Less Stuff + More Storage = Super New Kid Space

Read Part 1 of my quest to better organize my two youngest daughters’ shared bedroom.

When Home Depot asked me if I wanted to check out their storage/organization options for kids’ rooms, I was psyched. I’ve known for awhile that the stuff situation in the bedroom that my two youngest girls share had gotten totally out of control, and I’d become somewhat overwhelmed by the exploding jumble – too overwhelmed to actually figure out a solution.

It’s definitely a first world problem when your 2- and 4-year-old daughters have so many playthings that the stuff no longer fits easily in their bedroom-slash-playspace. We are blessed, and I totally recognize that. Between birthdays and Christmas and grandparents and hand me down toys from older siblings, the girls’ bedroom was simply overflowing with small plastic people, dollhouse furniture, crayons, books, doll clothing, dress up clothes, stuffed animals, Barbies and random pieces of disassembled toys.  And in contrast to the abundance of toys in it, the girls’ bedroom had ZERO storage. No shelves. Small closet. Just no place at all to put anything away in a tidy and organized way.

So last week,  my pal and organizational guru Jay and I headed out to bring home some practical storage solutions for the girls’ room. ( You can check out what I went with in the photos below.) But when we got the boxes home, and Jon began assembling the storage units Jay helped me pick out, I realized that the very first thing I had to do — before adding the new storage units to the room –  was to RADICALLY declutter.  It was time to get rid of some of stuff…a lot of stuff.

Since I embarked on my turbocharged decluttering of the girls’ room in recent days as Step One in Operation Organize, and I mentioned what I was doing on Facebook and to some of my friends,  I’ve had a few other parents tell me that their kids would never let them do what I did, which was to jettison what turned out to be probably 2/3 of the toys and toy-like items in the girls’ room.

But see, here’s the thing; I only got rid of stuff that I was sure they wouldn’t care about or probably even notice, and yes, I did it when they weren’t looking. That’s right, I pulled a fast one while Jon distracted the girls, hauling out things like nine of their 12 teddy bears (see, I’m not TOO cruel. They still have three teddy bears.), all the baby toys that two year old G hasn’t touched in at least nine months, the headless Polly Pockets, the doll stroller with three wheels, the terrifying clown doll that nobody wanted to touch or even look at, the deflated Happy Birthday balloon made of some space-age material that’s been tied to the closet door for at least six months, all the broken crayons and dried-out markers with missing tops…you get the idea. I also packed up all the clothes that G has outgrown so that I can go ahead and hand it all down to friends with babies, and I also boxed up the stuff that’s too small for C but still to big for her little sister and I put it in the basement — neatly labeled and no longer cluttering up the girls’ drawers and closet — to be pulled back out when G grows a bit.

It was AMAZING how much junk  I hauled out of that room. By the time i finished this extremely satisfying job, the amount of stuff left that needed to be organized and put away had been significantly reduced. So at that point, I was ready to set up the new storage units  in the girls’ room and start putting what was left away – neatly and in a way that would make it easy for the girls to find what they want to play with, and to put it away themselves when they are done.

And let me tell you that not only did the girls not complain about the items that went missing from their room – they’ve yet to even mention any of it —  they were absolutely thrilled with their newly organized and clutter free room. C in particular just couldn’t stop exclaiming how much she loves having her room so tidy and easy to navigate. She’s a very orderly person by nature, and she is far more at ease and happy in environments that match that natural tendency toward organization. So having her playthings so neatly organized and easy to find put a huge grin on her face. Once I finished putting everything in its place in the room late this morning, C barely left her room for the rest of the day. All she wanted to do was play with her toys in there, and when she would finish with one item, she’d carefully put it away before taking out another toy. She actually loves being able to do that.

So, suffice it to say that this was an extremely satisfying project. I’m very happy with how pretty and practical the Martha Stewart storage units that I picked for the girls’ room are, and the total cost was under $150. I like both the way they look in the girls’ room, as well as their functionality. And now that I’ve tackled organizing the little girls’ room in such a top to bottom way, I am totally inspired to work with my two teenagers to do the exact same thing with their bedrooms, and I told Jon today that our bedroom is next up on my radical organization to-do list.

If you would like to see how the decluttering-organizing project unfolded in the girls’ bedroom, as well as the final results, just click through the photos below.

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  • Hitting the store. 1 of 16
    Hitting the store.
    My good friend Jay and I headed over to the local Home Depot and hit up the storage and organization section to check out various options. And there were a lot of them!
  • And then I saw it… 2 of 16
    And then I saw it...
    As soon as I saw Martha's fab display with her modular storage and cloth sliding bins, I knew I'd found what I was looking for.
  • Jay is my organization guru 3 of 16
    Jay is my organization guru
    Even after Idecided I wanted the Martha set up, I then had to decide among all the various modular options. I became a bit overwhelmed by the possibilities until Jay took charge and quickly identified which pieces I needed for the girls' room. All that was left for me to do was pick which colors I wanted for the cloth bins that go with the storage units. Go Jay!
  • Goodbye S*T*U*F*F 4 of 16
    Goodbye S*T*U*F*F
    Once I became committed to organizing the girls' room, and brought home the new storage system, I realized that before I could organize anything, we had to get rid of some stuff. Okay...a whole lot of stuff. This was only PART of the haul that came out of the girls' room and either went to Goodwill, friends with babies, or into the dumpster.
  • G helps Jon assemble the new storage units 5 of 16
    G helps Jon assemble the new storage units
    While I sorted and hauled stuff out of the girls' room, Jon assembled the new storage units. As you can see, he had some help from Miss G.
  • Storage units in place 6 of 16
    Storage units in place
    Here are the new storage pieces in place in the newly clean bedroom, ready to be filled up with the toys and books that made the cut and didn't get shipped out of the house.
  • Ta da!! 7 of 16
    Ta da!!
    Everything in its place, and G kicking back in her sister's red rocking chair.
  • Sooooo tidy and organized! 8 of 16
    Sooooo tidy and organized!
    Another view of the new storage set up
  • C loves her newly organized room 9 of 16
    C loves her newly organized room
    She's got her Calico Critters in one bin, her dollhouse furniture in another, dress up clothes in yet another... Easy to find and play with.
  • New table for the girls 10 of 16
    New table for the girls
    When my sweet pal Deb heard about my major decluttering/organizing project, she offered me this ADORABLE Pottery Barn table and benches for their room. She's moving and getting rid of all the things she won't need anymore, and this came from her ballet studio. SCORE!!! (Thanks Deb. xoxo)
  • Happy girls 11 of 16
    Happy girls
    C and G luuuuuurve their new play table. It's a fantastic addition to their room.
  • A CLEAN CLOSET!! 12 of 16
    A CLEAN CLOSET!!
    If you had seen the girls' closet before, you would not believe that you are looking at the same closet now. Before we added the new storage units, the closet was the ONLY storage space in the room, so it was filled to the brim with....everythigNow, with my ruthless decluttering combined with all the new storage space, the closet is refreshingly empty. The basket with the handle holds the girls' play food and dishes, while I actually just found the larger basket down in our basement. I have no idea where it came from, but it makes a great general toy basket for the closet.
  • Check out that clutter-free room 13 of 16
    Check out that clutter-free room
    Woohoo! With all the new storage, the whole room is tidy.
  • Hangin’ out 14 of 16
    Hangin' out
    C hanging out in her room, post Operation Organize
  • Study space 15 of 16
    Study space
    C starts kindergarten this fall, and this is her very own, big kid desk, about which she's super excited. With the room decluttered, we found a perfect spot for it.
  • No more overstuffed dresser 16 of 16
    No more overstuffed dresser
    Before Operation Organize, the girls' dresser was so stuffed that it was hard to open and close the drawers. Now, however, the drawers are happy to open and close with ease.

A big thanks to Home Depot for sponsoring this campaign at Babble Voices. Click here to see more of the discussion.

MORE ON BABBLE:

20 unique and inspiring kids’ rooms
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10 everyday household items that double as organizers
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