This past Labor Day weekend I had a family pow wow with my clients and their four children about organization, back to school time savers, and keeping their newly decorated home a place of pride for everyone. I have grown particularly close to this family (which happily happens when you’re decorating kid’s rooms as well as public spaces) and so I felt I wasn’t overstepping my bounds (well, maybe a little).
With the help of my friend, Bonnie, from Symmetry Closet Systems, and a series of school supplies I brought, I set about getting the kids on board with some basic clutter control and organization tips. Fortunately, this home was large enough to contain a mud room with four separate closets for each of the children to put their backpacks, school supplies, sports paraphernalia, and coats. To avoid kitchen chaos, we found a great table and chairs at my consignment shop, Uniquely Natalie, and placed it in this homework/project area. With Bonnie’s help, a bench/shoe storage cabinet was created outside the mud room door on the side of the garage for each family member.
My “bag of tricks” contained a different colored binder for each child with a matching pen, wide ruled paper, stick-on hooks for the inside of each child’s mud room closet door with a clip that was able to attach the binder to the hook and an M&Ms treat as a “spoonful of sugar”. As we talked about a family effort to keep their home in order, we also talked about family responsibility, helping each other, pride in one’s own accomplishments, and change, the hardest thing of all. From ages 4 – 10, these 4 kids expressed a few things that were even a revelation to their parents!
The theme was really about changing the family’s dynamic with regard to their home now that it was decorated, and to help the children improve their learning skills, family bonding, and pride of place. So perhaps a lesson can be learned for both parents and kids. “Decorating” your home doesn’t mean you wait for children to grow up, make it “pretty” and put the red rope on the door frame. It means your home becomes an extension of yourself and enhances your lifestyle. It also helps your children focus and learn good skills, appreciate the value of what their parents work so hard to give them, and sets an example for their future lives and homes.
So – for those who celebrate the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and those who don’t, September can be the start of a New Year with a clean slate for your home. Embrace and value what your home can do for you and your family. It works every time.