Frugal Tips for Organizing Kids Rooms: Northwest Bloggers Spring Cleaning Bash

This month, we have teamed up with fellow Northwest bloggers to get motivated to do some spring cleaning and organizing around our houses and we have been showing you some fantastic changes that the bloggers have been sharing.  Our hope is that some of the ideas that we have implemented will inspire you in your quest to organize & spruce up your house this spring. We would love to hear about the changes you’ve made and see any pictures of differences you’ve made in your house through organizing and cleaning.

Sia shared her frugal kids room ideas for her girls’ room on Monday – you absolutely have to check out her post as she and her husband did an amazing job building a playhouse loft bed, repurposing furniture and transforming their girls’ bedroom.

In case you’ve missed them on Facebook or on our Spring Cleaning page, here are the posts that have been shared so far this month::

Master Closet – The Coupon Project
Yard & GardenHappy Money Saver
Office & PaperworkGrays Harbor Deals
PantryThis Beautiful Frugal Life
GarageCoupon Savvy in Cowlitz County
Kitchen and DIY Cleaning SolutionsSweet Deals 4 Moms
Kids Rooms – Sia shared her remake over at our other blog,  Centsible in Seattle
Kids Rooms – I’m sharing my girls’ room makeover here at Thrifty NW Mom
Laundry & Craft Room -Thrifty & Thriving (Christy will be sharing her laundry & craft room makeover this Friday & we’ll update with the link to the post)

Here is a “before” picture of my girls’ shared bedroom. I decided to show what the room would look like on a day when it was pretty picked up to make it easier to compare the changes we made without all the toy mess. Even when it is picked up, you can tell that we really struggle with all the clutter and too much stuff and not enough room to put it all!  We actually have 3 different areas right now where we have kids toys – some baskets on a shelf downstairs, some baskets in our office/playroom (which is mainly just storage/office right now – still working on that one –  hope to show a finished room in a few weeks) and in their bedroom. Both of my girls, ages 6 1/2 and 4 1/2 are sharing this small room, and there is a small closet, so it’s just been a struggle to keep it organized.

My main issue in organizing was how to control the clutter, yet still find more creative ways to utilize the space in this room, so we didn’t have to have so many areas around the house for all their things.  My older daughter is also becoming more independent and likes to have her own areas and space, so we’re trying to give her more freedom & areas to keep her own special items.  We have spent very little money on this room as most of the furniture pieces have been items passed down by family, garage sale items or awesome sale finds (like the Mor Bunkbeds for $49!). We knew we needed to put a little money into the room, but didn’t want to go all out on furniture yet, even though we most definitely need to make some changes to the furniture as you can see above.

Here are the main issues we tackled in the bedroom:

De-clutter:

Dressers  - This area had gotten so bad that doing laundry was a real chore. I absolutely hate doing laundry anyway – putting it away in drawers and then having to stuff their clothes into drawers made it even more distasteful. So, often their clothes would sit in a big pile on the couch or in a basket in their room and we’d dig thru the basket to find items. Pretty sad, huh?  The main problem was just that I had too many clothes in there – winter clothes, spring clothes & then clothes that really didn’t fit them anymore. I also was trying to teach my girls to put their own laundry away, which is why it was looking like the picture above.

Here are the steps I went through de-cluttering the drawers:

  • Emptied all the drawers to sort them and put them into stacks – give away (to friends or donation), sell or keep
  • Then stacked the items that we were keeping to put back into dresser.
  • Utilized baskets I found around the house in various sizes/colors to control the smaller items in many of the drawers (underwear, socks, tights, leotards, etc) – I had bought these over the years at the dollar store & they didn’t match, but I figured it didn’t matter since they wouldn’t be seen. I’ve also used shoe boxes in the deeper dressers as they work as great organizers and they’re free!
  • Rolled the tights & underwear to be able to fit more in & it looked neater & more organized

After I went through all the clothes in the dressers as well as the hanging clothes in the closet & big tubs that I keep all their sizes in (in-between sizes as well as clothes I buy ahead for my older daughter) – I then took a big load of items to donate, set aside clothes for friends, and got a big stack of clothes to sell.  I would love to be able to sell these clothes in a local consignment sale (make sure to check out our BIG list of Pacific Northwest Consignment sales); however, I’m just too busy this spring with blogging and keeping up with my busy kids’ and hubby’s activities so I knew I didn’t have time to list them.

 So, I decided to give Thred Up a try. Thred Up is an online children’s consignment site. All you have to do is request a bag to be sent to you (you pay a deposit of $5.95 which is returned to you when you return the bag) or you will receive a bag if you buy any clothes from Thred Up. I found all the clothes that were in great condition (no tears, stains, etc), made sure they were all clean & dumped them in the bag. I then brought it to my local UPS store & they charged just $1 handling fee (you could drop it off at the post office for no fee) – Thred Up pays the postage. Then sent it off in the mail. I already sent on bag off & earned $20 – either in credit or Paypal and I have 2 more big bags ready to send. You can check out their calculator first, too, to see an estimate of how much you will earn for different items. You won’t receive as much as you would with a consignment sale – I think the most I received was $4 for a Christmas dress – everything else ranged from $.50 – $2/ea. However, for me, it is still a way I can earn some cash back to help pay for the room makeover without having to do more than stuff the clothes in a bag & mail it.

Creating more storage areas

 Having two girls share a room, we really needed more creative storage options. I forgot to take a full picture of the closet beforehand, but  it was basically filled with large totes on the top shelf and all along the floor of the closet (you can see the top shelf below). Unfortunately this did not leave too many options for reducing the clutter & increasing space in the room.

Under the Bed Storage:

Our first goal about a month or two ago was to utilize the storage space under the bed. I found the perfect size pull-out plastic drawer at Walmart from Sterilite and was able to fit 3 drawers under the bottom bunkbed. In those drawers we have swimming gear, sheets, pillow cases, blankets and more. However, I had my friend and contributor Sarah come over to give me her suggestions for creative organization since she’s super organized and she came up with the idea to use the back half of under the bed for storage as well. So, we went from 3 drawers under the bed to 6 drawers. It is harder to get into the back drawers, so we used that for items that we wouldn’t need to get to but once or twice a year. In the back drawers, we have winter boots/snowsuits, shoes to grow into, and some of the in-between sizes for clothes (5t).

Sarah also suggested a way to jazz up the front drawers so that it blended better with the decor and I love this tip because it’s so simple & frugal yet can make things look a lot less messy & cluttered.  All you need to do is find some cute wrapping paper that goes with the room and cut out sheets to cover the front of the drawer so you can’t see inside. She recommended the heavier-duty wrapping paper like Hallmark, especially helpful since it has lines on the back to cut straight to fit it into your box. :) I love how simple it was but it definitely made it less cluttered.

This was definitely our biggest expense, though, as each of these containers was about $13, so that was $78 for 6 of them. For me, it was worth it to be able to fully use ALL of the under-the-bed space. There is literally no space under there now – we used it all!

Closet Space:

By utilizing the under the bed storage, we were then able to eliminate several big tubs that had been in the closet, giving us more opportunity to create more storage space in the closet. First, we moved the big 3 containers left to the top shelf to get them off the floor and create more space.  I keep those tubs as a way to save money by buying ahead for my oldest when I find amazing clearance sales and also saving the clothes from my oldest for my youngest, so it’s a huge money-saver for us, but just took so much room.

One of the big areas in the room which would always get cluttered was the bookshelf. I love books and my girls truly love books as well, but we always had too many books than would fit into the shelves. First up, was to sort through & take out the books that no longer were a good fit because of their age to give to friends or donate and then also save some books for their baby mementos (Admittedly, I had a hard time getting rid of too many). Then we decided to move the bookshelf into the closet so they still had full access to it, but it wouldn’t look as messy having it in the closet.

We also had some cubical shelves that we had been using in our playroom until we expanded to a big Ikea Expedit shelf. So, we moved one of the cubicle shelves into the closet as well.  This way we could give each girl 3 baskets to organize how they wanted, which was especially important to my oldest.  I’ve used baskets for a little while, but have never had them labeled – let me tell you, just by having them labeled, my girls are doing a MUCH better job of putting their toys away. This has always been a struggle for us – can’t believe I didn’t label them earlier. I just used some old ribbon (pre-cut for my oldest daughter’s announcements) & horizontal nametag holders (you can find this in the office supply section of Walmart or Target) to label them. Super fast & easy! Now I just need to do this to the rest of my baskets.

Another addition to the closet is a shoe organizer in the middle. I can now store all the shoes that they can wear throughout the year – sandals, flip flops, dress shoes, boots, etc. We have our most used 2 pairs or so downstairs in the entry closet in bins, but the others would constantly get messed up, so this will work much better to see them, but keep them organized. I found this at Walmart for around $6.

Lastly, I had gotten awhile ago a tall purple basket for $6-7 at Walmart as well to hold all the stuffed animals. The rule is that when the animals can’t fit into the basket anymore, then they need to sort through and donate some. (This is something we need to go back through again as I realized it’s getting high again).

Dresser Space: 

The dressers were another area that was looking really cluttered, but more than that, it was difficult to keep track of all of their hair items (bows, headbands, elastic bands, clips, etc). I had all of the hair items stuffed into a big purple basket – at times, I’ve tried keeping different containers, little baggies of the elastic bands, etc) but it had all become a jumbled mess. So, I needed a better system to keep track of it all.

DIY Headband Holder:

I am not a DIY or crafty person at all – but we had learned how to make a cute headband holder at our MOPS group last year and I finally got brave enough to try it. Believe me, if I can do this, you can too!  It was so easy and very inexpensive, too.  I will do a more detailed post about how to make it coming in a few days.

Here are the supplies needed, though:

  • Empty oatmeal container – I paid $2.50 for a container of generic oats from Safeway (you could get this cheaper with coupons & sales)
  • Fabric of your choosing – use fabric you already have or buy fabric at Joann or Michael’s using one of their regular 40% off coupons
    OR you could use pretty scrapbook paper – this would be even cheaper and so many fun options to try!
  • Spray Adhesive – you need a good spray glue to hold the fabric – the clerk at Joann’s recommended Alene’s Tacky Spray to me
  • Tulle for top (optional)
  • Cool candlestick base (optional) – I was looking for weeks for a cool wooden, wide candle holder but haven’t found anything yet, but when I do, I’ll use E-6000 to add it to the bottom to make it a little fancier looking.

 DIY Hair Bow Holder: 

 

The other project I decided to try after seeing versions of it on Pinterest was to create a hair bow holder using a fun frame. My friend Sarah found this cool frame for me at Goodwill (it had a picture in it, so we just removed the picture and backing).  We then sanded & painted it green.  Then we just added some fun ribbons to the back to create this unique way to display bows so the girls can have an easier time picking out their own hair accessories. I’ll share more details about how to make this DIY Hair Bow Holder in a few days in a separate post.

In the purple basket, I added a few small stacking containers I found at Joann’s (on sale & with their 25% off entire purchase coupon) to hold all the little elastic bands, clips, lip glosses, nail polish, etc. It also contains any extra detangle sprays, lotion, and more in the basket.

Here’s the finished look for the dresser – it’s basically a whole area just for all the hair & girly stuff! With two girls, you end up with a lot of this stuff, so I’m so glad it’s better organized now! Easier for my girls to find things so they can be in charge more of what they want to wear each day.

Art Corner:

This last area is another area that would get so cluttered and messy, but my girls just love to draw, color and create, so this was something they really enjoyed having in their room. I really needed to find a way to better organize it, though, so my friend Sarah suggested moving the table & chairs to the corner. {Side note: I found this cute table & chairs at a garage sale years ago for just $10 total! Score!} This area is still in process as I haven’t been able to find all the right things to finish it yet, but I did find the buckets & rod at Ikea – I chose the white buckets to go with the table. If you go with the silver buckets, though, it’s half the price (each white bucket was $5.99 – ouch!) and then with the rod & the hooks, it came to around $25. Not the most frugal, but considering we hadn’t spent too much on the room using furniture we already owned & items around the house, I decided I wanted something that would match their room better. I also found the cool white bill holder at Home Goods (in Federal Way) for $9.99. I am still looking for either 2 cute little white shelves that I can put above the art area for them to be able to display their favorite trinkets or even a bulletin board or something where they can display their art. I’m still undecided on this, so let me know if you have any fun, creative ideas of what I could try in that corner.

Finished Room:

 

This room is still a work in progress as I still want to add some pretty frames (found some fun frames at Goodwill that I’m going to paint in some fun pastel colors to add to the tall dresser) and then also to finish the art corner. But overall, I’m very pleased with how it turned out as it’s so much cleaner and organized and the girls are excited as they can find everything they need much easier! At some point, we’d love to find some pretty white furniture or redo their current dressers (you can tell the tall one is badly in need of some work – my little one peeled off part of the side when she was 2 – glad we turned it on its side so it’s not quite as noticeable), but that’s a project for another day to learn how to do that. :)

 

Room Makeover Expenses:

  • Large under the bed storage containers – $78
  • Supplies for Art Corner – $35 ($25 for Ikea buckets & $10 for bill holder)
  • Supplies for the DIY hair bow holder – $8
  • Supplies for DIY headband holder – $8
  • Two fun letters I found for their initials (50% off at Hobby Lobby right now) –  just $3/ea. 
  • Shoe Organizer – $5
  • Total: $140

 This summer we had found the bunkbed at Mor Furniture using the voucher from Spotted Fox (we paid $49 for a $200 voucher, which was the price of the bunkbeds) – so just $49 for this awesome bunkbed set.   Always make sure to check out daily deal vouchers for furniture stores, you never know if you might find the perfect piece of furniture for a steal of a deal! 

So, what are your best organizing tips for your kids’ rooms? We’d love to hear any tips you have to share! 

 


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Comments

  1. Annaliese says

    Jen- it looks fantastic! I especially love the little art corner. One thing we use for our kids to display their art is a large oil pan (bought from Walmart for about $10) and attached to the wall with command picture hanging strips- add some cute magnets & it becomes a great art board and there’s no worrying about push pins falling on the floor and getting stepped on by little feet. My kids love it.

  2. says

    Great job!! I love the wrapping paper in the underbed storage especially…what a huge difference from such a simple thing!

    I have three kids in one room (ages 6, 4, 2.5). We don’t keep toys or books, so it’s just beds and clothing… but still it would get TERRIBLY messy. Recently I did an overhaul on the clothing organization and it has been so much better!

    First I thinned out everyone’s clothing– making sure everything has coordinating items, everything fit and was in season, etc. And in some cases just getting rid of excess.
    Next I put everything in the closet (We use some simple rubbermaid drawers for the two older kids and canvas bins on a shelf for the younger) and “lock” it using tension rods on the sliding closet doors.

    My son’s clothes had been in a tall, narrow freestanding wardrobe. Now that it’s empty my husband is using castoff plywood pieces from work to build a 18 cubby organizer (similar to a wooden shoe cubby organizer) that slides inside of the large open space in the wardrobe (shelves were removed, so it’s just a big empty rectangle). Friday is laundry day, and Saturday is “pick out your outfits for the week” day. Sunday clothes are hung up separately, and six outfits for the rest of the week go into the wardrobe.

    Anyhow, it’s been a huge improvement for us. Less laundry and mess, but they still get to pick out their outfits and get themselves dressed in the mornings.