You asked and we listened! Today we’re answering your top questions about organizing with kids. We love a well organized space and walls of canisters, we know that you also need to live in your space.
Q: My kids share a bedroom. How do I keep things organized?
A: The same organizing principles work in shared bedrooms as they do individual spaces – we often act as if there is a dividing line down the middle of the room. We recommend purchasing items in multiples and then designating 1 for each child. 1 dresser per child, 1 hamper per child, 1 toy bin per child and keeping items to each side of the room. Inside a closet, use vertical organizers for easy clothes storage while maximizing the space. On the back of closet doors we recommend an over the door Elfa system to house shoes which holds 2 pairs per row.
Q: We love using the library. How can we store books for reading while knowing they also need to be returned?
A: We love using the library as well and were avid participants in summer reading programs as a kid! Within your reading area, designate a specific shelf or basket for library books. This will keep your personal collection separate from the library books just in time for your next trip.
Q: We don’t have a mudroom. How can I create a space to house all of our stuff?
A: In modern homes and newer builds, this is a common problem and we have a few great solutions! If your goal is to establish an entry space, think through pieces with dual purposes. We love benches with built in shoe storage. For backpacks, install wooden pegs for hanging on the wall. If you have a hall closet with a single rod for hanging, this is a great space to customize for your storage needs. For some clients, we’ve also used built-in shelving along a wall of the garage or laundry room to keep items for sports and school stored.
Q: My child loves legos. I’m tired of stepping on them. What are the best systems for lego storage?
A: We all know how painful it can be to step on a Lego. Here are a few of our favorite storage solutions for Legos. A Lego table can provide a clean working space and keep things off the floor for your child. Beneath the table, we love this stackable drawer tower and keeping legos organized by color. If your child loves to show off their creations, use vertical storage like acrylic shelves. Binders or hanging file systems can be great for manuals or these storage boxes that are the perfect size for kits and their instructions. Be mindful that different kids have different ways of thinking about their Legos so their input is key!
Q: How can I create a homework station?
A:With a clean and organized space, it can help your child focus and study. You will need a desk or a designated flat surface, basic school supplies, storage solution for papers (we like stacking letter trays), good light and electric outlets for charging up devices. If you don’t have a desk or a designated spot – create a mobile setup with totes and bins to pull out when needed and then put away. Lazy susans are great for markers, crayons, scissors, and the like. We recommend keeping the desk space as clear as possible to keep your child focused as they study, so having a storage space for overflow is key. Setting up a memory box for completed projects and papers is also key for reducing ongoing clutter. We love these storage boxes that can be labeled by child and year.
Q: My kids love arts and crafts but their projects are taking over. Help!
A: We love encouraging the little artist in your life but know that projects and crafty bits can pile up. Here are a few of our top tips for organizing arts and crafts. Begin by sorting through art supplies and editing out stuff that isn’t useful or no one likes. From paper scraps to partial paint pots or broken crayons, toss items that haven’t been used. From there, categorize items by usage and contain them appropriately using storage boxes or designated craft storage like these Smart Store bins. Separating out those a child could use with parental supervision and those to be used without is super helpful – personally I never want paint or glitter within reach of younger children! I also love having a lazy susan for craft supplies and some open bins or stacking letter trays for paper out and accessible or our favorite 3 tier cart. Then having the rest stored to be brought out as needed. We’ve created back stock storage for craft supplies in linen closets, cabinets, built ins and bookshelves depending on the layout of the home.
Then, start sorting through completed art projects. We recommend holding onto a few of your child’s favorite projects throughout the year and then filing them into sentimental items. If your child has vast interest and loves to create, use vertical floating shelves to honor their creations.
Q: How can I teach my kids to stay organized?
A: It’s your top question and we’re here to help. We know that homes in summertime are far less than picture perfect spaces. You can teach your kids to stay organized in five simple steps.
1. Use positive reinforcement. By praising them for putting things away and keeping things tidy, this will incentivize your child to continue. I like very direct feedback like ‘I love how you put your crayons back in the bin – great job!’ or ‘Look at how nicely the paper was put in the basket – this will be so helpful next time we do crafts!’
2. Maintain storage systems. Over time, your storage needs will evolve. Keep these items up to date.
3. Before every holiday or birthday – donate or toss unused items. From craft kits to toys they no longer need, make sure to create space to store the new items they will receive. This can be a great lesson in generosity and sharing for your child.
4. Create kid-friendly storage solutions. If your child can’t read, choose labels with pictures instead. You can organize by color and also keep items at their level for easy access.
5. Engage them in the organizing process and have them help create the systems. I like to clearly articulate what each zone and system does with them instead of expecting them to figure it out – you’d be surprised how oblivious they can be (or not!).