Organizing 101: Kids' rooms
Set up a room for a growing child and keep clutter in check with these effective tips.
1 Store extra items like surplus diapers and clothes that don't fit yet in a plastic container on casters under the crib.
2 Hang a mesh storage hammock, available in the baby section of department stores, from the ceiling in a corner. It's great for storing the zooful of stuffed animals infants often receive.
3 Add a combo dresser/change table (or a change table and wall shelf) with lots of storage for baby supplies.
4 Keep it simple: use shelves and a few portable baskets or bins for storing toys and books.
Toddlers and preschoolers
1 Add a low bookcase or shelving unit (bolt it to the wall for safety) where children can put away their books and toys; place larger toys on the lower shelves for easy access.
2 Use baskets, bins or other portable containers for book and toy storage.
3 Buy plastic drawer units on casters for dividing smaller toys into categories; for instance, blocks can go in one drawer, cars in another.
4 Mount shelves near the ceiling around the perimeter of the room to store and display fragile mementoes and collectible toys.
5 Add a crafts table if you have space. Keep supplies for supervised activities, such as markers, glue and Plasticine, out of reach on a nearby shelf.
1 Give children in this age group their first proper desk and chair. Mount a shelf or cubby unit above the desk to keep it clutter- free.
2 Purchase a bunk bed with a built-in desk or a space below for play or tabletop work instead of a lower bunk.
3 Store props and costumes for dress-up games in a special section of the closet or in a large wicker trunk.
4 Stack board games on lower bookshelves. When the boxes get worn, replace them with labelled store gift boxes and put the pieces and instructions in labelled resealable bags inside the box.
5 Add a shelf or night table beside the bed for a lamp and bedtime books.
Tweens and teens
1 Consider purchasing a laptop computer for teens. It will take up minimal space and travel easily to the kitchen table when kids need help with homework.
2 Buy a two-drawer file cabinet or a desk with built-in file storage to give teens a place to keep homework, research and personal papers. Help your preteen set up a system with appropriate categories. Click here for tips on setting up a user-friendly filing system.
3 Add a tall bookcase (bolt it to the wall) for textbooks, novels and magazines. Combo entertainment/bookshelf units are a good use of space where a TV, stereo, CDs and DVDs coexist with book collections.
1 Keep some toys in a plastic bin in a storage room and rotate them monthly with toys currently in use.
2 Find the right container for the job – sturdy and durable. Don't fill it so it's too heavy for a child to carry.
3 Label containers with pictures or words that identify the contents.
4 A portable cleaning caddy is great for storing craft supplies; carts work on a larger scale.
5 Rolling containers that fit under a bed are ideal for toys or clothes.
6 Use magazine holders to store comic-book collections.
PLAN OF ATTACK
Involve your children in the reorganizing of their space to give them a sense of ownership that will – hopefully – encourage them to keep their rooms tidy.
1 Weed out clothes that don't fit; store them for younger siblings or give them away (turn those that are beyond hope into rags). Separate what's left into seasons, then store off-season clothes elsewhere in the house.
2 Give away unused toys – children find it easier to part with older toys after birthdays and Christmas.
3 Go through your child's artwork and projects together and choose favourites to save.
1 Divide the bedroom into areas of activity and furnish each with adequate, accessible storage.
2 Separate clothes for the closet (shirts/ blouses, dress clothes, pants, dresses) from those for the dresser (T-shirts, PJs, socks, underwear, sweatpants, sweatshirts).
3 Organize closet clothes by category, such as formal and casual clothes; organize dresser clothes by type (long-sleeved shirts, T-shirts, shorts).
4 Install a flexible closet organizing system – one that can easily be adjusted as your child grows.
5 Create a keepsake/ memory box (a cardboard office storage box or plastic storage container will work) or binder for storing your child's favourite artwork, projects and papers.