Getting Organized

When you're taking care of a home and family as a Stay At Home Mom, many people think that you should have ample time to take care of the children, cook three tasty home cooked meals every day, keep the house spotless and tidy, stay organized with a place for everything and everything in it's place, and look like you just stepped off the cover of Vogue yourself.

Yeah, right. What do these people think you should do for an encore---leap tall buildings in a single bound? June Cleaver seemed to manage all those things effortlessly, but the rest of us don't fare as well, do we?

Yes, you're at home basically all the time. But still, keeping a household with kids running smoothly is a big, huge job! Children are not known for being naturally neat and tidy, as a rule. Besides, there is just so much stuff! Toys and laundry and 1001 other things that all seem to be strewn around no matter how many times you pick them up and put them away....stuff, stuff and more stuff.

What can you do to help keep your home tidy and clutter-free? A lot, actually. The first thing you need to do is to enlist your children's help. Even young children are capable of picking up after themselves. Even young children can be taught not to drag out everything within reach and leave it wherever it lands when they throw it aside. Teach your kids to put their toys away when they're finished playing with them, for example. A small thing, but small things add up to big messes!

One popular method of staying organized is the "bin" method. This is quite effective, plus it's something that the children can do, too. Buy four medium size bins or Rubbermaid totes. Decide what purpose each bin will serve. For example, you might label one "Throw Away" for anything that will be (duh) thrown away. The second bin might be labeled "Put Away", it will be for everyone's things that are out of place and need to be put away. Each person is responsible for reclaiming his or her own misplaced articles that have found their way to the bin, and put them away. The third bin can be for laundry. The fourth bin for toys, games, etc.

By using this four bin method, you can eliminate much of the clutter in your home. At the end of every day, make sure the bins have been emptied: Toys back where they belong, laundry in the hamper, the throw away stuff in the trash receptacle, and whatever was in the bin to be put away---put away. The next morning, the bins will be empty and ready to start all over again.

Another handy organizational tip is to recycle. It seems that we all accumulate tons of paper! Magazines, newspapers, junk mail, catalogs...paper, paper, everywhere! If you take a look around your house, you might be amazed at how much paper you have. You don't need it! Get rid of it! If your town doesn't provide recycling bins for trash pick up, make it a habit to gather up every scrap of unnecessary paper in your house once a month, and haul it to your local recycling center. Be ruthless! Go through your stacks of old magazines, the ones you kept because there was a recipe in there you thought you might want to make some day, clip the recipes you want, then throw that old magazine away!

Get organized. Stay organized. It's not easy, but once you get organized, it's a lot easier to stay that way by doing all the little things to stay uncluttered than it is to wade in and tackle a huge mess all at once!