Getting organized
         Summer is the time to think about all those activities we associate with
warm weather: family vacations, backyard barbeques, pool parties, and getting
organized. Getting organized? Oh, yes!

         Many kids have lots of time on their hands in the summer - time that could
be spent productively working with the family to weed out unwanted and
unneded excess in their rooms. Your children probably have more books,
clothing, and toys than they need or want, so itís a good time to sort through it

         One way to appeal to children to help weed out such articles is to explain
that there are other people who need and can use their unwanted articles:
children who have no books of their own, very few toys, or a limited selection of
clothing from which to choose.

         There are three major benefits of this activity. First of all, your child has a
sense of contributing to another person. Secondly, this frees up some space for
navigating more freely in his own room. Thirdly, you teach the lesson that it is all
right to get rid of things.

         All three of these benefits can become habits in later life and be sources
of joy as children grow up and establish households of their own. Contrast this to
the mentality many of us have concerning the collection and retention of
material possessions: many of us who either lived through or are children of
people who lived through the Great Depression, have been schooled in the
opposite philosophy, as we stockpile possessions that are no longer useful or

         If your community has a wide scale effort, get involved at the same time
as everyone else is doing the same activity. Whatever you do, though, make
sure that your kid doesnít spend the day checking out other garage sales and
loading up on more junk!

         This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents.  

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