Sunday, February 22, 2015

Accessibility

A big focus of my organization (and re-organization) efforts is making sure everything is as accessible as possible for the little ones of the house.  I am a firm believer that kids can be quite helpful when expected to and when able to.  The biggest challenge in organizing a house is kids grow and develop quickly and so things that once worked, don't always work - they are consistently growing into new capabilities.  We aren't at a stage in life where making these adjustments can involve anything elaborate, but I'm finding they don't need to be! 

I am very quick to admit that I am particular about keeping the house tidy.  I don't think I fall into the obsessive category (anymore...), but I don't like picking up things that should/could have been put away in the first place.  For as long as I can remember we have had a shoe basket by the front door, hooks by the front door, and an easy to access hamper for the kids.  I just don't see why I should spend time picking up coats, shoes, or clothes that my children are capable of tending to. 

However, lately it started to drive me crazy how the bath towels were left on the floor - the hooks on the back of the door were put up by the previous tenants and were "adult height".  So I bought new 3M hooks and put them at a height the kids could easily reach.  Then I added a ribbon loop to each towel, because at first they were struggling with how to get the towel to stay on the little hook.  Presto.  Problem solved.  No more wet towels on the floor.

Next problem was the plethora of markers, pencils, scissors, etc spilling out of their desk.  I saw a cute little bar and bucket organization system from IKEA, but I refused to pay more in shipping than the product itself.  Thankfully, Pinterest to the rescue!  I had four of these metal buckets left over from something.  I found little metal hooks at the hardware store for $2.  Now there is a bucket for each type of item - and it's easy to access/see.  No more excuses.  Craft supplies are easily contained! 
We also have a large white board on the wall between the kids' desk and our kitchen.  The kids love to write and draw on it and since it is attached with Velcro, the hubby can take it down to work long, tedious statistical problems when he needs to.  We added a fourth bucket beside it to coral the dry erase markers and eraser.
 
The next big thing to drive me crazy this winter the mess of hats, gloves, scarves, etc that we adults had to constantly fish out of our hanging holder (i.e. bag on a hanger).  The kids couldn't access what they wanted, it took forever to find the right item, and the kids couldn't reach to put away their things when they came in.  Pinterest to the rescue, again.  I wasn't able to find a clear hanging show holder locally, but this white one works just as well ($7 at Target, I think).  The kids hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves are in the lower rows and ours are up higher.  We were also able to keep our over the door hooks that hold hats and the dog leashes.  (Don't focus on the gigantic trash can overflowing with sports equipment inside the closet...that is not an organizational victory.  And, yesh, that wood door is ugly, maybe I should paint both sides of the door white....).  Again, nothing fancy, but now the kids can do it without our help!  Small victories are big victories in parenting!
 
Lastly, this had nothing to do with the kids, but the cabinet under our kitchen sink was driving me crazy.  I couldn't find what I needed without taking everything out.  I put up a tension curtain rod near the top and now I can hang the spray bottles.  The other bottles sit below.  I can see and access everything easily.  That is happiness for my Type A side.  
 
You can find these ideas on Pinterest with prettier pictures (you know, the ones that don't look like they came from a real family/house's linen closet or cabinet), but I figured I'd post reality, not the pretty links. 
 
Now, if I ever figure out how to make full closets much more organized and less cluttered, I'll really be sure to blog about that!