I have four young children, a full-time business and a military spouse stationed away from Charleston, so I am a woman on the go. When it comes to housecleaning, I long ago subconsciously decided to sacrifice the playroom. While the ground floor of my home – the communal living space – is, for the most part, clean and organized, the playroom looks like a whirling dervish paraded through. I prioritize keeping communal areas clean and I often literally, and figuratively, close the door on the playroom. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
The Organized Mamas Masterclass
Over time, and especially now that my twins are walking (read: pulling items out and throwing them everywhere!), the playroom has become truly overwhelming. With the world on pause and my days significantly more open during the coronavirus pandemic, I decided that now was the time to tackle the playroom chaos, so when I had the opportunity to virtually take the “Organized Mamas Masterclass”, I leaped at it. Jen Van Buskirk, owner of Charleston’s top home organizing company, The Neat Boutique, is the mastermind behind the Organized Mamas Masterclass. She created her unique “Spatial Ownership” approach to help Moms create beautifully organized homes with “Playroom CEO” kids who happily maintain their own spaces.
The first step in the process
Before I could even begin the process of organizing though, the Masterclass asks you to undertake some self-reflection.
What did I want my home to look and feel like?
What example do I want to set for my children?
What are my priorities?
I tend to consider myself a multi-tasking queen, which leads me to be distracted from priority assignments by emails, texts or Facebook messages that fly across my electronics. This will, honestly, probably be the part of this project that will take the most time to re-train myself because I pride myself on my responsiveness, but it makes complete sense to block out my time in more productive ways, utilizing my morning time for key tasks and priority work, such as long-term projects.
Time to de-clutter
De-cluttering came next! After years of living abroad, moving constantly and then having four kids in less than four years, we have accumulated a lot of random stuff. While we have been slowly de-cluttering our home stage-by-stage since last summer, it was now time to tackle the playroom. I re-purposed a wicker basket that had been overflowing with toys as my designated ‘Donation Bin’ to place near my front door and talked to the kids about the importance of donating items that we no longer need or use to those less fortunate than us. My five-year-old, my oldest, especially embraced this concept (though he did, of course, suggest donating most of his sister’s toys!)
Organizing the Playroom
The Masterclass offers three specific organization modules, including Toys & Games, Clothes & Accessories and Paperwork and Artwork. I decided to take on ‘Toys & Games’ first and sequestered myself in the playroom for an entire Sunday to tackle this project. To begin, I had to create ‘Zones’ for each of the toys so that all related items were stored in the same area and then consider their ‘Accessibility’, placing frequently used items in an easy-to-reach spot while storing away infrequently used or seasonal items, like beach toys.
The third component of this module required me to assign ‘Primary’, ‘Secondary’ and ‘Overflow’ real estate based on storage space. For me, this was perhaps the most insightful of the training because I had all toys and games lumped together in one tangled mess. Once I realized that my kids primarily play with a few key toys, I assigned them to primary locations and the rest of the toys to secondary or overflow storage, which further helped me to de-clutter toys and games that my kids had either outgrown or that no longer worked. Using storage bins, I categorized all of my kids’ toys and games, assigning them their own unique space in the playroom or in my children’s rooms.
Introducing the Playroom CEO’s
Once completed, I labeled each bin so that my kids could be part of keeping that space clean. My children are very young, so I don’t fully expect them to remember exactly what goes in each bin, but for my oldest child, who reads, he is able to understand where things belong and direct his younger siblings, accordingly.
On a coaching call with Jen, the course creator, to assess my progress, I had the chance to ask her additional questions. It felt like talking to a dear friend as she gave me some practical advice and ideas for how to continue to further de-clutter and organize. She also emphasized that all of my hard work and organization gains that Sunday would be quickly lost, though, if I didn’t make this a family mission. As I always say at FIT4MOM classes, our kids are always watching and they learn from us, and maintaining our organization system is no exception.
I brought my two older kids into the playroom and asked their advice about which items should go in which bins. I then asked them to draw pictures of the items in the bin on the labels (pictures of dinosaurs on the dinosaur label, for example) and we discussed how maintaining this system is going to mean more time to actually play (and a much happier mommy!)
While we remain under a stay-at-home order, I now plan to tackle the other two modules of the Organized Mamas Masterclass, so when the world does resume as normal, I will have a stress-free home.
Interested in creating a tidy home with “Playroom CEO” kids who can easily maintain their own space?
Jen wants to invite you to join her in the Organized Mamas Masterclass at a special 76% OFF “Stuck at Home” Discount
Click here for all the details.
You’ll follow her step-by-step guide for creating a home that looks amazing – with kids who are empowered to keep it that way.
As she said to me, “Mama, you can’t keep doing it all on your own!”
Plus as an Exclusive Bonus only available to Charleston Moms subscribers…
Enroll by Sunday April 19 and receive a FREE 30-Minute Virtual Coaching Session with Jen to get her expert help taking those kids’ spaces from “Uggghhh” to “OMG” ($99 Value).
Jen’s helped hundreds of Charleston Mamas fall back in love with their home (myself included) and I know she can help you do the same!
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