Thursday, June 24, 2010

Too Much Vacation "Extras"?!?!?

Have you noticed when you get back from vacation you somehow bring back more stuff than what you took on vacation? I swear we needed an extra suitcase to hold all the brochures our youngest son wanted to bring home so that he could play “Disney World Worker”!

Sometimes even before we go on vacation we start accumulating brochures, after brochure, after brochure because were just not sure where we want to go and we might as well hold onto it just in case we decide to go there ‘someday’… I understand that sometimes it’s nice to hold onto a brochure or two to remind us of trips we might want to take but if your drawer is exploding from vacation brochures or travel magazines, now might be a great time to “clear the clutter” and just save the most important one or two brochures for that trip someday.

As with any vacation you take you always manage to pick up a few momentos along the way. I know my purse was stuffed with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck…MOUSE…can you hear the song!?!!? So anyhow…

As soon as you got home from your vacation, start your laundry or for a special treat to yourself take it to a laundry service this one time so that you are not so overwhelemd. To clean out your purse from the trip, turn it upside down on your kitchen counter and start tossing out brochures, candy wrappers, tickets, food, or maps from a local area and other signs of a vacation.

When you get home its best to completely empty out your bags, suitcases, toiletry bags and wallet. If you purchased small travel bottles of shampoo or soap wash them out so that are ready to be filled again. Keep the toiletry bags stocked for your next trip. Stick a note in your suitcase if you ran out of something or if you wanted to remember to bring Qtips or whatever for next time.

Now what do we do with all those hundreds of photos you took on vacation!?!?! I feel another blog coming on!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Organizing the Play Room

Whether you call it a playroom, gameroom or toy room it is all the same to a child, its an area to play and run around! It is where they go to get out ALL of their toys and leave them ALL over the floor for us to pick up. If this rings true in your home, I might have a couple of suggestions to help keep the some of the toys at bay.

When a client calls me to organize their playroom my heart races, I LOVE, LOVE organizing playrooms or kids rooms. The main goal of organizing your children’s toys is understanding “how they play”. I know that sounds strange but work with me for a moment.

If you have a girl that have Barbies, Bratz Dolls and Polly Pockets…you automatically think…keep all of them together or close to each other because they probably play with them together, right? Well what if Polly Pockets are the only ones who takes care of Little Pet Shop and the Little Pet Shop is all the way across to the other side of the room? And what if Bratz Dolls don’t even play with Barbie because their head is bigger than Barbie and Bratz Girls play with all the horses that you have in you son’s bin mixed in with the farm animals? See where I am going with this?

If you understand how your children play and what they play with together, you can set up zones so that the toys aren’t scattered across the room. If she is going to play with the Bratz Dolls and horses…she is going to have to dig through the Barbie Dolls and the farm animals to get to what she wants. Which means the farm animals and Barbies are going to be all over the floor.

Here are some zone or bin suggestions for you playroom or child’s room:
Kitchen and baby doll area
Dress Up Girls including wands, jewelry and shoes
Dress Up Boys, including swords, construction gear and spy gear
Books, games and puzzles
Actions figures (if you have boys ask if Power Rangers and Star Wars can be mixed or have two separate bins)
Barbies, Bratz and Polly Pockets (again ask if they can be together if they should have separate bins)
Blocks, Legos, Connects

What you are trying to create in your playroom is an easy way for your children to find what they are looking for and an easy way to PUT THE TOYS AWAY when they are finished playing with them. If the cars are scattered across the room to get to the car track then put a bin of cars next to the track.

I love the fabric bins from Target. ($6.99 each) They work perfect on bookshelves, cubbies or even next to a car track or a doll house. I know this sounds strange but sometimes we “over organize” in the play room. We keep jewelry in separate bins of bracelets, necklaces, or rings instead of one bin of jewelry. What four year old is going to want to separate all the jewelry to put it away? She would rather scoop it all up and dump it in one bin! If you have a son that plays with G.I. Joes but doesn’t play with the swords, guns or helmets that they come with, then put the accessories in a Ziploc bag on a shelf in a closet out of his way. Why stick them in the bin to have them all over the floor waiting for you step on them if no one is going to play with them?

To keep your playroom fresh and fun rearrange the toys and zones twice a year. I like to do this right before summer break and right after they go back to school in January. This allows my to “sift” through the junk without them noticing some of the broken happy meal toys are missing.

If you want to really live on the edge you could start to sing the “Pick Up Song” after they are finished playing…pick up, pick up, everybody, everywhere do your share!!! Just a thought….

Organizing Games and Puzzles

Our family loves Pizza and Game Night! Nothing is worse than sitting down to a little pizza and setting up a game just to realize that you are missing a ”few” pieces to the game…kind of takes the fun out of it!

So let’s get these games under control and while we are at it get the cards and puzzles organized as well.

If you have a huge storage closet for games, you are so lucky!! All I would say to you is categorize your games by age group, such as pre-school, teen or adult games. Make sure you keep adult games on the top shelf so small little hands don’t accidently open the game and use the pieces in her Barbie House never to be found again. Keep the pre-school games at their reach so they can play with them even if the family isn’t playing a game. Many times my youngest son will just make things up with the games and play by himself.

Now onto the rest of us that make due with what storage we have or should I say don’t have! Start by simply stacking the game boards (only) together on one shelf. You could label the boards if you don’t want to turn them game side out. With the small pieces and instructions to the games place them in labeled Ziploc bags. Here is where I would buy the easy close Ziploc bag and spend a little extra so it will be easy for everyone to open and close the bags. Now place the storage bags in a storage tote or box to keep them falling all over the shelf. This will take up so little space, you will be shocked! If you have games that need to stay in their original box because it is part of the game no big deal you will have room left to spare!!!

Tips for everyone no matter how much room you have for games:
- Reinforce the original box with tape to keep it lasting longer
- Put all the small pieces from the board game in a Ziploc bag to avoid the scattering of these pieces if the box is accidently dropped.
- Place the board game box side by side on a shelf like books so that can easily access them and they won’t smash other games.

If you have more puzzles than space, cut out the picture of the puzzle and place the picture and puzzle pieces in a Ziploc bag. Store all the puzzle bags in a tote or shoe box.

Our card games get used all the time and the card box becomes well…let’s just say it is no longer a box. I cut out the picture of the card game, take out the instructions and place the cards in a…c’mon you know what’s coming…yes a Ziploc bag!!! Again I put them in a storage tote (shoe box size) or you can use a shoe box whatever is handy!

These are just some simple ideas to help keep all your games, cards and puzzle together and all in one place. Have fun playing….Maybe you can start a Pizza and Game Night in your house too!!!