Organizing the girls’ bedroom

Our house is pretty organized although there’s always work to be done!)  Our girls’ bedroom was in need of an organization makeover!  Our daughters are 5 and almost 7 years old and they have lots of Legos, American Girl clothes and accessories and Barbies, books, stuffed animals, Roominate kits and more.  Our strategy of sorting toys into bins was no longer working.   Clean up was becoming more and more difficult.  That signals time for a change!

I used an Ikea Expedit bookcase in high gloss turquoise and used half of the cubbies for organizing American Girl clothes and accessories.  The other cubbies store their other toys.  When I was finished with the project, and unveiled it to my girls, my older daughter squealed, “Oh, thank you, Mommy!  I love it!”  That brings such joy to a professional organizer. 🙂 Hopefully we’re instilling in our children the value of being organized, so they can find what they’re looking for which will hopefully help them be more productive, efficient adults someday.

To organize the American Girl clothes, I bought narrow tension rods and doll clothing-sized hangers and hung everything up.  This way it’s easier for them to see what clothes they have for their dolls vs. having to dig through a bin to find something.  The bins on the bottom row now contain doll accessories.  When they become available, I will be purchasing drawer inserts at Ikea to store and organize these smaller items.   I also sorted through their books in their bookcase and took out all the board books and made room for more age appropriate books.  It was a small change but an impactful one.  It even opened up a shelf in the bookcase that is now home to their notepads, and current drawings and doodles that they’re still working on.  I still need a few more bins from the Container Store and to label everything but I love how it came together.

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It’s laundry day!

Once per week I do laundry.  Yup, household of 5 and I do laundry on Mondays.  Each child has his/her own laundry basket and my husband and I share one.  I do each child’s laundry separately, my husbands and mine together and one mixed whites.  Towels get washed all together.   Clothes that do not go in the dryer (like workout clothes) get washed all together.  Each person’s laundry goes in the wash then the dryer then back into their own laundry basket for folding and putting away.   No more sorting clothes!  I’d rather do 6+ loads and get it done on one day than doing the task throughout the entire week.  Maybe it’s because I feel a sense of accomplishment that the task is done… that is, until next Monday.

laundry room

Organizing school papers and homework

Being organized and staying organized means creating a process and making it a habit.  This goes for the children in your home, too.  We are trying to raise independent people and part of that is giving them some responsibility and the result is that our household runs a little more smoothly.  Every day after school, my kids unpack their backpacks.  Usually (OK, almost always) this requires me reminding them.  They take out their snack bags and their lunch boxes and they get dropped on the kitchen counter near the sink.  Their papers in their home/school folder go into their mail slot, (available at The Container Store) and their home/school folder stays in their backpack.  Their backpacks get hung on their hooks in our pseudo mudroom. (I used 3M hooks, and despite my husband’s insistence that they would soon be ripped off the walls, they are still holding strong 🙂 Shoes get deposited into the toy chest turned shoe storage, and coats get hung on coat hooks. [Read more…]

What’s for dinner?

Toward the end of every week, usually on a Friday or Saturday, I sit down with my meal planning/grocery shopping sheet and my iPad or iPhone with the calendar up.  The first thing I do is write out all the activities for each day.  Even if it’s a repeating weekly activity, I write it out.  Most of my kids’ activities are recurring except my son’s who’s hockey schedule varies week by week.  If my husband is going to be out in the evening to compete in his paddle tournaments, I write it down. If I’m working with a client in the afternoon or my bookclub is meeting in the evening, I write it down.  This lets me see how busy my afternoon will be and therefore how much or little time I have to prepare dinner.  Then I fill in the meals I plan to make for each day.  I plan to cook at least one recipe that I know will cover 2 meals, like my recipe for meatballs or chicken stew.  My  favorite thing is, “leftovers!” or “datenight” which means this mama doesn’t have to cook that night! [Read more…]

Greater Boston Metrowest Professional Organizer

Jennifer Bardorf is a Professional Personal Organizer serving families and small businesses in the Boston, Massachusetts Metrowest area including Boston, Brookline, Natick, Needham, Newton, Sudbury, Wayland, Wellesley and Weston, Massachusetts.

Opt for Storage Under the Bed

Get more mileage out of the horizontal space in your bedroom with sliding or rolling under bed storage bins. It’s a great extension of your closet, allowing you to rotate your seasonal items or even store bigger, bulkier items like backpacks, purses and blankets. Plus, the storage hidden if you have a bedskirt. Stick a label on the outside of each container so when you peek under the bed you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at. Short on linen closet space? Another idea is to keep extra sheets for your bed here.

Move the Outdoor Gear Out!

You don’t want to dig past your rain boots and camping backpack to get to your dressy black purse. If you’ve got the room elsewhere, move all outdoor and sports gear, raincoats, winter coats, galoshes, boots and hats to a dedicated coat closet.

Group Your Clothes

Group your clothes into categories so that your jeans are all together, as are your work shirts, casual shirts, dresses, blouses, suits, dress pants, etc. Within each clothing category, hang items by color from whites to darks, so that, within your shirts, all the reds are together, blacks are together and so on. While color-coding your closet may seem excessive, it’s key to helping you keep your organizing system intact even weeks later, every time you hang back up the clean laundry.