Sunday, March 27, 2011

The IKEA Solution(s)

So, I mentioned that we ventured to IKEA last weekend…and came home with lots of STUFF. Tons and tons of stuff. But it meant I got to cross a few things off my 52 weeks of organizing list (for the 52 week challenge at I'm an Organizing Junkie).

Some of the stuff was used to make J’s bedroom a little tidier and some was used to corral J’s stuff and some is waiting. Because once again I jumped the gun and got a few steps ahead of myself in the organizing/sorting/decorating process. There are a couple of things I need to do first – like I bought a couple of things to hang at the front door, but first I need to move some furniture. But before I do that, I need to move some other furniture…etc. etc. etc.

I love the shelves we got J in the summer, but they are deep and tall and while I’d like them to look like this:

j's room in the summer
In reality, they usually look like this:

j's bookcase before
The books spilled out onto the floor. The toys spilled out onto the floor. UGH. Even when they were put away, they weren’t nice to look at because J usually just shoved them in the shelves.

So we got two things: bins and special shelf dividers.

j's bookcase after
This looks better. It’s easier to clean up. It’s great. The library books are all together in one bin. The few toys are in another bin. The other two bins have J’s books - they're in no particular order, but they all fit, spine up, so we can easily choose the books we want. She chose her “favourites” to put in the divider shelf and board books fit in this addition perfectly! I love how it looks!

We also got some Samla bins to corral art supplies, colouring stuff, and playdough. I love containers! I actually got four of each size, knowing I had purposes for three of the biggers ones, but figuring a could find a use for all of them. The bigger ones fit two stacked into an Expedit and that was something I considered when I picked them.

I used two of the smaller ones for her tea sets and they are the perfect size - everything (except for the tray) fits perfectly and they will work well when we get rid of the ugly black bookcase they're sitting on now and finally replace it with something more functional!

tea sets
(I forgot to take a before picture)

I used another small one to corral all the envelopes of pictures we have...they just need to be put into an album. I used the big ones for J's art supplies (up high - things like paint, markers, extra paper), J's personal art stuff (down low where she can get it - crayons, colouring books, sticker book), and playdough.

The playdough was pretty much all in one spot, but it was loose and not nice to look at.

playdough solution
Now it's binned and the bookcase (which will also be going away in the near future) looks much better. I didn't take pictures of the art stuff because it was literally strewn around the house. The box I don't want her get is on top of the playdough box and the other one is low, where she can get it (you can see it on the right side of the picture of the puzzles below). She loves it - she can get her colouring stuff out whenever she wants to colour and so far she's put the stuff away on her own...I'm sure THAT novelty will wear off!

Last week, I sorted the stuff above, but the other bins were still hanging around with no purpose.

j's stuff in the living room
As I contemplated J's stuff that was still hanging out in our living room, my brilliant two and a half year old said "Mommy, maybe the puzzles can go here." And put her puzzles in one of them.

After we did the puzzles, she asked for the last small one for her "special stuff" and found a place for it on the bookcase. She was a big help and very proud of herself.

j organizing
J organizing her things.

Back to the theme of puzzles, you can see this puzzle in the picture above. It was a pain - it came in a huge, heavy box with the accompanying book, but it wasn't an appropriate place to store either of them. We usually tried to stack it nicely but it inevitably tumbled all over the place. I tried it in a small container, but it was just too tall and too wide (that's the container J ended up using for her "special" stuff).

princess puzzle
Alex gave J his old lunch kit, and for a while she used it to cart stuffed animals around, but it's been abandoned for a while and I thought it might be time to get rid of...although, I felt bad doing that because Alex is not sentimental very often, but I think he was a bit sentimental about this...

lunch box
Look at how perfectly they fit and it closes up and they don't spill and J can carry the whole puzzle in one go (this was previously a source of great frustration for her). I love repurposing things!

Anyway, our IKEA trip turned out to be a success. There are a few more things that we picked up, but they're getting their own posts (on project isn't quite done) We’ll also be heading back to IKEA in the near future…stay tuned!


  1. I love ikea as well. I think your bookshelf looks great! Baskets are a mom's best friend!

  2. Thanks! I'm starting to love baskets...I love that stuff doesn't really have to be stored nicely inside for them to look great on the outside!

  3. That's the kind of shelf I want...and I want baskets too! (for the exact reason you doesn't have to be neat on the inside!! ;)

  4. Heddy - just wait until you see what I have in store for the living room...same idea, larger scale...

  5. I just commented on another 52 week'er's post about Ikea. I MUST stop and look around...closest to me is 5 hours away and I will be passing through next weekend. as my 2.5 year old granddaughter would say about your project....there, that's much better...cute daughter.

  6. IKEA is the best!!

    and thanks! I think she's pretty cute, but I'm a bit biased ;)

  7. That's just awesome, love all the containerizing you did!!