But Where Does It All Go?

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One of my readers left an interesting comment on a photo on my Facebook page a while back. The photo was of one of my kids’ rooms, and it was a ‘blog worthy’ pic – you know the kind. Taken after a Room Reveal post, when everything’s clean and perfect.

She asked me – But where does it all go? All the stuff. The trophies, the artwork, the stuffed animals. My kids have so many special things that they love to have out, and I’m just wondering where your kids keep it all?

And I told her that while I have a couple tricks up my sleeve, for the most part, it’s there.

Sure, I try to buy cute containers and baskets…

…give them bulletin boards and clipboards to contain it all…

…and as you can clearly see, it doesn’t work! Ha! Seriously, the fact of the matter is: (as evidenced in the photos above), the pictures you see after a Room Reveal are not real life. They are pretty and lovely and taken RIGHT AFTER the room is done. Once my kids live in these rooms a while, they bring their personality to these spaces and make them their own. Sure, there’s pretty stuff there, but there’s also life. They become rooms that tell the story of who lives there. And I love that.

The drawings taped to the wall, the fish tanks, the posters, the messy desks, the overflowing book baskets…I’ve grown to find so much beauty in them.

The shelves that I styled for the Room Reveal, that held just a few decorative items, now speak to the sweet girl who calls this her haven.

The Rubix cube, the graduation class picture, the art projects, heck, even the Pez dispenser, are the things that make me smile.

Now, I can’t sit here and tell you I always have this attitude towards their stuff. That would definitely be a lie. Clutter makes me anxious and crazy, so I do have a couple tips that help keep me from losing it.

-Donate and purge regularly. The key is REGULARLY here, friends. When the kids rooms get to the point where it’s realllly bad and out of control, we have a day where everyone looks for stuff to give away – we keep things happy and light, turn on the music, and I bounce from room to room helping them while they clean. They get a bag for donating and a bag for trash. When all the rooms are done, they always say how good it feels to have order and know where things are and vow to never let their rooms get that way again. HA! If only that were true. They inevitably do. Over. And over. And over again. Which I think is why it’s so important to do this regularly, otherwise we’d be drowning in old papers and dirty laundry all the live long day. I can deal with messy rooms to a point. I really can. I understand these are their rooms, pick your battles and all that stuff. But after it just gets completely out of control, I gotta reel ’em back in. And this time of year is a great incentive because it’s a) the season of giving – think of all those less fortunate that would love this stuff that isn’t being played with or used here anymore and b) gotta make room for Christmas presents – that always does the trick! I think donating creates compassionate kids, and encouraging that whenever possible is a good thing. And do it yourself, too. Actions speak so much louder than words. When they see you frequently going through the house to get a bag or two to donate, they’ll be more likely to go with it. Plus, it sparks important conversation.

-Of course, baskets and cute containers help, but sometimes, put it all on display! Shelves of course, are great, but other things can show off their stuff too. Like this little red truck in my son’s room holds his baseball cards…

And this ladder I DIY-ed shows off doll clothes in my daughter’s room…

I ordered these cute hangers on Amazon (affiliate link here-10 WHITE DOLL HANGERS FOR 18 INCH AMERICAN GIRL DOLLS ) and they are perfect! Her room is just one giant doll house extravaganza, so it’s not only cute, but completely functional.

I have one of those plastic shoe hangers on the back of her door for all her other doll accessories. Forgot to take a pic! But those things are so great for organizing little things like that – and are only like $5 or something!

The bottom line is this:

When I see these drawings taped to their wall, and the trophies sitting on the dressers – no, it may not go with the decor – but I think back to when my husband and I moved into this house, just the two of us. And I dreamed of a day where all three of our extra bedrooms would hold precious babies. And now they do.

And there will come a day where I’d give anything to see matchbox cars in a glass lamp, a little baseball glove on a nightstand, and Lionel Messi poster taped to the wall.

For now, I’ll continue to post the pretty pictures after their rooms are brand new, and then let them have at it. So when the rooms are empty, I will smile at what was here before, knowing we let them create their own little sweet spaces. Where they grew up happily and loved, surrounded by all their favorite things.

So when I’m asked where the stuff goes, the answer is it doesn’t go anywhere. It’s all around, because as I’ve learned, the real beauty lies right there in the midst of it all.




  1. Kim Watson says:

    I love this so much! ❤️ This is life. I could use some room for balance in this area. I tend to be more on the super organized mom side of things. So maybe just maybe I need to dial it back a bit. Thanks for inspiring me to challenge myself! ❤️

  2. I always appreciate a reality check! My kids are pack rats, and I’m REALLY not, so it’s hard to find a balance.

  3. Really love this! So thought provoking and beautifully said. Great reminder for us moms in the same cluttered trenches. ❤️ Thank you!!

  4. Thank you for keeping it real! Being able to pause, step back and find joy in the chaos…THAT’s living!

  5. Jen Smith says:

    Love this!! Where did you find the gorgeous white and gold chair for your daighter’s room? Thanks!

  6. Love you and this blog makes me happy!

  7. This is just what i needed to read today. Thank you for sharing your real life pics!! And where did you get your cute mugs?? I really need that “calm” one!

  8. Deena Cate says:

    Oh my goodness the last picture reminded me so much of when my girls were younger & they’d bring out all their stuffed animals into the living room to watch a movie… ❤️

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