I am a stay-at-home mom, and like other stay-at-home moms, I go a little crazy sometimes with all the chaos that runs through my house!
With all the magazines, kids’ art projects, appointment/event reminders and children’s toys, I feel like I can’t see my carpet sometimes.
A few months ago, I thought I was ready to lose my mind! I have found a few tips on how to keep the house semi-organized and keep my sanity.
Getting organized is a valuable time and money saver. Here’s how to clear the clutter:
Get rid of the magazines
They always seem to be in the house, even after I read them. It seems like they have a mind of their own: I throw them in the garbage and they somehow end up back on my table! Now I subscribe to electronic versions of my favorite magazines on my Kindle Fire. Get apps such as Parents Magazine: Download the edition of your choice and it is all saved. It doesn’t take up memory on the Kindle Fire, and (better yet) it doesn’t take up space on your table! If you already subscribe to the print version of the magazine, the digital copies are FREE! Also, a lot of these apps have special interactive features for you and your children. My 2-year-old daughter loves my Parents Magazine app. There are all kinds of features that the magazine doesn’t offer: Click to hear children’s music, read children’s books, see a new hot toy and watch how it works, and lots more. My daughter plays on it for hours.
Scan art projects
My kids are always creating family portraits, Sponge Bob drawings and finger paint masterpieces. When my kids are done with a project and it is all dry, I scan it into my computer and either save it on the computer in a file marked “children’s art” or on a CD or flash drive. This eliminates all the clutter caused by artwork displayed on multiple walls and the fridge. I love my kids to death, but their art takes over my house sometimes! I hate to throw their art away, but sometimes I have to because it gets torn or damaged. This way, it is organized, and you have a backup if it gets ruined. If you really don’t want to throw something away, put it in a plastic bin. Keep your favorites on the fridge but make sure to scan them, too. This is also a great solution for school papers.
Create a family calendar
I have a giant calendar on my refrigerator door that I write literally EVERYTHING on in order to keep our schedules in one place. Large calendars can be found at the Dollar Store, Target, and Walmart, and usually they are no more than $1 or $2. Everyone gets a designated color on my calendar. I tape a colored pen or marker to a piece of string (yarn works, too) and then tape it to the side of the refrigerator. There is a color for every member of the family, plus one color to represent everyone when the event involves all of us.
My house was filled with toys. It seemed like when I tried to get rid of them, more accumulated. To keep the craziness down to a minimum, I set aside a time for me and my children to sort through their toys. We discuss how some people can’t afford toys and how donating toys they like but don’t play with could really help a sick child or someone in need. It helps them feel like they are in control of what stays and/or goes, and it is a teaching opportunity. We set up three piles: toss, donate, keep. If they do not want to let go of certain items but you know they do not play with them, set them aside and move on to other toys. The “toss” pile usually doesn’t ever have much in it, so don’t be discouraged! The “donate” pile is usually the largest in our house, especially around the holidays. I explain that Santa will bring them new things and then they don’t mind so much about getting rid of old stuff. Consider a donation to Toys for Tots or donate to your local children’s hospital. Check with your community to see if there are any special events going on for toy donations (there are usually a lot of events during the holiday season). I try to go through their toys at least twice a year: once at the start of summer and again just before winter.
This is a guest post by Candi from Pittsburgh, PA
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