SO MUCH PAPER!
Paper Clutter - This is an area that is challenging for many. Here are some tips:
1. Gather all the paper clutter in your home.
2. Sort each piece into one of these piles: Keep, Toss, Shred; investing in a
shredder is a good idea; there are also places that will do the shredding for you,
search in your area).
3. Organize the Keep, Toss, Shred piles a follows:
Keep - these are bills and documents that require a physical copy or papers
you can scan and store in your computer (receipts for large and/or
important items (see #4).
Toss - papers without personal identifying information (trash bin, or recycle
bin). This is where the junk mail goes.
Shred - papers containing personal information (social security numbers,
driver’s license number, bank accounts, passwords, PIN, credit card
numbers, medical, legal, or financial).
4. Implement a Filing System - (keep it simple), this is your Keep pile from step #3
To Do: Bills to be paid and forms that need to be completed can be
temporarily kept in a file folder or desk tray and left out in an area
designated for this purpose (a command center). Then once action
has been taken later filed, or shredded depending on the situation.
To Read: File folder or tray (magazines, newsletters, statements, and are
Mail (Others): File folder or tray; this stuff belongs to others in the household.
To File: This is your long-term filing, papers that need storing; use a filing
cabinet, a portable file box, or file folder organizer. Some documents
you keep forever (some would say there are some that need to be
safe guarded or locked up).
To read about document timelines for papers I suggest you visit:
Do you have Toy Clutter?
It’s a few weeks before for Christmas! I don’t want to alarm you, but rather make you aware that you still have time. Time for what you ask? Keep reading…
Toys, as a parent they can make your life easy and they can make it hard. Easy because kids love them, need them, and are for the most part entertained by them. Hard because it can sometimes seem like they are everywhere!
I’m not going to tell you what is “right” in your home. I want to offer some practical tips for managing toys and figuring out what is ideal for you and your children, which as it turns out is usually less than you have today. The ideal number will vary from family to family.
Toys are fun and educational, and they are important in a child’s development. I am advocating for less, not no toys. Here are some reasons why: When kids have too many toys it prevents them from fully developing their gift of imagination, fewer toys allows them to become more resourceful. Children with fewer toys take care of them, they learn how to develop interpersonal relationships, develop a greater love for art, reading, and writing. Nature becomes more important because they can play outside and experience physical exercise. I guess what I am saying is, in this case, less is more.
Things to Think About:
Choose quality over quantity. Ask, or better yet, observe your kids. What are the toys they play with every day, or the ones that have special meaning, the ones that make them feel good? Those you keep. These are the ones they love. Probably the ones that spark their imaginations and provide joy for the family.
Set a budget. This limits your toy purchases. You probably have set amounts for groceries or entertainment, why not toys. The budget can be monthly or yearly.
Don’t give into fads. Ask, yourself is it something your child could benefit from, does the toy in question match his/her personality. Don’t give into the manufacturers, they are the ones that create the “shortages” that make you and your kids feel like if they don’t have “that” toy they are missing out. They are only thinking of their profits!
Set a confined physical space. Once you have defined the “toy space” and it can be a bin, closet, or a section of a room. You define the space. When it becomes full, then, no more adding toys. Think about the one in one out rule. Great way to discuss limits with your children. If your play areas (bedroom, family room, play room etc.) have become a cluttered mess (you know a Lego minefield) impossible to clean, it’s time to start a decluttering process.
Purge. Keep life simple. Some criteria to use: Get rid of toys that are broken, toys that have not been played with (ever or at least in 6 months). Give away duplicate toys, unsafe toys, and loud toys. Clean and unused toys can be placed in a box or bag and donated. I read an article that said the U.S. has 3.1 % of the world’s children but buys 40% of all toys sold worldwide. How fortunate we are, and yet some of these toys just end up piled up somewhere.
I read an article where the family has a 20-toy rule. This worked for them. It may not work for you or your children. The whole point is to establish toy rules for your household. Then implement changes as needed. Weather you go for a specific number of toys to keep or you use another system like setting up categories of toys (small, large, puzzles, games, toy sets, outdoor toys, stuffed animals) and then using any or all the criteria previously mentioned, to purge (broken, unsafe, unused, duplicates, loud) think about some guidelines and then move forward make the decisions to keep, discard or donate. Getting rid of some toys gives your children extra space to enjoy the meaningful toys they love. These toys can be arranged thoughtfully using bins, and shelves they can see into.
It’s not going to be easy, but your home and family will experience a new calmness.