How to Manage All The Toys!!!

toysDo you remember having sooo many toys when you were a kid?  I swear I didn’t have near the number my own children do!!  Why is that?  Are we not as frugal as our older generation?  Is the selection way more broad and have the advertisers aced their GET THEM TO BUY test.  I don’t want to just say we’re all suckers.  I guess it is a combination of the above.  In most cases it’s not only just us buying for our children.  Add to the mix parents, in-laws, aunts and uncles, Godparents, family friends and just plain friends.  That equals loads of toys.  Depending on the age of your kids determines how you can handle them.  I am a firm believer in NOT micro categorizing.  You will see that in many of those organizing shows.  Micro categorizing is great if your kids are into model planes or some sort of specialty hobby.  The goal here is (and I’m sure you can agree with me) is to simply not have the toys all over the house.

How on earth am I going to do that?! Julie’s Top Toy Clutter Tips:

One thing that I find when working with clients on organizign their home, is that if they have small children, the master bedroom often becomes a children’s play room.  I firmly believe this is a no, no. The master bedroom needs to be a haven of adult-ness!!!  If your kids are small and need to be entertained in your room while you, say, take a shower, a basket with a small selection of toys tucked away is sufficient.  Bring these out only during shower times so they don’t tire of these toys.

To keep track of small toys around the house and to insure a quick pick up, place visually appealing baskets or containers that match the décor of your house in strategic spots.  Instead of keeping all the pieces and parts together, toss them in the nearest basket.  Once a week or so travel around your home and put the parts and pieces together. This will make clean up time much less overwhelming.

Take a look around your home.  Where do the toys tend to congregate?  What can you use to contain them and keep your home together?  If you have a specific room where the toys are kept, use a simple wire or wood-shelving unit to keep rubber maid bins for each category of toy (legos, barbies, babies, play mobile etc.)

And finally, most importantly… and worth a re-mention… remember, it’s not worth it to keep the Barbie clothes and shoes in different containers/ Avoid micro-categoizing like the swine-flu. They will all get dumped out at the same time to be played with.  Subcategorizing the gazillion toys your kids accumulate causes more work for you and less willingness on their part to put them away.

Final tip (and always helpful when it comes to getting and staying organized): keep it simple.

Expert Mommy, Julie Sprouse Verleger is the owner of Organized Home.

How to Organize Your Kid’s Schedules

This tip from Claire Keeling has made a tremendous difference in my family’s routine! Think about it… I make a “to do” list daily and I’m sure that most moms do too, otherwise they wouldn’t offer so many diffferent TO DO lists in all different styles at Target! But we unconsciously expect our young kids to keep track of their “to do” lists in their heads or, put the expectation on ourselves to keep track FOR them!

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How to Store Outgrown Clothes

clothesIt seems like you just brought your baby home and she is already growing out of the newborn clothing. Where do these articles of clothes end up? In a grocery bag on the floor? In a pile at the bottom of the basement stairs? Our little ones are going to grow out of everything you put on their little bodies and faster than you can wrestle a wiggly arm into a sleeve. Being the miserly smart parents we are, do you have a plan for those to little clothes?

5 ways to keep clothing organized as your kids out grow them.

1.  Place an open container in a closet or under the bed. This allows you to quickly place out grown clothing before moving to longer-term storage.

2.  When the bin is full, transfer clothes to a Rubbermaid bin and mark the outside with the sex and size of the clothes.

3.  Be sure to toss any articles that are stained or worn.

4. I know we occasionally get clothes that we don’t care for. If you don’t feel obligated for your child to wear them, place in a separate donate bin.

5. You bins should be labeled something like this,

Boy clothing

Newborn to 3months

Be sure to purchase several bins that are clear and the same size. This will make it easier for you to stack and see what is in there. Little socks and bibs can be stored together in a lingerie bag, since they tend to get lost in the shuffle. A plastic bag does not breath and tends to smell after awhile.

Some of the benefits for keeping out grown clothing organized.

  1. Allow you to quickly set up for a garage sale. Did you know that kids clothing is a hot commodity? A great way to make some extra cash.
  2. Easy access when saving the clothing for hand me downs.
  3. You will always be able to see what you have. (The bins work great for clothing that are to big right now)

This simple but useful system works for any age. Hmmm, what else would work with this system? Toys? Your clothing? Household items you no longer need or want? This list can go on and on, but for now concentrate on all those clothes that seem to only get worn once because our children grow so fast. Enjoy, recycle, reuse.

Expert Mommy, Julie Sprouse Verleger is the owner of Organized Home.

How to Pick Your New Mommy Wardrobe

postnatalLast week a very good friend of mine had her first baby. When I went to see my friend and her beautiful daughter in the hospital we talked about how the pain is more that one can imagine, but its all worth it. We talked about what the best clothes were to wear for breast-feeding and recovery. For those of us who have been through or are going through babydome, the first 2 months become somewhat of a blur. We almost robotically feed, change diapers and rest whenever we can. Somehow we manage to eat, shower and actually be a Mom to our other children and half the time not even remember how we did it. Then we take a look in the mirror with dark circles under our eyes, no make up, wearing what ever our burry vision could direct us to and undone hair. Some would say welcome to motherhood, but we know it’s just a temporary glitch because we have little lives to care for and get into a pattern. What can we do to get ourselves through the time and beyond? How can we organize ourselves to look the best with out to much hoopla? I have some ideas for you and if you organize it now before the baby or take a little time after the baby is born, you will save yourself time, stress and feel better. Sounds great doesn’t it?

  1. Select a drawer or section in your closet to place an entire outfit that fits you in post baby body. For example a comfy but not sloppy pair of pants and top such as yoga pants and roomy top. If you wear all one color it adds a sliming effect. Keep several of these outfits in a drawer so you don’t even have to think about what you are grabbing. It will save you time, energy and a lot of grief.
  2. Buy yourself a super cool hat. Hats are back and in all kinds of cute styles. If all you can manage is to brush your hair, throw on a great hat and look like a million bucks. This is perfect for the times when you can’t get in to get your roots touched up or just need a boost.
  3. Shoes, what can I say? We all need shoes don’t we? At this time in your life comfort is key but they need to be easy to put on. Fortunately there are so many cute styles out now for slip on flats. The reason I’m suggesting this is to save you time getting yourself together. When you have a toddler in one hand and a baby carrier in the other fiddling with shoes that have a lot of bells and whistles will prove to be tiresome.

The point here is to keep it simple. Save entering the high fashion world for a bit and focus on recovery and you kids. By creating an area in your closet or dresser for quick grab outfits, getting dressed and looking pulled together can be easier. When you are comfortable and feel like you look assembled it directly affects our psyche. You will be ready for visitors and trips to preschool. Simple basics can pull the whole look together and the only thing you will have to prepare yourself for are all the “Wow, you look great for just having a baby!” compliments that will come you way.

Image of Nursing Top from Due Maternity.

Expert Mommy, Julie Sprouse Verleger is the owner of Organized Home.

How to Maintain Your Home with a New Baby

dishesIt’s 9:30 in the evening. The baby has been asleep for at least a couple hours and your other kids are tucked in bed. What’s next? The dishes, a load of laundry and pick up toys? You know, I’m just tired writing about this. Those are the last things you feel like doing aren’t they? I can’t help you have less dishes or laundry, but I can give you a couple tips and sure fire ways to make some of those tasks easier to handle. Yes, even your tired mommy self can do it, get to bed and be the “bestest” Mom in the world the next day. [Read more…]

How to Organize Your Kid’s School Items

I don’t know about you but my kids are like squirrels! Last week, I opened up their backpacks and found… yes, about 5 pounds of acorns in them. Seriously. I am both impressed with their ability to see magical possibilities in every scrap of paper and stray bottlecap. However, the problem is Volume Control.

I met with my friend and Expert Mommy, Claire Keeling about how to organize the black holes, a.k.a. school lockers and backpacks!

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How to Organize for Baby

cribSo here you are, standing in the middle of what used to be your guest room or office. Never did you think the slick blue gray walls would be painted over in robins egg blue; the industrial photos of the Madison St Bridge would be replaced by soft illustrations of favorite storybook characters. Yes, it’s time to get ready for baby. The crib is purchased the changing table is ready to be taken out of the box. Is there something you are missing? What other steps need to be taken to organize your space to make room for the special creature you are about to meet? [Read more…]

How to Tackle Paperwork

claire_keelingMeet my friend Claire Keeling! If you are in St. Louis, chances are you’ve seen her on Great Day St. Louis. She’s a mom entrepreneur, the founder of Sort It Out Consulting. She’s an organization and efficiency expert (we all need more of that, right?) So we are quite pleased to be partnering with Claire to bring you regular tips in the home and life organization. Here’s what she has to say about tackling all the paperwork that manages to clutter your kitchen counter and other living spaces. [Read more…]