Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Organizing with Children

Yeegads! My house always looks like a tornado blew through it!!! No matter how much I clean up one room, when I head into the next room, the tornado has touched down again!!! It moves from room to room as I move like a geriatric behind it.

Probably my most difficult hardship as a homeschooling momma is keeping my house clean. I admit - I come from a long line of pack rats who have a hard time throwing anything away. My Gran used to sweep up her driveway using my Grandpa's old license plate as a dust pan...when she'd get a run in her nylons, she'd cut that leg off and wear one leg in the hose and put on a second pair, also a survivor of a run with one missing leg - problem solved - voila! With the excess panty hose, she'd cut them into strips to tie up her boxes with - everything and I mean everything can be reused one way or another!

Well in comes the next generation of pack rats who find a use for everything...a recipe for disaster, among a lot of creativity... husband ran out and bought us some very, very (did I say VERY) cheap bookshelves. $15.00 a pop! Yep, we really splurged. With homeschooling expenses, I just couldn't justify spending more on one bookshelf than on the entire curriculum for next year. They aren't real wood, of course, but they'll do.

And now, my baskets are off the floor...

Everything has it's house appears organized and clean...

And then my babies get up and start to play, discovering a nice clean spot to set up and have some creative free play...

Flashing through the house like little tornadoes from one room to the next...

And next thing I know, my house is an instant mess again...

But creative genius' are at work here...

And now I have my bookshelves...(and more are on the way...)


  1. How neat and tidy the bookshelf makes items, like you say, they are there to be taken out and played with,just think what a wonderful life you are giving your girls with all your lovely creations,and positive parenting. cheers Marie

  2. I had to chuckle as I read through my blog list and your post on organization and kids caught my eye...being that those two words are a bit of an

    The first thing that popped into my head was..."well she is probably struggling with organizing because she is soooo busy crafting those adorable little needle-felted folks!"...

    As for the book shelves...a welcomed addition I am sure...but here's the catch...see at our home, I am a bit of an organizing nut...but if I cant get them to actually put it BACK!!!, then all the organizing wont solve the dilemma

    And so, when you figure out how to get the little cherubs to put the things back on the shelves, in the baskets, on the hanger, or in the drawer...please post again and let us know!!!


  3. Isn't it amazing how you can get things so neat and tidy--- and then within moments everything is a total disaster?? It boggles my mind every single day.
    The photos of everything all packed away in the baskets sure does look pretty though!

  4. I know exactly what you mean!! I feel like we have the same tornado problem around here! I have solved part of the problem by sorting the toys in 4 seasonal boxes, so I rotate them. I could not wrap my mind around the idea of putting any away (because you know, they are all wooden and beautiful and they foster imaginative play...), but when there are too many, nobody can get creative and it takes forever to put away!

  5. Those shelves certainly do the trick! We've got a similar problem here at my house (and with only one 21mth old girl!). I definitely need to get some more baskets and shelves, but have been putting it off as I've been oggling all the gorgeous (but too expensive) wooden ones out there. After seeing your post and how lovely it all looks, I think I'll just go ahead and get those cheaper shelves! I love the shot of your girls running around in their costumes too - such fun! xx

  6. Melissa - that's exactly what happened to us! I kept holding out for the nice ones and realized that by the time we got the ones we wanted, the girls would have graduated from college! So I hear ya, Momma! And yes the Ren dresses were handmade by their wonderful Grandma so we are hoping to make it to a Faire sometime :D

    Catherine - great idea to sort by season! You are so right that when there's too much it can clutter the play and even takes forever just to set the scenes up.

    Childhood Magic - your home always looks like it's been professionally set up by a designer for a photoshoot!!! I'd love to know how you keep it so gorgeous with two carefree little ones who are obviously being nurtured with lots of love and freeplay :D

    Sidonie - I hear you on that end. My girls will put things away, mostly with help, though Charley surprises me once in a while by making her bed or cleaning the playroom without being asked. But for the most part, it takes them forever to set up and then they want to leave it out and come back and forth to play. So I wait a few days in between and then get overwhelmed and put it all away myself. If I come across a better way, I'll for sure email you - lol!

    And Marie, it's always a pleasure hearing from you. The girls heard more Arthur tales from hubby tonight and now I can't help but think of you and your lovely wool picture!

    Thank you all for your comments! Cheers, Jen

  7. I love how you have set everything up on the shelf. My kids would love to have a basket of sticks, rocks and pine cones to be creative with! I need to pick your brain next time I see you :)

  8. I am hearing you Mama, thankfully we're heading into better weather, so outside more, keeping the house aliitle tidier xx

  9. Awesome, Shauna! I have an overflow of pinecones if you'd like some of them, though it is special for the kids to find their own treasures to keep for play. I'm happy to give you some ideas, though!

  10. Great point, Nocton4!!! Even more motivation to get outside and play more :D

  11. and I thought I was the only one. And yet, slowly, slowly, slowly (said the sloth) here too, it is coming together. I had just commented to someone recently, that it has taken me about six years thus far, to kind of learn, 'how' to get a house together. ha! I spent four hours cleaning this morning, went for a walk, come back and wonder when it will end.

    I am also slowly learning how to part with things. Maybe dh will learn that too ;)

    Your shelves look wonderful. I think I even have those same little baskets lol. Your photos are so inspiring, even dd enjoys them.


  12. My husband and I always used to say that the biggest messes were the signs of the most creative play. I sort of miss those days!

  13. Thanks Mama! Glad to see I'm not, by any means, alone - lol! Say hi to your dd from Charley & Elena!

    And yes, Sarah, your DH is right :D And good point - one day our houses will stay tidy and we will be wishing for the days when our little rascals would come back and set it ablaze with their creativity :D Very good reminder - thank you!