Encouraging your child to invest in the organizing process is so crucial. It means you aren’t in it alone, your children have officially enlisted as your helpers in keeping their spaces organized.
When I organized my seven-year-old twins’ bedroom, I added bins to their closet to make cleaning up in their room super easy. While they were at school, I completely gutted their room and organized it all for them. My mom was in town and helped me – she loves organizing as much as I do. (I’m waiting to finish decorating before I reveal the space – I’ve been slowly working on this since the summer and I can’t wait to show you!) Every drawer and shelf, and even under their bed was gone through, sorted, and re-arranged to make sense. There was one crucial step I saved until they were home.
When they got home, I told them that I had a big surprise for them and that while they were gone we cleaned their room for them. They eagerly ran upstairs to inspect and were very pleased! I went in their room with them, gave them an official tour of their space, and showed off all the work. Then I showed them the bins in the closet and said “I need your help deciding what to label these bins”. Of course I had an idea of what would make a good label, but I KNEW even more that if they helped me look through and decide, then they would be buying-in to our organizing. I suspected that their personal investment would result in them keeping their room organized.
My girls loved helping me make the labels for the bins. They went through each bin and tried to come up with a good name. As you can see, I added words like “crazy”, put labels on slanted on purpose, and added little pictures because they told me to do it that way. Michelle has a very fun sense of humor. And yes, our bins are fancy plastic ones and the labels are made out of white card stock taped to the buckets.
For the last 2 months, my twins’ room has been cleaner than ever. Even when they pull everything out while they play, they KNOW where it all goes to put it away.
Accommodating for different personalities ~~ Just for full disclosure, I tried this same process for my five-year-old. She is the most organized child I have ever known. I have never seen her bed un-made, except for while she is sleeping in it. When I organized her closet, I added some new bins and new hooks for her dress-ups. Well, when she got the full tour of the organization I did for her, she was not happy with all of my changes. I checked my personal feelings and let her guide me in tweaking the organization. She did enjoy helping label her bins too. Even though her closet isn’t organized exactly how I would do it, the result is still what I was going for: she invested in the process and keeps up with the organization herself. I let her have more control in her own space, though she would re-organize my entire house if I let her.
Professional Organizer Tip: These bins fit the shelves perfectly, which was no accident. To make sure I got the perfect size buckets, I measured the shelves and brought a tape measure to the store to measure all the buckets before I bought one. Don’t make it a guessing game!
Whatever your children are like, mold part of the organizing process to include them. And never let your organizing efforts go unnoticed, make a big deal of what you do when you organize different places in your house. We are teaching our children the importance of organizing and helping them become adults who know how to manage their own homes one day.
From my home to yours,
Great post Mary! I like how you did most of the work but they got to help just enough that they felt ownership of it. It’s hard to find that balance.
Love your ideas! Thanks. 🙂 I have a question, Mary. Do you have a certain place that toys stay in? A playroom? Den? particular spot in bedroom? A coworker once told me (before my baby days) that absolutely NO toys stay in the bedroom. She said that it keeps things cleaner/tidier that way? All toys belonged in playroom. Now with our children, we have a toy closet downstairs, but there are also some toys in bedroom closets. Suggestions please? Thank you.
I like this a lot. I am going to do the same with my kids rooms so they keep it organized better!I was surprised to see how little toys were in your twins toy boxes! Maybe I should decrease the amount of toys in my girls boxes. They each have their own very full boxes.
Thanks Jill – you are doing such a good job!!