Stay in the Wellness Loop | Health and Wellness Articles
April Miller, B.A., B. Ed.,
April Miller Professional Organizing
Most of my clients are moms who feel stuck, stressed, and overwhelmed. The idea of ‘having it all’ sounds great but all too often it also means having all the cleaning, all the cooking, all the scheduling appointments, all the organizing kids’ activities, and oh yeah - let’s not forget working. Organizing may not be the ‘life-changing magic’ solution to drowning in overwhelm but there are strategies you can use to get organized and make mom live the best life!
What happens when you enter your home? Jackets all over the floor, shoes kicking around the porch – sound familiar? If your entry is driving you around the bend, take some time to assess. With little kids, you’ll need kid-friendly hanging storage. You may prefer everything hung in the closet but little kids can’t reach the rod or don’t have the dexterity to manipulate coats onto the hanger. Simple wall-mounted coat hooks can be installed at kid-height; even toddlers can manage to hang a coat on a hook. Be sure to get ones that are meant for coats, not keys. And don’t get distracted by pretty – you need sturdy hooks that will hold up to toddler wear and tear.
All the hooks in the world won’t help you if your kids have a ton of stuff. Pare down belongings as much as possible and avoid cluttering main closets with off-season or too-big clothes storing them in bins in the basement or attic instead. If your playroom looks like a toy explosion, pare down there too. Keep only the toys your kids play with, love, aren’t broken or missing pieces; if they have multiples, pick 1-2 and donate the rest. Hesitating to get rid of toys? Ask yourself if it’s about your kids or you – are you hanging on because the toy was expensive, or because you’re sentimental about your kid playing with it? If so, sell the item or put it in your memory box.
Decluttered but kids still can’t find their stuff? Think of a kindergarten classroom; it’s organized in zones like story time, imaginative play, and coat storage. In the playroom, this might include a game area, a place for imaginative play like costumes or toy kitchens, and a building zone with Legos. In the bedroom, a bed for sleeping, homework with a desk for older kids, a dressing area, and so on. Organize your kids’ spaces in zones to make it easier to get the things they need and more importantly – put them back! Labels are your best friends – use big, clear letters to tell kids what goes where, right down to labels on dresser drawers. You can get labels in clothing shapes or use pictures of items for kids who can’t read.
Finally (and this is the tough one), you have to consistently enforce the rules. Shared space means shared responsibility - for everything from folding laundry to picking up toys. You’re teaching your kids to be people; doing everything for them isn’t going to help. So it’s time to crack down! And if you need extra motivation, think of your child’ future spouse. Would you rather deliver them someone they have to pick up after and ultimately resent? Or would you rather know that you gave your son or daughter-in-law the best gift possible – a partner to help them carry the load through life.