After the influx of toys and goodies to our house during the holidays, January is an ideal time for re-organizing, re-vamping, and re-evaluating how we manage our home.
Toys, school books, sports gear and notes home from school can just about take over any home. A new year is a great time to undertake a total overhaul. As a parent and educator, I think that it is super important to get the kids involved in the process of cleaning and organizing.
So after the holiday festivities but before school resumes, we take a day (or two!) to sit back, evaluate, and organize. It’s not always easy, but with the dance music pumped up and snack breaks along the way, it can be a fun and painless process!
Here are a few easy tips for organizing your home:
Start with a toy sweep. Walk around and put toys into three piles:
a) Donate – if a toy hasn’t been used in months, it’s probably time to share it with another child.
b) Save – of course, you don’t want to traumatize your child by giving away their favorite toys!
c) Throw out – if a toy is broken beyond repair or falling apart, go ahead and toss it.
Box and organize rooms. Begin with rooms your family uses most often. Put items in boxes and label them accordingly. Even if you have done this before, it’s worth revisiting labels and boxes each year because kids’ interests and toys may change.
Organize school papers and folders. Empty backpacks and file important papers; recycle unnecessary worksheets and put art work away. Figure out what you really need to keep and what is worth storing away (or throwing away!)
Re-visit your daily schedules and make changes where necessary. Ask yourself:
- What works at bedtime and for our morning routine?
- What needs to change?
- When we walk into our home, where do we put our shoes and coats? Backpacks and purses?
- How can we find a home for every toy?
- What can we do to make our home run more smoothly?
Make the commitment to change. It’s one thing to re-organize, but it’s another to commit to making changes. Sit down as a family and decide what will work best for everyone.
Organizing and getting on track in January is a super way to start a new year. There are other ways to prepare kids for organization any time of the year.
Pulling a game into the organizing mix along the lines of VINCI’s Patterns or Block Design will help prepare children’s brains for seeking out patterns and ways of organizing not only the pieces of the game but their world in general.
Some children can easily pinpoint patterns, but others need a little help. These apps are great tools to use to teach patterning and organizing in a unique way.
Make connections to your New Year’s home organization project: Look at how these boxes create a pattern: white, black, white, black! Can you see it? Or Let’s hang your coat here, your sister’s coat next, and then your brother’s. Whose shoes should go under your coat? Your sister’s? Your brother’s?
Once your New Year home re-vamp is complete, you’ll be ready to move forward and thrive. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and organized 2013!
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