There can be an end to the mess

7 Ways to Help Kids Get Organized

by Monica Ricci

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Some people are born with strong organization skills, but if you (or your kids) weren't, you can begin to get organized any time you want to. Here are seven ways to help your kids get organized. Once you've done that, try them in other areas of your home too!

Keep Old Friends

If your child has toys and stuffed animals he's outgrown but just isn't ready to part with yet, try storing them in a hammock or a piece of netting that hangs in the corner of the room. Stuffed animals look great hanging near the ceiling where they can still be seen but they are out of the way.

Set Up Categories

Kids can organize their own toys by category (cars and trucks together, dolls together, specific types of games together, etc.) in big bins or baskets. Labelling the bins (with pictures if necessary) will help them remember which bins are for which category. Lids are usually too much for kids to deal with, so get containers without lids, or store the lids elsewhere until the kids are finished with the bins.

Get in the Zone

Set up "zones" in the room for different activities like art and craft zone, reading zone, puzzle zone, and a large play area to play with blocks and whatnot. Get the appropriate tools for each zone, such as tables for the child to work at in the art and craft zone, shelves for puzzles and games in that zone, and a comfy chair and a bookshelf in the reading zone.

Up, Up & Away

Since kids need good floor space to play, use the walls for storage. Hang sturdy shelves or wall bins at a kid-friendly height, along with clear plastic wall pockets or place stacked recycling bins. Try ELFA or another adjustable shelving system so when the kids grow taller, you can move shelves higher.

A Home for Everything

Teach kids the benefit of containerizing items by category or by the activity, for example, things you build, things you read, things to draw with/on, or toys with wheels. Teach them how organizing makes their things easier to find. So much of what we call clutter is just stuff that has no home, and even kids can assign homes for all their stuff and be taught how to put things away when they're finished.

Dress in a Snap

For kids' clothing, install shelving in their closets that they can reach and build in lots of hooks and hanging space. If kids' clothes are folded in a pile or in a drawer, they're more likely to just wear what's on top of the stack, rather than looking through the pile, so hang as much as possible.

Display Their Artwork

Hang a piece of wire about an inch off the wall and use binder clips on it to create a gallery and display artwork that kids bring home from school. Add in new pieces and take down old ones, storing your favorites in archival boxes or clear under-bed containers for long-term storage.

Kids can be taught organizing concepts, which will serve them well through school and into their adult years. And with their creative little minds working, you might get some great organizing ideas from them too!

Monica Ricci is an Atlanta-based Certified Professional Organizer®, productivity expert, speaker and author who founded Catalyst Organizing in 1998. A leader in her field, and winner of the NAPO Founders' Award, Monica is passionate about teaching people to create simple, joyful, powerful lives.

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