Cleaning Out: Mom Trick

So we've talked about cleaning out your kids toys before.  A couple times.  It can be hard to have toys disappear.  You wonder if they are going to notice or not.  Now, the worst thing you can do is traumatize your child, especially older kids, by getting rid of their things.  You always have to remember that what looks like junk or no-fun-anymore to you can be something special to them.  If a child is old enough and you think they could understand the concept, it is great if you can involve them in giving away toys to kids who don't have as many.  Still, sometimes things just have to go!

I like to keep those toys in some kind of holding pattern.  If he asks for them, I can get them back out.  If nothing over a few weeks or so, goodbye!

Do you do this trick?!

Playroom ReDo

If you leave me in my house long enough, I'm going to start moving things around.  Growing up, I used to love to rearrange my room.  I'm always looking at my things trying to make them more efficient and more simplified.  As you know, I'm in my house a lot lately so here I go again.  This time it was Henry-boy's toys and our playroom.

Henry turned 3 this summer and got a handful of new toys.  Every Christmas, birthday, or any time it's gift giving and receiving time, I take my editing eye to his toys.  With the little lady in the house who, before we know it, will be tempted to stick all small things in her mouth, it was time for a toy shift.  We have a good bit of storage in our family room for toys.  My goal was to move toys with small parts to the playroom.  

Henry is also getting more and more into playing in a way that he doesn't want to clean up at the end of the day and my crazy need-for-order self needs to let him.  He has some pretty specific story lines in his head that he wants to get back to the next day.  For example, the train table contents have moved to the floor making for a much more elaborate set up.  Having those toys in the playroom instead of our family room serves us all really well.

The toys we left upstairs are baby toys for Mary, a drawer of Henry's favorites, family games like puzzles, board games, and other activities that we would do together, like Play Doh.  Besides, who wants a 3-year-old and a tub of Play Doh alone together in a carpeted room?  No one.

I have been wanting to find room in our home for IKEA's Expedit and now that it comes in the high gloss finish, I was particularly excited!  The boxes are the DRONA Box in Green.  It's a bright kelly green that is just so fun.

Henry also got some cool magnets for his birthday and since I'm not a huge fan of magnets on the refrigerator, the SPONTAN magnetic board in white did the trick.  He can get out magnetic letters and spell to his heart's content.  

The decor in the downstairs started out a little adult.  Originally I was planning on this room being my office AND playroom, but I quickly realized that it wouldn't be nearly enough space for the playroom we really wanted.   So, I shifted a few things around, added to the donation stack that I ALWAYS have going and displayed a few more kid-friendly items.  Like Pete the Cat.  We love our Pete the Cat artwork purchased from a local gallery.  Basements or second stories can quickly become a place for things you like less than the items you put in your family room, kitchen, or other rooms you and guests frequent.  Don't let parts of your home become that, especially if you have room.  It's tempting to keep more than you should just because you have the space. 

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. - William Morris

So well said and still such a challenge.  It's surprisingly difficult with your own things.  That's why I have a job, gratefully!  

Happy playing, folks!

Back to School: all those papers!

Ahhhh, back to school.  It is a blessed time.  Summer is so fun, but there is something so nice about getting back into the routine of the school year.  Something else about school is all that paperwork!  One parent night and BAM, what feels like 1,000 pieces of paper and as many details to remember.  When is our day for snack?  Which party am I helping plan? What day should he wear his school t-shirt?  

Have no fear!  There is a way to sort through all those papers and make sense of it all.

  • Snack schedule
  • September calendar
  • Superstar Student Schedule {each child gets to be a "Superstar" two times a year and gets to make a fun poster board}
  • The scrap where I wrote down the dates in which I volunteered to be Prayer Parent, Mystery Reader, Play Doh maker, and Party helper.
Pull out your family calendar.  I prefer an online Google Calendar.  It's synced with the Calendar App on my computer and my phone.  Add the dates relevant to you and recycle the pieces of paper.  Remember to write any notes to yourself related to that event.  For example, I will include details about the Christmas party in that event on my Calendar.  Adding these items to your everyday calendar means you won't forget when they come around and you don't have to post and remember to look at lots of pieces of paper.  DONE!

#2 ITEMS TO READ {and be done with}
  • Ideas for Healthy Snacks - you can always include some of your favorite ideas in the Calendar event you added.
  • Celebrating Birthdays at Preschool - Henry's school asks us not to bring in cupcakes, cookies with icing, or other sugary items.  Can I get a WHOOP WHOOP?!  Don't need to keep this paper.  In my brain - check!
  • Agenda from Parent Night - reread to make sure you didn't miss something and then be done with it.
  • Letters of welcome from Preschool Director and Art Teacher 
A lot of the papers you receive just need to be read, stored in the back of your brain and recycled.  If you come across details you need, find a way to incorporate that piece of information on your family calendar around the time that it's relevant.

  • Developmental Goals for 3's Class
  • List of children's names in Henry's class
These are items I will keep in my preschool file.  I want to be able to reference what they will be working on this school year and the names of Henry's new besties.

Other items in that preschool file are:
  • Last year's directory {until we receive a new one for this year}
  • Henry's assessments from the 2's class - I will love to reference what was said about him each year, his strengths and needs.
  • Paperwork that will be relevant for all the years we're at this school - security card to enter school, Tuition Express used to monthly draft tuition payments
Remember, you have your Keepsakes Notebook already so no need for these special items in this file folder.

#4 TO DO or TO BUY
  • Items you volunteered to provide for the class.
  • "Get to know you bag."  We will fill it with 2 to 3 items for Henry to show and tell to help his friends get to know him.
  • A frame for Henry's family photo.  I get to decorate it and it will hang in his classroom.

Before you know it, you're down to two little pieces of paper you need to store.  So simple and manageable!  You'll have it done in no time!