Martha Stewart Living Radio: The Radio Blog

Get your kids organized!

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Photo courtesy of Artisan Books

Do you find that the crazier your child's schedule is, the less organized your house becomes? The unfortunate part of this is, of course, that the time when your family's schedule kicks into high gear is exactly when you need them to be the most organized. Stacey Platt, the professional organizer behind DwellWell NYC and the author of What's a Disorganized Person to Do? joined "Morning Living" to share tips on keeping your kids organized even as the school year kicks off. Check out an excerpt from Stacey's blog below!

School is in. Let the chaos begin. Or not!

Just as adults need a “landing strip” for their keys, wallets and cell phones, kids need an assigned area for dropping their backpacks after school. The idea is that if you put something in the same place every day, you’ll always know where to find it, right? Cubbies are ideal, but not everyone is blessed with that kind of entryway space. Pegs, hung at a kid-friendly level (about 40 inches from the floor) work just as well. Just choose an assigned place for backpacks and keep reminding kids to unload them there until it becomes as habitual as dumping it on the kitchen table. Kids should also have a go-to spot for unloading coats and shoes too.

After school rituals should include unloading certain backpack items into designated spots: Train kids to empty their lunch boxes, leaving them in an appointed spot, and to put their folder of school papers in a designated “inbox” on the counter. As they get older, increase their responsibility, having them separate their artwork, homework, and school papers and putting them in their respective places (artwork on a tray or in a bin, homework on their desk (or appointed homework spot) and school papers in mom’s inbox). If kids won’t cooperate, having a backpack landing strip will at least ensure that you’ll know where to go to dig the papers out yourself and you’ll also avoid the “mom-where’s-my-backpack” panic in the morning.

Another thing to remember is that kids should think of their backpacks as a transportation vehicle rather than a storage unit. Backpacks are simply to cart things to and from school.  Nothing should have a permanent home inside a child’s backpack.  Make sure your kid isn’t hoarding items in there that should be stored elsewhere.

But what about other paper . . . School work?  Report cards? Calendars and other current school info?

Each child can keep track of school work in a desk filing drawer with hanging files for each subject. If your child’s room is lacking file space, improvise with an accordion folder as Betsy suggested today. For long-term record keeping for mementos such as report cards, awards, etc., use a 3-ring binder for each child. Use tabbed dividers to delineate school years and start another binder if one fills up. Label the spine and keep these on a shelf or in a cabinet. Current school information can be kept in another binder with tabbed dividers for schedules and calendars, parent contact lists, school memos, after-school activities, etc. Sort and purge every semester. Handle permission slips, order forms (and other paper requiring action) immediately so that they don’t vaporize into the ether as many have been reported to do.

Comments (1)

  • [...] Organizer near you, or get some help starting and running your own organizing business. By Bonnie Joy Dewkett, CPO. Getting your kids organized is one of the greatest challenges for most f...they take on themselves, the easier your life will be as a parent.   Tip 1. Kids can do more [...]

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