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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Quest For Organization

Being organized is not my strong point. My anal retentive husband wishes it were. I am full of good ideas. I would be great at telling other people what to do, but when it comes to implementing the organizational strategies in my own life, well let's just say that if the road to hell is paved with good intentions I have already gone there and back several times.

I love organizational stuff. I love baskets and bins and dream of having a playroom like you see in one of those Pottery barn catalogs, where all the toys are put away in their labeled baskets. Unfortunately, I have children who actually want to play with the toys and not just admire them in their bins or lined up neatly on the bookcases.

I am not nearly as organized as Carmen.

The one area that I do shine is my mudroom closet. Yes, it is a small small area. But it is a start, right? I think that it works because I thought about what the closet needed to do before I designed it. When we bought the house there was no closet on the first floor, no mudroom, no dedicated laundryroom. All of those things are imperative for a large family, so we added on to our house. The space for the closet was limited so I knew that I would have to organize in other than a traditional manner for it to work for us.

There is a bar with a shelf above it that runs along the back of the closet and along the right side. I hang up my coats as well as some of the extra jackets and vests that belong to the children. The bar is higher than normal to leave ample room underneath. On the shelf I have baskets which, since it is winter, hold out of season things like umbrellas, sunscreen, rain ponchos, swim diapers.

Mudroom closet

On the left hand side I have shelves which hold wire baskets. Each kid has their own basket labeled with their name to keep their hats, gloves, sunglasses, etc. Rob and I each have one and there are several left over for the extras.

On the uppermost shelf I have two small wire baskets, the content of which changes depending on what I am going to be doing. I'll put mail in one if I am going to the post office so I remember to mail it, my wallet, extra diapers if I know I have exhausted my supply in the car. Right now the shopping cart cover and sling are waiting to go back into the van after being brought inside to be washed.

All the kids socks are kept in this closet. The large white bin on the bottom shelf holds the socks. The one on the right holds baseball hats. Yes, we have that many baseball hats with six boys.

Mudroom closet baskets

On the right side of the closet I have a peg rack. Each child has a hook to hand their coat and snowpants on. There is room underneath for two pair of shoes per child. Their snow boots are kept lined up near the back door where I can better contain the mud and wet mess that they make.

mudroom closet

It usually looks neater than this but the baby kept running in there and grabbing the shoes and tossing them around while I was trying to take the picture.

I also use baskets in the children's bedrooms to hold their small personal toys and books. The boys have some blue wooden bins. I have found boys wreck havoc on traditional baskets, these are much sturdier. (Please ignore their bedroom floor, it is slated to be refinished this spring)

Organizing the bedroom toys

My daughter has several baskets and stacking "suitcases" to hold all her tiny treasures.

Organizing the bedroom toys

And that is probably about it for me. I have other organizational systems in place for meals, cleaning, and laundry but those don't seem to go nearly as smoothly. In the interest of keeping it real, I thought it would be better to focus only on the things that actually do work for me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If that is messy and not won't be allowed into my home anytime soon!

one tip I recently implemented, I hot glued clothespins to a wall near the kitchen (that is not easily seen) and clipped each child's chore chart and list of what they need to do every day (brush teeth, pick out clothes, etc)
and it is working well.
I figure the hot glue can be scraped off when I need it to be and no hole in the wall.
I put their charts in some of those plastic page protectors.

Can you show your laundry area?

Laundry is my biggest issue by far.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Chris said...


And no one tears them off of the wall? For thnat alone I am impressed.

11:52 AM  
Blogger halloweenlover said...

Chris, Chris, she's our woman, if she can't do it, no one can!
(claps for you)

Can you come to my house and help me organize? I only have one adult and two dogs and my house is a disaster. I'm very impressed. And will you show us some pictures of your daughter's room? It looks beautiful!!!

12:26 PM  
Blogger Heth said...

Been lurking for awhile. I posted some of our successes over under my laundry pile.

LOVE your wire baskets! Great idea.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I put up my semi organized post.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted on how I attempt to organize my large family. I also posted, just yesterday so very late, my morning routine.

I think your house looks great. Unless like me you move all the stuff out of the way so that you could take a picture of your organization without all the "other" stuff in the way!

1:59 PM  
Blogger Tuesday Girl said...

I love baskets too!

I loooove your daughters chair in her room. I want one!

2:05 PM  
Blogger JeepGirl said...

I love the organized mudroom. I love the idea of the basket for each kid and their hats, etc. Thats great. I might have to steal that idea.
I think the only place I'm organized is my office. The only place that the kids don't roam.

2:36 PM  
Blogger a suburban housewife said...

I absolutely love your daughter's room- so peaceful looking. Just that small shot makes me want to climb through my laptop and curl up in that yummy chair and read. A book on organization, of course!!!

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Mom actually joined in on this trivia also. She is currently foster mom to 5 ages 3 and under. She also thought it would be fun to join in. Her blog is here:

4:29 PM  
Blogger At A Hen's Pace said...

Hey, it's fun to find all this on organization! I love the mudroom. I've been thinking of turning the front door closet into something similar. So I have to ask: What do you do with all the big coats? You know, the big kids' and my husband's and my coats?

4:36 PM  
Blogger Chuck Pierce said...

Please tell me that you cleaned before you took the pictures..

4:45 PM  
Blogger Mama26blessings said...

Okay mine is posted!!
I will be slowly adding the pics in my's one of those days.
Everything looks great, I REALLY wish I had a I have NOTHING...LOL a back door that has a small landing and then you go up or down the stairs..ugh!
God bless!!
A Day in the Life at Our House

5:06 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

No, I didn't clean before I took the photos, but I am happy that you think so. The areas of our house that we have remodeled we have also organized as we went along. It is eay to be neat and organized when everything has it's place.

I only have one "big" kid, who is 11. He hangs his coat on a peg. I hang my husband's "play" coat and my two main winter "play" coats on hangers in this closet. My other coats are in the foyer closet and my husband keeps his work coats there.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Wow, I really like that closet. Leaving aside the fact that from the looks of it, that closet is at least half the size of my laundry, which is certainly not as well organised!

We have shoes/hats/outdoor clothes etc in baskets in the bottom of the bookshelf by our front door. At least, we would if anyone except me ever put stuff away in there...

5:46 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Oh man, the more I see of your house, the more I want you to come decorate / organize mine. Can we say "jealous"? :-)

10:14 PM  
Blogger At A Hen's Pace said...

You guys are so inspiring I wrote my own late-entry post on toy organization. It's here:

Thanks everyone for all the great ideas--this has been fun! Do we know the topic for next Wednesday?

10:45 PM  
Blogger At A Hen's Pace said...

You guys are so inspiring I wrote my own late-entry post on toy organization. It's here:

Thanks everyone for all the great ideas--this has been fun! Do we know the topic for next Wednesday?

10:48 PM  
Blogger deputyswife said...

I like your closet! Seriously, I do. We have an old victorian with one teeny weeny closet on the main floor. Hubby and I are looking to expand it into the bathroom behind it, but we won't gain much space. Anyway, it gave me some great ideas! Thanks!

11:47 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

My post is up. Late, but up.

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

free house prices

8:10 PM  

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