Thursday, August 1, 2013

Organizing Tips for August

This month we are concentrating our organizing on Toys and Electronics

But first:

Back to School items are now on sale and families are getting kids ready for a new year at college or school.  Take advantage of great bargains on those supplies not just for the kids but for you home and office, etc.  In Virginia we also have a tax free weekend the first weekend of August on many of those items. 

With that in mind, we need to make space for new items.  Here are some tips to guide you along the way.

Children’s Toys

  • Children learn from their toys but there should be limits on how many they own and how many they can have out at one time.  Decide what that will be ahead of time and stick to it.  Encourage relatives and friends to give clutter free gifts to your children.
  • Toys should be more difficult to get out than put away.  Books that are stored upright on a shelf are easy to pull out and more difficult to put back in order.  A better choice would be a dishpan, bucket or basket that makes the child look for the book he wants but will be easy for him to drop it back in when he is done with it.
  • Depending on the age of the child, most toys should be kept in open bins arranged in cubes or shelves and labeled so that clean up easy.  Picture labels can be used for toddlers and large word labels for children learning to read.
  • Some special toys or games can be stored on a higher shelf where only a parent can reach it as a reward or incentive for cooperation, responsibility, etc.
  • Hanging pockets and plastic stacking drawers are good choices for small toys such as doll clothes, matchbox cars or train pieces.
  • Puzzles should be kept in their original box.  The corners may need to be reinforced with clear tape.  Another choice is zip lock bags with the picture included.  Color code the backs of the pieces for each puzzle with markers or crayons. Then the correct pieces can be returned to the proper box if more than one puzzle is out at a time.
  • Other storage options are over the window shelving to display some collectible toys, corner nets to hold stuffed animals and totes on wheels to transport toys that can be taken to other rooms temporarily and under the bed roll out containers or drawers.

     Most families have electronic gadgets all over the house.  We even take our cell phones with us out of the house.  Here are some tips to help manage and organize  those.

  • Label each end of cables and cords that they use.  A label maker or write on tape can be used to place the name of the electronic.  This makes it easy to identify when many cables are attached to power strips or if they are stored together when not in use.
  • Donate unused electronics with their cables, power cords, etc.  Best Buy and other stores will give you a receipt for tax donations purposes.  If you are concerned about privacy, have the in-store geeks clean them while you watch.  If you can locate and identify the storage disk in them and know how to remove the data, you can do that yourself before donations.
  • Resist the urge to have the latest and greatest technology.  In a few months it will be replace by yet another upgrade.  Try waiting until your current gadget is no longer usable.
  • Contain remotes in one room to one basket or box. Since many televisions are used for VHS, DVD, and several electronic games, label the remotes with the name of the item they control. 
  • Store the manuals near the electronics if possible.  Other manuals, receipts, etc. should be filed in the household reference files until the electronics are disposed.
  • Control the accumulation of cables for one device in baskets that can be secured under the device.  Some will attach under the table top, shelf or desk.  Look online for specific models.  This makes cleaning around the device much easier, especially if they touch the floor.
  • For the ultimate challenge, eliminate the TV, electronic reader and games, and the cell phone for anything but calling for one day.  You may have extra time to do the things you never had time to do.