May 21, 2020

Spring cleaning to many encompasses only getting the house spotless from a “clean” standpoint.

But Victoria Tran, owner of Sorted, a New Orleans professional organizing company, makes clear the distinctions between cleaning and organizing. While cleaning may include dusting, mopping, vacuuming, and more, organizing meets a different set of criteria. Tran says, “Organizing is when you sort and simplify all your belongings, and then set systems in place to make your life more manageable, functional, and peaceful.” 

She continues, “I like to take spring cleaning up a notch and implement organization. Establishing routines to maintain the organization and get rid of the clutter will make next year’s spring cleaning a cinch.  

When undertaking a client organizing job, first Tran sets realistic goals, laying the groundwork for actionable tasks and future systems. For instance, she finds that for families, usually working a set amount of time on organizing each day is a better plan than trying to get it all done in one day. The small chunks of time will add up to success.  

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Tran notes, “If you can only work on it 1-hour a day, do that for a month. It will add up to 30 hours, and that is a lot!” Also it helps to tackle items by category rather than by room. This allows families to see how much they own of certain items. 

On taking survey of the house and the organizing to be done, the most critical thing families can do is to get rid of the items they don’t use, need, or love. Victoria Tran advises being ruthless at this point because the reduction of clutter will allow the rest of the process to progress smoothly. 

Being a mother herself, Tran says that, “Kids thrive on routine and order. It gives them a sense of security and decreases their stress.” Particularly, by setting goals and getting the kids involved in the initial planning and overview process, it can help them learn to take better care their belongings later -- whether toys, books, or other activities. This is true especially now that families are sheltering in place.  

There are many ways kids can get involved in the ‘clean-up’.

One of them is to set a timer, 20 minutes for younger kids and longer for older kids, each day for them to organize their own things with parental oversight or help. To spice things up a bit, let the kids pick music that they like for the time they spend working. In addition, open a discussion about those things they no longer need or have no use for, that still are in good condition, and choose an organization or program where these items can be donated.  

The Sorted team also recommends guidelines for placement of all items being kept. Tran suggests grouping similar items together, which usually is an activity at which children of all ages excel. Leaving room to grow – or space for future items -- also is recommended. 

According to Tran, “Organization helps kids keep track of their toys, clothes, books, and other special belongings. When they know where things belong, they won’t be searching for them, they will know where to return themand will take better care of their things.”  

And last, don’t forget to include in your children’s organizing process is a reward system that incentivizes them -- not only in the beginning steps, but in continuing to keep their belongings tidy from here on out. Good incentives include a dance party, watching a new or favorite movie, or enjoying a special snack. As a result, kids will join in on something productive and constructive to make the lives of families easier. 

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