Calendar and to do lists hanging on refrigerator

Some families have it, and some families long for it. It’s that sense of having it together. Here are three highly effective ways to bring organization to your household.

Have a place for everything

Knowing you have items and where to find them is fundamental to being organized. Think in broad categories: food, cleaning supplies, toiletries, school supplies. You get the idea.

If you have to look several possible places for an item, then you might give it a home in the first place that came to mind. This will save you money. When like items are together, you know exactly what you have — and need.

Consider your paper products: If you have plates in one space, plastic cups in another and utensils in another, it’s a bit chaotic pulling them together on demand. Having a space for all disposable/paper products can remedy this. If space allows, group paper towels, napkins and other paper products together.

Purge clutter

The less you have, the less you have to maintain. This is not a one-and-done clean-out. This is an everyday approach to stuff. Organized people are very intentional about what enters their spaces, and they are quick to get rid of things they no longer need.

Having easily accessible donate bins and recycle bins can help create this habit in your family. The whole family participates in the maintaining of stuff in the home. They all share with the clean-out and contribute to the shopping lists. There is no one keeper of the stuff in the home.

Along with this, there are good boundaries. Kids and parents know where their stuff belongs. An example could be kids’ toys. Let’s say you have them in a designated play space. That is their boundary. Toys can’t take over the whole house. If the play space is too full, then it’s time to do a clean-out.

Communicate

The two primary elements of good communication are a shared calendar and a weekly family “meeting.” The calendar can be paper or digital. The biggest key is that the whole family can see it and add items if needed. Parents cannot be the keepers of the calendar. As soon as kids can read, they need access.

The family meeting doesn’t have to be anything formal. Just a weekly conversation over dinner about what’s happening. Topics can include tests, projects, activities, carpools, meal planning and shopping. This isn’t only the kids sharing; parents also need to share their schedules for the week. A work trip or big project due date are good things for the family to know.

Also, share things you want to celebrate and are thankful for with the group. This process sets up the whole family to be looking ahead and understanding of what everyone has going on. It creates a truly collaborative environment.

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This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of the Momaha Magazine. 

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