One of the hardest parts about getting your family organized is knowing where in the world to start. Often, family members feel like they can’t stop long enough to get organized. This is where some basic tips can help. Following are some simple, fundamental family organization tips to help you get things in order.
Share the Burden
Often, one family member (usually a parent) feels all the pressure to get things organized, and it just seems like other family members are constantly undermining his or her efforts. To help overcome this, try sharing the burden. For example, every family member should be responsible for putting away his or her things (coats, jackets, shoes, toys, books, etc.). There are various ways you can get your family motivated to take care of their own stuff. You might try:
* Giving points for tasks completed, and require the kids to have a certain number of points before watching TV, spending time on the computer, etc.
* Hiding items that are left out can really drive home a message about taking responsibility for one’s stuff. Make sure everyone in the family is aware of this consequence if they leave their things out. Then those items can be hidden as you like, and perhaps kids will have to earn back the hidden items.
Try establishing work space for family members’ various activities. It could be as elaborate as a separate room, simply a piece of furniture (such as a table), or a corner of a room. This helps in several ways:
* All the stuff required for a family member’s activity – books, paper, pencils, craft supplies, sports equipment, etc. – can be sequestered in his or her work space. That prevents said stuff from ending up all over the house.
* Family members tend to feel validated when they have their own space to do what they want or need to do.
* Homework space should be separate from entertainment space to avoid temptations, and to make sure that supplies are handy. The need for a computer in homework space is understandable, but make sure that it’s only used for school purposes (such as research).
Bins and Containers
Finding the right bins and containers for items can really help get things off the floor and onto shelves, into closets, and just up off the floor. You may find that you can get by with a few clear bins in each work space, or a set of inexpensive plastic shelves.
You may prefer a large dresser or filing cabinet for the whole family, with each person having his or her drawer. Whatever you choose, make sure the containers can be closed and stacked, and that you can see what’s in them (and/or label them).
At the Front Door
It seems like the front door area is a catch-all for shoes, coats, jackets, books, and anything else family members happen to be carrying when they walk in the door. Try having a basket or box for each person on shelves by the door; mail, school papers, and other items can go in each individual’s basket/box. Every week, the baskets and boxes will need to be sorted through and cleaned out, but done regularly, it should not be too hard.