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2 January 2009 SanTan FAMILY FUN
RRaising ‘clutter-less’ kidsaising ‘clutter-less’ kids
by Natalie Morris because kids will never use them. Instead, she b
Toys, homework, laundry, lunches, after- says, use clear plastic boxes, baskets, pails, s
school activities – families with children have paint cans and shoe caddies for storage.p
unique challenges trying to keep up. For those “Hang a clear pocket shoe organizer on
hoping to begin the New Year with a fresh start, the back of your child’s door,” she explains, t
getting the kids organized is a great first step. “labeling each pocket to make replacing items “
“First, start modeling organization,” suggests quick. This is best used for organizing hats, hair q
Jill Graham, owner of Operation: Organize! ribbons, sunglasses, belts and shoes. However, r
in Chandler. “Children often copy what their small toys can also be stored inside as well. s
parents do. How can a child be expected to Store items your child uses frequently at the S
keep an organized room if the rest of the house bottom.”b
is overloaded with clutter? Ultimately, organizing children isn’t just
“Next, talk to children about the importance about having a place for everything. Instead, a
of organization,” she continues. “Focus on more says Graham, it’s about teaching children s
time, more space, more money, less stress responsibility and expecting them to participate r
and less allergies. Explain that less is more and as a member of the household.a
that donating to other children in need is a good “How will children function as adults if they
thing.” never lift a finger as a child?” she questions. n
Most households with children struggle to “It’s important to give children age-appropriate “
control and contain toys in particular, especially chores. My 18-month-old son has already been c
right after the holidays. Graham recommends ttaught to put his clothes in the hamper, put
limiting the number of toys a child receives each
Submitted photo
ttrash in the garbage can and put toys away in
year and purging toys monthly. ttheir containers at the end of the day.
“How many toys do tots really need?” she
LESS IS MORE: Put away or give away two toys for every new one a child
receives to avoid being overwhelmed with too many playthings, according
“We can organize children’s stuff easily, but
asks. “For every toy that enters the house, to professional organizer Jill Graham of Chandler. it will go right back to a state of chaos without
donate two toys to charity. Involve your tot in new habits being formed,” she continues.
this process. Keep a large tub in the garage. As tots outgrow or become bored “Parents must model, model, model for their children and teach them new habits.
with toys, place them in the tub. At the end of every month, take the toys to Habits can take almost a month to form. Getting organized isn’t easy or everyone
family shelters, women’s shelters, youth clubs or school teachers.” would be organized. Children need to work at it every day just like their parents.”
A former school teacher, Graham recommends using a teacher trick and Contact Jill Graham and Operation: Organize! at 602-980-8143 or
rotating the toys that are available to the kids at home. Instead of having all of www.operationorganize.net.
a child’s toys in view on shelves or in the toy box, she suggests putting some of
them away in a closet and bringing “new” toys out from time to time. Fewer toys Natalie Morris is a freelance writer who lives in Cooper Commons with her husband, two
are easier to organize each day and the kids feel like they have new things every
sons and their dog, Bella. Contact her at Natalie@SanTanSun.com.
week or so.
Using the right kind of container can make or break a child’s organization
success. Graham says that parents should not choose containers with lids
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