Messy Rooms No More! How to Get Your Kids Organized in 3 Easy Steps

Image via Katie Hurley

You might say that my daughter has her own special way of keeping her things organized. It’s not that her room is a complete mess. You can always see the floor and you’re not likely to trip over anything (or step on a Lego) in the dark. It’s just that her method of organization seems to lack reason. No matter how many toy bins I purchase, they all seem to overflow with stuff. I scan the bins of stuff and wonder how she manages to find anything, but she always seems to know exactly where to find everything.

Bottom line: I’m raising an organized hoarder.

I know I’m not alone. Purging unused items, organizing clothing and toys, and keeping rooms clean are common topics among parents of little ones. The organized chaos that exists in children’s bedrooms all over the world can be particularly distressing for parents who have a thing for organization.

If you want your kids to keep their rooms clean, you have to teach them how to do it.  You have to give them tools and show them how to use them.

Kids don't want to live in a state of chaos and go head-to-head with their parents every week about things like socks on the floor and partially completed Lego projects.  Sometimes the systems in place simply don't make sense to the child, and sometimes kids just don't know how to get started.  The good news is that teaching your kids to take charge of organization empowers them.  When kids can handle their own stuff without parents breathing down their necks about clean-up time, they feel confident and capable.  Putting kids in charge of organizing their stuff also reduces stress in the home.  When we all pitch in, the home feels a little less chaotic.

As a partially reformed neat freak, I can tell you firsthand that letting go of the urge to control it is a very necessary first step. Beyond that, it is important to teach kids about the process of organization.

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Messy Rooms No More! How to Get Your Kids Organized in 3 Easy Steps

Katie Hurley, LCSW is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and writer in Los Angeles, CA. She is the author of "No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls" and "The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World". She earned her BA in Psychology and Women's Studies from Boston College and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She divides her time between her family, her private practice and her writing. Passionate about he ... More

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