How to Organize a Child's Room

Neat and tidy child's room.
An organized kid's room will keep both you and your little ones happier.
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Are you looking for your child's shoes again? Does he step out of his clothes when changing and just keep walking? Maybe his books multiply on the floor beside his bed, just waiting for you to step on the stack and slip on their shiny covers.

If so, it's time to focus on organizing your child's bedroom. A key component of organization is to de-clutter. The necessary steps include taking inventory, deciding what to keep, exploring different organizational methods and implementing a storage plan [source: Today].


Depending on your child's age, he or she may be able to help you with this process. A child as young as 4 may enjoy sorting and categorizing his possessions. Children can also benefit from learning how to keep their own spaces neat [source: Ewer]. Teaching life skills, such as treating possessions respectfully, is part of raising a responsible child. Self-care skills, such as dressing yourself and putting clean and dirty clothing in appropriate spaces, are also essential to a child's development.

How you approach the de-cluttering process will depend on how many children you have, the amount of space you choose to devote to your child's possessions, and of course, the amount of time you are able to devote to the process.

The most challenging step in achieving organization is the first: taking inventory. Be forewarned: Taking inventory is not complicated, but it can be time-consuming. Many retail operations have inventory checks at least once a year. Some stores -- especially those that do not rely on computerized inventory programs -- even close down to determine what they actually have in stock and what they need to order.

Don't be scared off, however -- your child's room may seem endless, but it's not quite the scale of a retail store. Knowing what your child owns and whether he or she even wants the items anymore is the first step in organizational success. Read on to find out more ways to get started.


Taking Inventory of a Child's Room

As we discussed on the previous page, the process of taking inventory of your child's bedroom might be the most challenging and detailed step of the organizational process. Grab a pen and some paper; set yourself up with a clipboard and get to work.

As you survey the room and its contents, what natural categories jump out at you? Furniture, bedding, clothing, toys and books are often found in children's bedrooms. Design a chart with each of your categories acting as the head of a column. Get your child to help you make categories. Since preschoolers are also learning the art of categorizing information, they might even enjoy helping you with this step, especially if you can turn it into a game. Be sure to decide on clear categories so your child can easily figure out in which category his or her possessions belong [source: Dunleavy].


Once you've chosen your categories, take inventory by writing down each item under its appropriate heading. Moving systematically through the objects and furniture in the room is helpful here. Start with the big things, such as furniture and bedding.

Once your reach the clothing category, sorting may become a bit more challenging. Children grow constantly, and chances are good that your child's closet and dresser possess a wide variety of clothing options. Some of these may no longer fit or might just be completely worn out. Take specific inventory of these as well, noting, for example, how many pairs of jeans your child has. Make sure to write the sizes of all clothing and other important notes on your inventory sheet.

Once you've categorized all of your child's belongings, it's time to decide what stays and what goes. Read on to find out how to begin making these decisions.


What Should I Keep in My Child's Room?

Now that you've taken inventory of the contents of your child's room, you have to spend some time deciding what you want to keep. Many families want their child to have a few pieces of furniture, some books, their clothing and perhaps a few favorite toys in their room. Some families prefer that all toys be kept out of their child's room, especially if that child resists sleeping because he or she is distracted by toys. Other children may have this problem with their books or a TV.

When organizing a space, many experts suggest that you create four piles: a keep pile, storage pile, charity pile and trash pile [source: Elias]. Take your inventory list and write which pile each item belongs in next to its name. Many of these will be no-brainers, such as the child's bed and linens.


You're likely to have decisions to make, however, when it comes to books, toys and clothing. Look critically at each category and consider each item individually to decide whether it is worth keeping in the room [source: Elias]. Don't forget to include your child in this process, if possible, and ask him what items he would like to keep the most. Keep only those things that will get immediate use, and pack up whatever you decide to store and label it clearly. Rotate toys and books in and out of storage. Your kids will be excited to play with their "new" old items [source: Flinders].

Once you've decided what to keep, you'll need a way to organize it all so that you can child can easily access it, but also put it back up just as easily. Read on to learn about a few different organizational methods.


Methods for Organizing a Child's Room

Once you have determined what you will keep in your child's room, it is time to find a home for each item. Depending on the size of the room, you might consider dividing it into a few zones. Zone planning makes it easier for kids (and adults) to know exactly where objects should be stored. Typical zones for a bedroom include a sleeping zone, dressing zone, playing zone and reading zone.

Arrange furniture to reflect each zone. The bed should be the main feature of the sleeping zone. Any special stuffed animals or blankets should be kept exclusively in this zone so as to prevent them from getting lost. If the child is old enough to operate a light, a bedside table with a reading lamp would be an appropriate addition to this zone.


The dressing zone's main feature should be the child's dresser and closet. Even many young toddlers express an interest in dressing themselves, so make it easy for you child to reach the clothing and hamper. By placing often worn clothing in accessible baskets or drawers, children will learn how to dress themselves and take care of their clothing.

The reading zone and playing zone may overlap. It is a good idea, however, to have a comfortable spot for your child to develop a positive relationship with reading. Make sure these zones have adequate light for playing and reading. Provide storage areas for toys.

Now that you've developed zones for your child's room, it's time to finally put everything away. Read on to learn creative ideas for storing toys, books and clothing.


Child's Room Storage

In many houses, storage is an issue. Even if you don't have ample storage space in your child's room, you can still find a place for everything. Simple ways to add storage include purchasing bed lifts to increase storage space under the bed. Bed lifts are inexpensive plastic posts that are available at most stores that carry home goods. Older children may enjoy having a lofted bed. A lofted bed is like a bunk bed frame without the bottom bunk. Lofted beds are especially nice for smaller spaces. Desks, dressers or a reading area can be set up under the bed.

Another option is to purchase or design a headboard with shelving for your child's bed. A lamp can be placed on this type of headboard, and books can be stored on its shelves. Children can even keep their special stuffed animal or blanket folded on one of the shelves [source: HGTV].


Give children access to items that you want them to use regularly. For younger children, this may include clothing, toys and books. Encourage independence by placing a shelf or two at a manageable height, with clear plastic bins for toys or books [source: Gaulin]. Consider putting most of your young child's everyday clothing in the lower drawers of the dresser. Upper drawers can be used for bed linens, off-season clothing, costumes or holiday clothing. A tension rod, placed low in the closet, will encourage your child to hang up his or her clothing. Use appropriately sized hangers to match the size of his clothes. He may even enjoy ordering his clothing based on color or type.

To learn more about organizing your child's bedroom and the rest of your home, visit the links on the next page.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • Dunleavey, M.P. "Rid Your House of Clutter." Good Housekeeping. (Accessed 1/19/10).
  • Elias, Kathleen. "How to Organize Your Kid's Room in 4 Steps." Home Organizing Ideas. (Accessed 1/19/10).
  • Ewer, Cynthia. "8 Great Tips to Organize Kids' Room." (Accessed 1/22/10).
  • Flinders, Kerry. "Having Fun Organizing Your Kid's Room." 2005 (Accessed 1/22/10).
  • Gaulin, Pam. "Organization Tips for a Child's Bedroom." October 11, 2009 (Accessed 1/19/10).
  • HGTV. "Storage Headboard for a Kid's Room." (Accessed 1/19/10).
  • Le Masurier, Sherrie. "Organizing Kids Rooms: What to Do With All That Kid Room Stuff?" Organizing and Decorating Kids Rooms. (Accessed 1/22/10).
  • North-Kelly, Elena. "Amass Appeal." Cookie. (Accessed 1/19/10).
  • Teach Kids How. "Teach Your Child How to Organize." (Accessed 1/19/10).
  • Today. "How to Organize Your Child's Playroom." MSNBC (Accessed 1/19/10).