What’s the one room in your home where you just want to close the door and not look? For most families with kids, the answer to that is definitely the kids’ bedrooms. They are catch-alls for toys, games, clothes, school work, musical instruments, and everything else that kids seem to collect, no matter what their age.
Keeping kids rooms neat and clean might seem like a never-ending battle, but putting a solid organization plan in place can help.
Overflowing dresser drawers and jam-packed closets not only contribute to clutter, but they make getting ready for school in the morning a real challenge. Keeping all that clothing organized might seem impossible, but a simple schedule can turn a day-long job into a quick task.
While your kids are younger and growing rapidly, it can help to evaluate each piece of clothing every time you fold laundry. This might mean simply asking yourself if the item still fits. If it does, it goes back in the drawer, if not, donate it. In addition, check for stains, tears, and other damage that can’t be hidden or fixed, and toss those items that are no longer wearable.
For older kids, you won’t have to do this with each load of laundry, but you should do it at the end of every season. When you put away the summer clothes as you prepare for back to school, look at each item and ask yourself if it will still be wearable in the spring. Make a donation pile for those items that won’t be useable. If you can use the items for younger children later, then sort them by size and store in clearly labeled bins, ready to pull out when they’re needed.
If there is one thing kids have more of than clothing, it must be toys. Preventing your home from turning into one big toy box sometimes feels like a full-time job, but it doesn’t have to be. You can even get the kids to help keep their stuff picked up, if you make it easy and fun for them.
Pretty baskets or colorful plastic bins make it easy for kids to keep their toys put away, and even help you teach them valuable skills and habits along the way. You can make a nighttime routine of picking up all the toys and putting them in the appropriate basket just before bed. If more than one child shares a room, or if you have a lot of toys (and who doesn’t?) you might have different colored containers for each child or for various types of toys. Billy’s toys are in the green container, while Randy’s are in the blue, for example.
Homework and Other School Supplies
Is there anything worse than scrambling to get ready for school and not being able to find that math homework that’s due today? Well if you make it a habit to keep school supplies and homework organized, you’ll rarely have to worry about missing the bus.
Start with a designated place where all homework is stored. This might be an “in” basket on a desk, or a small box or basket on a shelf, but the point is, when your child comes home from school, everything he or she brings with him goes there. During homework time, he’ll know exactly where to look for the necessary books and papers, and when he leaves for school the next day, he’ll know just what he needs to take along.
Here’s a critical tip for this system, though: Nothing that is NOT homework can be kept in the homework box, and homework can never be left anyplace else. That way you will always know that whatever is in that spot must go to school, and that if the box is empty, all the homework has been turned in.
Keeping kids organized can seem like an uphill climb, but by setting up some easy-to-follow (and fun) systems and enlisting their help, you’ll not only have a much more organized home, but you’ll also have far less stress. Plus, you’ll be teaching your children how to live a clutter-free life, and that will serve them well over the years.