By Trish Hicks
No matter how many systems you may have in place for keeping things organized, children will go with the fastest, easiest solution. It’s much easier for them to walk in the door and leave a trail of jackets and gloves and hats behind them. It’s much easier to toss something across a chair then it is to hang it up. If you tell them to pick their things up off the living room floor, chances are they will pick it up, walk it straight into their rooms and dump it. It is a constant battle with children to keep things organized in a home. One thing you can do to at least ease the burden of having to constantly follow them around barking orders to “pick up” is to make the “system” as easy as possible. Here we’ll take a look at some common kids storage practices and issues and find some easier, faster solutions.
Children’s Storage Problem #1:
“Out of site, out of mind.” Toys stored in large plastic storage bins get buried and forgotten.
Trade out those bulky bins for something easier for children to handle. Baskets and fabric open-topped storage bins are lighter and smaller so they are easier for children to lift and carry. There are no lids to fuss with making it easy for even small children to clean up. If you must use closed-top containers, choose boxes that are small enough to be easily moved even when full of toys. Having handles on the lids is an additional plus.
Children’s Storage Problem #2:
The all too often heard “I didn’t know where it was supposed to go.”
Once again, open topped containers work best for this. No lids to fuss with. Clear containers also work well, but sometimes for young children the toys themselves, seen through the containers, are so “busy” and distracting that they can hurt more than help. Label everything. Label with words or pictures depending on the age of your child. Labeling things with their brand names and logos cut from the toy’s packaging (like “Lego” and “Barbie”) help immensely when it comes to kids identifying where their stuff goes. They spot their favorite brands from 60 paces at the store so use that talent at home! You can use double-stick tape, ribbon or special label sleeves to attach the labels to bins.
Children’s Storage Problem #3:
Jackets and the floor. I sometimes wonder if children’s jackets are magnetically attracted to the floor.
Storage Solution: Hooks mounted right inside the main entrance/exit door at a height appropriate for your children is a great help. This could be the door to the garage, a basement door, the front or back door. The key is to have them at the door your children use the most. If you have the available space by your entrance, purchase a bench with storage beneath it. Children can stow their shoes, boots or book bags under the bench seat.
Children’s Storage Problem #4:
Bookshelf disaster! You stack the books neatly on your child’s bookshelf only to find them later in heaping piles or all askew and shoved in every which way.
Storage Solution: There are two solutions to this problem depending on the age of your child. For younger children who have not yet learned to read or are just beginning to read, use a bookshelf that stores the books with their faces forward. Children can quickly see the book they want and it will always go back correctly (though sometimes it might wind up backwards). With older children, most of the mess on bookshelves comes from having too many books on a shelf. Move one book and they all start to topple over. Limit the number of books on their shelves and use plenty of bookends. Keep only your child’s favorite books of the month available on their shelf and organize them into smaller sections using bookends.
These are only some of the possible ways to help keep your children organized. Keep in mind that children naturally “aim to please” so make it easy and fun for them. You may also want to ask your children for input, too. They may surprise you with their answers!
Trish Hicks is a mother of three and a co-owner of Simply Housewares. As a mom, web designer, blogger, home-maker and business owner, she draws on her experiences to share practical tips and ideas for organizing and decorating your home and your life. You may visit her website at www.simplyhousewares.com. Be sure to follow her on Facebook and Twitter!
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