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How to Create and Maintain an Organised Family Home

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I am often asked by my clients how they can achieve an organised family home when other family members are not on board (indifferent/ obstructive)? Over the last eight years I have worked with many families to support them to declutter and organise their homes. I also help them to set up easy to manage systems that can help maintain a clutter-free home.

Challenges of a Family Home

It can often feel overwhelming to create and maintain an easy-to-manage family home. There are so many things to do – laundry management, toy management, cooking, dropping off/picking up from clubs, school correspondence, support with homework, cleaning and tidying. You may feel like you spend all your time moving misplaced items around your home, looking for lost items and trying to tame the chaos.

It can be exhausting if you are constantly running around after other family members to keep things in order. Reviewing what you need, creating effective storage solutions and setting some simple rules can really help you create an easy home management system and ensure that other family members can play their part in helping to maintain order.

Home Storage Audit

I believe that it’s important to understand the space requirements of each family member in your home. A storage audit of each room will help you to review your current storage and where effective changes can be made. Ask yourself the following questions:

1.   Does any family member have a greater storage need than anyone else?

2.   Why is this? Do they have hobbies that require storage space (sport/craft or collections) or are they holding onto sentimental items?

3.   Do you have enough space to store the things that each family member wants to keep?

Each family member should be able to enjoy their home and feel that they have dedicated storage space to store the things that are important to them. However, living in a shared family home it’s important that the storage space is split between all family members. There also needs to be some simple rules for storage in shared spaces such as the living room, kitchen and bathroom.

1.   Audit each room in your home to identify what is currently stored in each space.

2.   Identify the key current storage zones in your home i.e. loft, garage, cellar, under stairs, built in cupboards etc.

3.   Declutter the things that you no longer need.

Identify any additional storage that you require and the most appropriate solution i.e. after decluttering your loft, you may create more storage space that can be used to store items that you do not need to use frequently from other rooms in your home. Alternatively, you may need to create additional storage solutions in specific rooms i.e. bedrooms, living room, hallway etc.

How to declutter if your partner is not on board?

I often start working with a client then end up working with their partner once they have seen the results of our decluttering and organisation sessions.  The key is to get started. I recommend that you use the following guidelines:

1.   Focus on decluttering your things and the areas that you feel responsible for. You are doing this for you.

2.   Talk to your partner about the changes that you would like to make to shared areas and the benefits that you feel this will have for the whole family.

3.   Accept that they may not be on board to begin with but after witnessing the changes and a simplified home management will often inspire them to get started themselves.

Families with a Simplified Home Management System

There are three key things in all family homes that are clutter-free and well organised:

1.   They have less stuff

2.   They value their time and plan effectively

3.   Things may get messy, but they can quickly and easily restore order

How to Maintain an Organised Family Home?

Each person’s perception of clutter is unique to them.  Before you have children, this may be clear surfaces, everything in its place and your home always ready for unexpected visitors.

Once you have a family you will have different things that you need to store i.e. children’s toys and games, baby equipment, school homework and paperwork, children’s sports equipment, children’s shoes and clothes etc. You need to accept that there are times during the day when things will feel out of order and chaotic as the children are in full play mode or doing craft projects, getting ready for or returning from school/clubs, after play dates etc.

But an organised home can easily be restored to order again at the end of the day. Here are some of my top tips:

1    Agree key tidy tasks with your partner – It’s important to discuss key household tasks and how these can be shared.

2    Work with your children – when they have finished playing or completed a craft project ask them to tidy up. It may feel easier to do it yourself but it’s important to develop tidying habits with your children at a young age and continually enforce them as they grow older.  You need to set clear and age-related tasks for them to complete. As an incentive you could create a list of treats together which can be added to a jar. Once they have completed the tidying tasks they can select a treat from the jar. The treats don’t need to be expensive but things that they like to do and value.

3     Stop cleaning older children’s bedrooms – If your children are old enough to clean their rooms and make their beds, let them to it. Again, make it clear what needs to be done. A room redecoration could be a good incentive to keep their bedroom tidy.

4    Reduce the number of decorative items – This will create a calmer home environment, reduce the number of breakages and reduce time spent cleaning.

5     Daily tidy ups – spend 20 minutes at the end of the day returning any misplaced items back to the correct room, putting clean laundry away and preparing for the following day i.e. nursery/school bags, packed lunches boxes/water bottles, homework/school letters.

6     A Place for everything – Misplaced items can easily gather in clutter zones such as the dining table, kitchen worktops, hallway etc. Create designated spaces for frequently used items and supplies. So that you can quickly and easily find what you need when you need it. It’s important to have a place for everything and that each family member knows where things are stored.

7     Put shoes and clothes away – When you return home or take off your clothes you should put things away or in the laundry. Resist the temptation to throw them on a chair or on the floor. These piles will grow quickly, and you’ll spend more time looking for misplaced items. You may need to review your clothes storage space if you are unable to put things away easily.  It’s important to have a well organised wardrobe/drawers to save time getting ready and save money by not buying duplicate items.

8     Limit the extras – When auditing your home, it’s important to identify any duplicates or extras that you have accumulated. These items are taking up valuable storage space, creating more clutter and making it more difficult to find what you need.

9     Effective paperwork management – Be aware of what family members bring into your home. Don’t let papers pile up. Think about the journey of all papers entering your home. You need to create an arrival space for all incoming papers. I usually recommend a shallow in-tray. Then spend 15 minutes each day sorting through what needs to be actioned, items to recycle and those can that be filed away. Get into the habit of immediately recycling papers that you don’t need right now. If you want to find out the information you can do this very easily.  i.e. flyers, menus newspapers etc

#Declutter #Organise #Simplify

[Originally published on Mum’s guide to Harpenden]

About the author

Tracy Ross is an experienced organiser. She set up Blissfully Organised eight years ago to support clients to simplify their home management and make better use of the space that they have. www.blissfullyorganised.co.uk

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