FACTS AND STATS
Contest winner: 5th grader
Prize: 6 hours of organizing over two sessions (3 1/2 hours + 2 1/2 hours); organizing products valued at $100; a Time Timer courtesy of Time Timer.
Donations: 1 bag of items
Trash: 5 shopping bags of paper recycling; 1 trash bag of trash
For more information about the organizing process (including additional before/after photos):
Part 1: Witness relocation box
Part 2: Labeled drawer system
Part 3: Magazine file folders
Part 4: Clothes and the closet
Part 5: Don’t trash my memories!
Part 6: Ingenious upcycled jewelry organizer
Part 7: Making time for organizing
Photo credits: © Paula Berman Organizing; Winning entry photo used with permission
Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could give your children/spouse/partner a “look” and they would immediately know that they need to tidy up their room, take out the trash, unpack the dishwasher, put their clothes in the laundry hamper, etc. And, the cherry on top, wouldn’t it be lovely if they did a really great job each time without your having to complete the process when clothes, for example, make it on to the floor next to the laundry hamper…
Remember: Your family members are not psychic! If you would like them to do something:
- give yourself permission to ask for help
- delegate tasks
- discuss how each task needs to be done
- discuss when each task needs to be done
- show them how to do the task if they don’t know where or how to start
Yes, they will probably need reinforcement, encouragement, and help, but at some point they will (hopefully!) become self-reliant and self-sufficient.
Photo credit: © Paula Berman Organizing
Routines are repeated actions that have to be done on a daily basis. These actions usually, but not always, have to be followed in a sequence. Examples of routines include:
- morning routines (wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, put school lunch in backpack), and
- evening routines (eat dinner, bath, put on pajamas, brush teeth, read a story).
Routines are comforting to children – they begin to internalize what needs to be done and what is expected of them.
Challenge: Many children understand what is expected of them, but they cannot remember all the required steps. Time eludes them and what should take five minutes ends up taking 25 minutes and tasks are often not successfully completed.
Solution: Use the Time Timer PLUS in conjunction with a mini routine binder.
When children’s to-do checklists are not located in the room where they are doing each task, it is difficult for them to know what to do next in their routines. They have to constantly return to where the checklist is located, which essentially wastes time. And more often than not, children get distracted on their way to review their checklists. The Time Timer PLUS in combination with a portable mini binder solves this problem.
You will need:
- Time Timer PLUS
- mini binder
- sheet protectors
- photos/pictures representing each task that has to be completed (a page for every task)
The advantages of these two time-management systems are that they are both:
- visual, and
© Images: mini binder courtesy of Paula Berman Organizing; Time Timer PLUS courtesy of Time Timer.
I like to keep things simple. The most efficient organizing system doesn’t have to be decked out with bells and whistles. In our home, we use the following two systems:
- Hanging folder system: schoolwork and artwork
- Binder system: school photos (including team sport photos) and report cards
- Gather ALL schoolwork and school-related paperwork/photos in one place: artwork, projects, worksheets, tests, official school photos, sports photos, report cards, etc. You need to see the volume of items in their entirety.
- Presort the schoolwork/artwork into categories before you involve your children in making choices (that is IF you want your children involved): drawings, written work, tests, 3D projects, photos, etc.
- Set a limit for the number of items you/your child can keep from each category once you have seen how many items are in each group.
Hanging folder system: schoolwork and artwork
- a mobile hanging file box that will accommodate work from K-12 (hanging folders to the right and space for small 3D artwork to the left)
- hanging folders or box bottom hanging folders (a hanging folder for each grade)
Binder system: school photos (including team sport photos) and report cards
Supply list for large posters
- vertical gift wrap organizer: extra tall posters that need to be rolled up
- rubber bands
Photo credits: © Paula Berman Organizing
I was lugging Costco groceries into my home the other day when the home phone started ringing (yes, I’m old fashioned that way… I still have a home phone). It was one of my sisters.
Me: Just lugging the Costco groceries into the house.
Sister: Urg! Worst job in the world!
I started laughing. I had been creating a mental list of “worst jobs in the world” earlier on in the day. These included: getting carpets cleaned; washing slipcovers; defrosting the freezer; packing nutritious school lunches that the kids will actually eat; cutting down boxes into 12-inch squares for recycling… the list was starting to seem endless. And then I remembered something that an audience member at one of my presentations had said: “My mom always used to tell me that I should think about how lucky I am to be able to buy food for my family, to have a washing machine (and not have to hand wash!), and have the opportunity to make for food for my family because one day when everyone has left home, I’m going to wish that I had my family around to share meals with and have a child sit on the sofa and share a cup of tea and a chat.”
And so I adjusted my attitude and got on with my day… those Costco groceries were not going to unpack themselves.
Image courtesy of xedos4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net