One of my favourite proverbs says, “Train a child up in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Here are ten wise tips to help kids get -and stay – organised:
1. Teach your children that less is more
The less stuff you have, the easier it is to keep things organised.
2. Avoid creating a future packrat
When it comes to your children’s personal space, let them decide what stays and what goes. It’s okay if they are willing to let go of only a few things at first. Be a good role model by maintaining a clutter-free home.
3. Help kids find a “home” for everything that is easily accessible
Put bins on low shelves for toys and other possessions. Give them a special box for treasures. Install hooks at their eye level. The easier it is for children to put something away, the more likely they will do so.
4. Provide different containers for different items
This way kids will know where to put things away without having to make decisions. I learned this lesson the hard way when my daughter would clean up her room by shoving everything under the bed.
5. Let your children help label containers
This way they will be more likely to use them. Allow them to be as creative as they want with the labels, either with writing or drawing pictures. Have fun with it, and your children will be more open to making the system work.
6. Make it easy to keep clothes neat
Purge closets and drawers so kids can put away their clothes without trying to squeeze them in the space. Put shoe boxes or other containers without lids in drawers to organise socks, underwear, and other smaller items. Put a large tub, box, or basket in the closet for shoes.
7. Put a clothes hamper or laundry basket in each child’s room
A laundry basket can collect dirty clothes in the bedroom, be brought to the laundry room, and then returned to the bedroom with clean, folded clothes. This will make it easier for kids to care for their own wardrobe.
8. Gifts don’t have to take up space
Encourage relatives to give gifts that are consumable such as movie tickets, a zoo pass, or gift certificates to a favourite restaurant.
9. Teach them to not get attached to items
When your child receives a new toy or stuffed animal, encourage him or her to give one of the old toys to charity. Make this easy by placing a family donation container in a permanent spot in the house.
10. Don’t forget to celebrate
When family members work together to get organised, reward them with a special treat or family outing.
It is never too soon to start teaching children sound organising techniques. The sooner they start, the easier they learn.