With only a few months to Christmas and the arrival of yet more gifts, books, and toys, now’s the perfect time to declutter and organize your home. One of the rooms that we usually hate doing and tend to avoid is our kid’s bedroom. In this article we look at a few useful tips and tricks to organize the mess and to keep it tidy long after!
Step 1 - Get the kids involved
Experts agree, you can’t just barge into a child’s bedroom, rip everything out from the cupboards (no matter how appealing that may sound) and demand that they clean up their act and keep it that way. It’s never going to work. You need to encourage your children to enjoy the process, make it a habit and gain from it in the end.
Suggestion: Ask for a tour of the roomMake your kids feel like they are in control. It’s recommended that you ask them to give you a tour of their bedroom (I see you cringing), asking them to show you their most prized possessions - those that spark joy - and to acknowledge these during the following steps.
Remember: Use positive terminology
Using positive terminology and a positive tone is the key to success. It should feel like a game that they are a part of. Home organization expert, Meave Richmond, recommends giving things a “home”, instead of “putting things away”. This small change in terminology, shifts the perspective from chore to play.
Step 2 - Organize to minimize and optimize
Suggestion: The four piles
Try sorting items to eventually minimize the clutter in the room, leaving the space functional. Keep, Store, Donate and Trash piles will simplify the decision making later on. The initial tour of your child’s bedroom will help you to understand what is important to your child and what should actually be tossed. Allow kids to be in charge of the donation pile, and let them know that it’s okay to let go of toys. Reminding them that Christmas is around the corner probably won’t hurt either.
Remember: There are some important lessons that kids can learn here. By Donating, children learn to give and to let go; throwing away things that aren’t complete anymore, or that are damaged, shows them that they need to look after their toys better; storing allows them to appreciate what they have; and take better care of what they get to keep in the end.
Don’t let the piles become an ever bigger mess, sort and repackage as you go. Some useful tips:
- How to Store Toys
NO toy chests or deep boxes. These always end up in one big mess, with damaged toys and curious kids ripping it all out to see what’s at the bottom. Use smaller transparent containers, like stackable veggie bins. These allow kids to see what’s inside and only take out one toy at a time.
- How to Store Puzzles
Losing your mind together with the last puzzle piece? Just toss all the pieces AND the picture on the box cover into a transparent zip lock, or mesh bag. This takes up way less space, and you never have to deal with broken boxes and mixed puzzles again.
- Effective Labeling
If your little one isn’t a reader yet, stick an image of the type of toy that goes into each container on the box using book laminate. This will help your child to know exactly where the Lego's, Barbies, or cars “home” is.
- How to Organize Clothing
A fast and effective way of opening up some space in a child’s bedroom is by firstly sorting and storing seasonal clothing. Only keep what’s needed in the room, the rest can head to the attic or the garage (if the garage is a problem, we have some tips to get you organized here). If they’re too small, as often happens with growing kids, toss them on the donate pile.
If you want to simplify your life even further, you can also buy a 6 pocket closet organizer to make dressing easy in the mornings. Simply decide on Sundays which outfits will be worn for the rest of the week - Tip - if you have girls, you might want to get them in on it.
- How to Sort Books
Any books that aren’t challenging enough anymore or that are for a younger age, should be donated. Books that have been read a million times can go into storage for a bit and the rest can find a nice, decluttered, easy to reach spot on the shelf.
- Toy storage - The Toy Library
Cynthia Ewer, Author of Cut the Clutter: A Simple Organization Plan for a Clean and Tidy Home recommend creating a storage toy library. Once toys are designated for storage, organize them into bite size bits that can easily be accessed on a rainy day, and swapped with some toys that have lost their interest. Swapping toys also means that the room is never cluttered, with some toys in use and other out of the way.
Toy storage can be modern and fun too. Make sure your kids understand that some toys can be piled in plastic storage bins, while others need to be protected. Customizable toy storage boxes are a fun way to get kids involved in the process, making a “bed” for each toy.
Our Kraft boxes make organizing fun… Each toy can have a customized “bed” to sleep in and kids can actually enjoy the process of packing away.
Do this type of sorting for everything that’s going to be donated, stored or that’s staying in the room. This will make storing and donating easier later on. Kids should also learn that donating doesn’t mean just giving what you don’t want, it should be giving things that can still be used and that will make someone else happy.
Step 3 - Create a functional space (Think like your child)
When it’s time to put it all back, make sure to keep your child in mind. Get on your knees, and have a look at the space. If your child can’t reach the shelves, lower them; if the cupboard doors pinch her fingers, remove them. One suggestion is to start from the bottom up, fill out spaces from the floor first. This is exactly where your children sit and play, and most likely where toys will end up staying.
If you have space under the bed, use it for a functional storage space with cubbies and containers. Kids will be more likely to use these toys and more likely to put them back again if it’s simple to do so.
Kraft Storage boxes are easy to open and add toys, perfect for storage under the bed. Add a laminated sticker on the side to help your child identify which toys go where.
If you see that the room just isn’t functional, perhaps it’s time for a makeover. This can be an even better way of getting kids to keep their rooms tidy. Giving them a new room adds a sense of maturity, change and responsibility. Add a splash of color, some positive murals and new bedding. Simple things that can make a huge difference.
Step 4 - Deal with future mess NOW
When the mess finally returns - and it will - start putting methods in place now, to help create order in no time.
Gamify: Kids love games, and reinforcing fun ways of cleaning, like singing a song (we all know the Barney clean up song) will encourage them to participate. Meave also suggests the “count to 10” activity, where each child counts to ten, putting one misplaced toy in their “home” as they go. Be creative and use techniques that your kids are already doing in School or that they gravitate to. Adding a “dump bin” at the door, means toys could be piled there during the day and then “put to bed” just before the kids own bedtime - getting everyone in the mood.
Room organizing should be useful and helpful, teach your children early on the value thereof and make it a habit to help them throughout their lives.