How I organize: for Backyard Thursdays! | Organizing Made Fun: How I organize: for Backyard Thursdays!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How I organize: for Backyard Thursdays!

I've mentioned our "Backyard Thursdays" here at OMF a few times.  I told you last summer about this ministry we do at our house.  Well, many of you were not even around on my blog last year, so I'll fill you in again!

Here are my kids, sifting the sandbox of the bark in it, in preparation for Backyard Thursdays.

Our yard, for Los Angeles standards, is pretty big!  I became burdened with the many families at our church who had NO yard at all back in 2006 {when we first moved in}.  Those that lived in apartments and their kids couldn't just run outside and play.  So, I started Backyard Thursdays and opened up my yard to all those who had no yard to come over and let the kids run around for each Thursday in the summer.  I have now opened it up to anyone I know who wants to come over.

It has been an amazing ministry that my kids absolutely love to be a part of.  They love having lots of kids over - it's like a gigantic playdate very week!   

But, they have to help out too - and sacrifice some of their play stuff.  You see, not everything gets well taken care of, so sometimes their stuff gets broken. It's taught them to share and not be concerned about things - they have no eternal value. But, their service to others, does!

So, we got ready for our summer Backyard Thursdays by re-organizing all the stuff.  I buy helmets at garage sales and some have been donated - so we have lots of helmets when the kids come over.  We sorted them by size {we'll see how long this works}.

We also got rid of many old balls that were cracked or broken and pumped up the ones that were flat.

Then, we sorted everything again. We did it last year but the labels were a bit worn out.  So, I took pictures of the contents inside of the bins and made new labels.  I went to Kinko's and laminated them for durability.

I cut them out and then I use cable ties to secure them to the bins.

The children {and Moms} never wonder what goes where.  It's easy to read and to see the picture!

 We also have the attached "shed" {that's what we call it} to our garage, but the little ones can get in there with the big tools and such and it's just dangerous.  We used left-over lattice and attached a couple of screws and now we have a way to keep them out!

So, we can slide it out of the way, but when the little ones come we slide it and hook it up! Now it's safe! Below, you can see this old shelf - this was in our son's closet before we put in his new closet system.  It works great in the garage and my hubby has it screwed into the studs.

And I even put my signs up around the yard with our rules.

We have one strange rule, which is we don't allow the boys in the playhouse {I know it's weird, but trust me when I say we have good reasons} so I tried to make the playhouse less appealing to, there is plenty of other stuff for the boys to do without needing to be in the playhouse.

...without being nasty and saying "no boys allowed" or "boys, get out!"  Anyway, I have a definite beginning and ending time - 10 AM to 12:30 PM.  This way you can be prepared for everyone to come, and then everyone knows when it's time to leave and don't impose on the rest of your day.
This is a friend's pool who invites lots of Moms over one day a week for swimming during the summer, too!

If you have a space like this - a yard or even a pool - really think about opening it up to your friends or church on a regular basis, even if it's not fancy or huge.  Share what you have with others.  We Mommies have a WONDERFUL time - we sit back and relax and talk and enjoy sweet fellowship under our large avocado trees! I send them expectations and rules before the day comes - put sunscreen on your children, bring snacks/lunch, go over rules with kids, what time to come, etc. - and all that stuff is out in the open.  No one is mad or weird about it.  It's just wonderful and relaxing.

Isn't this the neatest bike rack we got last year? I just roll it out for Backyard Thursdays and help the kids take off the bike they need, then roll it back and it fits a LOT of bikes in a small area of the garage!

I am just getting back from a week on vacation with my family in the mountains. I am so relaxed now and ready to get back to Backyard Thursdays and get some projects done around the house! What will you be doing this summer?