get organized for summer

Around here we’re easing into the summer routine. We’ve been at this summer thing for just about two weeks now, and so far things are going quite well. Summer has meant an earlier start to the work day. The kids have been sleeping in a bit which means quiet mornings in the office to write. Really nice.

Today I thought I’d answer some questions related to creating household routines during the summer. Sound like a plan? Okay, here we go.

Here is Joanne’s question: “Hi Aby – Great post! Here is my dilemma about summer. I have an 8 year old boy and a 3 year old girl and would love your advice on how to gently create household routines with them that keep things organized here but still allow them to feel the joy of long carefree days. I hate the idea of a rigid to-do list but also find in the summers that the house can easily look like a bomb went off and routine chores can get back-logged fast. Thanks for your help!”

Helen echoed Joanne’s thoughts with this question: “I love having my children at home in the summer holidays and enjoying time together, but I usually find by the time they go back to school, I spend the first week or so trying to get the house back into some sort of order! How can I prevent that this summer? I need some sort of Summer Schedule for basic house maintenance, so I can enjoy both my children and a clean house! Thanks!”

Thanks for your questions Joanne and Helen! I love the idea of gently creating household routines, especially those that allow your kids (and you!) to enjoy long, carefree days without feeling tied to a rigid to-do list. Around here, the way we do it is with a daily decluttering…just a simple end of the day routine where we put things back where they belong. This works great with younger kids, and if you start them young, then picking up simply becomes part of the daily landscape. I’d also suggest picking your battles. In the beginning, focus your daily decluttering on restoring order in the public areas in your home and spaces where the adults hang out to unwind after the kids go to bed.

To enact a daily decluttering session, simply grab a timer and a container like a laundry basket or small storage bin. Set the timer for fifteen minutes and start by putting away anything that belongs in the room you’re decluttering. Then, use the decluttering container to transport items back to where they belong, such as the toy room or the kids’ bedrooms. You might be amazed at how quickly you and your kiddos can clear the decks when you do it as a team. And if you play “beat the clock” or put on some upbeat music, you might even find yourself enjoying the process, too.

daily declutter

As for keeping on top of other routine chores, at our house we do a once a week cleaning, and everyone chips in. I prefer this to doing a little bit each day, as it allows us to get the cleaning out of the way for the week and not have to worry about it. If this approach doesn’t work for you, you might consider creating a running list of all the chores that need to get done. Then, simply start at the top of your and work your way down as you can squeeze it in…ten minutes here, fifteen minutes there, etc. Then when you’ve made it through the entire list, simply start at the top again. If you find you aren’t getting through the list fast enough (and the dirt or clutter is starting to drive you batty) simply carve out more time per day to do a bit more chore work. Eventually you’ll find the perfect balance for you and your family. (For ideas on what to include on your list…check out this post.)

Happy organizing!


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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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