New Year…Get Kid’s Things Organized!

No time to blog over the weekend….so I am bringing back an oldie but a goodie….an interview from last January from local home organization expert and mom on how to keep your kids things organized all year long. Hopefully some of her tips will help you this year!

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“You can always be organized but with children, you’re not always going to be neat,” says local mom & home organization expert Rachel Strisik.

Can I hear the “RIGHT ONs” bouncing across the beltway right now?

What? What is that I hear you saying? Say it again? Should we shout it from the rooftops? Can I remind myself of this mantra when I get into my definitely not neat car or open one of my closet doors and duck for fear of what might just come tumbling out at me?

Rachel on NBC4 with Angie Goff

What about when I cringe and peer into the playroom?

Come to think of it, maybe I will make a theme of blaming my shortcomings on my children in 2012 because even though I am awesome, I fall short in a few areas. Husbands are part of the problem of things not being…ahem…neat (need I remind you of the dis-mantled crib that remained in my upstairs hallway for a few months earlier this fall?).

As we know,  2012 is the year of I am Awesome and Moi Loves Moi. Part of being awesome is being organized. So, who best to talk to about this problem than Rachel Strisik, home organizer extraordinare.

Rachel started her home organizing business back in 2005  before her twin girls were born. Along the way, she also spent 2.5 years working for Stacy London, who many of us know from What Not to Wear. Bottom line – if you need some organization in your life – then this is the local area mom to call. We had the chance to talk in late December and I have lived by her words since we last spoke.

Rachel pointed out that holidays and birthdays are the perfect time to weed through playrooms and make room for the new stuff. With her own twin girls, who turn four this month, she’s made a regular habit of looking through what they already have and starting a donate pile, and now her girls participate in this activity. Typically I am skeptical of any sort of “involve the kids in cleaning” tips because they come saddled with “They will love it” advice, and I used to wonder if that was a euphemism for “Really, you’re going to just give yourself another reason to listen to your kids whine while you try to do something productive.” But, surprisingly, I have found that my 6-year-old truly enjoys participating in the “donation pile” cleaning activity and we make up stories about the younger kids who might use this certain toy and what they’ll be like. Plus, we all know from Toy Story that no toy is happy until it has a child to play with it, and so it’s fun to remind her of that as we dust off the toys she’s outgrown and I remind her why she actually can part with it.

Another reason that cleaning out toys is important is this: Rachel reminded me of the impact of visual clutter on both kids and adults. A chaotic cluttered room is not peaceful, or even something anyone wants to set foot in. Kind of like my car. A common solution to tackling the visual clutter is to rotate toys. Frankly I’ve always known this is a good idea but I just don’t see myself doing it. Rachel’s advice is to actually schedule time on your calendar, like a doctor’s appointment, and then you have no excuse – you’ve set aside that date and time to approach the clutter, rotate it out and leave only the toys they actually play with in sight. And it is true that when they eventually see a toy again that they haven’t seen in a while, they are going to play with it, and eagerly. I really appreciated the tip of scheduling the time in your calendar.

Finally the dreaded topic of kids art work came up. Rachel raised the issue of taking pictures of the kids artwork and loading them into a Snapfish album. I’m sure like moi, you’ve heard this approach several times and if you are anything like moi, you are apt to dismiss it as just high maintenance and unrealistic.  But then Rachel made two points that really struck a chord with me. First, she said that what she advises clients to do is write down what the child said about that piece of artwork and include that statement in the Snapfish album, so when they are older and looking back on it, not only can they see what they made but they can read what they thought about it. I loved that idea. And then she said this – we all need to be “conscious of what we are saving because we are passing it along to our children.”

And she is totally right. I myself have boxes of  my old cherished art work from my youth, hogging up prime storage space in my basement, that my mother eagerly passed on to me. Do I ever look at it? No. Can I bear with tossing it out? No. Do I have a problem? Maybe. So do I need to repeat the cycle and pass it along to my girls? Probably not.

Rachel was on NBC4 with Angie Goff on Saturday discussing kids room organization tips in-depth – so if you want specific advice on containers and storing and organizing toys, check out the link to her fabulous interview.

In the  mean time, happy organizing! And tell me – do you rotate toys out or have you ever done a photo album just of the kids artwork?

For more true confessions on how not-organized I really am..and other such fun…be sure to “Like” the WM page on FB.

3 Responses to New Year…Get Kid’s Things Organized!
  1. […] forgotten your baby new year promises of organization and control, you can brush up on her tips here. This month, Rachel partnered with 1-800-Got Junk? and the ever-fabulous Container Store to help a […]

  2. Kelly Z
    January 14, 2013 | 2:16 pm

    I’ve done a photo album of my daughter’s art the past couple of years. I scan everything in to my computer, toss the cute but “meh” ones and put away a few for posterity. I usually use whatever online site has a good deal going on at the time. I like to do it around mother’s day. I make a big album for us, then make a smaller album that I send out to the grandmas for mom’s day. I also include photos that relate to the pics or are from around the same time as the pics (A photo in her Halloween costume with a pic of the bat craft she did at school, for example). It works great and my daughter likes to look through the books, too.

  3. debbie :: little artist
    January 21, 2013 | 7:07 pm

    For those really special pieces have a look at http://www.littleartist.co.nz for some different ways to display artwork around the house (or the grandparents house).

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