Thursday, March 21, 2013

there’s organized and then THERE’S ORGANIZED

I have always thought that my house was pretty neat and tidy.  Sometimes I would have a closet or some drawers that would get a little out of control.  But, since I have been home from teaching I have had a HUGE project hanging over my head.  It was in the form of 40 large bins, packed to the brim with books, supplies, and materials.  Sure, I had looked through them now and again.  I had even taken some down and I had gotten out a lot of my books for my kiddos.  I hadn’t really sat down with all of the stuff and truly sorted, downsized, and dealt with it all.  We have moved it three different times…out of the school, into our old house, into storage, and into our current home.  Chris had been getting on me to go through it all.  It was taking over our unfinished area, and cramping space from items that really needed to be stored, i.e. Christmas stuff and old keepsakes. 

Since my preschool is going to be up and running next year, it gave me the perfect reason to tackle the bins and bins of stuff.  I worked on this project every moment the kids were sleeping sunday, monday, and tuesday.  It was almost done tuesday night, so I stayed up until 1 am just to see it finished.  It is funny, because once you REALLY start organizing stuff it spreads.  I realized that all of my teaching stuff affected the closets in the basement.  And that lead to my growing supply of art and craft stuff….AND THAT lead to my ridiculous office area that was crammed to the max with stamping, sewing, and knitting supplies.  I finally finished with the office, and decided that I had enough left over bins to tackle the garage.  Yep, pretty much every inch of our house is labeled and in a bin.  It was a week long project, but man does everything look great!


This was the previous closet that housed all of the craft supplies for my children and their games.  I left all of the games in the closet, but I moved out all of the craft supplies.  Now I have all of my read alouds for school on the top shelf in magazine racks, sorted by holiday, genre, or author, and labeled of course.  My calendar system is housed here, along with all of the mini drawers full of post its, sharpies, and anything “teachery” that is needed.  The two bins with books now have favorite real alouds, along with teacher work books and curriculum guides that I thought would apply to my preschool.


The bottom of the shelves now hold anything that applies to school in the form of a manipulative or sensory activity.  The smaller bins contain beans, stamps, counting blocks, unifix cubes, dyed pasta, shells, zoobs, tongs, dry erase boards, etc etc.  The lower bins hold all of my play dough store bought and home made, along with gak, moon dough, dyed rice, pasta, and just about any sensory material that I use with my own children.  I love that everything is now at my finger tips and I can find stuff easy peesy!  Here is the whole view of my new “teaching closet” and I can’t get enough of it!


Next up was the out of control unfinished area.  I went through each and every bin.  I donated hoards of stuff to goodwill, and threw away equally as much stuff in the trash.  I really wanted to sift through it all and make good decisions about the items.  Some of it really was in good condition, but I felt that if I held onto it for teaching in the public schools it would surely be outdated by then.  It was important to be honest about how much of it was really ever going to get “used” again. 


This just part of the extra bins that I went through (the rest are now in the garage storing helmets and balls).  To say this was a huge messy project was an understatement.  Chris said it looked like a bomb of books, papers, and plain old crap had gone off in our basement.  But, I did get the shelves better organized.  These are my remaining “teacher” bins….


The clear bins are the only ones left from and for my new preschool.  I divided them up into sections, put the paper in front of them and labeled each and every thing inside for easy access during the school year next year.  The bins are divided simply into literacy based materials, math materials, sensory pay (funnels, scoops), classroom management (binders, bowls, bins, organization), holiday activities, and two bins of older math/literacy materials that I could use with Bradley.  My paper cutters and the overhead are sitting on the far left.  The far right is actually now our gift wrapping area and one container of “presents” that I hide for whichever upcoming holiday is next.

The gift wrapping area was previously in our basement bedroom closet.  It got moved because that will soon be Crozet PlaySchool’s art studio.  I figured while I was moving everything around, I mine as well organize and consolidate the many, many, many craft supplies I have for my kids.  We had them spread out around the house, some near the kitchen and some in the basement.  It is so nice to have them all in one central location, and labeled for easy art projects.


I also came across a TON of art supplies in my teaching bins too.  It made sense to just group everything together for the future.  This is the overview picture of the new Art Studio supply closet.  The top shelf now holds bins with similar materials organized together.  There are paint supplies, dot art, holiday crafts, watercolors and pastels, chalk, natural materials, found objects, modeling clay, etc.


I bought this little organizer back when I was teaching, and I still love it!  It has organized lots of different things, but now it holds all of those funny little  hard to keep track of art supplies.  There are buttons, stamps, beads and more beads, perler beads by color, pom poms, and stickers, and probably more that I am forgetting.  I didn’t label the drawers because they are always changing. 


Lastly I used these rolling drawers for all of my larger art supplies.  The bins were left over from my classroom.  They don’t match and aren’t attractive, but they will be hidden away in the closet so that is fine!  They are storing paints, paper, rolling brushes, art brushes, cookie cutters, pom poms, pipe cleaners, foam stickers, smocks, crayons and markers, the list goes on and on.


That pretty much sums up the downstairs space.  All closets and storage rooms are completely cleaned and tidy!!!!

Then I knew I had to tackle my office area.  Since we have moved into our house I have taken up a few new crafts.  With each new craft comes loads and loads of supplies.  Sewing especially!

But, my office space was originally set up for all of my stamping and paper crafting.  I still like to do that now and again, but I needed to downsize all of that stuff.  I actually took a good majority of my stamps and put them in the art supply closet for school.  I had tons of alphabet stamps, numbers, dinosaurs, and animals that I know my kids will enjoy more than I am right now!

With that extra space I was really able to make room for a great deal of sewing and knitting supplies!!  I love the look of the office now, and the way the light is just beaming through the window.  It is screaming for someone to come and create, sew, and relax!


My new knitting nook is all set!  The rainbow of yarns is so inviting!


In the cabinets I now have sewing on one side and my stamping and paper crafting on the other side.  My felt is all lined up and my fabric scraps are all in baggies and organized by colors.  It makes sewing so much more fun when you can find your notions easily.  I was previously digging through this enormous basket for scissors, measuring tape, and thread.  It is so frustrating when you can’t find what you need!


Now that you have pretty much seen a picture of every closet and storage area in our house I am going to say that I truly now feel ORGANIZED!  It is so nice to know where your stuff is and be able to get your hands on it easily!

I think Chris was worried about me, because I was pretty much obsessed with this project for an entire week.  Now that it is finished I can sew and knit in peace…


Someone very silly is a few days away from turning three, I can’t believe it!!!  Love you Ellie Belle…



Colleen said...

That must feel awesome to have that done!!! I thought we had alot of craft stuff but yours blows us away. I'm constantly organizing it!

Lindsay said...

Ohh my goodness it looks great!! You know I love your OCD tendencies :-) see you later today!

amanda said...

ahhh for the love of teacher tubs!! before we moved it was one of my big goals - to sort and organize all the teacher stuff. it was such a trip down memory lane!!

proud of you friend!