I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!
So as I might have mentioned once or twice before, I'm a slob. And not a happy one either. I hate my house being such a disorganized mess. It drives me crazy! I said I was going to take this summer to get my act together now that I wasn't working and had more time. Didn't happen. I got sidetracked will a million other things and quit before I even got started. But on my trip a few weeks ago to visit family in Miami, I had an inspiration... my sister in law. She has two kids, two jobs, and the nicest most organized home I've ever seen. No, she did not clean it up for our visit. She actually keeps it that way ALL OF THE TIME!
She admitted to me that she was a bit OCD, but unfortunately for me, that is one disease that isn't contagious so almost immediately after our arrival back in town, my house returned to its usual trashed-like state. I wanted to pull my hair out! Luckily, I had the image of my sweet sister in my mind reminding me that it is possible. My house can be clean. So now, I am a woman on a mission, and unlike my mission to lose weight this is a real mission that I will complete or die trying. (Okay. Maybe that was a bit overdramatic). I will organize my house! Who's with me?
First off, the one part of the house, I started, but never got around to finishing... the playroom.
This playroom actually started out as a home preschool that I ran for a couple years. I closed it this spring, and turned it into my kids playroom. I have a few things in here that I think were pretty cool ideas that I'd like to share.
First off, is the reading area. As you might have noticed, this "couch" is actually a toddler bed, purchased at a garage sale. I got the mattress on craigslist. I'm not typically a fan of used mattresses, but they aren't sleeping on it so I'm not so worried. It's really nice because I can cover it with a mattress pad and sheet, and wash them easily when they get dirty. Underneath the couch are book bins - labeled with pictures so my daughter knows where the books go. I'd prefer a bookcase, but simply didn't have the space for it.
Next you'll see my block area. It's actually a really old entertainment center, but works great for the blocks. Old entertainment centers are wonderful for storing kids toys. They are sturdy and have deep shelves which are usually a good fit for plastic bins. They are also low to the ground and don't pose a tipping hazard. Best of all, since no one uses big heavy TV's anymore, you can often find these for really cheap at garage sales or goodwill.
Beside the blocks is our easel. I purchased it for $35.00 at A.C. Moore with a half off coupon. Moving on...
On the opposite end of the room I have a ridiculous amount of dress up clothes (remember, I ran a preschool). To avoid having to drill hooks into the wall, I just used Command wall hangers to hang the clothes on and a crate to hold the larger items in. I also have a three drawer bin, to hold all of the little things like tiaras and dress-up shoes.
Our art table was, if I do say so myself, as stroke or genius or maybe just common sense. Either way, it's awesome! All I did was take a wooden kitchen table I purchased on Craigslist and have the legs cut down at Home Depot (for free :) ).
Above the table, I placed thin rectangles of cork board along the wall to hang the children's art from.
How do I make labels? Well, I'm so glad you asked. This is what I do:
I make them in word.
First I choose a simple font, like Veranda or Times, and make a list of all the descriptions I want to use to label my bins. These are going to be different for everyone depending on your child's interests, but just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about, here are the ones I made: Art, Coloring books, Play dough, Horses, Action Figures, Barbies, Cars, Stamps, Dress-up, Instruments, Books, Legos, Animals and Dolls. Next, I googled images to match my descriptions, and saved the pictures I liked into their own file. (You can just use clip art, but I've found much nicer images through Google). Then, I divided my document into two columns (to save paper) and inserted the pictures beneath the descriptions. I then printed, cut and laminated all of my labels. I have have a lamination machine, but you can get yours laminated at any copy store.
Depending on the size of your bins and the kinds of bins you use, these labels will need to be printed differently. If you're using typical plastic bins, you can just size your labels to fit, print, cut and laminate them before taping them to your bins. If you have canvas bins like mine, you will want to leave extra space at the top of each label. Once you print them, you will need to cut the labels out leaving that extra room at the top for you to punch a hole into. After you laminate and cut out the final labels, you can punch that same hole again, thread the clamps through them, and hang them on their corresponding bins. Here's how one of my final ones looked.
If you have any questions or ideas to share, please leave me a message in the comments below. I will do my best to address them as quickly as possible.