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Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 12:01 a.m.

The organized family: Four tips for keeping everyone on schedule

  • Put together a caddy with common homework supplies to keep them handy yet portable.

    Put together a caddy with common homework supplies to keep them handy yet portable.

  • Monika Kristofferson

    Monika Kristofferson

Getting — and staying — organized isn't easy, especially if you're trying to get the kids out the door, on time, five mornings a week.
To address this common problem, we asked Monika Kristofferson, a Lake Stevens-based professional organizing expert, to share her advice for families with school-age kids.
As a single mother of two girls, ages 10 and 13, Kristofferson is speaking from real-life experience.
She teaches organization classes regularly in Snohomish County through her business, Efficient Organization, including “Organize Your Life & Family to Get Out the Door on Time.”
Here are four of Kristofferson's top tips for families who always seem to be running a bit late in the morning.
Set up a launch pad: Place an attractive basket, bin or organizer next to or near the door for items you need to take with you the next day. That might include keys, outgoing mail and bills, lunch money, library books, items to return to a store or a friend, or cards or gifts that need to be delivered.
Choose a location near the place you naturally leave such things, Kristofferson said. That might be on a desk, near the steps or on top of the washing machine on the way out to the garage.
Don't let the launch pad become a junk-collection bin.
“It's really for things that are leaving in the upcoming days,” Kristofferson said. “It's not a holding place.”
Give coats, shoes and backpacks a home: Help your kids find what they need in the morning by giving their belongings well-defined storage spaces.
Choose locations children naturally gravitate toward at the end of the day: If they enter the house through the garage, then set up sturdy hooks for coats and backpacks nearby, plus racks or bins for shoes and plastic organizers with drawers for hats, scarves and gloves.
Create homework caddies: Have each child put together a portable supply caddy with common homework supplies such as pens, pencils, markers, scissors and glue. Kids can use them in any area of the home, including at the kitchen table or on the family room floor.
Caddies don't have to be fancy. Even creatively decorated shoeboxes will work.
You can also use stacking office inboxes labeled with each child's name to store homework or school-related paperwork that piles up.
Do it all the night before: Lay a strong foundation for a smooth morning the night before by having sack lunches ready so they can go from the fridge and into backpacks easily.
Have your child pick out one or two outfits to choose from in the morning. Plan your own outfit, too, including shoes and jewelry.
Have the kids put their own library books, homework and permission slips in their backpacks.
It may take determination to get all this done, and it might mean delaying some much-needed evening relaxation.
“Stick with it,” Kristofferson said. “Be consistent. And remember that you are teaching your kids a valuable life lesson.”
Monika Kristofferson: www., 425-220-8905
“The Organized Student” by Donna Goldberg: Kristofferson recommends this book for parents and kids who want to tackle homework-related organization. See is Kristofferson's other organizing business, which caters to people who want to learn organizing skills on their own, through the web, particularly women trying to balance work and family life. Search for DIYOrganization to sign up for free daily organizing tips.
Take a class
Everett Parks & Recreation: Register by calling 425-257-8300 ext. 2 or see or Classes are taught at Forest Park's Spruce Hall, 802 Mukilteo Blvd., Everett.
Tonight: “Organize Your Life & Family to Get Out the Door on Time,” 6 to 7:30 p.m.; $25. Online registration is closed, but you can call the number above to sign up if there are places remaining.
Feb. 22: “Office Efficiency for Busy Business People,” 6 to 7:30 p.m.; $25.
March 22: “Simple Steps to Declutter Your Home on a Budget,” 6 to 7:30 p.m.; $25.
Lake Stevens School District: Register by calling 425-335-1500 or see Classes are taught at 12309 22nd St. NE, Lake Stevens.
Feb. 1: “Keeping Keepsakes,” 6 to 7:30 p.m.; $20.
Feb. 24: “Paper Control for Busy Families,” 6 to 7:30 p.m.; $20.
Marysville Parks & Recreation: Register by calling 360-363-8400 or see Classes are taught at the Marysville library, 6120 Grove St.
Feb. 10: “Purge the Paper, Conquer the Piles, Create Files,” 6 to 7:30 p.m.; $22.
March 10: “Keeping Keepsakes,” 6 to 7:30 p.m.; $22.

Story tags » Family

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