Being a parent with young kids is never easy and staying on top of all the chaos makes life sometimes just that little bit harder.
A child’s bedroom can easily look overwhelming especially with all the belonging’s that they love to hold onto like their old stuffed animals or blankets which they simply refuse to throw away. What I refer to as ‘sentimental clutter’.
It all piles up super quickly and storage space runs out especially in modern day small spaces. In fact trying to maintain an tidy kids room and stay on top of de-cluttering can be a parent’s worst nightmare but by being organised you wont be left with that untidy room that you dread anyone will see!
Sarah Dabbagh has put together some of her top tips to help you to maintain a tidy room for your child.
Make de-cluttering a fun interactive activity.
Often tiding up can feel like a tedious task, so instead of seeing it as a chore try turn it into a fun activity you and your child can enjoy together.
Perhaps, set the goal of three times a year and take a whole day and spend it organizing. This helps you set a structured routine and will turn de-cluttering into a regular habit. It will also set an example for your kids; if they see their adults regularly tiding up they might be more encouraged to do the same.
Before you start de-cluttering make sure you are aware of what’s important to your child in order to avoid throwing away the wrong ones by accident! This will also help you child to feel that there toys are safe and that they can decide when they are ready to give up on certain toys/games.
If your child is a baby then you will have to make that decision for them, but you will already have an idea of what toys get picked up the most or at least what you want to encourage them to play with.
If your child is old enough to understand then you may even wish to introduce a reward system for every time your child does something that helps to keep the room clean. This might just help keep their room tidy for as long as possible!
You may want to encourage them to give something of theirs to less fortunate kids. This will introduce them to the concept of charity, and through this you can encourage them to be generous. It will also teach them to accept the idea of attachments and letting go.
One warning is that often a child will become so thrilled with the ide of helping another child, that they may even start to get rid of toys or items you know they still love or use! So, be aware to prevent them from giving everything away!
Encourage them to only keep the ones they really love, and you may even need to secretly put back a few.
You can motivate them with a rule that for every time they get something new they have to give something old away. With time you will find that they will start to collect unwanted toys themselves to give to you
You might also want to give them a couple of toys at a time so that they learn to play with different ones and not get bored so quickly.
Knowing how to organise
Kid’s clothes can start to appear all over the house if not organised properly, so when it comes to sorting them out always start of by having everything out in front of you so you know exactly what they have. Then sort them into sections for example going through the drawers first, and then closets or the other way round.
By doing it in sections it will be easier to then sort all the clothes out all at once. You can then sort and separate them further into piles of 0-3 months, 6-9 months and so on… keeping only what you need and storing the rest away.
Fabric storage bags are very useful for situations like this as you can keep clothes in them for very long time without worrying and when not in use you can fold them neatly and store them away.
A good storage system will make it easier for you to put things back in its right place. Organise clothes into categories and place similar stuff together for example pjiamas together, socks and underwear, bottoms such as leggings, jeans, trousers, shorts and so on. You can even label each drawer or use draw dividers to help them remember where things go.
It is also a good idea to create some form of storage space in every room whether in the lounge or in the kitchen as toys and clothes don’t just tend to stay in the bedrooms.
Sorting out toys can be the next big challenges but again the best way to organize is to have everything out in front of you, and then to try put them in their sections. So putting all of the tools if they have any, toys with wheels, any figures, soft toys etc. Try to get rid of some from each category as you go along. As general advice, keep toys that you can see your children playing with for the next 6 months at least, and everything they don’t get any use out of should go.
Finally turn your attention to those other items like books, loose papers that turn out to be homework or any arts and crafts. Try to make use of any wall space in their room by having shelves to display them on or hang them on the wall as art decorations. This will keep floor space mess free!)
Whilst sorting out the clutter have bin bags ready; one that will be used for the pile of items to be donated, another one for the items to be sold and perhaps one for things that just need to be thrown away.
You can go a step further by creating a pile for clothes or items you think you can hand down or re-use with your future children. Or in terms of clothing for example, something that I personally do for myself is to tidy clothing away according to the season I am in so if it is winter I will store my summer clothes in storage until I need them again and vise versa.
The correct storage.
We often deceive ourselves into believing that storage boxes are a quick and easy way of making unwanted clutter disappear but the reality is that it will only make it appear tidy on the surface!
If kids actually had less then you wouldn’t need to buy more storage so avoiding clutter to begin with is the key.
It is important thing is to look at what your child has and buy the correct storage accordingly. Try using any existing storage space you have already first like wardrobes and perhaps use that to tuck bulky items in to clear space elsewhere, if not then maybe invest in toy sorters if you have space.
Try to not have a lot of storage piled up on the floor as it can make their room feel smaller and take away from their playing space.
Kids like to rummage through stuff and mess up the drawers so clothes tend to end up being on the floor. To help make it easier for them to access their belongings try to have some items in their reach for example by hanging door hooks lower or providing them with a foot steps to help them reach, closet rods, lower book shelves or buying hanging organisers to go inside wardrobes and behind doors.
Use clear boxes that you can stack to make it easy for them to pick out what they want without making a mess.
I often advise parents to try buy their children multi- functional toys or furniture items for the child as it will make a huge impact for example buying wooden toys as opposed to plastic will be better for the environment, more durable and encourages creativity and ultimately helps to reduce clutter.
Another one of my favourites is the Colour My Toy Storage bag which also double up as a play mat and it just might even encourage them to tidy up after themselves!
Article by By Sarah Dabbagh. Having passion for both children and Interior design I decided to work in the two fields. Working part time as a SEN TA/ Private parent coach for children with challenging behaviour and part time Interior Design assistant in a firm that specialises in creating amazing space for kids. Find up to date life trends, useful tips and many more by reading my blogs, as I love to share.