Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Monday, May 25, 2009

Preparing for Summer

Officially or non-officially, Memorial Day seems to kick off summertime. Luckily for us around here, the weather was warm enough to feel like summer. The day involved kids' bathing suits, water guns, paper plates, and plastic serveware. And while we haven't set up the kiddie pool yet, this is the time to start thinking about getting ready for summer activities.

We bought more sunscreen. We talked about when we'd install the air conditioners. We made sure we had the makings of s'mores. Last week I checked the kids' inventory of shorts and tops, as well as checked sizing of bathing suits and flip-flops. All part of the rite of passage to summer.

Along those lines, here are "10 simple tips to help you get your family started down the road to a clutter-free summer" from AOL Kids & Family Coach Rita Emmett:
1. CAR GUNK: Put a large wastebasket in the garage for car trash. If no garage, tuck grocery plastic bags under the car seat for trash.
2. SWIM STUFF: Swimsuits go right in the washer or draped over the side of the tub; Water toys go in a box outside the door or into a tub.
3. CLEAN REWARD: Offer a reward (a favorite snack; trip to the movies or mall; a new game) to every kid who puts away his or her wet gear for a week without being reminded.
4. FIX IT OR FORGET IT: Repair broken tools. If you don’t have time to fix it now, you never will. Get rid of it.
5. PICK YOUR SPOT: Decide on a location for all of your yard and garden tools and remember to keep your stuff there.
6. BLITZ THE BACKYARD: Set a timer for 5 minutes, gather up and put away the tools. If others have toys or stuff scattered around, make a new house rule: No TV, computer, phone time (or whatever that child loves) till they do the five minute “blitz.” You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish in five minutes.
7. TOY BOXES: Assign places for toys to belong
8. SORT AND DONATE: If there are too many toys, take strong steps. Toss broken or incomplete toys. Donate ones your children no longer use. If STILL too many, pack some away for a rainy or sick day.
9. PICK FAVORITES: Have “Pack Away Days” when the kids get to pick out three toys, games or books that were packed away but they have to give items to replace those that were packed away.
10. INSIDE SWEEP: Set the timer for 25 minutes and have everybody “blitz” -- race through the house picking up stuff and putting it where it belongs. When time’s up, everyone join in for a special treat -- a trip to the pool, fixings for a hot fudge sundae, a special surprise DVD.