Practical Tips for the ‘Organizationally
by Carolyn Campbell
years ago I won the CHAOS contest, for “Can’t Have Anyone Over
Syndrome,” because my house was so cluttered and disorganized. When my
sister suggested that my husband and I enter the competition, I laughed
because we were so deserving. Walking through our house, my family
automatically stepped over everything from CD cases to diaper wipe
containers. If a plastic toy broke underfoot, we didn’t even flinch.
contest sponsors, Pam Young and Peggy Jones, professional organizers
known as the SLOB sisters, say my family suffered from a condition
known as “organizationally impaired” or “domestically challenged.” They
believe that “too much clutter” is a problem in at least 60 percent of
Here are suggestions from professional organizers to help the domestically challenged among us:
‹ Be creative
After 24 hours, the cars are impounded. We used bright orange stickers for tagging any belonging that was out of place. If it was still there 24 hours later, the abandoner would be charged 25 cents. Our kids loved telling on us and each other, and collecting a quarter every time.
‹ Plan ahead
“I put socks in there, along with brushes, goggles, mittens and library cards. Anything a child might need quickly in the morning goes in one of the pockets,” she says.
‹ Opt for simplicity
An alternative to the one-in, one-out method is Karatz’ “all at once clean” approach. “Seeing all your stuff lumped in one place gives you a perspective on what is useful and what you can live without,” she says. Ask kids to give away what they don’t use, rather than what they don’t want, since kids want everything, she says.
‹ Make it easy to organize
‹ Get kids invested in the process
‹ Take it one toy at a time
suggests keeping a small toy basket in each room where kids play. At
the end of the day, toss toys in the bin for a quick cleanup. If there
are more toys than will fit in the basket, put some away for another
And Kim Cosentino of Declutter Box
suggests enlisting children in the cleanup 15 minutes before the end of
play time. Assign each child one thing to pick up and one place to put
it, she says. “Say, ‘John, pick up all the LEGOs and put them in this
container.’ Make it a game by having a race to see who picks up the
most toys the fastest.”
that adding a little organization, maximizing your space, containing
like items together as well as setting up routines for processing your
stuff as it comes in the door can be life-altering.
“Change is not always easy,” says Cosentino. “But try it for three weeks. It might become habit to keep you organized.”
‹ Carolyn Campbell is a mother of four and a freelance writer living in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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