Do you ever feel like your house is so messy it is caving in all around you? haha. Well, that is how I am feeling. We are low on storage space and we just have way too much stuff. I have to keep emptying out book shelves as Rowan gets taller and taller. She just pulls everything out! I am running out of places to move things and I feel like I am constantly moving the mess from one area to the next. The time has come for me to do a major overhaul on our apartment!

I want everything to be organized and to have its own place, but still look cute and nicely decorated. Is there such a thing as cute and organized clutter?

How does one decorate how they want to with a 1 yr. old running around?

Do you have any secret organization tips you can share with me?

How do you decide what to get rid of and what to keep?

Random I know, but how you do organize your belts?

Please share with me your wisdom on keeping a clean and organized home with kids around. I need all the help I can get!!!

*photo above I found on flickr. If you know actual credits please let me know so I can update this. Thanks!

  1. Staying organzied and keeping everything visually neat is something I stuggle with…and all I have in my house is a husband, no baby! If there are ways to keep things above Rowan’s reach you may have more luck. As cute as babies are, I know how much work is involved from hanging out with my friends and their little ones! I keep my belts in a clear oversized tupperware-like container in my spare room (slowly transforming it into a dressing room)- but I realize this may store them in an organized fashion but doesn’t let you see what you have. Good luck in getting it all nice and neat!

  2. Well, I can’t help with the decor with kids… my parents weren’t the “child-proofing” types when I was young and I don’t have kids. I can however help with the belts. I took and old canvas (that someone had cut the canvas) frame re-did it ( ) so I have three rungs on that for my belts. I put my cinching belts on one rung my “hold pants up” belts on the other and few belts I lean on most on the last rung. (this is all inside my closet).

    So I am told: the rule for keeping or getting rid of stuff is (excluding seasonal stuff) if you haven’t used it in 6 months then get rid of it. I use that rule but not always strictly.

  3. I use one of those drawer organizers (you can get at target) to organize all of my jewelry! Put everything in baskets to keep it neat and cute 🙂 If you haven’t worn something in a year, swap it! Bring extra stuff to your family members who may be moving and need it!


  4. I recently saw a good tip on how to organize cables and chargers. You get a box (you can decorate it to make it pretty), fit it with toilet paper rolls standing upright and put one cable in each roll. that way they never get tangled up! 🙂 probably you heard of it before but I thought I’d leave a comment in case you haven’t.
    ps. Rowan is the cutest little girl ever.

  5. If you’re getting rid of stuff, books, mags, clothes etc, ask yourself these questions:

    1) Do I use this?
    2) Do I need this?
    3) Will I need or use this in one year from now?
    4) Does it hold sentimental value to me?

    No? Get rid of it.

    If I’m cramped for space, I fold my clothes really small and/or roll them. I’ve moved around quite a bit in my life, so I’m the master of keeping my living space clutter free. Good luck!

  6. 1. Use baskets or trays to store paper work and mail that starts to pile up on counter tops. That way it’s all in one place when you need to go through it.

    2. Use under bed storage containers for sheets and out of season clothes.

    3. I hang my belts over an unused portion of my clothing rack, looping them into themselves to keep them from falling. I do the same thing with scarves.

    4. I store craft supplies in decorative boxes that stack on top of each other and my sewing machine is in a wicker chest.

    5. Display as much as you can on walls to get it off the floor and table tops. Add sawtooth hangers to what will hang and purchase a decorative shelf for knicknacks.

    I wish I could help you more, but the rest of my things still need some organizational help. – Leah

  7. I don’t have kids, but I have 2 dogs, and I swear they are almost as bad in terms of tearing stuff up and making messes! lol. Before I leave the house I have to pile the furniture with stuff so they don’t jump up there, and I have to keep all my knick-knacks and stuff above tail-level. And my apartment is awful- my limited space is cut in half by low, slanted ceilings.

    I’m a big fan of piling crap in baskets in all shapes and sizes. My local Salvation Army has tons of them, and I’ve made a few myself. I have them in every room of my house. I have a really big one in the corner next to the couch that holds rolled up blankets, and a few of them on top of my dresser (which is low) for bedding and towels, since I literally have nowhere else to keep them. I also hide things in hat boxes, suitcases, and old doll cases from the antique stores. My bathroom is the only room with a high ceiling, so I have those tiered wire vegetable baskets hanging up in there for washcloths and hairbrushes and stuff. My earrings get hung through the wires too, and I installed pretty hooks on the wall underneath to hang all my necklaces.

    Oh and I hang my belts over my closet rod. I just loop the end all the way through, so they don’t fall off. But I don’t wear a lot of belts. If I did, I might just put the buckle over the curved part of the hanger, pairing each belt with the dress I wear it with most often.

  8. I just happened onto this recently: 31 Days to an organized home! This blog also has a guide to keep your house clean in just 15-20 minutes per day. Worth checking out.

  9. I envy those people who keep such organized homes! For my belts, I have a basket in my room that I keep them in. I just roll them up and toss them in. They can get a bit tangled, but it keeps them all in one place! I always do “purges” every few months, where I’m really strict about getting rid of things. The only problem is not bringing in new things to fill the empty space I’ve made!

  10. I have over-the-door hooks in my closet for scarves & belts. When I’m getting rid of things that are not useful but have sentimental value, sometimes I just take a picture and save it on my computer in the “Memories” folder. In theory I could make a little memory book with the pics, but in practice usually the computer file is enough. Either way, the memory is preserved without the clutter!

  11. Gosh, I’m with you! I’m organized in my “tech” life (emails, blogs, etc), but when it comes to my house I don’t even know where to start. I recently found this blog with a lot of good tips on Organization and keeping your house clean (which I am also in need of!) As a working mom to an 11-month old little girl, I don’t know where to find the time to organize and tidy up my house. Looking forward to seeing what other people have to say!

    Also, the blog that I found was this:

  12. If it is a toy and has been stuffed in the back of a toy box for a year, I bring it out and see if baby girl likes it. If she does, I keep it out and donate one of her other toys. It is kind of like the one in, one out system that some bloggers use for clothing. I never get rid of her books UNLESS it is ruined beyond repair (as they can sometimes get with little ones). I clean out her closet and drawers about once a month to see what she doesn’t fit or doesn’t wear and then I put everything in a box to donate when it gets full.

    As far as the rest of the house, I just try my best to say on top of it. I take 10-15 minutes a day and organize one little part of the house that drives me nuts. After a week or so, it starts looking better and you start feeling better. The hardest part is getting rid of the first thing (no matter what it is) because you feel like you could possible need it someday.

    I organize my belts with a hanging tie rack. I’ve also see them organized with cute, decorative cup hooks hung randomly on one whole wall – belt storage and decor all in one.

  13. I recently had the same issue. My daughter is 8 months and just started standing and getting into everything. We have a tiny bungalow so she can get into EVERYTHING (her favourite right now is our shoes!) I’m against baby proofing so I have just been teaching her what she can and can’t play with… sometimes it doesn’t go as planned (ie. my blackberry died after a slobbering incident… ) BUT when we need to tidy up we have small trunks and baskets all around the house that I can throw all the toys into that tidy up the place without actually getting in the way. That way if Rowan gets into something you don’t want her in you can throw it in the basket/trunk and its out of the way. Also the tupperware bins on wheels are great for sliding under the beds/crib. For me it just makes life easier than finding a spot for everything and having to clean it all up into those spots. This way I can just throw everything in one of the many nice wicker baskets (with lids of course) around that house and they are out of the way and it looks nice and tidy.


    I have this Ikea thing for my belts and scarves, and I LOVE it!

  15. One strange word: Ikea. I use this for my belts: and scarves

    And then this for amazing underwear/sock organization:

    I also think the iconic storage boxes (with the little metal tab slots on the front) from Ikea look amazing in bunches on a shelf!!

    And then checking out baskets at Goodwill, or hell, even Ikea. I love tossing things in big ole baskets that I can see whats in there – and Rowan will too! – and it makes for easy clean up. Also, Kendi has some amazing ideas and thoughts on closet cleaning – I just can’t find the link! Maybe shoot her an email to see where she has this series on her blog 🙂

    Now is a great time of year to do this!! Before the winter blahs! Good luck, dear! Just put on some good music and dance while you do it, that way its more fun…

  16. it is so hard at that age (and beyond) to keep things in order. i tried to find a balance between putting everything higher/moving piles and also teaching my little one not to touch (like our giant shelves of cds). it takes so much energy to keep saying no, but one day he all of a sudden ignored them for good.
    i have my belts hanging on nails arranged in my closet. 🙂 not that exciting. good luck!

  17. Jen, I have been having this problem lately as well. I have a 16 month old who loves getting into EVERYTHING. I spent a lot of time looking at things on Pinterest (in the “Home Decor” and “Kids” sections) for inspiration. Lots of friends, and my husband too of course, were giving me tips, but I kind of had to look around and see what I liked and what I could do (space/budget-wise).


    Good luck with the overhaul, my latest one is nearly finished! 🙂

  18. Theresa •

    I roll up my belts and keep them in a sturdy (but pretty) paper shopping bag. I need to replace the bags from time to time, but it’s a good way to use some of the pretty bags you sometimes get. I do the same with my scarfs, though I have a nice basket for them (still looking for an equally pretty basket to move my belts to).
    I also really like the baskets and boxes you can get at Ikea to use with bookshelves: you can just throw your stuff in them, it looks clean and you still know where everything is without spending a huge amount of time tidying up.

  19. I am a fan of the cubby holes like in the picture above. You can put it in your closet so that Rowan doesn’t get to it and there everything will be neatly put away and you can shut the door on it if need be.
    I was walking around Lowe’s the other day and found awesome closet organizers. They had an actual belt rack that you just attached to your closet and it pulls out. Amazing.
    The hubby and were in there for what seemed like forever coming up with all the places in our new home to add this stuff to.

    Check it out.|0||p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%2Fpl_Closet%2BOrganization_4294857752_4294937087_%3FNs%3Dp_product_prd_lis_ord_nbr%7C0%7C%7Cp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo=

    There was just so much from pretty baskets that pull out to cubby holes to shoe racks! I heart Lowe’s.

  20. ^^Maggie^^

    I think you’ve changed my life. Toilet paper rolls for cords. Genius.

  21. Shannon •

    I have three kids with another on the way and I think the thing that’s helped the most are baskets. I have baskets to fit under end tables that hide board books, legos, and all that other stuff that can accumulate. Also, then the kids know they have designated baskets and bins just for them. My house is still pretty messy (and it always stresses me out!) but it’s easier for everyone to quickly toss stuff into a basket and slide it under a table or bed, or tuck onto a closet shelf. It also helps the kids to visually see which baskets and bins are okay for them to touch and play with and which stuff is “no touch”.

  22. I roll my belts and keep them in a drawer in my dresser, they’re packed in so tightly that they stop each other from unrolling!

  23. My belts go on a tie rack, too. It’s always worked well for me because I can see them all at once. The only draw back is you can’t organize by width, unless you’re okay with one side of your tie rack sitting lower than the other (which I am not and attribute to my mini-OCDness). I’m trying to figure out what to do with my shoes! We bought a house recently and my closet doors are folding doors, which means I can’t put my hanging shoe racks on the back of them. The horror! 🙂

  24. Ooh, I can help with this one! Sometimes I think I want to be a professional organizer, ha! I did this post awhile ago about organization:

    Also, my belts get curled up, then placed in a vintage train case! They’re tucked away safely, but the train case itself looks lovely! I actually have a stack of vintage suitcases, all of which are filled with things I need to keep, but that don’t look nice, like wires, instruction manuals, + packaging or materials that could be reused for the holidays or my Etsy shop.

    As for getting rid of things:

    – If I have more than one of something, I pick one to keep + ditch the rest.
    – If I haven’t worn a clothing item in over a year, it’s gone.
    – If I can’t display it, I don’t keep it (with some exceptions, but not many).

    And if you’re having a hard time parting, put the things you think you *might* want to get rid of in a box. Label it “Donations”, seal the box + stash it in a closet for awhile. A few months later when you come across it, if you haven’t missed anything inside, just donate the whole thing without looking!

    Hope this helps! I often post more tips on this sort of thing on my blog if you’re interested.


  25. Oh, also! Don’t forget about thrifting karma! If you donate often, you’ll have good luck when purchasing at thrift stores. Chances are that something you’ve donated will come back to you later on if you miss it too much!


  26. Oh! I’ve just had this feeling recently. I can’t get things clean enough. I think it’s just so much harder for me to find the time with baby (I can barely keep up with Iris now that she’s 8 months); so organizing projects fall to the wayside and I do my best just to keep things surface-clean! This gets easier, right?!

  27. ok. Jen, I don’t want to brag, but this is where I shine.

    I moved into my house in july and i’ve been box free for 2+ months. I’m speedy.

    My office was the worst. Too small for proper bookshelves. I used plate rails turned into forward facing bookshelves.

    I use a sturdy over the door shoe holder for all my hair supplies (I do hair and makeup for a living – that’s a lot of stuff!) and mason jars for everything else.

    Realistically, the mason jars take up tons of room but they look awesome and I spray painted all the lids white.

    But I guess shelves. Shelves and boxes. And baskets. Just hid the junk!

  28. Thank you for reminding me I’m not alone. Organization is an every day battle in my house. My husband and I have 6 children and *still* do not have a routine/schedule/organized anything going on… we’re happy though and most of the time that’s enough. We’ll get it together someday… little by little and I’m sure you’ll find what’s best for you too! Good luck and thanks everyone for all the good sites for organization… bookmarked!

  29. I have a clutter issue, but I need everything at the same time? Can we say Hoarders?

    I think the photo is Victoria’s from SFGirlByBay, by the way.

  30. the getting everything out of organized places only has gotten worse for us with our 3 year old and toys get smaller!! bookshelf in your picture has to be the ikea expedit. we have one in our daughter’s room and are getting another – wonderfully sturdy and holds tons!! there is an awesome 5 square 1 level one that is a great bench/storage too! every weekend i say i am going to organize, but besides teaching all week and expecting #2, and having fun with my little one, i am lucky to get a floor mopped!

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

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