Contributed Post by Carley Knobloch, Parenting Ambassador:
I don’t care if the groundhog sees his shadow or not— when March hits, I start cleaning. I’m purging belongings, I’m scrubbing the patio furniture and organizing my husband’s sock drawer; nothing is safe. Organizational overhauls can be a great learning experience for kids, especially when those kids are responsible for much of the mess in the house. For me, it’s just as much about getting them to pitch in as it is imparting some organizational wisdom. Here are some out-of-the-box ideas for cleaning up after, around and with the kids.
Archive the Kids’ art.
I accept that someday my children will leave the house, so why is it so hard to let go of their noodle necklaces and marker masterpieces? Artwork is accumulative, and I’ve learned over the years that saving everything means nothing feels special. Spring is a great time to scan or photograph your mini Monet’s works and store all the archives in Evernote. I like to record the artists’ commentary on the works as well, and I bet they’ll love listening to those old voice notes once they’re away at college (and I’ve converted their room into a home gym).
Bring in the robots!
I think I made it to twelve before I realized our Carpet Sweeper wasn’t actually a toy. I remember loving to help clean up around the house, and if helping involves using remotes and pushing buttons, you’re golden.* Your kids will fight over who gets to hit “go” on a Looj Gutter Cleaner robot (the leaves go flying everywhere!) and who gets to point the Roomba robot at the dog and hit “start.” The house gets tidied, and your kids learn that cleaning up is everyone’s responsibility.
*Warning: Does not apply to teenagers.
Store Toys with a System.
Maybe it’s something about the cold winter months, but I am convinced that stuffed animals (and toys and books) tend to multiply in winter. Spring means thinning out the herd, storing the old toys for the next sibling in line, or (my dirty secret) putting things in the garage to ensure that no one misses them, then giving them away to charity. (Buh bye Furby!). I snap a quick phone picture of everything I put in storage, and keep them all in Evernote, so if someone suddenly wonders where their purple bunny with the polka-dot tunic went, you’ll know exactly which storage bin it’s in.
Purge your paper
Here’s something no one ever told me: families leave a paper trail. Report cards, medical histories, soccer schedules, vet records, bills paid, checks returned… the list is endless. I promise you, 92% of these documents can safely disappear with two words: scan and shred. Because I despise unnecessary paper piles, my Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 has become my partner in paperless living. All those piles become searchable PDF documents, easy to find at a moment’s notice for the rest of eternity. I can take my crusade against paper waste a step further with the PaperKarma app. Hand your iPhone or Android to the kids and have them take pictures of all the junk mail you don’t want to receive anymore – then poof! PaperKarma unsubscribes you. It’s like hiring a bouncer for your mailbox.
Store cleaning tips in Evernote
Not to get all meta, but I do enjoy organizing articles about organizing, and cleaning up articles about cleaning up. If you’re like me, you’re constantly coming across articles, blogs and cereal boxes with interesting home remedies and non-traditional cleaning tips (did you know a slice of white bread can take stains out of a delicate wallpaper?). I scan or clip them all into Evernote so when I do find a stain on my wallpaper (“Kiiids! Who ate rocky road in the powder room!?”) I can find the fix in record time. Now I’m the one friends call when they find themselves in a Sharpie-on-Suede situation. Just call me Martha Knobloch.
One of my kids heads to middle school next year, and I’m guessing that might be the time we have “The Talk” (the Evernote Talk, that is). I think he’ll benefit greatly from having his life organized and available from any device. Of which he has plenty. Which reminds me… I’ve got to get him to clean up his room…
Follow Along on the Blog & Connect with Us
Want more great spring tips from Evernote? Follow along with Spring Made Simple by searching for the tag Spring Made Simple on the blog. Each week, we’ll be adding a number of special tips to kick your spring cleaning into high gear from our Ambassadors, delicious and easy Evernote Food recipes from notable chefs and restaurateurs, and tons more! You won’t want to miss out.
Do you have any great spring tips, ideas and recipes to share? Post your favorite spring cleaning tips, connect with others tackling new projects or just join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook. Follow @evernotelife and use the hashtag #evernotelife on Twitter throughout the spring season, and Like us on Facebook.
How have you used Evernote to “spring clean” your workspace? Share your top tips in the comments.
Carley Knobloch is an Evernote Parenting Ambassador, a Today show contributor and digital lifestyle expert. She’s the host and founder of Digitwirl, a Webby-nominated web show designed to help busy women discover technology that “just works.” Digitwirl brings together Carley’s obsession with all things tech, her passion for problem-solving and her knack for curating the best resources for her audience. She also decodes smart home technology on HGTV.com, and has appeared on The Ricki Lake Show and EXTRA. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband, two kids, springer spaniel, and myriad tablets.