Cleaning up your kid’s room may seem like mission impossible, but use this as an opportunity to teach your child responsibility and organizational basics. Resist the urge to do it all yourself – even young children can actively participate. Getting them involved in making decisions for décor, placement and what to keep and get rid of will give them a sense of ownership of the space – and lighten your workload.
-- Put a laundry hamper close to where your child gets dressed.
-- Put hooks on the back of the bedroom door to hang robes, pyjamas, and clothes that are worn but not dirty. And/or consider installing large hooks inside the closet for the same purpose.
-- Try as you might, kids seem to have an aversion to hangers so give up that fight and consider installing shelves and drawer units in one-half of the closet.
-- Group like items of clothing – sweaters, tops, pants, jeans.
-- Designate a special drawer for socks and one for underwear.
-- Hang a cap rack if your child collects lots of caps.
2. USE PEGBOARDS
They are versatile and can help to bring sanity to a child’s room or play area.
-- You can buy the ones made from pressed wood and paint or decorate it as you wish; or get the plastic kind that is durable and easy to clean. Cut and custom-fit pegboards to one or more areas of the room. Make sure to choose pegboard hooks that are plastic or those that do not have sharp metal projections to make sure they are safe in a child’s area.
-- Group and display items. For the style-conscious child, hang her jewellery and other baubles together so she can see, admire and choose. Hang umbrellas.
-- Buy small shelves and bins that you can hang from pegboards with your child’s favourite stuffed animals and dolls and other small and lightweight toys.
3. CREATE ZONES
Kids like structure and even young children will (attempt) to toe the line if the rules are clear and simple. Set up zones to help your child to maintain order – or at least reduce chaos.
-- Toy Storage: Stacked cubes with pullout baskets work great. Or use stackable see-through containers so they can locate their things without having to empty each box to find something.
-- Homework/Study/Art Space: A table works best for younger children and a desk for school-age kids.
-- Book Storage: A bookshelf is a must for any child's room, no matter what their age.
-- School zone: Install large hooks to hang backpacks. Put up a pegboard with hanging organisers for homework assignments and school projects.
4. STASH THE ARTWORK
If you’re hanging on to every piece of your children's artwork, consider this: If you keep 10 things a year for two children for 16 years, you'll end up with 320 items! Instead:
-- Create a revolving gallery. Make space to display artwork from each school term. At the end of the term, keep one item (to place in a special scrapbook) and get rid of the rest to make way for the new artwork. Get your child to do the work.
-- Have your child create a scrapbook or video scrapbook of her favourite pieces.
5. CONTAIN, CORRAL AND CONTROL
-- Put like toys together and use plastic shoebox containers for small toys (doll clothes or toy cars), larger lidded bins for blocks or trucks and cars.
-- Use specialty organizers for magazines, comic books, video games, CDs and cassette tapes.
-- Hang an over-the-door shoe organizer on the main door to the room or hidden behind a hinged closet door, and keep small items in their own see-through plastic pockets so kids can easily find what they want.
-- To control clutter, put a limit on the amount of stuff your child is allowed to have. For example, have a basket, drawer or box in which all toys must fit. Any excess has to be donated.
-- Toys and games are likely to be replaced by CDs, DVDs, games consoles, make-up, clothes and other items of interest to teens.
-- Invest in adult-sized furniture pieces. Accommodate their growing collection of clothes with a uniform system of hangers for the closet. Include a flexible wardrobe system that includes rails, shelves and drawers.
-- Help them to keep bedroom floors clear of clothes and damp towels. Buy a couple of inexpensive pop-up laundry baskets – one for colours and one for whites – and encourage them to sort their own clothes.
-- Encourage your teen to put their CDs in a 100 plus CD player or store them in the sleeves of a media book. If your teen has an mp3 player, they can burn all their music to a computer, listen to it on their player and then store the original. As long as they don’t share the music, it is legal to make a digital copy.
-- Keep your living room teenager-free. Carve a chill-out zone in their bedroom to entertain their friends. Beanbags, cushions and low-level seating are ideal.
Stuffed animals – let them keep the few they love and give the rest to a children’s hospital.