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may be difficult to relate saving money with organization, but the
two terms really go hand-in-hand. If you are able to organize right
down to the smallest detail, then not only will you save yourself
countless panic headaches, but you will have more time on your hands,
allowing yourself to be more productive and get more accomplished.
Organizing your own personal
belongings can be a daunting task in itself, however, if you're also
trying to take care of all your children's things, it can be an
overwhelming, impossible task.
When children are old enough and
capable, they have a responsibility to take care of their own
belongings. This includes (but not limited to) toys, clothes,
bathroom items, sports equipment, and of course school books and
supplies. It should not be the parents' responsibility to clean
their child's room, or pick up their wet towels off the bathroom
floor. How is this teaching children to be responsible for their own
If we teach our children HOW to be
organized, this will lead to a more productive and hopefully a more
responsible child in school and at home. However, take note, if you
expect your children to be well organized, you must also do the same
to provide a good example, or "model", for them. As the
saying goes "practice what you preach" :-)
For the time being, we will focus on
ideas to help organize your children's plethora of gadgets, toys,
clothes, games, and whatever else may be piled up on the closet
floor or under the bed.
Color Coordinate Everything
The most important idea to incorporate in your family lifestyle
is to color coordinate everything. Regardless of how many children
you have, assign each one a specific color ie: green, red, yellow,
The color you assign each of your
children will go on every item that belongs to them. You will need
to get a permanent marker in each of your kid's colors so you can
mark/dot each and every item they own.
Here's a list of the most common
items you'll want to start out with. Use this list as a starting
point to help harvest ideas that are relevant in your family's
- bathroom utensils
- sports equipment
With their items, simply put a small
colored dot/mark in an inconspicuous area. For example, socks-dot
the toe or heel; shirts-dot the collar tag; puzzles-dot the back of
each piece; toothbrushes and towels- purchase these in each of your
children's assigned color.
Once everything is color coded, you
can then quickly scan rooms and bathrooms and see which one of your
little angels has left things out of place.
To quickly reinforce this new
organization method, simply make the rule that if you find items
haphazardly strewn about, you'll deduct 25 or 50 cents from their
allowance. If that isn't relative, they can always earn additional
work like washing a dish per item that is left out or "doggie
clean-up duty". After a few times, your children will start
picking up after themselves since they hate to lose money and play
** Again, these are merely
suggestions. Adapt and change these practices as you see fit.
Organizing Their Closet Space and
Let's face it, children are learning by trial and error unless they
have someone or something to model after. So naturally, they are
going to make their choices and decisions on what they think is
If your child(ren) haven't had much
success maintaining an organized closet, maybe it would be best to
start from scratch. However, before you clear out their closet
completely to start reorganizing, first observe what seems to be the
problem area. Are their clothes scattered on the ground? Are toys
out of place, thrown here and there? What seems to be the messiest?
Each child will have different needs
that have to be addressed in order to have a clean, organized
closet/room. Just like you wouldn't ask a guitarist to play the
guitar with only two strings, you can't expect a child to put
his/her things away unless he or she has an actual "place"
or container to put the stuff in.
Take the time to teach your children
where their "stuff" goes. If they have trouble
remembering, label the containers or areas as needed. You may need
to buy some plastic storage containers from BigLots (PicNSave). Better
yet, you can often find containers for a dollar at the 99-cent store
or the Dollar Tree (if you haven't been to one of these stores yet,
you are missing out on a ton of deals!)
Weekly Review |
Once you have organized, color coded,
and explained the new procedures/laws that will now be enforced,
have a "weekly review" time where you can sit down with
your child(ren) for 5-10 minutes. This would be the time when you go
over what you liked throughout the week, and areas they may still
need to work a little bit on.
Keep in mind that children will need
to be reminded about the procedures you expect them to follow, so
don't get frustrated if they do not do a perfect job the first week
or two. This is a process that may take some time to internalize,
but once it's learned, your life, and your children's lives, will be
much more fluid and organized.
I like the color coding. We
get socks and towels mixed up and this would help a lot.
I would have liked to see more ideas, as I use many of
the items here. DebtSmart--LOVE IT! I've saved literally
thousands from the tips."