When I asked my Facebook friends what I should do my next blog post on, several requested advice on keeping their kids, and their typically small rooms, organized. My first thought was, “I don’t have kids.” But then it came to me. I ran a community center with 70+ students for nine years in a very small building. What did I do to keep them engaged in keeping our space tidy? Here are my thoughts and research!
I know first and foremost that it is important for cleaning and organizing to be easy, convenient, routine (as in done regularly), and fun for both the children and the grown-ups!
EASY & CONVENIENT
To make organizing easy and convenient, use all the space you have. In small rooms, consider using the walls and under beds. Fellow organizer Liz Jenkins, of a fresh space, did a review for a product called Ball Claw that is a fun way to use wall space to organize toys. Another way is to use wall pockets, as long as they are placed low enough for your children to reach. Shelves with hooks are a one-two punch displaying items on top and hanging clothes or collectibles below. Under bed storage boxes slide in and out for easy access and can conveniently store smaller toys and collections (Legos & train sets anyone?).
For organizing to be convenient for the kids, make sure everything has a well-marked “place”. Clear containers or containers labeled with pictures and words make it easy for small ones to put things away in their appropriate place. Containers that they can reach into easily can also encourage them to take the initiative to pick up behind themselves. So keep bins and containers lower to the ground. Store any items not used often or fragile at the top of a closet.
ROUTINE & FUN
Here are some ideas to keep organizing with your children fun and part of a routine.
- Set some ground rules. When you are done playing with something, it goes away before a new toy comes out.
- Set aside a time each day, no more than 10 minutes, before bed or baths to put things away in their appropriate “home”. Doing a little bit every day is so much easier than waiting until it’s out of control and tackling it.
- Go through toys with your children and help them pick out ones they don’t play with anymore and would like to donate to those who may not have nice toys. And clothing, too. I would encourage you to do this once a year minimally.
- Consign items that your children have grown out of or don’t use anymore. Use the money for something fun!What ideas do you have? Leave our readers your tips in the comments section!