10 Tips to Help Kids Organize Their Rooms

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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

Clean and organized kids bedroom with pink and white accents on bed and dollhouse

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.

YES

  • 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

NO

  • 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.

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.

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22 Comments

  1. Raising The Capable Student says:

    Excellent point! Some people are not born with the ability to organize, but they can be taught!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Very true. It’s a skill I work on every day with my teenager. LOL

  2. Erin @ Stay At Home Yogi says:

    I was not taught how to clean and organize by my parents and often felt overwhelmed by being told to “go clean your room!” I really want to empower my kids to clean and organize independently and this post is full of amazing tips. The checklist, the photos, I love it all. Definitely pinning, thanks! πŸ™‚

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! Please know you’re not alone: many people’s parents didn’t teach them to clean house or organize. It’s never too late to learn, though, and you’re doing your kids a wonderful service by teaching them. Well done!

  3. Bookmarking this post for future reference. Our kids watched us spend yesterday cleaning the refrigerator and freezer as we worked days two and three of your book. We’ve got a few things left to complete days 1-3, but I’m ecstatic that we’re off to such a good start. I really hope that the kids will gradually appreciate having a clean home as we continue to work our way through the process. Sadly, they’ve never lived in one before. I intend to set the example before including them more in the process.

    I learned of your book via Glenn Reynolds, and posted my intent to buy it and see if we could once and for all turn things around. So far so good. Your plan makes sense and is spelled out in great detail. Thanks to you and Glenn for the inspiration.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you’re finding my book helpful, Louis! Hopefully, you’ll be able to get the kids to pitch in soon, too. If you have any questions about something you read in the book don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m happy to help (so long as I don’t have to do the cleaning myself).

  4. Kristy as Giftie Etcetera says:

    Oh, I have one of those sweater sorters hanging around. What a great idea for stuffed animals!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Well, I use the sweater sorter for the week’s clothing and a net hung in the corners for stuffed animals, but whatever works for you is good!

  5. Mary-the boondocks blog says:

    These are all really great ideas. I remember when mine were young they would strew the books all over the floor…

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Oh yes, the books everywhere are so annoying. We want to encourage our kids to read, obviously, but when they leave books in a mess they tend not to bother reading them at all.

  6. Heather Jacobs says:

    I did most of this but I love the idea of taking a picture so they know what it should look like thanks for sharing on Keep it Simple. I am off to take pictures.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      That picture really makes a big difference in their ability to do it themselves. I used to take pictures of other rooms in the house after I cleaned them, too. Then when my kids made big messes I could show them the pictures and tell them to pick up their stuff so the room looked the way I’d left it.

  7. Christine says:

    These are great tips! I will definitely be using them with my little. Thanks for sharing on Meetup Monday!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thank you for hosting, Christine!

  8. These are great ideas! My 9 year olds room needs an organizational make over. I found you at Homemade Tuesday, thanks for the tips πŸ™‚

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re welcome! 9 is one of those messy ages where kids need all the help they can get. Hope you found some inspiration in this entry. πŸ™‚

  9. My kids are nearly teens and we still struggle with keeping a clean room. They have so much stuff! Getting them to part with it is a chore unto itself.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I feel your pain. When my daughter was a teen it was a non-stop battle getting her to at least keep her room from turning into a biohazard. She’s now one of the cleanest, most organized people I know. I have high hopes for my teenage son because of that but, oh, the battles we have!

    2. Oh mine also

  10. Katie Berry says:

    Hi Anita, thank you for visiting!

  11. Erin @ Nourishing My Scholar says:

    I have several sweater sorters hanging around unused! Time to put them to good use with stuffed animals. Thanks so much for the tips! #MMBH

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re welcome!

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