Children do not come out of the womb with the innate sense to put away their belongings. Instead of allowing the burden to fall on you, save yourself from a lifetime of cleanup and create an organized system where every truck, doll, paintbrush, and board game has a place. An organized space makes it easy to teach children how to return toys to their rightful home, and in return, your child will learn to respect their possessions.
The first step in developing your child’s organization skills is to create systems that are easy to maintain—for both adults and children alike. Designating spaces in your home for toys, art supplies, books, and games that are easily accessible for the task at hand is key. If you read to your child at night, keep a bookshelf in their room. Or, if your child plays in the family room, choose a hidden storage unit for unused toys. Everything should be easy-access, kid-friendly (no sharp edges or tough locks), and low to the ground. If the storage space is across the house from where the activity happens, the items most likely won’t make it back. Follow the tips below to teach your children good habits that will last a lifetime, while also relieving yourself of the added stress!
- Get rid of the old, make room for the new. Gather all the toys, art supplies, books, and games in your home and donate, consign, or discard those that are broken, worn, multiples, or unused.
- Use storage effectively. Find a storage unit (pull-out bins are both functional and stylish for small to mid-size toys) and a bookshelf that works with your space and décor and keep larger toys on rotation to alleviate your living space being taken over.
- Make firm rules that stick. Only allow play from one section at a time—and each section must be picked up before moving along. Let them learn: in order to play, everything must be put away!