Children tend to create the biggest messes in the house and if the mess isn’t taken care of soon, another mess is created right on top of it. It’s a nasty cycle, and one that can very quickly get out of hand. The keys to organizing for kids are simplicity and repetition. Children aim to please so make it easy for them.
- Use containers that are light enough for a small child to carry: if a container is too big, too bulky, too heavy or too hard to open or close, a child won’t be able to easily pull it out or put it away without help.
- Colors that are attractive and fun: colors will grab a child’s attention and can also be used to sort items.
- Label everything: use pictures for very young children and words for children who have learned how to read.
- A system that is easy to understand: anything that might cause confusion will stop a child in their tracks.
- Constant reinforcement: until your child learns the system, you will need to offer up encouragement and give gentle reminders. It takes a while to create a habit.
- Designate a “donate” bin for old or outgrown toys, clothes or books. When it gets full, donate everything in it.
- Bring clothes down to their level and increase storage with a closet doubler.
- End those time consuming morning struggles by choosing the weeks outfits ahead of time. Have your child help pick the clothes out and keep them sorted in a hanging shelf unit.
- Make sure your child has a laundry hamper in their room. They’ll be able to take responsibility for getting their dirty clothes to the laundry room themselves. A lightweight hamper with handles would make the job even easier.
- Off-season clothes and hand-me-downs can be stored in the highest areas of the closet in clear bins. Label the bins appropriately by season or by size so you know you’re pulling the right container out when you need it.
- If bathroom storage is minimal or non-existent, you may want to assign a “bathroom basket” to each family member. In it, store everything needed: shampoo, conditioner, soap, tub toys, toothbrush, toothpatse, comb, etc. The basket can be kept in the child’s room and then carried to the bathroom when it’s needed.
- Fill a small lidded container with first aid supplies (adhesive bandages, antiseptic, gauze, small scissors). Keep one on each floor of your home.
Toy & Game Storage:
- Keep puzzles and small game pieces from becoming misplaced by sorting them in individual zip-top bags or use a project case for stackable storage.
- Toys such as building blocks, Tinker Toys®, train track pieces, and Lincoln logs® can be stored in clear containers. Stackable Large Show-off totes are perfect for toy storage with easy on and off lids, secure latches and strong handles.
- Video game systems, with their consoles, game boxes and accessories can create a lot of clutter. Provide a compact, dedicated space for them. If your consoles already have a permanent home, you can keep things under control by storing video game controllers and other accessories in a nearby basket.
- Sports equipment, stuffed animals and large play blocks can be contained in a large wire storage basket.
- Keep drawing materials and activity books in a notebook case or project case so you’ll always have a quiet activity for your child to do in the car.
- Use a carabiner hook to secure a backpack to the metal posts of a headrest. The backpack can hold snacks, favorite toys or small car-appropriate activities and will be within arms reach for your child.
School & Homework:
- Make the mornings easier by getting ready the night before. Make lunches, choose outfits and pack up the backpacks.
- Designate a place by the door for everything kids (and you) will need for the day. Mount hooks along the wall for coats, hats and bookbags. Keep a basket or bin nearby to hold gloves, scarves and mittens.
- Have a “snack basket” set up full of nutritious snacks they can choose from to ease those after-school hunger pangs.
- School creates a lot of paperwork. Unfortunately, there are a lot of pieces you (or your child) won’t want to get rid of – especially artwork. All the artwork that comes home from school can be stored in document holders. These boxes can be labeled with your child’s grade level and easily stacked on a shelf.