If you want children to keep their rooms tidy, you need to come up with organizing solutions that work for them. The key point to remember is that it’s not enough just to make it easy to put something away. Children need to be able to get it out again when they want it. Otherwise, they’ll leave it out for their convenience.
Keep items near where they’re used
This is a general organization tip, but it’s particularly important for children’s rooms. Young children are just not going to have the patience to make a long (for them) trip to put something away. If you don’t have space to keep all their belongings near where they’re used, have a “drop zone”, where children can leave items for adults to put away.
Hide items and see if children notice
Decluttering regularly is much less stressful than leaving it all until you move house. It also means that you’re not using up valuable storage space on unwanted items. Try hiding items and see if your child notices. If they do, you can “find” them again. If they don’t, the item can be moved on safely (or put into cold storage for a younger sibling).
Use double-hanging in your wardrobes
Even when children are young, adult wardrobes are generally a more sensible option than children’s wardrobes. They’re bigger and tend to offer better value for money. The trick is to use double hanging effectively. Put everyday items on the lower hanger where your child can reach them. Put less-used items on the top rod and be prepared to fetch them when needed.
Teach your children to roll not fold
Adults can argue the toss about whether rolling or folding is neater. The simple fact is that rolling is generally a lot easier for younger children to manage. Try to organize non-hang clothes so that everything can be seen at a glance. This may mean standing clothes upright rather than having them lying flat.
If you must layer clothes in drawers or on shelves, use the lower layer for the less-worn garments. Try to keep everyday garments on top where it’s easiest for children to reach them. Remember that the more you put in a drawer, the harder it becomes for children to open it.
Put trays or picture frames under the bed
Generally, the centre of the under-bed area is going to be an adults-only storage zone. Even then, you usually want to keep it for items which are only used occasionally.
Children, however, can usually access the areas around the edge of the bed. Make it easier for them by putting items on trays or picture frames. These glide in and out easily, so they can be moved by little hands. This lets children see clearly to take out what they want and put it back again. It’s a great way to keep shoes accessible but tidy.
Learn to love macro-sorting
Macro-sorting basically means just corralling like items together, e.g. putting all the soft toys in one basket. A bit like the roll or fold debate, it can divide opinion among adults. It is, however, a pragmatic option for young children, so learn to love it, for a few years at least.