Children


January (Attack your family room)

Declutter

  • Recycle old magazines & catalogs.
  • Separate photos into the good, bad and ugly.  Toss the bad and ugly. Share duplicates with family or friends.  Put the rest into acid-free boxes for now.  Sorting can be done at a later time.
  • Go through CDs, videos and books.  Separate into keep / loan-return / donate / sell
  • Sort through games and toys; collect missing pieces and put them into their corresponding boxes.  Put them into three piles 1) donate; 2) toss; and 3) keep.  Determine where to keep them and store together.
  • Begin a household inventory.  Start with your electronics.  Write down the manufacturer, model & serial number for your homeowner’s insurance.   Keep a copy of your inventory in a fire-proof safe or off-site in the event of a fire or other disaster.

Clean

  • Dry-clean or launder drapes, throws and area rugs.  If possible, rotate drapes to minimize sun damage.
  • Spot-clean sofas; vacuum cushions and sofa base, flip and rotate cushions.  Dig down the sides for lost coins and pens.  Vacuum down the sides after pulling out any large objects.
  • Vacuum and clean floor, walls, bookshelves, entertainment centers, windowsills, mini blinds and ceiling fans.

Maintain

  • Choose a basket or box to hold on-loan tapes, books and videos.   Write return dates on calendar.
  • Choose a drawer or decorative box to store remotes.  For components that are infrequently used attach the remote to the unit with Velcro.
  • Spend 30 minutes each week (schedule time on your calendar) arranging your photos into meaningful sections (by family member, in chronological order, by event – or a combination thereof).   Put into acid-free photo boxes.
  • Schedule 5 minute cleanup with family members to keep them moving forward toward organizing their designated space in your family room.

Have you begun the mad dash to get all your holiday shopping complete?   Do you have younger children in your life? Can you see the deluge of toys that will invade you home Christmas morning?

This is a fantastic time to bring in the spirit of the holidays and introduce your children to donating.  Although parting with their loved toys can be difficult they can be  involved by choosing toys they played with when they were ‘little’.

There are several places you can look to donated gently used toys.

1) The usual suspects: Goodwill and The Salvation Army

2) Preschools, elementary schools, early childhood programs and daycare centers may accept toys

3) Homeless shelters or domestic violence shelters

4)  There are several ways to donate at your church; the church nursery, give them to missionaries traveling to poor countries or speak to someone there about donating to a family in need that is known to them

5) Ask around your neighborhood

Children often have so many toys because they are more affordable than ever and with the prevalence of advertising it seems that what is hot today is old news tomorrow.   This often leads to nearly new toys being relegated to the back of the closet or under the bed.

The most important part of this process is involving your child/children.   The experience of giving will give them the opportunity to see that they are blessed and the joy that comes from helping others.   And although that is more than enough reason to clear out toys and added benefit is that you’ll have the opportunity to get the remainder of their toys organized and make room for the new ones that are sure to be under the tree.

Best wishes and Merry Christmas!