Massachusetts Parents! Tips to getting your children more organized in 2017!
Posted: December 26, 2017
from Parents Magazine
When you’re faced with a daunting organizing task, try The Pomodoro Technique, a simple productivity system that helps you break a project into focused blocks of time (25 minutes) followed by a five-minute break to recharge. It’s helpful for tackling dreaded projects such as piles of unfiled paperwork.
It’s great to get kids involved in the process of purging. My trick is to ask them, “What feels babyish?” Kids love the idea of being a big boy or a big girl, which allows them to let go. Tip: Remember: There is no magic container. Getting organized is about reducing the clutter to begin with.
If children assist you when you set up an organizing system, they have that sense of “I built this. I can maintain it.” My son and I created bins with photo labels on them together, so he knows what belongs where.
Corral like objects and edit through them. For example, office supplies, such as pens and pencils or scissors, are spread all over the place. Once you consolidate them, you can figure out how many you need. I love hearing people say, “I didn’t realize I had two drawers full of pens!”
I don’t understand why people keep empty boxes. You’ve got to let them go! Recycle them. If you need the information on the packaging, snap a digital photo of it.
When helping clients edit their wardrobe, if there’s something they’re on the fence about, I’ll ask, “If you ran into your ex-boyfriend while wearing this, would you feel embarrassed or great?” If they say “embarrassed,” I tell them to get rid of it.
Tip: Memorabilia is hard because there’s personal history there. I ask, “Are you honoring your friend or family member by putting an object they gave you in a box?” Use it or let it go People think, ‘Once I get organized, life will be perfect.’ It will get better, but it doesn’t end there. You have to maintain that organizing every day.
Use “up-down” baskets. I have a basket at the top of the stairs and one at the bottom. Throughout the day, if I find something that belongs upstairs while I am downstairs, I toss it into the basket. At the end of the day, as the kids are brushing their teeth, I empty the baskets, and it’s done.
Shoes are such a problem because we kick them off everywhere. There’s a disconnect between where we store shoes and where we use them. The fix is storage cubbies near the door, or in my house it’s just a designated pile—whatever works!
My system for school papers and artwork is to collect them for a year. If my kids worked really hard on something, I put it in an open bin (the rest gets recycled). At the end of the school year, I go through it all with them and pick the top 10 pieces and place them in a binder. For three-dimensional projects, we take a photo, print, and file.
Mismatched hangers drive me insane. If you change to just one type of matching hanger, even without doing anything else, you will instantly feel more organized.
I mounted a shower tension rod in my daughter’s closet. It’s below the main rod at her height and we hang all her dress-up clothes on the lower bar. She can reach them for playtime—and easily put them back.
I’m a huge fan of Big Brothers Big Sisters. In my area, they send me a postcard (in yours it may be a text) once a month that tells me when their truck will be nearby. I can go online to schedule a pickup. Leading up to our donation, I keep a bag in my closet for things to give away.
I like to compare professional organizers to personal trainers. We can help get you to your organization goals, just like a trainer helps you reach physical ones.
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