Getting Organized pt. 1

I have never understood the spring cleaning bug. It just never really made much sense to me, and it wasn’t my thing. This year, it’s hit me HARD. I’ve been a cleaning, organizing fool… and since I hate to spend money (it’s tough right now but our victory over the credit card companies is imminent!), I’ve found all sorts of frugal ways to organize our home!

Last week I did Alexa’s room and I LOVE it. We spent $19 at Ikea and about 4 hours of our time, and her room (actually, her and Chris’ room) looks spectacular. It’s amazing what a few bins will do for you!

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We’ve had this little shelf for years, and for the past 2 years it’s been sitting next to Alexa’s bed unused while we had all of our shoes in our coat closet (which was therefore called the “shoe closet” most of the time.) This solution for her shoes worked amazingly.
The green netted thing next to it cost us all of $3 at Ikea, and it is SO wonderful. (We spent about $6 more on a hook thing to mount it to the wall so it wouldn’t be too high for her to reach.) All of her toys are categorized and placed in different parts of it… and to make it easier, I slapped some notecards on with words and pictures stating what’s in each pocket.

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These bins were $3-$4/ea and I’m so happy with them. Alexa has a sweet vanity that was given to her for Christmas 2010, and it’s wonderful, but for whatever reason, having her dress-up clothes in the drawers of her vanity did not work at all. They always ended up everywhere instead. Same with her little people and her lincoln logs, which weren’t stored in the vanity but in one of those clear plastic drawer things in her closet… for whatever reason, it never worked. Now her toys are all easy-to-access, the floor of her closet is clean, and her bookshelf is being used and looking all cute and functional. YAY!
Here’s her room in full:

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Tada!!

This week, I’m working on clothes. I decided when I did Alexa’s room that that thing my parents did every spring when I was a kid (that drove me crazy at the time) where they emptied all our long-sleeved shirts and warm jackets out of our closet and packed them away until after summer, was actually genius. She’s almost 5 and at that age where she wants to pick out her own clothes… so a closetful of adorable long-sleeved shirts was just not a good idea. It seemed like I was having to send her back into her room for weather-appropriate clothes DAILY. When I was a kid, though, we lived in Phoenix, AZ… meaning ALL the long-sleeved stuff went away for quite a while! But this is Texas, so I kept out about 5 long-sleeved shirts and 2 or 3 hoodies, because no one knows when it’ll be nearing the 100s and then drop to the 30s outta nowhere!
After doing her clothes, I decided it was necessary to do mine as well…

We want something waterproof to put the clothes in, like those big plastic bins, but since those things cost anywhere from $5.50-$10/ea. for even a medium-sized one, I decided we would find out how many we would need before we bought them. I came up with an idea to gather the clothes up and keep track of them in the meantime, and one that would work over the course of several days (or weeks… you know, life with kids…) There’s also a family yard sale coming up, so some of the kids’ clothes are going there, and a friend of mine is donating a bunch of her clothes to a program that helps out middle schoolers, so that’s where all my clothes are going. (Yes, I’m the size of a middle schooler.) Lastly, I threw out most of Alexa’s stuff (or gave it away) as she grew out of it, and then had another baby and had to re-buy a bunch of stuff! Since we know we’re having 1 or 2 more eventually, we’re saving all that stuff. (Thank God for in-laws with storage space they’re willing to share!!) So, the stuff of the kids’ that’s especially cute, we’re going to keep that instead of putting it in the yard sale and/or donating it.
So, my solution for keeping it organized while I go through many, many, many loads of laundry over the course of days (weeks, months…)? Grocery store bags and notecards!

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All the clothes are getting separated and stuffed into well-labeled bags so that when I’m finished looking through all of them, I can look at a stack of 3 (or 7, or 12) full bags and decide how many bins I need for each item, what can be combined, etc. The kids’ clothes are also separated by size (or will be).

*Sigh* The adventure of cleaning. It’s taking forever, but I know once it’s done, I’ll be the happiest mama on the block!

Next, I’ll post about the living room. We made it over a little. LOVE it! It would be so much more effective with BEFORE pictures rather than just AFTER pictures, but I didn’t think of that BEFORE I did it haha… You’ll enjoy the after, anyway. At least I will. 🙂

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