To get started organizing your family, it helps to get specific. General tips are fine, but really knowing just what to do can help a lot with motivating you toward your organizational goals. Following are some tips on getting started organizing your family.
Organizing time is just as important as organizing your stuff. If each family member has his or her own calendar, it can become a major headache trying to coordinate everyone’s schedule. Try having one big family calendar, such as a large, office-style calendar that can be put on the wall or laid on a desktop. If you put it by the front door, everyone can see what is going on before leaving and as soon as they come home.
Have each family member write his or her schedule on this master calendar. To make it easier, assign a different colored pencil to each family member. This helps you see at a glance who has the most activities and who needs to be where when.
Use labels to show the contents of toy bins, personal baskets/boxes, file cabinets, and even dresser drawers if you like. This helps you and your kids find what they want or need at a glance. This also helps as you delegate tasks to others – you won’t be as likely to be driven crazy by kids not knowing where to put clean dishes or laundry.
It’s okay to get creative with containers; just so long as everyone’s stuff is contained! Clear bins are a natural choice; they can be stacked, they are clear, and they come with lids. Plastic drawers are another option. For those who have a lot of small things – beads, for instance, or small collectibles – egg cartons make great storage containers. They can be labeled and stacked as well.
For kids and grown-ups alike, keeping a chart with chores/tasks listed can help a lot. If you rotate tasks, a dry-erase board is a good idea. Tasks can be crossed off or erased, and this helps everyone feel more accomplished.
This ties in with time organization. Establishing routines can help children feel more secure, and adults, too, benefit from knowing what comes next on a given day. Routines like reading the comics at breakfast or having a special snack after school can create lovely memories while teaching your child how organization can simply be made into a habit.