Getting the Kids to Help you Organize


Laine Hardman can be reached at, 703-401-4829 or

Put your kids to work doing some tasks that are a big help to Mom and Dad, but that they enjoy too.

Organizing plastic containers. Sort the plastic containers: bottoms in one pile, tops in another pile.  Then, match up each bottom container with the appropriate top.


Any top without a bottom, or bottom without a top can be recycled. (Where did those missing pieces go?) Also, consider donating or recycling any excess if you find that you have too many of one size. If you end up with one extra larger-sized bottom, it could be used to hold the tops. Stack smaller containers inside larger ones.


Replace the containers to your kitchen cabinet.

Sorting pens, pencils, crayons, and markers. You’ll need some plastic pencil boxes or small plastic containers long enough to hold a pencil. Gather all the pens, pencils, crayons, markers, and colored pencils in the house.  Sort them by type:  crayons in one pile, pens in another, etc.  As you’re sorting, toss any crayons that are very small and/or broken.


Also, discard any pencils (colored and regular) that are too small to easily grasp.  Sharpen any remaining pencils.  Now here is the fun part:  test all the markers and pens on a scrap of paper, throwing away any that are dried out.


When all this is done, put all remaining pens, pencils, markers and crayons in a plastic container by type.  Consider tossing or giving away some items if you are finding that you have a surplus.  Label all containers either with text or a printed picture of the item.


Find a home for the newly-organized supplies. The kids will be thrilled the next time they want to color with markers and they know exactly where they are!

Sock sorting. First, launder all socks in the house. I am not going to pretend to solve the mystery of what happens to the missing sock after the laundry is done.  But, at the end of this task, the kids will have their socks in order with each sock having a match.  First, ask the kids to remove all socks from their sock drawer and find each sock’s mate.  Gather unmatched socks and, if you are sorting more than one drawer, check if that sock has a match in the other drawer’s extra sock pile.


Only return socks that fit, have a match, and are in good condition.  If the socks are still spilling out of the drawer, consider donating the excess.  All extra socks can be repurposed as dust rags or puppets.

Show your kids that organizing can be fun and rewarding!

Laine Hardman can be reached at, 703-401-4829 or


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