It’s one thing to get yourself organized…
It’s an entirely different challenge to organize your kids!
And while organizing ourselves isn’t always a piece of cake, at least we have control over what’s happening in the kitchen, bathrooms, and other main living spaces. But when it comes to the toy room or the kids’ bedrooms, the clutter can add up fast, and it can be unclear where to draw the line with kids’ stuff.
Many clients ask me:
Should I involve the kids in the organizing process?
Is it ok for me to get rid of their things without asking them?
And the million dollar question…once they are organized, is there a magic formula to KEEP it that way?
While there is no right answer when it comes to making decisions about your kids stuff, it’s important that you feel morally aligned with whatever strategy you follow. However, I often say that until children can take full responsibility for themselves, they don’t have full autonomy over their spaces.
As they grow and gradually take greater ownership of their lives, their stewardship over their belongings increases. But as long as they are dependent on you for the fundamentals, you have some rights concerning what you allow into your home, and the state in which they keep their things. What exactly that looks like varies in each circumstance.
One thing is for certain, however. Almost every kid I’ve come across needs some help knowing how to organize their stuff. And a little bit of organizing strategy and some good containers will go a long way!
Keep reading below or watch my segment on FRESH LIVING where I share some of my top tips on this topic.
Just like us with our stuff, they have too much. Part of the solution is reducing the clutter. When going through their things (either together or on your own) consider these questions:
Has it been used it or worn in the last year? If not, it’s got to go.
Is it broken? Empty? Expired? If yes, GTG (got to go.)
Is it helpful or does it make you happy to use it? No?…GTG.
The other part of the solution is corralling all the stuff with good containers. Here are some popular options:
Clothing and Closets
Hooks are the go-to for jackets, robes, hats, belts. You are far more likely to get kids to hang things on hooks than hangers.
This is the only way to store underwear, socks, swimsuits, etc. Folding or rolling clothes also helps utilize space, as well as allowing kids more visibility into what is in their piles.
Tubs for off season clothing
There is no sense in negotiating around swimsuits, flip flops and tank tops in the winter, or sweats, jeans and coats in the summer. Simplify their closets by keeping off-season clothing stored on shelves at the top of their closet. And be sure to weed out clothes they have outgrown. It is impossible to keep a closet or dresser organized when it contains the clutter of clothes that are never worn.
Over the door shoe holder.
These are perfect for shoes, underwear, socks, jewelry, hair bows, toys with little parts, crafts…
Multi-Purpose Bins from the Container Store.
Books, notebooks, papers, art supplies, old homework – you name it! Multi-Purpose Bins come in a variety of sizes from small to extra large, and you can never have too many of them!
Shoe boxes from the Container Store.
You can get them in varying sizes in many different brands, but I love the consistency and price of the shoe boxes from The Container Store. Organize Legos, art supplies and other toys with a lot of pieces.
Clothes hamper and garbage can.
It might seem like a no-brainer, but never underestimate the importance of having these containers in each bedroom – and training the kids to use them. This is a simple way to keep obvious clutter at a minimum.
Kids love keepsakes, but it is always important when it comes to sentimental items to have strong boundaries. Provide them with a generously-sized container that slides under the bed and allow them to fill it up with their treasures (non-living and not food-related, of course.)
When the container gets full, teach them how to let go by taking pictures of something rather than keeping the original, and coach them about how we become more detached to things over time.
Momentos, trophies, etc.
Some things are too special to stick in a special box…and the kids are going to literally bombard their rooms with them. Create a zone for these special items, and contain them within a single shelf or set of shelves.