We are busy preparing for our first day back to school on Wednesday.
I decided to organize the snacks and put them in snack bags now so we don’t have to do it each morning. I filled baskets with different lunch items and each morning the boys will be able to pick two items out to be included in their lunch that day.
The boys thought it was fun to help me. I didn’t mind the help so it was a win-win.
Emma decided to organize the coffee for me. Quite the little helper.
I hope this little plan works and we can stick with it for the school year.
Wish me luck.
To follow up on my previous post How to Organize Baby Clothes, I thought I would share some additional tips and tricks I’ve discovered over the years.
- Pack clothes away by size. Be sure clothes don’t get tossed in the wrong bin because you may miss the opportunity to use again if a 3 month outfit is packed with 6 month clothes and by they time you come across it your child has outgrown that size. Bummer. I have some outfits that are labeled 6 months for example, but ran very small and I used them with the 3 month clothes. I pack outfits like that away with the 3 month clothes so that next time around I won’t miss using that outfit at the appropriate time. Use your best judgement on where outfits need to go.
- Pack clothes away clean. This goes for either the clothes your child has outgrown or are yet to grow into. I would have thought this was a given, but I’ve heard from so many people that they don’t do this. Plan ahead folks. Isn’t it much easier to just know all those clothes are clean already and don’t need to be washed. Especially if you’re in a hurry and want to dip into a future bin and grab something quick. Don’t get me wrong, they may need to be freshened up a bit if they’ve been packed away for a long period of time, but overall they are clean.
- Fold the clothes. Don’t just toss things in a bin. Fold them. Organize them. You’ll be glad you did this 2 years later when you need to use them again and they aren’t all wrinkly and messy.
- Organize by boy versus girl clothes. Don’t mix the clothes together in one bin because down the road you may only need to pull your boy clothes out and you don’t want to have to go through all the girl stuff too just to get what you need.
- Last, but not least, Label your bins! You can see my previous post and download some free organizational printable sheets, or you can purchase stickers similar to the ones I use below. They can be purchased in any color scheme.
If you take the time up front to do these steps, it will make your life so much easier later. You can’t predict when you may need these clothes; for what purpose; and what else will be going on in your life at that time.
It also makes it easier if you are ultimately going to consign your clothes. Consignment sales typically want your cloths organized by size (and sometimes season!). They need to be cleaned as well. If all you have to do is pull out a bin and start labeling them, it will save you a lot of time. Consigning can be a tedious and time consuming project, but it can pay off in the end when you receive your consignor’s check.
Now, go ahead and get organizing…..
Baby sister will be joining our household in the mid May timeframe. The boys are done with school around that same time.
What does this mean? Pretty much from day 1 of baby sister coming home from the hospital I will be home with 3 kids all summer alone. HELP!
No, I’m kidding. Well, I will be home alone all summer with them, but I’m not too worried. Or should I be?
The one thing about this that is starting to stress me out is that I don’t feel like I have good control of our house to all be home all day, every day together. Our house can be spotless and within an hour it seems a tornado has gone through it. How does this happen so quickly?
We have shoes at the front door and the backdoor depending on where the kids have been playing. We have baskets by both doors, but it doesn’t seem to help. They fill up and the shoes still end up all over the floor. Right now we have the jumpy house near the backdoor because we’ve been taking it in and out almost every day for the last week. Why bring it further away from the door when it’s just going back outside? In the meantime though it’s killing me to have it sit by the door; it’s big and bulky and takes up walking space.
We have converted our dining room to a play room for the boys and it’s the first room you see when you walk in the front door. It’s always a train wreck. There are storage bins and baskets and organization things in there, but it still looks like a mess all the time. Plus the toys end up all over the first floor of the house because it’s so easy for them to bring the toys out of that room. There are no doors to the room; it’s open to the rest of the rooms on the main floor.
Our kitchen is another issue for me. It’s the dropping area for everything including mail, keys, dishes, appliances, and junk. I try so hard to get this organized and under control, but it just doesn’t matter. Things are every where all of the time. I have no idea what to do anymore.
Our master bedroom is also on the main floor and always has piles of laundry, mainly clean piles that need folding all over the room and bed.
Once we add the newborn to the mix it’s going to be even worse with bouncy seats, swings, strollers and car seats all over too. I’m starting to feel a little claustrophobic already!
I have mastered the cooking in bulk and freezing to make mealtime easier. I plan on taking a weekend soon to stock the freezer to get us by for a while after the baby comes home. But if you have any great recipes to share that freeze well, please share them. I’d love some new ideas.
Everything else though – Help. How will I ever stay on top of all of these things this summer with a newborn and two very active boys always wanting and needing something?
How do you keep your house presentable? What are your tips and tricks you can share with me as I start this new adventure in about 5-6 weeks? Do you have a cleaning schedule where you take a room a day? Are there specific things you do daily?
How do you do all of it and still enjoy some time with the kids for art projects, outdoor time, play dates and field trips? Not to mention a newborn baby and nursing on probably very little sleep?
Update added August 6, 2013
If you’re coming from Pinterest, welcome! I didn’t expect this post to get so much traffic when I originally wrote it. I also didn’t expect the number of emails on a daily basis requesting these printable labels. I have tried to keep up with the requests, but with so many custom needs (colors, sizes, etc.), I know some have slipped by and they haven’t received their labels. For that I am so sorry!! The files are large and when I’m sending so many pages I also know that some of the files are not going through email.
My only solution at this point is to list them in My Hello Designs Etsy Shop.
My intent is not to make money off of these printables, but instead be able to provide you a better way to access them and download the large files.
I have them priced reasonably at $2 and you will receive two PDF files containing the following sizes: 0 months, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, 3T, 4T, and 5T.
View all available colors of Organization Labels. New colors will be added regularly so if you don’t see something you like, you can send me a message through Etsy or check back in my shop! If you still want to download the .jpg images, there are instructions on how to do so further in this post. Again, I am no longer taking any custom orders for colors and/or sizes unless it is requested through the My Hello Designs Etsy shop.
Additional post added February 1, 2013: 5 Easy Steps to Organizing Baby Clothes
You may be in a situation like me. Too many baby clothes! And the scary part is that this baby girl doesn’t even arrive until May 2012.
We are I am already overwhelmed with the amount of stuff we have accumulated for baby #3.
To make matters worse, I had saved all of the clothes and boy toys from Ryan and Owen because I wasn’t sure whether we were going to take the plunge and have a third child and then whether or not it would be a boy or girl.
So….. with all that said, I have a ton of boy clothes from newborn to 3T and recently I bought a bunch of girl clothes (newborn – 18months) from a friend of a friend. So now what do we do with all these clothes?
Well, if you know me, you know that I’ve already washed everything and organized them all. I’ve only had them in my possession about 4 days and already they are ready for baby girl.
Here is what I started with…..
And here is where they are at now…..
I printed each one on cardstock paper, but it’s not necessary. You can print on regular paper and just place in each storage bin for easy identification. If you need a helping hand in the first step of getting organized, I am making my organization printables free for you to download and use. I have both a girl and a boy version of these available to you up to size 3T. If you need them in a PDF format instead of .jpg, please visit the Label Section of My Hello Designs Etsy Shop.
If you do use them, I’d love to see your completed organization! Please send me a photo to email@example.com and I just might feature your accomplishment on my blog. This is not required, but would definitely be fun to see!
Now I working on consigning the boy’s clothes and boy toys to free up some room in our house for girlie stuff! I forgot how much space a tiny baby takes with all of their bouncy seats, swings, boppy pillows and such.
And….. happy organizing!
Coming home from (a great) vacation is tough. Not only is it difficult to get back into routines, structure and schedules, but the unpacking sucks.
As I prepped for leaving, I had everything organized in Rubbermaid bins. Since we were driving, I felt this was our best option for packing. There are a ton of varieties to choose from, but I selected the clear storage bins so that we could easily identify in a hurry which bin we were looking for and could possibly even see the item we were searching for.
I had a large bin for mommy; for Ryan; for Owen; for snacks; and for miscellaneous items such as hair dryers, books, toys, sunscreen, etc.
Wondering where daddy’s bin was? Well, he had to fly home from Minneapolis so he had to pack like a normal person in a carry on suitcase.
I also had a medium sized bin for art supplies that could be used while driving. And Ryan and Owen each had a small bin that they packed with their favorite toys themselves.
It worked wonderfully and looked something like this.
Of course when we came home it looked nothing like this organized departure. It has taken me six days; vacuuming three times; over eight loads of laundry; painting two ceilings (thanks fav cuz at Freddy & Petunia!); and rearranging furniture to finally be caught up and enjoying our clean house again.
Aaaaaah….. it feels good to be home. Well, now that it’s clean again.
We are living in the middle of a Lego craze right now. A serious Lego craze.
It all started last August when I went to Minnesota for a little vacation with the boys. We went to Lego Land at Mall of America and the boys had a blast. I called Jim and said “The time has come. You can go buy some big boy Legos.”
There was silence on the other end of the phone. Silence mainly because he was too busy doing a happy dance to respond.
We arrived back in Atlanta a week later to several new sets of big boy Legos. The boys were thrilled. And by boys I am including Jim too.
Ryan’s birthday came and we received more Legos. Christmas came and we received even more Legos.
After Christmas sales came and we purchased even more Legos.
Then Jim came home from work one day and had purchased a boat load more Legos from a co-worker whose kids had outgrown them.
I’m drowning in Legos. They are everywhere. Every time I step I scream “ouch” because those darn Lego pieces are sharp and uncomfortable as they dig into your feet.
I have vacuumed up several pieces. But shhh…. don’t tell anyone. The boys would be upset if they knew. And yes, I’m including Jim in this too.
They are everywhere.
When I would complain to friends about the mess they would laugh as if I was kidding. Does this look like I’m kidding?!
See. I’m not kidding. Not even a little teeny tiny bit. We have Legos everywhere. And this is only one room of our house. We have several others that look very similar to this.
Well, that is until last weekend. I couldn’t take it anymore.
Off to Target I went and several hours later the room looked like this.
Aaaaahhhhh….. I can breathe again. Oh, and walk.
But now what am I supposed to do with all of our old Duplo Legos? How do I determine a fair price for selling them? There is a fire station set, police station, some Toy Story sets, Disney Car sets, a school bus, a firetruck, construction trucks, a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse set and several of the buckets of blocks. Do I list them on ebay? Craigslist? And for what price?
Any suggestions on how to get rid of the Duplos so we have more room for the big boy Legos in this house?
Who needs to leave the house? Why ruin a good vacation by having to get showered and dressed and look presentable?
Owen and I seem to believe that the best type of vacation is one where we stay in pjs all day and snuggle every chance we can. We’ve watched movies; we’ve read books; we’ve played Legos; we’ve baked muffins.
Daddy and Ryan have ventured out here and there, but for the most part we’ve all been house bound since Owen’s surgery on Thursday.
We managed to watch Toy Story 3 yet again. But what I realized this time is that I have never actually sat down and watched the entire movie from start to finish. So I did that this time. And I enjoyed the movie from beginning to end!
I think I’ve mentioned before how sensitive Owen is when it comes to movies. He will actually start crying during sad parts regardless how many times he has seen the movie. And watching Toy Story 3 was no exception. During one part of the movie the toys are all sad about something and I look over to see Owen sniffling and fighting back tears. Then he couldn’t hold it in any longer and they started streaming down his cheeks and he snuggled up to me saying “Sad momma. Toys sad momma.”
It’s so sweet how sensitive he is considering he is also our aggressive child with hitting and yelling and tantrums. It’s also amazing to me how he can understand the content of the movie enough to be bothered by how the characters are feeling and behaving. He really gets the plot of the movies and shows.
Side note: Disregard my unshowered and no makeup look I have going on in this picture above.
While it may seem to the outside world we’ve been lazy, don’t be fooled. Jim did over 20 loads of laundry this week and he mopped the floors. We’ve cleaned the kitchen about 40 times; we’ve taken down all of our indoor Christmas decorations; we’ve built and rebuilt and rebuilt Legos; we’ve cleaned the toy room about 25 times; and we’ve cooked numerous meals. I organized every closet and drawer on the first floor and have almost finishing organizing the attic and guest bedroom / office.
It’s been a busy week. It feels good to get so much accomplished and to start the new year out in an organized fashion. But it also feels great to just lounge with the boys, snuggle up and watch movies.
We hope your new year is starting out as great as ours!
While I didn’t accomplish everything on my list, I did pretty well. Or at least I think I did and I guess that is all that matters. I started my list 30 Things in 60 Days just over 60 days ago. Here is a quick update on where I stand.
1. Try at least 6 new recipes. I’ve tried quite a few new recipes (more than 6), but have only documented 4 new ones in my Tasty Tuesday posts.
2. Get caught up on Ryan and Owen’s scrapbooks. Not even close to accomplishing this one.
3. Clean my minivan. And I mean clean it. The car wash guy told me “It’s UGLY in there!” as he started cleaning it out.
4. Organize my closets (you know it had to make the list!). I have finished 3 closets. Have several more to go.
5. Finish decorating my office (new curtains, new headboard, new storage containers). I have cleaned it and made new storage containers. Now I just need the new headboard and curtains and I’m done.
6. Organize toy room. This needs major help. DONE!
7. Go skydiving. (Just kidding mom!! Wanted to see if you were still reading my blog! Haha!)
8. Take a family vacation to MN/WI. There are a few other places I want to go this year, but not before Sept. 1. You can read several posts about this vacation. The Camel Bit Mommy, The Sites of Home, Nothing Like Family Part 2, Birthday Celebration Take 2, Nothing Like Family Part 1, Practicing for Atlanta Braves, Introducing Speedy & Zippy, Dirty and Up North.
9. Roll out new My Hello Designs products. Working on it….
10. Figure out a better dog crate solution. No. Still have the ugly, wire crate in our foyer. Any suggestions??
11. Simplify, sell and donate. Some stuff. Not as good as I wanted.
12. Take a photography class. No. Someday. Someday.
13. Visit the Georgia Aquarium with the boys. We haven’t been in a long time. You can read our adventure at Whirlwind Atlanta.
14. Go on at least 2 date nights with the hubby. Um…. no. Babysitters are hard to come by.
15. Read a book for fun. Does reading blogs count?? It’s like reading a book, right??
16. Extend the patio in backyard. It’s been WAY too hot here in Atlanta to even consider working in the backyard. Now that it’s cooled off to 90ish we’ve started our planning for the backyard. This will be done this fall.
17. Go see a movie in a theater. This would be tied to date night. Hard to come by babysitters.
18. Take the boys on a bike ride in the bike trailer. Nope, didn’t accomplish this one either. Maybe now that the weather is cooler.
19. Clean and organize the garage. For good this time. Again, the heat. WAY too hot to be cleaning the garage. Fall project.
20. Have more BBQs with friends. We did this throughout the summer and had a blast having people over.
21. Be more patient. Vacationing helped me accomplish this one.
22. Move Owen to a big boy bed. Decided we’re not in a rush to move him. He’s content in his crib right now and so are we.
23. Get a pedicure. You think I could make time for this one. But noooo…..
24. Go out for ice cream. Pinkberry – YUM!
25. Research elementary schools for Ryan. I think we have some options picked out. Now we just have to wait until the schools start their tours and such to go visit them in person.
26. Switch to USAA for all of our banking needs. DONE!
27. Frame new pictures for our walls. I have the frames and the photos on order. Then I just have to do it and hang them.
28. Go golfing. We went miniature golfing!! Read about it here at Going Golfing.
29. Organize our filing cabinet. Seriously dreading this one. Nope. Never sounded like a fun way to spend a weekend.
30. Try a new restaurant. Must I bring up date night issues again?!
Maybe I didn’t do as well as I thought I did. I only accomplished about 11 of the 30 items on my list. Bummer. There are about 10 more that will be accomplished yet this fall due to the weather being too hot this summer. And another 5 that will be accomplished if we ever get a babysitter for one date night.
As you know we have been working hard on our backyard this summer. We’ve cleared the hill of the insane amounts of overgrown weeds; we’ve planted both a vegetable garden and a flower garden; we’ve been digging up bushes that had become diseased; we’ve planted new cedar trees and we’ve been on a search for a playset.
So what are our ultimate plans with this newly renovated backyard? Well, we’re not entirely sure yet…. but we do have some ideas. I came across a website a few weeks ago that has given me some great ideas for where to take our backyard. It’s a company called Outdora and they sell everything outdoors.
Our backyard has so much potential, but it’s not easy to figure out what to do and how. We have a decent size yard, but unfortunately we have that crazy hill taking up a good portion of it. And while we’d love to push the yard back some and install a retaining wall, it’s just too expensive right now. So we’re moving on to other plans.
One of the things we have enjoyed the most about our yard is grilling out. Outdoor cooking is far better than anything that could be made on your stove and/or in your oven. Why is that?
Since we dug up the diseased bushes along our house we have decided that we are going to extend our patio over into that area which will provide more outdoor living space along with a larger grilling area. We currently have a small concrete patio already so we are trying to figure out how best to incorporate what we already have with what we want to put down for our new extended patio. We have a great nook space that we can hopefully use to build a small outdoor kitchen area with an outdoor fridge perhaps?? I have already shown Jim where and how I want more planters built with a bench connecting them.
I also want to add in an area for a wood burning cast iron ring. I absolutely and positively love bonfires. I know I’ve mentioned that before in one of my Tuesday Ten posts, but there is nothing like sitting around the fire at night, roasting marshmallows and listening to the popping of the fire.
But before we move forward with any definite plans we need to first draw out our outdoor living blue prints. And with that comes a lot of research. Jim has been busy trying to find outdoor flooring options and I’ve been spending my free time researching outdoor fridges and wood burning cast iron rings. I think I got the better end of that deal because I found both on one site! I even have my eye on a new Barbecue grill now! Who would have thought it would be that easy?!
No final decisions have been made yet though because we’re still trying to work through the play set options and we need to be sure that everything will fit into our space and still leave room for the boys to golf with Delta. Because if we don’t, we’ll have one sad little puppy! She is definitely addicted to the game of wiffle ball golf.
Our house needs some help. I need some help. I feel like I’m 10 steps behind on cleaning and organizing and it’s starting to drive me nuts. No, I promise I wasn’t nuts before. Just now.
Every day I think about all the projects I want to do and set out to do. But, between a full time job as an association director, running a small business (My Hello Designs), being a full time mommy, a full time wife, a full time dog owner (yes, she is very high maintenance so that counts as a full time job), a blogger, a facebook addict, and a new gardener, my hours per day are limited.
Something has to give during the waking hours each day and recently that has been the cleaning and organizing aspect of my life. And I very much dislike that. I am a planner by nature and profession and having so much disorganization in my house drives me nuts. It doesn’t bother Jim in the least, but it drives me crazy.
Don’t get me wrong, our house isn’t dirty. It’s just not sparkling clean and organized. That is where I’m hoping you can help me. I need some great organization suggestions on the following things:
- Mail Organization: Currently our mail makes it through the front door and into a pile. Some days the pile is on the table by the door; other days it makes it to a pile on the kitchen counter. HELP!
- Book Organization: We love to read books. We read them everywhere in our house – toy room, kitchen, family room, bedroom. They are everywhere and I need a quick easy way to keep them organized versus having them scattered throughout the house. HELP!
- Shoe Organization: I thought I had this one resolved. I have a basket for each kid and taught them to put their shoes in their basket when they take them off. Now what do I do about the hubby’s shoes all over the house?! HELP!
- Toy Organization: Is this a lost cause?! HELP!
- Dog Toy Organization: Seriously! I find more dog toys around this house than kid toys most days!
And when it comes to cleaning I typically buy whatever is on sale or whatever I have a coupon for. I’m not particular, but after my new Colgate toothpaste experience last week (remember this?), I would really like to find some cleaning products that I love just as much. I seriously LOVE my new Colgate Total Advanced Whitening toothpaste! Do you have any cleaning products that you love as much as I love my toothpaste? I’m looking for the following products:
- Hardwood floor cleaner
- Stainless steel appliance cleaner
- Granite counter top cleaner
- Dusting product for wood furniture
Currently I use Tide HE for laundry and I like it, but I’m not attached. I love the smell and it does what I need it to do, but I thought the same about my old toothpaste and look where that got me! For the dishwasher I use Cascade Complete. Again, not attached.
So, if you have any great products you want to recommend to me, I would love to hear them. Or if you have any brilliant ideas (or have seen brilliant ideas on other blogs) regarding organization, I would welcome those. Actually, I am sort of begging for help in that area. My summer goal is to get my house organized and to have a garage sale to declutter.