As a Professional Organizer and former teacher I can assure you that there are 3 tips that will serve you as a parent, and your children, well. They are:
- Be a positive organizing role model,
- Encourage children to be involved in the organizing process, and
- Don’t nag them.
When parents hire me to help their children learn how to organize their room it’s important for me to see the entire home environment as well. If the parent is not able to maintain an organized home it will be more difficult for the child to do so. When parents are able to see that this skill takes ongoing practice they can better support their children in the process. Something as simple as making your bed each day can make a significant difference. I suggest that you make organizing part of your daily family routine. For instance, every morning there is an agreement that everyone will make their own bed before they leave the house. Another important tip is to remember the bigger goal is for self responsibility and that the bed is to be made. Please don’t strive for perfection. Every afternoon when you all get home your routine is to have everyone go through their backpacks, briefcases, lunch bags, and purse to get rid of clutter, organize and plan what needs to get done for the next 1-2 days. Remember that you need to allow enough time for everyone to organize. Try not to rush or multi-task, if possible.
Even very young children can get involved in organizing. They love to sort toys into bins, make games out of getting rid of trash, and earn praise for a job well done. Recently I was working with a young girl who told me that she wanted more space in her bedroom. That was easily accomplished by rearranging the furniture in her room to create a better layout. Instead of the bed cutting the room in half we moved it to one side and opened up the floor space. That led to the opportunity to work on getting things off of the floor. Instead of the parent or Personal Organizer telling the child what to keep, what to get rid of, and where to store things, the child was asked to make these decision. She easily identified sentimental items that she wanted to keep and we created 2 closet shelves just for those items. She also identified which of her clothes no longer fit and put them into a bag for donating. The child took control of her space, was able to declutter it, and was proud of her accomplishments.
The goal for this child was to help her to maintain her version of a more organized and spacious bedroom. She was able to learn that if she could keep things off of the floor her room would automatically look more organized. Rather than focus on too many changes it was more effective to teach her the one that would help her meet her initial goal…a more spacious room (no clutter on the floor).