Over the holidays I visited my sister and her family. Not only did I have fun but I was surprised at some of the things that I saw in her home. Now stories of my sister’s total disorganization are legendary. In high school no one knew the color of her carpet because it was covered with at least 6” of clothes, books and other things. (That is not an exaggeration.) In college she had her own room in the dorm. People used to walk by and push stuff back into her room. And the stories go on.
Roll forward to today. My sister has a husband, a dog and four children, all with a lot of activities. With her lack of organization skills, this could be a disaster waiting to happen. The good news is that even Ms. Messy has reformed her ways. For someone who was completely disheveled in her younger years, she is surprisingly efficient with the space in her home.
The good news is that if she can be organized – anyone can be too! Not only will this make you feel better, but organizing your kids will give them skills that will last their entire lives. Then, they will not have to struggle with organization as my sister did, but it will be part of what they do naturally. Here are some amazing tips that my sister implements well.
This idea is genius In a hallway leading from the garage, there is a strip of magnetic metal about 24” tall. It is screwed to the wall 3 ft. off the ground. Each child has their picture placed above their space held on with a magnet. There are other magnets to hold other papers that need to be added. There are several clips that are installed permanently on the magnetic board. This is used for important papers that need to be taken to school such as notes to teachers or signed forms. Below each picture are two hooks placed approximately 12” apart. One hook is used for their backpack from school and one is used for their coat. Each child is responsible for putting their items on their hooks.
Each child also has two small baskets. One basket is marked “To Do” and the other is marked “All Done”. At the beginning of the week, my sister places 7 popsicle sticks in the “To Do” bin in each child’s station. Written on each popsicle stick is a chore. Each child must choose one stick each day and perform that chore. When they are done, they can put the popsicle stick with the completed task in the “All Done” basket. What a great way to get children to participate in household chores!
With children come crafts. Lots of crafts. Girls especially love to draw, color, paint and create works of art that are all around the home. The challenge can be figuring out how to store all of the tools necessary to create these masterpieces. The answer is bins. If you have a space or closet that you can dedicate to all of these things, use bins clearly labeled to store everything on shelves. Separate paints, pens, crayons, stamps, pencils and other items separately. When using a certain medium (watercolors and paper) only the bins storing those items need to be taken out from the closet. If space is at a minimum, use a hanging shoe bag that fits on the back of a door. You can hold each item in different pockets. It is a great way to maximize space which is at a premium.
My hat is off to the youngest sister in my family. I am not taking all of the credit for her transforming from the biggest clutter maker I knew to an organized mom, but I know this was not done entirely on her own. It takes a few things to make the shift: a plan, the desire to be organized and the support from other people. Once you have those in place, nothing can stop you.
Download our Organization Guides to get your kids and home organized. Visit our organizational Accessories page and find the right tie racks, pant racks, shoe racks, drawers, baskets or dividers for your home.
By: Kathryn LaBarbera of Closet Factory Los Angles & Orange County
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