SummaryAbby Sasscer shares 5 easy tips to teach children how to declutter and simplify. Important life skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
I love reminiscing about my preschool days at Marymount Montessori School in the Philippines.
I can still remember what our classroom looked like with our small desks in a circle, organized bins for our manipulatives, and different centers arranged along the walls.
Our teachers did a beautiful job creating a Montessori environment for their nursery and preschool students.
Everything was the perfect size for our little hands. They taught us the phrase, “a place for everything and everything in its place.” They trained us at a young age to put things back in place before starting a new activity.
Now, let’s fast forward to my college days. During one of my Early Childhood Education classes, my professor mentioned that it is never too early to teach children good habits. She stressed the importance of providing children with a healthy environment that is conducive to both learning and the formation of good habits.
Organizing with Containers and Labels
One of the good habits we can teach our children is to organize their things. The best way to do this is to provide our kids with containers, which do a wonderful job of organizing and controlling clutter. Using containers teaches children that there is a designated place for everything and that everything should be put back in its place.
Labeling is also a powerful way of teaching our children organizational skills. Labeling containers helps children learn reading and sorting skills and helps your organization system self-run. In other words, you don’t need to constantly tell the kids where to put their things. The labels should do that for you.
Simple Tips to Start
1. Making Beds:
Teach your children to make their beds as soon as they get up in the morning. If they say it’s too hard, encourage them to pray the Morning Offering as they are making their beds.
Even if their beds don’t look perfect after they are done, what’s more important is that you instill this habit at an early age. (However, if you are a Meticulous Martha like me, feel free to “touch up” their work later on when they’re not looking!)
2. Organizing Toys:
If you have an extra room in the house, consider making it the children’s playroom. If you store toys in the children’s rooms, use labeled containers for easy clean-up.
You can use large buckets, bins, drawers, boxes, crates, etc. You can label these containers “Small,” “Medium”, and “Large Toys”, or “Soft Toys” and “Hard Toys”. If you want to be a bit more specific, you can use categories such as “Dolls & Plushies”, “Blocks & Wheels”, “Music & Drama”, etc. Feel free to use labels that suit your family best!
3. Organizing Clothes:
More and more families are using one room as their laundry and clothes room.
But if clothes must be in each child’s room, there are still ways to get things organized. Choose a place, such as a dresser, shelves, crates, or closets, for all clean clothes. Also designate a place, such as a hamper, basket, box, or laundry room, for all dirty laundry.
Erect hooks behind bedroom doors to hang clothes that can be reused during the week, such as pajamas, Sunday Mass clothes, etc.
4. A Special Things Box:
We all know that children love to keep their own “special things.” You may designate a Special Things Box in each child’s bedroom. The only rule is that all of a child’s special things need to fit inside his or her box.
If fitting everything into one box is not possible, encourage your children to take digital photos of their things and place them in thumb-drives to be kept inside their Special Things Boxes. Also, if your children cannot fit all their treasures into their boxes, some of these items can be donated to local nursing homes to cheer up the elderly. Remind kids that even if they give things away, memories stay in their hearts forever.
5. A “Put Everything Back” Day:
Maintenance is key, not only to having an organized home, but also to making sure things don’t pile up to the point where the clutter gets beyond overwhelming. Maintenance can be done on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. If this is not possible, then schedule a big clean at least once during the summer months.
In our home, Friday is our lightest homeschooling day, and so it is our “Put Everything Back Day.” Books are put back inside each child’s School Box. Papers are recycled.
Pens, pencils, crayons, etc. are put in pencil cases or designated baskets.
Let’s Do This!
Summer is here, and it is a good time to declutter, organize, and simplify our homes. And it’s never too early to teach our little ones these important life skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Until next time, Happy Summer Simplifying!