Sorting, classifying, and throwing away to create a zen daycare environment
Who likes cleaning? I am pretty sure that if we had a vote by show of hands, there would be very few hands up in the air. Cleaning is most likely the most demanding and less appealing task there is. Have you ever stopped to analyze how you feel once you’ve sorted, classified, thrown away, and completely cleaned your daycare? Doing so makes us feel “alive”, good about ourselves…zen! Personally, I find throwing things I no longer need away to make room for new things greatly improves my sense of well-being.
In a previous article, I mentioned that I wanted to share articles that foster a zen feeling, tips and tricks that will help you feel better, both personally and professionally. In general, my articles are about the children we care for and subjects that affect them directly. This time around I want to provide tricks that will help you. Of course, children will indirectly benefit from them too. Start with putting yourself first and taking care of yourself for a few moments…
Working in a cluttered space that is packed with a variety of objects that are no longer used or expendables can be an energy drainer. I strongly suggest you organize your workspace, so it makes you feel good. How? If you proceed one step at a time, it’s quite simple.
To begin, sort the items in your daycare. Throw anything you and the children don’t use, broken items or objects that are too old in the garbage. Avoid keeping items “because you may need them one day”. Sort items in three different boxes: throw away, recycle, give away. Use these boxes to clear your daycare of all the material that makes it seem cluttered.
Next, purge your environment by storing toys that are not currently being used by the children in your group, items that are not adapted to their age group, or toys children simply aren’t attracted to for the time being. Set them in a cupboard for a few months before offering them once again. Chances are, children will love to rediscover the toys and play with them as if they were new in just a few weeks time.
Once the items have been sorted, organize your storage space. Use plastic bins to store everything. Be sure to identify each bin by writing its contents on a label. Use a shoe storage cabinet to store your arts & crafts materials and hang fabric pockets on a wall. Use them to store important documents. Do you need a little help in this department? Pinterest represents an endless source of original organization ideas.
Once you have found a home for the items you have decided to keep, congratulate yourself and maintain a certain level of discipline. This will ensure your daycare stays clean and pared down. Make a habit of putting items that are lying around away daily and sort paperwork on a regular basis. Once a week or once a month, perform a more thorough cleaning to sort through things that may have begun to accumulate. Simply repeat the initial steps. Of course, all subsequent cleaning efforts will require much less time. If you uphold your weekly efforts, the time you must devote to cleaning will be greatly reduced.
I can guarantee that once your daycare has been purged, sorted, and organized, you will not want to go back in time. A healthy, clean, and decluttered environment will have a positive impact on you…and the children you care for.
Enjoy the process!