We just had a fabulous speaker, Elisabeth Woods, who shared how to keep your house organized. She mentioned that we all can have the CHAOS overrule our house. CHAOS stands for:
She went through each room of the house and helped us identify ways to focus our efforts in each room.
The first way to address the room is declutter. We all have areas in our house (closet, cabinet, floor) that is a magnet for clutter. Clutter being the stuff that doesn’t actually belong in the area. I can remember Elisabeth showing pictures of her kid’s room and toy storage where everything has a home. She also showed us pictures of her office as an example of a Hot Spot. (A Hot Spot is a surface that gets filled with stuff. like a countertop, kitchen table, and floor)
A way to think about the clutter in your specific area you might address is to decide what stays, what needs a new location in your house, what needs to be tossed (broken toys, craft projects), and what needs to be donated. The frozen concept comes in handy – and if you want to sing the song, Let it Go, I bet your kids would help you with your clutter. And if they can see your example in not keeping every single thing that comes into the house, they can see that they too can not keep every little toy or craft project. Just be sure to explain to them why you are doing it, and how they can help.
The second step is maintenance. Don’t just clean the area, have a plan to maintain it. Find a way to corral the shoes. Use cardboard boxes to sort the stuff in your junk drawer. Have a basket in your living room for the small toys that scatter everywhere. Make it pretty and useful, and the maintenance is easier. Also, find ways to sneak a quick cleaning in the room. Clean the kitchen while the kiddos are locked in at the table. Swiftly clean the bathroom while the kids are in the tub. All the little actions you can take to tidy up the room will help in the long run.
The third step Elizabeth mentioned is involve family. They help make the mess in each and every room. Kids as young as 2 can help do clean up, they just need direction and lots of encouragement. Let your older kids sweep and teach them to wash dishes. Allow them the most fun thing – to take their bedding off as dramatically as possible. Show them how to fold clothes – towels are fairly easy, and matching socks can be made into a game. If we show our kids that everything you have has a use, a place and a way to take care of it – then will get how to put things away (coats,bags, shoes, toys, books to name a few), then they will learn and understand what ‘clean up’ means. And responsibility to take care of their things.
I will mention some extras that Elisabeth mentioned:
First, don’t declutter your spouses stuff without them knowing. We all have boxes of things from the past. Don’t start a quarrel over his stuff that is taking over an area. If you can address it as a team, then you will see the stuff from his eyes and perhaps he will understand the need for space.
Second, the People City Mission takes clothes, no matter the condition. They sort out the useable donations and recycle the stained, torn and unusable donations. So just bag it up, and don’t sort it out. You can drop it off at the boxes that are scattered across Lincoln. And if you want a receipt for tax purposes, you can call the phone number listed on the box or scan the QR code with your phone. And don’t forget about toys and baby items. The Friendship Home (women’s crisis shelter) and the Lincoln Crisis Pregnancy Center would love to have donated toys and your gently used maternity and baby items when you are done using them.
And finally third, have friends over. We all have clutter, and we won’t notice your clutter. What we will notice is your hospitality and your willingness to let people inside your home to have conversation and a play date. Don’t wait until your house is clean because your kids will probably be grown and out of the house.
I have attached a blank copy of the house handout to this post for you to download. You can use the blank copy to write down some ways you can address the stuff in each room. Each little reminder can help us maintain our house. We will also be re-running her blog posts over the next few weeks that she did over the 2014 New Year holiday (she was last year’s publicity gal). She had a wealth of information for us to re-read and talk about this issue.