A Life Changing Trick for Tidying Up

lifechangingtrickI am the perpetual clutter queen. (The first step is admitting there is a problem, right?) So when I heard rave reviews about the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, of course I had to read it! It certainly has some fantastic ideas that I would love to implement some day, but its all or nothing approach just isn’t a good fit for me in this phase of life. I am not ready for all, and don’t want to do nothing. So I came up with this solution, and it really has proven to be the most magical trick I have found thus far!

 I have two words for you:  Two Laps.

That’s it. Two Laps.

Seriously, try this. It is the first trick I have found that actually works and I have been able to maintain it for more than a few weeks!


Materials Needed:  A Laundry Basket


1) Start in one room of your house. Put everything in that room away and place anything that doesn’t belong in that room into the basket.  (Example: In the kitchen I put all kitchen items away, and stash the shoe, the toothbrush (don’t ask) and the matchbox car in the basket.)

2) Carry the basket with you to the next room. If any of the items from the previous room belong in this room, put them away. Next, as you did in step one, put everything in the room away and deposit misplaced items into the basket. (Example: Now in the playroom, I take the matchbox car out and put it in the appropriate toy bin. I put away any other stray toys. I place the dirty sock and the empty cup in the basket to put away once I get to their appropriate rooms.)

3) Continue steps one and two in each room of your house.

4) By the time you have circled your house twice, you will have put everything where it belongs.  (The shoe made it into the garage cubby, the toothbrush in the bathroom, the sock in the laundry, the cup in the dishwasher.)

This tip is a huge time saver and the magic is in its simplicity.  If I were to put each stray item in its appropriate locale each time I came across one, I would be exhausted from going up and down the stairs, traipsing all over the house to the point of just giving up or only focusing on one room, leaving the rest for “tomorrow”.

The first time we implemented this strategy it took about 20 minutes. The next day it took less than 10. The third day it took less than 5 and we were done after only 1 lap. Some days are messier than others, but overall getting into the habit of doing this, we have been able to stay on top of the perpetual and inevitable clutter that 5 people living under one roof create.

These are the random itidyingup2tems we found on our third day: a feather duster, a drum stick, ski goggles (it is June), a cooling rack (toddlers and their treasures!), shoes, and a toy train. Imagine what we would find in a weeks’ worth of accumulation!

We do this immediately after the kids go to bed before we lose motivation. Skipping days just means it takes longer the next time as things accumulate. We are more relaxed, more efficient, and more productive in a tidy house. We have also found that the kids play better when their toy room isn’t a giant mess of toys (see here ) and they too are more motivated to put things where they belong when it is in manageable pieces.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

I leave you with two more words:

You’re welcome 🙂

Playroom Makeover: Stroller Savvy Edition

Before we had kids, we swore we would not be those people with too many toys. Alas, 4 Christmases, 6 birthday parties, numerous yard sales and countless hand-me-downs later, we are.

When we moved into our new house, we knew the bonus room would be the perfect play space for our kiddos and their friends. We dumped the majority of our toys in there and it quickly became just that…. a dump. The kids would create such a mess (as they should) that it became overwhelming to clean up. Eventually even their play was distracted and disjointed.


With a lot of work, help from our friend Pinterest, and some ingenuity, we have finally created a play space we are excited about. By creating zones and adding in some organization, the kids are able to play more freely and really get into whatever they want to do. It is also far easier to clean up. Our 4-year-old knows exactly where everything goes, and even our little ones are able to identify what goes where. Here are some of our favorite areas:

Reading Nook

We have several comfortable places to read throughout the playroom, but we also wanted to provide a quiet area where the kids can retreat with a book if there is too much hubbub going on elsewhere. When the kids are older we will put fun beaded string curtains up, but they are not safe for the ages of our kiddos at this time.

We created inexpensive bookshelves using plastic gutters. Facing the books forwards is a proven strategy to entice readers. Our oldest has always been an avid book lover, but since installing this in our playroom, the babies have shown greatly increased interest.


                          bookshelves booknook

I created these letters using wooden letters, scrapbook paper, and Mod Podge. I am not going to lie, it took a lot longer and was much more stressful than I anticipated. I may have even said a few choice words to old Ms. Mod Podge. However, I am very happy with how they came out, so it was worth it in the end.

Read Sign                         reading

ARt area

Kids need a space to create. We laid down foam pads that will be easier to clean when inevitable spills occur, found this awesome table at a yard sale to enable the kids to sit together comfortably, stocked the above cabinets with paper, crayons, scissors, markers, play dough, paint, etc. (Ideally, this would all be out so they can use it whenever the mood strikes, but since our twins are still in the eat-it, write-on-walls stage, we opted for safety first 🙂  )  Our piece de resistance- a giant chalkboard wall created with chalkboard paint. As you can see, it is a huge hit. Even our teenage cousins loved it when they came to visit!

Art Areachalkboard

Finally, we created a place to display their works of art. We stenciled the word Masterpieces, hung thin wire and attached small clothespins.  


 Imagination Station

We created this dress-up “closet” using an old media center. We gave it new life with a fresh coat of paint, stenciled letters, knocked out a few shelves, and inserted a tension rod. We are debating adding a mirror (fun vs. vanity). The part that says “Imagine” opens to reveal smaller shelves that hold mustaches, necklaces, badges, and eventually princess shoes I imagine. It keeps the dress-up clothes from ending up all over the floor, gives extra life to Halloween costumes, and encourages imagination and dramatic play. Our son will go through several outfits in a matter of minutes- he certainly comes out with some interesting creations at times!



Construction Zone

Filled with trucks, cars, blocks, and a DIY train table (we prefer letting the kids use their imagination to create their own tracks instead of a pre-designed one), children can zoom around to their hearts’ content.

train table


We actually made this for our son’s second birthday party. At the time we got a lot of flak for all the work we put in, yet here it is still going strong two years later!  When it is time to officially retire the barn, it will become something else- a spaceship, pirate ship, castle, house. With a box, paint, and duct tape, the sky’s the limit!


Ball Pit

I had seen people fill baby pools with balls, but wanted something with higher sides to contain my meandering duo. Enter the Pack-n-Play ball pit! It was such a hit, even the four year old climbed in. Now that they are older, they don’t like to be contained for long, so I often put this in the garage as a holding cell when I am loading or unloading the mini-van.


BINS Bins Bins

Bins are a toy organizing savior. They are perfect for storing smaller toys- Legos, balls, puzzles, figurines, etc. The key to keeping them from becoming a receptacle for gathering all randoms is labels. Use both the picture and the word to help non-readers know what goes where.


By leaving the walls neutral and using decals, it is a space that we can adapt as the children grow. Eventually the baby toys will make way for a couch, the train table will become a foosball table, the books in the reading nook more complex, the artwork more intricate. (I already have big plans for a Lego table!)

Our hope is that this room always remains a place of joy, memory making, learning and growth.


I would love to see pics of your favorite playroom spaces as well!



Thanks to the following Pinspirations!

Money Saving Sisters https://www.pinterest.com/pin/395753885982364970/