#microblogmondays: clutter



I really should start calling theses microblog Tuesdays…

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.


We had a great vacation last week and one perk of renting a house instead of a hotel room was the laundry. For those of you who have houses with laundry machines this probably sounds a little crazy, but the ability to wash things throughout the week was awesome. The perk was coming home with a suitcase full of clean clothes instead of dirty. So unpacking was just unpacking with no laundry to do first.

As I was unpacking I decided I might as well just empty my dresser drawers because I had everything I wear often out already. Then if I was doing the dresser I might as well do the closets too. Even Rob got in on the action. Our bedroom looked like this.


Now though I have two mostly organized closets, a dresser where I can actually open and close the drawers and a huge bag of store/donate/recycle to sort that I will deal with as soon as my dissertation proposal is turned in. In a way the cleaning and purging was procrastination. But in another is was clearing the clutter so I could work in peace. We live in a small apartment with too much stuff. I do a pretty good job of keeping our main living areas picked up and organized (we won’t talk about the pile of toys that gets shoveled out of the way in the kids room most nights) but there is a lot of hidden clutter. Until I’m in the midst of clearing it out it’s hard to see how this hidden clutter also clutters my mind. So clean closets and ready to write.

Messy Reality

Lest you think the kids room (or my apartment for that matter) is pristine, I will knock that idea out right now. We have a tiny apartment and too much stuff. Yesterday I finally had it with the mountain of toys that is nightly shoved out of the way. I dumped all the bins and didn’t allow Simon screen time until everything had a home. I’m happy to say that a large bag of toys found a home in a donation bag and a moderate number of broken toys and actual trash (I’m continually disgusted with myself and the amounts of actual trash I find) made it to the trash bin. The rest was put away. Then I put the clothing bag I’m in the process of changing out and the pile of toys from the living room got thrown in there, so… This is my messy reality. I got rid of a lot of stuff, but always more to purge. #whoneedsit  

Two kids, one room

It works, here’s how our kids share an 8 x 9 room. This tiny room has been quite the multi-tasking space. When we first moved in this room was storage, then an office. Then Rob’s brother lived with us for a year and it was his room. Then it was an office that eventually got a crib. When Simon was around 15 months we gave him his own room. When Caleb was on the way there was no way to fit a bed and a crib unless we got rid of the pinball machine (which is not an option) so we went with bunk beds (tutorial). And now I we’ve finally hung some art work and have things organized to be picture worthy. The room is rarely this clean.

kidroom4They’ve been sharing a room for at least part of the night since around August and I’ll do a separate post about how that works. Other than the bunk beds, keeping toy storage under control is the biggest concern. Simon has his quilt and another blanket and his four stuffed animals in his bed. Caleb has a fleece blanket and a stuffed animal in his. He will get a quilt this year. It’s going to happen. Caleb’s bed has a toddler bed rail and a pool noodle to keep him in. Once he’s beyond the age to slither out I’ll remove the noodle, then eventually swap the rail for the noodle until maybe nothing. Simon never had a barrier and only rolled out a couple of times. This bed like any toddler bed is only 12 inches from the ground, so not too far to fall.

kidroom5 kidroom8 kidroom6Under the bed we have Simon’s car seat, and two under bed bins for train tracks and cars and trucks. At the far end is a smaller bin with random small stuff that I go through every few weeks and toss anything broken and not shown is our Christmas tree stand.

kidroom16 kidroom15 kidroom14We put the behind the door rain gutters in before narrow shelves were a thing. They work for holding some of the paper picture books. Up high are old family films and other things. Eventually this stuff needs to be sorted and possibly stored elsewhere. All of the stuffed toys are in a crunch can. I really like this style of bin and have the tall round ones for a laundry hamper and blanket storage. The stuffed toys I was leaving in Caleb’s bed until he started climbing in it to sleep. So now it goes on the floor each night.

kidroom9We have this bucket/seat for trains and two bins for Caleb’s toys. I really wish I would have purchased another jute basket because they are discontinued and I like the look of it when we pull toys to the living room.  This Oscar trash can for ball storage. My mom got Simon a lego box at Christmas so we use the box the Duplos came in for Caleb’s random small stuff. Mostly every night we toss everything into it’s appropriate bin and shove out of the way.

kidroom23kidroom24kidroom25  The pinball machine is something Rob has had for years. He rewired it so the lights work and had a custom base built. It’s a great play table and someday if we have a house it will be a coffee table. The robot mobile is from Simon’s crib. The Fairly Odd Parents from an auction. I did the plant drawing in college and for now will put kid art there. The Monkey pictures are animation cells from Rob’s first film. Simon likes to tape school things on the wall. Under the table are Magnet Tiles and a box of puzzles.

kidroom12 kidroom10 kidroom17The bookshelf I got for free and it holds books and some larger toys. On top is an Ikea lamp, a sound machine, nightlight alarm clock, and a kid friendly fan. I love this fan because the blades are fabric so it’s safe for sticking fingers in. There is no AC in that room and the Dyson fans are expensive. Two of these little guys to cool each kid are perfect.

kidroom21 kidroom19kidroom20They share my childhood dresser with newborn pictures of the boys. The wooden box holds baseball cards from Rob’s dad and the post office box safe holds collectable pocket knives from my Dad. The upper shelves hold an assortment of things Rob and I have kept over the years. The closet is storage and off season clothes and business clothes for Rob and I. And a giant Ikea bag of things to donate.

kidroom3 kidroom2And that is how you fit two kids in a room.


* Amazon links are affiliate links. All are things we use in the room.

House Tour: progress report #3

Behind the couch. This area has undergone many changes. In 2009 Rob used this as his “office” when his brother lived with us. Then when we moved the desk back to the office (turned kids room) Rob liked having the couch away from the wall because the surround sound was better.

DSC02378We bought a filing cabinet and put it behind the couch with the printer. At some point in 2011/2012 we moved the pinball table back there too. It was a place to hold stuff.

IMG_4427In early 2013 Rob got a tool box, a big one. This was great for holding tools, but not so great for the general chaos of our living room.

IMG_0536Untitled 3We also had the corner shelves to deal with. These hold the electronic equipment (compter, receiver, modem, 3D box, etc…) to run the projector / tv. That was easier to deal with because it was a lot of Rob purging things like old magazines and clearing space in the hall closet where I was able to move many of the books and also some boxes of old family photos and other sentimental things (which were on these shelves at one point).

cornershelvsIn the same move of things to the hall closet we finally took the time to put all of the tools in the tool box and move the top piece to the hall closet and put the file cabinet and the bottom piece behind the couch. At Christmas I covered these with a holiday tablecloth I had and it looked nice. When I took the Christmas decorations down, we weren’t sure what to do until Rob suggested using an old piece of plywood that had been leaning behind a door in the bathroom for a YEAR to lay across the two pieces to make them the same height. We used some extra wood from the be to level off the cabinets then wrapped the plywood in old fabric. And covered it with a lace table cloth from my grandma. This is a perfect use because the table cloth is ripped and stained and I wasn’t really sure why I took it other than I had one shot to go through grandma’s house last winter and take anything I might want. So I’m glad to have this use for it. It has been a process though.couch_1More with the piles! Gah! Just wait until my post about what happened to these. To the right is currently one of our suitcases and our strollers – we have a big one and a small one. Caleb’s carseat will eventually be here, but there are some puzzle pieces to be worked out in the jigsaw of our home. I am pleased to say that with my highly inefficient way to deal with the piles and one last run to the container store that this was completed to a satisfactory level BEFORE Caleb arrived. This is the after.

couch_finalThe basket holds burp clothes and extra wipes because…yeah… Someday I see it as a place to hold a few toys in the living room. My ipad and phone pretty much live on this new table now that I spend a lot of time on the couch. I ran the chargers up behind the basket so they are easy to tuck away. And since we don’t have a coffee table we have a place to put cups while watching tv! Oh, and notice the guitar hanging on the wall. I finally bought a wall mount thinking that if it is readily available it will be played more often than when stored in a closet. The file drawers can be opened easily by moving the strollers – I MUST deal with these soon as there is much to be trashed and much to be filed (piles again). The tool box requires a bit more maneuvering, but it works.

I think there are only two areas left to reveal before my final video, the kid’s room and the second bathroom (my nemesis which will NEVER be to where I want it I fear). Also, after the reveal I know that our home is a constant work in progress as needs change and kids grow. I do feel like I am close to the organization I need to live happily functionally for the next few years. And I know what I’m doing for March’s #whoneedsit? theme of PAPER. I will photograph the piles and start to deal with them.