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5 Minutes to An Organized House
Lisa Canning

Keeping a house organized can be an overwhelming task. But if you make organizing a daily... more

5 Minutes to An Organized House
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Keeping a house organized can be an overwhelming task. But if you make organizing a daily commitment, it’s a task that can absolutely be accomplished. If clutter rules your life and you want to climb out from under it, commit to these simple challenges—many of which take only five minutes—to get you there in no time.

Front Door Declutter
The front door for any busy family can often be a cluttered jumble of bags, hats, shoes and mail. To keep this high traffic area nice and tidy, commit to storing only two pairs of shoes per family member. If more shoes migrate in, commit to putting them in another area of the house at the end of each day. To keep paper clutter from piling up, store a binder and a three-hole punch at the front of the house and insert divider tabs for bills, school events, permission forms, etc. Every time a piece of paper comes in the door commit to recycling it, or hole punching it and placing it in the appropriate spot in the binder. In this binder I also add a plastic envelope with a velcro closure to store loose items like coupons, invitations and other paper items that I need to keep handy. The closer the recycling bin is to where you store this binder the easier it will be streamline the amount of paper entering your home.

Manage Laundry Piles
Place a hamper in a central location like at the top of the stairs and commit to gathering stray socks and dirty dishtowels immediately. In the laundry room, designate a drawer or bulletin board with pins to hold socks or gloves that come out without their mate. In my busy family of seven, I try as much as possible to purchase socks in the same colour in bulk to further alleviate the search for the missing pair.

Daily Drawer Declutter
Take 5 minutes daily while on the phone, or in between steps of meal prep to dispose of junk from drawers. To keep drawers organized, utilize acrylic drawer dividers. The asset with acrylic is that the dividers are slim and see through, which I find more pleasing to the eye and more efficient on space. Take the organization to the next level and label each compartment to keep things in their assigned spots.

Closet Control
Once a week take a few minutes to go through clothing closets and sort things that can be donated, repaired, dry cleaned or disposed of. Designate one bag that acts as a catch all for items that need to be taken to the dry cleaner and hang this bag in central location—bonus if the bag matches your décor! To keep items in your closets easy to find, be ruthless. If you don’t wear the item regularly, don’t let it take up real estate in your space. Let the items in your closets, and the items in your home in general, bring you joy rather than cause chaos.

Set a Timer
If you’re still stuck, remember that the path to organization doesn’t have to be a marathon. It can be a series of short spurts. So use this analogy and set a timer—even add it as an appointment in your calendar! Cleaning and decluttering for even five minutes every day will make a ton of progress in pursuit of an organized space.

Lisa Canning is an interior stylist who specializes in 2-hour, in-home interior design consultations in the GTA where she helps clients find strategies to make their space suit their goals, family's needs and budget. A mom of 4 (soon to be 5!) she shares her tips on making a space beautiful and functional on her blog Lisa Canning: Blueprints for a Beautiful Life.
Comments | Tagged under organizing, cleaning, clutter
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how to get them out of the pool without a fight
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It started out so simply—you asked your child to get out of the pool.  They screamed, ‘NO!’ and an entire pool crowd is suddenly silent and staring at you. Now what? Do you go in and get them? Do you walk away and hope that they’ll come out after you? Or do hope that tomorrow will be better?

Tomorrow will only be better if you have a new plan. Many kids have learned that if they make a loud enough fuss when out in public, they can manipulate their parents into pretty much anything. When parents give in, kids learn that the manipulation works.

To stop the manipulation, you both need a firm idea of what will happen at the end of pool time. Here’s one version of how that can work.

  1. I will let you know when you have a short time left in the pool (with young children this might mean 3 more times down the slide or 2 more laps of swimming.).  I will count down the slides with you. Then I will say, ‘Please get out of the pool.’
  2. You will come down the slide and say, ‘Ok’ or, ‘I wish I could stay longer, but OK’. This shows me that you can be responsible and that you would like to come back tomorrow.
  3. If you choose to whine or if you don’t get out of the pool, I will take you out of the pool and you are choosing not to come back to the pool tomorrow. 
  4. Now please tell me what is going to happen at the end of the swim, and what will happen if you don’t get out of the pool.

Your child may try to manipulate you again. You now have a clear plan—no second guessing yourself, no yelling. Just get into the pool, get them out and skip the pool the next day (their choice). They’ll be ready to try again after that. Stick to your plan and you’ll never throw in the towel again.

Image of kids in pool from Shutterstock.

Julie Freedman Smith and Gail Bell provide tools for real life parenting through their company, Parenting Power™. Using over 40 years of combined experience, they work with parents across the country through telephone coaching and teleconferences to ease the stress and guilt of parents while providing practical solutions to everyday parenting challenges. Visit to ask your own parenting questions, and learn how to receive 20% off all services as a Parenting Power Member!
Comments | Tagged under summer, pools, swimming, fights
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