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Let me introduce you to Amanda. Amanda is a full-time, hardworking mother of 6 children, ages 6 and younger. Amanda and her husband just welcomed their third set of twins this past June. Yes, I did say third set of twins! By trade, she is an RN and her husband is a chef (now truck driver), and they both work full-time. Why do they flip houses on the side? Simple. They flip for their family. By flipping houses, they are exponentially growing their savings to send their children to private school. They are a hard-working family of 8, always up for a new challenge. In Amanda’s words, “Every day is an adventure!” Be sure to visit her blog and follow along for the next flip adventure at VH Homes.
Smiles from Lisagirl
Life with six children can be chaotic so I have found that organization is key! Getting a space organized definitely takes a lot of work, but also motivation! So once you find the motivation to tackle that terrible space and get it organized, how do you keep it that way? I don’t think any of us want to do all that work twice, three times or more! So what are some key ways to get your space tidy AND keep it that way? I will be the first to admit, that with my 6 kids, my ‘pretty spaces’ can be destroyed in no time!
Today, I am sharing my strategy that will get your garage glowing.
Assess the Situation
Well….it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize when the garage has gotten out of hand. I think we all have ‘that area’ that is really just a ‘catch all’ for anything that will fit there. My garage has a terrible catch-all space!! There is a shelf and ledge that runs the full depth of my garage and the amount of random toys and clutter that gets put there drives me crazy! I will admit that I can be guilty too of setting things there to go and pick up a crying baby or help another child get their shoe back on etc.
However, when I drove up my driveway the other day and saw my third stall garage door open, I was embarrassed. Between our ‘adult garage stuff’ and all the kids’ toys, it was a disaster! I don’t even dare say that there was a safe path to walk through. Now it has not always been this way, but the problem has been that once it is organized and clean, it does not stay clean. Can you guess why it does not stay clean?? Yup, the children.
Here it is:
Finding the Motivation
I am not sure which is more difficult, finding the time or the motivation to clean and organize a space. Raising 6 kids is exhausting to say the least, especially when your oldest child is 6 years old. To organize a large space like my garage, I need to plan on it taking the entire day with all of my ‘helpers’. Before I even physically tackle a space of this size, I mentally plan for a week or two how I want the space to turn out and then what I need to do to get it there. Without an idea of what I am going to do, there is no way I would even start. What this means is while my kids are playing, I am planning. It might look to the neighbors like I am mindlessly staring at my garage or maybe they are wondering if I fell asleep, but my wheels are spinning.
Once I have a plan, I pick the day that I am going to tackle that space. I find that if I have a day picked and it is on my radar for the week, that I am more likely to get it done. I often strategically plan a day that my husband is around to help with our newborn twins so that I can get my projects done faster.
Why Spend Time Organizing your Garage or Home?
Because in this case, getting my garage glowing again will SAVE ME TIME. That’s right…..save me time!!
Second to clutter, the most frustrating thing to me is wasting time looking for something. Everything should have its own place to be kept so that when it is needed, it is right where it should be! So often my kids are asking, “Mommy! Where is my _______ “. My classic response to them is exactly what my mom used to say to me (that really annoyed me), “wherever you left it”. Ugh. If I knew where I left it, I wouldn’t be looking for it!
In my opinion, organizing any space is time well spent. As you can probably tell, I cannot stand clutter! It stresses me out! Having things neat, tidy, and organized makes me happy and keeps me sane. As the mother of a household with a family of 8, organization is a MUST! If the kids can find their toy, item, game, etc without getting upset, that is less whining and crying that I have to listen to. WIN!
Plan of Attack
The only way that I have found that keeps my spaces organized, especially spaces used by the children is to include them in the process. I have done this with my girls when we rotate clothes in our closets and drawers for the season. They see the satisfaction and reward of having drawers neat and tidy, so much so that they reorganize them on their own! Just the other day I overheard my 4-year-old say to my 6-year-old, “My drawers are messy. Let’s go fix them.” I kid you not, she emptied all of her drawers, refolded all of her clothes and reorganized it all. Talk about a proud mom moment!
So to get my kids involved in this garage project, the plan is to have a ‘garage sale’. The kids love to pretend to have a sale and by doing this, they literally EMPTY out the entire garage. Do you know how much time this saves me? I can still be inside taking care of my newborn twins while they are getting the project started. I find that by clearing out the space, it is easier to get a vision of where things will best fit. You can also blow out all the cobwebs, wipe down those shelves, and sweep out the whole garage. There is nothing more inspiring than a clean slate!
My garage is possibly a bit more unique than the average persons. Some of the larger contents include:
- 2 John Deere Gators
- 7…yes 7…..strollers (quad, two doubles, two singles, and two umbrella)
- 4-8 bikes
- A LOT of balls
- Bike helmets
- Sidewalk chalk
- 3 Cozy coupes
- Beach toys
Here are the contents spread over the side of my driveway:
Re-Assess the Situation
With all the big stuff out-of-the-way, it makes it easier to sweep up and figure out how to make the most of each space.
On the left side of my garage, we have a cute white shelving unit that was essentially empty. With the help of my 6-year-old, we designated a purpose for each shelf. At the very top are kites and double strollers. Kites are easily broken and can become tangled so I put those up out of reach so that an adult is needed for that activity. The next shelf down is designated to bubbles. Bubbles seem harmless, why do I have them so high?? Because my 2-year-old is notorious for just pouring them out! They can disappear quickly at my house because my children are so young. Within reach, the bottom two shelves contain sidewalk chalk and bike helmets. By showing my children what each shelf is for, I hope it stays this way!!
In the back of my garage, we have a homemade crate that I decided to use for sand/water toys and the bottom section to hold all of our balls as well as baseball bats. The kids do think it is fun to try to shoot the balls into the crate.
Along the right side of the garage, the ledge cleaned itself off as each item began to have its own place on the shelves or in the crate. This creates room for us to work on projects or to store other items over the winter months.
Once all the smaller items had a place, I made areas for the larger items. I created a ‘lane’ for the two gators so that the kids can drive them into their parking spaces when they put them away. The back right corner area has our burley hanging, the quad stroller under the ledge, and the single and double jogger just outside there. Just ahead of the big strollers are all the trikes, next is all of our antique doors that we have for our flip houses followed by our tables for garage sales. Two of the cozy coupes fit nicely under the ledge along with the slide and two beach chairs. Oh, how I wish that third police cozy coupe fit, but the sirens are too tall!
The Finished Product
Overall, with the garage freshly swept and nearly all organized, it is one million percent better.
The garage is glowing!
True confession though, those two doorways in the back of the garage are next on the ‘to be organized’ list. The doorway on the left is our tool room and the one on the right holds much of our gardening and fish pond stuff.
Here are those two shameful spaces.
So even with 6 kids 6 years and under, I am managing to organize my spaces one at a time and by including them, they are for the most part staying that way!
What is your process when it comes to organizing? Do you think about it and strategize? Do you create an actual plan? How do you keep it glowing? We would love to hear your tips and ideas so be sure to leave a comment below.
Bye for now, stop by for a visit with me, Amanda at VH Homes.