On the first day, I told them to use their cards and try to get all of their tasks completed. If they completed them, they would get a small piece of candy they could eat on the way to school. I don't usually like using candy or food as a motivation, but my kids still have a bunch of Fall candy leftover and they don't get many other sweets through the rest of the day, so no harm done. They are really motivated by the candy though since I don't let them have it very often! So far, the cards have been working. Typically the kids wake up around 7am and by 7:45 they are ready to go and have about a half an hour to play. At that point, I put the kitchen timer on and when the timer goes off it's time to get shoes and coats on. Because they can't choose their candy until their shoes and coats are on, they get it done quickly and we're out the door on time and all happy!
I keep their candy in a plastic "shoe box" that we purchased at the office supply store. I let them decorate their boxes with stickers and their name. Each time they get candy, they place their candy in their box.
When the holidays were over and it was time to put the Christmas tree and decorations away, I purged a lot of old junk from my decorations for the rest of the year. Our closet was getting crazy! I purchased four plastic bins and printed the name of each season on four pieces of paper from my computer. i.e. "Winter"
I placed each season's decorations in the four bins and taped the season's name on the inside of the bin facing out so I could see it. Clear plastic bins are best for this type of project. Because each bin could be stacked, I choose to put them in our guest bedroom closet rather than our storage closet. Not only did it free up storage space but it also allows us to use our closet for storm shelter when the weather gets bad.
The Mud Room was always a challenge for us because of all the "stuff" that is brought in and out from outside and the car. I decided to corral the "stuff" and give it a holding place. We have four members of our family, so each member got a basket to place their shoes in when they come off. Red is for the girls and Blue is for the boys.
The bench where the shoe baskets are stored underneath is an old church pew that we bought at an antique shop. It was ugly and dirty on the front porch of their shop and was marked $20.00. So I bought it thinking I would need to paint it, except once we scrubbed it down it didn't need painted and we love the rustic look! It's not a perfect piece but it fits perfectly in our mud room. It does have a habit of collecting "stuff" on it though...
For the rest of the mud room items, we bought a large storage shelf and fabric bins. Each bin has a purpose and the tags indicate that purpose. In the middle, I put our names on the cards so that each of the kids have their own bin where they can put their coat, hat, gloves, backpacks and miscellaneous items that they carry around with them. The other bin is for both my husband and I. Our coats hang on hooks on the other wall so one bin is fine for us.
Getting organization tips from others is great, but everyone has to find a system that works for them. Most systems evolve over time and some have to be thrown out because they just don't work. Find what works best for you and remember to be flexible if it doesn't work. Having a place for everything helps your mind rest when you are in your home and can help keep clutter from taking over your house. Our lives shouldn't revolve around "stuff." Putting it away, keeping it working, finding it and using it all take time in our lives. The more we keep organized, the more time we have with what really matters - friends and family!