Flash back to almost 12 years ago when my husband and I got married….our house was pristine. Not even dust collected! Then came the kids…..YEP – that’s pretty much all I have to say for you to understand what happens next right?! Our house looks like it has exploded and imploded all at the same time and then done it in reverse again!
We try desperately to keep up with the chaos and clutter but with a toddler at home and both my husband and I working what seems more than full time during the school year it just doesn’t happen. Plus I tend to hoard anything educational or that can be used for crafts and activities for the kids and that can get out of hand pretty quickly.
Because our house tends to get exploded with clutter despite our best intentions I always let my kid’s bedroom itself slide because part of me felt like if I couldn’t keep up with the clutter and be a good example then why bother making them clear their clutter. Between my tween and upcoming tween I have a feeling it’s going to get a lot crazier soon!
Don’t get me wrong – the kids were definitely expected to put things away when they got them out, keep their toys at bay and clean up their messes. But at night, and early morning, when they would have rambunctious stuffed animal fights and build massive forts that spanned the size of their room…..constantly…..I just kind of gave up even bothering to try.
But when we realized baby #3 was getting ready to be on the move it was time to clear the floors and turn their room from a pack rat’s paradise into something at least visually manageable. Especially as they will be approaching tween ages soon – I didn’t want to raise kids who trailed lived in chaotic clutter. I’m still not sure what it is about boys and keeping EVERYTHING they come across…..
Start by EVALUATING & Planning.
Do nothing more than sit in the room you want to organize (or walk thru and sit somewhere else where you aren’t staring at the clutter) and then decide your game plan. Imagine it as an empty room and start fresh. I had everything planned out before I started touching anything which made my end goal easier to attain.
Draw it out on paper if you need a more visual view. Personally, I am a HUGE HUGE HUGE fan of the cubed bookshelves like this one that I ordered. We saved up and ordered one for each of my boys. It was a necessary (and our main) expense. IKEA also has various options in different sizes if you have one nearby!
I realized that other than my boys dresser tops they had absolutely NO means of organizing or storing ANYTHING. There were no shelves in their room, no storage organizers, nothing. I NEEDED a system and more importantly THEY needed a system. Cubed bookshelves for me are the answer every time.
You can buy fancy fabric drawers or use fabric decorated boxes for a cheaper alternative as well as simply display things on the shelf. You can organize each cube by category to help the least organized of them which is what we did as you’ll see below! These shelves come in whatever main color you need and you can paint or decorate them if desired.
Plus people are always looking to buy them if you decide to sell them later.
What We Bought to Help our Kids Stay Organized:
Cubed Bookshelf (1 per kid)
Command Strips for Display Boards
Display on Walls/Doors Using Cork Tiles
- OPTIONAL – Fabric Drawers
I also decided to display some of their collections on a cork board like this one we made for their police patches collection and use Command strips to attach them to their closet door. We made a similar cork tile set for their Disney & collectible pins using the same set of tiles. (I purchased this 4 pack of cork tiles here.)
What’s the point of collecting things if you can’t see it? If I could get it up and on the wall it would stay out of a pile of junk! In addition to that, inside their closet I purchase an inexpensive shoe hanger like this (CLEAR so they can see!) for small items as well.
Purchase your Supplies & Get Started!
I ordered everything I needed online since we don’t live near many retail stores which gave me enough time to have the kids start piling their stuff into organized groups and throwing out things we didn’t need. Not including the fabric drawers I spent under $100.
Maybe not the cheapest option but this intervention needed a permanent organized fix. Often times kids don’t stay organized because there is NO PLACE FOR THEIR THINGS. No SPECIFIC place. If my boys want to stay organized I have to develop a SPECIFIC location for their flashlights, their bottle caps, their money, etc as you can see in the graphic above.
I essentially have to tell them where to put everything and help them learn how to store their things neatly, or learn to get rid of things they don’t need. Otherwise they just pile it in heaps on top of their dresser! On TOP of the cube they are allowed to store books and display larger items like their stuffed animals and such.
TIP – Keep a cube for miscellaneous items. Kids need a “junk” drawer to put things when they don’t know where it belongs. Only 1 cube though. When it gets full they either have to get rid of things in their cube or not keep what it is they wanted.
TIP – if you do NOT want your kids piling junk on top of their dressers like we had a problem with you can place these cubed bookshelves directly ON TOP of their dressers and bolt them to the wall so they cannot be toppled or accidentally pulled down!
Once we had our plan IN PLACE, shelves up, a specific location for pretty much everything that crossed my kid’s path – the rest was up to them! Once they had a DEDICATED location for each and every thing they owned and wanted to keep it was SO much easier when we said “clean your room!”.
The kids KNEW without a doubt exactly where everything went. Not only did they automatically start keeping their room cleaner since they knew where everything went but I no longer saw little random things all over my house anymore which made it safer both for the baby and for my tender feet. So let’s review:
- Evaluate your chaos & design a plan.
- Purchase supplies needed to give a definite organized space.
- Go through and throw away or donate as much as possible.
- Declare a designated location for everything, including one location to “dump” in.
- Do a daily check just before bed. Remind your kids everything needs to be in it’s place.