Saturday, February 6, 2010

Notebook Rack

My husband writes a lot. He writes stories, essay, and articles. It is his primary hobby. Thus, Daniel and Bobby write a lot as well.

The writing usually happens on the couch.

For a while, there was no designated spot for their notebooks. They would land on any surface in the living room, and stay there until used again. I set up a basket near where Dan's notebook would usually end up. This solved half of the problem, but Daniel couldn't reach it to put his and Bobby's notebook in.

Finally, I came to this solution. This is a magazine holder that was my Grampa's. Putting it right next the couch (the black thing behind the magazine rack) makes putting the notebooks away effortless.

It would take more effort to put the notebooks in the wrong place than in the right place.

That is my primary organizing focus, to have a self-cleaning home, where everything belongs where people naturally put it. I'm not 100% there yet, but I'm getting closer all the time. Of course, when I do get there, it will be time to move to a new place.

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36 comments:

Our Family Is His said...

I am a huge fan of organizing your home so that life is simpler. I can't afford, emotionally or mentally, to have a cluttered or unorganized home right now. I have too much happening in our lives to deal with the little things (picking up things that could so easily go in their place with less effort than going in the wrong place). I am not where I want to be yet with organization, but I am quickly getting there.

Our Family Is His said...

I meant to put this in my first comment but got attacked by the "can't remember to put one foot in front of the other" memory fade. Sigh. How is Daniel? What did his doctor say at his follow-ups? Did she/he think they might have more insight into why he had his issue a bit ago? That must be very scary not knowing what caused your son to slip into a coma. Praying it never happens again.

strivingforasimplelife said...

What a great idea!

I always leave my notebooks around the house. I never thought to use a magazine holder to store them. I'll have to keep my eye out for one at a yard sale or thrift store.

Stephanie

Emily said...

Our Family, there is no new insight into what happened. They are not really looking anymore. I don't know what more I can do, as they insist they have run every test concievable. Thank you for your prayers.

RB said...

Why is it that we get so attached to the original intent of a product that we forget to get creative and make it work for OUR needs?

Now I'm looking through my house with new eyes!

Simple, yet brilliant.

dust in the wind said...

"a self cleaning home, where everything belongs where people naturally put it." Wow. I need to think about that! Maybe if I looked around my house with that in mind I could make life a little easier... Thanks!

dustin, from www.onlydustinthewind.blogspot.com

myhandsarefull said...

This is not a storage solution, nor should it be deemed a "post". Come on now- so you put your notebooks in a magazine rack next to your couch. You've been reaching with your last few posts.

You're slipping, Em. :(

Susan said...

'A place for everything and everything in its place.'
When I started using that mantra my house magically started cleaning itself.
It's only when something new comes into the house that I can get stuck. Then, put it near where it will be used.
Bless you and your family,

Penniless Parenting said...

I like the magazine rack!
We keep our notebooks under our fish tank.

www.PennilessParenting.com

The Saved Quarter said...

I like your grandpa's magazine rack! Very cute!

We do not have a "self cleaning house" but I did get the messy desk I posted on the blog earlier this week cleaned up and it took WAY less time than I expected! I posted "after" pictures of the desk if you want to check it out. :)

Jennifer said...

Hi, I've been reading here for a while now, but haven't commented...not even sure why. But I couldn't help it this time. First of all Emily, I enjoy reading your blog. As some others have stated, I don't necessarily agree with everything, but haven't found a blog yet that I do! So what...I still enjoy reading.
What I don't understand is the people who have nothing better to do than attack you. If they don't like what you are doing, why on earth are they reading!
The comment from "Myhandsarefull" (which I really don't understand why people are making up names and linking to bogus places...that's still a coward's way of leaving a comment) is what made me decide to comment today. Um...using a magazine rack is a storage solution! It may not be something new or ingenious, but it still is a solution. And who decides what deems something worthy of a post? It's Emily's blog and she can post whatever she feels like! There are no rules! If you, "myhandsarefull" can do better...then write your OWN blog! Good grief...leave her alone!
Sorry Emily...I'm not trying to stir the pot or anything, and you can certainly choose not to post this if you don't want something stirred up, but I'm sick and tired of people with nothing better to do than criticize others. It's a shameful waste of time and very ridiculous!
Stepping off my soap box now!!!

Domestic Goddess said...

I like it! I don't think it is reaching at all. It works for you, that's all that matters.
We have baskets to house our magazines (for cutting up for school projects and more), dog toys, baby toys, my son's music therapy toys, etc. They are more attractive than plastic bins and make the room look cleaner. This way, the kids know where to PUT things. I even have baskets in the family room and playroom for blankets, isntead of piling them up on an end table or on the couch.

Our Family Is His said...

Myhandsarefull, or whoever you are, it IS a storage solution. Many people put magazines in a magazine rack. But those that don't use them much often never think of something outside the box to do with them. BUT, many of us have children that have notebooks, coloring books, colors, and so on that this would work very well for. If you don't personally like the idea, don't use it in your home. But if this is the only beef you have with Emily, you really are nitpicking.

Anonymous said...

Yawn!!! I'm about to stop reading this blog....

Emily said...

myhands and anon, I'll step in here and say it's Saturday. Most bloggers don't post anything on Saturday. I pick an easy topic, Storage Solutions and give myself a break. If you don't like it, go read one of the blogs that has nothing new for you to read today.

Licia Augusta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I think that is an awesome solution that works for your family :) And what a way to do it, using a family heirloom that belonged to your grandfather, that is resourceful and meaningful at the same time.

Great idea :)

Mom in Canada

Anonymous said...

Okay, I hate to be off-topic, but since someone else asked....

Emily, if the doctors are telling you that they can't do any more tests, then you should consider getting a second opinion. Would it be possible to come to Boston to see some specialists at Children's Hospital?

Is Daniel still getting physical therapy and speech therapy? What did the Mayo clinic say?

Your post might be on the obvious side, but you make a good point. When items don't have a home, it leads to clutter. I feel so much calmer when my home is not cluttered.

mysticpi said...

"to have a self-cleaning home, where everything belongs where people naturally put it"

I think this sentence alone makes this post very worthwhile and inspiring. I'm going to have to get rid of a bunch of stuff before I can find places for everything!

crabcakes said...

wow, my hands are full...

If all I was after spending a week with my child in the hospital was "slippy in my blog posting", I'd be grateful.

hickchick said...

If only my kitchen were self cleaning...

Sue said...

How are your 3 and 1(?) year olds able to write?

Emily said...

Sue, they play write. They fill the lines with scribbles, and write between the margins. Daniel indents new "paragraphs" and ends each paragraph with a period. Daniel's "letters" are getting closer and closer to looking like real letters, but Bobby's aren't even close.

Victoria said...

I need to find something that I can put my current knitting project in without worrying about losing a stitch.

I made a wine rack into a magazine rack for the little bathroom. I don't know what made me buy a wine rack in the first place--I don't even drink wine. I guess I thought I was being "sophisticated". But since I spent money on it, I didn't want to throw it away. It is fun to look around your house and find an alternative use.

Self cleaning? I never heard of a house being self cleaning, but I like concept.

Keep up the creativity, Emily!

AT said...

"I never heard of a house being self cleaning"

I have! Invented by a woman, naturally.

"Son of Carwash, the Self-Cleaning House"

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/17/garden/son-of-carwash-the-self-cleaning-house.html?pagewanted=1

chickennon said...

Okay, this one I might have to steal. I am an inveterate doodler, and even with room for a desk (which I don't always have, depending on where I'm living) things wind up all over. I think the point needs to be made again that y'all's house is, by most commentator's standards, ridiculously small. There might not be room for everyone to have a writing desk; this is a nice solution.

K said...

I think the boys writing to emulate Dan is totally adorable!
I like your storage solution, especially because it's meaningful since it was your grandfather's. I know when I have items like that, I think of that person each time I see them or use them - I love being surrounded by reminders of people and love!

heather said...

about little ones and "writing"... anyone who wonders how children that young can fill up a notebook must not spend a lot of time around children. my girls were filling up their "journals" and "work notebooks" before they were filling up the potty so to speak. they have and still do love to write, doodle and draw. we have tons of notebooks and notepads with the pages filled up. and my gosh we better not get caught throwing one away!

i think it starts out as mysterious stuff appearing on paper. then progresses to them wanting to copy what their parents do. before my girls were old enough to really write and then write in cursive they loved to fill the lines with scribbles that looked like cursive writing to them, just like your boys do. now they are able to write the "real thing". both have many journals.

an idea for when your boys are a bit older...start a journal with them that you can write back and forth in. i started that when i was sick and away in the hospital or during chemo weeks when the girls stayed with my parents. we still use them now and i've found that it often helps them work out problems they may be having at school or with friends. sometimes it's easier for them to write it out instead of talking about it. other times we offer lots of love and compliments back and forth and cute little pictures. and it's good practice for all things writing related!

i love the idea of a self cleaning house. we are pretty cramped for space and like to have our "stuff". unfortunately, stuff leads to clutter which leads to messes, etc. one of my current projects is to find a place for everything and put everything in it's place.

bewordy said...

Emily, I would love it if you could write more posts about how you put together a self-cleaning home. That concept really resonated with me and my cluttery apartment.

This is something I'm constantly battling...stuff just piles up and never seems to have a place. I would really be interested to hear more of your insights. I need help!! :)

I'm Lori...and maybe I'm you, too. said...

Because I am a reporter, my house is full of notebooks. My son is just 25mo, but he loves to pick up my notebooks and do what Mama does. It's hysterical to watch him try and stick his phone under his shoulder and write at the same time. Kids absolutely model what they see.

However, the notebook rack? Yeah, that just would not be functional in our house. Sorry, but for us, that wouldn't be a storage solution. That would be an empty thing sitting there taking up space while my kid spread the books around the floor. And I don't know any other writers who would feel comfortable keeping their work in hands reach of their children. (The notebooks Joseph uses are ones I've finished. The way I take notes, only one side of the paper gets used, so giving them to him to write on is actually a great use for me.)

Catherine said...

I think it is a great idea. Of course I find that my kids who will step over a bag of garbage directly in their path instead of taking it outside, would somehow find someplace else to put their notebooks. However, it just gives them less of an excuse.

I am a "bag lady" myself. I store my projects in pretty bags that I buy on the cheap that catch my eye. I love bags , and it is one way I can keep some of my stuff together.

Some other things that help keep things close. Trash bags under the main garbage bag in the trash can. Store extra sheets under the mattress. Shoe rack near the back door where we nearly always enter the house. Cleaning material in kitchen and bathroom so it's right there.

The advantage of your small space is that you don't need multiple locations of lots of things as I do in a large house since you are steps away from anything. In our case, we have found that one central location for, say cleaning supplies, leads to less clean up when someone just doesn't go to get the supplies whereas if the stuff is right there, the likelihood of using it, and putting it away is higher.

Simple in France said...

Emily, your idea of putting the recepticals where clutter accumulates is one of the fundamental points to keeping a small space clean with multiple inhabitants. When I'm organizing my parents' house, this is exactly what I do and I do the same for DH. It makes a huge difference and it's kind of surprising that many people don't think about it.

CappuccinoLife said...

lol. I love how a magazine rack becomes a point of contention for some. Honestly, folks.

I wouldn't know what to do with a magazine rack if someone gave me one. We don't have that many magazines lying around, and we usually read them once, and either save the good ones or throw them out. I think that's a neat way to use it, for your particular family with the particular way you do things. Good for you Emily!

My kids don't have notebooks, but I'm sure they'd quickly fill up many if they got into the habit of using them. My oldest loves to draw and make up poetry. My younger two love to practice "writing". Every once in a while a real letter will show up in their scribbles, but mostly they just *think* they're writing. :D

Anna said...

Emily,
I'm wondering what your thoughts are on freeganism. I'm sure you've heard about it in frugal circles and would love to know your feelings on those principles.

thanks and keep blogging!
Anna

Emily said...

Anna, yes, I love freeganism. I think it's not the right choice for me with kids, but the fact such a movement exists is such a profound statement of the overconsumptive nature of our society. Some call them mooching, but I think most all freegans would be perfectly happy if Americans threw away less and they had to change their lifestyle. There are a lot of practical applications of freeganism, like trash picking and taking items from free piles and freecycle.

Organizing Mommy said...

We have a policy at our house, once you go through a ream of paper, you are officially an "artist".. (for the little ones).. I think our older kids have enjoyed writing, drawing, and school in general since we let them explore with "writing" so much when they were little. It's so fun to watch them grow up!

Even the solution for organizing was relatively simple (put a rack where all the papers go), the thought behind it is profound.

Problem: papers everywhere.. no one knows what to do with them

Solution: need a place nearby that is "obvious" even to the little ones where they go.

Now other people may have gone out to buy something special, and you used frugal principles and created a stylish solution. If we were apply those same principles to every area of the house, we'd have a beautiful, organized home. Good job!

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