Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A simple, yet brilliant, idea that makes life easier (Not-So-Wordy Wednesday)

It’s official. A laminator is definitely going on my wish list for Santa this year, assuming I can even wait that long to own one myself. I already told you about the super cute DIY sticker book I made for Q’s Big Brother Kit, but I also managed to squeeze in one more mini-project while I still had my friend’s laminator in my possession.

Toy bin tags.

It may seem like no big deal, but you have no idea how happy this makes me. Okay, you’re rolling your eyes, but listen. Toy bins tags – and laminators – have awesome power. Check this out.

I wanted to make tags for Quinn’s toy bins so he would learn where each type of toy went and it would be easier for him to find the toy he’s looking for. My plan worked perfectly and greatly reduced the number of “I can’t find my toy!” meltdowns. Now, Q always puts his small trucks in the “small trucks” bin, his Thomas and Friends trains in the “Thomas and Friends Trains” bin, etc. Not only does he pick up his toys, but he puts them where they belong and toys rarely get lost. Even Hubs puts the toys back in the right place. (Yes, really.) So every night, Q goes to bed in a clutter-free bedroom

Moms, I present to you the simple yet amazing power of toy bin tags.

Using primary-colored cardstock, I originally cut the tags into the shapes of the toys that go in each bin. (I.e., a truck-shaped tag for trucks, a train-shaped tag for trains, a tag shaped like a painter's palette for art supplies, a teddy bear tag for stuffed animals, etc.) Then I labeled the tags with a Sharpie pen, punched holes in them with metal eyelets, and tied them to the bins with twine. Easy peasy. 

However, the cardstock quickly started to curl, crumple and rip. But since Quinn had already learned where each toy went by then and the tags had served their purpose, I was tempted to just remove them all together. But then… I discovered the laminator and decided to combine their awesome power.

This time, I did the same thing, except after I cut the toy-shaped tags out of cardstock and labeled them, I arranged them all between two laminating pages and sent them through magic machine. Then I cut each one out, punched holes with metal eyelets and tied them to the bins with twine again. Now the tags hold their shape and look much nicer.

Before the laminator                            After the laminator 

“This blue bin has a red train on it,” Q says. “My Thomas trains go in here!”

As moms, we may not get to claim success very often, so as small as this victory is, I’m still adding it to the “YAY ME!” column.

What simple, yet brilliant, ideas have you implemented to make your life easier?