It’s officially spring and with that comes the start of spring cleaning and organizing. This year I’ve created a Spring Organizing Series, which will be a collection of blog posts dedicated to getting specific areas of your home organized. First up in the series is the topic that I get asked about most often: kids stuff!
As a mom to identical twins, I can completely relate to the amount of stuff that accumulate when you have children. From the paperwork that they bring home to the trail of art supplies that make their way on to our kitchen counter, I’m no stranger to the feeling that kids stuff surrounds us. There are tips that we can incorporate into our home’s to help contain all of that stuff and--better yet--ways to get the kids involved in the process so that the organization sticks.
My girls are no strangers to sharing ways that kids can get involved in organization throughout the home. In fact, they have shared their tips several times on our YouTube channel (here, here, and here) and recently they got to share their tips with Rachael Ray on the Rachael Ray Show.
On the show the girls talked about the importance of:
- Putting items into groups so that you always know where to find you stuff
- Using labels (that you can make on your own!) to help you know what is stored where
- Creating lists for your to-dos and to help pack for upcoming trips
- Categorizing and storing clothing so that you can find what you want to wear quickly
- Adding a donation bin or basket to your closet to collect clothing that you no longer fit in to or wear
I know that there are some categories that weren’t covered in the video but that we all know exist when it comes to children...the “collections” that your kids have created (you know, from scraps of paper that look like trash to their latest play-doh design that has hardened out on their bedside table).
Creating a home for everything--down to the ever growing collections--is key. Sure, you'll have to put some work in to pare down collections and categorize what actually is being used, but once you know the contents that you are working with it will be easier to bring in organizing products that can corral the clutter (aka collections). Use small clear bins to keep categories contained and dedicate "zones" to encourage play and display for said categories. Also, spend time every couple of months to review what's on display. Chances are your kids may no longer be attached to the popsicle stick creation they made last month and are ready to let it go.
If you’re still on the fence on how to get kids involved in the process in a way that they will actually enjoy, here’s what’s worked for me and many of my clients: incentivize and get them involved in the process. Just as it goes with adults, hanging on to items that you don't use, love, or need only takes away from the opportunity to see and access the items that you truly do reach for on a regular basis. Creating a purpose for the task will also make the process seem more meaningful. Add a bin to the floor of the closet so that as your kids come across clothing that no longer fits or has seen better days they can just toss it in the basket rather than hanging it back up. Or, set a timer and make a game of it! See who can categorize their clothing first or give them a treat when they've finished paring down their toy bin.