The Messy Child: How to Encourage Organization With Your Little Ones

My children continue to accumulate many accessories; clothes, toys, shoes, hats, books, art projects, supplies, movies, games and the list goes on… While keeping clutter under control in small spaces can prove to be challenging with a couple grown ups, imagine what two kids thrown into the mix might produce. One of our biggest challenges as a family is finding a place to put it all!

As a busy Mom, working, writing, and raising children, the last thing I want to be filling up my down time is cleaning. After taking a look around at all the small messes that quickly add up to one giant disaster area I decided I need a little help. And who better to help than my children themselves? While some tasks are better done by an adult, there are plenty of kid-friendly chores they can do every day to help keep these small piles to a minimum.

Here are 5 organization tips to help your kids help themselves! Taking an interest in their belongings will help teach them responsibility and free you from picking up non-stop!

1) Removable Adhesive Hooks
When my children have an easy-to-reach place to hang their coats and backpacks, they are more likely to come home from school and put them away where they belong. We used removable adhesive hooks on their dressers and the backs of their doors to give them a place to hang the items they use every day when they’re not using them. When we are ready to remove the hooks, they come off easily without leaving any marks on our walls or furniture.

2) Under the Bed
It’s amazing (and sometimes scary) what has taken up residence under the bed. The next time we do that dreaded squat while pushing our cheek to the floor we know what we’ll find… SHOES! We use the drawers that came with their furniture, but we could also use bins or baskets as an alternative. The boys know when they come home and remove their shoes to put them under their bed. This also helps in the morning. When we are running out the door at an about-to-be-late speed we don’t have to waste time searching for shoes!

3) Project Art
My creative and talented young artists have filled every visible surface on the front of my refrigerator! There is NO MORE ROOM! We have come up with a plan to give each special creation the attention it deserves. Once it’s spent the allocated amount of time on the fridge, the favorites are hung as artwork in their bedroom. We use tape. But, I keep meaning to put them in inexpensive frames… one of these days =) The holiday themed projects they bring home from school are put away with the other decorations and adorn our walls each year when it’s time to get festive!

4) Bins, Boxes, Buckets
We use whatever we can find! If every game, book, stuffed animal, baseball card, Bakugan, dinosaur and Lego have a home of their own, it is easy to toss them there. For the longest time I felt like I kept moving toys from room to room, never actually putting anything AWAY. With labeled or open containers (so you can see inside), it takes no time at all to put toys away in their place. The kids are more likely to play with their toys when they are all together and easy to find.

5) Disinfectant Wipes
Wipes make it easy and fast to clean up all kinds of spills, splashes and splatters (ahem… especially in the bathroom). Anytime we don’t have to turn on the water faucet to clean a mess, it always goes much more smoothly. We have wipes handy in the kitchen and bathroom so the boys can clean up their own messes.

These are just a few things I have incorporated in my home to try to make life easier. It has taken a little practice and MANY reminders, but so far these small changes have helped tremendously to make our space more comfortable and enjoyable. What are the ways in which you do this within your own pad?

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