“Mom, where’s my…?” If I (Donna) had just one dollar for every time my three kids have asked me this question, I’d been set! They think that I’m their personal GPS for all of their stuff and too often I actually know where things are–not because I put them there but because as a mom with eyes in the back of my head, I just know where they are!! I have a funny feeling that I’m among friends!
ENOUGH!!! I’m not doing them any favors. They need to keep track of their own stuff. Sadly, I’ve been an enabler as I assist them in depending on me to snuff out their stuff!!
My favorite book on this subject is perfect for kids! It’s called “Where’s My Stuff?” And can be found with the other great Organizational Books for Students in our bookstore by just clicking the link!
Here are a few things I’m learning about keeping track of my own stuff as I help them learn to keep track of theirs:
1. Do you love it? When my family was preparing to move back from the Middle East eight years ago, I was slightly overwhelmed by the thought of having to pack up 18 years worth of stuff. My mother gave me great advice. She told me to look at each thing I was sure of and ask myself if I loved it. If the answer was yes, pack it. If no, let it go! That’s the best advice I’ve heard to help me jettison the junk!
Help your kids decide what they really love and what is just cluttering their environment and taking up space.
2. Where does it live? While we’re tapping the sage advice of my mother, Rita, let me tell you that we had six kids in our house and you wouldn’t have known it. Go to put down a book, a backpack, your shoes, whatever and you’d hear, “That doesn’t live there!” Now I’ll admit I don’t run my ship as tightly as my mom did but the fact still remains that when you know where something lives and you put it back there EVERY time, then guess what happens? You got it! Its right there when you need it next time.
Help your kids find the best place for things to live; where they’re sure to find what they’re looking for next time.
3. Corral it? As a right brained person, I have never been one to neatly organize my paper into files, to only touch paper once, to alphabetize and organize things immediately. No! I am a pile person not a file person. And there are probably more people out there like me than I realize. But I know where everything is because it’s corralled in bins or baskets and I can put my hand on things readily by knowing which bin they live in.
Help your kids to keep things corralled and it can help them when they have to retrieve important papers, assignments, forms and permission slips. Having an in/out system may be useful so that they will always know where to find what they’re looking for.
4. Categories–such as… School stuff: things like books, backpack, locker, lunch money, and homework, projects, and gym/sports clothes. Personal stuff: clothes, toys and toiletries depending on the age and the gender. Computer stuff: files, assignments, games, email. The list goes on and on.
Breaking areas of our lives into categories or domains helps a ton when trying to keep things organized. Think of your home and the various categories you have to keep track of. Now imagine your child trying to keep track of their categories/domains. What are they?
Help your kids get their stuff organized into domains and it will help streamline thinking and save time.
5. POST-ITS! I am notorious for using sticky notes upside-down across the top of my papers. And the brighter the sticky note the better. Then when I’m routing through papers, I can see the post-it sticking out from the top of the paper and find what I’m looking for in a flash! I just use the same wording per subject on each note and then I can corral all of the papers together under that subject or domain.
Help your kids use color to identify papers that will help them as they learn to think in categories and domains. They will be able to find things more quickly as they develop a system for how they organize their own stuff.
Kids need to learn how to keep track of their own belongings and to organize them into manageable categories. This is a life skill that will help your child for years to come.
You might want to get a copy of “Where’s My Stuff?” Just click on the link to see that and other Organizational Books for Students And give us a call if we can help to get your child organized!!