Leslie Campos, Guest Contributor
Cover Image: Pexels
Anyone with kids knows how quickly life can move from calm to chaotic. Staying organized is essential for a smooth household. Yet, many organization “tips” are complicated and hard to maintain. Here are seven simplified ideas for organizing your household without wasting time, spending tons of money or sacrificing your sanity.
1. Institute the Great Purge
Families are good at accumulating stuff, but not so great at getting rid of it. However, research shows that clutter can negatively impact mental health. It’s also impossible to feel organized when you’re constantly tripping over toys and sifting through piles of papers. Your first step towards a more organized household should be purging.
Start by discarding clothes and toys that your kids have outgrown. Then, move to other items you no longer need or want. Before purchasing new items, make sure there’s enough space to accommodate them.
2. Do a Daily Declutter
Once you’ve completed your initial purge, move anything that’s left to a sensible storage spot. Institute a daily declutter in which all family members spend 10-15 minutes at the end of each day tidying up and returning items to their original place.
3. Simplify Schedules
Between work meetings, school field trips, dentist appointments, birthday parties, sports games and music lessons, family schedules are busier than a dog chasing its tail. Calendars are much easier to manage when there are fewer activities to coordinate. Here are three ways you can scale down a packed schedule:
- Book appointments for all your kids in the same window.
- Avoid burnout and limit each child to one or two extracurricular activities at a time.
- Master the art of saying “no.”
4. Set Up a Command Center
Despite its intimidating name, a command center is just a central location in the home to organize the comings and goings of family life. It’s the space to put your calendar, keys, mail, memo board, to-do list and incoming and outgoing paperwork. Having a command center will ease the morning rush and answer many of those “Where is my ____?” questions that kids frequently ask.
5. Prioritize Your To-Do List
Type A parents can attest that fewer things are more infuriating than an unfinished to-do list. Save yourself the hassle and make a weekly to-do list, rating the tasks on your list based on urgency and importance. Complete the most urgent, important tasks first and tend to the remaining tasks throughout the rest of the week.
6. Teach This One-Question Approach to Doing Chores
Free yourself from the madness of maintaining a chore chart and teach your children one question — How can I help? This life-changing move will enable your kids to experience a variety of household tasks. As they develop valuable life skills, they will also learn the importance of helping beyond what’s expected.
7. Establish Work-from-Home Boundaries
Working while your kids are home shouldn’t be an Olympic sport. Make the experience easier with boundaries. Set fixed work hours, if possible, and establish when and how your family members can interrupt you. If you have little ones, create busy bags they can use for independent play while you work nearby.
When working from home, it is important to have a dedicated space for your office. This can help you to stay focused and avoid distractions. It can also help you to stay organized, as you will have a specific place to store all of your work materials. If you’re designing a home office, make sure to track any updates you make as some upgrades can boost your home’s value.
Keep your organization style simple. Consistency and cooperation from family members are much more effective than elaborate chore charts and refrigerator calendars that you need a legend to decipher. Set up an organization system that is easy to follow and you’ll be able to focus more on enjoying life rather than always coordinating it.