Paula Eichermuller: Organising Your Child's Room

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Are you constantly tripping over books, clothes, and toys in your child's room? When you ask them to clean their room, does everything get shoved under the bed? If the answer is yes then it is time to attack the clutter and get their room in order.

A well thought out plan of attack will unclutter and organise your child's room once and for all. We need to begin by using the methods below.
  • Plan
  • Purge
  • Clean
  • Define & Organize

You will need to get a clear picture of the problem areas and then determine a solution. What is the purpose of this project? Does your child have too much stuff? Are toys and clothes scattered everywhere? Is the child unable to utilize space? What are your child's interests and hobbies? After asking yourself these types of questions you need to make a list.

Draw a line down a piece of paper. On the left side of the page write the word Problem, on the right side write the words needs/solution.


       Problem                            Needs/solution
toys under bed-------------------'------- storage containers
dirty clothes on floor-----------'--------hamper
books in toy box-----------------'--------book shelves
no place to build models---------'--------table/good lighting
dresser drawers overflowing------'--------get rid of old clothes

You get the idea. After determining your needs for this room you will need to gather some supplies.(Some storage ideas are located at the end of this article.)

Now you need to start removing things. You will need to have some boxes and garbage bags for the items you will be getting rid of.

  • Doesn't fit- Can be handed down to siblings, or donated.
  • Beyond repair- Torn/stained clothes. Simply throw away.
  • Missing pieces- Games, puzzles, action figure arms! Toss.
  • Doesn't belong here- friends toys, clothes, books, etc.
  • Outgrown Toys- Keep only age appropriate toys. Donate
  • Outgrown books- Donate to library or children's hospital.
  • The dirty dishes lurking under the bed. Restrict eating in the bedroom!

Try to get your child involved in physically bringing the donated items to their new "home". Once they see that others have a real use for their old stuff, they will get a sense of pride knowing that they helped someone.

Now that you have removed at least half of the stuff from this
room, you should be able to see the floor. Take advantage of
this by giving the room a deep cleaning.

  • Wash curtains
  • Dust mini blinds
  • Clean windows
  • Scrub and polish furniture
  • Sweep and scrub floors
  • Vacuum carpets
  • Dust shelves
  • Flip mattress and vacuum
    Don't forget to clean inside the closet

After purging you should have significantly less stuff to deal with. Now it is time to organise this wonderfully clean space. Now I will give you some ideas on how they should function.

Define space & Organize
Below are the basic areas a child needs in their room. I call these areas "stations". Does your child have the proper stations in their room? For a child to function productively in their environment they need the following areas:

Sleep station -This one is a no brainer, your child sleeps here, but if your child also enjoys reading in bed, be sure you have proper lighting and perhaps a nightstand or book shelf near by.

Study Station -A sturdy desk with proper lighting is a must. If your child does their schoolwork here make sure all of the necessary supplies (pencils, paper, caculator, ruler etc.) are neat and organised. You can use an in-box for spare notebook paper, an old mug can hold the scissors, pens, etc.

Games/ playing Station - Designate either a place on the floor or a table for board games. Board games should be stacked near this area.Book shelves will work fine or they can be neatly stored under the bed. For action figures and dolls, use see through plastic bins for storage. For accessories (doll shoestring figure weapons etc.) you can use an empty egg carton.

Creativity Station -Lets face it children love crafts, so this area is a must. Use old coffee cans for storing paint brushes and crayons. Glue, paper, scissors, play-dough, etc. can be stored in old shoe boxes.

Dressing Station- Place a hamper near either the closet or dressser. This should help to encourage your child to not drop them on the floor. Lower the rod inside closets (if possible) so little ones can reach their clothes. You can also purchase a rod that hangs on the existing one which not only makes it easier for children to reach, but it also adds additional storage.

Go over each area with your child explaining each stations function. You will be surprised by how neat they keep their new space. Children don't like messy rooms any more than we do, they simply need to be taught how to be organised. Remember the saying "A place for everything and everything in its place". Once everything has a home your child should have no problem staying organised. Explain to them that if they are done in one station, they must put everything away before they can play in another station. At the end of every day before bed give your child 10 minutes to pick up the room.

Storage ideas

When you place items into a storage container, be sure to label it. This will eliminate the excuse of not knowing where something belongs.

An over the door see through shoe holder can be used to hold: Barbies, Action figures, markers, crayons, stuffed animals, craft items, building blocks, baseball cards

Clear plastic containers-everything mentioned above PLUS matchbox cars, puzzles, paints, papers, un-assembled race tracks, photographs, comic books

A net hung in the corner of the ceiling can hold stuffed animals, sport balls, baseball gloves

A ribbon or rope strung across a wall can hold art work, photos, awards, greeting cards, hair clips, and hats. They will attach easily using clothes pins.
These are just a few ideas. Look around the house for your own storage ideas. Here are a few things you probably have lying around: Wicker baskets, cleaning caddies, clay pots, and milk crates.
Now use your imagination to see what you can store in them. Of course everything mentioned will not apply to every child. Make any necessary adjustments to accommodate the age of the child.

Copyright 2001 Paula Eichermuller  

Reprinted with permission from Paula Eichermuller's Sunshine Organizing Newsletter. Get your FREE Bright ideas Pak, and  great organizing ideas by visiting her website.

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