Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Watching Them Grow

Today I'll take a break from organizing posts and reflect on my love affair with being a mother. I love it! Yes sometimes I can get stressed out and want to hide in the laundry room... Wait not the laundry room, a bar... Yeah, sometimes I'd love to hide out in a bar. However most of the time I love it. I love how Little Bear reaches his arms up for me and his face lights up in the morning when I get him from his crib.

I love the conversations (using this word loosely) that I have with Munchkin. His personality is growing and developing everyday. Some times I crack up at the things he says... You know, the spit your food out kind. Last week I accidentally (on purpose) threw away a small piece from a happy meal toy. The next time he threw something out.. I was caught. He said, very lecturing like, "Mommy, dis does not go in dere." (he still hasn't mastered the "th" sound, which is a whole other thing I love).

Sometimes I worry about not having little infants anymore (at least for now), but I love each new stage and milestone of their lives.  Little Bear is all over the place and getting into everything now.   I think I have at least 20 minor heart attacks a day as he comes dangerously close to bumping is face or head... or worse.  And the kid isn't even walking yet!   But I love that he's so curious, and his new independence makes me smile.

I love the mega block sandwiches I get from Munchkin, and I gobble them happily.  It's wonderful to see his imagination blossoming.  He is growing into such a kind, imaginative, handsome (of course ;), and smart little boy.  At times I just stare, thinking back to those days when his tiny hand barely fit around my finger... sigh/smile.

It warms me up inside to see my two boys playing and interacting with each other.  I swear our home gets louder every day and I know this is only the beginning, and I'm loving (almost) every minute.   While I love my babies, I look forward to what is to come.  Not sure why I'm feeling so sappy, but it's the truth... and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Leiah


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Irene and the Linen Closet

First I would like to send positive thoughts and prayers to the families affected by Irene (if you don't know who Irene is, I suppose some national news is in order for you). Thankfully the Rosey Family escaped with only flickering lights and a few blocked roads in our area. However, there are many that haven't had power for days, and may not get power again for days. Some folks have lost everything... I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer... I'm just sayin.

Anyway, during the storm my husband and I (mostly my hubby) were glued to the TV for minute by minute details and updates. Have you notice how everyone sports a red jacket and baseball cap during these reports. Anyway, while hubby literally stared at the same reports over and over, I worked on an awesome project. It is so awesome, that it deserves it's own post, maybe later this week. I'm super excited about it... Sooo awesome... My only hint: it had to do with organizing.

Yes, I am still addicted to organizing! Every time I complete a new spacz√Ā     e I think of ten more projects to do. The good news is I've got my days so organized that I actually have time for all these little projects (okay... There have been a few late nights... Just a few). I have also been keeping myself in check so I don't get overwhelmed.

Soooo, last week I left you with a horrible BEFORE of my linen closet, remember this.  Yeah, there were things folded... but just thrown all about.



Now my linen closet looks like this (insert chorus singing):

AFTER


Still not super proud of the floor... but it is an improvement.





Unlike Little Bear's closet (which took all morning), this only took about an hour. I was blessed to get both boys sleeping at the same time, which made that hour possible. My goal was to get more serious with the organizing. I got the bins from Dollar Tree, that idea came from here. Now I've got the cleaning things and toiletries safely on the top shelf (away from Munchkin, who always wants to help me "cween" these days) The baby items are organized neatly in bins specific to item: receiving blankets, crib sheets, pack-n-play sheets, and hooded towels. I removed some of the unnecessary items like the Snuzzler and other infant type items... Into boxes they went, and moved down to the basement.  I have some bigger baby blankets folded on one side of the next shelf (specific location, so they are sure to get put back in the right location) and other bed linens folded on the other. I actually watched a YouTube video on how to fold fitted sheets... psshh.. I know... But it helped... Look how neat. Towels are on the bottom shelf now and the floor is used for humidifiers, huge extra comforters, and pillows. I still need to figure out something to do with my body pillow I only use while preggers... it's so darn big.

My goal was to get it looking like those magazine pictures... You know all Martha Stewartish. Well I realized in order to get that look all the linens have to match... basically everything has to be the same color... So much for that.   Either way, I am totally excited about how it turned out. Of course since the items have a more specific location it should be farely simple to keep up. Is anyone else out there on an organizing spree? I'd love to here about it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Making Way

So last post (before Wordless Wednesday... Because that was uuhh wordless) I outlined my super long organizing to do list. I'm a list person... Is anyone else out there a list person? Well I am zipping through my list... Okay, maybe not zipping but definitely moving along nicely.
In this post I'd like to outline the mini projects that have been mostly completed. I say mostly only because there are a few tags and labels  I'd like to make. So without further ado... My progress so far.

First, I finished up Little Bear's closet. As you can see below it was a mess. Way worse than Munchkin's closet. Bear's closet seemed to get all the extra clothes, I figured at some point he'd grow into them so they should stay in his closet... WRONG!!! His closet turned into the dumping ground for all extra and incoming clothing.  The floor wasn't really an issue, it's those darn top shelves that seem to collect everything.


As with any major organizing overhaul the first step should be to set guidelines for what the space will be used for. In Bear's closet I want to use it for current clothing (which is will be hung), clothing we will use for a third (it's still in there with room for more baby clothes to store), and clothes he will fit in about the next 6 months (Top bin).

I decided to keep the clothes for number 3 in the closet simply because I wanted it close when it's time to add my favorite 12m outfits. Where do you keep baby clothes that you want to keep? Anyway, after figuring out what the space is for... Clear it out... completely and wipe it down.

I did major purging of clothes. Before the purge, 1 bin held baby clothes sized P-3m. After the purge 1 bin holds baby clothes sized P - 9m.  I purchased another bin from target (I forget how much).  They are actually under bed storage bins but they work well in the closets too.  I took a few pointers from iHeart Organizing and gave my self a 5 outfit limit for each size group. I also gave myself another rule.   I had to love it, and oh yeah.. I didn't force five things either. Things I thought were nice but didn't make the cut went into boxes for a future boy from a friend or family member, other clothes that weren't too worn went into a donate box. Then I found a home for all the other stuff that was in the closet. Lol... Sometimes the new home was in the trash.  This is after:




Cleaning and organizing is a lot of work, but I feel so accomplished with my finished products.


This week I have also been working on my photos. I realized two things while going through pics. 1) I print way too many photos that never make it into books...smh. 2) Even with the hundreds of pics I sorted through, Little Bear has close to no printed pics... Poor baby, bad mommy.  Anyway, I'm almost done with the print pics and I'll follow up with a post on how that project went.

Before I leave you, I'll show you one more horrible before. My linen closet. The before shows mediocre organizing which I touched on in this post. As you can see the top had all baby things with no specific area (mediocre organizing). Next shelf was a mix of bed linens (can you see the humongous comforter squished in there.  Towels and other random thrown about things are on the third shelf. The bottom shelf held all cleaning supplies and extra toiletries (all in reach of my little guy... this has to change).  On the floor it's just a hot mess.  This will be my task for this weekend, and I can't wait to get started.



Until next time, Leiah ;)

I linked this post to:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ending the Cycle

If you've been reading my posts lately you'll have noticed that I am on a serious organizing mission. I feel like up until now I've been a mediocre organizer. I'd clean out spaces and return mostly everything back, just more neatly. Inevitably with in a few weeks (months if I'm lucky) things are back to messy and I have to complete the whole process all over again. It's a vicious cycle of mediocre organizing. Does this happen to anyone else?

Well lately I've been trying to stop this cycle. The spaces that I've been organizing have been thoroughly purged, and everything has been given a very specific place (think "top row, third bin"). What I'm learning is the more specific the place for a specific item, the more likely it is you'll put it back in its place. For example, in an up coming post about my linen closet I'll explain how it was organized in a mediocre way. My son's closet was organized in a mediocre way too. I had a home for some of his things on the top shelf. This is too broad of a space. I ended up just tossing things up on the shelf (which technically was put away) until it was a mess. When you organize try and find specific places. Bins and baskets, tags and labels are an organizers best friend.

Anyway, I've decided to create an organizational plan for the next couple of weeks to help me end this cycle. Right now I'm on an organizing high, I just can't get enough and I can't wait to get to the next space. Thing is, I don't want to get myself so overwhelmed and burn out or get frustrated and just give up. So with out further ado, here is my To Do list:

Organize the guest room/craft room closet, it has become a dumping ground for everything that doesn't have a home.
Organize photos (print and digital) for scrapbooking, I love scrapbooking but I haven't touched an embellishment, paper, or a picture in ages and I wanna get back to my favorite quiet time activity.
Create a kitchen command center(including finishing my family master binder), I've been reading about these spaces, and I have the perfect little office spot in my kitchen.
Finish organizing the pantry, this is already a work in progress.
Organize all the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen.
Clean out and organize the mudroom coat closet.
Make-over/organize the laundry room.
Organize the utility closet.
Organize the holiday closet.
Organize the garage.
Create a new filing system for our papers/bills
Organize the office bookcase.
I have a few small decorating projects I want to tackle as well.

Lol, after actually writing this list out it seems super long. But have no fear, I have not given myself a time limit, and some of these tasks have been started already. As long as I work on one thing at a time, I won't burn out. I figure this list should keep me busy for a few weeks months. So far I've completed the playroom, which actually could use more storage... But small steps, both boy's closets(but perhaps I'll be adding some paint to spruce them up a bit, thanks to this post at The Scott's Crib), the master closets, and the linen closet. I will keep you posted as I happily take on these fun projects.

Until next time, Leiah

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Addicted to Organizing: Boys Closet Part 1

Lately I have been obsessed with organizing.  Literally addicted.  I mean I've been up late nights reading... no lets keep it real... stalking quite a few blogs... but my three new favs are iheart organizing, Delightful Order, and Organizing Made Fun.  Because of these ladies... Munchkin's closet has been totally purged.  Baby/ toddler clothes and been packed and are ready for donation.. or passing down to Bear or another baby (no I'm not preggers... at least I hope not!).  Toys have gotten a home, or have gone into a donate box (lol... I was actually thinking of the movie Toy Story as I did this... hope I didn't split up any friends.... heheheeh) The playroom has gotten a new system for clean-up, which is working out quite niccely.  I also have a mini project list as long as the Mississippi River.

I'll keep you posted on how operation organize is going.  For now I'll leave you with some pics of my progress so far.  This week I worked on Munchkin's closet.  I don't want to overwhelm myself, so I am attempting to contain my new found excitement for organizing and work on one mini project a week.  I figure that should satisfy my needs, and keep me looking forward to the next project.  So back to Munchkin's closet.  It actually wasn't toooo bad.  Just too much extra crap things on the top shelves, and the clothes were all out of order.  I was actually storing some of the nicer books we have in there even though we have an office/library downstairs.  I also keep some of his toys with smaller pieces in his closet.  He isn't allowed to play with them unless I get them down, this ensures I will be able to monitor the small pieces and clean-up easier.  Not sure if you can see, but the floor is a hot mess as well.


Before 
       

I first started by staring at the closet.  Really I was standing there in front of the doors just staring, I had to figure out what I wanted it to look like, what the closet needed to be used for, and what had to absolutely go.  My next step was to empty everything out. EVERYTHING! Among the items I found: his discharge papers from the hospital when he was born, two year old Valentine's Day cards I never sent, a glass frame that I never used and a lot of other stuff that has just been building up. After everything was out,  I dusted the shelves and corners and vacuumed the floor.

Then I had to go through the hand me down clothes that have been accumulating.  We have very generous friends and family, so we get tons of clothes.  Too many to actually use.  In this post I explain how having less clothes is a great solution for laundry in our family.  I was pretty ruthless when I purged.  I only kept items/outfits I loved and knew I would use.  Next  I put all the clothes in order by size, sleeve type, and last color.  I have all of the clothes he currently wears directly in front of the door.  Clothes he still has to grow into are to the right.  Using the ROYGBIV method I color coded them.  LOL... I realized he needs more colorful clothing.  There were a few pairs of pants that he won't fit for quite a while, I placed those in one of the blue bins.  The other bin has shoes and sneakers that will possibly go to his brother.  Above the clothes he doesn't quite fit yet I placed a colorful box of puzzles and games that are still a bit advanced for him.
I watch Clean House a lot and the organizers always say you should be able to have about an inch between each hanger.  I try to follow this rule in all our closets (this doesn't mean they don't tend to get cluttered in other ways... lol)
I am very pleased with how the closet turned out.  It should be very easy to keep it this way.  Everything has a place.  As long as I continue to place things in the proper place this closet will stay this way.


AFTER


Thanks for reading... Next stop Little Bear's closet.






Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Great Playroom Clean-up

So... inspired by this blog, I've decided to purge and organize the kids' playroom. When Munchkin was a baby, hubby and I were very good about not purchasing a crazy amount of toys for him. The extra room in our house that we called the playroom was basically empty except for a few small toys.  Munchkin mostly played with household items... pots, pans, spoons, ect...
Baby Munchkin (13months) in an almost empty playroom.

After hosting a huge Christmas the playroom has definitely earned its name.  Then a few months later at his second birthday party a whole new shipment of toys came through.  Munchkin made out like a bandit on both occasions.  Little Bear has some things as well, but most of the clutter came from Munchkins things. This was the playroom on Sunday when I started this project.

That would be Little Bear sitting there amongst the madness.



I started simple by going through all of the toys, lots of the cheapy happy meal toys went in the trash. I washed some of the other toys and put them in a box to give away. On Christmas I want to go through again and donate some to the local hospital or school. My goal is to make this a tradition for the boys.  I really want to teach them that giving is just as important as receiving.

I've been trying to introduce Munchkin to some responsibilities.  His first new job is to put his toys away at least twice a day, after lunch and before bedtime.  Trying to get him to clean-up is some what of a challenge these days.  I feel like if I just did it myself it would get done faster.  However, I know the benefits will outway the challenges in the long run.  So we sung a clean-up song and got to work together.  He did a pretty good job.  LOL, he started getting frustrated with Little Bear who continued to take out the cars after Munchkin "parked" them.  Sheesh now he knows how I feel. : )

I'm definitely not a perfect organized mommy... But I know the basics.  Everything needs a place to go, if it doesn't have a place then it's got to go! I also made sure not to pack every bin.  One is empty waiting to be filled with new toys. (Little Bears birthday is coming up so I'm sure it won't be empty for long.  Since Munchkin (or Little Bear for that matter) can't read yet, I put some of my teacher skills into play and took pictures of all of the toys to tape on the outside of the bins and walls. I grouped the toys that were similar together: musical, small cars, action figures, teethers, ect... We got the colorful toy bins and rack from my mother's classroom when she retired. Thanks Mommy! (Yes I still call my mother mommy.)  By the way the colorful toy bin rack is attatched to the wall for safety.  The larger toys have a specific place to go along the walls.  My goal is to get another large toy box for the big toys, but I haven't found one I like yet.  Please let me know if you've got any good ideas.

We didn't have anymore photo paper and since I wasn't taking a trip out with both boys just for paper and I was too excited about organizing to wait for the hubby to get home (wait did I just say excited about organizing?!?!?!) I just printed the photos on regular paper with bold word labels. They are a bit flimsy (munchkin already crumpled one up while trying to help) so we shall see how long they stay intact. Anyway this is the after, I'm very proud of myself and my playroom.




Thanks for Reading,

Leiah

Linking to:
iheartorganizing

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Torn

Today as I Pushed my double stroller around, I realized that in just over a year I will return to work. Munchkin will be 3 working on 4 and Little Bear will be 2 (yikes!!). Anyway... My district will hold my job for two years and hubby and I like the idea of me having a job waiting just in case. So September 2012 I will Return to the classroom and I'm torn. On one hand I would love to have a reason to get out of the house. To get dressed with make-up, get my hair done (regularly), mmmm get my morning coffee. But I look at my babies and I'm heartbroken that I'll have to leave them. I crave the daily companionship of other adults, to talk (gossip), and to inspire young minds. But can't I inspire my own boys, can't I talk (gossip) over the phone, maybe I could get dressed with make-up at home (yeah right) Uuuggggg!!! But I'd love to have a more shared role with my husband in terms of household duties, and childcare. So torn, so so torn.