My daughter, age 10, needs some major help in her room. Her small space is so messy and unorganized. If we get her room into decent shape, it doesn’t take her long to wreck it. What’s the best way to begin and how can we keep it organized once we’re done?
Parents often set up an organizing system that makes sense to them, but it may not be meaningful to the child. If the system is difficult to understand or does not fit their preferences, it will not be successfully used by the child. Be sure to include your daughter in the organizing process so that she both understands it and takes some ownership.
The biggest problem I see with most children’s rooms is that they are just too full of stuff. When children have so much stuff that they struggle when putting it away, it makes cleaning up less likely. Be sure the drawers and closets are not overflowing and that there is enough space for everything.
The key is to make it super easy to put stuff away. Store like things with like (based upon the child’s version of similar categories), with plenty of empty space for easy clean up.
Think in terms of active versus archive. Move out anything that is simply being stored in the room long-term (archive). Box up the sentimental, outgrown things and store them elsewhere. Only the most used items (active) should occupy the “prime real estate” in her room.
Finally, understand that it takes discipline and leadership by example. You have to walk the talk in your space too. Keep expectations realistic and avoid making her room a battleground. Try for a few minutes a day of maintenance, and congratulate even very small victories!
Becca Clark – www.convenientlyorganized.com