The Rumley Family

Loving Jesus, Loving Life

You asked for it!

Well, last time I posted pictures of what I thought was my super-messy house, I was told that it wasn’t really THAT bad…So, maybe the same is true for my basement. You be the judge…

Let me be your guide on this Tour O’ Mess.

This is what I see when I enter the basement from the stairs. In the foreground on the left are a bunch of toys that were put away neatly until I let the kids play by themselves downstairs one day. In the back left corner is an ever-growing pile of stuff that I plan to sell in a garage sale someday (hopefully this year). Just to the right of that is the green chair where Luke sits when I cut his hair, and the shop vac we use to clean up afterward. And to the right of that is a big ol’ pile of baby/kid stuff that we can’t get rid of yet. Clockwise toward the front again is a big pile that you shall see more clearly below.

Ah, THE PILE. This pile is basically everything that landed on my counter in the last six months and didn’t find a home upstairs. It got brought downstairs every time I was annoyed at the mess on the counter, and it grew into this monster that takes up all our playspace in the middle of the basement.

This is an area that will one day be a bedroom. It actually used to contain 99% of the stuff (i.e. junk) in the basement.

So, what next? In my dreams, I would buy $1000 worth of Sterlite containers and a filing system and work, work, work until it’s all organized properly. I’m thinking that’s probably not going to happen (the $1000 part, at least). But I do plan to spend some time this weekend just weeding through everything, trying to purge as much as possible.

Here are my questions for you…

1. If you have kids, what do you do with all your kids’ Sunday School papers and artwork? I have LOTS of material to work with, folks. Grace LOVES to color, and the two big kids both bring home multiple papers from church every week. What do you keep, what do you toss, and how do you keep the stuff that’s save-worthy?

2. Toys…Do you keep all your toys out / available all the time, or do you rotate? If you rotate, how do you organize them?

3. Papers…The bane of my existence. It’s easy for me to quickly recycle the obvious junk mail. (Like the cleaning service brochure that we receive periodically that claims, “Life is too short to clean your own home!” That always makes me shake my head and chuckle.) It’s all the other stuff that I have problems with…So, what is your system for not being overrun by papers?

I really love our basement. It has 9′ ceilings and lots of windows, so it doesn’t feel like a dungeon. We could eventually finish 3-4 more bedrooms down there, depending on how we decide to lay it out. I dream of having a beautiful, carpeted playroom for the kids, with plenty of corkboard to display their drawings, and chalkboards and whiteboards on the walls for the artists in them…Ah, I dream…

For now, I’ll be happy if we can just have our bare cement floor back!

Leave me some helpful suggestions…please!


  1. I don’t have an answer for #1 cause I’m not there yet. So I’ll be interested to hear an answer to that! Oh, wait I have an idea, when they bring home two or more pages, ask them to choose their favorite. That one you can keep, and the other can go in the round file. Perhaps that’s a little harsh… My mom used to have a paper box for each of us in the basement (or you could use a rubbermaid) and it had our name on it. When the pile would get big upstairs, and there were things she wanted to keep, she put them in there. Then every once in a while she’d go through it. So she didn’t have too many for one kid, or she wasn’t keeping more than she really wanted. Just another idea 🙂

    #3. Down stairs near where the junk comes in, I have an according file that I files the papers in when they come in… insurance papers, bills etc. I then have a filing cabinet that I keep them in. I would suggest getting a big tall one. I got a short one and already 2 years later I need a big one. Then when the accordian file is full, and I have time, I take it to the big file and just file the stuff away. That way the papers don’t pile up on the counter, but go in the file.

    #2. I rotate our toys. I just take 1/2 and put them away. Every 6 months or so, I rotate them out. I also have bins that all the blocks go in, and all the trains, and all the legos. Those stay out all the time, but have their place to “go away”. I’ve also thought about only bringing out one or two toys to play with each day… like doing all blocks one day. Or doing all animals another day. Just so not all the toys are pulled out at once. That only works once in a while. But I’m sure your good about “orchestrating” a “lesson plan” for the day! So that might work for you! Also, when I rotate the toys, I pull out the baby toys that Finnegan has “grown out of”. Or for your case, the toys the baby doesn’t play with anymore. And I have one bin designated for baby toys. Then when the baby comes, I can pull those out again and don’t have to search for them. Also then, when we don’t have babies anymore I’ll be able to get rid of them.

    Hope that helps!! 🙂

  2. Papers – we put the most recent Sunday School art up on the frig and the others go in the recycling bin. If it is super special, I have a file folder for each child and it goes in there.

    I always dreamed of having the family room as a toy room – but, it never happened. Now we are going to squeeze the four of us into an apartment and have less room for our treasures.

    Toys – I never could get organized enough to put some toys away and let them play with others. Some people say, every time you get a new toy, one old toy goes out. When we moved from a four bedroom to a two bedroom in 1990, I let the girls pick out a few toys each and the rest we sold. We just wouldn’t have room for all of their treasures. This time, when we move, Emily & Dan are getting all our stuff in their basement. Lucky them!

    Papers (again) – only touch them once. Open the mail, read it, file it, pay it or throw it away. Easier said than done. I keep the recycling bin in the kitchen now and just stand by it when I get the mail. Makes it much easier for me.

    Now that you have read all the boring stuff we do, let me finish by saying, “YOU DO A GREAT JOB!!!” Every time I come there, the house is spotless. Even when you say it is dirty, I think it is clean. With three little ones running around and one in the oven, you are good to get anything done. I figure if we eat three times a day, we have clean clothes to wear and the bathroom is sort of clean, I am doing great. Forget the dust, forget washing floors or windows, you only live once.

    So, that is my sermon for the day. You should come over tonight. All my furniture from three bedrooms and the living room will be in the kitchen and upstairs bathroom. Talk about a mess!

  3. I got nothing…. today, my upstairs looks like your downstairs, and my downstairs doesn’t look any better… oh well, will have to wait til the weekend. You do a fantastic job, don’t get frustrated, there’s many more important things in life to occupy your mind and frustrate you.

    Mom: do you love me, Molly?
    Molly: Sometimes! 🙂

  4. Hmmm…not sure I have a lot of advice for you. Currently my kitchen counter is littered with papers that I have yet to file or throw away.

    Pick the weekend though and Dan and I will be there to tackle the basement! I haven’t forgotten your request.

  5. As for #1, I don’t have kids so I don’t feel sentimental about throwing the papers in the recycling. But, having a rubbermaid container for each kid is definitely a good idea; Tobin has one from his childhood, filled to the brim. Each of his brothers have one. You know how at first you feel really strong emotions about something, but later on you can think straighter…well, you could start storing everything in those bins initially and then, every once in a while, go through them and recycle the ones that aren’t super special. The time delay helps you become more objective (that’s something that I DO use, even though I don’t have kids…wait a while, come back, and it’s easier to throw things away or not send a particularly nasty email, lol).

    #2 I still remember having to pick out my favorite toys for the move to our first Portage house. Not fun at all at the time. Now that I’m older, it’s not a big deal, but it sure was at the time. I don’t have good advice in this area either; Betsey and I would rotate our toys kind of by ourselves…stuffed animals for a week or two, paper dolls for a week or two, dollhouse, horses, etc. But the mess did get overwhelming if we didn’t put away a rotation before we started another. So rotating them would be a good idea, the kids will let you know when they’re getting bored with one set of toys. But oy, the work involved! And more totes!

    #3 Tobin is way better at this than me. We have a filing cabinet, which is a good idea to have. We keep the important financial or medical or military stuff. And we toss almost everything else, sometimes detrimentally and accidentally (receipts and coupons…bye bye!). But it really keeps down on the pile of papers growing everywhere like I have at work. And you learn what you really need to keep as you make those first throw-away mistakes.

    Your basement really doesn’t look that bad. I mean, it’s messy, but it’s not gross messy, just cluttered messy. That’s the sort of clean up that goes really fast! The sorting might take a while, but once you figure out what you want to do with everything, cleaning up shouldn’t take long at all.

    Wish I could swing by to help out! Totally take Em up on her offer, she’s a great organizer.

    Tell those babies I love them! Even the one still cooking. Bye!

  6. ohhhh, Lac, next time you think you might be having a bad day, go here! Thanks Erin, I linked to her off of your blog!

  7. Hi Lacey. I found your blog through Erin Morgan, and I actually think I might know your and your husband from Cornerstone. Or at least, I recognize you from there! 🙂 Anyway, I have a suggestion for what to do with the papers your kids bring home from SS – take pictures of the extra special ones (digital, of course!) and for their birthday or a special occasion or when you save up enough money, create a digital photo book of their special artwork. I’d love to say that I am totally coming up with this idea on my own, but I saw it on Oprah one day. You can find good deals on those photo books through various websites – just sign up for emails about their sales. Good luck with the new baby!

  8. yes! I see the mess! It looks real… we all know that there is lots of living going on in your home and that’s awesome. I don’t have much advice about your kids’ papers, but i decided the other week just to get rid of stuff i was saving but really had no point of saving. I don’t know what I would do with my kids’ stuff… maybe have them help you get rid of some of their stuff… but that may not be a good idea either. Anyway… thanks for the pics! It’s awesome! We have a 9′ ceiling and lots of windows in the basement too… in due time it will be more than a treadmill, a ladder and some 2×4’s. Someday… but trust me… if we had kids it would look just like your basement, or worse! 🙂 gotta love having a home to keep all our ‘stuff’. And now I am done…

  9. I’ll buy you some large, clear tubs to celebrate Jaden’s birth. We use those all the time to sort our stuff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


© 2019 The Rumley Family

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑