Super Simple Kids Craft Cart

upclose picture of kids craft cart storage drawers with text quick and easy kids craft cart (it's even inexpensive)

It was another snowy Saturday with the kids. It was too cold to get out and they had been cooped up in our house for days. I racked my brain for what we could do that would keep them entertained indoors another day. Ah…crafts! It was time to have another craft day, but where did I put their paint? And where was their craft paper? Can’t we keep this all in one place so I don’t have to go on a continual hunt for our art supplies?

The Problem

Until recently, my kids (ages 2 and 5) stayed home with a nanny while my husband and I worked. The nanny was awesome at planning crafts, helping the kids express their creativity, and develop their fine motor skills. Yes, she was practically Mary Poppins! In a few short years, we amassed all types of Crayola products, craft paper, glue, scissors, and baubles to glue on craft projects. I accepted this as something that came with the territory of having your kids at home instead of in daycare.

We started storing these craft supplies in plastic boxes. One was for paint, another for paper etc. Before long, we had supplies in various nooks and crannies throughout the house. It was a mess and we couldn’t ever find what we were looking for without checking several places. We needed a better solution and a super easy organization system for kids crafts.

Collection of arts and crafts supplies that needs to be organized.

The Vision

I have a long-term vision to turn a space in our basement into a craft area and study space for our children, but now is not the time! That area is currently used to house a play kitchen, tent, and pretend ice cream bar. We needed an easy way to organize crafts, that was convenient, accessible, and not an eye sore. Queue the kid’s craft cart!

The Easy & Inexpensive Solution

This art supply cart for kids has 10 drawers, is available in rainbow colors or white, and is on wheels. It was perfect! Even better, it was pretty inexpenisve!  I could sort all of the supplies into categories and file them away in their own drawer. The wheels are a particularly nice feature. They allow you to move the cart as needed. Most of the times, we have the Kid’s Craft Cart next to our dining table. It’s out in the main area of our open concept home, but if we’re having a dinner party and want it out of sight, it’s super easy to roll into our office out of the way.

How to Organize A Kid’s Craft Cart

Once I decided on the solution, it was time to start organizing. Of course, I kicked off the shebang with a sorting and purging process. It’s amazing how much stuff you accumulate in a few short years! Once decluttered I then sorted into categories and dedicated a drawer to each category. Within each drawer, I used plastic bags and jars to sort like items.

plastic bag with craft supplies including beads and jar with stars

Note, as you decide what to store in the craft cart, there are some things that you may want to keep elsewhere for safekeeping. I learned this the hard way :-(. After returning from a date night with my husband we came home to gold glitter spread like pixie dust throughout our entire main floor. Depending on the age of your kids, you may want to keep a few items out of reach. I strongly recommend glitter being on that list!!! (sigh) Finally, I cut out labels with my silhouette machine so that everyone knew where to find and more importantly where to return items!

Craft Cart Categories

We used the following categories in our cart.

  • Glue & Scissors
  • Craft Paper
  • Tissue Paper
  • Coloring Books
  • Markers & Crayons
  • Stickers
  • Beads
  • Cards & Envelopes
  • Misc.
  • Paint Brushes

Of course, it depends on what type of craft supplies you have.  Other categories could include paint, play dough, tape, you get it!  Make the categories that fit your needs!

Vertical rainbow colored craft organizing cart with labels on each drawer

What We Love

A few weeks ago one of my friends reached out to me with a similar storage problem. I shared our Kid’s Craft Cart solution with her and she was onboard to do the same in her place. Our kids can now happily express their creativity. Here are a few of the things we found kids and moms love about this super simple arts and crafts cart for kids.

What Kids Love About It

First, let’s talk about what the kids love…after all it’s for them!

  • Children love that they can help themselves to their craft supplies when they feel inspired
  • They love having control over it
  • They love being able to find things when they want to use them
  • And, in the words of my daughter, the rainbow drawers are pretty

Why Moms Love It

The great thing is, this is a crowd-pleasing solution. Moms love it too! The craft cart

  • Helps kids to not be bored
  • Provides an alternative to technology (tablets, phones, and television)
  • Stores everything in one place and makes it easier to find craft supplies when you need them
  • Helps keep your home tidy
  • Is narrow and can fit even a small space easily
  • Has many drawers allowing you to organize a wide variety of art supplies
  • It can be moved around. You can keep it out for craft time and roll it into a closet when you don’t need it. It’s totally up to you!
  • Encourages independence since it’s easy enough for a 4 year old to use it

Vertical rainbow colored craft organizing cart with labels on each drawer nested in between a cabinet and a chair.

The Downside

We only had a couple of negatives to this easy to use kids craft cart.

  • The brightly colored drawers don’t typically go with the décor of a home, BUT, because you can move it around, there is an easy fix if you’re having guests over.
  • Because it is so easily accessible, be sure to keep some items out of it e.g. sharp scissors or the aforementioned glitter

The End Result

We’ve now been using the art supply cart for kids for several months. My five year old literally uses it daily. She doesn’t have to ask me for help to get things and she’s empowered to let her creative juices flow. My two year old tries to do the same thing. He knows where a few odds and ends are, but thankfully doesn’t try to access it as frequently as Little Miss. E. This is a perfect storage solution for moms of preschoolers or kindergarteners and older.

Blogging and The Best Risk I Ever Took

I love blogging, but I’ll be honest —it can be very overwhelming in the beginning.

No Compass

In September of 2017, I launched Our Happy Hive with very little knowledge about blogging. Hoping to gain some insight, I searched the web high and low for tips and direction on how to blog. It was very clear that lots of people had lots to say and that much of it was contradictory. I felt lost and without a compass.

Facebook Groups

Hoping to gain some experience from tangible people, I joined a few Facebook blogging groups. In these groups, I learned that I was not alone. There were many (thousands) of new bloggers all trying to figure things out. There was an eagerness to share and tell each other the most recent Pinterest or Instagram code that had been cracked, but once again, there was contradictory information.

Support could be found for newbie bloggers in these groups. Members would share each other’s content trying to help promote each other’s blogs, gain traction with SEO, or in one of the main social media outlets. I was impressed by the camaraderie and mutual support that was available.

Nightly, I spent an hour or two sharing my latest post hoping other bloggers would amplify it through their channels. Likewise, I would take their posts and share it with my people. It seemed that this was one of the primary ways to grow your blog and it was something that had to be done.

person holding a tablet with the word "blogging" and text blogging and the best risk I ever took

Burn Out

By January, just a few short months into my blogging career, I was burnt out. I hadn’t made any real connections with other bloggers. Don’t get me wrong, they were all nice, there just wasn’t enough there for us to form real connections. The biggest burden and that which drained me was the mindless hours of clicking and sharing.

Was It Time To Quit?

It made me question how long I could keep it up. It was not life giving, not personally motivating or inspiring, and didn’t at all align with the real reason I started to blog in the first place. At the end of the day, it didn’t grow my blog or increase my subscribers. Sure, it drove some traffic, but it was primarily from other bloggers. Maybe blogging wasn’t right for me. Quitting didn’t seem like the right choice, but this was not sustainable. Something had to change.

Do you ever feel the same way?  Maybe you wish there was someone out there who could just show you, step-by-step, exactly what you needed to do to create a successful blog.

Elite Blog Academy

That is exactly what Elite Blog Academy 4.0 was designed to do.

Last March, I decided to enroll in the Elite Blog Academy.  I wasn’t sure I would learn anything new, but I was willing to take the chance.

And, let me tell you, I am so glad I did!

Game Changer

Since starting Elite Blog Academy® (EBA), the way I blog has completely changed. I realized that previously I was spending my time and energy on the wrong things…things that lead to short-term results, but not a long-term benefit. With EBA, I now had a road map that showed me exactly what I needed to do to have a profitable blog.

Proven Results

After reading dozens of stories about Ruth Soukup’s success (the founder of EBA) or the success of people that had completed EBA, I felt confident in the quality of the program content. Now, finally, instead of spending countless hours researching the internet on “How to Blog,” “How to post on Pinterest,” or “How to do SEO,” I had a one stop shop that I trusted.

The Elite Blog Academy Community

Another huge bonus was the EBA community. I don’t know if this was even obvious to me upfront, but there are so may EBA Alumni that are actively involved in the Facebook group. This Facebook group was different than the others I mentioned previously. There was a mix of new bloggers and well-established bloggers. There were weekly sessions hosted by Ruth and at times other successful bloggers. It was focused more on learning and sharing lessons learned than it was about amplifying or promoting your stuff or other people’s posts.

Lasting Change

I eventually stepped away from the original Facebook groups I had joined when I first stared blogging. I no longer dedicated mindless hours to them nightly. I was afraid that by taking this bold step that my traffic would take a big hit. To be honest, it did decline for a few months, but now, it is stronger than ever. Even better, I now have real traffic and subscribers from people that want to hear what I have to share.

Lessons Learned

The Elite Blog Academy taught me how to write quality content for my audience. It helped me understand Pinterest and Social Media as they relate to blogging. I learned about SEO, how to create lead magnets, how to set up my email service provider, and grow my blog. Today, Our Happy Hive is a community of over 1,250 members and growing daily!

Totally Worth It

I met Ruth at the Elite Blog Academy – Activate Conference they hosted this past September. My thankfulness to her and this program overwhelmed me. I’m not sure if I would have stayed the course had I not found this proverbial life-saver. Our Happy Hive definitely wouldn’t be what it is today had I not taken this risk!

And you know what?  None of this was by accident.

Since 2014, Elite Blog Academy® has been field-tested by bloggers just like me. The program is designed to get results, and it does.

In fact, it even comes with a 100% money-back guarantee, which means you’ve literally got nothing to lose.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliates Disclosure.

But don’t wait!

Enrollment for Elite Blog Academy® only opens ONCE a year, for five days only. If you want in, you’ll have to act fast!

This year, the doors officially open on March 4th, but EBA® founder Ruth Soukup is offering a free training series the week beforehand called Blogging Made Simple that I highly recommend!

You can get registered for this free training HERE.

happy woman looking at a computer with text blogging made simple get the free training

Minimalist Storage Tips from Marie Kondo

colorful boxes filled with desk supplies and organized standing vertically with the box with text minimalist storage tips from Marie KondoDecluttering and organizing go hand in hand. I recall as a teenager cleaning out my closet. First, I would bring out all of my clothes, get rid of the ones I no longer had use for, and then organize. Then, I would sort by fabric, length, and color. It was like a puzzle to me. Essentially, I dumped the puzzle pieces on the floor, sorted, then figured out how it all fit together. Similarly, in Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” she takes readers through the same basic process…she just has a lot more thought, logic, and intention to her method than my teenage brain did! Read on to learn her world-renown principles to minimalist storage.

First Discard…Then Store

First things first, before you can organize or store your items, you must first discard. The KonMari method has a very specific approach to discarding things and much of it has to do with what brings you joy. You can read more about it here.

Once you go through the discarding process, the next step is to store your things. The order of these two steps is critical! By discarding first, you will have less to store, more space to work with, the job itself will be more manageable, and you will be far more likely to keep it organized once you’re finished! Isn’t that what we all want?!?

Make Sure Everything has a Designated Place

Now, this is key! You need to make sure that every single item you own has a place…their specific home in your home. You only need to do this once. If you skip this step or don’t do it completely, clutter will creep back into your space!

Keep it Simple

Kondo is all about keeping storage simple and practical. The more complex, the less likely you are to maintain. She encourages that you don’t need to store by season or frequency of use etc. Keep it as simple as possible. This increases the likelihood and ability to maintain!

The KonMarie method asserts two primary rules for storage.

  • “Store all items of the same type in the same place.”
  • “Don’t scatter storage space”

Designate a Storage Space for Each Family Member

Everyone in your family should have a designated place to store their things. Ideally, it will not be in multiple areas of the home, but a singular place. For example, instead of having toys in the basement, in the living room, and in their bedroom, all of a child’s toys should be stored in their designated place, most likely their bedroom or closet. Kondo believes that this gives each person a sense of belonging and ownership in the home and makes them tidy homemakers.

The Visual Check

You want to be able to visually tell at a glance how much you have and where everything goes. Kondo mentions this several times throughout the book including when she talks about storing things vertically, storing seasonal clothes, and storing things centrally. Her rationale is that, if we can’t see it all at once, we likely won’t remember what we have and we’ll be more likely to buy duplicates.

Vertical Storage is A Game Changer

Let’s talk a little more about vertical storage. Marie Kondo is the queen of vertical storing. She mastered the art of folding and storing clothes vertically in drawers. She encourages clients to avoid piles and go vertical wherever possible. She gives examples of papers, stationery, scrolled towels, and even carrots in the refrigerator.

Old iphone box used to store cosmetic bottles

Don’t Buy Commercial Storage Items

As a true minimalist, Kondo advocates re-using boxes. Her favorites are shoeboxes. She also mentions that Apple product boxes and extra plastic food containers are great to store things in. You can use boxes to compartmentalize drawers or place on a shelf. It’s something you’ll need to experiment with to find the right combination for your particular space. I had fun thinking about what little items I was now going to store in a couple of beautiful turquoise boxes from Tiffany that I had kept empty for years.

Find out 10 Ways Marie Kondo uses boxes. You can access it in my free-bee library here (if you need the password to it, sign up at the bottom of this page.)

inside of shoe box colored pink, with three boxes fitting inside of it to compartmentalize sections

Storage Container Criteria

Marie shares five criteria for the ideal storage container.

  • Size
  • Material
  • Durability
  • Ease of use
  • Attractiveness

Kondo does use a few commercial storage products, but she recommends her clients complete the entire discarding and storage process and then look for the storage hardware they really want.

Tips for Storing Handbags

Kondo recommends storing handbags inside of each other. Instead of placing handbags full of tissue paper to keep their shape, sort your handbags by material e.g. sturdy leather, canvas etc. and pack “like” materials inside each other. No more than two handbags inside of one larger handbag.   Make sure the straps are visible so that you can quickly recall what’s on the inside. Personally, I don’t have a large number of handbags, but I can see how this would save significant shelf space. I have a hard time envisioning how one or two bags would fit neatly inside another. Maybe that’s because most of my bags are similar sizes.

Additional Kon-Mari Storage Principles

Empty Your Bag Every Day

Marie shares her routine when she enters the door at the end of the day and unpacks her bag. She literally encourages her clients to take every single thing out of their bag every single day. She says the whole process only takes 5 minutes. Her theory is that this helps to prevent clutter like old receipts, tissues, or cosmetics being left in the bag. Kondo shares that this helps prevent things from getting trapped in bags that you don’t find until you use the bag again at a later date.   Remember, the first tip in this list. It’s important that you designated in advance a place for every item that’s in your bag.

Maximize Closet Space

The KonMari Method recommends storing as many things as possible in the closet. She shares a lot about how things can fit in a traditional Japanese closet. While I won’t go into that level of detail, she does recommend the following items be stored in the closet. Off-season items like seasonal ornaments, seasonal sportswear, photo albums, regular cloths, bedding, electrical appliances, space heaters, fans, suitcases, golf clubs, and guitars. While this seems like a lot for a closet, she reminds us that due to the extensive discarding process, clients usually have room for all of these items when it comes time to organize their storage.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliates Disclosure.

Other Storage Tips
  • Store like items in the same place or near each other
  • Keep things out of the bath and away from the kitchen sink
  • Store spices away from the counter
  • Dry kitchen items outside instead of on the counter (when possible)
  • Take off tags and packaging from new clothing immediately before you store
  • Remove product seals and labels from containers

As a minimalist, Mari Kondo focuses heavily on discarding, but she also has strong beliefs about storage. She wants people to keep the things that bring joy and to store them in a simple and intuitive way. Optimizing space by storing things vertically, using a practical storage process, and storing in a way where you can visually see your entire collection of any category are cornerstones to her method. At the end of the day, the bottom line of her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is to have people focus on the things that bring them joy in a way that is easy to maintain and manage.

 

 

 

 

Interested in more organization tips?  Check out some of these posts:

16 Things Marie Kondo Says Everyone Should Discard

Woman takes in hands big pile blue and beige laundry with text 16 Things Marie Kondo Says Everyone Should Discard

What is your practice of decluttering? Have you ever considered being a minimalist? I definitely wouldn’t call myself a minimalist, but I don’t love clutter. I want our house to be neat and tidy and regularly make the practice of clearing out unnecessary items.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliates Disclosure.

Why I Read the Book

About a year ago I came across some of Marie Kondo’s practices, namely, her practice of vertical filing of clothes in the chest of drawers. I loved the idea and it really was life changing for our family. With that said, vertical filing is only one tiny part of the Konmari practice. To learn more, I read her best selling book “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” and watched her “Tidying Up” show on Netflix!

Minimalist at Heart

The KonMari method has two basic components 1) discarding and 2) deciding where to store things. Kondo focuses heavily on decluttering or discarding, after all, she’s a minimalist at heart! Let’s take a look at the basics of her method and the 16 things Marie Kondo says to discard.

Foundational Elements

The KonMari Method is a very specific approach to decluttering. Marie Kondo insists her clients make tidying an event…a marathon is actually how she describes it. She wants people to do one major overhaul and then micro activities daily to maintain a tidy home. The KonMari method has people tidy (discarding + storing) by category instead of by room. For example, instead of tackling your bedroom and then your kitchen, she has you sort something like clothing from all of the rooms at once.

Based on her experience with clients, Marie has specified the order to take on the tidying process.

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Miscellany
  5. Sentimental Things

She also has an order of categories within each category. For example, when sorting clothing, you should do it in the following order: tops, bottoms, clothes that should be hung, socks, underwear, bags, accessories, clothes for specific events e.g. swimsuits, and shoes.

The Identification Process

In order to identify what things need to be discarded, she recommends gathering all of the category items throughout your house and putting them all in the center of the floor. This helps one to visually see how much they have accumulated as well as makes you deal with it at one time instead of repeating the process with the same types of items multiple times.

Grab one of my KonMari Quick Guides so that you can have a summary of this process at a glance.  You can access it in my free-bee library here (if you need a password to it, sign up at the bottom of the page.)

Selection Criteria

Marie encourages people to focus on what they want to keep instead of what they want to get rid of. She has one very clear criteria – “Does it spark joy?” Her recommendation is that the things we keep we should enjoy, they are things that should make us happy, and thus, the only things that stay in our house (for the most part) are the things that “spark joy.”

This is much different than the criteria I’ve used in the past. My criteria include:

  • is it worn out?
  • does it still have a purpose / function?
  • might I or someone in my family use it someday?
  • is it still in style?
  • could I repurpose it for something else?

I warned you, I’m not a minimalist and I can find plenty of good reasons to keep things! With that said, the book included many good points and I was inspired to immediately prune things from our home.

Here are the 16 Things Marie Kondo Auggests Discarding

1) Everything that Doesn’t “Spark Joy”

We already talked about this earlier and it’s important to note that this applies to all categories, clothing, books, paper, sentimental items etc.

2) All Unread Books

Marie shares that most people have too many books and specifically unread books. In her estimation, the majority of people never find the time to read these books. If they haven’t already, they likely won’t in the future. It’s time to get rid of them!

3) Reference Books

Reference books include study guides, old text books, dictionaries etc. Her logic is that we likely don’t use these and therefore they fall into the same category as the unread books.  She also questions if these bring joy for most people!

4) Papers

Papers include bills, receipts, credit card statements, old warranties, manuals, greeting cards, used checkbooks, and pay slips. Marie recognizes that they serve a purpose for a short period of time, but then it’s time to get rid of them. Additionally, in most cases, none of these spark joy. (See #1!) Once you get your credit card statement, confirm it’s accuracy then shred.

Her “rule of thumb is to discard everything” related to paper. She excludes items of sentimental value like journals, and personal letters. There are 3 exceptions to this rule. Papers that are currently in use, are needed for a limited period of time, and papers that must be kept indefinitely.

5) Gifts

We’ve all received gifts that weren’t exactly our style or perhaps we didn’t have a use for. Marie says to get rid of them! We are not obligated to keep them. The real joy came when the giver gave you the gift, but that time has passed. Cherish the memory and move on.

6) Cosmetic Samples

I have to admit, I was glad to read this one. Lancôme is my make-up of choice and I have made a practice of only buying makeup when they have their “gift with purchase” events.  As a result, I had a ton of face moisturizers, eye moisturizers, colorful pallets of mini-eye shadow sets. I’ve kept them for years and usually never use them. You’ll be pleased to know that they no longer reside in my home!

Marie’s logic is that most people keep these samples in order to take them when they travel, but then they usually forget they have them. But, don’t worry…if you love your cosmetic samples, and they “spark joy” then you are in the clear to keep them!!!

Cosmetic cream, lipstik and perfume on white background. Top view.

7) Boxes for Electronics

Many people keep boxes for their cell phones, computer, etc. They think it will increase the value if they resale. Others keep boxes in case they move. Marie suggests that it costs more to store empty boxes than the value they add to resale. She recommends getting boxes when you move instead of storing them. This is one that is now on my to-do list. We have a plastic bin full of empty technology boxes. I’m pretty sure we don’t need to keep them around!

8) Unidentified Cords

Do you have a bag or box full of spare electronic cords? Maybe it’s one for an old iPod, a camera, or that whatchamacallit you bought in 2010. Throw it out…at least according to MK! I’m in agreement. We never go into our box when we’re looking for a cord. We just assume after we’ve looked in the usual places that we no longer have the cord. Our personal Marie Kondo pile is getting pretty big!

9) Broken Appliances

Now, I can’t relate to this one at all. But apparently, many of Marie’s clients keep broken TVs or radios around. If this is you, it’s one more thing that you can discard!

10) Spare Sets of Bedding

This one hurts a little. I have a hard time getting rid of old comforters, extra linens, and even towels that no longer go with our décor. Usually, they are not worn out and I always believe I can repurpose them e.g. a drop cloth for the next time we paint. KonMari teaches that if you have extra bedding you’ve saved for your guest room, but you don’t have guests very frequently, then it’s time to get rid of it. They will just end up smelling and won’t be nice for your guests. I guess I have some more work to do!

11) Spare Buttons

Do you save all of the spare buttons from new suits, tops, or dresses in case one day one pops off and you need to replace it?   This is another item not worth saving. Marie’s experience says that the majority of people never actually uses these spare parts. Discard!

12) Products from the Latest Health Craze

Machines, gear, I’d imagine even old hobby items could fall in this category. If you bought rubber bands for resistance when you exercise, Suzanne Summer’s Thigh Master, or Buns of Steal 😂 and never use them, then it’s time to part ways.

13) Free Swag

Novelty goods you picked up at a conference while traveling, or even in the office and little gadgets or pens with a businesses name on it. These are unnecessary items and likely don’t spark joy.

14) Small Change

Now this one surprised me! Kondo does not recommend keeping spare change in your house…not in a jar, a bag, a bowl, or even a piggy bank. Change should be spent. Put it in your wallet and get it out of your house.

15) Sentimental Items

Of course, rule number 1 is huge with this bucket. Marie keeps sentimental items as the very last thing to sort through because it’s the toughest for people. She feels we should cherish the memories and not the things. If you’re holding on to old love letters, excessive historical photos, or things your grown kids made when they were little, it’s probably time to check your joy-meter. Does it feel burdensome to keep these things…is it time to part ways?

16) Unusual Stockpiles

Last but not least, Kondo acknowledges that many of her clients have unusual stockpiles. She shares examples of people that kept excessive amounts of plastic wrap, toilet paper, and even cotton swabs. If you have something you frequently buy and store, Marie encourages you to evaluate your actual needs and how much you really need to have on hand. Ahem, that would be paper towels for my family!!!

Ode to Joy

After reading “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up”, I have my work cut out for me. I can see a long list of things that we can part with, we really won’t miss, and will make our home more manageable in the end. I like the idea of keeping things that bring joy, but I don’t know that I’m fully onboard with that being the only criteria. Perhaps I’m a bit too frugal or practical for that…or maybe I just need to give it a try and see what happens?!?

Marathon or Sprint

Her marathon type approach to tidying would be very hard for moms with young kids unless you have a nanny, reliable babysitter, or family nearby. I would have to do it in smaller chunks, which she discourages. I can live with that. In my mind, progress is better than perfection.

How about you, did you recognize things you can discard? Do you think you’ll do a marathon or several sprints? Here’s to tidy and more manageable homes!

 

 

 

 

Interested in more organization ideas?  Check out these posts:

 

6 Home & Family Lessons from Honeybees

family looking into the sunset with text 6 things about family we can learn from honeybees

This past summer, the sunflowers in our backyard were over 5 feet tall. Instead of just one bloom they had many on each stalk. I was amazed at how pretty they were and the blooms lasted for weeks. A little lower in our garden was fragrant lavender. By mid-summer, they had reached a vivid purple and the scent was divine. The incredible thing about these flowers was the bees they attracted for the last months of summer and into the first month of fall. Honeybees buzzed around collecting as much pollen and nectar as they could. It was beautiful to be so close to nature and know that we were helping our ecosystem.



Honey Bee pollinating sunflower.

Lot’s to Learn

Did you know there’s a ton we can learn about family, home, communication, and productivity from honeybees?!? When I started Our Happy Hive, I knew very little about bees. I landed on this blog name is because “Melissa” is Greek and means honeybee. Since I write primarily about home and family, the “Hive” concept stuck with me. But since launching the blog, I’ve become more aware of bees and their fascinating world! Check out the top 6 things we can learn from bees about family and home.

#1 Uber-family focused

Bees are known for being social insects. They live with their “family” their entire life. In fact, bees can’t survive on their own and are dependent on each other.

Before I was married, I traveled the world. My professional job took me to Australia, London, Peru, and Chile. I lived in Santiago, Chile for a period of time and had the chance to relocate, but not having family there was a huge barrier for me. Fast-forward a few years when I married a Canadian. Once again, I was faced with the decision of moving to anther country. This time, I was with my “sweetie”, but it was still gut-wrenching to leave my hive. Similar to bees, the queen bee left the familiar nest to go start another colony.

At the time, a good friend wisely encouraged me that I hadn’t even met some of the most important people that would be in my life…my future kids. (and she was right!) We too are social creatures and need the community of friends and family. Like bees we thrive when we’re with our hive!

We can learn from the ways bees interact with each other. They are very cooperative and usually harmonious. Bees look out for the common good. They don’t look after their own interests first, but the interest of their family. Like a committed parent, bees will sacrifice themselves if there is a threat to their colony (family),

#2 Excellent Communicators

Bees are incredible at communicating. They want everyone in their family to be on the same page. Bees have a special dance (the waggle) to tell their fellow bees about danger, food sources, and needs of the hive. They even use scents to help communicate. Incredibly, bees will seek input from other family members when making decisions.

Similarly, it’s critical that parents place a high value on communication. Early on a family learns how to communicate about standards, expectations, and values. It can be a struggle to keep everyone in agreement and at times, our pride gets in the way when we should be seeking input from our partner or kids.

#3 Productive

With the exception of the Queen Bee, other bees have a very short lifespan, but they do a lot in the course of their short life! The worker bee rotates through many different roles in their 45-day life. They clean the honeycomb, seal the cells where the soon to be baby bees are born, then become a nurse bee for the babies, make honey, store pollen, feed and clean the queen and protect the hive. They also build the cells of the honeycomb, receive the nectar, pack pollen, and seal the honey cells.

Wow!!! That’s a lot! Another interesting fact is that they are mono-taskers only doing one role at a time. (something I have recently learned actually makes you more productive.) By having all of this experience, they are highly flexible and can change tasks if there’s a crisis in the hive or if a need arises.

One of the first things my husband and I did in pre-martial counseling was talk about our ideals on division of labor. We all come into marriage with our own paradigms, and whether you cook, clean, take out the trash, or mow the lawn, it’s imperative that your on the same page with your spouse and, like the honeybees, you have a clear division of labor, yet can be flexible and adaptable when needed!

Bees on the honeycomb background

#4 Organized Housekeepers

As a busy mom, I know the benefit of optimizing various spaces in our house and being organized. Typically the more organized I am, the more efficient our family runs. There is a constant process of cleaning, decluttering, and repurposing similar to the bees hive.

The honeycomb is the heart of the beehive. It is a structural phenomenon, well planned, and organized. The honeycomb cells are used to store the bee’s resources like nectar, honey, and pollen and they are also used to house the baby and adult bees. The hexagon shape is extremely efficient in maximizing space, optimizing the storage of honey, and requiring the least amount of building material (wax). This intelligent design helps honeybees build their comb with speed. These bees are pretty smart!!!

The well-organized colony has cells dedicated for various purposes to support the hive. Cells are cleaned and re-used by the worker bees. If the hive acquires too much honey or pollen, the bees become “honey-bound” and either need to look for a new home or need human intervention (yum yum). It sounds to me like they have acquired too much “stuff” and need a good decluttering!

#5 Resourceful

By nature, honeybees are resourceful. They work hard to provide for the present and the future. Bees live within their means and are consistently preparing for the future when there will be a temporary shortage. They store honey so that their hive can survive the winter when there will be a lack of pollen.

Families likewise should live within their means and make efforts to save for the future.

#6 Important to Society

Finally, while most of a bee’s existence is seemingly focused on the survival of their own hive, they actually play an important role for human society. Did you know that about one-third of our diet comes directly or indirectly from insect pollinated plants. And, if you guessed that bees are the primary pollinators, you’d be right! They account for 80%! Humanity is clearly dependent on bees!

Civilization is also built upon the pillar of family. It is the basic social unit of society. While most families are focused on their own success and existence, without out realizing it they are collectively impacting our world and a healthy society is dependent on them!

Thrive in the Hive

In many ways, honeybees are excellent examples for our modern day home and family. We can learn about being industrious, flexible, and productive. The importance of communication, division of labor, and being connected is also apparent. Our homes play a central part in supporting family life and like the hive we can organize and maximize our space. Unknowingly, both have a HUGE impact on society. Last but not least, we should take a cue from the honeybees and make sure we have fun and dance (or should I say waggle?!?)!

Thanks for checking out Our Happy Hive where we explore home and family focused topics to inspire moms to simplify family life, make sweet family memories, and have an organized home life!

Make your life count…bee intentional, live with purpose!

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