We all have a lot of stuff. And when we become parents, we have even more stuff. So, where to put it all? How do we begin to tackle the task of storing it in a way where it doesn’t just sit in a box until we forget we even owned all of this? It’s easy, with a little creativity and a little channeling of our inner Marthas, everything can find a place and look good doing so. Check out some of our ideas to get inspiration for your own piles, and then get organizing!
Organize Your: Books
Books – can’t live without them, can’t throw them away and raise a bunch of illiterates. So then the question begs, where do we keep these ever-growing piles of words and how do we display them in a manner which is consistent with the style in our homes? Question – answered.
Check out these repurposed $3.99 Ikea spice racks. They make great front-facing bookshelves, especially handy for the preschoolers and smaller set.
Take a cue from preschool and elementary school libraries everywhere and put them in plastic bins labeled according to subject. Newbie readers will love being able to go to a specific bin to find what they’re looking for instead of having to leaf through each and every title.
Make them fabulous and organize by color! Fashion over function, absolutely, but sometimes good design just has to win.
Or, check out these super fun animal index book dividers. Kids will love seeing their favorite animals pop out from in between their stories, and it will help keep any books you’d like lumped together in one central place.
Utilize a small cube shelving unit to keep things separated. Jenny and I are both huge fans of the Expedit line from Ikea. They come in three different colors and tons of different sizes, and individual storage bins can also be purchased to use in cubes without books.
Organize Your: Arts & Crafts Supplies
For some, arts and crafts are a fun activity to do with the kids and for others, they’re the bane of their very existence (hello, Playdough, I’m talking to you!). But here’s the thing, kids love art projects and we love our kids so it’s not like this one is going away. As the kids get older, the supplies needed definitely multiply so the task goes from how to get glitter out from between the floor boards to how to store all the stuff, so here are some good ideas to get you started.
Glitter and I have a love hate relationship. I love sparkly things (seriously, you should see my closet), but I hate cleaning off the dog after the kids decided he’d look better as a rainbow. Something tells me I’m not going to solve this last issue anytime soon, so I’ve moved on to problem #2, where and how to store it. I love this idea of using small salt and pepper shakers, it tackles the how to store problem but also lends ease to distribution for small hands.
A good rule of thumb when organizing supplies is to group like things together. This cute little caddy does just that, and keeps all the items most often used by your young kids in one convenient location.
Clear shoe organizers as arts and crafts storage – brilliant!
Applying both the rules of organizing by color and by type, this fantastic craft room makes everything easy to find!
Organize Your: Child’s Toys
Admittedly, this one is still a work in progress for me. We moved to a toy-specific bin system a while back, but there have been many hasty clean up sessions which resulted in everything getting thrown together. I like this idea here though, which takes the type-specific bins one step further and labels the outside so anyone (read: you’re not in this alone anymore) can do to clean up right.
Here’s a dual purpose plan – take old action figures that your children no longer use, and repurpose them as fun hooks to keep other things organized. This picture shows them as hat hangers but they could also be great for coats, backpacks or umbrellas.
Check out this genius idea from Ikea Hackers – it creates storage for train table supplies and board games all at once!
Organize Your: Personal Items
Personal items, you know the stuff you have that your kids always try to steal. Like your fun, dangly necklaces that now are leashes for their Mario dolls, or your lip glosses that for some reason seemed like a good thing to paint the walls with. Yeah, that personal stuff. Hopefully with a place to put it, the pilfering will slow to a steady trickle and some may actually last through the year.
Spirit Ranch Creations on Etsy sells lots of jewelry organizers, and they easily handle bangles, earrings and necklaces alike. Here’s one style, although many more are available from their online shop.
If you’re not looking to buy something pre-made, here are two great DIY options. The first, radiator grates from Home Depot get framed to make a surprisingly simple and cute earring display and the second relies simply on cutlery trays hung on the wall.
Speaking of DIY, this magnetic makeup board is super easy to make, customizable to any color scheme and keeps your pretty stuff conveniently at arm’s reach (your arms, that is, not the kid’s).
Your closet can benefit from the color and type coding principle, much like the rest of the house. Mine, like the one in this photo, is divided by color and by type – all the tanks, tees, sweaters, blouses and everything in between hang together and are filtered by shade. It makes it infinitely easier to get dressed and to not lose things in the clothing abyss. Trust me, if you’re going to start somewhere, this is a great place to focus your initial efforts.
We’d love to hear your ideas too! How do you tackle organization in your house?