Solving Organizational Headaches
I recently had a fun opportunity to be on a local morning show! The segment was on solving the most common organizational headaches, and I wanted to share all of these great tips with you, too! (There are even a few extras thrown in – including a free printable!) You can watch the full interview at the link at the bottom of the page.
Headache: School Papers & Keepsakes
Kids bring home mountains of school papers each year. Over 1200 pieces of artwork over 12 years! They often end up in piles on kitchen counters or stored away in plastic bins. Many parents don’t have a system already in place, so it becomes overwhelming very quickly.
- Set up a system that will grow with your child over the years. Create it ONCE so that you don’t have to recreate a new system each year.
- First, find a specific place in your home to store the keepsakes for each child (don’t mix them). It can be an open basket, wall file, or drawer, depending on your space.
- Then, be selective about what you keep. Don’t keep everything! Only keep your favorites that say something about your child’s personality. Ask yourself, “Will my child want this in 30 years?” You want these keepsakes to be a blessing, not a burden to your child.
- What if your child doesn’t want to throw away anything? Use April Perry’s “Sneaky Sorter” idea: Keep two unmarked baskets on top of your fridge (or wherever). One is a “Keep” basket and the other is a “Recycle.” Your child will never know which is which.
- Contain your favorites in a School Memory Box. Set up a plastic file box with hanging file folders from Pre-K through High School. Keep school photos, artwork and report cards all together in one place. You can make it extra special by adding a School Memories questionnaire. At the end of the year, sort through your basket of “Keepers” and put the very best in your School Memory Box. Fill out the questionnaire and put the box away until next year. Easy!
- You need a system!
- Choose a specific place to put school keepsakes.
- Near where your child empties his or her backpack
- Use an open basket (11×13 or larger), drawer, or wall file (one per child)
- Don’t keep everything!
- Ask yourself, “Will my child want this in 30 years?”
- Make it a blessing, not a burden.
- Create a School Memory Box
** Free Printable: School Years Organizer Printable.**
Use this sheet as a reference when you are sorting your school papers.
Headache: Kids Toys
Kids toys are hard to tame. They tend to take over a space and never seem to stay organized. When you ask your kids to clean the playroom, they are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. For younger kids who can’t read yet, it can be hard to know where everything belongs.
Set up your playroom like a preschool.
- Sort toys into broad categories. (Dolls, Things that move, Figures, Building)
- Do a ruthless edit. Get rid of half your toys (seriously). Only keep favorites and either donate or rotate the rest.
- Select the right kind of storage.
- I prefer open, reach-in cubbies. So easy to reach in to grab a toy and it makes clean up a breeze.
- Use clear bins.
- If you use the popular Kallax cubby unit from IKEA, don’t use bins that go all the way to the top of cubby units. If you do, the toys will be out of sight, out of mind. Your kids won’t play with the toys and it’s hard for clean up. Instead, select bins that are half the height of the cubby so that it’s easy for kids to both access their toys, and also easy for them to clean up!
- Label using picture labels. Use adhesive pouches and hand-draw pictures or create picture labels using a vinyl cutting machine.
- Sort toys into broad categories.
- Do a ruthless edit.
- Invest in open storage containers.
- Use picture labels.
Headache: Linen Closet
People have too many sheets and it’s hard to keep them organized and tell the sizes. When they are stacked on a shelf, they often fall over on each other, so things start getting shoved in and it becomes a mess. Large comforters can also take over and things spill out on the floor.
- Match up sets and fold them to the same size. (We have a fitted sheet Folding Tutorial in our Instagram highlights.)
- Put the fitted and flat sheet inside the pillowcase so the set stays together.
- Edit! Only keep your favorites (2-3 sets max per bed) and donate the rest to a local Animal Shelter. They always appreciate and can use old blankets, towels, and pillows in their kennels.
- Contain sets in baskets and label according to room (Boys Room/Girls Room/Guest Bedroom) or by size (Twin/Queen/King). (Or use shelf dividers and label right on the shelf.)
- Contain larger blankets and comforters in zippered bags or rope baskets.
- Fold sheets to the same size.
- Combine sheet sets together inside a pillowcase.
- Only keep your favorites and donate the rest.
- Contain by room or size and be sure to label!
- Use zippered bags or rope baskets to store larger comforters or blankets.
It’s difficult to find the room to store your spices when each bottle is a different size. They are usually stored up high and get buried in upper cabinets, making it hard to see what you have and find the spice you need.
- Store them in a drawer instead. Buy spice drawer liner and cut it to fit your drawer. If you don’t have a drawer available, use a lazy susan or plastic bin in your upper cabinet that you can pull down.
- Decant your spices into matching bottles. You can find the bottles on Amazon. Keep the backstock in a bin in your upper cabinet.
- Label! Add labels to the front or top, depending on how you are storing them.
- Store spices in a drawer, lazy susan, or plastic bin.
- Decant your spices into bottles.
Headache: Hand-me-down Clothing for Kids
Kids hand-me-down clothing can get out of control so quickly and is one of the most frequent organizational headaches we encounter. It’s hard to keep up, especially when they are little and moving through sizes so fast. You need a system in place to keep everything organized.
- Designate a place in your child’s closet for the next size up and down. Have open baskets that say “TOO BIG” and “TOO SMALL.” It must be convenient and easy to put clothes in there.
- When the too-small basket is full, transfer them to a clear storage bin. Don’t keep anything stained or items you didn’t love. If you have a lot of clothes, divide them by season. Store those in a basement or attic.
- Label according to size. Make it easy with adhesive plastic pouches and index cards. Have all the supplies you need to label stored near your bins.
- Go through the clothes at least twice a year during the change in seasons. You have to stay on top of this and maintain your system!
- Keep a TOO SMALL and TOO BIG bin in your child’s closet.
- Store in clear storage bins according to season.
- Label using an index card and adhesive pouch.
- Transfer clothes during every change in season.
You can watch the full segment from Studio 5 here:
Overwhelmed with clutter? Solve your biggest organizing problems with these 5 systems
As always, you can find my favorite organizing products in my Amazon storefront. You can also schedule a free consult with me to discuss how my team of professional organizers can painless get rid of all of these organizational headaches for you!
Each of my career choices-wedding coordinator, event planner, and teacher — gave me the creative freedom to organize everyone and everything. I have always thrived on to-do lists, planners, and systems! Now, I lead a team of organizers to help me on my mission. Read more…