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child organizing

20 Organizing Projects Kids Can Do

The skill of organizing can be learned by anyone, even kids. A good way to ease them into it is to have them contribute in small ways. Start by giving them organizing projects that match their skill level, so they don’t get discouraged or frustrated. Beginners can sort, categorize, and dispose, as well as assist with specific tasks. Once those skills are mastered they can advance to decision making and item placement. Ongoing practice and participation will improve their skills. Offering rewards and showing appreciation will help facilitate positive reinforcement and encourage future participation. By helping kids learn the skill of organizing at an early age, not only are they contributing to organizing the household, they’re acquiring skills that will help them in every aspect of their lives now and in the future. Here is a list of 20 organizing projects kids can do.

  1. While organizing kitchen cupboards have kids match food storage containers with their lids and recycle all the unmatched ones.
  2. Test pens and markers and discard the dried up ones.
  3. Check games for missing pieces. Make new pieces if possible.toys
  4. Disinfect door knobs and light switches. (Cleaning is part of organizing.)
  5. Sort craft supplies into categories and put away.
  6. Help clean out the car by tossing trash, wiping down doors, and washing mirrors.
  7. Shred papers that are deemed shreddable. Have them work from one box or bag of shreddable papers at a time.
  8. Collect mail and put into one designated mail in-box.
  9. Check dates on magazines and catalogues and recycle anything over 3 months old.
  10. While cleaning out the pantry have kids check expiration dates on canned goods, boxed food, and condiments. Toss what’s expired and donate to a food bank what won’t get eaten.
  11. Include them in the kitchen clean up by having them empty the dish washer.
  12. Create a donate box with images of what can go in it. Put 3 things in it from their room that they’re ready to get rid of.
  13. Label their devices, adapters, cords and headphones. backpack
  14. Try on clothes for the next season to see what fits. Put what doesn’t fit into the donation box.
  15. Put all dirty clothes in hamper. Wash their own clothes if they are capable.
  16. Include them in the laundry process by having them put away their clean laundry.
  17. Pick 10 school and art projects to save for the year. Store in one bin with label that they create.
  18. Make a spare parts bin to collect all the wandering game pieces, puzzle pieces, and legos. Collect them daily and empty the bin weekly.
  19. Clean out school bag/backpack and get rid of what’s not needed.
  20. Mark important dates (birthdays, school events, sport events, parties) on the calendar for the next 3 months.

©May 2020  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved

Best Way to Get Better at Organizing

Organizing is a skill that anyone can learn. However, just like any skill, some people pick it up more easily and quickly than others. How would you go about learning a new skill, like playing a musical instrument or learning a foreign language? You’d take lessons, read books and practice, practice, practice. That’s what we have to do to learn and get better at organizing, PRACTICE!

3 Clutter Buster Tips

First of all, what is clutter? What does it look like to you? My definition of clutter is a jumbled mess of miscellaneous stuff that has accumulated as a result of indecision and inaction. It’s piles of mail, heaps of clothes, and a tangled mess of adapters and earbuds. So how do we get rid of it?

Clutter buster tip #1

Reclaim order often and ask yourself two questions:

  1. What decisions do I need to make in order to get rid of this clutter?
  2. What actions do I need to take to reclaim order?

Reclaiming order is the process it takes for us to create order after we’ve made a mess of things. For example if all the laundry was clean and put away, how long would it take for more dirty laundry to appear?  Less than one day, right? That is natural disorder. We wear our clothes and get them dirty, and then they need to be laundered. Those three steps create the organizing flow (see diagram). The more often we complete the organizing flow circle, the less clutter and mess we have to address. I’m not recommending we do laundry every day, but I am recommending we do it often enough so it doesn’t become an overwhelming task. This organizing flow circle works for all areas of clutter, mail, clothes, cosmetics, tech paraphernalia, email, and the like. The key is to reclaim order in a timely manner so clutter doesn’t have a chance to grow and take root.

 

Clutter buster tip #2

Stop - Do not enter sign

Say No! and use gatekeeper questions.

A very effective way of reducing clutter is preventing it from coming into our homes in the first place. This is often easier said than done, but there are things we can do to stop clutter at the door. One option is to get removed from mailing lists, both electronic and snail mail. Use the national do not mail list. Another option is to see what makes up the piles of clutter and figure out who brings it into the house. Is it clothes, books, paper, or toys? Have the person responsible use a list of gatekeeper questions before bringing anything new into the house. These questions help determine the usefulness and practicality of items. Some examples are: Why are we buying you? What value will you add to our household? Where do we have a place for you? What will happen if we don’t buy you today? The point of these questions is to make you stop and think about what you’re bringing in before it gets to your door.

Clutter buster tip #3

tiny house key Adopt a return-home-routine.

Give yourself 5 to 10 minutes when you return home to take care of anything you brought home with you. I mean anything. Put your keys and handbag in a specific spot. Hang up your coat and put away your shoes. Take care of receipts, mail, and other items you carried in with you. Find a destination for any new purchases you bought. Do this every time you enter your home so it becomes a habit. This helps prevent piles of clutter from growing. We need to be diligent and have a do-it-now attitude, because clutter is a social creature and will attract other clutter if we let it.

 

©January 2020  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved

Calendar Preparations

Organizing tipMake time in your schedule for 2020 calendar preparations. Use this time to mark special dates, write monthly bill reminders, and note meetings. Birthdays and anniversaries are the first thing I jot down on a new calendar, then work meetings, appointments, events, monthly bills, and tax payments. I also add reminders for events that require preparation. For example if I’m giving a class I give myself a one week and two week event reminder. I find this very helpful in keeping me organized and prepared.

one dollar bills

Buy Wisely

Organizing tipBuy what you need and use what you buy. This is a simple straight forward directive, but can be challenging to do. I use shopping guidelines and gatekeeper questions to help me buy wisely.