Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Helping Kids to Get Organized

Summer is a great time to help kids get their rooms organized. With more spare time, you have a great opportunity to start some new habits. Organization is a life skill that needs to be taught just like nutrition and personal hygiene.

Start with motivation. Give them a reason to want to get organized. Make getting rid of unused stuff an opportunity to make money by offering to hold a garage sale with their old stuff. Let them keep the profits. Another option is to give them a chance to be charitable. Find a family in need or an organization you believe in and donate the old toys.

Show them the way by doing it with them at first. Set aside 10 minutes a day to do this together. Show them how to pick one small area to work on. Take everything out of that drawer, corner, or box and then start sorting. Remember to immediately put all donations in the trunk of your car (or somewhere out of sight) as kids tend to want to take things back if they see them again.

Once you have sorted out everything that is going to go away, help them create a new home for what is left. When something has a home, it is easy to put it away. Encourage them to be creative by having them decorate labels to mark boxes or drawers. Another option is to have them take photos of the neat areas. Post the photos in that area so they can easily remember where everything goes.

Help them to maintain their neat space by setting aside time at the end of each day to tidy up. Set a household rule that towards the end of play dates, guests help clean up also. Help them to understand why neatness and organization is important for tranquility in your home.

You can make daily maintenance fun too. Make up a silly song that everyone has to sing while cleaning up. Set a timer and have a contest to see who can do their area the quickest. You can also hold neatness contests. Award a winner each day and track the winners on a sticker chart.

Another opportune time to get kids to weed out unused toys is right before a birthday or Christmas. Remind your kids that there is only so much room. With the prospect of new toys on the horizon, it is important to make room for the new by clearing out the old.

If you are dealing with organizing issues yourself, be a role model for your child by seeking assistance for yourself. Hire a professional organizer to come work with your whole family to make your home a more peaceful environment.

Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at Check out her blog at

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