The trick to getting your family more organized is to create a culture of collaboration at home. Here’s where and how to start.
1. Have a shopping list that the whole family can add items to. This empowers kids to take care of themselves. They can add their snacks, toiletries and other items as needed. The adults no longer need to be responsible if something is forgotten.
2. Hold a weekly planning meeting with the family. Nothing formal, just a discussion over dinner about what’s going on that week. Discuss activities, carpools, parent workload or travel, class projects and tests, meal-planning, shopping, etc. This creates a culture of collaboration in the home.
3. Constantly cull items you no longer need. Set up a donate basket and instruct your family to add items to it on a regular basis.
4. Purchase with intention. Plan where the item will be stored, how it will be used and what it will replace. If you treat your whole home as a one-in, one-out system, you’re less likely to have overstuffed spaces.
5. Create an open desktop file box to organize papers that need an action: read, file, follow up, pay, etc. Place the box where papers usually collect. Keeping it handy keeps it useful.
6. Create a routine for daily tidying up and next-day prep. Get the whole family involved in the cleanup and pickup of spaces. Keep it to 10 minutes, max, if possible. Take five minutes to mentally prepare and strategize for the next day’s meals and tasks.
7. Time your chores. Knowing how long tasks take is a game-changer if you tend to procrastinate. For example, folding a load of laundry might take only five minutes but you may let it sit for a day or more before doing it. Knowing it takes only five minutes makes it easier to do it now and be done.
8. In multi-children homes, color code their stuff. Assign a color to each child for bath towels, toothbrushes, drinking cups and more. This is helpful and creates more accountability for the kids because it’s easy for parents to identify whose wet towel is on the floor.
9. Have clear boundaries; don’t let items take over the house. For example, have a space for books. When a space fills up, clean it out instead of finding an additional space. This goes for toys, kitchen items and clothing.
10. Find an accountability partner. Create organizing goals with your family and hold one another accountable. Keep your focus on why you’re doing it for better success. If your family isn’t a good option as an accountability partner, then opt for a friend or a professional. If you have a friend as an accountability partner, just be sure he or she is the type who will hold you accountable.
This article originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of the Momaha Magazine.