Organizational Habits for Families On the Go

Professional organizer Meryl Starr
Organizational Habits for Families On the Go

By Meryl Starr

Guiding and nurturing your children from nursery school through college is highly rewarding and fun. And the No. 1 way to keep stress at bay is by creating and maintaining systems to keep the ever-growing mass of ‘stuff’ organized and accessible. Between your child’s first day of Pre-K to their first day in Pre-Med, you’re going to accumulate tons of clutter.

The good news? With strategy and organization, it’s all manageable. Here to help you along your way we have Meryl Starr, Personal Organizer and author of ‘The Home Organizing Workbook’ & ‘The Personal Organizing Workbook’, whose mission it is to help families reclaim their calm by making more room for life.

Whichever stage of life your children are in, organization is a key element of success. Take the time to organize and de-clutter to make these school years less complicated, less cumbersome and more EXCITING!

Toss, Donate or Store? Before organizing your closets, you need to decide what to keep and what to toss. Doing this first will make organizing what’s inside less daunting since you will have fewer items to deal with.

Begin by emptying your closets entirely. Take everything out, examine your wardrobe, and put aside all that you love. What is left over needs to be examined carefully. Does it fit? Is it soiled? Try it on; how do you feel with it on? Does it empower you? Any clothing items that have been gently used or you no longer need or want can be donated to your favorite local charity: Goodwill, Housing Works, Salvation Army, etc.

For those items that you love and want to keep but either do not belong in this space or are items that you are not currently using (like old baby clothes, blankets or an outfit from a special occasion that you no longer really need but brings you too much joy to TOSS), STORE them with a concierge storage service such as Box Butler, you can make sure your treasured items stay safe for years to come. Power, confidence, and clarity come from loving what’s in your closet. If you love, enjoy and get inspired by everything in the closet, you will begin each day feeling stylish, confident and ready to face the world. Also, try to keep a little extra room in the closet. It’s always nice when there is room for something new!

Now that you’ve finished sorting through everything, this might be a good time to install a new closet system that can and will maximize your existing space as well as adjust with your family’s changing needs. Numerous companies have designed shelving to help organize your storage. ClosetMaid shelving is one of my favorites. Their options make storing your family’s belongings simple and stress-free.

A fun suggestion: Personalize everybody’s closet space. Paint the inside, put photos and artwork on the walls or inside the doors such as inspirational quotes and poems. Anything that will bring a moment of happiness when you look inside.

All set with shelving? Here are some of my top strategies to organize all the clothes your family currently needs.

Color Code:Color-coding is fun, simple, and best of all, easy to maintain. Your children will love it! Let the kids help you during the process. Simply organize clothes by color. I recommend moving light to dark colors from left to right for an appealing visual flow.

Store Like Items Together:This concept is simple and effective. Store like items together such as sweaters, jeans, and sweatshirts. Your closet will look organized, amazing and make you feel great in no time. If your child requires a uniform, this is an effective way to make sure they can easily get ready in the morning. Make a separate area just for school clothes, party clothes and play clothes. Make sure clothes most frequently worn are accessible, so that it is easy for you and your family to locate. Doing this will not only help your closet look more organized but also help you be more time efficient.

Put Together a Week’s Worth of Outfits: Whether your child is required to wear a uniform or not, it’s beneficial to put together the week’s outfits ahead of time. This is important as it helps make getting ready each morning less stressful. Consider taking about 20 minutes every Sunday to plan five outfits for the upcoming week. With your busy schedule, you will be thankful you did so in the mornings as you prepare breakfast before school.

Everything needs to have a home: Assign a special section for all of your things in the study/living room, closets, cabinets, garage or child’s bedroom. The goal is to use strategic organization throughout your home that makes sense. Items that are used most frequently should be given prime real estate: easy to reach and accessible.

Don’t forget to tell your children! They will need to know where things go to put items away or grab their supplies at a later date.

To keep things simple and obvious to everyone, place appropriate label storage containers. On top of labeling them with words and text, you may also consider printing out pictures to represent the items stored in each bin. You could also color code and assign a different colored box/container for a specific item. This will help make storing and organizing fun and easy for your entire family.

When the time comes to send your children off to college, make sure your daughter or son’s dorm is well organized to keep the focus on studies rather than clutter. ClosetMaid has some dorm-friendly storage solutions that can be incorporated right into the existing storage. Keep in mind how small dorm rooms are, and the storage space they offer is minimal. To combat limited storage spacing, take advantage of vertical space, double up on closet bars, and utilize under-the-bed storage to keep clutter out of sight. When summer vacation finally rolls around and your child is ready to head back home, contact Box Butler to make sure his or her belongings are stored safely until school starts again.

These simple yet effective organizational tips are sure to help your children and you move seamlessly from Pre-K to Pre-Med and ingrain solid organizational habits that will serve them throughout their lives! Best of luck on your family’s journey… these are wonderful, exciting and enriching years. When it’s time for your child to go to college, your teenagers will know how to stay organized and be in control of their environments.

Help your young adult move into a college dorm for the first time with these dorm room storage tricks.  

By Meryl Starr | Last updated on September 7, 2016

More information about Meryl Starr and her Professional Organization Service is available at