Back-to-school is a great time to get organized

Filed under: Preschoolers, Big Kids, Tweens, Teens, Chores

messy roomNew parents quickly learn that kids come with a lot of stuff. It starts small -- a crib, a swing, a small basket of toys -- but soon toys and outgrown clothing start to reproduce in the wee hours of the night, until suddenly it's hard to remember what your home looked like before you were a parent.

Clothing can be a major organizing issue. Kids outgrow their clothes and shoes at an often alarming rate. Back-to-school season is an excellent time to weed out clothing that is too small, too worn, or that your child just never wears. When you're finished, try this tip: Leave a bag in an inconspicuous spot in your child's closet. Whenever you come across an outfit to be given away, stick it in the bag. (You might even want to designate one bag for give-away, one for hand-me-down, and one for storing for a different season.) It'll make the job much easier next time!
Toys are a whole different story, but they need to be weeded occasionally too. A garage sale is a great incentive to get older children to voluntarily give up their unused possessions, as long as you let them keep the proceeds, of course. Younger children rarely notice when an outgrown toy goes missing. When you're ready to put the "keepers" back into place, try to make maintaining the new, more orderly bedroom kid-friendly.

OrganizedHome has 8 great tips for keeping kids organized. I particularly love their idea that, when organizing, try to focus the effort on getting the toy out, instead of putting it away. They use books as an example; storing them as a flip file in a tub or basket makes it simple for kids to put books away when they're done, while storing books on a shelf make it much more difficult to put them away.

Finally, if you're having trouble getting your kids to pitch in on household chores, check out About.com's take on kids and excuses. They'll explain the reasons kids give for not helping out, as well as easy fixes to get everyone to lend a helping hand.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.