Few people are born organizers, so it’s up to parents to help kids organize their rooms. Notice the word help, though.
It might be faster doing it for them while they’re at school, for instance, but they won’t learn anything about taking care of their stuff.
Although it takes time and commitment to work as a team when you organize kids’ rooms, it pays off when they can take over the task. Once they’ve mastered their bedrooms, they’ll be able to help elsewhere around the house, too.
Tips to Help Organize Kids Rooms
1. Choose Kid-Friendly Furnishings
Ruffled pillows, bed canopies, and billowing curtains may look fantastic in a celebrity’s kid’s room, but they’re not practical for the average child. (Unless you happen to employ a bevy of maids and nannies to keep it all clean like the celebs do. No? Me, either.)
Instead of using adult-sized furniture or decor, opt for kid-friendly surfaces. All the effort to organize kids’ rooms won’t matter a thing if the rest of it looks torn up. Look for finishings and textures which are washable and will withstand rough and tumble play or crafts.
- Painted wood furnishings
- Plastic storage containers
- Built-in storage that can withstand rough handling
- Hard flooring with washable area rugs
- Vinyl or wood blinds, or washable curtains
- Glass topped or mirrored furniture
- Light-colored or wall-to-wall carpeting
- Silk, velvet, damask, jacquard or other dry-clean-only fabrics
2. Make Bed-Making A Snap
Get your child into the habit of making their bed by swapping the top sheet and comforter for a covered European-style duvet.
All they have to do is pull the duvet up and, voila, the bed’s made. On laundry day, all you have to wash is the cover. Putting it back on is easy once you know the California Roll trick.
3. Keep Storage Easy to Use
Decorative straw baskets with chalkboard labels might look appealing to you, but they make it more difficult for kids to keep their rooms organized.
Take a tip from kindergarten teachers and use see-through, open storage solutions for very young children. Being able to see where things go makes it easier for them to put toys away.
By the time they’re pre-teens, grouping things together will be second-nature. That’s when switching to baskets or other more decorative containers works best. (Related: How to Organize Your Child’s Room.)
4. Store Things at Kid Height
Get down on your knees and take a look around your child’s play area from their point of view.
- Make sure the toys they play with most often are on the most easily accessible shelves.
- Use upper shelves to hold things that require your supervision — like paints or that craft set with a gazillion tiny beads that get spread all over the place.
- Provide open, see-through storage bins to hold small toys, so they don’t turn into cluttered piles on the floor.
5. Gather the Stuffed Animals
Many kids have dozens of stuffed animals, even if they only play with one or two.
Rather than letting their collection take over, tidy them up with a bed of their own. A pet bed or even a doll’s bed works great for this. Or install a stuffed animal hammock like this one.
6. Schedule the Week’s Clothes
Searching for something to wear every day quickly turns closet space into a mess. Make a habit of picking out the week’s outfits for both school and play on Sunday.
- Using hangers with clips (like these), you can hang shirts, pants, underwear, and even socks together in the closet.
- For more casual outfits, roll everything together and store them in a dresser drawer or hanging shoe organizer.
7. Display Books, Don’t Stack Them
Piles of books get knocked over too easily. If bookshelves aren’t an option in your child’s room, try making book racks from rain gutters. Having the covers facing outward encourages your child to pick up a book and read, too.
8. Use the Space Under the Bed
Using the space under the bed for storage stops kids from stashing dirty dishes and trash down there. Out-of-season clothing, holiday decorations, spare linens, and gift-wrapping supplies are all good candidates.
Opt for clear containers or else label the boxes as well as the lids, so you can easily find what you’re looking for without having to pull out everything. Then, use a bed skirt to keep those storage containers hidden and make the room look tidier, too.
9. Clear out the Excess
You could buy more containers for what’s left then try to find space for them. Or you could help your child decide what it’s time to let go of and sell or donate the excess.
Some strategies that work:
- Explain that getting rid of things they don’t play with often makes their room easier to clean.
- Tell them that having too many toys means there’s no room for new ones.
- Point out that toys need to be loved, so giving away things they’re no longer crazy about gives the toy a chance to find a home with someone who is.
10. Take a Picture
Once your child’s bedroom is clean and organized, take pictures. LOTS of pictures.
Photograph the insides of the closet and drawers, the table or nightstand, and any other storage spaces you use. Don’t forget to take one from the bedroom door, too.
Print all the photos on one page and hang it on the back of your child’s bedroom door where they can easily see it. This way, your child can see themselves where things belong. And the next time they clean their room, they’ll know how it’s supposed to look.