Get Organized Before School Starts
If your family room looks like someone dumped their laundry across the floor, and your child’s room should be declared a hazardous area because of the Legos scattered on the carpet, then it may be a good idea to take some time to get your family organized before school starts.
Amy Bates, owner of Tulsa Metro Merry Maids and the mother of two boys, put together several tips to help parents get organized and stay organized throughout the school year while juggling carpool and extracurricular activities. A little planning and a little help from the entire family can cut cleaning time and keep everyone less stressed.
Amy recommends the following to help your day run smoothly and to keep your house in order:
• Have a designated area for kids to remove their shoes to minimize playground dirt tracked through your home.
• Keep a message board near the exit of your home to post reminders and notes so things aren’t forgotten.
• Assign each child a hook near the door for backpacks and jackets so they’re ready for the next day and not on the floor.
• Keep a file box for school papers where each child’s folder contains project instructions and papers to be returned.
• Mom and dad can have a folder for permission slips.
• Each child should have a basket to keep items he or she has left around the house. Make it a routine to put away those items before bed.
Also, Amy knows that mothers are so busy juggling their kids’ schedules that most of the time the house cleaning is put on the back burner. Andrew, Amy’s 12-year-old son, came up with a list of tips for parents that can help them get their kids involved in the housecleaning. Amy said that giving kids chores teaches them responsibility and gives them a sense of ownership.
Here are Andrew’s kid-tested and approved tips:
• Age 5: Give your kids basic chores: When socks come out of the dryer, have your kids match them and then put them away, have them put dirty clothes in the hamper and keep toothpaste out of the sink by using disposable wipes
• Age 7: Encourage them to make their beds daily, put their clothes away, put their toys away – use color-coded totes with labels. To clean nose and finger prints off of glass, use a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water.
• Age 9: Children this age can do all of the above plus start to help with laundry. Help your child sort the clothes and let him put the clothes in the washing machine. Have the children fold clean laundry and then carry the clothes to be put away.
• Age 11: Have your children take a broom to the porch and get the cob webs off (don’t forget the high areas) and have your children vacuum the wood areas of your home after a friend comes over. At this age, children can start vacuuming and dusting their rooms twice a month.
Here are few other ideas to get children involved in cleaning:
• Have a designated area in the garage for helmets, basketballs, footballs and other sports equipment.
• Make a basket for folded laundry for each of your children. They can then take the baskets to their rooms to put away.
• Teach your kids to leave their shoes outside or by the door so they do not track in dirt and sand.
• Encourage your kids to rinse out recycling items before putting them in the bins.
Hold a family meeting before school starts to brainstorm ideas of your own. Think about what would make your household run more smoothly, and take action.