I almost never accept guest posts, but when this one arrived in my email, I was excited! I couldn't wait to read it and learn how to tackle my family's clutter (because you know we've got laundry baskets full of clutter over here). I hope you like it.
So you've got kids, and lots of stuff. I know how it goes. Now that school's out, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at all the things they have and all the clutter your family has built up.
Here are just a few ideas for summer projects for organizing your house while your kids are at home and have ample time to contribute.
Project 1: Sort Your Stuff
For each child, designate time that you'll comb through his or her room. Take a hard look at everything and organize it into 3 groups:
- Stuff you access frequently
- Stuff you access once in a while and
- Stuff you never access.
Move the stuff you rarely use out-of-sight, perhaps to a high closet shelf or the attic. Then, organize the frequently used stuff on your shelves and storage space. As for the rest of the stuff, see the next item.
Project 2: Donate What You No Longer Need
Your house is probably filled with old memorabilia, outfits, and tchotchkes that are now gathering dust. Make it a family project to gather and donate them. Examples:
- Sports memorabilia: Lamb Awards will accept your old trophies, either recycling them or donating them.
- Gowns: Your daughter can make a big difference for another girl by donating her recently used gowns. Groups like Project Princess ensure girls of all economic backgrounds can enjoy stylish pageant dresses.
- Worn linens: If your closets are filled with old sheets and tattered towels, drop them off at your local animal shelter. Make it a family trip, so your kids can see for themselves the impact theyÃƒre making.
Project 3: Streamline Your Kids Artwork
Instead of letting your kidsÃƒ artwork pile up, make it a project to gather each piece and memorialize it with a photo. Use software to add records of each pieceÃƒs creator and year. Then, you can recycle or throw old art projects, guilt-free.
- Bonus: I love this idea from I Heart Organizing of creating a playful art display.
Project 4: Clean the Garage
At least once a year, make it a habit to comb through all the stuff thatÃƒs piled up in your garage. Even if you donÃƒt do a full-scale reorganization, you can donate the things you donÃƒt use any more and free up space. While you may want to do the heavy-lifting, let your kids help you decide what should stay and go.
Project 5: Create a System for Tracking Chores
DonÃƒt let all that summer organizing go to waste! Keep up your household not only by involving your children, but by implementing a system. Use the summer time to create and try out different methods (if the first one you try doesnÃƒt work). Here are a few ways to handle this:
- Pen-and-Paper: Create a chore chart with your kidsÃƒ names or download one online. Hang it on the fridge.
- Phone and Web Apps: Different apps take different approaches. Homeroutines offers a room-by-room to-do list, while Cozi lets everyone in the family sync their chores through its app or its website. You Rule Chores, meanwhile, assigns each kid a cartoon superhero whose powers grow as tasks are completed.
- Creative Ideas: If traditional lists or fancy apps just arenÃƒt doing it for you, check out some of these chore chart ideas, one of which involves a shoe rack and index cards.
How are you tackling clutter this summer?
Ashlee McCullen is a staff writer forÃ‚ Apron Addicts, a website about kitchen fashion and home style. She also writes about mobile technology, travel, food, and whatever else strikes her fancy at the moment. When she's not writing, she takes care of her two small children, finds new ways to organize and decorate her home, and takes immense pride in her killer cheesecake brownies.
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