Most of us are pros at managing time and clutter at work. It’s time to apply the simple strategies to home to reduce stress and create more time for fun.
Give up doing everything and be the supervisor. Oversee what everyone is doing and keep the master plan in place. Here's how to put your family to work:
2 to 5 year olds:
Punch the clock: Set a timer and use it for getting dressed, brushing teeth, tidying up toys and packing their backpack each day. This will help them establish a good routine each morning, reward them with a sticker to put on a chart every day they beat the timer and at the end of each week, reward them with a little treat.
6 to 10 year olds:
• Staff meeting: Each day, have them report about what they need to do for the next day. On a white board, help them write a list of things that need to be done and when they need to do them. They can cross off each task. This is also a great time to find out about things like up coming bake sales, school projects or birthday parties that will require some prep-work ahead of time on your part.
• Pride in ownership: Keep storage areas simple: large bins, open shelves, baskets. Then let your kids decide which things go where so they can find what they need when they need it, and will remember where it goes again. Ten minutes each day can keep common areas, playrooms and bedrooms organized and tidy.
• Bonus tips: Organize your kids’ clothes in the order they put them on: top drawer --- underwear; second drawer -- shirts; third drawer -- pants, shorts, and shirts; bottom drawer -- socks. Put a basket under the bed for pajamas
• In the front closet, give each child a bin to put hats, mittens, scarves, boots, shoes and umbrellas of their own. Make them responsible for getting their things in and out each day. This gets you out of the house quickly each morning and settled in again each evening.
11 to the day they move out:
• Profit sharing: For at home organization, use the tips above, but give your children an added incentive: profit sharing. Consider how much time you save by not doing these tasks and what it is worth in dollars and cents. Consider paying your children 50% of that amount and investing the other 50% in their education.
• Project management: If your children have cell phones, make sure they know how to use the calendar function and consider getting phones that are compatible with your home computer so you can download schedules to the computer and synchronize everyone’s schedule once a week.