Spring is here ! OK almost here and most people begin to spring clean! This is how to organize the kids room once and for all! Ideally, there really isn’t a more perfect time. You are about to bring in more clothing for summer, office and school supplies will soon be packed away and Christmas is 6 months away! How do I do it? I actually put organizing the kids area into bullet points! I am an optimist to fault sometimes, but you can take a project as grueling as the kids room and use it as an opportunity to educate and entertain your children at the same time.
Here’s how I just organized my 5 year old’s room:
Have the conversation with the family!
Bear with me, it is a process and in life a process works smoothly with communication. You will be sneaking around the kids to throw stuff out and soothing hysterical cries when they catch you otherwise! Have it on a message board-you can get one at the Dollar Store! Write the words Toss, Keep, Donate, Reward! Explain you will toss broken pieces, mismatched set, the $5 game that lost half its pieces,etc.. You will keep the toys they are currently into and with compromises sometimes together. You will donate the ‘baby’ toys or stuffed animals taking up room. List for them places to donate and tell them THEY get to choose what place is lucky to have their things because children like a bit of control so give them that glory! Finally, the reward is that in the end if they cooperate and get rid of many items they really don’t need and donate that together you all will drop it off (hide some suckers in your pocket and greet the donator on the sly and explain your lesson and have them hand the kids the suckers as a Thank you), but then they get to name 1 thing they need. Yes, you are buying more, but the rule is 1 thing that is NEEDED to maybe complete a hobby project they have or that backpack they’ve been asking for.
Get boxes and totes for tossing, donating and keepsakes
You will come across the stuff you don’t have the heart to get rid of-label it keepsake and get it in storage. You go first! Start at one end and TOUCH every toy! Literally pick it up-is it a toss, donate, keep-set it aside if it goes to a set somewhere in a ‘needs more pieces’ pile. When done, take donate and toss boxes away from the room immediately and sit with the kids and respectfully show them what you tossed/donated. Tell them only if they must they can choose only 1 thing and take it back out or earn a $1 and take nothing out! The $1 usually works, if not-it’s only 1 toy of many! Pick your battle.
Tackle the ‘needs pieces’ pile
The ones still missing their mates-toss! Now take the matching sets and decide to keep or donate so they can stay together in a ziploc or whatever works for the next user.
You now have the box of keep!
Take a look around! Can you use some storage totes or a cubby system. If you can afford it, go get some! Start early on requesting and searching Craigslist for used and even free solutions. Restock the room, arranging the items back in by likes: Blocks, Books, Movies, a car bin, a ‘guy’ bin, a sports ball bin (to save space-keep these outside or in the garage anyway). Have a homework spot that may even be in another closet somewhere and get those crayons, papers, supplies together and not easily available. These make huge messes, but let them know they are available anytime they need. If you take out the “outside” toys, the “Craft/Homework” closet items, the toss box and donated items, you have a fresh start! Organizing will just flow and work out depending on the space!
Have the donate and reward shopping day ASAP!
The longer the ‘stuff’ hangs around, it will slowly seep back into the house-trust me! Out of sight, out of mind!
Keep the list!
With holidays coming tell family members to try and avoid so many toys and ask for a cubby to get those bins you need or a desk so your oldest can organize his homework supplies better! Sure the kids want toys, but if you show then the new space and suggest how awesome a new desk or a cubby shelf can be will excite them and run with that through the holidays. Santa brings them enough toys, family can proudly give them their needs!
So does that sound easy?
Not only is it easy to earn cash on the items worth a little something you want to get rid of, but you can find great new storage pieces cheap! It will consume a weekend, but your kids just did a good deed, were rewarded for their efforts and compromising and you will keep walking into the room and just stand there for a long time in a satisfying stare till your kids and spouse ask “Umm, honey, what are you doing?” Trust me, it is awkward but feels so good!