No matter how hard we try, our kids always seem to have too much stuff. And as the holidays approach, the reality of how much more stuff is going to creep into the house can seem overwhelming. Keeping things organized is the only way to keep from overwhelming ourselves but more importantly, keep from overwhelming our right-brain kids.
When our kids were young, we spent some time before the holidays cleaning out the old to make room for the new. Together we decided what was old, broken and ready for the trash. We reorganized and tidied up the keepers and donated some old toys as seed for the new to come.
The tradition continues with my kids. Last year, when her sons were busy with grandpa, my daughter dug into the clutter of toys in their room to sort and organize. After several hours, she reappeared with a trash bag of broken pieces and a gleam of satisfaction in her eyes. Later that day, much to their delight, she took them to their room and reintroduced them to the shelves and baskets that held their favorite toys.
These are some of the things I think about when organizing for kids, or myself:
Prepare the environment. That’s a Montessori principle that reflects a very mainstream concept. It’s about getting things ready in the room before the activity begins. To get started, look at the structure of the room, the furniture, the way the room is used and consider ways to make it more effective.
Shelves, Baskets and Boxes are your friends. Toy boxes are the worst place to store toys. A bunch of toys piled into a large dark space can mean nothing but chaos. Parts get lost, kids get overwhelmed and they can’t even see what they have to play with. To create order and a more successful play space, put up a few shelves. Be sure they’re at a comfortable height for your child. Place toys and play sets in baskets and boxes to help make choices visible and keep pieces together.
Encourage Cleanup and Consistency. Now that you’ve created an organized space, be sure to teach your child how to use it and maintain it. Encourage one toy or activity at a time, be sure they know how to put things back before starting something new, and be the one to help maintain the order. Kids really do appreciate structure, and can operate more successfully, but they’re still kids. Be sure to be encouraging, keep it positive and make it fun.
Need a little help on getting started. Start by getting their clothes in order using these adorable drawer labels.