Home organization is easier planned than executed. What you expected to finish in an hour takes up your entire afternoon, and all other ‘to-do’ stuff remains as it is.
And if you are a working woman with kids at home the phrase ‘organized home’ may seem like an oxymoron.
A home with young children is usually run over by toys, building blocks, random pieces of puzzles, Lego people, Lincoln logs, crayons- the list is endless. There are not many moms out there who have not squealed in pain when they stepped on tiny toy parts when fumbling to switch off lights before crashing into bed.
So how can you organize a home and bring back a semblance of normalcy to your tattered apartment? And more importantly how can you manage it with a toddler or two in tow?
Here are a few tips to help you figure out how to get the job done.
1. Tame the Toy Clutter
An organized home can be achieved only if you make organizing it a part of your daily routine. Picking up after art and craft activities, play time and before going to bed will help keep the toy clutter at manageable levels.
Also, as far as toys are concerned, less is always more.
Do not stuff your kid’s toy chest with toys and lay out all his books on the shelf. You will see that his favorite play is to dump all toys on the floor, fling a few across the room, and pull down each and every book from the shelf. He may not focus on any toy or spend his playtime well.
So, do not overwhelm him with toys, a few which are his favorites should be kept in his toy chest or basket. Not only will they be more accessible for your kid, but your clean-up time will also be much easier. Rotate the toys once in a while so that your toddler never ceases to be entertained.
You can keep a few books on the shelf at a time and keep the rest away, or in another room.
Donate toys that he has outgrown or has duplicates/triplicates of.
There are great storage solutions available for organizing kid stuff. And some look so good that you would not mind having them in ‘adult-areas’ as well. Not only is your toddler’s stuff at hand, but also aesthetically organized.
Ensure that you buy storage solutions only after you have got rid of all the unwanted stuff.
2. Help Your Kids Help Themselves
This is the key to helping your kids get organized.
Low shelving, baskets, clear boxes with removable lids, shallow storage units and zipper toy bags are all great toddler-friendly storage options.
It is important you have child-friendly furniture in rooms where they spend most of their time. High racks and difficult to reach cubby shelves will make putting things away a hassle for the little people.
Even toddlers can be taught to read picture labels attached to low shelves, drawers, baskets and cubbies, and organize things accordingly. You can also keep laundry baskets in their rooms where they can toss in the dirty clothes.
Appreciate, encourage and reward their efforts. Even if they haven’t cleaned up the room completely, you can do the rest of the clean-up after they are asleep, so that they feel it’s all up to them to keep their room tidy.
3. Organize the Bedroom Clutter
Bedrooms are where we spend most of our time at. And as a result this personal space is also the most cluttered in the house.
Side tables are usually cluttered with magazines, cell phone accessories, random medicines and sleep aids. Clean all the stuff that you do not require and find a place for the rest. A small basket with all the necessary stuff can be placed on either side of the bed.
Wardrobes need to be organized every few months so that you are not staring at unseasonal or ill-fitting clothes each time you are looking for something to wear.
Donate all the unwanted stuff and store away clothes you do not require currently, or are not sure of keeping or trashing. Keep in mind that you will, most probably, never wear something that you haven’t worn in a year. So don’t mull for too long on individual pieces, and get over with your purging ASAP.
4. Organize the Toddler Wardrobe
It doesn’t take long for a toddler wardrobe to fill up and become chaotic.
The key to getting things organized in a kid’s closet is for all the stuff to be easy to see, reach and put away. This will make it easier for your child to do some organizing on his own as well.
Hanging space determines how structured and accessible the toddler wardrobe is. Since most wardrobes have adult proportions the top hanging rod is probably at a height of 5 feet or so. Get more space by adding a lower hanging bar.
How you hang your toddler’s clothes also matters. We offer great options with the toddler’s wood hangers, and children’s satin and plastic hangers. The combination clips will help you keep tops and bottoms together, and grab them on the go on super-busy mornings.
Labeled or color-coded baskets and bins will help keep your little one’s pajamas, play clothes and inner wear organized. Hanging canvas shelves and drawers is great for holding kiddie stuff like gloves, socks, and hats.
Labeled ‘Too Small’ and ‘Too Big’ bins can be used to toss in all that does not fit. Evaluate, store and purge periodically to keep the bins from overflowing.
5. Make Organizing Fun
Ensure keeping home neat and tidy does not become a horrible chore for your little one. Do it when she is happy and ready for it.
There may be many days when your kids are cranky and clingy. Do not expect them to put away their toys or tidy up every day.
But slowly, over time, you can gently make it a part of their daily routine.
A few baby steps each day, and you will very well be on your way to a neat and clutter-free home.
Do not worry about the mess too much. Very soon your precious babies will be grown up and gone, and what you will be left with will be sweet memories of their childhood. And when you see the nostalgic ‘kiddie clutter’ somewhere else it will bring a smile to your lips and a tear to your eye.