A Professional Organizer’s Kid’s Room

As a professional organizer, I am often asked about the state of my own home.  Is it perfectly organized?  The answer is definitely NO!  Although a good part of my home is clutter-free, I also have my share of junk drawers, out-dated clothes, and unused Tupperware, etc., etc.  I also have four kids – one elementary-school age, one tween, and two teens.  That amounts to a lot of stuff for a lot of people.
 ______________________________________________________
And when it comes to their bedrooms I have one piece of advice – pick your battles!  Their rooms are never going to look like a Pottery Barn Kids catalog – I would be scared if it did!  They all have their “stuff” that they want in there, and as it isn’t trash or food-related, I am OK with that!
 ______________________________________________________
My youngest daughter, in particular, likes stuffed animals.  Lots and lots (and lots) of stuffed animals!  At one time, they all lived in a very large clear bin in her bedroom closet with a few favorites on her bed.  Now, they have escaped their closet prison and her room resembles a very small, crowded petting zoo.
 ______________________________________________________
IMG_3173
They are on the beanbag chair, in bins, on tables, and on the bed.  Not my ideal scenario but not a battle I want to fight.  She is a good kid who willingly cleans out her desk and under-bed area periodically.  And in a couple of years, our whole house will probably be free of these furry toys.  Maybe I am going easy on her because she is my youngest, but I am fine with that!
 _______________________________________________________
These are photos of her room, posted with her permission.  Not how I would keep my room but it isn’t my room, it is hers!  And right now, it looks great to me!
IMG_3177
IMG_3176
IMG_3175

Solutions for Toy Storage!

Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

I have worked with so many Moms over the years, organizing their toys, books, and clothes. I love it when I come across a new idea to solve an old problem. Here are some out-of-the-box solutions to consider.

 

Stuffed Animals

bungeeanimals

Stuffed animals can be a challenge. We have all seen the hanging, mesh holders and the hammock. But I really liked this DIY idea because the kids can grab just one animal without dumping the whole lot. They can see the animals and, most importantly, put them back! It reminds me of zoo!

This was made from a $15 bookcase, some bungee cords with the ends cut off and hooks removed, and a drill. Impressive!

 

Barbie Dolls

barbietoy

Consider using a clear shoe holder to store Barbies. It keeps them within reach and off the floor. And it looks great!

 

Craft Supplies

crayonholder

Use food storage containers to corral craft supplies. These are clear so your little ones can see what is inside. And it will make putting away these supplies a snap!

 

Bath Toys

bathtoys

A fruit basket can become a toy caddie in the bathroom. The toys will dry out and stay in one place. Inexpensive and useful!

 

Small Toys

tooltoy

Toys with small pieces can live in tool chest. One drawer for each type of toy. It gives your space a cool, industrial look!

Try one of these solutions and see how it works for you!

 

 

Five Tips to Maintaining Your Organized House

Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

You did it! Your spring cleaning was a success! Everything has a home and your rooms are tidy and neat! But then, a few weeks later, the clutter-monster has returned! I am constantly asked – how do I maintain an organized room?

toyshelf

Here are a few tips:

Make it easier to put day-to-day items away.

But how? Store things where you use them. If you are constantly using band-aids in the kitchen, store them there instead of in the bathroom. Don’t stuff your containers until they are overflowing. This leaves no room for new items. Try to leave some room at the top. This may require more storage containers than you thought you needed.

Continue reading “Five Tips to Maintaining Your Organized House”

Let it go! Let it go!

 Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

 

cropped-img_09642-e1421442319437.jpg

Spring cleaning your house can be rewarding but challenging. For some, deciding what to toss, what to keep, and what to donate can seem daunting. This stops some people in their tracks, causing them to give up their organizing project completely. After pulling all items out of the area that you are organizing and sorting them by kind (legos with the legos, cars with the cars, etc.), now is the time to make some decisions.

Although there is no one strategy that will work for all people, here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide when it is okay to let it go!

Consider these questions and decide which one(s) resonate with you. Ask yourself only the question or two that will move you into action:

steamer

Have I used this item in the past year?

If no, and it is not an heirloom, you should toss or donate it.

Continue reading “Let it go! Let it go!”

Organizing Mistakes – What not to do when conquering your clutter!

Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

Sometimes we have good intentions – let’s get rid of some clutter this weekend! But then Sunday night rolls around and all you have are new piles of stuff and a few things thrown away. Here are some mistakes that people make when trying to declutter their homes (and how to avoid them).

Zig-zag – The biggest mistake that people make when organizing is what is called zig-zagging.  You are planning on an organizing session in the kitchen, you find a book there, you go into the office to put it away, you find a toy there so you go to the playroom to put that away, then you start putting away toys and you never make it back to the kitchen.  When organizing, keep an “upstairs” bag and an “office” bag, for example, near the door and put those items away after you are done in the kitchen.

bags

 

Getting Distracted – Another common mistake is not making a commitment to focus on the organization without distractions – no kids, no phone calls, no emails, for a set amount of time. Set a timer if needed and keep working until the timer goes off!

 

clock

Continue reading “Organizing Mistakes – What not to do when conquering your clutter!”

DIY Organizing Projects

Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

 

ribbon1

We all love a good DIY project and if it helps keep our lives organized, even better.  Here are a few ideas. I have to admit, I have only tried the ribbon box (I made this one years ago for my mom).  Let me know if you try them!  Would love to hear some success stories!

Ribbon Box

I first made seven holes in one long side of the box with a utility knife. I then made one hole on each of the short ends of the box at the same height. I covered the bottom of the inside of the box with fabric, using fabric glue.

Then I covered the entire box and lid with fabric, wrapping it like a present and using more fabric glue to hold it in place.

ribbon3

Continue reading “DIY Organizing Projects”

Habits From College That Can Help You Stay Organized Today!

penant

 Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

College dorm rooms are typically small with multiple occupants sharing one space. Although you may not want to return to those living conditions any time soon, some habits that you had back then could help you stay clutter-free today. Here are five ideas to keep in mind:

1.  Shower caddies – If bathroom space is limited, give each family member a portable shower caddy for carrying toiletries to and from their bedroom. They are light and inexpensive!

showercaddy

Continue reading “Habits From College That Can Help You Stay Organized Today!”

Children’s Artwork: What to Keep and Where to Keep It

 

Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

Reesegirl

 

We all love our kids’ artwork. The tiny handprints, the sun with the face, the macaroni skeleton. But saving it all is impractical. As a professional organizer, I am constantly being asked: With all these piles of masterpieces, how do we decide what to keep and how do we store it?

Here are some ideas to help you and your child proudly display, sort, and store those works of art.

Display It

Designate one high-traffic area where you can display the newest, favorite works immediately. A clothesline can be strung high on a wall with clothespins to hold the art or clips can hang from the ceiling.

thermostat camoflauge with IKEA RIBBA shelf   kids art hanging from ceiling

Photos above courtesy of  www.DIYDelRay.com

A hinged frame from hearthsong.com is great. Newer works are placed in front; up to 50 older works are stored behind it. This allows for easy display and storage.

Continue reading “Children’s Artwork: What to Keep and Where to Keep It”

Getting the Kids to Help you Organize

      

Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

Put your kids to work doing some tasks that are a big help to Mom and Dad, but that they enjoy too.

Organizing plastic containers. Sort the plastic containers: bottoms in one pile, tops in another pile.  Then, match up each bottom container with the appropriate top.

containersort2

Any top without a bottom, or bottom without a top can be recycled. (Where did those missing pieces go?) Also, consider donating or recycling any excess if you find that you have too many of one size. If you end up with one extra larger-sized bottom, it could be used to hold the tops. Stack smaller containers inside larger ones.

tops1

Replace the containers to your kitchen cabinet.

Continue reading “Getting the Kids to Help you Organize”

Furniture as Storage – Double Duty Pieces

Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

For those of us making the best of small-space living, furniture that doubles as storage can be a godsend. You don’t need custom-built or pricey pieces. Finding furniture that increases your home’s storage capacity without gobbling up tons of square footage can be fun! Here are some creative examples of furniture that doubles as storage.

I found this old pie safe on the curb nearly twenty years ago. It was yellow and had glass panes with ducks painted on them. I painted it blue and removed the glass, replacing it with chicken coop wire. It now stores the kids’ arts and crafts supplies, my cookbooks, trivets, etc. I use this piece so much that when I renovated my kitchen, I left a space for it.

cabinet

This next piece is a refinished trunk. It was a wedding gift from my uncle and aunt (he re-finished the outside, while she fixed up the inside). The possibilities here are endless. I use it as a coffee table and I store lesser-used board games here. But, you could use it to store extra linens, out-of-season clothes, or wrapping paper.

chestclosed2

games2

Continue reading “Furniture as Storage – Double Duty Pieces”