Kids Bathroom “Makeover” – A Refresh for Under $80

kids bathroom makeover

Now listen…. you already know I’m not the most pinteresty, DIYish mom. But I had a problem that only pinterest could solve.

Problem:

Rohan and Kaya are taking over my master bathroom. Their different orajel tubes are all over my counter, they each have a million toothbrushes because they’re obsessed with oral care and it’s all scattered on my vanity. Then they always want to bathe together in the big tub, so their tubby toys, soaps, lotions, washcloths, towels etc… is all in MY bathroom. No bueno. I want a peaceful, serene bathroom.

Solution:

I need to make the guest bathroom (AKA the kid’s bathroom) more kid-friendly and fun-looking for them to  enjoy using it as their primary bathroom. They will even run over from the other side of the house, pass right on by their perfectly good toilet, to use my bathroom all the way in my bedroom. Why?!

So. My plan is to make the bathroom kid friendly and cute. I also wanted it to stay in my “cozy minimalist” way of living. After poring on Pinterest for ideas, I made a few easy tweaks.

I took to Walmart.com and set myself a $100 budget. I ended up spending way less. (about $60) Then I got two framed wall hangings at Kohls to round out the bathroom. ($20)

Here’s how it turned out:

Before:

Boring, lifeless, drab and personality-free.

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After:

Cute, Bright, Fresh and kid-centric.

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This will certainly hold me over until we upgrade the bathroom fully.

A big part of this was letting the kids help me. They helped put the shower curtain onto the rod (it was low at the time). They chose where the decals would go on the wall. They chose which wall hanging would be on top vs bottom. And they chose which sides to put the cups vs the toothbrush holder.

(And in true “learning through play” fashion, we counted the fishies, and sorted by color. Rohan measured the rug to “make sure it fit”)

Giving them a hand in refreshing the bathroom was really important. Not only did they have fun and view it as another family activity (John hung the pieces over the toilet so it was a family affair) but they were SO proud of their work when we finished.

Happy to report that Rohan has bathed in his “special new bathroom” every night since the makeover! Kaya runs in there now to wash her hands (she washes her hands 400000 times a day, so this is a big deal) and they’re both getting used to going in there to potty.

Mom wins!!!

Have you done a mini bathroom makeover before?

 

Cozy Minimalist – Minimalism Redefined

cozy minimalist okdani blog

Hi Pinterest Friends! Thanks for coming to learn about being a Cozy Minimalist. Here are some other posts in the minimalist series:

  1. Minimalist with Children
  2. Fitness Minimalism 
  3. I Threw Away My Kids’ Toys

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I have said before here on the blog that I don’t want to be a minimalist.

Then I go and throw away all my children’s toys.

And give away a whole mess of my clothes.

And refuse to furnish an entire room.

So clearly….something is there.

Here’s the problem I have

Actually… 3 problems.




One… I just don’t like the label of it. I’m not the most “joiner” personality. I may fall in to many categories, but I don’t identify strongly with them. I feel like if I say “I’m a hippie” or “I’m a minimalist” that it’s just too limiting to who I really am.

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Two… Minimalism feels good to me in theory and then when I see blogs, or pinterest images of what minimalism is and “supposed to” look like… it’s horrible. It looks like… poverty and missing out and lack and bare bones and sad boredom. I saw a child’s room that looked like one of those places the bad guy on law n order SVU stashes the little girl he kidnapped to sell on the black market.

Three… The attitude around minimalism always seemed to rub me the wrong way. It was kind of… holier than thou. As if anyone who doesn’t want to live with just a capsule wardrobe, a cot and a single spoon in their barren home is a mindless sheep who’s fucking up the environment and getting played by “the man.” Umm…Dude… you can’t shame me for liking what I like and wanting to have what I have.

So yeah, I don’t like that kind of minimalism. It just doesn’t feel good. And that’s the whole point of all of this, right? Feeling good.

This struck me:

living space not storage space

To me, minimalism is about feeling free, light, uncluttered. And also feeling comfortable and safe. Having everything I need and want and love and use often. It’s not about getting rid of the ninja blender because I also have a nutribullet. (I use both regularly) But more about keeping the things we love and use daily, weekly, monthly (travel gear), annually (xmas decorations) and not feeling overwhelmed by “stuff.”

In searching for yoga for kids the other day I somehow fell down the google search rabbit hole and discovered the term “cozy minimalism.” I think I’ve found something more my speed! Cozy minimalism isn’t about having only 4 shirts and 2 pants, counting your belongings or having your worth determined by how little you own. It’s more about having a home (and wardrobe) that feels perfectly right for you while using the fewest pieces necessary.

are you a cozy minimalist

So for now I’m going to embrace the term “cozy minimalist.” You can too! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stuff, in need of paring down, but not interested in being a minimalist… try this:

Step 1: Take a honest look at your life, schedules and how you use your home

Step 2: Plan out how you desire your home to look, feel and serve you and your family

Step 3: Clear out what doesn’t fit the vision in step 2

Step 4: Decorate and Replenish items where appropriate (and necessary)




For me this looks like:

Realizing (and accepting) that we are 1000% homebodies. Our home is mostly used by the kids and I, is a huge play space for them, not feeling as “us” as we want it to, and is much more “fixer upper” than we expected.

We want our home to feel peaceful for us and serve the kids in a smart way while keeping the grown-up balance. I want our bedroom to be a sanctuary and have the kids area more appealing to them. (They haul their toys into the family room all the time)

Giving away most of my clothes and shoes…and then s-l-o-w-l-y replenishing with select pieces I love (granted…90% of it will be workout clothes… but that’s ME so…shutup.)

Clearing out the kids’ rooms and playroom (AGAIN!) and replacing only with items that are simple, educational and promote imagination play. (I’m not even attempting to pare down their clothes because it’s useless…my family buys them clothes and shoes by the bushel)

Decorating/Redecorating the rooms in the house that don’t feel good or don’t serve me best. (First up: Making the second bathroom bright and friendly for the kids to actually use it instead of mine.)

Forcing…er…encouraging John to go through his clothes, gadgets…and the entire garage (which is a hot mess in itself and looks like the hovel where the killer on SVU was hiding from the cops)

I’ll be blogging my way through it all so stay tuned…

Other Minimalism Posts:

Minimalist with Children

Fitness Minimalism 

I Threw Away My Kids’ Toys

Are you a “cozy” minimalist?


How To Make Spring Cleaning Fun (No, really!)

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I hate cleaning my house. I truly do. And it’s impossible for it to just stay clean after I clean it up because….

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I’ve read all the parenting blogs about how to get kids to clean up by making it into games for them… and it really works!
We:

  • pretend we’re on “fast forward” “rewind” or “pause” as we’re putting things away in the playroom
  • use sorting laundry as a color matching game
  • pretend we are emergency vehicles shuttling toys from around the house back to the playroom (Rohan actually created that game)

The kids aren’t really the problem when it comes to hating cleaning…. it’s me. I can’t effin’ stand it. Until I can afford someone to come clean for me every single day (dare to dream, Dani?) I have to find little tactics that help ME get through weekly cleaning, and even worse… spring cleaning.

I have found a few things that work for me with my dread of cleaning, adhd/squirrel syndrome and laziness. The women of LINC and I will be discussing some great hacks for spring cleaning today on Twitter:

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RSVP here and join us so you can have a chance to win some great giveway prizes.

Anywaaay….

Here’s what I do to make me not want to jump off a building when it comes time for spring cleaning:

Dance through it

I ask John to wrangle the children, and I put my earbuds in and my pandora station to the most ratchet or most dutty dancehall channel I can find…and go to town. If I’m wining down to the ground I may as well wipe down the cupboards while I’m down there. (Bonus: burns extra calories… can you say win win?)

Set A Timer

This is my fave. I do stuff in 10-15 minute increments. And then I give myself a 10 minute treat. So, I’ll work furiously until my alarm goes off, and then collapse where I am and play on social media for a few. This tactic has taught me that it only takes 15 minutes to totally clean my bathroom (excluding mopping the floor). #funfact lol

Play Games

Folding laundry while watching jeopardy? Yes please. While I’m pretending to know answers… “ahhh yess War of 1812…i was just about to say that!”…  I get all the clothes separated, folded, socks matched up and everything put away without boredom.

Learn Something –

I love audio books for cleaning up time. There was something kind of “inception-ish” when I was listening to The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up as I was… Tidying up.. 🙂 I now have the Pimsleur approach dvds for Spanish that I’ll be listening to on Friday as I clean up for Kaya’s birthday party.

What do you do to make cleaning fun?

 

I Threw Away (Almost) All of My Kid’s Toys

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….and I may toss more.

If that has ever been an idea for you…I say go for it! LOL #teamtossitout

Why I did it:

I didn’t ever want a messy, toy-filled playroom. The energy was bad for me. I hated cleaning it up every night, and being naggymommy making the kids clean up with me (Even though we made it as fun as we could). It was always messy. I tried the parenting book tactics of “play with one toy at a time, put it away before moving to the next one” bla bla bla but the rule didn’t stick because we move from room to room to outside so much. And if they were in their own 15 minutes of “quiet time” (aka Mommy’s late afternoon sanity break) they would “read” for 2 seconds and then just pull out everything at once and just swim in it until quiet time was up.

Bigger than that, I didn’t like how the children were interacting with their toys, valuing them, or treating them. And the energy of the messy playroom throughout the day added to their already high energy, but in a weird manic let’s-throw-this-and-this-and-this-while-shrieking.. kind of way. I’m a big believer in energy, and removing stuff so fresh energy can flow through clear open areas. (This is part of the reason why we have a big empty space in the middle of our house)

open space




What I tossed/donated:

  • All the broken, bent, parts missing, random plastic odds and ends
  • The stuffed animals that never got played with
  • The “baby” toys
  • The figurines they never used
  • Small plastic pieces of bigger toy sets
  • too-small dress up clothes, and dress up clothes that they fight over
  • All “fighter” or “superhero” action figures
  • Everything old, cheaply made, with bendy plastic or any sharp pieces

What I hid in the garage for later:

  • legos
  • knex
  • “big kid” puzzles and games
  • books I hate reading 🙂

What I kept:

  • Stuffed animals that get daily play
  • These Blocks and some puzzles
  • Rohan’s Cars/Trucks/trains
  • The Kitchen set (but I tossed the fake plastic food/utensils)
  • Kaya’s Teapot
  • The tool sets and instruments
  • Books and art supplies
  • Kai’s 2 dolls
  • 2 dress up capes
  • Outside toys: ride ons etc.

playroom2

My thinking behind it was:

I wanted to only keep the items the kids LOVE and play with independently DAILY (Ro: his vehicles, Kai: her stuffies and teapot) and then the “general” toys. I don’t know the right word for it….but the “themed” toys, for imagination/creative play. So the art stuff, tools and instruments and of course the blocks had to stay. I notice that they spend the longest time with those types of toys. The blinking beeping interactive toys don’t keep them entertained as long….and I noticed Ro already finds them limiting it seems. (The only exception is the ipad. We use ABC Mouse on that thing…and there is SOOOO much to do with it. Totally worth the money if you are looking into it – Use the coupon for 2 years at $99 total….but I digress….)

I wanted to have the playroom feel good again. Get the chi right, know what I mean? And by having only the things that the kids seem to cherish would be a step toward that. Also, when the random toys are strewn around the house, it’s still something that is loved and often played with, so it doesn’t stay stranded on my bedroom floor, or on the couch for very long.

And as for the kids’ attitudes, I wanted them to be just as happy with less “stuff.”




What Happened:

The kids didn’t care at all.  Seriously… they didn’t give a damn. We barely had a conversation about it.

Here goes Ro:

Rohan: Mommy you took all my toys out!

Me: I did. I took you and Kaya’s toys out.

Rohan: When?  (note: I swear he was going to ask me why….but…)

Me: Yesterday when you were at Auntie Pam’s.

Rohan: Like a secret agent?

Me: ….yes.

Rohan: On a secret mission?!

Me: Yes!

Rohan: You kept my vehicles!

Me: Of course.

Rohan: Good idea.

That’s it. No further conversation. No asking for toys that disappeared.  Kaya only plays mostly with her bunny, teapot and doc mcstuffins so she didn’t care at all.

The kids play longer with the toys they have left. They stay playing in the playroom for longer stretches. It’s impossible for the floor to get covered in toys now (unless they rip all the books out of the book chest) so they lay around playing and building together for extra time.

The kids play with each other and nothing else more often. I caught them a few moments ago just talking laughing spinning around and rolling on the floor like two happy drunks. They spend more time on the “tag” type games or just laying on top of each other laughing and talking.

They ask for their outside toys more. I didn’t expect that. They have fewer inside toys to run through each day I guess so they ask to go out on the playground or the patio, or ride their bikes/trikes more often. And over the last week when I’ve offered crayons (which usually is met with squeals and shrieks of joy) they’re countering with asking to go on the patio and use the sidewalk chalk instead. ::shrug::

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What I thought would happen, but didn’t: (lol)

I thought the kids would take better care of their remaining toys.   NOT! They still throw them around and leave them in random places like the little honey badgers that they are.

I thought they’d fight a little less. False. They still “mine! mine! mine!” until I want to punt them through the window…. Just not over toys as much. .. It’s over… every. single. other. thing. in. the. world. (They fought over a piece of fuzz from a slipper earlier today.)

Overall:

Best decision ever. For the sanity saving extra minutes of quiet play, and the lack of mess. I think as they get older it’ll be even more of a benefit. We plan to swap out toys as they grow. Kai’s birthday is coming up and I’m going to request that any items she’s gifted fall into the “kept” category above.

Have you ever considered tossing your kids toys out?

Apropos of nothing: CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE OKDANI READER SURVEY!! Thanks!

threw out kids toys pin

How We Are Simplifying Our Lives, Bit by Bit

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I mentioned yesterday that I would be paring down considerably before John, Roeybear and I move to our new space. It comes at a perfect time as a great way to start off the new year and bring a better energy into the new apartment.

I read a few books and blogs on paring down, decluttering and simplifying, and while some are a bit more extreme than I will ever be (So not going minimalist) I’m really inspired by them. One blog has really helped to shift me into this mindset: Living Well, Spending Less. This mom pared her closet down to just 40 hangers, and took away all of her kids toys. Extreme? Yes. Will I do that? Hayle No. But it’s inspiring to me. And John’s fully on board!

Having less will simplify our lives by:

  • lessening the amount of “stuff” to maintain, clean and store
  • offering less choice (which saves time and mental stress), and
  • keeping energy flowing more freely through our space.

We’re trying to get as much done as possible before the move, but will re-evaluate after we’re in the new space. Here’s our plan so far:

TOYS

I’ve never wanted my kids to have a huge playroom filled with toys. I know this symbolizes abundance to some, and that’s cool if that’s you, but for my kids I want them to have a decent amount of creative toys that allow for imagination and learning over just entertainment. Too soon they’re gunna want to be in front of a computer screen instead 🙁

I’ve already bagged up tons of annoying little plastic blinking pieces. For Rohan I am only keeping:

  • his favorite few stuffed animals
  • his books (all)
  • two sets of blocks
  • cars/trucks/trains/planes
  • music supplies
  • doctor kit
  • easel and art supplies.

For BabyH2.0 we’re keeping:

  • a few of Rohan’s old developmental toys
  • Sophie of course
  • a stacking toy
  • a few soft stuffed animals
  • a play gym for tummy time
  • a couple of rattles.

A few toys will go over to my parents’ house to have on hand for them, and everything else is going to Goodwill.

CLOTHES

John’s going through his clothes and is prepared to give a bunch to goodwill. I’ve done this recently, but am going to pare down even more drastically. Keeping only what I love, and could fit before getting pregnant with baby 2. No “goal” items.

A lot more of my 9-5 suiting is going to bite the dust too. I’m intending to never need to go back to a 9-5 life and need those clothes, but if I ever have to, I’ll purchase new items on a small scale when the time comes.

I rewear the same few jeans yet I have a million of em, and am home most of the time anyway in leggings or yoga pants so what’s the point of an expansive wardrobe?

I’m vowing not to shop for clothing for myself until Black Friday 2014. Think I can make it? (Yeah…me neither, lol but I’m gunna try, dammit!)

Rohan’s outgrown clothes will go to my friend’s son Akir, who is turning 1 soon. I’m not even gunna front and pretend that BabyH2.0 is going to have a small wardrobe…but I’ll be sure to get rid of the items she outgrows quickly to keep more open space.

STUFF

I’m doing something that hurts my heart, and I’m going to sell my large lighting kit from my photography days. I’ll likely end up buying a small one for $40 or so on Amazon later in the year or in 2015. I’m selling some of Rohan’s goods and giving away tons of books, small appliances, kitchenware, textiles and nicknacks. (this is a BIG deal)

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I’m actually really excited to have a lot less on my list of belongings. Back when the house connected to ours had that fire and we had to evacuate, I realized that I cared very little for anything I own. My computer, camera, engagement ring, and my aunt Shirley’s sunglasses were all I really wanted to pack. What truly mattered was Rohan and John.

Moving into a new space only with items that I love and use frequently, and things that bring beauty/comfort without adding clutter (meaning: photos and artwork for the walls, but not nicknacks on surfaces) is an awesome way to start 2014. And an awesome way to start a new chapter in our family’s life.

Have you done a drastic paring down of your belongings?

Have you ever taken away (all of) your kids’ toys?

Any clearing out ideas/tips for me?