- Make sure everything is within easy reach. Kids are shorter than we are, and sometimes we forget that. You might need to move a closet rod down, or not keep items that she needs in the top bureau drawer. For a long time, my daughter was telling me every day that she couldn’t find any underwear, and every day I’d get aggravated when I looked in her top drawer and found it full. Finally, it occurred to me that she couldn’t see inside the drawer! We moved her underwear to the bottom drawer, and voila, she’s able to find it now.
- Limit the number of belongings in the bedroom. If you have a playroom or a library in your home, then this creates a natural solution: all toys or books are automatically stored somewhere other than the bedroom. If you don’t have this extra area, though, then you’ll need to rotate items. Invest in some big rubbermaid bins and keep half of the toys in them; every few months, switch the items out and it will be like Christmas in July (or November, or April)! Be diligent about taking out-of-season or outgrown clothing out, as well, and give your child a small bookcase to keep her books on; whatever doesn’t fit gets donated to the library or handed down to a younger sibling.
- Make liberal use of containers. A pile of Barbie clothing on the floor is a mess, but that same pile relocated to a bin is considered neat and clean. This time of year, organizational supplies are often on sale; buy plastic shoe boxes, plastic drawers, under-the-bed boxes or whatever else will work. If you live near an IKEA, not only can you get storage supplies at great prices, but you can also glean great ideas from the children’s bedrooms that they have set up in the showroom. We recently purchased a free standing shelf we put in the closet to help organize their shoes and it made a huge difference.
- Dig out that label maker. Or use index cards and simply permanent markers. Label the various bins and boxes with their contents. If your child can read, she’ll know where everything goes. If she can’t, she’ll learn what the words say (and this will help you when you’re trying to put everything back after playdates or other high-mess days).
- Get your child’s input. It might not make sense to you that your child wants to keep the Playmobil people with the matchbox cars, but as long as everything has a place, allow your child’s logic to take precedence. This lets her “own” her organization system.
- If possible, have her do homework elsewhere. Disorganized work areas can be disastrous to a child trying to get her homework done; working at the table or at a desk in the den might make it easier for her to stay organized. Also, there’s less of a chance that she’ll be distracted by all of her toys, books, music and more!
Have you found any organizational hints, tips or products that have worked well for you?
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