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10 easy steps to create order in your playroom
Legos, crayons, dolls, play kitchen spoons. That’s what’s on the floor after my 2-year-old daughter’s whirlwind playtime.
My good friend Kathi Burns is a professional organizer, and when we spoke about ways to create order in the playroom, I knew I had to share her expertise with the mommas out there who also end up with Hello Kitty figures beneath their toes at least once a week. Here, she shares 10 ways to easily organize that kiddie chaos!
Keeping your child’s playroom organized is an ongoing and often daunting task. Everyday you put the toys away and everyday your kids pull them out again because they just want to play, play, play!
As a Professional Organizer, I feel that the biggest culprit of disorganization in kid’s playrooms is that there are simply too many toys!
With an overload of toy choices, your kids won’t stay focused on any single toy or game for long. Switching focus results in a mess of scattered random toys out of their bins at the end of playtime.
So, if your playroom is overflowing with toys, your biggest challenge will be to get rid of the toys that are not loved, used or needed. I realize that it is hard to know what to keep and what to toss because your child can play with one toy for a week and then forget about it for a month, only to come back around to it later.
Because of this, if your child (children) is old enough to participate, make sure that they are involved during this process.
By the way, it is never too soon to teach children organizational skills. Every child needs to learn basic organizing tactics and also begin to create the skill set of letting go of items that they no longer use, need or love. My youngest client is 5 years old and even though he can’t yet read, his 8-year-old sister helped him understand his file system by making labels that were pictures/images of what should be put into each folder.
These 10 simple steps will help you create order in your playroom:
Gather your supplies. You will need at least 2 empty boxes or bags to begin. One for items to donate, the other for trash. You might also want to have quart and gallon size zip lock bags to contain and group small parts.
Begin by pulling out all the toys and place everything in the middle of the room. If your kids are helping, they will love this step.
Make piles! Begin to eliminate based on what’s old, broken or outgrown.
Place any unneeded, unused or unloved items into the box for charity.
After you have sorted and your family members have decided what stays, evaluate how the remaining items can be stored. Do you need to install shelves in the closet? Could you benefit from a toy chest or more drawer storage? A basic chest of drawers or a freestanding shelf placed in the closet works wonders for organizing games, doll clothes, and craft supplies.
Purchase storage boxes, baskets or whatever you need to contain your items into groups that make sense. Make sure that the doll clothes are not mixed in with the toy trucks. I prefer to use plastic shoeboxes and double shoeboxes with lids to organize items with multiple parts. They are inexpensive, durable and stack nicely on top of each other. They have the added advantage of being clear so you can get a glimpse of what’s inside without having to take off the cover.
Be sure to clearly label every box and container and store similar items together. This makes it much easier for your kids to put things away at the end of the day. If your kids do not yet read, have them make their own labels or find images of the items online and print them to use as labels.
The most important thing to accomplish during this process is to make sure that you have enough room to store everything that you want to keep. If you complete this process and do not have enough room to store the remaining items. Your well-planned system will break immediately.
Follow the golden rule of organizing: every item needs to have a specified home with a yard around it. If you do not have room to grow (i.e. yard) within the category that you are containing, your system will fail.
Some of my clients have well-meaning relatives who constantly barrage their kids with toys and clothes. If you have this challenge, your kids will be well –served to learn early on how to let go of the old in order to bring in the new. In fact, it is a great practice to work with your kids before each holiday event to teach them how to let go to make room for the new.
One lesson that I have learned over the last 12 years working with children is that they are natural givers. Once they understand what happens to their cast-offs after they send them to charity, they let loose of old toys with mush less hesitation. Take the time to explain what happens to the items that they give away. Taking your kids into the local donation/thrift store will show them firsthand how everyone benefits from their old toys; from the kids that can’t afford new toys to the workers who have jobs because of their donations.
Have fun creating order in your playroom!
This is your opportunity to play a little and teach your kids lifetime organizing skills at the same time. It is true that some kids are natural keepers and others don’t care about possessions at all. Regardless of their natural disposition, your kids will follow your lead as you teach them how to let go, create systems and maintain a more organized playroom!
If you are interested in watching what one of my youngest clients had to say about her stuffed animal challenges, click here. You will laugh and be impressed at the same time.
If you wish to dive deeper into getting your home organized, check out the online course Home Organizing Made Simple. This course provides room-by-room instructions to help you mommas organize every nook and cranny of your home.
About the Author:
Kathi Burns, CPO® is a Board Certified Professional Organizer, Image Consultant and the Author of the Amazon best seller How To Master Your Muck and Home Organization, the Smart Guide. As the founder of addSpace To Your Life! she is known for her remarkable ability to help people realize their dreams by showing them how to remove the “muck” that blocks them from achieving their full potential.
Kathi’s books are not just about clearing clutter, they are also about heightening awareness of the things that are ‘mucking up’ your life and providing inspiration to remove those obstacles. These compelling guidebooks along with her new online course Home Organizing Made Simple will give you the skills to conquer the areas in your life that often make you feel stuck and overwhelmed; paper piles, overflowing closets, emails, cupboards and more.
Featured on Good Morning America, Kathi serves as a special correspondent on FOX and NBC Morning News. Her tips have been featured on Martha Stewart Radio, Better Homes and Gardens, Oprah Magazine and more. As a sought after speaker and corporate consultant, her client list includes Intuit, Logitech, SAIC and Hewlett-Packard. Kathi can be reached at advice@addSpaceToYourLife.com.