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Home organizing: The kid factor

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It is a given that we love our children. There can be no denying, however, that they come with a lot of baggage which can wreak havoc on a home and one's sanity.

While your home may never look quite like a page out of a magazine, there are ways to minimize the mayhem. It can depend more on the system in place rather that the size of a house.

Start by designating a kid zone or zones based on the space available. It could be in the corner of a room, a spare bedroom, den, basement or just about anywhere that is safe and age appropriate.

Take an inventory of the toys, books, art supplies and other paraphernalia and sort by categories that not only make sense to you but also to your child. It will then be easier to set up the appropriate size storage with bins, book shelves, baskets, etc. Every single item needs a place to call home. It is also a good idea to leave a little extra room as all of this stuff has a way of multiplying.

Once the basics are in place, it is time to make it a family affair. In general, children can abide by rules and follow directions as long as they understand them and the guidelines are specific.

No good has ever come from uttering those immortal words, "Go clean up your room." The predictable outcome is usually a spike in blood pressure on your part.

When it is time to put things back in order, spend a few extra moments and give detailed instructions. For instance, explain that all of the books must go back on the shelves and clear all of the crayons off of the floor and put them in their box. Since everything has a specific place where it belongs, the level of frustration for everyone will be less and the chances of a desired outcome will be greater.

Children thrive in a healthy environment. With a little strategic planning, a parent's well-being does not have to be the sacrifice for happy children. There can be peace in the kingdom at last.

For more information on this topic, visit 8 Great Tips to Organize Kids' Rooms by Cynthia Ewer.

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