The kids have been back to school for a while now, but your house hasn't quite recuperated from summer. It's overwhelming to stare at a house full of summer clothes and toys, and maybe even the suitcases still left out from your last summer getaway. How do you tackle it? Where do you start? How can you possibly get organized? It's not as tough as it looks.
One Step at a Time
Any challenge is tough when you look at the whole picture. Start by breaking down the job into steps. Don't look at the entire house; instead, select a project each day of the week and focus on that alone. For example, on Monday tackle your child's bedroom, and on Tuesday attack the main bathroom. After your initial organizing and major cleaning is finished, you can keep that going by cleaning bedrooms one day and bathrooms the next, followed by a solid cleaning of your kitchen once a week and so on.
This may be your toughest challenge of all when it comes to getting organized. Kids have a lot of stuff. Clothes. Toys. Books. It all piles up. But this is the perfect chance for you to get rid of old items that no longer fit, toys that are no longer used, ripped books, and worn items. If there are items your child doesn't use but you can't bear to part with, pack them in a plastic bin, label it, and pack it away. Donate other items or pack clothes that are in good condition but no longer fit into a bin for your younger child.
Once you've weeded through everything, you'll have a better idea of what you're dealing with. This is your opportunity to get organized, thoroughly organized. Start by seeing things from your child's perspective. Place items at his eye level, such as closet rods and shelves. Make everyday items as accessible as possible for your child. If there is an abundance of toys, create a "toy library" or a bin of toys that you can pull out and swap with other toys on a rainy day. Search for easy ways for your child to keep organized with bins and buckets labeled for each type of toy.
Your living room should be relaxing and free of clutter. If you can, move any toys to a better location such as the family room, play room, or your child's bedroom. Recycle old magazines. Move the furniture to clean the floor beneath. Wash windows. Dust furniture. Wash curtains or swap your summer curtains for a heavier winter fabric. Clean any throw pillows and find a way to keep items such as remotes and books contained and organized. Try a coffee table with storage underneath, or place decorative boxes on the table to store remotes and other smaller items.
Bathrooms are always messy with kids around. There are toothpaste clumps and wet towels to contend with on a daily basis. Starting the season organized will help you stay on top of the clutter. Organize your bath items underneath the sink and designate a drawer for each child. Hang towel hooks for each child at a height they can reach.
Take stock of what you have and get rid of old items such as worn towels, out-of-date beauty items, and expired medications. Keep items your children use daily in an easy to access spot while locking away dangerous cleaning products and medications.
If your house is still full of summer items such as beach toys, sandals, bathing suits, and outdoor toys, store them away in labeled bins. They can be placed in the basement, or you can store them out of the way in the garage. Once you've finished this, organize winter items such as hats and gloves in easy to access bins for each child. Store these bins in a bench, under a bench, or in your hall closet. Check sizes to ensure you have what you need for each child and that all items are still in good shape. Donate anything you know you won't use again.
After you've tackled the major organization problems in your house, you'll be set to stay on track with keeping your house clean and organized throughout the fall and winter. A schedule of daily tasks that work around your school and work schedules will be the best way to ensure your home stays under control.