Let's face it--as your kids get older, it can be difficult to keep their rooms spick and span. There's just too much to keep track of after a while. Laundry thrown around all corners of the room (clean and dirty), toys scattered all across the floors, an untidy bed...the list goes on. Not to mention that the more kids you have, the more insurmountable maintaining the cleanliness of their quarters becomes.
Luckily, there are people out there who can help you manage these messes. Even better, they can help you manage these messes with minimal effort!
Emma Gordon, of Clutter.com, is a leading expert on organising and proper storage. Her expertise has lead her to landing jobs with celebrities ranging from Neil Patrick Harris to Jamie Lynn Sigler. Recently, this guru of cleanliness shared some of her top tips for decluttering your kids' rooms with Parenting.com, and we're here to relay them to you!
Check out Gordon's 7 top ticks and tricks for decluttering your kids' rooms:
1. Assign or create a toy rotation bin
The most basic understanding of organisation is this: the more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to maintain. Gordon's advice is to limit the number of things you have, so you'll spend minimal time cleaning up. This logic applies to your kids just as much as it does you.
"To ease into a more minimalist kids room, start with a toy rotation. Grab two or three plastic bins and start filling them with groups of toys that go together that your child is not 'into' at the moment. Take the bins and store them up in a linen cupboard or in your family storage unit—the important thing is to keep them out of sight. You'll find that when you bring those toys back, it will be just as exciting as bringing in brand new toys since they haven't seen them in a while," she suggests.
2. Kid-proof your child's closet
The closet in your child's room should be treated as a sanctuary. It should be a place where neatly folded and organised clothes, accessories, etc. should be stored. Furthermore, kids shouldn't have access to this closet as they may undo all of the work that went into organising said closet. If that doesn't sound like something that can be done, consider putting all things that need to be organised out of reach in the closet. either put them on the top shelf, or install a new compartment all together.
3. Use picture labels on toy bins
Kids are naturally inclined to help their parents. Parents can use this to advantage if they appropriately address their kids' desires to aid them. As Gordon suggests, "It's much easier for young kids to match things visually, and when the image is bright and appealing, putting away toys can turn into a captivating game. You can pull and print images of the toys from a quick Google image search, or you can even use photos of your kids' actual toys. For instance, take a photo of their latest Lego creation and use that as the label for the Lego container."
Learn more helpful tips for making clean up time a cinch! Find out more of Gordon's top tips and tricks by clicking next!
4. Paint "shadows" for over-sized toys and objects
If your kid has a particularly large toy or accessory that he plays with, it can be difficult to assign a proper place to put it at the end of the day or playtime. However, Gordon offers an interesting and inventive solution to this problem:
"Get a can of house paint in your child's favorite color, and paint a "shadow" on the wall behind odd-shaped and over-sized toys to show your kids where in the room they're considered put away. First, put all the toys in their place, then trace an outline of each toy (scooter, rocking horse, full-size dolly, etc.) with a pencil on the wall, then paint inside the outline. Then, when it's time to tidy up, putting away those bigger toys feels more like completing a puzzle."
5. Try using a "bedroom scooper"
Sometimes when looking at a particularly messy and untidy room, it's easy to imagine taking a shovel and scooping things right off of the floor. Well, as Gordon suggests, such a concept isn't as crazy as it seem. In fact, she even endorses it!
"When the kids' rooms have turned into total pigsties, the quickest way to manage the mess is to scoop all the toys into a pile in the middle of the room to sort. A square, plastic beach spade or a kid-sized snow shovel make it really easy to gather up puzzle pieces, crayons, Legos, and all the little bits that belong to different playsets. Once all the toys are in a pile, you can pull up a chair and all the relevant toy bins and have your kiddos help sort and put away the pile," Gordon says.
6. Wall space = Book storage
Younger kids don't need to have their books as organized as their parents library. That means that they don't need a collection of books with all of the spines facing outwards in a alphabetical order so as to make selecting their favorite book easy. In fact, Gordon thinks that quite the opposite is far more effective and a great way to help declutter their rooms.
"You can save floor space by installing narrow book ledges that store books with the covers facing out, instead of the spines facing out. They're easier for kids to find the book they want, which means they don't need to pull every book off the shelf," she says.
7. Change the way you approach "clean up time"
Sometimes it's not the action, but how it's approached. In other words, sometimes it's how you ask your kids to clean up that affects their attitudes towards cleaning up. Many parents will try to stand firm and put their foot down saying and repeating, "clean up your room!"
Well, there are other, more effective ways to approach clean up time that can entice kids to participate. "[L]ook at the mess and give them directions that pertain to one kind of item. Such as "put all the crayons in the bucket" or "find all the socks and put them in the hamper." Start with a task that you can tell will make the biggest visual impact, that way your kids will experience cleaning momentum as they follow your directions. If your children are putting up a lot of resistance, have them step out of the room and stand next to you so that both of you are looking into the room," Gordon claims.
"This will help them feel like you're both on the same team and sharing in the work," she adds.
Emma Gordon's original article was published on Parenting.com
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