As the spring weather arrives, many of us get the urge to tackle spring cleaning and organization. Perhaps we are inspired by the KonMari craze or simply need to declutter all we acquired over the winter season. Spring organization can transform your home and help you breathe a sigh of relief along with that fresh spring air!
Step 1: Declutter: Before any significant changes can occur, it is necessary to truly declutter your space. When it comes to organization, less is more! Less mess leads to less stress. Take time to analyze each and every space. Does a family of four really need 12 reusable water bottles, five basketballs and piles of unwatched DVDs? Think about what you use and truly need. Model this for your entire family and involve them in the process. When in doubt, toss it out. During the decluttering process, keep three large boxes handy to place items to sell, trash and donate. When a box gets filled, consider it a success. You are on your way to creating a more livable and functional space.
Step 2: Tackle Toys: Kids’ toys often present the most significant challenge when it comes to organization. From large, plastic superhero headquarters to tiny doll clothing to overflowing art supplies, the mountain of toys must be tackled! After you and your children have decluttered the toys in Step 1, it is time to categorize. Each category of toy is housed in its own bin. Try not to mix categories as the goal is to make toys accessible and easy to put away each night! Cars get their own bin along with action figures, animals, dolls, Legos and playsets. Attach a label to each bin so your kids know exactly where each item goes when they finish playing. Think about storing art supplies in clear bins or stackable tupperware for easy storage and to prevent items from spilling. Examine all storage spaces. Over-the-door shoe racks are perfect places for Barbie dolls or cars. Narrow, rolling bins can be used to store blocks under the bed and out of sight. Larger toys should each have their own spot as well with any coordinating items packed neatly beside them. Consider using pencils cases to house smaller items or puzzles in order to eliminate bulky boxes. Place books in forward-facing wall book shelves so your children can clearly see each title. Make a habit of cleaning up toys before leaving the house and before bedtime each night. Play two or three of your children’s favorite songs and see if they can get everything in the right spot before the songs are complete. Establishing these quick routines will keep everything neat and tidy!
Step 3: Closet Coordination: Spring is the best time to clear out those heavy sweaters, coats and unused clothing. Remove winter clothing from closets. Store them in clearly labeled bins in the attic or back of your closet. For children’s clothes, store items that will likely fit them next year and donate everything else. Organize children’s closets by category. For example, hang all short-sleeved shirts together. In dressers, make each drawer have its own category such as pajamas, undergarments, pants, socks or sports clothes. Keep some crates at the bottom of closets to store shoes, sporting equipment and a “too small” crate. If your child finds something is too small during the season, he or she simply tosses the item in the “too small” crate. When the crate is filled, it is time to donate all the items.
Step 4: Purge the Piles of Papers: Our kids bring home so many papers each day, including homework, graded tests, stories, artwork and school notes. Never let papers pile up on the counter. Immediately decide if you will keep or trash each item. Store school notices on a bulletin board or file folder close to your family calendar. Hang artwork for each week. When a new masterpieces comes home, toss the old art work! Of course, there may be items you want to keep for sentimental purposes. Create one file box for each child with hanging folders. Label each hanging folder by year. Add special art pieces, stories and notes in the files. Keep the file boxes in your children’s rooms. They love looking back at their treasures and adding to them!
Step 5: Consistency is Key: To maintain your organized space, create habits that ensure consistent organization. Think about creating a family checklist to help your children remember these habits. Before bed, all toys are put away in their designated spot. Cups and dishes go to the sink after eating. Shoes are placed in the shoe rack when entering the house. Each morning, review the checklist. Give your children an incentive to complete each item daily. For instance, if all items are checked off each day this week, we will take a family bike ride on Saturday or make our own ice cream bar for dessert! Once these habits are in place, everyone will be more productive, relaxed and ready to enjoy spring.