organize

Start 'em young

Taryn with Kate, Will, and Eli Ruth // 2008

Taryn with Kate, Will, and Eli Ruth // 2008

I became a mom with very few plans in place for how I’d spend time with my child or children, how I envisioned my home being set up for little ones, or how many kids I wanted to have. I’d always hoped to be a mom. I just didn’t really have specific ideas of exactly how that might go down. Almost 17 years into motherhood, and 3 amazing kids later, I am both thankful for that somewhat clueless beginning and at the same time, a bit regretful that I wasn’t more intentional.

Image:  Texture Photo  // 2018

Image: Texture Photo // 2018

I’ve found that not having concrete expectations of how motherhood would go was a gift in that it allowed for a whole lotta grace. Not so much pressure on them or on me to be someone I had dreamed up in my head. I think I have been able to pay closer attention to each one of my kids and their unique personalities, ways of relating, and specific needs better since I didn’t have rigid expectations of what I wanted parenting and my kids to look like.

Being somewhat clueless also paved the way for new relationships and a sweet reliance on family. I am fortunate to have started motherhood off with some incredible new mamas who I’ve shared this crazy adventure with and who are still some of my dearest friends. We learned so much from one another. I am also a very blessed gal to have a mom and mother-in-law who have shown me what great love and sacrifice for your kids looks like. All good gifts in the midst of my cluelessness.

However, there is one area that I do wish I had been more thoughtful about at an earlier stage — how to create spaces in my home, and spaces in our days, for my kids. I had to make a lot of mistakes in this area before realizing there’s a better way. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but if I had taken a bit more time to think through what items &/or areas in my home that would encourage my kids to learn, explore, and love well, I would’ve saved myself lots of hours of singing (and doing) the “clean-up, clean-up, everybody everywhere” song and dance, procrastination, guilt, and frustration.

On May 2 at The Back Porch Mercantile, this is the exact topic we will be teaching on.

  • How do we get a baby’s room ready with all the needs but not the excess?

  • What’s the best way to create a play area for toddler’s that allows them to explore but doesn’t turn my house into a plastic toy jungle?

  • Do I keep all my preschooler’s handprint art and the other 724 pieces of art they’ve created?

  • Toys through the years and how to store them in a way that your kids can actually clean them up.

  • How do we do birthdays and holidays well without filling up on too many gifts?

  • What to do with all my elementary-age child’s school work?

  • How do teach my kids to organize?

I have learned lots raising this boy and my two girls. I’m still learning. And whether you’re a new mom or a few years in, my hope for you is that through some intentional, thoughtful planning, you can create the best space for your kids and for you to be the best mom you can be.

Image: Paige Severance (and her cutie twins!)

Image: Paige Severance (and her cutie twins!)

donating and selling books

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As organizers, one of the questions we consistently get from our clients is how and where to donate or sell the books that they are ready to pass along. We've compiled our list of recommendations and are eager to share it with you.

If you are ready to organize and purge your books, we recommend that you take the time to look through all the books throughout your home. Rather than simply purging a bookcase in one of many places that you keep reading material, plan to put your hands on every book in the house! Don't forget cookbooks, textbooks, and children's books. Once you've gone through all of them and have your purge pile, the following steps will come in handy...

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Step 1: Determine whether each book is donate-able/sell-able or whether it simply needs to be recycled. If it's water damaged, dry rotted, or torn up it's not worth donating. Go ahead and recycle that sucker.

Step 2: Donate: If you don't want to fool with selling, simply donate your books to your local library or to a thrift store. If you have children's books to donate, you can also drop them at one of the many free little library's around town.

Step 3: Selling: There are many approaches and ways to go about selling your books. For a quick way to offload mass quantities of books, McKays is our recommendation. The amount of books you drop off will determine how you sell/how long you wait. For guidelines check out this link. In addition to McKays, Amazon now has a buy back program for certain books that they will pay shipping for and purchase from you in exchange for an Amazon gift card. For textbooks we recommend Barnes and Noble's buy back program.

Step 4: Enjoy the space you've created in your home by purging the books that you no longer need or want!

 

envisioning your space

Organizing and decorating can be challenging. We've found that it's easy to feel weighed down and stuck in the "stuff" that hinders us from loving our dwelling places. Think about the pile of mail on the kitchen counter, the clothes stacked on a chair in your bedroom, the crafts spread on your kids floor, and the mixed up files in drawers of your office... you might already be ready to give up after just thinking about it! 

A fresh approach might be the change you need in perspective to conquer your challenging space. Thanks to Instagram and Pinterest, we've lost a lot of our ability to envision things on our own. We pin the image of an immaculate office and elegant bedroom that are way outside of our budget, and when we shut our computer we settle back into the reality of our lackluster spaces. 

ENVISION.

enjoy these creations as you start to imagine your spaces with new eyes. 
Ashley Dawn Addair is the creative behind the visual beauty below. 

Close out of Pinterest, shut the computer, and open your creative mind. Here are some questions to think about as you re-think areas of your home. 

  1. Who will use this space most? 
  2. What key furniture does this space need?
  3. What colors create the mood you want to inspire?
  4. What textures deliver comfort, function and coziness? 
  5. How can you create natural/warm light in this space? 
  6. What memories do you want to make in this space?
  7. How do you hope your guests feel in this space?
  8. What current items in this space are you ready to purge/donate?
  9. Do you prefer exposed or hidden organization of the stuff essential to this space?

Each space and home and it's people are unique. Don't limit your space by the images you see online, dream up your ideal space and incorporate the specific items you already love and possess. 

Happy envisioning friends! If you'd like some help and direction in your space, we'd love to work with you. 


*bonus- we stumbled upon this beautiful blog this week and had to share... Simple as That. Here's a link to a post with a free printable calendar "Collect Moments-Not Things"!