Organizing children’s items worth the effort
QUESTION: Do you have any organization solutions for elementary schoolage children? As the kids are getting older I am challenged with keeping things organized — particularly when school is out and summer hits.
ANSWER: When children are little, we have greater control over their environment. But as they gain independence, they have a growing impact on our environment.
Not to worry, this is a learning stage for everyone. During the school year there is a structure in place, but when school’s out the rules change. Take this time to regroup. Childhood is a great time to develop organization techniques that will last a lifetime, and it is never too late to get started.
An organized environment seems to breed efficiency and creativity. The best approach with young children and teens is to set expectations, provide the tools, and roll up your own sleeves. This shows leadership and team work, not the nagging quality we as parents are often accused of exhibiting.
The challenge you face is the sheer quantity of stuff that comes home all at once. This is one of those annual tasks that must be done. My advice is to have some fun with it and don’t procrastinate. To begin with, make sure you have the tools you and your children need to get organized.
This is a good time to reorganize closets, bookcases and desks. Recycle items that you no longer need and start a giveaway bag. Anticipate that your children will be bringing home items they want to display. Have empty picture frames (Ikea has a great selection) and cork boards ready to display art projects and other items of pride. Displaying a child’s favourite report or story that they created, can be a major confidence booster.
Clear plastic Tupperware containers are excellent to hold school supplies that can be reused when school resumes. If your children enjoy craft projects have them create their own personal memory box to hold items they accumulated throughout the year but aren’t ready to dispose of yet.
Large powdered detergent boxes work well as they have lids and a handle. Let each child decorate an empty box with a glue stick and pictures from old magazines, comic books, wrapping paper or their own drawings. These decorated boxes will then hold the special memories that they can hold on to until next summer.
Now you are ready to deal with the stuff as it comes home. Confine the organization task to a specific location so that your whole house does not need to suffer. Take each item out and decide whether it will stay, be displayed, stored, recycled or given away. Sporting items and musty backpacks can be freshened by adding a sport sneaker deodorizer or fabric softener.
Keeping school projects is important for young children and Tupperware containers are excellent for this. Keep the size small enough for the child to handle and position them on lower shelves for easy access. When next summer comes, they will likely be ready to part with the old memories to make room for the new.
You will have provided the expectation of organization, the tools required and the technique to keep everything in its place. As they mature these basics will be part of their organization strategies and they will be successful in creating efficient and creative environments. QUESTION: I am interested in installing a fountain in my front yard and wonder if this is something that I can do myself?
ANSWER: There are many do-ityourself fountain kits that are available through garden and landscape centres. Some are very simple and others are more elaborate. Depending on your skill level you may find the expert advice offered by these centres may be most advantageous.
Your fountain will be an integral part of the design of your front yard. Other landscaping elements may need to be considered in order for this project to look stunning such as grass, shrubs, flowers and rocks. Just like any design project, you must consider the size and scale of each element in the project in order to achieve balance.
Simply adding a fountain feature in the middle of your lawn without considering these factors will look incomplete. Remember if you plan to dig up any part of your yard you need to locate the power, gas and water lines.
Other considerations for this project are the size and weight of the fountain. These units can be made of stone or concrete, making them extremely heavy and awkward to transport and then to manoeuvre once they have arrived. If you have taken this all into consideration and understand what is required for a successful assembly, then I would say go ahead. If not, enlist the assistance of the pros and have it done right.
— Canwest News Service
Under-the-bed organizers in this girl’s
room can help keep things tidy.