Twine, actually. I can’t even recall the last time I needed a shoestring. More about that later.
I’ve been getting ready to start school with the kids, and I am converting our dining room into a homeschool room. I’ve never had an actual dining room before, so I am excited about all the space I can dedicate to school. Getting ready usually means pouring over homeschool and decorating sites with envious eyes. I even visited the sites of local professional organizers and dreamed of someone coming over, taking control, and organizing me out of all this chaos. I learned a valuable lesson: envy and organizers cost a lot of money, but elbow grease is dirt cheap.
There is excellent organizing advice floating free in cyber space. Put like items together:
Think before you stash–is the stashed place accessible? Can you remember what’s in it? Is it convenient? For other stuff–is it beautiful? Is it useful? If so, keep it. If not toss it or give it to someone who can use it. Let’s face it. You and I know the formula, putting it into practice is the hard part!
Art supplies and random paper seem to be the biggest sources of chaos right now:
The girls love their art and craft supplies. In fact they love them all over the house. While I don’t want to squelch creativity when it strikes, boundaries are a good thing. We tend to live in the downstairs, using the bedrooms only for sleeping. This is why the dining room is the logical hub for all things creative. It is situated in a way that we have to walk through it to get to the kitchen on one end and walk through it to get to the living room on the other, and it is the only room with a phone jack or internet connection. If ole Millie has a heart, it’s here the dining room.
Even though it seems counter to my messy nature, I crave a bright, beautiful, organized home. I never met a basket or jar or organizing doodad that I didn’t love, and over time, I have lots of these things around…mostly empty (evidenced by the picture above). So when I took inventory of my wants and needs, I found I had or could make most of the things already. A large basket now houses library books, and another shoes. An old Easter pail holds pencils and crayons. I found that I could adapt great ideas from the internet to things I already had. For example, I found these really cute art cables that I just fell in love with. I needed three for my idea, and at $39/each, they were each about $37 dollars more than I could afford. I needed an alternative: twine, craft paper, and clothespins! (I’ve seen this same idea on other sites, so it is not a Girl Friday Original. When it comes to creative solutions, sometimes ya gotta beg, borrow, or steal, right?)
I also started mounting the girls’ artwork on construction paper. They love the extra attention given to their masterpieces! I used the last twine line to hang up puppets. Before this, they were forgotten in a drawer. Now they are front and center, and all of the kids have had a great time playing with them again.