Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Back to School Cleaning

Some people have Spring Cleaning Fever. Others get the cleaning bug around the holidays, when they need to pack up and purge toys. Me, I get the urge to clean right before school begins.

I have no idea what causes this. Maybe it is seeing all those lovely stacks of notebook paper on the school shelves. Maybe it's the smell of new crayons. Maybe it's the thought that a new school year equals a new beginning for all of us. Whatever it is, I begin to clean and organize in the middle of August, right before school begins.

A few weeks ago, Adam took Joseph to a baseball game and my mother-in-law had the other three children. I had a blessed few hours all by my lonesome. I went to Chiplote and gobbled their guacamole without anyone making "eeewwww, gross" noises. I tried to go clothes shopping but the stores weren't open, so I headed to Wal-Mart to put some Pinterest ideas into action.

I can't find the direct link, but I know I stole this idea from somewhere else. I took a clear hanging shoe organizer and hung it on the door of our downstairs closet (which is in a useless place but anyway). Then I grabbed the box that we just throw our hats, gloves and mittens in and organized everything. I put the little boys items in the lower rows and went from there. Mittens are matched, I know who needs hats and who doesn't and there's even a slot for mitten clips and other odds and ends that we always end up loosing. How organized will this stay? No idea. But for right now, it looks great and is shut away so small fingers can't get in there and dump everything on the ground!

Next I tackled the cess-pool that is the children's bathroom. No matter how often I clean it, or with what, it stinks in there. The shower curtain is dingy and the walls need to be painted. We can't do any painting until it cools off and I refuse to hang the pretty new shower curtain I bought until everything else is done... except for organizing it.

For their toothbrushes and toothpaste, I took a cheap plastic silverware tray and labeled each slot with their names. Each toothbrush has its own spot, as does the toothpaste. The red behind it is that back of an old shirt that I cut off. This keep the drawer a bit cleaner and I can wash it if it gets gross.

In the bathtub I bought a cheap shower rack but hung it on the BACK of the tub. It's out of the way of the water spray and easier for the kids to access. And, yes, so far they have been putting their soap and shampoo away!
Our front hall is useless when it comes to taking off shoes and coats. because it is so open, we have no where for a cute little coat cubby or shoe rack. The closet is in the living room and houses winter coats and board games. Besides, most people come in through the garage, which means that the downstairs bathroom, that is RIGHT off the garage, needs to hold shoes. I already have a hanging shoe rack for, um, shoes but we have too many to fit in the rack!
Enter, the red bucket:

For 5 dollars at Target, I got this giant red bucket. The tray under it goes right by the garage door during the winter so the kids can take off their muddy boots and not track dirt, snow and slush all over the house. The red bucket perfectly matches the bathroom and is purdy... and is currently holding sticks. I need the red bucket BACK.
Backpacks and other bags hang right inside the garage door, behind the fridge, on metal hooks. I found a white board with sturdy metal hooks on it it in the bathroom section of a home goods store. I plan to get the same one for the kids bathroom when the time comes. It's nice to hang everything up in one spot so they can grab it right before they leave for school. TKD gear and belts stay there too (in theory) so we always know where they are.
I have more organization plans too. I want to get all the lunch items, from non-perishable foods to sandwich cutters to lunchboxes, all in one spot. I need to clean and reorganize the main pantry. And there's the never-ending mess that is the dining/craft/Thirty-One room AND my upstairs office. Oh, and the shelving units Adam is putting up in the garage and . . .
I suppose home-ownership is constantly fixing up and taking care of your abode. It's expensive and pain sometimes but at least I have a good reason to spend time on Pinterest!

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