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Keep It Clean

I like to have things organized. Obviously that tendency had to change when I had a child, because nothing stays clean or organized in a house with children. For someone like me though, who feels better when things are organized, I have found that even with a child in the house I can maintain some sort of order by following a few steps.

Make Lists
Making lists helps me remember what I need to do that day. But the crucial point to remember is that the list can’t be some kind of rigid mandate; rather, view it as a flexible guideline, otherwise you will beat yourself up if you don’t complete everything on that list (which you won’t).

I have lists for:

  • Grocery shopping: We have a marker board on our fridge where I write down what we need for the week.
  • Daily To-do’s: I use my email calendar feature to keep a list of daily To-dos. I can add reminders with an alarm also, and I won’t miss them because they show up on my phone.
  • Need-based lists: If there is a big event we are planning, I need several lists (a “what to buy” list, “what needs to be cleaned” list, and a “what needs to be made” list, for example). If we are traveling I also need several lists (a “what to pack in the toddler’s suitcase” list, “my suitcase” list, “hubby’s suitcase” list, “what has been already packed” list and “what to buy” list).

Don’t Get overwhelmed
This is a key to being organized. If you get overwhelmed with all that needs to get done or organized, it can incapacitate you. If you look all around and see all that needs to get done, often the thought of doing anything becomes overwhelming and you convince yourself to get nothing done instead. However, if you are happy with each task you get done, no matter how small, then you will gain a sense of accomplishment. Cheer yourself on! You got something done. Maybe it was that you managed to get the colors washed (but not folded). It still counts as having got something on your list done today! Good job!

Focus on one Area at a Time
Focus on only one area of your home at a time, or one task at a time. When you have children, getting something done can take days because your attention is constantly divided. If you are constantly thinking of what you need to do next, you won’t effectively get anything done. So instead of organizing a room, focus on one cabinet or closet at a time, not the whole room. Breaking a project into pieces is the easiest way to get something done (especially when you have a child).

Get to Work
You’ve made a list and prioritized a task. Now comes the actual work. Here are some steps to help get your home organized

Empty out the area of the room you plan to organize.
Sort through the items from that space. Determine what should be kept, tossed, or given away.
Buy whatever items you need to organize that space. Do you need baskets? Do you need bins?
Organize with your newly purchased baskets or bins and put back together the section you worked on.

Organizing Favorites:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which dooms you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. $10,

Real Simple: The Organized Home
“The Organized Home,” the new book from Real Simple magazine, is a practical, inspirational guide to streamlining your home and creating a more peaceful and productive life in the process. $22,

The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Happy, Organized Home
Containing a comprehensive index, helpful checklists and charts, and an extensive list of online resources, moms will turn to “The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Happy, Organized Home” to guide them from bewilderment and confusion to confidence and maturity. $13,

Clutterfree With Kids
As parents, balancing life and managing clutter may appear impossible—or at the very least, never-ending. But what if there was a better way to live? “Clutterfree with Kids” offers a new perspective and fresh approach to overcoming clutter. With helpful insights, the book serves as a valuable resource for parents. $12,

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