Tricks to helping kids keep an organized bedroom


This publicity photo provided by Brewster Home Fashions shows the WallPops Paisley Please Red Dry-Erase Message Board that can help keep a student's desk area organized. (AP)

Published: Saturday, March 30, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 10:16 a.m.

The conversation often starts with, "Where are your shoes?"

For many parents trying to get out the door on time in the morning, a child with a disorganized bedroom can be a huge roadblock.

Getting a child's room organized can be the first step toward smoother mornings and more peaceful evenings.

Here are some experts' tips on decorating and arranging your child's bedroom in ways that will simplify daily life.

Get them excited

No need for full-scale redecorating. An offer to rearrange items and perhaps add a few new ones will probably get your child excited enough to help shape up her space.

"Try to make it fun," says organizing consultant Kathryn Bechen, author of "Small Space Organizing: A Room-by-Room Guide to Maximizing Your Space." "Take one whole Saturday or Sunday for the whole family to work on it."

Pare down

Eliminating clutter isn't simple, especially when kids would prefer not to part with anything. Donna Smallin, author and creator of unclutter.com, suggests having kids help haul everything they own into the hallway outside their room. When the room is empty, have them bring back in only their favorite or most necessary things. When all the necessities are back in, start discussing what might be good to give away, sell, or box up for storing in an attic or basement.

Rethink the closet

To get children excited about actually putting things away in the closet, let them "paint it a neat color inside," says Bechen. It can be as outrageous as they'd like; it's hidden behind a door.

Then, work with their habits: If your child isn't a fan of hanging up clothing, consider filling some or all of the closet with open shelving. Put bins or baskets on each shelf, labeling with words and/or pictures to describe what belongs inside.

If you will be using the closet rod, Smallin suggests adding a small double rod that hangs below one portion of the main rod. Put items the child wears most often on the lower rod, so they're within easy reach. Or use this extra rod for the clothing the child will wear to school this week.

Get playful

Make straightening up fun. Consider buying one large trashcan for sports equipment and another to use as a hamper. Let the child label and personalize the outside. You can even add a plastic basketball hoop to the top of each trash can, so the child can have fun tossing items inside.

Use the walls

Kids are more likely to use hooks than hangers. So add lots of colorful hooks at your child's level — not just one or two, but a whole row — to store hoodies, jackets and even pants.

Another key item for the wall: A dry-erase board (WallPops makes one that's a repositionable vinyl decal) where kids can keep a checklist of tasks for bedtime and morning. Write out the checklist with them, then praise them for using it.

Better bed area

Kids who do homework on their beds will be more organized if the bed is made and uncluttered. So simplify bedding — perhaps just use a fitted sheet and a duvet. Limit the decorative pillows and piles of toys, so school supplies can't get lost in the chaos.

Once you've done it

For the first few weeks, Bechen says, "Run through the drill. Tell them, ‘You come home, you put your things here... .' "

Repeat the steps each day, as patiently as possible. And trust that in time, your kids will keep their bedrooms organized out of habit.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top