By Kristin Boza
There are many tough aspects to the pandemic; adhering to a routine is one of them. Between lack of sleep, virtual schooling and working from home, or juggling hybrid schooling and workplace schedules, most households have been living in survival mode. Now that school is back in session, businesses are opening up even more, and people are navigating the new normal, it’s time to take a tough look at life at home to ensure it’s running smoothly.
- Colleen Klimczakis a Certified Professional Organizer and owner of Peace of Mind Professional Organizing, LLC. In the 17 years at the helm of her business, Klimczak has seen people become more aware of the need for organized spaces as a means of empowerment in their daily lives.
With many families with school age children doing remote learning or homeschooling this fall, Klimczak sees how new routines are being tested.
“In any household, the basic needs don’t change,” Klimczak said. “The kids still need food before class, no matter where class is held. They need showers and clean clothes. Routines will help smooth the way for the family during each section of their day.”
Transition periods, which are the time between each activity, benefit most from routine. “If something is going to go wrong, it’ll be during your transition time,” Klimczak said. “When you can’t find the car keys or the Chrome book charger or your mask, it can be a problem. Identify these the transition times in your day and ensure you have what you need before you need it.”
To establish a routine, Klimczak advises the following:
Identify where and when things might go awry.
When these timeframes are identified, planning ahead can solve problems before they happen. For example, Klimczak advises her clients to create landing/launch pads. These are essential spaces in a home where you’ll always be able to find keys, masks, or other important items when you need them. This gives everyone in the family, even the kids, the structure to always know where to put – or “land” – essential items, and where to find what they need in order to “launch” to their next task.
Determine who is involved in transition times.
Sit down with the family and help everyone identify their role during each transition period. For example, if you child always forgets their band instrument, give them the task of ensuring it is at the launch pad each night so it’s ready to go in the morning.
“One roadblock for many people is redefining what ‘put away’ means. Instead of putting a soccer uniform away in a drawer after it’s laundered, put it in back in the gym bag by the door,” Klimczak said. “Get used to this being defined as ‘away’ since this shirt needs to leave the house and it won’t help you if it’s left behind in a drawer.”
Always be a routine ahead.
Think about the morning routine before going to bed the night before, and think about what “afternoon you” needs in the morning to prepare for what’s coming.
“This way of thinking doesn’t mean you aren’t present in the moment. Instead, it prepares you for the next transition time. Walk through your day tonight and look ahead to remember whether you have everything you need to leave the house in the morning. Being nice to future me is a good thing,” she said.
Manage your space.
Especially now when dining room tables are likely used for school or work, be sure to declutter the space before it transitions to a dinner table or family game night space.
“I recommend getting a desk blotter that can easily be scooped up when school is over. Find a place for these items to live when they’re not in use in order to keep the dining room table as a gathering space,” Klimczak said.
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