How organizing is easier when your children get older. #5 of 5

As your children get older, you (and they) get busier, which is why I haven’t posted in a while. Not sure about you, but I am happy to have May over and done! Here, finally, is #5!

The 5th reason organizing can be easier once your children get older – You can reason with them and actually involve them in a solution.  This is really helpful when you are trying to turn your home around and create systems that allow you to live a more organized life. Since they (and their stuff) are part of the “problem,” let’s make them part of the solution.

Play a game of “stump the chump” by asking them how to solve your organization frustrations. You can throw these questions out to the family over dinner, or if your people respond better to competition, ask each family member to come up with their own ideas and then you all can merge those into one solution.  Collaboration is key to buy in from all parties. It might sound something like this…

I need help figuring out how to keep better track of your stuff for sports/camp/summer school/work. The mornings are so hectic and I want us all to leave the house in a good mood and on time.

  • What kind of organizational system would work best for you?
  • Where can we put your stuff the night before so we know that we have everything?
  • Where should we put your stuff when you come home?
  • What bag/bin should we use? (Go get something fun and cool if that actually will make a difference)
  • What role will you play in keeping your stuff together?

I cannot take the mess by the backdoor anymore.

  • Can you help me come up with a better place for your shoes, towel, bag, etc?
  • Can you help me by ALWAYS putting that there after ____________?
  • Can we agree to keep all the ______________ here?
  • What can I count on you to do to help keep the area picked up?

You might just need a defined process, or you might need something more elaborate like shelves, drawers, baskets, folders, etc.  Whatever it is – find something that is going to work for you AND your family. Once the system is defined, everyone who uses it should agree on the expectations and be trained on how to use it. At the end of the day (or right after the activity), ask all necessary parties to make sure their stuff is where it should be. That will only take 5 minutes if everyone participates.

The big catch here is accountability. If you involve everyone in the development of the new process/system and then continue to insist that everyone use it appropriately, it will become a routine. Don’t have them create a system that you have to keep up unless you want to be the primary housekeeper. The younger you can get the kids involved, the better.

I often hear, “I organized this space and it looked so nice. I have to reorganize every month because everyone else messes it up.” My response: “Your organizational system isn’t working for all who are using it. It is missing something.”

If your organized spaces keep getting messed up…

  1. The system doesn’t meet everyone’s needs. What else should it include?
  2. The system is NOT self explanatory and/or your family doesn’t know how to use it. Did you actually share with them what you were trying to accomplish and how to use it?
  3. You aren’t holding all accountable for using the defined system. ACCOUNTABILITY is key.

So, call the family meeting and get everyone involved.  The 2 most important pieces of an organized home are 1) well defined systems and 2) willing participants.  Both are much easier to obtain if you get everyone involved.

1 or 2 hours out of a lazy summer day can be a good time to do this, but if your family is going 100 MPH this summer, you might need to schedule time so it actually happens. If it is that important to you, you will need to make it happen. How important is it?

As always, I’m here and ready to help. Happy organizing!