There are few things quite as rejuvenating as an organized house, especially after months of putting things on the back-burner! With the kids getting back into a set school routine, there’s no better time to get them back into a routine of daily chores, as well. Assigning them set jobs and encouraging them to fulfill them every day not only keeps the house clean and organized, but helps them feel helpful and accomplished. Setting more specific tasks as opposed to assigning more nebulous ideas also greatly increases the likelihood that they’ll follow through with them. “Put dirty clothes in the hamper” and “vacuum your room” all seem much more manageable, and will more likely be done, than a more generic “clean up your room.” Because kids tend to be more visual and tactile, making a physical chore list that can be checked-off will help them keep better track of the chores they’ve done as well as the ones that still need doing. Print out a weekly list, or if you’re feeling a little Pinteresty, make a cute chalk or dry erase board and hang it in an area that the kids see a lot. From making their bed to taking out the trash, it’s the little things that help the entire family out!
Alright, this one is for Mom and Dad! As daunting as it might seem at first, make a weekly dinner menu at the beginning of the week, and even start meal prepping for those meals. It will help alleviate some of the day-to-day hustle, not to mention eliminate that sudden it’s-5:30-in-the-evening-and-the-kids-are-asking-what’s-for-dinner-and-I-have-NO-CLUE! panic. Shop for the bulk of your meals on the weekend, preferably Sunday, and you’ll be ahead of the game. As you start preparing for the week, you can even add the dinner menu to your chore chalk or dry erase boards. There’s nothing wrong with being too organized!
With school comes clutter, so make space to contain the chaos before it spreads throughout the house! Create an area with benches, baskets, or a hall tree specifically for backpacks, purses, briefcases, and things we take with us on a daily basis. Don’t think it’s just the kids that need this type of organization; us parents can benefit immensely from it, too! If you want to get super creative, make a space that has cubbies to hang items, or a bench that you can place baskets underneath with each person’s name. Everyone in your family will appreciate having their own space to place their day-to-day items, and it will greatly cut down on how many times your kids will ask “Have you seen my _______?”
As for the clutter created by all of those old projects, artwork, and schoolwork that tend to coalesce into piles like mini leaning Towers of Pisa. A lot of kids and parents understandably have a hard time tossing these keepsakes, but they also don’t have the acres of attic space to store them all. That handprint turkey Billy made in 1st grade is adorable, but there are only so many handprint animals one can keep before the zoo starts taking over the storage closet! One solution is to make two stacks, one of Absolutely-Must-Keeps and another of Want-To-Remembers. Use your smartphone to take pics of everything, then upload them via app to a cloud-based photo album (Google Photos or Flickr, to name a couple) where you can further organize the pictures by child, grade, theme, etc. The essential Must-Keeps can then be stored in stackable plastic bins, while everything else can be tossed in good conscience, knowing that you can still revisit them and reminisce any time through your online photo album.
Do you have extra school supplies that you feel that your child won’t be using this year? Maybe it’s leftover from last year or you bought too much of one particular item? Donate those items to a school in your area that may be in need. There’s always a place for items like this within your community, so why not make a difference in the lives of other school children who may not have the opportunity to get all the school supplies they needed. Donating is a great way to both de-clutter and make difference at the same time. Just make sure the items you donate are like-new and can be used.