Thursday, January 10, 2013

ABCs of Organized Living with Kids - Part 4

This week, we're looking at different ways to organize our homes and our time to make life a little easier, and a lot more fun!  If you missed it, you can catch up on the earlier sections of our A-Z series.

 L -  Laundry - A Load (or two...or three...) a Day Keeps Chaos Away! - Thank you very much FlyLady for this little gem of advice.  Before I became a stay-at-home-mom, I would let the laundry pile up and then spend Saturday morning catching up.  That was just with one child.  Five years, and 3 more kids later, there is NO WAY I could let the laundry go that long.  Just taking a weekend break means I have 3-4 loads waiting for me on Monday.  Now, one of the first things I do when I leave my bedroom in the morning is to put a load of laundry in.  After the older kids are safely on the bus and the little ones are occupied, I move that load to the dryer and start my second load of the day.  If everything runs on schedule, two loads will be folded and put away before lunch.  If I get it done early and daily, it saves me from dreading the whole process.

This simple laundry room revamp from I Should Be Mopping the Floors has me itching to paint our laundry room this year!  I wonder if my husband is up for another painting project :)

Also, I love how Organized Habits has their laundry sorter labeled so the little ones can help sort their own laundry.  I think I would add pictures or have the labels in color to help my pre-readers out!

M - Make Your Bed Every Morning! - It is amazing how this simple habit can change the appearance of your whole room and get you started on the right foot for the day.  If I make my bed, there is NO CHANCE that I'm getting back into it (not that the kids would let me do that anyway!).  It also gives me a place to set down the laundry that I'm putting away.  My boys make their beds every morning - not as neatly as I'd like, but they're learning :)  And, since I'm hoping to repaint our bedroom soon I figured I'd show you the room I'm dreaming of!

N - Nix the Clutter - The idea behind this is simple - the less stuff you have, the less stuff you need to organize.  I can't stand clutter!  It drives me crazy and makes me cranky.  I also have 4 kids and run an in-home daycare, so clutter is almost unavoidable.  I have TONS of toys and baby gear, so yes I really do understand this one.  It's hard to declutter, especially when you're talking about other people's things (like the t-shirts your husband has been wearing since college or the toys your children never play with until the moment you put them in a box to donate!).  So, this is definitely one of those tasks that needs to be approached one baby step at a time.  Every year, I make a goal to get rid of 365 things (toys, clothes, kitchen items, books...).  It keeps us from being completely overrun by the "stuff".  (Does anyone else watch Hoarders and secretly feel better about themselves?!)

There are tons of websites to help you simplify and declutter your home.  Recently I came across a great resource, 8 Weeks to a Less Cluttered Home from Keeper of the Home.  This article includes a printable list of 40 Days of decluttering challenges.  I also like FlyLady's approach to decluttering for 15 minutes a day in each of her 5 zones.  Home Storage Solutions 101 also has a great step-by -step for decluttering.  Whatever approach you take, it's important to declutter in small, MANAGEABLE, chunks and not pull out more than you can deal with in 15-30 minutes.  Trust me, your kids won't let you devote much more time than that to any project!

The easiest way to declutter is to grab 3 boxes and label them "Toss", "Put Away", and "Give Away".  If it's trash or broken (and you're not going to fix it) just trash it.  If you haven't used something in a year and you think someone else could use it, put it in the give away box.  If it belongs somewhere else, it goes in the put away box.  Don't over-analyze this!  Also, some sites will tell you to make a "sell" box.  This NEVER works for me.  I always have grand ambitions of putting it out with our community yard sale, but it never happens, and then I have boxes of miscellaneous stuff that I don't want, but feel I'm supposed to sell.  Sometimes donating is just easier for me.  I've found that Freecycle is a great source for getting rid of lots of stuff quickly.

 Even if you never organize things into baskets or label a single thing in your house, this one step will do wonders for making your home more manageable and reducing your stress level.  I know because the sheer number of legos littering my floor right now is STRESSING ME OUT!!  :)

Join us tomorrow for more ideas as we tackle the Outdoor Clutter and Playrooms!!

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