What’s the most annoying thing in your home? Probably the sight of your kid's bedroom a few hours after you just cleaned it. There’s food everywhere, toys all over the floor and sometimes a bad smell.
But with every season comes renewed optimism and a chance to get more organized and make your kids’ bedroom somewhere you wouldn’t mind spending a few moments yourself.
Here’s what to do to help your child clean up and organize their space.
Create A Maintenance Routine
In general, there are two types of cleaners. There are cleaners who do their utmost to stay on top of the mess, tidying up at regular intervals. And there are cleaners who don’t bother, let the mess pile up and then have one almighty clean up every month.
The latter approach is okay if you don’t have kids. But constant peaks and valleys in cleanliness are actually confusing for children. They have no idea whether they’re coming or going or whether a clean or messy room is normal. Remember, a month is a long time in the life of a child.
It’s a good idea to help kids to break the clean/messy cycle. You can do this by building tidying up into your family routine. Putting toys away after using them should eventually feel natural to your children. Make this easier by having big tubs and boxes they can easily put their stuff into. Also, get them into the habit of making their bed, as this will help them be tidier in other areas of their life.
Most kids have so many toys and clothes that not even their parents know where everything should go. This is why parents should buy simple graphic labels for their children so that they know where all of their items belong. Labels make it easy to quickly tidy up and put things away in boxes.
Having labels is also good because it helps children get used to reading. If you’ve got young children, try using large font tags and get them to match up objects to these labels. If your kids are really young or can’t read, then you can always go on the computer and print out pictorial labels for drawers, tubs, and wardrobes.
Labels can transform tidying up from a chore into a game. You can play “match the label” to help make tidying up more fun.
Organize From The Bottom Up
As adults, we see the world from an adult’s eye view. But to really empathize with our kids and help them keep the house tidy, we need to see things from their perspectives. There’s no point imploring our children to store toys on top of a chest of drawers if they can’t reach them. A much better idea is to investigate storage options.
IKEA furniture is currently being sold at a discount through sites like DontPayFull.com. A lot of this furniture can be adapted for kids. Things like toy chests and plastic boxes are a great idea to help bring storage down to child’s eye-level.
Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from going vertical if you’re low on space. But just remember to store rarely used toys higher up, leaving the most frequently used items closer to ground level.
Make Things Harder To Pull Out And Easier To Put Away
If toys are hard to pull out, kids will play with fewer of them. And if they play with fewer of them, your house will be less cluttered.
A good example of this in action is to store books in a flip file. A child can make a mess from a bookcase in a matter of seconds, simply by pulling out lots of books all at once. But it’s much harder to make a mess when books are all stored together in a flip file. Books have to be pulled out one at a time, meaning that it is less likely that the child will wind up with books strewn all over the floor around them.
Get Your Kid Involved In The Process
According to Organizedhome.com, kids should be brought into the process of organizing the home. The problem with the approach of most parents is that they try to impose their will on their kids, imploring them to tidy their rooms through gritted teeth. All this does is create ongoing family conflict and doesn’t really address the problem. Parents who use threats like “if you don’t tidy this room I’ll hit you fare even worse.” The child simply rebels and isn’t interested in helping the parent.
A solution that can break the cycle of violence is to get the child involved in keeping their own room tidy. Giving them ownership over their own space means that they’re much more likely to keep it clean of their own accord.
According to Julie Morgenstern, moms should view themselves as professional organization consultants when they are talking to their children about their rooms. It’s not about admonishing them for not keeping them tidy. It’s about finding out why the rooms aren’t tidy and what could be done about it. This sort of conversation encourages the child to offer their own solutions which they can them implement. Partnering with your child, Morgenstern says, is much more likely to lead to a satisfactory outcome than just forcing them to do what you say because you are bigger than they are.
Store And Simplify
Built-in storage is becoming a must for many growing families. But it’s no use unless it’s organized. Moms need to take a stepwise approach. First of all, go into the closet and find all those items which are simply taking up space, not doing anything important. You’ll find all sorts of old rubbish in here that kids don’t use anymore. Next, start sifting through old clothes. It’s unlikely your child still needs the clothes that they had when they were a toddler, so get rid of them. Finally, find all the seasonal toys and store them away in the attic until the relevant season comes around. Summer toys can be stored in the shed.