How to Organize Kids Room – Kids Bedroom Decluttering Ideas

Organizing your kids bedroom or the playroom is one of the greatest homemaking challenges you will face as a parent. Kids are constantly growing and your organization solutions will need to do that as well. Keep re-evaluating the ways to organize the toys, books & clothes and find what works for your family.

How to Organize Kids Room - Secret Tips 

I've found the only other room in the home with so many different types of items, a similar need for cleanliness and as much activity is the kitchen. Take a cue from kitchen organizing solutions and go from there. Zip-Loc bags, adequate shelving, plastic containers and magnetized surfaces do double-duty in kids rooms. Read on for more ideas!

Kids Bedroom

Get in the right frame of mind

Realize what you'll achieve with an organized kids room.

The first thing to do when organizing something is to know what you want to achieve. The reasons you want to organize kids room are probably so you and your child can:

  • find things easier
  • fully appreciate all the toys (and not just the ones at the top of the box)
  • make it easier for your child to pick up behind themselves
  • take better care of your child's possessions
  • spend less time 'tidying up' and more time enjoying the room
Kids Bedroom

The main point though is that you'll be able spend less time looking for things & tidying up and more time enjoying life. Keep this point in mind when you're organizing.

Some Rules To Follow For A Tidy Kids Room

A set of adaptable steps to help keep things a little cleaner.

I've just been reading a blogpost from Life Lessons of a Military Wife about Messy, Messy Kids Rooms where she offers up some excellent rules on ending the messy room saga.

  • Start things off by decluttering your kids room - The "military wife" again offers up some excellent decluttering advice in her blog post on the topic.
  • Have ample storage space - The best thing for this can be custom-built wooden shelves for the walls. If you have a handy husband (or are good with a saw yourself) this is easier and more impressive than you think! You can stain cheap pine boards to match your home's woodwork and purchase special drill bits to make fancy embellishments if you'd like to snazz it up a bit. Clear, lidded containers are great for organizing toy collections: Be sure you have enough (using the lids makes these stackable).
  • Make pick-up a nightly ritual - Ten or fifteen minutes a day is much more manageable for kids and their inherent short attention spans than a full hour or two of clean-up once a week or even longer monthly sessions. This can also be worked in to your child's bedtime routine, giving them a good foundation for their future housekeeping. This step also helps to tame fast-paced mornings with everything in its place and ready to go.
  • Items left out at the end of the day will disappear - This can be permanent or just long-term. Basically anything that is not cared for enough to be put away at night is not cared for enough for your child to have it. If kids don't learn respect for their possessions from the start, later life will have more expensive / important items being lost, stolen or broken through neglectful treatment.
  • Too much clutter means too much stuff - Consider suggesting people give gifts such as tickets to movie theaters, museums or amusement parks rather than more toys and / or clothes. Memberships to organizations like the YMCA or tuition for martial arts or dance classes also make great gifts in more than one sense: they don't take up space and they give your child skills and memories that will last a lifetime as well as encourage a healthy lifestyle.
  • Assign specific tasks rather than just saying "clean up your room" - Although the author recommends this for little kids, I still have to use this tactic with my pre-teen. Its a lot easier for a kid to get overwhelmed and dawdle if the task at hand is not specific enough. Ask them to pick up their blocks and put them away, make their bed, put dirty clothes in the hamper, etc.. Give them small manageable steps - we all work better this way!

What do your kids have?

Start big and break it down smaller

Finding a good home for everything in your kids' room or play room should start off with making good homes for everything. The best way to begin planning for good 'homes' for everything is to decide what needs to be organized. When talking about kids rooms and play rooms there are usually the following types of objects:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes and Accessories
  • BooksToys
  • School Stuff
  • Keepsakes, Souvenirs and Mementos

Organization Puts Things Where They Belong

Where Do They Belong?

Think about your kids and their needs. Have things that you want easily accessible to them within their reach. This would probably be books and favorite toys. Things that require supervision (such as markers & paints and toys with small parts) could be put up out of little hand's reach and maybe even locked in a cupboard. This way it can only be gotten out when you are there to oversee things.

Kids (especially those with large families) sometimes end up with lots of toys. Be sure they all get attention by "rotating" them. Maybe you will have 3 boxes of stuffed toys for example. Leave one box out within easy reach of your children. The other two boxes could go into storage, making less clutter in the room. At the end of the month, swap the currently available toy box for one that's in storage. This ensures that ALL the toys, and not just the ones on the top of the pile, get loved. AND, its less to pick up!!

You may also want to group your kids possessions into activity caddies. Purchase craft cases and put all beads, paints, markers or whatever other type craft item your child may use in a single caddy. In addition to an 'arts' caddy, you could have a playing card center, a 'wardrobe' for dolls clothes, etc.. A big box set up like a hanging file works great for puzzles in large ziploc bags. You get the idea!​

The Opposite of Cleaning

You clean from top to bottom, but you organize kids rooms from the bottom to the top.

Working From the Bottom Up

A different way of doing the housework

When you're cleaning, its obvious to work from the top down. When you wipe down the counters and tabletops and all the crumbs and dust go flying, you don't want to sully a newly cleaned floor. The bottom to top philosophy works for organizing your kids' rooms however.

The things to go towards the bottom (or floor level) of a room are:

  • Favorite toys
  • Big, bulky items
  • Commonly used things

As you work your way up the shelves, you want to put things up that are:

  • Breakable
  • Containing many small pieces
  • Potentially damaging and require supervision (markers, paints, etc..)
  • Not commonly used

You might also want to "rotate" toys by having half of them in storage and the other half out for playing. The out-of-rotation toys would obviously go on a high shelf in a clear container (so they don't get forgotten and PERMANENTLY out of rotation).

Kid-Friendly Storage

Make sure your storage 'solutions' make it easier to put items away than it is to get them out. If it isn't easy to use the storage items, they probably won't get used. Make sure they're the right height and material, durable enough and easy to reach.

How to Store Different Types of Toys

You may not have thought of these solutions!

Plastic, lidded shoe boxes work for most types of toys. Simply group all related items together in one box. This keeps stuff together as well as putting items in a stackable format and allowing you to make better use of space. Particular types of toys lend themselves especially well to certain types of storage.

  • Barbie Dolls - Over-The-Door Shoe Organizer
  • Puzzle Pieces - Ziploc bags
  • Stuffed Toys - Net Hammocks
  • Matchbox cars - Magnetic knife rails
  • Crayons - Plastic, lidded shoe boxes

Where to stash that artwork?

This one is really hard for me.

I'm a big fan of collecting my child's artwork. When I just had one kid, I would put each piece away in its unique slot in an accordion folder. Usually, I would have a compartment for each year or holiday within a year. Now that I have 4 kids though, the artwork has increased along with the number of artists! How can we get a grip on this?

There's only so much room on the refrigerator and bulletin boards. What about a portfolio book?

Make your own out of a 3-ring binder notebook. Your kids can decorate the outside with a fabric book cover that they can tie-dye or just draw on with sharpie markers or other stuff. You probably won't want to hole-punch your favorite works from them. How can you still get the art in the binder without destroying anything though? Either mount the drawings on construction paper and hole-punch the mounting or place the artwork in sheet protectors. Plastic sheet protectors can get costly if you accumulate a lot of papers. Why not store many pictures of similar themes in one protector?

If this seems like a lot of extra work for you, don't do it: delegate this task off to the kids! They will enjoy collecting their work and adding it to their portfolio. Not only that but it will teach them to have pride in their work along with some basic organizing skills!

New Uses for Common Items

Find a new life for these tools!

I've found a few items that do double duty in organizing tasks. Give some of these a try.

  • Old Drinking Straws - Keep your child's necklaces untangled when you thread them through an old drinking straw and then clasp them shut. Hey, this even works for us grown-ups!
  • Transparent Over-The-Door Shoe Organizers - A great way to keep important stuff off the floor and in sight. Is your kid always losing their house keys (who isn't?), MP3 player, flash drive, game cartridges, etc? A good place for them is an over-the-door shoe container!
  • Magnetic Racks - Usually used in kitchens for knives, these can do great double-duty for car models, matchbox cars and anything else made of metal.

Label Everything

This will reinforce the order that you've worked so hard to create. Not only that, but it will get your child familiar with words and associating some of them with objects. If you really want to make this an educational experience, you can label items in both your home's natural language and a second one (Spanish, French, German, etc..) - it’s a good vocabulary builder!

Do you have any favorite tricks to organizing your kids rooms?

What solutions have worked for you?

Did we miss any good ideas for getting your kids rooms in shape? Let us know here!

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Crissy Reavis

As a Home and kitchen related content writer, Crissy Reavis explores the latest ideas of home and kitchen. She got her B.A. in Interior Design. As a former writer of home improvement magazine, now Crissy wanted to share her experiences in this review site.

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