The new year is here, which means it’s time to get motivated and get organized! Easier said than done, right? Well, I feel your pain. Having the kids home from school has left my house in shambles and very little time for myself or to get anything done around the house. As I pass my laundry room, I can feel the evil stares coming from my heaping piles of laundry awaiting to be washed. As I stroll by my office, I can view the stack of bills on my desk that keep growing and growing, and as I walk by the bedrooms, I notice the sad beds that haven’t been made in weeks. Today, it is time to head back to school, which means back to reality and back to the daily grind! I am saying goodbye to 2013 and my littered calendar filled with doctors appointments, after school activities, birthday parties, vacations and more. I cannot wait to open up my brand new, crisp and naked desk calendar, fill it with new memories, and say hello to 2014.
I like to start the new year off with a clean slate and a clean house. This means getting rid of the old and making room for the new. How can you get it all done and get back on track, especially with the kiddies by your side? There is no reason your children can’t help you get organized and actually have fun doing it. Here are some ways my kids lend a hand to start the year off right and tidy:
- My boys always ask me if they can help pay the bills. While I wish that meant cashing their paychecks, I appreciate the extra help and the company. My five year old and I sit at my desk and he opens all the mail for me. If it’s a bill, he tells me how much I owe, (a lesson in numbers and math is an added bonus), puts on a stamp and return address sticker, and seals it shut. He then gets to place all the bills in the mailbox for me which makes him feel important and proud that he is helping Mommy. Enlisting your children to help pay the bills is also the perfect way to teach them the value of money and how much is costs to run a household.
- Between bills, statements, notifications, receipts, and more, paperwork can fill up any storage area quickly. Every year I clean out and store last year’s items to make room for what the new year will bring. This means lots of labeling, which is perfect for my seven year old! He is in charge of writing the months of the year on my bill folders, which is great practice for him. My five year old gets to place a giant rubber band around the twelve folders filled with last year’s bills. There is another great lesson to be learned here by your children. Keeping them involved with your chores will teach them that being neat, orderly and efficient are qualities that can help them in their own lives, such as with their school work, taking care of their belongings, and with their chores.
- The start of the year is the perfect time to start a chore chart for your children, if you don’t already have one. As another year goes by and they get older, you can add more chores they are capable of helping with. Our chart consists of helping with laundry, setting and clearing the table, feeding and taking out the dog, helping with the garbage, getting and sorting the mail, and cleaning up and putting toys away in the right spot. While the kiddies are helping, it opens up more time for you to cross some items off your start of the year to-do list.
- Getting organized means decluttering and there is no reason this can’t be a family affair. Assign certain tasks for your children that are appropriate and whether it’s the playroom, your child’s room or a toy bin that holds all their goodies, ask your children to create a donation pile, which will create space, teach them the power of giving to those less fortunate, and the opportunity to find toys that have been missing all year. You will be amazed at how much garbage you actually have taking up valuable space. We always find old batteries, broken toy pieces and random toys that haven’t been played with all year. While your kids are commenting on all the cool toys they forgot they had, you can spend the time cleaning out your medicine cabinet or sock draw. By the way, if your singletons are still single by the end of the year, it’s time to let them down easy and say goodbye.
- A fun idea is to have your children clean out their art supplies and create something out of what they find. After they make a pile of items that have never been used and are headed for the trash can , i.e. one popsicle stick, a letter J sticker, one googly eyeball, etc., ask them to create a project using these items. Instead of throwing money away, see what your little artists can come up with. Make sure to display their first work of art of 2014.
Don’t feel like you need to take on your whole house alone, as it’s a big project to get organized and decluttered for the new year. Involve the whole family and use the opportunity to educate, bond and get everyone’s creative juices flowing. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2014!
How do your children help you get organized?