21 October 2015

autumn moment

It’s the time that I love the most. It’s the time that all colours change. Here in North Yorkshire, we feel Autumn everywhere. In fact, it’s getting already much colder and I guess winter is well on its way. I dread feeling just thinking about it, so I’d better making the most of it while I can.

When I take my daughter out for a walk or outdoor play, we pick up leaves with so many different colours. I ask “what colour is it?” to her, and she responses a bit strange but in her own way. She does distinguish different colours, but she cannot say the names of colours themselves yet. For instance, she says “banana” for yellow, “mummy (mummy’s car)” for red, and “happa (leaf in Japanese)” for green at the moment! Up to now all leaves are meant to be green for her, so Autumn leaves are all new experience??

She is recovering really well from her heart operation in August. She has been returning to the nursery and I’ve been back to work for three weeks now. After op, her heart is functioning well without any problem, which obviously has made a significant impact on her health. She is much more active, full of energy than ever. Skipping an afternoon nap is another thing. She is taking my energy away! She loves a slide, climbing up the stairs and coming down independently. It was only a few months ago that she hated it because she was so frightened. She is growing up quickly. Making me feel great and a bit sad at the same time. m x

4 October 2015

‘feel-good’ little job that beaten my stress - vol.3: organising toy storage system

Today is the final of this series. Where and how do you keep children’s toys? How do you guide them to tidy up themselves? Sorting toys can be a nightmare, isn’t it? It was actually the first thing that I did after having read those “god send” tidying up books I mentioned in vol.1. (you can find the link of these books later) 

Toy storage for our case went through several stages. First we used to use IKEA’s plastic boxes with casters. We put all sort of toys, including her books, stacked them up and placed them in a corner of the living room. (photo below) 

Since my daughter started to move about, it became rather dangerous as she tended to lean on the piled boxes, obviously not easy to take things out either. Plus, giant plastic boxes in the living room did not make me relax easily even after settling her at night. So we have moved the boxes to the other room but not in her upstairs bedroom, as she would probably play downstairs for some more years. 

This room is our office / home cinema room. Usually we use this room at night, so being used by her in daytime wouldn’t be a problem. Also the living room looks tidier after plastic boxes disappeared. As my husband loves films and music, there are tons of DVDs and CDs on the wall storage in this room. I slotted 4 toy boxes under DVD wall storage and they just fit perfectly. My daughter then could reach toys safely and independently, so that was good. (photo below)

However, as she got older another issues cropped up. There weren’t enough space for her picture books. More toys of course. The pieces got smaller too, so we had to tip the box upside down to find what she wanted. I looked for a solution and decided to provide a new space for it. 

Under CD wall storage and next to the radiator, there was a reversed L shape space. (You can’t even see the radiator because of lots of cardboard boxes that we hoarded!) This was located opposite to the 4 toy boxes. In between the two walls, her “play time” rug cover just fit nicely too, so it was ideal. The method of organising small items into labeled boxes is a quite common in the nursery and children centre. It is easy for two year old to find, reach, carry to the other room to play (which she does often) and tidy up. I’ve considered all those points with several options from my favourite MUJI and IKEA. 

When I tried MUJI boxes with her, she found it difficult to pick the box up as the handle part was too small. Also they are quite a price if you buy many. Children’s storage items from IKEA was ok to carry, but she couldn’t see what’s inside and couldn’t put the box back into the drawer slot. So I searched around more and found the ultimate!

IKEA’s SAMLA box. Only £1. Clear so she can see inside. “Easy to carry” handle shape. With 50p lid, I can use as a studio storage in the future. Can’t go wrong! 

Other thing I found in IKEA was a desk foot storage. Size was just right for the space. More space for her books. Black. (the theme colour of the room) Can use as our printer storage in the future. Can’t go wrong! Measured and sketched the plan using these two items - perfect! We made a trip to IKEA just before her op. 

The problem we had when we went to IKEA was that the black shelf that we were planning to fit for her toy boxes was sold out. Well, we just have to buy wood and paint then, we thought. Then there was a “free to good home” used wood section at the exit! We found perfect black wood piece for nothing! How lucky! With a big smile on my face, we worked on her new toy storage space back home. Here, we created a new toys storage space with a book shelf!

new toy storage area!
each box has a pictured label
original boxes for larger toys and also with a pictured label
I put larger picture on the base of the box, so that she can tell 
where things go at glance from the top of many empty boxes 
when it comes to tidy up time. Hope it helps?
zippered cases are good for storing puzzles and cards
MUJI’s divider helps books from falling all over

More books can be stored. Additional coloured & numbered boxes also fit. Sabrina was happy with the result. (Probably I was the most!?) She now started to tidy up her toys, not all by herself yet but some with me, and also enjoys carrying toy boxes herself when she plays with her friends, which is rather nice to see. 

Books helped me do this were really god send. Here I would like to introduce 2 books I particulary found useful. Although both written in Japanese, there are lots of photos that you can understand their tips and techniques from. m x