Organizing Kids

messy room

In my ongoing effort to not be a constant nag I’m always looking for ways to make my kids autonomous when it comes to cleaning and organizing.  I recognized that there are kids that naturally come into this world just a little neater than others.  Nature often wins over nurture but that doesn’t mean we can’t be better.  I don’t just give up on them and assume they’re slobs.  Very few things in life are irreversible.

When the kids were little, they would come out of their room and proclaim, “All done!”  I go in the room for the customary inspection and would would nearly blow my top at the disaster before me.  How was this “all done”?  I soon realized that the kids needed to know what “all done” really meant.

I started by completely cleaning the room with the kids.  Next, I broke out the label maker and put a label on everything to ensure they knew where each item went.  All things need a home.

Next, I took a few pictures and printed them out and taped to the back of the door. Visually the kids could now see what “all done” should look like.  This was transformational.  No longer was I having to point out over and over what still needed to be put away.

One of the simplest things that can be done is just to have less stuff.  Managing vast amounts of toys is tough and it’s often not even played with.  With Groupon and Living Social I encourage all well-meaning grandparents, aunts and uncles to buy experiences rather than more stuff.  A trip to the zoo is far better than owning the plastic zoo with accompanying animals.

As the kids have gotten older, they now know what to do even if they’d rather be sleeping or on a device.  Too keep things simple, I took old picture frames and put poster board in them with lines.  I write chores on the glass with a dry erase marker  and the kids erase as they go.  Something satisfying in erasing completed chores.

Chore signs

The kids have done a good job at coming home, checking the list and getting down to business.

My older daughter now keeps a clean room all the time minus any nagging.

Sydney's Room

I just walked in unannounced and took this photo.  No clothes on the floor and everything in its place.  Don’t give up on the kids.  One day they’ll see the light and you’ll see the floor.




So I’m a runner.  A relatively consistent runner but not much else.  I once joined a gym and found I just hated driving some place other than by front yard to exercise.  As if exercising wasn’t hard enough.  So there went money, good intentions and strength training out the window.  I’ve taken some other stabs at varying my exercise.  I own a core ball and a DVD, I own weights but just haven’t found my mojo.  Now, I’m forty years old and my back is starting to become unhappy with my singleton view of exercise.  I’ve been fortunate as a runner to never really have been injured but I have spent two days on a heating pad after reaching for my hair dryer.  After that very painful episode I have deiced to get serious about some cross training.

I purchased a set of 20 classes at a local yoga studio.  I love studios rather than a community school class as I can choose my own schedule and if something comes up on a particular night I can go another night.  No excuses.

I’m a planner.  A check one off the to do list kind of girl.  So at the start of the week I plan out my meals, my running and my day at yoga.  I’m two classes in now and no, I don’t love it.  I feel good about having done it.  I feel foolish and outside of my comfort zone multiple times during class but that lets me know I’m doing it right.  If it were easy, everyone would do it.  I sweat like I’m in Bikram Yoga even when it’s air conditioned.

I encourage everyone to do something out of your comfort zone for the betterment of your health.  You may not like doing it, but on the other side you’ll be so proud of yourself for having done.