With schools in the U.S. closing several months before the school year ended—and now summer—it does seem like the kids have been home like forever. And their rooms are starting to look like it!
Don’t make their bedrooms a battleground. Instead, grab this opportunity to help your kids organize their rooms and their stuff.
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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 the 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.
Hooks are the way to create a place for all kinds of things that can so easily get lost and forgotten at the bottom of a junk drawer. Or forever lost in a big pile in the closet. And when those hooks are colorful and super cute, they’re perfect for organizing kids’ rooms.
Place hook at the child’s eye level complete with a label or picture next to it for what belongs on that hook. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your kids begin to identify a hook and its color with the item that belongs on it.
When it comes to hooks, you have untold options. I can help you cut through the myriad choices be recommending this set of colorful, decorative, adhesive wall hooks. They come in a set of four and are ideal to organize any space in your home, but especially the kids’ areas. They’re strong, too—holding up to 8 lbs. each!
Sort and store
Rather than keeping every toy in their rooms, help the kids 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.
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, Legos, even CDs and video games.
Mary’s Pro Tip
These plastic shoe boxes are the perfect size for sorting and storing kids toys and precious things. They’re clear so the kiddos can see what is inside, and what is supposed to be in there. They’re also sturdy and just the right size—even when loaded to the top, the kids can lift to take them in and out, quite easily.
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.
Once you have everything sorted and stored, start labeling. There are lots of ways to create labels. The important thing is that the label means something to the child, regardless of his or her age.
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 on this hook, in this container, on that shelf.
Or invest in a label maker. I purchased a Brother P-Touch Label Maker more than 10 years ago. The most amazing thing about this little machine? I have never replaced the batteries. The batteries keep it going like a champ! It is rechargeable with the included A/C adapter ( here).
Granted, I don’t use my label maker every day, but when I need it, I am grateful all over again to have it. I buy the P-Touch brand refill label tape cartridges at Costco. .
Mary’s Pro Tip
When making multiple labels using your P-Touch Label Maker, instead of using the print and cut option after each one, simply add 3 or 4 extra spaces at the end of one label, then continue typing the next ones. Now when you “print and cut” you end up with one long tape that you can simply cut yourself. You’ll save a lot of tape using this method because as the machine allows for more than an inch of blank space on either side of the printed text, which is a huge waste.
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.