It is the third week of the Clear the Clutter Challenge and this week the focus is kid spaces! Each week I am co-hosting this challenge with Keri and Katie , so be sure to check out their kid spaces as well. Since I recently had organized our kids’ art room, this week I tackled my kids’ bedrooms! I am excited to share their spaces with you as well as give you tips for organizing kids’ bedrooms!
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Clear the Clutter: Kids Spaces
Not that long ago I organized our kids’ art room, so for this week’s challenge I decided to get the kids’ bedrooms in order! My daughter has her own room and the boys share a room. Neither rooms were completely out of order, but overall there was just too much stuff in them to keep the rooms clean for longer than a few days.
Each week of the challenge, I have been answering these five organization questions before I dive into the space:
- What is my end goal with the space? To make it easier for the kids to put away things in their rooms.
- What is currently working in the space? The kids have a lot of places to store their things including desks, bookcases and a toy chests and lockers (for the boys).
- What is NOT working in the space? Everything does not have a ‘home’, so it makes clean up challenging.
- What tools (baskets/bins/labels) do I already have to complete the space? Bookcases, closets, etc.
- Is there anything I need to buy to help reach my end goal? No! I’d rather cut down on the stuff they have then buy more bins to store it all!
I don’t know about your kids, but mine are sentimental (cough pack rats)! My littlest guy loves to store trinkets and treasures under his bed, so every few weeks I need to crawl around the bed and clear out his mess. I try to embrace this quality of this guy, but boy can he accumulate a lot of stuff! My daughter also tends to accumulate a lot of stuff…mainly books, notes and art supplies. I love this creative part of her, but it would help to have her room in better order, so she can find all of her things. And my middle son LOVES stuffed animals! I can’t help but allow his obsession because I know it’ll end soon enough!
So, when it came time to get down and dirty in these rooms, I knew I had a challenge in front of me! Now that the rooms are organized and we survived this challenge, I wanted to share some tips that helped us get through!
1. Get Buy in From the Child
This might be the hardest step! I worked with each of my kids individually on their spaces. So, as a bonus, we got some one-one-one time! While I was met with a little resistance, ultimately the kids were excited to get their spaces in better shape. We talked about the payout of organizing which includes being able to find their stuff easier and being able to clean their rooms quicker (less stuff=less stuff to put away!) My two older really got this concept and there was definitely a sense of relief when the rooms were clean!
It really helps to have the kids be in charge of taking out everything of the drawers and closets. They need to see what they have and what they want to keep.
2. Bring Garbage Bags
This one is pretty self explanatory but bring lots of bags! I actually missed this step with my daughter and we were running out of her room every few minutes dumping out her little garbage can. Do yourself a favor and bring lots of bags. One for garbage, one for donate and one for keep (but that isn’t staying in room). It makes a difference to get rid of the trash right away–out of sight out of mind and less second guessing about the your choices.
3. Block Time and Plan for Multiple Sessions if Necessary
Do not attempt to start a clean out session if you don’t have enough time to complete the task! Find time when everyone is well rested and eager to get to work. That being said, if you find that your child is losing interest or the project is taking too long, be realistic about breaking up the job over a few days!
My daughter and I were able to tackle her room in one day. She was really motivated, especially once we got started to get things organized. However, I found that my boys did not have the focus for more than an hour at a time. So, we broke up their room over a few days, tackling different spots each day. Recognize the cues of your kids and adjust accordingly. The last thing you want is a bored or resentful child working with you or you’ll have a harder time getting buy in next time!
4. Be Patient
This one is big. I found that my speed and motivation did not exactly match my kids. They wanted to go through each item and analyze before making a decision. I had to really take a step back and go at their pace. If I wanted it done, I had to come to their level and pace.
Also, sometimes letting the child work on their own for a bit can be beneficial. If you sense that your child is getting frustrated, allow them some space to do some things on their own. This really worked well with my daughter. I was able to get her to a point that she could finish the job independently. Ultimately, it is their space, so you want them to have a say in where there things are going! Otherwise, you will be back in the same place you started as they won’t know where anything goes!
My daughter organized her drawers on her own and even designated drawers for various items. If your kids are too little for this, then it’s definitely okay to help them make those decisions!
5. Stay Calm and Take the Emotion Out of the Process
If you really want a clean and organized space, you have to let go of the emotion attached to objects. You might find that your kids are willing to get rid of things you wouldn’t necessarily throw away and yet they might want to keep things that seem frivolous to you. But, you really have to stay neutral and let the kids make those decisions. You are helping them to learn and develop their own organizational skills!
If it something you really think they should hold on to (like a prized baby keepsake), perhaps take it out of their room and store it in another place like the attic!
6. Offer a Reward or Incentive
Celebrate the hard work of your child with a fun reward! It could be a trip to get ice cream or something new and fun for the bedroom (like a poster or new decor item). It’s important to recognize the time and energy you child spent and perhaps it’ll help them to remember that hard work really does pay off!
Also, be sure to take before and after pictures and show the kids! It really is rewarding to see the improvements visually. I even caught my daughter taking her own before and after pictures!
Boys Room Before:
Boys Room After:
We got rid of several stuffed animals, and cleared out enough room in the lockers to add in some toys that were taking up space in room.
These Craigslist find lockers really are a organization lifesaver! I envision putting their sports and gym gear in here in a few years, but for now, their toys work perfectly in them.
My son decided to keep all of his stuffed animals off his bed and in the bean bag and storage bin. He realized it is a lot easier to make his bed now!
Now he can actually work at his desk!
Now on to my daughter’s room! I only got a few before pictures because we really got focused on the task at hand!
It wasn’t too bad, but what you can’t see is all the books and art supplies piled under her desk. She had so many books all of them couldn’t fit on the bookcase. She also couldn’t close her desk lid because of all the stuff packed inside!
We figured out we could get more books on the shelves by stacking them upwards versus across.
We managed to fill six garbage bags of trash and items for donation between the two rooms. The kids still have a lot of stuff but we were able to narrow it down to things they truly love.
This week’s challenge was not easy but next week will be even harder for me next week as I take on my office! This room has been neglected since before the holidays and I can’t even see my desk.