Are there multiple people living in your household? Does it feel like there is only one person trying to keep your home organized and tidy? If so, this is a blog for you. How can you engage the whole household to help keep your living space tidy? The first step is to ensure the people around you know the home productivity principles and how to apply them. After all, if the family is not working with the same guiding principles, it is hard for everyone to be on the same page.
Here are some home organization guidelines to share with your 4 year old, 10 year old and 42 year old:
- Homes for Everything
Establish a home for everything from the off-season hats to computer cords to report cards. Clearly label the homes and choose clear bins where possible. Avoid having miscellaneous drawers. Even the kitchen “junk” drawer can have some order. Involve each member of the household while setting up the homes. When each family member knows where an item belongs, it will be possible to put things away after using them.
- Like With Like
Things get complicated when we have more than one home for the same thing. Keep one home for band-aids; one home for sporting equipment and one home for surplus kitchen supplies.
- Touch It Once
Try to follow the Touch It Once principle and handle household items a single time. When the laundry comes out of the dryer, fold it and put it away immediately. Handling household items more than once leads to piles around the house. Plus, putting items away now will reduce the need for a big tidy up later and maximize family play time.
- The Real Estate Principle
The top three rules in real estate are location, location, location. The same applies to within your home. Your prime real estate includes the heavy traffic areas such as your entry way and kitchen. Your less prime real estate may include your spare bedroom and storage room. Start to think about everything in your home based on whether it can justify the real estate it occupies. The less frequently you use something, the less valuable the real estate it should inhabit.
- Actively Purge
We hold onto far more things than we use. Get rid of that wedding present you haven’t liked for the last 17 years. Ask the kids to pick two old toys each week and give them away. Commit to purging things as you go rather than holding on to them for later.
Disposing of items is easy. Try donating them, holding a garage sale, selling on-line or to a store that resells used items, etc. Consider letting the kids keep the money they make selling their items.
Once you have introduced these home productivity principles, it may take some time to get your family into the habit of using them as a guideline. Although, maximizing family play time is a pretty appealing reward. In the long run, the productivity principles may give you the home team advantage.