Tip #1: Have a goal for getting organized.
losing her mind with all this clutter" isn't a terribly compelling
motivation to clean up for a six-year old. Create a goal your child can
understand and relate to. For many kids, helping other children is very
motivating. When you set out to tackle your kid's room or closet, call
charities in your area to see if they'll pick up your items; a pick-up
deadline may fuel their motivation even further. Also, consider adding
an incentive for your child by promising a special treat like a trip to
the ice cream shop or a movie rental.
Tip #2: Use a simple sorting system.
by one, pick up items off the floor and clear out the closet. Hold up
each thing and simply ask your kids "yes or no?" The "yes" items went
into a keep pile, sorted by type. (Cars together, dolls together, etc.)
Put "no" toys, books and clothes into a bag for charity. With your
child, set a target number of "no" items. Get really excited when your
child hits the magic number. Remember to keep the enthusiasm going
during the process by saying things like "just ten more and we've
reached our goal!"
Tip #3: Tackle the project in steps.
your child's room looks overwhelming, you might be tempted to tackle it
all at once....or not at all, in which case give us a call! Unless
you're willing to do a lot of the work yourself (or your child is an
organizer in training), consider spreading the project out over several
days. You might start with the floor on day one, the book shelf on day
two, and one shelf of the closet on day three, and so on. Whether you
organize your child's room in one step or over a series of days, be
sure to take lots of fun-filled breaks with your little one. Play with
some of those long lost toys you've found under the bed or have a
nutritious snack to fuel your energy.
Tip #4: Keep your child involved and let them do the tasks they enjoy most.
your child is learning how to write, have him make his own labels for
his bins. Resist the temptation of "perfect" labels and instead
let your child make them. Involving your child in favorite tasks is
another way to give him ownership in the process.
Tip #5: Focus on progress.
a big deal out of all the progress you make along the way. Try really
hard not to focus on how much there is left to go through or do.
Comment often on how much is done, all the great decisions your child
has made and so on. You can also encourage him or her by saying things
like "look what we found" or "look how much we've gotten done already."
Keep it upbeat and fun!
Tip #6: Keep large items in the toy box.
only larger items in your child's toy box prevents smaller toys from
sinking to the bottom (a.k.a. never-never land.) Another option is to
group smaller toys together in containers before storing in the toy
box. Toy boxes seem great in theory, until you have to go on a hunt for
your daughter's missing pink Barbie shoe. We can guarantee you it will
be on the very bottom of the box. (And when you do finally find it, the
shoe will be the only item left in the toy box.)
Tip #7: Label, label, label!
everything has a home, use labels to show where everything goes. We'd
like to say that this will make clean up a breeze, but we are talking
about kids and cleaning bedrooms.... We will say this: by labeling
where toys and clothes belong, it will disarm your child of the classic
"I don't know where anything goes" excuse. Have you heard that one
Tip #8: Store toys strategically.
favorite toys in reach, allowing your child easy access for play and
clean up. On top shelves (those out of your child's reach), store
things you'd like to supervise your child while using, such as:
- Games or puzzles requiring adult assembly.
- Fragile or keepsake items like china tea sets and collectible books.
- Toys with lots of tiny pieces you would rather not have mixed with other toys with tiny pieces.
Tip #9: Make sure your child understands the system.
organizing isn't exactly your child's thing, you may end up doing a lot
of their room on your own. Not the best case scenario, however this
makes it even more important for you to tell your child exactly how you
had organized everything and show them where things go. If he or she
can't read, label the toy containers using packaging from her toys, or
with pictures from catalogues. Show them the labels and asked what they
thought went in each bin or drawer. By going through this process with
them, they now knows exactly what goes where.