Day 18: Kids and Guest Rooms
Children’s rooms can be one of the most challenging rooms to not only organize… but keep that way. And much depends on the child’s age. Some are natural-born organizers, others are direct opposites. Only you can determine the best path toward an organized room keeping in clear view each child’s individual needs and disposition.
However, one thing I learned with my now teenager, is to make it fun. Putting away toys, hanging up clothes, tidying up their room — all of it. Make it a game, and reward often. Don’t allow unclean rooms and disorganized closets and toys become stumbling blocks in your relationship with your child.
That being said, even at a young age, basic organization can and should be taught. How well it takes, depends on the child. Organizational tools will follow them throughout life and it is important. But more important is their relationship with you.
Age Appropriate Organization
“Generally, toddlers enjoy being helpful and won’t see cleaning as work unless you make it sound like work,” says Donna Smallin, author of Cleaning Plain & Simple. “Keep an upbeat attitude, and make sure you give little ones lots of praise.”
Make it fun
Make it a game
Cleaning is a cooperative project
Store like items together
“Children in this age range love to get creative, and if you give them a challenge they’ll thrive on rising to the occasion,” says Tara Aronson, author of Mrs. Clean Jeans’ Housekeeping with Kids. “They can also start handling a lot more responsibility.”
Make it accessible
Give them responsibility
Establish limits for how much stuff can be kept in the room
Get creative with storage
“This is the age where you need to give your children even more responsibility for their possessions, as well as their choices,” says professional organizer and TV host Peter Walsh. “More and more, they’re making decisions about what they spend their money on, what’s valuable to them and what can be given to charity or sold.”
Teach organizational life skills
Let them help establish their own routines
Let them help choose organizational methods
For more specific ideas on age appropriate organizational ideas, read “Get Your Kids Organized at All Ages.”
A couple of my favorite books on child rearing with age appropriate responsibilities are:
A Toy Library
As with all the other rooms in your home, elimination will be key to an organized life for your kids. Chaos can be better controlled by setting some limits and boundaries.
One of the most effective ways of keeping toys organized, is to create a toy library. My mom taught me this trick… and it worked really well for us.
First, sort through all of their toys, eliminating broken toys, those that are missing parts and can’t be played with because of it, or toys they’ve outgrown or aren’t interested in. Remove them to either a trash bag or donation box.
Finally, box up half of them and put them away where they cannot be seen. Don’t store the box in a location that can be seen.
In a few months, return the toys you’ve left out (unless they are a favorite, everyday toy) and check out the “new” toys that have been in storage. Do this every few months, eliminating toys as they break or as a child loses interest or outgrows.
Consider Room Needs
Organize kids rooms around floor play space, keeping safety in mind always. Organize also from the bottom of the room to the top, keeping their height in mind, their daily use items, making it as simple as possible to put things away.
Needs in teen rooms change from when they were younger. Play space becomes study space. Optimize the study area by providing a desk that fits them, and drawers to keep their study tools organized. Shelves become very important, labeled containers to corral their stuff and peg boards, memo boards or bulletin boards are great places for reminders, events, and mementos.
The focus in this room is a comfortable bed and cozy linens. Be sure to include a clock in the room, some reading materials, ample task lighting, and a luggage rack is very helpful. Before guests arrive, stock the room with freshly laundered towels, a snack basket of items you know they’d like, some toiletries and bottles of water — and a small, fresh flower arrangement is always welcome!
How To Videos
How to Organize a Teen Closet — very insightful with great ideas for older kids!
Objective: To organize kids rooms by teaching age-appropriate organizational behavior and/or outfit a guest room.
• Create a Put-Away Box, a Donation Box and gather several trash bags.
• Remove all items that belong in other rooms and deposit into the Put Away Box.
• With the child’s help (age appropriate), quickly sort through all items in the room and determine whether to keep, toss or donate.
• Determine if there is another room to store toys.
• For the items that will be kept in the room, create functional storage bins, baskets, etc., and label everything!
• Clean the room thoroughly and launder all bed linens. Vacuum all corners and under the bed.
• If necessary, rearrange furniture to either create more floor space, study space or flow space for guests.
• Repeat steps with the closet, putting away items that belong in other rooms, eliminating clothing that is either worn out or no longer fits. Create easy-access functional storage for items stored in the closet.
GET THE BOOK:
Easy Steps to an Organized Life in 31 Days or Less (Amazon.com)
Kids and Guest Room Inspirations