I recently traded in my corporate account exec workaholic lifestyle for full time motherhood. I am now working for my 4 and 7 year old which may be just as stressful, but with a lot more perks. While there are days I am ready for the wine after the "whine", I love love love my new job!

My 7-year old could benefit from some organizational seminars.  Unfortunately, these types of courses are only targeted for grown-ups.  As his mother, I had two choices.  I could continue to get frustrated at his lack of organization and prepare myself for the constant battles ahead or I could take action.   As I probably would not have made it until his 8th birthday without blowing a gasket, I chose to take action.

We first implemented a reward system for completing his chores.  He responded well with a little nudging.  His goal was as long as he completed his morning chores which included dressing, brushing his teeth, and making his bed, he could have a few precious minutes of screen time before school.  It was a great motivator. If he overslept, he would move faster than I have ever seen him to ensure he could get the coveted ten minutes of screen time after breakfast.  Surprisingly, this has not lost its effectiveness and he continues to do his morning chores as part of his routine.

Organizing his room proved to be a more difficult task.   We attempted to tackle the surface areas first.  The dressers, desk, and nightstand were covered in books, Legos, and Pokémon cards.  My frustration was that every time we would work on cleaning his room, it was only a matter of days before the clutter would again take over.  Part of the challenge was my son’s hoarder tendencies.  H e could easily find a piece of garbage on the street and want to take it home. Yesterday when we went to the new yogurt place, he attempted to take home the plastic spoon to display on his desk.

While the hoarder behavior may have hampered my organizing efforts, I knew I had to make some progress in order for his room to look like it had not been detonated every time we entered.   One day when he was at school, I “cleaned” out all of his drawers. All mothers know that is code for throwing out a bunch of crap while your child is not in the vicinity.  The desk cleaning really showed off my son’s hoarder tendencies.  I had no idea I would find so many wonderful trinkets.

Once the drawers were cleaned, I set up a designated spot for book-marks and flashlights, a toy area in the closet, and separate desk drawers to host electronics.  This has been working to a degree, but since clutter does not bother my son, he would rather leave everything out after use. On a positive note, he is excited he now has a bookmark for each of his books he is currently reading.

After feeling inspired by the drawer organization, I decided to tackle my son’s greatest love, his Legos.  The Legos were overtaking every surface and all my previous organization systems had failed me.  We decided to buy a separate clear shoe box for each color of Legos and sort the Legos by color.  My son actually enjoyed labeling the boxes and has been busy building using the boxes in this way.  While I am excited about the success rate thus far, we are only a week into the new system and I know it is only a matter of time before spare pieces take over the floors of our playroom and his bedroom.  I am still at a loss of what to do with all the Legos displays after they are built. While I certainly don’t want to stifle his creativity for building, am I going to have to invest in a curio cabinet for my son’s lego display?

As my confidence soared with the lack of chaos, we moved onto the mud room. We now have a designated basket for all hats and gloves.  I installed some hooks right outside the door which now host helmets, extra balls, baseball hats, and his mitt.  This has been my biggest organizational success.  We now don’t have to waste an extra ten minutes every weekend looking for helmets and baseball mitts!

While I know we have a lot of work ahead on our path of organization, what we have implemented thus far has already lowered my level of frustration and the scramble for things as we head out the door.  As I know the hardest part of this process will be to maintain it, I am considering investing in a physical rewards chart for maintenance and learning responsibility at the same time.  I am sure I can dedicate an entire post to lessons learned in rewards!



What do you think?

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