For the final section of Wheaton World Wide’s organization series, “A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place,” with help from the book “Clutter Rescue” from the Good Housekeeping Research Institute we will be exploring the organization of laundry rooms.
The location of the laundry room is dictated by power and water lines and the venting necessary for a dryer to operate. This means that the laundry room could be anywhere in the house, basement, kitchen, its own separate room, etc. No matter where the room is, the area should provide enough room to maneuver around the washer and dryer, space for supplies and a place to fold and iron clothes.
To avoid access clutter, everything in the laundry room should have a place to go when not in use. Because of the specific function of the laundry room there shouldn’t be much of a question as to what should go in there.
Depending on the type and size of your supplies, this will dictate the type of storage that you might need, however, it does not need to be extensive. Cabinets and shelving are typically the best tools to hold the supplies. Be sure to keep the supplies separated by type and in order of use. In a home with small children, make sure the hazardous liquids are out of reach. You will also want an area to presort laundry, which may require a few laundry baskets or hampers.
Ironing can be made more pleasurable and easier with the right board and station area. Your choice of board be a mounted board or a freestanding unit.
The advantage of the mounted board is the under space as well as a stable ironing station. There are two types of mounted boards: Recessed boards, which are completely hidden and out of the when stored. Surface-mounted boards fold up against a mounting platform in plain view.
Free standing ironing boards are the least expensive and the simplest for use. They are easy to store because they usually fold up and can go in a closet or up against the wall.
Drying and Folding Area:
A drying and folding area is one way to diminish the possibility that clothes will become bedroom clutter. It is also wise to include drying facilities in this zone because the natural next step is to fold or hang them.
There are many types of structures to dry clothes. Drying racks come in all shapes and sizes and in metal or wood. There are expandable racks or flat drying shelves and trays. Shelves are best used for delicate blouses and sweaters. You could also add a drying line, or foldout hanging bars.
A laundry room benefits from a specific area for folding laundry. You don’t need a lot of space. Deep countertops are the best to fold laundry, but creating one out of plywood or hard plastic on top of your dryer is also a possibility.
Most laundry areas will come with a “slop sink” for soaking garments and hand-washing delicates, such as sweaters. Hang a rag or paper-towel dispenser within reach of the sink. Keep a wire or plastic mesh bin in the sink as a place to put garments to drain.
Inventory Analysis: Before you go shopping, check the supplies-storage area of your laundry room. Return supplies to the proper area and check for supplies that need to be replenished.
Orphan patrol: On a week when you are not doing laundry – visit the laundry room to check for leftover soaking, dried or dirty clothes. Return these orphans to the correct location.
The home office or workspace has many different uses – for work, paying bills, reviewing paperwork, etc., which makes this area very susceptible to constant clutter.
The organization challenge is twofold: keeping household clutter from invading the workspace and keeping work items from cluttering other areas in the house. The first rule of the home office is to organize papers – in a file cabinet or on some sort of display organizer. After everything is out of the way, look at how much space you have and think about what you might need.
Choosing the right desk is essential to help beat clutter. First and foremost, the desk must be the right size for your needs. The desk surface should provide enough room for basic office tools and have the space to write comfortably, open your mail and review files as necessary.
When setting up your desk, focus on the essentials. Pens and pencil holders, staplers and tape dispensers should be grouped together and can be bought with matching organizers. Trays (wood, plastic or wire) are must-have organization tools. A mail organizer is also essential to the home office because it is the natural location to deal with bills.
Drawers make it easy to put stuff in and then forget about it, which in turn results in a clutter basket. To make best use of your drawer and keep it as organized as possible, dedicate each drawer to one type of storage and partition drawers as necessary to keep things neat. Even if the desk does not have drawers, the under desk area can be used for storage and organization.
Technology and Equipment:
When deciding about your desk, figure out how much room your computer might take. Depending on your equipment, you may need to have room for a keyboard, monitor, computer tower, printers and mouse.
Cords always seem to be the biggest cause of clutter when it comes to technology. There are two basic options for keeping the cords organized: keep all cords together or do without them completely. Cord organizers are used to conceal cords, which can be tubes, braces or clip-in’s to keep them positioned and together.
Supplies and Reference Storage:
Shelves are the best option for storing reference materials. Open storage lets you see what you have and what you need without searching high and low. You can choose from standalone shelves or wall-mounted shelves. Make your decision based on how much room you need.
Paper and stationary supplies are best kept neatly stacked on shelves. If you don’t want a bookend on the shelf, folders can be used to keep everything neat. Magazine are best kept on racks and books should be grouped by type, so you can easily and quickly find the reference you need. Keep office supplies in a box or bin on the shelf or in drawers by type of supply.
One of the biggest challenges in keeping your home office in order is organizing a filing system. Begin by reviewing all of your paper files. Throw out what is no longer needed. Plan out the order of your files and organize them within the filing cabinet. Depending on your use and how much, stationary or rolling files are viable options for cabinets.
The best way to organize your files are to answer these three questions:
1. Do your files have a system? You should be able to explain how your system works and finding the file should be easy. The easiest way is a simple alphabetic system organized by first letter of the topic. You also want to keep papers in order from newest in the front and oldest in the back.
2. Do you have enough space for your files? If you are cramming files into an overstuffed cabinet, before throwing out your files, do an assessment and add another cabinet if needed.
3. Can you digitize some of your paper files? Most paper can be stored on the computer or online. Make sure to keep hard copies of vital records and documents. Back up your computer hard drive on a regular basis to a zip drive.
Once a week, review the workspace. If you notice things are out of place and have no room for it, consider buying more organization aids. Put the items back where they are out of working space order and where you can find them.
Every two weeks, check your shelf inventory. Make sure you have adequate supplies as needed.
Every six months go through your files to determine if any are no longer in use and should be archived. Make sure files are not crammed into the file cabinet. It they are, buy another one.
Entryways/Foyers/Mudrooms are the transitional areas for family members and visitors, bringing in, coats, shoes and of course clutter. Keeping the room clutter free makes it easier for transitioning from outside to inside. Entryways should not be used for long term storage; they should only be used for the things that come on and off when you enter of exit the house.
Coats and jackets need to have a specific place to hang in the entryway to prevent clutter in other rooms in the house. When planning coat storage, be sure to take into account the room you’ll need for your family’s outerwear and for visitors’ coats.
If you have an entryway closet, it should be dedicated to outwear. If the closet includes a shelf, use it for outerwear garment such as mittens and hats. You can add additional hooks on the back of the door for additional storage.
If you do not have a closet in your entryway, a free standing piece of furniture such as a coat rack, hall tree or hooks and pegs can solve the issue of coat storage in that area.
The process of keeping shoes organized begins with providing enough space for all the footwear in your entryway. Keep shoes on a mat or rack that is easy to clean. You can use a shoe rack or stackable shoe shelves to organize. Try to group by who wears the shoes. If you do not have room, store out of season shoes in a bedroom closet.
Mail and Keys:
Give keys and mail specific places in the entryway. Keys should have a precise place that does not change, so you will know where to find them at all times. You can use hooks, various key hangers or a bowl on a nearby surface to hold keys. Wall files are a viable option for mail organization. Another option If you have a table, use a bin or tray to keep the mail tidy. Remember to go through the mail frequently to avoid back log.
Seasonal items are all those things used for different times of year. Multi-bin organizers are a great option for large families, allowing a bin per person to store items such as mittens, gloves, hats, etc. Add add a bin or basket to hold gardening items.
Umbrellas should be stored standing up to allow drying and prevent damage. An umbrella stand is an option as well as a wire-mesh trash basket.
With enough hooks and other storage, entryways should stay orderly on their own because nobody spends much time there. Check the area periodically.
Every week, make sure coats are hung in proper places. Rehang those that have fallen off of their hooks or hangers. When seasons change make sure that you move heavy jackets and boots to seasonal storage spaces.
Every two or three days, check shoes and boots in the closet. Rearrange if necessary.
Every Saturday, perform a mail check to see that nothing important was left in the area and that mail is being move to where it needs to go.
In part eight of a “Place for Everything and Everything in its Place” from the book “Clutter Rescue,” we will explore the organization of garages and sheds.
Due to the variations of temperature and the unfinished spaces, garages and sheds are best suited for storing equipment and supplies that are normally used outside. Organizing a garage or a shed is a matter of “sectionalizing.” Each type of equipment or product will get a specific section of wall or floor space, clearly separate from other sections.
To start, pull everything out of the garage/shed. Get rid of the items you don’t need and determine what actually should stay in the garage. Separate the garage or shed into zones and determine what should be placed in each section.
Putting the recycling center by the door is the most convenient location. Next, choose containers to best sort the type of recyclables (if this is required by your municipality). If you need to sort out the recyclables by type, it would be best to color code the containers so there is no confusion.
Organizing hand tools is essential to making your life easier, especially when it comes to the small articles and pieces that get lost very easily. Before organizing, ask yourself these questions about your inventory of hand tools:
Do you centralize your home repair tools at a bench in the garage?
The best system that still works is putting up a sheet of peg-board and peg-board hooks and hanging the tools up from there.
Do you own a great number and/or diverse tool inventory?
If so, a large chest can provide separate compartments for tools different shapes and sizes. Combine with a smaller toolbox for frequently used tools like common sizes of screwdrivers, hammers and pliers.
Are your tools extremely valuable?
Store these tools in locked cabinets or boxes.
Power tools usually come with storage cases. You can also buy containers to store these if it was not included when the power tools were purchased. Store power tools adjacent to the hand-tool zone and near the work bench area because power tools are often used in conjunction with hand tools.
For safety and because they are expensive, storing in a closed or locked cabinet is a viable option.
Dedicate different shelves in the cabinet to different types of tools, such as cutting, drilling, shaping and so on. You can opt to hang power tools from their handles on a heavy-duty rack made specifically for this purpose. If your power tool has a cord, use heavy-duty twist ties to keep it contained in a tiny loop. Make sure tools are equipped with guards and safety blocks to prevent injury.
Yard and Garden Equipment and Supplies:
Gas or electric tools need to be stored properly to remain in good working order, away from traffic flow and out of the reach of children. Lightweight tools, such as weed trimmers, edgers and hedge trimmers should be hung up as well. To prevent accidents, keep the fuel for gas-powered tools in metal cabinet.
Seasonal equipment should be stored in a corner. Always empty the fluids for off-season storage and relocation. Long handed tools should be laid up against the wall because they present safety hazards. If you have floor space or wall space available, the best options are to use a standing tool rack or hanging racks.
Devote a portion of garage or shed to sports gear, so everyone in the family will know where to find it. The best way to store these items are to use custom racks meant for storing the equipment that you have. There are ski/snowboard racks, bike storage systems (wall hooks and frame that supports the bikes), fishing gear racks and multi-sport organizers to keep these items contained and easy to find.
A sturdy set of shelves is best to be used for basic car cleaning and maintenance equipment. Keep things simple by separating and segregating supplies by function.
Clean your shed or garage twice a year – once in the spring and fall to prepare for upcoming seasons.
Bin review: Do a weekly visual tour of the garage, making sure recycling bins are not overflowing.
Maintenance Moment: Keep tools in working order by cleaning, sharpening tools, lubricate mechanical pieces. Make sure when you put your tools back that they are in a place that they are exposed to unusual wear.
Both the basement and the attic share a central purpose of providing long- and short-term storage for other areas of the house. Keeping these rooms organized will save time packing before relocating.
The first step when organizing these two rooms is removing everything and cleaning thoroughly. Cleaning is necessary as both rooms are prone to insect and rodent infestation. Donate or discard the items that you no longer want. Work on one zone at a time and take as much time is needed to ensure the best organization for each room.
Basement Emergency Area:
Homeowners need to be prepared for natural and manmade disasters. The first step is to create a home emergency kit and store it in the basement where you and your family would gather in the event of an emergency. Recommended items to keep near this area include three gallons of water, a three-day supply of food, change of clothes, flashlight, battery powered radio, extra batteries, first-aid kit, toiletry articles, backup medications, a can opener, duct tape and garbage bags. Also, include a list of emergency contacts in the kit.
The key to getting the most out of your home workshop are a physical setup that lets you work smoothly without creating clutter and safety elements that ensure your projects present no danger to you or your family. A good work table has adequate space and is sturdy. Adding shelves or cabinets to the work area will help with organization. To store tools, use a toolbox, magnetic tool holders or bench top organizers. Be sure that the basement work area has proper ventilation, fire safety and waste disposal for hobbies that may require these features.
Basement Hazardous Material Storage:
Hazardous materials, such as cleaning supplies and flammable materials, could be dangerous to children and pets. These items should be locked in a cabinet and should be positioned out of the general flow of the basement traffic. Metal cabinets are best used to contain these items.
Basement Food and Basement Storage:
Position this far from the hazardous material area. The food zones in the basement are a backup for your pantry. It is an area to put non-perishable foods that are bought in bulk. Make sure stored food and beverage are kept up off of the floor, position foods by type, put new purchases in the back and make sure dry-goods are non-absorbent. The basement is also the perfect place to store wine, which is best kept in darkness with a lower temperature.
Basement General Shelving and Cabinets:
The basement is a great place to put overflow from the household, garage or outdoors. Shelves are a great way for storing season items.
Attic Clothing Storage:
Due to the basement being damp and susceptible to mold and mildew, it is best to keep excess clothing in the attic. Before storing clothing, make sure it is completely clean as a little dirt can create bad odor and stains that attracts insects over time.
Rules for storing clothes:
1. Remove Accessories - Remove the jewelry and decorative ornamentation on clothing as it can tear other garments.
2. Empty Pockets – Items left in pockets can leave permanent distortion.
3. Button Up – Close all fasteners on clothing to maintain its proper shape.
4. Clean First – Dry clean or wash clothes one last time. The smallest amount of dirt can damage and cause odors on the clothing. Never starch the clothes because it can cause yellowing and attract insects.
5. Bag Free – Do not store clothing on plastic bags, including the plastic that your dry cleaner uses to protect your garment. Plastic traps moisture and can cause mold and mildew.
For clothes that can be folded, use waterproof, vented boxes for storing other than wool items. Store wool pieces in a cedar chest. Make sure the boxes are sealed well to prevent insects from entering. Group the clothing in the boxes by type and label, so it is easy to find when needed. If you move, these will already be pack and ready for the trip.
Some clothes, such as dresses and coats, should be hung to maintain their shape. Vented fabric garment bags with zippers and opaque, insect-resistant linings are ideal for precious clothes that you want to protect as thoroughly as possible.
The goal is to protect memorabilia against breakage and deterioration. Lined and padded memory chests are ideal containers for precious objects. If you decide to put items in plastic or cardboard boxes, make sure all breakables are thoroughly protected by padding.
Attic Holiday Decorations
Dedicate a corner of the attic for holiday decorations to ensure they stay in good shape. Don’t store decorations loose. For ornaments, you can store them in something such as wood chests, but you can also use cardboard or plastic boxes. A spool for holiday lights is the best way to organize holiday lights or buy a special plastic boxes with slots.
Attic General Storage
Extra room in the attic can serve as long-term storage for papers and legal documents. Use file-holder boxes with built in supports that keep file upright and organized. Label the boxes and stack them, neatly, in the most out of the way corner in the attic. You may want to consider a fireproof or fire-resistant box or a safe for these papers.
Because the attic and basement tends to become the dumping ground for household goods that have no where to go, it is essential to check the area every six months or so to make sure the area is still in order.
Check the emergency kit supplies every three months to confirm that batteries are still good, equipment is functioning and food and water supplies are not leaking or damaged.
With the change of the seasons, check on clothing and long-term storage to ensure that it is neatly organized and no insects have gotten to them.
On Tuesday, August 19 we will continue with Garage and Shed organization.
The dining room’s main function is serving meals, eating and socializing on special occasions. The well-defined purpose leaves you with a clear goal in organizing the room: to make serving and enjoying meals as pleasant and simple as possible.
The dining room is defined by the furniture you use and the “service circle.” The service circle incorporates the dining table and the area around it. The service circle may also include a storage cabinet for crystal, china and silver and a sideboard or side table to ease the serving of the meals.
Dining Room Table
Start by organizing the table. Remove everything that is stored there and determine whether the items belong there. If they don’t, then they should be moved to a more appropriate place in the home. Once you know what needs to be stored in this area, this will help you determine what additional storage you will need.
The most common issue with the dining room table is where to put the leaves and pads (if they come with your table). The best option to store these is in a closet close to the dining area. If you are buying a new table, consider buying one that comes with self-stored leaves and pads that don’t require any extra space.
Hutch or Cabinet
While relocating, you probably encountered how difficult it was to pack fine china, crystal and sterling silver. Storing these valuable items is no different. A traditional hutch or china cabinet is used for both storage and decoration and is best for storing these highly valued items.
Guide to Storing Fine China:
- Stack it where it is unlikely to receive any kind of blow to the edges of plates and saucers or lips of cups. Place buffers such as felt pads, cardboard squares or even thick cloth napkins between the plates. Never stack china cups.
- Racks for plates and dishes – There are simple wood or plastic frames with slots that hold plates apart from one another. They are made to sit securely on cabinet shelves and organize plates to you can easily remove them.
- Pack away China – If you don’t use it a lot, there are quilted china packing cases to accommodate the number and sizes of your collection. These come equipped with zippered openings to prevent dust and dirt.
Crystal is prone to scratches, which is essential to prevent when storing. Leave plenty of room between, never store anything inside crystal, don’t hang crystal stemware, store glasses standing up and avoid keeping on or under adjustable shelves. Just like fine china, you can also store in padded boxes or containers.
Sterling silver is extremely sensitive to its environment. Store silver away from other metals in a chest or box. Tarnish-resistant storage bags are also an option for storage. It’s best to keep silverware in its container in the cabinet or drawer.
Store linens close to where they are used. Place in a concealed area of the hutch or the sideboard. Lace or embroidered table cloths should be wrapped in acid-free paper. Regularly rotate and refold your linens to prevent creases. Dried lavender sprigs in the folds will repel insects and lightly perfume the fabric.
Sideboard holds food while serving and stores vessels and utensils used when serving food. Keep the area uncluttered to provide a place to work with the food you are serving. The lower storage should be dedicated to over sized serving items.
Depending on the size and capacity of your hutch and sideboard, you may need extra storage for seasonal items and replacement supplies. Because of the limited space, more furniture is usually not the answer. Shelving, hanging plate racks and wine racks are natural additions for more storage.
Every few days, walk through the dining room and do a clutter inspection to ensure that nobody has left items on the dining room table or sideboard. Remove what you find and place it back to where it belongs.
The organization of the family and living rooms after relocating is an important task because it is the center of family entertainment, relaxation and recreation. In some homes, the family and living rooms aren’t two separate rooms; but in older houses, the family room was for relaxation and the living room was used for formal entertaining. Whether you have two separate rooms or just one, this article will help you organize these complex spaces. Work your way through each zone, starting with the area with the most traffic to the one with the least.
This area is the focal point of the room and the center of entertaining your family and guests. Before organizing this area, ask these questions:
- How many components do you want to include in your entertainment center? TV, cable box, Internet wireless router, DVD players, video came consoles, etc.
- How many CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes do you own and how many do you buy a year?
- Will the stereo and speakers be stored with the TV and is it part of a home theater system?
- Do you prefer to keep the electronics hidden?
- How much wall and floor space is available for the entertainment center?
- Will you need to make connections to computers or other devices?
An entertainment center is the best way to organize your various media and entertainment pieces. Usually, the placement of the entertainment center will be dictated by cable wiring and electrical outlets. To ensure the best use of space, make sure to measure the area. Entertainment centers usually come equipped with shelves or drawers to store CDs, DVDs and video games. If the entertainment center does not offer shelving or drawers, you can add standalone storage or shelves along the wall. Keep equipment and accessories as close to each other when not in use, for example, controller by the console and TV remote close to the TV.
This space is defined by a couch, coffee table and surrounding chairs. The coffee table is the center of the room, which is a natural place for food, beverages, books and magazines. When searching for a coffee table, consider what style you would like, how many people will be using it and whether you would like additional storage.
If you would like a separate area for reading, put a comfortable chair, reading light and a small side table to create this space. To avoid clutter, the table should be just enough for a beverage and a book.
Shelves in a living or family room are commonly devoted to books, but can be used for other storage as well. Follow these general rules of what to place on shelves:
Have a purpose – Individual items must have a reason for being on the shelf. A picture is there to be displayed. Your eye glasses shouldn’t be there nor should a pile of mail.
Collect to declutter – Individual items that are part of a collection should be grouped together in their own section of a shelf.
Contain when possible – Some items you might like to put on a shelf are best kept within a box or other container.
Fireplace and Mantel:
This area turns into a casual resting place , which tends to invite clutter. It is important to keep this area clutter-free and keep items that are used in the fireplace nearby. The brick area around the fireplace should only be used for fireplace accessories and decorative urn or sculpture. Keep wood tidy in a large fireproof basket, tin bucket, metal cradle or canvas satchel enough for one fire. For the mantel, use it as a showcase for one or two of your decorative (fireproof) pieces. The less there is on the mantel, the more items will stick out that don’t belong.
Chests, Side Tables and Supplementary Furniture:
Now you have your living and family room in order, but you still need to determine what additional storage is needed and what other types of furniture you may want to add to complement the socialization, entertainment or relaxation. Chests are a great way to provide long term storage, a place to sit or a surface for decorative items or lighting. Side tables and end tables are useful additions to the family and living rooms for their surface, drawer or shelf space they provide. A small trolley or caddy bar is great for entertaining, but should be able to fit neatly in the corner when not in use.
Windowsills, Pianos and Other Flat Surfaces:
These surfaces tend to be a temporary resting places for items, which can cause clutter. There are two strategies for keeping the clutter away: No vacancy rule – nothing is allowed on these surfaces at all times and creating a focal point, which will showcase the area and prevents items from being put in that area.
Two for one – Integrate your clutter check as part of the regular dusting and vacuuming. Return anything out of place to its proper location.
Periodic Update - Once a month, check the magazines and catalogs on your coffee table and recycle those that are out-of-date.
Disc Order - Every few months make sure that your CDs, DVDs and video games aren’t piling up. If you need more storage, you may have to add an extra tower or rack.
Come back on Tuesday, August 12 to organize the dining room area of your home.
The bathroom is one of the busiest place in the home, so finding the time to unpack and organize after relocating is essential. The bathroom also is the most confined space, which presents challenges in avoiding clutter, but because of the size, is relatively simple to organize. The solution is putting the items close to where they are needed as well as tailoring to the number and type of people using the bathroom.
Family bathrooms face challenges of organizing tissues, toilet paper, cups, medicine, towels as well as the individual products for particular members of the family. Break up the bathroom into zones to focus on these specific needs, such as the medicine cabinet, sinks and vanities, shower and bath, toilet storage, walls, doors and floor space.
The medicine cabinet is ideal to keep all of those small everyday items well organized and out of sight. To start, remove everything and give the cabinet a good cleaning. Throw away empty containers and expired medications (Make sure you dispose of them properly by checking poison control). Organize what is left by putting items into groups. For example, put everything to do with dental care in the same area. Take out the items that don’t fit and either store them under the sink or put it in a smaller container to fit in the cabinet.
Sinks and Vanities:
The area around your sink provides a place to put everyday items near where they will be used, but may not fit in the medicine cabinet. Organize this zone from top to bottom, starting with the sink and moving to the drawers.
The surface holds personal care items that are used every day. Whatever you decide to put on the surface, keep it contained with a caddy, baskets, trays or bins.
Drawers give you the opportunity to organize often-used supplies, such as cosmetics, while still providing quick and easy access. Organize the drawers based on type of products and try to keep the groups separate.
Beneath the sink is a good area for oversized items and concealing items that don’t quite fit anywhere else, for example, cleaning items and back up supplies. Add door racks, baskets and specialized bucket to achieve optimal storage and organization. Keep in mind the area under the sink can be reached by younger children, so you may want to consider a safety latch.
Shower and Bath:
To avoid clutter around the edges of the shower/bath area, use wire or plastic storage containers. Corner shelves in the shower are a great way to store products for multiple people. If toys are used in the bathtub, keep them contained with something as simple as a bucket.
This seems to be an odd area to provide storage, but there are multiple ways to do so. On top of the toilet tank is a small surface that you can place a caddy. The slim surface between the toilet and the wall can have hanging or standing storage. Étagères are an extra-long cabinet to fit over your toilet tank, which provides the most efficient storage in the bathroom. Adding shelves above or beside the toilet provides storage, but make sure to measure and buy shelving that is meant for the bathroom.
Walls, Doors and Floor Space:
When seeking storage in the bathroom, you will have to look at all surfaces as potential storage – no matter how big or small.
Hooks, pegs, shelves and bars provide effective storage for towels along the walls. If you can’t find room on the wall, the back of the bathroom door is a great option with over the door shelves or hooks. If you have ample square footage, standing cabinets and storage towers come in various sizes to provide extra storage. Hampers are ideally kept in the bathroom and can be found in different shapes and sizes, including free-standing ones or bags that can be hung from different places.
Once the bathroom is organized it requires minimal organization maintenance that can be done during routine cleaning.
Date Check: Every six months go through the medicine cabinet to discard medications that are empty and expired.
Prune Publications: Take a minute to look through the magazines on the magazine rack and remove old issues.
Inventory Assessments: Before shopping, check the levels of personal products, including toilet paper.
Come back on Friday, August 8 to explore the organization of family and living rooms.
Relocating to a new home can be challenging for children. A child is more likely to embrace the idea of moving if they are involved in the process, especially when it comes to unpacking their room. Keeping the child engaged will not only teach them to organize and maintain their room, but will help them feel more at home.
Despite the child’s age, there are basic principles that are fundamental to organizing a child’s room. The more the process of organization is innovative, interesting and part of a daily routine, the more likely the child will be to make the effort to stay organized.
Make sure the storage that you pick is safe and adaptable. Divide the room up into zones and begin with the messiest area. At that point, invite the child to help organize in order for them to feel vested in the process. Some of the zones that we will go over may not apply to your child’s room, so feel free to skip over these and apply what is relevant.
1. Toy Storage
The first step in getting toys in order is to get rid of their old or broken ones. By listening to your children’s input, you can figure out the little details of their personal preferences. This is also a great opportunity to teach your children about the value of charity.
For infants, don’t be afraid to donate toys that never get played with. You also can store these in the closet then reintroduce them later as they may develop interest in them. Put their favorite toys in a bag and move it to where the child plays throughout the day – playpen, changing table, stroller, etc.
Benches, boxes, chests, hampers, bin consoles and shelves provide the best type of storage for toys. Remember to keep the toys together by group and label with words or pictures (depending on the age) to help nourish the child’s organizational skills.
2. Work/Art Space
You can create this area with just a small desk or table, light and drawers for art supplies. This space’s functionality will change as the child matures and can be turned into a homework/computer area. Recycled plastic containers with lids, such as plastic butter tubs, jars or drink bottles, are also great ways to organize art supplies.
A child’s art area can result in a mess, so follow these rules to maintain a clean environment:
a. Keep cleanup gear close – Have paper towels, moist towels and rags on hand for the accidents that need to be cleaned up quickly.
b. Use appropriate supplies – Make sure the supplies are non-toxic and water-soluble.
c. Contain creativity – Keep the art supplies in containers and explain they must be put back into the correct area when not in use.
3. Bed/Play Area
The bed usually ends up as an extension of play or recreation area. The key is to provide enough storage and organizers to keep things tidy around the bed without letting those additions to become part of the problem.
A bedside table, just like an adult bedside table, should be easily accessible with not too much surface area to gather clutter.
The child’s bed is traditionally a little smaller than an adult bed, so the storage underneath the bed will have to be a bit smaller. To overcome the challenge of bunk beds, consider putting a small shelf for books and toys, hang a lamp on the ceiling or wall or use a hanging basket as a nightstand for the top bunk.
If there is room, a small table for younger kids to play board games or a dressing table for older children may be ideal to add in the bed/play area.
4. Clothes, Closets and Dressers
There are two key principles to a child’s closet: accessibility and versatility. First, the focus needs to be on easy access and intuitive locations. Secondly, the closet will have to change as the child changes. Use organizers that will adapt to the child’s age as they grow. A great way to organize is to use shelving and drawer units.
Here are some rules to follow when organizing clothes:
a. Organize low to high – What children wear everyday should be within reach. Use the higher shelves and hard-to-reach areas for out of season items.
b. Avoid hangers – Hangers are a hassle for kids, use pegs or fold and store on shelves instead.
c. Spell it out – Pictures and labels can help teach the child to place where their clothes go.
d. Laundry entertainment – To get kids in the habit of putting dirty clothes in a hamper, make a fun game or put a face on the hamper with a big hole for the mouth.
A dresser should once again be an area of overflow. The best type to buy is a three-drawer wooden dresser that can be used as a changing table then converted to a dresser for a toddler. Drawer dividers are always useful for smaller clothing items.
5. Book Storage
Books are a must for a child’s growth. A book shelf is a preferable way to keep the books in decent shape and avoid placing books in the toy box.
There are a few other products, such as backpack hooks and hanging organizers, that can keep a kid’s room organized.
To make it easier on everyone, be diligent in keeping your children involved in the organizational process by using these guidelines:
Toy patrol – Every night as a bedtime ritual your child will go on “toy patrol” to put toys back where they belong.
The pickup path – Whatever is in the way from the bed to the door will need to be picked up and placed in the correct area. It’s important to keep a safe path in case of emergencies.
Weekly visits – Checkup weekly to make sure the storage is being used and maintained correctly.
Tomorrow, August 5, we will tackle the bathroom area in the fourth part of our organization series.
Find more tips for moving with children here: http://www.wheatonworldwide.com/planning-guides/how-to-move-with-kids/
Reference: “Clutter Rescue” by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute
Photos: Good Housekeeping
Moving inevitably will cause stress under any circumstances, but one of the most important ways to combat it is exercising 20 minutes a day.
Exercising just 20 minutes a day can benefit your physical and mental health. Here’s how:
- Exercise increases the flow of the blood to the brain, just as it improves circulation to the heart and the rest of the body.
- Increased core temperature during exercise may lead to reduced muscle tension.
- Activity also stimulates the growth of nerve cells in the part of the brain involved in memory. When we’re stressed, cortisol and adrenaline are surging and we forget things. In the brain, cortisol is binding with receptors in the hippocampus, the seat of memory formation and learning. If stress is left unchecked over time key connections between nerve cells in the brain won’t function as well, impairing memory and ability to take in new information and raising the risk for depression and anxiety.
- Exercise produces neurohormones like norepinephrine that are associated with improved cognitive function, elevated mood and learning. It improves thinking dulled by stressful events.
- Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your bran’s feel-good neurotransmitters, serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which can affect mood and anxiety levels.
- Blood flow drains metabolic waste products away.
- Exercise pumps blood containing oxygen, fluids and nutrients to active muscles.
Relocating can be expensive, so here are some ways to save money and exercise at the same time:
- Go for a walk! If you have a dog, take them because they need it just as much as you do! Go to a park or around the block. It’s always good to get fresh air.
- You don’t have a buy a workout DVD’s anymore (you can if you want). You can find workout and instructional videos all over the internet and they are free! Find something you would like and keep up with it. Some places to find these at youtube.com or Pinterest. Learnvest.com posted the best free workouts online: http://www.learnvest.com/2013/01/10-free-workout-sites-youll-love/
- Put together a routine. For example: 10 pushups, 20 sit ups, 25 squats, 20 lunges (10 per leg), 80 jumping jacks and 60 second wall sits. Repeat three times or when 20 minutes is up.
- Do you love playing sports? Join a recreational league and play your favorite sport. You might even make new friends!
- If you sit most of the day, take a walk on your break or leave some time for your lunch. Sitting all day is not good for your health, so the more you move throughout the day, the better.
Remember certain exercises aren’t for everyone. Know your limits. Start small and work your way up. It’s better to be doing something than nothing! Get exercising!
References: Community Health Network, Learnvest