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Pause For Reflection

Pause For Reflection

The Arrival of Summer

June brings the arrival of Summer, a time of fullness, ripeness, and greater expression. With it, we can find ourselves moving full steam ahead with work, home life, tending to children, social and networking obligations, commuting, exercising and more. How often do we pause to literally take a breath? To take a moment to think, “breathe” before we open our computer or make a phone call? How do you think our mind’s would shift if we did this?

Western Mindset
Being raised in a western mindset, we are trained to do first, be later. We have goals to achieve, money to earn, quarterly projections to meet, children to raise and relationships of all kinds in which to tend. Add in maintaining social media and it’s a lot to handle. Giving ourselves pause is paramount to remember there are only 24 hours in a day and we can do only as much as we can for that day.

Time Management
Time management plays a key role. When we can divide time to certain tasks in specific time increments, we find our productivity increases as we work with greater diligence and focus for that period. For instance, say you have calls to make, invoicing to be done and adding content to your blog. If you give yourself 30 minutes to make your calls, 60 minutes to work on invoicing and 45 minutes to write, you will find that once the timer is going for that period, you can focus with greater results because you have your full attention on completing the task within that time frame. Even if the task isn’t completed, you finish what you can in the time allotted and move to the next thing. By setting mini goals, you will move closer to the larger goal objectives.

Saying Yes/No

Learning to say Yes and No to the obligations and tasks of our lives is key. Some of us may feel No is not allowable or part of our vocabulary, especially if other people are involved and we don’t want to hurt their feelings or upset them. Men tend to have an easier time of say No whereas some women feel obligated to say Yes. Having the freedom of choice to say these two words is key to our well being and sanity, to not overextending ourselves and to maintaining balance and order in our lives. I’ve heard it said, “No, is a complete sentence,” meaning we don’t owe an explanation to our answer.

Delegate When Possbile

If we find ourselves in overwhelm with too much to do and complete, then it’s paramount to delegate, when possible, other tasks such as housecleaning and running errands, that we can hire to have done, thus giving us more time for things that are more important to our lives. This can also be time used for a massage, mani/pedi, a walk in nature, book reading, a nap, or whatever you use that regenerates us. Look around at what things are not urgent and important and can be done by someone else or done at a later time. See what items are key to complete now and set a plan of action to get them done. Schedule in time for enjoyment and rest, even a walk through the neighborhood or a browse through a favorite store. Take the breath you need to keep balance in your life especially during the busy summer months.

What’s Possible in 2016?

What’s Possible in 2016?

Half A Year Ahead

With half a year behind us, we have still have many opportunities to create what we desire for the remainder of the year. This tabla rasa, or blank slate, awaits our intentions. We need the planning, patience, persistence, vision and commitment to manifest our goals and take the necessary steps to create them. We also need the emotional connection to our goals–that spark that gets us up in the morning and into action.

Aligning with Higher Ideals

This, of course, requires us to align with higher ideals, to hold steady to what we want, to summon courage to grow beyond our safety zones and to stretch to include more of who we are. The old ways may favor us to stay small and to exist in our comfortable patterns. Staying where we were is like stagnant water in a pond–with  nowhere to go, it putrefies. Instead, what would happen if we opened to new options, new possibilities that could stretch us beyond who we’ve been?

We Have to Show Up
Creating a greater second half of 2016 is possible–if we are willing to show up, to do what’s uncomfortable, to write down and commit to goals that stretch and push us to be more. The famed Broadway and film director Julie Taymor of Lion King fame, says that she willingly puts herself in scary positions so she can create more fully, so she can stretch and expand and test her own limits. She notes, “I hate the comfort zone, let’s put it that way. I don’t think anything that’s really creative can [be] done without danger and risk.”

Commitment Is Key

Committing to grow my business, to serve others more effectively, to expand my earning potential, to be more visible in the world, to empower and motivate others, and to open to new skill levels require me to trust myself, to believe in what I have to offer is unique to me and does, indeed, positively impact people’s lives. I have to keep my eye on the greater goal and to keep moving towards it regardless of the fears and doubts that crop up along the way.

The Commitment To Stop At Nothing
Successful artists, politicians, athletes and the like, achieve greatness through their commitment to keep going despite the odds and any setbacks.  Again, like water, they will go over, around and under to get to their desired outcome. They reach the level of their greatness by their vision and the knowing they will achieve it.

What’s Possible Now
Opening to the possibilities frees us to experience more of life. It frees our personal power to express through new channels as it influences those around us in transformative ways. With a bigger goal in mind, we move past what we’ve known and who we’ve thought ourselves to be as we enter new territory. We give ourselves the chance to shine more brightly and to give our gifts that are needed more than ever.

Now Is the Time
Take a look at where you want to bring more of yourself into view and expression for the remainder of 2016.  Make the choice and commitment that NOW is the time to realize it not only for yourself but in the service of others.

7 Steps to Order

7 Steps to Order

Order is becoming an increasingly valuable and valued commodity in today’s living and work environments. Those who struggle with it find a loss of productivity and creativity as well as loss of time and increase in frustration and overwhelm. We need order to keep on top of projects and day to day living and without it, we are at the mercy of clutter and searching for lost items within our midst.
There are 7 steps to order that I feel can return our living and work spaces to manageability and help us increase functioning with greater results.
Step One: Admit there’s a Problem
By admitting we have a problem, that our situation is unmanageable and that we can no longer function in chaos, we have opened the door to a new possibility. Too often we struggle thinking we can do it alone, that if we got one more organizing system on our computer, or more drawer organizers, file cabinets or another storage solution, we’d be free. Yet these “band-aids” don’t fix anything and can also compound the problem and move us no closer to our solution. When we admit that our best efforts got us where we are, then we open to another way that could work.
Step Two: Get Support
Getting support in the form of coaching, guidance, and direction, you can step us out of our own willfulness and partake in the wisdom and help of someone with expertise and assistance who can help you make sense of the chaos. As a professional organizer,  I can see beyond the overwhelm and begin to untangle the web of stuff that has confounded you. Stuff is just stuff to me, while to an individual who owns it, its often fraught with emotion and a variety of thoughts and feelings. I help separate out that component to help simplify the process.
Step Three: Get into Action
Action is key. While some clients want to analyze and discuss and rationalize the process, I am about getting people into action. I begin by opening bags, boxes, envelopes, anything that’s been closed up and examine what’s there. There is often a layer of obvious detritus that is easily eliminated, allowing us to make the next level decisions as what to keep and what else can be pared down further. Once people are in action, momentum begins to build. We start the process of elimination and where things were once stagnant, they begin to flow out thereby creating more space in which to function and create.
Step Four: Make Decisions
Making decisions is a key component to creating order. Where clutter reigned due to unmade decisions, I help people make the decisions they can’t make. Sometimes people aren’t ready to deal with specific items and, meeting them where they are, I honor that and help with the ones they can. Often, once we’ve begun the project and once they start letting things go, they can revisit items and are often ready now to release them. Organizing is a process and requires dealing with items ideally once, and sometimes more than once. Due to emotional attachment to an item, some things can take years to let go of while others are easily released. The goal here is begin making decisions.
Step Five: Create Infrastructure
Infrastructure is often missing in places in which I am working whether it’s in a closet, garage, cabinet or other space. We need a place to file papers, to place pens and pencils, to store shoes, to stack our dishes. We need structure within a garage where rarely used and commonly used items can be easily accessed as needed. Without it, items end up piled on the floor and we can’t get to them, we lose things or things get damaged. Structure within our lives extends to our storage to maximize space as well as having access to our possessions.
Step Six: Learn New Behaviors

It’s our behaviors that led to clutter in the first place. It’s our behaviors that have kept our living and work spaces in such a state as they were.  By initiating and learning new behaviors, we can alter the outcomes we experience in our living and work areas. We may have a habit of throwing our mail onto the entryway or dining room table where it quickly accumulates. We may have no idea where to put photos, memorabilia and other items so they end up piled in bags and boxes in a corner collecting dust and getting damaged by moisture. When clients work with me, we sort these various categories and contain them and then have a place for them to live so when an item of a said grouping appears, they know exactly where it goes and they can use the system and practice the behavior.
Step Seven: Practice New Habits   
This step ties in with new behaviors. It’s said it takes 28 days to learn a new habit. By consistently practicing a new habit, like making immediate decisions about mail, then the old problems disappear. The order I’ve helped establish with a client can be maintained. Of course, you can have the best system and best infrastructure, yet if it’s not used, then the client reverts back to their old habits and things pile up again. It’s the same with a trainer at the gym, if you don’t go and use the apparatus, then your body remains the same. New habits require a new way of thinking and the diligence and follow through of consciously practicing them until they become the new way of behaving.
Following these 7 steps can help you break through the clutter and establish the spaces you desire to live and work in. If you should need help, feel free to call for a free 20-minute consultation.

Clarity Follows Order

Clarity Follows Order

It is written that order is the first law of the universe. Without it, chaos reigns and the basic patterns and flow of life cannot function, from the rotation of the planets to the functioning of our bodies.

Clearing A Pathway
I face disorder on a consistent basis working with clients whose living and work spaces are fraught with clutter and disarray. My intent is to alleviate that malaise by clearing a pathway through the mess and helping them achieve their goals for order and organization. We do that by eliminating excess, sorting out the unwanted from the items kept. We create a usable system so the the areas can be maintained.

Clarity Ensues
What follows is clarity. Where a room once filled with papers, toys, boxes of unopened mail, clothes and books is now cleared and its contents have dedicated homes, the space functions at a new level. Clients respond with a sense of relief, satisfaction, calm and gratitude. They can see the floor and horizontal surfaces, there are spaces for their eyes to rest, their minds can relax as the room expands and opens.
Clarity is a state of openness, lucidity, focus, expansion. Repeatedly I note clients move from overwhelm and dread to experiencing spaciousness, not only on the physical level but emotionally and mentally as well. They experience a sense of freedom from the visual preoccupation that had muddled their thinking and opened them to a new reality.

Levels of Clarity
Clarity occurs in levels. It often begins with the client realizing their current state of living and work spaces are no longer functional and they need help. Working with me breaks up the logjam and reveals there is a way through the stuff. They now have a choice and an alternative.
Two clients I have worked with both had decades of items they’d held onto from sets of family china, to kid’s toys to books and lots of unwanted and unusable things. One of the clients had rooms with giant “islands” of things piled atop each other, as well as boxes and boxes of stuff stored and sealed because he didn’t want to deal with it at the time. He also had 2 storage units full of more of the same ingredients that he figured he spent close to $12,000 to which we recycled or dumped 98% of it!
Once this flotsam was eliminated, the homes had a new found purpose and feeling to them. They could be lived in and enjoyed from a different perspective and appreciation. Clarity had returned as they saw their homes from a new awareness. Interestingly, both of them met new partners, which I attribute on some level, to having the space for someone new to enter their lives.

From A New Vantage Point
Clarity offers the option of seeing life from new vantage point. The visual and virtual noise quiets and we experience an openness to other possibilities. When one is mired in clutter, options don’t seem to exist. The walls of things appear to close in and swallow one whole. When that burden is lifted, the joy of new day offers itself, freeing one to new options and opportunities.

Clear the Way Now
With the arrival of Spring, NOW is the ideal time to clear away way bogs you down and open to a different way of being, free from the past and open to the clarity you desire. Give me a call today at 510.501.1213

What’s your Purpose

What Is your Purpose?

Purpose: “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.”
Reason for Being
     Purpose is the intentional direction of our thoughts and energy to create our desires into existence. With purpose, we have aim, focus and motivation. We have a reason for doing what we do and we know why. Purpose is a road map, a plan, that directs our thoughts and actions in a specific direction. Without purpose, there is indecision, inaction, lack of forward movement, and thwarted energy that has no definite place in which to move.
Where Are You Going?
     When the economy crashed in 2009, I had been in the event/floral design industry for years and had brainwashed myself into thinking I couldn’t do anything else. I had wanted to get out yet had no idea what was next. Thanks to the help of an amazing mastermind group and a wise coach, I was able to find a new direction and new purpose that led me to creating this business and getting it up and running.
     I bumped along the first 2 years not really knowing where I was going or what to do next. I felt like I was on a lake in a boat, aimlessly drifting. Lucky for me another wise guide from the SBDC provided me with the necessary structure and guidance to get me into action and things started flowing. I had a sense of purpose that moved me to successively bigger levels where I acted with greater focus, clarity and intent.
Both Feet In the Boat
     The first two years of my business I like to say I had one foot in the boat and one foot on shore. That’s where I felt safe and comfortable–partly in the old life of which I knew, and one in the new world, of which I wasn’t fully convinced. By year three, something profound shifted for me and I was able to put both feet in the boat and leave the shore altogether. That’s when my business took off. With purpose, with intention, with aim and a plan, I was able to leave behind what I knew and move towards a greater good. And without having put my full self in, nothing greater could have happened.
It’s An Ever Expanding Spiral
     As we continue growing ourselves and our skill set, we push on outer boundaries, expanding who we are, thereby freeing ourselves to offer more to others. We have the opportunity to step up to new challenges and expand beyond what we knew possible. We have the chance to recognize where we are, where we want to go and how best to get there. The spiral is never ending in its outward movement. It doesn’t stop unfolding and continues to meet us as we walk forward. By paying attention to where our intention is focused, we keep our guiding arrow pinpointed on what we want to create as we continue to risk moving to new levels.
Make A Choice
     With the year just about to end and a new one rapidly approaching, having a clear purpose provides the framework and aim to move us where we want to go and how we want to go there. Purpose is preceded by choice–the choice to stay where we are or go elsewhere; the choice to commit to another person or stay single; the choice to put our ideas and plans in front of others and risk whatever comes next. Once we choose, once we commit, once we have that undergirding purpose, we have a huge component to creating the change we desire and manifesting a new level of creative expression.

Making Sense of Our Stuff

Making Sense of Our Stuff

When Did We Get So Much Stuff?
     When did we find ourselves with so much stuff? Some of us may have discovered this early on in our lives, while most of us found the accumulation process gathering speed once we owned a home, created a family or settled into a living situation for a long period of time. And for those of us who didn’t take stock and make decisions about these things, we found ourselves with overflowing closets, cupboards and a garage with no room left to use. Now a wall of things confronts us and we don’t know how to manage this stuff or where it should go.
The Emotional Component
     I see this continually with clients whose kids have grown and moved out or a relative that’s died, and they have to manage their own things as well as those of loved ones. They are torn between allegiance to the past, to the memories they shared with said people, with memories of their own things and as a result, can’t make a decision about what to keep and of what to let go. They feel bound to the past, bound to things and stuff and feel entangled by their belongings.
Feeling Like Our Things Rule Us
     Too often when I work with clients, they have adjusted themselves to their things. They can no longer close or open doors, get into closets. They have to walk around piles of things, they can’t find items they need and buy more, and in some cases, their things start to control them as they feel less in command of what they own and don’t know how to manage their items. I recently helped a client organize her garage and at one point I cleared a pile of things near the back door which hadn’t been opened in years. Her kids, upon seeing this were shocked to know they even had a back door. She is thrilled she can now get a cross breeze and have access to the backyard from this space. With so many things cluttering the room, the door had been completely negated. It was a great feeling when they had a new pathway of egress.
Making Choices About Our Things
     Making decisions and choices about our belongings is key to this solution. Getting the flow to go outwardly is paramount since for most of us, things keep coming in and very little goes out. There is always the low hanging fruit of the obvious things that can go–broken, damaged, no longer functioning, outdated, can’t work with today’s systems, etc. along with plenty of cardboard, plastic and other recyclables.  Clients and I work to keep the most important, useful and cherished items and to let the rest go–especially things that can be used by others when they’re just gathering dust in a garage or other space.
Choosing A Different Way

We are always at choice as how to manage and deal with the things we own. Too often people think they need more and more storage, when in actuality, they need to make decisions about what they have and let go of the items that are making their home and office life a confusing mess. Storage is the default answer and is a convenient way not to make a choice to let things go and become free from belongings.

With Fall here, it is the ideal time to eliminate what no longer serves you and learn new ways of managing what you do have so you don’t have to be imprisoned by the things you own and so those things don’t start to own you. You rule your things, they don’t rule you! If you should need help, please give me a call at 510.501.1213

Space Planning for Interior Design

Space Planning for Interior Design

What Is Space Planning?
     Space planning is a key component to a well-designed and well-organized space where the area in question operates with greater function, more efficiency, as well is aesthetically pleasing. Too often, I encounter various homes where space planning is given short shrift due to lack of preparation and foresight. Clients will often purchase sofas, chairs and other furnishings and not consider if the said pieces will fit within the room let alone work together. Too often furnishings are purchased piecemeal over time, or have been acquired from friends/family and it eventually looks like a collection from a secondhand sale. While variety can work together, there needs to be clarity in direction so this problem is avoided.
Space Planning Saves Time & Frustration
      Our living and work environments need to have functioning areas of use as well as present aesthetic appeal. When we continually bump our shin on a protruding coffee table or have to squeeze around a bed to get into nightly, we are fighting against the things that are meant to serve us. This is never a desirable way to live. Having flow within our most used areas is key to avoiding this dilemma, requiring attention and thinking ahead to make sure what we have works for our needs.
Space Planning is Key for New Furnishings
     When purchasing new furnishings, space planning is key to ensure the pieces you want will work within the chosen room as well as fit with pieces you are saving. Often people will update a sofa, loveseat, additional chairs, coffee tables or a new bedroom set. Some may take remedial measurements without considering the entire room, the desired items and any remaining items. This can often lead to greater frustration as well as loss of money on pieces that can’t be returned–such as a custom sofa or speciality area rug.
Getting the Help You Need
     Hiring an interior designer can eliminate these problems and increase having a functional and beautiful space. With space planning training and tools at hand, the client can see what the area looks like currently and how it can be improved, or how a new area will function with the purchase of additional pieces. An architectural tool such as AutoCAD will show the area to scale and how things fit or don’t.
     I had a recent client who wanted to move a large sectional to an upper level room to create a media space. When drawn in CAD, the sofa wouldn’t fit and a large section would have had to be stored. With this tool, it saved the hassle of moving the sofa and realizing it wouldn’t work or trying to cram it into the space where it would impede the flow of traffic. With space planning, I was able to suggest a new sofa that worked within the room and her budget.
     Space planning utilizes a variety of components to ensure you have the living room, office, dining room, play room so it is both a usable space as well as one that is aesthetically pleasing, and functional, creative and productive. Take a look if there is an area that needs addressing and give us a call at 510.501.1213 for a free assessment.

Think Spring, Think Order

 Spring and Fall we naturally feel inclined and engaged to get into action on delayed projects and tasks as well as take classes to learn something new. With the return of Spring, we have the opportunity to restore order to our surroundings so we can live and work with greater productivity and creativity.
Spring is the Time to Do It
     Spring gets our energy moving to attending to long neglected tasks especially when it comes to a buried garage, the closet your can’t get into, the kitchen cupboards you can’t find needed items, the piles of unopened mail and overstuffed file cabinets with irrelevant and outdated paper. While many of us would rather be outside in the garden or taking a walk, the reality of our situation festers as we ignore what’s been staring us in the face for weeks, months or sometimes years!
     With such renewal of energy and the symbolism of growth, expansion and change, why not stop putting off what you’ve been avoiding and get the help of a professional to sort out the detritus and have a living and work space you can manage and use?
Procrastination Depletes our Energy
     Procrastination is truly a life zapper and energy drainer. In the back of our minds we know what we need to do and yet we keep walking past piles of papers and long neglected mail that needs our attention. We throw more things onto the piles in the garage as we turn off the light and close the door. Guess what? IT’S STILL THERE!
     It’s been said how we do anything is how we do EVERYTHING! Is this what we want to perpetuate? Do we want to continue aggravating our partner with piles of things we’d rather avoid than face and change it? Do we want to have a desk or work area in which we can’t find needed documents and other items we need? As we procrastinate further, we lose our vitality and creative expression, especially if we have adjusted ourselves to our piles of things. I’ve worked with clients where they’ve accepted that there are certain closets and doors they can no longer open because of the mass of stuff blocking them. That is no way to live.
Make A Decision
     Making a decision to have different results requires that we initiate new behavior. Throwing our mail into a pile, our clothes onto the floor, or items into the garage corners, merely perpetuates the problem. When you have an organized space you have a place for everything, you know where things are and can retrieve them on command and then return those items when done. You have a system in place that works and you don’t have to live with unmade decisions. You see an item and know what to do with it–keep or discard– and where it should live.
     With the return of Spring and a renewed sense of life, vitality and purpose, give me a call today and let me help you organize your space so it functions as you need it to and is also aesthetically pleasing to your specific tastes and desires.

Get In the Game, Stay in The Game

How It All Started
     Working with a client for the past 2 months, who’s lived in her home for thirty years has demonstrated, yet again, the amount of stuff an individual and family can collect and keep for that time period. With an abundance of storage areas to hold things, she is now facing a wall of history of things of her deceased husband, her grown daughter’s childhood items and historical family memorabilia.
Now add in the sudden need to move and downsize, decades of long-buried items are pouring from closets and cupboards, the attic and basement. With time of the essence, and minimal time to perform the necessary sorting, many items are packed that will need decisions as whether to keep or eliminate in the new space.
How We Operate
As humans we have a propensity to gather, collect, store, contain, hide and yes, even horde. These items, we think, bring us security, safety, comfort, joy, pleasure, and in some ways, they do. But more and more, they actually drag upon us and deplete us of managing what we have. The initial “high” of purchasing the thing gives way to one more thing for which we have find a place. Then we place an emotional sentiment upon these items when they are ultimately neutral thus making it harder to part with said things.
Seeing the boxes and boxes of gift bags and wrapping paper, gifts to give, holiday decorations, mounds of clothes and books in my client’s wrap room, it makes me wonder, why? When did it become okay to gather so much stuff and justify holding onto it? Where is the place in ourselves that says we need more things and that we can’t live without them?
How Did This Happen?
Of course, my client was shocked and embarrassed at times at the outlay of items flooding her new home that she has to find space for–space she no longer has in a smaller space.
It’s time to lighten our loads figuratively and literally, personally and collectively. With way too much stuff to contend, we can never use or enjoy all of it. I have a client who loves her volumes of magazines dating back decades with which she refuses to part. Can she or will she ever read them again? In her mind, that isn’t the point. It’s that she loves them–they represent something to her, whether it’s a sense of comfort or ideas she thinks she needs that she hopes to use some day. And one day, either she will purge them or after she passes, someone else will do the deed of recycling all that information.
Modernity Does Not Equal Simplicity
Our modern world was intended to simplify our lives yet time and again, I see people struggling with more things with which to manage, and an inability to handle the inflow of information, ideas, and physical items that fill every crevice of their homes and offices. The push to gain more stuff isn’t ultimately fulfilling. It can actually depress and deplete our sense of aliveness and joy. Taking the time to ask, “do I need this or do I just want this?” can help ascertain if we should purchase and attain something new. The inflow has far outweighed the outflow in our lives. And a better question to ask is, “does this bring me joy?” Most often it does not.
Change Your Behavior and Get New Results
Take stock of purchasing patterns and the attainment of new things to see if you truly need them or just want them. Do you have the space to hold them? Do you have a storage space you are paying thousands of dollars a year for things that have little to no value because you aren’t willing to make a decision about them? Take a look at what’s in closets, drawers and cupboards and garages, then decide if you need anything more?
     We don’t need more storage solutions, we need to cut the inflow from the inexhaustible supply that surrounds us. We have a choice to purchase one more gadget or to leave it lie. I see the thousands of pounds of items going out of people’s homes each year–things that once were purchased, not necessarily wanted or needed. Donation sites have so many clothes they are shipping them overseas for others to use. When we actually start thinking about these many things we feel attracted to purchase, we can make new choices and have less stuff with which to contend.
Now Is The Time To Choose Differently
     We have a choice moving forward about the kind of homes and lives we want to create. We have a choice how we want to manage our spaces and if indeed, we want them to be “more livable, creative and productive.” Life has enough intensity to it without adding the burden of too many things to process. Our homes should serve as a place of respite, support and enjoyment. As we choose differently in our ways of consuming, we experience a place we can fully enjoy and know what we have, where it is and access it easily upon command. Take stock with the arrival of Spring of your home and office and choose how you’d like your home to be.

5 Actions to Manage Kid’s Toys

Manage Kids Toys and keep your sanity

Manage Kids Toys and keep your sanity

5 Actions to Manage Kid’s Toys

Children come with many components from their diapers, changing tables, clothing to plush animals, toys, bigger toys and more toys. Often when I am working in smaller homes, the living room looks like a day care center because the parents have lost control of the toy situation and they, the toys, have successfully multiplied and overrun the home. Our homes should be homes and they need to look and operate as a home and not a kid’s playground. What to do?

 First step: Control What Comes Into the Home. As the parents, you are the ones who say what comes in and what goes out. If you have the luxury of boundless space, then you have the options of having larger toys that can be contained in a garage, large playroom or back yard. If your home is small and space is of the essence, then you need to be highly judicious about what comes in. Of course, doting grandparents and friends want to give the little ones the best things with which to play. This may not always measure up to the needs you have established so your home doesn’t look like Romper Room. When space is short, then the toys need to match in scale to the home.

Step Two: Keep Toys Circulating. Toys have a shelf life.  Many times kids play with toys for a certain time period and then are done. Parents who are having a second child will hold onto them so the next in line can play with them. Again, if space allows, this is fine. If space is limited, you will have to restrict what you keep for number 2 or 3 and let the rest go. Depending on your parenting style, some parents will remove the former toys while Jr. is out and donate without their knowing. Since it’s been out of sight and out of mind, this method can be effective for some parents. As kids get older, many of my clients will include the child in the decision making process so they can make the choice of what to eliminate. Most kids, I’ve found, are pretty good about letting go of toys they no longer need. On the other end, I get sentimental parents who just can’t part with baby’s first plushie or certain books and clothing due to the memories attached. Taking pictures of treasured items keeps the memory without the item.

 Step Three: Have Designated Storage. Too often kid’s toys are overflowing in a living space with no way of containing them. Legos and Barbie accessories run wild as parents know all to well, stepping on sharp pieces with bare feet, and are often ready to throw them away. Having larger containers for balls and sports equipment as well for plush keeps these items from running amok. Smaller, like-pieces can be contained in clear bins and stacked. The toys can be played with and then returned to their respective bins. A low table works great for legos and puzzles than can be set up for longer use sessions.

 Step Four: Keep Toys Corralled in Bedrooms/Playrooms. Too often kids want to play their games and toys where the family gathers such as living rooms and family rooms. That can be fine so long as you have a system in place where once play time is over, toys can be contained and returned to the bedroom or playroom. Otherwise, you get the daycare syndrome and your mutual living space is overrrun with toys. This can have an adverse effect on the family, especially when adults who work all day want and need a place of respite, can’t get when toys have taken over. Teach kids young to clean up after themselves and that will make parents’ work much easier.

 Step Five: Kids want Electronics as soon as possible. Today’s children are incredibly tech savvy and can’t wait to get their hands on parent’s cell phones, tablets and the like. While it can be used to keep children quiet especially out in public, what I’ve seen is that once kids get their hands on these gadgets, that can often be their only choice with which to play. While this is a family/parental decision, keeping kids engaged using their imagination and creativity for as long as possible is a good thing. Electronic toys remove kids from playing outside, building, imagining and engaging with their minds. While keeping them off such devices, especially when they see their parents and friends on them, can be nearly impossible, having a healthy balance with toys is a good practice.

If you should need help managing your children’s toys, give me a call today at 510.501.1213 and let’s get your home organized and back in balance.