Together … You Can Conquer Family Clutter

Who says clutter clearing has to be something you do alone?  After all, if you have a family it isn’t likely that you created all the clutter on your own.  Instead make decluttering a family project.  When everyone is vested in the outcome from the beginning, organizing solutions are more likely to last. If you try to impose a system without getting input, family members may put up a fight and return to their messy ways.  Learning to work together is an important life lesson. If you choose to organize communal spaces by yourself, family members may be missing out on developing important skills.

Here are some tips for organizing family spaces.

  1. Decide on an area you want to tackle.

Family areas that tend to get cluttered are entryways and mudrooms where coats, hats, book bags, sports equipment, shoes typically land. Kitchen counters are another area where multiple family members tend to clutter and you will often find homework mingling with bills, groceries, laptops and cell phones.

  1. Hold a meeting to discuss concerns and possible solutions.

Discuss what bothers you about the area and let family members voice their frustrations with the function and problems caused by clutter and disorganization. Solicit possible solutions and try to reach agreement on what should be stored in the area and how it will be stored . Determine what improvements could help you find a place for everything that needs to be contained in the space.

  1. Declutter as a team.

Limit the number of items that can be stored in the space. Help family members decide what to do with excess items such as donating them to charity, selling them at a garage sale, or discarding them in the trash. Hold each other accountable for keeping to the rules established at your meeting.

  1. Everything should have a home.

The goal is for every item to have a home.  This makes it easy for family members to find what they need. If possible, have a designated space for each family member to keep their belongings, whether it be a cubby or coat hook, or a designated mail or homework station. Give them some control over what they can do in their “space.”Only invest in storage solutions after you have decluttered and determined what you really need.

  1. Celebrate your accomplishment!

The biggest reward for an organized space is probably the time you’ll save every day when you aren’t looking for things. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give your family a more tangible incentive for a job well done. Celebrate your hard work with something that everyone in the family can enjoy such as a round of mini-golf, a movie or a trip to your favorite ice cream place. Love is doing things together. Organizing gives you more time with family.

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