Tray Matchbox Car Organizer – DIY Monthly Challenge

Howdy, folks!  It’s that time again for our…. (cue announcer voice) MONTHLY DIY CHALLENGE!!! (challengechallenge) <- echo.

updated January challenge picture

For any newbies, this is a challenge that several awesome bloggy friends and I team up for each month.  The rules are simple… we’re assigned an item and must make something with it.   Easy peasy.   This month’s theme was to use baskets, boxes, or bins for an organizing project.

Like most months, it took me a while to pin-point exactly what I wanted to create for my project.   I hemmed and hawed, and finally one day last week, I remembered these fantastic metal trays that I’d purchased from Target a few months back…


….. for (drum roll please)…


$2.98 a pop!!  I pretty much did the happy-dance right there by the clearance end-cap when I found them.   And then proceeded to possessively shove all remaining trays into my cart and make for the hills.   I took six of these babies home that day.  SIX!!   Two are currently residing in various parts of the house, but I still had these four little guys to find homes for.

Now, I’ll be honest… When it comes to organizing, I dub our home’s progress as “sub-par”.    We’ve been so busy working on larger projects since moving in 2.5 months ago that organization has sort of fallen to the wayside.  There isn’t a single space in this house that has reached the point of organization.   It’ll definitely get there once all the larger players are in place (painted walls, larger decor pieces, etc), but for now… well, suffice it to say that I had my fill of choices as to where to utilize my kick-bootie trays.

Ultimately, Lucas’s room won out, though.   His space is the closest to complete (though definitely not there yet).  The more finished a space is, the easier it is for me to visualize and create useful storage solutions that make sense.  Plus, he has a lot of toys.  Most of which are piled in the closet. And drive me crazy every time I walk in there. Thus, I decided to tackle the beast one Matchbox car at a time.

Ya see, my light bulb moment occurred when I realized that my trays were the perfect depth to serve as matchbox car shelves if I were to simply mount them to the wall.  Having my project decision finally made, I completed yet another happy-dance and got going.

Upon examination, I realized that my trays had a raised ridge along the back, which made hanging difficult.   After mulling over a solution, I decided that the best course of action was to hot glue several layers of heavy-duty cardboard…


…to the back of the trays to create a little “plateau” that would be even with the ridge…


These would act as mounting blocks for some Command picture hanging strips…


 Next, I needed to determine placement for my trays, so I created templates by tracing the trays onto brown paper…


I cut them out and adhered them to the wall with tape (as is demonstrated by this fantastically crummy picture)…


I played around with placement and once I was satisfied, I marked the location of my templates with a pencil.  Then, I made a more precise vertical line along one side with a level.   This was my guide to ensure that my trays were stacked exactly above one another (P.S. I erased it later)…


The rest was as simple as following the instructions on the back of the Command box and adhering my trays the wall…


Next, I decided to add a little more color and function to fill the spot to the left of the trays.   I simply hung this neat orange hook (also found on clearance for $1.78) next to my trays for some hanging storage…


I added Lucas’s matchbox cars, aaaaaand here’s the final product…

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And the corner of the room, complete with his Ninja Turtle bulls-eye game…


And a farther shot of this side of his room with the new addition…


There’s still WAY more to come on these walls, but hey… progress is progress. And I’m totally content with progress. I still need to add art above the head of his bed (and possibly shift that bicycle print down a bit) as well as incorporate a few other decorative elements to help tie everything together.  In any case, though, I really have to thank my bloggy friends for this one.   Honestly, I’m not sure I would’ve thought to create this if I hadn’t been pushed to do so with this challenge.   And I LOOOOVE it.  And so does Lucas.  He was so excited when he saw it.  He immediately began rearranging the cars and has been playing with them much more frequently now that they’re in plain sight.  Total Win-Win if you ask me.

So, with that, I give you the lovely projects created by my fellow bloggers.  Do yourself a favor and check them out!

TDC Before and After

Lucas’s Room: Organized (Woot! Woot!)

Words I never thought I’d hear our 3 year old say:

“I have too many toys. I want to give them away to the other boys and girls.”

Say, WHAT??

Over the past few weeks, Lucas had stated this proclamation multiple times to both me and Joey. And both of us just stared at him open-mouthed as we wondered who this little guy was and what he’d done with Lucas.

Now, don’t get me wrong… We agreed. The kid was up to his ears in toys. And like many kiddos, he really only played with a few consistently. But, then he stated, “I wanna give ALL my toys away.”

Um… (Insert look of doubt)

So, last weekend, we took him at his word and Lucas and I got going….


I asked him to put all the toys he wanted to give away into a large cardboard box, and the rest stayed in his toy box. We slowly weeded our way through his entire toy box until we were finished.  I actually found myself stating “You sure you wanna get rid of that?” numerous times.  But he was on a mission.  And incredibly decisive about the whole matter.  So. Strange.

Color me shocked when this is where we ended up at the end of the process….


Give-Away Box

(And just to clarify the size of this box… It surpassed the height of his bed, although it may not look like it from this angle.)


Toy box

I moved his dress-up clothes here from the closet since there was so much space.  The foam battle ax was the first gift that my brother gave him, so I made Lucas keep it, though he doesn’t play with it often.

I’ll admit, I held back a few extra toys that I guessed he’d ask for eventually. I hid them in baskets in his closet to reintroduce as “new” later.  And I plan to leave the “give-away box” in the garage for a good month or so just to make sure that he doesn’t ask for anything before we donate them. But, I was so proud of our little guy. He really seemed to know what he was doing. For the small amount of items he wanted to keep, he had good reason for keeping them (“I keep stuffed soccer ball because Mac gave it to me.”, etc.)

Also, no need to think our little man is deprived of toys. The ones he plays with day-in and day out usually end up here….


Or here…


(And, yes.  That’s still my reindeer print in the collage wall… Just when you thought our house was de-Christmassed! Haha! I maintain that Christmas in July is totally a thing. As well as Christmas in every other month. 😉 )

Other remaining toys (various puzzles, arts and crafts, Legos and train tracks) are stored in/on his Expedit units…

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And in the basket beneath his Map table….


Ignore the race track… I’ll get to that in a sec.   It’s kind of funny… Part of me thinks it’s really freeing to walk into his room and not be accosted by a giant pile of toys.  The other part feels slightly sad because it’s sort of empty in there now.  Though, weirdly enough, Lucas seems to be really happy about that.  I’m still scratching my head a little on this one, but I’m not complaining either.

Since we were on a roll, I also made major headway in his closet. It started out looking like this…


And after some purging of clothes that no longer fit, and organizing his remaining toys, we ended up here….


I FINALLY have enough room in there to fit his giant race track.  I was secretly hoping he’d want to part with it (it was the ONE and ONLY toy I truly hoped he’d give away), but much to my dismay, it’s staying.   Before, it had to live out in his room on the floor because it was too large for anywhere else.  I was constantly tripping over it, it fell apart on a regular basis, and Lucas didn’t really play with it often enough to make it worth it.  But the kid just willingly gave up the majority of his toys, and he wanted it, so it stays.   But now… It’s in the closet.  Heehee! (Glee) 

And since I’m sort of on a toy rant anyways… do any other parents out there wonder why Melissa and Doug puzzles have no lids??  It drives me absolutely batty. Those pieces get EVERYWHERE. Ugh. But Lucas loves them. So, they stay, too. And let’s face it… They don’t devise crippling plots like the foot-torturing Legos.  So, they’ve got that going for them. Which is nice.

Anyhoo, other miscellaneous and out-of-season items went up high in various baskets and containers in his closet, and the only clothes remaining are ones that fit him well (These are only “dressier” clothes… his other clothes are in the dresser).

I’ll be honest…  I’m half expecting him to reconsider and ask for all his toys back tomorrow.  It’s been about a week so far, though, and he’s only asked for his small Dusty “Cropgrover” (aka: Crophopper) figurine, which I fetched for him.  He hasn’t so much as mentioned the other toys even though the box is located in plain view in the garage.  So, I guess we’ll see.

For the most part, I think he’s pretty excited about it…


And yes, we only take pics in our pajamas.  I swear I dress him upon occasion.  😉

So, that’s one more organizing task marked off the list!  Woo-hoo!  Slowly but surely, Casa de Spragins is getting whipped into shape.