1. Don’t have a ton of toys.
We have very few toys at our house. Mostly for my sanity, but also because truthfully, kids don’t need a lot. I try to be intentional with the toys that I buy. Most toys that we have are educational or promote imaginative and creative play. Things like building blocks, dress up clothes, plastic toy animals, art supplies, real life play items (baby dolls, kitchen set, power tools, etc), and lots of books. We also have “centers” – basically a bin for each type of toy. They’re each allowed to play with one center at a time, and when they’re done they have to clean it up before getting something else out. This works most of the time, but even when it doesn’t we have so few toys that they are able to easily clean it all up and organize it on their own without my help.
2. Use decor space as storage space.
If you have counter space or open shelving, make use of that space instead of cluttering it up with random stuff or knick knacks. For example, on my kitchen counter I have a cookbook stand and a breadbox. And in our opening shelving I store the salt and pepper, glass canisters for flour and sugar, some pretty copper mugs, storage baskets, etc. It’s functional and pretty!
3. Throw things away.
Throw stuff out ALL. THE. TIME. If you pick something up or notice something that you haven’t used in forever (or find something on the floor your kids clearly don’t care about), throw it away or put it in a donation box. Do it. It will feel so good. I add to our donation box or put something in the trash every day. I do it so often that now my kids have started bringing me things to throw/give away! If something is irreparably broken they’ll just toss it in the trash without any fuss. You know those massive clean out days that you have where you clean out your kids rooms? Where every toy you want to get rid of they cry big fat tears and sob, “But that’s special!!!!” Yeah, I don’t have to do that anymore. Praise.
4. Have a place for everything.
Each item in your home should have a place. For example, we’ve got a box full of electronic-related items. If we’re ever looking for, say, a power cord, we know exactly where it should be. In this big house with all these things to keep track of, this helps me so much. It keeps me from having to remember where I put things. If I ever need a certain item, I always know exactly where to look for it, whether I was the last person to use it or not. Labels are so helpful for this! We have boxes in our office labeled for specific things, and the bins in the playroom are labeled so the kids know which bin is for what toys. This helps so much to keep things from just getting tossed in the first bin you come to.
5. Clean as you go.
I hardly ever feel overwhelmed at the state of my house because I’ve gotten really good at cleaning as I go. I rarely have to take a whole day or big chunk of time to clean my house. When I get really busy sometimes the sink/dishes suffer, so occasionally I’ll have to take some time to do that. But for the most part, dirty dishes go straight into the dishwasher. I spot clean counters and floors, put things back from where they came from, and I make my kids do the same. They clear their own places at every meal, wipe the table down, and keep their toys and belongings where they’re supposed to. If I see something that needs to be cleaned or tidied, I try to do it right then or have one of the kids do it for me. I know this doesn’t work for everyone; in fact it probably doesn’t work for more people than it does work for, but I’ve found that “cleaning as I go” is easier for me to handle than cleaning up an entire room or house that is in disarray.
Today is Pinterest Day for the Babywise-Friendly Blog Network! We’re all posting on the topic of “organization” today. Be sure to check out our Pinterest page for the rest of the posts and others!
BFBN Organization Posts
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom: Getting Organized for Back to School
Journey of Parenthood: Keeping Kids Clothing Organized
Wiley Adventures: Organizing the Family Calendar
Mama’s Organized Chaos: 7 Tips for Organizing a Small Space
Twinning Babywise: Organizing Small Spaces to Improve Your Mood
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