Do you come home to a cluttered dining room table each evening? Do you frequently have to clear off piles so your family has a place to eat? If so, you’re not alone. Clearing off the dining room table is one of the most frequent requests we get here at reSPACEd. Over the years, I have found a few tricks that make this task easier:
1. Put a stacking letter tray or a few magazine holders on a buffet or similar-type storage piece in your dining room to hold the papers from current projects. That way, all of the colored paper and glue for, say, your child’s social studies project can be corralled together in one spot NEAR the table but not ON the table during dinner. If these are ongoing projects, you can even clip a quick label made out of an index card and a paperclip to the magazine holder so your child knows where the home for her project is when she isn’t working on it.
2. Have lots of magazines and newspapers on your table? In our house, we keep a magazine holder on the buffet to hold all of the magazines, newspapers and other things we like to read. It’s nice to be able to grab something to read when I’m home alone for lunch, and it helps me stay up-to-date when I read industry magazines in my field or even the local parenting magazine about summer camp options for my son.
3. Set up a mail station elsewhere in the house so mail doesn’t have a reason to pile up on the table. This can be an incline file sorter that sits on the counter or by the front door with folders for each category of mail (bills to be paid, papers to be filed, forms to be read, etc.) Make sure to make time once a week to go through all these folders so they don’t become organized clutter!
4. Get bins for each family member’s room, label them, and put their things you clear off the table into their bins. Putting away the stuff in their bins can be part of your family’s nightly 15-minute clean-up.
5. Allocate a different space for doing crafts or working on homework. If you are lucky enough to have the space, it can be a lifesaver to have a separate table in a craft room or playroom where the kids can work on their craft projects. Even a collapsible, folding table can work when you have occasional big projects that take up a lot of space, like sewing Halloween costumes. By having a separate table, you can leave the dining room table solely for eating dinner at.
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