I want to share a few organizing secrets that I have learned since becoming a mom. I dedicate this article with deep affection and appreciation, to all of the incredible women who have taught me so much.
As a professional organizer, I have found that the three most problematic areas for many women in terms of organization are: time, clothes and stuff.
For moms, in particular, those areas may be a little different: time, laundry and toys. When it comes to household tasks, moms often set the rules and the organizational tone. Here are some quick tips to help you in this endeavor.
- Spend 10 minutes focusing on your organization issues now; these 10 minutes will save you hours later.
- Always have a back up for everything: work shirt, babysitter, travel plans, snacks, etc.
- Prioritize. When home-bound after a C-section, I was reminded that my pre-eminent obligation is feed, clothe, protect and educate my children. Everything else is extra.
- Dream big, but cherish small.
- Look at time in spans of weeks, not days, when seeking balance.
- “Take time for yourself. No one is going to give it to you, and if you don’t recharge, you’ll have nothing left for anyone else.” This was the advice that an 80-year old great-grandmother recently gave me.
Clothes, Closets and Laundry
- Keep only current size and seasonal clothes in the closet. Purge your wardrobe of clothes that no longer fit, and store everything else, somewhere else, labeled and “containerized,” of course.
- Invest in a few quality pieces instead of cluttering your closet with heaps of cheap and poorly made outfits. Remember, quality is more important than quantity. Sort and discard your closet’s current contents, accordingly.
- Designate a bag for every activity—sports, crafts, work, etc. For example, pack your daughter’s soccer uniform and shin guards in a duffel bag, and place it in a location where she can quickly grab it and run to practice. Replace the bag’ s contents immediately after cleaning the items, and return it to its appropriate location in time for the next game or practice. Do this for your briefcase and handbag, as well.
Stuff and Toys
- Pick a permanent spot to store car keys, diaper bags, cell phones, purses, etc.
- Store like items, e.g., Legos with Legos, American Girl clothes with American Girl dolls. Design a system that is simple. Label storage containers clearly for easy identification of the contents.
Rotate toys every month, with or without your children’s assistance. You may want to sort and purge toys with your children, so that they can learn the process (and you learn what items they truly value).
Then take another sweep through the toys without their assistance; be a bit more ruthless this time, but make sure you retain their true treasures. If your kids are young, and you sort and purge without them, arrange their remaining toys in an appealing way, so that they don’t focus on what’s gone.