Mommy Moment Monday: Home Organization Tips


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Today was a great day. I had MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) this morning and was able to connect with some great moms. Not only did we have our Thanksgiving meeting (which meant Thanksgiving themed brunch) it was also a round robin with 7 different speakers on 7 different important mommy topics; and I was a speaker! Luckily I did not talk on time management since I was a few minutes late because I realized I hadn’t used the restroom yet this morning. However, I did talk about home organization. Between three kids and nine therapists the file through my home weekly, I feel a constant need to make my home presentable. They are constantly on the ground or sitting out our dinning room table for work. I never want them to feel like they are uncomfortable sitting down due to the state of my home.  A few of the tips I shared, I have already shared with you all; and a few are new. Either way, here is a round up of some mommy tips we use to keep our home organized (noticed I didn’t say clean, hehe.)

1) Sock basket. This was one of the first posts I did back in February of this year. We still employ it now. In our home, like most, my children were forever pulling apart their matching socks and ending up with three socks. They would fuss and draw out getting reading in the morning because there were only three socks left. First off, they only have two feet, so why are we worried about three socks? We have enough socks to cover the feet we have. We will worry about the one sock later.  You can call it lazy, but I like to think of it as a teaching lesson. So I instituted the sock basket.

2) Kids kitchen storage basket; another post from earlier this year. I like to teach my children independence and that mom or dad or anyone else for that matter, does not always have to do things for them. My children are old enough to ask for a snack or a drink and I felt time they were capable of getting simple things on their own. I bought two cheapo baskets from Walmart and placed them in a kitchen cabinet low enough they could access it. In addition to the baskets, I had the kids start emptying the dishwasher on a daily basis.

Up onto that point it was sorta hit or miss. Again, I felt my kids were getting to the age, or past it, where they are able to help around the house. I had seen to many friends start having to fork over a portion or their paycheck to pay for their children allowance. I wondered why they waited so long to institute chores. Then I had a light bulb moment- they didn’t have to be chores if you simply instill in them they are household or family responsibilities. I feel that if you start a child early on household responsibilities they will grow up knowing they are helping out their family instead of feeling like they reserve some type of token or rewards.

So not only do my children unload their dishes and the silverware (I take out the sharp objects) they are capable of getting themselves a glass of water or a small snack. Warning: If you have younger children they will follow lead and do what their older brothers and sisters do. At one point I thought my fridge was leaking. I called out maintenance who informed me it was not my fridge, but my very intelligent and highly observational 20 month old who was coping what their older siblings were doing by getting herself a cup and trying to reach the button the water dispenser. Ugg.

3) Do not but the cute colored totes. Don’t do it. Walk away! I know they are cute with their fun colors that match the holidays but I bet you anything once you pack it all away and go next year to pull it out, you will have forgotten what you put in there. This same suggestion also goes hand in hand with clear Tupperware. Buy clear containers. For me- out of sight is out of mind. Whether it is the left overs from a month ago or rebuying the same decorations as you did last year, if you cant see what is in the box, you forget it is there. I throw out all my colored Tupperware. It was time, we got them as a wedding present. We invested in a Costco sized collection of clear contains for food storage. It has cut down our grocery bill. Now I can see what I have left over and what halfs of fruit or veggies I have and use them in a new dish. My fridge has never been so clean or organized.

But still have those cute colored 5 gallon totes for storage? I do. In order to use them and not pitch them, I bought a package of page protectors. I wrote out an inventory of what was in the tote and slipped it in the protector. Last I taped it on the tote. This works awesome if you are in the military like us and move frequently. We have learned that most moving companies don’t always want to repack those totes into their own boxed. Most times they will just take a quick look and tape them shut. We even had one company repack them with packing material and put it back in our tote. Makes moving and getting organized a whole lot easier.

4) Ditch the toy box. It is a toys death. Basically, when a toy hits the bottom it will never see the day of light again. It seems to be the small pieces, the broken toys and the outgrown toys that float to their depths. Which is great when you need to purge, but not so great for those expensive toys you bought her for her last birthday. Instead use smaller more manageable sized boxes for storage.  We repourposed our toy box (which was actually my toy box from childhood with a broken lid) into the dress up box. Most of her dresses, skirts and other bigger items go in there. Her smaller items like Barbies, Legos and baby doll stuff. Of course they are in clear totes with labels. The labels are words and photos. Words are great for early readers. It encourages them to sound things out. The pictures work great for the younger non-readers. Seeing a photo of a lego on her lego box helps her match them up and see what she has. Some might think it is a little OCD, but I think it is just common sense. Here is a peek at her shelves with smaller baskets.home organization

5) Table top organization. When you start having people, not family, filter in and out of your life on a daily basis, they do eventually become like family. There finally came a point where I told my children’s therapists to stop asking me for a glass of water and start helping themselves. I showed them were the cups where, how to get ice and press the button for water. Ok, maybe not that detailed, but I showed them around. They were coming into our home almost 20 hours a week and honestly I didn’t have time to stop every 5 seconds and answer their question where the pencils where. Finally, one day it hit me. I just need to create a way where my kids and their therapists could be independent. I seem to like that words a lot. So I drove  my happy self over to the local goodwill and stock up on the most disasterly hideous looking wide mouth vases I could find. Why? Because no matter the color in the store, they were all getting spray painted a uniform color of silver to match my decor. And to make my idea more awesomer was the fact that they were so disgusting they were deeply discounted. When it was all said and done about a hour later, I had a very cheap (I already had the basket in storage) and effective supply basket for the kids. There is a vase for all the remotes, pencils and sharper, markers, a few coloring books, wipes and a one for randomness. Another warning: said 20 month old from #2 will watch older siblings and find the only paper she can (which happens to be her brothers report card which was three weeks over due), climb up on the table, grab a nice brown marker and color all over the paper.
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Hoped some of these tips helped you. I know they have helped me and saved me time.

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Crazy Busy Life and Fall DIY Project Roundup


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Mrsmissioncontrol has been taking a little leave from the blog and as you can see, I have not done very well without her. I need her and I missy her so much! So I apologize for not keeping up daily with the blog as I could have. But enough with the coulda, shoulda, wouldas. Today is a new day and a new week and only a short while until Thanksgiving! Eek! So I thought id share some DIY fall craft project I also was able to enslave the children into. What’s the point in having children if you can’t put them to work? Jk. But not really.

Below are the fall diy projects I have created around our home. They can also be found on our Pinterest page (did you know we even had one?!). So go, follow us on Pinterest, pin our pins and share some love.

DIY FALL TWIG FRAME

This was actually a past project I had done earlier in October. Super easy and super cheap! Read all about how I did it and enlisted my kids to help.

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DIY FABRIC SWAG

These are all the rage right now (at least in my little world) and simple to make. I simply bought 5 coordinating fabrics to get started. I like to mix up texture, patterns and solids. I think it gives a good variety and depth to the project. I used some burlap, cottons, and other material I honestly don’t know the name of. I started a cut with a pair of scissors then ripped the material. Each strip I made was approximately 1 inch wide by 6 inches long. How many strips you need will depend on the length you want to create. Generally I double the length and add a few extra inches. So my entertainment cabinet was about 3 feet long, so I made my swag 6 feet when done. The final piece is to take some twine or jute cord and cut your length. From there you tie a simple knot in the middle of the fabric pieces. So about 3 inches hung down from the twine.
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DIY “GIVE THANKS” BURLAP SWAG

If you own a cutting machine or know someone who does (become best friends with them!) this project is so much easier to complete using one. I do know that at our local and very crappy craft store, you can use their cutting machine in the store for a small fee, so if owning one isn’t in the cards, then try your local craft store. And if you are looking for a reason to purchase a cutting machine, use these crafts as your reason. Best money spent ever!

For this project I bought burlap at my fabric store. Next, a friend free handed a banner icon. Using this icon, we traced and drew out then icon on our burlap and cut them out. You basically can make your banner say anything. “Happy Birthday”, “welcome home”, “merry Christmas” and the list can go on. I hate decorating for each individual holiday. I don’t have time or the energy to make projects for them all. So I multitask and make projects that can be carried out and used for a few months at a time. So instead of saying “Happy Halloween”, I went with the generic “Give Thanks”.

After cutting out our banner icons, I went to my cutting machine and easily typed out the letters. The only issues I had were getting the letters the right size to fit the way I wanted to on my banner icon. After I achieved the look I wanted, I heated up my Walmart hot glue gun and glued the letters to the burlap. I did use a heavier weighted card stock for it to hold up. I was a little worried about the strips of hot glue showing through the card stock, but since I opted for a heavier weight paper, I didn’t have that issue.

After I was done with gluing the letters, I used the same roll of twine from my last project and hot glued the burlap banner icons onto the twine.  When I was all finished I hung them on our door with the 3M adhesive removable hooks.

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DIY FALL GARLAND

I was trolling Pinterest and spamming multiple people’s boards with some easy fall crafts when I ran across this one at A Glimpse Inside. I loved that I was upcycling things I already had which equaled free. But I did not have enough toilet paper rolls for the fullness I wanted. So I improvised. I also saved my paper towel rolls. When I was ready to do the project, I followed the directions for the toilet paper roll pumpkins and apples. As you can see, I only did the pumpkins. I used my cutting machine again to cut out some leaf shapes that I got for free as a “free weekly shape” on the Silhouette sight recently and lastly used left over scraps of fabric from my DIY fabric swag to finish it off. I attached everything with either a knot or hot glue and hung it in our entry way.

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DIY “FALL” PROJECT

Again, if you don’t have a cutting machine here is another reason I am giving you to run out and buy one or befriend someone who owns one. It will make your crafts so much easier to accomplish and make your house look like a cover of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine with all the cuteness you are creating.

I, once again, used the left over fabric from the DIY fabric swag and the DIY fall swag to line the back of the photo frames I got for a steal at Goodwill. The frames were still in their original packaging, so I know they came from Ikea. Then I used my cutting machine and cut out the letters in 4 different fonts. The last thing I did before assembling was to paint the frames. They were a unfinished blonde wood and I hate blonde wood. So I dry brushed some brown craft paint on them. I didnt want to perfect, so I loved how the wood grain shows through slightly.

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Tip{py} Tuesday: DIY Fall Frame


I’ll be honest- I’m cheap. I’ll do anything to save a few bucks and if that means picking twigs out of my neighbors yard while they are having a screaming match; so be it. I love repurposing and up-cycling things I find junking, at thrift stores, yard sales or in my own garage. And with MrsMissionControl’s last post about her DIY photo box; I hand me a itch to visit Goodwill.

I got severely inspired today by a friend to make some fall decor. I used to be the type of person to never decorate for holidays. What I had up, stayed up all year; and for years. However, while Hubs was deployed I did a little decorating to welcome him home.

The kids went nuts. They loved how I was hanging lights around the house, changed our everyday hand towels to palm trees with lights (got to keep it real folks) and enjoyed new eye candy for them. And I had one of those cliche “ah ha” moments. The decorating was never about me; it’s about for others to enjoy (maybe me a little).

I have never decorated for fall. And still can’t being myself to decorate for every.single.holiday that comes up. So I figured I could make a few decorations to last me the next few months. The only downfall besides my wallet becoming a little lighter? Taking my normal decorating crap down.

Let’s face it- I’m lazy. I don’t want to take down all my normal decor and change it several times a year. Then why have “normal” decor. Then it would basically be like off season decor. But im gonna give it a whirl. I have a spare tote to store some of my “normal” decor in, so why not. Oh shucks; wouldn’t you know that the stuff I plan to take down is all of Hubs odd collection of nick nacks. I’m am just so heart broken…

Cough, anywho. I started with one room. Figured if I could pull it off Ill slowly move onto another. So I started with our den.

At Goodwill I was able to pick up a few items on my list of supplies; including a few photo frames. When I got home I had the kids help collect the other items I needed for my first project; a fall photo frame.

I tasked them out to do this as their attention to deal and rules made them the perfect candidates. I showed them the size and shape I needed and let them loose on our street. They did pretty well! I had more then enough to complete this project, so I found another project I can do with the remaining sticks and supplies I already have on hand (yea free!).

Next I whipped out my handy dandy cheapo Walmart glue gun and started. Really it’s that simple. Except for the fact of the little unassuming scolding hot glue gun. Be careful! Holy Moses it is hot.

Before

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Twigs

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After

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DIY chair covers!


So, like many young and military families, a lot of our furniture is from Craigslist and thrift stores.  With us moving as much as we do, it just doesn’t make sense to buy new, expensive furniture.  The new stuff that we can afford is usually made out of particle board, which is fine, but does not survive moves that well.  We are better off buying higher quality, used furniture that is made of solid wood.  It weathers the packing and moving much better, and is easy to refinish as needed.

That said, some of the furniture is badly in need of a facelift when we get it.  Case in point, our kitchen table and chairs.  I loved the sturdiness of the set, the traditional look, and the fact that it could easily seat six.  What I did not love was the layer of army issue rain poncho that someone had stapled on as a cushion cover.

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Did it protect the chair from spills?  Yes.  Did it match the decor in our home?  NO.   I decided to recover the chairs, and found two more layers of fabric from previous DIYers underneath.

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Oh my.  After prying those off and removing more staples than I could count, I was ready to staple our new fabric on (a great faux suede I got from Walmart).

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After recovering the chairs, I realized I wanted to protect this fabric from my two little mess-makers.  I kept reading mixed reviews about the chair covers that were available on Amazon, so I decided to go a different route.  I ended up getting clear shower curtain liners from Walmart and cutting them to size and stapling over the fabric when I was recovering my chairs.  They are easy enough to replace if they get torn or dingy and relatively inexpensive when you compare the cost with buying new fabric.

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I am loving how they turned out, especially knowing I won’t freak out every time we have a spill (which is like every five seconds!)  🙂

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*Note I tried using clear tablecloths as well, and found the material to be too thin.  They didn’t stand up to the every day wear and tear as well as the shower curtain liners.