Maybe it's time to take charge and follow this little guide to bring greater peace to your home!
Are you constantly tripping over the kids’ toys? Are there clothes cluttering up the floor? Are everyone’s belongings strewn everywhere? It may be time to take a fresh look at your living space.
Begin by reminding your crew to put things away as they go. Be sure the objects you use regularly are within easy reach. Store objects you use only occasionally on a top shelf, and place the heaviest objects on the bottom. If you lack storage space, have a good look around you: there’s usually some wall or empty corner that can accommodate a shelf. Three planks and a couple of supports don’t cost much but greatly increase your storage capacity (try to make use of the greatest width and height possible). And don’t forget the space under beds or behind furniture.
Many options exist to help optimize spaces: stackable wooden boxes, boxes on casters, cardboard boxes with covers, little sets of drawers, etc. are all valuable assets. They allow you to furnish and divide space while making it easy to sort things and maintain order. Plastic boxes have the advantage of being resistant to weather, knocks, and dust.
Organize clothes closets and say no to things rolled up in a ball on the floor!
Clothes-wise, are you sure everyone in your family still uses all the clothes in their closets? Think about having a fitting session: get rid of what’s worn or torn, and put whatever’s too small or too big aside to give away. Put it in an easily identifiable plastic bag, suitcase, or cardboard box. Label the contents so you don’t have to move heaven and earth the day you need it. Only keep in your closets what you’ll need for the coming season.
If you want your children to be a bit more tidy, set up a practical system of storage they can understand. Help the littlest ones to group and sort their clothes with the aid of colored labels, little stickers for their shelves, boxes, or other storage accessories. Think about using the back of doors or closets to hang socks, tights, belts, or underwear. For the youngest ones, make storage space easy to get at and, if possible, fun: cute coat hangers, clothes hooks in the guise of their favorite heroes, or personsalized pajama holders.
Learning how to put things away is also a way of learning to give away what we have too much of or won’t need in the future. Family friends, cousins, and charities will be only too happy to make use of it. Put everything you don’t need into cardboard boxes where everyone can pick out what they like. Consider inviting other families for a clothes swap!
Give a helping hand to children in need of more order
Arrange a study corner for your children of school age. In bedrooms, set a little work zone aside from their play area where it will be easier for them to concentrate. This may be more difficult to arrange in a room that several children share. If that’s the case, bunk-beds are a good way to save space.
As for toys and games, don’t ask your children to take care of them and put them away without giving them the means to do it. “We should have an orderly love for everything,” as St. Teresa of the Andes said. Raise your children to enjoy an orderly room. Between the ages of 10 and 12, children usually need to feel supported and guided in order to perform well. Cardboard boxes, shelves, chests of drawers — again, all labelled — will help them to be more careful with their things. When it’s time to put things away, don’t be too demanding, but be clear about the goal: to free up space for a desk, a new shelf, or to offer things to some other family or charity in need.
Sort and recycle before rushing out to buy more. How many half-used notebooks, brand-new writing pads, and unused pens are stuck at the back of your drawers and cupboards? Probably enough to stock a whole family stationer’s shop. Once again, get organized: put felt-tip pens in one pot, crayons in another, and notebooks all in one box. Learning how to store things is also a way of learning not to waste!
Once your big clean-up is over, remember these words of St. Bernard of Clairveaux: “Take care of order and order will take care of you!”
St. Ignatius’ rules for decluttering your home
6 Quotes from saints about the importance of order in our lives