Yesterday, we looked at the need to get your house organized and some keys to getting that done. Today, let’s review a a few tips that may help you with practical everyday chores.
IN THE KITCHEN
- Dishes: Color code your kids. This has been the very best way to keep our kids organized. We went to Dollar General and bought 3 sets of cups, bowls and plates – pink, orange, and green. Each child is assigned their own color. So, when they leave a dish out, we know who it belongs to. It makes setting the dinner table easy and fun and colorful to boot. It also makes putting dishes away easy for kids.
- Dedicate one cabinet to each of your kids: This cabinet will include color coded dishes, water bottles, lunch boxes, one bucket of silver ware for easy access, one towel for each one to clean up their own mess, kids’ aprons, mixing bowels for helpful cook times, popcorn cups, and a basket full of snacks just for them. You can also put kids’ cook books in this cabinet along with a kid’s step stool if you have the space. This keeps the kids out of all the other cabinets and gives them some independence in the kitchen. This helps the kids feel like they belong and make clean up time so easy.
- Snack drawer: If you don’t have a place in the kids’ cabinets, give them a drawer just for snacks. When you come home from the store grab your snack size zip lock bags and divide snacks in to these bags and place them in the drawers. You do not have to put them all in at one time. Fill up the drawer as needed. This not only keeps it tidy but it controls portions, easy to grab snacks, and gives the kids some independence.
- Kids love to help you clean if you make it fun for them: Place a pack of baby wipes under the sink, and let the kids wipe off cabinets and walls while you are cooking. Not only will it help keeps things clean, but gives them something to do.
- Plan meals together: Make it fun. Hear their ideas. Make them part of the family.
IN THE LIVING ROOM
Your living room should be a relaxing place to put your feet up at the end of the day! Here are some ideas to help!
- No food or drinks allowed: Don’t allow food or drink in the living room unless is a special occasion. This means Mom and Dad have to follow the rule too. Don’t eat apart from your kids. This is not healthy. They deserve your time.
- Keep one tub for each kid in the living room: Fill it with things that you only allow in the living room. When it’s time to clean up, it is so much easier for them to put things away when you have a designated place. Personally, I do not allow my kids to have crayons or markers in their rooms. The tub allows them to color with freedom while watching TV. Finally, make sure that it isn’t a large tub as all that will do is become a collect all and work against your efforts to organize.
- Have one large tub for storage: This will be used to put things in when guest come over and you need to hide stuff. Shove things in and tuck it away.
- Get rid of DVD and CD cases: Do you have movies everywhere? Get rid of the cases buy a cd/movie holder and put all your cds in one easy place. This allows you to store them up out of site, keep the kids from tearing them out and makes sure that they are all in one place when you are searching for them.
- Keep a small blanket for each child folded and in a cabinet: We have ours in the entertainment center.
Here are some more general ideas for other areas of your house.
- Have a mail box for each child: This can be as simple as a tub. You can use it for library books, special projects, notes, b-day cards, notes, allowance, etc.
- Keep a Comment box: There is only one rule for the comment box – anything goes. Your kids can have freedom to ask questions, make a comment, and communicate with privacy. You will answer their inquiries and put the solution in their mailbox or talk to them in private.
- Let your kids cut coupons: This teaches them fine motor skills, the value of a dollar and lets them help out.
- Pick up for 10 minutes a day: You can get so much done in 10 minutes, without overwhelming kids or yourself. Use the 10 minute throughout the day to achieve things together. Make sure you get involved too. Your kids will revolt if you just set the timer and watch them work.
- Keep a tub for shoes: It may be easier for you to keep the kids shoes in a tub by the front door. It also helps when they are looking for them in the morning.
- Put a box in each kid’s room for school papers: Kids love to keep their work, coloring sheets, etc. Have them dump them in one box. Then go through the box at the end of the month and figure out which ones you want to keep.
- Make us of all those art projects: Use school art work to decorate bedrooms.
- Prepare for your week: Layout clothes for the weeks on Sunday afternoon. Freeze all of your meals for one week in advance.
- Organize your bathroom: Have a place for hair brushes and hair ties that make it easy for you to get to
- Prepare to travel: Have a bag filled with just items to take in the car. Always have it ready for travel. When an unexpected trip comes up, you’ll be ready.
These are just some tips for helping to get your house organized. What would you add?