Teaching kids how to be organized

kids organization

Happy Mother’s Day, Mothers and those who mother! I don’t get why we only celebrate Mothers one day a year so you have my permission to take the whole month! 

We all know that Moms make the world run so unfortunately they are too valuable to take a day off. But here is what you can do: 

Moms, get your kids to help you! Teaching kids how to be organized is one of those life skills like good manners and gratitude that will serve them the rest of their lives. Nobody is born knowing how to organize or to say “thank you” so it must be taught. You may say you’re not organized but you are more so than your child. You can teach this skill and it will pay off for you and for them.

Here are some tips to get kids organized and teach them those skills at the same time. They apply to adults as well so keep reading even if you don’t have kids!

  1. When it comes to toys and playtime:  clean up is part of play. Dumping toys from a container is pure bliss; putting them back is not so much. However you can teach them that putting them away is part of the process. Take 5 or 10 minutes to help them put those toys back when playtime is over to reinforce the pairing of activities. 
  2. Make picking things up a game. Reward them for putting trash in the trashcan or for who can put away 10 toys first. Gamification isn’t just for online marketing. It’s a huge part of parenting.
  3. Let go of perfection. Their version of neat will not be yours but it’s part of the process. Reward the attempt and keep showing them how it’s done.
  4. Purge toys, clothes, and books regularly. If it is not being used, especially if it doesn’t fit, donate or give away. You can try rotating toys that they don’t actively play with. More options are not necessarily better. 
    As they get older, get them involved with the review process. Identifying toys that they’ve outgrown and can donate to others teaches detachment to physical items. It also teaches them how to prioritize which is another key organizational skill. 
  5. Keep their toys and clothes accessible to them. You can’t expect nor do you want them climbing shelves or cabinets to get to their toys, books, or clothes. When it is accessible to them then they can at least attempt to put it back!
  6. Label, label, label. This alone eliminates the “I don’t know where it goes” excuse for not putting up toys. It helps you figure out where everything should go and indicates to them where it belongs. If your kids are not yet reading, use pictures as labels. Labels are also helpful for babysitters or visiting family members to know where things go.

While none of these tips will make a difference in one day, they all help to create an organized environment that serves as a solid teaching foundation. You are teaching and enforcing the good habits of taking care of and respecting your space. Putting LEGOs away may seem insignificant except to your feet but it’s part of the long and rewarding process of rearing the next generation.

Happy organizing!

Amazing Containers!

organized cabinet desk office

The power of a container can not be underestimated. I realize this sounds like a lot of praise to give to a box or bin but you have no idea how amazing a container can be. Not everything you own needs to be put in a container but keep reading to learn why they are important if you want to keep your home organized.

organized home

Containers are multitasking heroes in our home! 

A container defines a home:: What that means is when you have a box for your picture hanging supplies or cup to hold pens, you know where those items go. No longer are they to be stored on top of a dining table or scattered in a cabinet but they go in that specific box or cup. Bonus points for labeling boxes that store loose parts.

Sets a limit::  When you have a drawer or bin for containing workout tops, you can see how many you have and hopefully avoid over shopping for them. Seeing is believing and knowledge is power. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “I had no idea I had so many X.” When you contain it, you set the limit for how many you need.

Communicates inventory:: This is similar to the limit but this is applicable for items that you are using up regularly, say baking ingredients or toilet paper. When you can see how much flour is in the container, you know how much you have. Ditto for a basket of toilet paper. A quick peruse of the pantry or cabinet prior to grocery shopping lets you know instantly whether you need to add those items to the list. This is so much less stressful that having to check multiple places or wonder while you’re shopping if you need to get these items. By the way, this is the #1 reason why people overbuy certain items: they don’t really know what they have and don’t want to risk running out.

Visual reminder of its home:: Try telling someone where to find something when you don’t know where it is yourself. The empty cup or labeled box do that for you. This is also super helpful in bathroom or office drawers where you have a lot of little things to keep track of. Seeing the empty space where the tape or floss were helps remind what goes there.

Makes it pretty:: Last and certainly not least is the visual aspect of organization, my personal favorite. What better way to make toilet paper look pretty than to put it in a pretty basket! Or you can place cotton swabs in an antique cream pitcher to add elegance in your bathroom. Clear bins with lids bring beauty to items stored away in closets. Express a little bit of your personality with brightly colored bins or monochromatic office supplies.

organized kitchen cabinets

We could all use a little more beauty in our lives so take this opportunity to find some in your home or office with the containers you choose!

If you’re looking for some ideas on creative, useful containers, please check out my boards on Pinterest. I’ve got whole boards devoted to baskets, kitchensclosets and even more so click on through to see what I recommend and use for containing things stylishly in your home!