Live an Organized Clutter-Free, Less Stress Year
Children (and parents) have different levels of tolerance for cluttered surroundings – some of us perform well, while others are distracted and irritated when things are in disarray. If clutter is interfering with family functioning, we need to develop ways to contain or eliminate it. This can be done by creating decision rules and timelines for sorting and clearing duplicate or unused items and to limit purchasing of new things. Here are some helpful tips to get you started living an organized, clutter-free, less stress filled New Year.
Marie Kondo, author of the book, “The life-changing magic of tidying up”, suggests you ask the question, as you hold each item, “Does it spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not dispose of it.
Go through everything and decide what is being kept, thrown out or donated to charity. Be firm with older children who want to keep all of their stuffed animals from when they were five. Keep a few for memories but the rest need to exit the home. If your children or spouse witness you removing your stuff, it will be a bit easier for them to remove their things.
Stick to the rule
“if you don’t use it, you don’t need it.” Although this is easy to preach, it is much harder to practice. It can be very difficult to let go of the comforts that we have gathered through the years. For instance, your great grandmother’s small chest of drawers that has been sitting in the basement for years and does not go with the decor of your home, use it for storage of holiday decorations, blankets, tools, etc. – use it for something!
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Take inventory of items and determine what is the best storage – for example, clear labeled bins are fantastic for memorabilia. Also, utilize the walls for hooks that can hang up tools that are scattered in the garage. It is so much easier to find the hammer, screwdriver or pliers if they are hung on the wall. I am also a big fan of repurposing items you already have on hand to use as storage containers. Still have plastic Halloween candy buckets? Use them to hold rags, car cleaner products, or sponges.
Be prepared for an illness or injury by taking stock each January of the items inside your medicine cabinet. Toss out expired, over-the-counter drugs, creams, lotions, etc. When disposing of prescription drugs, not all items can be flushed or put in the trash. Call your local pharmacy for clarification on how to safely dispose of questionable prescription drugs.
Organizing all of the paperwork that comes with a child having an IEP does not have to be complex or costly. Pick your method of how you want to organize and stay with it; fine tuning it only to suit your family and goals. Maintain all those papers with a minimum of stress. Make it a goal to file them away each day. Purchasing a filing cabinet and folders will keep the documents organized and available when needed. Colorcoded files are a great way to separate school documents from physicians/specialists (e.g., all red files forschool, all blue files for doctors, etc.). Clearly label each file folder with a bold pen or marker. Keeping it organized will make it easier on all of you. TIP: Sign permission slips and forms the same day and put back in backpack.
If you add then subtract
To keep your closet organized, follow a few simple rules. If you add an item, subtract an item. Keep a small hamper, or large shopping bag, in the closet or in the same room for items that are to be donated. When the donation bag is full, drop it off at your local charity center. To avoid dragging out the ironing board, remove items from the dryer and hang them up right away so wrinkles do not set into the clothing. I have been living this rule for years and it works like a charm – giving up my iron was very nice!
You are all well aware of the importance of keeping medical appointments forthe children, but, how do you keep them for yourself? Since those early days, I make yearly checkups with my doctor each August. I have a reminder in my electronic calendar that pops up and screams “MAKE APPOINTMENT WITH DOCTOR FOR CHECKUP” and it keeps popping up on my calendar until the date is set. When the appointment is made, I check myself “out” on the calendar for the entire day so nothing else can be scheduled. If you use a paper calendar, purchase extra bright colored “stickies” and slap it onto the calendar as a reminder until it is done!
Susan Parziale is a certified Professional Organizer. She is also a mother to 8 year old daughter with Autism.
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This post originally appeared on our January/February 2017 Magazine