Maintaining organization amidst a busy life is a challenge many families face and it’s a challenge that can often feel overwhelming, suffocating, and inhibiting. This applies to many of us as we try to keep some semblance of order not only to the possessions in our homes but also to the daily routines that include school, errands, work, activities, and meals.
Organization is often referred to as the one thing people don’t have time for, but what if it’s the first step and key to successful life management?
Simplicity Organizers is a local company committed to changing homes and lives through organization. They believe organization can help create the balance that many families need to navigate life with less stress and chaos. In addition to a wide range of services, Simplicity Organizers offers fantastic resources on their website to help families reach their organization and lifestyle goals.
We had the opportunity to ask Laurie Martin, a Certified Professional Organizer and Team Leader, for some tips about how to manage daily routines and clutter.
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How can we get out the door in the morning calmly and without leaving tornado damage behind?
The key to a calm, successful morning is your preparation the night before.
All family members should have responsibilities before and after dinner. Children are motivated to eat, so this is the perfect time to have them put away all of their toys, straighten their rooms, and set the table for dinner. After dinner, all family members should have responsibilities such as clearing the table, cleaning up the kitchen, packing lunches, and making sure backpacks and activity bags are by the back door.
Play music or set up a timer to beat the clock in order to stay focused. If everything is in its place in the morning, you are set up for smooth transition and fresh start to a new day!
Our house is sinking because of clutter. How can we reduce clutter without getting rid of important things?
Marie Kondo says, “The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.” Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions. So it is time to start deciding what you actually love and use.
When you are ready to organize a specific space, you must first start by pulling everything out and sorting your belongings into categories-keep, donate, or discard. Put the belongings away based on accessibility and frequency. Use a label maker to identify containers, cabinets and shelves where all the “keepers” are stored.
What is a realistic timeframe for getting a home organized?
When you hit a breaking point with your clutter, it is officially time start making major changes in your home. Organizing your home takes time and energy but it will be time and energy well spent.
Create a priority list and focus on one area at a time so you’re not overwhelmed. Involve your family as much as possible since you work together as a team. Don’t hesitate to invite outside professionals to help you reach your goals faster and with less stress.
Help! My child wants to keep every birthday party trinket, toy, art project, rock and paper that comes their way.
It is important to teach your child how to identify what they actually need and love. Use the in-out rule with your child. If they want to bring something in to the home, they must first find something they are ready to let go of.
Consider having them “turn in or say no thank you” to the freebie toys they receive in order to get an experience, such as a ticket to the movies, a delicious treat from their place of choice, or an afternoon at Skyhigh.
Not all artwork is a masterpiece. Have your child select several pieces of their best work from the year. Consider displaying the best, taking a picture of their work and putting it into an album, or storing it in an art portfolio. Honor and use what you love.
What are the most effective tips for moms (working or stay at home) who want to be organized but feel they have no time?
The first step is to stop clutter from entering your home. The moment you bring an item into your home (whether it was free or not) you now have to find home for it.
Remember less is more. The less you have, the more you and your family will appreciate.
Your house works as one large system, so it is important to get your entire home organized-otherwise it may quickly fill with more clutter. Organizing is an investment and takes time but the payoff is worth it all. If you decide that organizing your home is a top priority-make it one. Set dates on your calendar to organize your home on a daily/weekly basis until the entire home is completed.
You always make time for what you really want to do so make organizing a top priority because the benefits are immeasurable!
How can families keep evenings organized with activities, homework, dinner, next day preparations, showers, and bedtime all happening within a 3 hour window?
Brainstorm with your children all the things that take place in the evenings. Prioritize your list. Use a time sheet to write down everything in order. Family master calendars are very helpful for keeping everyone informed of the daily and weekly appointments and schedules. If something isn’t working-discuss a new strategy at dinner.
Summer is around the corner. How can we stay organized while the kids are home?
Summer is a great time to get your home organized because there are more free hours in the day!
Plan a family meeting to create a priority list of areas in your home that need to be organized. Set dates on the calendar to meet your goals. Besides organizing goals, create a bucket list of fun activities you and your family want to experience over the summer. Check off your list as you go!
Though the basic schedules may no longer exist in the summer, it is important to still set general routines and expectations of your children.
Gi Hallmark offers a detailed local view on the best family outings in Charlotte in her blog “The Loop.” Gi is a freelance writer and mother of two lovely girls, follow her on Twitter @gihallmark or @thechildrnsblog.