Sunday, August 30, 2015

Drawer Challenge: We were drawer challenged!

When my 10 year old was born, we bought a fancy dresser with a built in changing table. You can barely see the tip of it in the picture above. We also bought a bunch of baskets, which we foolishly believed would hold all of her toys. Ha! By the time we moved less than three years later, I had tried about ten different toy storage units and conceded that we needed a whole room of built-ins just for toys. Clothes, however, seemed like they would be easy to store. After all we were moving from an older home with the small closet above to a new home where everyone got their own large walk-in. Since little sister was then an infant, I gave her the fancy changing table dresser (still going strong--just don't tell her what it is). I once again placed my all hopes in those baskets!

I planned to utilize the baskets as clothing storage for underwear and tights and hang everything else (which at that point meant one thing only--dresses). Not using a dresser meant that she would have more floor space and a generally tidier room; I loved the added benefit that it meant that she wouldn't have added surfaces to place tchotchkes.
And it worked!
Until it didn't.....

Fast forward 7.5 years and the cracks in my "brilliant" plan were beginning to show. The girl who wore dresses and only needed to store tights and undies now has a full pre-teen wardrobe spilling out of the baskets. She also has a (honestly inherited) problem with holding on to crafts, craft supplies and birthday goodies. Because I always wanted her room to appear tidy, our general rule was that she could keep anything she wanted in her closet.

Anything, folks. Papers from kindergarten? Yup! Crafts from Camp? You bet! Every free t-shirt she ever received? Of course! While I always maintained that the closets was "her space" to do what she pleased, the clutter was spilling out. The surfaces of her desk and nightstand were holding things that really rightfully belong in a closet. The day that I could no longer look in her room, IHeart Organizing put on a drawer challenge. The challenge was really to organize a drawer, but I knew that it was also calling our name because we were drawer-challenged!

So we went out an bought an inexpensive chest of drawers. I purposefully chose a cheaper set because it was going into a closet and, let's face it anything is an improvement after nearly a decade in baskets! We took all the pictures off the top shelf--no need to display items up there where we can't see them anyhow. We carefully went through the old t-shirts and papers and kept only things with true sentimental value. I would have made deeper cuts, but I appreciate that this is hard for her (if it were my stuff I am sure I would balk more than she did). We were left with this much smaller stack and even stored items in the baskets:

N found an old science project she no longer needed--she decided to breakdown and cover the display board to cover her plain wire shelves:

She corralled all her old dance costumes into one garment bag. She was very impressed that it was an old Neiman Marcus bag, and said "if I die in Walmart, drag my body to Neiman Marcus!" She had seen this quote somewhere before and must have been waiting an awfully long time to use it!!! It is not perfect, but oh the improvement!

We were able to reuse an old storage system reject (remember I had about ten failed systems for toys?) to place art supplies that were cluttering her desk:

And more baskets came in handy for a few items that she legitimately wanted to keep:

All of this was made possible, of course, by this chest of drawers:

Notice how and old art-box became an "underwear dispenser" and she displayed her necklaces just like mom!

An added benefit is that the nightstand and desktops are clear and those drawers actually got mini-makeovers too!
This is not perfection and, in fact, we will take another pass when we organize her Fall wardrobe as the weather changes. But I can breathe in there again and she can actually use the things that she wanted to keep. It was a major teachable moment about what we really want to hold onto and, honestly, spending a day doing a project with her is something that I want to hold onto too--so maybe it is almost perfect!

1 comment:

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

It's amazing how fast their rooms start busting at the seams! I can SO relate to this post - my 16-year old boy likes to keep everything. We, too, gave up a dresser in his room, and had drawers built into the closet. Then we ordered bookcases. Then we ordered a bed with drawers underneath. And where does he like to keep everything? On the floor!