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Pumpkins One, Two, and Three (and Me)

when I started the blog...

and a few years in...

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Entries in organization (2)


Stick 'em up.


The other day, I was over at a friend's house for a playdate and I noticed that she had labeled many household items to encourage her budding reader.  It reminded me of a couple of years ago when Max started reading and our house was also covered in tape and index cards.  But as I began taping up cards for Leo, littlest pumpkin Will followed behind me, collecting the cards as fast as I could put them up.  Or worse, he would move them and I wouldn't notice until I heard Max saying, "mom, why is the 'door' labeled 'potty'?" 

I needed a new plan.  I didn't love the index cards anyways--with three boys, you can probably guess how yucked up they got.  But unless you also have three boys--and incidentally, if you do, could we please start a group or something?--you probably don't know how fast they got yucked up.  Well, it's fast.  Like, by dinnertime the day I put them up fast.  And I also didn't like how messy they all looked, flapping about.  But that's probably just at my house due to the constant wind tunnel from the racing track an open floor plan apparently encourages.  Don't get me started.

In a perfect world, I wanted to print on something because my hand writing would in no way encourage reading--squinting, yes; reading, no.  I also wanted labels that would stay up, be wipeable, removable, and repositionable.  Yes, I ask for a lot.  I had some vinyl and tried to print on it, but four paper jams later I discovered that the ink never completely dries on it.  Smear city was less than ideal.

Eventually, I did just hand write the words, but I traced a nice font.  I then topped it with more vinyl for extra durability.  I trimmed them down and played a game with the older boys:  they drew a label, had to read it, then stuck them up. 

They stick everywhere and stay put, even on a porcelain sink.  And yet they are removeable without any residue.  And you can wipe right over them.  And if a little munchkin happens to pull them up, they go right back as they are repositionable.  Nice.


  • Clear/transparent vinyl (I used clear Con-Tact paper)
  • Print-out of words in an easy-to-read font (unless you have nice penmanship, in which case I'm jealous)
  • Permanent marker/paint marker in dark and light (use the light color for labels for dark furniture)
  • Scissors


Decide what items you want to label and print out your words. 

Top your word sheet with your vinyl, leaving the backing on, and trace your words, using a dark or light marker.

Top you labels with another sheet of vinyl.

I like to trim close to the lettering to make the label less obvious.  Peel the backing and label away!

I also like to use the labels to encourage sorting, e.g. clothing labels for drawers or toy labels on bins.  And for our youngest, I draw pictures instead of words.  Let me know if you give it a go.


Art organization.


If you are like me, you cherish your children's artwork but struggle with the sheer quantity that accumulates.  At the end of the year we try to file away special pieces--each child has his own flat storage box that keeps things sorted and safe until later.  And by later I mean until they are in their 30s and I'm pestering them to clear out their rooms because their dad and I are downsizing in our retirement.  And we're buying a fabo townhouse in the city!  Where we'll walk to everything!!  And we won't need much space because we'll be out and about traveling and visiting our kid's kids!!!  And we'll.....oh, wait.   

Back to a mountain of art, bless their little creative hearts.  Before the purge, this is where a lot of the artwork lives.


I'm sure you've seen it before.  It's a couple of affordable curtain rods (mine are from Ikea) and curtain clips, hung on a wall in our basement play room.  And just so you know, I fought every fiber of my perfectionist-being to not sort that rod and instead shoot a picture of its jumbled reality.  As you can see, you can fit a ton on there and there are some favorites that the boys have deemed evergreen, or appropriate for any season, that they will not let me take down.

Recently, I've seen some blog posts on additional art storage/display ideas, which have sparked some thoughts of my own.  But first I need to hit up some thrift stores, so my grand plans will have to sit until the smallest two munchkins start preschool and pre-K.  Which, in case you're counting, is in 7 days and 17 hours.  And yes, I'm a little freaked about baby Will starting preschool.