I have to say that I LOVE organizing kids rooms. Yes, they do take more time than most other areas. Yes, they do just get messy again and again, since they are in fact kids living in there. But it”s just so fun.
How, you might be asking do I have “fun” cleaning and organizing a kids room?
1. I always include the kid(s) who live in the room, whose stuff it is. I even include toddlers in the process. I find that until the child turns 9 or so they actually like helping to clean up their own rooms. This helps train them young on how to actually organize their own room. Both my boys can clean and organize their own rooms without me now.
2. I use it as “learning time”. I would get buckets/bins in different colors. We would pick a certain color for a certain type of toy. Maybe the green bucket would be for all the soldiers. Pink for Barbies; with light pink for her Barbie clothes. Small kids learn colors quickly, so take advantage of it.
3. Make sure that every grouping of like toys has a home. I suggest buckets/baskets/bins/boxes. A large toy box that catches everything and anything should be avoided at all costs. You do not want to “force” your kid to dig through one box to find a certain toy. You will always find a mess on the floor that way. Many smaller boxes/bins will work much better. Make sure that if they have lids that they are easily workable by little fingers, or you will constantly be called into action.
4. Label the outside of all those bins. For very small kids who don”t read yet take or draw pictures of what is inside and glue it to the bin. There are many stickers out there for the scrap booking world that work great for this purpose as well.
5. Purge often. I find that in this day and age our children receive so many toys throughout the year that it”s often very overwhelming for the kids. What should they play with when they have a bazillion choices?? Every month go through their things and donate all the items the child has outgrown, or doesn”t like anymore.
6. Rotate. Do you find that after a good purge that your child still has too many great toys and your child is still overwhelmed? Rotate them. Get some closable bins for the top of the closet. Put some of their things away for the month. Next month pull them out and put the toys from last month up there. Your child will be so excited to see their “new” old toys that they will play with them like they never did when they were all out together. This worked very well with my own kids when they were growing up.
7. “One In…One Out”. This is a concept I taught my kids when their rooms became too full of things to manage well. They were very young. I explained that whenever they accepted a new toy from a grandparent or friend that they needed to go into their existing toys and pick out one that we could donate to a needy child. I told them that it wasn”t fair that they had so many wonderful things and that there were little kids out there with nothing to play with. This taught them charity as well as how to purge on their own…something that a lot of my adult clients still don”t know how to do.
8. Clean up when you”re done. Teach your children that they need to clean up the stuff from one activity before they proceed to a new activity. When they are toddlers and small children you will need to help them of course. But if you enforce this household rule then even when they are teenagers they will know that they better clean up one mess before they make another one. This way their messes are never overwhelming to them.
9. Clean up at night. Before bedtime is a perfect time to go into their rooms with them and supervise them putting their things away. Then they can crawl out of bed the next morning to a clean and tidy space.
10. Keep on them. One thing I”ve learned from my own kids is that the above points must be enforced daily by ME. If I am not feeling well for a few days and do not spend the time needed on enforcing the above points then when I am feeling well enough to check out their rooms…well, they”re disaster areas. So, don”t let their rooms fall behind whenever possible. Even go into your teen”s room once a week or so and inspect drawers, under beds, hiding places. Pull things out; have them put them away properly.
11. As your children get a little older make them clean up after themselves ALL THE TIME. I taught both my boys how to do their own laundry when they were 9 years old. I got a two sided hamper for each room, taught them to sort and how to wash, fold and put away their laundry. I have not done either of their laundry since. I just check to be sure they are doing it correctly. Oh, and I do have to be the one to tell them it”s time to do the laundry, or else they will never do it on their own…they”d rather wear dirty clothes…yuck.
When your child leaves toys around the house don”t pick them up yourself. Call the child in from where ever they are and have them put it away right then and there. Even my two year old niece will clean up her toys if I sit there and point each one out one at a time and direct her where to put them.
Do not be your child”s maid simply because it is easier. You will produce some very spoiled, lazy, messy kids that way. Take the time to train them to be neat. It is well worth it over time.
12. Repeat. Remember that kids will try to get away with as much stuff as possible. A rule at my home that tackles this problem is…repeat. What I mean by this is that my kids will be expected to repeat a chore over and over and over…and over and over until they do it correctly. So if they are told to put away the legos and I go check on them when they say they”re done, and I find they put them away incorrectly they are expected to do it again. And again, until they choose to do it correctly. Trust me, they will not do this too often once they realize you will make them do it again for as many times as it takes, never giving in and doing it yourself.
So thats how I tackle organizing a childs room and how I enjoy it as well. Now its your turn to whip your childs room into shape. Be sure to include them, be sure to enforce the new rules you lay down. You can train your kids to keep their rooms clean and organized. It will take some effort from you to make sure theyre doing it, but you will spend much less time enforcing your new rules, than you will actually cleaning up after your kids for them.
Good luck, and happy organizing!