When you have a kid, the biggest battle is to keep things organized. Younger kids will rip through your home like a hurricane, disrupting anything that they can get their little hands on. Staying organized with kids isn't an easy task but you can certainly win the war if you stay diligent about your home's organization.
It's difficult to corral children of a certain age. Once they figure out how to open doors and climb over baby gates, you're in for a world of frustration if the house isn't properly prepared. While staying organized with kids is a daily struggle, it is worth it. You'll be much happier if you can find what you need when you need it.
These tips certainly don't cover every single thing about staying organized with kids. You'll need to prepare for contingencies and adjust your course of action once you discover that the baby has learned how to climb that high shelf by standing on a chair. So without further delay let's jump into 10 tips for staying organized with kids.
Preparing The Purge
Once you finally realize that your kiddos can get absolutely anywhere they want, it's time to purge all of the unwanted, unused, and unneeded items from your home. The less junk you have laying around the less material they have to make constant messes, and the easier it will be to stay organized in the future.
Stay Trimmed Down
After birthdays and Christmas I always ask my kids what they want to keep and what they want to donate. My little ones are tough negotiators, but so am I. We went through the purge already and I'm determined to not go through all that effort again. Maintenance throughout the year is a huge help.
The Endless Paper Storm
One thing that drives me crazy is paper. Schools will send home a rain forest of paper during the school year, and it's important that you have a plan in place to deal with it. Some people might say trash, but I promise you'll regret that once the kiddos are big. I have a drawer that is overstuffed, organized by kid and then by school year. It's really nice to laugh with them at their old projects and see just how much they've grown.
Prepare for Impact
Keep things that you don't want touched far out of reach. If you've got fragile items, don't be too proud to shove them in the attic. My spouse's laptop goes inside our lockable luggage when it isn't being used. Unfortunately my desktop is always in the line of fire, but I do turn off the keyboard lights so they don't lure little hands.
Contain It to Maintain It
If you can get a set of stackable bins or drawers, they can work miracles when it comes to keeping your home organized. Instead of letting kids have free reign and go tearing through the containers, ask if they want to play with cars or blocks today and only let them open that box. The kids don't mind, and it will keep things so much cleaner.
If you have a shoe rack, ensure that your kids deodorizing foot powder is there. Keeping related items in the same container will preserve some of your sanity.
Organize Everything Always
This falls right in line with what I said about the containers. A gigantic container full of toys will lead to all the playthings spread in every direction. If you simply organize and separate kids can more easily find what they're looking for and in return you'll have a much smaller mess to clean up at the end of playtime. Have the kiddos help you organize it if they're old enough to do so. That way they'll know precisely what goes where.
Labels Work. They Just Work.
Kids might remember where things are, but I rarely do. Whether that's because my head is filled with work that I need to get done, or just from having an old rusty brain. Therefore labels are near and dear to me. If I can't quite remember what goes in an empty container, it helps a lot to have things labeled.
Routine Is Important
If you haven't read our blog on daily schedule for toddlers, now is a good time to give it a look. In summary, kids love routine. The real secret to staying organized with kids is to turn them into your greatest ally. At the end of playtime establish that it is their responsibility to help you clean. This will also come in very handy later in life.
Chart It and Reward Them
Going along the same vein as a routine is a very nifty cleaning chart for kids. Developing a chart can help establish who's job it is to do what, and at the end of the week you can offer a reward for a job well done. Incentivizing children to help you clean can work wonders for staying organized with kids.
Accept That We Aren't Perfect
Simply accepting the fact that it is impossible to stay organized with kids 100% of the time will do wonders for your mental health. Messes do happen and it's find to avoid cleaning it right away, especially if it means your cherub is occupied and not making another mess somewhere else. Just relax.
Staying Organized with Kids : Conclusion
We are all just humans trying to do the best we can to enjoy ourselves and get through the day. That statement includes the kiddos! Understand that they aren't making a mess just to get under your skin, they're simply exploring an entire world that is completely new and interesting to them. They want to help their parents be happy, but sometimes they just don't know how to go about it. It's up to you to give them a nudge in the proper direction. As always, compassion will take you far.