“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.
You find the fun and snap! — the job’s a game.”
~Lyrics from A Spoonful of Sugar
Let’s face it: we’ve all envied Mary Poppins’ ability to clean Jane and Michael’s pig sty with the snap of her fingers. The beds magically made! The 765 dollhouse pieces precisely placed! The folded clothes flying into the dresser drawers — that actually close!
If only organizing your child’s bedroom were that easy.
We have a few tips to help empower your kids with the concepts of being organized. Starting early while they’re young, not only makes your life easier, but it’s the best way to ensure they have the tools in place when they open that umbrella and fly out of the window. Um, nest.
Purchase furniture with built-in storage.
The quickest option is to find furniture with great storage options which allows less clutter and less time spent searching for things. Look for pieces that can transition as your child grows or can be moved in to a guest room in later years.
- Ready-made bookcases are great storage options. Look for sturdy construction and adjustable shelves.
- Shelves deep enough to store oversized picture books, and boxes or bins for toys are best for younger children. Older children may prefer shallower shelves that paperbacks won’t get lost on.
- Whichever type you choose, take the time to secure the bookcases to the wall with a furniture anchoring system to prevent dangerous toppling.
- Hang a second clothes rod from the top rod so children are able to reach clothes and hang them up.
- Put hooks on the back of the bedroom door at a convenient height for hanging backpacks, jackets and clothes that can be worn again.
Get creative with storage space.
- Raise beds up with lifts and add an extra-long bed skirt to conceal under-bed storage space for seasonal items and growing collections.
- Get stuffed animals off the bed or floor with a nylon hammock that hangs across one corner of the ceiling. (Make sure your kids can reach it so that they can “clean” their room!)
- Use wall rails to display artwork, photos, notes, certificates and other special keepsakes. You can also hide smaller items in pouches that hang along the hook rail.
- Create a space in your home that provides an area for your child to hang up their backpacks and coats as well as a place to keep their shoes and boots. This zone can be set up in the laundry area, mud room or a storage bench in your home’s entryway.
- Provide a desk with storage for homework and school-related items.
- Keep art projects at a corner table with all supplies organized within arm’s reach.
- If reading takes place on the bed, keep books on a shelf nearby or in a box under the bed.
Establish limits for how much stuff is in the room.
- If your child has toys with small parts, only allow one set to be played with at one time. Establish consequences when these rules are broken.
- Every season, sort through your child’s clothing. Donate what doesn’t fit anymore or save clothing in a storage bin and move that bin in a different area of the home if you are passing them on to another child.
- Follow the “one toy in, one toy out” rule. Involve your child in passing their toys or books to younger cousins or donating to a charity.
In the end, even the best-executed organizational plan can’t force kids to keep their things neat. But the easier you make it to put things away, the more likely they are to do so.