If you’ve been following along this year, you know that each month we are focusing on one area of our homes so that by the end of 2017, you (and your home) are feeling CLEAR, ORGANIZED, and ready for anything!
(To catch up, read blog posts: Jan, Feb, March, Apr).
If you’ve got clutter or chaos in your home, then it’s probably spilling out to the rest of your life--let’s HANDLE IT one box, cupboard or shelf at a time.
Set yourself up for success:
- Have donation (or rotation) bags or boxes ready BEFORE you begin.
- Block out a chunk of time and keep it sacred--no distractions! (Might have to ask for help with this…)
- Consider carefully if your kids will be assisting you. Yes, you want to teach them this skill. Yes, they can be involved and even helpful at almost any age. Consider having them help in the beginning or end and PLAN to have them “occupied” while you continue on your own. SOMETIMES, it’s just easier to do the initial clear-out yourself. Then teach your children the habit of maintenance.
If you’re inviting your child to help:
- Be clear about the goal, ”Today we’re going to go through this toy shelf, we’re going to put all the toys that go together in these (labeled) bins and give the rest to some kids who have no toys to play with.” Or the books, the art supplies, etc. Choose one category to focus on in each shorter session.
- Set a timer--who doesn’t LOVE to make a game out of it! Work in more frequent short (10 minute (?) depends on your child’s age and attention span) time chunks.
- Plan the celebration for the end of your session and GO!!!!
Depending on their ages, give each child a bag to fill for kids who have no toys or ask them to “choose 10 items” to give to friends in the community who don’t have their own toys.
For preschool children, seriously consider putting 1/2 to ⅔ of toys “away” and rotate them on a regular (every 2-3 week) basis. Less to clean up, fresh exciting toys every so often and MUCH easier to find parts and pieces. It’s hard to play when there is too much to choose from and no space to spread out! This works for books as well.
Be fierce about a 10 minute clean-up before bed. Set the timer, put on some music, and play “Beat the Clock”
I LOVE the size of this 9 cubby piece of furniture for toys. Each bin can be labeled and even very young children can be taught to put things away. This one came from IKEA but you can find furniture like this at many stores like Target or Home Depot. Check on Pinterest for free, downloadable labels with pictures for younger children.
Kids grow so quickly! At least every 6 months, sometimes more frequently, assess the fit and condition of your child’s clothes. Let go of the too small, or worn out items. It might be time to make a list of items to purchase, as well.
Are you storing clothes for a younger sibling or cousin? Be intentional about this and sort by size and season. Label to make finding things easy!
RESIST the urge to excessively keep…someone will LOVE your donations. Consider them a beautiful gift to another family. Remember giving with love makes for a bigger-hearted experience.
Make it easy for your child to help pick up and put away clothing. If closet space is tight, consider a second 9 (or 6) cubby shelf and label with words/pictures: undies, socks, t-shirts, shorts, pants, jackets, etc. Possibly tucked into the closet to save space.
Enlist help for laundry day--sorting, folding and putting away clothes are all skills and habits that can be practiced at a young age.
Go digital! My favorite app is ARTKIVE. It’s the best way I’ve found to capture and celebrate kids’ art. No more crumbly paint and paper getting moldy in the basement for years on end. Check it out and let me know if you want support for this project!
If you must hold onto the “original” The “Li’l Davinci” frame holds up to 50 pieces of art and comes in two sizes.
This is a good time to ask your child to help you decide--VERY OFTEN art work is more about the “process” than the product. When asked what they would LOVE to keep, many kids will be very clear about what stays and what goes.
This is also a chance to employ the “container method” for deciding. Keep one box or tub for past artwork. Here’s how the directions go, “Keep whatever you love, sweetheart, as long as it fits in the tub.” Let the container size be the deciding factor.
Create the habit:
- Set a cleanup routine--an egg timer set for 10-15 minutes and some fun music--for EVERYONE in the family putting away clothes and/or toys. Try it every day for a month and let me know what happens!
- All kids need a simple, clearly labeled put away system and regular clear-outs so that their belongings reflect who they are NOW and speak to their future as well.
- Remember to close the circle at the end of each clear out session and remove things that are going out. And then actually drop them off at the donation center :)
- CELEBRATE! Go splash in the puddles, read a good book together, or run to the park
Have FUN!!!!! And let me know if you want some support as you go along. Kelly and I worked with a client to organize a big family library today--pictures next time--every kind of book imaginable in a gorgeous library corner.
Lots of Love,
P.S.S. If you've got a friend or colleague who's working on clearing out their space, please point them to this blog post. They'll thank you for it :)