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EAST COAST MOMMY: How to organize the whole family for the new year

There are plenty of neat ways to create more storage space in your home.
There are plenty of neat ways to create more storage space in your home. - 123RF Stock Photo

There is something about a new year that compels me to get my home organized. After the chaos and excess of Christmas, I feel an overwhelming need to purge, sort and put things in order. I love how a small amount of effort putting systems in place in January can have a big impact on the rest of the year.

Starting with small changes is key and getting rid of things that are no longer needed is the first step. Then, it’s important to identify the problem areas in the home and tackle them one at a time.

When you have kids, you inevitably have a lot of stuff and it is necessary to make sure every item has a home and that every member of the family knows where that home is. For example, if stuffed animals are an issue in your house, start by donating the ones that are no longer loved and insert the rest into an empty beanbag chair cover so they are out of sight and organized.

Hooks and bins are also helpful. My boys each have individual hooks for their coats, snow pants and backpacks. They also have bins (with labels) for their hats, mitts, books and toys. If kids know where their items belong, they are more likely to put them away and they will know where to find them when it is time to use them again.

Another simple trick is to fold the clothes in kids’ drawers vertically so that they take up less space and all the clothing is visible at a glance. If you don’t fold your clothes this way, I highly recommend doing it right away. It’s life changing!

Clear shoe racks are also genius tools for organizing spaces. In my house, I have clear shoe racks hanging on the backs of several doors. They utilize the unused space behind a door and the clear pockets make all the contents visible and easy to find. Clear shoe racks are fantastic for storing hats and mitts, socks, craft supplies, Lego or other small toys, water bottles and more.

Organizing paperwork is another great way to manage clutter. Throw out items you no longer need, file papers you may need later and find a place to display children’s artwork. I have an art gallery in my playroom with a clipboard for each of my three boys. When they bring artwork home from school, we display it. Then, when new masterpieces are created, we can easily replace the previous ones.

A new year is also a perfect time to take on a few small DIY projects. You can embark on a big renovation (if you have the time and money) or you can just do simple things to refresh a space.

Create a list of the projects you want to complete, prioritize and start working your way through the tasks whenever you get the chance. Start with small and inexpensive changes that will make you feel like you are making improvements without causing you to feel overwhelmed. Try painting a room, buying new throw pillows, adding some new artwork to a wall or investing in new bedding.

Happy new year, everyone! I hope you take a little time to get organized in the next few weeks so that the next few months are a little less chaotic and a lot happier.

Gina Bell is a writer, blogger and busy mom of three small boys.She has contributed to several blogs and major publications, including Disney’s Family Fun Magazine, Canadian Living and CBC Kids. Her blog,, is full of fantastic ideas for easy and inexpensive family fun.

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