I love an organized house, closet, pantry… you name it! Nothing makes me ooh and ahh more. Of course, even I have those moments where life gets too hectic, and the paper piles on the counter and the closet loses its mind. A family of five can get disorganized in the blink of an eye! So, instead of allowing myself to go completely crazy, running around cleaning up after the kids… I have decided to let them in on a secret. The key to an on-going organized house is to have a proper place for everything and to utilize teamwork in the effort!
We might think our children are too young to be taught organizational skills, but the truth is, it is never too early to start. Many parents often find themselves frustrated by the mess made in their home because of their kids; however, with a little encouragement your kids will easily be able to contribute to the team.
Here are four easy tips to getting your littlest team members to help clean-up:
1) Keep the clothes off the floor.
This is the very basic of skills. If your child can dress themselves, they can learn to pick up the clothes. Place hampers and baskets low to the floor and hooks on the wall that are easily reachable by small children. This makes helping out safe and easy, and should happen daily before bedtime.
2) Putting away the toys.
Teach your children that putting away their toys is all part of playtime (I know, easier said than done!). Keep toys in shallow, labelled containers to avoid your child digging endlessly to the bottom in search of a toy. After playtime comes clean-up time! Sing a silly clean-up song or say a silly clean-up poem. Make the transition from playtime to a new task a valuable practice — this will translate well into good lessons for homework time or desk/office clean-up later in life.
3) Keep the bedroom clean and tidy.
I know, you just rolled your eyes… right? I’ve tackled this beast numerous times — having three little girls means plenty of clothing changes per day, always strewn about. The bedroom is a space where your child will begin and end each day…it needs to feel neat and ooze healthy Feng Shui. Making the bed each morning, keeping food and drinks out, and having a place for everything (dressers or closet organizers), go a long way to keeping the bedroom free of clutter. A simple 10 minutes per day set aside for your child to tidy is all it should take to return to order.
4) Teach your children to let go.
It is not always a fun lesson, but not everything lasts forever. (Like ice cream cones on a hot day!) Clothes and toys are items that children grow out of and that are worn down after years use. Use this concept to teach your child the idea of letting go at an early age. It is a good idea to go through this process every 6 months or so, pointing out which items your children don’t play with or wear any more. Explain to your child that they have two choices: they can donate the item to another child in need or they can put it towards the next garage sale. Involving them in this process makes it more fun for them while teaching them a valuable lesson — both about letting go and donating items to those in need.
These four easy steps will have your children on the path to organization in no time! And you won’t lose your mind constantly over their mess! You may have to modify these ideas to suit the age of your child, but you’ll be so much happier teaching your children to be capable team members.
*Thank you to the Professional Organizers of Canada for providing these quick and easy tips. The POC is a national registered non-profit association that provides education, business development tools and a code of ethics for all types of organizers across Canada. Representing more than 500 Professional Organizers in more than 14 chapters nation-wide, POC’s mandate is to provide a supportive environment for members to learn, share ideas, network, and exchange resources. For more information, please visit www.organizersincanada.com .