Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Organization on the Cheap

I'm not the best organizer ever.  If I put my mind to something and really spend time thinking about it, I can usually get things in pretty good shape, but I'll admit there are far too many disorganized zones around my house.  I've recently come to the conclusion that the organization/storage industry is simply evil.  I mean, I'm addicted to looking at various storage options, and always feel a little neater when I purchase a plastic bin, regardless of its intended use.  Yet the plethora of storage items available (and pretty ones, at that!) have led America as a whole to turn into pack rats.  We have all these things to store our stuff in, so we will keep it all!  Back in the day when things were disorganized, I suppose people waited until they got a box to put it in, or they just got rid of it.  I do pride myself on the fact that my crawl space is half empty and what's there is relatively well organized, but I'm sure that next time we move I will be cursing myself for not getting rid of more stuff over the years.  I do always start out with things organized, but eventually I'm short on time and just trying to jam things into places, rather than taking the time to make things neat and orderly.  Organization often takes time, and often, I don't have it.  But when I take the time, it's so nice to go back and experience the orderliness later.

I did try to organize Jacob's toys after Christmas, and while the toy corner in the living room is still generally a bit of a mess, I do like having bins and shelves to hide things away.  When there are balls all over the floor, it's nice to pull out a bin drawer, throw them all in, and be done with it.  I still wish Jacob's toys could be a bit more hidden on a regular basis, but hopefully we'll get there--no doubt just in time to have a second round of baby toys taking over the room.  Anyway...

One thing that I did that I really appreciate is that I went to the dollar store and bought a single plastic bin for all of Jacob's random crap.  And by random crap I mean the Happy Meal toys, the trinkets that come in the birthday goodie bags from his classmates or holiday gifts from his teachers, or any other small toy that doesn't happen to be part of his crew of hockey guys or baseball guys.  The bin I got is about a foot square at the top and tapers down.  It fits perfectly in the closed cabinet part of the shelf in his room, and it holds the toys perfectly.  Maybe too perfectly, since it's getting full already.  Here it is...
At a glance, I see so many things--maracas my parents brought Jacob from Mexico, a random hairbrush Jacob claimed as his own, a carved wooden box with a "bug" in it, a slinky Jacob got for Easter last year, Pac-Man ghosts (part of a shell game) from a Wendy's Kids Meal, a Buzz Lightyear Happy Meal toy I got when I was in college (I found it when we were moving and passed it along to Jacob), a couple other random fast food kids meal toys, a wooden clacking toy that Jacob got for his first birthday, and a wind-up toy (and its container) that Jacob got sometime last year when the Christian bookstore was giving out little freebies for a special event.  And that is just the beginning.  Remember the funny glasses Jacob was wearing a couple posts back?  Those were in there.  A poseable bunny, whistles, another slinky, and Lord knows what else all make their home in this bin.  And yes, periodically some of them make it out of the bin and out of his room to add to the living room clutter, but for the most part they stay contained here.  Saturday morning we actually got the bin out and sorted through it a bit.  And Jacob has been playing with a handful of things from it ever since--Buzz, the glasses, the wooden bug box--and I'm sure he'll cycle through most of what's in there from time to time. 

It sort of makes me laugh to think he has a junk box (or bin) already.  I certainly had random little crap that inexplicably kept my attention, and I think stuff like that actually enhances imaginations.  You know, the random items aren't exactly "established" toys.  They don't have playsets or other groups of toys that go with them, so to play with them it seems like you have to make up a story to go with them.  You know, Buzz Lightyear playing with Jacob's hockey guys is a stretch to us, but I don't think it's too much of a stretch for Jacob's imagination.  I don't know what was running through his head when he was running around with those silly glasses and his fire helmet, but for him it all made sense.

Regardless, I like that all of that little stuff has a home.  Even if it 's not always in there, I know there's a place that I can put it when it starts bugging me sitting somewhere else.  And it only cost me a buck.  Perhaps I should throw most of that stuff out, and someday perhaps I will, but for now it provides a way to keep all that stuff without it making me crazy. 

Oh, and when I snuck into Jacob's room last night to get the picture of the bin, I couldn't help but snap a picture of my sleeping little angel boy. 

In case you can't tell, he's at about a 45 degree angle, supported by numerous animals and blankets.  He's so perfect when he's sleeping.  Absolutely adorable.  Inevitably when I see him sleeping, I just want to cuddle up with him...and then I remember how much he thrashes in his sleep and recall that I don't enjoy the constant kicks in the I quickly change my mind and simply appreciate the peace and quiet, but I'll admit I do miss the days when he would snuggle in and fall asleep on our chests.  Tonight he fell asleep in the car on our way home (more on our evening soon), and he stayed asleep through getting his pajamas on.  I savored a couple minutes of holding and rocking him before I put him in his crib.  It's been a while since I've held him like that, fast asleep and snuggly.  How times have changed...but I guess he'll always be my sweet baby boy...

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