Kids Rooms – Tips On Keeping Them Tidy

kids rooms messy title

Our five kids share two bedrooms. I like that they share. I like that as they go bed at night they have each other for company. I like how they have to learn to “negotiate” and compromise over space, activities and tidying up the room.

Currently in one room we have the 7, 5 and 2 year old. We have one set of bunks and a single bed. Recently though the mess level in the room had been driving me crazy. Each morning the kids are supposed to tidy the room before we go off to school and they were “having a go” at it, but the room just never seemed to be really tidy, even if I helped them. Then it occurred to me, there was just too much stuff in the room!

Each year before Christmas we have a big clean up where we de-clutter the room and collect toys to donate etc. It has been over six months since we last did that and since that time we have had:

  • Christmas gifts.
  • The youngest two have had a birthday each.
  • A trip to Hong Kong where they bought souvenirs.
  • Spending of their pocket money on new toys and games.
  • Received a significant amount of second hand clothing from friends.

Not surprisingly all of this stuff takes up space. And with 3 little people in the room, space is really at a premium. We had been constantly adding to the room and it was now difficult for the kids to put things away and find homes for their new things.

So my biggest tip for keeping kids rooms tidy – get rid of stuff! This is what we did.

De-clutttering and Organising Kids Clothes

The set up we had for the kid’s clothes wasn’t working for two reasons:

  1. There were too many clothes.
  2. The toddler couldn’t easily access his clothes.

This was causing the kids to just stuff their clothes anywhere they could find space. The toddler would just shove his clothes in a pile on the floor near where they should go when he was putting his clothes away.

So we took all the clothes out and went through not only what didn’t fit the kids, but I also took out what they didn’t wear. My kids tend to have some clothes they really like to wear and others that never get worn. Some times it is my favourite items that don’t get worn, so as hard as it was to take them away, I know there was no point leaving them there taking up space as they will never get worn.

Kids Rooms - Clothes De-cluttering
The kids and I then worked on placing clothes into piles – leggings, underwear, t-shirts, etc so we could then work out the best place to put them in their drawers.

Kids Rooms - Helping
Even the toddler was keen to help put his clothes away in the new set up.

Kids Rooms - Drawers
As the drawers are big, we continued to use our tried and tested method of using shoe boxes and nappy boxes as dividers in the drawers. Having clearly defined sections makes it so much easier for the little ones to put things away in the right spots.

De-clutttering The Games and Activities Cupboard

I have a problem getting rid of games and quality kids activities. I know there are only so many games they can play and only so much room in the cupboard, but I do like having them in the house still.

So I have tried something different this time. We took away lots of games and activities that aren’ty played with right now and boxed them up for the attic. I intend to use a rotation system like I do for toys on our toy shelf.

Kids rooms - Toy Cupboard
I have kept the toys the younger kids play with most frequently on the bottoms shelves and the games I don’t want the little kids getting their hands on by themselves on the higher shelves.

Roughly once a quarter I will rotate some of the games from the attic to the cupboard. That way the kids should be able to easily get games out and then find a spot to place them back when they have finished. That is the theory at least – I will let you know how we go!

On top of this anything that was broken (and unrepairable) was thrown out. Lots of little bits of pieces that had found their way into the room, have now found their way to the bin. It really did feel good to get rid of so much of this stuff too.

Setting The Example

I have found that my kids respond to their environment in terms of well they keep their room tidy. The room had been getting pretty messy because the base they had to work from was cluttered and messy. Changing the base so it was better organised and had de-cluttered spaces has made such a difference to how they are looking after their room.

Kids Rooms - Build-a-Bear wardrobe
Inspired by the de-cluttering and organising of her own clothes, my daughter was set out to find a better system to store her teddy bears clothes (yes of course they have clothes!). Using a nappy box and a piece of plastic, she rigged up a wardrobe so the clothes could now be neatly hung up!

What do you do to help the kids keep their rooms tidy?


  1. says

    My kids have one chest of draws each. Everything needs to fit in there. I bought my daughter two gorgeous cardigans this season. She won’t wear them, refuses, they are too wolly, too itchy apparently. So this week only 2 months in I sold them on Ebay. I couldn’t be bothered having them take up valuable space if she was never going to wear them. So I recouped my money, well most of it. Lesson learned, I’m not buying many clothes for my daughter any more she has way too much.

  2. Gina says

    LOve my house and were we live. but no storage. I use lots of those space bags fantastic lots fit in only need a little space to store after air taken out. All of our beds have valences on and i use the under beds to store items. My 6 and 10 yr old boys currently share not working. considering moving the 10yr old to the 3yr old girls room and the 2 little one s share. Just wondering if boy girl combo will work.

    • says

      I think the boy girl combo can work. It is working for us. My daughter is 7 and she shares with her 5 year old and 2 year old brother. There will be a point when this won’t work though and they need more privacy. Will have to work out a new combo in a few years!

  3. Lisa B says

    Wow, I’m inspired to de-clutter and reorganise my children’s rooms – a couple of half day sessions on the school holidays. I expect a big delivery to the charity shops! Plus I have just introduced storage boxes in our main living area, one box per child and what doesn’t fit has to be put away – hope this works.

  4. Marnee says

    I’ve given up for a while…I feel like I’ve been de-cluttering all year and still not getting there! With no storage here the toys not out (I try to rotate) take up valuable space in the closest and are acctually accessable so master 3 often pulls them out and I have everything out and it takes me forever to re orgainise. So am giving myself a break and just leaving it be for a little while but will come back and re-read when I’ve had enough :)

    • says

      You do have to be “emotionally and physically ready” for it. This needed to happen in this room probably close to two months before I did it. Like you I just couldn’t face it then though!

  5. says

    Our reno house doesn’t have cupboards yet so space to store anything is minimal. We too have to de-clutter the clothes every so often which seems to help. Shoes go in tubs. Clothes go in drawers with the recent system put in place of cardigans + jumpers in one, shirts/ tops in another, knickers and socks etc in the top drawers. We have a playroom which I’m so grateful for. It stores most of the toys so all of that kind of clutter generally stays out of the room. Our mess comes from the everyday leaving things on the floor eg: clothes that have been worn.

  6. Erin says

    My two girls share and have mountains of stuff! (despite the fact that i haven’t bought them any clothes this winter, well meaning grans can’t help themselves!) We didn’t have any room for a tall boy in their room and i find hanging baby clothes tedious! I did have one of those cube storage shelves from ikea which i have now put inside their double cupboard. 8 of the cubes are fitted out with crates containing their clothes, the other 8 have toys which i then rotate with a shelf in our family room. So far so good for keeping it tidy! I do find it really hard getting rid of hardly worn clothes….so that my husbands job :)

    • says

      Husbands are very good at sorting out the clothes that need to go – I find they don’t have the emotional attachment to them like we do!

  7. says

    i managed to get down to carpet-level in my wee guy’s room this weekend – what an achievement! he has a storage shelf system with boxes for the cubby holes (Expedit from IKEA) – usually i sort through, finding homes for everything in the right order, but this time i just kept filling up box after box regardless. ok – he can’t find anything but at least i could vacuum and the room isn’t such a black hole now. i feel like i can approach the room box by box in little steps to declutter.
    … and then the rec room.
    i do find the whole tidy/declutter thing emotionally charged since it seems it’s only me in the house who is active in this area (in addition to mending, DIY, organisation and so on) – it’s easiest to let the clutter mount but also the most dpressing since it’s visible 24/7. my solution so far has been to be a drill sergeant in the shared areas, and then quite blase (to a point) if i can shut a door on it and don’t have to visit that room at all!

    • says

      I close the door on my older boys room. If I want to vacuum and it is a mess, I will pile everything onto a bed, vacuum and leave the rest for them to tidy up. It can wear you down when you are the only one doing the work.

      • says

        i try to think long term – i’m raising a boy who will be a good catch for whoever his partner will be in the future, therefore – his mess, his duty to tidy up

        until then i practice zen and the art of ignoring clutter :)

  8. pippa says

    We have a small workers cottage with 3 children 1,3 and 4 years old. They all share the smallest room in the house which just fits in bunks and a cot and the biggest bedroom in the house has become a playroom (their clothes go in there too). We invested in a pull down ladder into our roof space and a bit of flooring and we have an instant ‘attic’. The cost was about $3000 – cheap for the amount of storage it has given us

  9. says

    I’m new to your blog but it looks great!

    It’s funny, I could have written the start of this post… getting rid of ‘stuff’ is really the key to keeping the kids’ rooms tidy. I buy very few clothes for them now too as I’ve learned they follow the 80/20 rule (wear 20% of the clothes 80% of the time!).

    The shoeboxes inside the draws looks great though, I’ll be doing that tomorrow to keep the pjs out of the tracky dacks :)

  10. Lisa says

    Up early today, couldn’t sleep … but I was most pleased to come across your blog this morning, it has given me inspiration to get my house and life in order. Only when my house is neat and tidy is when I can relax mentally & unwind but that doesn’t happen too often as I always seem to be chasing my tail picking up after everyone else in the house . (15month old son excluded)
    You have got so many great ideas and I can’t wait to put things into action.
    Looks like I need to de-clutter and stop keeping every little thing that anyone has ever bought for me or my kids, and I will be adopting your idea of dividing the drawers with the shoe boxes – fantastic idea! Why didn’t I start this sooner, oh well at least it’s winter and much warmer to be inside.
    Can’t wait to read all your handy tips and advice.

  11. says

    I always find my kids room to be sooo messy, and it always cause me so much stress that i just can’t work without picking up my 3 yr old toys first…
    I can’t even walk in their room when they start playing …I am thinking of using the other chest of drawers to place some of these toys…
    I am inspired by this post..and I think I’ll do it tonight….

  12. says

    Love love love this post… you’ve got me all inspired!
    At the moment the room our girls share is one of the few spaces we have for toy storage so it is a little crazy in there. Even crazier in the other bedroom which my DH and I share with both boys… so we really need to work on only having as much as we need in both rooms!
    Please can you write more posts on how you manage your household space with a big family…. :)


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