Recently, I had a reader and friend email to ask for my organization advice. Her major point of frustation? Her children and husband were not putting things away when they were finished using them leaving a mess behind that was more than she could bear. She knew she needed to try something different but just wasn’t sure where to start. Today’s post is my response to her email and the amazing outcome of what she did with it.
First off, let me just say, I have to constantly be on my kiddos to put things away too. I think it’s just part of mommydom. That said, our ways of organizing are not always the ways they process organization sooo here are a few suggestions that come to mind in regards to all you said.
- Call a family meeting. Explain that you desire the house to be more organized. Show them the mess that you see and how it makes you feel. Next, that your way of organizing must not be working for the family because its not staying organized. Proceed to let THEM figure out a way to organize “the stuff.” Toss out a few suggestions but let them do the rest. Maybe some of the items need to go in another room. Maybe, some of the items need to be put in baskets without lids because they find the lids cumbersome. Maybe…. You name it–just offer a few suggestion and then let them figure out a solution. It maybe not organized like you would have thought but if it works, then go with it.
- Make a one out at a time rule. Meaning: if they get one toy out then they need to put one toy back. Montessori schools are notorious for this. They have personal carpets the kids play on and everything must stay on that personal carpet area. When they are done they must put the toy back before they can bring another toy to their carpet area. We are not anything like that here at our house but I do try to encourage the girls to pick up their toys before getting something new out and we always have 15 minute crash pick-up before daddy gets home which always helps too.
- Present the consequences up front. What happens if they break the rule and you find stuff all over the floor again? Explain to them in advance (maybe at that family meeting), that if you find a toy not put away after one initial reminder you will put it in a box and stick it in the garage. They can then earn the toy back by doing some chores or something. Or, if they don’t earn it back within a set amount of time (say a month), then they must not really want it so you will share it with children who do (aka Goodwill or some similar-type organization). While that may sound a bit harsh to some, this one rule alone has worked wonders with one of my girls in particular. And yes, we have gotten rid of a few toys in the process this way too but with no regrets.
- Give your husband his own personal space–in the house. Husbands are a totally different matter when it comes to encouraging them to stay organized. I get that. That said, recently I learned something about this through my husband who he tends to drop all when he comes in the door even if it interferes with my cooking space (because he comes in through the kitchen). What I realized was that he didn’t really have a landing space all his own in the house–a place he could just drop stuff and I wouldn’t move it, or dust it or complain about it. Since creating that space in the form of a desk, I have not had any trouble with him dropping stuff off in my area at all.
And what did this reader do as a result of this email conversation? She made an amazing organized space for her girls that my daughters would drool over.
Isn’t that amazing? It is so cute and her girls have since learned to take pride in their stuff as a result. In this reader’s own words:
I really can’t take credit for the original idea as I found inspiration on Pinterest. I also took a pic of all the supplies I bought and all in all only spent just under $160 which was my given budget from the hubs. I was pretty proud of myself. However, I now want a few more items such as a long wall mirror for them to see themselves as they dress up and either some wall hooks or coat type rack for their purses. And, they informed me they would like somewhere to go behind for their “dressing room” so, I’m now trying to find ideas for this possibility too. I’m thinking maybe one of those room type dividers that fold out, but i don’t want it to take up too much room. Thomas is also “jealous” and now wants me to organize his room too and already has a few ideas. It will be fun, it just takes some time to save up money or look for new or used items.
So what do you think? Any of you find it a challenge to get your kids and your husband on board with your organization goals? Or, do you have any tips to offer this reader as she continues to reorganize her home with her family in mind? If so, share away in the comments. Pinterest board links are more than welcome as well. I can’t wait to see what you have to share and be even more inspired!