The holiday decorations are put away, the kids are back in school and life is getting back to the normal routines. But where will the kids put their new toys and clothes? Don’t make their bedrooms a battleground. Instead, take this opportunity to help your kids organize their rooms and their stuff.
GET DOWN TO KID LEVEL. Look at your child’s room at kids-eye-level and you’ll get a new perspective. Their adult-sized dressers may have drawers that are too heavy for little hands to open, and closet doors are rarely designed for a child’s height.
To help, remove the closet doors and lids from all storage containers and toy boxes. In the closet, lower the clothes rod to your child’s height. Use child-sized hangers and get baskets to house socks and underwear.
LET YOUR KIDS PARTICIPATE. Rather than using the bulldozer approach—where mom or dad comes through with a big trash bag and indiscriminately cleans up, get the kids involved. Help them survey and divide their things into categories: Use Now, Want to Keep, Don’t Want Anymore. Try to advise and suggest rather than control the situation by making all the decisions. Let the kids suggest ways to make a place for everything so everything can be in its place.
Rather than keeping every toy in their room, separate their toys and put some away in “storage” in another part of the house. Every month or two swap toys in their room for some toys in storage.
SORT AND STORE. Once you know what will stay in your child’s room, it’s time to sort according to colors and like items. Start with the clothes and then move to the toys and games. Clear plastic shoe boxes are great for all the little stuff like tiny doll clothes, crayons, Lego’s, even CDs and video games. Large bins with lids removed work the same way. Store picture books standing upright in a plastic dishpan. Even preschoolers can flip through to find the book they want without pulling down an entire shelf in the process.
Inexpensive cardboard magazine holders (available at the office supply store) are perfect to keep magazines, comic books and other similarly-sized papers and magazines neatly stored but easily accessible.
LABEL EVERYTHING. Once you have everything sorted and stored, start labeling. For little ones, cut out pictures that indicate what goes in this box or container. For children who can read, make labels on your computer using big bold letters that leave no question about what lives in this container or on that shelf.
The secret to organizing a child’s room is to make it at least as easy to put something away as it was to get it out. When you involve your child in the process of organizing and making decisions, you can be sure your child will be more eager to learn and exercise his or her organizational skills to keep it that way.
Question: Have you found a successful system for keeping your kids’ rooms organized? Share your ideas here.
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