Whether it's the playroom or the bedroom, the spaces in your home set aside for your kids can get crowded with toys, clothes and clutter. Use these 10 tips to help your minis get the maximum enjoyment out of their play areas.
Corral Your Child’s Chaos With Organization Solutions
“Clean your room!” is the constant cry of frustrated parents overwhelmed with cluttered kids’ spaces. Taking time to organize thoroughly can help your kids learn to pick up after themselves.
- Clear out anything that isn’t in current use. From seasonal clothing to sporting equipment, items that aren’t in use become clutter, especially when space is at a premium. Store out-of-season playthings, such as beach balls in the winter, with your out-of-season clothing.
- Box up items that aren't today’s favorites, and store them somewhere out of sight for a month or two. Then, pull out the box of toys, and switch them out with whatever playthings your child is currently ignoring. You’ll keep extra toys off the floor, and your children will be excited to get new things.
- Use this decluttering project as an opportunity to teach your children the value of sharing. Toys that are no longer favorites and clothes that no longer fit can become treasures for less fortunate children. Involving your kids in the process is a great way to teach this lesson.
- Resist the urge to tackle the kids’ room on your own. While it might be easier to clean without the help of your children, involving them will help them learn to keep their rooms clean long-term. By partnering with your kids instead of treating them like part of the problem, you create an opportunity to help them understand how to maintain an organized room.
- Make room-cleaning into a game to keep it exciting for your kids. Encourage them to find toys that they haven’t seen for a while. Help them see the beauty in decluttering by showing them how much more fun art supplies are, for example, when you can easily access paints, crayons, scissors and other creative tools. If the process is pleasure instead of punishment, telling your kids to clean their rooms won’t be such a pain.
- Place books near reading spots. Add an adjustable shelving unit along the wall next to a beanbag chair, and store favorite paperbacks on a lower, more accessible shelf. Keep a few favorite books in a basket, or put them in a colorful plastic bin next to the bed, making them handy for bedtime stories. As your child grows, adjust the shelves upward and replace the beanbag with a comfortable chair.
- Divide toys into several categories, such as outside, upstairs and downstairs. Keep similar items together — all the toy soldiers in one bin, clay and crayons in another — so that you won’t need to have all the bins open on the floor at the same time. Label storage bins with the corresponding word and a picture label so the contents can be identified easily.
- Move hard-to-store items, such as sporting equipment, out of the child’s room whenever possible. Keep sports equipment on shelves, but adapt them to prevent balls from rolling off. Buy an organizing rack for the garage to store long, short, and round toys. These specially designed racks have hooks and shelves to hold everything from tennis rackets to soccer balls and in-line skates.
- Keep a toy bin in the family room, so everything has its own place if you have a two-story home. If you use a toy chest with a lid, make sure it has safety hinges so that the lid won’t fall on small hands or trap little explorers inside.
- Store computers and video game consoles, whenever possible, in appropriate desks or entertainment centers to prevent an overflow of controllers, cords and other accessories. Find one with shelves and drawers for stashing game cartridges, accessories, CDs and DVDs. Convert a full-sized entertainment center to game central if you also need space to store a large TV along with shelves for a DVD player or game console. Consider one with drawers or cabinets for stowing accessories, and look for centers set on removable casters for mobility.