Tips for organizing kids rooms
Organizing kids rooms?
Now there's a challenge.
Kids rooms are messy because they have kids in them. And kids have lots of stuff with lots of pieces.
And it's the rare child who likes to clean his room.
Now work around this universal truth. Think containment.
These tips for organizing kids rooms can help get it all together, from toys and clothes to artwork.
Organizing Kids Rooms: Create Activity Areas
A child's bedroom is usually a bonafide conundrum. Without some structure and organization, kids' busy bedrooms are apt to feel like Grand Central Station (and look about as clean).
With a little forethought and a few well-crafted activity centers, you can have this busy place in order in a New York minute.
- Craft Central: Group a kid-size table and chairs, splat mat underneath, and plastic tote with washable crayons, markers, and other supplies.
- Play Station: Pick a corner nook, defined by a small area rug. (Preferably a washable area rug.) Leave big toys such as trucks or LEGO sets out and ready to tackle.
- Dress-Up Area: Mom, this is where you can recycle some of the excess in your closet. Just fill a plastic bin with your old clothes and fallen-from-favor shoes, bangles, and bags.
Oh, toys. Many toys Many big toys. There's one rule to keeping these friendly faces from taking over the room: Divide and label. Everything.
Since most preschoolers can't read, for the younger set, these won't be your file-folder type labels.
Instead use something entirely different for them, but equally control-inspiring: picture labels. Color or tape pictures on every box, bin, or bag of the items that go inside.
For example, I went online and found the Thomas the Tank Engine home page, printed it out, and taped it to my son's bin of Thomas trains.
Here are some of my favorite ways to stash and display bulky and hard-to-stash playtime favorites:
- Buy kid-smart storage products for games and toys, such as plastic tubs that tuck under the bed, roller drawers and cubbies, small bookcases, and toy drawers.
- Put fire trucks, trains, and larger-than-life stuffed toys in big plastic dish tubs.
- Stash stuffed toys on shelves or in toy hammocks.
- Fill a bookcase that has deep shelves with brightly-colored storage baskets, which can in turn hold dozens of small toys.
- Save the zippered plastic bags that new comforters come in and use them to pack away whatever stuffed animals or other playthings are currently out of favor.
- Recycle old kid-safe, kid-size furniture, such as discarded entertainment and computer centers - even old kitchen islands - as storage for a kid's room.
- Skip the clunky, expensive toy box in favor of a laundry (now toy) basket.
- Let toys double as decor. Dolls and trucks can decorate dresser tops.
- Hang space-hogging action figures and airplanes in flight from the top of canopy beds with fishing line.
- If you're really space-crunched, create a toy library. Rotate the kid's faves in and out every week or so, and store the rest in another room, the basement, or attic.
Organize Clothes, Closets and Drawers
Most kids have a lot of clothes. Here's how to keep kids' clothes neat and contained:
- Create a dressing-for-success station. You can arrange similar items in specific drawers. One drawer for jammies, another for socks, another for sweatshirts and athletic gear. Or, arrange drawers by outfits (one-stop shopping is appealing to kids, too) in a one-gallon or larger zippered plastic bag. Simply stock the essentials, from hair bow to ruffle socks, when you put clean clothes away.
You could also have a church drawer (for Sunday-best purses and hair bows, suspenders, and tiny ties). A cold-weather drawer for mittens, knit caps, ski goggles, and long underwear. A beach and pool drawer for goggles, swim trunks, and pool shoes... You get the idea!
- Get a laundry hamper. Unquestionably, a child's bedroom needs a laundry hamper. Big or small, round, square, corner-fit, it doesn't matter. There just needs to be a place for dirty duds to land before night-night.
Having a hamper in a kid's room instills good habits and keeps items off the floor. Since kids like to throw their stuff, why not plan for it, even encourage it, when it works to your advantage? I'm talking basketball hoops over hampers or laundry baskets here.
- Remove closet doors to keep little toes and fingers safe and to keep stuff from piling up unnoticed inside.
- Organize shoes in closet shoe cubbies.
- Install a closet clothing rod extension to bring clothes down to kid level.
Provide Places For Kids' Artwork
Another challenge of organizing kids' rooms is the seemingly endless stream of artwork that arrives home daily with your son or daughter after school or preschool.
Artwork is a kid's (and his parents') pride and joy.
Yes, we do eventually get over this syndrome of treating every finger painting as a Picasso.
But in the meantime, if you don't have the heart to circular-file the art that comes home daily, here's how to display it without spending too much time or money in the process.
- Pick up a few inexpensive plastic frames about an inch thick. You can stuff a dizzying amount of colored- and finger-painted layers inside. It makes displaying the artwork du jour a snap.
- Hang a clothesline, ribbon or jump rope across the room. Hold the daily artistry in place with clothespins.