Friday, October 28, 2011

Organizing Kids' Rooms

Let's face it, where there are kids clutter is sure to follow. Kids are natural born hoarders whose rooms are notorious for being a cluttered mess.  At times you may have even wondered if a tornado just ripped through there or if perhaps the place was possibly burglarized while you were loading the dryer. One never knows. As much as you'd like to, you will never completely eliminate the clutter. But, there are a few things that you can do to get it under control and make life much easier for everyone.  Avoid the impulse to tackle this project all on your own, instead use this as an opportunity to teach your child responsibility and the basics of organization. The time you invest now will pay huge dividends in the long run.

Step One: Clear The Clutter!
The very first step towards bringing calm and order to the chaos is getting rid of the clutter. Start by sorting through everything in the room and remove as much as possible that doesn't NEED to be there starting with the floor. Well...you do NEED the floor, but you get what I mean.
I find that using three large bags or boxes marked donate, trash, and keepers works well for making quick work of this step. Just grab the item and toss it right into it's new home. Yeah, we can see a floor again!

Step Two: Stow The Stuff
Now that you've cleared the clutter, step two involves organizing and storing what's left using kid friendly storage items such as bins, bookshelves, clear containers, cubbies, hooks, etc. Every item will need a place to call "home." The key here is finding an easy system that's right for your child and will motivate them to be and stay organized.
If you find that even after the big purge your child still has too many toys and books or you just want to limit the amount of stuff in your child's room in general, rotate them. Just pop a few of them into a box and stash them away. After about a month or so, pull them down and trade them out. Rinse and repeat. They'll get a real hoot out of re-discovering their "new" old toys.

Step Three: Maintain Order (No, really)
Ok, so now that the hard part of clearing the clutter and stowing the stuff is out of the way, it's time to set some simple ground rules to help make staying tidy and organized a part of each day. In addition to the usual "put it away when you're done," I find that having a "Morning Pick-up
Routine" and an "Evening Pick-up Routine" really helps us a lot.
This will help them to stay ahead of any messes that would have otherwise accumulated during the week making it one large project to tackle over the weekend. That's no fun! Speaking of "staying ahead of messes," here's a tip inside of a tip. Set up a "Donation Station" in a place where everyone has access. Whatever works best for your family, a hall closet, laundry room, garage, etc. Whenever family members come across something that they no longer want or use, it goes into the "Donation Box." When the box is full, drop it off at your local donation center.
Your family will benefit in 3 ways:
1.) You enjoy a less cluttered home
2.) You help other families
3.) You get a tax deduction (be sure to ask for a receipt)
Everyone's a winner!
Don't worry if your child's bedroom doesn't exactly look like a page torn from the latest Pottery Barn Kids catalog. (A girl can always dream right?)  That's not the goal. What's important is that they learn to be responsible for their own things. A valuable lesson that will serve them well for years to come.

Originally posted on FrederickMommies.com

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