Friday, July 25, 2014

26 Garage Update: Outdoor Toy Organization

This has been one of those projects that seems to drag on FOREVER.  I was looking up old posts and we started finishing our walls back in August of 2012 when we installed our sports station!  That is almost two years now that we have had a stack of beadboard paneling waiting to be installed on our walls and trimmed out.  Well, one wall is finally done!  I guess waiting two years makes the celebration process that much sweeter.


You can catch up on our garage story and progress here.  Long story short, the entire space is getting brand-spankin' new storage so that it is simple to maintain.  We built in boatloads of overhead storage which I will share when I finish painting it up.  That will get a lot of the larger items up and off the floor and tucked away out of sight.  All we want left out on the walls is the items we use daily, such as lawn toys / games, sports equipment and bikes.

As soon as hubby finished caulking up the last hole in the beadboard, I couldn't wait to get to work on the newly empty corner of our garage.  The corner previously held our gardening supplies, but we actually put our garden shed to use, and that left this corner as the ideal location for outdoor toys.  In fact, it is right near the opening of the garage, making it super simple for the boy's and their pals to access everything they need for a day of outdoor play.

After we had ripped out our previous walk-in closet a few years ago, we saved a few pieces of the track shelving system (which I believe was purchased at Menards back in the day).  It was the perfect solution for this nook, as it is durable and the open shelves prevent too much dust build up.  I also love that they are adjustable to allow us to customize each shelf to our needs.


Installation is simple and only requires locating the studs in the wall using a level to make sure the top rail is installed correctly.  It went up in a jif!

You may recall that in the chaos of the garage, I had dumped their items onto the front porch.  Then we cleaned that up and moved them to the backyard until storage day.  


Before filling up the shelves with all of the boy's belongings, I took inventory of everything and gathered bins and baskets from around the garage and home.  I began sorting everything down by type, and made a list of the labels that I needed to create.

For any bin or basket with a flat surface, I cut word labels with my Silhouette die cutting machine.  For everything else, I painted up some unfinished wooden tags, and affixed the vinyl lettering to those.  In typical Jen fashion, I went a little label crazy. 


My entire thought process was sticking with what has worked well for us in the past.  I break the toys down by type and put everything into portable bins.  This allows the boys to grab a bin to take out to the yard and easily return the bins and contents to the shelf when they are done. 


For outdoor storage, I always select finishes which are weather friendly.  Galvanized steel, plastic and outdoor rattan were all used for this project.  That way if anything is left in the rain, no worries.  These finishes also make for easy dusting and cleaning.


The teal and green plastic totes were purchased at the dollar store and are lightweight and portable, which is perfect for quick trips to the park.


The green metal pails are my favorite.  They are from IKEA and remind me of the adorable versions from PB Kids. 



For all of the random sized balls that are used for impromptu neighborhood dodge ball matches and kickball games, I found an oversized wire basket from Target.


Bike gear remained in a bin we were using previously in another area of the garage.  It just received a sweet new label.


Squirt guns, life jackets and other water gear is in a portable plastic tote which is ideal for day trips to the beach.  Didn't those labels turn out darling?  Happy sigh....


There is a step stool nearby for the boys should they need anything higher, and for the items we didn't want little hands to reach, they we placed in bins on the top shelf.




Sometimes it is the quick and easy projects that really motivate us to continue on with the less fun items; like installing the rest of the beadboard and trim and finishing up the painting of the overhead cabinets.  But oh the difference the beadboard walls are making to the entire garage.  It is like ten windows were installed with how open, clean and bright it feels.  And we also have plans to update the lighting, build a new step and paint the doors.  One day at a time my friends, one day at a time...

I couldn't even finish getting everything in bins and on the shelves before half the neighborhood kiddos were down grabbing things and playing in the yard with the boys.  I love that leaving everything out and easy to access really promotes instant play.  A total summer saver for sure!


Sandbox toys are stored in our outdoor bench in the backyard, you can check that out here.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

25 UHeart Organizing: Simple Desk Solutions for Children

Most often organizing is all about those simple pleasures.  Finding a storage solution that is versatile and simple and makes life easier time and time again.  For example, adhesive bookplates.  I like them a lot {in my best Jim Carrey voice}.  I use them time and time again and they make me happy with every new bin or binder or shelf that is labeled.

Courtney, my dear friend who blogs over at A Thoughtful Place, discovered her simple organizing pleasure which has allowed her daughter to keep an organized and tidy workspace.  I am thinking I need to implement her trick for myself as well!  Here she is now to share more details.



Hi, everyone!  While most of us are in full summer mode, I am always trying to figure out how the upcoming school year can run more smoothly.  I have a daughter who loves to work at her desk and she is constantly creating.  But that often translates to a huge mess.  And while a desk is fantastic, desk drawers can spell trouble.  Sometimes they end up being the black hole of the room.  I finally figured out a system that has helped us immensely.  I am now all about removable drawer organization.  Take a look.


A while back we transformed our daughter’s closet {half of it} into a desk space.  She has plenty of room on the other side for clothing and we really thought a work space would be great.  The metal pails have always worked well for the markers.


But honestly, the drawers have been a disaster.  I realized the drawers had to have something that could be removed and used elsewhere.


I stumbled upon these pouches at Staples.  They were inexpensive and you could even monogram them with a stencil.  I love that they already had a splash of color to match her room.  I love that she can keep her supplies in them but also take them out and use them down on the kitchen table with me or anywhere in the house.  If she feels like working on the floor she can grab her pouches and move there.


This was a little tray I picked up at Target a while back.  I personalized it and had a piece of acrylic cut to fit the inside.  More about that here.  It is a perfect fit for her drawer and she can take it out and use the supplies easily.  I can also ask her to take it out and clean it if it gets messy!  That has been dreamy.  And I have made her a deal.  I let her know I will check and see when supplies are low as long as she checks and makes sure things are tidy and in their place.



The bins above the desk space are from Ikea and are great for storage that will show. They have clean lines and I know these are a favorite of Jen, too!


Like mother, like daughter. Although I have a desk from which to blog, I do most of my work sitting on me bed.  So does my daughter!  So these pouches are perfect to grab from the drawer or toss in her bag if she wants to take something to work on while we are on the go.


I am always on the lookout for really simple solutions. I often find that the little changes make a big difference in how tidy and efficient we can be around the house.  Fingers cross that this new system takes us well into the school year.  What about you?  Do you have a quick and simple fix for keeping kiddos organized when it comes to their work spaces?



"Do you believe in love at first sight? I sure do because when I first stumbled upon I Heart Organizing I immediately fell in love with Jen's mad organizational skills. I think we all long for a calm, organized, well styled life. I am the author of A Thoughtful Place blog where I dish on all things related to decorating, organizing, entertaining, and of course DIY-ing! To be quite honest, working on making my house a home is my happy place. It fulfills my need to be creative and I love sharing ideas {both big and small} with my readers. Along with my blog, I am a contributing writer to House of Fifty and have recently started my own decorating firm, Casey Grace Design, LLC, with my talented sister. I call Orange County, California home where I live with amazing husband and two children. At the end of a busy day, I love to enjoy an ice cold beer on the front porch with my hubby while we watch our children ride their bikes or run around. Life is sweet and I am thrilled to be a part of the IHeart Organizing Team."

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