Tag Archives: vacation

Tackle Messy Build-Up With Your Kids This Summer

organizing crafts

Everyone with kids knows that they typically come with lots of STUFF. And somehow it keeps coming in…if you have more than one kid the challenge is even greater.

This buildup is natural. More than any other time of life, the very nature of childhood is about growth and change. Your child’s abilities, interests, and sizes are constantly evolving  – and all the toys, clothes, learning materials change along with them. And young ones are magnets for toys and gifts from relatives.

This means if you aren’t keeping a constant vigil on moving out outgrown items (and how many of us are, really?) you’ve likely got some backlog of unused and unneeded kid stuff.

If your kids have a little more time at home during the summer, take advantage of that to do some weeding.

Break It Down

You’ll have a better chance at success if you focus their attention onto one category of stuff at a time. A general request to “clean out the playroom” isn’t going to get them very far. But a specific request to gather up all the DVDs and choose the ones they love to watch is much easier to get follow through on.

If you divide up the project into categories you’re teaching an important skill about grouping “like items” together.

Put out a big bag or box and have the kids weed some or all of these groups:

  • Board games
  • Clothes that don’t fit (can even break this down by type – tops, pants, jackets)
  • Sports equipment
  • Craft supplies
  • Art projects/ drawings
  • Books
  • DVDs, video games
  • Electronics
  • Toys (you can break this category down by type – electronic, stuffies, dolls)

Create a System and Motivate

Sometimes it’s easier to decide what to keep, rather than what to let go of. Clearly labeling 3 bags or boxes – KEEP, MAYBE, DONATE/SELL can help. Let your family know it’s like going shopping for things they love within our own collection. This helps kids get in touch with making conscious choices about what they really use and like.

Motivation strategies to get them going:

  • Help them visualize the end result – more space to play with their favorite items
  • Use a timer to bound the work
  • Offer incentives or rewards – a movie night after clearing out unwanted DVDs for example.
  • Create a contest or game around who can purge the most 

Enlist Help

If you’re paying for a babysitter or childcare, enlist their help to tackle 1 category a day. Even as little as ½ hour each week spent on weeding will go a long way to staying ahead of the next influx of new gifts or purchases!

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Filed under artwork, children, Decluttering, General Organizing, Kids, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies

A Place for Everything … The Power of One

 

power of one - 1 (1)

A place for everything and everything in it’s place…the adage does make for an organized … and neat … house. Sometimes it’s more important to create a quick and simple place to put certain items and less important where or what that place looks like. Here are 5 things where having a dedicated home will instantly reduce clutter and stress.

Tax Related Papers

Charitable deductions, deductible receipts, tax forms such as 1099s, W-2’s, K-1’s….No matter how simple or complicated your tax life is, understand what you need to fill out that tax planner or what needs to be in the pile to hand over to your accountant. Having it all in one place reduces tax prep to a few hours instead of days or weeks.

Election Material

During election season, we get inundated with marketing flyers for different propositions and measures. Create a spot where they can easily be collected then review at your leisure to eliminate duplicates and to compare who is endorsing what.

Summer Camp/Vacation Planning

Resources and ideas on these flow in all year but often heaviest in Feb/Mar. Being able to quickly put your hands on the latest flyer (or the one from last year that you opted out of but want to revisit) helps streamline schedule planning and decision making.

Memorabilia

Nothing creates clutter quite like keepsake items sprinkled liberally on surfaces throughout the house. Pick a few choice drawings/photos/objects to have on display and create a keepsake box for each member of the family. That way when the next trinket or tidbit that reminds you of a special time flows in you can unite it with its friends in the keepsake box. Generally we recommend keeping photos in separate boxes from keepsake items.

Calendar

Keeping dates in multiple places is a recipe for missed appointments and lots of stress. Pick one method – wall calendar, purse planner, iCal, Google Calendar, etc. and stick to it.

But what about digital?

How do you manage if some of the information is digital and some in paper? The same concept applies – use a named folder to gather specific items and keep digital files in one place. Using cloud-based storage such as Google drive or Dropbox give you access from any device. Also software such as Evernote make it easy to collect websites, notes, photos all in one “notebook”.

Have a questions about how to make this happen in your house? Ask it here, we’ll answer!

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Filed under Decluttering, General Organizing, organizing, Paper, Perspective, Strategies