A Pretty Way to Stay Organised

Before having kids, were you aware of the plethora of things that come along with them? From the toys that scatter your lounge floor to the multitude of items that go in your nappy bag… do you sometimes feel like your house is being overrun by your children’s belongings? Looking for a way to help contain the clutter? Well you are not alone!

Kid Clutter edited

Let me tell you a little story about my own personal experience with this very thing. When my first little guy was 3 years old, he LOVED cars. And I mean he loved them like every little boy loves cars. They were everywhere in our house, no matter how hard I tried to contain them. To make matters worse, he wanted to take them with him every time we left the house. But he couldn’t just take one or two. Oh no! He had to take the whole collection and regardless of how much I tried to reason with him, he was adamant that all 10 cars come along with him….

Julius cars edited

So there he was, with his little 3 year old hands full of cars in an attempt to get from the house to the car with all of them. As you can imagine, it caused a bit of frustration for us both as he dropped car after car along they way, stopping to scoop them up. Looking back now, I can have a laugh at how cute it was, but at the time when I was trying to get from the house to the supermarket before his baby brother needed another feed, it was an exercise in pure patience!!

I needed something for him to use to carry all these cars. Something that would increase his independence so that he’d be able to pack them himself and carry it to the car. It had to be durable so that it wouldn’t rip or tear when toys went in. It also had to withstand a 3 year old’s bashing it around. It had to be something he could open and close on his own and it had to be big enough to hold the toys but not too big that it would drag on the ground. And from my perspective, it had to be something that was easy to care for (ie washable) and that would last.

There was nothing currently on the market that ticked all these boxes so that’s when I came up with the Thingy Bag! A high-quality, reusable bag that is functional as well as pretty. I chose a fun fabric for the outer layer that my child would love (and therefore want to use) and a durable lining for the inside. It was the perfect combination of practical and cute.

Car themed bag and bib2As my kids started getting older, we found all kinds of new uses for these bags. My children put their ‘news’ in them and brought them to kindy ; when they started school they held pencils, rubbers, and any other bits they wanted to take back and forth. It is the perfect size to control their ever growing collection of lego at home as well as loom bands and marbles… it really is perfect for all of your child’s ‘things’.

Over the years, I have made and sold hundreds of these bags and I’ve heard of all sorts of clutter controlling uses for them – and not just for children. Loom bands, barbie clothes, hair ties, toiletries overnight bag, craft supplies, knitting and crochet projects and endless other suggestions. I use one to put nappies and wipes in and throw it in my handbag for those quick trips to save me from having to lug around a nappy bag.

They are also a great eco-friendly way to give gifts – pop the gift inside the bag and the recipient can re-use it time and again. And the best part – no waste! Our children’s teachers always get a thingy bag with their favourite home-made jam or chutney inside.

Pink, Turq, Blue and Lavender Thingy BagsThingy bags are so easy to care for, which is a necessity for us Mums! They can go in the washing machine with your regular load and then hung to dry, or tossed in the dryer for when your child has to have it immediately! Thingy bags are the perfect child-friendly/ handbag-friendly size of measure 28cm across by 18 cm down (7 inches by 11 inches) and they come in a variety of colours and designs.

Thingy bags are listed on my Etsy Shop. To purchase yours, click here.


Thingy Bag Collectoin 2

Jo-Anna’s Attic is a home-based company operating in Wellington, New Zealand by stay at home Mum to three Jo-Anna Hohua. Jo-Anna focuses on designing one of a kind items for babies and children where style meets function. All items are high-quality eco-friendly products hand made in New Zealand by Jo-Anna herself in her home sewing studio.

You can visit Jo-Anna’s online shop here.


How it all began

Before having children I worked in the corporate world and I intended fully to return to work once I had our first child.  While I was pregnant with number one, I was already worried about his transition from being at home with me to being somewhere else.  I read a lot about ‘transitional objects’ and how they helped to ease the separation for children in that they are able to take this little piece of home with them where ever they go.

I thought about how lots of children have a special blanket so I was determined to find one for my baby.  I went to the Baby Factory and saw that they had cute fleece blankets, however they were selling them for around $70 each.  Aside from the fact that I thought that was a bit pricey for a basic fleece blanket, they didn’t really hit that ‘special’ mark for me.  I thought surely I could make something nice for my child that had a bit more heart in it.

So off I went to Spotlight with my husband and painstakingly chose the fabric after about 2 or 3 trips.  I remember being about 7 months pregnant and laying the fabric out and measuring it over my huge belly!  My husband helped mark it all out and cut it and then I hand sewed the whole blanket together.  This was my very first quilt!  I absolutely loved it and it meant so much for me that my baby would have a blanket that I lovingly made with my own hands.

Soon friends and family started having babies and I began to make blankets for each of their bubs.  Eventually I had so many ideas that I started selling a few on line and at local craft markets.  In between I also started making things that I used to be able to find easily back in Canada but couldn’t find where I lived at the time – burp cloths, small wash cloths and things like that.  I began making them for myself and sold the surplus.

I now make a wide range of products at Jo-Anna’s Attic but I have to say that making baby quilts is still my all time favourite.  I still put the same amount of love and care in to choosing fabric and creating the design.  I now use a machine to sew them up, but I’m always envisioning how a cute wee bub will enjoy being wrapped up in the lovely blanket and how his or her Mum and Dad will cuddle them close while they are sleeping peacefully.