Keeping a house clean with a toddler is like world peace. It’s a nice idea, and something to strive for, but it just isn’t possible. My 2-year-old son Jack can tear apart a room in less than two minutes. The living room was so wrecked the other night, I thought my home was burglarized. I seriously walked around the house checking the sliding glass doors to make sure we weren’t broken into.

DVDS that were neatly stored in a cabinet were strewn everywhere like confetti. Random pieces to seemingly every toy he owned were sprinkled in a trail from the front door to the bedroom. And then there are the Matchbox car and Lego pieces spread across the floor like land mines so you can hobble yourself on the way to the kitchen to get a glass of water at midnight. I was never one to embrace order in my life, but now I crave some sort of less chaotic consistency in my daily routine. I feel like a lunatic constantly picking up and putting away the same objects every day. I am ready to admit, I am Joanie and my life has been overtaken by my son’s toys. It was time to call in help. I contacted some design and organization experts at my local IKEA store in Sunrise to help me kick off the New Year with no fear and more order.

Jenny Bencomo, who is a design furnishing consultant at IKEA said the secret to de-cluttering a kid-friendly home in the new year is to sort, store and purge.

“Early into the new year, we can get frustrated taking holiday decorations down and just throw them in a box, which is a huge mistake,” Bencomo said. “You must methodically put items away and if you haven’t used it in two seasons, really confront yourself and either throw it away or donate it to make room for new items.”

Bencomo also suggests color-coding holiday labels for boxes with seasonal decor. “IKEA also has some incredible, clear storage boxes in nine sizes,” Bencomo said. “When it comes to your child’s toys, you will want to apply the the same sort, store and purge rules. Children tend to get new toys during the holidays, so it’s important to sort through existing toys and donate what you can to children in need. It also teaches your children to let go and give back to others in need.”

Claudia Lascano, who is a mother to four boys and a marketing specialist for IKEA in Miami, also emphasizes the importance of adapting your storage needs according to what age the child is. “At IKEA, we’re very conscious of nonstop change in children’s and parents’ lives,” Lascano said. “We are about providing sensible solutions to suit your needs at the time. Reachable storage for children is great because it teaches them the importance of putting things away. For the younger children, we have toy boxes on castors so they can roll it into different rooms of the house when play time is over.”

Chantal Nichtawitz, a marketing specialist at IKEA Sunrise, also suggests hanging hooks for children to place their book bags on by the door and storage systems such as the Stuva system, which is customizable to suit family members of all ages. “Be mindful of all the potential storage areas you could be using, including under the bed storage systems,” Nichtawitz said. “Keep baskets around to hold items such as books. If you make getting organized like a game, everyone will want to play along.” 



I feel like we all have a pile of T-shirts in the bottom of our dresser drawers that can’t be discarded for a variety of reasons. Maybe it’s your high school football team T-shirt or a concert T-shirt from the millennium that no longer fits you, but you feel too nostalgic to throw it away. Project Repat provides a nifty solution for your T-shirts to be repurposed into various sized blankets. 

This clever concept, which was started by Nathan Rothstein and Ross Lohr, began when Lohr was in Kenya doing non-profit education work. He noticed a man with a vegetable rickshaw sporting a bar mitzvah T-shirt and he started to research the T-shirts that get sold and sent overseas. Project Repat was soon born. Lohr and Rothstein are now using Project Repat to bring textile jobs back to the United States. The blankets are available in lap size to king size styles. You simply select which size you want and what fleece color you want to base the blanket on. After you place your blanket order, the company sends you instructions on how to send your T-shirts, which will be used to make your blanket. Anything from T-shirts to sweatshirts or mesh jerseys can be utilized in the blanket design. The finished product is then mailed to you and you can literally wrap yourself up in your coziest memories. And your mom said you’d never do anything with that New Kids On The Block T-shirt from 1991! Blankets start at $74.99 and can be ordered on

Author: Joanie Cox-Henry

I am a professional writer and journalist with more than 14 years of industry experience. I am a mama, a fashion-lover, a beauty product fanatic and a caffeine queen. I want to put a dent in the universe, but I'll start with that crumb cake.

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