All that I ever needed to know about organizing…




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I learned from Berenstain Bears.
may 2010 037 1
I loved this book as a little girl. So much that my mom got me the video afew years ago and my brother bought me the book for Christmas when I was in college. Yes, I love it. I’ve read dozens of organizing books, but this is still my favorite.


And you can read it all together as a bedtime story.
Let’s begin:
I love Mama in this picture. She’s usually wise, cool, calm and collected. I love to see her show some feistiness. Go Mama!
She is fed up with the messy room and just starts throwing everything away. may 2010 003
Enter Papa who says they need a plan and a place for everything. They go through all of the toys and throw away some and donate some. Mama looks much happier carrying that box of trash because she knows there is some organization going on.
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Then, they divide and organize.may 2010 004 1

Everything gets a clearly defined space.
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This closet. This closet. It just does something to me inside. When we were planning our basement, I knew I wanted a toy closet like this.may 2010 001 1 
Well, kind of like it. You get the idea.
You don’t need fancy label makers, just choose a font you love, print them off and attach with clear packaging tape.  You don’t need one big closet either. We’ve used this method with toys in our different houses and apartments in all different closets, the garage, and under beds.may 2010 025 1  may 2010 006 1may 2010 014 1  may 2010 039 1 may 2010 044 1 may 2010 048 1 may 2010 052 1may 2010 054 1 may 2010 045 1
And I am so wicked do you know what I put on that toy closet? A lock.
with a key.
that only I have.

may 2010 024 1

mmmmmmmwahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaawwwwww.
My brother says I might as well lock up their childhood.
My idea is that they can play with whatever they want to, but they have to put it away before I’ll get something else down. I feel very powerful with that key.
It’s a pain going back and forth and unlocking and locking, but they’re all catching on pretty quickly and we’re keeping up and not catching up with the toys! We’ll see how it all goes…

Do you love sorting and throwing out and organizing like the Berenstain Bears? Do you remember this book??

65 comments:

  1. I TOTALLY remember this book!!! This post is too funny!

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  2. thanks for sharing- my kids are 3 and 4, and this book would be just the thing we need since we are always struggling with teaching them to clean up their own messes! the 4 yr old (almost 5) is really finally getting it, but the 3 yr old not so much! ;)

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  3. I love this, and there was something else I also did for my youngest who couldn't read yet. I found pictures of the toy(s) and put it on the paper next to the name. He is so good at cleaning up now, becuase he and anyone else that is over playing can always find the right container. Especially if there are a lot of kids over and there are more containers out of the closet than one at a time. I experience this all the time!

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  4. Stephanie~I need to do that for my little ones! thank you~

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  5. I do remember that book! And ours was all crumbled up like that too :) Your basement looks so organized now. You are the key-master!

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  6. I loved that book as a kid and we still have it! And I have done the same thing with the closet. We had a bolt lock at the top of their closet door and I would only get on thing out for them at a time. It was great, then we moved. I don't have that option anymore and it frustrates me to NO END! :)

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  7. You go girl! (Now just don't lose the key:)

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  8. I know!! I need to make me some extra copies...

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  9. I have yet to read that book to my 3 boys, but it's a must! I too put a lock on the toy closet, which also houses all of the movies. I got weary of cleaning up DVD's strewn across the basement floor. Not all of the toys are locked up though. We have a train table full of cars and trains, and bookshelves full of games and various other toys. They all know where things belong because they are labeled, which really helps in the clean up process. Great post!

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  10. Melissa thank you for the great ideas! I love everything you do. You have inspired me to head to my parents this weekend and organize the grandkids toy room. This is a great way to keep it orderly. I too love the idea of cutting out pictures and putting it next to the label.

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  11. Melissa, this was hilarious! And I loved those books, too. :)

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  12. FABULOUS! Thanks so much -- I'm planning one of these closets ... if we *ever* get word back on our darn house, that is :)

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  13. That was my favorite book too! I can remember reading it and feeling so peaceful when everything was tidy again. The organizing bug starts early, doesn't it?

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  14. I am sooooo jealous of your key! If we ever decide to finish our basement (which is where the toy room will move to), I may just have to have a toy closet built with my very own lock and key. Mwahahahahaha!

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  15. haha i love this post and i LOVED this book when I was little...brought back so many fun memories! Good old berenstein bears :)

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  16. This is still one of my favorites. I read it to my kiddos often. That lock looks so tempting

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  17. I loved the Berenstain bears (they've been around a LONG time), but I don't think I ever read this book. Hmmmm. Maybe that's my problem. Maybe, if I'd read this book, I would be organized now. Maybe I would keep up instead of always having to catch up.

    My boys are now 19, 16, and 13. Do you think they're too old for story time with the Berenstain bears?

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  18. LOVED the Berenstain Bears! I remember this book too. Can't say that it ever drove any design decisions for me though! ;)
    Maybe I should have paid more attention, because that's a great toy closet. Freakishly organized, but really great.

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  19. Love that book AND the lock idea!

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  20. LOVE the book. I also had the video when I was little and wanted brother and sister's room so badly. That pegboard alone...man!

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  21. What a great post!!

    @Richella-too old for story time? there is no such thing.

    I dont like to organize. At all. but I do get like Mama in the second picture:) I dont like to organize or enjoy it but I know the necessity of it and the peace that it brings. i dont like up our toys as much now that I have older kids to help contain the caos...wait I take that back. I now have under lock and key, air soft guns, nerf guns, game boys and ice cream:)

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  22. Love that book, and great idea with the key. Wish I had thought of that when my guy was little. :-)

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  23. Yes remember the book, no not really into sorting but do love throwing things out or donating to goodwill!

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  24. Melissa, I love you more with every post! And for me, this tops them all -- yes your make-overs are AMAZING, but there's something about that Berenstain Bears book that just warms my heart. :) I used to DREAM about that closet when I was a child (not that I was organized as a child, but I sure loved the idea of it!) Thanks for a little trip down memory lane. :)

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  25. Got love that Mamma bear, she's so wise.

    Kim

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  26. I LOVED that book as a child...the closet photo just sang to me. ;) We have this book now (as well as about 50 other BB books) and my girls love it!!

    Your toy closet is great. You did a wonderful job organizing!

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  27. We have a lock on our toy closet as well. It has helped our house stay cleaner and more organized. The little people quickly catch on that you just get the one bucket out at a time.

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  28. Note to self: "Must get a key!" Mwah ha ha ha haaaaaa. Genius!

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  29. Thanks for the memory! This also was one of my favorites. My daughter is almost 2, and we're quickly heading into a season where an organized, locked closet might be necessary for my sanity. Ha!

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  30. That was one of my favorite books as a kid! I loved organization even then and saw the book as an organizational ideas book. Heh!

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  31. I remember this book! After I read it (like 20 years ago) I wanted my room to look like that!

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  32. I read that book growing up as well. Good organizing with the toys. I'm having a giveaway over at my blog if you'd like to enter!

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  33. I totally remember this book! I think my mom bought it for me in hopes it would make me keep my room clean...it didn't work. But, it's so true that it teaches you all you need to know about organizing!

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  34. I loved that book growing up. I love the key idea. I think every mom should be able to have one!

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  35. I bow to you and your organizational skills. I will strive for this in my home!!

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  36. I love that book, too. The greatest moral of the story is that Mama Bears are wise.

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  37. I love the idea of the key. You have a lot of kids and I don't blame you for not wanting toys everywhere! I think the key is brillant.

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  38. We didn't have that book but we had many other BB books and my kids loved them. My kids have always been told to find a home for all their toys and organized toys into boxes like you did. It was always helpful to me and the kids to keep their bedrooms neat. I have my craft room organized in draws and boxes too...does keep things tidy and easy to clean up. The one thing I never thought of was the locked door and key...they would definately catch on to the clean up routine quickly with that!

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  39. Too funny! We got this book from the library today!

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  40. This is a great idea and it really works! We had our toy closet in a closet under the stairs. Most of their toys were kept there, which kept their rooms cleaned.

    The oldest had some of his "special" toys in his room, where his younger brother couldn't get to them. After the newness wore off, they went into the toy rotation.

    I trained the kids when they were little to play with one toy (or one set of toys) and then put it away before they took out another one.

    I trained them to do that by putting all their toys up where they couldn't get to them without asking me. Once they learned, I put them where they could get to them.

    Believe me, it was worth it! So much easier when they clean up their own mess.

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  41. Yes. I had that book too! Love all the Berenstain Bear books! I have been sorting things for my yard sale Saturday and trying to organize in the process. Feels so good to have a place for everything and everything in it's place. Got lots more work to do though. Hopefully I'll sell a lot and won't be bringing all the clutter back in!

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  42. love those books! my favorite as a kid too. and i love your toy closet...it looks great! i think i might need to get one of those as well...just need to find the closet to use now!

    thanks for sharing!

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  43. I adore your closet! I want one so badly....with a shiny key. What a great idea. Now I just have to have my hubby build a closet. :)

    PS Love the book too. It makes my tidy heart pitter patter.

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  44. I loved Berenstein Bear books, and that is definitely one of my favorites. Now that you mention it, I really learned a LOT about organizing from that book. Good to know where it all traces back to!
    I think I will have to let some of my family members read it, they need help in that department!

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  45. I too had a love affair with the Bears' closet, as well as the peg board!! I'm a school librarian and read this book to our school kids. Now I'm going to read it with my preschooler and show him our newly organized closet, just like the bears!

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  46. I love it so much that I do it and get paid to do it! I love to teach people how to organize their spaces and show them how to maintain the work they have done. :)

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  47. I love that! I so wish I had room for something like that. Love they key,too! lol

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  48. We're all over that too. We have two toy cupboards and they both have locks. Only mom and dad can open. So nice not to have every piece of every game and toy on the floor at once.

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  49. I like you post....what font did you use for the labels? Its cute...Im in the process of sorting ad organizing my 3 1/2 yr olds toys

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  50. Oh you are not wicked... you are SO smart to lock it all up... I am jealous!

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  51. I love the font you used for your labels! What is the name?

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  52. Ha! I'm glad I'm not the only one who locks up her kids toys!

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  53. Kelly~
    It's called CK handprint. I bought it almost 8 years ago, but you should be able to find it to download for free? I'm not sure...good luck!

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  54. Melissa,
    Thank you so much! I found it and have already used it. That font is so adorable :)

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  55. I LOVED this book as a child! Maybe that is where my organizing obsession began!

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  56. The Berenstain Bears books were my favorite when I was little. Whenever I go to a baby shower and they request that you bring a book for the baby, I always buy a Berenstain Bears book. I actually bought the "Messy Room" book for my friend's shower in Sept.

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  57. This was FAVE Berenstain Bears book! I love that you incorporated such a great childhood memory into your own design! Great post, looks great!

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  58. my favorite was the berenstein bears and the bad dream, but the messy room was right up there on the list too. thanks for some organization inspiration.

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  59. I did it!!!

    http://kellyboettcher.blogspot.com/2011/01/meanest-mommy-on-block-toy-storage.html

    Thank you so much for reposting this in your Top 10. I went home and "cleaned house" that evening!

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  60. I'm glad Kelly posted a comment just yesterday so it doesn't make my comment look lame for being so late-
    I'm pretty sure we owned ALL the Berenstain Bear books. They were some of my kids' favorites!
    I don't know if it was this book or something else, but I LOVE organizing. I love all your labels (sorry, but I HAVE to use a label maker). I remember a wife swap episode (I rarely watch that program) where one wife was super organized, and the other was a slob. The organized wife was getting all kinds of flack, and I was sitting there thinking, "there's nothing wrong or weird about her!"

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  61. Haha, maybe my love for organization came from that book??? I love your blog! Been reading it all morning!

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  62. I remember this book and trying to organize my room with it!

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  63. Totally remember staring atnthe end pages of this book as a kid...I love me a nice organized space! Also ck handprint is my go to font!

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  64. Seriously. Love, love, LOVE this book. I still have it and found it a few months ago. The very last page was my absolutely favorite growing up. I totally agree with you -- I think my love of organization came from that book.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Tiffany @ The Nest Effect

    www.thenesteffect.com

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  65. We still have this book in our family, even though I'm now raising grandchildren. When my daughter was young, I loved reading this book to her! It always gave me the inspiration to clean and organize the closets. They ended up looking very much like yours, but with handwritten labels on the various boxes and totes. Although I didn't have a lock on the closet door, my bed was positioned in front of the door, so the kids could only get those toys out when I moved the bed. We named it "The Forbidden Closet". The purpose was to hide away some of the toys for a month or two. Then, on a day when the kids were bored, I'd let them go into the closet and trade out some of their toys. It kept the clutter down, and the kids had real "treasures"!

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