Fall and back to school time are here (well, at least that’s the way it feels as we careen towards September 21st, the first official day of Fall). Kids are either (A) going back in person, (B) going back virtually, or (C) going back in some sort of hybrid form of home schooling (and we are all hoping there is no D … pandemic shutdown … it was hard for us all). 2020 is like no other year. Organizing your space for home schooling needs to be done like it never was before?
Kick off the 2020 school year with some good news – an organized space for your kids, for you, for the entire family. No matter which scenario you fall into, getting organized is always a good thing.
When it comes to home schooling, what type of organizing should you do?
First, decide where you kids will work.
Someplace quiet and out of the way? Or a close to the action nook where you can oversee, guide and give feedback? Maybe you already have a home office that you can convert into School Room 2020?
Think about what will help your kids with their focus.
Do they need extra light? Less distractions? A sit down vs. stand up desk?
Talk to your kids about what will make them most comfortable – ask them to help select the space they want to have for school. Consider organizing more than one space for home schooling so they can stretch their legs and their brains in this “novel” environment.
Second, start with clear space.
Triage the area – clear it out – sweep it off – get rid of the stuff – wipe the horizontal space – remove the clutter – take distractions off walls and out of room! Starting with a clear space, and re-setting based on how the space will be used is a surefire way of creating a successful, distraction free zone for your family to focus.
What do your kids need to do their work? Lap top vs desk top? Pens, pencils, crayons, markers, rulers, paper, notebooks, technology, clocks, calculators, fidget toys … build the list with your kids. Ask them how frequently they use these items, then place then items on the desk for the “all the time” answer. Place items in a drawer or adjacent location for any answer that isn’t “all the time”.
Third, figure out what to do with all of the stuff you just cleared off.
What do I do with it now MJ? I have a clear space for the kids – but I have a pile of paperwork and “stuff” to deal with. Yup, we hear this all the time. Not to worry, we are going to get you organized too.
Grab the pile and let’s get started:
Step One – Sort
Sort everything into categories. Use the first “category” that comes to mind.Think about how you refer to it? A key word? You can sort by color, how you use, what you call it, the room it is located in … create a sort that works for you.
Step Two – Purge
Purge doesn’t always mean throw away. Nope. It may be:
- Donate or recycle.
- Add to the kindling pile.
Purge is another way of reducing the volume, so don’t be afraid of this step. One in, one out = maintains volume. One in, two out = reduces volume. The more decisions on out you can make, the more you can reduce your volume. I totally know this is a really hard step – but think about the weight being lifted off your shoulder, focus on the space you are imagining in your head or the clearness and freedom that comes with no clutter. You an do this.
Step Three – Assign
Assign a location, based on frequency of use. Use it all the time? Put it at a quick grab location. On top of a desk, the kitchen counter or by the front door. Ask yourself “how will I use it”, “how often will I use it” ,”where will I use it” – challenge yourself. For items used less frequently, in a drawer, cabinet, or file – or take a picture of it. (My favorite!)
Step Four – Contain/Shop
This is everyone’s favorite! MJ, what should I buy? What do I shop for? Won’t this bin/basket/container solve my problem? Yes. No. Maybe. Shopping is 4 steps down the line because it is always never the product, but the engagement. We are making decisions and engaging in action in the first 3 steps, so when we get to step four, shopping for containers, we know what we need, the size, where it will go, how much volume it needs to manage and what it should look like. Shopping for products, designing and creating a beautifully organized life is so very fun – my real favorite – but we need to do the grunt work first! Don’t worry, I’m right by your side as we slug it out together.
Step Five – Engage & Evaluate
How is it working? The final step is the true engagement, creating a routine or habit to see if the set is really working for you. It’s unfair to say something isn’t working around organization until you really try it on and try it out. So go for it. See how it is working by engaging with the space, setting up time to do the organizing and go through the steps.
PS – thanks to Julie Morgenstern for inspiring us with the SPACE process from Organizing from the Inside Out.
Now you have organized the desk and office for the kids and school and you’ve organized the “pile” of stuff that got swept out of the space and successfully dealt with it (and made it disappear! nice work).
What’s next? Learn more about our organizing services and how we can help.
Contact us at our new website. Mention this blog post and receive 10% off your first organizing / your Discovery Session – that’s more than a $30 savings! Looking forward to organizing together! Hope you have an Organized Day.