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Organizing Your Kid’s Costumes – it is possible! Repurposing a Bookshelf

17 Feb

Regardless if you find yourself a parent to either an aspiring princess or superhero — you will one day find yourself standing above a pile of costumes, masks, hats and accessories (pirate sword anyone? Rapunzel wig?). ¬†We’ve tried different iterations on how to deal with this – but I just HAD TO share this ingenious way a friend of mine (bluejeaner on Twitter) repurposed her shelf (on the cheap too!) .

Shelving on the left is the way both sides used to look.

The best thing about this in my opinion is that the shelf can be re-converted back into a bookshelf after the kids outgrow their costume phase!

Remove top two shelves (she left the bottom shelf in for shoes) use a tension rod and hang curtain hooks – voila! The genius is in the simplicity.

We haven’t tried this yet, but I’m eyeing our tall book-case to convert into something like this pretty soon ūüôā Here is another angle–

A quick hang and you're set!

Hmmm… thinking this might also work well in a mudroom or entryway…

Do you have any interesting way you organize your kid’s costumes or clothing?


How to Organize Your Kid’s Closet!

1 Nov

Wow – this article from Parents.Com is like a parent’s dream come true…at least for me!¬† It is chock full of great tips on how to organize a child’s closet for the child, and best of all, the items they suggest using are reasonably priced!¬† The only challenge is if the closet cannot be configured/set up this way, but you can still make some of these great tips work for you!

Some of my personal favorite tips from this article are ‘Maximizing Space’ via a 3 shelf organizer with canvas shelf bins – great for underwear, socks, etc.¬† as my 5-year-old¬†doesn’t have a real dresser of her own and we have been using canvas¬†bins on a shelf for these items.¬† The “Sort the Wash” laundry hamper also geta¬† big thumbs up from me!¬† Makes doing the laundry easier and gives your child some more simple¬†organizational responsibility!¬† I also love the ‘Days of the Week Closet Organizer’, where my daughter can just open her closet and change into her clothes for school each day!

Do you have any tips and tricks to share?¬† Please leave a comment to do so ūüôā

Clean Your Kid’s Closet

Clean Closet
Hello, Clean Closet!

Organizing your child’s wardrobe doesn’t have to be an all-day affair. Follow these simple steps to make over even the messiest closet in no time!

Clothing Organizers
Organize Clothes

Kids can dress themselves when outfits are neatly placed in the Days of the Week Closet Organizer. $30;

Buy Days of the Week Closet Organizer from

Second Closet Rod
Hang Low

Create easy access to everyday clothes by installing a second rod that can simply be removed as your child grows.

3-Shelf Organizer
Maximize Space

Make use of the area above the lower bar by installing a 3-shelf organizer, then and add canvas shelf bins to keep clothes from falling out. Hanging organizers, $7; and shelf bins, $7 each;

Buy 3-shelf organizer from burlingtoncoatfactory.comBuy canvas shelf bins from

Labeled Bins
Tag Containers

Store off-season or infrequently worn garments in labeled bins on the top shelf. Tag Kit $20, Orange Bin Set $8 for 2; and Gingham Storage Bins $13 to $15 each;

Buy Tag Kit at anyrandomjane.comBuy Orange Bin Set at stacksandstacks.comBuy Gingham Storage Bins at

Portable Hamper Tote
Sort the Wash

Make separating laundry simple by tucking this portable Hamper Tote in the bottom of the closet. $42;

Buy Portable Hamper Tote at

Closet Dividers
Group Garments

Closet dividers help keep items together by size, type or season. $12 for 5;

Buy Closet Dividers at

Plastic Stackable Baskets
Store More Shoes

Get your kid’s kicks off the floor and into these plastic stackable baskets. $6 each;

Buy plastic stackable baskets at

Expandable Hangers
Expand Hangers

Grow-with-Me Hangers adjust to hold big and small kids’ tops. $8 for 3;

Buy grow-with-me Hangers at

Step Stool
Access with Ease

A step stool, like Kidkraft’s Step ‘N Store, helps kids reach stuff off the top shelf. $30;

Originally published in the September 2011 issue of Parents magazine.

Buy Kidkraft’s Step ‘N Store from


http://www.parents.comBringing together the power of respected magazine brands including American Baby and Parents, the Parents Network is your go-to destination for parenting information. From first kicks to first steps and on to the first day of school, we are here to help you celebrate the joys and navigate the challenges of parenthood.© Copyright2011 Meredith Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Organizing the Arts and Craft Area – Voila! Part 2

27 Oct

It always surprises us how BAD things get when you are in the process of organizing anything.¬† The mounds of clutter, the piles of things that needs to be thrown or given away.¬† Ugh!¬† And doing this with a toddler who wants in on any activity didn’t make it any easier.

OK, I’m done with the whining. :0)

What really helped was knowing that our 5-year-old would end up having a creative and most importantly ‘functional’ space for herself.¬† We wanted a space that would be easy to clean up because it wasn’t so cluttered and unorganized. ¬†Here are some things we had to think about when we were planning out the space:

  • What does she enjoy doing there? (For her it was, writing in her journal, drawing, coloring, crafts, making cards)
  • What items needs to be easily accessible to her (ie. her coloring books, crayons, etc.) and what shouldn’t be (ie. glue gun, beads etc.)?
  • What doesn’t belong there, and why does it keep on showing up there? (toys, hats, coats, sunblock, etc.) and how do we address that?
  • How do we label the different aspects of the space where it would be easily understandable by a 5-year-old?

After the initial mess of piling everything into groups and weeding out what doesn’t need to be there, we were surprised to see that we do have space!¬† Here are a couple of organizing materials that really helped.¬† I have to admit this was our THIRD time trying to make sense of this space.¬† So I think these things really helped make this time matter.


Our new Labeler!

We were lucky to be able to participate in the Brother P-touch program.¬† We never had a labeler, I looked into buying one eons ago, but never got around to actually purchasing one (life happens).¬† My experience with labelers were those dymo things when I was a teenager and it was never easy to use¬†and I don’t think I ever really used that to organize anything either.¬† Lately we’ve been pathetically using post-it notes and white sticker labels that you hand write on – I found one on the floor a couple of weeks ago and it took me a while to figure out where it goes!¬† Some things that surprised me (as a novice labeler):

– It’s actually was quite easy to print out the labels – in the midst of organizing the space I really didn’t want ANYTHING that needed a learning curve.¬† It was VERY straight-forward.¬† In fact even inserting the label tape/ink cartridge was idiot proof with a drawing of the cartridge etched into the spot!

– The labels aren’t permanently welded in place after sticking them on.¬† After a couple of weeks I was still able to move one label from one spot to the other – it was on plastic though, but still it transferred well and re-stuck well.

– You can’t beat how NEAT labels look compared to hand-written post its (yeah, I know… duh)

– The designs available were easy to use too – I used a plain rounded edged rectangle for most of my labels, while for my boxes and storage containers I used something that looked like a clipboard.

The way I organized our space – things Julia has access to in the bottom shelves, and more ‘storage’ items on the top shelves. ¬†I placed items first prior to affixing the labels in order to get a feel for where they are.

Arts and Crafts Double Tower 

(sfx: Angels singing) Our New Storage Tower! All labeled up and ready to go...

After going through multiple iterations of storage choices – ie. boxes, baskets, drawer units – We realized that having multiple places to put things just leads to more clutter and not much organization. ¬†By pure fluke we happened upon our local education/school supplies store’s back to school sale and found exactly what we needed! ¬†At first 20 drawers felt like a lot, but in reality it was just enough so that everything literally has a place and isn’t cluttered into one big drawer or container.

So now, scissors has a drawer of its own, so does tape, colored pencils, and markers Рjust to name a few, but you get my point.  I also decided against going alphabetical, since this was to be used daily by my 5-year-old.  I opted to go from most used (colored pencils, stamps, scissors, tape, markers) on the top half and less used on the bottom (pipe cleaners, glitter glue, pom poms, etc).

The final result is below!  I have resigned myself to the fact that an area filled with all these minute items will never truly look pristine.  But at the very least it is now functional, and best of all Рeverything has its place now. :o)

Re-positioned the table, made a new tabletop cover, reorganized everything and Voila! the new space!

One last tip — I found this plastic cloth-by-the-yard at Michaels that really helped make the table more interesting ¬†and like-new again – ¬†we simply ¬†taped it to the bottom of the table (much like when gift wrapping) and tucked some colorful tissue in between for color.

We aren’t exactly poster children of organizing, but there are two things that make us go through the rigors of organizing

— We seem to love our stuff ¬†and with two kids there never seems to be an end to the amount of stuff we have all over the place. ¬†With stuff accumulation comes the burden of organizing the stuff!

— We want our kids to live in an environment where they can actually have fun, relax, learn, and be kids – without the clutter, junk and mess.

— With the daily grind of life, things are hectic enough without the stress of trying to find something every hour or so. ¬†(Where are those pair of scissors? ¬†Where is that little empty drawstring bag? ¬†I swear I have a jar of googly eyes somewhere!)

— And with the ability of finding something and knowing where things should be, comes the $$ savings from not having to go out and buy more thinking that you’re out. ¬†(I wasn’t REALLY trying to accumulate 5 bottles of Elmer’s glue!)

Hope this helps somewhat ūüôā ¬†If you have any organizational tips please do share by leaving a comment on this blog post – would love to hear your tips!!!


I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Brother P-Touch and received a product and gift card to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Reorganizing Our Arts and Craft Area (Heaven Help Us) Part 1

24 Oct

Gets worse, before it gets better - Making Piles

SO… as usual our lives take over, our schedules go hay-wire and the first to suffer is our (seemingly) nicely organized art area. Primarily it’s because it is right by where we enter the house from our attached garage, so everything we are holding as we enter gets dumped there, likewise, as we leave the house everything the kids are holding gets dumped there as well. Our intention for this area was for our older daughter Julia to have an arts and craft area to herself (emphasis on herself) where she can write in her journal, draw, color, etc. without us worrying about Stella (22 months of energy) getting in her way.

The Dreaded

We started with really thinking through what needs to be in the area – her art supplies, craft supplies, her artwork, and if there is room, a small cubby for her ‘going out and keeping busy’ items – crayons, coloring books, note pads, markers, her Leapster, etc.

What to get rid of – ahhh executive decisions!

1. Incomplete (ie. unusable) craft kits

2. Glue/markers – anything that have lost their caps and WILL DRY OUT

3. Semi-dried out play doh — ugh

4. Sentimental half done crafts or ‘Art’

We then sorted everything into piles. Our piles:

– craft items – subdivided into complete kits (ie shrinky dinks, magnet sets, etc.) and craft ‘ingredients’ – ie. eyes, puff-ball thingies, pipe cleaners, stickers, etc.

– art items – brushes, paint, fabric paint, glitter glue, finger paint

– paper differing sizes and color

– toys (yeah they got in here)

– take out/car trip arts and crafts (small boxes of crayons, small tubs of playdoh, etc.)

– one tote for our 22 month old’s stuff…

We emptied out EVERYTHING! All our little drawers and pen holders – in short, things we thought would help us keep organized but didn’t. We ended up with (believe it or not) FIVE different empty organizational containers that we didn’t need anyway.

I am embarrassed to say, it took us about two weeks to do everything, so yes, we lived in our mess for a while. With two active girls to feed, clothe, bath, read, play, etc., our time is limited and honestly letting them ‘help’ is NO help ūüôā

The grand unveiling of how it all turns out is in the next post… Stay tuned!!!

Organize & Display Kid’s Dress-Up Clothes

30 Sep

My 5 year-old daughter¬†LOVES to play dress-up and between Halloween costumes, hand-me-downs from her¬†cousin¬†and stage outfits from her dance class, we have accumulated a good amount of dress-up clothes!¬†¬†We use to keep her dress-up clothes in a plastic tote, but then as the tote began to really fill up it wasn’t as fun to have to dig around and find an outfit to wear and play in.¬† So we repurposed a height adjustable rolling clothes rack to organize and display her dress-up clothes!

It really works like a charm!  We found ours for $15 at Big Lots.  It was easy to assemble and took less than 10 minutes to put together!  Plus with this being height adjustable, as our daughter grows, we can raise the height of the rack!  So, by thinking outside of the box/tote, our daughter has a nice was to select and take care of her dress-up clothes!

Label Challenge! Reviewing the Brother P-Touch Labeler

16 Aug

It is a hard thing to admit. But we don’t have a Labeler. Yes, I’m big on organizing and decluttering, but we never got around to getting one. My wife had done her research and was aiming for a Brother-brand labeler – but then we just used what we had on hand, post-it notes, blank address labels, and (ugh) permanent marker. So, when I was approached to review and test the new Brother P-Touch Labeler , needless to say I was dorky-excited.

We got the test/durability kit yesterday. Our plan is to run the labels through our version of rigorous testing ūüėČ scrubbing, dishwashing, rough handling and kid-use. ¬†One test label will be placed under a favorite bowl and put through weeks of dishwasher washing. ¬†Another use for the labeler in our household would be as a name label – so the other test label will be affixed on the heel of my daughter’s shoe. ¬†Finally, we’ll scrub, sponge and submerge the third test label in water. ¬†We’ll then report our real-world results in a subsequent post.



We’re planning on tackling a couple of ‘spaces’ that REALLY need work in our house – our pantry, our storage/hall closet, and finally, our daughter’s art/craft area. Watch out c-r-a-p we’re out to get you!

By the way it would be great to know, what is your favorite labeler brand ?

Stay tuned for future posts on our actual testing and productive use of the Brother P-Touch Labeler!!!

I wrote this post while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Brother P-Touch and will receive a product and gift card to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Are YOU ready for school? Getting Organized before school starts

12 Aug

Here we are again! The couple of weeks before school starts (at least for us here in Oklahoma). Where has the time gone?!  Here are some of what we did this summer to prepare for the new school year:

  1. Get all school forms filled out and ready to go, lists ready to check off.
  2. Clean out study and/or art areas, out with the old in with the new!
  3. Sorting through closets and dressers Рsome things have been outgrown, some have seen their last days.  Donate, sell or store away for younger siblings.
  4. Check out open houses for extra-curricular activities ¬†– ballet, soccer, art, music – if you’re not sure what your child would be interested in, this would be a good opportunity to check out the facility, classes and teachers.¬† Be sure to ask to attend a trial class/session at no charge!
  5. Getting ready for me usually mentally starts around the tax-free weekend–¬†chances are your State has one.¬† Although you can always buy online and possibly save on sales tax, but nothing beats being able to try on clothes and check things out first hand.¬† Stores have become more savvy and offer sales around the same time too.
  6. Get your own desk ready, take out all old school year information and paperwork – get ready for the new stuff!
  7. Plan some playdates with school mates – get them excited to see their friends and start school!

Usually at this time my wife then starts to weep internally thinking about¬†our daughter growing up ūüėČ

It’s also important to make sure your child is mentally ready for school – Kid’s Health has a good post with tips on how to walk your child through back-to-school anxiety in their post called Going Back to School¬†.¬† The article does talk more to the student rather than to the parent – making it perfect for middle-schoolers, but I like that I still get an idea of what might be going through my daughter’s mind as school approaches.

If you are like us, we sometimes run out of ideas for easy, quick snacks – Cool Mom Picks has a good list of healthy snacks available in stores in their post Back to School Shopping- Better Lunchbox Snacks¬†– as an aside our kids love the Florida’s Natural Organic Fruit Nuggets and Chex Mix.