Category Archives: organization

Post-it Brand and Fiskars Unboxing

Who else loves back to school for the office supplies? I was stoked to receive a box of Post-it Brand and Fiskars products from them!

Confession, Post-its are a ride or die here in the NerdFamily. Generics just don’t stay sticky so when we buy pads to have on hand it is always Post-it Brand. Just about every pair of scissor you will find here, be they craft or general, are Fiskars. They are solid, stay sharp, and are comfortable in the hand. Due to those facts, I may have giggled like a little girl when I opened this box. So I had to show you all the coolness.


(Disclosure: I was sent the products but all opinions are my own. I was not compensated.)

Dealing with the Playtime “I Don’t Know What to Do”s


(This is a sponsored post by Pley, the awesome toy set subscription service. Netflix for blocks (and maybe Polly Pockets soon too).)

“I don’t know what to play with.” Admit it, you have heard that from your kids. I think it drives every parent crazy, but especially here in the United States where we know that our kids have and do so much! An “I’m bored” in my house is often met with a response about how I always have baseboards that need cleaning. But being over whelmed with toys is not necessarily a problem that just comes from ungrateful children. They really can have so much available to them that they don’t know how to focus or how to clean up. How many times have you found your kid in a trashed room of toys with them walking around aimlessly? Come on, I can’t be the only one;).  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  How I have always gone about my kids and toys is like toy rotation. But less of hiding things away and more about being intentional. 

So lets take an infant. You put them in a play pen full of toys and walk away. They sit in the middle and fuss or cry, right? You wonder why they don’t just pick up a toy and start playing, right? Well, if you sit them in an empty play pen and hand them 1 or maybe 2 toys they are less likely to fuss. Seriously. I heard about this in a Babywise or Growing Kids God’s Way tape before I had any kids. I remember having this frustration with my siblings when they were little. So I had kids… I experimented on them. Yes really, I am that person. But I wanted to know if it was a fluke or actually a thing. And it seemed to be a thing. 

This method is also considered really good for development. I mean if you think about it, you are giving them 1 thing to focus on. That means they really figure out everything they can do with it. If they can do something else with it. And it teaches them how to focus and work something out to its end. I know, it sounds way to deep for an infant. So lets jump ahead to that 3-10 age. 

As part of our day, since the kids were mobile, we have always had some “go away from me and play” time every day that we are home. So you send a kid off to play, or a group of kids as it is in my house, and they can’t settle on what to do. They flit from thing to thing or can’t agree on anything! So I would always say, “Go play in the kids’ room. You can play with this or this. Which one do you guys want to do?” They tell me their choice and go play. No fighting and no whining. And of course at these ages I am not going to hand them one single rattle but a theme. They pick a set like the kitchen set, Lincoln Logs, Legos, or dolls. Often we would also get 2 who play with one thing and 2 who would play with the other. 

Sometimes they will stick with these things for an hour or a week so they really get a chance to delve in to a project. Here is the other secret power of this. You can always make 1 of the suggestions something they don’t play with often. It can help them rediscover a hidden gem. It also can be a way to discover when something can move on to a home that wants it more. 

Now that my kids range from 8-14, they do this to themselves. If they are heading off to play they will say, “I am going in the game room to play…” Not so much to ask permission but to let me know that they are getting into an activity and to let their siblings know in case they want to join. 

That is it, really. That is my secret to kids playing and learning to focus. When you hear it, it sounds so simple. Yet, if you have never seen it modeled you may never have tried it. Try it out with your kids! Let me know how it works for you. 

Oh, 1 extra benefit to mental development, not being bored, and not fighting? They at most have 1 set of things out (per kid) to clean up. So it makes the end of the day so much easier!!!

And if you are a Pley subscriber, you have 1 special set of toys that they can play with at a time! Once they fully explore that set, you just send it in and get another one!!!

pley-card-logo-v3(Disclosure: This piece was sponsored by Pley but all thoughts and opinions are mine alone!) 



My Kids’ Favorite Toy Organization Tool

(This is a sponsored post by Pley, the awesome toy set subscription service. Netflix for blocks (and maybe Polly Pockets soon too).)

I know, it sounds weird to be talking about the kids’ favorite organization tools but I am a practical girl. I can do all the organizing, labeling, and containering I want but if the kids won’t use it, it is a waste. So I wanted to find out their favorite so I could deploy it as much as possible! I mean, don’t you want your kids tending and organizing all their own toys (if we dare to dream)? I see all these great systems on Pinterest that are supposed to be easy to use. But if I am the only one actually using them, I consider it a fail no matter how cheap or how pretty it looks. 

So I sat down with my kids and polled them about what was there favorite and why.

WP_20160127_13_50_25_ProThe hands down winner was the collapsible drawer/bin. And they had a variety of reasons!

1) It is 1 bin to take out and put away. So much easier than carrying out a bunch of little bits.
2) They can hold quite a bit. Like a whole set up of Legos for a project. If you are using smaller containers to organize things (like a pencil box for mini figures and bags of singles), they will hold all those little containers too!
3) They come in different colors so you can use a specific color for specific things.
4) They fold up so you can always have 1 or 2 empty, out of the way, and ready to go for any on the fly project.
5) They look nicer than laying out a bunch of bits on the shelf. So they don’t have to dust all the bits and I will let them sit on the shelf instead of finding a spot in the closet.
6) You don’t have to take everything apart in order to put things away and clean up!

I love them for all those reasons and the fact that they are so affordable! I have some from the Dollar Spot at Target and some from Michaels.

There are also very great for Pley subscribers! Keep an empty drawer or 2 set aside for those kits! Then when they come in you can just set all the pieces in 1 drawer and they will be contained! Playable yet very easy to keep track of! Then whe you are ready to send back your set to get another, you know where all the bits are! 

Do you use the collapsible fabric drawers? What do your kids like to use to organize all their toys? Especially those toys with lots of pieces? Let me know in the comments!


(Disclosure: This piece was sponsored by Pley but all thoughts and opinions are mine alone!) 


Responsibility and Education for a Dollar

I have 4 kids, 3 of which are in school. I needed an easy way to set out lesson plans for them and let them know what they are expected to do. I wanted to keep some sort of record that I could file also. I found these planners at the Dollar Tree and it totally fit the bill!

It is great because once a week (Sunday night usually) I enter in all their assignments and anything going on for the week into their own planners. Then I can adjust their math is they worked ahead or fell behind without screwing up an entire year’s worth of lesson plan.

Then they can refer to it to see what work they have to do. They can also pop it into their backpacks when they go do work at church independently or just see about that playdate or when Awana starts. They mark off their assignments after they are finished and graded. That is it! So simple!

Shoe Clutter: Shoe Guilt

Ok, no matter what my husband says… I do not have a shoe problem. But between my 4 kids in the last 9 years, I have lots of shoes that have quit fitting right. But rather than getting rid of them as soon as they started hurting me I have kept them all. I kept hoping that if I lost a few pounds here or there they might be all better. Well, none of them have gotten any better. Add to those that I had shoes that I actually was wearing holes in. None the less I needed to get rid of shoes.

These are all the shoes I am getting rid of! I am donating 15 pairs of shoes and throwing away 4 pairs. I feel so guilty! Part of me thinks maybe I should hold onto these shoes. But lets get real, they hurt or are wearing through;). It might get better but how long am I going to wait? And what are the chances that they would ever actually get better?

I need to get rid of all the clutter that is holding me down! So out they all go! 2 boxes of clutter out of my house! That is my Tackle for this week!

And We Have Crafts! Lots and Lots!

I like every mom in the world, and especially homeschool moms, have tons of craft stuff for my kids. My kids are now of the age where I want them to have free access to the supplies. So I took my old craft drawers that had some stuff in it that I hadn’t touched in at least a couple of years and put in the kids’ stuff!  
I started with these drawers full of odds and ends. Now I must confess. Almost all the supplies that were in these drawers are now in a box. They await the final judgement on their fate. Some will hit the garbage, some will be used by me (eventually) and some will be donated. Which ones are which? We will see.

And this was my final result! Normally I would have the drawers labelled but I think I need to live with it for a while. I organized the drawers in a logical way but I need to make sure that it works for the kids. I organized the general supplies by basic type: crayons and colored pencils in 1 drawer, coloring books in another, and scissor, rulers and glue in yet another. Then I have some specific drawers for each kid. It has their specific art projects they have been given. In the bottom drawers are their bulk supplies. We never need to buy another foamie shape again! I have some that don’t even fit into my drawers (there may be a giveaway in my future)! Now mind you, this is just the kids’ everyday access craft supplies. There are much more hiding in the shadows;).

So that was my Tackle. What do you think? Have you gotten any big tackles done lately?

Tackle It Tuesday

So this week’s tackle isn’t  glamorous  but it was needed. I organized the 2 youngest kids’ clothes.

Poor Nerdling had his dresser covered in his older brother’s and his  too small clothes. His closet had all kinds of clothes up top. Some were from his brother and some were to small for him. I went through them all! I separated what was to small for him (donation), what will fit him now (drawers) and what was too big (closet).

Then I did the same thing with the baby’s clothes. But I went through them all and came up with 3 boxes of clothes to donate. Also their clothes are finally squared away in their drawers! We can find all their short sleeve shirts and have found all those shorts we knew we had for them! No more waiting and hoping to find them soon! They are ready for summer!

WFMW: Packing Lists

They say the best tips come from where you currently are in life and I hope that is true because that is where I get my tip for this week. We are leaving for a 3 day trip to LegoLand and this will be our first official family vacation. Now of course we have gone places before but this is our first vacation! But as anyone can guess, traveling with 4 kids is always an exercise in chaos!

One of the things we have done for years is to do a pack list! You simply sit down and list everything that you will need. With a trip this size I am planning on doing it on the computer with categories but it is not a necessity. My process is to sit down and write down every possible thing I can think of. Then I tend to carry it around, put it next to my , etc so I can jot down anything that comes to mind.

This time we are taking a larger trip so I am going to put it on the computer with categories. Then you can give each child a pack list and have specific ones for specific rooms (like snacks and food).

1 thing I highly recommend… Once you write out your list with every little thing you want to have I recommend that you go through it with a merciless, editing hand. Do you really need 7 sets of clothes for your kids when you are going somewhere with a washer and dryer? Are you really going to get the time to read 5 books? While it sounds great to have every convenience of home it isn’t great to unload it and pack it back up. Not to mention chasing it and trying not to lose it. So keep it as simple as possible!

A little planning can go a long way on your packing. Then you don’t have to constantly say to yourself or your husband (wife), “Remember to pack”, or worse, “Did you pack?”

Have a great travel season!

(Part of WFMW)

Tackle It Tuesday: The War on K’Nex!

I have been attacked by K’Nex!!!!!! Well, I think I bought most of them but still. They were loose!!!! Above here you see the set of 400 that we got the NerdPie for Christmas. I sat down with each of the older 2 separately and we sorted their K’Nex into types. Now since NerdPie didn’t have a whole lot I put many of hers into quart bags with sliding zippers. Then I labeled them with my dear friend the label maker .

But then I moved onto NerdBug. Let me just say that we have given that child way too many! I chose not just to attack the K’Nex but also the Legos since they all can go together. Instead of the quart bags I decided to employ disposable plastic ware to organize the pieces in. Then I hit them with the label maker too!

So now the K’Nex have been conquered and when I tell them to clean up there is no excuse for a cluttered mess! The kids have also told me that they like having them separated because they know where to get the exact piece they need. NerdBug told me this was one of the reasons he loved me. He would have never thought to do this and was happy I helped him sort;).

I call that a win win!

Button, Button Who has the Button?

Buttons. We all have them. We get them hooked onto new clothes and if you are like me, you never throw them away. And on the whole, that is a good thing. As I was digging through all my buttons looking for a replacement for one NerdPie lost on a dress, I was reminded that there was a reason for these crazy buttons. But I had to find a better storage solution. So I took an old prescription bottle and peeled off the label. Then I got rid of all those ridiculous baggies and just dropped them in. By the time I was done the bottle wasn’t even close to being filled!