The first of the year always gets me in the mood for getting organized around here. One area that has been driving me nuts is our toy organizer. It is in our living room because that is where the kids play but it needs to be organized and look nice when it is cleaned up - which it has not lately!
Here is what the organizer looked like last week! How embarrassing - what a mess!
I have been wanting to make some sort of tags to label the baskets so there would be no confusion as to where the toys went when it was time to clean up.
I decided to just use whatever supplies that I had on hand and not spend any money on these tags. And here is what I came up with and the finished organized unit with all the toys in their proper places! With the exception of a few Thomas trains that I took to the garage, all the same toys are in this space as were in the first messy picture - just without the mess!
Here is how I made the tags:
I had several cardboard boxes around from Christmas shipping and so I decided that that would make a good base for the tag. I would then cover it with brown paper - from the back of a used grocery sack and then make a decorative layer from black paper and print the label on the computer.
We've all been sick the past week and I didn't feel like doing much so I decided this was the perfect time to work on this project. So I got out my scrapbooking stuff on Saturday afternoon while everyone was napping and planted myself on the sofa - I turned on the PBS cooking and craft shows and had a good time making the tags!
First I decided what size the tags should be and made a pattern to trace. I then cut out all my cardboard bases.
I also cut out plain brown paper - the same size to cover the base. I have a small scrapbook paper cutter - so that helped me to get nice even edges - but scissors would work too.
I glued this to the base with a glue stick.
I then determined the size of the black decorative layer. I cut the ends with some scrapbooking scissors that I had on hand. To make the ends a mirror image of one another (like the black one in the picture above) cut one end and then turn the tag as if you were turning a page and cut the other side - so you will cut one side with the front facing you and the other side with the back facing you with the top always up - this will give you a mirror image if you are using a pattern. I then glued this piece to the bottom 2 layers.
Next, I determined the size of the printing label I wanted and made them on the computer. I just printed them and cut them smaller - but in the same pattern as the previous layer. I then glued this to the tag.
After that, I punched 4 holes to attach the tags. I put the holes through all the layers so that none of the layers would fall off.
I attached the labels to the bags with some leather type string that I had from a previous "Davy Crockett" project. Twine would have been really cute too!
The labels that I put on the door and the drawers I did not attach to a cardboard backing and I just attached them to the unit with scrapbooking mounting squares.
Of course, the first thing my 2 year old did the next day was to smear one of the tags - I then realized that they would have to be covered with laminate. I had some on hand so I cut some pieces and covered the labels. I would suggest that you cover the whole printed label before you attach it to the tag - that would look better than adding it later.
Also, if you have nice handwriting - which I do not - you could just write on the black label with a white permanent pen and it would be smear proof!
I few suggestions I would pass on from this project.
#1 - Cut the cardboard the same direction. One mistake I made was I did not cut all my cardboard in the same direction - I don't think it is noticeable - but I know it.
#2 Use basic colors that can be replaced if you need a new tag. I was tempted to use some cute scrapbook paper - but then I realized if one of the kids ruined a tag - or I needed a new label that this might be a problem. So that is why I stick with the plain brown and black.
#3 Laminate the tags or they will get ruined by sticky fingers!
#4 Put clothes back on your 2 year old's baby dolls before taking pictures of toys (see picture 2) - sorry!
I hope to have some more organizing projects for the new year!
I have had questions from some of you about where I got this unit. I bought it about a year ago from Target.com. Here is a link to the unit and here is a link to additional items you can add to the unit.
The small baskets came from Wal-mart and the large baskets are from Michaels - I found them on the clearance rack.