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Picking up the pieces

I have to admit, I have some tough shoes to fill! Many of you were faithful readers of my predecessor, Sue Junge. In her many years of service to the Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Board, she has written articles that assisted parents with a variety of topics that focused on those fun formative ages of birth to five. So how will fill I her shoes, and pick up the pieces?

Let’s begin here. My name is Carrie Kube, and I serve as an Early Childhood Iowa (ECI) Area Director for Hardin and Marshall County. I have been in this role since 2009. I have a wonderful husband of 17 years, and two children (ages 15 and 10) that keep me busy. We live on the acreage that I grew up on, with a variety of farm animals as pet that will soon make their debut at the Hardin County Fair. I am a proud 4-H mom.

As I write this, we are preparing to have visitors from Norway. This is very exciting for our family, but that means we need to pick up the pieces from our busy lives, and clean house. Which brings me to our first topic: keeping kids’ room clean! Here are eight tips from www.organizedhome.com:

Take a child’s eye view. Get down to your child’s eye level to help him or her get organized. Look at your child’s space, storage, furniture and possessions from his or her vantage point. The view may surprise you!

Bring the child into the process. Let your child decide how they want their room organized. Your role is to be the consultant.

Sort, store and simplify. Begin with clothing: sort it out. Store out-of-season or outgrown clothing elsewhere. Finally, simplify. Remove the extras so the remainder can stay neat and orderly in the available space.

Contain and Control. Eliminate toy boxes by using storage containers to sort toys in likeness. Label them so your child knows where to put them once they are done playing with them.

Organize bottom to top. Start organizing from the bottom of the room, and work to the top. Most used toys and belongings should live on lower shelves, in lower drawers, or on the floor. Higher levels are designated for less-frequently used possessions.

Label, label, label. When it comes to keeping kids’ rooms organized for the long haul, labels save the day! Use a computer printer to make simple graphic labels for young children. Pictures of socks, shirts, dolls or blocks help remind the child where these items belong. Enhance reading skills for older children by using large-type word labels. Playing “match the label” can be fun, and turns toy pickup into a game.

Make it easier to put away, harder to get out. The premier rule for efficient children’s storage? Make it easier to put something away than it is to get it out. For example, store picture books as a flip-file.

Build a maintenance routine. Help children stop the cycle by building maintenance routines into the family’s day. “Morning Pickup” straightens the comforter, returns the pillow to the bed, and gets yesterday’s clothing to the laundry hamper. “Evening Pickup” precedes dressing for bed, and involves putting away the day’s toys.

Picking up the pieces is never easy, but it also becomes a time for new ideas. This is your column, so please write to me and let me know what you want to learn about. I am indeed excited about this opportunity and I look forward to connecting with each of you.

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Carrie Kube is a director for Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Board. All thoughts and opinions expressed are that of the author and not the board and/or its community partners.