How To Plan a Kid’s Birthday Party – Part 2

We hosted our son and daughter’s birthday party last weekend and it was a blast.  As is the case with any event you choose to host, there is some planning and work involved, but if you do those things well, you can reap the benefits of that work and enjoy the event alongside your children and your guests.

Read about the importance of starting with a goal, theme, guest list, menu & decor here.

And, if you haven’t already, print off this Birthday Party Planning Printables Bundle to keep track of all of those fund details.

Birthday Party Planning Necessities: Theme, Guest List, Food, Decorations, Activities, Favors, Shopping List & Set Up Printable :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Then, move on to the next steps…….

5 – Activities
We have always printed on the party invitations “Please, no gifts”, but our uber-generous family and friends disregarded that instruction.  This year, when we talked to the people we invited, we said, “Please don’t bring gifts.”  And they didn’t.  Which was exactly what we wanted.  However, not having a designated time where the guests watch the birthday boy or girl unwrap presents meant having one less thing to entertain our guests.  And it never occurred to me until after the party was over.

We didn’t even sing ‘Happy Birthday’. *gasp*

Our goal was to enjoy a morning with friends and family eating yummy food and playing, so that was the framework under which we chose our activities.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t sing ‘Happy Birthday’ or unwrap gifts.  But because we weren’t doing those things, we had to think about how people would spend their time once they were done with their doughnuts.

Lawn games are a big deal in our family.  We love them and play them frequently.  And because we do it, our kids love to “play” too.  So we decided to have Bean Bag Toss, Ladder Golf & Lawn Yahtzee.  All of these games were owned by us or our family members, so we didn’t have to purchase anything.

Lawn games are always a great birthday party activity - something for all ages! :: maximizingdaysblog.com

This was the first year that we had an activity for the kids.  There were lots of fun ideas for this on Pinterest, but I chose pumpkin painting because it was simple, fun, and required supplies that we already had (except for the pumpkins).

Pumpkin Painting Party - Pumpkin cut outs, paints, crayons, aprons & wipes :: maximizingdaysblog.com

My original plan  was to buy mini pumpkins and give each kid one to paint with sponge brushes.  But when I was shopping for a few party supplies at Hobby Lobby, I came across some wood & paper cut-out pumpkins and decided that was exponentially easier and cheaper.  So we went that route.  And it worked out great.

I’ve wanted to do a Photo Booth of sorts at each of my kids’ parties, but never spent the money or time to create that.  I found these photos on Pinterest and decided that I could do something like this with stuff that I already had.

Pumpkin party photo spot :: maximizingdaysblog.com

My booth doesn’t look nearly as good.  And it shouldn’t.  Those were put together by professional party planners.  Who get paid to create those.  But it served the purpose.  It was a cute spot for guests to take photos – of their family and with the birthday boy & girl.

Create a spot for guests to take photos :: maximizingdaysblog.com

But if I wouldn’t have set some flowers in front of a leftover hay bale, I wouldn’t have this money shot.  Which will end up in each of their wedding slide shows.  If that’s still a thing in 20 years.

Pumpkin party photo booth :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Birthday Party Activities Planning Printable

Party Planning Tip:  Designate someone – a family member or close friend – to take pictures during the party.  My sister-in-law is awesome about this.  I don’t even have to remember to ask anymore.  The only reason any of the photos from this day exist is because she picked up the camera throughout the morning and just starting clicking away.

6 – Favors
This was my first foray into favors.  I refused to do favors at my wedding because I thought they were a waste of time and money.  But I found a few cute and cheap ideas on Pinterest that made me realize that I could put together goodie bags that our guests would be able to enjoy as a token of appreciation for coming to spend time with our kids.

I got the idea to color jack-o-lantern faces on orange fruit cups (from Pinterest) and decided to put two or three other snacks in there that weren’t pure sugar.  I’ve talked before about my love for all things GoGo squeeZ, so that was an obvious choice.  Good old fruit snacks – in orange packaging, of course – rounded out the treat part of the favors.  I went with mini play-dohs and glow stick bracelets.  I figured every kid has play-doh, so they could add to their stash.   The bracelets were a nod to my daughter because she loves all things jewelry and anything that lights up.  I was the least excited about that piece, but I reminded myself that this is HER party and that while I see them as junk, they bring a smile to kids’ faces, so I got over myself and put them in my cart.

Favor bags filled with applesauce, fruit snacks, fruit cups, play-doh and glow bracelets :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Favors are another area where spending can easily get away from you.  Start by making a budget.  Decide how much you will spend per kid or overall, and work within those constraints.  Make a list of the contents, packaging and where you will purchase each item.

Birthday Party Favors Planning Printable

Party Planning Tip:  If your kids are old enough, have them assemble these and talk about how they show gratitude to the people who are coming.

Oh, and if you decide to include glow sticks, be careful not to crack the sticks when you’re tying the bags.  Hypothetically.

7 – Purchase
Create a master shopping list organized by store.  Using your other lists, write down each item that you need at each store.  This will help minimize unnecessary trips and wasted time.

Birthday Party Shopping Printable

Party Planning Tip: Grab an empty bin and dub it the ‘Party Bin’.  As you collect and purchase items for the party, toss them this bin so that they’re all in one, central location.  A week or two before the party, grab a few more empty bins and boxes and designate each one for an area or activity (i.e. Food Table, Craft Area, Favors, etc.).  Sort all of the items from your ‘Party Bin’ into these separate, smaller bins to make set up easier by taking each bin to it’s location during set up, and then you will have everything you need for that area with you.

Collect party items in a bin as you acquire them. The week before, sort items by where they will be during the party :: maximizingdaysblog.com

8 – Set Up
Do as much as you can ahead of time.  It is key to helping you enjoy the event while it’s happening.  But, there are things that you can’t do until right before the party begins.

Instead of a birthday cake, we had a donut tower, which I obviously couldn’t create until I had the donuts.  I got the idea from Pinterest and the picture had this cute cake topper.  I cut out the flags for the cake topper and got the other pieces needed for it and put all of them on the cake stand that the tower would be on.  This cut the assembly time for the tower in half the morning of the party.  Do this as much as you can.

Make a donut tower for a morning party instead of having a cake :: maximizingdaysblog.com

As you’re making all of your other lists, write down the tasks that you will need to do as well.  Write down any times that are pertinent (i.e. pick-up times or cooking times).  This will be your golden ticket on party day.

Birthday Party Set Up Printable

Party Planning Tip: ENJOY YOURSELF

Once the party starts, do whatever you have to do to enjoy yourself.  You’ve done the work ahead of time to get you to this point so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.  And watch your kids enjoy those fruits too.  If you have a second, think back to your goal.  And enjoy yourself.

How to Plan a Kid's Birthday Party - Without Going Bankrupt or Losing Your Mind :: maximizingdaysblog.com

 

How to Plan a Kid's Birthday Party - Without Going Bankrupt or Losing Your Mind :: maximizingdaysblog.com

 

And, if you must, sing ‘Happy Birthday’.

 

 

How to Plan a Kid's Birthday Party - Without Going Bankrupt or Losing Your Mind :: maximizingdaysblog.com

 

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How To Plan a Kid’s Birthday Party – Part 1

I love to entertain.  Gathering people together around food and fun to celebrate something makes me all warm inside.  Last weekend, that something was my kids’ birthdays.

On the kid birthday party-planning spectrum, I like to think that I land somewhere in the middle.  I’m a sucker for a fun theme and color palette and a good-looking food table, but I refuse to spend a lot of money on the event or stress myself out getting it ready.  I used to be an event coordinator at a year-round Christian Camp & Retreat Center, so I have some experience with putting together events.  That being said, I am not creative.  I don’t come up with cute ideas all on my own. That’s what Pinterest is for.  Pinterest is my best friend when it comes to planning my kids’ party.  But it can also be a pain in my side.

I’ve found that it’s helpful to think of Pinterest as a springboard, and not a standard.  Pinterest is a great tool to get your creative juices flowing and see lots of options.  It is not good for measuring yourself against realistic expectations.  Remember that.

If you don’t have a prior career as an event planner, or you’re not a nerd like me, starting to plan a party can seem like a daunting task.  Break it down in to smaller pieces and it will be, at least, manageable, and, at most, enjoyable.  It is possible to host an event on a budget and with minimal stress.

Use this Birthday Party Planning Printable Bundle to get you started.

Birthday Party Planning Necessities: Theme, Guest List, Food, Decorations, Activities, Favors, Shopping List & Set Up Printable :: maximizingdaysblog.com

1 – Start with a Goal.
Really?  For a kid birthday party, you need a goal?!

Yup.

It may seem silly, but I believe strongly in the value of “If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you get there?”

Why are you having the party?  What do you want to get out of it?  Answering these questions before you do anything else takes minimal time, and it gives you something to come back to when you’re going overboard, stressing out, or spending too much money.

P.S.  If you’re goal is to plan the most beautiful party on Pinterest or to get the most likes on Facebook, I’d suggest that you seriously consider if your child’s birthday is the best vehicle for achieving that purpose.

The goal for our kids’ party is that it be a time for our kids to be celebrated.  We want them to be surrounded by people who love them and reminded of how fortunate they are to have this tribe in their lives.  It is also our goal to have fun.  ALL of us.  We want our kids to enjoy themselves, but we also want to have fun ourselves and we want our guests (kids and adults) to enjoy their time as well.

Their party is not about an opportunity to get stuff.

My mom did a great job when I was a kid making my birthday special.  I loved my birthday.  But I didn’t love it because I got toys.  We didn’t have very much money and my mom couldn’t afford much, so the toys were secondary.  I don’t remember a lot of specifics of birthdays or parties.  But I remember looking forward to my birthday and loving my parties.  Because I felt loved and special.  That’s what has stuck with me all these years later.  And I want my kids to have that too.

Party Planning Tip: If coming up with a goal for a kid party seems lofty, just think about what you want your kids to say about this event in ten or twenty years.  That’s your goal.

 2 – Choose a Theme, Date & Guest List
Now you get to the fun part.  Our kids’ birthdays are six weeks apart and after having two identical parties six weeks apart last year, I decided to do one party for both of them this year.  My daughter turned 4 on September 2nd and my son will be 2 on October 19th.  That meant finding a gender-neutral theme for a two and four year-old and finding a date between their two birthdays.  We scheduled the party at the end of September, and went with a pumpkin/fall theme.  The guest list included family, godparents, close friends and a few of my daughter’s friends from pre-school.

Theme Worksheet Printable

Guest List Printable

Once you have a date and a theme, and you know how many people for which you are planning, you can go one of two ways.  If you’re independently creative, start brainstorming ideas relating to your theme.  If you’re like me, type “pumpkin birthday party” into the search bar on Pinterest and get excited at the possibilities.

Notice that I didn’t say “feel obligated to do everything you see” or “feel inferior because of the way others have done similar parties”.  The moment either of those feeling creep up on you, walk away.  And go back to your goal.

As I browse through ideas on Pinterest, I ask myself these two questions:
1) Can I do this cheap?
2) Will this take me a lot of time?

If the first answer is yes and the second is no, then I Pin it and move on to the next great idea.

There are lots of cute ideas that get passed over.  And, again, go back to your goal.

Party Planning Tip: Make your Pinterest board private so that your friends don’t see your ideas until party day.

3 – Pick Food
Some themes lend themselves easily to a pre-determined menu, others do not.  Time of day will also factor greatly in this decision.  Our party was in the morning, so we had breakfast foods and doughnuts.  Because our family loves any excuse to have doughnuts.

Choose food that does double duty as decor :: maximizingdaysblog.com

We also had some other “theme” foods, like rice krispies treats labeled as hay bales.

How to Plan a Kid's Birthday Party - Without Going Bankrupt or Losing Your Mind :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Pinterst, again, is a great resource for this.  But as you’re looking at the food, ask yourself the same two questions.  Also, ask yourself if it’s food that people will actually eat.  Because, if not, then you’re just wasting.

Choose party food that are time of day and age appropriate - and throw in some candy for good measure :: maximizingdaysblog.com

One thing I like to do is to find creative, theme-oriented ways to serve the food.  I found this picture on Pinterest, and loved the idea.

Super cute pumpkin party idea

I knew we’d serve fruit in some way, and this would look super cute on the table.  For a few reasons, I decided not to stick the skewers in a pumpkin, but put some candy corn in the bottom of mason jars and put the skewers in there.  Fruit in a bowl or fruit on skewers in decorated containers tastes the same, but little details like that can be really fun.

Put fruit on skewers for an added party touch :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Again, remember to check yourself as you go through this process for when you’re having fun and when it becomes stressful.  No kid’s birthday party should be a reason for you to worry, stress or lose sleep.  If it’s not worth it to you to skewer fruit, put it in a bowl and call it good.

Party Planning Tip:  When considering what food to serve, in addition to time of day, also consider ages of guests and have something for each demographic.

I knew that we’d have a few little kids there, so I wanted to make sure to have something for them too.  The good folks at GoGo squeeZ sent me their new seasonal applesauce blend, Apple Pumpkin Spice.  Those paired with Go-Gurts were the perfect option for littles.

Party food for little ones :: maximizingdaysblog.com

GoGo SqueeZ Apple Pumpkin Spice pouches - a great snack for a pumpkin birthday party :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Birthday Party Food Planning Printable

Once you decide on a menu, write out all of the ingredients needed for each menu item, along with where to purchase ingredients and a serving piece for each item.  If you will be serving food in more than one location, also write at which location each item will be served.

4 – Decor
This is where I start to feel inferior.  Decorations is so not my jam.  I like pretty things and I like coordinating everything, but the separation between seeing what I like and knowing how to create that on my own is massive.

And I’m lazy.

I have zero desire to spend a lot of time on menial tasks; partially because I know myself and I know that taking the time to do those things will cause me to be stressed.  But there should be some cuteness.  It’s a kid birthday party for pete’s sake.  So, I find that balance.  At my daughter’s first birthday party, my sister-in-law made a photo collage of my daughter’s first year in the shape of a 1.  A dear friend who is blessed with the gift of artistic-ness created the cutest chalkboard with all of her first year milestones.  We’ve continued doing that each year, so those are always my starting points.

Make a photo collage of pictures from the year in the shape of the year they are turning :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Make a photo collage of pictures from the year in the shape of the year they are turning :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Photo collages in the shape of the year kids are turning :: maximizingdaysblog.com

My sister-in-law still makes the photo collages, but she jokes that I’m going to have to find someone else to do it before my daughter turns 8 because she refuses to do that one.

*By the looks of this picture, we’re celebrating someone’s 42nd birthday.  In hindsight, I should have separated the numbers a little bit more.  Live and learn.

Use party decor to show how kids have grown :: maximizingdaysblog.com

I found a bunch of cute milestone prints that I could purchase on Etsy, but I didn’t want to spend that kind of money and there were parts of each one that I wanted to change.  So I put on my creativity shoes and designed their milestone images using a computer design program.  Then I had them printed at Staples.

One reason that I love a cute food table is that it can double for decorations.  When your table looks good, you can do less decorating, and I am all about that.  Make the food multi-task.

Use the space above the food table to display decor :: maximizingdaysblog.com

When deciding on decor, I err on the side of using what we have.  This is one area where you can so easily get out of control in the spending category.

Because we were doing a pumpkin theme, the color scheme for the event was set to be orange and green.  Naturally, I wanted to get orange and green tableware because cuuuuuute.  However, we had plenty of navy and yellow tableware that I stocked up on when Target was clearancing them out years ago, so the color scheme became yellow, navy, orange and green.  And I didn’t have to buy plates, napkins, silverware, tablecloths or banners.  Score!

The party was in our backyard and the best way to get there was to walk through our garage, so we needed something to direct people that way.  I made a sign on the kids’ easel and stuck in the driveway.  I moved the mums from my front door to next to the easel, and now it’s cute.  Easy peasy.

Use what you have around the house for party decor :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Birthday Party Decorations Planning Printable

After finalizing decor pieces, think through what needs to be purchased and what tasks need to be done to make those decorations come to fruition.  Write in stores for all need-to-be-purchased items and locations for each decoration.  If you think through these details ahead of time, you will thank yourself when you’re shopping and even more so on the day of  when you are setting up.

Party Planning Tip: The fewer decisions you have to make the day of the party directly correlates to your ability to enjoy the event.  If you are stressed and feeling overwhelmed getting everything ready, it can be hard to turn that off and unwind, which can make enjoying this shindig hard.

There you have it.  A goal, theme, guest list, food & decorations.  This is going to be a great party!  Next week, I’ll lay out tips for planning party activities, favor, shopping and set up.

 

How to Plan a Kid's Birthday Party - Without Going Bankrupt or Losing Your Mind :: maximizingdaysblog.com

 

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Summer Family Bucket List

Family Bucket Lists became a thing in our home two years ago as a way to be intentional about creating memories with our family.  You can read about it here (but, please, overlook the terrible quality of the photos – I hadn’t yet discovered photo editing).

I learned the valuable lesson to not become overwhelmed by making sure the list got done and thinking of the list as a resource of things to do when we have open days.  It’s a good thing that I learned that lesson because  there were a LOT of items on the Christenson Family Summer 2017 Bucket List that did not get done.

Ideas for this summer’s list started in May.  I had great intentions of making the list all cute and wall-hanging worthy.  But I’m not artsy.  And doing that meant being artsy and, more importantly, carving out the time it would take to make it perfect.  I didn’t use that word.  Perfect.  But that’s what I wanted.  That’s what I was envisioning.  And that’s why the list wasn’t done until the middle of July.  It took me that long to finally admit that I was placing a level of importance on something that I didn’t need to.

The point of making a Family Bucket List is to be intentional about the fun things we want to do together. That’s it.  Not to look perfect doing it.  So I bit the bullet and pulled out two pieces of poster board.  I drew imperfect (and crooked) block letters.  Then I put them on the table and asked the kids to help me color the boards. I then wrote our bucket list items on post-its and the kids and read each one and decided which board each post-it went on.  It took the whole morning.  And it was a blast.  And the kids loved the board.  When they looked at it, they saw something they created and were part of.  When I looked at it, I saw the joy the comes in celebrating all that I have and letting go of what is unattainable.  And crooked, imperfect block letters.

Summer Family Bucket List - maximizingdaysblog.com

We went through the summer and as we crossed items off the list, I took the corresponding post-it, wrote the date it was completed on the back and moved it to the “Nailed It” board.

Summer Family Bucket List - maximizingdaysblog.com

As summer came to a close, it became very apparent that there would be post-it’s left on the “Let’s Do This!” board when summer was over.  And that’s okay.  A few of them can be done in the fall, so they will get moved to next season’s Bucket List.  The others get thrown away.

Summer Family Bucket List - maximizingdaysblog.com

At the end of summer, I took the dated post-its off of the “Nailed It!” board and put them in our photos/keepsakes box as a reference for when I make our family album for the year.  I don’t have photos of all of the events, but having the dates on the post-its will help my old brain remember when we did each activity.

We have since created our Christenson Family Fall 2017 Bucket List and it’s a blank slate.  It’s also the nearing the end of September and there isn’t a single post-it that has moved from the “Let’s Do This!” board to the “Nailed It!” board.  But that’s okay……

Fall Family Bucket List - maximizingdaysblog.com

Summer Family Bucket List - maximizingdaysblog.com

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Trouble Spots: Kid Closets

In each of our kids’ closets, I have something that I call the “Outgrown Bins”, which are bins that clothes are thrown into once they become too small for said child.  My daughter has been wearing 4T since last summer, which means that, for the first time, we have four seasons worth of clothes in one size.  Which also means that her “Outgrown Bin” had reached capacity.  Actually, it was over capacity.  And there was a cardboard box overflowing with hand-me-down shoes that are currently too big for her in the bottom corner of the closet.  It was mayhem.  I broke down last weekend and pulled the bins and the cardboard box out in an attempt to reel in the mess.

Once I sorted through the bins and shoes, I was inspired to tackle the rest of her closet.

All of our bedroom closets came with built-in shelving that is not easily adjustable.  Translation: I have to work with what I have.

In my ideal world, I would tear out the wire shelving to create a custom solution.  Nothing fancy, but something simple that incorporates drawers and maximizes the space.  I’m drooling over these closets.

How to organize a toddler closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

Financially, neither of those awesome closets were options for us, so I made the best of what we had.

The shelving in my daughter’s closet isn’t that bad.  I love the idea of drawers/shelves through the middle of the closet, and the shelving configuration in her room lends itself to that with the addition of some baskets.

In addition to the overflowing bins and boxes, her closet was also storing stuff that it shouldn’t (an extra euro pillow, bedrail and window covering).  We order our kids’ diapers from The Honest Company in bundles and I never had a good system for storing the multiple packages of diapers that come in each bundle.

*I took these before pictures after I had already removed the full bins and box of shoes, so I drew them in order to help you envision the mess*

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

Most of her clothes are folded and kept in her plastic drawers.  The only clothes of hers that are hung are dresses and jackets/outerwear, so we don’t need a ton of hanging space.

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

The laundry hampers that we have fit perfectly between the shelving posts and for that, I am very thankful.  That makes a big difference.

In addition to the diapers, there were a few other items, such as her hat, scarves and backpack, floating around her closet that didn’t have a home.

My goals for her closet were:

  1. Contain the diapers
  2. Find a home for the random items
  3. Get rid of items that don’t need to be stored in her closet

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

I was so excited when I was able to empty her entire top shelf.  There will be a time when we will need that space, and now it’s available.  The y-weave baskets from Target are, once again, the star of this re-organization.  The 11″ basket fit perfectly in the middle column of shelves, which then serve the same purpose as drawers – just not as pretty or slick.  The more shallow 11″ basket was the perfect way to contain extra bedding (because I’ve never perfected the folding of a fitted sheet) and the taller 6″ baskets were perfect for containing the random accessories that didn’t have a home.  One basket now has “seasonal wear”, which is swimsuits and scarves, and the other has her accessories, which include her fedora and jewelry.  These baskets are deeper than the basket that we had holding the open package of diapers, which meant that we could get an entire package in a basket, so no more partially opened packages that needed to be stored.  The OCD part of me really wants to fill the gap with a fourth basket, but I have nothing that needs to go in there – yet.  When I do, I will gladly fill that void with a matching basket to complete the set.  I currently have an old diaper bag and her LL Bean tote in the large 13″ basket, but because those are the only things in that basket right now, I’m reconsidering putting hooks on the wall for those bags.

I sorted all of the shoes that we have that are currently too big by size.  They are labeled in my favorite, clear shoebox containers and can easily be accessed when her feet decide to grow.

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

My organization adrenaline was pumping when I was done with my daughter’s closet which was all the motivation that I needed to walk upstairs and tackle the mess in my son’s closet.

His shelving is a lot more haphazard and there are more unusable and awkward spaces in his closet.  I’ve been frustrated by this closet since we moved in, so I knew that when I had the desire to do something about it, I needed to take advantage of that. Otherwise, it would be a hot mess at least until he starts kindergarten.

In addition to the awkward spaces, my son’s closet is also the place for my overflow/out-of-season clothes.  I’m realizing as I type this that as a result of my new capsule wardrobe, I think I have some extra space in my closet, so maybe I could move that overflow back into our closets.  I’ll keep you posted.

My daughter is potty-trained and only wears diapers when she sleeps.  My son, however, is still in diapers, and in addition to our Honest Company bundle, I also stock up on them when they’re on sale at Target.  So, my son’s closet could also be called the “Diaper Storage Area”.  He also had his fair share of random items floating around that didn’t have a home.  All of this in addition to containers of paint supplies and play-doh because I decided to take them out of our coat closet, but haven’t yet found a better spot for them.

How to organize a toddler boy's closet - maxmizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler boy's closet - maxmizingdaysblog.com

The issues with this closet weren’t all that different from my daughter’s.  Contain diapers & wipes and find spot for the random stuff that just gets shoved in there.

How to organize a toddler boy's closet - maxmizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler boy's closet - maxmizingdaysblog.com

The boxes of diapers got moved up to the top shelf (that is above my hanging clothes where you can’t see it).  The bags of diapers and wipes each got put in a shallow basket that holds them neatly, but also makes it easy to grab a package whenever I need them.  The painting supplies and play-doh got put back in the coat closet where they belong.  Swim diapers got put in the dresser with swim trunks since they are always grabbed together anyway.  His hat sits on a low shelf so that he can grab it when he wants to wear it, along with his backpack, which is hung on the same shelf.  We keep a laundry basket of extra blankets on a high shelf.  We need extra blankets occasionally, so need to be able to access them, but don’t need them often, so that high shelf is the perfect spot.  The y-weave basket next to it contains other items that we need occasionally, but don’t need to be on a low shelf to be accessed often.

How to organize a toddler boy's closet - maxmizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler boy's closet - maxmizingdaysblog.com

Again, I was left with some empty shelf space, and I love that.  I’m a firm believer in not filling a space to capacity when you organize it because you have to account for growth and accumulation that will occur.  Now, there is a great spot for that growth.

How to organize a toddler boy's closet - maxmizingdaysblog.com

We don’t hang a lot of my son’s clothes, but this space is the only one that really works well for hanging his clothes.  But, there is room for growth there as well, which I’m perfectly happy with.

How to organize a toddler boy's closet - maxmizingdaysblog.com

What do find is the hardest part about keeping your kids’ closets organized?  What else besides clothes, diapers and bedding do you keep in their closets?

While this is certainly not my ideal solution, I feel good about it’s functionality and it’s longevity.  I’m especially happy with the extra space this organization opened up.  That might be my biggest win in this whole process.

How to organize a toddler closet when you can't adjust shelving - maximizingdaysblog.com

Trouble Spots: Hallway Linen Closet

As I mentioned last week, we have a small linen closet in our bathroom, and we also have a small hallway linen closet which is adjacent to the two upstairs bedrooms.  It is the ideal place for our dirty clothes hamper and medicines.  It is also the ideal spot for a number of items that don’t fit in the closet, so maximizing this space has more to do with being judicious about what goes in there than it does actually organizing the few things that do fit.

Hallway Linen Closet Organization: Too many rags and meds that didn't fit in the drawers - maximizingdaysblog.com

Linen Closet Organization - maximizingdaysblog.com

We keep our extra bath towels in this closet, and I would like to keep our beach towels in there as well – at least in the summer when we use them often – and this set up didn’t allow that space.  The shelving is fixed, so the space between them is something that I cannot adjust and have to work with what I have.  We store our medicines in the plastic 3-drawer organizer, but we were maxing it out for space, and it wasn’t ideal for larger bottles or liquids that had to lay on their sides and sometimes leaked.

Hallway Linen Closet Organization: Too many rags and meds that didn't fit in the drawers - maximizingdaysblog.com

My goals were simple:

  1. Tidy it up
  2. Store liquid and large meds upright in a different container
  3. Find a spot for beach towels

I started with goal #1 by facing the reality that I don’t need over 20 rags.  On my children’s messiest of days, I use 3.  Once a year, when I deep-clean, I may use 4.  So, change number one was relegating 3/4 of the rags from this closet to the garage.  Once I did that, I was able to get extra bath towels and the beach towels all on one shelf.

I have fallen in love with these y-weave baskets at Target.  They come in varying sizes and depths, and are CHEAP, so this tall, narrow basket was my go-to container for the medicines that I wanted to store upright.

Linen Closet Organization - maximizingdaysblog.com

Linen Closet Organization - maximizingdaysblog.com

Linen Closet Organization - maximizingdaysblog.com

Linen Closet Organization - maximizingdaysblog.com

The closet is now much more functional for us and the items we use most are the most easily accessed.

How to organize a linen closet - maximizingdaysblog.com