Moving day can be super stressful, not to mention all the packing and unpacking that goes along with it! I got to share some of my favorite tips for staying organized when you move on Global TV. Check out the video here or by clicking on either image below
As featured on Huffington Post
I absolutely love organizing toys, I find it one of the most satisfying projects. I also absolutely hate organizing toys, because it can be soooo frustrating. I feel like if you're a parent and reading this you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the same feeling that you get right after you spend hours getting the house tidy, and everything is put away and the floors are clean and it has that nice fresh feeling to it. . . and then the kids come home. And it is all ruined. Instantly. Organizing toys is kind of like that, all your hard work can go right down the drain before your eyes.
Now, I’m not saying that playroom disaster is inevitable (even though it kind of is) I’m just saying that you need to have realistic expectations of the outcome. So with all that being said, here are 5 things that this Professional Organizer wants you to know about organizing toys.
1. This Isn't A One Shot Deal
Remember that movie “Groundhog Day”, the one where Bill Murray relives the same day over and over again? Well, it’s kind of like that. Kids needs change and interests change over time. So you're going to have to do this again and again. The way that I organized toys for my older kids when they were babies and toddlers is quite different for the way I have them now at age (almost) 5 and 7. And then when you throw my 11 month old into the mix all bets are off. Be prepared that you’re going to have to adjust as you go and also as they grow.
2. You're Going To Piss Off Your Kids
Well, maybe. Unless they’re like my kids and have become accustomed to me uprooting their toy system on a regular basis. Your kids will probably be annoyed, but I can almost guarantee that they will play better with the stuff they have once your have curated their collection and they can actually find what they're looking for. Kids don’t need a lot of toys or games to play happily and productively. Just look at what happens every time you give them a giant cardboard box. They tap into their creative little minds and happily play with it for hours, if not days. So take solace in the fact that organizing their toys into a way that makes sense will pay off in the long run.
3. You May Have To Be Sneaky
I'm not usually an advocate for getting rid of people’s stuff behind their back and you should try to let them play a role in some of the decision making process of what stays and what goes. But you may have to throw some actual stuff out without telling them. Let's just keep in mind that their brains are not fully developed yet so their ability to make decisions about what to keep/donate may not be reasoned. Heck most adults can barely make those decisions. You do want to consult with them and have them be engaged in the process but just remember who the adult is in the situation.
4. Set Realistic Expectations
My 8 month old knows exactly where to put her toys back when she's done playing with them. Said NO ONE EVER! Micro-organizing your baby’s toys is just asking for trouble. All kids do at that age is put things in their mouths and dump their toys out of the bins that you so diligently set up. So while it’s perfectly realistic to expect a 4 year old to put the ‘pretend play’ items back in the right spot, or a 6 year old to put his action figures back in their bin, the same is obviously not true of the really little ones. I like to try and keep baby/toddler stuff accessible and at their level and not stress too much about if their blocks are commingling with their animals.
5. Don’t Believe Everything You See On Pinterest
While I love Pinterest for its amazing ideas and awesome inspiration it can sometimes be a bit too good to be true. Headlines like ‘10 Genius Toy Organization Hacks” and “Super Easy DIY Toy Organization” can be a bit misleading. Not everything works for everyone and I often find that when my clients try some of these pinterest-perfect ideas it leads to feeling of disappointment and failure. Just because a system works for someone else doesn’t mean that it will work for you and your family. Try to think critically about the way your kids play with their toys and if this pretty image you’re seeing will work in the space that you have. Take different element of different ideas and morph it into something that makes sense for you.
Good Luck & Happy Organizing!
It’s been a little hectic around here lately. Since our return from our yearly family vacation in Mexico my brain has not wanted to switch back into writing mode. To give myself a little jumpstart (and tbh to outsource an item on my very full plate!) I asked my husband to do a guest post on what an absolute joy it must be to live with me! So read on as Ben makes his writing debut on my blog and gives a little insight into how a marriage between organization and disorganization works (and I swear I only edited it for grammar and spelling!)
Allison and I met during my second year at University of Toronto. I was 19 and at the absolute height of man-cave, could-not-care-less-about-my-appearance (or-my-surroundings) pre-adulthood. Her new roommate was a friend of mine, so she came over to meet me and my other (equally-grimy) roommates. I had not shaved in a week and we literally had Maxim pictures taped to the wall as decoration. The kitchen was piled high with dirty dishes and I used an unzipped sleeping bag as a comforter. What I’m trying to say is that I was an obvious catch.
Jokes aside if you have followed my wife’s writing at all you would know this does not sound like the beginning of a life-long love story. Yet something drew us to each other and ever since we’ve had a push and pull between her organized ways and my well-meaning but less than stellar abilities in that area. Twelve years and three kids later I continue to do my best to think like she does, but it can be a struggle.
This is why I think the job of a Professional Organizer is so important. She has been able to implement processes in our house that I can actually follow and that have improved both the organization of our household and our ability to interact as a couple.
That said, in this post I wanted to talk a little bit about how the DISorganized mind can benefit from this mindset and how her suggestions help clarify things for me even when I don’t get it 100 percent right.
One of the reasons Allison started her business stemmed from a common argument we were having a few years ago. I don't remember the specific issue but it is not really relevant. I suspect it was because I had taken something (like the salad spinner) out and didn’t put it back in the right place. For my disorganized mind, I just didn’t remember where I had taken it from and found some spot where it seemed to fit. Her organized mind couldn’t understand how I had forgotten where something went that I had just used a few minutes earlier (fair!). In the course of the dispute I said something to the effect of “You have to understand not everyone’s mind works this way.” This is true. I don’t walk into a room and see the things that are out of place. If it is actively MESSY I will notice this but if a pan is not with the other pans it won’t bother me. The thing is, I’ve learned that my life is easier when everything IS in place (wink,wink).
This is where my wife’s strategies have been incredibly effective. To use just one example of many; for years our tupperware drawer was a disaster. Mostly because I’m the one who usually cleans up after supper and I wouldn’t take care to “put like with like”. Allison took some time to set up the lids in a dish rack and put round, square and rectangular containers together. This made sense to me and was easy to follow. Now when I clean up from supper I don’t waste ten minutes trying to find the right lid for the container I need.
Slowly but surely I was able to see things that could be organized better. Even if I don’t know the best strategy I can make a suggestion and set her loose (one of the side-benefits of being married to a Professional Organizer is free organization. I pay her back by folding laundry and taking the kids to daycare).
I would by no means be able to move into the industry myself. My mind still doesn 't (and probably will never) fully work this way. But the benefits are real even for those who didn’t think it is important or thought they would never be able to maintain it. Allison has labelled so many bins and shelves in our house and I find it a relief, because I would genuinely stress if I didn’t know where something went. Now I know if I screw it up, it is clearly on me.
I bring other things to the table in our relationship and as with all things my conversion to organization is a work-in-progress. However the strategies she has written about and implemented in our household have had a real tangible benefit in our relationship and life in general.
In my YouTube debut I show you how simple it can be to get ready for the cold!