BFBN: 5 Tips to Organize and Save Money!

Today is Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day! Elaine from Faithfully Infertile is guest posting today and is sharing tips for being organized and saving some money…who doesn’t need a little help in these areas? I’m guest posting today over at Childwise Chat about parenting inside the funnel 🙂

I was asked by a reader of my blog to share about any child products or household items that help with organization, are particularly useful and save me time and money.

My house is extremely organized but it is not pinteresty at all! So if you are looking for pinteresty ideas for ways to organize your house, keep clicking! I don’t have any fancy set ups that are picture and Pinterest worthy. But my house is organized just the same.

If you are looking for practical, easy ways to stay organized, here are five practical and easy ways I stay organized and save money and time!

1. My number one tip to staying organized is to get rid of most of the stuff in your house! We just have entirely too much stuff in our closets, in our garages, in our attics, in our drawers and cabinets. If you want to get organized, get rid of stuff. We just simply have too much. And too much is so hard to organize. But when you have 10 Tupperware containers instead of 35, it is way easier to organize them and  keep them organized. When we moved we gave away 16 (I think it was) garbage bags FULL of stuff. Household items, toys, clothes, you name it, it was in the bag. Stuff accumulates so quickly and having too much stuff is truly an epidemic problem in the USA! Just get rid of it! My motto is: If I haven’t used it in over a year, out it goes! We are coming up on 6 months from the time we moved and I am already feeling the need to purge the house again! I like to go through every room in the house at least twice a year because it keeps clutter away!

2. Before we moved, I had a basket for shoes in each girls’ closet. This wasn’t a huge deal at the old house because their rooms were by the garage door where we would be leaving. At the new house, the girls’ rooms are not by the garage door and it wasn’t a day we had been moved in and I knew a shoe basket in each girls’ room just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. And so our shoe bookshelf was born!

This bookshelf is in the laundry room which is right off the garage. Each girl has two boxes: one for play shoes and one for church shoes or shoes we don’t want to mess up playing outside.

This has been so convenient in many ways! When we are leaving to go somewhere the girls go the shelf and get their shoes. When we come home, the shoes come off their feet and go back on the shelf. This saves lots of time and anything that saves time getting out the house with two small children is a plus!

3. I store toys on shelves and in baskets. Toy baskets/bins are a lifesaver to having organized toys. Here is Little Bug’s closet on the left and Sweet Pea’s on the right.

My girls don’t have a ton of toys and I am very intentional about the toys that they do have. We don’t have “junk toys” and by that I mean toys that do not stimulate creative play, imagination and learning. And – like with all things in our house – less is more. My girls do not have access to all of their toys at all times. I keep two huge storage bins full of toys that we don’t open. This is so I can rotate toys to keep them new and interesting to the girls. I rotate toys 3-4 times a year. I will probably do another big toy giveaway at the New Year because it will be time to pass along more of our toddler/baby toys now that Sweet Pea is two.

I love these shelves I bought at Target to organize toys in the playroom. The baskets are good for toys with a lot of pieces and the other shelves with no baskets are good for books and toys that don’t need to be contained in a basket.

4. I have no idea exactly how much money my “Gift Box” saves me but I know it saves us lots!

The way this works is when I am shopping and I see a good deal on something that I want to buy for my girls, I buy it and then put it in the Gift Box (green box). When the girls’ birthdays (or Christmas) roll around, I go “shopping” in my Gift Box, not spending a cent on the girls for their birthdays or Christmas!

Here is a picture of Little Bug with her presents on her 4th birthday. Everything but one gift came from my Gift Box. We gave her eight gifts and spent $10 in the weeks before her birthday. And I spent anywhere from $1-$10ish on each of the gifts because I found deals while shopping. (The one gift I bought her was a Peter Pan book on CD because she is really into Peter Pan and books on CD and I knew she would love that.) So, thanks to the Gift Box instead of spending a lot of money around Little Bug’s birthday, I spent a whopping $10. You can also notice here what I mean by “junk toys”. There are no junk toys in her birthday gifts! There are practical (pjs), imaginative (dress up shoes, play kitchen-not pictured) and educational (games and books) gifts only.

I also have a “Gift Box” for birthday parties we are invited too. My latest purchase was about 6-7 of these puzzles!

I spent $5 for one puzzle and it makes a perfect gift! If you know me in real life and we go to each other’s kid birthday parties, just pretend you didn’t read this.

5. I have a cleaning schedule in place that I try to follow so that the house is cleaned weekly and I can stay on top of household chores. Before I write my schedule, let me say there are weeks where I do not follow this plan and end up just cleaning the house all in one night after my girls are in bed. Sometimes, I actually prefer it that way. Some weeks go by and I don’t do any cleaning at all, but I know I will just get to it the next week. My children have taught me there is more to life than having a clean house. However, living in a clean house is important to me so I do have a cleaning schedule in place and most weeks I do stick to it:

  • Monday: kitchen, laundry

  • Tuesday: dust living spaces (about once a month I will get out the polish and polish the furniture instead of just dusting it)

  • Wednesday: bathrooms, laundry

  • Thursday: dust bedrooms

  • Friday: vacuum, laundry

  • Every day: make bed, dishes

  • As needed: sweep floors, spot clean, clean glass doors

As a general rule, I am a “spurt cleaner”, meaning I spend one to three 15-30 minute spurts of time within the day cleaning different areas of my house. It is usually easier for me to find those spurts of times to clean than it is to just let the house go and get dirty and then have to spend a day cleaning. With two little ones to take care of and homeschooling on top of that, I don’t have a whole day to spend cleaning. I find it much easier to just keep on top of things. It is easier to clean a bathroom that was just cleaned last week (or the week before!), but a bathroom that hasn’t been cleaned in a month is a nightmare to clean.

I do my “spurt cleaning” during these times:

  • 7:30-8am – The half hour I am awake before my girls wake up!

  • Room Time

  • Tv Time

  • Naptime

  • Bathtime – Dave does bathtime at night and this is a perfect opportunity to do a little cleaning/chore.

  • After bedtime

I told you these weren’t going to be earth-shattering, but these really are crucial ways I keep my household running smoothly and save us time and money here and there!

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