Organized spaces can impart an impression of calm and order while messy, disorderly spaces can feel chaotic and unsettling. Even kids intuitively sense this. We can teach kids how to keep their own spaces tidy with some simple organizing tips. Exploring these strategies together with a child can be a fun learning activity for both kids and adults!
- Reduce clutter. Begin by getting rid of anything that is no longer needed. This could include outgrown clothes or toys that are unused or broken. Items in good condition can be donated. Everything else can be thrown out. Sort clothes by season, keeping out-of-season clothes separate from clothes currently in use.
- Consider the kid. Next, consider your child’s space from their point of view. It may be easier for a small child to take out and put away clothes and toys in clear or open bins on the floor rather than adult-sized dresser drawers or closets. Closet doors can be removed and drawers replaced with small, kid-height storage bins. If there are toys that occasionally travel to different rooms, look for a storage bin with wheels. Keeps similar items together in several smaller bins rather than dumping everything into a giant toy chest where things can easily get lost or broken.
- Start at the bottom. The most frequently used items and toys should be easiest to access. Start with the most popular items at kid-height, then work your way up. Toys and other belongings used less often can be stored on higher shelves. Out-of-season clothes can be stored higher up as well. Things that can get really messy or might require supervision, such as paints and art supplies, can be stored on high shelves out of reach.
- Use lots of labels. Once you and your child set up all the separate storage bins for clothing, toys and other items, make sure to label everything to remember what goes where. For younger children, bright graphic labels can be used to denote where items belong. Pictures of shirts, socks, blocks or dolls remind the child where things get stored. For older children, labels with words can help with simple reading skills.
- Set a routine. Create a routine with your child to maintain order and to become accustomed to tidying up regularly. This can help prevent messes from accumulating and avert the frustration of having too much to clean up at once. You can help your child maintain a schedule of morning and evening routines for straightening the bed and putting away bedclothes in the mornings and putting away the day’s clothes, toys and books in the evenings.
Keeping kids’ rooms organized can enhance everyone’s feelings of serenity and calm. Kids learn to be responsible for their belongings and develop a sense of assurance in their own space with the confidence that they always know what is on hand and where to find what they need right away.