The Most Frequently Asked Questions about Organizing Your Kids Rooms

1. In terms of organization, what is the first thing a parent should do before decorating a kid's room?

Get rid of the clutter! Because we are such a materialistic, marketing, socializing-driven society, kids are bombarded and often overwhelmed with "stuff" ? much of which they don't even like and will never use.

2. What is the biggest organizational challenge with children's rooms?

Finding ways to make it easy for kids to maintain organization ? this means getting them involved in the process and using tools like baskets without lids, hooks instead of tools racks, etc.

3. Why is organization so important in a kid's bedroom?

Studies show that children who live in an organized environment (especially those who have learning disabilities, ADD, etc.) function better.

4. Are your organizational tips different for different age groups? If so, could you offer a few?

0-5:

At this age, you can teach children organization without them even knowing it. For example, using color coded containers to sort toys.

6-10:

This is a great age to begin teaching paper management. Purchase a desktop holder for hanging files ? create a folder for special interests such as "Soccer", "Cartoons," "Haircut Ideas" "Gift Ideas" etc.

11-16:

The older they are, the tougher it gets ? because they begin to want to assert their independence! The answer lies in "What will they do?" When my son turned 16, I finally closed the bedroom door, and said, "If it doesn't crawl out or smell, I won't complain! I'm tired of teaching, bribing, nagging, etc."

One of my clients hired me to organize her 15-year-old's room. It was a gorgeous room, but not at all to the daughter's liking. We took out the clothes bar, and filled the closet with colorful stacked baskets. When we were done, she invited her basketball team to come and see!

5. What are the must-have items in every kid's bedroom?

Specific places for specific items of clothing (e.g., this drawer is for sox or this box is for memorabilia), An easy place to put dirty clothes.

6. Can children be taught to be organized, and if so, how does a parent make this happen?

One of the best ways is to be a good role model. Often when parents says to a child, "Clean up your room!" the child doesn't have to look far to see other people's messes ? some of which have been around for a long time!

However, as the mother of five, who are now grown and living responsible lives, I learned that although I taught them how to be organized, it didn't mean I would see the results until AFTER they moved out of the house!

We use a 5-Step Process to help our clients organize all aspects of their personal and professional lives ? this process applies to organizing a kid's bedroom as well:

1. Design your vision
2. Eliminate your excuses
3. Commit your time
4. Select your tools
5. Maintain your success.

Notice that the common word in all of the steps is "your" ? organizing is an art!

© Barbara Hemphill is the author of Kiplinger's Taming the Paper Tiger at Work and Taming the Paper Tiger at Home and co-author of Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever. The mission of Hemphill Productivity Institute is to help individuals and organizations create and sustain a productive environment so they can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives. We do this by organizing space, information, and time. We can be reached at 800-427-0237 or at www.ProductiveEnvironment.com

In The News:

Organizing  NYS PEF
Organizing for Equity in Oakland Schools  California Teachers Association
How to organize your kitchen for holiday cooking  Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

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