It’s been almost a month since Christmas day, and I bet there are a few of you out there who are still trying to figure out what to do with all the new Christmas loot; all the extra dolls and trucks, art and craft supplies. Maybe it has all made its way to the playroom, but you’re spending way too much time picking it up off the floor too often, all while wishing that your child could find a place to put their things and keep them tidy. Sound like a familiar situation? It’s a common one, and one that is on the list of most of my clients who are parents. Here are some tips and solutions to get you on your way to building an organized home and teach your kids independence and responsibility at the same time.
1. This is the perfect time of year to teach your child about empathy and the importance of helping others. Every year after Christmas and birthdays, I give my kids each a basket and have them go through their toys and fill it with things they don’t play with anymore and are still in good enough condition for another child to love. They’re learning a wonderful lesson, and the bonus is that your house will remain uncluttered.
2. Implement systems that your child can maintain. Don’t put their favourite games on the highest shelf that they can’t reach, or organize so precisely that they can’t figure out how to do it again (I admit that I’ve done this in the past – luckily my husband pointed it out!) – i.e. Alphabetising books for a 3 year old – as long as she’s putting them on the shelf – you’re winning, no matter what order they’re in.
3. Use all the available space. Space is invaluable in a child’s room. Use the space under the bed. Put boxes filled with toys on rollers and tuck them under the bed for all the function of a toy box without giving up the space.
4. LABEL IT – I love to label things! It’s so easy to keep a system going if it’s clear to everyone at the beginning where things belong. Make sure to use words AND pictures, so even the tiniest tots can feel proud of their great tidying up work.
5. Organize up. If you don’t have a ton of space, use your vertical space. It can be as simple as a bookshelf with baskets, or a pegboard on the wall to hang small bins and jars. Use all the space you have to keep your room clutter free.
6. A child’s bedroom closet is not just for clothes. Closet organizers are especially great for a child’s bedroom (or any other room really). Many bedroom closets have 2 swing doors. Why not store all of their craft & art supplies on the back of the door with a shoe organizer like this one? It has clear pouches so your child can see exactly what’s inside and it keeps everything in its own neat compartment; store scissors, glue, pencil crayons, markers, beads, pipe cleaners, etc. Hang it the inside of the closet door and then everything can be tucked away out of sight. A hanging closet organizer like this one is great for dolls and stuffies. They all get a buddy or two to share a cubby with and all the dolls are tucked away and off the floor.
7. Make it portable. This is key if you want to keep all of your child’s toys and belongings in their bedroom or playroom… but they love to hang out in the kitchen with you and draw while you cook supper. Give them a basket with all their supplies so that they can bring it to another room for a short time and then put it away again when they’re finished. Just make sure that it’s small enough for them to carry easily on their own.
8. Use whimsical storage containers. Use cookie jars and old fashioned candy jars on the kitchen counter for crayons and art supplies. If your kids are anything like mine, they want to do crafts all day long. It’s great that they are so creative, but there can be constant clutter. This is a super cute way to keep everything organized and accessible.
Remember when you’re finding solutions, don’t forget to ask the kids what they think. If they’ve been involved in the planning, they’ll be more excited to carry it on, and hopefully pick up their own toys tomorrow, and all the days after! Happy organizing!
Wendy Monaghan, Interior Decorator and owner of Link Interiors, creates homes where life and style co-exist with flare. She believes that a functional space allows families to have more quality time together and that children and all of their stuff can live in a beautiful home. She is the mother of 2 fabulous HRM girls, aged 7 & 4. For more information or to contact Wendy, visit her website, www.linkinteriors.ca
* photos of crayon jar and under bed storage from, designer Holly Mathis