Staying organized can be a challenge, whether you are running a home or taking a focused approach to work, or both. Add a family into the mix and things can start to get really complicated. Undoubtedly, you love your children; however, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you revel in the chaos that is often the hallmark of family life. The best approach is to keep calm and carry on organizing for everyone. It may seem like a chore, but if it works, you’ll enjoy more peace of mind and less hassle. Here are some good tips to get started.
Organization begins at home
Very young babies eventually develop their own routine for sleeping, eating, and playing. Grateful parents love it when their baby sleeps at night and gets hungry or playful during the day as it’s not quite so pleasant the other way round. As children grow, routines change, and before long your little darlings are tripping off to school, playing sport, and immersing themselves in hobbies. Even toddlers love to see and do new things and to mess about with sand and water or crayons, chalk, and paint. If all of this gets out of hand, however, it can be hard for you to keep track of the paraphernalia that accompanies your busy child’s home life.
Start in your child’s bedroom and make sure that there is sufficient storage for clothes and toys, unless you have a separate playroom. It’s helpful to encourage children from an early age to hang up clothes or stow them away in appropriate drawers. You can make this into a game, especially if you have attractive child-sized furniture that they like to use, and they get gold stars or the equivalent for clean rooms. Regular rewards for a quantity of stars will keep them engaged. Toy organization is made simpler when you start with a mess (yes, seriously) – gather all the toys into one place and start sorting them.
Group your children’s toys by type and by size. You could choose to make three heaps of those that are small, medium, and large, for instance. Make sure that you filter out anything that no longer works or that your kids don’t play with anymore – these can be recycled if broken or passed on if in good repair. Choose containers or storage systems that suit the toy collection. Consider using any other see-through plastic storage containers in your home in a variety of sizes, and make good use of spare canvas totes, plastic shoe boxes, and shoe organizers. If you get the kids to help you choose the appropriate containers, they’re more likely to remember where their toys are and to return them to the right place.
Small items are best stored in see-through containers. Glass jars can be really useful for this, and labeling everything will make it easier to locate toys and return them to the right place. You’ll need to give some thought to storage of craft items, such as modeling clay and paint, and perhaps put them out of reach of small fingers so that you have control over where and when messy activities take place.
Out and about
Organizing for days out and holidays needs a helping hand, so research which portable systems will work for you and your family. Juggling the need for bringing baby items, bottles, and beverages means that clever solutions are required. Try the Stroller Organizer Bag – Grab & Go – Skip Hop, which will accommodate your cup of coffee, baby’s bottle, and a whole host of bits and pieces for the kids. It hooks easily over the handles of your stroller.
Getting the right equipment helps enormously when you are organizing family travel, and knowing that you have everything that you’re likely to need takes the stress out of your journey.
Homework assignments can prove to be tricky when it comes to making sure that they are completed and storing them safely before they’re handed in. One useful idea is to use mobile storage – that is, a box or bookshelf on wheels – so that your child can do their homework in the kitchen or dining room, for instance, and safely and carefully transport it to their bedroom ready for packing their satchel or backpack for the next day.
If they tend to work at a desk in their bedroom or in a den, you might want to think of a way to “rescue” their completed work so that it stays safe from grubby fingers until it’s time to submit it. Large art folders are ideal, unless the homework project is extra big or 3D.
Sport and hobbies
If your home has a mudroom or a useful porch area where outdoor clothes and footwear can be discarded, then you have the perfect opportunity to set up some organized storage for sporting activities. If you have a larger family, or space doesn’t permit, you can always make use of a corner of the basement or garage. Follow the example of the toys and lay out all the sports equipment across your floor. Then sort it according to the type of sport and plan to get rid of anything that is no longer being used. Laundry baskets are a good way of organizing the equipment. Choose plastic baskets because they can be cleaned really easily if sweat or mud is a problem. A ventilated basket will also help sweaty or damp shorts and shirts to dry more quickly and is easier to transport if you have to climb stairs to do the laundry.
Simple and inexpensive freestanding shelving to house the laundry baskets means that you can label them by sport and always find what’s needed for each child. Office suppliers can provide labels that are easy to attach and change as needed. You might want to keep an extra basket for equipment in good condition that can be passed down to younger children.