5 Ways to Tame Your Kid Clutter, While Teaching Them Valuable Lessons

I don’t know about you, but one of the hardest areas of clutter to tame in my house has to do with the tiny dictator that runs our house. Our almost two year old somehow has more stuff than my husband and I combined! Her birthday is coming up soon, so I know that will bring even more stuff. I decided to do a major overhaul of her things recently, and here are some tips that not only helped me, but I’m hoping are teaching her some valuable life lessons as well.

kid clutter

1.) Get rid of a toy before bringing a new one in: We have a rule where if we buy our daughter a bigger toy (not talking about Happy Meal toys here), that she has to get rid of something before the new toy comes in the house. Right now she is too young to understand, so I just pick something for her. Luckily since she is changing so quickly right now, she “outgrows” a lot of her toys so it’s easy to choose something that needs to go. As she gets older I plan to let her do the picking.

unnamed (2)

2.) Don’t buy toys every time you go in the store: I know a lot of parents use toys as a reward for good behavior while shopping, or to keep a kid quiet in the cart for a few minutes. However, in my opinion, this is a bad habit that leads to an expectation every time you go into a store. Sure, there are times Emma Kate gets a special toy or treat, but certainly not every time. We avoid the toy aisle, and I make sure she has things that she already owns to keep her occupied while I shop. Not only does this teach a good lesson, but it keeps random toys you weren’t expecting on having from popping up all over your house from impulse buys.

3.) Find a cause and donate: There are some great organizations out there that will take gently used toys, furniture, books, etc. There may be a family in need in your community that would love to have your child’s toys. Check with a local church or daycare, they may be able to point you in the right direction. Again, this is a great way to teach your kids about families less fortunate than yours, and also get rid of some of the toys they no longer play with.

4.) Have a home for everything: This applies for everything in my house and I discuss it in my book, but I have found when I don’t have a specific “home” for something, I end up just throwing it wherever and that leads to clutter. We use lots of bins and baskets as well as shelves for Emma Kate’s toys. If something doesn’t fit or have a home, we either get rid of things to make room, or create another bin/basket so the toy doesn’t just get lumped in with random things.

unnamed (1)

5.) Teach you kids to enjoy experiences and not things: Emma Kate is still a little young to understand this concept, but we would much rather do something fun with her than buy her things. She loves simple things like the splash pad and the playground at Chick-fil-A. These things are entertaining for hours and don’t clutter up your house. Our kids really just want our time and attention anyway, so save yourself some money as well as space in your home, and expose your kids to new experiences. Those memories will last forever!

unnamed

QOTD: What is your best tip for taming kid clutter?

Decorating and Organizing a Playroom

Hi! I’m Ashley and I blog over at The Pavement Princess. I’m so excited to be a guest blogger today for Through Heather’s Looking Glass. When I found out I was going to be doing a post for Heather, I was excited because she was looking for some home decorating/ organizational posts. I enjoy styling my house and I’m super organized, so this opportunity was perfect.

When I think of home decorating and organization, I immediately think of how everything should have a place. Throughout each aspect of my house, there is a perfect little space for each and everything. Yes I know it may be crazy to some, but the more organized a space is, the better. One of the biggest challenges I had with decorating and organizing was the playroom. The four walls we’ve designated as my six year olds “man cave” were just blah. There were so many aspects of this playroom that needed to have a place. So we finally have just that…a place for everything.

image

The Toys

What do you do with all those toys? What starts as a few toys here and there, turns into piles and piles of toys. I have two shelving units that keep everything nice and organized. The IKEA Expedit Shelving Unit (the unit on the left) houses so much stuff. I love all the different shelves. In fact, I own three of these…shh, don’t tell anyone. The smaller shelf (and bins) is from Target. They are from the ClosetMaid Cubeicals collection. This shelf is the perfect height for my son and it turned into a keyboard holder. I’m all about maximizing a space as much as possible.

image

We were lucky to be given a huge train & track set from friends whose son outgrew them. While we were thrilled at the collection, we had to find a place for all this new “stuff.” This organizer from Target turned out to be great. The height is so kid friendly too. My son has no problem getting things in and out the bins.

image

Books

The teacher in me is always buying my son more books. Well how many books can one child (and his mother) have? The answer is…A LOT. The first two shelves are mine and the last two are his. Sometimes my son will even color using the bottom shelf as his workspace. He keeps his crayons and coloring books in the drawers.

image image

Décor

Adding some personal touches to a room is a nice way to personalize a space. I’m always looking for ways to display my son’s work and accomplishments. One of the best ideas I’ve come up with is using framed corkboards. We have three of them throughout our home. This is a smaller sized one that we have in the playroom. My son loves to see his work on display and he changes it quite often.

image

I also have a sign for Playroom Rules with some pillows for lounging. Then there’s a cool personalized sign with my son’s name on it. This is his favorite room in the house, so the sign has all his favorites.

image   image

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at my son’s playroom. It is by far his favorite space and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

QOTD: Do you have a playroom in your house?

What’s one thing you love about it or one thing you would love to change about it?

My Home is Organized Chaos

 

prof shot

Piles of paper, magazines, clothes and fitness gear are nearly everywhere. Sometimes I can’t find what I’m looking for, but typically I know where most needed items live.

Husband’s missing belt?

Last I saw it, on the dresser.

Flashlight? No, the backup flashlight. The good one’s broken.

On top of the roll top desk.

Cable bill?

On top of the microwave, next to our theater tickets.

My husband calls me regularly questions like these.(Today he asked where the Windex is kept.) You see, he works from home, which means we have piles of stuff everywhere in our 189-year old farmhouse in upstate New York. Plus, he’s taken over the kitchen and dining room tables as his workspace.

Like I said, piles everywhere.

As a result, I’ve needed to hone my organizational skills. I added shelving and bins to our spare room and his office, I reworked the pantry and laundry room. I introduced underbed bins to make up for the lack of closet space. (We have one closet for 3 bedrooms. And like 6 pegs, thanks 1824 ancestors.)

In the process, I also learned what types of messes I can handle, and more importantly, what I can’t handle.

Using all available dining room chairs as auxiliary tables- for printers, filing systems and laptops? No problem.

Playing an ongoing game of kitchen sink Jenga? Absolutely! I’m all about moving dirty dishes around the sink so I can use the faucet…without washing the dishes.

But ask me to clear off the sofa before I can sit on it and its all over.

Here are a few more tips to save your sanity.

Keep a basket near the bottom and top of the stairs. Toss items in rather than walking them upstairs each time or leaving them on the step (a huge pet peeve of mine and unsafe to boot.) When you DO head up, take the basket with you. When you head back down, don’t forget the upstairs basket

Have specific tasks assigned to each day. Clean off the counters on Sunday, scrub the toilets on Saturday, clean the stove on Tuesday. It’s not as overwhelming if the dreaded tasks are already part of your daily routine. They’re less likely to back up and take over.

Sift through drawers while watching television or on the phone. I often empty desk and kitchen drawers and wade through the contents while catching up on my favorite DVRed show or chatting with my mom. You’d be surprised what builds up when you’re not looking. I also use this tactic on the pantry, where I tend to stockpile canned foods.

Put small trash cans in every room. You’re less likely to leave trash lying around if you have a place to immediately toss it. This goes double for paper trash. Junk mail in our house goes directly into the recycling bin.

Stop by my blog and say hello! http://scootadoot.com/about/meet-vic/

QOTD: What’s your favorite not-traditional tip for clearing clutter and organizing your home?

Family Lunch

 

Good morning! Did everyone enjoy their Labor day weekend? Great news is that now the work week is only 4 days! yahoo! Bobby and I are actually out dealing with some personal stuff this morning, so if you are a fellow prayer warrior, I would SO appreciate your prayers for wisdom and discernment this morning, it would mean so much to me!

Sunday, my parents braved the weather to come for a visit during our long weekend. The plan was to BBQ and sit outside…yeah….TS Lee had other plans! I cooked a chicken dish and Bobby fried okra, while mom brought her famous mac and cheese. YUM!

DSC_0340

my kitchen all ready for fall, and ready for lunch to be cooked!

I let the boys be in charge of the okra while the chicken cooked. The rain was PELTING down, and the wind was wild, so it was nice to have some company during the storm!

DSC_0345

And of course, the girls were excited to see grandma and grandpa!

DSC_0341 DSC_0342

They knew something was up while we were running around cleaning in preparation. Their sixth sense just trips me out sometimes! They however were NOT thrilled about going potty in the rain. They definitely gave me the stink eye for that one!

My mom and I both love football, this was not planned!
DSC_0346

Uh, dad….you need to learn how to center a photo, mmmkk?

It got really really dark out, but we were nice and cozy inside!

DSC_0343

I totally took that picture in between the blinds in the kitchen. But, at least I used my real camera and not my cell phone….I am getting a little less lazy everyday!

We ate lots of yummy food, and I even bought a Saints cookie cake for dessert! They left all too quickly, but it was a nice visit! Plus, now my house is nice and clean, which as I have said before, is the great thing about having company come over!

I didn’t get to workout Monday, we were out of town for the day, but I am picking things back up today! Have a great one and count your blessings!

QOTD: Do you enjoy entertaining/having company come over? Are you a holiday decorator like me? Smile

Be Prepared

 

Catching up? Here are the weekend’s posts:

The Moving Story Part II

YMCA

Confession time: I ate a TON of crappy food today, and it was totally avoidable if I had done a little planning. This morning my mom and I left to drive three hours up to my old house to give it a good deep clean. Then we drove back all in one day, in the pouring rain. again. It was a very long day on the road (6 hours! I drove all of it!) and I didn’t prepare for food and snacks. I DID bring a small cooler for bottled waters and a couple of breakfast bars…..but that’s as far as it went. Keep in mind I am TOTALLY embarrassed to admit this, but this is what I ate today.

1 cup of coffee with hazelnut creamer

1 breakfast bar

2 Taco Bell tacos and an order of nachos with a coke

a double cheeseburger and fries and a coke icee from Burger King

a cupcake

a small Dairy Queen butterfingers blizzard

a mini cupcake

2 bites of chicken ravioli

a bottle of water.

Oh. my. gosh. I think I am going to be sick. I am so embarrassed!!!! How did this happen? Well, I will TELL you how. I chose to NOT be prepared for a long car trip. I would have let myself have one fast food meal, but two? and a blizzard? with cupcakes?!? Way over my limit. I am angry at myself for allowing this to happen. I KNOW better than this. I could have brought healthy snacks to eat in between my one fast food meal like:

an apple or grapes

string cheese

almonds

a sandwich

and I could have chosen to stop somewhere like Subway instead of Taco Bell. I was so worried about remembering all of my cleaning supplies this morning I didn’t even think about food. Please don’t make the same mistake I did. Think ahead when you are going on a long car trip and bring snacks accordingly!

Although I had an eating fiasco today, we DID spend three solid hours cleaning the house and it looks great!

DSC_2162

DSC_2163

DSC_2164

hello!!!!

DSC_2166

Tomorrow my goals are as follows

1.) Go get groceries

2.) Go for a run

3.) Eat healthy!!!

QOTD: What healthy snacks do you bring with you when you travel?

Light the Fire

 

Good Morning! It’s another beautiful sunny COLD day here! The high is in the mid 70’s and the low tonight is 39! wow! To think 2 weeks ago it was 95 degrees and I was in a swimsuit. I finally got yesterday’s pictures uploaded so sharing time!

Bobby came home from the gym at nine and brought me a Smoothie King smoothie. How sweet! We went for a quick 3 mile run, and I wore a long sleeved shirt! After that we decided to do some cleaning and reorganizing. See, since we decided to move, we have started packing up boxes of things we don’t need right now and putting them in the garage. Well, we didn’t plan properly and it was all very disorganized and random.

    We had inherited a broken golf cart almost 2 years ago and never had it fixed, and we kind of boxed it in with our packing. Bobby decided to get it fixed so we had to move all the boxes to get it out, so we just decided to repack everything correctly once we got it out.

This is what we started with.  yikes.

DSC_0470

The puppies wanted to hang out outside with us.

DSC_0471

DSC_0472

DSC_0475

We finally got the golf cart out of the garage!

DSC_0473

Told ya I wore long sleeves!

DSC_0479

My girls don’t get along too well, so the fact that they were laying this close to each other make me so happy!

DSC_0481

It took awhile, but here is the finished product!

DSC_0486

DSC_0487

After we got all cleaned up we ran a couple errands including grocery shopping and came home where I made a new chili recipe! (I will post it at some point with a picture.)

After we ate, we decided to do some burning. In our packing and cleaning out we had a ton of old papers with personal info on them we didn’t want to throw away, so we decided it would be a good night to burn them in the fire pit.

DSC_0488

DSC_0490

DSC_0492

DSC_0494

DSC_0496

I enjoyed it. it was nice because it wasn’t TOO cold outside, but the fire was nice and cozy! We stayed out for about an hour or so until all the paper had burned and it was dark and getting much colder!

Then, this morning, Bobby made us waffles!

DSC_0499

They were quite delicious. I added a little pumpkin spice to mine. Yumm-o!

Today we were supposed to go to the gym and do more cleaning at Bobby’s dad’s, but he isn’t feeling well so we are going to stay here, wait for the golf cart people to come pick up the golf cart, and then we have a chiropractor appointment this evening to get together a “game plan”.” I am excited about this because I so want my running to improve!!!

Tomorrow will be 5 miles. Normally it’s a tempo run or speedwork, but since we have the half marathon Saturday it will just be 5 easy miles.

Have a good day all!

QOTD: What is your favorite breakfast food?

Viking Classic Golf Tournament

 

     Good evening! Today has been quite the busy one! This morning, Bobby and I went to the Viking Classic golf tournament, which is part of the PGA tour. Someone gave us free tickets, so we said “why not?” Sadly, I was told one of a bloggers most dreaded words..”no cameras allowed.” Bummer! So I took some pictures leading up to where we parked just to have something haha! (Also, no cell phones were allowed!)

DSC_0456

On the way to the tournament at Annandale Golf club, which is about 5 minutes from our house.

DSC_0459

DSC_0460

These were taken through the windshield (which is very dirty) I even got a shot of some golfer haha!

DSC_0462

DSC_0463

DSC_0464

DSC_0465

DSC_0468

DSC_0469

I found this quite amusing, and those that love Disney will appreciate it. When we were leaving, a lady stopped and took our picture, then handed us a card and said we could go online and view/buy. I felt like it was Disney’s photopass service, too funny! Here is our picture.

GetImage

We got back in the car, and had a voicemail from someone wanting to see our house. YIKES! We were starving and planning to stop for lunch, but our house was a MESS. So we ate Mexican really quickly, got home in time for Saints kickoff, and cleaned at commercials and in between plays! They came and went, then we left again because we got a call for someone wanting to look at Bobby’s dad’s house, so we went over there, showed the house, and did about an hours worth of more cleaning, and now we are home and tired, whew! All I can say is at least our house is really clean again!

 

I hope everyone is having a great weekend. I am not really sore from our run which is good. We took a walk last night and walked a lot at the tournament this morning so I think that has helped. Tomorrow will be an easy recovery run, then 5 miles Wednesday then the half marathon Saturday!