Outdoor Toy Storage {Thoughtful Thursday}

We've tried lots of different things to hold the kids toys. Laundry baskets. Shelf made from old drawers. And the most recent attempt, an old bakers rack that was left in our shed by the former owner we were using for tools.

Baker's Rack to Outdoor Toy Storage BEFORE and AFTER

After wiping it down I used my favorite kind of paint for furniture {or just about anything}: Spray Paint. After getting the entire thing coated with the blue, I used some cardboard and tape to block off the wooden top and sprayed it with black chalkboard paint then added simple white knobs I had in my pile of "leftover" parts from projects.

I pulled it up on the deck and added toys. We'll see how long this lasts and if it makes the kids wanna put their things away any more than the other tries.

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Hospitality Set {Making Hospitality THAT Much Easier}

Some of us LOVE having people into our home and others...not so much.

Whether you do or don't like it, many of us just don't do it. I think most of the time we aren't hospitable for one or more of the following reasons.

  1. We don't feel like our house is big, clean, nice, host-able {for whatever reason} enough.
  2. We are too busy and aren't home enough to have others over.
  3. We feel like its going to be a lot of work that we don't have the energy for.

Ready-Made Hospitality Set makes being hospitable easy, fast, and natural

I can't solve all these issues but I have found something that helps with a little of all of them. Creating a hospitality set will allow you to

  1. have a set of dishes clean for just the occasion
  2. to grab fast when last-minute hospitality opportunities arise
  3. and it's ready with little to no effort.

This is how I created my hospitality set {based on my most common hospitality needs}:

  • purchased 16 bowls and 16 plates at the Dollar tree for $1 for a set of 4,
  • silverware from a local open-to-the-public restaurant store
  • used containers also from the Dollar tree to store them in. hospitable

This set stays under the counter in these containers and are ONLY used for sudden {and main large} hospitality. This keeps me from freaking out about not having enough dishes clean to feed everyone, it's so easy to get ready, my kids can snatch these items and lay them out, and I don't feel overwhelmed cleaning up afterwards because these are dishwasher save but the kids also think its fun to hand-wash them and I'm not scared to let them.

Using the Dollar Tree to create your own Hospitality Set is cheap and Dry-Erasable

***Another really cool thing about this set that I just realized, they're Dry-Erasable! Marking friends and family's drinks/plates/bowls are easily marked. Very important right now during flu season! ***

 We also have a mini-fridge to set up a drink/snack station this summer for neighborhood friends! What common hospitality needs do you have that might need to be considered for a set you're building?

 

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Room-By-Room Decluttering Ideas

I know finding a place to start is part of the problem in decluttering a home. Here is a list of things I've decluttered organized by room. Most of these things will take ~15 minutes to get in order.

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Living Room

  • Decor/Pictures
  • Books
  • Photo Albums
  • Movies
  • Video Games
  • Electronics
  • Throw Pillows/Blankets
  • Coat Rack
  • Shoe Basket
  • Coffee/End Tables

Dinning Room

  • Decor/Pictures
  • Dinning Table
  • Table Clothes/Place Mats

Kitchen

  • Decor/Pictures
  • Counters
  • Top of Cabinets
  • Cabinets:
    Dishes
    Serving Dishes
    Bakeware
    Pots
    Pans
  • Drawers:
    Silverware
    Serving Utensils
    Cookie Cutters
  • Pantry
  • Medicine Cabinet

Laundry Room

  • Laundry Soaps
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Paper Goods
  • Cleaning Tools

Bedrooms

  • Decor/Pictures
  • Night Stands
  • Dressers
  • Closets: clothes, bags/purses, hats, scarves, shoes
  • Bedding

Bathrooms

  • Decor
  • Bathtub/Shower Stall:
    Toys
    Toiletries
  • Drawers:
    toiletries
    washclothsmakeup
    hair accessories/tools
  • Cabinets:
    towels
    toiletries
    clean supplies

Play/School Room

  • Decor/Pictures
  • Toys
  • Games
  • Books
  • Curriculum
  • Craft Supplies

I'm excited to say that nearly 90% of my list has already been checked off! ...the GARAGE. Let's just use the "its too cold outside" excuse and pretend the attic and tiny shed in the backyard don't exist. :-|

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Decluttering Kids’ Books with a Win Win Win

One of the places I've delaying in the Decluttering-My-Home-thing has been the kid's bookshelves.

Decluttering Kids' Books with a Win Win Win

Sadly, this isn't because I'm a book-lover. I was a little sentimental about who/where they came from but it is mainly because I'm not a reader. I didn't read a lot as a child but I want my kids' to love reading. I know you can learn anything if you're a good reader. I was scared that since I don't really like reading, I'd just chunk everything and be THAT terrible homeschool mom who had no books for her children to read. I mean really, what would people think if they came over and I had no books?! lol but really!

I finally hit it hard last night. As soon as the kids were in bed, I finished picking up and then had my hubs drag ALL their books into the living room from the play/school room where I strung them everywhere while we/he watched a TV show.

I was nervous.

I made piles. Then I reorganized the piles. Then I doubted my piles. Books from HIPPY {that must mean they're good, right?}. Books that damaged. Books I recognized from seeing in the school library as a child. Random. Donate. Trash. I'm not sure.

Ya see what I'm saying, I'm okay at organized but reluctant to declutter. Everything has a purpose, someone one would use it, I might be able to make $2 off of it. Ugg

I finally confessed my fear of getting rid of books to my hubs and then dumped my pile of random books next to him to help me make finally decisions about.

We cleared out a giant tub-full of books. Some I could have possibly sold at the Duck Duck Goose Consignment Event but I just decided that if they made it into the tub from whatever reason, I wasn't going to look at them again.  I'm not sure how shaddy this was but I just left the 'donate' and 'trash' pile all together in the tub. I ask my hubs to take the tub to the garage for now so 'the kids' would dig stuff back out of it.

Today we picked back up our attempt at weekly library trips. As I walked out I grabbed that tub. The stupid thing is clear. That's Not Helpful.

I didn't look. I just put it in the front seat and after double checking with the librarian, I brought in the tub and left it with her. Tub and All. I couldn't take the chance of watching her sort through them. Guilt. Regret. Embarrassment.

When I got home, I was hoping the kids didn't really notice me running back into the library with their books. But apparently that's hard to miss. They announced at lunch, "Daddy, we took our books to the library! Now we can rent them any time we want."

Hmm That had never occurred to me. I mean. I'm a genius. I convinced my children it was okay to declutter/get rid of books by taking them to the local library because now someone Else has to store them, we can check them out any time we want, AND other can use them as well! :D

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4 Steps to Make Your Home More Organized and Decluttered

Last week I saw this awesome post and LOVED the idea but didn't have a need for all the things she had planed. Then of course, I got all gung-ho and wanted to make my own awesome calendar like hers and we all know that didn't happen. BUT I did make a giant list spurred from her ideas. So if you're like me and feel like you're drowning in a paper trail and 'stuff', here's what I did. Maybe it will help you if you're interested in getting organized to kick off this year with a little less clutter holding you back.

4 Steps to Make Your Home More Organized and Decluttered

Make a List

Go through every room in your house and make a list of the things you want to accomplish, get rid of, and or clean in that room. You can color code the rooms if that helps this process more fun. Thing through the organization of your list. I should have divided mine into "Clean", "Projects", and "Declutter/Organize". My hubs even helped me prioritize the order in which something needed to happen so the next thing could be done, as well as practical cost efficiency.

Hint: be very detailed so you'll have lots to check off. ;)

Make a Plan

I liked the idea of planning something or even a room to work on for each day of the week throughout January but that's just not how I roll. It doesn't really work for our lifestyle. I do have little windows {15 minutes} here and there and some times that works but I kinda feel like if I take an entire month to do this, by the time I'm done, the first things I worked on will need it again. lol I've just been working when I can and as fast as I can.

Part of your plan should be where things will be stored in anticipation of Leaving your home. I remember when I was a child and my brothers and I were ask to clean up our room. Our way of cleaning mainly involved moving furniture and making new, nicer looking piles. Decluttering doesn't just mean moving things from one place to another where it may ore may not look a little nicer for a short time. It means getting rid of things.

Make Haste

I work better with short spurts with a goal in mind. Example: I was putting away some left overs and was fumbling around the messy cabinet, having trouble matching lids and containers. I had a window of time so I drug everything out of the cabinet. I made a pile of lids, containers, and randomness that shouldn't even be in that cabinet. Then I matched up lids and containers as well as tossing the things that didn't have a spouse. I reloaded the cabinet with only the things that had matches and that were supposed to be in there. Boom! Reorganized in 15 minutes.

Sometimes I'll have a bigger slot of time than others so I just do as much as I can right then. This does tend to create a new pile of things that need a new home if I'm not careful and prepared to trash or store for selling and donating. Many times to make myself work faster by not allowing myself to sit, take off my shoes, or potty until I've accomplished the small goal.

Make Up a Happy Dance

Celebrate with each thing you mark off your list. Plot down on the couch! Kick off your shoes! Take a POTTY BREAK! lol I even got my kids excited about the idea of feeling freer from the clutter with fresh, spacious home. They even feel more free to play with all the newly created space, less stressed with few items to sift through, and happier when its time to "clean up, clean up" because everything had an easy place for storage and they can put things away themselves without having to cram things into tight spaces.

Do you know what kinda happy I was when I contacted my CPA friend and she finally gave the go-ahead to trash all my past records I'd been keeping in a file cabinet?! Holy Smokes! A giant black trash bag full of at least 3 years worth of old bills, bank records, and pay stubs made me quite giddy.

Do you feel stressed, overwhelmed, and uncomfortable in your own home? Do you need to start decluttering and organizing your home? What scares you about starting to decluttering?

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