Organization in the kitchen, closet, office, garage wherever is fundamental to staying sane as a parent! This is the third in a four-part series by Christa Harbridge, organization expert and founder of My Living Organized (www.mylivingorganized.com).
Organizing Sports Gear
- Designate a “home” for sports gear, whether it’s shelves, drawers, cupboards, bins or baskets. Putting baseball equipment for example, in one place increases the likelihood of items being returned to that designated place. This in turn decreases the time spent searching the house for scattered gear when running out the door, late for baseball practice.
- Using a canvas sweater-cubbie hanging system (that hangs on a closet rod) is great for storing sports and activity gear. Keep in mind that sports gear does not necessarily need to be stored in the child’s bedroom. The main objective is to keep the gear organized and to ensure your child returns the items to their rightful place. Therefore, if it makes more sense to keep those things in a designated space within the garage or mudroom, go for it!
I find the best way to organize photos is this:
- put them into photo albums that look like a nice leather-bound book on the outside. That way, you can attractively display them on a shelf which increases the likelihood of looking at them and sharing them with interested house guests. This means that you’ll likely need to grab your favourite bottle of vino and finally tackle that bin of loose photos some Saturday.
- If you store your photos electronically, you might want to store them on an external drive, or burn them to CD, label them, and keep them in a CD case. In the event of an emergency, the external hard drive or CD case is small and very easy to grab and go. Photo books are becoming increasingly popular and they make excellent gifts or display items on the living room table.
- As with anything, the best place for Crafts is in ONE place. The universal rule of organization is to group like items together.
- Separate fabrics from ribbons from yarns from glitters and glues. Once you see the extent of your craft collection, you can devise a plan to organize it. Stacked bins, tackle boxes, towers, stacked pull-out baskets, cabinets, cardboard boxes, totes, shoe boxes and 3 ring binders are all useful for craft supplies. Remember to store knives, scissors or delicate crafts in the top bin/basket/shelf, out of the reach of young children.
- Label your preferred method of storage container with a labeler, or mailing labels and sharpie marker. You may want to convert a computer station to a mini craft center– the pull out drawer for the keyboard is ideal for storing tools. If you’re an avid craft-junkie, you might be best to call someone like us to custom design a craft station with cupboards, drawers, ribbon holders, shelves and built-in craft table.
Organizing School Work
If school work and art has engulfed your home and is suffocating your sanity, it’s time to take action!
- DO NOT keep all of your children’s school stuff! If you do, by the time they graduate from High School, you will need a second or third garage to store it all! Young kids are more concerned more with process, rather than the product. Most often it’s the parents that have difficulty letting go – not their kids.
- Get a 10.5 X 15 envelope, write the child’s name, grade, school year (2010 – 2011) and teacher’s name on the outside. Tape their school picture to the front of the envelope.
- Limit yourself to one envelope per child per year. At the end of the school year, put the envelope in a labeled bin or container with a lid – one container per child. When your child brings home test papers, assignments, art and mementos to show you, while you’re discussing and reviewing their work with them, select right then what to keep and what to pitch.
- Make a commitment to do this every week. When something is larger than the envelope, take a picture of your child with their work – start a photo album. When you’re deciding what to keep (with your child if s/he is interested in participating), decide whether it goes in the envelope, on the fridge or on a designated school work cork board/display area. A space for kids to proudly display their accomplishments assists with developing healthy confidence levels. If you and your child are uncertain about what to do with a certain paper, post it on the cork board or fridge. Once it’s been up for a week, the decision will become clear.