Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Clutter Busters! Spring Cleaning Series-

We have a lot of "stuff"! I want a simple life- a clutter free, simple, calm atmosphere where there is a place for everything, and everything is in its place..........

Unfortunately, not everyone in my household feels the need to comply with this idealistic dream of mine:

 Suspect #1-  He's always busy building, experimenting, designing some project or idea. It's not a bad thing...... and he's a great kid. I guess I'l keep him.
 Suspect #2- Well,..... it's a good thing he's cute! This one leaves a path of destruction in his wake- and I "ain't" kiddin'! Although, he is actually very good at picking up when I ask him to, and rarely complains about it even though he is the youngest of the 3 boys.
Well, I think this picture says enough about suspect #3 for you to get the idea...... need I say more?

With the usual suspects on the loose, I am implementing several "Clutter Buster" techniques I thought I'd share with you.

I am a BIG fan of binders! Even more so if they are color coded. It isn't hard for our homeschool stuff to get messy and out of hand VERY quickly. My "library" shelves are proof of that. To help control the clutter and make it easier for us to find what we need and manage our school time wisely, I have assigned everyone a special colored binder.

In said binder, each child can find work they have completed (I keep a 3 hole punch on my desk to easily add to the binders). They can also find work assignments, work sheets, and more that they are expected to work on for the current week. Each day, we can scoop up what we're working on and slide them into the pocket to finish up the next day or punch and file if it's complete. Simple, right?

To avoid running around like a crazy person looking for the (ever disappearing) pencils, sharpeners, crayons, markers, glue, safety scissors........ everyday supplies- I keep a cute little basket on the shelve beside the binders. It's easy to grab, and everyone knows where it is. Most of all, it is really simple when it comes to clean up time!

I have worked hard to de-clutter and make a place for everything, as for everything in its place....... the usual suspects have a difficult time with that one. My solution to this problem......... see the large wooden box sitting on the chair at the top of this article? It's my clutter box. When things (ie. toys, boy stuff) is left in the kitchen, in the floor, on the table, or anywhere else it isn't supposed to be- I toss it in the box.

 No big deal, right? But, here's the rub- I make an announcement "THE BOX is FILLING UP! I'm gonna HAVE to EMPTY it!"  The boys know that if they don't claim their "lost and found items" ....... said items will go to some little boy or girl who may take better care of them. Harsh, I know. But it works. It really works. You may have to prove to the little darlings that you mean business, but you'll only have to prove it once. Honest.

I bought my wooden box- an old wine box- from Sam's Club for $4.00 one year. The proceeds went to some great charity, and the box changed my life. You may find a prettier option. Baskets are nice. This works for me. The trick is to put it in a place that is easy peasy for you to toss things into and just as easy for the kids to go through and rescue their treasures. It is one way to help round up that clutter, and it teaches a valuable lesson in the process.

What works for you? I'd love to hear some of your tricks of the trade- or so to speak.



Jill said...

Wonderful ideas! I love all of your "suspects!" The pictures are priceless and made me smile!

MOV said...

Hi! I really enjoyed this post. I also do the binders. I noticed that my files were full of vacation ideas and writing ideas and instruction books for the computer and the camera... my point is, none of those things really "belong" in files--so I gave each one its own binder, for more of a sense of permanence. There must be something in the air about spring cleaning, because I too am organizing and purging right now. Good luck with everything!! :)

ThaiHoa said...

Great pics of your suspects! Is it really spring cleaning time though?? Good thing I do not like clutter and try to avoid it at all costs! Plus we just moved in about 6 months ago so I got a chance to throw things out as I unpacked...phhheeewww.

Leslie said...

Great ideas. I am just starting to declutter as it is getting overwhelming. I swear our kids could be clones of each other with those descriptions, except my #2 hates cleaning as well as looking like a tornado is following her around!

Tonya said...

Love the clutter box idea - especially since it's the kids' responsibility to put the stuff away!