As a mom of three, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to organize children’s rooms and their toys. I’ve found that setting children up with kid-friendly, manageable systems makes life so much less stressful.
One of the first things we have done in every home we’ve lived in has been to set up three zones for the kids’ activities.
Create a zone for sleeping, reading books and dressing. Create a second one for toys and a third one for crafts or schoolwork. If we mixed any of those activities into one room or one small area, chaos was likely to break out.
Next we set up each of the spaces with an organized system.
Bedrooms needed a comfortable bed, a reading light and bookshelf for books, and an organized system for clothes. The creative/learning zone needed a child-friendly table or desk and a place to store school and art supplies. And lastly, the toy area needed an easy system for managing age-appropriate toys, games and puzzles.
Even in a small house with three kids and not a lot of extra rooms, we were able to carve out a designated space for toys.
We utilized a rotation system for toys and games. If we gave the kids too many toys at one time we were asking for trouble. Not only would they get overwhelmed and not know what to play with, but the room would become a mess of toy parts and game pieces on a daily basis.
Tip: If your kids have too many toys, pack up at least half of the toys and put them in a clearly labeled storage box in the garage or another part of the house. Put a note on your calendar to rotate toys periodically. Your kids will be thrilled when they re-discover toys they love and you’ll be happier that there is less for them to clean up every day.
For toy organization, I prefer short, cube-style bookcases (bolted to the wall for safety) with pull out bins. Chalkboard labels are easy to update as the interests and toys change over time. If you find that your child plays mostly with one type of toy, such as LEGOs, you might decide to set up an entire zone dedicated to that toy to make playtime and clean up easier and more enjoyable.
Our kids could keep several stuffed animals in their bed and only a few others they played with in the toy area. If the toys were collectibles, they’d have to be hung in a net or displayed on a separate bookshelf away from the regular toys.
Tip: Be sure to weed out little used toys or stuffed animals regularly. By using the rotating toy system, your kids will become less attached to “stuff” they don’t really need and they’ll likely be more willing to share with others.
I really wanted to instill a love of creativity in my children so we always had a well-stocked craft area.
With a designated craft area we were able to break up the day and encourage the kids to focus some time on creative efforts. This zone can also serve as a homework station, so it is important to have a good-sized work surface, ample lighting and organized supplies.
Once we had the kids’ toys, art and schoolwork zones set up in other parts of the house, their bedroom organization became so much easier.
Since clothing is the biggest contributor to a disorganized bedroom, eliminating outgrown clothes on a regular basis and setting up an easy to manage system for clean, dirty and outgrown clothing was important.
We used plastic totes on the top shelves of their closet for clothes they were not yet able to wear (such as hand-me-downs or things for another season or upcoming sporting equipment). By clearly labeling the bin with the season or age of the clothing, we knew when it was time to take it down and were able to add items to the appropriate bin. We kept a box in the garage for clothes they outgrew. As things became too small, we’d toss them in the box and then when the box was full we would donate them or pass them on to another child.
Socks were the No. 1 clothing item we struggled with losing and organizing, so we made the decision to only buy one type of sock for each child. This made putting socks away and matching up pairs so much easier and less stressful!
Tip: When you put away kids’ school clothes, hang pants and coordinating shirts together on one hanger. This makes it easier for children to pick out their own clothing and get dressed in the morning, and you’ll find less clothing strewn about the floor.
By creating specific zones for your kids’ activities at home, you’ll feel less stressed, your house will be cleaner and more organized, and your kids will thrive with these systems too!