Halloween Costume Photos

I borrowed a wonderful tip from Thea at Organized Living Essentials where she suggested doing a Pre-Halloween Dress Rehearsal for the kids costumes. That way you could take a few photos before the hectic Trick or Treat evening. I decided to try this for several reasons:

-My kids costumes are really bulky this year and trying to get them to sit still for pictures and go right into Trick or Treating would be ridiculous.

-I decided to photograph them individually to get more photos and if they were both in costume at the same time, this would have been impossible!

-Now I can post the pics on the blog and facebook as well as email them to all the grandparents before Halloween is over. Then everyone is more in the mood and I make sure everyone gets to see the pics in a timely manner. Believe me, as much as I love Halloween, as soon as it’s over, I immediately throw all decorations and costumes back in their bins! So it helps to already have the pictures taken care of.

-I can just enjoy watching them trick or treat and not worry about getting the perfect costume picture when they are so distracted.

-Inevitably before any big photo event, whether it’s birthday’s, pics with Santa, etc, someone will spill juice all over themselves, or get a horrific runny nose, or fall and end up with a giant red bump on their forehead. I’m not sure which will happen tonight, but I’m not going to worry about it because I’ve already got the pictures!

The one thing I didn’t do was make a sign that says ‘2012’ because, well, I forgot. Maybe I’ll make a quick one and snap one more pic tonight.

Here are a couple of the results. Thanks for the idea Thea!

And one from our small town Halloween Party we went to:

Happy Halloween everyone!

~Erin

Quick Halloween Pic Banner

I wanted a cute was to display the kids Halloween costumes through the years so I decided to make a little Costume Photo Banner to hang up in October. I had just created my ‘Halloween Through the Years’ photo album with my favorite pics from the holiday each year. But I wanted to have 1 photo from each year which was actually hung up for everyone to see.
This was a really easy project that only required a few items:

-Photos

-Scrapbook Paper

-Tape

-Yarn

-Hole Punch

I printed 1 4″ x 6″ photo from each of the past 5 years (please note that our son is only 3 so the first 2 years photos are of our dog in costume). Then I rounded the corners so they would look a little more ‘finished’.

I cut out 5″ x 7″ pieces of scrapbook paper and rounded the corners of those as well. Then I taped the photos to the scrapbook paper and punched 2 holes in the top of each.

Then I just took the yarn and threaded it through the holes and taped the whole thing on our entertainment center.

I hung it up with tape and I didn’t tie the string at either end so it will be easy to add another photo. When I run out of room in  of, I’ll just get another piece of string. So easy and so cute. It’s a great way to look back at the costumes over the years.

I love easy projects!

~Erin

Halloween Party Wrap Up

Last night was our first (and hopefully the first of many) Halloween party. I actually spent days prepping for this because a) I love Halloween b) I love theme parties and c) I love planning things. I was joking with my husband that I like planning for a party almost as much as the actual party itself. (almost!)

So I pulled most of my decorating and craft ideas from Pinterest, blogs and magazines. Here are a few:

The first decoration I put up was a spider web made of yarn, which I found here.

In the same post with the spider web tutorial is a link to a paper bat tutorial. These were super easy and made a great accent to the other decorations.

We actually had a lot more bats in the living room, and next year I want to do even more. We also had the obligatory carved pumpkin.

You can’t tell from the photo, but this pumpkin is HUGE! We went to a pumpkin patch and traded in the ‘normal’ size pumpkins we got with admission for 1 ridiculously large pumpkin.

For food, I decided to bake chicken with pesto, marinara and Parmesan cheese. It was super easy and we made a lot, so I see chicken marinara leftovers in our future for the next 4 days.

I wanted some of the food and drinks to have a Halloween touch, so I tried a couple other ideas I found. My pumpkin juice boxes were inspired by some Mummy Juice Boxes I had seen both here and here. I needed white duct tape for the mummy’s and all I could find was an industrial size roll of the stuff. Since I didn’t need 500 yards of white duct tape, I snagged the normal size bright orange roll of duct tape and made pumpkin juice boxes.

I used felt for the stems and leaves and construction paper for the faces. Thanks to my husband who spent a lot of time gluing eyes and noses!
I pulled off the straws before I wrapped the boxes in duct tape and then I just taped the straws to the backs once they were finished.

The grown up version of juice boxes was a crock pot cider. My husband and I had looked up dozens of recipes online (it’s incredible how many ingredients some people put in their cider). And it was a fun week trying the recipes until we found the perfect combination. There were all sorts of test ingredients…cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, orange juice, apples, rum, brandy, whiskey. It turns out that the absolute best combination is: apple juice, rum and cinnamon. That’s it!

I also made a cupcake ghost, which I saw in Family Fun magazine’s October issue.

For chips and salsa, my husband carved out two medium size pumpkins to perfectly fit 2 bowls we had. They made perfect serving pieces and we set them up with a wicker pumpkin which held the plastic silverware.

I set up a craft table for the kids. Most of their time was spent running frantic circles around the house, wielding plastic tools, a fake lawnmower, a large red ball and handfuls of candy and cupcakes that were grabbed as they flew past the dessert table. It was craziness and I’m not sure how our house is still standing. But after the main sugar high wore off, I asked who wanted to do a craft and almost every kid followed me in the dining room. Amazing!

I had set out several different activities:

But the hit of the craft table was the Pipe Cleaner Spider. I found them here and they were so cute and easy. They were from Homemade by Jill. Follow her on Pinterest here, she has some great Pin Boards. I made a few changes to the spiders, such as adding the ‘googly eyes’, but the concept was pretty much the same.

Tip Alert!:

Here is a tip I will absolutely use for every craft table I set up from here on out if I can. I took a shallow storage bin and put everything needed for this craft inside the bin – pipe cleaners, google eyes, glue, and scissors. Then I set an example on top. I also had a bin for felt and cotton ball ghosts, which had it’s own glue and scissors. It made things so much easier and efficient. If I was just doing one craft, I would probably lay everything out on the table. But with multiple crafts, we just picked one and I opened that bin. The table stayed cleaner and I knew I had everything I needed.

And I couldn’t leave the adults without an activity, so I had a Halloween Trivia Game. It included 10 Halloween questions and the winner received a little gift basket.

The party was a blast and I hope to continue the tradition next year. Happy Halloween!

~Erin

 

Halloween ‘Through the Years’ Photo Album

Like most people, every year I take photos of the kids in costumes, the pumpkins we carve, decorations, etc. And for years, those photos have been on my computer or, at best, in the ‘yearly’ scrapbook or photo album. This year, I decided to make a Halloween specific album where I can chronicle the holiday through the years in one album. I actually already do this for Christmas. I have a photo album where I put my favorite Christmas pictures each year that I store with my Christmas decorations. So, the Halloween photo album project was born!

I chose my favorites from each year and had them printed. Then I bought a plain black photo album.

Instead of just putting the photos in the album, I wanted to spice it up a little. I decided to make 4″ x 6″ inserts for the album that say the year the pictures were from. I used the Halloween fonts I found during my ‘Halloween Folder’ project, which you can read about here.

As I started putting the photos in, I realized I wanted the new years to start on a new page of the album, but that meant there would sometimes be leftover spaces with no photo. So I started making additional inserts with some info about that particular year, such as:

‘First Halloween in Colorado’ or ‘Evan’s First Pumpkin Carving’

Then I started switching up the colors so pretty soon I had a handful of pictures, but another handful of inserts in various fonts and colors.

I just used Powerpoint to create all of the inserts and then I created one more for the cover of the album.

Now I have a cute album that I can add to every year and watch how we all change from one Halloween to the next. It’s also a great conversation piece to have out in October and share with family and friends.

~Erin

Trick or Treat Neat

I am so excited to be participating in a new collaborative blog post project called Collectively Creative. This project was designed by Kelly over at Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons. The concept is for various blogs to write about the same general topic on the same day. However, the individual posts will vary widely in their actual subject matter.

This month’s topic is, appropriately, Halloween!

I have always loved Halloween and I spent days and days racking my brain to come up with a way to combine Halloween and organizing. I present to you….. (dramatic pause)……

The Trick or ‘Neat’ Halloween Ideas Folder!!! (I’m picturing wild applause and unrelenting anticipation from my readers)

This handy folder is going to contain all of my Halloween ideas, inspirations and reminders for many (Full) moons to come.

Here’s the basic setup:

-I have made sections for various categories, such as crafts and food.

-I have made a title page for each section.

-I have used clear plastic sheet protectors for everything and I have left extra empty protectors at the back of the folder for when I add to this next year.

-I plan to keep this book in the plastic bin with all of my Halloween decorations.

So let’s get this crazy holiday organized! I’ll break it down by section:

~Craft Ideas

-Kids Crafts – I found some kid’s Halloween craft ideas online and I printed them several to a page. They are just photos (no instructions) because they are fairly simple concepts and I can figure out what to do just from the photos. I plan on adding new ideas each year, but it will be a great reference for craft night with the kids or Halloween parties.

-Coloring Pages – I like to search online for free coloring book pages for various holidays and themes. I usually try to find new ones, but I decided it would be good to have a stack of pre-printed ones that I could just copy if I wanted to. I have about a dozen coloring pages printed and I actually printed them 2 on a page. I do this because I like having a half-page coloring sheet. That way, I can put it on a piece of construction paper as a `background if I want to and they are also easier to store or hang on the fridge because they take up less room. I am going to copy a bunch of these for a little Halloween get together we are having next week so I am already using them!

I also took the ghost from my coloring page section, cut it out on black felt and then Evan and I covered it with cotton balls to make a 3-D ghost. I put a copy of the coloring page as well as a photo of Evan’s finished ghost in the binder so that I would remember this idea. It was fun, quick and cheap!

-Adult Crafts – This section is more for me. :) I found a few ideas for some Halloween decorations (such as twine covered mini pumpkins) and put them in here. There was one project (Mod Podge Halloween Blocks) that I wanted to have the exact process on hand for, so I printed the instructions and put them in this section as well.

~Food

-Food Presentation – This section is for clever ways to present your food on and around Halloween, such as salsa or dip in a carved out pumpkin or ‘googly eyes’ on plastic cups.

You can also see that there are several places where I just wrote a couple notes next to the photos.

-Appetizers – This is for Halloween themed pre-dinner dishes such as a pumpkin made of carrot sticks.

-Desserts and Treats – Now this is the section that Halloween is made for. There are so many creative and cute treats that looks like pumpkins, spiders, ghosts and more. Besides, you’re supposed to have treats at Halloween right? There are a million Halloween dessert ideas out there, so at some point this section may need its’ own binder!

~Decorations

-General Decoration Ideas – This section is going to include photos of our decorations as well as inspiration photos for future decorations.

-Party Decoration Ideas – This will be photos of our party set ups or inspiration set ups for future parties.

~Photos

-Previous Kid’s costumes – I wanted a cute way to display photos of the kids’ costumes from previous years, so I am going to laminate them and hang them on a string (like a photo garland). I really like the idea of being able to see these every year, especially Evan’s second Halloween when he was a spider and he had these long fabric spider arms dragging on the ground as he learned to Trick or Treat. Since I don’t want the photos to get bent in storage, I am putting them in the Halloween folder so they stay flat. Look for photos  of this project later this week!

Tip Alert!!!!

-I created the cover and section labels on powerpoint using fonts I found at Font Space. I just recently started using this site. There are lots of font download sites, but this one is great so far. There are literally thousands of free fonts to choose from, it is easy to search by category and they even have fonts that contain different borders, pictures and embellishments. It’s FANTASTIC! I did some searches for reviews on the site and saw a lot of great things. So while I can’t officially promote this because I haven’t had a ton of experience with it, it has served me well so far and I completely recommend it. Some of these fonts will soon be making appearances on my labels at home.

-I also reorganized my Halloween pins in my Pinterest folders. I have general Boards for Food, Desserts, Crafts/ DIY, and Holidays (check me out on Pinterest here). However, I realized that I had Halloween related items on all of those boards, which is incredibly inefficient. Knowing me, I would be looking through the Holidays board on November 1st and see an awesome Halloween idea. So I made a separate board for just Halloween items, which you can see here. Most of these pictures were actually printed and put into the book, but the Pinterest board allows me to share it with others, which I love.

So I’ve got my book to reference and add to for future Halloweens. I have also decided to do this same type of thing for every major holiday. It’s the project that keeps on giving! :)

Now here’s the fun part. Check out all of the links below to see who else is participating in the Halloween edition of Collectively Creative! These are great blogs year round so make sure to keep tabs on their tips, recipes and ideas.

Also, make sure to keep an eye out for next month’s edition of Collectively Creative. Again, thanks so much to Kelly over at Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons for allowing me to be a part of this!
~Erin

Closet labels – gone right or wrong?

I recently made some clothes dividers for my kid’s closet. I was inspired by a few different versions from Pinterest and blog land. As I searched I realized how popular these are becoming. Most of the one’s I found have sizes for baby clothes, such as Newborn, 3-6 months, etc. However, I decided this was not the direction to go (even though I have a baby) because I don’t have more than one size hanging in the closet at any one time. So I decided to go by type of clothes. Here are the categories:

-Short Sleeve, Long Sleeve, Pants, Jackets

Since I have 2 boys, I wanted a set for each of them, so I needed 8 total dividers. First I bought some wooden O’s at Hobby Lobby and got out some craft paint I already had:

I painted the backside of the O’s, which didn’t go quite as planned. I have mentioned before that my craft skills leave something to be desired and I have actually had these craft paints in a ‘craft supply drawer’ for about 5 years. So some of the paint was a little dry and didn’t cover well. I figured that was ok because they would be the backside of the labels. However, it still looks like my 3 year old did this part of the project.

Then I traced the O’s onto scrapbook paper and cut out the paper.

Then the plan was to Mod Podge the scrapbook paper onto the O’s, sand down the edges, and put a coat of Mod Podge on top. Easy right? Well, not so much. When I tried to cut out the paper with an exacto knife, the paper was a little rough around the edges. Sanding will take care of that, I said to myself. Well, I just started sanding away more and more of the paper so I threw my hands up in disgust at my sandpaper and left it on the floor of the garage.

When I put the Mod Podge over the top to seal it a little bit, it just left visible streaks on the paper instead of drying clear and smoth. Maybe it’s my Mod Podge naivety and I just don’t know what I am doing, but I definitely did not like the finished result at all. It looked sloppy and jagged.

Luckily I had only done 4 O’s in the first round, so I made some tweaks for round two. First off, I decided not to paint the backs of the 2nd set.

After I had traced out the O’s, I Mod Podged them on and LIGHTLY sanded the edges. Then I just used a clear coat spray on top. This added a little protection but there were no brush strokes.

Time for the labels! I just made the labels in Word. I did some on transparent paper and some on cardstock, so I could see how each style looked.

You can see how I did labels for the 4 sections, but I also did the letters ‘E’ and ‘O’ because I was making a set of each kid.After I had glued almost all of the transparent letters on (just using a VERY light layer of Mod Podge), I realized I liked the cardstock on Evan’s better. Too late! I had already done 3 out of 4, so one of E’s got the cardstock and is now mismatched. Then I did a quick once over with the spray sealer.

You’ll notice that the ‘short sleeve’ label is on the left side while all the others are on the right. This is because the short sleeves are on the right side of the closet and everything else is on the left, so I wanted to make them as easy as possible to read.

You can definitely see the rough edges, but I do like the overall look. When I first started this project, I was daydreaming about how I would write my blog post on it. I would leave you with all sorts of encouraging words and inspirations like “These turned out better than I imagined” or  “This was so easy and fun” or “I love how quickly it came together”. Buuuuuutttt…..they didn’t turn out nearly as good as I thought they would, it was not an easy project and it took FOREVER! But I”m still proud of myself for pushing through the project and again, I learned a lot from my mistakes. And I actually have some great ideas and lessons on how to improve them for next time. Yes, I am already plotting a project redo!

Bin there, done that

What a horribly cheesy post title, I know! However, I do want to show you my quick bin labeling I did in the kid’s room. It wasn’t fancy, it wasn’t hard, and it didn’t take long….my kind of project!

I have pretty much everything that belongs to the kids in either baskets or bins. Even their books are in bins because it is easy to clean them up and then it doesn’t matter if the books are upside down or backwards. And it’s really easy for even a 3 year old to organize and clean up this way. Funny side story, Evan was all ready for bed, head on the pillow, lights out and he says “mommy, I need to get out of bed”. “Why?” I asked. He said “I need to put my dinosaur away”. He had spotted one plastic dinosaur on the floor, so he got up, went into the closet and put the rogue dinosaur in the ‘Animal Bin.’ I’m seeing the organizing gene getting passed on!

Anyways, the bins were all separated and organized, but not labeled. I wanted to label them for 2 reasons:

-If I had it my way, every item in my house would be labeled.

-It makes things a lot easier for when the grandparents come to stay and are looking for something specific.

A lot of my bins have little clear pockets for labels, so that made life easier. I wanted to add just a teensy tiny bit of dimension to the labels so I printed all the wording on translucent paper and then just cut out plain cardstock to go behind the wording.

I just created the labels in Powerpoint after measuring the actual size of the clear pockets. Then you just create a shape in PPT and can double click on the shape outline and size it correctly. Someday, I will get one of those glorious label machines that you can do all sorts of fancy stuff with, but for now I love my Powerpoint.

Then I just cut out the labels and slipped them in the pockets:

They are not cutesy or intricate or even pretty. But they are functional and will do for now.  Now, I have seen some adorable labels in blogland with photos of the items in the bins for kids. I chose not to use photos of the contents though, for right now. My 3 year old has an insatiable love of words, letters and books. He is quickly learning how to spell various words and having his stuff labeled this way will just encourage his love of reading (I am hoping). That being said, I think photo labeling is adorable, colorful, creative and I might go this route as the boys get older and the toys get more intricate with more pieces. I might end up with 400 bins and a cute, colorful picture might serve us better. I found a great source of inspiration for photo labels at The Cottage Home:

How cute are these labels that just Velcro on to the storage bins?!

For now, my bins are blandly labeled, but easy to organize. It’s all about the process until I have more time to make it pretty!

~Erin

Grocery Shopping Tips

Lately, I have been trying to streamline my grocery shopping experience, from making the list to putting the food away. I have written before that I am notorious for going ‘off the list’ at the store. So my first goal is to make my lists as short as possible. This will serve a couple of purposes:

-The less time that I am in the store, the less chance I have to go ‘off the list’!

-If I have shorter lists, that means I’m making good use of the food I already have. If I am using up all of the food I have, then I am throwing less food away, thus saving money.

Ultimately I plan to have one of those cute pre-printed grocery lists which separates the food by category and makes it easier to shop. However, right now I’m working to use up some of the five thousand little notepads I have somehow managed to acquire. Seriously, the other day I found a stack of index cards, and I probably haven’t actually purchased this type of thing since making flash cards in high school. Yet, there are still stacks of them around my house. So I am using up all of those misc pieces of paper to make my lists for groceries, to-do, etc.

I also have a couple cute notepads with magnets on the back, so that is what I am currently working my way through. One is stuck to my fridge right now so it’s super easy to add items to a grocery list as I think of them. And it’s right above my Cleaning Schedule, so I’m looking at both items everyday! (please ignore the picture quality, this was a last minute photo for the post!)

My meal planning leaves something to be desired (as do my eating habits), but I’m working on it. Hopefully soon I will have posts of amazingly creative menu boards and cookbooks, filled with recipes that are at once delicious and healthy. Um…yeah….

So when I’m at the store, I use some pretty standard tricks:

-Start at the back. Get the cold stuff last. Pretty simple.

One other trick that works for me is taking my 9 month old. I put his car seat thing in the back of the grocery cart so I can’t really overdo on the purchasing, there’s just no room!

Truth be told, I love grocery shopping, I could actually stay in the store for 3 hours just looking at everything. It’s funny since I absolutely HATE to shop for pretty much anything else. It’s also funny because I’m not a great cook and don’t have a ton of recipes. Anyways, try as I might to stay on list and get through quick, it just doesn’t happen very often.

So most of my grocery organizing is actually done after I get home. I spend a decent amount of time putting away the groceries. Here’s the system:

-Take everything out of the bags and put all of the bags away.

-As I take the items out, I group them on the counter by : Fridge, Freezer, Pantry or other. This makes actually putting the food away go a little more quickly. Also, if the food is grouped, I only have to open the fridge and freezer one time instead of opening and closing the doors. It just makes life easier.

-Then I put away the freezer items first because….that makes sense. Also, we live 1/2 hour from the closest grocery store of any decent size and things are melting into piles of goop by the time I get home.

-Then I do the fridge items. Here is where I probably spend the most time. I try to buy a decent number of fruits and veggies, but if they are shoved away in that glorious little crisper drawer, they get forgotten until they crisp away into their expiration date. So I try to wash everything and if I can, give it a front and center place in the fridge. Here are two examples:

Grapes and carrots….love them! The kids love them! The husband loves them! But if they are in the drawer, they might as well have stayed at the store. So I wash them and put them in Tupperware. For the grapes, I also pull each and every grape off of the stem. This makes them easy to grab for snacks. So here is how we store them:

As I put stuff in the fridge, I try to wipe down each shelf a little. It’s the best time to do it because the fridge is most empty right before I fill it with groceries. It also ensures our fridge stays pretty cleaned out.

When it comes to the pantry items, they are pretty easy to put away because of the bins in my pantry. Everything has a designated spot so there’s no question as to where it goes. I do have several things I do to make things easier for when I’m actually using the food.

-We buy the 4 packs of the fruit cups for our oldest son so I take them out of the package so they are easy to grab.

-If I buy something like granola bars, I open the package and either fold in or tear off the top. So my son’s snacks go from this:

to this:

I find that when the groceries are organized, it so much easier to prepare food, find what you’re looking for and see what you are running out of. Also, my kids have inherited the gene from me that tells your body if you are hungry, you must go immediately from a super sweet angel into a crazy, screaming, get-me food-now-or-my-head-will-explode kind of tantrum. So it benefits me to be able to get them food quick and keep them looking like this:

So for now I will be content with my post-grocery shopping organizing techniques while I work on the meal planning. I will keep you posted!

~Erin

T-Shirt Organizing Inspiration

Thank you to Kelly at Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons for inspiring today’s post. She is currently doing a Clutter Buster Boot Camp on her blog where she assigns new tasks every week to keep the de-cluttering manageable. The first clothing assignment was the t shirt drawer. She had a great tip on how to roll your t shirts so that you can actually see them.

I’ve since missed a few assignments (I was always a procrastinator in school), but today I went to my t shirt drawer and completed task #1. I don’t feel so bad about missing the assignment on work out clothes because, let’s be honest here, I’m not known for my athletic prowess. And pretty much anything in my t-shirt drawer would undoubtedly double as workout clothes if an actual workout was ever on the horizon! My shirt drawer is pretty much for anything I wear around the house. Everything that goes out in public hangs in the closet.

Anyways….Here is the before picture of my t-shirt drawer:

I must say that the before picture looks pretty neat and organized. Here’s the problem. How many shirts can you see? 4, right? Well how many shirts do you think I wore out of this drawer? Drumroll….4. Yes, I only wore the 4 shirts I could see.

So I followed Kelly’s tips for purging, folding and rolling. My favorite tip is to roll the shirts from the bottom up. This is helpful because a lot of t-shirts have emblems or wording at the top and folding from the bottom up still allows you to see exactly what the shirt is.

The purge actually involved only a few items, but included a ridiculous item from an old Halloween costume and a Snuggie. I won’t bore you with pictures of me in a Snuggie, but here is one of my dogs in Snuggies:

Yes, I have dog Snuggies. And Yes, they were free. And No, I did not get rid of them. I’m feeling more embarassed for myself even as I share this with you, but a little humility never hurt anyone, right?

So, I rolled all my shirts and put them back in the drawer. They still didn’t fit all on one level, but most of them did. Here is the after photo:

Now when you compare the photos, the ‘Before’ picture actually looks a lot cleaner. But organizing is not always about looks, it is also about processes. Now I can see 14 shirts, compared to the previous 4! That’s 10 more shirts that actually have the potential to escape the drawer for a day!

I also got rid of a few items, moved a few other things to more practical locations and realized that I have a very strange collection of shirts. You can’t see it very well, but the one on the bottom right pictures a moose with one antler and it says “Is that your final antler?” It’s one of my favorites. :)

So, thank you to Kelly over at Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons for the inspiration yet again!

~Erin

Kid’s Bathroom Organizing

So I am back from another couple days of travels with the kids. I took both kids to Phoenix for 4 days to see my family and to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday! We are back, unpacked, laundry going as I write this, and it’s good to be home!

A couple weeks ago, I got frustrated with the state of my kid’s bathroom closet. It looked like this:

Kid’s Bathroom Closet

Now, overall, it’s not horrible. It’s a really big closet and the kids don’t need too much stuff in there. But there was one shelf that was awful!!!! It was…the everything shelf!

Medicines, bath toys, cleaning supplies, lotions, shampoo, diaper bin bags…pretty much everything that wasn’t a towel. So I actually spent a while looking for some medium size bins to organize. I had a couple big bins and also those little plastic baskets, but nothing in a medium size. Then one day, I was walking through the garden section at Walmart and they randomly had a tiny clearance shelf with the perfect size baskets! I scooped up 6 of them (3 for the kids bathroom and 3 for mine).
Here is the after!

First I took everything out of the closet and cleaned the shelves, then put the towels and extra bathmat back in nice and neat.

After that, I did the purge! I think I literally threw away half of the stuff that came out of the closet. Between packages, duplicate items and a couple expired medicines, the trash can was overflowing.

With half the stuff gone, I divided everything into piles. For the 3 medium bins, I decided the categories were:

-Bath Toys – I try to switch out the bath toys so the kids have something new to play with and it also gives me a chance to clean the ‘out-of rotation’ toys and let them dry completely.

-Extras – This is for the extra bottles of lotion and shampoo I’m not using yet, as well as the replacement bags for the diaper bin.

-Misc – This is for powder and a couple of other items that just didn’t fit anywhere else.

Then I took a large shallow bin and placed 4 smaller baskets inside it. Then each basket became it’s own category, such as ‘teeth’, ‘first aid’, etc. I labeled the front of the shallow bin so each baskets contents could be easily read.

-Last but not least, I took one more small basket and labeled it ‘Daily Use’. This is for the stuff I use very often with the kids, such as vitamins, allergy meds, and nail clippers. The toothbrush and toothpaste are in the bathroom drawer, so the stuff in the basket is everything I want to keep out of reach from the kiddos!

I love how clean it looks. It also looks pretty empty, but I rather have extra space than cluttered space!

Lessons Learned:

-Keep your eyes open when you are looking for something specific to help you organize. Sometimes you have to look in unexpected places (like the clearance shelf in the garden section) for the perfect organizing tool.

-Try to be patient when looking for supplies. It took me a couple weeks to find the perfect bins, but they work sooo much better than anything else I could find and they made the actual process of organizing a lot easier.

-A labeling machine can be your best friend! It also helps others navigate your house when you have guests, babysitters etc.

Happy Neatening!

~Erin