Jars and Boxes: Organizing my home

We love peanut butter at our house. I’m pretty sure that my husband has eaten a peanut butter sandwich every single day of his life. The Sweet Bee prefers to eat her peanut butter on a spoon. My favorite way to consume peanut butter is on a sandwich with homemade strawberry freezer jam and sliced bananas, or in these chocolate frosted peanut butter bars.

Needless to say, we end up with a lot of empty peanut butter jars. These jars are fabulous for storage, and I use them to organize all sorts of things, like this plastic animal set.

The jars are perfect for corralling small toys. Here you can see  how we use the jars to keep our animals, Polly pocket dolls, cars, and bottle caps all in their places.

I also like to use jars for craft supplies, like our pom poms, letter stamps, buttons, and googly eyes. Hmmm, all this talk of peanut butter jars is making me hungry for a peanut butter sandwich! You may notice that none of my jars are labelled. The beauty of these jars is that they are clear, so you can easily see what is inside. If you wanted to be all cute and crafty you could make some cutesy labels. The one time I tried that, my toddler ripped off the label in about three seconds flat, so my jars are staying label free for now.

My other favorite jars in my house are found in my kitchen. I use these to store my everyday dry goods: rice, flour, oats, brown, and white sugar. My favorite thing to eat for breakfast is bowl of oatmeal sprinkled with brown sugar and cinammon (hence the large jar for oats). I think the jars on the shelf add a little character to my kitchen.

Now, to the subject of boxes.

Once upon a time, a cute family of three moved into a nice two-bedroom town home in Florida. A few years later the family had grown to five people, and children’s items and toys were threatening to take over the space. After some thought, a solution was found: cubical storage and fabric boxes!This is our living room storage unit. It is comprised of three different shelving units we purchased from Target (like this one). This system has made a huge difference in our home.  Everything has its place, and it is much easier to clean up. Kid toys and books on the lower shelves, adult books and knick knacks on the upper shelves.

 The fabric drawers do their job well to conceal the toys. I printed, laminated, and tied on simple labels to make it easy at a glance to know which items belong in each box. I like the idea of including pictures for the non-reading children, but at the time I couldn’t find any clip-art that worked for me. My kids have still been able to figure out how to put things away. I don’t have a before photo to show you, but you’ll just have to believe me that this is much better!

We also picked up a 2-shelf unit to corral things in our entryway. We really have zero space by our front door, so this small unit is used to organize kid shoes and bike helmets. The bigger girls each have a box, while Little Boy Z gets a shelf (he only has small shoes!).

Move into my kitchen/dining room and you will see this cute green box (yes, I have a thing for green, even if this box looks more yellow-ish in the picture). This box serves as my “control the paper chaos” container.  It is a constant battle to keep my counter clear of of paper clutter, but this box is my best tool. I have an inbox file for incoming mail or things that I need to deal with asap. A file for school papers. Each family member has their own file (this is where I temporarily store my children’s artwork, until we decide to toss it or save for posterity). A file for menu planning (I keep my printable grocery shopping lists here).

I am still tweaking this system, but hooray for less paper cluttering my counter!

Lastly, we spend a lot of time at our house coloring and glueing and crafting. In August I saw a cute red caddy in the dollar aisle at Target, and I knew it was just the perfect tool to organize our basic art supplies.Colored pencils in one slot, markers in another.  Two peanut butter jars (of course!) keep the crayons and scissors and glue sticks sorted. Toss in a couple of bottles of glue, and we are all set. The caddy fits in my craft cupboard, and it is so easy to just pull out and use whenever anyone gets a creative urge. This caddy was inspired by a post I saw at IHeart Organizing.

Organizing a home is one of my favorite hobbies. Life runs so much smoother when everything has its place. I still consider myself a beginner in this area, but I love to browse online and see all of the great ideas for managing a home. My current favorite blog to read is IHeart Organizing. Jen has so many fantastic ideas I could devote an entire board on Pinterest to just the ideas I have loved on her site! If organizing a home his is a topic that interests you (with everything from kitchens to bathrooms to offices to kids school papers and toys and clothes and…), be sure to check out her blog here.

Thanks for coming along on my organizing journey today!

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6 thoughts to “Jars and Boxes: Organizing my home”

  1. We actually just bought those same shelves and fabric drawers!I’ve been trying to figure out a good but non-permanent labeling method, so I may use your idea!

  2. I saw Marcelaine’s comment and had to add a note–yep–same units here at our place! We have 2 x the 9 shelf cube units (in 2 kid bedrooms). They hold an amazing amount of stuff!

    Thanks for all of the great ideas!

  3. very cool! I love organizing– I think I get a natural high from it:) thanks for sharing your ideas! I thought of the “Nurture Mama” this morning because I am wondering if you have any ideas of things I can do with our little guy for General Conference? He’s not quite 2 yet, so I don’t know if he’s simply too young, or if, in thinking that, I’m not giving him a chance to at least try…try what though? Do you have any ideas or things that have worked (maybe, say when you just had one little one? Ok, now I have two, but one is about ten days old…so…;D)

  4. Hi Kim,

    The “2 and under” age is a difficult one when it comes to General Conference. At that stage, you mostly just hope that their nap time will correspond with at least a portion of conference! Our favorite activity over the years has been “stickers on the pictures of the speakers”, read about it here: http://www.nurturemama.net/2010/03/my-favorite-resources-for-a-general-conference-weekend/

    In the past we have just ended up with bringing all the toys into the livingroom (one at a time), giving our children something new to look at while we try to catch snatches of the talks. You can browse through my conference ideas by going here:http://www.nurturemama.net/tag/general-conference/

    And if all else fails, be grateful that we live in a day where we can access the audio and text versions of the talks again at our convenience!

    Good luck!

  5. Thanks so much for the advice and insight, Kristi! having the confirmation that it’s just tough at this age from you helped me feel less guilty today while I was running around with him outside during conference, after abandoning all hope! Thank goodness for the technological capabilities to view it later! 🙂 Thanks also for the links to the ideas:)

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