As small as they may be, kids have the uncanny ability to acquire a lot of stuff.
Maybe it’s all the gifts from grandma and grandpa. Perhaps it’s all those toys and books you couldn’t resist buying. Or maybe it’s the clothing and shoes and accessories they get as birthday presents from their aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Like every room in the home, kids' rooms need decluttering then kept clutter-free in order to look and function their best.
Not sure how to do it?
Here are seven new rules for decluttering a kid’s room:
1. Get the Kids Involved
The main rule to decluttering a kid’s room is to get your kids involved in the process. Resist the temptation to get in there and start decluttering on your own. Getting them in on the action helps build trust and gives them some ownership over their own space.
It also allows them to have some input into what stays and what goes.
2. Create Three Piles: Keep, Trash, and Donate
Decluttering any room starts with creating keep, trash, and donate piles.
Sort through every item in the room and decide what you need to keep and what you can toss. The less you keep, the easier it will be to organize.
Keep the books they love, the toys they play with, and the clothing they wear (or haven’t even grown into yet). Trash broken toys, stained or soiled clothing, and worn-out shoes. Donate the clothes that no longer fit and the toys they’ve outgrown or no longer play with.
Allowing your kids to decide what to keep and what to donate does more than help clean out the room. It's also a great way to teach little ones the importance of charitable donations and helping other kids in need.
3. Designate Different Areas of the Room for Different Activities
Everyone likes an organized room, including children. So before you start putting all your “keep” things back where they belong, consider creating different nooks around the room for various items and activities.
For example, set up a desk that doubles as an art station in one corner of the room. Instead of spreading toys throughout the room, organize them all in one area of the space. Place all books on a shelf on the wall. Store all clothing and all shoes in the closet.
You can also make these different areas of the room stand out by decorating them in different ways.
Paint different colors on the wall or decorate them with different patterns and prints. The more obvious it is that each section of the room has a unique purpose, the more likely kids are to use it in the intended way.
4. Buy Storage Bins (and Lots of Them!)
You can declutter a room without storage bins. Yet, you'll never be able to keep it clutter-free unless you have storage bins in various sizes — and lots of them.
Invest in flat storage bins that you can stash under the bed. Buy square storage bins that you can stack in corners or closets. Equip your kid’s room with small containers that you can place on bookshelves or wall shelves.
From crayons to LEGOs to puzzles, kids’ rooms are full of playthings that can become an overwhelming mess of clutter if they’re not contained.
From a child’s perspective, keeping things organized where they belong can be easier with a color-coded system.
For example, store shoes in blue bins, toys in white bins, and art supplies in yellow bins. Make organization even easier by adding photo labels to each container so that your little ones know exactly what to put in each one.
5. Put Up a Shelving System
Shelves make organization incredibly easy, and they also help to make use of vertical space. The smaller your kid’s room is, the more critical it is to have wall shelves or freestanding bookshelves to get items up and off the floor.
Shelves are ideal for storing and displaying books, but they’re also great for holding toys. With a few bins of the same size and shape, you can keep all sorts of toys entirely out of sight. Open top bins make it easy to toss items in and look great placed side-by-side on shelves.
When it’s time to place items in bins and decide where those bins should go, ask your kids for input. It’s their room, so let them decide what to put where, as long as it’s reasonable.
6. Store Seasonal Items Out of Sight
Kids (and adults, for that matter) can get easily overwhelmed when there’s excess stuff lying around. If your “keep” pile is so big that the room feels crowded, make it a point to do seasonal rotations to conceal or remove things that aren’t in constant use.
In the winter, put swimsuits, sandals, and outdoor toys in bins in the back of the closet or high up on a closet shelf where your child won’t even see them. In the summer, use those same bins to store winter sweaters, coats, and scarves.
Whenever possible, store seasonal items out of sight, in the back of the closet, or another room altogether. The fewer items in your child’s room, the easier it will be for them to keep it clutter-free.
7. Keep the Rest of Your House Clutter-Free
Kids learn by example. If you want your little ones to be neat and organized, you have to model that behavior throughout the house.
Keep your entire house neat, tidy, and clutter-free, and your kids are more likely to follow your lead.
And don’t make decluttering or cleaning seem like a chore — make it fun!
Turn weekly or monthly clean-up sessions into a game or treat it like a fun family project rather than a tedious, dreaded task. When they do a great job decluttering their room, give them a small reward when the job is complete.
If your kid’s room feels overwhelming and cluttered to you, it likely feels the same way for them. A clutter-free space helps to create a clutter-free mind, so spend a few hours on a rainy day tackling the clutter and making your kid’s room as neat as can be.
And whatever you do, don’t make it feel like a job or a chore.
When you make “the decluttering game” fun, it's a win-win.
And who knows?
You just might find yourself raising a mini-Marie Kondo who can devise new cleaning and decluttering techniques of their own.
Caitlin Sinclair is the Property Manager at Dixon Place with five years of property management experience and many more in Customer Service. She shares her passion for her community and looks forward to making Dixon Place the place to call home.