Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Monday, September 3, 2007

Organizing Children's Things

This morning, instead of just helping my daughter to clean up her room, we took it one step further and did some organizing. We decided what to save and what to toss, what went where, and moved some things around.

Some of the categories were "Fairies & Mini Princesses", "Dress-Up Accessories", and "Barbies & Clothes", but it really doesn't matter what the stuff is -- as long as the categories are meaningful to the child. What's important is setting up the storage and organization together, so the child knows where things are to get and to put back.

We used plastic bins with lids for any and all items that are small and could be lost easily (think Polly Pocket et al). For larger one-piece items like My Little Ponies and books, we use open baskets and bins. Whatever can fit in the doored section of the bookcase goes there or under the bed -- the rest on shelves. The goal is to have floor space to play, and for plenty of walking room between bed, table/chairs and other furniture.

Some other tips for organizing kids' things:
  • Try to keep special toys and books only in bedrooms, the rest of shared or non-gender toys in a playroom

  • Switch out toys so that 1/2 of the total collection is out & 1/2 is in storage out of sight.

  • Assign rules to the toys & try to stick to them: inside toys, outside toys, upstairs toys, downstairs toys.

  • You can also buy plastic toy chains or hammocks to use underutilized space.

  • Make sure that there are plenty of places for children to put things away at a lower level that they can use without help.

  • Label what goes in each container as specifically as possible. For little non-readers, use clip-art pictures, cut from catalog, scan actual item, or cut up flashcards. If kids share a room, use their photos to label their individual items.

  • For puzzle storage: mark back of pieces with a letter or abbreviation of the puzzle name, put in Ziploc bag or plastic envelope with cutout of puzzle picture; put all bags into plastic container.