This was a few nights ago now. And I didn’t clean my whole unfinished basement. Just the part I felt I could control enough to do something about – our toddler supplies.
During the week, I have no spare time. When I say none, I mean I get a half hour prep period during school (today’s was spent on the phone with parents) and a half hour lunch. I leave right after school and relieve the nanny, taking over with the twins until my husband gets home at 5:30. It’s dinner, bath, pjs and bed. Then the chores at 8:00. Anyway. I’m usually done for the day and on my own around 9:00/9:30. That’s when my party gets started and a few nights ago, I celebrated with a Friday night trip to Walmart. I needed a bunch of things, but in addition I left with two storage bins for less than $10. And even at 11:00 pm, I felt motivated. See, my basement was looking like this:
Just crap everywhere. Holiday decoration bins overflowing and baby gear still hanging around. Here, specifically, was the targeted problem:
I’m constantly making things and re-purposing containers and purchasing cheap things for sensory bins, crafts and activities. And it all keeps making its way into my basement to be thrown into the pile. While I’m no Pinterest organizer (and I wish I was), this was too much for even my standards. With the two bins from Walmart I suddenly felt like I could manage this and might as well while the motivation was there. I gave myself the goal of being done by midnight and got started.
First, I dumped everything out and surveyed my storage container situation. I had a few bins already plus the two more, so I started to sort. Here’s how I organized 5 bins and a boppy bag.
Sensory bin bases. As of now, we pretty much rotate between beans and rice, but I will soon be incorporating epsom salt, pasta, oats, etc. All of these dried bases can be saved and reused (and I wouldn’t have it any other way) but I wasn’t storing them well. They go in gallon bags now, and from there, into this bin. I also have the cheap $4 tablecloths to put underneath the sensory bins.
Art supplies. My hot glue gun, pipe cleaners, sharpies, googly eyes, craft sticks, paint, pony beads…etc. You get the idea. There are certain crafts I’ve done where I need these things constantly, so it would be so much easier to just bring up the whole bin!
Paper, fabric, and felt. This bin’s contents were presenting me with difficulty before I organized it. I have felt coming out my ears right now and so much leftover fabric from my buckle pillows and fabric letters. We use contact paper regularly and the freezer paper is my trick for felt, which I’ll be blogging about soon. I’ve got one side fabric and one side felt, so it now feels much more manageable!
The bottom of my storage bin pile – all the extra crap with no home. Specifically, these items tend to be great for sensory play (squeeze and spray bottles, tools) or crafts (egg carton, aprons). I also threw in a few other things I’ve picked up for $1 to save for the future, such as the watering cans and the bug catcher nets.
This bin sits off to the side, as I don’t use it much but the contents are there for me if necessary! I have a few extra sensory bins and base supplies, such as cotton balls, rice, etc. It’s just nice to have these things off the floor.
Boppy bag – it zips! We haven’t used a boppy in memory but the bag rocks. In it I have all the objects we’ve put into our sensory bins so far. They are in individual bags as well, so it doubles as a toy bag. I’ve got seasonal objects in there as well as animals, dinosaurs, cars, etc.
When we want to do a sensory bin I’ll know just where to grab the bin, the base ingredient I’m looking for and the objects to go with the base! For example, I might grab black beans and the bugs/snakes bag. Or a green water bin with the plastic dinos. Quick and painless, and everything now has a home.
Ta-da!! And of course I’ve labeled the bins, because no organization is complete without labels! This was very much on my to-do list and I’m so glad it’s done. And the best part is – I finished at midnight(ish) and only spent $10!
There are some amazing ideas out there for storage of toddler supplies and while this is not my dream way to store things, it works for now. I’ll be keeping an eye out for storage bin sales!