I often encounter clients who have no problem keeping their homes clean and organized – except for the kids’ spaces! Whether it’s a playroom, basement, or the kids’ bedroom, these areas are often hard to get – and keep – organized, especially if you’re a working Mom! Here are some easy tips for simplifying the toys, clothes and artwork that your precious ones accumulate!
- Involve the children! Make them a part of the process. By including them in the decision making (what stays, what goes), they will not only feel less apprehensive about some of their stuff going, it will teach them stewardship and responsibility, and the joys of giving to others.
- Create 3 staging boxes or bins: Give Away, Throw Away, and Sell. If you have more than 1 room or area that you’re working on, take a laundry basket with you as you work, and remove everything that’s going in one of those bins. Put them in a central location, and don’t sort the items into them until you’ve finished gathering up the items from around the house.
- As you decide (with your child) what to keep and what to get rid of, ask questions such as “Is it broken or in disrepair?” (toss) “Is it too small/young/unused?” (give away or sell) “Has my child played with it within the last 6 months?” (if no, give away or sell)
- Once you’ve pared down the items to those you are keeping, do any cleaning that needs to be done (start at the top of the room, working your way down and around in a clockwise direction).
- If you’re lucky enough to have a designated playroom or basement just for your kids, make sure you don’t overload it just because you have the room. There are some great storage options available to fit any budget and any style. (Look at places like Target, Wal-Mart, IKEA, and Pottery Barn for a wide variety of options.)
- If you don’t have a separate area, keep the toys in your child’s room rather than in a family room or kitchen. Label the storage bins clearly with the items that go in them (I.e. Puzzles, Action Figures, etc.) or use pictures if your child is too young to read. That way your child learns to put his own toys away when done with them, and the clutter doesn’t end up all over your family living space!
- Realize that you only need to keep what your child can reasonably play with. Just because he likes trains doesn’t mean he needs to keep 25 different train sets or books or videos! Help him choose his 3 or 4 favorite ones, and think how much pleasure another child might get from the others.
- If you have a vast collection of your child’s artwork, you might be hesitant to pare this down. Personally made things are very difficult to get rid of, but keeping too many of them only adds to the confusion and clutter. Consider laying out the artwork, and taking a few pictures, and making a scrapbook or framing a collage of the pictures. Keep the best 2 or 3 pieces of artwork- let your child help choose the ones he or she likes – and then let the others go.
- Kids’ closets can easily become a disaster area! Help them learn to sort by color and type, and make sure they can reach the area where clothes hang, or the drawers where clothes are folded and kept.
Once you’ve gotten all of the areas sorted and organized, make it a weekly project with your child to KEEP it that way! Make it a game, and don’t be afraid to reward your child (in non-monetary ways) for following through with whatever task you give them to help with. For more information about decluttering, organizing and cleaning any area of your home or office, please visit my website at www.putsimplyorganizing.wordpress.comor sign up for my blog at
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