Being organized for kids is something, like good manners and gratefulness, that needs to be taught. Of course, the best way to teach kids organization skills is to lead by example but that has its own challenges. Sometimes it is actually easier to organize someone else instead of yourself and having an organized child will make your life as a parent much easier.
Here is an example of a kid’s closet that I worked on recently. This lovely young lady had a closet, most likely the coat closet, all to herself for her crafts and creative projects. As you can see, it was needing some attention as I was afraid all of its contents were going to tumble out on me when I opened the door.
Here are 5 quick tips for organizing children, all used in this one closet:
- Clear out what is not being used. Kids like to amass their toys but they don’t actively play with everything. Keep what is being used and loved and put away (for a rainy day or donate) what isn’t being used. In this closet I found a lot of toys that this child had outgrown in the piles. These were set aside in a separate box for donation but your child should clear these things out on a regular basis.
- Keep toys and arts and crafts accessible to your kids. Don’t store things for them on high shelves. Unless you want them pulling out chairs and other pieces of furniture to climb on, just keep their things at their level. Save yourself ER visits.
- Label where things go. Actually, this set of drawers had been labeled but she had outgrown a lot of the toys that were in here so that gave us room to move things around and relabel what goes where. This alone eliminates the “I don’t know where it goes” excuse for not putting up toys. If your kids are not reading yet, use colored boxes or containers and pictures as labels. You can print out clip art, cut pictures out of magazines, or try your hand at drawing the picture on a notecard to tape on to the drawer or box. Super achievers can take digital pictures, print them out, and attach them to the appropriate drawer or container.
- Keep similar items together. Activity books go together as do pencils, markers, colored pencils, and paper. Tape, glue, paperclips all go together. You’ll have to look at what you have and find the categories that bind like items together. A professional organizer can help you with this as well :-). This will make it so much easier for your child to find the right medium to express their creative inspirations!
- Go through things regularly. This can be a task that you do with your child to make it a little more fun. Find out what they want to keep and what have they outgrown. Make them a part of the donation process so they get to choose which toys or books get passed on to needy children. Interests do change and the fact that they haven’t played with a toy since taking it out of the box is a good indication that it should go to someone who would like to play with it. If the whole family is going through their closets to find donations, it can be more enjoyable as a group activity.
This is the cleaned closet with probably 75% less stuff in it. The drawers are clean, with the contents clearly labeled. Everything in the drawers is currently being used and loved and can be easily retrieved. I was able to re-use the drawers they already had which was a great way of saving money, too. I have a happy client and they have a happy, organized child,