You should know that I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to. I tell you this because I have a feeling some of you might be feeling the same way. Perhaps you haven’t even started yet; you’re waiting until today, the start of the weekend, to do what you need to do.

That’s okay! Such is life. Do what you can with this week’s hotspot, and give yourself a pat on the back when you cross it off the list. (My back-patting will look like skiing on Saturday.)

I’ll waste no more time, so here you go—my before and after shots. And at the end, I’ll explain how you can share your own photos.


You can see the normal state of the kids’ books above. Not bad, but it’s a pain to trip over them as they tumble to the floor, seeing as they’re all in our living room. Pulling books off the shelves is Finn’s current favorite hobby.

There. At least they’re mostly reshelved (but from the looks of this photo, there’s still some scattered about on kids’ beds). We love all our books, and go out of our way to make sure they’re mostly twaddle-free. So, no donating of books this time around.

And because I get asked all the time—this is an Expedit bookshelf from Ikea.

My family will tell you I like our books alphabetized—even the kids’ ones. They would be correct. It’s not to be all uptight (really, I promise); it’s because it’s really SO much easier to find When You Give a Moose a Muffin under “N” for Numeroff than it is to search every single shelf.

It’s not easy to keep kids’ books in the right order, but Tate’s now old enough to understand alphabetical order. For now, I’m okay with general alphabetizing with the first letter. I won’t pitch a fit if Flack is reshelved before Falconer.

I sound like a lot of fun at cocktail parties, don’t I?

I made simple dividers from foam board and letter stickers. I know they won’t last forever, and that’s okay—they’ll be cheap to replace. This way, they won’t hurt when they’re used as swords.

Games & Puzzles

Our current home is temporary and very, very small. We don’t have the space (or inclination) to build long-term storage, so for the past year, kids’ games and puzzles have been stored in an old bench.

This works well. Unless you have a toddler who also enjoys emptying out the game and puzzle pieces in his spare time.

Once I reassigned all the pieces to the right box, I culled the ones we never play with. Their new home is our local thrift store.  But I was still left with a number of loved puzzles and games with stepped-on, crunched boxes.

I cut the box top of the puzzles and tossed them in a zippered pouch with the pieces.

There. Better.


We don’t really have an issue with too many toys, either, because I like doing smaller purges every few months or so. We just needed a sprucing up.

We use the Expedit shelves here, too, along with the Trofast buckets. Great for open-ended toys.

I wanted more permanent labels that were easier to read. So, I used the same stickers as with the book dividers… which meant I ran out of letters.

So I’m going to the store this weekend to buy more letters. In the meantime, just trust me that we don’t have “car _racks,” “_inco_ _ _ogs,” “ne_f gun_,” or “ma_ble_.”


This was the department where we needed to whittle down. I knew from pant cuffs that everyone was growing, so it was time to pass down and move on.

We love using buckets for our boys’ clothes—they’re easier to pull out and shove back for little hands. These are the fabric drawers from Target {similar product}.

I ended with about half a grocery bag of clothes to donate, some of Reed’s went to storage to wait for Finn, and the rest just needed to be reshelved.

A few months ago I made drawer labels out of Shrinky Dinks… I finally put them on this week.

Just so you know, we mostly just shove our boys’ clothes into the buckets—minimal folding involved, except when fresh out of the dryer. It’s all cotton anyway.

Now it’s your turn!

You’re welcome to focus on this hotspot at any time, of course, but if you’d like to be entered to win this week’s giveaway, you have until Saturday (tomorrow) at 11:59 p.m. PST to submit your before-and-after photos.

You absolutely don’t need to do as many photos as I have here—a simple before shot of a room, followed by its after, is great. And as a reminder, if you don’t have kids at home, you’re welcome to do your own personal belongings.


One randomly selected participant in this week’s hotspot will win one large and one small Lay-n-Go! We adore ours. {giveaway over}

It’s a simple bag for carrying lots of small pieces.

But wait! It actually opens into a giant, five-foot playing mat.

Cool, eh? As you might guess, this is perfect for LEGO.

They have small ones, too. Perfect for restaurants, long car rides, and flights.

And one of you will win a large and small Lay-n-Go in the colors of your choice! I seriously want ten of these things.

I can’t wait to see your results. What was the best part of your process this week? The hardest?