As a home organizer, I have that weird gene where I can walk into any home and immediately see where the pain points a client is experiencing. So when I became a mother I knew that, I would have no problem keeping all of the baby “stuff” under control. That part was easy.
As my kids began to walk, talk and eventually became teenagers (a trying time for us all- no sweat!), my efforts became futile. For example, my sixteen-year-old doesn’t want to clean her room until “science projects” begin to take space. Science projects? Oh yes, when wet towels don’t get hung up in the bathroom they begin to generate new strains of mold. Seriously, that happened. How’s that for family dynamics?
Jokes aside, decluttering and organizing space has kept the wheels from flying off. Helping those in need of a similar adjustment has had profound effects on household productivity as well as overall happiness. It will take effort to get everyone on board, but once in place, these become habits. Implementing these recommendations is a great place for busy moms to start.
Job wheels or charts help create the perfect visual for little ones.
Alternatively, there are many chore applications to choose from.
Set rewards for assigned jobs every day.
i) Personally, I can’t catch or throw, so offering to practice tee-ball or shoot hoops wasn’t in my toolbox. However, I am a great cook and up until age six I could get my kids to do anything if I offered to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies. After that, cash became king.
Shared Family Calendars
Physical wall calendars can serve as a family reminder on a fridge or as a dining room addition. Get creative and have your kids make their own pictures to create personal meaning. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Busy families really appreciate an electronic calendar where they can set daily reminders. Just be sure these alerts don’t get set to silent.
Word to the wise? Push forward on the eye rollers who don’t want to take part and do it anyway. Kids eventually model our behavior one day you may hear them say, “I get my organization from my mom or dad”
Create Spaces For Everything
If you sort things by categories (i.e. school supplies, mail, books/magazines, etc.), then create logical spaces and appropriate storage solutions. Follow the same system throughout the house for daily use items or seasonal items.
Make things easily accessible by dedicating lower shelves or cubbies to the little ones. They are then given autonomy to pack their own bag and are held responsible for keeping it organized.
Label it all. To avoid the “I can’t find my __ anywhere!” last minute shuffle, make things apparent with sticky tape for you and your child's sake!
Purge, Edit, and Declutter
A challenge for us all, we have to become better at tossing things. Whether it’s too small, too big, stained, damaged or just has outlived its purpose, it’s time to say goodbye.
Keep a bin in the garage. Once it is filled, bring it to a donation center, or use applications like NextDoor to sell your unwanted goods.
Call a family meeting and declare a “routine reboot.” Create reasonable expectations based on each family member's obligations.
If your family will be implementing online school, learn to get up at the same time, get dressed, have breakfast and get to their work station five minutes ahead of time; just as they would in a normal class setting.
Try waking up a half-hour early before the rest of the household. Use that time to set your intention for the day.
Make your bed every morning. Taking this step has proven to be the best way to start your day. I mention this repeatedly to clients. While everybody has their own reason to abide by the cardinal rule, it is best explained by Navy Seal Admiral William McRaven.
My bottom line to clients? Breathe! The stress of day-to-day life will not get any easier if you are depleting oxygen making its way to your brain! Yoga or meditation practices serve as a reminder for your family to take mini breaks. Given our current circumstances, being mindful of one another will help to make positive change. Home organization cannot be attained without focus, memory and discipline. With a little persistence and cooperation you can successfully unlock the harmony you’re looking for.
Written By: Beth Blacker, Professional home organizer and owner of It's Just Stuff