With summer here and kids out of school, it’s a great time to get the kids' rooms organized. This is an opportunity to teach your kids a necessary life skill of organizing! The extra time this summer will allow for new habits to be developed and in place before life gets crazy again in the fall. I’ll divide this blog topic into two parts. This week, the focus will be organizing strategies for younger kids. Next week, I will discuss keeping teens and pre-teens organized.
-Rotate toys rather than have them all out.
-Use containers that are easy for the kids to use, clear and easy-off lids.
-Little toys fall to the bottom of a large bins or toy boxes so put little items in small containers or in over-the-door shoe organizers with clear pockets.
-Label containers, drawers and shelves using words and pictures of the items that belong there so even pre-readers will be able to put away belongings.
-Place in season clothing within the child’s reach. Store out of season clothing on higher closet rods or shelves.
-Use boxes or small bins for underwear/socks whether you keep these in the dresser or on a shelf in the closet.
-Hang outfits together on the same hanger or sort by pants, shirts, dress clothes, etc.
-Laminate a checklist with responsibilities, eg-make bed, brush teeth, put dirty clothes in hamper, hang up towel. Create separate lists for morning, bedtime and “Clean your room”.
-Keepsake box-Each child needs a box to store their keepsakes. When the box begins to get full, it’s time to weed out to make room for more. Scan artwork and make into photo books. An under- the- bed storage box is great for this.
-Maintenance - Have kids pick up their toys and clothing each night before bed. Each weekend, have your kids do a more thorough clean-up. This task is much easier if they have something to look forward to after the clean-up is complete.
Remember that we must be good role models. Show your kids exactly what you mean when you ask them to clean their room. By teaching our kids to keep their belongings organized, we are also teaching them to value and respect their surroundings and their things.
Choosing the right container is usually the last step in the organizing process. This is an important consideration because using the wrong container can lead to disorganized chaos. I remind clients when choosing a container, the priority is its ease of use. Simple storage solutions are more important than how pretty the container looks.
Things to consider as you choose a container:
--What will be stored in the container? Take into consideration the amount of stuff and how heavy it will be. Storing heavy items in large bins will make moving them very difficult.
--Where will the containers be stored? Will they need to be stacked? If so, you want to have flat tops so that is possible. You will probably want to take measurements of the shelf, drawer, cabinet, etc. to be sure that the containers will fit.
--Clear is almost always best. You can see what is in the container.
--The more squared off containers are, the more practical. Curves and angles are space wasters.
--Frequently used containers are often better without a lid. It’s just easier. You might not put the mail away if you have to lift or unlatch a lid.
--Let the container be the limit or the boundary for what is stored inside. Once it gets full, it’s time to weed out rather than purchase another container.