Keeping your child’s bedroom clutter-free is nothing short of a major challenge. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” strewn on the floor and on the bed. Here is a simple method to make clutter a thing of the past:
First, decide if you want to raid the room on your own or include your child in the process (depending on their age and disposition). Some parents have discovered that just threatening to enter the room and start cleaning and throwing things away is enough incentive for the child to make improvements on their own. Some children respond better to parental involvement. If you can work with the child to show them how to de-clutter and create organization, here is the cooperative method:
Start by making three piles: “Toss,” “Donate,” and “Keep.”
Next, pull everything out of the dresser drawers or out of the closet. And I mean everything. Children often enjoy this step as it involves making a big mess!
Start in one corner, move clockwise and sort accordingly.
My toss pile is for anything torn or stained. My donate pile is for anything that is in good condition and too small to wear. My keep pile is what I have to fold and introduce back into the drawers or closet. For underwear, bras and socks, I am a big fan of drawer organizers. These can be dividers or cubbies and they make the drawer contents easier for a child to manage and less “junky” looking.
If your child is small and can’t reach the rods in the closet, be sure to keep their favorite outfits on a lower rod or shelf and keep the less worn, holiday or off- season outfits on the top rod/shelf. Then rotate with the seasons.
If you have several children and want to keep hand-me-downs, sort them by size and gender, store them in clear plastic containers and label them.
For the toys, go through a similar drill with 3 piles. At the end of the exercise, everything should have a place in a drawer, bin or shelf. If something doesn’t fit, then it needs to be tossed or donated. That’s the rule.
Now that everything is neatly put away and organized, how do you maintain it? What’s the secret, you ask?
Make a chore board, decorate it and make it cute and appealing to your child. Decide what needs to happen DAILY for the “clutter monster” to stay out of the room. Add a star or a check mark when tasks are completed. For example: make the bed, put dirty clothes in hamper, put toys in bin, put clean laundry away correctly, put homework in backpack, get clothes/uniform ready for the next day, hang up wet towels after a bath; you get the drift.
You can reward the child on a daily or weekly basis for doing these chores and keeping their space tidy. Some parents may choose money, tokens, or a movie night, or other age appropriate reward. After a little bit of trial and error, your child will see how easy this method is and you will be teaching your child self-respect, respect for their property and reinforcing a system of organization. Your child will soon be proud to show guests his/her bedroom and you will find less yelling makes for a better relationship and more quality time. It’s a win-win.