12 kids' room storage tips that really work
Spring's a great time to have a serious sort-out. Here's how to declutter your kid's room and set up storage systems that will keep the mess at bay.
Professional organiser Natalie Jane from Be Organised has a range of strategies to declutter and set up storage systems that will last the distance. First and foremost, says Natalie, involve your child in the process. Ask them what they want their room to be like (perhaps they want a place to play with their Lego, for example). If they're involved it's more likely they'll be motivated to make the new system work.
Then it's time for a sort-out. Many kids just have too much stuff, says Natalie, who recently worked with a girl who had 50 soft toys. She was happy to give a lot of them away when told that there were some children who didn't have any and would love some of her collection. "I think it's a good idea to only keep the ones that have names," says Natalie.
Don't try to do it all in a day, suggests Natalie. Set the timer and tell your child that you are going to do 10 minutes together before rewarding yourself with some outside play. Does your child have a drawer crammed with junk? Set the timer and tell them to spend two minutes taking out all the things they want to keep – then donate or toss the rest.
Then it's time to reorganise everything in a way that makes sense to your child.
Natalie Jane's storage tips:
1. Store the things your child uses most often at child-height for easy access.
2. Cubed shelving systems with pull-out baskets or boxes are ideal. Kids can see what's in them and put things away themselves. They can be used for everything from toys to socks and knickers. Ikea has great cube systems, says Natalie.
3. If you're short of storage space, look under the bed. Underbed storage on wheels is best so your child can pull it out and put it back easily. Upcycled drawers on casters can work well.
4. Hooks hung at child-height are great for kids and come in lots of cool colours and styles. Kids are often not good at hanging clothes on coat hangers, but can easily pop bags, coats and dressing gowns on a hook.
5. Shoe bags are also useful – you can use them for socks and knickers, even small toys like Barbies, and hang them on the back of the door.
6. Label everything. If your child's too young to read, stick a photo or downloaded printable image on the outside or drawers or containers – get kids to colour them in so that they'll remember what's meant to be in a particular drawer or container.
7. Store books in crates, stacked standing up with the covers facing forward. That's much easier for kids than bookshelves. Puzzles can be stored in sturdy ziplock bags and stacked in a crate.
8. Pegboards are useful for hanging frequently used items at child height – you can even hang buckets on these to keep pens, pencils and little toys together.
9. Big toy boxes are only good for dress-ups. Everything else is better in smaller containers.
10. Look out for "swoop bags", big drawstring bags that you can play with Lego on, then pull the drawstring and the whole thing closes up with all the little pieces inside.
11. Craft supplies may be better stored near the dining room table than in the bedroom. Store in lidded containers so that they can be easily accessed and put away.
12. Once you've got your new systems in place you need good routines to stop things descending into chaos. Natalie, who was a teacher, suggests having a rule that when your child has finished playing they need to put everything away before starting a new activity.
- NZ House & Garden