Household Sorting with Your Family

Inevitably, there is always something that needs to be sorted in the average household.  That might be the DVD collection, the personal library, the items to be donated, the old kids' toys, the contents of the garage, or the collection of possible vacation ideas.  If you clean out the attic, a bedroom, or the refrigerator, there's likely something that can be put into order.  Make sorting a family task in your home -- put your heads and your hands together to accomplish something that could be very boring and difficult if done alone.

Organizing trash into categories.Alphabetizing is a very fun activity for any sort of collection.  Movies, books, video games, or even board games can be alphabetized with a little work.  Start by deciding where the finished product is going to go, then organize the items somewhere outside of that space.  You can put a kid in charge of a section of the alphabet, if you want, and have them go to the main pile or stash of items and retrieve any that begin with their letters.

Sorting unwanted stuff is great when it's getting close to garage sale time!  If you want to be efficient, you can assign each family member to a room, where they must sort out what is used and what isn't and then proceed to ask the other members of the household if they still want the unused items.  Or, you can work together on a room for minimal running around and maximum interaction.

You may want to designate a room for the sorted items, so that there's no confusion over what's been done and what hasn't.  Use boxes, large plastic bags, and natural barriers (posters, stacks of things, boxes full of items, etc.) to separate out section of your sorted items.

Some tips for sorting with your kids:

-    Make sorting a game.  Sing the alphabet song, the cleanup song, or make one up as you go along.  Begin a race to finish sorting a certain-size pile, or make it a competition to see how many things can be sorted before the day's task is over.

-    Don't try to rush.  If you make your young ones hurry and don't pay attention to them, but only to the sorting instead, it will become a chore rather than a fun family activity.  The point is to spend time as a family, so savor these childhood moments and don't push past them for the sake of being productive.

-    Take breaks.  Plowing ahead without taking breaks will wear on your nerves and the attention spans of your children, so pause occasionally to take a snack or drink break.

Spend time with your family shopping garage sales this summer.  Check out our site at for free listings in your area, and go out and have fun together!

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