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House & Home

Embrace the mess.

One of the questions I get most often is how we handle kids toys everywhere & where we store things. Let me preface this by saying I am a pretty messy mom. If you saw my closet vs. Brandon’s closet, my side of the sink vs. his, or the inside of my van vs. his truck, you would never know we were even the same species. Opposites attract, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ย But at the end of the day, we want to teach our kids how to take care of their things while still having fun, and of course we do appreciate the house looking like a home instead of a toy store.

So I am sharing five ways that we keep the toy clutter under control & keep a (semi) organizedย home with toddlers running around.

1. Get rid of toys often, or at least put them on rotation. I am not even sure how we accumulate so many things in the first place, kids meal toys, things the kids bring home from grandmas, and a birthday or holiday every other minute that lands them with a new doll and puzzle, toys get out out of control fast. We make routine trips to goodwill to get rid of things, once a month at least, with clothes we don’t wear or the girls have outgrown, toys they don’t play with or other things around the house taking up space. ย It’s hard with three kids of different ages developmentally, while we want to hold on to baby toys, the reality is Claire never touches them and really only wants what the big girls have (or a snack) so we try to be realistic about it. The other thing we do is keep rubbermaids on hand to rotate toys, things like their magna doodles, puzzles or noisy alphabetical alligators on a pull string (what even is this toy and it’s purpose?) will go in a tub, and every few weeks, we will switch it for other things. It makes their toys new again & leaves less to pick up daily.

2.ย Baskets are the answer to pretty much everything when it comes to toy storage for us. A couple baskets in the play room, in each of the girls rooms & in our upstairs media room keep all of the toys under control. It is super easy to just throw everything in baskets if we have guests coming over and you hardly even notice the toys. It takes no more than ten minutes to throw things in baskets. I prefer baskets from Target, Home Goods, etc. that fit with our home decor rather than kids toy baskets or boxes, an easy way to keep things looking tidy!

3.ย Make use of non-traditional toy storage. We park the girls baby doll strollers in our shoe closet, keep all of their crayons & art supplies in drawers,ย and keep puzzles in the bottom drawers of our night stands. Finding an actual place for things is half the battle. PS. Play kitchens are a dream because they hide so many toys!

4.ย Make it a routine for kids to pick up toys. I’ll be honest, this is hard, sometimes it is way easier just to leave them rather than deal with the whining and crying about picking up. But after just a few nights of doing it routinely before their wind-down-before-bed movie, they usually do it without being asked. We usually tell them we are going to play a song and we have to hurry to pick up all the toys before it’s over, and our goal is at least for them to get all of their toys out of the other rooms and put in the playroom, even if they don’t put everything where it actually goes.

5.ย Embrace the mess. Something we have to remind ourselves of often is that one day, we will miss this mess. We will miss finding goldfish in the couch cushions, stepping on doll house furniture and legos, and seeing little crumples of paper with your kids names scribbled on them in every room of the house. I don’t mind a basket full of doll clothes sitting next to my bed & I love a good pile of kids books on the coffee table. If you stop seeing it as a mess, it will no longerย feel like one.

I hope this is helpful, and if you have any tips & tricks to share, we would love to hear them! Happy weekend, friends! XO

Creating a Gallery Wall

It’s no secret that I love a good gallery wall, collecting art is my favorite & it is so fun to piece them all together to create a beautiful display. I would have gallery walls in every room of our house if I could, and to be honest, I just might at some point!!

Just before the holidays, we finished the gallery wall surrounding our TV that I had been dreaming up since we moved in. In our last house, we had our TV mounted above the fireplace, so I was hoping that by adding a gallery wall around our television we would make it feel like a piece of art instead of an eyesore. This is one of my favorite walls in the house now, and I have every intention of changing up the artwork in our frames over time!

A lot of you have asked about putting a gallery wall together, so I thought I would share a few tips for creating a well thought out look.

  1. Plan everything out by laying all of your art on the floor in different arrangements. Take pictures, then rearrange them. This gives you a chance to take a step back and see them how they will look on your wall. Keep doing this until you find the combination you love most!
  2. Mix & match your art and frame styles, but keep the matting and spacing consistent. This will make the gallery wall feel cohesive & intentional.
  3. Start with your largest piece first, work your way out. No need to make it symmetrical, but balance the pieces by spacing out darker prints or frames, and mixing in some white to not make it feel too heavy. Avoid too many small frames without larger ones to anchor it.

We partnered withย Framebridge for all of this artwork & I could not have been happier with the way it all turned out. Their entire process is seamless, I was so impressed with every single detail & seriously cannot wait to use them again!! My favorite thing is that you can upload your own artwork or digital files, they will print & frame them, and ship them to you in a matter of days! The quality also cannot be topped, they came with everything you need to mount them & it was so easy that I literally hung this entire wall myself while the girls were napping!! Hence my sub-par photography skills as I propped my camera up on a makeshift tripod using an end table stacked on top of a coffee table. ๐Ÿ˜‰

You can save 15% off your first Framebridge piece with code garvinandco15!

I hope this answers some of your questions for building your gallery walls, our next one will be going up the back stairwell with family photos & I am so excited to get started! Happy framing!!! XO

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Built In Bookshelves + Inspiration

Happy Friday, friends! It certainly feels like it has been a long week getting back into our regular routine after the holidays, the girls are back to school today after Winter break which is bittersweet. We are expecting to get snow here this weekend, and we could not be more excited!!! It seems like we get one snowfall each year, and it is something we hope for & look forward to so much!! The girls have their hats & mittens ready by the back door, patiently waiting for Saturday morning. This is exactly how I hope to spend our weekend, putting everything on hold to see the snow fall & finding just one more excuse to make hot chocolate.

One of our projects for the weekend is to finish up our built ins! Since we have moved in, they’ve basically been a junk-drawer on display, so I am so excited to finally have some storage below and some shelves to decorate! I wanted to share the progress pictures to show what we have done to them & how they are looking today. They felt a little out of place since they didn’t go all the way to the ceiling, and the trim felt unfinished. The existing structure was in good shape but the shelves were not, so we took most of those out, and had our carpenter come in and add some simple, clean trim work, add new shelves & build some custom cabinets for the bottom.

Brandon & I then filled all of the existing holes from the old shelves (hard to see them here because they were small, but there were approximately 200 holes!), sanded & primed. We still need to caulk some of the gaps, then we are ready to paint & add hardware! I also want to add a library ladder, I bought one at a thrift store before we even moved in but realized once these were built that my ladder is about a foot too short, so we will be on the lookout for another one! All of these updates have made such a difference & I can’t wait to share finished photos with you soon!

PS. How cute is this metallic woven basket?

ย I wanted to share a few of my favorite inspiration pictures for built in bookshelves, and although I am about a thousand books short of ever achieving these looks, they’ve definitely given me some ideas!

1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Cheers to finishing our first project of 2017 and BRING ON THE SNOW!!! XO