By Paula Eichermuller
Are you constantly tripping over books, clothes, and toys in
your childs room? When you ask them to clean their room, does
everything get shoved under the bed? If the answer is yes then
it is time to attack the clutter and get their room in order.
A well thought out plan of attack will unclutter and organize
your childs room once and for all.We need to begin by using the
> Define & Organize
You will need to get a clear picture of the problem areas and
then determine a solution.What is the purpose of this project?
Does your child have too much stuff? Are toys and clothes scattered
everywhere? Is the child unable to utilize space? What are your
childs interests and hobbies? After asking yourself these types
of questions you need to make a list.
Draw a line down a piece of paper. On the left side of the page
write the word Problem, on the right side write the words needs/solution.
toys under bed -> storage containers
dirty clothes on floor -> hamper
books in toy box -> book shelves
no place to build models -> table/good lighting
dresser drawers overflowing -> get rid of old clothes
After determining your needs for this room you will need to gather
some supplies.(Some storage ideas are located at the end of this
Now you need to start removing things. You will need to have
some boxes and garbage bags for the items you will be getting
> Doesn't fit- Can be handed down to siblings, or donated.
> Beyond repair- Torn/stained clothes. Simply throw away.
> Missing pieces- Games, puzzles, action figure arms! Toss.
> Doesn't belong here- friends toys, clothes, books, etc.
> Outgrown Toys- Keep only age appropriate toys. Donate
> Outgrown books- Donate to library or childrens hospital.
> The dirty dishes lurking under the bed. Restrict eating in
Try to get your child involved in physically bringing the donated
items to their new "home". Once they see that others
have a real use for their old stuff, they will get a sense of
pride knowing that they helped someone.
Now that you have removed at least half of the stuff from this
room, you should be able to see the floor. Take advantage of this
by giving the room a deep cleaning.
> Wash curtains
> Dust mini blinds
> Clean windows
> Scrub and polish furniture
> Sweep and scrub floors
> Vacuum carpets
> Dust shelves
> Flip mattress and vacuum
* Don't forget to clean inside the closet*
After purging you should have significantly less stuff to deal
with. Now it is time to organize this wonderfully clean space.
Now I will give you some ideas on how they should function.
Below are the basic areas a child needs in their room. I call
these areas "stations". Does your child have the proper
stations in their room? For a child to function productively in
their environment they need the following areas:
> Sleep station-This one is a no brainer, your child sleeps
here, but if your child also enjoys reading in bed, be sure you
have proper lighting and perhaps a nightstand or book shelf near
> Study Station-A sturdy desk with proper lighting is a must.
If your child does their schoolwork here make sure all of the
necessary supplies (pencils,paper,caculator,ruler etc.) are neat
and organized. You can use an inbox for spare notebook paper,
an old mug can hold the scissors, pens, etc.
> Games/playing Station- Designate either a place on the floor
or a table for board games. Board games should be stacked near
this area.Book shelves will work fine or they can be neatly stored
under the bed. For action figures and dolls, use see through plastic
bins for storage. For accessories (doll shoes,action figure weapons
etc.)you can use an empty egg carton.
> Creativity Station- Lets face it children love crafts, so
this area is a must.Use old coffee cans for storing paint brushes
and crayons. Glue, paper, scissors, play-dough, etc. can be stored
in old shoe boxes.
> Dressing Station- Place a hamper near either the closet
or dressser.This should help to encourage your child to not drop
them on the floor. Lower the rod inside closets(if possible) so
little ones can reach their clothes. You can also purchase a rod
that hangs on the existing one which not only makes it easier
for children to reach, but it also adds additional storage.
Go over each area with your child explaining each stations function.
You will be surprised by how neat they keep their new space. Children
don't like messy rooms any more than we do, they simply need to
be taught how to be organized. Remember the saying "A place
for everything and everything in its place". Once everything
has a home your child should have no problem staying organized.
Explain to them that if they are done in one station,they must
put everything away before they can play in another station. At
the end of every day before bed give your child 10 minutes to
pick up the room.
When you place items into a storage container, be sure to label
it. This will eliminate the excuse of not knowing where something
An over the door see through shoe holder can hold Barbies, Action
figures, markers, crayons, stuffed animals, craft items, building
blocks, baseball cards.
Clear plastic containers hold everything mentioned above PLUS
matchbox cars, puzzles, paints, papers, un-assembled race tracks,
photographs, comic books.
A net hung in the corner of the ceiling can hold stuffed animals,
sport balls, baseball gloves.
A ribbon or rope strung across a wall can hold art work, photos,
awards, greeting cards, hair clips, and hats. They will attach
easily using clothespins.
These are just a few ideas. Look around the house for your own
storage ideas. Here are a few things you probably have lying around:
Wicker baskets, cleaning caddy's, clay pots,and milk crates.
Now use your imagination to see what you can store in them. Of
course everything mentioned will not apply to every child. Make
any necessary adjustments to accommodate the age of the child.
Paula Eichermuller, Jacksonville, Fl, USA
Paula Eichermuller is a Professional organizer, providing solutions
for the home and small business. Get your FREE Bright ideas Pak
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Copyright 2001 Paula Eichermuller