To all of you parents out there: I feel for you.
Organizing your child’s room can be a complicated task. You start with the desire to find a system to help relieve the stress of everyday routines, and to teach your children how to be responsible with their things. You look around at the chaotic swirl of dolls, books, action figures, mismatched puzzle pieces, legos (oh…the legos…), and wonder how on earth did a SHARPIE get up in here?!?! Not only is the concept of organization totally overwhelming, but where in the Sam Hill are you going to find the time to actually DO it?
Coupled with that is the guilt that often accompanies the purging process. Aunt Sue gave your daughter that gigantic stuffed bear, and Grandma Ida gave your son that hefty Nerf gun. Even though your children may have outgrown these toys, and you could desperately benefit from having more space and order in your home, you are nevertheless reluctant to part with gifts given to your children from friends and family members you love.
Again, I feel for you. But do not walk away from this without hope! You are not alone, and you CAN take your house back from the clutches of Batman and Doc McStuffins. Let this project be of encouragement to you.
This project was for a family of six, including four children under the age of 7. So naturally, there are a lot of toys in the house. We tackled two kids’ rooms in 7 hours over the span of 2 days, hauling off 2 car loads of donation items!
It is easy to get overwhelmed looking at the big pile of clothes and toys, but repeat after me: “One step at a time.”
Step 1.) Clear the space.
Clear off the bed. Make the bed. Pick up all the toys off the floor and throw them into a large storage bin. I guarantee you that this step alone will make you go, “Ahhhhh…”
Step 2.) Sort.
Sort everything into categories. (Have some containers handy to make this process efficient.) Typical kid’s room categories look like this: Clean Clothes, Dirty Clothes, Dress Up, Stuffed Animals, Dolls/Action Figures, Balls, Puzzles and Games, Books, Keepsakes, Etc.
Tip: Unless you have older children, I would strongly suggest keeping “Arts and Crafts” in a location where you can monitor their use.
Step 3.) Purge.
Let’s face the facts: birthdays and Christmas come every year, and they bring more toys and gifts along with them. Release yourself from the guilt. Your children will not be without toys or things to play with. Take the time to explain to your children that their unused toys are going to other children who do not have any toys. Use your best judgment on whether or not to involve your children in the purging process. For some children, the purging process can be a fun one-on-one activity with Mom or Dad. For others, this can be a stressful time, and it may be better for the parent to make the donation decisions. Keep a bag or a box handy for items to be donated.
Tip: If you find that you’ve purged as much as you can, but the space still looks cluttered, consider utilizing a large storage bin as part of a toy rotation system. Every couple of months, take the bin out of storage, exchanging the stored toys for the current ones your children have been playing with. Voila! It’s as if they have brand new toys!
4.) Put it back together.
Organizing isn’t rocket science. Dirty clothes go in a laundry hamper. Clean clothes go in drawers or hung up in the closet. Books go on the bookshelf, and toys go in their designated bins and containers. Have fun picking out your storage bins and containers! There are tons of cute options out there!
Purchasing a simple mesh hamper solved a big problem of clothes and toys thrown together in the corner of this closet:
I also found these adorable pink chevron and navy striped hampers at Target- they work really well for storing laundry, stuffed animals, and dress up clothes!
Purchasing a few more storage bins helped contain all those little toys that are so easily scattered. I had some fun making some labels for each bin- super cute, functional, and easy to make!
1.) After you’ve sorted the toys, take a picture of the inside of each bin.
2.) Head to your local Walgreens/CVS. Plug in your phone/camera to their handy dandy photo printing station. Add some text to your pictures if you wish, then print!
3.) Secure the labels to your storage bins using a hole punch and cute ribbon or yarn. What a great way to help teach your kids about organization!
Then onto Big Brother’s room… it may not look too bad on the surface, but man you should have seen the piles growing under the bed! (I was totally that child, by the way. Still trying to figure out how I got to be the organizing nut that I am today…)
We followed the same step by step process: clearing, sorting, purging, and putting it all back together. We used simple shoe bins for little toys like action figures and legos, then labeled them, of course! Another canvas hamper worked well in this closet to store nerf guns, arrows, and all the heavy artillery little boys like to collect.
Parents- you can do it! Remember, you are teaching your children some valuable lessons here. Cleanliness and order in the small things, like making your bed and picking up your toys, transfer into responsibility with bigger things, like showing up for work and paying bills. The investment is absolutely worth it!