Deciding that you’re going to organize your family life is one hurdle to get over. So here are 10 tips and tools to make it easier to organize your life and get a clutter-free home.
Avoid the pressure to buy more by spending less time in stores, both brick-and-mortar and online. The fewer opportunities you have to impulse shop, the fewer unnecessary items you are likely to acquire.
Choose experiences, not things.
Season tickets, museum passes, and weekend getaways are all good investments that can create special family memories while keeping your home clutter-free.
Spend less time worrying.
If your child has a life-threatening allergy, you’re likely never completely at ease when she’s not with you. The Veta Smart epiPen signals your smartphone if your child leaves her epiPen behind, and clues you in to its last location. Plus, if the epiPen is used, you and any others you choose will be notified via smartphone. ($59)
Consider hosting gift-free birthday parties.
Unconventional, yes, but what a neat way to teach our children that parties should be more about celebrating with friends than greedily awaiting the gifts. Another way to go: Ask your child to pick a charity to which guests can donate in lieu of a present. Share Your Wish is a Westchester-based option for a charitable party.
Your favorite bag probably already doubles as diaper bag, pool tote, or even a school-age-kid-stuff carrier; wish it could do so without randomly stuffing everything in? It can. The ToteSavvy is an insert that slips inside your designer purse so that it’s as functional as it is stylish. ($79.99)
Gift cards: We all get them—but we often don’t use them all (and they start to become the de facto gift as little kids morph into tweens). And how about those store loyalty cards? Keep track of all that plastic wallet clutter with the Card Cubby. It lets you sort 40 of them by family member, store, or amount. ($24)
Get a handle on mementos.
Home taken over by art work and gold-star school projects? Can’t remember where you loaded that adorable video or favorite pic? Check out Keepy, a mobile app that gives you a private platform to save and share all of that. ($39.99 for annual subscription)
Play hide and seat.
Stuff the chic Poppin Box Seat full of anything and everything…then watch it double as a seat that holds up to 275 pounds! We’re thinking this is the answer to where to put all those chargers and electronics cords. ($40)
It’s never too soon to instill a bit of responsibility in kids. But keeping track of what’s done and what’s not, and whose turn it is to feed the dog, can feel like more trouble than the help is worth. Get a handle on your routine(s) by downloading the free, customizable, printable chore chart at delineateyourdwelling.com.
Once school starts, coming up with healthy mid-day meals, along with snacks, becomes challenging fast. Smooth your routine by making a list of everything your child likes. You’ll probably be surprised at how many options there actually are. Then, with your child, come up with a list of new foods to try that seem similar to the ones that already have the green light. For more tips as well as recipes, check out The Family Calendar Cookbook ($23; Running Press), which will also help you plan ahead for every family occasion you can imagine.