sides inside a closet and put my yarn in them. I can easily see the colors, etc and closing the closet door keeps the dust out.

We use them to store stuff in the garage, to take DD20 back and forth to college, etc.

DEFINITELY look into grabbing some of these!

EvenKeel posted 3/19/2014 14:58 PM

Congrats on the new place - how exciting!!!!

I will even take ideas for other parts of house too including clothes, shoes, papers, kitchen stuff etc.

I saw this on TV once and thought it was a good idea for anyone with limited storage. For an end table or night stands, they used garbage cans, draped them with material (ie like a small round table cloth so you can't see the garbage can at all, then topped with an inexpensive glass top.

Inside you have tons of storage for seasonal clothes, etc.

I thought - how simple and easy...but so practical.

teeghan posted 3/19/2014 23:40 PM

Thank you all.for wonderful ideas. One question. What isms paper box with a lid????

GabyBaby posted 3/19/2014 23:43 PM

When you work in an office, the reams of paper come in a good sized cardboard box with a removable lid. THOSE boxes are great for storage!

Cally60 posted 3/20/2014 02:46 AM

If you have no access to leftover paper boxes, you can also buy fairly cheap packs of very similar cardboard file boxes in places like Office Max. They come as flat pieces of cardboard and you fold them out to make boxes. (It's actually rather an ingenious design!)

They're not at all elegant, but they're cheap. And they're usually white, so I suppose one could always draw pictures on them to brighten them up. :-)

I was so happy to read about your new home, Teeghan. Congratulations!

StrongerOne posted 3/20/2014 13:54 PM

I have a slobby kid (he was doomed from day one, as both I and his dad are clutterers too). It was hard for him to put things away into separate containers, so I gave him a small laundry basket. At the end of the day, everything went in the basket (I do something like this for my own stuff TBH). Usually the next day he was playing with the same stuff, so he could dig it out of the basket. Or dump the whole basket

As he got older, we made him keep things separate if it made a difference to the continued usableness of the stuff (art supplies separate from legos, for instance, but legos and blocks could go in the same bin). If he couldn't find things because they were mixed together, that was his own lookout. He would just have to dig. For things he really cared about, I'd ask if he'd want a separate bin -- if yes, then I'd label it. And then it was up to him.

Donating stuff that's left lying around is a very smart parenting move.

So glad you are getting your own place. Very exciting! I'm happy to hear that your life is improving!

Kitchen stuff -- I have a lot of things on hooks on the wall. Be ready to move stuff around as you learn the best pathways through the kitchen. Knifeblock next to the stove, cutting board on the counter because I use it all the time, napkins near the kitchen table, that sort of thing.

ETA Under the bed bins are lifesavers! And btw I have bought very few storage things full price. Garage sales, goodwill store, I'm ok with taking something in good condition out of a trash bin. (seriously! who throws away a perfectly good set of clear plastic shoe boxes! rinse off the dust! good as new!)

[This message edited by StrongerOne at 1:57 PM, March 20th (Thursday)]

Dreamboat posted 3/20/2014 14:19 PM

Shoe boxes and empty baby wipe containers are great for small toys and pieces of toys, like Barbie clothes and matchbox cars.

GabyBaby posted 3/20/2014 14:30 PM

Joann Fabrics or Michaels have 40% off coupons nearly every week. If you live near one, try checking them out for storage bins and crates.
If your kids are old enough, give them each a coupon and a few bucks so you dont have to go back through line 18 times.

EvenKeel posted 3/20/2014 14:43 PM

Check out Pininterest if you have time too....lots of ideas. I saw where they put a shelf up in the kitchen and lined it with glass jars for all the staples (flour, salt, sugar, noodles, whatever). The jars were all the same so it was a clean look and sort of decorative. It would free up tons of cabinet space too.

Cally60 posted 3/20/2014 20:10 PM

When I actually buy containers, I usually buy see-through ones nowadays. When I'm frantically hunting for something, they save me having to take off the lids to find out what's inside. I always think I'll remember what I've put in a box, but I almost never do! (Yes, I know I could label them, but I'm not organized or tidy enough to do that. )

Boxes with attached lids are also useful, though usually only the small ones are reasonably-priced. In our house boxes and lids always seem get separated. sometimes indefinitely. You'd be amazed at how many different types of lids there are for 15/16 Qt. boxes!

PS Of course, any box that is large enough for a small child to climb into needs a light-weight lid and should either have large air holes, or be very easy indeed for a tiny child to open from the inside once it's closed.

[This message edited by Cally60 at 8:10 PM, March 20th (Thursday)]

Cally60 posted 3/20/2014 20:19 PM

When we relocated, our moving men had a small "Bits Box" into which they put any little mystery items that looked as though they might be important - unusual screws; tiny battery covers; little model men's hands; strange little levers and knobs; odd puzzle pieces, etc. Since then, I've kept my own Bits Box and it has saved the day on a number of occasions!

[This message edited by Cally60 at 8:20 PM, March 20th (Thursday)]

StrongerOne posted 3/21/2014 07:25 AM

If you live near a college or university, the start and the end of the school year (and to a lesser amount, the end of fall term and the start of winter or spring term) are a great time to be scavenging. College students don't want to move stuff, or don't have anywhere to move their stuff to, so cruise around the streets near the school and around the apartment and townhouse complexes within 10 minutes drive of the school. I have picked up good storage containers, household goods, nice plants and planters, even some decent furniture. Great for shelving.

I make enough money not to have to do this, but I sure didn't coming up. My parents always said, Waste not, want not. Or as they say nowadays, Reduce Reuse Recycle. I'm being green! (so much nicer sounding than, scavenger!)

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