Kids love to play and pull their toys out, but they don’t like to put them away. The same goes for a tween who wants to try on four or five outfits before school but doesn’t put the discarded clothes away. With some simple changes, however, bedrooms can stay clean.
"Focus on one area at a time," says Karli Bertocchi, mom-to-be and owner of Organized With Style, an organizing company in Chicago. "And don’t be afraid to get rid of clothes that don’t fit anymore or toys they don’t play with."
During the initial cleaning process, have plenty of garbage bags handy. Only throw away those things that are completely useless or damaged, the rest can be donated or sold on eBay.
"My kids’ rooms and toy areas are filled with a variety of Sterilite containers without the lids," says Karen Cibulskis, a Bolingbrook mom. "This is an easy and inexpensive way to put toys back and keep sets of toys together."
Plastic boxes can be found everywhere from Target to IKEA. Depending on your price limits and needs, you can find something perfect for your kids’ bedrooms.
The same goes for positioning in the room. If you’ve cleaned everything, let your kids help arrange the room and decide where to put the containers and which toys to group together.
If kids feel proud of their choices, they will have more pride in keeping their room clean.
Don’t worry if there are boxes stacked on the floor or inside the closet. Looking at neatly stacked boxes is more visually pleasing than toys littered across the floor.
"Parents should consider their children’s age and height when organizing the closet," says Bertocchi. "Any good closet system should be adjustable and change as your kids grow."
A double hang closet rod allows you to hang two horizontal rows of clothing, at just the right level for young kids to reach. Portable shelving units work well since they can be removed or changed without damage to the closet walls.
If your kids can’t bear to part with certain toys, put them into rotation. Buy one or two extra bins to store toys your kids only play with occasionally. When your kids are bored with the toys in their room, have them pack up a box and bring out one of the stored containers.
"If the kids will want a toy in six months, pack it up and wait until they are ready to play with it again," Bertocchi says.
"Keep up the maintenance periodically," says Bertocchi. "Kids are always outgrowing clothes and toys. Pay attention to what no longer fits and which toys haven’t seen the light in months."
10 Don’t be afraid to rotate or get rid of old items. If you think a younger child might be ready for the toys or clothes in a couple of years, box them up, label and store them.
By encouraging your kids to keep their bedrooms clean, not only will you be give them a sense of pride in ownership, but you will be teaching them skills that will stick with them throughout their lives.
Michelle Sussman is a mom, wife and writer in Bolingbrook. Visit her on the Web at www.michellesussman.com.
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