Summer is fun but it needs its own systems and routines to work best. Here are some suggestions from de-cluttering expert Lorie Marrero:
1. Figure out what activities are going to be occurring frequently and create systems.
Activities such as swimming or sports will need storage for the gear involved. Storage should be easy for kids to manage on their own. Don't forget to create homes for the details like goggles, pool toys, and gate keys or membership cards. Related: What's Your Organizing Style?
2. Make your kitchen kid-friendly for them and clean-up friendly for you.
Place cups, bowls and healthful snacks within their reach, as age-appropriate. You can also try color-coding your glasses so you know that "the blue glass belongs to Joey," and he can be responsible for it.
3. Give the kids some chores to provide a sense of contribution and routine. My own children have been putting their dirty dishes in the dishwasher basically since they were able to carry a plate. Kids can sweep porches, fold laundry, put shoes away, and empty the dishwasher, among many other tasks. (Our membership program includes a workbook for household routines that provides suggested responsibilities for kids in every section.) Related: Easy Organizing: Kitchen Cookware
4. Establish policies for common disagreements like screen-time limits, curfews, and bedtimes.
If the kids are old enough, have them participate in creating these agreements while everyone is calm and rational and fair-minded. Getting their buy-in is key to limiting conflict later! We have even written up contracts, signed them in ink together and posted them as reminders to our agreements.
5. Focus on common areas with a regular morning or evening process for cleaning up.
If everyone congregates in the playroom or living room during the summer, there will be more clutter and trash than usual. We recommend a policy of using trays for snacks--it's easier to bring all of the dishes back to the kitchen and reduces spills and crumbs. Related: Home Speed-Cleaning Guide
6. Plan your vacations and summer camps well ahead of time.
Make your travel arrangements and get your pet-sitters and house-sitters lined up as soon as you can. If you're sending the kids to an overnight summer camp, this post on Organizing Your Happy Campers has some helpful tips.
Author Brian Tracy says that every minute you spend in planning saves you 10! Taking some time to plan and anticipate needs for your summer lifestyle will pay off not only in time, but in reduced stress for everyone. Now go chase that ice cream truck and have fun!
What are your strategies for a stress-free summer? Let us know in the comments.
- By Lorie Marrero
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