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Organizing With Kids

Teach your children to help out, without making it a chore!

Are you tired of asking your kids to put away their toys, clothes, and school books? If “clean up your room!” is a popular refrain in your household, there are some simple steps you can take to get your kids on the organizing bandwagon.

1. Give them control. You already know your children are full of ideas, so allowing them to participate in the organizing plan is a great first step. Instead of making decisions for them about where their toys should be stored or how to sort their clothes, let your little ones make the decision for themselves. Maybe they want their clothes organized by color instead of type, when you had planned on doing the reverse. Work with your kids to find out where they think things should go, and use those ideas to find appropriate homes for all of their stuff. Your kids will feel a lot more invested in a system that they can help design, rather than one that is imposed on them.

2. Keep it simple. A common pitfall of people who organize for their children rather than with them is that they create complicated systems oriented toward adults. Keep in mind that for your kids, a simple solution is likely to make the most sense. Try to avoid too many complicated categories and hard-to-use gizmos. Instead, keep categories straightforward and age-appropriate, and make sure that any containers or specialized organizing tools, such as craft boxes, re-closable plastic bags, etc., can be safely and easily used by your child.

3. Make storage accessible. Chances are, your kids can’t reach as high as you, and can’t lift as much either. I’ve gone into a number of homes where well-meaning parents had storage bins full of toys that had been stacked nearly floor-to-ceiling. When I asked how easy it was for the kids to access the toys in the bottom bin, the parents usually say “not very.” If your kids can’t easily access their storage system, they won’t use it. When you’re ready to design your children’s storage system, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Would your kids be better suited with easy-to-slide drawers instead of stackable bins?
  • Is everything at a height that’s accessible?
  • Will they be able to put things away without straining?

4. Label everything. For kids (as well as for adults), a label on something makes it “official.” Once a drawer has a label that says “socks” and a storage container is labeled “dolls,” those become the official homes for those items. As long as everything has a clearly labeled home, the chances of items finding their way back to those homes become much greater.

5. Use color. Finally, kids love color, so use it in their organizing systems! Color-coded storage areas, drawers, and other containers are a creative way of “labeling” functions of your kid’s storage system. Pick colors that are their favorites, and even have meaning to them. For instance, pink can be where your little girl keeps her dolls while red might be perfect for all of their colorful art supplies. Find a system that works, and remember to get them involved in the process.

Spending time with your kids developing organizing ideas and solutions can be a fun and rewarding family activity. Soon, you may find that your kids’ rooms practically clean themselves!

If you’re wondering how to implement these strategies, we’d be happy to chat with you. Contact us for a complimentary strategy session by going to http://www.CustomLivingSolutions.com/Apply

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