Organized Home? Try Romper Room Frat House!

Shout out to my most organized readers. I need your help. I am planning on making this week Official Organize This Frat House Week. (Not that I actually live in a frat house. It just looks like one. But instead of kegs or pizza boxes it is Barbies and DVDs and Games.)

I would love to hear your best organizing tips. I have kids from 6 to 14 years old. Thankfully, as they age their toys become smaller. A lot more expensive, but smaller. My daughter? HOW does she manage to take one clean room and make it look like a disaster area in under an hour? She has about eleventy-hundred Barbies and accessories, a bajillion little tiny I-have-no-idea-what-they-do toys, and papers that are way too important to ever throw out. And let’s not get into the many doll houses/Barbie castles/miniature family homes that she has. Even if everything is put away, her toys extend 4 feet out from her wall. Ugh. Stuffed animals? Try a ZOO!

So, I need your help to get Casa Java under organized control.

I thought of putting it on the market so that everyone would have to clean because it could be shown at any time by a Realtor, but that seems kind of drastic. Maybe.

Help me. Oh for the love of all things organized…HELP ME with your best tips on keeping things in order and the younger set from making my home ROMPER ROOM!

Many thanks.

17 Comments

  1. Been reading and enjoying your posts here for a while, but this one spoke to me. I have four kids ranging in age from six to sixteen. We live in a 2 BR cape cod with a finished attic. We are overrun with stuff, but it could be worse. In preparation for the upcoming birthday/holiday season we purge. The kids can’t expect anything new unless they get rid of some of the old. I do tend to let them keep their rooms as they wish with frequent reminders to keep a clear path in and out in case of emergency though!
    Less stuff is definitely the way to go. And it’s a lot easier to collect less than it is to convince someone that they need to get rid of something they love… even if they never use it!
    Good luck!

  2. One word.

    Rake.

    Does wonders. And it scares the shit outta the kids. Cause you may break what-ever-the-hell-that-is!

  3. YAYYY! Since your site doesn’t have the word “blog” in the address,I can pull up your blog at work.We have something called Websense that blocks out anything with words like pictures/albums/blogs/porn/dating type sites…etc…we can email and go to alot of other websites though..We are just blog-blocked!
    Anyways,how cool.
    OK….here is what I have had to do in situations like you are in w/ alot of stuff and trying to figure out where in the world to put it all to make it look neat and tidy,right?
    Well…that,my dear,is my specialty.(patting self on back)lol.
    When your looking DOWN at the toys and animals etc…that are 4 feet from the wall…think “UP”.There are stores that sell the most awesome nets that go in the corners of a room that hold stuffed animals.Shelves that stack from the floor to the ceiling.Roller bin-type storage thingy’s that are flat and roll under the beds.I even have a wall holder for all my shoes.It hangs neatly in my closet so I can use that extra floor space.You can pretty much hang or shelve anything even so your smaller kiddo’s can reach their belongings.I can email you shots of how I use my walls for even hair stuff.Hving 2 girls’,they had tons of hair things like curling irons,blow dryers,hair ties,you name it.I would use them as decoration on a tree type thing that I bought at a storage and container shop Again..think “UP”…and you’ll have more space to walk,and have a decorated room at the same time.Some people aren’t too keen on drilling holes in their walls for holders,and shelving,etc…but hanging really works well for all sorts of things.
    You would be surprised at the cute things they have at these Storage & Container Shops….I always thought they sold basically boxes..lol..until I happen to stop in and look around one day.I spent very little and came home w/ all sorts of efficient stuff.I mounted and hung things that even made my house look tidier.
    Take Care…
    Tammi

  4. I have no tips because I need tips. I hope many come forward with their brilliant ideas πŸ™‚

  5. I’m absolutely with Tamara, the bins that roll under the bed are a godsend. I have six kids ages 20months to 19 years old. I wish I could say that the two oldest, 17 and 19 yrs (girls) respectively, have less stuff but I’d be lying.

    I, unfortunately, have definite OCD issues when it comes to places for kids toys. So does my husband really, so we spend lots of time coming up with creative ways to store their crap…I mean treasures. For my 11 year old twin sons, who own every Matchbox car possibly ever created we have a four foot shelf with spaces for 12 plastic dishpans. Yes, I label them…shut up! In this bins go all the smaller toys that will fit. Cars, transformers, legos, leapsters, gameboys, etc…all have a tub that they go into at the end of a day. Keeps stuff off of the floor and into a contained space in theory (trust me it doesn’t always end up this way). They each have rolling bins under their twin beds for bigger things, Rescue Heroes (they refuse to part with them), Nerf guns, etc. The beauty is is rolls under the bed and I can’t see it. Every child in my house has a peg board with hooks for hats, scarves, medals, whatever they need to hang on a hook. Also, they get a corkboard to hang up their priceless works of art or writing. The deal is once the corkboard is full, extraneous works get filed in a file box that has their name on it in the loft in the garage. Lastly, we are in the process of building window seats in the kids’ rooms that open up for…you guessed it more storage! This is only because my husband likes projects and wood…oh yeah, and saws and nail guns. The Container Store is an awesome place because anyone who works there can help you think of new and creative ways to store anything!!

    I know that my ideas are not earth shattering…but I do have six kids worth of crap and I am often told that my house doesn’t look like six kids live here! Good luck and if you have a specific thing you can’t figure out how to organize, feel free to email me…my husband is REALLY good at stuff like that!! Have fun!

  6. I’m with Vera. Need tips. What I THINK my family needs most is psychotherapy, to convince us that it’s OK to PART with stuff – those special rocks, outgrown clothes (no, Mom – kids are WEARING highwaters these days), unfinished masterpiece drawings, lovingly crafted camp projects (e.g., there’s a bat house in my foyer)…. My son got wistful when the plumber installed a new water heater, wanted to know whether we could keep the old one!

    Seriously, the best solution is to pare down. Until that’s accomplished, I maintain a number of 66-quart storage tubs with lids, for temporary control. When it’s time for the occasional vacuuming job or company, I throw the toys & other stuff into them, snap on the lids, and stack them.

    I also keep a tub in the guest bedroom, for “staging purposes.” The not-so-precious drawings, already-forgotten art projects, and those unrecognizable parts of toys go into this tub. If no one asks for them after “awhile,” then I sneak the contents out to the trash can.

  7. I was feeling so proud that my daughter left her bedroom immaculate when she left for college. Then I opened her closet.
    But seriously — under bed storage is good. Rubbermaid-style clear containers with lids let the kids see everything so they don’t feel the need (hopefully) to dump each and every one to find what they want.
    We do the purge, too, every year in November and again in summer.

  8. Plastic shoe boxes (rubbermaid or steralite) from dollar store or walmart. Label them. Stack them. Can also get bigger sizes from walmart-ish stores for bigger toys.
    Plastic, clear pocket style shoe holders that you hang on door. Label them. Great for Polly Pockets, hair stuff, miscellaneous crap.
    My favorite: Purge, Purge, Purge – or, store least used toys away for a few months until they forget about them and then donate to charity.
    Good Luck! Clutter Sucks!

  9. I’m with Barnie, but we also have the Black Bag Brigade visiting here again.

    Here’s a rule I TRY to enforce: If you love something, you’ll take care of it. If it’s on the floor, under a pile of clothes, apparently you didn’t love it enough to take care of it and put it away. Thus, the Black Bag Brigade comes through and it disappears forever. (You obviously didn’t miss it if it was sitting on the floor under a bunch of other crap.)

    For Christmas, they’ve got to get rid of three toys if they are asking for one. Those toys are to be “recycled” to children who need them and will appreciate them. (Yes, I channel my mother from time to time.)

    And if I have to clean it up, I will throw it out. If I pick it up, it is mine – and what do I want that piece o’ crap for?

  10. How to organize your in five easy steps.
    1. Make a pot of coffee and put on your most comfy pair of sweat pants
    2. Pour a cup of coffee and take it with you to the first room, along with a broom and a dust pan
    3. Tell the owner of said room that you’re going to sweep any toy left on the floor into the dustpan and then place it into the garbage which will be collected at 6:00 AM the next morning, long before they have the oppertunity to rummage through and find any favorite toys which may have inadvertently gotten thrown away
    4. Tell said owner of said room “You’ve got five minutes to get what you want to keep put up out of the way. I’ll be back right after this next cup of coffee. Return to kitchen
    5. Drink another cup of coffee and sit back and listen to the mad rush as children clamor to save their favorite toys

  11. Oh, Cher, I love your advice! True justification for a nice cuppa.

  12. I use several of the techniques mentioned above. We use the plasic bins under the bed and the Dollar Store and Walmart make bins that have easy locking lids to store all the accessories to Playmobil sets. Barbie also makes a great trunk with wheels that stores many dolls and accessories. At Christmas we also haul out and I found that the prospect of allowing the kids to have a garage sale every few years with the profits going to them inspires them to purge. If one of them happens to be at a friends for the day, I sometimes use the time to go through their rooms to clean out residual papers and crap that is important stuffed in the back of the drawer. I live with a 9 year old packrat who reminds me strangely of her mother at that age…so, because everything is important, this cleaning while she is gone is especially important. At the end of every week I take all the papers they have brought home and sort out 1-2 for each, stuff them in a plastic drawer I bought just for that purpose. I then go through them during the summer and save some, discard others. We then put them in a binder with each kid’s name on it and it seems to be enough to make them happy.

  13. Unless you have a storage area, garage, basement attic, it’s almost impossible to be really organized and not get crazy when you have a busy schedule and no help. Keep them thinking they are cleaning up. Teach them to play with a few toys at a time. And rotate toys when you can. Putting them in that storage space I hope you have. Otherwise, enjoy life, it’s too short..and keep writing which is your passion, mine too..wish I didn’t work full time..this would be all I’d do it cleanses the soul..

    Dorothy from grammology
    remember to call gram

    http://grammology.com

  14. I’m a busy mom and I have no time to ask, yell or scream at the kids to get their rooms clean.

    The easiest thing to do is get a garbage bag and start putting all the toys, paper or whatever else is on the floor in the garbage bag.

    After, I collect a bag of the kids stuff, I let them know I will be back in 10 minutes to throw away more things.

    If the room is clean, they can have the first bag back.

    If not, I start tossing thing away.

  15. I have three adults in the house and 4 children 9 to 17. If we don’t use it or love it, it owns us and our time. It goes bye-bye. It isn’t a matter of organizing as much as it is purging. My suggestions: watch “Clean House” and “Clean Sweep.” Read Karen Kingstons “Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui” and John Rosemond’s “The New Six Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children.” (skip any faith based parts that don’t apply to you or reconfigure them to fit your own personal situation) It never hurts to watch the occasional episode of “Monk” too πŸ˜‰

    Don’t buy into the container method for trying to contain the stuff, buy into the less is more method for living happier, healthier lives. Your peace of mind will thank you.

    A few years ago I lost two children, my house reflected the state of my mind and my life. Chaos. As I have oh so slowly begun to recover, I have cleared my space and my mind.

    Clean out a closet and feel yourself able to breath again. Toss half of it or donate it, skip the yardsale step completely karma will repay you enough as it is without a couple of bucks from the ordeal of a yardsale. Someone said that time was too precious to waste on organizing, that is so true. The less to organize, the more time you gain to live and find yourself. If you don’t love something, if it doesn’t make you smile or feel joy when you look at it or use it…then why do you need it in your life?!?!

    Start small or start big, start with a very large Dulce or two for that matter. Just start. Purging one drawer can buy you five minutes of a calm mind with clear thoughts. Imagine how much calm and clear you can buy with a whole house of purging.

    You will never have room in your life for a future as long as you are holding so tightly to the past or present. Live free, teach by example for your children to live free. Would you rather them remember the piles of stuff or the time you spend with them? That’s a legacy worth leaving behind.

    Purely my opinion, not intended to reflect the opinion of any other person and written without having my morning mocha yet.

  16. Wow, Joy.
    Just happened to do a google search for how to organize a toy room and came across this site.
    Joy, I found your comments helpful and so perfect for today, when tomorrow I am using a SICK day at work JUST to clean my house for the holidays. Yes, it has gotten that bad. I only have 1 child, a 2 year old, and I have so many toys that my husband said just this morning he wants his living room back. I realize that giving “things” doesn’t mean you love someone, but it is so hard for me to practice that as I was raised with that philosophy.
    Reading your words just gave me the needed push I had to have in order to get my life and home back in order.

    thank you so much!!!

  17. One recommendation: flylady!!

    http://www.flylady.net/

    Found her years ago and I hop back into the routine when I find that “stuff” is controlling my life and making me (and therefore my family) miserable (because misery always ends up shared πŸ™ )

Leave a Reply