SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks

{April 21, 2013}   Organizing Spaces: Monkey Territory

I wish now that I had figured all of this out as a younger mom, when the monkeys were smaller. I feel like I wouldn’t struggle so much now!

With kids comes STUFF. As babies, they have more goop, accessories, diapers, clothes, and other purely baby stuff than a little bit. I know mine both became fun little people around 7 or 8 months, and toys began to flow into my home, in addition to walkers and high chairs and strollers and swings. I was glad when the bigger, more cumbersome pieces gave way to Pokémon and Build-a-Bear – except my kids have everything in excess.

Monkey #1 has over a thousand trading cards. He has Legos. He has animé books. He has them all over his room.

Monkey #2 is worse. She has a kid-sized kitchen. She has enough Barbies to populate Gobles, MI. Pillow pets and blanket animals and dress up costumes and accessories for every toy she has…all over her room.

What are some implementable ways of containing this crap stuff without stomping all over their childhood?

Tip #1 Monkey stuff should be easier to put away than to get out. There should be appropriate space allotted so that the Light Up Ladybug isn’t being crammed back where it goes.

Tip #2 Sort things according to function. Monkey #2 loves her Littlest Pet Shop toys. They’re small and we have a special bin especially for them. However, when the LPS come out to play, so do the Zhu Zhu Pets. So these are put away together. The play food is put away with the tea party sets and Tupperware play dishes, as well as her chef dress up clothes.

Tip #3 Bookshelves aren’t just for books! But this only works when spaces are assigned. Monkey has 2 shelves of books, one with movies, video games, and artsy stuff. The bottom shelf is where her bins of small toys are stored.

Tip #4 Get the kids involved. You don’t want to accidentally discard the card their bff in kindergarten made for them – even if they are 16 now. My monkeys are more inclined to give away books and toys if they know these items are going to someone less fortunate. It also sometimes works to photograph those sentimental dust collectors.

Tip #5 Art walls. Monkey #1 actually suggested this. Some cousins have “clotheslines” strung along a living room wall to clip original artwork. This way, a little Picasso can change decor easily, display creations without cluttering a fridge, and you don’t end up with swiss cheese walls (Grizzly is a little particular about nail holes!) Bulletin boards can be covered in coordinating fabric to match a monkey space. And I don’t claim to know every Kiddo’s taste, but my monkeys love a dry erase board.

Monkey #1’s space is organized and we’ll paint this summer. I’ve already implemented some of these ideas and some will come later. Monkey #2 will be tougher, because she has her own things as well as hand-me-downs from her brother. Our family seems to have an overabundance of the hoarding genes!

What ideas do you like for monkey spaces?

– Katie


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