Children bring a lot of things to a home; love, joy, laughter, clutter…sometimes it feels like the last of these most of all. Keeping your home and life organized is essential to keeping your sanity. If it’s something we must do why not also make it fun.
Stop thinking of home organization as a necessary evil and start thinking of it as a chance to exercise your creative muscles. Here are five ideas that you can take and run with. Make them colorful, whimsical and uniquely yours!
Create a Command Center
This is a great way to stay on top of what every member of the family has going on. Find a little bit of wall space, maybe it’s in the kitchen, the entryway or the drop area (*see tip #5).
Place on the wall a reusable calendar for everyone’s appointments, activities, and practices. You can find colorful types that use dry-erase markers or chalkboard versions. Fit it to your style and decor. Add to that a clipboard for each kid where you can keep any important papers that come home such as permission slips and other forms.
These can be hung on the wall using removable, adhesive hooks. Now that you have the basics, think about what else will help you move through daily life; hooks for car keys, slots for mail or bills, a message board and so on. Here are some cute examples.
Make Memory Boxes
Once our kids start venturing outside of the home to places like preschool or daycare, they will inevitably come back with art & crafts that you absolutely cannot throw away.
There will be priceless pieces with their handprint or coloring pages demonstrating their genius. An easy solution to organizing all these precious artifacts is to have a memory box for each child.
Something like this file box can grow with your child by simply adding folders. Label the folders by year or grade. Use paint pens or stickers to decorate the outside. You can even have the kids help.
Speaking of art, most of us have at least one aspiring Picasso in our house. What to do with all their supplies, especially if we don’t have a designated studio in our home?
A great solution is to make a mobile art cart that can hold all the markers, glue sticks, construction paper and so on. When not being used it can be hidden away in a closet or corner of the room.
I like this one from Ikea, but finding something similar near where you live should be no trouble at all. Fill the cart with office and desk accessories or little buckets and jars to hold the various categories of supplies.
You can find these at any dollar store or wherever office supplies are sold. The next time someone shows up unexpectedly at the door, your child’s studio can quickly transform back into the dining room with one of these.
Organizing the pantry is an overlooked way to simplify life at home. If you have little ones at home, those who can’t read or are learning to read, consider making the items in the pantry more visible.
Remove individually packaged items such as crackers and granola bars from their larger boxes and place them in baskets where little eyes can see, and little hands can reach.
You can also utilize clear canisters for items such as cereal. Organize the pantry according to what you want to make available.
Placing kid friendly items on lower shelves results in fewer trips to the pantry for you and allows the kids to be involved in making healthy food choices.
Designate an “Official” Drop Area
Every home has at least one unofficial drop area, the place or places where backpacks, shoes, and coats end up on the floor.
Some newer homes have designated drop areas, but for those of us who don’t, creating an “official” drop area can help eliminate clutter in places you want to keep neat and tidy.
It can be a little tricky to carve out that space so use your imagination! Is there a corner near the garage or a spot in the entryway? Maybe you have an unused breakfast nook or built–in home office in the kitchen.
Once you find the space, what constitutes a drop area is up to you. It can be a simple bench with room for shoes underneath, or it can be a more elaborate set up with hooks and shelves.
Try to incorporate the command center from tip #1 for a real winner! However creative you get, the most important thing to consider for the drop area is flooring.
Installing tile is a great way to set your “official” drop area apart from the rest of the house. Tile also ensures that the flooring will stand up to the wear and tear of year-round use. When you’re ready to tackle a little more involved DIY, you can find the best tile saws for every size project listed here.
Kids mean stuff and stuff turns to clutter unless we can get organized. If it’s something we must do, try to have fun with it. Exercise those creative muscles that everyday life can make weak and feeble. Use these ideas as a jumping–off point and remember to share your results in the comments.