Closet Clean-Up

Today is Closet Clean-Up at Making Your Home a Haven Monday. I think closets are a blessing and a curse. A closet, when organized, is an excellent storage area for clothes, crafts, food, toys, books, appliances, and almost anything else you need to keep in your home. A messy closet is a black hole. I find that when my closets become disorganized the downward spiral begins. When my kids put things away in a clean closet, they are more likely to put it away correctly, because everything else is in it’s place. When it is a mess, they just throw stuff in the closet because there is no system.

For me the key to organizing closets and also my home has been to use small plastic bins and cubbies for everything. I use them for clothes, crafts, toys, even food. Personally, I love IKEA for storage ideas. They are inexpensive and have a huge selection. When I didn’t live near an IKEA, I found the best deals at Walmart for small bins, and Target for big totes.

Today I decided to tackle one of our two craft closets. Since I have many other projects this week, I wimped out and chose the smaller of the two. In this closet we store glue, scissors, coloring books, stamping material, musical instruments, and craft items. I try to have a bin for each type of item. I do have one bin in this closet that is a bit of a craft catch-all for the things I just don’t know what to do with or things that I should probably throw away.

Here is my closet before picture…

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here is the after…

this is a small mounted cubby system, I think I purchased it at Target a few years back. The bins are from Walmart, I think they were $1 each.

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The shelf system is from Target. Most of the toys/ crafts in it came in their own container, a big plus for me!

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This was a very easy project, it only took about 15 minutes. My afternoon project is my homeschool area. This will probably take me most of the afternoon so check back tonight for an after picture.

Homeschool area before

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Cheap Valentine’s Craft: An Acrostic Poem Card

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If you haven’t picked up a card for that special someone it’s not too late to make one. Write the person’s name vertically on a piece of paper and then for each letter of their name write a quality about them you admire. Cut out and glue to a colorful piece of card stock (or construction paper) shaped like a heart. I made them for my kids and attached some leftover Christmas candy to the card.
It’s easy, it’s original, and it costs almost nothing!

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Happy Valentine’s Day

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Laundry

Laundry is the never ending job. No matter what, dirty clothes need to be washed. Even though my boys try to wear the same shirt 4 days in a row I still end up with baskets full of laundry every couple of days.

If laundry is causing you stress it is time to take control of the beast! First create your laundry priorities. Is it important to you (or your husband) that your sheets are washed weekly, ever other week, monthly? Do you need a clean towel every day or can you go a few days before replacing your towels? Does your husband have work clothes that need to be washed every night? Knowing what the expectations are in your home is half the battle. Okay, maybe 1/4 of the battle… but it is important.

Next involve your family in the laundry fun. We are a family of nine so I have lots of little helpers. Here is the laundry breakdown for my kids.

dsc04601.jpgToddler – Helps me put the clothes into the washer, takes all clothes out of the dryer and puts it into the basket. (make sure the dryer has cooled a bit before enlisting the help of a little one)

dsc04199_1.jpg3 year old– Collects the laundry every morning after breakfast and brings it downstairs to the laundry room. She is helped by her 5 year old brother but is about ready to handle this job on her own.

dsc04553_1.jpg5 year old- Helps collect the dirty clothes. Puts away all of his own clean laundry except the hanging items.

dsc04200.jpg7 year old- takes clean clothes basket up to my bed (the laundry folding station). Puts away all of his own laundry.

dsc04494.jpg11 year old

100_0403.jpg13 year old- they both fold with my help, 11 year old puts away all his laundry and hangs up all boy clothes. 13 year old puts away her laundry and also helps the little girls put away their laundry.

I usually do one to two loads of laundry a day, depending on if everyone is able to stay dry all night. On Saturdays sheets and towels are washed, although not everyone’s sheets are washed every Saturday. I have a gigantic washer and dryer so I can usually keep up with the laundry only doing a load a day.

I like to include my children under 5 in the laundry sorting in order for them to learn their colors.

The key to being able to have your little ones help with the laundry is to keep it simple. We have two baskets upstairs that get dumped into a big basket downstairs. They can do this without any help because it is easy. We color sort later on while I am supervising.

In order for your kids to put their own clothes away you need to create a system that they can use. If all of their clothes are on hangers and the rod is 5 feet high a three year old cannot put their laundry away. I am currently using bins and cubbies for my kids clothes so they can put their own clothes away with little or no help.

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As you can see from the above picture each boy has a bin for socks and underwear. They are all labeled with their name or initial so there is no confusion as to where things go.

Above their bins are cubbies for their pants or shorts. This makes folding and putting away a breeze even for little boys. In this picture my oldest boy didn’t have a cubby for pants because he had extra room in his drawer. Finally we have a bin for pjs. These are rarely folded but rather thrown into the bin.

My girls have a similar system, but it is in the closet so it was harder to get a good picture.

As far as making time for the laundry my washer has a timer. I like to put in a load before I go to bed and then set the timer so that the laundry is just finishing up when I wake up. I can throw it into the dryer before I jump in the shower and then we can put it away during our morning chores. If I forget, we take care of it after lunch during our afternoon chores.

I cannot stress the importance of involving even your littlest helpers. Both my 11 and 13 yo can do laundry on their own, so days when I am running late or taking dh to medical appointments they can keep up with the laundry so I don’t fall too far behind.

Finally, give up on perfect. If your little kids are helping you every shirt may not be perfectly hung, the towels might not be facing the same way in the closet, and the shorts might be wadded up in the drawer. That’s okay. The important thing is that your children are learning and eventually they will be able to do the laundry for you. 🙂 That is unless you are one of those rare people who love laundry like my friend Lauren. Getting the family involved makes laundry easier in the long run, so start today!

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Organized Pantry- Taken Care Of!!!

One of the keys to utilizing my pantry this month is to actually be able to find the food. In our last house we had a closet pantry, but in this house I have cupboards. Since moving in, I haven’t been able to develop a system to keep my pantry organized. My plan is to organize it today before I go to the store tonight.

Update- Thanks to the efforts of an 11 and 13 yo the pantry is finished! One of the many benefits of having your kids help you with a job like this is that they see the five boxes of pasta. So on the third spaghetti night of the week they are less likely to complain. The quicker the spaghetti goes, the sooner other items can be purchased. I also discovered that I will never need to buy powdered sugar again, I think we found ten pounds!

Go here for more ideas of getting your house in order.

Before

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After

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After

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My next goal will be to make an inventory sheet for my dry foods so I stop buying the same things over and over again just because I can’t find them!

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