Except apparently a few of you thought the Carnival started at 6 am, (Lea.) I'm more of a late afternoon Carnival-Goer myself. That way I'm at my mental best, dressed appropriately,(and I've had time to clean my house for the pictures you're about to see.)
Fun is harder than it used to be. Trying to fit it in can wear a girl out.
The carnival is over here:
Officially we're supposed to be blogging about Taming Kid Clutter - but I've taken the liberty to blog about whatever I durn well please.
Just kidding, Shabby Nest and Pretty Organizer. I'm going to be a good guest and stay on topic (for the most part). I don't want to be like one of those people who goes to an all-planned-out party and brings her own exciting game for everyone to play, thus taking the limelight off the hostesses and drawing undue attention to herself.
My friends (the ones who don't know me in real life) know that I'm just a Big Ol' Humble Wallflower who hates attention.
The biggest help in conquering kid's clutter for me has been my mud room. We had to close off a pathway to our living room in order to make this narrow hall, but I can't imagine living in this house without it. We didn't realize when we moved here that we would be sending our children to school (after 23 happy years of homeschooling), but I'm elated to have this Shoe/Coat/BackPack Haven.
We painted the new wall with blackboard paint (the hooks are in order of age, but their initial are is up there, too - These are the No Excuse Hooks); we added a strip of wood with sturdy two-prong hooks, put in a long bench (from our previous dining table), added cute wire baskets for shoes underneath the bench - and then put nails above the hooks for each child's clipboard
(see next picture). There's alot of organization goin' on in this one area!
The mudroom looks a little different once the kids get home from school. You can barely see the wall with 7 backpacks and 7 lunchboxes hanging. Molly is sick today so she has the lone backpack and lunchbox hanging in the picture.
On a more decorative note, one practical organizational thing I've done is to place educational books around the main living areas in "centers". I know that my family looks at these books more because they are displayed in a way that "draws" you to them. These are art books, along with quality colored pencils - and a book displayed by an artist we are focusing on. They are on top of a wicker chest that sits behind a couch. The drawers in the chest have art paper in them.
This is a low table that sits underneath a window off our back porch, and it's being used right now as a "nature table". Nature books, some shells, bird flash cards, and a plant. If the kids find something amazing outside, (once it has died) they can place it on this table (for a while.) This is also in my living room, but that's OK - because a room should reflect the owners. And the owner of this room has lots of kids :)
Knowing where to put things is half the battle in organizing children. This is my stackable file holder where each child puts papers I need to look at. We used these when were homeschooling, but I've needed them just as much now that the children bring home papers from school.
To me, out of sight not only means out of mind, but also out of "use", which means we are wasting space just storing them. On the other hand, if they are 'in sight' then they will likely be read/watched/played. These are semi-organized by category (Veggie Tales, Nest videos, adventure, educational (those are the two on the upper shelf :), and bible.
Books make such great decorations. Especially when interspersed with other objects. Here are the Lamplighter books and some other children's books. I also keep my child training books here so I can at least look like I'm still trying.
I noticed several of the posters in the Carnival today were Basket Lovers. I also heart baskets, but hooks have a place deep in my heart, too. You might say I'm Hooked on Hooks (or you might say I've been working on this post on and off all day and now it's almost 9pm and I'm getting giddy....)
My boys share a room. There are currently 5 of them in there, down from 7. The older boys have moved out. Perhaps when they get past age 20 they don't want to sleep in a bunkbed in a room full of adolescent boys. Ya think?
My philosophy during 30 years of parenting and 11 children has been to house as many same-sex children as possible in the same room. We have had 4-5 bedrooms for the last 10 years, but I've still kept the girls in one room and the boys in the other so I could free up one room for a playroom and one for a guestroom. You can put alot of children in one room if they don't have to do anything in the room but sleep and dress.
Each of the boys has his own set of hooks. This has saved me loads of laundry (pun intended). Instead of putting their gently worn (hah! hah!) clothes in the hamper, or on the floor, or back in the drawer (ew!), they put them on their hook. I do, however, make them wear whatever is on the hook the next day - and I have been known to make them wear three pairs of pants at once if that's what's on the hook - but for the most part they do not abuse this hook-privilege.
The girls also have hooks but, unlike the boys, they don't mind using hangers, so there hooks are used mostly for accessories.
In our newest house the boys room is a converted garage, so I've been able to give them small bookcases to store a few personal items. The end of bunkbeds is the perfect place for a desk or small bookcase. Each bookshelf is shared by two boys.
Having so many children in one room (or one house!) has made me uber-particular about how things are stored. Clutter can easily get out of hand. The boys put their pjs under their pillows, their stuffed animals on their pillows (max of 3, the rest go in the playroom to be shared), and then they each have a basket at the end of their bed for nighttime reading or hand-held toys in case they wake up early. NO ONE gets out of bed until their alarm goes off (which is at least 30 minutes after their mama gets up. I need to be in charge of how my day begins - - even if it only lasts a half hour or so....)