The kids’ “new” bedroom

I’ve always said we don’t have the space to move the kids into our bigger 2nd bedroom because where would all the stuff from the study go.

But then I thought about it and just decided it had to get done. And now! This was on the last Sunday morning in July.

I got very scientific about it, got out some graph paper and my tape measure.

I measured both rooms and drew them out to scale. Measured all the furniture, drew those on cardboard and then I could move my little pieces around the rooms until I was happy with the arrangements.

And the plan was put into place.

This was the 2nd bedroom/ study before…one day in April when I was in the midst of a photo project. You can see the photo albums on the extended table.



And this is the after at a better time of day too (11 am) hence the amazing light.

the reading couch moved from the sunroom
another angle

So there you have it – moved!

Obviously the room is not “done” but going on my track record, as long as things are mostly functional…and they are, I’ll be happy for a long time πŸ™‚

You ask, I answer – decluttering toys so kids don’t get bored

First off, I’m finally getting around to answering the questions on this post.

The three people who are going to get a little something from me are Jacqueline, Nta and Sybil. Please send me your postal addresses πŸ™‚ so I can pop something in the mail.

organised toy storage

This unit was decluttered and organised just before my twins’ 3rd birthday (they’re now 4) because I knew that more toys would be invading our house

Jacqueline wrote

Now that my little doll is 1 (and officially a toddler) how do I decide which toys to keep and which to get rid of and how do I organise her toys (and play space in a teeny tiny room) so that she doesn’t get bored of them?


Jacqui, I love that you already realise you need to declutter.

The obvious ones are the broken toys or the ones that are now too babyish. You can donate the gently-loved toys to an orphanage or try to sell them if you have the energy to organise all of the admin that goes along with it. (I don’t!)

If you’re a sentimental organiser, take photos first πŸ™‚

That should give you some space to breathe.


However, if she still has too many toys and they’re all age appropriate, then rotate them.

I use big plastic bins (always rectangular) like these ones labelled with the type of toy – blocks, puzzles, cars, animals, dress-up, etc.

We rotate every 1 – 2 weeks. I always keep favourites like the Lego and other blocks out but the rest of it gets rotated so that 1) the kids don’t get bored and 2) all the toys out all the time doesn’t feel overwhelming for them.

The toys not being played with get stored in our cottage but you could easily push them under a bed or in the wardrobe.


For maintenance, remember the age-old organising rule: one in, one out.

Prepare for birthdays and Christmas by doing a good declutter and organise beforehand.

Hope this helps.

Any other tips and tricks for Jacqui?

Teaching kids to declutter

the kids made these cute mobiles for “sea creatures” week at pre-schoool – don’t they look cute in the bathroom?

I think it’s very important to instill life skills in my kids so I’ve been teaching them organising skills for over 3 years now.

  • they’ve been packing away their toys since they were about 9 – 10 months
  • they pack away the dishes (really good to teach sorting and categorising skills)
  • they declutter their toys

The decluttering doesn’t always work as well as what I’d like (I have one hoarder and one extremely ruthless declutterer). For example, when I worked with them to go through all the stuffed animals, Kendra wanted to only let go of one thing (out of about 15 or so) and Connor wanted to only keep 3. Yes.

I also made the mistake of saying, “but Connor, so-and-so bought you that one” and then I realised actually, it’s not about me. So I took my photos of said “loved items” and let them go. Very difficult for me, by the way.

Anyway, back to school artwork.

The kids amass a crazy amount of artwork over just a month and to be honest, by March this year, I was already tired of taking photos of it all…. AND I take ONE photo of all 5 “treasures” for the week.

Nevertheless, I do have a great tip.

Buy a plastic container (ours are from a plastics shop and I think I paid about R70 each) with a lid for each child. When the container is full, they (not you) get to choose which they want to keep and which they want to toss.

This teaches them about boundaries, the concept that space is finite and how to make decisions.

They’ve become very good at making decisions because I take the weekly photos, send the child to their bedroom with the artwork and every 2-3 weeks I see some more treasures in the paper recycling pile.

Confession – my kids both tossed the Mothers Day cards (!!!) and I “rescued” them for my own memory box since these were my first, made by them and not done by my husband on behalf of the kids.

Connor was decluttering this weekend so I took a few iphone photos to show you.

half way through his decluttering
proper sorting going on – so proud πŸ™‚
thinking… hmmm, do I love this?
the container
the bin afterwards… and there’s quite a bit squashed in there

I’m very happy with our system so far… but I’m wondering what I’m going to do with all those pics at the end of the year. I certainly have no desire to print them πŸ™‚

What do you do with your kids’ artwork?

PS please remember to leave your organising or time management question here

{31 days of easy organising solutions} – bags for kids

While today’s tip is for both kids and adults, I’ve found it more useful with my kids.

Have multiple bags.

My kids don’t go to pre-school yet but they do go for normal outings like church every Sunday, gym, parties, visiting friends, going to restaurants (this is their reward of choice – for sure, their father’s kids :)), etc.

I’ve never been a fan of carrying a lot of stuff around even when the twins were babies and the minute the babies could walk, I let them carry their own stuff around!

So we have a standard backpack for normal outings. It has the standard items like a change of clothes, sun hat, sunscreen, etc. Just before we leave the house I throw in a water bottle and an apple each (this is where they’re their mother’s children :))

And then… we also have bags to keep them occupied somewhere, like at a restaurant, doctor, etc.

The key is to check the bags when you get home and replenish any used items like that spare change of clothes. I delegated this to the nanny when she was new and found out the hard way that I need to always make a checklist. Kendra spilled water all over her clothes when we just arrived at church and Dion had to go to the nearest Pep to get her some spare pants and a t-shirt.

If your kids have multiple activities, it may be useful (and save lots of time) to have a tote bag for each activity and keep these on hooks behind their bedroom door or in your entrance hall.

Do you use multiple bags for your kids? Would this work for you?

My book, Live Organised, will help you set up the systems you need to make your life flow smoothly. Available on Kindle and as a physical book.

Decluttering isn’t easy, even for kids

We’ve been buying quite a bit of books for the babies lately, especially when we find ones that talk to issues we’re currently dealing with.

E.g. Dion came home with about 5 books the other day all talking about kids staying in bed at night πŸ™‚

So it’s time to declutter.

I gathered the two of them and started with my standard speech about giving some books away to kids who don’t have any.

They still have a lot of board books and a lot of them, don’t really read (as far as I can see).
we started sorting the books into piles…
technically this was what we were left with – the other books were too babyish or too “loved”
here’s where they start having second thoughts and rethinking their choices
look how unhappy they look
Poor things – I wasn’t a very mean mother πŸ™‚
I let them keep the ones they’re very attached to.
It’s interesting – I’m already seeing differences in their organising personalities (I talk more about this in Live Organised).
Connor is more of a hoarder and Kendra is quite brutal.
(We decluttered some of their stuffed animals the other day and Kendra was very clear about what she didn’t use anymore – I even found myself saying, “Kendra! Aunty so and so gave you that ____.” “But I don’t want it anymore,” she said)
So four of her stuffed animals are living in the study for a month to see if she changes her mind – so far she hasn’t and we’re two weeks in – and then we’ll wash them and donate them to Kids Haven.

Is decluttering easy for you?

How do you deal with your child/ ren’s decluttering styles?

PS I always get this question – they’re wearing bath robe ponchos. I bought them for about R90 each at Mr P Home when they were “real” babies of about 9 months πŸ™‚ I haven’t seen them there since then. The rule with Mr P Home is if you love it, buy it when you see it.
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