Kids’ stuff organized: before and after photos

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by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

You should know that I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to. I tell you this because I have a feeling some of you might be feeling the same way. Perhaps you haven’t even started yet; you’re waiting until today, the start of the weekend, to do what you need to do.

That’s okay! Such is life. Do what you can with this week’s hotspot, and give yourself a pat on the back when you cross it off the list. (My back-patting will look like skiing on Saturday.)

I’ll waste no more time, so here you go—my before and after shots. And at the end, I’ll explain how you can share your own photos.

Books

You can see the normal state of the kids’ books above. Not bad, but it’s a pain to trip over them as they tumble to the floor, seeing as they’re all in our living room. Pulling books off the shelves is Finn’s current favorite hobby.

There. At least they’re mostly reshelved (but from the looks of this photo, there’s still some scattered about on kids’ beds). We love all our books, and go out of our way to make sure they’re mostly twaddle-free. So, no donating of books this time around.

And because I get asked all the time—this is an Expedit bookshelf from Ikea.

My family will tell you I like our books alphabetized—even the kids’ ones. They would be correct. It’s not to be all uptight (really, I promise); it’s because it’s really SO much easier to find When You Give a Moose a Muffin under “N” for Numeroff than it is to search every single shelf.

It’s not easy to keep kids’ books in the right order, but Tate’s now old enough to understand alphabetical order. For now, I’m okay with general alphabetizing with the first letter. I won’t pitch a fit if Flack is reshelved before Falconer.

I sound like a lot of fun at cocktail parties, don’t I?

I made simple dividers from foam board and letter stickers. I know they won’t last forever, and that’s okay—they’ll be cheap to replace. This way, they won’t hurt when they’re used as swords.

Games & Puzzles

Our current home is temporary and very, very small. We don’t have the space (or inclination) to build long-term storage, so for the past year, kids’ games and puzzles have been stored in an old bench.

This works well. Unless you have a toddler who also enjoys emptying out the game and puzzle pieces in his spare time.

Once I reassigned all the pieces to the right box, I culled the ones we never play with. Their new home is our local thrift store.  But I was still left with a number of loved puzzles and games with stepped-on, crunched boxes.

I cut the box top of the puzzles and tossed them in a zippered pouch with the pieces.

There. Better.

Toys

We don’t really have an issue with too many toys, either, because I like doing smaller purges every few months or so. We just needed a sprucing up.

We use the Expedit shelves here, too, along with the Trofast buckets. Great for open-ended toys.

I wanted more permanent labels that were easier to read. So, I used the same stickers as with the book dividers… which meant I ran out of letters.

So I’m going to the store this weekend to buy more letters. In the meantime, just trust me that we don’t have “car _racks,” “_inco_ _ _ogs,” “ne_f gun_,” or “ma_ble_.”

Clothes

This was the department where we needed to whittle down. I knew from pant cuffs that everyone was growing, so it was time to pass down and move on.

We love using buckets for our boys’ clothes—they’re easier to pull out and shove back for little hands. These are the Closetmaid Fabric Drawers from Target.

I ended with about half a grocery bag of clothes to donate, some of Reed’s went to storage to wait for Finn, and the rest just needed to be reshelved.

A few months ago I made drawer labels out of Shrinky Dinks… I finally put them on this week.

Just so you know, we mostly just shove our boys’ clothes into the buckets—minimal folding involved, except when fresh out of the dryer. It’s all cotton anyway.

Now it’s your turn!

You’re welcome to focus on this hotspot at any time, of course, but if you’d like to be entered to win this week’s giveaway, you have until Saturday (tomorrow) at 11:59 p.m. PST to submit your before-and-after photos.

You absolutely don’t need to do as many photos as I have here—a simple before shot of a room, followed by its after, is great. And as a reminder, if you don’t have kids at home, you’re welcome to do your own personal belongings.

Lay-n-Go

One randomly selected participant in this week’s hotspot will win one large and one small Lay-n-Go! We adore ours.

It’s a simple bag for carrying lots of small pieces.

But wait! It actually opens into a giant, five-foot playing mat.

Cool, eh? As you might guess, this is perfect for LEGO.

They have small ones, too. Perfect for restaurants, long car rides, and flights.

And one of you will win a large and small Lay-n-Go in the colors of your choice! I seriously want ten of these things.

Head here to share your photos and to see everyone else’s!

I can’t wait to see your results. What was the best part of your process this week? The hardest?

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Comments

  1. I missed this week, but I’m going to do it soonish. I love your shrinky dink tags. I handmade tags for Judah’s toy bins when he was really little and couldn’t read. Each had pictures of what should go in the box. He was actually my best cleaner upper of the bunch. And I would totally alphabetize my bookshelves if there was enough room to wedge alphabet tags in between. :) Think it’s time for another bookshelf.

    • We had photo labels back when we lived overseas, too. I just took a pic of the box’s contents, printed it, then taped it on the front. Seemed to work!

      Hope you’re feeling a little better, friend…

  2. I wanted to share something I learned from Jim Trelease, author of the “Read-Aloud Handbook.” Kids will be more likely to pick up books to read when they can see the covers, so put books in baskets, faced out on shelves or install rain-gutter style book shelving. People have used actual rain gutters, IKEA spice racks and various grooved shelving to success.

  3. Zippered pouches for puzzles is a great idea, it saves so much space! I wish they were sold like that.

    • I agree.. I am so getting zippered pouches or using that pack of Ziploc bags that someone for some reason ‘gifted’ us to organize my preschooler’s puzzles. Thanks Tsh!

  4. I really need to get some of those bins. They look so handy. You did a great job with your kids stuff. Thanks for heading this up. It was very much needed.
    HUGS
    Kim

  5. I use the same storage bin for my kids clothes! Love the idea for the puzzles. So far our boxes are in tact, but I will keep that in mind for future!

    • I have a tip for making puzzles easier to clean up, should more than one get pulled out. Mark the back of each puzzle piece for each separate puzzle with a number (or a color). All of one puzzle gets a #1, the next puzzle gets a #2, etc. When your toddler has dumped 4 puzzles out, it makes it a lot easier for sorting!

      • I was going to suggest this also. It’s a lesson I learned after my 2 year old dumped about 15 boxes of puzzles into one big pile, yep, at my friend’s house. I like the zipper pouch idea too.

      • When the puzzle is first completed, just flip it over and scribble distinctive marker all over the back. Easier than marking each piece.

  6. Being able to go through the boys clothes and consigning some this spring! So I make money!
    The hardest part was the playarea, so many little toys and knick knacks.

  7. I appreciate how you ran out of labels, it makes the process all the more real.
    I’m in progress mode and now decorating new paint bucket toys for the basement toys.
    http://pinterest.com/pin/67202219409421172/
    Thanks for doing this series again, I loved it last year and excited for this month again.

  8. avatar
    Whitney says:

    I love the bins with labels for clothes – that ends up being our biggest mess right now! Thanks for the inspiration! Random question… where did your map come from (in the pic with the small lay-n-go)? I am looking for a world map but some of the colors are too bright and harsh – I love that one! Thanks!

  9. Okay, all of your ideas are fabulous! I love how you used what you had and made it work! Way to go! And the storage for puzzles? Amazing idea — I’m SO using that when I have kiddos someday. :-) Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. The puzzle pouches are a great idea!! Another thing that I did when my kids were little (especially my boys), was label all the puzzle pieces. My boys would like to come and dump all the pieces on the floor and that was such a mess to match all the pieces together. So I labeled all the pieces on the back of them- ex) for a Pooh puzzle that had 24 pieces- 1/24 Pooh. 2/24 Pooh
    That way all I had to do was flip the pieces over and search for the pieces instead of “having to construct” the puzzle.

    • I love the puzzle pouches, as well. I get so frustrated with broken boxes! We also like to find uses for puzzles that have a piece or two missing…for grandma’s birthday this year we glued some around a frame and put a photo of the grandkids with her- it says “love you to pieces”.

  11. I so needed to do some organizing of kid stuff this week, but we’ve all been sick and I just didn’t see it happening. Yesterday I had a bolt of energy at nap time, and that’s all it took! I moved all kid stuff to one end of our living room, put things in bins I already had, and it feels so much better! I made my own labels out of paper (that’s what I had and they’ll probably change anyway–I wasn’t ready to fully commit!) and used words and a picture for my toddler. The very best thing was HIS excitement when he woke up! He finished putting away toys and made sure the last few bins got labels. When Dad came home, little guy said, “It’s arranged!” I’m hoping for a cleaner life…for a few weeks at least!

    P.S. LOVE the zippered pouches for puzzles! I used baggies, which aren’t as lasting… I also like Christa’s labeling puzzles idea…thanks!

  12. Those puzzle pouches are brilliant! Where did you get the zippered pouches? That would be a great system for us.

    We almost bought that Expedit unit last year for our front room but the size you have was too big and we really needed something with drawers. The smaller one or similiar version from Target is our goal for our younger son’s room.

    For our kids’ clothes we use these from Target:
    http://www.target.com/p/Sterilite-Wide-3-Drawer-Cart-White/-/A-10497007#?lnk=sc_qi_detailbutton

    Not very classy but they work well. We have the primary colors version from the kids section. They’re just the right size for our almost 3 and 6 y/os to have access to their clothes and they’re safe because they kids can’t climb and/or pull them down on themselves. We’re a little cheap in that we haven’t bought furniture for our kids (other than mattresses) but part of that is still deciding how best to use our space.

  13. As always, great tips and inspiration! And it sounds like Anjali and Finn would get along swimmingly :)

  14. avatar
    SarahMay says:

    I’m so glad you toss your kid’s clothes into bins without folding, too! Everyone who knows I do that thinks I’m crazy. Really, they don’t wrinkle!

  15. I love that you ran out of letter stickers, but continued to label the bins anyway. That is something that would stop me in my tracks and then the project would never get done. What a great reminder that perfection isn’t always the end goal!

    Thanks for the motivation, Tsh. I cleared out some spaces that had been neglected for way too long.

  16. I couldn’t help but giggle at your “_inco_ _ _ogs”!

  17. I love it all! I especially love that even though you didn’t have all the sticker letters to label the toys bins, you didn’t let that stop you from starting. :)

  18. This is so not fair. I wasn’t paying attention and randomly did the toys on my own without before and after pictures! I shouldn’t say “on my own”. The kids helped. It’s not finished, but now Si is sick. Doctor today. I love your stickers. I totally laughed. So, we bought a couple couches for our couchless house this week, and the moving around inspired my kids. They got to work on their bedrooms. Sammy convinced Jake to help him separate Sam and Si’s bunk beds. Nuh uh. I am so glad I didn’t have to watch Sammy lifting his end of the top bunk off and setting it somewhere in the bedroom. Nothing went through a wall, but my word.

  19. I love looking at the before and after photos! We are undergoing a major house room transition (living room & dining room swap) so I wasn’t going to take on more with the kids room challenge right now…I’ll play along later.
    An alternative to the beautiful matching fabric bins for clothing storage…way back when, I had to just use what I had: long, low, plastic bins–perfect for storing rolls of wrapping paper flat. Each child got three to put under his/her bed: two for clothes and one for those pesky tiny toys they absolutely insisted on keeping (Lego, Polly Pockets, etc). Cheap and easy and used what we had. Five years later we’re still using the same system! :)

  20. I am glad to see the refining process. Each Spring Cleaning there is less and less going out and more focus on organization. I struggle with the books. I love to read and so does our 17 month old daughter but I hate the books all over the floor. And when she gets a little feisty, she likes to rip out pages. Right now I keep 5-6 thick hard paged books on her shelf at a time and rotate them often.

  21. Oh I love the zipper puzzle pouch! My 16 month old love to pull out everything and anything she can get her grubby little hands on…this should help my situation!

  22. Thanks for showing the progression. Less stuff headed out each year, more refining and organization. Project One was great for our family this wee,

  23. WOW! I so need the Lay-n-Go for my kids Legos! It drives me crazy when I have to get on carpet and inspect for any tiniest Lego piece before I could vacuum. Lay-n-Go would help solve my problem. Love other ideas like putting puzzles into a zippered bag instead of box. Will use your kids’ closet as an inspiring tool. Thanks for sharing!

  24. I kept scrolling and reading and thinking you were done and then there was another area you did! You go girl! We ahve almost all of the same storage items {Ikea boxes and shelves, Target-bins}. ;-)

  25. Another request for the source of those zippered bags! Am prepping for a move and they would come in very handy indeed. Thanks for all the good ideas, going to implement a bunch right now!

  26. We have the same bookshelf from Ikea and love it (and could use several more). Great idea on the zipper pouch for puzzle pieces. And thanks for letting us know you didn’t get as much done as you would’ve liked. That’s one of my favorite things about all the Simple websites – everyone acknowledges and even embraces imperfection and baby steps.

  27. Wow what an incredible task! I love the lay ‘n go, what a time/space saver!

  28. Great ideas and photos! I love organizing!

    Maria

  29. avatar
    Sleeping mom says:

    I love the shrinky dinks! And great idea on using alphabet stickers for the bins. Thank you for the ideas.

  30. One kid down, one still to go – yes, it’s true – I did not get all done I wanted, but life happens every moment and fevers, colds, and the last minute help to a friend takes priority.
    Still happy Jack (5 years) and I went through his room together. Clothes, toys, closet, and bookcase. I let him use the labeler (WHAT FUN) and arrange his buckets and bookcase.
    Maybe kid #2 (6 years) and I can get hers organized together as well…when her fever breaks ;)

    would love to try those cinch bags – AWESOME idea!

  31. Thank you for all the great ideas. Puzzles—that is where I’m gonna focus. The zippered pouch thing is awesome. Going to see if I can find some. Enjoying this so much. This is my first big “linky” project so thank you for the great organization. Loving it.

  32. you know – it was easy because I just put extra toys in the basement for the next baby and organized. but I’m finding out today if baby #2 is a boy or girl, and if it’s a girl, I’m going to have to go through my son’s clothes, because they won’t be needed. I’m sure this will make me cry!

  33. Nice!

  34. Uh….where did you get those totally awesome zippered pouches?

  35. Read the comments Amanda! Lol :) I will have to check our dollar stores….

  36. avatar
    Allison T says:

    LOVE the Lay’n-Go! Genius!

  37. The hardest part is that we are spread over 3 floors in a townhouse, so there are bits and pieces here there and everywhere. But I did manage to get 3 bags of clothes out, 2 are waiting to be given to friends, and one huge ikea bag full of toys for a yard sale. Whew. But if I took picture, it would not necessarily look like progress :)

  38. The best part? The end result and cleaning up in .5 seconds before company came over.

    The worst? Making myself get started. Serious mental hurdle.

  39. It’s almost like beginning a new life! Love it!

  40. We did do decluttering of toys in play area this week but I’ve decided to not continue with this formally. I’m feeling like it is just more work remembering to take before and after photos ;) Thankfully, because we do regular times of reorganizing/decluttering, we don’t have that much to do anyways. Still, a great idea.

  41. Love the Expedit bookshelfs from Ikea! The only IKEA in Colorado just opened several months ago & I already have 2 rooms done with their furniture. I have several of thge Expedit Bookshelves in my crop room & I just finished organing my scrapbooking supplies in 2 of the these. I also bought a bed from IKEA where the mattress lifts up & I am currently storing all the blankets & afghans in there. The mattress is easy to lift – my granddaughters can handle this chore. So many things can be stored in this extra storage space!

  42. Thanks for starting your post by making me feel better about not getting anything done on this project yet! I’m feeling more inspired now and will probably be posting around 11:58 PM tomorrow. :-)

  43. avatar
    Allison says:

    what are twaddle free books????

    • Here’s more detail than you may care to know, but basically, it’s dumbed-down books.

      • avatar
        Allison says:

        Thank you so much for answering. I hadnt a clue as to what it meant. I thought maybe it meant spit-up on the book (my daughter had reflux – we had plenty of those books!).

        I think organization is great! It’s a dream to me. I am overwhelmed by the clutter around me and don’t know where to start. Or if i do start by the time i get back to it there’s a whole bunch of new clutter.

        Thanks!

  44. I. LOVE. ALL. your ideas. I can’t wait to put a bunch of them into practice. Especially the zipper pouches for puzzle pieces.

  45. avatar
    Stephanie says:

    I just saw some of those zippered pouches at Goodwill yesterday–now I see how handy they can be around the house! Next time I’m buying them for sure. Thanks for the great idea!!

  46. I haven’t started doing this yet – sickness abounds at our house and right now, clean clothes matter more than spring cleaning. I love the idea for the puzzles and other assorted things. What a smart idea. I can’t wait to get more ideas!

  47. My two children are pre-readers so just wanted to add that I have labelled my boxes with laminated images, mostly from Google Images, so the kids (and their friends) can see where to put things during tidy-up time. I’ve also been quite ruthless getting rid of toys that I like, but don’t get played with. Ride-on toys have all gone – they were popular but we don’t really have the space and we have similar toys for the garden. Dressing-up box has now become a dressing-up rail so no longer does that have to be up-ended whilst looking for the fairy dress!

  48. The missing letters made me crack up. Thanks for keeping it real! Also, simply coincidentally, I cleaned out my kids’ rooms earlier this week! I’ll have a blog post coming about it next week, but am not ready to blog about it yet. Oh well – always find great inspiration here.

  49. avatar
    Samantha French says:

    Hi! First of all, I don’t think I’ve ever commented on your blog even though I’ve been reading it for over a year and have Organized Simplicity. So, here’s my first comment. :) Secondly, we have those big Expedit bookshelves, and I love them! Except when it’s time to dust them. And I love that you used the smaller ones for toy storage! Great idea! And, I like how you have the kids clothes stored, too! I have just one little guy at home right now (turning 1 March 20th), so while I did sort through his clothes, he doesn’t have too many toys yet, so no before/after pics. Baby #2 comes along in July… and then all heck lets loose!

  50. I like the idea of using zippered pouches for the puzzles! All our puzzle boxes are trashed, so I just have them in open boxes on top of a shelf.

  51. You did so much! I love the labeled bins.

    I posted your button on my blog last week, then blogged about Project Simplify and my first project Wednesday (to hopefully get more people to join in), and, of course, today. Such a nice chance for me to have some accountability for getting things completed. I just got your book yesterday, too, so am so excited to sit down and read!

  52. Our kids consignment sale is next week so this was the perfect week to go through their stuff, especially in the garage. I don’t have good before and after pictures on my website but I did a blog about it. thewilsonsjourney.wordpress.com

  53. avatar
    Laura B says:

    Thank you for the inspiration! Off to declutter! :)

  54. avatar
    Nancy Mosley says:

    You have some great ideas. I’ve just been buying up plastic bins for legos and now you’ve inspired me with even more ways to organize. I love the idea of the letters on the bookshelves. That is a great idea. Thanks!

  55. With a big move coming up. I think I will join you…next week. haha

  56. Okay, maybe my brain is fried, but I simply cannot figure out what “_inco_ _ _ogs” are. Seriously. It’s driving me nuts. Maybe I shouldn’t admit this in public…….

    And as far as participating in the clear out, my whole house is the scene of a massive clear out right now since we are moving overseas with next to nothing. I’ll just look at the pictures and get ideas for the new house for now. :)

  57. My cheap trick for puzzles is ziploc freezer bags as they are a little thicker than regular ziploc. Every so often when we do the puzzle I will write with sharpie on the bag the date and if it was missing any pieces.
    I have one expedit bookcase and it is holding up well. Out IKEA dresser is a piece of junk and half the drawers have fallen out in about five years. I am going to buy a couple more expedit bookcases and do the bin thing for my girls’ clothes! It drives me crazy they always mess up the clothes I fold, now I don’t have to care anymore! Thank you!

  58. OMG, you have so inspired me! I was on a cleaning/organizing kick at the end of 2011 and purged a lot but the only area I really got organized was our hallway closet. I don’t have any before pictures but it was a disaster. I did take some after pictures and am pretty happy with the results.

    I’ve started tackling our playroom and started using the canvas bins from Target but I like those Trofast bins so much better. I’ve found it hard to label the canvas and with heavier stuff they are so wobbly making it hard for my 4 year old to take them out and put them back.

    Also love the puzzle storage idea! Our boxes are so smashed up too. I really want to try the book thing and I think my 4yr old would be fine but my 20 month old just shoves books back wherever they fit.

    Great job organizing!

  59. Even when I buy several packs of the letter stickers, I still seem to run out of a few, just like you did. So I learned to make the letters I needed from the letters I had, ie: “l” can be made from h, T, b, d, B, D, and several more by careful trimming. “o” can be made from b, d, q, a, g, and so on. Depending on how desperate/Edward Scissorhands-ish you are, you can do more complicated substitutions like O + i = Q. (Typography fonts work much better for this than cursive fonts!)
    Happy trimming!

  60. Why not arrange the kids books by first letter of the title? So much easier for everyone (else) to remember, and easier for the kids to spot as they’re (hopefully) putting them away.
    I know libraries organise by author — but they have much bigger collections, and some other reasons that don’t apply so much at home.

  61. Do you have any ideas for kids who are in their early 20s? LOL I wish I had access to your site and this article 15 years ago. Seriously though great job. Your articles are very informative and not just full of fluff.

    I can acutally apply some of these organizational ideas to my own home office which gets a bit messy too.

    Thanks

  62. Thanks for the motivation to get this done. When I moved about 6 months ago, I swore that I would never again let junk and chaos pile up in my home, but 6 months late, I have found that it’s already starting to happen! I still have to sort through and better organize my DD’s “art station” but I have gone through all the drawers, closet, toys, and books. I’m too lazy to take and upload pics though :)

  63. Sharing my photos on my family blog. I am loving the support, encouragement, and accountability of Project: Simplify! :)

    http://atlases.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/project-simplify-2012-week-1/

  64. i’m so glad i’m not the only that has given up folding their toddler’s clothes. nevertheless, it still pains me everytime i open their drawer.

  65. I love the shrinky dinks! And I love that you just gave me permission to NOT fold my sons’ clothes. :)

  66. avatar
    Jennifer says:

    I have gone through all the toys, books, and clothes. Toys and books are all in place, but the clothes are pulled out of the closet and I am too out of steam to put away. Thank goodness my daughter is away tonight (I never thought I would say that!). I am going to slot in some SELF CARE and re-start this evening. Funny how you have to make a big mess sometimes to get organized.

  67. I didn’t find your challenge until yesterday, but the timing was perfect – my son’s room was a disaster and it was well past time to clear it out! Thanks for the inspiration!
    http://diyknitter.com/2012/03/10/decluttering-challenge/

  68. I am getting ready for another yard sale and this is PERFECT timing. I am so excited about de-cluttering. Love it!

  69. I hope my pictures ended up counting. I wasn’t very good about remembering to take them. I have a before picture of the enormous pile of kids’ clothing bins that need to be organized and stored and given away. Worked really hard on that today. Feels good. My after picture shows quite the change! (Well mainly because I came home after the boys went to bed and couldn’t take a picture in their room so I added my after cleaning up a mountain of Legos on the floor and organizing them and our gardening/seed starting supplies. Lots of work done just need to be better about pictures next week!

  70. I love the pencil cases for the puzzles with crushed boxes. What an ingenious idea! I use a similar box system for our toys, but we also put pictures on them, so the kids could easily identify what goes in each box before they could read.

  71. Looks great! I love the pencil pouch idea.

  72. avatar
    Tamrah T says:

    Genius ideas! I love the streamlining while allowing children to do their part to keep it organized.

  73. Thanks for the great challenge, Tsh! My house really needs this and I felt so great about the progress I made this week! Exciting!!!

  74. Tsh you’ve got some awesome ideas. I’ve used the zippered bags that sheet sets come in to corral my daughters puzzles and/or smaller toys. I work in a library and we loan out jigsaw puzzles. We put a number on the outside of the box and each puzzle piece is marked with that same number. Sadly that doesn’t keep all the pieces from being returned. If you’re looking for a simple, safe idea for book ends I saw a nifty one a few days ago. I don’t remember the site but in essence what it was, was two rectangles of fabric stitched together and filled with sand. Heavy enough to hold books up but not going to cause too much damage if dropped. Just thought I’d share that idea. I love your blog, just discovered it a few days ago and I’m hooked already.

  75. avatar
    Meredith says:

    I missed the deadline, but at least I did it…. well in both my kids rooms. It still have kids books and games to organize in our living room.

    http://notjustaplacetolive.blogspot.com/2012/03/cleaning-not-organizing.html

  76. I just love this time of the year! I am so inspired by your organization, Tsh. We started purging our stuff last year (after being inspired by one of last year’s spring cleaning posts about stuffed animals and kids’ toys). We’re not there yet, but we’re working on it consistently. Thanks!

  77. Love the puzzle pouches! I’m going to look for these the next time I’m in Michael’s or the dollar store.

    We’d been planning to tackle the kids’ room for awhile, but this project lit a fire under us to get most of it accomplished by this weekend. Otherwise it would have taken a month! Thanks for doing this.

  78. Well that’s a really great job you’ve done there! Thanks for sharing this. It’s a very creative idea to do those things.

  79. So great! And thank you so much for sharing where you got your stuff for organizing. It all looks so great. And I love how you do their clothes and you just shove them in there. I always wondered if it would be so wrong to not fold my 3 and 1 year old’s clothes when they were just going to get yanked out and thrown around their room anyways…you gave me courage to just shove their clothes in too, ha.

  80. Thanks for sharing so many great tips! I am filing them away for the future. My munchkin was sick all week so I didn’t get as much done as I hoped, but I did do the major toy hot spot in the living room. The best part was seeing the huge difference it made! My main challenge was not really having the storage solutions I would like to have had, but weeding out the clutter is a good place to start!

  81. You have made my organizing heart very happy! Love the idea of using pencil pouches to store puzzle pieces. Gonna have to use that one…

  82. My blog partner, Amy Baranski, started this challenge with you last week and now I am hooked in as well. I can’t resist a good challenge!
    -I will clean out my fridge, as it has been on my list of things to do for a while now.
    -I will figure out a way to not only organize my containers, but to also make sure it is a way that is easy to maintain. I feel like I could do this chore daily and by nightfall, all the containers are falling out of the cupboard if it is opened.
    -I will make a menu for the week and stick to it. I used to do this all the time, and it feels really good to have a kitchen full of healthy, fresh food that you know will be eaten and not found rotting in the fridge two weeks later.

    Good luck, everyone!
    -Melissa

  83. With a small delay in sharing our progress, but we made it through week 1 as well. We ended up sorting cables, books and CDs instead of toys, but are very happy about the results.

    Thanks for making this year’s Project happen Tsh!

    Looking forward to seeing peoples progress in Week 2 (and our own of course!).

  84. I can’t believe it, but I actually didn’t have to sort through my kids’ toys this year because we’ve managed to keep them at a minimum and keep the space clean! Woohoo!

    I did want to add another idea about puzzle storage though. I tried plastic bags for a while, but my two-year-old had trouble opening them and closing them. She was getting really frustrated. I almost bought the same pencil bags that you used, but we have cube shelving (like your IKEA shelves) and I didn’t want them just piled in there. I ended up getting $0.99 plastic pencil boxes instead. They fit all the pieces and the picture from the puzzle box and they stack nicely inside the shelves. Plus, they are SO much easier for my toddler to open and close. They have been great!

  85. Where did you find the zippered pouches?

  86. My oldest daughter modivated and helped me tackle out craft area in the garage -now all of us can do arts and crafts again.

    Kathey’s Post:
    http://chellsenclan.blogspot.com/2012/03/project-simplify-2012.html

  87. Just have to say that I LOVE your idea of the zippered pouches for puzzles! I’m definitely going to file that one away for when our puzzle boxes get squashed.

  88. My daughter will turn 3 on april she started to play puzzle but she love to play on her blocks. But the #1 problem i am facing now is the messy room every time she play. But i know that’s the kid stuff. There nothing i can do thats the way where she will learn doing some new stuff whew being mom….

  89. Brilliant! Zippered bags for puzzle pieces and bins for clothes. Our son never re-folds and with this method it won’t drive me crazy. While I haven’t done this challenge I did just purge a few things off the computer before I landed on this topic. I will give myself the pat on the back for that. Thanks for some handy tips.

  90. Love this post!! will help to sort out our non ending mess of toys and books.

  91. I like the kids’ clothing storage idea. I would like to do something with laundry baskets, set at an angle over a wire rack similar to those toy storage bin racks that hold plastic bins in a slanted position over two dowels. Clean laundry could easily be tossed into the laundry baskets–socks in one, shirts in another, etc. The bottom rack could be for dirty laundry sorted into colors. When it’s time to wash, just grab the basket. Has anyone seen anything like this?

  92. Well, I don’t count week one as a huge success, but at least I now know what I’m up against… It doesn’t seem to matter how willing I am to purge my belongings, my kids have their own plans for their things. I’ve finally posted Before/After of the Toy Room but have to admit that I had much more success with their papers and got a great running start at the coming week’s challenge! :-D

  93. Loui,
    Not sure if this kind of thing would work for you–I haven’t tried it, but it’s something my husband found online a while ago:
    http://ana-white.com/2010/11/laundry-basket-dresser

    Lego storage! I’ve been doing something similar to the puzzle pouches for my son’s lego sets. He has a big bin of miscellaneous lego pieces (mostly yard sale finds) but for his sets that he got new and doesn’t want to lose the pieces, I put the whole set in a ziploc bag along with the directions. A part of the box could be cut off and put in the bag as well, and it can be labeled with the name/number of the set. The bags can just be tossed into a bin or other storage container.

    • Thanks, that is definitely along the same lines as what I was thinking. Hoping to find something like this that has the baskets at an angle so you don’t have to pull them out.

  94. These would make some really good corporate baby gifts. I have been looking all over the internet for some good corporate baby gifts ideas and this is just so helpful and I love it. I just cant wait for my friends to have a kid.

  95. avatar
    Marissa says:

    Wondering where you bought the zippered pouches used for the puzzles? Thanks so much,

    • Those are pencil cases so check where the school supplies are, I’ve seen them in a lot of stores. I will be getting mines from the dollar store :)

  96. Does anyone know how to clean old childrens books and puzzles?

  97. Pouches for puzzle storage, what a GREAT idea!! I will be buying some of those. I’m thinking about buying a coat hanger and put it arm-reach high and hang the pouches in there; they come in dif. colors so it will look cute :)
    I use the bins you use for clothes for books and toys. I try to organize the toys like you did by keeping same toys together but I always have to go back after the kids are done picking-up to re-roganize… it never ends : /
    -Thanks for sharing your tips.

  98. avatar
    Christine Vivino says:

    How does one store those Melissa and Doug dress up puzzles that are in containers but no lid

  99. I love the idea of organizing the books based on last name of author. What a great idea, not to mention that it teaches your kids the ABC’s and alphabetizing.

  100. This is very creative and really helpful tips to organize kids stuff. Love how you come up with the labeling and storage organizers. Will sure grab these ideas, thank you so much for sharing!

    Gina
    Vacuum Storage Bags Supplier

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