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There are so many Makeover TV Shows, books, kits, programs, services and—lets be honest, I have used a lot of them. Yet, I work with a lot of families to set-up chore systems, organize backpacks and living areas.
I find that the most common problem is not what my clients usually assume—poor time management, bad organizational skills or unwillingness to clean, but rather that they just have too much–too much stuff, too many conflicting systems, too much chaos.
So I am a big proponent of the MakeUnder Your Family motto and this is some of the first steps I implement when I work with families and I am writing them out here for you.
1) List all Systems and Routines
Believe it or not, even if you are really disorganized, you do have routines and systems in place—and they probably do not work. Sit down with your family or spouse and go through a full weekday and full weekend day and write out all of the routines.
2) Don’t Fight Your Tendencies
I teach teens study skills and test skills and part of this training is organizing all notebooks, backpacks, lockers and study areas. Many student’s tendencies is to shove all of their papers into the front flap of their notebooks instead of putting their papers in dividers. This flap gets full quickly, other dividers break and then papers end up in the bottom of the backpack. So, I say, give in to that tendency, take away the notebook entirely an just have a folder for each class. Simpler, they never lose their papers, its lighter and the organize by stacking instead of with complex dividers.
If you are constantly struggling against a bad habit, then try to make it your routine in a streamlined way. If your kids are never washing their dishes and just leaving them in the sink to wash later. Have them leave dirty dishes in a tub to the side so they are out of your way and let them wash them when they want.
3) Strip Down to New Habits
What can you do to make things easier, faster and simpler. Maybe this is leaving all backpacks, shoes and bags in a big bin by the front door instead of having things need to be put away in the house. When people usually have makeovers, things tend to get more complicated, this time think about what you can do to make it simpler. When you make new systems think about stripping away extra steps…this will make you more inclined to follow the new habit.
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Your Family New Year’s Resolution