Our families are blessed with abundance and we have never seen this more than with the blessings of toys, clothes and more for our children. With summer here, it is a great time to enlist your children in decluttering your home and organizing!
Working with your children
Children are full of great ideas! Their suggestions on where their toys should be stored and how to sort their clothes can make the difference for their organization. With your child’s input, decide if the clothes need to be stored by color, or type, or by outfit. Your children will be invested in the organizing system that they help determine.
Decluttering with your children
All children have favorite toys and clothes they have outgrown. The comfort of these items creates security for them. However, your children can share their blessings by decluttering before a birthday or holiday. Encourage your children to donate to local philanthropies that are important to your family, such as a women’s shelter or relief fund. Go through your children’s clothes regularly to be sure these are the current size. If you store clothes for the next sibling, keep these in uniform, labeled containers with the size, season and gender on the outside of the container. If your children are not ready to part with certain toys, the toys can “go on vacation” on an upper shelf or other storage area to be brought out later.
Simple systems please
A simple system with general categories for sorting is best with children. Be sure to have your child generate the name of the category. Use accessible bins for storage relying on items that are the correct height for your child. The most loved and frequently played with toys should be the most accessible. Group together the items that are used together, also separating the specific items. A 3 drawer plastic container can hold Barbies in one drawer, Barbie clothes in another drawer, and accessories in the third drawer. The same applies for art and craft supplies, with small containers for glue, scissors, tape, paper, stickers, and more. Using vertical space is always an excellent option as well, especially for trophies and keepsakes. There is unclaimed storage and visually appealing space right above the furniture line using racks, shelving and displays.
Label, label, label
Once your system is in place, it is time to label everything! This makes pick up quick, everyone knows where everything belongs, and your organization stays in place! Inexpensive label makers make labeling fun and keep your system intact. Have your children create the labels and apply them.
Routines for staying organized
It is overwhelming to have to place all your toys or clothes back in their homes! Create routines that encourage “organizing as you go”. Have a rule about how many toys can be taken out at one time, perhaps three at a time, and then pick up before taking another toy out to play. Children age 6 and older can be responsible for placing laundry in hampers, sorting laundry before washing it, and placing folded clothes back in its space. Teach your children these responsibilities in small steps, encouraging them as they organize, even if not perfect.
Organizing is an important skill to share with our children. You have powerful input as the organizing role model in your home, and sharing and including your children in organizing their rooms and family spaces adds effectiveness and encourages self esteem. Building with steady small steps, you are making a difference in your family life by organizing with your children.
This article was provided courtesy of:
Ellen R. Delap
Personal Organization Solutions for Home, School, Work and Life
Member/Past President of NAPO Houston
Member National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization