Involve your children when downsizing toys or organizing their
play areas. This helps give children a sense of pride and
responsibility for their space.
Organizing is not just about tidying up, but about achieving
efficiency. I encourage families to incorporate the needs and
habits of every member into the organization systems they
Less is more
After you have tried to reuse and recycle what is already
available in your home, don't be afraid to buy an extra toy rack or
bin if you think it will help you maintain the organization
Jillian Strauss felt overwhelmed and frustrated trying to keep
her medium-sized family room tidy. Because it serves as a playroom,
a sewing room and a home office, her challenges really felt more
The first challenge was that Strauss wanted her daughter to have
her toys in the room, but out of the reach of the baby. But the
most difficult challenge: Strauss and her husband wanted to be able
to work in the room so they could watch their kids but not have the
playtime be distracting. They also wanted to eliminate the paper
My goal was to help this family get organized and stay that way
easily after I left.
We tackled the home office area first. All papers were removed
from the desk and drawers and divided by categories of "to keep,"
"to do" and "recycle." The papers that needed immediate attention
were made easily accessible, while the papers to be kept were
placed in a filing system.
When it came to Jillian's sewing, we concluded it did not make
sense for the room. Much of the sewing supplies were unsafe for the
kids and really would not give Jillian the freedom to enjoy her
hobby without worrying about the kids getting into the sewing
This decision actually freed up a lot of space. I then suggested
the newly opened space be used to store their older child's toys.
Since Jillian moved a lot of her daughter's toys into this room,
she had more options in her home for where to move her sewing
Next, we started sorting the toys. After taking Jillian's thoughts
on which toys to keep and donate, we put them in different storage
baskets and bins. I suggested using colored mesh laundry baskets or
Finally, after moving some bins back and forth and rearranging, we
printed out pictures to label what belonged in each container to
help the kids find what they are looking for and help put toys
In the end, the room was left decluttered, with several bags of
donated items (all tax-deductible) and storage systems that made
perfect sense for this family.
The kids were given their own space. And now when they see their
parents use their home office organizing systems and put things
away, they will try to do the same with their toys.
Pooja Gugnani is founder of Organizing With You
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