Keeping a perfectly organized house can be a challenge with
children, but you can easily have a "sort of" organized home.
- 1. Create a place for stuff Walk through your
house and find a home base for items you commonly find strewn
throughout your home. Decide on a place for your children to put
their backpacks when they come home from school each day. If you
are constantly searching for your kids' shoes, get a small shoe
organizer and place it near the door. Install hooks at your
children's height so they can hang up their jackets. Be sure to
find a spot for your purse, keys and cell phone
Joetta Tucker, professional organizer, suggests creating an "In
box" for mail and school papers. Have your kids pick up their
papers from the "Out box" after you sign them.
Mom of toddler twins, Sarah Shaw, frustrated with bath toys
overtaking her bathroom, hung a mesh bag on the wall over the
- 2. Use labels, bins and bags For organizing
children's toys, use bins and label the type of toy that goes into
each bin. For younger kids, put pictures on the bins so they can
put items in the appropriate place. Put small toys and game pieces
in sealable sandwich bags to keep the pieces together and label the
bag with a permanent marker.
Families with multiple children of the same sex often find
clothes getting mixed up. Tucker suggests putting one small dot,
using a permanent marker, on the tag of the oldest child's clothes.
"When the child outgrows it, add a dot to the tag and hand the item
down to your second child," Tucker says.
- 3. Pick small projects Your house did not get
cluttered in a day and will not get uncluttered in a day. Pick a
small project to start, such as a junk drawer. After you have
finished, enjoy your success for a few days and then pick another
"You can't organize clutter; you can only get rid of it," says
Marla Cilley, the "Flylady" who shares her organizational
strategies on her Web site, www.flylady.net.
- 4. Get your kids involved By enlisting your
children in your battle against clutter, you are reducing your
work, teaching them good organizational habits and helping them
"When your child sees you making your bed, she is going to try
to make her bed, too. Don't allow your perfectionism to get in the
way of her following you. Don't go back and redo how she made her
bed," suggests Cilley.
- 5. Pick your battles When your children grow
up and move out, it will be a lot easier to have a perfectly
organized house. While your children are young, have realistic
expectations about the state of your home.
Pick the few areas of your house to focus your organizational
efforts on. For example, if having a tidy laundry room makes you
more productive, then spend a few minutes every day straightening