A kids room that stays clean? You’ve got to be kidding me. That would be a miracle, wouldn’t it? Well, it’s not a miracle, it’s just common sense. If you spend some time with your child organizing their room, it can get clean and stay clean without a whole lot of nudging. Let’s start by having a place for everything they own. If they own too much, well, you’ll see.
1. The first category we’ll tackle is toys. Does your child have so many toys there’s no place for them? Is the floor an impenetrable obstacle course of Legos or Barbie dolls? Here’s your solution. Get your child a toy-box of a reasonable size. Have your child put all the toys it can hold into it, beginning with his or her favorites. Give the rest of the toys to charity. If your child has a computer or TV in their room (which I don’t recommend) make a clear, organized space for it.
2. Next we’ll talk about clothes. Have your child pick out clothes the same way they picked out toys. Put clothes into dresser or closet favorites first. Stop when you get to 24 everyday outfits and 5 dressy outfits (or when you run out of room or clothes). Sort through underclothes and socks. Weed out all the holy ones. Keep the rest in a designated location. Give all the leftover clothes to charity or throw them away if worn too badly.
3. If your child has no book shelf, go ahead and purchase a small one. Fill the shelves with books. If you have space, use the other shelves for boxes of pictures or picture albums, and a few decorative items. Once again, have your child choose favorites of these items. If they don’t fit, they go to charity. Remember, the main reason for clutter is owning too much.
4. Let’s talk about walls. Cork bulletin boards are great for organizing photos of friends or pinning notes to. If you purchase a combination board with either a chalkboard or dry erase board, your child will have a place to leave messages or doodle away without wasting paper. Frame pictures of family members, posters or your child’s artwork. You know, all the stuff you’ve been meaning to frame. Get it up on the wall where it belongs. If your child has a collection, mount shelves to house it on.
5. There are other must-have organizers for children. First up is an extra large laundry basket. No more clothes on the floor. On the back of the closet door, hang a shoe organizer. No closet? Buy an under-bed shoe holder. Fill it up and give the extra shoes to charity. If your child has a hobby such as baseball or drawing, be sure to have an organizational object that will hold those items.
6. Now tidy up and instruct. Sweep and mop or vacuum. Make the bed. Tell your child where everything goes. Go over it in great detail. Be sure your child knows that a messy room will lead to more loss of property. Have your child show you where every item belongs and what he or she is expected to do with clothes, toys, etc. after use. Close the door and walk away. Your job is done.
More from this contributor:
Five ways to teach your child not to make a mess
Parental battles: Clean freak vs. slob
Are You Enabling Your Child to Misbehave?