How To Teach Your Kids to Be Organized at Home

Mother and daughter cleaning house together with red brooms / mops
Show your children how to care for, fold, organize, and store their belongings properly.

Everyone wants an organized home. Well, almost everyone. Your kids may not worry too much about the clutter crowding your kitchen counters, or the discarded clothes taking up all of your couch space. But you probably do. Sometimes, no matter how much you clean and organize your home, your mini-me still manages to make a mess. 

But, if you can get your children to join in on the organizational efforts, you’ll be on your way to a cleaner home in no time. And you’ll be helping them develop a valuable skill set. Here are three areas you should focus on when teaching your children about organization:

After School ‘Drop Zone’

A ‘drop zone’ is a critical element to keeping your house organized. Think about the area where your kids drop their backpacks, shoes, jackets, and homework when they come home from school. How cluttered is that area usually? Is it an eyesore for your otherwise clean home? Or do these items typically end up strewn across your entire house? An after school Drop Zone can fix that.

A good spot for your Drop Zone is the mudroom or entryway. It should be where your children come inside, so they can leave all their stuff in one place as soon as they walk through the door. By convening all of your children’s items in one spot, cleanup will become much easier, and you’ll be able to get out of the house much quicker in the morning.

Here are the most important items to include in your Drop Zone:

Baskets or Tubs

How often do you trip over errant shoes when walking through the house? And let’s not mention the times where you can find one shoe but not its matching pair? Baskets are an integral part of your Drop Zone because they can hold many items that are often misplaced.

Your kids can leave their shoes in these baskets as they come in, so they’re not tracking mud and dirt through the house to their rooms. You can also put gloves, hats, and scarves in these baskets for your kids to grab on their way out the door on chilly mornings. And when they come back home, they’ll drop these items back into the basket. Show them how to keep the pairs together and eliminate the frustration of looking for a matching set of gloves.

Line up these baskets on the ground and against the wall so that your kids can see them when they take off their shoes.

Hooks & Shelves

One of the biggest mistakes people make is forgetting to use the vertical space in their homes. By installing hooks right by the entryway, you give your children a place to hang up their jackets and backpacks as they come in. Make sure these hooks are sturdy because a child’s backpack can get pretty heavy. If you can’t put holes in the walls, a removable shelving unit is a good alternative. You can customize these to fit your exact needs and take them with you if you ever move.

By using the vertical space right by your door, you give your children a quick and immediate place to drop their stuff on the way in the house. This in turn helps get rid of a lot of the clutter in your home.

A School Paper Filing System

Parents are inundated with papers from their children’s schools, and important documents can get lost in the mix. With a simple, three folder system, you can cut down the mess.

Label one folder for homework, one for important documents (such as permission slips, report cards, etc.), and one for announcements. Spend a few days after school sorting through these papers with your children so that they understand what goes where.

With a filing system, you will quickly cut down on the number of loose papers, and better keep track of what’s going on at your kids’ school.

Extra Tips

A small dry erase board or cork board above your Drop Zone can be an effective means of communication. Since it’s the last thing they’ll see before they head out of the house, it’s the perfect place to write down a quick reminder. If your child has a tendency to forget their homework, overdue library books, or lunch, you may want to consider this strategy.

Label everything clearly so that your kids won’t forget what goes where. And to get them excited about using this new system, enlist their help in decorating it. Make it colorful and hang up some of their artwork to make this Drop Zone feel like an area especially made for them.

Laundry Day for Kids

The second organization system you can get your kids involved in is laundry day. Kids have a tendency to throw their clothes all over the place when they’re ready to change. And they don’t always notice how messy it can make their rooms. Getting them involved in your laundry routine is a simple and effective way to teach them how to do their own laundry later on.

If you sort your laundry by color, buy three baskets for each closet: one for darks, one for colors, and one for whites. Label these baskets (with words or pictures of colors) so that your children can quickly identify what goes where.

Next, make sure they know what to do when the basket is full, so they don’t continue to throw clothes in and overflow it. Have them assist with laundry day by bringing their baskets to the laundry room when full.

Once the laundry is done, teach them how to fold. Not every child will have the attention span to sit and fold, but you can make a game out of it. Call out colors for them to grab, or ask them to match up all the socks. Give them praise every time they help you.

Lastly, show them where everything goes once it’s folded. Ask them to help you put their clothes away.

The Children’s Closet

Your kid’s closet is the most important and the most challenging area to keep organized. When your children are organized, you get to spend more time doing things other than cleaning up after them.

The tricky part about a closet organization system is making it adjustable. As your kids get older and taller, and more interested in what they’re wearing, their closet needs will change. If you don’t create room for growth, you will need to reorganize your system soon. This could happen within a few months or a year.

For example, low shelving for your children’s clothes works while they’re young because it’s right within their reach. But as they get taller, they’re not going to want to drop down to floor level to sort through their pants and shirts every day.

And don’t forget to use your vertical space to maximize your storage. Since they won’t be able to reach a lot of their closet at first, you’ll be able to store important keepsakes, trophies, and more delicate clothing up high to keep them safe.

A custom closet design is especially useful when your children are young. The house can get hectic when you have kids running around, and there’s so much that you don’t want to miss when they’re growing up. At 180 Closet Design, we make staying organized the easiest part of your day. You’ll have more time to run around with your kids, rather than cleaning up after them. Call us today for your complimentary consultation.

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