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June 13, 2011

Organizing with Your Kids – Workshop Q + A

Thanks so much for all your great questions about Organizing with Your Kids. I did my best to answer the questions about the workshop. See below for answers!


How long is the course and how long are the course materials available for review? The workshop consists of three lessons which are released over four weeks. All of the workshop materials can be downloaded and saved to your computer at which point you can access them forever. 


Since I'm from Sweden will there be a lot of tips for storage bins and boxes that can only be bought in the states? My approach to organizing isn’t a one-size-fits all solution. So, I don’t say “go out and buy this container” and it will solve all your organizing dilemmas. I believe that storage is just one piece of the overall organizing puzzle and you can create an organized space with a variety of storage solutions.

With that said, if you enroll in the workshop and need specific ideas for storage in a kid area in your home, I would be happy to help you figure out some solutions that would work for you. You could post photos of your storage dilemma in the workshop gallery, and provide links to retailers in Sweden that you shop at (or are near to you) and I would brainstorm storage ideas for you.  


Does this workshop deal with how to deal with all the papers and pictures that kids bring home from school?  This is covered briefly in the workshop and I’m happy to help you figure out what will work for you via the online forum. I do have a comprehensive paper workshop, called Organize Your Paper Clutter which begins next week.

 

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My question is: How can I get my son (12 yrs old) on board with this workshop? I did not get the most enthusiastic response from him when I mentioned it! I think the best way to get anyone on board with anything is to show them what’s in it for them. How will your son’s life be better as a result of doing this with you? Is his clutter a source of stress and disagreement right now? Can you see how things would improve if you came together on this issue, and worked as a team to meet in a place that works better for both of you? Can you think of ways that the current situation is causing negative consequences for your child? And / or can you think of ways that things would be better for all of you if your child were to get on board?

I have a twelve year old son, too, so I know it can be hard to get them enthused about things. But, if I key in on what motivates him specifically and frame things in a way that speaks to what is important to him, then I find I have the most success.


When does the workshop start and how much does it cost, for us non-winners? ;-) How many weeks is this course?  The workshop begins on Thursday, June 16, 2011. It is $45 for 3 lessons and four weeks of access to the online workshop system. This means four weeks of opportunity to ask me any questions you have about organizing with your kids. I’m on the message boards daily Monday through Friday to answer all of your questions.


Do you address space issues? The topic of space is addressed in the lesson content. And I’m always happy to address specific questions and brainstorm space-saving solutions with you via the online forum and photo gallery that is included with the workshop. 

 

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There were a few questions surrounding children’s age for this workshop, as well as how the kids are involved in the workshop. I’ll try to answer all of these in groups.


What is the youngest age this workshop will help? My girl is only 3 years old. Does this workshop work for her too? The workshop is written for the parent. As a parent myself, I’m a big fan of starting kids young when it comes to organizing. A very young child may not have the attention span to help you with every single minute of an organizing project, but he or she may be old enough to help with bits and pieces of it.

I started involving my kids in organizing projects when they were four and six. When my daughter was four, she didn’t last the duration of the project. I was able to get her input on things and she helped with the organizing enough to give her a sense of ownership with the end results. This ownership is a key component in having your kids help with keeping things organized going forward.


What age is this workshop recommended for? I've read the Organizing with Kids workshop description and it sounds great for younger kids, but is it also appropriate for a 13 year old?  As I mentioned above, this workshop is written to the parent. If you have kids living at home with you and you’d like to teach them how to organize and involve them in the process of organizing their spaces, then this workshop could be for you. For this workshop to be effective for you and your child, however, it’s important that you still have your child’s ear. In other words, you and your child need to be able to communicate effectively with one another and work together as a team. I think this line of communication with one another is more important than the child’s age.  


Would my son attend this workshop with me? Will you be directly talking to the kids - or is this more for us parents to take into our homes? How are the kids involved in this class? I picture the parenting reading the lesson materials and then involving their child in the action steps and organizing projects. For example, there will be an optional, fifteen minute daily organizing challenge in the forum. You and your child could decide to take part in this challenge and work together each day making progress on your child’s organizing projects.


Will you cover where to put the many stuffed animals that cover children's beds? I don’t cover this specifically in the lesson content. But my daughter is a huge collector of stuffed friends, so I’m sure I could come up with some ideas for you specific stuffed animal challenges via the workshop forum and / or photo gallery.


Are you going to address the issue of spouses with conflicting opinions on how much clutter is acceptable to allow for kids? This is a great question, one that I’d like to address here. Certainly if Mom and Dad aren’t on the same page when it comes to kid clutter, then it will be hard for the kid(s) to know what is acceptable and what isn’t. I think that the first step is for Mom and Dad to sit down and have a conversation and strike a compromise. You may not end up exactly where you want to be, but if you can both takes steps in the direction of the each other and reach a compromise then you can bring your kids into the equation. Without this agreement (or compromise) it will be really hard to get everyone moving in the same direction. 

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Do these online workshops work for people anywhere in the world? (I’m in London). Is it all done in your own time, or do I need to be able to 'connect' to a discussion in a particular time-slot? These workshops most definitely work for people anywhere in the world. We have students from all over the world, including England. The workshop is done on your own time schedule. Once a workshop is released, you can do the reading and other assignments as it fits your schedule. You don’t need to be available to connect at a specific time slot. The workshop system is available 24/7 while the workshop is in session, so you can post a question for me or a discussion topic for your classmates anytime you’d like. I’ll post a response back to you during my awake hours, Monday through Friday while the workshop is open. 


My question is: How to strike that balance between a.) It's their room and the child should feel comfortable in it and b.) It's my home and I need to feel comfortable with its cleanliness/clutter level. I love this question because I really think this is such an important part of the process of organizing with kids—striking the balance between what your child finds comfortable and what you find comfortable. In my home, we’ve worked this out a couple of ways. In the shared and public spaces, it is expected that the norm will be my comfort zone and my husband’s. So, the kids are expected to keep their clutter in check in these shared areas. Certainly when they’re using the space it is okay if their things are out and in the space. But, everything gets picked up and put away before bedtime. And the kids know that this is their responsibility. Yes, we remind them from time to time…but they know this is expected and so it really isn’t a source of conflict.

In their own spaces—their bedrooms—I let things lean a bit more to their way of doing things. Oddly enough, my son’s room is a bit sparser than my comfort zone, and my daughter’s is more visually cluttered than my comfort zone. I think there are three elements to an organized space – how it looks, how it feels, and how it functions. My daughter’s room doesn’t look as organized as I might like, but it does function well for her and she loves how it looks and feels. We also have some kid-friendly rules to keep ourselves on the same page. (This is a topic I cover in the workshop, by the way.) For example, there are rules for putting away clothes, and keeping things off the floor. My focus is on making sure my kids know how to organize a space in a way that works for them, and that they have the habits to keep things organized, too. But it is also really important to me that my kids feel comfortable in their own rooms. I know how important that was to me when I was a child.  

 

Thanks again for all your questions! Remember, Organizing with Your Kids begins this Thursday, June 16, 2011. Grab your spot here! See you online soon.

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