Organizing Kids' Rooms
by guest blogger Jessica Ackerman
Clutter seems to be attracted to children's bedrooms like a moth to a flame. If you are like most moms, the constant cleaning, picking up, straightening and organizing can begin to wear you down. Instead of spending your days and nights constantly cleaning your child's room, try some of the quick and easy tricks below.
Time to Purge
Before you start putting things away, start by getting rid of all the broken toys and games and puzzles that are missing pieces. Sort through the dresser drawers and pull out the clothing that no longer fits your child or is out of season. By getting rid of the things that do not belong in the room, you can easily organize the things that do. If your child is attached to everything he owns, or thinks he cannot throw anything away, it may be best to do this step when he is not around.
Once you have cleared out the bedroom of things that no longer belong, start sorting what remains. Do not be afraid to make piles around the room until the sorting is over, as this makes it easier to see where everything is and what type of container will be best for storing it. If you have the time, clear out dresser drawers, the closet, under the bed and everywhere else toys and clothes might be hiding. It is a big job to organize a child's room, but if you can get it done all at once, the odds of it staying organized longer are better.
You have purged, you have sorted and now it is time to put everything away. If you have access to a dresser and closet, begin by putting clothes away first. Certain things will need to be in an easily accessible spot. For instance, if you want your first grader to pick out her own tights to match her school uniform, place the tights in a drawer that she can reach without having to stand on a chair. By making it easier for her to get to her things, she is more likely to keep them organized. The same holds true with shoes and toys. Put them in a place your child can easily reach. Clear bins and baskets are often the best storage containers for toys and books, as children can see what is in each container before pulling it off the shelf.
Label, Label, Label
While putting things neatly away may seem like the logical final step, the last step is to actually label everything. Label which toys are in each bin, even if the bin is clear. If the toy trains and toy cars are both dumped out on the floor, you want to make it easy for your child to put them back in the right bins. Label with pictures made out of construction paper and add a label that says "cars" as well. Do the same for each bin and basket, labeling with a picture and word for young children, or just a word label for older children.
By making things easy to find and easy to put away, you create an environment that your child can successfully take care of. It may take reminders and reinforcement to get your son or daughter to constantly pick up their toys and clothes, but once they get into the routine it will be easy for them to continue. Spend a Saturday purging, sorting, containing and labeling and you may find that your cleaning chores during the rest of the week are cut in half.