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:
- There were too many clothes.
- 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.
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.
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.
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?