Well it’s been over a week since my last update on my Clutter to Clean in one week series. Although I haven’t blogged much about my progress – a LOT has happened since then.
- Introduction to Clutter to Clean
- Day 1 (Monday) – Hall closets, the pantry and the bathrooms.
- Day 2 (Tuesday) - Bedroom closet and dresser
- Day 3 (Wednesday) - Kitchen, half bathroom and laundry area
- Day 4 (Thursday, finished a week later!) – Kid’s rooms, living room
Day 4 of my Clutter to Clean challenge was the kids rooms. I did follow through and get ALL the extra toys out as I had planned – so the clutter was gone, but it still needed a lot of help.
Check out that messy before photo! Can you relate at all? It’s embarrassing, but it was the reality of her room after an hour of playing it with her 5-year-old brother. She had completely outgrown the bins and shelf that worked just fine when she had big bulky baby toys. In the last 1.5 years she collected all kinds of “big girl toys” – like Barbies, Tinkerbell fairies and kitchen stuff. These tiny toys would get put into a bin and then dumped out when she was looking for something. It was obvious that we sorely needed a better toy storage solution for her room.
Although not the cheapest, cheapest solution, I really do adore Ikea’s Trofast Toy Storage solutions. I like them because they are:
- Durable, durable, durable
- Easy for kids to use
- Works for many age levels
- Won’t tip over easily. I really worry about this with kid’s furniture, especially shelves that are tall and narrow.
- Adaptable. You can use them for storage anywhere in your house. The bins sizes can be changed to accomodate different needs down the road
- Affordable. They aren’t the cheapest, but for about the same price of a cheap piece of Target furniture you can get these systems and I think they are much more durable.
My son has used a Trofast frame with bins for his LEGOs for nearly two years and it still looks brand new. So this is what we ended up getting for my daughter’s room. The white is cheaper than the pine for some reason, so keep that in mind if you’re planning color schemes.
Once we got it all the storage pieces assembled – and yes it comes in microscopic pieces – they pass those savings on to you. We moved ALL the toys out of the room. We filled up boxes, laundry bins, whatever we had and just removed it from the room. We left furniture in the room, but everything else was out so we could start with a clean slate. Then we slowly moved it all back in – one laundry bin at a time, so not to get overwhelmed – finding homes for it as you go. By doing this – you have to give it some thought when you put it back in the room – I got rid of a few more things because I really took the time to consider all the toys going back into her room.
Using the Trofast frame with bins I sorted all her barbies (and their stuff), Tinkerbell, doll clothes/blankets, etc. Everything now has a home – this made my daughter almost as happy as me, she can find her toys now! A few of the bins are still empty – and that’s okay, too – as I mentioned on my kitchen post, you want to leave a little room in your storage solutions – so you have options!
We also moved my daughter to a big girl’s bed this weekend. It was long overdue, so we packed up the crib and moved her to a twin size bed. No in-between toddler bed for us, I just prefer to move to a bed that will last her a few years. Again, we went with Ikea, based on past experiences. We went with the same bunk bed that my son has had for a few years – I like it because you can flip it upside down – so you can switch between a bed low to the ground or a bunk bed with a play area underneath (built-in fort!). My daughter has been climbing all over her brother’s “bunk” bed for the last year, so we felt safe in getting her the same bed.
The cost of the new furniture and storage solution is definitely a factor when you’re organizing and de-cluttering. The good news is we had already planned and budgeted for a new bed anyway for our daughter and we plan to sell the crib on Craigslist and the kids extra clothes and toys at a local consignment sale next month. With the sales from the consignment sale, I expect to easily cover the costs of the new furniture/storage solutions – which I see as a longterm investment and totally worth every penny. I like how we can take things we don’t need anymore and turn them into things that we need and will make our lives easier!
I organized her dresser with some clear plastic bins I bought at Target for $0.97 cents. These are so helpful for the kids and for us, when we are trying to get ready in a hurry. You can also buy drawer organizers, but I find shoe boxes or these plastic containers work just as well and are much cheaper.
I moved the bookshelf into the closet and moved her puzzles onto it. She loves her puzzles, this way she can easy grab them herself. We tossed a lot of cheap plastic toys. I got rid of a play kitchen in my daughter’s room because she never played with it. Don’t keep things in the room just because you *think* they should play with them or because they’ve always been there. Analyze everything and decide if it’s worth it or not.
Our son’s room already had the Trofast bins for his LEGOs, which we store under his bed. He’s *supposed* to keep his toys within the area under his bed to save mom and dad’s feet, but that doesn’t always happen. But at least they are a synch to clean up when it’s time.
Recently I gave him a toy dust pan, which has worked great for “scooping” up his LEGOs and dumping them into the bins. I would say the LEGOs are the hardest thing for us to keep cleaned up. But he really does love them and we are grateful for the creativity that comes from them.
He also another larger bin system for his other toys. Each bin has a specific thing in it – TRIO, action figures, cars and more cars. The square storage piece we got from Ikea a few years ago and the bins from Target. It’s worked great, so we keep using it. The thing I like about the square furniture piece is when he has outgrown the bin concept – we can flip it up on it’s edge and it can be a bookshelf. Or I can move it to any room in our house for storage. I love pieces of furniture that aren’t limited by color or design.
In the closet, instead of a traditional book shelf, we use a ClosetMaid cube system which works well for the space we have (you can find these at Target or Walmart). The blue bins is for art projects he brings home from school. I put them there in hopes that they’ll go in a book someday. We’ve had this system in place a couple years as well – and it continues to work great for us!
I asked myself these questions while going through their rooms:
- Do they play with it? No – get rid of it. Yes – keep it.
- Is it broken, missing pieces, or just lame? Yes – get rid of it.
- Are the toys that are the most accessible the ones they play with the most? They should be. And they should be easy to put away on their own.
- Have they outgrown it? Donate.
Too many toys? You could always donate some. BUT you could also fill a box or two and put it in the garage or up in the closet. Then a couple months from now when you’re having an extra trying day, pull the box down and you’ll be amazed how old toys are all of a sudden interesting again for your kids! You can cycle toys through – this way kids don’t get bored, or overwhelmed.
I think the thing with kids room is making sure you have a good organization system in place – because if you invest in the right storage solutions, it becomes much easier to keep clean and tidy. AND if it’s intuitive and accessible for the kids – they will be more likely to keep things cleaned (we can hope, right?). At least that’s what I’ve found.
Our living room was a synch to clean up. We have nothing in it but a small bookshelf with kids books and our couches! We got rid of a few books and DVDs that we never watch. We vacuumed under the couches and dusted.
Final note – You can comment, as long as you’re nice or constructive. There is nothing like going through your stuff and taking photographs of it to make you feel vulnerable. I think the process of decluttering has given me an appreciation, and awareness, of just how much “stuff” we have collected – and has encouraged me to get rid of more. I really believe there is a BURDEN in the excess. Everything that I’m getting rid of is going to a good home – whether it’s a local nonprofit, thrift shop, a friend’s house or a consignment sale. This post WAS NOT sponsored by IKEA. I didn’t get any free loot or perks for blogging about Ikea (I wish) and these really are things and strategies we use in our own home.
So what do you think about all this – is it helpful? I’d love suggestions for storage or helpful organization tips.
How do you keep your kids rooms organized? Stay tuned on an update on the garage! I hope to post about it very soon.