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 they're making.
Project 3: Streamline Your Kids Artwork
Instead of letting your kids' artwork pile up, make it a project to gather each piece and memorialize it with a photo. Use software to add records of each piece's 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 that's piled up in your garage. Even if you don't do a full-scale reorganization, you can donate the things you don't 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
Don't 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 doesn't work). Here are a few ways to handle this:
- Pen-and-Paper: Create a chore chart with your kids' names or get one online. Hang it on the fridge.
- Phone and Web Apps: Different apps take different approaches. Home Routines 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 aren't doing it for you, check out some of these chore chart ideas, one of which involves a shoe rack and index cards.