A. J. Miller, an organizing and productivity expert has offered up tips to make organizing a family affair and I am all ears!! If the family doesn’t share the enthusiasm for maintaining organization at home, here are some tips to help you deal with the situation.
TIP #1 – EXPLAIN WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM: Let them know that you’ll be more pleasant to be around if they pitch in and help and you don’t feel you have to do everything yourself. If they help, there will be more time to spend together as a family doing fun things!
TIP #2 – SHOW THEM WHERE YOU WANT THINGS: It’s easy to feel that the other people you live with are purposely sabotaging your efforts, thinking that you will just clean up after them. This might be true, but it’s also possible that they simply don’t know where things belong. If you haven’t already done so, show them where you want things. Taking the guesswork out of it will make it more likely to happen. Better yet, decide together as a family where things should go.
TIP #3 – USE CONTAINERS: Boxes, baskets, draw dividers, bins, plastic stackable containers, etc. are all great ways to identify where an item belongs and provide neat storage. A place for everything and everything in its place (when not in use!) is a good rule to follow to maintain order.
TIP #4 – LABEL: Labeling containers, bins, drawers, shelves, etc. will help remind everyone where things go. Labels will help to avoid items being put in the wrong places and jog bad memories about where items go.
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TIP #5 – SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITY: Empower every family member to be responsible for seeing that a room of his or her choice is cleaned up before bedtime. This takes the entire responsibility off of your shoulders and spreads
it out. Change it up each week to make sure that no one person is unduly burdened with a particularly difficult room. Or have two people share the responsibility for a difficult room as well as trading off.
TIP #6 – SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY: Parents should be their children’s teachers, not their servants. Use organizing their rooms as a way to teach your children how to do it. You’ll feel good that you’re teaching them skills that will stay with them the rest of their lives, creating more responsible, independent children who will be much better prepared for life on their own when the time comes. Empower them by giving them a say in where things go and have them put things in their new “homes”. No one likes being dictated to so make them feel respected and invested and they may be more willing to maintain the system.
Note: If you want your kids to hang up their clothes, make sure that their closet rod is low enough to reach. Use clear or see thru mesh containers, buckets, or low to the ground, open front, stackable bins for storage so your small children can see where their belongings are kept and help put them there.
TIP #7 – COMMUNICATE YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES: Clearly convey your expectations to your children. Write them down and post them so there are no misunderstandings. Spell out exactly what a completed chore would look like. For instance, a clean room means that the bed is made, clothes are put away, and there’s nothing on the floor that doesn’t belong there. Work with them the first few times they do a chore to make sure they’re doing it properly. Gently correct any errors that they make. Be sure to convey to them that their actions – or the lack thereof – will have consequences. If they slip-up, be sure to follow through on consequences so they know that you mean what you say. Depending on their ages and maturity levels, think about making them part of the process. Decide together what are appropriate consequences for their non-compliance. Giving them a say in their own fate will make them feel respected and encourage them to comply. The goal is to make the consequence a learning experience not a punishment.
TIP #8 – SET A GOOD EXAMPLE: Children learn by example so don’t complain about doing chores or they will too. Let them know that having chores and responsibilities means they are lucky to have a home and things to take care of.
TIP #9 – DESIGN COMMON SPACES TOGETHER: Everyone should have a private space that they can keep the way they like. However, in living spaces that you share with other family members such as the kitchen, living room or bathroom, compromise on everyone’s part is required. Acceptance of everyone’s different styles is essential if you want to keep the peace and have a home you can all enjoy. Don’t play the blame game. Listen to each other and look for solutions to problems together. Have some fun with it.
TIP #10 – HELP THEM GET ORGANIZED IF THEY ASK FOR HELP: It can take courage for someone to ask for help getting organized. It can be a wonderful way to deepen a relationship or work on a source of conflict. Avoid conflict by being patient, gentle and understanding with them. Most people are organized in some way. Figure out what theirs is and compliment them. Let them know that you have confidence in their ability to extend that to other areas of their life. Don’t judge them or make them throw things away they are not ready to part with. Be respectful and supportive. Help them stay focused. Have fun.
TIP #11 – ADJUST YOUR EXPECTATIONS: Family members may not do every thing as perfectly as you would like. All you can ask is that they do their best.
TIP #12 – SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION: Be sure to let family members know how much you appreciate their help in keeping things in order. Everyone likes to hear that they’re doing a good job.
TIP #13 – LET IT GO: You can’t motivate someone else to get organized. People are motivated by their own internal needs and drives. Taking their mess personally will only end up driving a wedge between you and prevent you from finding a solution. Your best chance at change happening is to point out what their clutter is costing them and how being better organized could work in their favor. If they don’t feel that it is costing them anything and aren’t motivated to change, let it go, love them anyways and pick up after them or accept whatever level of help they are able to provide. You really need to consider whether struggles over their mess are worth the potential harm to your relationship.
To find out more information, please visit Miller Organizing.