Thursday, December 29, 2005

Begin Lifelong Organization Now

Let us face it. If you are like most people, then you could probably stand to get a little more organized. That means that you will need to get organized really fast if you already have a baby or if one is on the way. If you had asked me of my vision before my son was born, I would have thought that I would have been a super-organized mother. What I have learned in the past year of motherhood is that I cannot expect to be organized all the time. Still, I do believe that I can start with teaching my son to be organized right now.

I began thinking of my child as a completely organized person before he was even born. I would tell everyone that I wanted to eliminate clutter because right now he has a clutter-free existence. He does not have any reason to have clutter in the womb. So I went about purchasing items for my son with the thought that his things would be organized. I turned down anything that I thought we did not need (really tough when family members offer!) or that would clutter up our house. I am a clutter-free freak, so I was serious about the baby not getting too much stuff.

For the most part, it worked. We did not get many gifts or hand-me-downs that we have not been able to use. We have learned other techniques as well. First, though my son is only 11 months old, we have cleaned out his closet three or four times. It is necessary to clean out his things often in these first few years because he is growing so quickly. He grows out of clothes in a couple of months, and he outgrows the toys he has often, too. Because we do not know if we are having another baby anytime soon, I am saving all of my son's things. We are marking the boxes with the size of clothing or roughly the age of the toys we are putting away.

If you follow these steps, you will teach your child to begin being organized about his or her belongings early. Instead of just tossing away clothes, your child will learn to put them away in an orderly fashion. There are other ways, too, you can help your baby get a jumpstart on organization.

Be sure that your baby's belongings are organized. While it may seems pointless because your baby is not getting anything from the drawers, it is worth it for you to get baby's stuff together now. That way, as she or he gets older, you only will have to maintain the organization and make minor adjustments to the system. For example, babies have plenty of small objects, such as socks, bibs, and onesies, that need organization. Babies' items work best with baskets, and you can move to plastic containers with toddlers. Put the babies' belongings in the appropriate basket or drawer so that later you only have to keep up the system. You will need to change out the socks but not find a place to put socks.

Another key is to be sure that everything has a place. Before you make any purchase for your baby, be sure that you think about - and even talk to your baby about - where that item will go. This step is important both with small items, which can tend to get lost among the baby's belongings, and large items that may become a hassle if they do not have a home.

These few simple steps can help you get your baby on the path to lifelong organization. Many people struggle with being organized. In fact, along with losing weight, it tops lists of what people want to change about their lives. If you teach your baby now to think about organizing every step of the way, it will be much easier. Organizing is one area where the old adage is definitely true: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By asking about where something will go and creating an easy organizational system as soon as you purchase new items, your baby will learn quickly that you cannot just purchase items and leave them lying around. Everyone is happier if everything has a home!

By Julia Mercer

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