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Project Simplify: Week 1

Last month I joined Org Junkie in the 29 day Organizational Challenge and I actually completed it! I know, I was shocked too. So when I saw that Tsh at Simple Mom was going to do a month long Project Simplify I figured why not try my luck and go for 2 months of decluttering. I’m a glutton for punishment these days.

Luckily for me, week one involves kids toys and a big part of our kid toy clutter was in the living room. The same living room that I tackled in Org Junkie’s challenge. But since that was only last week, I am going to show off my work again. Face it people, I deserve to show off that nice organized space because it took a month to get it organized. I’m milking that puppy for all it’s worth! So these pictures might be a repeat for regular readers- just ooh and aah and pat me on the head anyway. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Let’s take a little glimpse at the Before pictures of the living room with special focus on the entertainment bookcase that was housing the majority of kids toys, books and movies in the house.

I mean, look at this disaster. All this is from two bins. Two. Imagine if the other 13 were dumped out. *shudder*

The entertainment bookcase. The bane of my organizational goals. I call it the Clutter Catcher. The canvas bins are a great tool for separating categories of toys but only if the kids actually use them for that purpose, which my kids did not. You would not believe the things I found inside these bins. Popsicle wrappers, fruit snack wrappers, random articles of clothing, overdue library books, an unopened bill….I’ll spare you the rest but sufficed to say I was horrified.

First thing I did was take every single bucket out of the unit and dump it all out in the middle of the floor. I separated all the like categories and decided what would be allowed to stay in the living room and what needed to find another home. It was a huge job. I purged more than half of the contents which gave me the brilliant idea to stage the bookcase with more than just canvas bins and clutter storage.

Are you ready for the after? Are you?

Are you amazed? It is a rather amazing transformation. Look at all the organization. It looks like adults actually live in this house! Here’s the breakdown of what I kept and how I organized it:

#1- I pared down all the video games and accessories into one bin. All the game cases were stored in the garage in case the kids want to trade them in later and the actual discs were stored in a CD binder for easy access.

#2- I used this bin to hold all my gift bags, tissue paper, streamers, balloons, etc. All that stuff that desperately needed an easy to access home instead of being spread out around my whole house.

#3- I bought these leather magazine holders at Office Depot about a year ago on clearance for $0.94 each but had nowhere to use them. I just couldn’t pass up the clearance price so they’ve been sitting in the closet for a year. I used them to hold the kids coloring books, activity books and notebooks. Best part? They can’t reach them so they have to ask me for help which ensures that I won’t walk in to find all 50 books spread out all over the house.

#4- I had one magazine holder left over so I used it to hold my magazines that I’m waiting to read. I get a lot of magazines and sometime they accumulate on my kitchen counter. Now I can come in straight from the mailbox and put the magazines in this holder.

#5- I bought this CD box at the same time as the magazine holders because it was on clearance for $1.46 and I cannot pass up a deal. It was sitting in the closet with the magazine holders. I used it for kids movies. We had 5 buckets of kids movies in the cases. 80% of them were movies they didn’t watch or had outgrown. I sorted through every single one, purging the movies that were too scratched to watch or that the kids were not going to watch again. The ones that I kept were taken out of the original cases and store in thin CD disc cases with clear fronts. That box is less than half full! Now the kids can actually see the movies and enjoy some of their favorites instead of dumping out 5 buckets to search for something to watch.

#6- This bin holds all the Leap Frog stuff- the Tag pen & a few books, the Explorer & games, and Zoey’s little leap & learn toy.

#7- This bin is empty! I didn’t need it but I like symmetry so I had to use it. Ha!

#8- This bin is holding all the mega bloks. We had a ton so I pared them down and put a small bucket of them in Zoey’s room for her to enjoy when she plays by herself. By splitting the large set it makes it so much easier to clean up after playtime.

#9- This bin is holding the kitchen play stuff. I purged about 70% of the kitchen toys. I kept the ones that go with Zoey’s little Discovery kitchen and her Leap Frog picnic basket but a lot of other random kitchen stuff that was not part of a specific set was sent to the Goodwill pile.

#10- I used this bin to hold a few of Zoey’s favorite stuffed animals and dolls. The majority of her animals and dolls were relegated to her bedroom toy box though.

#11- This bin is holding some of Zoey’s favorite board books. Most of them are in her room but I left a few down here for her to read during the day.

#12- And another empty bin! I didn’t want to fill it up just because it was there but in the future if I need space for toys, I have it!

All the toy cars went up to Mase’s bedroom, all the Little People toys went up to Zoey’s bedroom, all the arts & crafts supplies went up to Maia’s bedroom and the remainder of the books were distributed between the kids bedrooms.

I cannot even tell you what a difference this had made for our family, especially for me! It takes me no time at all to pick up when I get that last minute ‘Hey we’re in the neighborhood, can we stop by for a visit’ call because it’s so easy for the kids to put away their own toys.  Plus, as an added bonus it makes it so much easier for me to Fake Clean the House before Mr.McHunky gets home at the end of the day. That is what I call a Win/Win, my friends.

Want to come along on the Project Simplify train? Head over to Simple Mom to find out all the details on how to join. She has each week broken down into hot spots to help you. Next week I’ll be cleaning off and organizing the kitchen counter that collects all the clutter and paperwork. *groan*

{I’d love it if you would take a second and become a Follower of Confessions of a Semi-Domesticated Mama. I have offered many options for your following convenience- Linky Followers, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and don’t forget Pinterest. You know you want to. All the cool kids are doing it. I am not above peer pressure.}

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