Simple Steps to a Saner Home this September:
In Markham, school has begun! September holds the promise of not only new beginnings but also of tons of papers, books, forms, sports equipment bags, instruments, apparel and everything else our kids seem to need through the school year.
The sheer amount of items can seem overwhelming. And let’s not even talk about the scheduling! What’s a family to do? As a Realtor (and a father) I know that an organized home is a happy one.
Fear not! With a few simple tips and a little planning, you can take your home from stuffed to stunning. You can control the clutter, manage the mess and save your sanity all at the same time.
It doesn’t matter how you do it but getting a central location (like the kitchen fridge) for a family calendar and a place for forms that require your attention is key to taming the paper monster and keeping everyone on track.
For many families, September isn’t just the start of the school year but a whole bunch of extra-curricular activities which can add more paper and things to manage. Keeping everyone in the loop can be daunting so a cleverly placed calendar provides a one-stop place for everyone to know what is going on at any given time.
PLACE FOR EVERYTHING
Take a page from a kindergarten class and give everyone in the home their own “cubby”. Whether you invest in actual cabinetry, reimagine existing closet or mudroom space, or just provide a hook for each family member (even Fido’s leash) and a basket beneath right where they walk in the door. It can go a long way to maintaining a tidier space.
This works great for two reasons: if there is a dedicated space for items people are more likely to put them there and secondly, it gets them into the habit right when they come in the door.
Just like how it worked in Kindergarten!
Think you don’t have the space to get organized? Just look up. Shelves, hooks, bookcases and built-ins are a great idea for maximizing the underused space above us. Springing for custom work can be a worthwhile investment but there are tons of budget-friendly options at the Home Hardware on Highway 7, IKEA or the new Value Village that recently opened near Costco on Markham Road. And by far, the best place in town is Kerr’s Custom Woodworking on Bullock Dr.
You can get creative and repurpose items you have already in your home – nearly anything flat and stable can serve as a shelf!
Turn lunch and snack-making into a breeze by stocking the pantry and fridge. Buy in bulk the foods that your kids love for lunch. which helps keep it litter-less as well as economical. Seeds, yoghurt covered dried fruit, shredded coconut, dried cereals, granola, puffed rice cereal, popcorn, mini marshmallows and some chocolate chips on hand can mix together easily for an easy (and nut-free) trail mix. Keep a plastic bin of grab-and-go snack like fruit squeezes or hard-boiled eggs in the fridge.
Just remember to take a page from professional home staging and group items together, invest in bins, baskets and containers so that not only is it easy to find what you need but it also looks good too!
Last but not least remember that spring is not the only good time for cleaning. Fall can be the ideal time for going through your stuff and giving/donating/selling/recycling/throwing out any items no longer needed especially children’s clothing and toys.
It doesn’t have to be overwhelming – allocating 10 minutes a day to cleaning out a closet or drawer can be all that it takes!
Happy School Year!