Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Organizing Kids "Stuff"

    With 5 kids in the house one of the things that really started annoying me about 2 kids ago were cups and school "stuff".  It seemed they went through a million cups and glasses a day and never remembered which one belonged to them.  They also never wanted to claim any leftover papers, folders or notebooks that happened to be left laying around.  They would insist it wasn't theirs until we peeked inside and lo and behold it was theirs!  The answer...

Color coding and coasters!

    I think a lot of families have figured out color coding.  It's simple, when buying things like notebooks, cups even special bins or toys we try to get "their" color.  Carter is green, Caleb red, Elijah blue, Hannah pink and Addison purple.  We tried to pick colors that are easy to find.  Now if there is a blue notebook on the table I know right away it is Elijah's.  I'd like to even push this into the bathroom with washcloths and towels.  Someday when I have some extra cash to do nothing with (HA!) I'll do that.  It has really helped simplify things and I passed it on to Grandma so even this Christmas when she got the boys all a similar toy she got them in their own color.  Perfect!

   Coasters are the best way we've handled cups in our kitchen.  We've been doing it for a good 2 years now.    Someday (when I have that extra money again) I'd like to take them to a pottery place or pick up some tiles and paint and let them decorate their own coaster.  For now this is what we have-

    I smile every time I see these because 17 years ago they were part of a wedding gift!  We used them at our first apartment and then they got packed away for years.  When I pulled them out I found we must have lost one and it left us with 5!  At that time I only had four children so the other was just extra, but it made Addison's name official when we wrote on her coaster a few weeks before she was born :0)  So this is the point of coasters, we have a small counter over our dishwasher and that's where your coaster stays.  You pull it out when you get a drink in the morning and that's where your cup or water bottle stays.  It's great because I don't care what cup they grab, I know it's theirs because it's on their coaster.  It didn't take long to train them to do this.  I just called them back whenever I saw cups not on coasters.  Now I know who forgot because everyone else will have a cup on a coaster and then we'll have one lonely cup on the counter with that persons coaster still resting in the holder!  It has made a lot less mess.  When we started this our dishwasher had been broken for a little over a year and I was so tired of washing all the cups!  Now even with a dishwasher it still keeps the kitchen a lot cleaner.  Here's what our little counter looks like when in use-

   There you have it.  Today's quick organizing tip!  What are some ways to simplify things at your house??

1 comment:

Holly said...

Those are fantastic ideas!I especially love the coasters idea! We always try to let the kids use the same type of cup every day, or at least remember which one was theirs each day, but it doesn't always work perfectly. If we tried the color thing, we would be in trouble, because all of our boys like green. : )

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