Kids room are notoriously famous for being hot messes.
And quite honestly, my kids’ rooms are not always magazine ready either.
So we’re all in this together!
The truth is that the state of my kids’ bedrooms vacillate between pretty picked up and tornado ravaged.
And it really depends on what else we have going on in our lives.
If it’s the middle of hockey season, I know time is tight, so I relax expectations on how their rooms look.
But the other factor is the specific child.
My kids are totally different: one could be a business partner and the other could be a client.
So as a parent, you really have to tailor your expectations to your child’s needs and personality, but there are some universal constants all kids can benefit to help keep their spaces organized and in good shape.
Let’s dive into 8 different ways to keep rooms organized!
Make a Place for Trash
Kids can clutter up a space with trash faster than a lightning bolt touches down.
So make it easy for them to throw things away in the right place.
The instant I added a trash can to my teenager’s room, we eliminated one layer of clutter and possibility for a mess.
You see, kids are overwhelmed with things to do and it seems that keeping their room free of random food wrappers, crumpled up school work and the like off the floor and other flat surfaces and is a tall order.
So make it easier on them by increasing the likelihood of success by adding a small trash can to their room.
Then, put them in charge of emptying it the night before trash collection.
Both are life skills they’ll need to successful adult, so get them started young and practicing on the daily.
If your community has a recycling program, maybe add a second can just for recycling so that recyclable materials stay separate from trash.
And this little hack also gives empty bottles and cans an instant home off of the floor!
Provide Storage for Toys and Books
Since more than clothes and shoes live in your child’s room, be sure to add dedicated storage space into the child’s bedroom so items don’t end up on the floor.
Use Open Top Storage Containers
Here’s a weird, but “fun” fact about kids that you may or may not have noticed: Kids don’t do lids on containers.
I haven’t yet figured out what’s up with that, but the fact remains that kids are less likely to put something away in a bin that has a lid.
And conversely, kids are more likely to put toys back into a container that has an open top.
Maybe they feel that dealing with the lid is an extra step too steep to overcome, but acknowledge this tendency.
Whatever the reason, go with the path of least resistance and choose containers without lids for your child’s room.
Since it’s hard to stack containers without lids, add a set of shelves to your child’s closet or in their room, as space permits.
This Closetmaid cube storage unit is a perfect solution for a child’s room since you can line up books or toys in the cube areas or slide a fabric bin into one of the 9 areas.
This unit will age well with your child since it’s structured, yet free space.
It can flex to accommodate toys, books, clothing and personal care items- pretty much whatever you need and it’s an inexpensive piece of furniture to boot.
Here’s a peek at a similar unit in my youngest’s room.
It’s a little crowded, but he keeps everything on the shelves and off the floor, so who’s to complain?
Declutter Everything on the Regular
In addition to the prevalence of bits of papers and food wrappers that are nothing more than trash, kids accumulate quite a bit of other sorts of clutter that should be dealt with on the regular.
Toys and books are two things they outgrow or get tired of, pretty frequently.
Both fall into the category of belongings that you should go through more than a few times a year since interests and free time change a few times throughout the year.
Carve out time to touch on a categories of toys and books each month, or whenever you feel that your child’s room is becoming more cluttered and disorganized than you or they’d like.
Right before birthdays and Christmas when an influx of new items will be coming in, are both super smart times to declutter books and toys.
Plus, the anticipation of new toys is a positive motivation for kids to let go of items they don’t play with anymore or are broken beyond repair.
They’ll let go of the old to make room for the new, usually with less argument since you can hold that carrot of shiny new things out in front of them.
Take advantage of this inclination and declutter freely to make room for what’s to come.
Group Like with Like
Next, be sure to follow the Golden Rule of organizing and make sure similar items are grouped together.
This works whether it’s athletic equipment, winter clothes, personal care items, books or toys.
It’s just easier to find things when similar items are kept together.
And in the case of kids, you can further put this rule in practice by grouping sizes of clothing together.
Especially if you have hand me down clothes, you’ll want to segregate the different sizes so that multiple sizes aren’t mingling together.
Sure, there will be some times when different clothing can flex over a few sizes, but clutter will be minimized when things aren’t jumbled together and sizes are kept separate.
In practice, this can look like keeping the next size up in a separate storage bin at the top of the closet, or at the back of the closet, ready to move up to a more accessible position once the time comes.
Declutter Clothing Seasonally
When the change of seasons roll around, do a quick clothing size check to ensure your kiddo can wear what’s in their closet and clear out anything that’s too small.
Keep bag in closet for clothing that they’ve outgrown.
Switch out kid hangers for adult hangers when they reach size 12.
Whether you’re hanging onto the small clothing to keep or pass along as hand-me-downs or donating to a charity, then have a bin or bag at the ready to add items to.
If you have room in the closet, then keep the container right in there so small items can be added after laundry day as your child outgrows the clothing.
Otherwise, corral the outgrown items in an accessible storage area and when full, get it to it’s intended recipient.
Be sure to label the bin with the sizes if you’re keeping the clothing for a younger sibling.
Here’s more guidance on how to organize hand me downs.
Especially for bins that aren’t clear, use labels to see what’s inside without having to peer inside.
Label at least three sides of the bins to ensure the label is always visible, no matter which side is sticking out.
Here are some great label options if you prefer a more polished look:
Labeling containers of toys make it easy to see where things live and can even help pre-readers gain familiarity with words as the clean up after playtime.
Making it clear where things live is one of the keystones to enable and empower your child to start cleaning up after themselves.
Gone will be any question as to what goes where since the label will be there to guide them.
Hurray to independence!
Set Sentimental Items Aside
With the exception of a very few items that are used for decorations, it’s really best to move sentimental items out of your child’s room, and into storage.
The storage can be temporary, since I’ve found that what my child once claimed to love and want for the rest of his life turned into something to be donated or given to a younger cousin once some time and space had been created. And he got a bit older and realized he couldn’t keep everything and he didn’t feel the same way about it.
Be intentional about carving out space for what your child is currently doing or interested in.
So while they may want to hang on to the partial set of Captain Underpants books, especially the autographed ones, they don’t need to hang out in his room.
Over to you!
And now you have eight more strategies for keeping your child’s room decluttered and organized.
Bonus points if you involve your kiddo when you use these strategies since this will lay a strong foundation for valuable life skills they’ll need going forward.
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