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Conquer the Clutter!

There isn’t enough hours in the day to get everything done (let alone take on extra tasks), which is why keeping an organized home may not be your top priority… but hear me out! While the initial process of organizing your home may be challenging, if you dedicate yourself to this process, you will be well on your way to cleanliness - and calm. Organization can free up time, create balance, and reduce stress. Read on for helpful tips on how to start and how to get your little ones to tidy up happily, too!

Here are five simple steps to get your family’s organizing journey started:

1. Commit to the clean-up process.
This first step is crucial. Having the right mindset is important to keeping you motivated to keep organizing and purging items from your home. Cleanliness and organization are lifelong commitments that take patience and devotion.

2. Choose a day to start to organize and write down your plan. A great way to hold your family accountable is to pick a day to begin organizing and purging, as well as writing down where you will start and finish.

Organize and purge room by room. Dedicate some full days or small amounts of time each day to tackle each room before moving on to the next.

3. Use visual reminders. Snapping before- and after- pics are great for tracking your progress and can help deter your family from deviating back to your old (messy) ways. Use a calendar or a dry erase board to write down specific dates and times so you and the kids know what allotted time you have dedicated to this endeavour. You can also use a calendar or a dry erase board to jot down what organizational supplies you have on-hand or to jot down supplies needed (storage containers, etc.).

While organizing, to easily identify what’s in a storage container and/or piles of important paperwork, stick a Post-it Note on top of each.

4. Sort and minimize. Grab some boxes and label them (for example: donate; give to friends/family; keep; toss; recycle). Next, sort all items into piles by category. Once complete, pick a pile to start with, and go through each item and place in the appropriate box; continue until all piles are done.

Use containers (purchase, if needed). Make sure to measure where the containers will go in order to get the right sizes!). Containers allow you to neatly organize all remaining items and designate certain spots they will always be returned to. Labelling is also ideal, so things can be found with ease. Creating bins for each family member to use near main entrance areas (mudrooms, hall trees, etc.) to reduce clutter as soon as you enter your home is a game changer, too! 

5. Stay on top of things. Once you have organized the desired rooms in your home, constant maintenance is necessary. Divide up tasks amongst your family and encourage everyone to pitch in with the upkeep, such as putting things back where they belong after use, continuing to get rid of items no longer used, shredding old paperwork, etc.

What about the little ones?

When it comes to young kids, setting realistic expectations is key!

Instead of nagging your kids to clean up after themselves, here are some alternative suggestions they may respond better to:

  • Blast some tunes! Turn on a child’s favorite song and have them clean up as many toys as they can until the song is over.

  • Grab a hula hoop, place it over a cluttered area, and have your child tidy up everything within    that space. (This is one of my favorite ideas another organizer once shared with me!)

  • Set a timer for one to five minutes, for example (based on age, expected ability), and watch your child race to clean up as much as possible until the time is up. You can have your child choose a specific category of items to tidy up (toy cars, blocks, etc.).

  • Minimize the number of toys in your home or have a one-toy-in, one-toy-out rule.

  • Have your child clean up one set of toys before choosing new ones to play with.

  • Plan ahead. Get stuff ready for the next day the night before, such as lunches, backpacks, clothes picked out, etc. (I have a lowered clothing rack for my daughter, so she can pick out her own outfits, which saves time and allows for creativity and independence!

The KonMari Method

Looking to organize and purge your home by category instead of room by room? Try Netflix sensation Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method! She recommends going through your entire home, category by category, purging in this order: clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous things ranging from cleaning products to cooking spices), and then sentimental items.

Lisa is working toward becoming a Trained Professional Organizer. Check out her personal blog on Instagram, Light at The End of The Clutter. She also works with Daughter On Demand, assisting elderly clients and clients experiencing health and mobility issues with organizing, downsizing, and everyday tasks. For more information, visit daughterondemand.ca

 

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